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Three Division Two Championships in a row! They should let us keep the Trophy!

In a season that lost no games to rain, the Second Team won Division Two for the third year running, winning seventeen of the twenty-two matches. The First Eleven improved their position again, finishing third with eleven victories, and scored 307 for 5 against Burton Latimer – a new Club record.

Marcus Shelton made a new record score of 171 against Kettering and Brett Hanson’s 669 runs for the season eclipsed Rex Boddington’s 634 made only last year. A new fourth wicket record stand of 135, previously held by Brian Summers and Paul Jones, was established by Andrew Johnson and Marcus Shelton in the game against Kettering, and at only fourteen years of age, Liam Bates scored his first County League fifty against Wellingborough Indian Seconds.

Next year both teams will be playing in the new Northamptonshire Cricket League and it should prove quite a challenge. Our First Eleven (playing in Division One) will not see much difference but the Seconds, competing in Division Four, will be pitched against new opposition. Only Wellingborough Indians, Rushton and Rushden will accompany us from last year and we will be joined by the top four teams of the Alliance Premier, and the top four Championship Second Elevens. Added to the fact that next year will see “three up and three down” promotion and relegation from that division, it promises to be very competitive indeed. When you consider that Wollaston Seconds will be competing a league higher than Peterborough Town ll‘s and Finedon ll’s it is obvious that there will be no easy games.

Off the pitch things should be different too. Thanks to the hard work of Neal Perry and Colin Barber – assisted by Dick Underwood, the new Sports Pavilion should be in place. I know it has given Neal many headaches on the way but hopefully it will be worth  it.

John Hodges and Brian Summers re-laid the last two pitches on the square in October, and thanks are due to John for completing the project and redeveloping the square over the last few years.

Congratulations to all the Award Winners, especially Rex Boddington – Division Two player of the year and  our chairman Andrew Silsby, who worked hard for the Club in spite of missing the season through injury. We wish him a speedy recovery.




 As I write this report I am somewhere over the Indian Ocean, heading for Australia and two months of sunshine and cricket. Well, somebody has got to do it!

For our information, the pilot has just announced our present altitude, estimated time of arrival and England’s defeat in the Second Test! Oh well, two games, two defeats - exactly as our campaign started last season.

April 27th, and we are at home to the newly constructed Desborough eleven. And their new, much publicised recruits inflict most of the damage on a tricky, typical, early season pitch. In reply to the visitors180 for 8 (John Pike 3 for 43 and new boy, Andy Johnson 2 for 34) our batting is blown away by their powerful attack, and on the bowler- friendly strip, we collapse to 82 all out. Only Simon Driver with 29 makes any sort of early season impression.  An inauspicious start.

Over the last few seasons, the trip to Rushden hasn’t brought much success either, and this time was no exception. Batting first, we score a reasonable 176 for 8 from our full quota of 50 overs with Matt Jones contributing 60 and Nick Shelton 48 not out. With the exception of Andy Johnson (3 for 17), our bowlers  struggled and the opposition knocked off the runs and won by six wickets.

So far, played two – lost two – points nil – league position, bottom!

We then played two home games on the trot and our fortunes changed. The first, against Rushton, saw us compile 152 for 8 off our 50 overs with Marcus Shelton and John Pike leading the way with 45 and 29* respectively. In reply our visitors could only muster 45 all out with JP again prominent (5 for 20) and Simon Driver assisting with 4 for 9.

The following week Burton set us a decent 190 for 9 (the consistent John Pike 5 for 44, Andy Johnson 2 for 43) and we replied in positive fashion with Nick Shelton (61*), Matthew Jones (41) and John Pike (29 from just 15 balls!) wrapping it up inside 42 overs. John Pike had found some good, early season form, was timing the ball well. He was also bowling quick and playing like the genuine all rounder we knew he was. At this point in the season he was our best player.

In a rain reduced game at Great Oakley we came away with only a point (thanks to a lack of rule knowledge!). The home side totalled 217 for 6 in 46 overs with Harmit taking 4 for 48, which left us 32 overs. Our innings eventually closed on 141 for 5 with “thirties” from Matthew and Marcus.

