Surely Next Season...
As I embark on this year's 1st XI report, I feel transported back to my schooldays; hastily trying to complete a homework assignment the morning after it was due to be submitted. The feeling of desperation tinged with nausea is all too familiar. The only slight difference being that this time around, the nausea is largely due to weekend indulgences of an alcoholic kind, rather than the Haribo and 7UP induced sugar hangovers I used to favour in my youth. Unfortunately for you, the reader, the result will be broadly similar; a hastily pulled together piece of sub-par writing, mildly engaging in parts, but largely failing to deliver anything of note.
That rather deflating note of mediocrity seems an appropriate analogy to summarise the 1XI season. Despite a late flourish that saw us finish second in the league, we ultimately failed again in our bid for promotion to the second tier of WEPL cricket (for the 5th year in a row, not that I’m counting or in any way bitter). Similarly, despite valiant efforts at various points throughout the competition, our bid for Lords fell 3 fences from the line.
I can understand why some amongst you will no doubt be saying, “That doesn’t actually seem too bad a season”, however, this season was the first one of the five that felt like we could and should have gone better in both competitions. Nevertheless, I will try to apply a silver lining to both, in a desperate attempt to ensure that this report doesn’t finish with you feeling more depressed about cricket than when you started reading.
The league ultimately came down to us losing 2 games to opposition who, although thoroughly deserving of the victories, we would have been expected to beat handily. We beat the league winners, Chippenham, home and away, including a memorable declaration victory at their ground that saw us take the season into the final 2 weekends. Sadly league glory was not to be, but money continues to talk in WEPL cricket and its voice is growing increasingly loud.
We can once again take solace as a club that all of our players throughout the club play purely for the enjoyment of playing for the club and the average-at-best conversation in the bar afterwards. As far as I’m aware, the rumours of Richard Guy demanding to be remunerated for his services next season are entirely unfounded. However, should I hear word that the good professor is in the employ of The Powerline Entertainments Ltd on a ‘consultancy’ basis, I will reopen investigations.
After some exceptional performances, including a first-round comeback, Lazarus would have been proud of, our Village Knockout endeavours ended in deepest darkest Somerset, once again at the last 16 stage. Having played every round away from home, this is still a really impressive effort and the travelling support was superb throughout. Many thanks to the boozers and the picnickers for their continued dedication to warm tins of Fosters and scotch eggs respectively.
The defeat was especially tough to take because it’s a game everyone involved in knew we had enough quality to win, but North Perrott were simply better on the day and we simply didn’t bat as well as we could have. One small caveat to this was Dave Jenkins, whose performances were outstanding in both of the 2 national round fixtures. Doing my usual broken record piece, I have every belief that we’ll reach the final within the next few years and when it finally does happen, I don’t think anything will be able to truly prepare Lords for the carnage that will unfold in the stands.
I won’t dwell too long on individual performances, but two players were certainly worthy of note this year. The first was Lachie Tyler, whose consistently excellent efforts leading our bowling attack seemed to go slightly under the radar. To take 43 wickets in your first season abroad, at 18 years of age and with the unavoidable weight of expectation that comes with being the club’s overseas player, was already a fantastic effort. To take those wickets opening the bowling against the top order batsmen of each club was exceptional. I know Lachie is considering a second stint in the UK, as he feels he has unfinished business with both WEPL and the ladies of Bath and I think I speak for both when I say, I hope he decides to give it/them another go.
The second is Calum Burnstone. His performances throughout the season were as outstanding as they were unexpected; particularly when playing Swindon, against whom he plundered home and away league centuries. It’s worth noting that Callum played more cricket and trained more often than anyone else at the club last year, so the return to form shouldn’t actually have been all that unexpected.
Myself, his teammates, members of the opposition, passers-by in the street and even his own family, have been swift to remind Burny of his own miserable form over the last two seasons; to the point where his place in the team was by no means guaranteed. In fact, were it not for his delightful girlfriend regularly attending games with him, I probably wouldn’t have selected him at all at the start of the season. However, despite the good-natured abuse, I know everyone in the team was genuinely pleased to see someone who obviously cares a lot about his game, do so well. For those unfamiliar with how his form works, we can now expect 2 barren seasons, while he flirts with various clubs in the WEPL about a potential move to ’take his game to the next level’, before he winds his neck in and returns to form by the 2021 season.
