Ipswich and East Suffolk Cricket Club was founded in 1853 and the first recorded match was played on the 25th July away against Stowmarket.[There was a Mr King playing for Stowmarket, so Elvin must have been playing as a guest!!!.
Home matches were played at either Ipswich school or Brooks Hall until 1855 when the club moved to Portman Road Marshes [now the home of Ipswich Town Football Club]with the main square being where the current practice pitch is and the 2nd XI square being where the centre circle of the main pitch is now. The ground was taken over by the military during the 1914-18 war and no cricket was until the club was reformed in 1923 and the groundsman at the time ‘Sam Nicholls’ produced [it is said] one of the best wickets in the county.
Ipswich Town took over Portman Road in 1936,which left the club without a ground. The club continued until 1939,playing only away matches.
After another gap following the second world war the club was reformed in 1947 by Frank Bayliss and held together by a number of cricket lovers, again playing away matches only and keeping supporters informed by the way of newsletters recording matches played. In 1951 the club was rewarded with the opening of their current home ‘Chantry Park.
The first year or so at Chantry involved much hard work on the part of the members. The square to say the least was ‘sporty’ [and proved to be for many years!!] A pavilion had to be found, moved across town to the park and re-erected by the hard working club members. Apparently the first sight screens were made out of an of Frasers Removal van, which was towed to the park by a tractor.
The first match at Chantry was played on 14th may 1951 against our original 1853 opponents, Stowmarket, with revenge being gained for the 1853 defeat with a convincing 101 run victory. The Ipswich innings was opened by the Mayor Mr Cyril Catchpole -it being 50 years since he first played for the club.
In 1978 it was decided that the club needed a new pavilion and so artists impressions were drawn up of what the club wanted. With the aid of a Sport England grant, donations from vice presidents and members + a large bank loan a brand new pavilion, complete with bar would be built to replace the ‘old shed’. The new pavilion was designed by Mr Lindsay Morgan and work commenced in November 1982. The pavilion was officially opened by Mr Dickie jeeps [Chairman of the sports Council] on Wednesday 27th July 1983 before a match between an Ipswich and east Suffolk XI and Randall Bevan’s Celebrity XI which included International cricketers John Price and Maurice Hallam, I.T.F.C footballers Allan Hunter, Roger Osborne and Kevin Beattie along with some local talent. The pavilion was shared with Ipswich East Suffolk Hocket club for a number of years until 1995,when the hockey club moved on to pastures new not before they upgraded the outfield with two brand new hockey pitches.
Following a league re-shuffle in 1996 the 1st Xi were placed in Division 3 of the two Counties League and for the first two years under the Captaincy of Keith Howlett played in both the Suffolk League and the two Counties Championship. However new league structures forced the club to drop out of the Suffolk league at the start of the 1998 season. David leach took over the captaincy from keith at the start of this 1998 season following promotion to Division 1 of the Tow Counties Championship.1996 saw the clubs first overseas player in Aaron Brown join the club. A pace bowler from New Zealand, then in 1997 Australian spin bowler Paul MacDonald came along. These two players were instrumental in the clubs success during those seasons In 1998 a West Indian ‘opening batsman’!!! by the mane of Zaheer Esat [aka Dred] appeared on the scene [no names for the recommendation!!!]. Although a very nice person he could not adapt his game to the English conditions and he struggled to even keep his place in the 1st XI. It was noted that he almost made a 50 for the 3rd XI on one occasion.
In 2000 the club secured the services of fast bowler Mike Edmund as their player/coach following his release from Warwickshire CCC where he had played first class cricket. Another more than useful acquisition to the club at this time was Nick Palmer who captained the Army Cricket team and also played for the combined services team. His availability was ‘patchy due to his job as an army helicopter pilot, which meant he travelled the world with the army, mainly it seemed playing cricket, whilst occasionally flying his ‘chopper’!
More to follow!!!