WUSGCC Annual Report 2008
This was a disappointing season in several respects. The weather was again poor, leading to 12 games being abandoned and a tour which consisted of a single game. For the first time in the club’s history we experienced relegation as the Saturday Second XI were demoted back to the SNCL Division Three which we had won the previous year. All of this could have been outweighed if the Saturday First XI had held on to their place at the top of the Premier League, which was secured as late as August. But this didn’t happen. I don’t think the failure was because they underperformed and “blew it”: rather, it was that they had performed right up to their limits in getting there.
The overall record of the club – 29 wins and 29 losses – was a little better than last year’s, largely because the record in Sunday games was better than the disastrous one in 2007. But we were still faced with the frustrating paradox that we had long lists of supposedly playing members, but sometimes couldn’t get 11 out onto the field for a particular game: this was especially true on Sundays. We need to think hard (again) about recruitment, about our commitment to Sunday cricket and about getting the best possible information about player availability – which includes being better able to distinguish “real” members from “fantasy” ones. However, I am aware that there are members who are already giving these matters serious thought!
In some ways we are the victims of our own success. The club has expanded and won two trophies in 2007. Experienced football fans will recognise the truth that success can bring at least as many problems as failure: you move up to higher levels, you need more and better players and old stalwarts are marginalised by increasing numbers of short-term players. All these problems finally caught up with the Saturday Second XI. I have remarked before how difficult it is to compete with other club’s first XIs when you are losing players to injury and unavailability in twice the numbers. We managed to win 5 games where 6 is often enough to avoid relegation, but – as with the team in 2006 – there were too many games when we were just not competitive.
But even conservatives like myself admit that the status quo ante is not an option. We move on, looking forward to next season and hoping to find a formula which will see us competing successfully on all cricket fronts. Hoping also for some better weather than in 2007 and 2008. We are surely due a decent summer!