Park Hill Cricket Club 2014 Saturday Captain report by Nick Williams

Guys, as we (Park Hill Cricket Club) embark on this season’s awards dinner it is my duty to provide you with my

Captain gets out

Nick Williams – Park Hill Cricket Club Saturday League Skipper

report on the past season, our performance and individual performances of note.

This past year we finished the season in 3rd place with a record of P 15 W 12 L 3 D 0 with 2 abandonments. The numbers speak for themselves and show what a tremendous feat we have achieved and how consistent we were. This is down to a number of factors, namely our squad strength, our spirit and our ability-which has continued to improve. It is also important to note that we actually beat both of the teams that finished above us and that we have been successful in winning the fair play award also. (This is the first year that the fair play award is not named the “taking part award” by me!!)

We began the season at home to Gymkhana, a name that haunted us from the previous season and things began worryingly with us ending 99 all out. However, we showed the character that would be demonstrated time and time again throughout the season, by skittling them out for 70 odd and taking home the bacon.

Following our winning start, we took some time to find our rhythm in the league, sandwiching a win against Morden with an abandonment and then a loss to Woking, followed by a win vs Ploughmans and another loss to Ali. Despite the inconsistency in parts, we had some tremendous performances and some really tight games. Individual match winners began to emerge and put us in good stead for the rest of the season.

We won two on the bounce against Ham and Petersham and the infamous game against West Byfleet, with our 9 men racking up 243 and bowling them out for 43 in the process-only to be stuffed by Ploughmans the week after. A cavalier performance from us, lacking responsibility and conviction, left us wondering if we were good enough to win this league.

I believe this (the defeat to Ploughmans), to be our turning point in the season. The game made sure that we were operating as a unit from then on, working together and everyone pulling their weight. It made sure the upper order batted with responsibility and not as hot headed individuals. With the emergence of some special performances with both bat and ball, we already knew that we could beat any team on our day. We started to get serious about promotion, knowing that we COULD win the league and that we SHOULD be promoted. People knew their role in the side and the competition for places was fierce. Exactly what a league side should look like.

Following the Ploughmans game, we got real and started to put sides to the sword. The £10 lunch brigade was born. We were absolutely brutal against some sides-foolishly choosing to bat first against us only to be skittled for under a ton and then have us knock it off inside 10 overs and for no loss. Teams started to talk about us and how efficient we were, some commenting to me that we had one of the best sides they’d seen all year-even after they’d played against eventual champions Ploughmans. We won 7 games in a row against notable sides such as Ali, Bec Old Boys, Battersea and Ham and Petersham to name just some.

Winning seven games in a row showed how far we had come and what a well-oiled machine we had developed in to. We even put a friendly in the middle vs Dorking 3’s, who play in the Surrey Championship (a very good standard) and only lost by 15 runs or so. We had players asking for a step up in competition as we had begun to get hungry and I hope that this puts us in a strong position next year as we continue our search for silverware.

Our results were not the only positives of the this year. We had several new additions to the league side who complemented the pre-existing side exceptionally well. Alwyn Martinez, the new gloveman of the league side proved time and time again what a quality keeper he is with some exceptional takes and sharp stumping’s. His batting became a relied upon weapon and his performances with Bhupesh at the top of the order were something that we came to expect, in particular the 70odd he scored against Ali.
Bhupesh Gujela, our new Neil Carter, opening the batting and bowling really came to the fore midway through the season. His fast pace and consistent line and length allowed him to put opposition batsman under pressure and the wickets followed, typified by his 5-15 vs West Byfleet. His batting however was the ultimate weapon, after finally getting the chance to open the innings, he took it with arms wide open. Smashing several fifties and proving what a quality addition he was his best league knock coming against Ham and Petersham with a match winning 86*.

Alex Mackay, a steely all-rounder who showed he had real class with several quality knocks throughout the season and that his 10 year hiatus from cricket had not allowed any rust to set in! His batting was known to us and continued to be a weapon for the Hill, however it was his bowling that really impressed, particularly his blitzkrieg spell away at Battersea Ironsides that saw him take 3 wickets in as many overs.

Our new additions were not the only stars of the show however as we continued to see
development in our existing players and their contribution against proved essential. Prem
Subramanian, the man who has done it all, showed his excellence with bat and ball once more this year. Several occasions saw him crank up the MPH and sling it down at top speed, taking many wickets in the process and we also saw him notch up his first club 50.
Ian Jeavons, father time himself, showed his quality again as a reliable performer, taking wickets that others cannot. Ian once more proved his wicket taking knack had not deserted him, with a number of 4 wicket hauls.

Major notched a quality 50 vs Dorking, Elliot proved vital with his spin once again, Dan and Adam gave the best chat in the league and Webbs played very well when available. Worrell, the “gas man” as he is best known, showed how his tantalising left armers can be too much for some batsmen to handle this year, forging himself as a solid league performer. The development of Dave Lawn should also be noted, this time however with the bat. In the league side Dave often came in around number 8 or 9 and didn’t disappoint, playing shots Sachin Tendulkar would have been proud of at times.

All in all this was a highly successful season and 3rd place is nothing to turn our noses up at. Next year however we will be winning the league and we should accept nothing less. It is important that we keep the core of the side and build on the competitive edge and squad depth. With these essentials in place, I am certain that we will do more than just compete.
We have some special players, a number of proven match winners and everyone that is in this side has shown that they merited their place, whether it be this season or in the past, combined with our aggression has allowed us to be a quality outfit. Our team spirit, general banter and morale has been high throughout the year and allowed us to come off on top in difficult situations, chasing down big totals and removing batsmen in key partnerships. Well done to you all and I look forward to sharing a drink with you at the dinner.

On a separate note, I have decided that this will be my final year as Saturday Captain and will be resigning as of now. Whilst I was tempted to write a 4am drunken email to make this announcement like some past Hillians…. 😉 I have decided that it was best to leave it in the captain’s report instead.

The past four seasons as captain have been amazing and I have enjoyed every bit of them. We have developed into a tight unit and the standard of our game and our competitive nature has been really pleasing to have been a part of. The 2013 and 2014 season’s, with the 9aside competition and this year’s league performance are of particular note. I am confident that the side will be in good hands and as I look at the squad we have, there are a number of candidates for the Captain’s role. I would like to thank those of you that made the job easier for me and look forward to winning the league with you next year too!

Nick

Click on the link below to read Nick’s report and view the player statistics: