1972 was a special year for all those connected with Brentham CC in Middlesex.
They were one of the founder members of the Middlesex County Cricket League, which was launched that summer, and also played at Lords, meeting Scarborough in the national club championship final.
With somewhat less fanfare, their scorer Ivor Chaplin was to begin an incredible stint of service which reached what Brentham CC believes to be an unmatched milestone on Saturday 21st June 2014 – his 700th consecutive match as Brentham scorer in the MCCL!
Having now gone an amazing 700 successive matches in MCCL and 1880 in all 1st XI cricket since 1968, it is a great pleasure to reflect on such an astonishing achievement which we believe to be without parallel in English club or county cricket.
Ivor is not one for the limelight, but club captain Mark Saggers was happy to tell Brentham more about their totally dedicated scorer. “The actual stats are even more impressive when you learn that Ivor started his scoring for Turnham Green in 1954” said Mark.
“He came to Brentham in 1964 where he scored for the 2nd XI. Since promotion in 1968 to the 1st XI he has not missed a match, the total of which stands at 1880 as of 21st June this year. 50 years with one club!”
Mark laughs at our enquiry as to how Ivor has adapted to things like computer scoring! “Ha ha! He’s stuck with his book for all those years and it’s served him well – after this many games he should know what suits him.
Ivor is simply a legend - his impact at Brentham is impossible to sum up in a few words and beyond price.
Ivor has never taken a penny for his work and dedication – he sees his reward as watching young players come through the ranks, establish their position and go on to flourish as cricketers.
He’s currently researching 19 lost members of Brentham from WW1 so we can rededicate and plant new war memorial trees on the north side of the ground - all of this in his own time, researching public records at Kew.”
“Ivor also provided information for Brentham to be able to award a numerical cap, as countries now do, to each player that had represented us in MCCL 1st XI games - 247 players at end of 2013 season.
He was awarded his own cap, marked #0, by the club in recognition of this lovely gesture which means such a lot to us and gives us a great deal of pride in representing Brentham.
Ivor is held in really high regard on the club circuit and Brentham owe him a massive debt of recognition and heartfelt thanks, as does Middlesex recreational cricket.
He’s Vice-President of the MCCL as well, by the way – as if he’s not doing enough!”
At Ivor’s 700th match, when Brentham met Harrow St Mary on June 21st, the club arranged a specially extended tea interval to make time for a presentation to Ivor by club President David Bloomfield, with Middlesex director of cricket (and England selector) Angus Fraser in attendance.
The scorebox, Ivor's second home for 50 years, was also rededicated to him after a recent refurbishment.
It is extremely unlikely his record (and whatever it ultimately becomes) will be broken – certainly not in the lifetimes of most current members of the Middlesex County Cricket League!
Alison Delany, Brentham Club Secretary
On the occasion of Ivor's 700th game Former England and Brentham Captain Mike Brealey sent Ivor the following letter of congratualtion.
Scorers like umpires, tea-makers, Hon Secretaries, pitch makers and markers are amongst the unsung heroes of cricket, and Ivor Chaplin must have one of the most remarkable records in all cricket.
700 consecutive matches!
Someone - perhaps it will have to be Ivor himself - will work out how many dots, how many deliveries, that entails.
It occurs to me that he is up with the leading wicket takers.
Shane Warne's 700th involved him bowling Andrew Strauss (for 50) at Melbourne in 2006; in eight weeks he'll be up with Warne's last, at Sydney in 2007: Flintoff st Gilchrist b Warne 7.
And then there is only Muralitharan on the horizon, at 800.
Warm congratulations, Ivor, and a huge vote of thanks no doubt from Brentham CC.
World Cricket Committee