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2006     For previous years' see Archive

 

A very successful, enjoyable, but ultimately frustrating season ended with the first Eleven again finishing First Division runners-up—this time beaten into second place by Burton Latimer - with just four points finally separating the two teams. We also reached the Board 20 Finals Day at the County Ground and although we were beaten by Premier Division club Irthlingborough in the semi-final, a great day was had by players and supporters alike and will be remembered for a long time. The last game of the season saw us at home to the eventual champions, but given the points gap going into that game, Burton only had to win the toss, bat and deny us the possibility of winning with a high number of bonus points . And that is exactly what they did. Although we won the game we had to be content with second place for the second year running. But congratulations are due to new skipper Harmit Bahra and his team for taking the outcome as far as the final Saturday. Part of the frustration was due to losing two Saturdays’ on the trot to rain in June, with the following Saturday– with the sun beaming down– being the “Bedford Fixture” which was blank, owing to the fact that the once mighty club dropped out of the League during the winter.

Ten games were won, six drawn and only one lost. Three games were washed out.

Two new players were in the First Team line up at the start of the season. Dave Mercer crossed the County boundary from the hapless Bedford to The Home of Cricket and excelled with the bat—topping the averages with a 487 runs at 40.58. Fellow Bedfordshirite Shabs Hussain also joined us but explicably went AWOL after just three game—never to be seen again.Matt Jones scored 556 runs at 34.75 and Harmit took 40 wickets at only 9.60 including 8 for 6 at S&L Corby. Chris Perry bagged 31 wickets at 15.13 and Simon Driver made it on to the “All Rounders” list 23 wickets and 235 runs.

The Seconds however didn’t have quite such a successful season. Three games were won, ten drawn and six lost, and we finished eleventh out of twelve in division three. The team missed the match winning presence of John Pike who was promoted to First Team duty and Simon Parsons who missed the season through injury and recovery. Added to that, Jeff Connon got injured and Nick Dawson “sort of” retired. So our bowling strength was somewhat depleted and made things rather difficult for skipper Brett Hanson in his first season in charge. However fourteen year old David Clarkson stepped up from junior cricket to take 16 wickets despite the fact that he could only bowl in five-over spells, and Mike Duddle who also joined us last season contributed with both bat and ball. Tim Hudson had an outstanding season making 460 runs at 41.82 and Brett led by example accumulating 490 at 30.63.Rex Boddington again went over the 500 run mark with 512 at 28.44 and the majority of the wickets were shared between Adrian Ward (33 at 24.48) and David Ward (32 at 18.50).

The Club recorded two centuries. Matthew Jones cruised to 104 off 134 balls against Weekley & Warkton and Brett Hanson raced to 103 off just 82 balls against Rushden ll.

The Sunday team finished just above half way in the Sunday Challenge under the captaincy of Chris Perry who must be congratulated for making an appearance for Northamptonshire Seconds against Warwickshire Seconds at Stratford on Avon. One more step to go!

The junior cricket and coaching was again very popular with three teams competing across the age groups. Neal Perry must again be thanked for all the time and effort he injected in this facet of the Club including the implementation of The Chance to Shine Scheme which saw trained coaches going into local schools to promote the game.

The season was not without it’s share of controversy. Earlier in the season Rothwell were bowled out for 81 in 34 overs and subsequently complained about the condition of the pitch. Their protestations were put in context however by Wollaston knocking off the runs in just 16 overs—for the loss of one wicket!

SCROLL DOWN FOR THE CAPTAINS' REPORTS

                      FINAL LEAGUE POSITIONS 2006

 

