“The best season since I joined,” was how Bob Woodbridge described the 1947 season at the A.G.M. There were now 190 members (three-quarters non-playing) and almost 40 colts. In 64 matches played, the firsts lost eight out of 33 games and won 15; the seconds won 14 out of 24. And Miles Brunton, the Club president, who owned the ground, pledged it would be available for as long as the Club wanted for just £1 rent p.a.
Playing standards went up, though the Club only had about 40 playing members, from which four teams were picked each week-end, and sometimes teams were “strengthened” by Men’s Club members. Douglas Jardine joined after moving to Radlett and later played a few Sunday matches for Radlett each season in the ’50s until he died in 1958.
Radlett was rich in characters at that time. They included Ian Phillips, who was later to appoint himself match secretary for the second team and hunt around the Radlett bars on Saturday mornings.
“If you were under 80 and went down to the Men’s Club, there was a good chance of you playing,” says John Clark, current joint third team skipper (in 1984).
The Rev. Ken Blackburn, the local vicar, was another. He followed Colby (31.7) in the first team batting averages with 23.2 and held a regular place until he changed parishes in 1958. He scored a century before lunch at Chipperfield. and could also bowl.
He was good with collections too – One Saturday in the changing room, all the money fell out of E. C. ‘Sinky’ Sinclair’s pocket, whereupon the Vicar picked it all up with a smile, saying: “I don’t suppose you’ll be at church tomorrow, ‘Sinky’. so I’ll take this for the collection!”
One could never suppose anything about the first team wicket keeper of the ’40s and ’50s, Larry Baker. He was one of the bravest, standing up to Leslie King at his fastest, but according to several players of the time, “one of the maddest drivers. You never knew when he’d turn up at a match. It just depended on which ditch he’d pulled his car out of!”
Jimmy Upsdale was more timid about his prowess on the field. He never bowled his ‘innocuous slows’ until after the fall of the eighth wicket and was quite successful.
The year would not be complete without mention of David ‘Fred’ Taylor, present captain of the Club (in 1984), who in his second team debut as a 13-year-old, defended desperately against superior Harpenden bowling to force a draw.
photo: pavilion in 1946