League cricket hit Hertfordshire in 1968 when the Herts Competition was started, Radlett, true to tradition, declined to join. The breathalyser was brought in that year but despite the Government’s best endeavours, bar sales stayed buoyant.
Peter Lord was competing for the first team wicket-keeping spot with Brian Standring – arguably and ironically the two best ‘keepers the Club has had. Charlie Randall and David Murley began creeping up the order.
Taylor’s team finished the season with a flourish, winning 11 out of the last 14 matches (18 wins overall), with Jenkin hitting 800 runs, and Bill Marshall heading the bowling with his left-arm spin. Arnie Hubbard, a recent recruit and future captain, hit his maiden ton for Radlett.
It was all change again in 1967. David Taylor took over the first team, Ian Cowper the seconds and Leslie King, proving the clubman he was, became third team skipper for two years.
Taylor was always ready to take a gamble which everyone appreciated, sometimes it even paid off! A quick-scoring opening bat with a strong off-drive despite a childhood foot injury, he used to direct operations from short extra cover. Poor fielding received immediate castigation but good play always got a mention. If the other opener got bogged down, Taylor would always ‘give it a go’.
He was helped that year by his sometime flat-mate and former England and Yorkshire player, Richard Hutton, who headed the Club’s batting averages. Off the field he was quiet-spoken, on the field Taylor sometimes had to hold him in check!
Leg-spinner. Chris Hawkins, epitome of accuracy, took 42 wickets at just 8.95 runs a piece, while his sister Rita, for many years a ‘regular fixture’ for the seconds box, kept the score.
To help pay for a new pavilion extension (cost c. £5,600) – a brick-built addition to include better changing facilities and a larger kitchen – the Club played the Lord’s Taverners on June 12. 1966 (Harry Secombe 58′ including 10 boundaries!).
The Club cooks induced the comment from restaurant critic, Taverner Clement Freud: “My children say they will eat nowhere else.” The Taverners came back for more in 1968.
Watson’s team carried on where King had left off, (W18, D18 L3). In the 1964 first team score book – the Club’s first record of a season since 1946 – David Taylor once again got the most runs, just five short of 1,000 in 31 innings.
Alan Brown, including 138 v. Barnet, was I8 runs behind and two innings less, and hit three tons in a side which scored over 200 runs ten times.
Watson was a good bat (and also bowled a bit) but like Leslie King would invariably put himself down the order and give others a chance. His bat handle was so thick, some players could not get their hands round it – and it ‘weighed a ton’.
1963 marked the zenith, when the 1st XI won 20 matches; Brown was just short of 1,000 runs, Golby just over 100 wickets.
The seconds won 33, drew two and lost 11, testimony to Poole’s captaincy and strength in depth. Radlett had never known the like, nor has since. But another era ended when after 17 years as first team skipper, Leslie King, elected Captain of the Club, bowed out. King’s successor was Roy Watson, whose grandfather Fred – one of the Club’s first skippers – died in 1964.
Doug Prater took over the second team, and the Club’s first ever third team was born.
The firsts grew more confident in ’62 (W18, D19, L4).
Strength of batting allowed the firsts to consolidate in ’61 (W16, D17, L6)
John Poole was a successful second team skipper. They won 25 out of 33 in 1960. their second best season ever, with John Finn and John Clark both averaging over 40.
The firsts won 19. David Taylor top scored with 631; Stan King took 110 wickets and Golby 93. That year, the Club became owner of its own ground for the first time ever (see Brunton article).
The year 1960 was no flash in the pan.
Awaiting further content.