DIVISION ONE

P

Won

D6

D2

NR2

Bat

Bowl

Points

Burton Latimer

20

11

4

0

3

43

70

363

Wollaston

20

10

6

0

3

48

69

359

Rothwell

20

7

4

5

3

47

64

291

Wellingborough Town

20

6

2

3

4

49

69

264

Isham

20

6

2

1

3

53

54

247

Wellingborough Indians

20

3

7

3

2

48

69

229

ONs 2nds

20

3

1

5

3

35

56

213

Kettering Town

20

4

3

6

3

35

56

207

Great Oakley

20

2

4

4

3

46

51

175

Weekley & Warkton

20

3

1

6

2

35

54

173

S & L Corby

20

2

1

2

2

21

53

128

DIVISION THREE

P

Won

D6

D2

NR2

Bat

Bowl

Points

Gt Houghton

22

10

9

0

3

58

78

396

East Haddon

22

9

8

1

2

78

71

383

Wellingborough Indians

22

11

2

2

4

36

82

362

Bowden

22

6

4

5

3

35

73

268

Long Buckby

22

6

1

4

5

48

62

254

Brigstock

22

5

5

1

3

51

60

249

Rushden ll

22

4

2

6

2

52

66

226

Horton ll

22

4

3

7

2

43

66

225

Rushton ll

22

2

6

4

3

69

56

215

Wicken

22

5

2

2

4

33

49

206

Wollaston ll

22

3

2

8

3

41

59

194

Kempston hammers

22

3

1

5

4

48

45

177

                                          

                                 RESULTS  2006

FIRST ELEVEN

Opps

WCC

Result

Opponents

runs

Wkts

runs

Wkts

Kettering

H

166

for

7

213

for

5

Draw

S&L Corby

A

74

10

206

7

Win

Weekley

H

189

5

237

3

Draw

Isham

A

101

10

102

6

Win

Well Indians

A

N/R

N/R

ONs ll

H

N/R

N/R

Rothwell

H

81

10

83

1

Win

Wellingborough

A

108

9

174

9

Draw

Gt Oakley

H

115

10

119

5

Win

Burton Latimer

A

179

8

177

10

Lost

Kettering

A

187

7

265

7

Draw

S&L Corby

H

142

10

227

8

Win

Weekley

A

106

4

rain

A

Isham

H

177

8

248

4

Draw

Well Indians

H

118

10

155

10

Win

ONs

A

176

6

177

5

Win

Gt Oakley

A

199

8

200

5

Win

Wellingborough

H

165

8

166

3

Win

Rothwell

A

99

9

211

8

Draw

Burton Latimer

H

101

5

102

7

Win

 

SECOND ELEVEN

Opponents

runs

Wkts

runs

Wkts

Wicken

119

for

10

114

for

9

D

Horton ll

140

for

9

125

for

10

L

Gt Houghton

215

for

3

165

for

2

D

Rushton

186

for

7

228

for

8

D

Kempston

rain

N/R

Well Indians

rain

N/R

Long Buckby

61

for

10

62

for

1

W

Rushden ll

241

for

4

232

for

9

D

Brigstock

184

for

10

151

for

8

D

Bowden

172

for

4

166

for

10

L

East Haddon

231

for

10

227

for

8

D

Wicken

164

for

9

165

for

4

W

Horton ll

219

for

4

217

for

9

L

Gt Houghton

180

for

2

131

for

4

D

Rushton

300

for

7

175

for

9

D

Kempston

173

for

3

169

for

10

L

Well Indians

137

for

4

135

for

10

L

Long Buckby

199

for

9

-

-

-

D

Bowden

108

for

3

106

for

10

L

Brigstock

105

for

10

108

for

8

W

Rushden ll

225

for

6

273

for

6

D

East Haddon

306

for

3

145

for

9

D

 

                   FIRST TEAM BATTING AVERAGES  2006

Inns

N.O

Runs

H.S

Ave

D. Mercer

14

2

487

69

40.58

M.Jones

17

1

556

104

34.75

N.Shelton

12

1

345

82*

31.36

S.Driver

13

4

253

58

28.11

L.Bates

16

2

335

76

23.93

M.Ralph

12

1

248

49

22.55

D.Laughton

3

1

45

45*

22.50

A.Luck

7

4

65

39*

21.67

M.Shelton

6

1

105

43

21.00

H.Bahra

7

2

101

35

20.20

C.Perry

5

2

59

31

19.67

M.Carter

9

2

71

19

10.14

J.Pike

6

3

26

16*

8.67

S.Hussain

3

3

43

41

—–

 

