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1976 will go down in the records as rather a poor to moderate season with very little to reminisce about in later years. Although as captain there were one or two highlights that I shall remember.
The batting of Gerry Mills was a joy to watch and his innings at Marlow Park was the best innings I have seen in all the years I have been with this club.
I think that the main cause for a moderate year was the fact that we were unable to keep a settled side; the non-availability for most weeks made selection a farce. I realize that most playing members are unable to commit themselves to playing both games every weekend, so I feel that the committee should make every effort to attract more playing members for next year.
Some of you may be surprised to learn that a total of 34 players were selected for first XI matches during the season and not once did the same team play two seeks running on a Saturday.
This swapping and changing players week after week makes it difficult to create a winning team.
After saying that I must add that everybody that played in the Saturday first XI gave 100% effort even though some of them played under protest.
One thing I am most grateful for is that although the team may have changed every week, the umpire Ted Goodrham and scorer Nicky Burnett officiated regularly throughout the season.
My last thanks is to all the ladies who provided the teas especially to the ones who appeared to be on duty every other week.
On their own the playing record above do not appear to be much for a full season's efforts. Although we only won six matches I can remember five of the drawn games which were so very nearly victories, and we all like to win a few games.
I would like to thank all those (more on this point later), who played in the Sunday team and I hope that they enjoyed their cricket as much as I did.
I would like here, to mention how pleased I was to see the appearance, in the senior sides, of David Greenaway, Simon Wigmore and Bob Coles. May I recommend to you older gentlemen the positive approach adopted by these young men when playing their cricket. I now offer my congratulations to Gerry Mills, Gordon Adams and Clive Kellett on their awards. My thanks are also due to David Goodrham for acting as vice-captain throughout the season and for taking over the captaincy when I was away.
I think all our thanks are due to our groundsman who's task over the last two seasons cannot have been an easy one. In the same context may I mention David Wigmore and thank him for all the work he has put into keeping the ground ship-shape. Two other people who deserve a special mention are Nicky Burnett and Cliff Kellett, the former for the hours she has spent scoring for us and the latter for the patience he has shown in bearing the hot sun and our remarks through the season. To Nicky good wishes in her new job in Bath and to Cliff, have a good winter and we look forward to seeing you next April.
On behalf of the team may I now thank the "Ladies of the Tea Tables" who have once again provided us with superb lunches and teas this year, the standard, as ever, was excellent.
If I may now take a little more of your time I would like to point out a serious problem which the selection committee has had to contend with all season. That problem is inconsistency of availability. In the Sunday first XI we had 30 different players to represent us in 22 games, of these 30 only 12 turned out on more than 10 occasions. A situation like this doesn't help the captain and is not good for building team spirit. May I hope for a great improvement in this position next year?
May I conclude by saying that although we did not set the world on fire with our results in 1976 we laid the foundation upon which to continue improving our games, and thereby our enjoyment of, cricket.