batting the problem for 3rd XI - Again
After starting the last game of the season with a possibility of finishing fourth, defeat to Chippenham consigned the 3rd’s to sixth place in Wiltshire League 8. To end up with five wins, some close defeats and the odd thrashing was probably a fair reflection on the strength of the team and the league as a whole. Overall the bowling attack performed well, notably the 2016 Bowler of the year Rich Guy was only required for 18.4 overs. For most of the season the fielding was good, with most catches taken, and with some younger legs in the field there were far fewer embarrassing three-man relays to convey the ball back from near the boundary. Where the 3rd’s struggled was in the batting department, and a popular expression took hold mid-season – ‘we’re probably 25 runs short’. This was certainly the case on a number of occasions, however in truth the deficit was more often 50-75 runs too low. That said two batsman stood out, Gary Hodder performed with great consistency, rarely failing to reach double figures and usually contributing significantly, ending the season with 253 runs. The standout was surely the evergreen Professor Guy, who hit a century in the heat at Avebury, and was dismissed for 99 at Box and amassed 411 runs in 12 games. All too often once one the Prof, or Hodder had been dismissed the innings began to slide away.
Amongst the regulars there were some flashes of better things – Will Christie produced some nuggety knocks, Terry Bishop, reverting to his tried and tested technique, started to look the part and the mid-season introduction of Marshfield’s version of Eoin Morgan, Daniel Paul, added some solidity to the middle order. Indeed Daniel twice provided the calmness to get over the line when chasing low targets.
|Rank||Player||Games||Inns||Not Outs||Runs||High Score||Avg||50s||100s||Ducks||Strike Rate||Did Not Bat(%)|
|1||Richard Guy||12||10||1||411||108||45.67||1||1||0||55.69||2(16.67 %)|
|2||Gary Hodder||11||9||0||253||57||28.11||1||0||0||59.77||2(18.18 %)|
|3||George Pollitt||3||3||0||129||76||43.00||1||0||0||103.23||0(0.00 %)|
|4||Will Christie||10||10||3||123||29||17.57||0||0||0||56.73||0(0.00 %)|
|5||Andy Elliott||5||5||0||109||46||21.80||0||0||0||69.23||0(0.00 %)|
|6||Daniel Paul||6||6||2||86||20*||21.50||0||0||0||35.71||0(0.00 %)|
|7||Tim Woodman||11||8||5||75||28*||25.00||0||0||1||69.07||3(27.27 %)|
|8||Oliver Hendy||5||5||0||74||41||14.80||0||0||0||44.00||0(0.00 %)|
|9||Terry Bishop||11||11||1||65||17||6.50||0||0||0||25.58||0(0.00 %)|
|10||Callum Duckett||12||11||1||56||10*||5.60||0||0||2||48.84||1(8.33 %)|
|11||Keith Pullin||1||1||0||50||50||50.00||1||0||0||71.43||0(0.00 %)|
|12||Chris Ruddell||12||8||5||39||18*||13.00||0||0||1||21.17||4(33.33 %)|
|13||Ollie Rogers-Jones||2||2||2||27||16*||-||0||0||0||220.00||0(0.00 %)|
|14||Mark Dixon||11||6||1||27||12*||5.40||0||0||2||36.49||5(45.45 %)|
|15||Martin Roper||9||5||1||22||15||5.50||0||0||2||12.50||4(44.44 %)|
|16||Andy Wills||5||4||1||21||14*||7.00||0||0||1||15.91||1(20.00 %)|
|17||Andrew Pierce||4||3||0||11||11||3.67||0||0||2||0.00||1(25.00 %)|
|18||Ben White||2||2||1||10||10||10.00||0||0||0||76.92||0(0.00 %)|
|19||Warren Shipp||7||4||0||10||7||2.50||0||0||0||42.86||3(42.86 %)|
|20||Hussain Saeed||3||2||0||9||9||4.50||0||0||1||0.00||1(33.33 %)|
|21||Charles Harris||7||3||0||7||6||2.33||0||0||1||16.67||4(57.14 %)|
|22||Tim Hawke||9||6||1||5||4||1.00||0||0||4||11.76||3(33.33 %)|
|23||Mushtaq Md||1||1||0||1||1||1.00||0||0||0||-||0(0.00 %)|
|24||Alan Chivers||2||1||0||0||0||0.00||0||0||1||0.00||1(50.00 %)|
|25||Matt Roberts||1||0||0||0||-||0||0||0||-||1(100.00 %)|
|26||Sandra Rouse||3||0||0||0||-||0||0||0||-||3(100.00 %)|
