Wollaston Cricket Club

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2000 

First things first. Congratulations to the Second Team - Champions of Division Two. They timed their end of season run-in to perfection to finish six points ahead of second placed Rothwell, collecting twelve wins (possibly a record) and only two defeats along the way. Well done lads!

The First Eleven finished fifth, winning seven, losing five and achieved a new innings Club record total of 282 for 4 away at S&L Corby and a new opening stand of 187 v Rushton away.

The season started slowly and the wet spring put paid to any pre-season practice we had planned and completely wiped out the first week’s County League programme. Our sponsored match shirts and “overseas” player had to wait. The Seconds’ had to wait even longer to start when the following week the Burton pitch was deemed too wet.

Individually there were maiden centuries for Steve Musgrave, Matthew Jones and Brett Hanson and a hat trick for John Lavin.

Our  new recruits, Steve Musgrave, Warren Stockwell, James Bannard  and Harmit Bahra all fitted in well with the former scoring a century and taking five wickets in an innings twice, and Harmet also taking two ‘fives’. 

Sunday cricket proved hard going with the non-availability of players causing the biggest problem.

The Under Thirteens’ had a good season and finished runners-up in the Higham League and along with the Under Elevens’ supplied boys’ for County  and District Squads

The Club was fortunate to have a full complement of officials on Saturdays’ which makes for a more enjoyable game for everyone and our thanks are due to umpire Dave Ekins, scorers’ Les Underwood and Judy Rowe, with Lynn Perry, Dick Underwood and Colin Barber on the subs’ bench. The teas were again superb and much appreciated. 

The Six a Side was  played in beautiful sunshine with some members putting in a twelve hour day to make it a great day for all the participants.

Off the pitch  the season was very successful  with our sponsors and Vice Presidents giving us wonderful support - enabling us to lay two new pitches in the autumn and overcome four costly break-ins to the Clubhouse. We would also like to give a special thanks to Gordon Grant, our main sponsor over many years and wish him well on leaving the Cuckoo.

The tote ran well and hopefully this can be expanded next season- contact Nick Shelton for your number!

Finally, we must again congratulate the captains. To engender the sort of team spirit that was evident last season in both the First and the Second teams it needs the support of the players and some forethought from the skippers’ involved. This was true in both cases.  Well done Wollaston!                                                                                                  

   

FIRST TEAM

An improvement on 1999’s fifth position was promised and with the addition of Australian all-rounder Steve Musgrave there was no reason why this shouldn’t be achieved.

The reality was once again much promise – quality in patches, some good results entwined with much mediocrity. At times the team looked almost impossible to motivate, drifting through games, fielding like we were waiting for the fifty overs to finish and batting in a cavalier undisciplined fashion. Two good examples: -

Saturday 5th August saw us travel to Towcester, never our favourite ground, but certainly a game that we should have come out on top in. After being put in on a “sporty track”, we achieved 169 for 9 in 50 overs, - a competitive total considering only Matthew Jones and Steve Musgrave made more than twenty; extras contributing a mammoth 61. The tea-time optimism was quickly crushed however, as, not without fortune, the home side cantered to 166 for 3in 35.1 overs after a fielding display which was at best pathetic and gave no support to the bowlers.

The following Saturday however saw “Dr Jekyl“ appear again as we won a tight game against a greatly improved Gt. Oakley team. Electing to bat we made 178 for 8 in our fifty on a typical Wollaston wicket which proved easier to bat on before tea than after. Matt Jones made 54 before being carelessly run out; contributions from Shelton, Musgrave and Luck gave us a target for our bowlers, the slowest attack in the division, to bowl at. The bowlers were immediately on the spot (Musgrave 4-48, Bahra 4-41) and the fielding keen, giving nothing away, putting Oakley under constant pressure, every man giving his all ensuring maximum points. The comment from Mus was “we played ‘ in Aussie style’”.  

On our day we were  “hungry” and keen – the performance at Rushton in the cup was awesome – their captain admitting that they “came third”. The league match at the same venue was equally “professional”. On a good track Rushton made 185, (another four wickets for Skippy the bush kangaroo) a total that was 70 short as Matt Jones (96*) and Nick Shelton (67*) knocked off the total with total ease.

The mid-season acquisition of Harmit Bahra from Cutler Hammer gave the First team a welcome injection, his bowling ideally suited to Wollaston pitches and the promise of middle order runs is on the cards for 2001.

The talisman of our season was once again Nick Shelton. To have such a talented keeper / opening bat is a huge benefit for the club and his work for the Club off the field gained him the welcome and justified honour of “Clubman of the Year.”

We could learn a lot from on how to play cricket – how to keep the scoreboard ticking over, how to pace an innings and how to concentrate for the benefit of the team. A great team player – let’s hope that he breaks the Club record for most runs in a season in 2001. We could learn a lot from him on how to play the game – I can’t give higher praise than that.                   

 

The question the First Xl must consider is “are we happy for the team to finish  mid-table” . If the answer is “yes” we should carry on as we are. But, if we have ambitions and aspirations to achieve a higher finish, improve as a team and possibly achieve promotion to the Championship, we must, a) increase our commitment to playing on Saturdays’, and b) Practise (everyone) two evening a week.

The choice is the 2001 Captain’s - and ours, but we must all be behind him one hundred per cent!

