Reviews of the 2008 Season
Dave Wright (Saturday 1st XI Captain)
The 2008 season, whilst seeing some success on the field with the 2nd XI winning Division One was overshadowed by the death of our long standing President John Burrows in June. The epitome of the phrase “club legend”, John was a member of the club for over 50 years and at various times was 1st XI captain, chairman and lastly club president from 1979 until his death. A greatly admired man, John was a huge part of the club, supporting cricket at all levels and his loss will be keenly felt by all those involved at the club.
The 1st XI found Division Two no easier than Division One and were never really in a position to sustain a promotion push after the now typical, yet still unfathomable slow start. We were actually in excellent positions to win 2 of our first 3 games but came away with a draw and a loss. Some pretty lame batting saw us go the first 6 weeks winless but we finally got things rolling with a good run commencing with a win at home to Southend. New recruit Jack Kliber scored an excellent 84 and shared a big partnership with John Weber. Ryan Lugg then mopped up with 5-40 for a convincing win. Finally the batting started to fire as we posted big scores the next 2 weeks. Danny Hazle butchered an unbeaten 126 at Hadleigh and we fired them out for 124, then a ton from Weber (that nearly was his last innings due to debilitating self inflicted dehydration) led us to 290 at home to Leigh, but that was not enough as the visitors coasted home 2 down. There was a further two more wins before the batting again faltered as we lost 4 in a row. Aussie Dave Griffith rounded off his strong season with the bat with 152 against title chasing Fives. They had to go for the win all the way which helped us achieve our 4th win batting first, before a loss at already relegated Southend, when minds seemed more focused on the end of season fancy dress carve up that evening.
Dave Griffith proved a good overseas recruit. He scored 813 league runs at just over 50 and also bowled some long spells of accurate medium pace, claiming 20 victims. An excellent fielder as well, Dave ran some good training sessions which undoubtedly improved our fielding throughout the season. Vice captain John Walter had his best year with the bat scoring over 500 league runs including his maiden ton against champions Loughton. He (and all the bowlers) obviously benefited from him being relieved of the keeping mitts for most of the year. Veterans John Weber and Danny Hazle contributed well when they were available and Jamie Walton played well, opening in every game and returning decent numbers given he was often facing the new ball on helpful decks.
With the ball, Ryan Lugg again led the way with 35 wickets, but he’ll be disappointed with his batting returns. Young Matt Salisbury showed real promise taking the new ball all year and more often than not getting a wicket in his restricted spells. Michael Hindley missed half the games and we missed his control and a veil will be drawn over the bowling performance of the skipper, although the scintillating, full length, airborne one handed catch snaffled against Harold Wood meant his contributions weren’t solely restricted to the toss, tactics and tea eating.
We suffered early exits in the League, Standard and Bertie Joel Cups but again had some success in the Twenty20. Convincing wins against Horndon and Wickford led us to a quarter final at Hornchurch. We restricted the strong home batting line up to 124 but were unable to reach our third finals day in a row by just 8 runs in a tense and controversial game.
Peter Rider (Saturday 2nd XI Captain)
The 2nds had an enjoyable season under the leadership of the ‘Guru’, Peter Rider, racking up ten victories, several in tight finishes. The enterprising dice rolling of the skipper led to only two games ending in draws and of the 4 games lost, 3 of these were by one wicket and the other also a marginal defeat by 2 wickets.
All of the four defeats came in the opening half of the season and a decisive run of 7 wins in the second half secured promotion with a week to spare. Tom Austin’s career best unbeaten 130 set up a decisive victory at home to Horndon on the last day of the season and we ran out eventual Champions by a comfortable margin. An extension has been commissioned to the Rider trophy cabinet to go alongside his first team glories but sadly the fabled mustard jacket is no longer with us for presentation evenings.
The batting was led by Rider (512 @ 43) and Martin Allen (336 @ 42).The, never to be mistaken for identical, spin twins of James Kliber and Bobby Wickes led the way with the ball. Kliber ended with 36 wickets at 18. Added to his 4 victims in his only league 1st team outing as well as 5 in the Standard loss to Radlett plus good form in the Twenty20, James deservedly won the inaugural John Burrows Young Player of the Year Trophy and will captain the Sunday League team next year where he will definitely not be short of confidence and general noise. Wickes took 25 wickets and also weighed in with 312 runs, including a dominant 108 no in the comprehensive win at Hornchurch, to secure the 2nd XI player of the season gong. 15 year old Joe Pratt also produced a career best 5-58 with his off spin when Wickes was absent in the win at Horndon. The seamers also contributed; with the irrepressible Toppy Hayes dragging himself up the hill for 150 overs and returning a career best 7-29 at Hornchurch. The latest recruit from the Shenfield High School teaching ranks, Mike Naylor also impressed with his left arm swingers, the highlight being 6-39 at Saffron Walden which almost snatched a win defending only 132.