June1st, and demoted Irthlingborough were our visitors, batting first and declaring on 207 for 7 from 48 overs (Harmit 3 for 42). We chased  hard all the way, but unfortunately fell just short against some very useful bowling. Our 203 for 8 was a very creditable performance, and Matt Jones’ beautifully struck 126 was one of the highlights of the season.  The unbeaten run continued as we travelled to Raunds, but to our disappointment the game ended in a draw. Wollaston 186 (Marcus and Matt both reaching forty). In reply our hosts hung on at 141 for eight with Darren King (4 for 35) the most successful bowler.

A week later we were in South Northants reaping maximum points against an unpredictable Towcester side, in a low scoring affair.

We scrambled 143 for 9 in our allotted 50 overs with James Bannard making his season’s highest score of 46. We then reduced the opposition to 108 all out with your skipper taking 5 for 28 and Harmit 4 for 41.

Overstone then put an end to our unbeaten run. After being reasonably comfortable at 49 for no wicket we collapsed to a paltry 112 all out with our openers Matthew Jones (33) and James Bannard (23) making the only significant contributions. The opposition found no problem in reaching 113 for 2.

Back on our own pitch we ran 269 for 6 from our full allocation of overs with Marcus Shelton (75) and Andrew Johnson (48) leading the way. Because our batting had not quite fired as expected, I thought it a good idea to use all the overs and give them full opportunity. But looking back, it was possibly the wrong decision as Kettering dug in and closed on 158 for 7 with two wickets each for Pike, Perry and King.   

Halfway point in the season, and a trip to Isham saw us move up to sixth place after turning our hosts over on to their soft under-belly. Matt with 56 and Nick with 45 saw us to a reasonable total of 196 for 8 in our quota of overs before the King/Pike combination did the business to reduce the one time “glamour boys” to 154 all out. Both bowlers finishing with 4 for 51.

The 13th of July, and the return fixtures start here. As in late April, the game against Desborough went the way of the pre-season favourites. In spite of Chris Perry’s 4 for 11, our 94 all out was never enough.

Although we obviously didn’t know it at the time, the defeat on July 13th was to be the last one of the 2002 campaign because from that point, we stepped up a gear for the run in.

Rushden came to the village the following week – unbeaten and riding high on top of the league. They had won every game!  But the next five hours saw that record end in dramatic fashion.

I won the toss for only the fourth time and promptly asked our visitors to bat. Forty three overs later they were all out for a mere 102! Harmit with 4 for 26 and the King-Pike combo (six wickets) did the damage.

We eventually knocked them off at 105 for 7 with fine controlled innings from Matthew (28) Simon Driver (22) and a positive, quick fire 37 from Darren Laughton.                                           

This win against the high flyers sent confidence running high throughout the team, and it certainly showed when we set a new Club record of 307 for 5 off just 45 overs at Rushton. Contributions included Matthew’s 54, Nick’s 53* and Andy Johnson with 47. John Pike also made a hard hitting 46. However, this mammoth score and early declaration didn’t ensure a victory. Our hosts made no attempt at the total and despite the efforts of Harmit with 3 for 63 and Chris Perry (2 for 40), finished on 199 for 6.

Next up was a trip to Burton, and although we were fielding a much weakened side we still came out comfortable winners; Burton 216 for 9 (Andy Luck 6 for 101, Harmit 3 for 62) Wollaston 219 for 3. The game saw Andy Johnson’s maiden County League fifty as well as a majestic 60 from Matthew Jones. To rub salt in the wounds of the home team Marcus Shelton and Darren Laughton blazed their way to a partnership of fifty in just five overs.

We had reached August 10th and the acceleration up the league table continued with the game at home against Gt Oakley. Harmit, consistent as usual, toiled away for 5 for 49 supported by John Pike’s 3 for 67 and restricted the innings to 184 all out in 50 overs. We nipped in for the points with three balls to spare – Pike 43*, N.Shelton and D.Laughton making thirties. This win was achieved in spite of the fact that the captain was absent injured. Well done, stand-in skipper Marcus! I hear he’s very keen to do it full time when I eventually hand in my armband.

