Saturday 1st XI
In the Club’s inaugural season in the Premier League, first year captain Sam Kirnon led a team comprised mostly of players aged under 25, regularly playing three and sometimes four players who were aged under 21.
At the start of the season we knew that life would be challenging in the top division, especially since some of the senior players from the previous year had not returned to the Club, but we were convinced that no matter how results went on the field that the experience gained would be of immense value to a group of players that should provide the core of the 1st XI for many years to come.
As it turned out the team achieved a highly creditable 7th place in the league and produced a tremendous Cup run that saw us finish as runners-up to double-winners Ardleigh Green.
The first half of the league season saw the team compete well in almost every match and they should have won more matches than the solitary success at Ardleigh Green. The second half of the league season was a roller-coaster ride which saw the team’s first loss, away to Ilford, followed by a 7 run win against Wickford and a 2 run win away at Saffron Walden. This took the team briefly to the top of the league but the month of August saw five heavy defeats in a row that in a tight division made relegation a possibility.
In the penultimate game a 1wicket win against Gidea Park & Romford saw us gain sufficient points to stay in the Premier League but in typical style this was a nerve racking affair. Chasing 175, we looked well set for victory until a batting collapse left the last wicket needing to score 29 runs for the win. Ben MacGregor and Len Daniels managed to withstand the pressure and saw the side home.
Over the course of the season the team struggled to score enough runs and only four batsmen scored over 250 runs (Jamie Hill 444 runs @ 31.71, Matthew O’Sullivan 300 runs @ 25.00, Sam Kirnon 291 runs @ 22.38 and wicket-keeper Paul Shawyer 291 runs @ 18.19). However there were hundreds for Robert Whitfield (104 v Saffron Walden) and Jamie Hill (148 not out v Colchester). The highest partnership was 199 between Robert Whitfield and Paul Shawyer (77) against Saffron Walden after the team had subsided to 19 for 4.
The bowling was led by South African Denver Carolus who took 39 wickets @ 17.28. He was ably supported by McPherson Meade (16 wickets @ 13.19), Ben MacGregor (14 wickets @ 22.00), Ryan Harris (17 wickets @ 27.24) and Len Daniels (16 wickets @ 30.25). The best individual bowling performances were produced by McPherson Meade (6 for 51 v Wickford) and Ryan Harris (5 for 28 at Saffron Walden and 5 for 43 v Ardleigh Green).
As expected of a young side the fielding was usually excellent with Alfie Taylor, who also contributed useful runs with a highest score of 62, and Len Daniels in particular setting the standard.
Finally, thanks to Lee ‘Wild Man’ Wiles who travelled long distances to carry out the scoring duties and who became very much a member of the 1st XI squad.
In the National Cockspur Cup a convincing win over Harrow Town (fifties for Rob Whitfield, Sam Kirnon and Paul Shawyer plus 4 wickets apiece for Len Daniels and Ryan Harris) was followed by a 4 wicket defeat to Brondesbury. In the Evening Standard Cup a poor performance against St. Margaretsbury saw us exit at the first stage.
In the League Cup there were early round successes against Horndon-on-the-Hill and Hadleigh & Thundersley. This was followed by an exciting 11 run win against Gidea Park & Romford in the quarter-final with Paul Shawyer (85) and Billy Rhone (42) leading the batting and with McPherson Meade and Ben MacGregor taking 3 wickets each. In the semi-final, victory against Chelmsford was achieved largely due to 62 with the bat from McPherson Meade and the spin duo of Denver Carolus (5 for 21) and Ben MacGregor (3 for 9).
In the final, although our host of travelling supporters saw James Runciman score 50 and Denver Carolus bowl superbly to take 4 for 31, we fell short of Ardleigh Green’s total by 68 runs. It was disappointing to lose the final but congratulations should go to Sam Kirnon and his team for an enormously enjoyable cup run.
Saturday 2nd XI
The 2nd XI, once again captained by Robert Runciman, won the Division 1 title and so gained promotion to the Premier Division for the first time. After eight weeks of the season the team had only won two games, largely thanks to three abandoned games against the teams that eventually finished in the bottom three. However the team then won eight of its last ten games to ensure finishing in first place, losing only to Saffron Walden (narrowly) and Fives and Heronians (convincingly).
The batting fired consistently led by Richard Alston (640 runs @ 42.67), Steven Piper (516 runs @ 57.33 including five fifties), James Runciman (356 runs @ 59.33 including hundreds against Upminster and Saffron Walden), Greg Hales (344 runs @ 114.67 including hundreds against Wickford and Saffron Walden) and Truptesh Patel (272 runs @ 24.73). Greg Hales scored his runs in only four innings before unfortunately missing the remainder of the season due to ill health but should be back for next season.
