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This season - as did many in the recent past - got off to a very wet start and it was not until the early part of June that it eventually got underway. This late start seemed to affect the attitude of most of us towards our personal participation in our games. What struck me was that whilst all of us were prepared to give when we were personally involved there was definitely a lack of application in the field. We all know the potential is there - just remember what an effort we made during our successful run in the Julian Cup.
On the credit side I would like to welcome Mick Aston's relaxed approach to his batting and David Thornley's apparent truce with his wayward feet.
I would like to pay tribute to the back-stage work done by Jeff Elder in enabling us to field two sides on most days. This is one of the most difficult jobs to do in the club, and therefore I would stress the importance of giving the Team Secretary the maximum amount of notice when a drop-out is inevitable for remember the chain does not finish there and several phone calls may have to be made before a replacement is found. May I also thank Ted Goodhram for standing as umpire for us on most Saturdays and wish him well with his studies in this field.
I am sure that all of you have noticed the vast improvement in the condition of the outfield and a lot of thanks are due to David Wigmore for his tireless work in preparing the ground for our games.
May I add another "Thank you" - this time to the ladies not only for all the splendid teas they provide us with but for all the other help and support so readily given, during the season.
Finally I would like to thank the ten other captains with whom I have enjoyed my cricket in the 1971 season and hope that their enjoyment was mutual.
The Sunday XI this season only managed to win four fixtures, only three of which were under my captaincy and after several seasons I have decided not to stand for next season. The side very rarely batted with any authority and only Gerry Mills showed the consistency required of a first XI batsman and the bowling lacked variety although the main bowlers, Ian Clements, David Wigmore, David Thornley and Don Booker bowled manfully with rather erratic support from the fielders. We were very rarely able to put a full strength side into the field and on many occasions we were thankful if eleven players turned up and this is not the way to enter matches against sides of the strength of Old Actonians, Wycombe House and Finchampstead. Too often members dropped out late in the week leaving the balance of the side considerably weakened. I can remember few highlights to the season but our nine wicket victory at Mill Hill Park and the batting against Old Actonians and Braywood and the bowling of David Thornley against Maidenhead and Bray were brighter moments.
The batting again this season was led by the consistency of Gerry Mills but he was seldom supported by the middle order which collapsed alarmingly on several occasions. Gerry Bowyer showed promise for the future and played several useful innings and Gordon Adams began to show more of his form of the previous year towards the end of the season. Useful innings were also played by David Hawes, Alban Jones, Mick Aston, David Wigmore and John Partington but unfortunately were usually played in isolation and rarely led to a large total.
The same familiar figures did the majority of the bowling led by that stalwart workhorse Ian Clements, who bowled steadily throughout the season and often suffered from our fielding lapses. Don Booker and David Wigmore produced good figures on occasions but did not show penetration against the stronger batting sides. David Thornley after his excellent season in 1970 was disappointing and had a lot of trouble with his run up, which I hope he has now cleared and he ended the season on a high note with his excellent figures against Maidenhead and Bray.
The fielding improved a bit this season due no doubt to the better outfield at Taplow, however, the concentration seemed to go very quickly if wickets did not fall and one felt at times that everyone just wanted to return to the pavilion rather than make an effort to enjoy their fielding. The all important position of wicketkeeper was never satisfactorily filled although Mick Aston, Gerry Bowyer and Tony Handley-Jones all had good matches. I feel that it is important that the club find a wicketkeeper of ability to keep regularly throughout the season.
Thanks are again due to Ted Woodley for standing as umpire on Sundays and to the ladies for producing lunches and teas that are rarely bettered when we play away.
I would like to thank Doug Bentley for producing wickets and unfortunately due to no fault of his they were not as good as the previous season due to lack of a heavy roller in early season when it is all important.