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Yet another season that promised so much (don't they always!) but achieved the usual middle of the road finish in terms of results.
Early season friendlies showed us that Dave Holland, Greg Jervis, Paul Newman and Martin Fisher had wintered well, and Tony Hutchings and Simon Wigmore soon got in the groove with the ball.
The league season started with us scoring 300-8 at Amersham Hill! As usual with their small ground, the timing of the declaration was difficult and coupled with not being able to remove their solid opener (seven 6's in a slow 76!), we finished with a draw.
Bad draws followed against championship chasing Penn & Tylers Green and Chalfont St. Giles, and then more importantly, a bad defeat at home to a depleted Farnham Common side.
Under the new points system, this defeat in a game that we should have won, severely knocked our chances of finishing in the upper reaches of the league, but seemed to spur the team into renewed vigour.
We beat Stoke Green, with Graeme Paskins help (89), by 57 runs and annihilated a very poor Little Marlow side by 10 wickets, thanks to a Dave Holland/Steve Roach unbroken stand of 134.
Then came Cookham Dean!
Steady bowling from Paul Tarn (2-12 in 7 overs), restricted the early Dean batting and Tony Huchings mopped up the tail with 3 wickets in his last 6 balls. Dean finishing on 175 all out.
Dave and Steve then put on their second consecutive century stand and we cruising at 110-0, or so we thought! Enter J. Rickman (of bowling fame, not horseracing!) and this, coupled with one of the now famous Taplow collapses, 127-5!
Richard Thorogood remained firm until he was out for 38 at 164-9. Enter T. Hutchings! Needing 12 to win and only one wicket left, he slowly took guard, then despatched the first ball for 6, followed by an identical shot with an identical result, off the next ball! Another victory!
What a strange side Taplow are! Instead of bolstering the attitude of the side, it appeared to have the opposite effect. A draw against Denham (aided by crash helmets), a tie with Winchmore in the gathering gloom and uninspiring games with Waltham St. Lawrence, Chenies and Wendover followed. As is usual, when the season is virtually over, we had a good win over White Waltham, chasing 220.
All in all, the season can best be summed up as a typical Taplow season.
There have been many fine individual performances, particularly by Dave and Greg with the bat, and Simon and Tony with the ball, but as can be expected from a side with many players in their 40's, the fielding badly let the bowlers down.
Availability was also a major problem, with barbecues, weddings and H.M. Forces commitments, depleting the side regularly.
A side that regularly includes so many players over 40, is obviously not open to much improvement, but hopefully, with more rgular availability from the younger generation, a better blend of youth and experience can be found. also, team performance and results have to be put before individual performance and personal satisfaction.
Finally, on behalf of Greg and myself, we would like to thank Dave Wigmore for umpiring and the tea ladies for producing the best teas in the league (as confirmed by all the opposition sides). Also, we appreciate the support given by the cricket Committee and wish every success to the 1994 officials.
Played - Quite a lot
Won - Very few
Lost - Too many
Drawn - More than enough
The time has come the skipper said,
To talk of many things.
Of losses, wins and boring draws,
And what next season brings.
The Bowler and the Batsman
Were walking on the sward.
It made them very sad to think
Of runs we had not scored.
They wept at catches put to ground,
At wickets thrown away.
At overs costing ten, or more,
And wasting of a day.
At stumping chances fluffed with ease,
At squandered tosses won.
At dollies dropped, and head-up shots,
And stuffings in the sun.
They wished, in vain, the team's attack
Could bowl a length and line.
Instead of serving up long hops
For openers to mine.
They thought about the tosses full
Dispatched with strength and skill.
But mostly by our friendly foe
The boundary for to drill.
They wondered if our batters brave
Would ever force the pace,
Cos' thirty runs, approx., an hour
Is naught but a disgrace.
They longed for times, alas unknown,
When skill and daring do,
Would let the skipper, should he wish,
Declare by quarter to.
They dreamed the chaps the Firsts select
Would merit all their places.
But this hope was doomed indeed,
Again the same old faces.
There is no queue of players strong,
Demanding to be picked,
And so we have to take what's there
And smile when we get licked.
They queried why the "also rans"
Remained so loyal and keen.
When those gifted few amongst us
So rarely grace the team.
They despised those "prima donnas",
The ones that pick and choose.
Which team and where, or if, they play.
They just the club abuse.
They asked, if chasing lots of runs
Could we surpass their score?
If "you know who" the deed don't do
The rest will fail for sure.
They pondered on those balmy days
That seem in years of yore.
When setting out on level terms
We made a winning score.
Perchance one day we set the foe
A lot of runs to win.
Will our attack control the game?
The chance is very slim.
The Bowler charged his erstwhile friend
With facts of sorry plight.
Eleven fifties in a year
Is just a trifle light.
The Batter countered with a claim,
Delivered with dispatch.
Only thrice did anyone
Take "five for" in a match.
They both bemoaned, and with good cause,
Our fielding standards now.
Old men like statues, stiff and still
The boundaries do allow.
Dismayed they watch the other side
A single steal, so neat.
Perhaps we ought to use our hands
Instead of two left feet.
They winced as catches fell to earth,
And ball to boundary flew,
And whilst the opposition turned
A single into two.
They called for youth to stop the rot
And vitalise the club.
But failed, in truth, to show a way
To drag them from the pub.
There is a gleam of light they said,
That shines across the ground.
The tea we serve, without a doubt
No better can be found.
And as the pair enjoyed a net,
And Batter honed his hook,
They grieved for those, in absence there,
Who'd Sunday get a "duck".
Can we recruit our heros mused,
Some players of great class?
We have more chance, they both agreed,
Of Paisley saying mass.
And so my friend, you will be pleased,
My tale draws to a close.
I hope I managed to annoy
And get right up your nose.
If you can see yourself portrayed,
This verse was penned with reason,
A change of attitude, perhaps,
May save your face next season.
The time has come the skipped said
To contemplate next year.
To dream of runs and wickets cheap
And "winning jugs" of beer.