Glove man Phil Prior deserves a mention, taking 15 victims in several tidy performances, whilst sharing keeping duties with Mickey Maynard, who will sadly not be around next year as he spreads the Louis Vuitton gospel to Australia.
Jimmy Salisbury, Charlie Sutherland and speedster Tom Moore showed enough potential to suggest that if available, they will soon be 1st team regulars and with the demise of the Stow dog track the skipper can spend the winter plotting for the coming season, when blooding more youngsters and raising the teams game for Premier league cricket will be the challenge.
Garry Sapsford (Saturday 3rd XI Captain)
Following back to back promotions the 3rd XI made its Premier league debut with an opening day win over perennial title contenders Gidea Park, demonstrating that we had what it took to compete in this division given good player availability. However, poor weather and losses to Hainault and Brentwood stemmed early lofty thoughts. The highlight of the season came as we fought back against an experienced Chelmsford side. Steve Roach found his ‘A’ game to teach his old teacher Mr Goodman a lesson. Despite a slow start ‘The Gnome’ scored 85 not out to set a target of 180 before Joe Pratt took 5 key wickets to dismiss Chelmsford 30 runs short of their target. There was a comfortable win against local rivals Hutton to enjoy and a young side won a nail biter at South Woodford. 15 year old Dave Kay scored a maiden 50 in men’s cricket. He was ably supported by many of his team mates to set a target of 230 and despite losing wickets the home side still batted positively. Some poor running between the wickets proved their downfall and Vowles took another 5 wicket haul to win the game in the final over.
A competitive total of 295 at Wells was not enough as they batted superbly to win by 5 wickets. Gidea Park then sought revenge for their early season defeat and began with purpose. After 25 overs we were struggling at 92 for 4 but a stand of 172 between Humphrey (a destructive 123) and Sapsford (a far scratchier 67) helped us amass 304. Gidea Park were not about to make it easy for us and their late middle order batted well for the draw.
Any hopes of a title challenge effectively ended at local rivals Brentwood. From a promising position we allowed the home side to reach 200 and we struggled to keep up with the run rate following heavy rain and snatched defeat from a position of strength. Chelmsford’s talented blend of youth and experience proved too much for us at the second time of asking, and congratulations to them as they deservedly went onto claim the league title. Hutton were defeated again by a combination of Vowles (6 wickets) and a superb innings of 128 not out from the Gnome. South Woodford chased 230 (Dave Edwards top scored with 64) only to be ripped apart by the prolific Vowles who took 8-58.
The season ended in anti climax as an inexperienced side lost at Upminster despite an entertaining knock of 51 by Jimmy ‘Saville’ Lyons. In all we can be very happy with our season and have learnt a lot from the many talented teams and individuals that we came up against this season. Steve ‘The Gnome’ Roach led the batting with 602 runs in only 13 innings while Ben Vowles again took the bowling honours with 35 wickets.
The season also saw the starting up of a 4th XI after one very short-lived go at it a few years back. Under the captaincy of Luke Neal and using Shenfield School as our home ground we played 4 friendly games, winning 3, with younger and some much older players enjoying a run out. Hopefully we can have a more expanded programme of games next year.
The colts section of the club continues to grow. The season saw the introduction of a newly formed U7s ‘foals’ basic skills groups. This group will now act as a feeder for the very popular ‘fun only’ U9s section, who after a couple of seasons - are now seeing their former group members progress through to represent our U11s league sides. The U11s age group - although just missing out on a league cup final place, went on to win their league competition. Our U13 age group squad, - which at times put out 3 sides – just missed out on qualifying from their group in the county competition, whilst acquitting themselves well in all their league commitments. Our U15s age group results though proved very inconsistent. Although proving on their day they were able to beat anyone, team selection was often disrupted - as players were drafted into the U16s Essex Sunday match play side. This U16 match play team itself - although not making the final, - proved to be the only team to give the eventual competition winners any sort of challenge. Everyone connected at the club is pleased to see so many of this colt’s side having made appearances for the senior adult cricket club sides this season. This experience will prove invaluable for all these colts players, as they now progress to full availability for the senior club sides in 2009.
Thanks go out to everyone who volunteered through the season whether umpiring, scoring, making exceptional teas or helping out behind the bar or generally around the club.