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Peter Edwards: Hornchurch CC mourn passing of true local cricketing legend

PUBLISHED: 07:30 19 January 2019

The Hornchurch CC team of 1960. Back row from left D Elliott, PA Edwards, AJ Small, F Bateman, RE Bowes, JE Nye, DT Twine, front, PJR Mollenhoff, JN Balmford, DJA Cander (captain), CR Mitchell, RT Tunnery, with Mrs J Edwards (scorer)

The Hornchurch CC team of 1960. Back row from left D Elliott, PA Edwards, AJ Small, F Bateman, RE Bowes, JE Nye, DT Twine, front, PJR Mollenhoff, JN Balmford, DJA Cander (captain), CR Mitchell, RT Tunnery, with Mrs J Edwards (scorer)

Archant

Hornchurch Cricket Club have been mourning the passing of one of the true greats in their history, after the sad death of Pete Edwards, aged 89.

Pete Edwards in 1984Pete Edwards in 1984

Having joined the club from Dagenham outfit Beckmain, he played his first game in 1956 and his last in 2003, at the age of 74.

A fast bowler who would take the new ball in his early years at Hornchurch, he suffered a back injury in the 1970s and missed several seasons.

But once son Mark began playing, he was ‘roped into’ a return in the 1980s and was a long-time captain of the third XI.

Edwards finished with the small matter of 1,574 wickets, including 65 hauls of five or more, to his name – at an average of 15.63 – and had best bowling figures of 8-26 in 1957.

He also took two hat-tricks and is second on the club’s all-time list behind only Tom Mitchell, who finished with more than 1,800 victims, as well as pouching 149 catches.

With the bat, he scored 3,915 runs from 517 innings – finishing not out on 229 occasions – and had a highest score of 69, one of four half-centuries.

But it isn’t just for his playing ability that he will be fondly remembered, as he also served the club off the field in many roles and was a life member and honorary press officer.

From a personal point of view, I can remember talking to Pete about cricket in the early part of my career as a junior reporter on the Recorder.

His passion for the sport – and the club – was clear and we could always rely on his carefully completed scorecards arriving in the post, years before the playcricket website was invented!

And he was still sending over details, via fellow life member and honorary fixture secretary Doug Shewring (who has nearly 1,200 wickets himself), until very recently.

Chairman Jeremy West paid his own tribute, saying: “Peter was one of the nicest people on the cricket field – a total gentleman.

“He was last at the club in 2017 and has always been Hornchurch through and through and a great inspiration to a lot of people.

“He has the most incredible record of cricket, with a room dedicated to the club. It’s a real historian’s gift.

“When you lose these people in cricket, you can’t replace them. Cricket was his life and he was delighted to hear about our treble last year. I saw him just after the season finished in hospital and he was still so sharp and knew everything about the club.”

Son Mark added: “He was heavily into cricket and worked on lots of stuff. Mum did the scoring and my sister Karen did the teas and when he retired he did the wicket and the flower beds at the front of the pavilion.

“He had the spare time and he loved it. He was a member at Essex for years and we were lucky enough to see the Lord’s finals in the 1980s.

“When he slipped a disc playing in the 70s, he almost had to be carried off and didn’t play for another seven or eight years. But I started over there in the late 70s and a year or two later, probably 1980, he got roped into playing again regularly.

“He loved recounting all the old memories.”

Current first-teamer Marc Whitlock is third on the all-time wicket-taking list with ‘over 1,200’ and one of many players at Hornchurch to have benefitted from some words of wisdom from Edwards.

He said: “What a club legend Pete was! He always had time for me as a youngster when I was coming through from the youth ranks to the men’s teams as a 13-year-old. I remember my first game in the fourth team with Pete and he asked me to field at silly mid-on. I thought he was joking, but he wasn’t!

“He loved the game and always got wickets. If I get that many or pass him I’ll be in good company.

“I never heard a bad word said about him and he was always seen sitting on the bench once he retired watching us in the first team playing at Harrow Lodge. He will be sorely missed at the club, but never forgotten.”

Dean Skipper added: “RIP ‘Uncle Pete’. The world legend is so overused but certainly not in this case. #truelegend.”

And Richard Burd posted: “Total legend to the club. Sleep tight ‘uncle pete’. #SpeedDemon #unclepete.”

Former first-team captain Andrew Stallard also took to Twitter to post: “Such sad news. Have many memories of the great man.”

Meanwhile, Russ Collard, from neighbours Gidea Park & Romford, added: “My deepest condolences and sympathies to the family. A gentleman through and through.”

A funeral service will take place at South Essex Crematorium, Corbets Tey on Monday, January 28 at 11.20am.

Flowers to West & Coe, Dagenham, or alternatively donations can also be made to Saint Francis Hospice.

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