3rd XI

Having been relegated the year before, we hoped to be leading the way for promotion in Div.10. However, a club wide availability crisis meant that the core of the intended side were either unavailable or promoted to the 2nd XI. This meant that the season was spent battling relegation with a series of frustrating losses punctuated with some stunning victories. Notable in these was the last ball nail biter to deny Midsomer Norton Methodists a win early on. Defending a modest 160 on a pitch best described as turgid and an outfield best described as a meadow, Auden Barnes produced a bowling performance of steely nerve which marked his arrival at this level and provided a glimpse of the outstanding performances he will undoubtedly give at this and a much higher level in the coming years.

Whilst a disappointing league position meant relegation was narrowly avoided, the season provided some excellent moments and some performances that may well have been spurred on by our precarious position. Skipper Randal Leonard forced himself into an interim opening role to try and add some ballast (both metaphorical and physical) to the top order. Interim ended up lasting the entire season and produced his best season’s batting by a country mile, a maiden ton vs Bedminster (including Ian Harvey) a lifetime best. For a side known for its bowling rather than its batting, the team ended the season with league joint highest batting points yet struggled to knock sides over. Strange times indeed. Mike Dodson produced an excellent knock to see off YMCA, Freddie Vaughan an equally excellent knock vs Stothert & Pitt and there were welcome return 50’s from Dimi Naeem, Fraser Kuhlwilm and when prised back from the 2nd XI, Jon Sheeran and Beachy. Nathan Williams as usual provided a couple of master classes in prod, block, smash.

Whilst the bowling was a little lacklustre at times (perhaps due to the excellent batting wickets we frequently found ourselves on) again there were some excellent performances. Auden Barnes bowled well all season, as did Ollie Harris, another youngster who easily made the transition from 4th to 3rd XI cricket and will surely progress further. Stenners opened the bowling excellently when allowed to play, Dimi showed glimpses of what should be an excellent 2019 with the ball and there were other tantalising tasters from other youth bowlers, James Lemon, Arjun Jain, George Houlden, Sam Dodson and Zach Leonard (although whether he decides to stick with the season ending dibbly dobbly filth remains to be seen).

And finally, honourable mentions must go to Mark Bedson for his superb fielding in teflon trainers, Dave Yates for his keeping and the entire squad for their endless enthusiasm and withering banter. Bring on 2019.

Randal Leonard