Hello my little mangelwurzels,
And a slightly belated welcome to the final cricket round up of 2019. Apologies for the delay but after all the events of this weekend it has taken slightly longer than usual for my acolytes to raise me, polish me and generally make me as fragrant as possible before I could set finger to keyboard.
Before I embark on my usual inane round up of the proceedings of the final weekend, there is the not insignificant matter of my heroes of the week, and as it’s the end of the season it seems a highly appropriate time to pay tribute to my 5 fellow members of the Selection Committee. These fine gentlemen not only gave up their Tuesday evenings throughout the season but also were in almost daily contact shuffling teams, dealing with drop-outs, communicating scores, chasing subscriptions and match fees and all manner of chicanery. The amount of time put in by these 5 guys on behalf of the players has been incredible and the fact they have (for the most part) done it with such good humour, fairness and dedication is testament to them all. I therefore acknowledge the huge amount of work put in by Phil Hodgson, Tennyson Prowse, Liam Robinson, Michael “The Founder” Collins and Matt Medlock and on behalf of all at NCC I thank the 4 four captains for the way they have marshalled their sides this year and thank Phil for his sagely advice, assistance and guidance.
Now, sing it high from the rooftops, ring out the bells, send forth messengers far and wide, let loose the winged monkeys and let it be known the length and breadth of the village that our 1st XI are Champions of Division 1. Already guaranteed promotion before a ball had been bowled this week, the 1s took on fellow promoted side Cranleigh for the top spot and I am delighted to say it was Tennyson and the boys that ran out winners of a topsy-turvy encounter in front of a plethora of travelling supporters.
Batting first, Normandy looked on the ropes at 35 for 4 and it was level-headed batting and hard graft from the skipper and Little Viggy that stemmed the tide. Together they blunted the attack and gradually a trickle of runs became a stream until, having added 62 Tennyson gave a tickle to the keeper and the umpire sent him on his way for a hard fought 42. Just 13 runs later Little Viggy went too, his valuable 34 ended by a terrific caught and bowled.
While Sairaj sensibly stroked the ball around it was left to first Will Pereira (8) and then Danny Miles to “apply the tap“ and with the Boy Miles launching a couple of big sixes in his unbeaten 25 and Sairaj (23*) coolly finding gaps the final tally of 167 looked a much more defendable score than at one stage seemed likely.
Any thoughts that the game was in the bag were quickly dispelled by Cranleigh’s Jack Scriven who came out with all guns, and everything else, blazing. 10 were scored from Meaks’s first over, 17 from Pez’s second and then, I can hardly believe it myself, Little Viggy was plundered for 21 in his first over. Scriven raced to 57 in just 7 overs and the naysayers of Normandy were already contemplating an early exit.
All that changed when Pez returned to the attack in the 8th over and Scriven miscued a pull shot to Tennyson who clung on to a simple but vital catch. 64 for 2 in the 8th over and the game was in the balance. Then up stepped Meaks to shift the furniture twice, and not to be outdone the speedy Pez sent down a double wicket maiden and suddenly Cranleigh were 75 for 6.
When Meaks was rested on came the under rated Russel Withey who quickly got in on the act with a wicket in his first over and then Little Viggy returned to make it 96 for 8. Former Normandy player Olly Trower resisted longer than he ever did for us before miscuing to cover to make it 109 for 9. The tail then decided to wag and when Charlie Young spilled a chance in the deep there was a brief moment where one wondered if that had been our chance. Fortunately, it wasn’t crucial as Russel induced a faint nick to Cal Green behind the stumps and that was it. Game over and victory for the Normans!
Tennyson Prowse’s team return to the Premiership at the first time of asking as champions and on behalf of the club I congratulate the side on a terrific achievement. Well done to all 25 players who made an appearance this year and especially to CJ, Charlie and Dan who were ever present throughout the campaign, and all three made vital contributions at times this year.
So, ale was drunk, and then we were all back on the road to cheer on the 2s at home where some guy called Leon (fresh from a sit-down shower after taking in 4 pints the night before) appeared to have taken over the captaincy from Liam. Fortunately, the 2s kept up the carnival atmosphere with a 26-run win over Valley End.
The Good Guys 207 all out was a team effort with contributions from Hemers (43), Rossco (42), Sam Holland (35) and Richard “the duck killer” Burton (30).
In their turn the Enders made a good fist of it but lost wickets regularly as the spin duo of Chris Heane (3-30) and Aaron Smallbone (2 -38) ensured Normandy would take the spoils that leaves the 2s finishing in a very creditable 3rd place. Just rewards for a tough but largely successful campaign for a squad that themselves got through 28 players, with Heane Dog and the Duck Killer the only ever presents.
On the road the 3s had a do or die mission at Old Ruts, needing to win to have any chance of staving off the drop. It all started well with GMac (50) and the oh so elegant Torquil (74) easing to 120 for the first wicket. However, once they were parted a batting line up as strong as any the 3s have put out folded in almost inexplicable fashion with Jayanth (14) the only other player to make double figures. Bundled out for 157 from a position of superiority could have hit morale hard, but fortunately the 3s bowlers are well versed in trying to defend small totals and with GMac grabbing 3 for 24 and Michael Walter 2 for 25 the home side were staring down the barrel at 120 for 8 and the first leg of the escape act looked on. However, the 9th pair refused to be parted and little by little crept back into the game finally stumbling over the line with 9 balls remaining to send our boys down to a 2-wicket defeat.
