The first team finished their season with a comprehensive seven wicket win away to Sutton Coldfield. Batting first, Sutton were bowled out for 236 with Laeq Chishti (3-32) and Aqab Ahmed (3-41) amongst the wickets for us, a return which saw Ahmed finish as the leading wicket taker in Division Two of the Birmingham League, aided by wicket keeper Andy Jones who recorded the most dismissals in the division. A solid effort in reply saw us complete victory with ten balls to spare with Mohammed Ishtiaq (53), Attiq Chishti (69 not out) and Rana Hassan (85) all contributing well with the bat as we finished the season in a creditable fourth place after having been in contention for promotion until the last but one weekend of the season
The second team hosted West Bromwich Dartmouth and a thrilling game saw the visitors win by one wicket with just one ball remaining. After Kev Baker (33) had got our innings off to a good start, a flurry of wickets saw us in trouble at 98-6 before youngster Sam Horobin (27) batted patiently and responsibly in support of Ian Brown (70 not out) as we were able to reach 200-8 from our 45 overs. Despite two wickets apiece for Joe Oakley (2-35), Horobin (2-28) and Jon Price (2-19) in support of Brown (3-32), Dartmouth reached their victory target with a six off the penultimate ball of the innings. A number of narrow defeats for the team in a tough division have seen us finish in ninth place.
The third team travelled to Tamworth and posted an impressive 261-7 from their allocated overs. Myles Davis (41) and Steve Jones (55) got the innings off to a good start before an unbroken stand of 81 between Josh Baker (a senior best 27 not out) and Duncan Horobin (71 not out) ensured the innings closed well. With George Price (2-21) and Horobin (2-23) amongst the wickets for us, it was left to Chris Henderson (4-16) to wrap things up as Tamworth were dismissed for 136. The win by 125 runs ensured that we avoided relegation, no mean feat with a largely youthful side playing in a tough division.
For me this weekend, a game in the second team and with the “olds” team winning the football yet again after handing out another footballing lesson to the youngsters, it was nice to get a few runs opening the batting before getting out to a decent delivery and then keeping wicket reasonably. It’s been a frustrating season with the bat as I’ve felt in reasonable form, but haven’t scored anywhere near the number of runs I would have liked to have done for the club, though feel that I’ve kept wicket decently for most of the season, albeit having been hampered somewhat by a back injury over the last six weeks or so – old age clearly starting to take effect….
So, whilst it’s always sad when a season finishes, on a personal note it will be good to rest my body and it’s aches and pains for a few weeks before starting to prepare for next season. With some social events – presentation night and a golf day planned over the next month or so – it promises to be an entertaining close season.
For next season, as the ECB Premier Leagues are restructured all of our teams will be playing in the Staffs Clubs Championship, with the divisions that each side will be in yet to be decided. It will be nice to play at some more local grounds and reduce the travelling we have done this year, whilst still playing a very high standard of competitive cricket.
As ever, there are thanks to the people who work behind the scenes to do the jobs which make sure the club runs smoothly – everyone on the committee and all the junior coaches; Welfare Office Leisa Wyllie; Neil Davis, Nick Giles and Peter Parnaby for their work on the ground; scorers Dave Jones, Nick Jackson, Claire Porter and Mark Axcell; Nick Giles for his umpiring efforts with the second team; Kath Baker and Rachael James for producing Saturday and Sunday teas respectively – and anyone else I’ve forgotten as there’s bound to be someone!!
Until next season...