The bowling, which lacked penetration the previous season, regularly bowled sides out largely due to the new ball pairing of newcomer Ejaz Khan (38 wickets @ 12.66 including 7 for 24 at Upminster & 6 for 43 v Horndon-on-the-Hill) and Steven Piper (27 wickets @ 16.00 including 5 for 40 at Walthamstow & 5 for 54 v Upminster). They were well supported by Richard MacGregor who took 20 wickets @ 19.05 including 6 for 23 at Gidea Park & Romford.
Important contributions were also made by wicket-keeper Billy Rhone who scored valuable runs and kept consistently well, Martin Steel who played some key innings and hit the biggest six of the season, Mike Lyon, Nick Shawyer, Peter Shawyer and Richard Offord.
Saturday 3rd XI
The 3rd XI finished 5th in Division 1 with 6 wins and 5 defeats. They were captained, for the first time, by all-rounder Andrew Chipchase who led the way with both bat (329 runs @ 36.56) and ball (19 wickets @ 12.84 including two five wicket hauls).
Batting support was provided by Myles Joyce (251 runs @ 27.89) and Nasser Rashid (246 runs @ 27.33). The best individual score was 75 not out by Stephen Thorne at Ilford.
The bowlers shared the wickets around but there were some notable performances by Nasser Rashid (6 for 27 v Walthamstow), Anthony Peek (6 for 26 v Ilford), Peter Shawyer (5 for 42 at Walthamstow) and Michael Blake (5 for 72 at Ilford).
Saturday 4th XI
Once again Mark Campbell captained the 4th XI to a successful season, finishing 2nd in Division 1 with 11 wins and gaining promotion.
The captain led the way with the bat scoring 348 runs @ 43.50 including three fifties. He was well supported by Dan Carver (198 runs @ 49.50 including 118 not out v Ardleigh Green 5th XI), Richard Coulson (168 runs @ 21.00 including 82 at Billericay) and Paul Canham (148 runs @ 74.00).
The bowling honours went mainly to Tony Barker with his left arm flight (17 wickets @ 13.12 including 5 for 8 at Southend), Carey Harborne (17 wickets @ 15.82), Edwin Jabbari (15 wickets @ 10.33 including 5 for 19 at Billericay) and Richard Coulson (13 wickets @ 13.00). Michael Blake also chipped in with 5 for 39 at Ardleigh Green.
Sunday A XI
The Sunday A XI was captained by Ben MacGregor and finished runners-up in the top division of the Chess Valley League.
Robert Whitfield led the batting with 324 runs @ 40.50 including hundreds against Potters Bar and Wembley. Paul Shawyer contributed 223 runs @ 37.17 and McPherson Meade scored a hundred against Welwyn Garden City.
The Captain led the bowling with 18 wickets @ 16.50 followed by Vice-captain Ryan Harris (13 wickets @ 20.54).
Sunday B XI
The Sunday B XI, captained as usual by Michael Blake, narrowly missed repeating as Chess Valley League 2nd XI champions.
The batting relied heavily on Anthony Peek (693 runs @ 43.31 including 5 fifties), Steven Piper (489 runs @ 81.50) and Marc Fletcher (410 runs @ 45.86). Hundreds were scored by Mike Lyon, Steven Piper and Richard Alston.
The bowling was led by Richard MacGregor (31 wickets @ 9.45 including best figures of 5 for 17). Denver Carolus, when he was available, took 21 wickets @ 4.95 including best figures of 7 for 10 and Mike Blake and Tony Barker took 21 and 16 wickets respectively.
Overall it was another extremely good season for the Club with many Colts, notably Jay Edmonds and Will Rapley, successfully making the transition to men’s cricket and enabling us to put out a 5th XI on several occasions. An emphasis on encouraging our younger players to fulfil their potential is at the centre of the Club’s strategy and the best example of how this policy can reap dividends was the performance of 17 year old Anthony Peek who scored over 1,000 runs for the season in blistering style.
Another positive aspect of the season was the increase in the number of umpires that became members of or affiliated to the Club. As a result we were able to provide an umpire for all elevens most weeks of the season. Our thanks to those who stood especially Derek Lacey, Ian Fullbrook, Todd Holland, Stephen Fox and when he was unable to play because of injury, Paul Hart.
Thanks also to all those who contributed to the success of the Club off the field during 2007, in particular the ladies who looked after the catering arrangements so well.
We look forward to the 2008 season when for the first time we will be entering a 5th XI into the league.