With yours truly still injured, Nick Shelton took the reins for the visit to Irthlingborough. It was a hot day but our bowlers worked hard with Harmit 5 for 35 and Chris 5 for 51 having the most tangible reward. Unfortunately, despite  the captain’s knock of 35*, we fell short of victory and closed on 123 for 9.

Back to winning ways the following week against lowly Raunds at Wollaston. The visitors were all out for 138 with Chris taking 4 for 34, and your “fit again” skipper, 2 for 30. We cruised to victory at 140 for 2 with Matthew 71* and Tim Hudson 34*.

A draw at Towcester (Tows 184 all out – Harmit 5  for 35. Wollaston 169 for 8 – John Pike 49) meant that we really had to beat Overstone the following week to stand any chance of finishing third.

So into September we went with this incentive in mind. And win we did! The visitors notched 150 all out ( Pike 4 for 54, King 3 for 57) and we reached victory at 154 for 7 (Matthew 38, Nick 31). Momentum maintained.

Marcus Shelton 171 – out of a total of 239 !  That was certainly the highlight of the victory at Kettering. A new individual record for Wollaston and pushing Nick’s 156 against Rushden into second place.  Harmit and John then polished them off in quick time with figures of 5 for 24 and 3 for 30 respectively.  Kettering 109.                                   

In the final game at home to Isham,  we dismissed the visitors for 78, (D.King 3 for 17) and Wollaston, recovering from a shaky start at 30 for 4, reached victory at 79 for 4 (Simon 26*, D.Laughton 19*) and at the same time ensured we finished third in the Premier Division.

Finishing third, the Club’s highest place for a decade, and an improvement of one place from 2001, was certainly my highlight since being skipper and made me a very proud and happy man indeed.

Although it was a total team effort throughout the season I would like to point out some individual performances.

Matt Jones with 715 from twenty innings got close to his dad’s record of 784 runs for the season, and may possibly  have put it under more pressure if he could have finished the season.

John Pike, with over 300 runs and 37 wickets at last enters the “Best All round Season” list in the statistics section, which is testimony to his top effort with bat and ball. Both Harmit Bahra, with 47 very economical wickets, and Darren King 20 from just ten games (how many would he have got in a full season!) contributed well. Marcus and Nick supplied over 1000 runs between them, Chris Perry took over 20 wickets, featuring in the League handbook and the Three Amigos’ (plus one), Darren Laughton, James Bannard, Simon Driver and Andrew Johnson all scored around 200 runs during the season. As you can see, it was an all-round team effort.

I would like to conclude as usual, with a  “thank-you” or two.

I include John Hodges, all players who haven’t been mentioned, tea ladies/men and Neal Perry our new coach. But my biggest “thank you” must go to all my team for a great season.

As I arrive in Aus I look forward to finding Wollaston CC an overseas “Star” for 2003 who can help us push hard for a higher finish come September.

Who knows!                                   

                                                                              Andy Luck




When, during the winter, I discussed with Andy Luck the possibility of

assisting the First Team rather than playing during the 2002 season, I didn’t quite know exactly how it would work out.  Although my position as coach was duly ratified at the AGM, I knew the job would be different to my role as coach to  Northants Young Cricketers.

It was not going to be easy expecting players I had  played with and generally have better cricketing skills than I, to take on board the offer of assistance. However I was pleasantly surprised by the players’ attitude.

My main tasks were to undertake a pre-game warm-up, offer advice when requested and generally provide help where necessary.

The warm-ups went quite well with only Harmit not taking part, but who can argue with what he achieved during the season!

Andy and I didn’t always agree, but I was pleased that he asked my opinion from time to time, and I think he is a good, thoughtful captain and most importantly the players like playing for him.

The first team did well and played some very good cricket and I enjoyed providing help to the team albeit in a small way.  

