When one reads the reports of the previous seasons, there is always a short paragraph at the end of the report thanking the various tea ladies for their services. I hope that this year’s reports and records find their way into some homes and the Saturday "girls" might just read these few words of thanks to them. Perhaps their respective husbands might show it to them so that we keep their goodwill and remain in their good books as I am sure none of us would like to end up with Chertsey type teas (a cup of tea and a packet of biscuits for 25p. - 1st XI take note as you will be there next season).
Now for cricket. Generally an enjoyable season as far as I was concerned with only "aggro" occurring at Chalfont St. Giles, where we were batting second, it was raining, dark and no chance of a result. I complained of bad light after receiving one ball from their slow bowler and walked off the field with only three balls remaining. In my mind it was a matter of principle because when the game degenerates to that state it is just not cricket.
Apart from that incident, which didn’t affect anybody but myself, it was a very pleasant season and even if we had lost every Saturday game I think that as far as I was concerned I would still have enjoyed it all.
A few "tight" results where we drew or lost by the closest of margins, had the result been in our favour the performance table would have looked healthier. The first and last games of the season being good examples. On that "Blasted Heath" at Ascot in late April we successfully accomplished the dismissal of the home team for 137 and yet we finally succumbed to the opposition with only three balls remaining for a wretched 80 runs.
While in our last game at Wycombe House we were chasing 148 and all seemed set fair for an easy win after good knocks from Keith Hawthorn and David Goodrham but, with cricket being the game it is there was a disastrous middle and tail collapse and we ultimately found ourselves all out just one run short but as the person on the television is fond of saying "Good game, good game".
We had a couple of exciting results in our favour, notably those against Richings Park and Princes Risborough. Batting second against Richings Park there was a laboriously slow start leaving the run scoring to the middle order batsmen. We reached our target of 146 with Brian May pushing for a quick single off the third ball of the last over of play so claiming maximum points. If that game was thought to be close, then over at Princess Risborough, the adrenalin was really flowing, particularly during the last overs. I was told to sit down arid keep quiet quite a few times. Tony Perryman and Paul Goodrham were the backbone of our innings but with the light failing the game built up to an exciting climax with six runs required off the last over. Even to the last ball of the game the result was in doubt as we still wanted 2 runs for a win which I am pleased to say we duly obtained.
I think the excitement of that game was too much for George (the umpire) as we never saw him after that. Still, thank you George for the games that you did stand in for us. Having lost our umpire, we did at least obtain a permanent scorer towards the tail-end of the season and she (Fiona) has expressed a willingness to continue again next season. Thank you.
After that Risborough game we can then go to the other extreme by being on the wrong end of a draw which was against Hatch End. We were down to our ninth wicket with no chance of obtaining the runs when Rod Dye had to return to the crease after retiring hurt to help play out the last three overs.
Referring back to that Wycombe House game, another sick man phoned me the Wednesday prior to the game, saying that he wanted to cry-off as he had "galloping diarrhea" or was it the "flu" - not too sure now - I managed to persuade him to reassess the situation (as we were a man short anyway) and to phone back on Friday. He actually played in that game and I am sure that he was glad that he did as Dave Thornley took his best figures of the season with 6-34.
The brunt of our bowling attack belonged to Tim Isaac and Paul Goodrham as the number of overs they bowled indicates. Barry Jones and Brian May ably supported them, and even Simon Wigmore turned his arm over.
No batsman accepted my offer for scoring fifty runs in the first hour of our innings and only Keith Hawthorn managed a fifty.
Gil Dunn showed us his flair for batting and Gordon Adams retired prematurely with a broken finger. Bill Haley's middle order batting continued well again this year and at one stage he was rather worried that he would not qualify for the averages as he had not been dismissed enough times! Tony Perryman's enthusiasm for running between the wickets kept the run rate ticking over whenever he was batting and this season he only ran out two of us - oh yes! he befell the fate once and that was my fault!!
Doug Hatch (our prophet and sage) continued his predictions, assuring everyone that we had sufficient runs on the board if only we could get another 30 runs in the 10 minutes before tea. It is unfortunate that we didn't have him with us over at Kings Langley where their opening batsman (first XI opener playing at home because he had to go home early type of person) scored a faultless century against us, perhaps I should have bowled Doug with his calculated long hops to "con" him.
It was rather wet at the end of May and into June and July and we lost five Saturdays of cricket, four of these being league games. Perhaps next season, with the new scoring system, runs scored and wickets taken will play a more prominent role in the final points analysis as it was certainly a lottery this year but taken as a whole, a good year.
Another successful season! Although we played only 17 out of 22 games a record of 7 wins, 8 draws and only 2 losses is very creditable. In fact, we finished the season with 3 wins - all incredible. North Maidenhead had us all out for 89 before tea, after being 48 for 1, but a dressing-room pep talk saw us through by 19 runs. Paul Goodrham taking 7 for 19. The following week against Redingensians, Keith Hawthorn 23 and a dour 24 (including two 6's and two 4’s) by Tim Isaac enabled us to reach 133; but at 76 for 3 we were struggling - some very non-descript batting by Redingensians left them with 12 to win off the last over and one wicket left. The first 5 balls were played correctly and then a big Yahoo off the last, and may I say, straight one, left us with a win. A week later Gerrards Cross fell. After scoring 164 against us we then plundered some weak bowling - Derek Newman 30 and Simon Wigmore 34 – which left PAul Dewey to score the winning run off the last ball in gathering gloom.
There were many other highlights. Bob Bryant's oatching and 1 for 15 against Turnham Green. Gordon Slade’s 6 for 36 against Hillingdon and an excellent 44 against Northwood. Gill Dunn's 63 against Fleet. Paul Goodrham's consistency at bowling and inconsistency at buying jugs. But, above all, the team's spirit on the field - which contributed greatly to the season's playing record - and off the field - which contributed greatly to my perpetual Monday hangover.
In closing, I would like to thank those who took over the captaincy during my absence, Geoff Herbert for umpiring whilst injured, my wife for scoring and the tea ladies who make the Ritz appear like a British Rail Cafe.