The season was much enlivened by a genuine contest for the Bowler of the Year title. Stalwart (i.e. ‘ageing’) Mark ‘Dicko’ Dixon, also known as the Preston Thunder/Trundler (delete as appropriate) was pushed all the way by Chris Ruddell, finally coming in to his own as a spin bowler not afraid to use flight to try to take wickets (although somewhat prone to avoiding the use of the pitch). Indeed going in to the last few matches Ruddell led the way, before a resurgent Dixon, finally allowed to bowl at lower order batsman ran through the Wanborough tail for an astonishing 4-13 from just 6.2 overs. Incredibly this was not his best return of the season – the first match with Wanborough had seen him claim 5-8 in 8.1 overs. Even more incredibly Gary Hodder had claimed five wickets in just 4.2 overs against Calne – also 5-8. Ruddell’s best figures for the year and indeed in his career came against Box, where he took his first ever five wicket haul, ending up with 9-2-27-6, and including a bowled, an LBW, a stumped and a caught among the dismissals.
Unluckiest bowler of the year was surely Warren ‘Morne’ Shipp. An imposing looking figure, Warren produced some superb bowling over the course of the season, often with little reward. Consistently finding away swing that at times seemed almost unplayable, he somehow only took three wickets from 52 overs, figures that in no way do justice to the respect with which he was played. The new nickname was applied during the England vs South Africa series, where poor Morne Morkel similarly underwent a spell after spell of near misses.
Gary Hodder bowled to good effect finishing with 12 wickets, including one that he described (repeatedly, and at length) as a once in a season ball. Sadly for Gary the title for Ball of the season ended up with Daniel Paul for an unplayable delivery against Wanborough. Others to make an impact were Will (Maxi-not-mini-chops) Christie, Hussain Saeed and Daniel Paul.
The review cannot pass without mention of the bowling exploits of Terry Bishop and Tim Hawke. Terry, perhaps for too long seen as a batsman and ‘specialist’ gulley fielder, was called on to bowl on occasion. Against Trowbridge, with the attack depleted by absence and injury, the skipper turned to Terry, who didn’t disappoint, returning figures of 5-0-25-1. Tim Hawke too, finding his feet this season also took a wicket against Trowbridge.
|Rank||Player||Overs||Maidens||Runs||Wickets||Best Bowling||5 Wicket Haul||Economy Rate||Strike Rate||Average|
In the field, on the whole, things went well, with the majority of catches that should be taken, being taken. The only glaring exception proved to be against Calne at home, where a prolonged pre-match session led to calamity in the field, with countless chances missed. Terry performed sterling work in the gulley (and later the galley – see below), Gary willingly fielded close to the bat on a regular basis and took some sharp catches. Fielder of the year though was Callum Duckett, who took five catches, and saved many runs in the course of the season. Tim Hawke claimed three catches and proved a valuable asset, and congratulations to young Charles Harris, who this season claimed his first ever catch for Marshfield, and apparently his first catch for around 35 years.
Behind the stumps the skipper had a reasonable season, once again taking more stumpings (11) than catches (9). Martin Roper proved an able stand-in and also claimed four dismissals.
|Rank||Player||WK Catches||Stumpings||Total WK||Catches||Run Outs||Total Fielding Wickets|
Off the five wins, two came against Wanborough who finished bottom of the league. Box were beaten early in the season on a day that they could only field eight players, and must be given credit for turning up rather than conceding the game. Bathford, having gained a narrow win on the first day of the season were defeated in the reverse. The biggest win came on a scorching day at Avebury, with possibly the strongest 3rd XI Marshfield will ever put out. A century from the Prof, a sublime 76 from Pollitt and 46 from Andy Elliott helped the 3rd’s to a magnificent 300 from the 45 overs. Avebury clearly had no chance of chasing this down, not least as club legend Ben ‘Chalky’ White ripped out three of the top order for not very many.
