Chesterfield Cricket Lovers' Society

The photo shows Stephen with (l-r) Mike Little, Jonathan Harris and Neil Swanwick

Photo courtesy of John Windle


The first meeting of the Society’s 57th season saw the return of the extremely popular Stephen Chalke, making his fifth visit to speak to us. The AGM of the Society was held prior to his talk.

Stephen is a gregarious raconteur whose passion for cricket and its many characters shines through to enthral audiences. His latest book ‘Through the Remembered Gate’ tells the story of his publishing company, Fairfield Books, and the 42 titles it has produced – seventeen written by Stephen.

During the evening he introduced some of the many cricketers appearing in his books and his encounters with them. He also recalled his decision, at the age of 45, to obtain some proper cricket coaching to improve his own skills at the crease.

Two personalities he specifically highlighted were Geoffrey Howard – an enlightened administrator and a popular tour manager. He was Secretary of Lancashire (1949–1965) and Surrey (1965–1975) and managed three Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) touring teams in Australia and the Indian sub-continent. The other was Bob Appleyard, the Yorkshire and England cricketer who had to cope with so much in his life and of whom Stephen wrote a book in 2003.

As he recalled the many characters he has interviewed throughout the years it is easy to see how he managed to get so close to them and why they had the confidence to recall so much about their lives to him.

Stephen was on top form – what an entertainer and what a knowledge and deep understanding of cricketing people. A great start to the season with members asking when he was returning!

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