A good season all round for the club saw the First Eleven, under the astute captaincy of Andy Luck – put in a valiant effort to win the division for the first time since 1973, but the final push fell short, and instead we took second place to champions Irthlingborough. For the first time for many years we only lost one game all season – a remarkable effort.
The bowling department was led again in traditional Wollaston style with the spinners doing most of the damage. The “Three Spinning Musketeers” Chris Perry, Harmit Bahra and Simon Parsons took 102 wickets between them for a combined average of less than thirteen.
And if spin is already a tradition at Wollaston, Nick Shelton’s runs are going some way towards that status. In a season cut short by injury he still managed to score 372 runs at an average of 53.14. He has now scored 71 fifties which means that if he maintains his average of about 5 per season he should reach a Century of Fifties before not too long! Nick’s aggregate was only bettered by eighteen year-old Liam Bates who, in only his second full season for the First Eleven, scored 402 runs at an average of 28.71.
After relegation the previous season the Second Eleven were happy to consolidate in the top half of Division Three, and in his second season in charge skipper Darren Laughton at last won a home game! In all, seven victories were achieved with John Pike leading the wicket hunt with 41 to go with his 250 runs, and old campaigner Rex Boddington scored 549 runs - proving once again that in cricket terms having “a good eye” and instinct, are more important than good legs.
Mark Ralph returned to the Club like a white tornado! He batted just 3 times for the Seconds, scoring 242 runs at an average of 121, with a highest score of 90, before promotion to the elite and 84 in his first game. He finished up with a total run tally of 446 in 9 completed innings.
Our man from Sydney, opening bowler Jeff Connon is possibly calling it a day and going home. Although at the time of writing it is not definite. Jeff has been a real asset to the club both on and of the field. His elevation to the dizzy height of Bar Manager at London’s Groucho Club saw him regularly discuss the merits of reverse swing with the showbiz glitterati but his attempts at securing Russell Crowe as our overseas player have now sadly been abandoned. We wish him well - whether or not he is a “Wollaston Boy” this season.
It may be that we have another overseas player this season. It is a tricky thing to organise and does take a lot of working out. We thought we had got it sorted last season until Fredrik dislocated a shoulder in the buffet car on the way up from London. Those meat pies do take a bit of handling!
Finally, it is farewell to the “old” pavilion. Built around 1960 as a refreshment room and bar, changing rooms were added in 1989.Now we have finally moved out and into “Pavilion Mark lV “ the 46 year old structure is coming down. Many an opposition bat has been thrown in anger within its hallowed walls and hopefully our new home will witness the same level of un-happiness in our rivals’ sanctuary.
FINAL LEAGUE POSITIONS 2005
FIRST TEAM BATTING AVERAGES 2005
FIRST TEAM BOWLING AVERAGES 2005
SECOND TEAM BOWLING AVERAGES 2005
SECOND TEAM BOWLING AVERAGES 2005
2005 is where it all ended for me as First Team Captain – runners-up to
Irthlingborough. Disappointment or content at finishing second?
That was the question I asked myself in the following weeks. My
conclusion being total disappointment for not achieving what I had set out to do
many years earlier, and although I will always look back and wonder what could,
or maybe should, have been. Before I review the season I would like to take the
opportunity to thank all the Club members that I have had the honour to skipper
over the years. There are far too many to mention individually, but I would like
to share with you some of my favourite memories from each year.
1998: John Lavin took three hauls of 4 wickets in my first four games as captain, which put us up to top of the division after just one month into the season.
1999: Darren King’s 5 for 0 in seven balls at Burton Latimer and Nick Shelton’s unbeaten 122 at Overstone.
2000: Matt Jones’ maiden First Eleven century against Isham, Steve Musgrave’s 106 at Overstone and Nick Shelton’s 149 at Corby.
2001: Marcus Shelton’s 112 at home to Isham, Harmit Bahra’s 6 for 48 versus Desborough and centuries for Nick Shelton and Steve Musgrave, also against Desborough
2002: John Pike’s 5 for 20 at home to Rushton, Marcus Shelton’s club record 171 at Kettering and Matt Jones’ 126 against Irthlingborough.
2003: Chris Perry and John Pike’s seven wicket hauls against Overstone and O.W.s’ respectively.
2004: Jeff Connon’s 8 for 28 at Weekly, Simon Driver’s unbeaten 88 at Irthlingborough and Marcus Shelton’s 119 at Isham
2005: The Tim Hudson (87) and Liam Bates’ (75) partnership of 154 v Irthlingborough and Mark Ralph’s 84 at Rothwell in his first game back after three years.
There have been many more great individual efforts – for which I thank you all.
