Old Parkonians Cricket Club proudly celebrated its centenary in 2006, having been founded in 1906.
Initially the cricket club used the school ground at Perth Road, playing against many local clubs which still exist today – Buckhurst Hill, Ilford, South Woodford and Walthamstow amongst others.
The club moved in 1912 to play at Fairlop Playing fields and then in 1914 began a long tenancy at Barkingside Recreation Ground. Following a gap due to World War 1, the club built up a formidable fixture list against other club and town sides in the post War years. Up to and beyond World War II, the club was one of the strongest in Essex, drawing on scholars and old boys of the school and a reserve of cricket playing masters at school.
Notable amongst the latter was T.E. (Ted) Drakes who, in concert with Doug Kesby, an old boy, were undoubtedly the finest bowling attack that the club ever had. Not that the batting did not stint in backing up this attack with the likes of Jack Trotman, Tony Levi and Len Still amongst the ranks.
A remarkable history of the club efforts during World War II written by Doug Kesby serves as a memento of how club cricket was played during those dark days.
In the post war years, the club continued to thrive and through players from the school continued to see the club being able to compete on an equal basis with top clubs throughout the county.
Barkingside Rec. was relinquished in 1979, with the club moving to Fulwell Avenue.
In 1988, Parks started playing at it’s current location Oakfield which is it’s current superb home ground with large pavilion and members facilities, two squares and very good net facilities.
DJ Kesby – an appreciation
Every Club has its stories of legendary players and performances, but few can match the contributions of D J (Doug) Kesby. 50 Years a player, and Club Secretary for most of that time as well. 2,862 wickets at an average of 10.82 – to put those numbers into context, only two other bowlers have claimed as many as 1,000 wickets in the 108 years since the Club was founded.
In another age, his playing abilities would surely have been recognised at a higher level other than the representative games he played for the Club Cricket Conference, Essex Amateurs and other County representative XIs.