        FIRST TEAM BOWLING AVERAGES  2006

Overs

Mdns

Runs

Wks

Ave

Best

H.Bahra

174.4

58

384

40

9.60

8 for 6

C.Perry

199.4

70

469

31

15.13

4 for 37

J.Pike

152

50

409

24

17.04

4 for 7

A.Luck

84.1

2

279

15

18.60

4 for 33

D.Mercer

35

10

95

5

19.00

2 for 19

S.Driver

148

35

473

23

20.57

4 for 17

S.Hussain

30

6

98

3

32.67

3 for 36

M.Jones

4

2

13

0

—–

0 for 0

J.Connon

6

0

35

0

—–

0 for 35

A.Ward

6

3

10

0

—–-

0 for 10

 

     SECOND TEAM BATTING AVERAGES  2006

Inns

N.O

Runs

H.S

Ave

T.Hudson

14

3

460

84

41.82

D.Laughton

13

1

410

92

34.17

B.Hanson

18

2

490

103

30.63

R.Boddington

18

0

512

73

28.44

P.Jones

12

1

154

31

14.00

J.Bannard

10

1

113

28

12.56

A.Ward

13

3

93

19

9.30

D.Clarkson

9

5

37

18

9.25

A.Silsby

13

0

110

27

8.46

H.James

6

0

44

23

7.33

M.Duddle

12

1

72

26

6.55

D.Ward

8

1

6

11

5.50

J.Perry

5

3

9

4

4.50

N.Dawson

5

1

17

6

4.25

Also batted

A.Johnson

4

1

69

54

23.00

J.Connon

4

1

67

32

22.33

S.Parsons

3

1

37

21

18.50

M.Fowler

2

0

33

23

16.50

J.Pike

2

1

12

9

12.00

M.Carter

2

0

13

8

6.50

P.Carter

1

0

23

23

23.00

 

       SECOND TEAM BOWLING AVERAGES 2006

Overs

Mdns

Runs

Wks

Ave

Best

J.Pike

51

13

131

9

14.46

5-27

D.Ward

160.3

25

592

32

18.50

5-86

A.Ward

201.1

24

808

33

24.48

5-73

D.Clarkson

106.3

15

456

16

28.50

3-3

M.Duddle

116

13

545

11

49.55

3-37

P.Jones

45

14

170

3

56.67

3-33

Also bowled

S.Parsons

43

5

95

6

15.83

2-33

A.Luck

12

2

53

3

17.63

3-53

S.Driver

13

5

30

1

30.00

1-30

D.Laughton

15.4

5

95

2

47.50

2-73

J.Connon

33

3

157

2

78.50

1-40

N.Dawson

40

11

125

2

62.50

1-14

J.Perry

19

9

83

2

41.50

1-14

M.Carter

4

0

23

1

23.00

1-23

T.Hudson

2

0

24

0

—–-

0-24

 

FIRST ELEVEN

Sat 22/4/06 KETTERING TOWN at home. Lost the Toss and unpredictably asked to bat first. Openers Nick Shelton & Matthew Jones looked in good form sharing a 64 opening partnership at 4 an over. Shelton 27. After Liam Bates fell cheaply new signing Dave Mercer joined Jones. Both batted positively and shared a 100+ partnership. Both only falling as they pushed to score quickly allowing an early declaration. Jones narrowly missing a century being bowled for 97. Mercer falling for 63. Total 213 for 5 dec in 48 overs.

Kettering did what I expected most teams to do this season. After the second new signing Shabz Hussain bowled both openers it was only a matter of survival for them and frustration for us. Chris Perry claimed a wicket with his first ball of the season & bowled well finishing with figures of 3-34. Shabz 3-36. Bahra 1-13. Winning draw 13 points on the board. 

Sat 29/4/06 S&L CORBY away. Loss the Toss and inserted. Another good start from the openers Shelton and Jones sharing a 100+ partnership. With Nick making 50 & Razzle 37. Lost a couple of quick wickets before Mark RALPH & Shabz HUSSAIN batted well. Shabz a controlled & powerful 41 not out including 3 six’s. Corby gave away 42 extras and I declared at 207-7 after 45 overs. Corby were never in the hunt and were bowled out for 74. Harmit BAHRA 12 overs 8 maidens 8 for 6 the pick of the bowlers. 29 points and first win as capt! 

