SATURDAY 1ST XI & CUP GAMES:

CAPTAIN’S REPORT – ANKUR CHANDRA

 

2014 - Final League Standings:

 

 

Played

Won

Abandoned

N/R

Lost

Points

Middleton Cheney

18

11

1

2

4

287

Byfield

18

12

1

2

3

284

Syresham

18

11

2

1

4

268

Evenley

18

12

1

0

5

262

Warwick Uni

18

10

4

1

3

251

Marston St. Lawrence

18

9

3

0

6

213

Charlton

18

4

2

0

12

111

Afro Caribbean

18

3

3

0

12

109

Castlethorpe

18

3

3

0

12

107

Wroxton

18

0

2

1

15

70

 

Another fantastic season which went down to the last game of the league, where Byfield choked to lose to a narrow margin to Syresham, in the process losing crucial points while Middleton Cheney beat Wroxton in a close game to get their full 20 points and be crowned champions for the first time. We’ve now had three different teams win the trophy in the last three years; just goes to show the quality of cricket is improving and the number of talented cricketers coming through is increasing. Congratulations to Middleton Cheney on winning the league and for playing some quality cricket throughout the season.

For us though, just like the last season, this was another season of ‘what ifs’.

The 2013 season saw us register the most number of wins in our history in the league (15 wins out of a possible 18, including 12 wins in a row), 319 points, the most collected by us, around 2800 runs with 5 centuries, 10 fifties and 200 wickets in a season where none of the games were abandoned due to rain, however, we eventually lost our penultimate game to Evenley and with that our hopes of winning the league. We did win the Premier Division T20 cup victory last year and we were all looking forward to season 2014.

This season though, the weather gods had other plans. Though we lost the same number of games as the runners up and one less game than the eventual champions, five of our games were abandoned due to rain, the most for any team. To make matters worse, out of the five abandoned games, two of those games were against the teams which got relegated, another two were at home against sides that finished below us and one of those games was against Byfield, who were struggling at 80/8 when the match had to be abandoned. Cricket is a funny game, I know, but we backed ourselves to get full 20 points against each of those teams; that is a maximum of 100 points and the league table would have looked completely different. However, there are no ifs and buts in cricket and the fact that everyone who played last season, old and new, thoroughly enjoyed the experience, gives the club most satisfaction.

There were some outstanding individual and team performances last season. While my six-wicket haul against Afro Caribbean was a fluke, the victory against Evenley at their ground (the first time ever that the 1st XI beat Evenley) was anything but that. Some intelligent batting helped us post a brilliant score and then Prasham ran through the Evenley batting order picking up six wickets for a mere 25 runs.

The win over Middleton Cheney at home, while defending only 120 was another great achievement by the team. It is difficult defending even 320 on our pitch, a batsman’s paradise, so while the batting failed, the bowlers did a tremendous job to restrict the opposition to 114 and win a close encounter. Last like season, we did the double over Syresham once again, winning comfortably both home and away. Though we were knocked out of the SNCL T20 cup in the first round, we made it to the finals of the Wardington T20 Cup, only to lose to Syresham. The positives from the game – to post a respectable 118 despite being 14/6 in 6 overs and then to take the match to the 19th over; once again a brilliant team performance and some fantastic individual performances by Prasham, Wahab and Sir Ali Faridi helped us stay in the game for most of the 40 overs.

We’ve now won 25 of a possible 36 league games since I took over as captain in 2013. It is fair to say that the most important reason for that goes down to the fact that we have had a core and stable team, players who understand their own game and most importantly play for the team. Sourabh scored over 500 runs this season, Srikanth 400+, Rob scored over 350 runs while the ever reliable trio of all-rounders Sandeep, Ali Faridi and vice-captain Danny took over 40 wickets and scored 300+ runs between them. Prasham was the spearhead of the attack taking a bunch of wickets and keeping the pressure on the opposition batting. There were some notable performances from Rich Lamb, Chris Williams, Sid Auto and Prasun as well which helped us either post good totals or helped us in picking up key wickets. Most importantly, all the above players have been involved in one or more crucial partnerships while batting or bowling (bowling also works in partnerships) which once again highlights the ‘there is no I in the team’ attitude!

Having said that, a cricket team is made up of 11 players and this is where the newcomers last season played such an essential role in the success of the team. Players like Rambo Rameez (those big inswingers and the big follow through!) and Ahmed Gayle Puri (I think you hit a total of 100 6s last season!), to name a few, were outstanding cricketers who contributed with both bat and ball last season. We are a university club and while the core remains the same, we always welcome new cricketers from the current batch of students, who want to play cricket; not just Saturday cricket, but any form or level of cricket which they want to play for us, be it T20s on Wednesday evenings, friendly cricket on Sundays or league cricket on Saturdays.

This has been an enjoyable season for one and all and our consistently good performances on Saturdays as well as Sundays goes to show that as a club, we are moving forward in the right direction. I, on behalf of all those who played on Saturday, would like to thank our chairman Lincoln Allison, Treasurer Andy Davidson and Steve Lamb for helping us build this team, for all your support and also for all your help with the home umpiring this season.

I would also like to thank our league secretary Chris Cooper for helping us with all the league related communications and our coach/statistician Alan Lovell, who despite his ill health this season, has been a constant source of encouragement.

A big thank you to Prasham, Sourabh and Srikanth for travelling from London to all our home and away games (18 Saturdays, someone told me that even the TC on the train, an avid cricket fan is now good friends with you guys) and to Rob, Sandeep, Danny and Sir Ali Faridi for the constant advice and help.

See you all at the AGM and wish you all a happy 2015 in advance.

 

Cheers

Ankur Chandra

 

“Own your weaknesses, acknowledge your disadvantages, become a symbol and stay strong through the end” – Joachim Loew