2018 was very much a mixed bag for the club, with a number of excellent performances and results across all of our sides balanced out by significant availability issues which resulted in the 4th XI having to concede 3 games across the season – the highest number experienced since 2012.
Stu MacArthur and Will Penny did an excellent job in rebuilding the 1st XI, putting their faith in the youth system by selecting both Finlay Yates and Ollie Meadows for every game they were available as well as handing debuts to Kunal Barman and Freddie Vaughan. Missing out on promotion by only one point on the final day of the season was both unlucky and unfortunate but stands them in great stead for a strong title challenge in 2019. Gareth Griffiths was undoubtedly the team’s star performer taking 32 wickets at an average of 16.
The 2nd XI ended the season strongly, but sadly this wasn’t enough to prevent them being relegated. Jack Harvey found himself leading the side more often than he’d anticipated and was particularly proud of both his 5-fer vs Bedminster and his fantasy cricket performance which saw him finish runner-up in that competition. Player of the Season Ben Harris shone behind the stumps and really grew into his new role as a top order batter, scoring lots of runs in the latter part of the year.
Randal Leonard’s magnificent unbeaten century away at Bedminster (on the day England beat Sweden to advance in the World Cup) was the undoubted highlight of the 3rd XI’s season, though sadly a certain Aussie ex-International had the last laugh in leading the home side to victory that day. Nonetheless, the contributions of a number of younger players as well as stalwarts such as Jonnie Sheeran meant that a safe, lower-mid-table position was secured come the end of the season.
The conjoined twins of Rob Simpson and Murray Bishop – both new recruits to the club – provided a significant number of runs for the 4th XI when they were available, not least away at Winterbourne when their unbeaten 282 run partnership helped us to chase down the home side’s 346-8 with 2.3 overs to spare. Despite the aforementioned cancellations, a final day victory against the already-crowned league champions thanks to an excellent all-round bowling and fielding display – led by Ian Vaughan and Archie Joslin – ensured a place in Division 14 was retained.
As I stand down as Chairman, I need to say a massive thank you to each and every one of our fantastic volunteers. Our captains do a tremendous job in leading their teams both on and off the field and the effort put in behind the scenes is incredible. I know it is hard work, and have really appreciated everything that they have done this year in particularly difficult circumstances.
Equally our youth coaches – particularly Randal Leonard, Alex Harris, John Meadows, Richard Glynne-Jones and Paul Snelling – all do an excellent job and give up their time selflessly in order to help develop the next generation. Gaya Barnes deserves a special mention here too – we simply could not run the youth section without her!
My thanks also go to everyone who has, in some way, volunteered over the last two years. I won’t try and name all of you, but whether your role has been part of the committee or simply doing the odd job around the club, I appreciate what each and every one of you has done and thank you all.
Hopefully I am leaving the ship in a good position, and it will certainly be in good hands with Rossco. I look forward to 2019 with an air of excitement, and look forward to seeing you all back in winter nets in the near future.