has been a landmark year for West End Cricket Club in various different ways.
on the playing side it has been a challenging
year. Before the season started the committee had made the decision to upgrade our fixture
list. We had just enjoyed one of the best seasons losing only five from nineteen and it
was felt that we were gaining nothing from thrashing the likes of Barripper, Westcott,
Oakley and Old Woking 2nds. To develop as a team we needed stronger opposition so teams
such as Charing Cross, Chobham and Valley End were added as well as making the effort to
play more first XI's. This is partly reflected in the final analysis of played 22, won 6,
lost 12 and drawn 4. However it was not just the quality of the opposition that made 1999
more difficult for us: it was ourselves. The Captain was never able to play together what
most would consider to be our strongest eleven. The closest we came to fielding it was on
tour, where we won both games against good opposition. The same eleven players never took
the field in consecutive games. In four games we could not field a full team - we lost all
those four games. The club was forced to use twenty-six players last season, more than
ever before. Social commitments, injury and work meant that only six players played over
12 games out of the 22. It is of great credit to Tim that no fixtures were lost because of
our difficulty in raising eleven players, week in, week out.
Although on the surface
disappointing, This analysis deserves a closer look. Of the twelve games lost, in four we
were without a full team, in the final two games we put out a guest eleven due to holidays
and two of the four draws were very "winning" draws indeed. We scored over 3,000
runs at an average of 140, topping 200 three times. The first wicket partnership record
was demolished by Matt and Tim. Tim scored the first century for over two years (and his
first), we now have three centurions in the club. Two other scores were in the nineties
with fourteen half centuries in all. Plenty of achievement there. The bowling, however,
did not live up to the batting. Again absences didn't help as the Skipper only had his
preferred four bowlers all together on six occasions. Bowlers had to buy jugs after only 3
matches for taking five wickets, although there were several instances of jug avoidance,
Matt for one (!). Fielding tended to be brilliant one moment then Monty Python the next. A
few catches were dropped, however, in all 22 games we only ran out the opposition once and
got no stumpings, while we were run out 6 times and stumped 10. This is an area for
development. Generally the feeling is that we are moving forward as a team.
So despite not being as successful on the pitch
as in 1998 there is encouragement in 1999. Not least is the arrival of four young players
who have joined in the last eight months - Johnno, Ricky, Chris and Craig. As Craig put it
at the Awards Dinner "We Are The Future!"
Other aspects of last season give even more
cause for optimism. This year the committee gave a firm commitment to develop a grass
wicket at the Recreation Ground. Fund raising started in March and before the start of the
season the Race Night and the Sponsored walk had raised over £1,000. This fundraising has
continued throughout the year with the Quiz Night, the B-B-Q and raffles at other social
events. The social side was a revelation this year with seven highly successful functions
- usually organised by a member of the Lamb family. For this year we have appointed a
Social Secretary, Diane Lamb, who although not directly part of the committee is
responsible for co-ordinating this year's social events. The support we received from
outside the club was magnificent again with over £800 being donated from Vice-Presidents.
Thanks again must go to the President and his wife for an excellent President's Day and
their continuing support. This level of commitment from outside the club is fantastic and
is much appreciated. Other examples of this include the help with the teas, support at
games and the creation of a superb new scoreboard. All this helped us exceed our
fundraising target for this year (honorable mention of the Parish Council) but I'll let
Kev reveal exactly what is in his - er, the club's account. Fund raising will continue
this year - details to follow - with the pitch being laid in
autumn of this year. A seasons' bedding in has been advised so all next season's fixtures
will be away and we will be playing on a grass wicket in the summer of 2002.
I believe 1999 was another vintage year for
West End Cricket Club.
Finally, a short list things we learnt this
- never believe myself or J'Walliker when we set off for a quick single.
- never bowl Hillsy on a dodgy wicket unless you have a good lawyer.
- never believe anything the President says on President's Day,
especially about the strength of his team.
- never drink anything green that lurks at the bottom of a pint of cider.