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The Saturday scene has been transformed during the past 4 or 5 years and I am not sure whether we like what we see. League cricket has come to the Thames Valley and will, I am sure, stay for quite a while yet. Therefore we must be prepared to adapt our game accordingly and accept that the 'hard stuff' must be faced with similar attitudes.
For the season 1978 the league rules have been changed to allow a maximum of 90 overs duration with the team batting first using a maximum of 48 overs. If dismissed earlier or declared then the remaining overs may be used by the side batting last.
The points system is amended as under:-
|Draw Higher Rate||4 points|
|Draw Lower Rate||1 point|
I am not sure whether these alterations are the answer but at least it's a step in the right direction.
Having referred to league cricket I am not necessarily looking for an answer to our early season batting failures although I believe at that time we were ill prepared to face the sustained accuracy of league bowling and surrendered our wickets rather than wait patiently for the bad ball.
Our bowling was adequate but when facing batting totals of 38, 74 and 85 on near perfect track only near miracles could retrieve the situation.
However all was not as bleak, with excellent wins over Fencibles and Wooburn this enabled us to finish midway in the table and with the pressure off after July our results improved considerably. With one more over in both matches we would have beaten Hatch End and Burnham thanks to the two "wasters" David Goodrham and Clive Kellett whose hitting enabled us to pull off a good win at Hurst. Given the right tools it's surprising what one can do.
Individually the consistent batting and keeping of Malcolm Clifford was outstanding and we shall be sorry to lose him.
David Thornley and Clive Kellett were accurate and took their usual 60 wickets a piece and with Mike Blows joining us midway through the season we at last had a quick bowler who was very accurate. These three bore the main bowling with useful overs from Simon Kennedy who looks very promising.
I was sorry more youngsters did not materialise but the two regulars, David Greenaway and Simon Wigmore both performed well when called into first team duty and Simon's fielding certainly makes some of us feel our age.
Looking forward, I believe we can start the 1978 season in the same mood that this one finished in and provided we believe in our own ability we can win at least one trophy.
My thanks to Ted Goodrham for regularly standing as umpire, this is a tremendous help especially for league games when the finer points of law are often tested.
Thanks also to the ladies for the usual excellent teas and to everyone who was privileged to play under me in 1977.
The team of 1977 - as far as Sunday cricket was concerned - will remain vividly in my mind's eye for several reasons. Not the least of these was the ever changing batting order - I hasten to add, not always due to lack of form in anyone player - sometimes a lack of players, in any shape or form.
Throughout the season there were 8 different batsmen who filled each of the positions from No. 3 to No. 7 inclusive. That's forty changes in the five middle order positions! As you can see the availability was never consistent.
Another reason is Malcolm Clifford (need I say more?) who after an unsure start to the season, showed that application to a job can have its rewards. Congratulations on your batting award Malcolm and good luck to you and your family when you move. We shall miss you next year for your batting, keeping and the decibels of your appeals!
As you can see from the results we did quite well - not that results are everything. A contributing factor to this was I feel the team spirit that existed also everybody's wish to try their hardest which was most vividly demonstrated in the attacking fielding.
Of the three games which we lost I consider that we were only beaten once, and that was at Cove - a result which was reversed when they visited Taplow for the last game of the season. This match to me was the high point of 1977 and a good one to finish the year with.
As I said in my report last year if "our results... laid the foundation upon which to continue improving our games" and this I hope you will agree is what we have done this year.
To those of you who helped make 1977 an enjoyable season for me - thank you. I hope you all enjoyed your time spent with us. To Ted Goodrham, Paul Lewis, Gerry Mills and David Wigmore thank you for umpiring for us (can you come back next year?). To Geoff Gibbons - who scored for nearly all the games and to Ann Clark who scored once or twice a big 'thank you' for your time.
And finally to the ladies who prepared our lunches and teas, the biggest thank you of all.