The Nineties were a time of great achievement for the Club both on and off the field. It was a decade when the Club could rightly call itself the best in Hertfordshire. Hertfordshire League Champions in ’89, ’91, ’95, ’96, ’97. Knockout cup winners in ’94, and ’97.
The Club was also preparing itself for changes that would have to come in the way cricket at Club level was organised by the new England and Wales Cricket Board, of which our own John Carr was Director of Cricket Operations.
The core of the 1st XI remained throughout the first half of the nineties; Blundell (Captain) Robinson, Edwards and Hanson. Indeed Hanson was still playing well into the next millennium with Robinson and Edwards also performing at a good level into the 2010s. Blundell stopped playing regularly because of a back injury but continued his partnership with President, Fred Taylor and between them they built Radlett into a phenomenal force in cricket in the South East of England. So successful were they that when the ECB invited clubs to join the new Home Counties Premier League in 1999, Radlett were on top of their list because of performances and facilities.
Blundell also contributed to Hertfordshire cricket by being the driving force behind the Hertfordshire League’s decision to amalgamate with the Hertfordshire Competition, a move for so long blocked by the League Clubs for fear of falling from the top flight. Fred Taylor had been President of the Hertfordshire League of which one of the key administrators was our own Ian Holland. The new League was an enormous structure and much credit is due to Tony Johnson (also a Radlett member) the new Chairman of the League for making the new League so successful straight away.
By the mid nineties Radlett itself was unrecognisable from the Club of the mid eighties. It now ran 5 League XIs and often three Sunday teams. It had brought on board the Vagabonds, a women’s team of longstanding which had no home ground and falling membership. Again this was as a result of work by Blundell who was on the main Hertfordshire CCC committee with Audrey Collins, the founder of the Vagabonds. Audrey it should be noted was one of the first women to be given membership of MCC when that club’s rules changed to allow female members. The Colts section was thriving with teams from Under 11 through to Under17. Radlett also introduced the concept of an Academy XI – basically a team of colts from all the age groups supplemented by two senior players who would captain the side but leave most of the batting and bowling to the youngsters. This team at first played against mainly men’s teams but eventually against other “Academy” sides. Administratively the club was busy. Reporting to the main committee were many subcommittees, Cricket, House, Ground, Entertainment and Bar.
Fred Taylor’s Presidency, the like of which will never be seen again, led the Club into the 21st Century. His main lieutenant was Mark Blundell, but the steadying influence of Peter Hinstridge, as Treasurer, must not be underestimated.
Moving the 1st XI out of the Hertfordshire League and into The ECB Home Counties League was a decision not taken lightly. There was much discussion within the club and in committee. However it was felt that on balance, having positioned the Club to take this step it would be wrong not to do so. The jury is still out as to whether this was the right move. A move away from amateur cricket towards semi professionalism with paid coaches, paid groundsmen and paid players is what we achieved. Ivor Golby, Chris Dexter, David Taylor (Snr) will all be turning in their graves. As long as the Club remains focussed on its members and their wellbeing and does not become money orientated we should be alright……