In 1970, League Cricket came to Halstead. It was decided that the club should take part as a founder member in the Two Counties Cricket Championship.
This was a league comprising of a number of Essex and Suffolk teams. Once this was done, there had to be even more effort put into the fund-raising with the object of purchasing a new mower necessary to keep the ground to a standard to those maintained by Local Corporations or large firms as most of the sides playing in the league had the use of grounds of this kind.
In 1975, it was proposed that the Club should ask the Trustees of the ground if it could be purchased or a 99-year lease be given. After much consultation, it was decided that the ground could not be purchased but a longer lease of 35 years was agreed. This enabled the Club to go ahead over the next few years with further improvements.
On the playing side, the Club added to its fixtures by amalgamating in 1976 with the Old Colonians to help in their August tour to Norfolk.
In 1977, the Club had a good playing season enabling them to win the N. E. Essex Cricket Association Twenty over Competition and the Runner up Trophy in the Two Counties Championship given to the highest places Essex Club after the winners. In this year, the second eleven entered the Two Counties League Second XI division.
In 1978, the President C. R. Tobit Esq. resigned after serving the Club in the office for twenty-six years. A gift was presented to him in appreciation of all his interest in the Club over this long period.
In the same year, the club had the good fortune to win the Two Counties Championship for the first time and also the N. E. Essex Cricket Association Twenty over Trophy for the second year running.
This was a great achievement because one must remember that to win competitive cricket competitions there has to be a complete dedication of players to turn out in each and every match in order that a balanced side can be fielded on all occasions. Not everyone is willing to suffer this burden of course and wants to select his appearances to suit himself. However, whether the match is one of competition or a ‘friendly’ the real essence is to play the game hard enough to win at all times.
1979 saw the appointment of John Reynolds as the new President. He had been a lifelong member of the Club having been a player for many years. He had also held the post of Secretary for a considerable time.
In 1980, S. Burle became the new Secretary in succession to Brian Firman and he continued in this post until 1983, when Stephen Marszal took over.
On the playing side, the Club has done well in the League finishing mostly in the top half. They appear to do well in the early part of the season but drop away in the latter half. This is mainly due to the fact that some players belong to the local Soccer Clubs whose fixtures and training start in mid-July.
Ambitious plans were put to the Club to improve the pavilion and lay in electricity. To finance this, if it proved viable, Stuart Berger and Philip Drury formed the Century-Plus Club but alas, these initial ideas proved to be way out of the Club’s reach.
However, Geoff Steed proposed a modified plan, which was well within the Club finances, and this was studied by the Committee. It involves laying power to the pavilion, installing water heaters in the showers, enlarging the bar and improving the kitchen.
1984 saw the achievement of phase one of the plans. The electricity was installed, the showers heated and improvements made to the kitchen. Phase two, improvements to the bar is to follow in 1985.
Our thanks must go out to all those who have worked so hard to make all this possible and especially to the Century-Plus Club which raised approximately £5,000 to finance this project.
With a fine nursery of young players, one of whom has been chosen o tour Australia with Essex Schools Cricket Association in the spring of 1985 and with a healthy balance in the bank, Halstead Cricket Club can look forward with confidence to further successful seasons and a happy future as it moves into the second century of its existence.