This is how
last season went……………..
Rothwell home. So we started the season against our newly relegated “old enemy”, and for them it was down with a bump!
Harmit’s 5 for 60 they only managed 157 and with 48 runs each from our
“old” and “new” openers, Nick and Liam, we were off to a fine start.
However, 83 for 1 soon became 143 for 7 with just two overs to go but
fortunately Harmit saw us over the winning line with just one ball to spare.
Isham away.Once again the mighty Isham failed to impress us as Simon Parsons and Harmit Bahra bagged 4 wickets each. Liam hit another forty odd and the win was ours.
Wellingborough away, and a bad day all-round. Very dull, and generally depressing, although despite this we hung on for the draw.
did ok, taking 5 for 13.
Weekley at home proved no match and with Chris, three wickets and Harmit four we restricted them to just 139. This was easily achieved with Nick (60) and Tim Hudson (46) scoring the bulk of the runs. Three runs from our first three games! Here we go!
But the winning sequence is broken. Overstone at home is drawn. We post 188 for 7 (M. Jones 62) and they hang on at 148 for 8 with the skipper taking 4 for 42.
Back to winning ways at Burton, After three wickets each for Simon Parson’s and Chris we only have to chase 114 to win, and Nick’s 41 allied to Harmit’s 23 not out sees us home.
A Great game at home to Oakley sees us declare at 187 in 46 overs.
Our Aussie Steve Musgrave records another 50, Simon Driver 37 and Chris takes 6 for 30. Gt Oakley 167 all out.
At Corby’s 175 (Harmit 6 for 47) proves inadequate and our solid run chase sees us home with Muzzy (60) again amongst the runs.
Our biggest game of the season so far – Irthlingborough at home. We declare after 46 overs at 202 for 4. Bates 75 and Hudson an outstanding 87. The Townies hang on at 126 for 8.
We travel to Kettering full of confidence and the Town feel the full force of the village cricketers. The hosts only manage 134 with Chris Perry taking 5 for 32. Liam with 64 and Nick not far behind with 60 knock off the runs with all wickets intact.
A visit to Rothwell - a bad toss to lose, but, a good day for Mark Ralph. He is back in the First team with a bang – blasting 84 from just 78 balls. We declare on 225 for 8 but Role do not attempt to win – finishing on 143 for 8.
Isham at home and a lovely batting track. They set 206 for 6 and we knock them off for the loss of just 3 wickets in 37 overs. Matthew Jones and Simon Driver are both unbeaten on 53 and 40 respectively.
Wellingborough visit the village and hold out for a draw. Our 210 for 9 (Rex 49 Marcus 53) proves too much for them.
At home again and third place Burton slip from 32 for 1 to 57 all out thanks to Jeff Connon’s 4 for 32 and Chris’s 3 for 3. We easily knock them off for 2 wickets. Nick unbeaten on 30. Burton go home early to sulk (again!)
With the run-in to the season end, this is the big one! Irthlingborough away. After winning the toss I was confident of beating the current leaders and Evening Telegraph’s much talked about Championship favourites. However, despite a top spell of bowling from Simon Driver (2 for 35 off 12) they post a good total of 223 for 6. After a fine opening stand off 99 between Liam and Nick we slip 177 for 6 at the close with the latter unbeaten on 84 – a fine stubborn innings that didn’t merit a mention in the ET report – but it certainly did mine! Unfortunately, due to injury, this turned out to be Nick’s final game of the season.
With only three games to go, we had to win them all to take the title…
After losing the toss to visiting Corby we recorded a decent total of 201 for 9 with Matt Jones contributing 55. At 124 for 5 with just 7 overs to go it was looking like another frustrating draw with the title race all over. But no, we dug deep and with Simon Parsons 3 for 6, yours truly 2 for 1 and Chris Perry 4 for 22 we bowled them out and took maximum points with just 12 ball remaining. An amazing game!
After a damp trog up to Great Oakley, last week’s joy turns to despair as the rain ensures no play and only two points, but worse was to come – Irthlingborough somehow managed to play – and won. The title belongs to them. I was frustrated and totally gutted, after eight years as captain my best chance of winning division one for the Club had been snatched away without the chance of being able to do anything about it.
We entertain Kettering without the possibility of winning the division, so we reverse the batting order for a bit of fun. However, we still rattle up 208 for 8 and our visitors are skittled out for just 84. Simon Parsons followed up his 31 with 2 for 9 and wickets each for Jones, Hudson and Carter.
At this point I would like to take the opportunity to tank my very special scorer, Lesley Underwood for all the hours of effort, John Hodges for all the pitches he has lovingly prepared and everyone else who has helped me make my journey over the past eight years easier.