Sat 6/5/06 WEEKLEY & WARKTON at home. Lost Toss saw us put in again. Another great batting performance by SHELTON 57 & JONES Scoring a 100 got us under way. Liam BATES 47 then joined the party and he & Razzle smashed the W&W bowling all around the park. Dave MERCER played a couple of cover drives that showed them we still had plenty left in the locker. Declared 237-3 after 43 overs.

W&W did what they came to do. Frustrate the hell out of us and picked up 6 points which for them was a right result! With the wet conditions and a soft wet ball it was very difficult for the bowlers to make any real impact on their stubborn batting. They finished 180ish-5 in 55 overs. Winning draw 13 more points taking us to the top of the table were I intended us to stay!  

Sat 13/5/06 ISHAM away. Won the first Toss of the season and elected to bowl first. Isham got off to a good start and were 41-0 after 7 overs. Chris PERRY then claimed a wicket in his first over quickly followed by a wicket for Simon DRIVER who bowled their overseas player. Harmit BAHRA came on 2nd change. He and Chris then bowled in partnership and bowled their allotted 15 overs. Harmit with 5-19 and Chris 3-25 doing most of the damage and grinded Ishams scoring to a halt. David MERCER claimed the other wicket. Isham were all out for 101.

With it being a sticky damp wicket batting was never going to be easy. Nick SHELTON produced another solid performance. After 2 early wickets he and David MERCER shared a 51 partnership. Nick 44, David 27. The rest chipped in to get us home 6 down. WIN 25 points. (Nick pulled hamstring! Knew it was only a matter of time).

 Sat 20/5/06 WELLINGBOROUGH INDIANS away. Rained off without a start.

 Sat 27/5/06 OLD NORTHAMPTONIANS 2ND’S home. Rained off without a start.

 Sat 3/06/06 BEDFORD TOWN no game as the pulled out of the league.

 Sat 10/06/06 ROTHWELL home. Won Toss and elected to bowl. A devastating opening 7 overs from John Pike ripped through their top order. Simon Driver also claimed a wicket to leave them 5 down for not many. Harmit Bahra and Chris Perry finished the job off and bowled out Rothwell for just 81. John Pike 7 overs 4 –7. Harmit claimed 3, Chris 2 and Simon 1.

The Total was never enough and Marcus Shelton carried on from where brother Nick had left off smashing 43 in no time. He and Matthew Jones 33 scored the bulk of the runs. We knocked them off in 16 overs only 1 down. Win 25 points.

 Sat 17/6/06 WELLINGBOROUGH TOWN away. Loss Toss and asked to bat. After losing Marcus early Matthew Jones and Liam Bates consolidate on what was a very dry wicket with unpredictable bounce and pace. Jones 53 and Bates 39 allowed the rest to try and score quickly at the end. It proved difficult with wicket falling at regular intervals. Simon Driver 24 not out was the other batsman to make a notable contribution. 174-9 off 50 overs. We always thought it was defendable on that wicket. Again the opening bowling of John Pike and Simon Driver ripped out their top order. Pike claimed a wicket with the 1st ball of their innings. Driver claimed 3 wickets in his opening 6 over spell. This took away any chance they had of claiming a win. Harmit Bahra then joined in and claimed 3 cheap wickets. Wellingborough went into their shell and defended out. 2 further wickets fell one each to Driver and Andy Luck. But we fell just short of claiming the final wicket required. Wellingborough 110-9. Winning draw 12 points. 

 Sat 24/6/06 GREAT OAKLEY home. Won Toss and elected to bowl. Good all round bowling performance saw all the bowlers claiming wickets. Pike 2, Driver 1, Perry 1, Bahra 3 and Luck 2. Resulting in bowling out Oakley for 115 in 44 overs.

After losing Nick Shelton and Liam fairly cheaply, Matthew Jones and Dave Mercer steadied the batting. Jones fell for 32 before Mark Ralph blasted the bowling for a quick fire 33 to almost seal the win. Mercer finished 27 not out. Game won in 27.1 overs by 5 wickets. Win 25 points.

Sat 1/7/06 BURTON LATIMER away. The won we were all waiting for didn’t go quite as planned. Won the toss and elected to bowl. Didn’t get off to the best of starts and Burton were scoring at a good rate. Driver claimed one of the openers. Perry and Bahra then slowed things down claiming 4 wickets between them and conceding only 67 runs in their combined 28 overs. Burton batsmen had ensured they had wicket left to have a dart at the end and finished 179-8 off their full 50 overs.