Predictions for next year. To have a player of Pat’s calibre show his commitment to the club by taking on the captaincy over the coming seasons is a great statement of intent for us. Having watched my ham-fisted attempts at guiding the team to a maiden WEPL Wiltshire title over the last 4 seasons, I’ve no doubt Patrick will lead the team to league glory at the first time of asking, before reminding me about my failure to do so at every given opportunity. As for the VK, it’s never wise to over-promise… So on that basis, I think we will destroy every team we face next year by in excess of 200 runs, before being the first village club in history to sell out the Lords.
I mentioned a few thank yous at the AGM, but as this will be my last report, I thought I should commit them to print this year (and also add a couple more on for good measure).
- Anita, for her on-going tolerance of our, at times, objectionable bar etiquette over the past few seasons.
- The Tea Ladies, for the consistently outrageous quality of the now Wiltshire renowned 'Marshfield Tea’.
- Andy Pierce and JB, for making it almost impossible for me to c*ck up the ever-increasing amounts of pre and post-match admin that goes on every week of the season.
- Jim Creed, for continuing to answer my annual February call asking whether he has any work for a work-shy Aussie, with no driver’s license and who will spend the majority of his waking hours on Tinder.
- And finally to our Chairman, for providing his own unique brand of counselling/psychiatric/life-coaching services every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoon over the last 4 years, when less mentally robust men would almost certainly have swung for me over that time.
Very much appreciated.
Final League Table WEPL Wiltshire - 2018 Sponsored By: Wadworth 6X
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||Calum Burnstone||17||16||0||621||113||38.81||3||2||0||71.88||1(5.88 %)|
|2||James Williams||18||14||1||597||106*||45.92||4||1||0||108.74||4(22.22 %)|
|3||Patrick Grieshaber||16||16||1||432||81||28.80||3||0||1||108.00||0(0.00 %)|
|4||Jeremy Bond||18||18||1||319||73||18.76||2||0||1||78.57||0(0.00 %)|
|5||Dave Jenkins||15||14||2||317||88||26.42||1||0||2||60.27||1(6.67 %)|
|6||William Pascall||16||15||1||234||50||16.71||1||0||3||49.79||1(6.25 %)|
|7||Sam Jukes||10||7||1||187||107||31.17||0||1||0||70.83||3(30.00 %)|
|8||Lachlan Tyler||18||14||3||162||53||14.73||1||0||3||68.94||4(22.22 %)|
|9||Cameron Walker||15||13||6||58||13*||8.29||0||0||2||67.44||2(13.33 %)|
|10||Russell Lodge||3||2||0||56||42||28.00||0||0||0||65.12||1(33.33 %)|
|11||Tom Clist||11||7||3||55||30||13.75||0||0||1||65.48||4(36.36 %)|
|12||Ben Gardner||7||6||1||54||34*||10.80||0||0||2||44.63||1(14.29 %)|
|13||Alastair Christie||11||6||4||42||20||21.00||0||0||0||55.26||5(45.45 %)|
|14||Hamish Walker||5||5||1||13||8||3.25||0||0||1||36.11||0(0.00 %)|
|15||Matt Cox||10||5||4||4||3*||4.00||0||0||1||28.57||5(50.00 %)|
|16||Todd Richardson||2||2||0||3||2||1.50||0||0||0||27.27||0(0.00 %)|
|17||Thomas Lamb||4||1||1||1||1*||-||0||0||0||100.00||3(75.00 %)|
|18||Rupert Crockett||1||1||0||1||1||1.00||0||0||0||20.00||0(0.00 %)|
|19||Glenn Perry||1||1||0||0||0||0.00||0||0||1||0.00||0(0.00 %)|
|Rank||Player||Overs||Maidens||Runs||Wickets||Best Bowling||5 Wicket Haul||Economy Rate||Strike Rate||Average|
|Rank||Player||Wicket Keeping Catches||Stumpings||Total Wicket Keeping Wickets||Fielding Catches||Run Outs||Total Fielding Wickets|