The essential and most pleasing difference between this year's performances and last was that in each game the team was competitive. In perhaps only one game (against Hurley) in the league did the side fail to do itself justice, otherwise even in defeat we acquitted ourselves well.
This change was brought about by the influx of two or three good competitive second XI players and a broader spread of contributions in each game. The side has become a team rather than being reliant on one or two key performers.
This broader range of contribution is indicated in the number of people who scored 50s during the season, they were:-
1 x 50 plus 1 x 100
On only a few occasions did the team not manage to score 200 plus and then only twice did we lose. A return to form by Dave Thornley after an injury plagued season last year plus spinning contributions from Eric Lark, Graham Kell and Gus Gorman meant that we could usually put our opponents under pressure despite good batting tracks in mid-summer. Pace bowler Richard Sharp also caused a few headaches for opposition batsmen with his subtle changes of pace and direction.
Mention of Richard inevitably leads me to mention Chris Dean who joined us as an 'L' plate wicketkeeper in April and finished the season as an advanced driver having taken several memorable catches as well as enthusing the whole team with his all action style.
Due in part to Chris Dean's contribution and perhaps to our more competitive edge, fielding became one of our strengths - after finding a place to hide the captain - with Dave Vincent and Alan Kitley outstanding in their ground fielding.
Thank yous are due to Simon Christy, Greg Lightfoot, Doug Hatch and Eric Lark for umpiring stints plus those who stood in when finding a full team became difficult. The latter being an occupational hazard for second XI captains who believe that their club is best represented by eleven men despite Friday night and Saturday morning drop outs.
Thanks too to Dave Wigmore for some excellent wickets and to all the regulars who made the season so much fun.
Finally, a word of thanks to Gerry Bowyer who took charge of the team during my early absence and has subsequently been a source of much support.