We lost 2 early wicket before Jones and Mercer built a partnership. However when Jones fell LBW for 28 wickets continued to fall at regular intervals whilst Mercer continued to show his class at the other end. He eventually fell caught behind for 68. With still 23 required to win. It left the tail to try to see us home. All tried and produced a couple of scoring shots before losing their wickets. With two overs to go Chris Perry hit 2 magnificent 4’s to leave us needing 3 to win off the final over, only problem was we were nine down. John Pike was hit on the pad first ball of the final over and was given LBW. Game over. Lost by 2 runs. Loss 6 points.

 Sat 8/7/06 KETTERING TOWN away. Loss toss and were inserted. Got off to a poor start losing the top 3 batsman quickly. Dave Mercer and Mark Ralph however were unfazed and batted in their usual manner scoring quickly and putting on almost a hundred. Mercer 69, Ralph 46. Driver chipped in with 25, before Bahra and Luck showed they do know which end of a bat to hold. They put on a 50+ partnership scoring quickly in the process. Luck 39not out and Bahra 31 not out. Declared on 265-7 in 48 overs.

Pike then claimed a wicket with the 1st ball of their innings and bowled well with Driver in their opening spell claiming their top order. Kettering shut up shop and the game fizzled out in a draw. Pike 3 –42 in 15 overs and Driver 2-28 in 10 overs. Kettering 187-7 in 52 overs. Winning draw 14 points. 

Sat 15/7/06 S&L CORBY home. Loss toss and were inserted. After a shaky start losing the top 3 relatively cheaply Dave Mercer and Marcus Shelton got us back on track. Dave with his 3rd consecutive 60 making 67, Marcus a patient 25. This was followed by Simon Driver at his fluent best with an effortless 54. The tail contributed and I declared 227-8.

John Pike then claimed early wickets 3-34 and Harmit claimed 4-23 in the middle. This left Corby in big trouble. Unbelievably they too decided to block out for a draw. However thanks to the extra overs and to the bowling of Andy Luck 2-15 we managed to finish the job and gained a maximum win. Won 30 points.

Sat 22/7/06 WEEKLEY & WARKTON away. Won toss and elected to bowl first. All was going well on one of the hottest days of the summer. Weekley were making slow progress and were 54-2 after 26 overs. Then the heavens opened and after a lengthy heavy storm the conditions were not ideal. Weekley were not keen to go back out to bat. However, after waiting patiently I forced the issue with the umpires. By now it was 7pm. We bowled 24 overs in an hour claiming 2 more wickets. Game abandoned. 4 points. Disaster Burton had a free week and had a massive advantage.  

 Sat 29/7/06 ISHAM home. Loss toss and inserted. Both sides had players missing due to the holiday period. After a slow start both Matthew Jones and Liam Bates found their touch and the scoring soon picked up pace. They put on well over 100 for the first wicket. Jones 66 and Bates 76. This was followed by Simon Drivers highlights show with ever shot finding the boundary. He finished on 58 in quick time. Declared 248-8.

Isham made a positive start however after Simon claimed the wickets of Reid & Reynoldson Isham were never in it. Chris Perry and Harmit Bahra then claimed 5 more wickets between them and only Harker their overseas made any tell contribution with 60+. Isham held out for a draw 177-8. Driver 3-60, Perry 3-19 and Bahra 3-29. Winning draw15 points. 

Sat 5/8/06 WELLINGBOROUGH INDIANS home. Loss toss and inserted. For the first time in the season the batting looked a little fragile. After losing both openers early wickets kept falling at regular intervals with only Liam Bates holding on for an invaluable 49. This was followed by a very valuable partnership between Mark Carter and Chris Perry, with both making 19 a piece. A quick fire 16 not out by John Pike allowed us to make 155 all out.

