In terms of results the record reads: played 14, won 10, lost 4 (+ the game at Barnardís Green abandoned due to atrocious weather after 6 overs of the second innings). Analysis of the ten victories indicates a neat 5-5 split between batting first and batting second. However defeats to Blenheim Park by 5 wkts, new opponents Marton by 4 wkts, and Barby by 6 wkts, might suggest we are more likely to win if we bat second and chase a target. Only once, in our heaviest defeat (v Oxford University Staff Club by 86 runs), did we lose batting second. You are invited to draw your own conclusions from these stats.
But of course Sunday cricket has always been about much more than just winning and losing, and whether we bat first or second. It's about enjoyment and about everybody getting involved, preferably whilst playing competitive and challenging games. Every Sunday game this season ticked these boxes, to a greater or lesser extent, and for this correspondent, who captained eight and umpired five encounters, this was one of the most enjoyable Sunday seasons of recent times, despite being injured and therefore hors de combat for the first month.
For the skippers (Steve (8 games), Richard (3), Lincoln (2), Fahad (2) ) it was also fun to play with such a good-natured easy-to-captain bunch of guys, who played without exception in such a positive spirit.
A few thoughts on the seasonís highlights (no doubt others can add their own):
Batting: mainstays were Rich Lamb with an aggregate of 433 and an average of 36.1, highest score 75, Tazeem 364 @ 30.33, h.s. 50 and Ilyas 309, @ 38.6, h.s. 78*. The Sunday seasonís two highest scores went to club record holder Himanshu, whose three Sunday innings were 131, 86*, and a golden duck, i.e. an average of 108.5!
Another batting highlight was the early August performance of Umar Taj, who in successive weeks recorded a maiden half-century (52) at Aston Unity CC, followed by a maiden century (105) at Lapworth. Just reward for a calming presence totally dedicated to developing his skills as a batter and keeper.
Bowling was shared by a wide range of performers, including Zain (9 wkts) Shanaka Perera (8), Steve Lamb (8), Dani Razza (7), Fahad Qasim (7), David Wilson (7), Hassan Osto (7), Arunava Sengupta (4), Ilyas Chatta (3), Chris Williams (3), George King (2), Pavan Kumar (1), & Sandeep Niman. Two match-changing best spells come to mind: Hassan Osto's 5-0-18-4 v Leicester Teachers & Mossdale, and Fahad's 7-2-30-5 v Temple Grafton.
Champagne moment: Pavan Kumar's last-ball-of-the-innings six at Temple Grafton.
Lowlight: your correspondent's top-edge into the teeth at Lapworth, which caused no lasting damage, but deprived him of the chance to hit the winning runs!
For more examples of high- and lowlights please consult the match reports on the club website.
Most curious (possibly unprecedented?) †statistic must surely be that three centuries were scored against us in 2016: McDonald 108 for Leicestershire Teachers, Taqfer 104 for Wolverhampton Greenflies and R. Arnold 120 for Lapworth, but that in all three cases we still won the game.
Looking forward, our aim for next season must be to consolidate, and perhaps extend, the fixture list, based on the expectation that next year's squad will be as strong as this year's, with the transient Masterís programmes students now more firmly supported by a welcome and consistently available JLR contingent. However positive proactive recruitment over the close season remains crucial, including from the new intake of postgrads. The Staff & Graduate 'Rock-up' cricket nets sessions in the Desso Hall on Sunday afternoons (2.30-4.30) from Oct. 09 till Dec. 04. remain key. Experience shows that our regular presence there will make that important difference† to recruitment.
On a personal note, whilst I continue to enjoy arranging the Sunday fixture list, selecting the teams, making the tea (twice!) and generally making sure games happen, the job would be made considerably easier if all members would register availability on Dani Sherazi's site and make sure they respond promptly to requests in team sheets for confirmation that they will play. Late cry-offs are the biggest curse. Having to tell the opposition on a Thursday evening that we can't raise a side is not good. Fortunately we only had to do this once on a Sunday, albeit it was done to us on two occasions.
Finally, thanks to all those who turned up regularly on time to the Varsity. There is no truth in the rumour that I plan to name and shame recidivist latecomers (apart from me!) and to publish an anthology of reasons, plausible and otherwise, given for keeping others waiting!
This report is posted in draft form. If any Sunday players wish to add to the list of champagne moments, or to record other memorable occurrences, or to make factual amendments, for possible inclusion in the final version, please email them to me.
On behalf of the club I wish all those who played this season but who will either certainly, probably or possibly not be available next season, all the very best for the future. It was a pleasure getting to know you and playing together the game we all love. You help to make this club what it is: a genuinely diverse sporting community that seeks to transcend any cultural differences and bring people together who might otherwise never have met.