The following are some of my most memorable moments from the season:-

*         Matthew Jones’ hundred at home to Irthlingborough

*         The Skippers “sixfer” at Burton Latimer

*         Andrew (Magic) Johnson’s first Wollaston fifty at Burton.

*         Beating Rushden at home

*         Harmit and Chris taking 5 wickets each at Irthlingborough

*         John Pike's 5 for 24 against Kettering

*         Marcus Shelton’s Club record 171 away to Kettering 



Our season started at Earls Barton and after a good bowling performance we were only chasing 99 runs to win. Just 19 overs later, James Bannard and Rex Boddington had knocked off the total, Rex had blasted 9 fours and 2 sixes and set us on course for our third successive Division Two title.

It really has been a remarkable season, not least because of the fact that we didn’t lose a single game to the weather!  Of the 22 games played, we won 17, including 11 consecutive victories, and lost only one - on the day when the side was considerably weakened (England played Denmark in the World Cup.)

There were lots of brilliant individual performances with the bat and ball, but equally impressive was the way that we played as a team. Everybody has made an important contribution during the year, including Liam Bates in his first season in senior cricket. In one of our toughest games, against Wellingborough Indians, Liam scored a very impressive 70 and I am sure he will go on to score a lot more runs for Wollaston.

The next week we played a comparatively weak S&L Corby side and Rex scored the first of his 2 centuries - in only 106 balls! He finished the season with a total of 641 runs, breaking the second team record that he set only 12 months earlier and in so doing was awarded the Player of the Year Trophy  for Division Two of the County League.

There were two other players who had outstanding seasons with the bat. The first of whom was Brett Hanson who managed to break  Rex’s recently set record, and win the batting award by scoring 669 runs at an average of 44.6 including a very impressive 95 not out against Rushden. The second was Paul Jones who topped the averages with 406 runs at 50.75 and was extremely reliable in the lower order, providing much needed stability on many occasions.

Our biggest game of the year was on the 27th of July against Rushton who were our closest rivals and were only 4 points behind us at the time. We batted first and struggled on a slow pitch against some accurate bowling, eventually reaching 146 for 9 in 50 overs. Although this was about 50 less than we would have liked, confidence was still high at tea and we took to the field with an enormous amount of determination.

            Everybody bowled well and after 49 overs Rushton had been reduced to 87 for 9, David Ward and Farooki Khan having taken 3 and 4 wickets respectively. We were desperate for the last wicket to seal the victory and John Lavin was asked to bowl the final over. The first delivery of the over drew the Rushton batsman forward and then swung away as he attempted to drive the ball through the covers, the outside edge was taken behind the stumps and the 14 point win took us 18 points clear at the top of the table.

Two bowlers really stood out this year, Farooki Khan with 58 wickets at 10.50 and David Ward with 62 wickets at 9.80. The accuracy and patience  showed by all of the bowlers was very impressive and if we can continue to bowl in this way it will be very difficult, even for strong teams, to chase or set reasonable totals against us.

The title was decided in the nineteenth week of the campaign when we put in a real team effort to defeat Overstone. They set us 196 to win and thanks to forties’ from Brett Hanson and Farooki Khan, as well as a quick-fire 39 from Malc Fowler, we reached the target with an over to spare.

The last match of the season was a memorable one - both Rex and Brett passed the run record in our innings and we set Isham 212 for 8 declared from 44 overs. They looked in trouble at 36 for 3 but 32 overs later they hadn’t lost another wicket and needed just 34 runs to win from the last 8 overs. By this point it was starting to get very dark and although fielding was almost impossible, our bowlers took full advantage. Isham slumped to 209 all out and the season ended with our 17th victory.

I would like to thank Paul Jones, Judy Rowe, John Hodges, Brian Summers, Dave Ekins, Dick Underwood and everybody else who has helped during the year.  I hope that all of the players and supporters have enjoyed the season as much as I have and that we can continue to play positive, exciting cricket next year.

                            Adrian Ward








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