First I should like to thank all those who played for their co-operation and wholehearted endeavours. Whatever the results, I feel we enjoyed our cricket without it ever being wildly exciting, though there was Tim Isaac’s nonchalantly decisive termination of the game against Hurst and the frantic scramble in the dark for a last ball result with Princes Risborough in the last match of the season. Some determined efforts did almost turn lost causes into victories, as at Basingstoke whilst on other occasions the tail batted resolutely to save us from defeat as at N.W.Poly and against Evershed.
The fielding was in general quite competent, and on occasions as good as it has been for some years in striving to support hard worked bowling, though there was that dreadful game in which we dropped 12 (some say 13) chances, and yet still managed to win convincingly. It was perhaps the batting that gave cause for disappointment, and restricted our overall success. In a fine summer with few rain affected wickets we had looked for plenty of runs, but all too often fell short of expectations, both in setting our bowlers a reasonable total to operate against, and in challenging scores set by our opponents. In the past we have had a regular core of batsmen who have strung together some useful totals. This year however, we consistently lacked even one large individual score around which a good total can be built, only 5 half centuries were made. Nevertheless this must not deprecate the efforts of Doug Hatch and Gerry Bowyer who both averaged well over 20. Keith Hawthorn also showed how effective he can be when playing his naturally aggressive game and Brian May made some attractive scores in the middle order. It was just that we all too rarely did well enough at the same time, only topping 150 on three occasions.
On the other hand we knew the bowling would rest with a few brave souls who would be expected to perform manfully and they did often on unhelpful pitches. Roy Gauntlett proved a useful acquisition with his considerable experience and variety of pace, but the brunt of the work descended upon Brian May and Tim Isaac before the latter's fully deserved promotion to the first XI. Considering this was only Tim's second full season as a regular bowler he has matured remarkably. Consistently accurate and hostile, with sustained pace over long periods he was the model of economy, and because of the care with which he was played probably took a lot of wickets for other bowlers. Brian May's haul of almost 50 wickets is pretty fair for a Saturdays-only man, and batsmen often found his control of length, line and swing a difficult proposition. A second line attack that regularly could have included the Clives Kellett and Richardson would have made a strong combination, as they both had good returns when they played for us. In that the others who bowled are potential spinners, they might well complain they did not get enough scope to be effective, none the less Colin Abbott, Gerry Bowyer and Keith Hawthorn persevered optimistically when thrust into the fray.
As ours is very much do-it-yourself cricket, we, or rather, some, did most of our own umpiring. May I thank all those who 'stood', especially Colin Abbott, Brian May and Derek Newman who earn stoically to regard it as a matter of course. Likewise the scoring where the younger lads Paul Lewis and Chris Elliott did much. I must commend them. Not often do they get much chance with bat or ball except, strangely enough, when the situation is often critical. However they have maintained an interest, always made themselves available for selection and been cheerful team members. I hope they will persevere with the club, get more cricket, and graduate to more senior status in the side.
As ever at Taplow we enjoyed the best of teas, and cannot thank enough all the ladies who enhance Saturday matches both for ourselves and our opponents with the excellence of the catering.
I am pleased to report that once again we were able to win more matches than we lost. The policy we adopted at the start of the season of going for a positive result every time was a success.
We only had three drawn games throughout the season, one of which turned out to be in my opinion, the best and most exciting game of the season. The game away with Eversley produced 399 runs and we failed to win by three runs. The game was watched by a large crowd of spectators making one feel like being at Lords in the Gillette Final.
I do not want to single any one player out as being outstanding this year because once again I feel that our main strength lay in good team spirit. But I must mention that I am pleased to see Dave Thornley play in one or two matches at the end of the season and bowling with a bit of his old fire. Also Tim Isaac doing well when promoted to the first XI as an opening bowler.
I would like to take this opportunity of thanking all members who played in the Sunday second XI for turning up on time, turning out at the last minute and all the other little things that have to be done before you can start playing cricket. This has made my job of captain easy and enjoyable throughout the season.
I would also like to thank our good ladies for their efforts regards to the teas. Thank God we do not have the problems with teas like some of our opponents have.