I would also like to wish our new skipper Harmit Bahra all the best for the future, certain in the knowledge that he will have a great set of players to captain.
Many thanks. Andy Luck
arrives and at last I something apart from shopping to do on a Saturday. After
the disappointment of taking the team down the previous season, I was eager for
us to bounce back to form as quickly as possible.
week leading to our first game was nic3e and easy; we had selection on the
Monday and although that’s the part of captaincy I don’t enjoy, I picked
what I felt was a team capable of beating anyone in the division.
the end of the week the umpires’ and scorers’ were in place and I was
looking forward the getting started.
arrived, kit is packed, batting order finalised and I am enjoying an athletes’
fry-up. Just before I leave the phone rings. It’s 10.15am and it is a rather
sheepish Andy Luck telling me that our overseas player is still in London, which
means that I lose our number three batsman – here we go again, the season has
started! Pass me another sausage
get going well enough despite losing the toss for the first three games (no
jokes please!) we achieved three winning draws.
first win came in week 4 against our cheerful rivals from Rushden. After our
batsmen had smashed them to all parts, racking up a healthy 230, the bowlers
took over and dismissed them for a miserly 74. Adrian Ward claimed the first
“fifer” with the excellent figures of 10-4-14-5. The beer really tasted good
another couple of draws we travelled to Brigstock and probably my most nervous
game as skipper. Although I lost the toss again we went on to amass a very
respectable 226 for 9 declared. Yes, DECLARED!
Rex Boddington stroked 49 before “making room to cut” the fast bowler
(!) but the star of the show was Mark Ralph who, in his first game for Wollaston
in three years, blasted an awesome 81. Thankfully his bragging was slightly
curtailed when, along with Paul Jones,
he managed to get himself out to a GIRL!
got off to a flying start but after some great spin bowling from the Wards’
our hosts still needed
75 runs from the last 6 overs. “No worries” I thought. I was wrong!
As John Pike prepared to bowl the final over they needed 12 with 2 wickets still
in hand. After scoring eight of the first 5 balls they needed a boundary (as
Boddo helpfully pointed out) unless of course they managed an “all run 4”.
Thankfully neither happened and we earned a few points for a high scoring draw.
But I learnt that day that when Rex suggests declaring , the best reply is a
polite “ **** off!”
confidence was growing by now and we were starting to climb the league. Two more
wins on the trot – including an eight wicket hiding of league leaders
Loddington, really put us in contention.
for us this is where the wheels came off our title challenge.
were well beaten by Wicken despite a fine opening stand of 121 between Rex (74)
and Brian Summers (52) and they easily knocked off the runs with ten overs to
good wins were overshadowed by complete thrashings at the hands of Rushton and
bottom team Raunds. We managed to get our revenge over Sharnbrook to make up for
the “tea incident” (see Brett for details) with a very
good win. J.P second fifer of the season completely destroyed their top
order and a steady 51* from Mark Carter saw us home.
that moral boosting win our chances of promotion were now slim. A combination of
poor pitches away from home and difficult selection due to availability saw us
loose our next three games. To rub it in, our penultimate game was abandoned due
to the weather.
final game of the season was away at Wicken. We posted a good score of 180 on
what can be described at best as a tricky wicket. Marcus Shelton led the way
with 72 in his final game before retiring. We all hope he changes his mind on
Ward got injured whist batting (I think it was the shock of hitting a cover
drive for four!) so we took the fields with only two regular front line bowlers.
After 10 overs thing deteriorate further when Pikey was also forced to stop
bowling due to injury.
the next 25 overs was dream stuff as Paul Jones, in-swinger extraordinaire, took
5 for 29, Nick Dawson 4 for 19 and Jamie Perry 0 for 19 not only restricted our
opponents but dismissed them for just 87 ! This for me summed up what this club
is all about.
very enjoyable Second Team celebration drink in the Boot followed the victory
where Jonah, the Dark Destroyer of Wicken took 3 shots for every wicket he took.
He had finally shaken off his GOBAG tag. (Got out by a girl).
finished the season in fifth place in what I consider to be a very competitive
league for a second eleven.
was a great all-round team effort with everybody contributing during the season.
I only hope some of us “young-uns” can knock Boddo of the top of the batting
would just like to take this opportunity to thank everybody for their help and
patience over the last two seasons. Captaining you all has been a great honour
for me and because of your support it was, for the most part hugely enjoyable. I
only wish I could have taken the team back up to where I took over.
would like to wish new skipper Brett Hanson the very best of luck for the new
season and thank everyone once again for their help.
Laughton. Second Eleven Captain