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Ivan is very happy with a great move to Hutton as ‘not all want past-it players’

PUBLISHED: 14:00 08 May 2020

Ivan Minter in bowling action for Hutton in 2018 (pic Hutton CC)

Ivan Minter in bowling action for Hutton in 2018 (pic Hutton CC)

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With recreational cricket being suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic we are featuring the oldest playing members at our clubs.

A general view of play at Hutton's Polo Field Ground (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)A general view of play at Hutton's Polo Field Ground (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Having started with 82-year-old Doug Shewring at Hornchurch, this week we meet Hutton’s Ivan Minter, who enters the 2020 season at the ripe old age of 76.

He said: “I feel I’ve been selected under false pretences as I’ve only played for Hutton regularly for two years. On the other hand, it’s the first and only Essex club I’ve played for.

“I was born in 1944 and brought up in Colchester, playing my first serious cricket at Colchester Royal Grammar School.

“Missing out on university through lack of diligence, I spent my late teens and early 20s acquiring a professional qualification, wife and family – in that order – as we did in those days.

“My cricket career resumed at the age of 27, playing for the works team of my employer in Basingstoke. My next job move took me to Aylesbury, where I played for the town club, later moving to Dunstable Town CC and North London CC, spending about 10 years at each club.

“I first played for Hutton about five years ago, but continued playing intermittently for North London until I committed to Hutton in 2018, playing mostly for the 5th XI.

“I really appreciate the welcome I’ve received at Hutton. Not every club wants ‘past it’ players, but I feel I’m accepted in the 4s and 5s and it’s great to see young players adapting to adult cricket and progressing up the XIs. If we oldies can help maintain that structure for them, it’s a good justification for continuing to play.

“I’ve always played to enjoy cricket and, of course, missed out on what should have been my best years. I played town club cricket at Aylesbury and Dunstable which I enjoyed for the challenge.

“I also got into the Essex Seniors team which was starting just as I became 60. I’ve stayed with them, playing in all five teams at various times. I’ve also had the opportunity to play abroad on tours, initially in the Caribbean with Bedfordshire and Berkshire, and more recently with Essex Seniors, for whom I’m now tour manager, in Menorca, Malta, Portugal and The Gambia.

“Recent tours to Malta (for the third time) and Desert Springs in Spain fell victim to the virus, but we hope to get on schedule again when we’re back to normal. Touring is especially good fun and we’ve formed strong friendships.

“I’ve always enjoyed bowling and spent most of my career as a medium-fast seam-up opener, shaping the ball mainly away. As I dropped down the XIs, I bowled longer and longer spells, often 20 overs or more, sometimes bowling through unchanged when the rules allowed.

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“My best return is 8-27, for Dunstable 4s. We batted first and only managed about 115. I bowled the first over with instructions to bowl a maiden and get us off to a tight start.

“The opening bat hit the fifth ball back over my head and I somehow clung on by my fingertips. I then picked up a wicket in each of the next six overs to leave them seven down after 13 overs.

“Needless to say, they couldn’t get the ball out of my hand. When it’s your day, make the most of it! I even got a wicket with a full toss which hit the batsman full on the gloves and rebounded to point. I’m not sure our captain needed to apologise to the batsman, though!

“I also got an eight-for for Aylesbury 3s against Thame 3s a few years earlier. My youngest teenage son was standing in as umpire at my end due to injury, but he didn’t have to make any decisions as all wickets were bowled.

“I’ve never had many batting opportunities, as I did so much bowling. In fact, one season playing for North London 4s, I scored my first run in the last game of the season in September. When I reached the bowler’s end, I was celebrating when the umpire realised the situation and changed his decision to leg-bye to preserve my blank record!

“One of my best innings proved embarrassing. It was a game in Basingstoke. As was often done then, we played a 20-over “beer match” to fill in time as the game ended early. The batting order was reversed and I opened.

“After about five overs, I made a bad decision and thought I’d better get out and let someone else have a go (it was a social game). Unfortunately, I couldn’t get out. I was hitting every ball in the air and running suicidal singles, but that just meant I was scoring quickly and still batted for about 15 overs.

“We totalled about 150, but no-one recorded individual scores, just the team total. I’m sure I got past 50, though! Even worse, our opposition never scored at anything like the necessary rate and it was a real anti-climax.

“As a teenager, I watched Essex when I could, in the days when they played at grounds around the county. I was impressed by Essex stars Trevor Bailey and Doug Insole and visiting personalities such as Freddie Trueman and Jim Laker, who played a season for Essex after finishing at Surrey.

“I don’t get a lot of time to watch Essex nowadays, but follow the national team, mainly on TV in all formats and think they are very skilled. The big benefit of TV is the close-up coverage with replays and expert comments. You see far more than at live matches, but miss out on the atmosphere.

“I enjoy my cricket at Hutton and am pleased to have a chance to bat a bit now my bowling is a bit iffy as the moving parts don’t work so well. It was through trying to develop some batting skills that I became involved with Hutton.

“Cricket in Essex is more enjoyable than the Middlesex League for a lot of reasons. For one, the grounds are much nicer. In London at that standard, I was often playing on huge windswept grounds with six or seven games being played simultaneously.

“Also, although the cricket is competitive on the pitch, I think the Essex games are played in a friendlier spirit. Some of the London sides seemed to be unnecessarily gritty with a low level of skill.

“There is a good photo on the Hutton website of me bowling in 2018 at our Mountnessing ground. The caption sums it up: ‘Ivan bowling. Benjy keeping. Separated by 22 yards and 62 years’. I think that says a lot about club cricket.”


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