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Another One Bites The Dust

posted 13 Sept 2015, 14:12 by Mike Madden

Another season has drawn to a close, and on reflection it will probably go down as a successful one. From a personal viewpoint I was the leading run scorer in the seconds again. Given that I have taken to batting at 7, 8, 9 that is disappointing, but those lower down have made significant strides. Of course, the real issue this season has been availabilities, both in terms of the first team choosing to do anything but play cricket, and the second team having exams, festivals and amateur dramatics, alongside the inevitable family holidays that prevent them from taking to the field. There was only one person available for every minute of every game across both first and second teams – and that’s me!

The firsts narrowly avoided relegation, whilst the seconds finished 9th of 11. Next year will be better, or so says Neil Woolley, Chairman of Selectors, whose crystal ball foretells that availabilities will improve. To be fair, they couldn’t get much worse.

 The six a side was a success in terms of funds raised, and PR from the village, but the jury is still out regarding the involvement of seniors as part of the playing squads. It seems to me that means more players playing as opposed to helping out! We also managed to recycle old junior trophies saving even more money – and I am reliably informed that there are enough for future years too. We also found out that Peter Crowley is a very single minded individual, and despite numerous warnings that he should stop drinking he ploughed right on to the end of the road, falling backwards off a chair in the process.

The Whaley Warriors was a definite success, with four competitive games and collaboration between ourselves and Buxworth. It was primarily organised by Henry Holden and Reuben Cutts, another good omen for the future. It has also led to us obtaining a music licence which can only be a good thing!

The juniors were also reasonably successful, with the Under 15s reaching the final of their age group where they narrowly lost to Hazel Grove. The Under 17s reached the semi final, losing out due to a combination of a very strong Hadfield side (for all of you expecting a diatribe slaughtering the league for bending the rules in favour of Hawk Green which had an inevitable knock on effect on the strength of Hadfield whilst at the same time dictatorily refusing permission for Whaley Bridge to play two of our more promising juniors you will be disappointed. I’m not going there).

The Under 11s and Under 13s both succeeded in more limited ways, but the steady flow of juniors continues to ensure the future of the club.

Two juniors will not be juniors next year, Ben Stones and Ivan Heathcote. Ben had an unfortunate end to the season due to illness, and we certainly hope that he comes back fitter and stronger. Ivan, by his own admission, is not the best in the field, but there was a marked improvement over the last six games and we look to him to challenge for the run scoring honours next year. Colin Wild certainly stood up to be counted with 31 wickets that won him the second team player of the year award, we now look to the younger members of the squad to chip in with at least double figures.

The junior format was in some ways better, but in other ways it was a farce, for instance the lack of games for Under 15s and Under 17s. The break for Under 17s to allow for exams was well received, but from a personal point of view the scheduling of finals day on the same day as the YNot festival was a bit of a disaster. The league recognise that it is not perfect, and they have created a junior think tank to which I have been invited. I will let you know what happens.

In other matters, the proposal to change the nature of teas (I am not going into the detail for fear of having to be corrected by our somewhat verbose secretary) was well and truly defeated, and that proved a great decision. Playing at Charlesworth 3 weeks out of 4 did wonders for morale, if not the waistline, whilst Buxton’s culinary offering will be missed as they depart for pastures new, and the standard of teas throughout the league was generally excellent.

We still have to fill in umpire assessments, and I still wonder why. Maybe the illustrious members of the junior think tank will enlighten me.

The firsts availability was a consistent threat throughout the season, and this will not fix itself. When games such as the Warriors are played it would be a good idea for them to get themselves down to watch and encourage their future team mates, rather than wonder where the next generation will come from. But at least we do not share the same plight as Chapel who failed to field a second XI on more than one occasion. Tea ladies are a similar problem. Go out and woo those who may make teas. Wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, who knows? A simple question can often produce a simple answer!

The emergence of Reuben Cutts is an interesting one. Often controversial on the keyboard, and frequently outspoken on or around the field, there is no doubt that Reuben is a technically gifted cricketer with attitude. A bit like our current first team captain really!

And so we came to a marvellous end of season do. With the two Russes missing, and a rained off game at New Horwich Park, it could have been, quite literally, a damp squib. However, it felt a bit like a changing of the guard, as Henners took over the ‘most pissed’ mantle previously the exclusive preserve of Peter Crowley, Dave Bell revealed a hidden talent that will certainly be fiddled with in the future, and the Dale Jones song was unanimously voted as our best ever! See you next season.