With Autumn now truly upon us after a brief Indian Summer, it is time to reflect on the season past.  It was not a vintage one for either of the Club’s adult teams and there was considerable disappointment that in two short years we have gone from supporting 3 junior age group squads to having no junior teams. This was despite plenty of focus from the committee at the start of the year to encourage the formation of a junior section. The conclusion was that first we need some adult members or supporters who have an interest and the time to commit to running a junior side, or two, before we can go on a recruitment drive in the local schools, football clubs and other institutions. That intent is still there, as a strong youth section is the lifeblood of the Club. That this is true was borne out by one of the major features of this season, which was the emergence of a new generation of players, who in the main have come through the junior section of the Club and have moved from occasionals to regulars during 2015. The likes of Niall and Lewis Bletchly, Matty Teare, Ollie Redford, Oliver Roberts, Niall Murphy, Matthew Oldfield and George Welch all played significant roles during the season in the performance of both adult teams. There were some other new additions to the playing members of the Club who added to the depth and quality of the squad, such as Rob Preston.

A great innovation was the new Deddington Cricket Club website. It is a significant step forward from the previous one and something that has added to the enjoyment and sociability of the Club.  A new design is one thing, created by Rob Jones, a local web designer and neighbour of Dave Barnhill, but it is nothing without good content. Thanks goes therefore to Sam S and Rich Munro for editing the site and to all those who have written match reports, added photos, player profiles and other content. Special mention should go to Dave B for some of the profiles and Lewis B for the match report on the 2nds game against Westcott, in which all of the Deddy players took the personalities of characters from Harry Potter (read it here). All great fun.

And so to the games themselves. The Firsts started slowly, very slowly, and in those early games, only Daire and Gerry showed any consistency with the bat, but in very different ways. The bowlers, especially when fielding second, found it difficult to both attack the stumps and defend low totals. The spirit of the team remained positive, however, despite the difficult start and it was a credit to all who played that there was no capitulation, or recrimination during the first few games.

In addition to struggling with the bat, the bowling attack was propped up by two DCC stalwarts in Stu and captain Rammy. Sam went from opening the bowling last season to specialised batsman over the course of the season, in part due to many expensive returns, but helped in his journey by the introduction of Rob Preston as a first team regular and new opening bowler. Ollie Redford was dangerous but too expensive at times and eventually his season was ended by injury, although we may see him reincarnated as a spinner if the rumours are true. Too often though Deddington found themselves having to scrape overs together between part-time bowlers in the middle section of games, hoping that the damage would not be too significant and, with maybe one more bowler who could have tied down an end, a couple of results might have gone the other way. The batting order found some consistency from the middle of the season when Niall and Gerry started opening together and this provided a more solid start to the innings (the less said about that the better). The middle order was a source of change during the season with Dave W coming from the seconds regularly to play at 3, Rammy and Chris B slotting in at 4, 5 or 6 depending upon other players.

Many others contributed here including Ivo MacFarlane who got some regular games after joining the previous year, with a few good not-outs as he shepherded the tail through. The middle order was often completed with either veterans or some of our younger players but too often the batting unit as a whole did not deliver enough. Throughout the season play was characterised by hard work and enthusiasm by all despite the tough circumstances. This was embodied by senior players such as Rammy, Stu and Gerry who made telling interventions when needed to swing the crucial games. Overall a tough season but all emerged from it with hunger to improve for next year!

The Seconds fared better in the early encounters, but again lacked any real consistency with the bat and, even in times of comparative calm, there was always a feeling that the side was only a wicket away from a minor or major collapse, emulating to too great an extent their national heroes. The desire to emulate their national heroes was a tendency to be curbed at all costs. The oasis of steadfastness in all this carnage was George Welch. He demonstrated that playing balls on their merit, using a straight bat and the art of accumulation is a very successful combination. He also heeded the often repeated (usually by yours truly) words of Geoffrey Boycott, that “ye cann’y score when you’re in’t hutch”. In the end George went a whole two months June-August with not-out innings and he was a lesson to all of us in concentration and application. The Seconds also struggled to find the best batting position for a number of the team. Joe Roberts manfully assumed the responsibility for opening at the start of the season, but found that no. 6 is probably his ideal spot. Ash too moved around quite a bit early on, but settled on no. 5 as his most productive position and the team did come to rely on his ability to accelerate the scoring and put pressure on the opposition bowling in those critical second 15 overs of an innings.

