The only consistent feature of the second XI's performances were their inconsistency - Apart that is from Chris Goodrham's extraordinary batting.
In game after game one or two individuals did well, next week it was someone else's turn and so on. When we achieved a multiple performance we won, but that wasn't often.
However despite the continued disappointment of under-performing we were generally competitive and finished the league season just below half way in the table. If we are to mount a challenge in next year's league campaign, consistency of availability in both league teams will play a significant part as well as consistency of performance. Apart from Chris Goodrham's excellent season with the bat (average 54.8) Lewis Fisher established himself at number three with some splendid attacking innings, his bowling also gave us an important dimension - he takes wickets.
On the bowling front Geoff Reynolds again bowled well when not on holiday or attending a wedding. New player Gus Gorman added a left arm spinner to our ranks and improved not only his bowling but his fielding through the season.
Later in the year Robert Beavis indicated that when he settles to regular cricket he could be a very lively new ball bowler, let's hope so.
Royal Ascot - Home
We batted first and put on 183-5 with Midlane and Dunlop top scoring on 37 each. In reply Ascot relied solely upon their skipper who scored 119 and was bowled on the last ball when requiring one to win, Ascot's final score being 183.6. A good start to the season.
Marlow Park - Away
A game we should have won but could not raise the scoring rate sufficiently when it mattered.
Some of our bowling took a terrible hammering from Junior Smith, a Marlow Park first XI player but the wicket proved friendly to most batsmen although in our turn difficult to score on, Chris Goodrham (44) and Lewis Fisher (42) top scored.
Penn & Tylers Green - Away
|Penn & Tylers Green||152-3||Lost|
Only good knocks from Steve Roach (62) and Simon Christy (34) gained us any respectability when batting. Penn then knocked off the required total in just 30 overs. Only Geoff Reynolds with 3 for 54 had any reason to smile about his bowling figures.
Amersham Hill (L) - Home
|Amersham Hill||113 all out|
The first league match and the start we wanted. A good all round bowling performance, with three wickets for Fisher, Reynolds and Gorman, followed by well paced knocks from Gerry Bowyer (47 not) and Steve Roach (49 not). We started to dream.
Penn & Tylers Green (L) - Away
|Penn & Tylers Green||150-2||Lost|
Only Chris Goodrham (53) had reason to be happy he turned up, we were outclassed in all three departments and left to reconsider our dreams.
Chalfont St. Giles (L) - Away
By this time we were starting to need directions to find our home ground!
A good match made even better by a lower order batting performance by youngster Richard Cope (37 not) and his older uncle Geoff Reynolds (21), which enabled the draw. Earlier Lewis Fisher had taken 4-53 to be the best Taplow bowler and Gerry Bowyer had his season's best innings with 64.
Farnham Common (L) - Away
still can't find our home ground!
We should have won in the classic Taplow manner, an early batting collapse followed by a middle order revival and a later order collapse. Top scorer Chris Goodrham (68) was supported by Keith Paskins and Simon Christy and a late flourish from Geoff Reynolds. Geoff then followed up with 4-60 and we looked to be in with a chance of victory but could not take the last wicket out in the final few overs.
Stoke Green (L) - HomeAbandoned
We at least found our home ground but so did the rain which led to abandonment when Stoke were on 82-3 from 27 overs.
Little Marlow (L) - Away
|Little Marlow||187 all out|
A new venue with a reputation for a run scoring wicket was probably an ideal time to find a new opening bowler, Jamie Hutton 5.32 looked the part, but proved to be an occasional rather than a regular player. Despite Jamie's wickets we did well to contain the Marlow batting as their opener Glenister regularly scores heavily for their first XI, Geoff Reynolds got him for 67.
In reply Eric Lark (97 not) batted beautifully and really showed us what he can do on a wicket that comes on with pace and even bounce, this was the start of Eric's purple patch. Chris Goodrham (49) and Keith Paskins then enjoyed themselves and ended the match with a flourish.
Cookham Dean (L) - Home
A really enjoyable game in retrospect, when they were batting it was slightly less so. All the bowlers took a battering apart from Geoff Reynolds who bowled tidily in his thirteen overs. Our response was based upon another fine knock from Eric Lark (96) with able support from Lewis Fisher (36). At one stage it looked as if we might make it but after loosing a flurry of wickets the shutters were put up and probably the best game of the season ended in an honourable draw.
Denham (L) - Away
|Taplow||125 all out||Lost|
After the Lord Mayor's show, probably the most disappointing game of the season. Only five players from the previous week were available and one young man dropped out at 12.00 on Saturday morning. How frustrating it is to phone a list of long standing club members and still not find one to support the club when it needs it. We played with ten men. Lewis Fisher bowled (4-44) and batted (51) well. Chris Lowe could have changed things but when going well on 37 he threw his wicket away. We subsided quickly and went in search of the bar.
Winchmore Hill (L) - Away
|Taplow||129 all out|
If ever a game was won on a toss this was it, we lost it they put us in, it was wet and got wetter. Chris Goodrham (24) Chris Lowe (19) and the very entertaining Tim Isaacs (22) were the only ones to fend off the rising ball. Our bowling response was good but not good enough as the track became wetter and the conditions for bowlers much more difficult.
