The final words of last year's captain's report suggested that 1987 must surely be better than 1986. On the strength of a 100% increase in games we won - a total of 2 - I suppose that is correct but generally it was a very disappointing season.
Our league performances were particularly frustrating. Our bowling and fielding was, with one or two exceptions, quite good, indeed an attack of Mike Bradley, Tim Isaac, Dave Thornley and Geoff Reynolds should see us win as many as we lose, but on a number of occasions we failed to make very 'gettable' totals. Our overall batting performances were poor.
The season started in warm sunshine, for a change, and with the help of 4 players on loan from Burnham a comfortable defeat ensued. Ley Hill saw us score 179 - a great psychological barrier broken the skipper thought, unfortunately the only milestone was Dick wearing six sweaters and still feeling frozen. Victory was soon to follow against Coleshill after we bowled them out for 88 on a dry Taplow track. The games against Marlow Park and I.C.I. were both examples of scores we should have made but didn't and then came Stoke Green. It only took 3 overs for the first furious argument between the captains but we got a draw, thanks mainly to an unbeaten 5O by Chris Cowley supported by Scott Bradley. We almost beat Amersham Hill in a low scoring match and there then followed a series of depressing defeats including a remarkable game against Princes Risborough in which they scored 226-4 and we replied with 210. We had contained them quite well on a lovely hard wicket on a beautiful July day until their no.6 came in with just over 7 overs remaining. In a ferocious knock he ended up 63 n.o. and lost 3 balls - all cricket ones!
So the league season drew to a close without a win and we got back to proper cricket. This was obviously what we had been waiting for as yet another victory against Monks Risborough was chalked up. This was due to a fine innings by Scott Bradley of 77 n.o. - the highest score of the season - which showed he can also attack the bowling as well as defend. We also had the exhilarating sight of two teenagers batting together and taking the initiative away from the opposing bowlers. A very wet September prevented us capitalising on our winning streak and the final game ended in a defeat at the hands of North Maidenhead.
There can be little doubt that the weakness on the playing side of the club is paramount in the poor second team results but not everything was gloom and despondency. Mike Bradley twice took six wickets in an innings and Tim Isaac managed six as well. Mike Eddowes was a little disappointing with the bat but bowled well early in the season and with a bit more belief in himself could get a lot of wickets (I don't think you always need at least 4 men on the boundary when you come on to bowl!). Jeff Elder's 50 in partnership with Tim Fitz-Desorgher against Princes Risborough was one of the few occasions when our batsmen were dominating the opposition attack and Tim's 75 that day was easily the best innings by a Taplow player. Keith Paskins arrival in the latter part of the season improved our batting, bowling and fielding. Dick Duggan got to double figures on 10 out of 13 innings but was unable to go on to make a match winning score - something which rather epitomised our batting in general. John Midlane also made some useful contributions particularly when he managed to bring the right pair of spectacles! The fielding was generally good and team spirit seemed to stand up well despite our shortcomings.
Thanks to Dave Wigmore for his unstinting efforts on the ground, to Dick for his help and support as vice-captain, to Dave Vincent for regularly finding players at 12:30, to all our ladies for the unsurpassable teas and to everyone who umpired and scored.
As you may well know I am not seeking re-election next season as I do not feel that will be in the best interest of the club so best wishes to my successor.
Not even an eternal optimist could pretend that 1987 was a successful season in terms of results, but with a few notable exceptions our games were at least friendly and enjoyable.
The low point of the season was reached on a miserable day in mid-May at Acacia, where after Paul Newman (6-22) and Steve Holland (3-29) had bowled out the opposition for 55, we subsided to 34 all out.
We then flattered to deceive in June, when we recorded 2 consecutive wins. I managed to take my first wicket of the season in the match against Richings Park, and then thanks to some excellent fielding (7 catches) took 5 more as we won by a comfortable 74 runs. At Fleet a fine all round bowling performance, highlighted by Steve Adams (4-28) in his first match, enabled us to dismiss them for 98 and win by 4 wickets.
The remainder of the season was conspicuous by its lack of success on the field, largely through our inability to bowl sides out, a feat we achieved only 3 times in 17 matches. Our batting was rather more consistent - we were dismissed for under 100 only 3 times - but we relied too much on Geoff Herbert, who batted superbly throughout the season. His best innings was a face-saving 76 not out at Dinton, from a total of 117.
A number of regular stalwarts made their mark on occasion. Geoff Reynolds batted well at Chalfont and Ferranti, Mike Eddowes played a number of good innings and Mike Bradley set out to prove (successfully) that he was worth his place as a batsman. Dave Shoemark, Keith Hawthorn, Derek Newman and Dave Vincent all made noteworthy contributions with the bat, as did Paul Newman, Steve Adams, Steve Holland and Andrew Mills with the ball.
Perhaps the most pleasing aspect of the season was the number of younger members who played and made a significant contribution, which augurs well for the future. Several of them, particularly Andrew Mills, Steve Holland and Chris Swallow played a number of games and were able to hold their own. It is important that the club realises the need to nurture the younger talent and it is to be hoped that all of these, and others, play regularly in 1988.
Finally, a word of thanks to the ladies for their consistently good teas (the envy of many an opposition), Tara Newman for scoring on several occasions and Dave Vincent for his support as vice-captain.