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3rdXI 2014 Season Review

Guy Dixon

 A s before, let’s start with the numbers: The 3rd XI finished 7th in the Wiltshire County Cricket League, Division 6, amassing a total of only 188 points, with a record of won 4 (one by forfeit), lost 9, cancelled 5 (all away fixtures and all without a ball being bowled); we amassed 42 batting points and 46 for bowling, 2 more and 20 fewer, respectively, than last season.

If I’ve counted correctly, 40 brave souls (39 males and one female) turned out for the 3rd XI in 2014 (not counting any additional bodies who were selected for the 5 matches that didn’t happen), a significant increase over the 27 who played last year. Strikingly, of those 40, only 10 played 5 or more games each and only Willsy played in every match that was completed; 18 of the 40 played only once.

Immediately clear, therefore, is that the 3rd XI this year was a far from “settled” team and suffered on a number of occasions at the hands of remarkable (and unusual) levels of player unavailability. This led to four of our ‘regulars’ each playing 2 games for the 2nd XI (where are those runners-up medals, by the way?) and several Herculean searches, led by our indomitable Cricket Manager, to locate 11 fit(tish) players to turn up on Saturday afternoons.   As last year, only once did the 3rd XI take the field with less than 11 and a special mention to Her Royal Dutchness Jolanthe De Koning who bravely faced down Swindon NALGO 2nd’s and allowed us to field 10 rather 9 players on that occasion.

The 3rd XI out-cricket was perhaps the best feature of the 2014 season. There was good concentration in the field, across all the age ranges, plenty of bodies put ‘on the line’ (ok, not always on purpose, but let’s not be pedantic), and the occasional flash of excellence.  

Perhaps not surprisingly, therefore, the season was not a great one for the 3rd XI, but nonetheless produced some memorable moments, the occasional remarkable performance, and sustained the essential ‘esprit de corps’ that characterises the team. Further, the successes of the 1st and 2nd XIs in 2014 is a positive for the whole club because, as competition hots up for places in the rarefied ranks, there has to be some Thatcherite “trickle down” on its way to our humble side, right?

mdixon bowling 2014For once, the 3rd XI bowling was unable to cover up for our batting limitations. Our Glorious Leader filled his boots with another 30 tasty morsels, easily taking the board and gobbled up a trophy-winning sextet at the aforementioned Swindon NALGO… only the cruelest cynic would attribute this achievement to the distracting presence of our 10th (wo)man strategically placed at short mid-off. Somehow Dicko is still mesmerising 3rd XI opposition with his nagging line and length, and the decreasingly velocity with which the ball travels those 22 yards seems only to add to their confusion. Still, who can argue with the season stats: 113.3-27-310-30?

Any excuse to show a picture of Jolanthe in cricket gear will be used...

Unlike last season when important contributions were made by several other bowlers, this year only Rob Iles matched Dicko by reaching a double figure number (10) of wickets; it must be said that Ilo bowled with no luck whatsoever and his season haul was a miserable return for a lot of effort. Early hopes were raised by the arrival of Graham Tanner at MCC and his first two games for the club at the Withy promised someone to rival OGL, both in terms of speed (not a big ask, of course), accuracy and frugality. Sadly, these attributes had not gone unnoticed by Oberleutnant Hodder and G(&)T was quickly and irreversibly whisked away to greater things.

Particularly missing this season was reliable bowling which could take the pace off the ball (Dicko excepted, naturellement) – Kartar was unavailable, except on days when matches were cancelled, and Piercy simply didn’t play enough. Too late, Chris Middup, with hair and accent more than reminiscent of Arnie Sidebottom, was able to play a couple of games and recorded the highly tantalising figures of 0.1-0-0-1 and 12-2-36-5! He’s promised to come back next year…

Otherwise, Fordy and the Chivers x 2 produced some good spells and were occasionally more than threatening. All suffered, I believe, from not being able to play week after week, as cancellations and vacations never seemed to coincide. Gary Hodder brought his magic to the Withy on a couple of occasions, but no-one informed the oppo that respect for his position and politics was to be clearly shown and, after suffering mentally and physically, the Big Boss returned to the  cocoon of the 2nd’s. Senior Prof. also found life less agreeable with the ball in 2014, often finding himself brought on against well-set batsmen with no interest in the sensitive feelings of the league’s top medicinal chemist and pâtissier.

On the batting front, the 3rd XI managed to pass 200 only once in the season (and even then lost in a close finish). The side that gave its name to the term “batting collapse” certainly delivered in 2014: for example, vs Heytesbury away from 96-1 to 123 all out, and from 58-0 to 79-6 at the Withy; vs. Swindon NALGO, 24-6 before reaching 69 a.o.; vs. Box from 129-3 to 145 a.o.; and so on.