Chenies & Latimer (L) - Home
|Taplow||226 all out|
|Chenies & Latimer||164-9||Draw|
Fifties for Midlane and Goodrham ensured a good total but once again we could not take the final wicket. Chenies were doing well in the league and this game gave an indication of what we could achieve if only!
Bledlow (L) - Home
Another very wet wicket and an outstanding innings from Chris Goodrham (113 not) who took us to a total which was at one stage beyond our wildest expectations, Chris received support from Richard Thorogood (21) and that man again Geoff Reynolds (30).
All the bowlers chipped in but once again we were unable to knock over the last pair.
Waltham St. Lawrence (L) - Away
|Waltham St. Lawrence||196-9|
We all aged ten years as our last pair of Jon Wrapson and Alastair Ideson crept closer to the 197 target. Before that we had confidently chased Waltham's total against a fairly ordinary attack only for batsman after batsman to get in and then get out.
Lewis Fisher (31) and Chris Goodrham (30) started the ball rolling. Richard Thorogood (21) and Ross Dunlop (23) gave it another kick then with 49 needed for the last wicket our heros came together. Jon Wrapson's innings was exceptional for the circumstances, no blocking out for a draw with Jon just wham bam, where's the bar?
Earlier Ross Dunlop had bowled well for his figures of 4.40 in what was a patchy team bowling performance.
Coleshill (L) - Away
|Coleshill||163 all out|
|Taplow||102 all out||Lost|
A new venue, easy opposition, low score to chase and EIGHT DUCKS. Only Lewis Fisher (68 not) and Gus Gorman 4.44 and his highest score (9) of the season can look back on this game with anything resembling satisfaction.
Wendover (L) - Home
|Wendover||210 all out|
It could have been so different if only a catch had been caught, of Wendover's total their opener Henderson made 107 not out after being dropped when on 20.
Chris Lowe 4.42 contributed but a generally naive performance ensured another defeat.
White Waltham (L) - Home
|Taplow||150 all out|
This win ensured Waltham of the league title but it could have been so different if someone could have stayed with Chris Goodrham (87) when he was going so well. The early run out of Lewis Fisher and a middle order collapse cost us dearly as our bowling threatened to win the game. Lewis Fisher was the main wicket taker (5.37) but all the other bowlers kept it tight and made Waltham fight for the win.
Monks Risborough - Away
Risborough play the game in a very funny fashion and never made an attempt to chase a gettable target thus ensuring most of their team had a wasted afternoon.
This was Lewis Fisher annus horribilis bowled on 99! Chris Goodrum (31) batted well as did Dave Thornbury (26). Just about everybody bowled.
Richmond Town - Away
An orgy of run making, a tremendous opening stand by Gerry Bowyer (30) and Keith Paskins (94) followed by a Fisher (31 not) and Goodrham (45 not) feast. This was Keith's biggest knock of the season and showed that he can be a really good attacking batsman when in the mood.
In comparison to Monks Risborough, Richmond chased and chased hard. We fiddled about with the bowling to keep them interested - the skipper allowed them to take twenty off three of his overs - but could not break a late order stand.
Sudbury Court - Home
|Taplow||100 all out||Lost|
Geoff Reynolds 5.26 reappeared after a sabatical but failed to hold a weakened batting order together. Only Lewis Fisher (48) batted to his potential.
Dinton - Home
|Taplow||125 all out|
To understand Dinton's approach to "friendly cricket", one just has to look at their opening bowler's analysis. Overs 26, maidens 12, runs 34, wickets 4. Early in the Taplow innings, Dinton signalled their aggressive intend and blasted away the cream of the Taplow top order. Only the skipper (56 not) held up their progress having eventually sorted out a batting style at the tender age of -
Lewis Fisher was again in the wickets (3.35) but after an initial scare Dinton cruised home.
North Maidenhead - Away
Our last match and the losing run had to be stopped. Consequently we lost the toss and were put in on a wet one. But this time we avoided the loss of early wickets instead becoming bogged down with a slow run rate. The entry of Goodrham (76 not) and Lowe (40 not) eventually led to a very productive period but we still took 48 overs to amass our total. In response Maids had just 35 overs in which to reach their target and for a while this looked on as Tilley and Clifford chased hard. A good spell from Dunlop (1.21) and more wickets from Fisher (3.32) put the brake on and the game subsided into what had become a fine September evening.
On behalf of the team can I thank David Wigmore whose pitches have proved as fair as his comments, the tea ladies for their consistently high standards and friendly demeanours and my vice-captain for the odd cigar and jocular badinage. Big thanks also to Simon Christy, Dave Thornley and Greg Lightfoot for their stirling work as umpires, without which we would have been severely stretched - Thankyou gentlemen.
We had to wait until the first Sunday in May for our first game, Tring Park cancelled the previous week.
