So the season ended with something of a whimper as West Farleigh were unable to put a team together. Irony heaped on irony. As the sun finally decided to put in an appearance after hiding behind thick cloud for most of the summer it was an opposition team that couldn’t get 11 players together. This after Steve had spent months fretting over how to get 11 able bodied players to turn out every Sunday. But he succeeded where mortals would have given up, provided of course you take a broad definition of able bodied. In fact ignore the able bodied bit altogether.
Because it has been a year when we’ve started to show our collective age. Where before we could paper over the cracks, the aches, the strains and the niggles it seemed that much harder. Speaking for myself I was out for 3 weeks with a ‘bruised heel’, the sort of noncey injury that’s been in vogue at the Emirates for a few years. But it hurt and it was debilitating. Matt had an Owen Hargreaves of a season, Rowan (he who is yet untainted by the whole age thing) was the victim of a stream of barbed wire and non cricket related injuries. Backs, knees , fingers & thumbs have all failed at various points.
It’s apposite that as the stumps are drawn for the last time this year we cast our thoughts to the future of the club. For much of the season it’s been apparent that we need new blood or something more radical if we are to survive. There was no cavalry turning up to the rescue this year, no Neep and cousins to inject youth and enthusiasm into the team. We knew it was going to be difficult without fresh faces and it was. So to the beleaguered troops the opportunity with the Horizontals sounds like a bugle echoing down the canyons. We’ll obviously have to think very carefully through the detail and make sure it’s to the benefit of all our members. Much devil will reside in the detail, but then it always did.
As an optimist I see good things ahead. I’d like to go through a season where it doesn’t seem like I’m letting the rest of the team down by not playing, or worrying that any more drop outs and we’ll have to pull the fixture (other clubs don’t seem to have the same concerns, or maybe they do but don’t have someone of Steve’s tenacity). It used to be like that.
So lets move on to the next AGM. We need to sort out the dates and we need to get a full attendance (here we go again). I think it needs to be earlier than in previous years, probably the second half of October. Whatever the outcome we’ll need to get our act together.
The BDOC will no doubt be making his annual headmaster’s report on our performance so I won’t steal his thunder. We’ve lost quite a few more games than we’ve won, and that’s even been the case when we’ve had a full and strong team on paper. Our victories have generally come against the stronger teams (though beating the Gents seems a way off) and often when I’ve not been playing, so read into that what you will. For me the highlight of this year was winning the Nelson Cup. I thought the format was great and we managed to get everything sorted despite being played in oppressive gloom and a ferocious deluge at the denouement. And we won, against a fine Horizontals team and a competitive Saints 11. Lowlights were the fielding performance against the Gents second time around, and a couple of totally abject batting performances against teams I can’t remember. The tour to Entrecasteaux was by all accounts a hoot despite the damage inflicted on hire cars and camera equipment. The Somerset trip was up there with the best of them, helped by a rare break in the clouds. The only disappointment on each trip was the lack of players again. 10 I believe went to Provence, and we had 9 in Somerset, the challenge of this season writ large!
So thanks to everyone who played a part, and think constructive thoughts for where we go next season. See you some time in October.