A good opening bowling spell saw Pike and Driver remove their top 3 very cheaply.  Perry and Bahra then tired up the middle order with Chris claiming 4-37 off his 15 overs. The Indians then tried to hold out for a draw. They were 9 down when the umpire missed a blatant caught behind of the bowling of Driver. Bahra returned and cleaned up number 11 for a comfortable win. Indians 118 all out.  Pike 2-22, Driver 1-30, Bahra 3-17. Win 27 points.

Sat 12/8/06 ON’S away. Won toss and elected to bowl. On a very windy day, together with a lightning fast out field and plum batting track the conditions favoured batting. Driver bowled a great opening 10 overs and deserved better than only one wicket. Pike and Perry did a great job bowling into the very wind. It always looked difficult to get wickets however the bowlers did well and contained ON’s to 176-6 off their full 50 overs.

Things didn’t go to plan with both openers falling cheaply. But a solid partnership between Bates and Mercer put us back in control. Mercer fell having made 43. Bates remained stroking the all to all parts of the boundary. Ralph went and played a typical innings of 21. Bates remained 74 not out. Another comfortable win 177-5. Win 26 points.

Sat 19/8/06 BEDFORD TOWN. No game due to their withdrawal from the league. 

 Sat 26/8/06 GREAT OAKLEY away. In my absence Matthew Jones captained the side. Won toss and elected to bowl. Great Oakley got off to a flier and scored quickly. However after some good bowling in the middle notably by Andy Luck 4-33 off his 15 overs and Chris Perry 3-66 off 15 overs together with a tidy 10 overs from John Pike 1-30 we restricted Oakley to 199-8.

A good 50 partnership between Nick Shelton and Matthew Jones got us on our way. However once they fell wicket fell regularly and we got further behind the run rate. This led to an exciting finish with Simon Driver and Darren Laughton in particular cutting loose to smash the Oakley bowling to all parts of the ground. Driver 36 not out and Laughton 45 not out scoring at over a run a ball. Game won 200-5. Win 28 points. 

Sat 2/09/06 WELLINGBOROUGH TOWN home. Won the toss and elected to bowl. On a lively wicket we got off to a good start with Simon Driver claiming two early wicket and John Pike 1. There overseas Jonathon Clarke then batted well whilst wicket fell the other end. Harmit Bahra bowled a tidy 15 overs in the middle claiming 3 wickets for 30 including that of Clarke. Andy Luck also claimed 2-42 bowling towards the end. Wellingborough finishing on 165-8.

Wellingborough openers bowled well and both Matthew Jones and Liam Bates fell early. Nick Shelton stuck in there playing positive shots and riding his luck a little. When David Mercer was caught at deep mid on for 10 it looked a tall order. We were well behind the run rate. Mark Ralph joined Shelton and just when we needed him to bat as he can he delivered. After stroking a cover drive off Sam Owen he was away and played classic and powerful shot against all the bowling. With Shelton well in at the other end, the run rate soon fell and the game was again ours. Shelton finished not out on 82 and Ralph 49 not out off 39 balls. (That’s what I call strike rate!) In the end we won comfortably y 7 wickets with 5 overs to spare. Win 26 points.

 Sat 9/09/06 ROTHWELL TOWN away. Before the game started things did not go well! Nick Shelton injuring his back lifting Lucky’s coffin into the boot of his car. He was required to drop out at the last minute.

Loss toss and inserted. We lost Liam Bates early. Harmit Bahra decided to bat himself at 3 so as to keep the rest of the batting order stable. After a shaky start on a wicket keeping low. He started to play some positive shots. Just as he looked to be in he was bowled for 35. Matthew Jones kept things study the other end. He and Dave Mercer had a good partnership with both scoring well. Mercer was riled up both the opposition and made a valuable 64 and Jones a solid 36. We were well in command allowing Mark Ralph and Simon Driver to bat freely, which is what they did, hitting boundaries at will. Although we lost wickets at the death trying to push the score on. Ralph 37 and Driver 21 including 3 boundaries in the final over. 211-8.

We started well. John Pike claimed a wicket in the first over. We claimed 3 further wickets in the first 14 overs. Simon Driver bowled the dangerous Marcus Steed, and the not at all dangerous Ross Parker was run out treading water. At this stage their captain Shaun Parker came to the wicket and instructed his team to block it out for a draw. He padded everything away whilst the other blocked everything. We persevered and with regular bowling changes continued to claim wickets. John Pike 3-32, Chris Perry 2-8 and a wicket a piece for Driver, Luck and Mercer. They finished on a sad 99-8 off 50 overs. Winning Draw 14 points. 

