As I look back on 2016 I can’t help but feel that it really was a season of two halves. The first was a tale of good performances but an overall lack of positive results, whilst the second produced some excellent team work and the results to go with it.
As a result we once again finished the season in a safe mid-table position, but after winning only one of our first nine games – that being the day our Player of the Year Ewan Yates scored his first senior half century, finishing with 73, at home to United Banks as we successfully chased down 144 to win.
The early season signs were positive – restricting a strong YMCA team to 179-8 on the back of 5-10 for Il Presidente Phil Thorn, and following that up by bowling Stapleton out for 164 the following week. On neither occasion could we chase those totals however, as someone often described by his teammates as being “useless” with the bat finished as top scorer in both games.
The win against United Banks was then followed by a trip to Barrow Gurney and despite having the opposition 4-3 inside three overs and then being 80-1 in reply we still managed to find a way to lose by 40 runs.
Nathan Williams’ 85 not out was not enough to prevent defeat against Patchway and defeat at home to Civil Service at the start of July saw us languishing in the relegation zone as we proved unable to defend 160 on both occasions.
As in 2015, it proved to be the visit of YMCA to Failand that drove our change in fortunes. The opposition were bowled out for 111 in probably the best fielding performance I have seen in a 4th team – everything was stopped in the field, catches were all held, run outs were affected and everyone played their part. The chase was completed in just over 20 overs and the season was well and truly up and running.
A trip to Stapleton followed and defending 180-8 (Bevo 37) might have proved a task too far for us earlier in the year, but again the team pulled together and when injuries did for Dom Allin after bowling 2 overs, and Steve Collar before he even got a trundle, part-timer Nathan Williams popped up with 3-18 and Charlie Collar took his first two senior wickets as we left with a 40 run victory.
Ewan Yates notched up another 50 in a friendly the week after as we were given a walkover league win, and despite a close defeat the following week against Barrow Gurney (Rupert Poland 49), a side who went on to be promoted, we pressed on.
Another walkover win and some rain meant that we only played one other league game in August and that ended in another victory as Ollie Harris took 3-26 in bowling Bradley Stoke out for 120, a total we chased comfortably inside 25 overs.
As ever, the key theme for us during the season was youth – Ollie Harris, Zach Leonard, Will Tothill, and Felix Bush were among those to debut during the year, whilst the Yates boys, Dom Allin, Rupert Poland and Freddie Vaughan all played their part as well. Several others also played their part in another successful season for the 3rd XI.
I must finish by thanking a couple of specific people, without whom this season would not have been anything to write home about. Bevo – who finally found the middle of his bat on occasions this season – thank you once again for your valued advice and support as vice-captain, and Dave Yates – thank you for your help in getting teams out this season. I lost track of the number of the times you turned out despite the boys playing games elsewhere, got the boys back as quickly as possible from other commitments or persuaded others to help out too.
Thank you to everyone who played their part during the year – here’s to 2017!