Chippenham away (lost by 22 runs) and Box away (lost by 30 runs) were near misses and even the 63 run defeat at Calne was deceptive – chasing 203 for the win, the 3rds were 90-0 at drinks, before sliding away to 139-9. A persistent nagging feeling remains that the inclusion of one more consistent (30 runs a game) batsmen could have closed out a few more wins.
By far the best game of cricket was the game against Trowbridge at home. After a mad decision by the skipper to bat first, the almost inevitable 3rd’s collapse ensued, rescued partly the skippers slogged 28 not out, but in no way was 62 all out going to be enough. And yet with Trowbridge at 24-6 and staring down the barrel and even at 58-8, and 62-9 all outcomes were in play. To lose was disappointing, but what a game!
To finish a vignette. After the first Avebury game a player ventured to the skipper (who had taken a catch and stumped three others, ‘You’ve obviously played at a higher level…’. Your correspondent mumbled something along the lines of yes when younger etc, but left the field thinking ‘it would be hard to conceive of a much lower level…’ However on reflection that would be unfair – the standard of cricket seen this season has been good, with some fine performances both for and against, and for the most part cricket played in the right spirit. I look forward to more of the same next season.
Batsman Of The Year – ‘It’s That Man Again’
A triumphant return to the honours board for Prof Guy, one century and also joining the dismissed for 99 club. It’s always a shock when Rich gets out.
Bowler Of The Year
The honours board will say Dixon, but Ruddell pushed him all the way and it was a highly entertaining contest. Chris can feel he had truly matured as a spin bowler this year.
Fielder Of The Year
Some good contributions all round, but Callum just edges it. Saved any number of runs in the outfield and solid when taking catches.
The Mary Berry Award For Teas
Some excellent work this season, and some interesting contenders from our opposition (the beige offering at Box lived long in the memory and the digestive system). Illusion cakes are all the rage in the kitchens of the land, but I particularly enjoyed the illusion sausage rolls that don’t contain sausage. I believe our Northern correspondent enjoyed them too. The award for the best tea goes to Terry with the reappearance of the legendary coronation chicken sandwich.
The George Best Hangover award (sponsored by Strongbow ‘Dark Fruit’)
Callum Duckett – simply the best hangover I’ve seen in years (and to be fair, still more mobile in the field than many).
The Michael Fish Weather Award
A close contest here – two rained off games against NALGO probably avoided two defeats, but the best weather intervention was the epic thunderstorm and squall which saw Dicko’s ‘run’-up stall mid leap and force him to go back and start again…
The Geoffrey Boycott Award For Best Run Out
Joint award as ever and despite some ‘interesting’ running from the old gang of Guy and Pollitt (sounds like a luxury soap manufacturer), the 2017 award goes to Dixon and Harris (small country solicitors) for the run-out which led to the epic bat throwing incident, and Charles Harris’s new name (Charles ‘F*&king’ Harris), according to Dicko at least…
The Matt Prior ‘Bat Rage’ Trophy
Awarded to Mark Dixon, following the aforementioned run out. Your correspondent passed young Dixon on his way to the crease, and noted that he was just starting to come to the boil. What followed was a sensational piece of bat throwing and the Richards’s description of the outcome deserves to be quoted again “…no dull thud as the offending article landed in the long grass; instead an almighty clatter as the Kookaburra special crashed into the pavilion steps and adjacent bench. Almost drowned out the invective issuing from the sad victim…”
The David Bailey Award for Photography
Spectacular work from Martin Roper – ‘Do you mind if I take a photo for the match report?’, ‘I’d rather you didn’t thanks’, ‘Ok then, I won’t’. What he didn’t say was that he already had twenty in the bag, including a shot of a desperate baker plugging his wares (we assume)…
The David Coleman Award For Comment
Overheard during the final game of the season and referring to seam bowler Dixon, ‘he’s not getting any turn…’ Surely the final nail in the coffin for the puffer?
2017 Division 8 Final League table
|Swindon NALGO 2||16||12||2||0||2||67||95||15||310|
|Spye Park 2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|