The board went as it did last year, with Fordy in second place a mere 199 runs behind, and only Dicko, Willsy and Ilo managing to reach a cumulative 100 runs in the season. There were 5 half-centuries, one for Ilo in our first game of the season (a resounding 9-wicket victory Winsley) and one for a belligerent Andy Elliott in a rare and unique appearance at the Withy. The other 3… well, you can do the maths.

Ilo just about managed to scramble to 10 wickets.....

On 7 occasions, the 3rd XI managed a batting partnership in excess of 50: game 1 saw Ilo and your correspondent put on 106 for the 1st wicket; Ellsy and Dicko smote 99 together and almost reined in a challenging score of 216 (missed by 5 runs in the end) having come together at an unlikely 79-6; and Piercy joined forces with our regular no. 1 to add 84 for the third wicket against Box, a partnership notable for being achieved almost entirely in boundaries (for reasons that will be obvious to my regular readers). Impressive contrast was apparent between the opening stands of 58 between Ilo and Fordy bludgeoned off less than 7 overs, and the soporific 55 compiled by a unique professorial pair that required 20!

Otherwise, the highlights were confined to a number of cameos, the result again, I believe, of simply not playing enough and not being able to spend enough time regularly in the middle. Piercy, Willsy and Bish Snr. all made valuable contributions, Dicko had a couple of decent “at-bats”, Fordy on-form looked dangerous, Greeny showed us some off-side magic against Potterne, the Cricket Manager (with the under-stated help of Chivers C) provided respectability when the team had struggled to 71-7 off 33 overs against Lacock, and Simon Taylor hit more 6’s in his two games for the 3rd’s than anyone else. Colin Sinkins’ one appearance at the crease was too good for us to see him again in 2014.

The 3rd XI out-cricket was perhaps the best feature of the 2014 season. There was good concentration in the field, across all the age ranges, plenty of bodies put ‘on the line’ (ok, not always on purpose, but let’s not be pedantic), and the occasional flash of excellence. More catches were held than spilled, although those that were put down did prove to be costly on a couple of occasions. Willsy moved from behind the stumps to become a specialist mid-off/fine leg, and wicket-keeping duties were then shared, with enthusiasm, between the elders Roper and Bishop. Tim Woodman made one impressive appearance with the gloves in our win away to Potterne and he’s also indicated an interest in coming back next year… Speaking of that game at Potterne, did I mention my catch?

In summary, then, not the greatest of seasons for the 3rd XI – fewer games played than hoped for, and how come, with the weather so good overall, it always rained on Friday nights and Saturday mornings? Yet, as mentioned before, despite the ever-changing cast of characters who turned out for us in 2014, the spirit remained as positive as always and was undaunted by weather, performance or even the unseemly altercation that spoiled our penultimate match of the season. Although Dicko led in his inimitable style, dissent in the ranks was minimal, and grumbling was generally confined to those hours before and after tea. The season’s champagne moment was unquestionably OGL’s run out by Potterne’s charming young female player at the Withy, far funnier than the funniest ice bucket challenge video by a hundred miles!

Many thanks are due to all those who turned out for us at the last moment following much cajoling and the exchange of bribes; to the stalwarts (you know who you are) who came to nets, showed up early at the Withy to roll the wicket, cut the grass, and made the teas – with respect to the latter, I’d venture that we easily top the league; and to Senior Prof. who umpired more overs than just about everyone else put together and exercised remarkable and praiseworthy restraint with his “digit of doom”. Finally, let’s not forget that it’s only about 6 months until the start of the 2015 season, and there is indoor league and winter nets before then, of course. By next April, our tribulations of this summer will be a distant memory and we’ll be off and running (sort of) again. Unknown right now is the division in which we’ll be playing – hard to see another promotion in store (as was achieved under previous management, you’ll recall) but with the WCCL, one never knows!

