Halstead Cricket Club record-breaker Phil Toogood has described the honorary life membership bestowed on him as ‘the ultimate’ highlight of his 35-year association with the Star Stile outfit.
After transferring from Sudbury, the 57-year-old went down in the club’s history books as a player, becoming the most successful cricketer in their 132-year history, amassing more than 18,000 runs and taking more than 850 wickets.
In both 1985 and 1989 he became the only player at the club to do the ‘double’; scoring more than a thousand runs and taking more than 100 wickets in one season, with the 114 latter figure still the Halstead record.
And following the club’s annual general meeting (AGM) at the end of last month, he has now joined a select band of individuals whose contribution has been recognised with an honorary life membership.
“There is nothing that can beat that,” he said. “It is the ultimate thing that can be given to you at a club like Halstead and is something I have worked very hard for.
“Only 20 have been issued in the 132-year history of the club and only eight are still alive.
“I described it at the AGM as now having the full complement. Having been there since I was a 22-year-old I have been club captain, chairman, vice president and now director of cricket.”
Toogood, who hung up his bat as a first-team playing chairman a decade ago, led the club to two Two Counties Championship titles as captain including their maiden East Anglian Premier League promotion in the 1990s, where they finished third with a side that included other stars in Richard Pybus and former Leicestershire captain and Essex player Dan Robinson.
Chairman Mark Surridge said: “This is a well deserved honour.
“I joined Halstead in 1988 and the following year played my first full season when Phil was in amazing form, hammering big scores and scoring a shed load of runs, bowling at fearsome pace off his trademark short run up and taking some sensational acrobatic catches in the gulley.
“He was unstoppable that year, completing the double, and to be honest in most years after he proved a fearsome and combative club cricketer, as his incredible record shows.
“Certainly Phil Toogood was the best club cricketer that I played with or against.’