On paper we had an "experienced side", 8 over 40 and 50% of then over 50. The youth policy centred on my son Andrew and a new recruit, Richard Cope. As usual it was like Siberia at Chalfont, a cold wind blowing down the valley. Their total of 179 left us with a lot to do. Jon Wrapson was among the wickets straightaway, taking four. One in particular featured a blinding catch at short mid-wicket by 'El President'. We were looking for the ball hitting the fence.
The batting started disastrously. Two run outs (17 for 2). Don't we ever learn? However Dave Vincent made an excellent 41, Andy a quick 19 and Richard Cope looked hardy with 19. The youth looked promising.
We had a good game against Chertsey for a change. We scored 180 for 3. Was this a good amen? Steve Adams was back with line and length (his honeymoon must have helped here). The side still averaged over 40 in years.
We picked up a conference game - it happened to be Datchet - thanks Simon. Still we looked good with the bat, Dick running into form with 35 and Geoff Herbert made an appearance with 40 n.o., giving us 187. We picked up 2 early wickets, Brian May holding a tremendous one hand catch in the deep (he does it every year).
We then saw a stand of 105, which included my usual row with Datchet - last year it was the weather - this year a run out decision. The game went to the wire - seven off the last over. Brian May bowls 4 beauties - seven off 2 balls - a push for 1 - 6 off the last - everybody back on the boundary - we will not be beaten - Brian bowls, the willow swings in the farmers arc - the ball disappears into the copse. As Victor Meldrew says "I don't believe it". The side still averages over 40, the weather is still cold and cloudy and Datchet have beaten us off the last ball. I think about suicide.
We have another conference game against Serendip. At 38 for 6 we have them on the rack but they survive.
We are into June and the sun is shining. Jon Wrapson picks up 5 wickets. At last a bowlers jug. We struggle to 135 for 8 to save the game against Richings Park.
Aston Rowant hit their usual score over 200, helped by an innings of 161 by their No. 3 - second XI ha! ha! - Again we avoid defeat and in the process Andy hits his maiden 50 for the club - another jug!
Our bowling seems suspect as GWR score 176 for 5, but we go for them. Dave Shoemark hits his best of the season 37 but we need 73 off 11 overs. Andy comes in and hits 42, but we miss out by 7.
At this point Jon Wrapson takes over as I am out with tendonitis - I never did like gardening anyway.
He starts well at Risborough - our first win of the season - maybe I should take the rest of the season off! Dave Vincent bats really well and steers us to victory after Steve Adams takes his first 5 of the season. A good team performance, Ollie and Ally (or is it Laurel and Hardy) field brilliantly - is youth paying off at last?
Eversley beat us - we are all out for 114, but Steve Adams makes it difficult 17 overs 3 for 29. The weather takes a nasty turn and the I.C.I. game is abandoned.
We then lose to Burnham, the whole team is on a low.
We win our second game against Littlewick - I may not get back in the team. Jon plays a captain's part - 6 for 51. The 3rd bowler's jug. Simon Wigmore "guests" for us and batting with a rejuvenated Dave Vincent, we win by 8 wickets.
The next three games are drawn. Performances of note came from Keith Hawthorn against Windsor Vics - youth fails. Andy Mills another 50 against Datchet - this took over an hour - rather slow and Dave Vincent 31 n.o. in the same game.
We then hit a purple patch and won our last three games. The first, a conference game against Old Pals. The spin twins, Clive Kellett and Jon took 5 for 50 and 4 for 30 respectively. At one point Clive had 0-31 off 10 and third XI cricket loomed. When I suggested a change at his end he replied with 5 for 19 off the next 14. Dick left it until now to record his best of the season - a "patient" 38 and we win by 8 wickets. On a high we beat Pinkneys Green by 7 wickets. Steve Adams bags another 5. The ball keeps hitting the stumps, 7 out of 8 bowled, Dick is on form with 47 - jug evasion or just plain knackered.
And so to the finale. Surprise, surprise, Ruislip Manor cry off and we pick up a conference game away against Chalfont St. Peter on their third XI ground. The weather is distinctly dodgy and so is the smell from the rear of the clubhouse. The track is soft enough to "take a stud". However, their skipper wins the toss and bats! The smell is affecting his brain. The weather intervenes at 3 o'clock. Never mind, the Ryder Cup and Grand Prix are on the wireless. It stops raining as we troop out at 4 o'clock refreshed by tea. They are all out for 74, Clive and Jon at it again 5 for 20 and 3 for 11 respectively. We knock them off for 2 wickets and end the season on a high note.
The average age was still over 40 but it doesn't seem to matter. It only shows in the field. of the batting there were two fifties scored - both by Andy who then found himself in the firsts. This is a big problem. Dave Vincent showed he has the temperament and should get better. The other top 6 weighed in with occasional good scores. Jon Wrapson was the pick of the bowlers and Steve Adams was his usual frugal self - where are the strike bowlers?
The team consisted of either over and well over 40's or under 20's and herein lies our problem. However, the team spirit was as usual excellent. The end of season traditional nosh was a great success and we were as usual supported by our bevy of beauties. Thanks go to Di for her impeccable scoring and all the ladies who provided teas - still the best on the circuit.