The Seconds’ bowling attack was generally a strong point of the team this season, as was the fielding. The bowling was undoubtedly strengthened by Dave Barnhill’s decision to give his body an easier time, by moving down from the Firsts and the side benefited from his probing line and length and clever variation of pace and swing. In addition, both Lewis Bletchly and Adam Moody improved their consistency and effectiveness this season, both being capable of swinging the ball prodigious amounts and running through the top order of several sides. Jimmy McPhee unusually took time to find his old rhythm and therefore his usual pace and accuracy, but this did come back towards the end of the season, capped by a 5 for 25 wicket haul in the game against Chalgrove. Other contributors with the ball included George Welch, Dan Rawlings, Matthew and Simon Oldfield.

This is not intended to be a comprehensive review of each game, but hopefully it has encouraged some to go to the Match Reports and Player Stats on the website and that of the OCA.

So what else was happening in the Club away from the matches themselves? Once again both Deddington and opposition sides benefited from some excellent wickets on which to play and, from memory, not a single game was lost to bad weather, in part due to the League requirement to have covers. Thanks once again for preparing such good, even, safe and reliable wickets goes to James Ransom. The club is indeed indebted to the hours of dedication he has put in to the Windmill wicket over several years. Unfortunately, however, this season was James’s last as groundsman, so if the Club is going to continue to benefit from such a good track in the future, we need to find someone, or some people to take over the responsibility of at least managing and co-ordinating pitch preparation from next spring. James is available to advise and handover his knowledge and experience, but this is an urgent requirement for the Committee and the Club overall. So if anyone knows someone who has the time and interest to get involved, please, please raise this with a Committee member as soon as you can.

Work has also progressed on a possible replacement for the pavilion on the Windmill. Ideally, this would be sited on the west side of the pitch, furthest from the car park, but the practicalities of services and parking rule this out. The Committee are currently exploring the possibility of a joint development with Deddington Town Football Club, as both would prefer to have less reliance on the facilities of the Windmill Centre. Both clubs are currently defining the space and facility requirements of each sport and the possible funding available from the ECB, FA and other charitable bodies. Before anything can be confirmed, we need to get both agreement from the parish council, both clubs and a clear idea of where all the funding will come from. These are however exciting times.

Talking of funding, the 49 club is the main, month-in, month-out fund-raising method for the Club and at £1 a month, everyone should be able to afford a number or two. And if you are not in, you can’t win, as they say. Please contact Jill Cheeseman on jill.cheeseman13@gmail.com to set up a quarterly standing order and pick your number.

On September 11th we held the End of Season Awards at the Unicorn in Deddington. A good turnout was there to reminisce and to celebrate the famous and infamous of 2015. If you were not able to attend, you missed a good night and some great fish and chips. You also missed this year’s award winners, so they are listed below. Many thanks in particular to Jill, Sam and Webby for organising the evening.

Congratulations to all of the winners:

Firsts batting: Gerry Duncan

Firsts bowling: Stu Leach

Seconds batting: George Welch

Seconds bowling: Simon Oldfield

Fielder of the Season: Niall Bletchly

Young Player: George Welch

Scorer: Harry (again, but who else?)

Clubman of the Season: Dave Webb

Champagne moment of the Season: Sam and Rammy conjuring a run out to gain the point needed to stay in Division 4

Fantasy League Winners

Overall winner: Rammy Chennagiri

Most man of the Match awards: Rammy and Daire

Dunce of the Season: Joe Roberts

Most Jedi awards: Lewis Bletchly

So, that was the season that was, what is next? Well, work on the plans for the new pavilion is progressing and all members are encouraged to attend the Club AGM at the Unicorn at 7.30pm on November 3rd. This is the time to have your say, elect Club officials and get involved. Please make every effort to attend because it is your Deddington Cricket Club and it does not function without everyone playing their part, on and off the field of play.

The 2015 Committee

 

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