Sat 16/09/06 BURTON LATIMER home. Final game. We had been chasing Burton all season. They were the only other decent team in the division. We were 23 points behind and it was vital I won the toss to make it mathematical to win the league. You guesses it loss the toss! They decided to bat and declared on 101 after losing 5 wickets. This ensured we could only claim 22 points. We won the game102-7. Win 22 points.

The title was BURTON’S and we were second again ! 

I would like to thank all the players for their efforts in getting so close and for their support. Special thanks also to Lesley our scorer and Matthew my vice captain. Both completed all the admin tasks and a lot more allowing me to concentrate on the cricket. 

I hope everyone winters well and we’ll try hard again next year.

Harmit Bahra     

 

SECOND ELEVEN

It was half way through the 2005 season when I decided that I would like to take on the captaincy of the 2nd XI in 2006. It is a job that I had never really wanted to do before but a few reasons persuaded me that I should take my turn (if elected) and give it a go. In the past I was always happy to score my runs and let others make the decisions but over the last couple of seasons I have found myself during games wanting to alter the field or make a bowling change and I realised that the only way I would be able to make those decisions was to lead the team. I can't deny that it also crossed my mind that the best way to stay in the team if I was struggling with the bat was to be picking the side!! 

During the winter lots of ideas went through my mind about how best to captain the side. How to use the bowling attack effectively, how many slips I would have, when to be aggresive with my field placement and when to defend, how I would put the opposition batsmen under pressure by asking the bowlers to bowl in certain areas and how I would talk to our batsmen about playing the right innings to suit the situation of the game. At the beginning of April I had it all worked out. This captaincy lark was going to be easy!

I think it was probably the 2nd week in May when I realised that one slip was too many, bowlers bowl where they want to bowl, batsmen usually try to hit the ball out of the ground when playing for a draw and the best tactics are usually to spread the field out and give each bowler a spell of five overs each! Of course I am exaggerating a little but my eyes were certainly opened pretty quickly as to how much influence a captain really has over his team. I was also all too aware of how important it would be for me to use the influence I did have to positive effect. 

We kicked off the season on a soggy wicket at Wicken with a full strength team and at tea time we were feeling confident after reducing the home side to 119 all out. After an opening partnership of 40 however, the rest of the team struggled and we ended up hanging on for the draw at 114 for 9. This was the start of a trend that would stay with us throughout the first half of the season. There were four more games which could and maybe should have been won but we let them slip and in terms of our league position they proved pretty costly. After plucking defeat from the jaws of victory against Horton we made a visit to the superstars of Great Houghton. Actually they only had 1 superstar on duty, Tony Pemberthy, who showed his class (and the fact he is playing 5 levels below his standard) with the small matter of 146no. Although they finished eventual champions Gt Houghton were ridiculously dependent on 3 players and we had no trouble in playing out for a draw at 160 for 2 from our 40 overs. 

After a few wet weeks, we got our first win of the season trouncing Long Buckby at home. Our six bowlers dismissed the bottom side for 61 and we wasted no time in knocking off the runs, losing just one wicket. This was the last game in which I was able to call on the services of John Pike and Simon Parsons, a loss which I believe had a huge bearing on the rest of our season. We are very much looking forward to seeing Simon in action again next season following his knee surgery. The club will certainly benefit greatly from his return. John of course returned to the 1st XI and did a great job with the new ball right throughout the season. During the next spell of games our batting began to struggle a little and totals we would normally chase down were not being reached. Notably at Rushden and at home to East Haddon. We put ourselves into a winning position in both games but failed to press home the advantage. We do tend to rely on three or four batsmen to score the majority of our runs during a season and I feel that if we are to improve and be more competitive in Division 3 then we must be looking for runs from other players in the team. We have a number of batsmen outside the top four who are capable of scoring 300+ runs in a season and if two or three of those players realised the potential they have it would have a big impact on our success.

