The Saturday XI experienced a much more successful season than in 1981 with nine victories, five drawn matches and five defeats. Six victories were achieved in League matches and we were beaten by the only two teams to finish above us, suggesting that our third place in the League table was a fair relection of the strength of the side.
It was a difficult season in some ways with the greatly increased number of playing members available from mid May until mid July meaning that far more than usual difficult selection decisions had to be made. They were made on the basis of what seemed to be form at the time and obviously some players not always selected when they were available were understandably unhappy about the situation. It was pleasing to see some of those same players coming back effectively into the side later in the season and after what was undoubtedly the most difficult season for this particular reason which I have experienced, I would like to commend those senior players who accepted not being selected on occasion with good grace. Neither was it possible to satisfy the demand for games by fitting people in on either Saturday or Sunday as in practice both elevens consisted almost entirely of different players, only the vice-captain appearing regularly in both sides.
Of the games that we won I felt the victories against Chenies & Latimer and Marlow Park to be among the most enjoyable and satisfying. We lost a very good game of cricket to Hatch End later in the season. We beat Kimble and Bledlow very convincingly and won a low scoring match against Holyport after being 37-8 at one point. Regrettably, three successive rained off matches in June, the only ones to be affected by the weather, effectively spoiled the league season as a competition.
There were some very good individual performances. Gil Dunn's batting showed extraordinary consistency and he broke many batting records among second XI averages over the years. Ron Pugh made several spectacular assults on opposition sides, Kimble and Bledlow especially. His innings were as exciting to watch as they must have been to play. Among the bowlers David Thornley often laboured long and hard against the problem of no-balling. His 8-12 analysis destroyed Bledlow. Barry Jones, although not bowling a great number of overs during the season, achieved a very low average and took as many wickets as most. Simon Wigmore made a most interesting addition to the attack and looks to have a career ahead of him as a slow bowler which was largely unsuspected at the beginning of the season. Doug Hatch's slip catching was remarkable at times and his dismissal of four Kimble batsmen, all off Simon Wigmore was a highlight of the season. Certainly no one younger can contemplate retirement while he continues to show such excellent reflexes.
The fielding generally was a vast improvement on 1981 and there was often a surplus of potential cover-point fielders. Simon Wigmore, John Ledgard, Paul Dewey and Tony Perryman all performed well in the outfield. We lacked a wicketkeeper.
Thanks to the tea Ladies. Regrettably we had no umpire but would like to commend to the attention of members the efforts of Brian May who both as Chairman of Cricket and as Colts Manager put in a lot of selfless work during the course of the season in the interest of the club, promoting and publicising cricket at Taplow.
The season began badly, out of our first five games, we lost three due mainly to some indifferent batting. In fact throughout the season the batting and bowling very rarely came off in the same match. However as is the habit of the Sunday second XI this did not affect our team spirit or indeed our ability to perform well when faced with a few pints after the game. Of the three defeats one was against our bogey team Sudbury Court, another against Eversley with a fairly weak side but the worst was at Chertsey. Having dismissed a strong Chertsey side for 92, Alan Senior having taken 4 for 22 with his usual mixture, we collapsed from 61 for 4 to 87 all out, despite Gill Dunn carrying his bat for 53 n.o.. After the Eversley match we thrashed Acacia out of sight and from that point only lost one more of our remaining thirteen fixtures and again to a bogey team Northwood Town.
There were a number of highlights worth recalling, namely Paul Goodrhams' 6 for 35 against Fleet, and a staggering 8 for 36 against West Drayton. We let them off the hook from 86 for 7 from whence they reached 136, which looked ominous when we collapsed to 34 for 7 however we managed to hang on for a deserved draw. Tim Isaac's 6 for 46 against old Gaytonians was a joy to watch. Tim bowled fast and kept the ball well up, he did in fact take the first six wickets. Of the batting, Gill Dunn proved the most consistent, possibly his 74 n.o. from 103 for 2 against Redingensions being the best. This after the opposition had been shot out for 99, Barry Jones taking 5 for 27. This was sweet revenge as they hammered us in the previous season.
John Clark weighed in with several good knocks especially his 43 against Cove and 48 against Littlewick Green, unfortunately, when the possibility of having to buy a jug loomed up the responsibility proved too much. Both Geoff Herbert and Derek Newman scored half centuries but both will be remebered for different things - Derek turning up for a game and being shown the visitor's dressing room, nobody having recognised him as he had shaved off his beard for scoring fifty. Geoff for insisting the areas behind the wickets required extra rolling. Finally Tim King, Tim improved a great deal last year with some sound and entertaining batting culminating with his first fifty against Littlewick Green. It was all put down to his new hair style described by most of us as normal.
A final mention must be made about the Gerrards Cross fixture. We have now beaten them out of sight in our last three meetings. Again we dismissed them for under a hundred Dave Vincent's long hops down the leg side proving too much for their batsmen, who would insist on hitting them in the air and into fielder's hands, well at least we caught them.
Once again three cheers for our tea ladies and thanks to Di Mills for scoring this season with coloured pencils and no beads.
In the end it turned out to be a most enjoyable season proving once again that serious cricket for the Sunday second XI is to be avoided at all cost.