Chesterfield Cricket Lovers' Society


Our 50th Anniversary celebrations continued apace on Wednesday 7th November when our most welcome guest was the former Essex and England left arm swing bowler. Mr. Lever had played for the County for 23 Seasons, from the late 1960s onwards and fitted in 21 Tests and 22 Limited Overs` Internationals.

Mr. Lever had a dramatic start to his Test career in Delhi in1976/77, taking 7-46 - at the time a record for an English player on debut - and 10 wickets in the Match, as well as 50 runs scored as a nightwatchman. To his dismay he was also accused of transferring Vaseline from his hair to the ball in order to enhance its ability to "swing"- a charge from which he was completely vindicated. Mr. Lever was out of the England Team for 3 years following a so-called "Rebel" tour to South Africa in which he participated in 1982 and he gave us some insight into that trip.

Our guest also found time to reflect on changes in the Game since he began his playing days. "JK" felt that County Cricket was a far better spectacle when played over three days in one Division - he had certainly enjoyed it more than watching 4 Day Matches. He longed for the days when his own County had been far more nomadic than is now the case, taking Cricket (and a portable Scoreboard!) to so many parts of rural and coastal Essex, as well as to London`s East End. He was less forthright in his thoughts on Domestic Limited Overs Cricket, having no particular preferences for the respective merits of the 40 Overs or 50 Overs a Side versions.

When discussing Captains under whom he had played, John (unsurprisingly) had a high regard for Keith Fletcher.

He also reminisced about an appearance he had made on Queen`s Park. By mid afternoon on Day 2 Essex were facing an Innings defeat thanks to the lethal combination of a "sporting" track and H J Rhodes. When No.11 (J K Lever) arrived at the crease he was relieved to be told that off spinner Edwin Smith would now be brought on to bowl. Lever promptly "skied" the first delivery into the high Heavens, was duly caught and everyone walked off the field to enjoy a day`s holiday.

Mr. Lever thoroughly entertained a capacity attendance in the Cricket Pavilion, where earlier in the evening David Marshall had chaired the Society`s 50th AGM, during which Mr. Trevor Bowring had been reappointed as President and also elected unanimously to be an Honorary Life Member and Mrs Thelma Holling had been confirmed as a new Vice President.

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