However, praise is due for our Second Team who were crowned Champions of Division Two – confirming them as the best County League second team in 2000 – a super achievement.  

Despite of the break-ins the Club has had a successful season off the pitch and thanks are due to John Hodges (ground) and all the members who have raised funds in various ways over the summer to put the Club on an even keel.  

    

SECOND TEAM 

Having waited all winter and then  another two Saturdays’ for our first game, we were all raring to go when we eventually started the season with a victory at Kettering. It was a fitting start to a season in which we played very positively as a team and saw some excellent personal performances.

After two wins and a draw we travelled to Rothwell feeling very confident but it proved to be our toughest game of the year. We struggled to 110 for 7 on a difficult wicket and never looked like causing them too many problems after accidentally dismissing the slow scoring Julian Marlow early on.

We played well in the middle of the season, recording good wins against Isham, Corby, Burton Latimer and Rushden. Our teams’ were not as strong during this part of the season but were helped by impressive bowling from Warren Stockwell, Harmit Bahra and even John Pike (in his golf shoes!).

However, although we were helped out on occasions, it was the consistency of our regular players that won us the games; all of the bowlers and top order batsmen showed themselves capable of playing very well when it was needed most.

As our side became stronger again towards the end of the summer we began to dominate games and I even had to declare a couple of times! We were third in the league, still had the two top teams to play and everyone was talking about going for the title.

The first of the two games was away at Stony Stratford and it ended in defeat when they passed our total of 173 all out. This meant that only a win against Rothwell at home would leave us in a position to challenge for top of the league. They batted first and controversially declared at 112 for 9, thus denying us two extra points for bowling them out. Although we lost wickets early, Tony Cox never looked in trouble and along with James Bannard batted brilliantly to secure one of our most important wins of the year.

With two games left to play we knew that two 14 point wins would be enough to become champions so we batted first at Corby in order to secure the maximum.

We declared on 197 for 4 in just 40 overs thanks mainly to Brian Summers’ 86 not out and Brett Hanson’s 71. John Lavin and David Ward took four and five wickets respectively and we were just one win away.

The final game was at home to Overstone who needed at least six points to guarantee avoiding bottom place. We struggled early on, but again showed strength in depth as Paul Jones batted very well for 45 not out, and helped take our score from a precarious 76 for 6 to 150 all out in 50 overs. Overstone didn’t put up much of a fight and in the 41st over their last man gave an easy catch to the most relieved cover fielder you will ever see!

We were league champions!

There were plenty of memorable moments during the season including John Lavin’s hat-trick at Isham, Chris Perry’s brilliant catch at Corby and Brett Hanson’s first County League hundred, which he brought up with a six over the clubhouse.        

 Paul Jones bowled very well during the year but did struggle with his run up at times when his daisy had blown away from it's mark. Tony had another very good season averaging 34 runs - 34 runs per broken bat!  I would like to mention John Lavin for his consistency with the ball and Chris Perry who was vital member of the team and was only one wicket (one half chance!) away from featuring in the league averages. At the age of fourteen this is quite an achievement. I would like to thank Judy Rowe, Dave Ekins, Colin Barber, Dick Underwood, John Hodges, Paul Jones (my vice captain) and everyone else who has supported me and the team during the year.                                                                          

                                                              Adrian Ward.   Second Eleven captain.

 

                                                                                A player’s view

As everyone who watches team sport  knows, two people can watch the same game and have opposite opinions on strengths, weaknesses and in fact every facet of that particular sport. You only have to listen to Alex Ferguson and Arsen Wenger’s post match interviews on Arsenal v Manchester United to become aware of  that.

Cricket is no different although a season’s summation should be slightly easier due to most of us making the same mistakes more than once – thus a pattern emerges to dispel or confirm the previous week’s hurried conclusion. 

But only a captain can see things from a captain’s perspective. Likewise, only a vice-captain can see things from his unique position. He perhaps sees and discusses things with the captain that the rest of the players are not aware of. He is perhaps more aware of the captain’s mood and reactions than the players.

For this reason I can’t argue with Darren’s summary and conclusions although from purely a bowler’s point of view (no runs I’m afraid !) I think the team performed  better overall than his report would suggest.

For example, I think week in, week out the team spirit was excellent. I know Darren doesn’t imply anything else, but normally team spirit and motivation go together. In my opinion it was the best Wollaston fielding side ever, and in particular, the game against Gt Oakley which I consider to be the best fielding display by any side – Wollaston or opponents. When we were bowling we all received tremendous encouragement from the captain and fielders (even when we didn’t bowl particularly well) and the knowledge that we have a good fielding side supporting us certainly gives us extra confidence to attack the batsman and keep things tight.                                                                               

From the players’ point of view it was a very enjoyable season and the high points certainly out numbered the lows.

 Obviously at times things do drift and it can be very frustrating to the captain when he looks around the boundary (with the opposition 160 for 3 after 35 overs) and one of his fielders is in animated conversation with a spectator. It breaks the concentration of the bowling side and can lead to errors. 

Last season I think we were all hoping for a top three position and although we flirted in and out of the hierarchy our final position was a slightly disappointing fifth. To realise our potential next season we should, as Darren advocates, all attend structured meaningful practice, which should maximise our strengths and improve our weaknesses. With our bogey side Rothwell departed there is no reason why we cannot challenge for the Championship.                                     

                                                                                      David Ward

 

 

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