††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †P†††††††† † W†††††† D†††††††† L††††††††† Pts
Byfield†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 18††††††††† 13††††† 4††††††††† 1†††††††††† 308†† Champions
Syresham†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 18††††††††† 11††††† 3††††††††† 4†††††††††† 273
Evenley†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 18†††† †††††11††††† 2††††††††† 5††††††††† 270
Warwick University Staff††††††† 18††††††††† 11††††† 2††††††††† 5††††††††† 269
Priors†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 18††††††† ††† 6††††† 4††††††††† 8†††††††††† 204
Marston St Lawrence†††††††††††††† 18††††††† ††† 6††††† 4††††††††† 8†††††††††† 194
Bodicote††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 18††††††† ††† 6††††† 1†††††††† 11†††††††† 185
Fenny Compton†††††††††††††††††††††† 18††††††† ††† 6††††† 3††††††††† 9††††††††† 180†† *
Woodford Halse††††††††††††††††††††† 18††††††† ††† 6††††† 1††† †††††11††††††††† 180††
Willoughby††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 18††††††† ††† 1††††† 2†††††††† 15††††††††† 102†† Relegated
Fenny Compton finish higher than Woodford by virtue of winning more away games (3/1)
* Five points deducted for failing to provide an umpire
The above table of course doesnít tell the whole truth, but overall is probably an accurate reflection of our performance over the whole season. What it conceals is that three of the five games we lost were the last three, and that before that we were actually top of the league. So we could have won it, and if weíd not run out of steam in the home straight, we would have done. But of course itís more complex that that, because a good number of the victories were tight to say the least. Five of the eleven victories could easily have gone the other way, whereas the same could be said of only one defeat (Fenny Compton at home, 7 runs short). But thatís what makes the game fun and memorable. In chronological order who can forget Rich Lamb grinding out a seasonís top score of 70 to ensure we got home against Marston, the superb team performances v Syresham at home (12 run margin secured via those stunning catches in the deep), and Byfield away (8 run margin including the best first-team batting of the season in a rare 100 run stand by Chris Lamb and Kevin Jacob when we were 4-3 against the most hostile quick bowling we faced all season from Byfieldís young quickie), or the implausible one-wicket victory against Priors, climaxed by the Nairs twinsí manic running between the wickets that drove the Prophet duo into even greater mania, or the astonishing batting of Ajit on a dodgy Fenny Compton track, blitzing 41 of the 43 scored whilst he was at the wicket, having gone in at 55-6, with us still 41 short of a paltry target.
On the negative side sometimes as skipper you look back and say we chucked that one away, but for me only the defeat against Woodford Halse away and, to a lesser extent, the game against Fenny at home came into that category. Also, the statistics do tell at least some of the truth on the batting front: no average above thirty, only eight fifties (incl. four scored by guys who normally bat lower down) and a highest individual Saturday aggregate of 268, not good enough when we only lost two out of 18 games to the weather.
I also regret not fielding a side in the Premier Division cup quarter final (a mixture of deferring to Woodford Halseís wish to postpone and then a decision, when faced with trying to get 22 men out on a Thursday night, to prioritise the second teamís need to win a game, any game!). On a personal note I wonít forget getting out with five balls to go against Fenny to lose the game by seven runs, and having the same Syresham batsman dropped three times in one of my rare overs, and then watching the game, and second place in the league, go down the plughole as he then raced to 90 odd off 60 balls.
But letís dwell on the positives: that five regulars bowled consistently well all season and got over twenty wickets each, often keeping us in contention in (and winning) those tight games; that we were the only side to beat Byfield (winners of league and divisional cup) all season; that Priors still havenít beaten us in either league or cup; that the games overall were a pleasure to play in (or watch!); that we played with fantastic team spirit; that our team spirit was great and no-one threw a wobbly all season; that some lower middle-order guys batted superbly when the top order didnít click; that newcomer Ali Abbas took to English amateur league cricket (and a non-taped ball) like the proverbial duck to water; that Ajit and Ajay performed heroically throughout despite niggling injuries that would have deterred many from playing at all; that people generally showed a willingness to put the team before themselves, both on and off the pitch; that Chris Cooperís and Ashfaqís tenth-wicket stand at Syresham near-doubled the total and restored some pride in an otherwise demoralising final league game; that Andrew Hardwick, Nick Boucher and Alan Lovell officiated excellently and uncontroversially; and that in Charlie Yeomans and his colleagues we have a team of ground staff willing and able to produce the consistently best wickets in the league.
Reflections looking forward: that our first six batsmen need to think about batting longer; that games are often won and lost in the first ten and last five overs; that we need to come up with a way of beating bete noirs Evenley; that prima facie it looks as if weíre going into next season with similar availability, but that we must still hope that Paul Wilsonís superb recruitment efforts produce more talent; and that teas and match reports should be done by many, not a few.
R Lamb †††††††††† 11††† 256†† 28.44
Ajit Nair †††††††† 13††† 239†† 26.56
S Lamb †††††††††† 10††† 185†† 26.43
V Bakhru ††††††† ††8 †††174†† 24.86
S Sandhu ††††††† 15††† 213†† 23.67
K Jacob ††††††††† 13††† 268†† 20.62
C Lamb †††††††††† 14††† 251†† 17.93
R Wood ††††††††† 13††† 206†† 17.17
P Wilson †††††††† 10††† 153†† 17
V Krishnan †††† ††5†††† 82††† 16.4
J Wortmann ††† ††7†††† 96††† 13.71
A Abbas †††††††† 13†††† 43††† 10.75
Ajay Nair ††††††† 13†††† 38††††† 9.5
C Stride ††††††††† 15†††† 23††††† 3.83
Name †††††††††† Ov†† Md W Runs Bst††† Econ S R†††† AV
A Abbas†††††† 118.2† 27† 25† 363† 5--45† 3.07††† 28.4†† 14.52
S Sandhu††††† 101.1††† 7† 29 457†† 5--26 4.52††† 20.93 15.76
C Stride††††††† 167.1† 38† 29 496†† 4--46† 2.97†† 34.59 17.1
Ajit Nair†††††† 119.5† 14† 22 418†† 4--52† 3.49†† 32.68 19.0
Ajay Nair††††† 110.2† 14† 21 400†† 3--28† 3.63†† 31.52 19.05
S Lamb††††††††††† 33†††† 2††† 5 180†† 4--38† 5.45†† 39.6†† 36
Steve Lamb 03/12/2008