Andy “Jungle” Jenner passed away at home on 20th of February 2017. He will be a great loss to Essex cricket and amateur cricket in general. His activities both on and off the field demonstrated his love for the game and it would be true to say that Jungle was “Mr Cricket”. Standing some 6 feet 6 inches tall gives a clue on how he got his nickname, which surfaced during a tour with Cranston Park C.C. in 1969. He approached the bar in a bright yellow and green pair of slacks (camouflage) and a wag remarked upon his appearance saying that he looked like a “Giraffe in the Jungle” and the name of “Jungle” followed him as a term of endearment for the rest of his life.
His cricket career was born at Hornchurch Grammar School where he featured as an opening bowler and an accomplished batsman. Early days saw him at Hornchurch C.C. opening the batting, but Gidea Park & Romford C.C. was his home for the majority of his cricketing life. He matured into a medium paced seam bowler with the ability to bowl a useful away swinger, with the odd ball nipping back, but he also became a good tail-ender in later years. Many of our opponents ended up with a draw rather than a victory, because Jungle was at the crease with his stout defence whilst he was coaching a youngster at the other end. Even if the boy didn’t ask for it! Not many players in any form of club cricket, won club awards in their 50’s He did!
He had some memorable moments in his playing career. As a member of GP&R’s 1983 Essex League Championship side, the wicket of Gordon Geenidge at Finchampstead, going for nine off one ball at Wickford and the famous incident at Gallows Corner when he arrived at the wicket at eight down, had a long chat with the youngster at the other end, then played a text book forward defensive shot to his first ball, only for it to nip through the gate and hit middle stump. He strode off, tucking the bat under his arm in classic “WG” style, but not before saying –“Umpire, you must have given me the wrong guard!”
He was a Club Cricket Conference councillor for a number of years and a regular playing member of M.C.C. He also toured the world on senior tours in his later career, thanks to invitations from MCC, Kent, Sussex and Surrey. He also toured as a member of the Forty Club. The hours he enjoyed and devoted to cricket were immense, but his involvement with the Essex League was a major contribution to the sport both on and off the field. A league representative player at all senior levels, Jungle was looking forward to umpiring and enjoying his second season in the over 70’s. Sadly, this will not be the case.
In conclusion, Jungle was a man who had forthright views on most things and views that could not easily be changed through persuasive discussion. However, it is true to say that even if he didn’t agree with what you said, he defended your right to say it. In retrospect, I am sure if asked, his three chosen dinner party guests would have been, Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Richard Hadlee, and Joe Root. He would have listened intently to the first two and instructed the latter on how to win The Ashes.
Rest in peace Jungle.