Ipswich Town legend Ted Phillips’ bowling record broken after 45 years

Ipswich Town legend Ted Phillips has met and congratulated the bowler who has broken the record he held for 45 years.

Gareth Fisher took nine wickets for just four runs to establish a new record for Colchester & East Essex last Saturday by bettering the nine for five taken by Phillips back in 1967.

Woodford Wells were dismissed for just 24 in the Shepherd Neame Essex Premier League at Castle Park as Fisher wreaked havoc among the visiting batsmen with his quick, left-arm inswing bowling.

It is incredible to think that he has produced the best figures in the history of the club, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, when you consider that a string of Essex bowlers have turned out for the side.

These include ex-England trio Neil Foster, Derek Pringle and Peter Such, plus all-rounders Adam Seymour, Nadeem Shahid and John Stephenson, as well as current first-team beneficiary Graham Napier.

Phillips, whose goalscoring exploits along with Ray Crawford fired Ipswich to the First Division title in 1961/62, said: “Records are there to be broken at some stage, so I would like to pat him on the back and say well bowled.”

There was no sign of the history-making drama that was about to unfold after Woodford Wells won the toss, elected to bat and took ten runs off the first over sent down by Rob George (son of well-known former Colchester player ‘Pip’ George) who took the seventh wicket.

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It was then that Fisher, who is 22, produced his devastating spell that included a hat-trick of lbws which then became four wickets in four balls.

Fisher, who has been with Colchester for seven years, modestly said: “I am delighted that the team won after suffering a disappointing defeat in our opening league game the week before.

“The overcast conditions definitely helped and I just tried to put the ball in the right areas by pitching it up and allowing it to swing.

“With the ball swinging early on there was a danger of losing my discipline and trying to bowl a ‘magic ball’ too often, but I was pleased I kept my discipline.”

The four runs conceded by Fisher, whose previous best was a seven-wicket haul for Colchester against Upminster at Castle Park two years ago, actually included three wides and only one run off the bat – and that was a dropped catch!

The hat-trick was the third of Fisher’s career, following one while representing one of the Essex age groups sides and one also for Colchester.

The innings lasted just eight overs – a total of 55 balls due to the seven wides that were delivered – and Colchester’s opening pair, skipper Julian Russell and Omar Ahmed, required only 4.1 overs to score the 25 runs required for victory.

Fisher said: “I had no idea at all about the record. It was only afterwards that I was told it was a new club record.

“It was an amazing feeling. I joked to Julian Russell that I was thinking of retiring straight away!”

Only a handful of spectators were present to witness Gareth Fisher’s record-breaking exploits.

Ben Stephens and Reece Topley were both scoring instead of playing for Colchester & East Essex due to injury, and Stephens said: “The match started at 12.30 and everyone was in the bar by ten to two!

“Frinton scored 247 for five in a PiriPiri North Essex Cricket League match the next day on the same wicket, so it shows there was nothing wrong with it.”

Ray Hollingsworth, who has been watching cricket at Castle Park since 1962 and used to operate the scoreboard, was walking his dog as he watched what he described as a “monumental performance” from Fisher.

The 60-year-old said: “He was bowling inswingers into the feet of the batsmen on a good length and picked up six lbws. He reminded me of (ex-Essex and England bowler) John Lever in his heyday.”

Hollingsworth has contacted the Essex Premier League to see if Fisher’s figures are the best ever in the league and if Woodford Wells’ total is the lowest ever recorded.