1stXI WEPL WILTSHIRe Bridesmaids Again....
Coming second in Wilts Prem for a fourth consecutive season is rather like the decision to drink Baileys at Christmas; the first 3 are tolerable, even enjoyable in parts, but by the fourth one you’re disgusted with yourself, hate your life and resent the people around you that chose to drink Strongbow Dark Fruits instead (a winner’s drink!).
Even in spite of our Stirling Moss-like fourth runners up position in 4 years, there were some positives to take from the season. The attitude in training and towards game preparations was a huge improvement on 2016; while the social side remained as vibrant as ever… Although we were eventually let down in the end by our inability to beat Swindon or Trowbridge, home or away, we turned in some fairly comprehensive performances throughout the rest of the season, including several massacres with the ball, in which the opposition were dismissed for under 100. Calne at home was particularly enjoyable, as our team that day resembled a school trip that had lost its teacher, with Ben Gardner being the oldest member of the squad. The result was a 200 run crushing, thanks in no small part to Jeremy’s 100 and 5 wicket haul. On which note… Jeremy…
Expectations for Jeremy were fairly high following his Winter down under. Having been entirely funded by the Bank of Bond for 7 months, many were expecting at least some return on what was (if you speak to Graham) a substantial investment! Luckily, he did not disappoint… Although he still possesses the mind of 14 year old with ADHD, his performances throughout the season were consistently excellent and the improvements to his game were pretty apparent to anyone that saw him play; particularly bowling with the new ball. 526 runs and 32 wickets including 3 x 5 wicket hauls was a tremendous effort and rightly won him the WEPL Wiltshire player of the year, as voted for by the other teams in the league.
Although he has now drunkenly declared on multiple occasions (including one memorable episode on tour in which he burst into tears after 8 pints of Fosters), that he has “outgrown the club” and that we need to “set him free”, I can confirm that following extensive discussions with The Chairman, we have retained his services for the 2018 campaign; irrespective of how many cash offers he receives from other ‘amateur’ local clubs (if you’re somehow reading this, you know who you are…).
The other standout performers in 2017 were undoubtedly Tom Clist and Oooohhhhhh Suffan Hassan, who not only amassed 709 league runs, but also ate a scarcely believable 47 Catherine Wheel fish finger sandwiches during his stay and also took on the responsibility of educating some of the younger members of the squad on Halal food preparation. Discussions of a return for the 2018 season are on-going; Suff rates the probability at 2%, I rate the probability at 98%, so by my own rudimentary calculations I reckon we’ve got a 50% chance of having him back.
Halal sandwiches aside, Suff was a fantastic addition to the club and was fantastic as a player, coach and non-drinking social member. Following Bades’ the previous season was always going to be a tough ask, but managed it admirably and unlike his predecessor, he didn’t suffer a dramatic decline in form in the second half of the season as he discovered other recreational activities outside cricket. I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say it was great to have him around and should he want to come back again in future, we’d be delighted to have him.
Tom Clist’s Lazarus-esque return to first team action from the evil grip of the Morrison’s Bakery was another high point for the season. 29 wickets in the league and average supply of at least 16 raspberry macaroons for each home game, was another great effort. Although he had the best figures of any bowler in the Wilts League this season with 7-15 against Great Bedwyn, his standout performance was undoubtedly our home game with Warminster, in which the wily left armer dismissed 5 of the top 6 for just 32 runs, finishing with 6-26. Although his engagement remains a clear and present danger to his progression as a cricketer, we’re hopeful we can stretch at least a couple more decent seasons out of him.
There were several other strong individual performances during the season, but a final mention to Pasc for stepping into the captaincy at the halfway point (although the rumour this was due to me wanting to concentrate on my own game was Fake News). During the #PascEra the team only lost 2 games in an impressive second half finish. Having spoken to Pasc, he puts this down to his newly installed mongrel mentality and Crazy Gang spirit of Wimbledon FC during the 80s and 90s, citing his leadership style as that of a Bajan Vinnie Jones. Maintaining this approach will see our fair play marks go out of the window, but we may well finally win a league.
Unfortunately we were undone in the Village Knockout by a lock-in the previous night and an outrageous individual innings from the Corse and Staunton skipper, who smashed 130+ from 80 balls. For the second end of season report in a row, apologies, must do better next year!
Final thanks to The Chairman, JB, A-Price, Captain Cox and Anita (for tolerating our, at times, deplorable bar etiquette), for all of the work that they do during the season and particularly on the match days.
Until next season, when I will hopefully be reporting a Strongbow Dark Fruits fuelled first placed finish, have a splendid Winter.
Final Table WEPL Wiltshire - 2017
p - Played, w - Won (10), l - Lost (0), c - Cancelled (6), a - Abandoned (6), t - Tied (5), BatP - Batting Bonus Points, BowlP - Bowling Bonus Points, Pen - Penalty Points, Pts - Points
|Rank||Player||Games||Inns||Not Outs||Runs||High Score||Avg||50s||100s||Ducks||Strike Rate||Did Not Bat(%)|
|1||Suffan Hassan||18||18||3||709||99*||47.27||7||0||0||70.57||0(0.00 %)|
|2||Jeremy Bond||18||17||2||526||109||35.07||5||1||1||97.05||1(5.56 %)|
|3||James Williams||16||16||5||466||104||42.36||1||2||2||98.68||0(0.00 %)|
|4||William Pascall||15||15||1||383||113*||27.36||0||1||2||53.68||0(0.00 %)|
|5||Todd Richardson||16||14||3||266||77*||24.18||2||0||3||62.23||2(12.50 %)|
|6||Ben Gardner||16||16||2||232||42||16.57||0||0||4||53.23||1(6.25 %)|
|7||Russell Lodge||9||9||0||144||37||16.00||0||0||1||66.06||0(0.00 %)|
|8||Cameron Walker||16||11||3||141||45||17.63||0||0||1||58.02||5(31.25 %)|
|9||Tom Clist||17||8||3||90||30||18.00||0||0||0||48.91||9(52.94 %)|
|10||Rupert Crockett||5||5||1||89||60*||22.25||1||0||2||68.46||0(0.00 %)|
|11||Calum Burnstone||8||6||1||30||16||6.00||0||0||2||31.91||2(25.00 %)|
|12||Alastair Christie||12||6||0||20||9||3.33||0||0||3||46.51||6(50.00 %)|
|13||Matt Cox||18||6||2||15||8||3.75||0||0||0||22.06||12(66.67 %)|
|14||Kevin Hendy||1||1||0||6||6||6.00||0||0||0||15.79||0(0.00 %)|
|15||Thomas Lamb||8||4||3||2||1*||2.00||0||0||1||16.67||4(50.00 %)|
|16||Hamish Walker||1||1||0||1||1||1.00||0||0||0||14.29||0(0.00 %)|
|17||Oliver Rogers-Jones||2||1||0||0||0||0.00||0||0||1||0.00||1(50.00 %)|
|18||Matt Watson||1||0||0||0||-||0||0||0||-||1(100.00 %)|
|Rank||Player||Overs||Maidens||Runs||Wickets||Best Bowling||5 Wicket Haul||Economy Rate||Strike Rate||Average|