Into the second half of the season and an easy win over a poor Wicken side was followed by a bad defeat at Horton. On a lovely batting track we posted 217 for 9 in our 50 overs but to be honest we were never in the game from then on. We got off to a poor start with the ball with 60 runs coming from the first 10 overs and Horton cruised to victory in no time at all. This was the only game of the season which I really didn't enjoy because it was also the only game of the season in which we really didn't compete. Another good draw against Gt Houghton (Just 87 for Pemberthy this time) and a very satisfying draw against a strong Rushton side were followed by our worst spell of the season. Defeat at Kempston on a freshly watered wicket, comprehensively beaten by the high flying Indians and outplayed by an impressive Gt Bowden. This run was broken however by our third victory at Brigstock. Tight bowling and an excellent display in the field saw us dismiss the hosts for 105 leaving us 63 overs to knock them off. Some indifferent batting against a good Brigstock attack however ensured a thriller and we crept over the line with 8 wickets down much to the skipper's relief and delight. 

In our penultimate game we rattled up our highest score of the year, 273 for 6 against Rushden including an incredible 23 from the first over of the match. Rushden threatened initially but tight bowling reduced them to 225 for 6 at the close. Our final game was one to forget but it was very satisfying to hold out for a draw against an arrogant East Haddon to ensure the title went to Gt Houghton, leaving Haddon as runners up although still promoted. 

So on a dull, grey evening in the middle of nowhere another season came to a close. We finished 11th (one from bottom) in the table but it could have been much different. As I mentioned earlier in this report we are relying too much on a few batsmen. Tim, Rex, Laughty and myself all made 400+ runs but the next highest was just 153. Of course the top four batsmen get more opportunity but to succeed we need 200+ runs from two or three other players. I will put down a challenge now to Andy Silsby, Haydn, Ade and Mike to make 200+ runs next season. All are capable of doing it with a little more concentration and application. It would also be nice to get a full season from Jimmy B and Jonty who are capable of playing big innings for us. I felt through most of the season that our bowling attack was a little bit light and this for me was the biggest problem we faced. The bowlers we had did a great job but in most games I felt I had too few options, particularly with the new ball and the failure to take early wickets in so many games hurt us badly. Hopefully next year we will be able to take the field with five bowlers each week and give ourselves a chance of bowling teams out. 

It wasn't all doom and gloom though and there were many positives to come out of the season. Having Tim in the side for most of the games gave the batting some real stability and his performances with the bat and in the field were top drawer particularly his innings at Brigstock which almost single handedly won the game for us. Rex again scored more runs than anybody and every other team in the league must wish for such a flying start to each innings. Laughty's innings against Rushton was one of the most destructive I've seen and he eventually forced his way in to the first team!! The bowling honours were shared by Dave and Ade who shouldered a heavy load throughout most of the season and as always bowled with the control and consistency we needed so badly. The introduction of David Clarkson to senior cricket was a real plus for the club and the experience he gained from a full season with us will have been invaluable for him. He caused problems for all batsmen with his in swingers and the highlight for me was when he cleaned up East Haddon's star player Duncan Fosse for just 12. We are all looking forward to David returning next season a year older, bigger, stronger and quicker. 

Next season will be a real challenge for the 2nd XI. The strength of the team will always be dependent upon the make up of the 1st XI and as the club gets stronger this can only be good for both sides. The return of Simon Parsons and the aquisition of an overseas player would have a huge impact on the strength of the club and with a couple of quality players added to our squad of players I believe we would have a real chance of mounting a serious challenge for promotion. I also believe that if the players we have already got all play to their potential we will finish a lot higher up the table than we did this season.

Finally a few words of thanks. To our scorer Judy, who wasn't able to be with us this season as much as she would have liked but did a great job when she could make it. To Rod who deputised splendidly and gave us terrific support throughout the season. To John Hodges for preparing good pitches under difficult circumstances without the use of a roller for half the season. To my vice captain Ade for his support and advice during our hour long phone conversations twice a week and to our wonderful tea ladies and gents who once again produced the finest teas in the league.  I would also like to thank all the players that played for us this season and I am hoping I will be given the chance to lead the team again. It is for others to decide whether I made a good or bad job of things but I like to think I did things my own way most of the time and most important of all, surprisingly, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Brett Hanson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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