It was a tough day, with two golden positions to win the game squandered, but at least a fight was made of it and hopefully next year we can come back in glory. A campaign which saw 40 players used was a difficult one indeed, and Michael Collins now stands down as captain after 8 years of magnificent service to the club and I thank him for all he has done and for the way in which he has tried to make every game as enjoyable for everyone as he can. A true gentleman. I am delighted that next season Torquil has agreed to step into his shoes and I know you will all give him every support.
It was excitement to the last on the top ground as the 4s lost a real nail-biter by just 2 runs to finish 6th. Woking amassed a formidable 214 for 5 with Jonny Hodgson (unlucky to have missed out on the 3s game) taking 2-31 and a wicket each for Xavier Deacon, Adam Carr and Alex Wilson.
Mark “Man Beer” Rosser got the reply off to the requisite flyer with 10 4s in his 50, while Martin Docis returned to form with an excellent 61 and the old warhorse Bowen chipped in with a spirited 20. However, as the overs ran down it was skipper Medlock who took up the challenge. His flashing blade leading the way while the great Fordo ran like the wind to help Medders farm the strike, facing only 4 balls in their partnership (and calling for 3 drinks in the process!!). The skipper smashed his way to 56 but crucially lost the strike for the last ball which Fordo was unable to connect with as it dribbled down the leg side, ignored by umpire Bowen. A fantastic finish to a tight game and a splendid season for the 4s who have found their level in the new league structure and in Matt have found a skipper with enthusiasm and energy to lead that has surpassed all expectation.
So then it was all into HQ for burgers (thanks to Shelly and Jonah), a celebratory song from the musical stylings of Mr Derek Morgan, a yard or two of ale and the customary sightscreen challenge before the 2019 season crawled off into the night to become yet another memory for our great club.
It is worth noting however the following all made the top 10 performers in their respective leagues this year:
Batsmen: 1st XI Freddy Austin (10th) 2nd XI Andy Hemingway (3rd) Richard Burton (5th) Liam Robinson (8th) Ross Skidmore (10th) 3 rd XI Adam Jones (7th) Torquil Deacon (8th) 4 th XI Matt Medlock (9th) Mikey Scott (10th)
Bowlers: 1st XI Little Viggy (3rd) Chris Jones (8th) 2nd XI Chris Heane (1st) Liam Robinson (3rd) 3rd XI Lee Smallbone (8th) 4 th XI George Newton (4th) Well done to all!
The club was not silent for long though as Sunday saw the Surrey trust League Tier 2 and Tier 3 finals at HQ. While we did not have a team in the finals (narrowly) it was a very profitable day on the bar and at the barbecue and huge thanks go to Sara Job for co-ordinating the day and working so hard throughout and to her small but excellent band of helpers – Clare Hunt, Smudger, Alfie, Michael, Scrappy, Jen & Mossy who all helped make the day a success.
Before I go the same way as the 2019 season, some important reminders:
End of Season Work Detail Saturday 14 September from 9am we will convene to help put the club’s cricketing paraphernalia back into storage. There is a lot to do but with a good turn out we should be done in a couple of hours, so please make every effort to join me in a morning of clearing up and planning for the future. You have all benefitted from the club’s facilities so now its time to make sure you help return them to storage ahead of next year.
Presentation dinner I am taking orders for the Presentation Dinner at NCC on Saturday 12th October. Tickets are very reasonably priced at £15 each and orders are coming in fast. Trophies will be given out across all senior and Academy teams and it’s a great way to review the season gone and pay tribute to all those who have achieved on and off the field in 2019. Please either e-mail or text to reserve your tickets and payment can be made in cash on the night. And now this…
The Fantasy League The scores have been totted up, and the dust has settled and its congratulations to Liam Robinson whose side “Liam’s Reigning Champions” has taken top spot this year by just 28 points from the Club Captain. For all you Brad fans out there, our favourite finally came in 35th out of 39 with the wily old warhorse Bowen seeing off his challenge in the last few weeks. Thanks as always go to Phil Miles for organising and to all who took part – hopefully even more will take the plunge in 2020.
The top 5 were: Liam Robinson 9,731 Ross Skidmore 9,703 Michael Collins 9,508 Chris Hampton 9,323 Peter Scott 9,311
And finally, its time to say thank and farewell to Dan Miles who leaves us this week to start his new life in Australia with the lovely Alexa. Dan has been a fantastic servant to the club both on and off the field and will be much missed by us all and especially by Phil and the family. A brief review of Play-cricket shows Dan scored over 4,700 runs for the club including 2 centuries and took over 450 wickets with 7 5-wicket hauls. On top of that he has coached colts and senior players, helped on the ground and been known to enjoy a drink or two at the bar. He was always competitive, often grumpy on the field but never gave less than his all and was a pleasure to have as part of our club. Good luck Dan, go well.
And that’s it from me for my weekly round ups. I’ll see you all at the work party and the end of season dinner.
Run fast, laugh hard and be kind Scottie Dog