Ellis Baker celebrates 50 years not out at Nacton Cricket Club
PUBLISHED: 10:19 28 August 2014 | UPDATED: 10:19 28 August 2014
Harold Macmillan was nearing the end of his tenure as Prime Minister, The Searchers’ Sweets for my Sweet was number one in the UK charts and Ipswich Town were days away from embarking on a dismal season that saw them relegated from the top flight.
August 10, 1963 also saw the emergence of a young 13-year-old who made his debut for Nacton Cricket Club in a game against Easton.
On that day, the teenager in question, Ellis Baker, failed to trouble the scorecard with the bat, coming in at number 10, and didn’t bowl a ball.
Fifty years on, Ellis was being celebrated for half a century’s service at a special game between Nacton and the Gentlemen of Suffolk, the 64-year-old being presented with two framed scorecards – one from his first-ever game and the other from the match in which his father, Reg, took all 10 wickets against Brantham in 1939 – on Tuesday.
“I did not really know about the presentation until we came for tea during our game with the Gentleman of Suffolk,” said Nacton-raised Ellis, who is the current chairman of the club and a veteran of over 2,500 games.
“We bowled first and I suddenly saw a lot of old faces appear that I had not seen for many years.
“I thought they were just there to shake my hand.”
Since starting with the club, the veteran – a science technician at Ipswich Academy – has been captain, vice-captain and head groundsman and reflected on his time at Nacton.
“It’s seems like yesterday in a way, since I played my first game,” added Ellis, whose uncle Eric played for Suffolk.
“The club has had its ups and downs but I would say now that it is as strong as it has ever been.
“From a personal point-of-view I think I have been lucky, health-wise and with injuries.
“I am a bit of a donkey in the field now but I can still bowl and I still enjoy watching and playing the game.
“It’s not just about playing cricket, the club has a good social calendar and we have our annual dinner and presentation, while the last two years we have had our Cricket Weekend.”
That weekend has incorporated a game against Tuesday’s opponents for the last couple of years and the most recent game saw Marshall Hatchick Two-Counties team Nacton lose by 70 runs.
“I was really impressed by the opposition who were made up mainly of pupils from Framlingham and their parents,” explained Ellis, who began his career as an “angry young fast bowler” according to the club, before mastering the art of leg-spin.
Those youngsters will help build the future of cricket in Suffolk, adding to a legacy left by several players Ellis has encountered in the past.
“I have played with and against so many good players,” he explained. “There was Roy Abbott, for instance, who played at Nacton and would regularly score a thousand runs a season, while young Australian Ollie Sharwood played for the team last season and was incredible.”