In 1985 we won seven games, lost seven and drew seven. In the final defeat at the end of the season we played with seven men so the number clearly had some significance for us. I feel disinclined to count that experience.
It was a very forgettable season, which began with snow and ended with sunshine. In the middle it mostly rained, although surprisingly few games were actually cancelled.
The Chilterns League games were generally a disappointment. We won four games, three of them very narrowly, and lost six games, two of them equally narrowly. We could not really complain. We batted feebly for the most part.
A highlight was the victory over Wooburn Narkovians - a rare success - where we won by 8 runs. Wooburn's 38-0 after four overs against our very modest 113 seemed to signify another early evening in the bar, but Simon Wigmore (6-23 off 17 overs) and Brian May (3-33 off 19 overs) transformed the game and at one point reduced Wooburn to 64-7 off 26 overs. Robin Evans - an old adversary - almost pulled the game round for Wooburn before Phil Surridge bowled him.
Also particularly satisfying was the one wicket victory over Winchmore Hill in which Brian May - rarely dismissed in the season - saw us home to an unlikely victory with 26 not out.
The rest can be forgotten.
The only batting highlights were Gerry Bowyer's 74 against Acton, easily the best innings of the season, and Ron Pugh's 71 not out smash at Burnham.
Jeff Elder injured his nose and his 'pride' when he failed to catch Mike Shave at Farnham Royal and thus deprived Geoff Reynolds of a hat trick. Farnham Royal said that they were going to dig up the wicket at the end of the season. We got the impression that the process had already begun when we played there.
Simon Wigmore again bowled very well and was the match winner in at least three games. Donald Henley-King batted with flair on two or three occasions and hit the ball very cleanly. Doug Hatch gave advice and John Midlane... did a number of things.
1986 will almost certainly be a better season. It's a sobering thought that the last Taplow wicket to fall in 1985 was that of Tony Handley-Jones who skipped two paces down the wicket and was stumped.
Dulce et decorum est pro patria man!
The season began miserably. The weather was cold, an icy wind blowing from the North for many weeks. The cricket began in the same vein, a loss to Old Meadonians. The batting failed miserably and we were all out for 80. Old Meads at 52 for 2 looked comfortable, but the introduction of spin had them at 76-9. Seven wickets down for 24 runs. We then got away with murder at Chalfont St. Peter, chasing 152 we held on at 74 for 7 Geoff Herbert getting half our runs. We did the same against Chertsey and one had the feeling that the Sunday second XI was going to be like the weather - dismal. However, as the weather warmed a little we almost achieved our first victory at Acacia. Geoff Herbert and myself putting on 74 for the third wicket and we topped the hundred (143-3) for the first time. However, despite some accurate bowling from Dave Wigmore, the victory slipped away and Acacia held on. We then had a series of draws before notching up our first win on the last Sunday of June against Emmbrook - sweet revenge! Another win against Hanwell - Paul Newman and Simon Wigmore doing the damage - put the team in high spirits both on and off the field. This win achieved on July 7th was our last success.
Notable performances until the end of the season were few and far between, Tim Isaac 6-15 against Bagshot. An opening partnership between Bob Bryant (45) and myself of 119 against Redingensians, followed by Geoff Herbert's 5 for 49 in the same game. Keith Hawthorn's 42 n.o. out of 106 against Henley. Paul Newman's 4 for 24 against Amersham and in the last game of the season Keith Hawthorn's 3 for 10 against West Drayton - and he bought a jug!
Results apart we all enjoyed our cricket on and off the field. Our loyal supporters, I am sure, enjoyed themselves and this made the season for me. I hope this atmosphere in the Sunday second XI continues. The end of season get together was again a tremendous success and we even had some "first teamers" coming back to join in.
I do not intend to captain next season, I have thoroughly enjoyed the six seasons I have been captain and thank everybody, the stalwarts at the bar, wives, girlfriends and families, the tea ladies and my wife especially for providing some very happy memories.