I think the best and only way to describe the 1st XI’s season this year would be up and down! Many highs and lows ultimately led to a 6th place league finish, winning 10 games, losing 9 with one winning draw and one tie.
The season got off to a strong start and after the first 5 games of the 50 over format we found ourselves in 2nd place. Things looking rosy with what traditionally is our stronger suit, the 55 overs win/lose/draw format to come. However, this year for a number of reasons we just didn’t fire in these games. Not aided by injuries, overseas Adam Bayliss’ stress fracture being stand out and a run of poor availability and inconsistent performances.
We reached the half way point of the season sitting precariously close to the 4 team drop zone knowing results would have to improve fast. A further two loses in the coming weeks, including an absolute drubbing at the hands of relegation rivals Sentinel left the outlook looking very bleak, being third bottom and 20 points from safety.
The sign I believe of a close knit team is how well they deal with adversity, after the Sentinel game it would have been easy to crash and burn out of the Birmingham league. We knew we had 9 games left to save our season and all the lads agreed that hard working and sticking together would be the only way we would be able to survive. I’m delighted to say that of those remaining 9 games we only lost two, turning over several of the top teams along the way. This ironically left us closer to promotion than relegation!
Since the season we have learned that we won the Fair Play Trophy for 2017, a great achievement showing we played the game in the right spirit throughout the year.
There were several key performances throughout, with again everyone putting in match winning knocks or bowling spells showing the depth we have throughout the side. With the ball Mike Brown led the way claiming 41 wickets at an average of 20. Perry Derrick taking 34 at an average of 23 (that’s despite all of those drops we’ve heard about!) Adam Bayliss before the back injury had taken 23 wickets at an average of 13 and looked set to claim well over 50 league wickets. Ant Pratley, Sam Douthwaite, Aidy Witts and James Urquhart also chipped in with important scalps throughout. The best figures of the year were recorded by Perry, who took 6-43 in beating Stourbridge away
Unfortunately for the 1s this year nobody passed the 3 figure mark but there was plenty of 50’s. Aidy Witts and Chris Calcott with one each, Chris Whelan, John Price and Adam Bayliss with 3 each. In reaching 89 away in a must win Bank Holiday match vs Brewood, Chris Calcott recorded the highest individual score of the year. A knock showing incredible maturity for a change… and a very special moment for him and his family.
One man however was a shining light with the bat in hand and showed incredible consistency in scoring 683 runs, averaging 49 and hitting 8 50’s. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the 1st XI Player of the Season goes to David Bailey.
As a team we would like to thank everyone that has helped and supported us through the year. A special mention of course to Ivor who is a vital cog in our team. One man has really stepped up and helped us out a great deal this season. My biggest nightmare is finding a scorer, someone to hide away in a hut all afternoon tapping away on a laptop and deciphering Duckworth Lewis isn’t easy! So Rob thanks for everything you’ve been a star and really are part of our team.
So in summary a season that in the end worked out okay but really with a bit more consistency could and should have been a lot better. Here’s to 2018…