At the beginning of the decade, there was no sign of what was to come by the end of the decade. Radlett was still a sleepy backwater of Hertfordshire cricket, stuck in the mid to lower reaches of the then Bryan Hertfordshire League. There were however two new recruits to the club in about 1983, both from the Middlesex League; Martin Edney from Brondesbury and Roger Morgan from Hampstead.
Both these players were near the end of their playing days but brought with them a wealth of experience and contacts. Edney encouraged his ex team mate and also a former captain of Brondesbury, Mark Blundell to join the Club in 1986. Morgan took over as 1st XI captain in 1987 and also encouraged an experienced keeper batsman, Richard Baker to join.
Combine these players with established members like David Hanson, Dave Hickman, Ian Holland, Andrew Radcliffe and the signs of a more than competent team were emerging. It should be stated that in the early eighties Ian Holland had been captain and had worked tirelessly for the club without either the success or recognition he deserves. He was a fine left arm seam bowler and competent batsman on the field as well as a good administrator off of it.
Morgan took over as captain in 1987 for the one year, but it was a year that set the club onto a course to success that only really began to run out of steam 16 or 17 years later. He was responsible for making the Cricket Committee a much more influential force within the Club.
Success was not far away and came as a surprise to all Hertfordshire when in 1989 Radlett won the Hertfordshire League for the first time in its history (team photo). Mark Blundell had been persuaded by Morgan to take over the captaincy in 1988 and despite the loss of one or two good players the previous year, new members like David Robinson, Ian (Oz) Edwards, (both destined to become club stalwarts well into the next millennium) and Ian Simkin combined with existing members previously mentioned as well as, Moray Forbes and the emerging Scott Moffat to form a remarkable team.
Key also to success was the fact that many of these members played some “jazz hat cricket” on Sundays and encouraged some of the like-minded team mates or opposition to join Radlett. This is how Martin Rose came to be a vital member of the 1989 team and how later Nick Hampton came to the club. Jason Hemstock, an MCC young cricketer, joined for a year as a result of the contacts of Morgan and Blundell.
All the time, in the background, advising and cajoling, inspiring and guiding was David (Fred) Taylor our President. Often grumpy, always there, he was a difficult man to get to know but he liked doers and good players. Success in 1989 was in large part due to Fred and to the partnership that was being forged between him and Blundell. A partnership that was to take the club to four League titles in eight years, a fifth would follow in 1997 under David Hanson’s captaincy.
The spirit within the club at the time was also paramount in the success. On match days, most of the wives and girlfriends of the players would be at the ground, not necessarily watching but sitting with their bottles of wine talking about anything, except perhaps the cricket! Our many social members would always be watching from about 6pm when the bar opened!
So by the end of the eighties Radlett had become a force to be reckoned with and would continue to be so through to the fantastic Evening Standard triumph of 2003.