Our 19th merged club year may look unremarkable on Play Cricket by our previously high standards. Indeed the 2s were relegated after several years of flirting with it. However, if you scratch beneath the surface, we don’t have to look too hard for successes.
In August, Sophie Grayson became the first woman to make a ton for our club with an unbeaten 108 in our combined side with St James vs Hurstpierpoint. She followed it up with 2-9 off seven overs when Hurst batted. Sophie went on to win Sussex Women U15 Player of the Year. Rose Grayson won Most Improved Player of the Year in the same ages group!
The Veterans (Over 50s Men, Over 40s Women) team - well led by Jon Denton - managed our first ever wins - at Bolney in August and at the Rec vs Barns Green in Cricket Week. Five different batsmen made forties in the two games.
We secured the services of a brilliant overseas player, Morné Louw. It has been well documented that Morné helped coach the 1st XI as well as helping with kids and contributing with bat, ball and gloves for the 1s. For someone who had previously never left Seth Efrica, the man was a credit to his family and his country.
The Chairman became the first captain of a fledgling 4th XI which took the field at the (Abingworth) Meadow at the end of August. And a comfortable win over Barns Green ensured we got the side off to the perfect start.
Under the new captaincy of run machine, Simon Capel, and at a new home of Abingworth, the 3s had an excellent season - our second best ever since they started in 2012. And Simon, the 40 players you used didn’t come close to the 54 that played in 2015).
We managed a full Adult Cricket Week.
We had several West Chilt Heroes. Those players who didn’t complain no matter what league side they were put in - Alex Tatchell, Lyle Aichroth, Matt Luckhurst and Ollie Holden are four that spring to mind.
Phil Abbott retired as Sunday match day manager/captain after running the side for several years and a colts’ team before that. We thank him again for his services to Chilt cricket and hope to see him and Danny gracing our Sunday and Vets team for many years to come. His Sunday XI managed a healthy eight wins out of 11 games we contested. A far cry from the 23 games we played in 2005.
Back to the three Men’s league sides and we’ve already touched on the success of the 3s. Simon led from the front and brought the best out of those around him. The middle ager Alan Newman joined us this year and provided valuable experience for Simon to offset all the youth. Add in Denton and Fryer’s experience too to Simon Crisp’s deadly U14s and we had a potent mix.
Callum took control of the 2nd XI for the first time and impressed many with his new found maturity... (Must be down to Chloe and Nanny Jean telling him to pull his socks up). Very different to his predecessor, MJ Goring, he was still afflicted with the same old early season issues. An absence of players in May and into June means the 1s grabbed what there was and of course, they lost their first few games. Unlike previous years, we couldn’t escape with draws and although we won more as a result, a closer league meant we succumbed to relegation on the last day. The first time this team has ever been relegated after 12 years of league cricket! Despite this unwanted milestone, revelations this season with the bat were Alfred Reeves who will undoubtedly play 1s all next year, the captain himself who didn’t let the captaincy weigh him down by still averaging 38 and “the old men trio” with the ball - French Phil who seems to have been here for years plus Fitzgerald and Walter who certainly have. Finally our 1st XI who were led by JEM this year. I say JEM but what I mean was vice captain Jake who struggled with injuries, Reuben and JEM who all took the role on at various times. When we started a colts section, we didn’t factor in that they’d all need to go to summer festivals. (“I thought Jimi Hendrix was dead?” S.Hodgson).
Anyway... [averages in brackets] it was hardly surprising with different leadership styles that we were again not the perfect article. Lucking delivered again with the ball in hand (18.27) but struggled to reproduce his batting heroics from 2018 (18). Reuben (Bat 30 and Ball 25) and Charlie D (Bat 25) struggled too for consistency after playing cricket for 18 months; JEM (27) was also in and out but there weren’t too many sticking their hands up to take over the mantle. As many of our 1st XI stars bowl and bat, it does leave several players at 7,8,9 who on occasion just fielded which the selectors are acutely aware of. Without Morné to get us out of trouble with ball (18.06) and bat (49), we could easily have gone to Steyning needing to win to stay up ourselves. As it was, Morné hit the ground running and whilst the 2s struggled, the 1s won five of their initial eight games losing (of course) at Roffey 2s when it would have been easier to win plus home to Ansty and at Pagham after batting collapses. A good bowling performance helped us beat old rivals Littlehampton at the Rec whilst a fifty from Morné and four for Lucko helped us win at Findon. Runs and wickets from Reuben saw us thrash Stirlands at home and when we won comfortably at Broadwater, we went top at half way. However only three wins in the second half of the season saw us finish in mid table. A word goes to Hugh who has been a revelation with our social media and also with the ball in hand for the 1s. He has found a length and been a real asset on and off the pitch.
Finally a word on the youth which continues to sustain our club. Dave and Neil’s U10s won the league, Craig’s U12s won their SJCF and Simon’s U14s won the Tim Monday Memorial Cup presented by Jack at Hove aka the Sussex Junior League Champions League Final - a fantastic achievemnt. Many U13s and above have featured in adult sides and that process will continue into 2020 and beyond. Often selection is determined by who can field better. Some can bat, some can bowl (or do both) but only the very best can field well. All three disciplines make a complete player so keep working on your fitness to stay alert in the field! We still drop far too many catches and let the ball through the area we are placed in to guard.
Look out for a full Youth Section round-up to come soon!