Richmond C.C. of Surrey, who ironically play in the ECB’s Middlesex pyramid of competitions, have been celebrating arguably their most successful season ever.
After the disappointment of 2009, that saw the 1st XI relegated from the Premier League, under new leadership they have bounced straight back at the first attempt. Kev Barrett’s side missed out on the Division 2 title by the narrowest of margins, their final wicket falling off the very last ball of the title-deciding match against Winchmore Hill. Vice-captain, Simon Elliott was run out for 58, going for the 2nd run that would have secured a “winning draw” and the extra points they needed to leapfrog their rivals in the table.
However, the mainly young side weren’t down for long, as news began to leak of results elsewhere involving the club’s other 4 Saturday Middlesex league XIs. Over at Eastcote C.C. in Hillingdon, there was a double celebration as both the 2nd and 3rd XIs won their matches in style to confirm their status as Division 1 Champions. The 4th XI meanwhile (the only 4th XI in 3rd XI Division 2), wrapped up their title with 3 fixtures to spare, securing 12 wins from the first 15 weeks of the season! Due to current Middlesex County Cricket League rules, they will unfortunately be denied the opportunity to take on their Champion colleagues from Division 1 next year.
Finally, over at the club’s 3rd ground, Imperial College Harlington, the 5th XI dominated a one-sided affair to win by 10 wickets, and then nervously waited for news of the result involving their own title-chasing rivals, Lohana 3rd XI of Harrow. At around 7.30pm, it was confirmed that Lohana had only managed to secure a draw, giving Richmond the title by a single point – cue scenes of much rejoicing in the Old Deer Park bar as the club began to take in a phenomenal achievement – 4 league titles, and a further side promoted is something never before achieved in the history of Middlesex league cricket.
Once all the teams had returned back to HQ, the party could really start, and a packed bar was entertained first by some impromptu end of season awards commemorating this most successful of seasons, and then by guest band for the night – “Retrobates”. However, their standard of play was anything but – the band’s lead guitarist in particular was a Jimi Hendrix in the making, and even opened up their double set with “All along the watchtower”... A great night was had by all, not least by the bar staff, who reported record takings on the night!
For most of the teams, 2011’s great challenge will be to match their achievements from 2010, but for the 1st XI, back in the big time, and still the last team to win the Premier League before Ealing’s period of dominance started, the journey continues.
© Richmond CC