The overall Saturday playing record shows that nine games were won, seven lost and four left drawn. Included among these games were seven of the nine Chilterns League fixtures and here six were won with our ten-man side suffering defeat by seven runs at the hands of Marlow Park on F.A. cup final day.
These figures in effect represent the story of the season's cricket - a series of quite outstanding victories in the league and a somewhat indifferent performance outside it. Our eventual success in the league was in many ways made the more satisfying by the unpromising manner in which we began, for apart from the Marlow Park defeat we were able only to draw the Sunday fixtures with Fencibles and Farnham Royal although in the latter of these two games a gritty partnership between John Midlane and Charles Hawes won us a point after our position had earlier seemed hopeless. More importantly perhaps they prevented our opponents from taking five points from the match.
As the summer established itself however, we found our best form and secured authoritative victories over Richings Park, Stoke Green and Prices Risborough. In the first and the last of these games the opposition found Brian May and Alan Senior altogether too much for them and indeed this bowling partnership was responsible for twenty seven of the twenty nine wickets to fall in this group of fixtures. Against Stoke Green in one of the season's most memorable games, David Hawes scored a match-winning sixty runs and Rod Wright's 73 against Princes Risborough was, in my estimation, the most elegant innings of the season.
A month later, the attack that we had by this stage of the season come to realise was totally irresistible, reduced Farnham Common to an abject 213-3, a total which was shown to be as inadequate as we had suspected by Keith Hawthorn's extraordinary after-tea assault. The following week brought the rape of Wooburn although we subsequently did the decent thing and were to be found later that evening at a club wedding reception. It was the final game at Denham towards the end of August however, which saw the full consummation of our league season and this match (to pursue the marital metaphor?) became a struggle of truly epic dimensions. In response to our modest total of 111 Denham at 36-6 and 60-7 seemed a spent force but at this stage they found players apparently schooled with some rigour in the arts of defensive batsmanship by both Trevor Bailey and Ken Mackay, and for well over an hour we failed to take a wicket while these two advanced the Denham score to 98. Suddenly at twenty past seven we achieved two quick run outs and when Brian May bowled the last batsmen we had dismissed Denham for exactly 100 in a remarkable 61 overs.
Outside the league we had our best victory against Hatch End late in the season, and wins were also recorded against Chalfont St. Giles and Evershed. Six other games however were lost.
Generally it was a highly enjoyable season and we fielded the most settled side that we have had for many years. It was especially satisfying to find that interest was maintained right through until the end of September. Undoubtedly much of the success that we did achieve was brought about by our opening attack - arguably the best in the club. Alan Senior deservedly led the second XI bowling averages and the variety in his left arm bowling made for some very interesting cricket - as deep fine leg will confirm! Brian May bowled superbly in the first half of the season and must have achieved some sort of record for bowling unchanged when he was taken off for the first time in the season on June 7th at nearly ten to five. The success of these two denied our change bowlers much of an opportunity in the early weeks but by the end of the season both Paul Goodrham and Peter Gibbons had contributed some valuable spells.
The chief deficiency in our attack was clearly in spin bowling - despite the claims to the contrary of possibly half a dozen members of the side whose enthusiasm outstrips their ability. With the bat Keith Hawthorn's aggression at the beginning of the innings often gave us early advantage, and eventually Peter Gibbons adequately demonstrated that for too long we had failed to identify his true ability. Otherwise the batting was perhaps a little erratic for such a dry summer, although Colin Abbott developed a propensity for determined crease occupation and played a vital supporting role in a number of late order partnerships.
Lastly the thanks, I feel sure, of all of us to those who contributed in ancillary capacities - and especially of course to the ladies. The dedication to the cause shown by the cricketer’s wife is surely one of the most ennobling features of human behaviour to have survived a largely decadent era.
I wish to thank everybody for their help and assistance to me in this my first year of captaincy. To the ladies who have helped on match days in preparing teas go my special thanks as they do to all the other willing helpers on match days.
The vice-captain (all 10 of them) have been a tower of strength (which they needed to be) both on and off the field. Gerry thanks very much for everything. As always Ted Goodrham has been very much the prompter and power behind the scenes and the work in ground preparation by David Goodrham has always been the background of our many enjoyable afternoons.
On the playing side we had a very average year, the bright spots being on the batting side Gerry Bowyer who was our outstanding and most consistent run getter. The bowling has been left to Alan King as usual with good support from Gordon Slade. (The whirling dervish) whose tactical prowess is second to none. (NULLISECUNDUS). The best all round young player to come through, was undoubtedly Bob Coles who had a very fine season with bat and ball.
Thank you all for a wonderful season.