Richard Guy

PlayerGmsInnsRunsNotHighAvg50s100s
Richard Guy 9 9 316 1 76 39.5 3 0
James Ford 8 8 117 1 29 16.71 0 0
Mark Dixon 11 9 115 0 37 12.77 0 0
Andy Wills 12 11 109 0 34 9.9 0 0
Rob Iles 6 6 103 0 59 17.16 1 0
Andy Elliott 1 1 74 0 74 74 1 0
Gary Hodder 3 3 57 0 34 19 0 0
Simon Taylor 2 2 55 0 30 27.5 0 0
Andrew Pierce 4 3 54 1 28* 27 0 0
Terry Bishop 7 6 46 2 20 11.5 0 0
Matthew Green 4 4 45 1 26* 15 0 0
Charlie Chivers 7 7 44 0 20 6.28 0 0
Alan Chivers 6 6 38 2 14 9.5 0 0
Mike Threadgill 10 7 29 3 8 7.25 0 0
Robert Redman 5 5 28 0 9 5.6 0 0
Colin Sinkins 1 1 25 1 25*   0 0
Martin Roper 5 5 24 2 10 8 0 0
James Roper 1 1 18 0 18 18 0 0
Derek Watkins 3 3 18 1 15* 9 0 0
Chris Middup 2 2 16 1 10* 16 0 0
Ed Brown 2 1 16 0 16 16 0 0
Andy Watts 1 1 10 0 10 10 0 0
Graham Tanner 2 1 9 1 9*   0 0
Sam Burnstone 1 1 9 0 9 9 0 0
Nikhil Bhalla 2 1 6 0 6 6 0 0
Mark Salen 1 1 4 0 4 4 0 0
Mike Cox 1 1 3 1 3*   0 0
Will Christie 2 2 2 0 2 1 0 0
Kartar Singh 1 1 2 0 2 2 0 0
Alan Ford 1 1 2 0 2 2 0 0
Rhan Heer 1 1 1 0 1 1 0 0
Kuldeep Singh 1 1 1 0 1 1 0 0
Tim Woodman 1 0 0 0 *   0 0
Matt Senior 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Mitchell Watts 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Jolanthe De Konning 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Simeon Townend 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Michael Holman 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Simon Bishop 1 0 0 0 *   0 0
Gregory Sankaran 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0

 

NameOvrsMdnsRunsWkesBest
5 Wkt
EconStrike
Ave% Wkt
Mark Dixon 113.3 27 310 30 6/26 1 2.73 22.7 10.33 33.71
Rob Iles 52.5 8 193 10 3/26 0 3.65 31.68 19.3 19.61
James Ford 55.5 4 264 8 3/39 0 4.73 41.85 33.0 14.55
Chris Middup 12.1 2 36 6 5/36 1 2.95 12.2 6.0 30.0
Andrew Pierce 26.2 1 107 6 4/35 0 4.06 26.3 17.83 19.35
Alan Chivers 45 3 196 5 2/27 0 4.35 54.0 39.2 13.51
Graham Tanner 24 8 54 4 2/24 0 2.25 36.0 13.5 20.0
Kuldeep Singh 9 1 38 3 3/38 0 4.22 18.0 12.66 30.0
Charlie Chivers 23 1 132 3 2/35 0 5.73 46.0 44.0 9.09
Gary Hodder 23 4 108 3 2/31 0 4.69 46.0 36.0 21.43
Derek Watkins 14 1 78 2 2/54 0 5.57 42.0 39.0 6.67
Will Christie 10 1 51 2 1/23 0 5.1 30.0 25.5 18.18
Gregory Sankaran 7 1 26 1 1/26 0 3.71 42.0 26.0 10.0
Nikhil Bhalla 12 1 42 1 1/21 0 3.5 72.0 42.0 5.0
Mike Threadgill 14 0 91 1 1/30 0 6.5 84.0 91.0 4.55
Andy Elliott 7 3 26 1 1/26 0 3.71 42.0 26.0 10.0
Kartar Singh 2 0 22 0 0/22 0 11.0     0.0
Simon Taylor 7 0 54 0 0/24 0 7.71     0.0
Rhan Heer 8 3 16 0 0/16 0 2.0     0.0
Andy Watts 3 0 12 0 0/12 0 4.0     0.0
 Wicket KeepingFielding
NameCatchesStumpingsTotal WicketsCatchesRun OutsTotal  Wickets

Andy Wills

5

1

6

1

0

1

Richard Guy

0

0

0

6

0

6

Robert Redman

0

0

0

5

0

5

James Ford

0

0

0

3

1

4

Andy Elliott

0

0

0

2

0

2

Kartar Singh

0

0

0

1

0

1

Alan Chivers

0

0

0

1

0

1

Michael Holman

0

0

0

1

0

1

Will Christie

0

0

0

1

0

1

Mark Dixon

0

0

0

1

0

1

Charlie Chivers

0

0

0

1

0

1

Andrew Pierce

0

0

0

1

0

1

Rob Iles

0

0

0

1

1

2

Simon Taylor

0

0

0

1

0

1

Terry Bishop

1

0

1

0

0

0

Nikhil Bhalla

0

0

0

1

0

1

Tim Woodman

1

1

2

0

0

0

Matt Senior

0

0

0

1

0

1

Chris Middup

0

0

0

1

0

1

Derek Watkins

0

0

0

1

0

1

Gary Hodder

0

0

0

0

1

1

Martin Roper

0

0

0

0

1

1

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