Another season of mild disappointment as we finished in our now customary lower middle position in the Chilterns League and of the 12 league games the weather allowed us to complete we won 3, lost 7 and drew 2. In at least 3 of our defeats we had good chances to win and of course at Penn, the eventual champions, we lost off the last ball of the match. However the season ended on a bright note with, for the first time, emphatic wins over Sudbury Court and Dinton.
There is no doubt the weather played a significant part in our season. Not only did we lose 6 games in all to the rain but 3 of the abandoned league matches were against the sides who were to finish in the bottom 3 places in the league.
However, on the positive side, we did have a fairly settled side, good team spirit and very few, if any, last minute drop outs. In specific terms Lewis Fisher and Richard Thorogood with over 400 and 300 league runs respectively were the batting stars whilst Tony Hutchings (21 wickets) and Simon Wigmore (25 wickets) took the bowling honours.
A draw with Marlow Park on April 30 was the only action we saw until June when we lost to league newcomers Great Kingshill, the day after returning from a highly successful New Forest tour. This loss was followed by 3 more against Bledlow, Little Marlow and Penn. The Little Marlow match summed up our season so far, with yours truly losing the toss on a "wet one" and then seeing the wicket dry out to the normal Little Marlow flat track. We duly lost by 7 wickets. Penn was famous for Eric Lark's superb 79 and Ian Perry falling to the last ball of the match. Still things could only get better - and they did!
A superb all round team performance saw us romp to victory over high flying Stoke Green by 115 runs at Taplow. Lewis led the way with his first Taplow hundred (114) and we amassed 219-7. Ian Kinrade and Simon Wigmore (6-36), between them span the visitors into a right mess and they fell to 57-6 and eventually 104 all out. A pity that this was "Singing's" only game on a Saturday. Next came Amersham Hill, another "Wigmore special" batting wicket and we race to 262-4 with all our batsmen chipping in, Tony Hutchings taking 5-35 and we eventually bowled out Amersham Hill for 192. On to Waltham St. Lawrence, a steaming hot day and a "dodgy wicket". We are put in and struggle to 176-8 with Gerry Bowyer and Simon Wigmore putting on 46 for the 8th wicket to dig us out of a big hole. Hutchings again (4-43) and the crafty Lark (3-4) hurry us to a 26 run victory.
Without any change in personnel, that is our last league win and we fall to defeats against Farnham Common, Hurley and Cookham Dean with draws against White Waltham and Chalfont St. Giles.
After the league came two fine victories over Sudbury Court and Dinton. Against the former we chase 200 and win by 10 wickets with Chris Paskins scoring a century and Lewis Fisher 76*. Richard, with 3 league 50' s had a much better season than usual and Lewis became the lynchpin of the batting, scoring over 1200 runs in all first XI games. Chris Paskins improved steadily as the season went on culminating in his fine 108* against Sudbury Court, where no better accolade could be made than even Graeme, could not have batted as well. Richard "Wiji" joined us this year to become a loyal member of the team. Due to injury, his appearances were restricted and we only saw his real form against White Waltham. Mike Bradley, Paul Newman and Keith Paskins all chipped in with useful performances and we have to thank Mike for being the (team) jester and keeping our spirits high on and off the field as well as organising the end of team dinner (unsurprisingly the Cippenham Indian - 10 yards from his home). On the bowling side, 3 players excelled, Tony and Simon as usual - are there many better league bowlers than these two, and Tim who bowled numerous overs, often on good wickets to 'tie up one end'.
Richard Sharp also became a valuable member of the team, mainly for his ability to bowl 6 different balls an over, give the wicketkeeper and slips a hernia, the batsmen plenty of opportunity to try out new helmets and Wexham Park casualty unit a red alert.
On the wicketkeeping front, Gerry Bowyer was his usual efficient self with another 11 stumpings and cheerfully playing in the side even though his own batting opportunities were restricted.
My report would not be complete without thanks to Dave Wigmore for umpiring every match despite our ups and downs, to Nick Thorne for scoring with a calculator and María for scoring without one. Thanks as usual to all the ladies for providing the superb Taplow teas.
Finally, I am grateful for the support of all players who represented the side throughout the season. I firmly believe that the strongest side available should represent Taplow every league match and we must not develop a situation whereby personal preferences (implied or otherwise) take priority over our objectives. At times during last season this was not always the case and as a result we cannot hope to compete successfully with Chilterns League Clubs let alone Thames Valley League.
So roll on 1995, England regain the Ashes, Arsenal win the Premiership and Taplow makes its 146th season, a season to remember!!