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Andy Jenner 'a great loss to Essex cricket'

PUBLISHED: 15:00 06 March 2017

Andy Jenner offers words of advice while playing for Gidea Park & Romford fifth team against Hornchurch fifths in 2011 (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Andy Jenner offers words of advice while playing for Gidea Park & Romford fifth team against Hornchurch fifths in 2011 (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League images are subject to DataCo Licencing restrictions

Gidea Park & Romford clubmate pays emotional tribute

An umbrella provides shelter for Gidea Park & Romford players Richard Wall and Jakk Carver alongside chairman Andy Jenner (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)An umbrella provides shelter for Gidea Park & Romford players Richard Wall and Jakk Carver alongside chairman Andy Jenner (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Gidea Park & Romford’s Andy Jenner will be a great loss to Essex cricket and amateur cricket in general says friend David Goldsmith.

Jenner passed away at home on February 20 and Goldsmith, speaking on behalf of all at the Gallows Corner club, says he has left big shoes to fill.

Nicknamed ‘Jungle’ after a choice remark on tour in the 1960s, the six foot six inch tall Jenner had a clear love for the game, demonstrated on and off the field.

Goldsmith said: “It would be true to say that ‘Jungle’ was ‘Mr Cricket’.

“He got his nickname during a tour with Cranston Park CC in 1969. He approached the bar in a bright yellow and green pair of slacks (camouflage) and a wag remarked upon his appearance saying that he looked like a ‘giraffe in the jungle’.

“The name of ‘Jungle followed him as a term of endearment for the rest of his life.”

Jenner’s cricket career began at Hornchurch Grammar School, where he shone as an opening bowler and accomplished batsman, and he went on to open the batting for Hornchurch CC, before spending the majority of his club career with Gidea Park & Romford.

He matured into a medium-paced seam bowler with the ability to bowl a useful away swinger, with the odd ball nipping back, but he also became a good tail-ender in later years.

Goldsmith added: “Many of our opponents ended up with a draw rather than a victory, because ‘Jungle’ was at the crease with his stout defence whilst he was coaching a youngster at the other end, even if the boy didn’t ask for it!

“Not many players in any form of club cricket, won club awards in their 50s but he did.”

Jenner helped Park win the Essex League title in 1983, claimed the scalp of West Indian legend Gordon Greenidge at Finchampstead, and reportedly once conceded nine runs off one ball at Wickford.

And one particular innings has gone down in club folklore at Gallows Corner, with Goldsmith adding: “He arrived at the wicket at eight down, had a long chat with the youngster at the other end, then played a textbook forward defensive shot to his first ball, only for it to nip through the gate and hit middle stump.

“He strode off, tucking the bat under his arm in classic WG Grace style, but not before saying ‘Umpire, you must have given me the wrong guard!’”

Jenner went on to serve as a councillor for the Club Cricket Conference (CCC) for several years, while playing for the MCC and travelling the world on senior tours thanks to invitations from the MCC, Kent, Sussex and Surrey and as a member of the Forty Club.

“The hours he enjoyed and devoted to cricket were immense, but his involvement with the Essex League was a major contribution to the sport on and off the field,” added Goldsmith, who served as CCC president in 2003.

“A league representative player at all senior levels, ‘Jungle’ was looking forward to umpiring and enjoying his second season in the over-70s. Sadly, this will not be the case.”

Jenner’s forthright views inspired debate and proved unwavering, but he was widely respected throughout the county.

“Even if he didn’t agree with what you said, he defended your right to say it,” said Goldsmith.

“I’m sure if asked, his three chosen dinner party guests would have been Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Richard Hadlee and Joe Root. He would have listened intently to the first two and instructed the latter on how to win The Ashes!

“Rest in peace Jungle.”

*Andy Jenner’s funeral will take plaec at St Andrew’s Church, Hornchurch on Thursday, March 23 at 1pm, followed by a wake at Top Meadow Golf Club, Fen Lane, Ockendon from 2pm onwards.

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