Guildford Cricket Club – Men’s Team Reports for the 2016 Season

1st XI – Saturday. Finishing seventh – for the second season running – was a fair reflection of Guildford’s Premier Division campaign.

Consistency was a rare commodity but five wins in the first 10 matches – producing some impressive displays – put the side on the fringes of the title race before five straight defeats left them lingering just outside the relegation battle. Seeing off Sutton put an end to any remaining worries but the second half of the season highlighted areas for Joe Pipkin’s young side to improve upon.

There was also plenty to look back on which was pleasing. Australian batsman Lincoln Edwards was the Premier Division’s leading runscorer with 777 runs, including three centuries, showing he had learned much from his first season and always making his runs in an attractive style. His fielding and input were never less than first-class.

Jack Cunningham’s 605 runs, despite missing four games, included a blistering 90 which effectively won the game at Sutton as he boomed in self-confidence. And although other contributions were moderate, 16-year-old Nathan Tilley showed steely temperament on his debut against Sunbury in a losing cause and then completed a maiden century against Ashtead while Surrey all-rounder James Burke produced two major innings in his limited appearances.

On the occasions Guildford could put out their full attack, they possessed pace bowling to rank any side. Duncan Selmes led the attack impressively with 25 wickets and newcomer Jamie Odell (22) had batsmen hopping with his nasty bounce from a length. Top wicket taker though was left-arm spinner Olly Birts with 30, standing up impressively when under assault from South African Dane Vilas in the opening game and enjoying his rewards when they came.

Skipper Joe Pipkin hopes that lessons can be learned and will be targeting a push for the top half in 2017. Scorers Anthony Gamble and Martin Montgomery were invaluable in their efforts throughout the season.

2nd XI – Saturday. A disappointing season was capped with a rain affected loss on the last day dropping the team from 1st to 4th and out of the promotion running. Ultimately the team should have achieved promotion well before the final game, but availability issues and an inability to kill off weaker teams in 2 mid-season games cost the team dearly.

Strong batting performances from Bancroft (504 at 63), Iqbal (467 at 39) and Straw (402 at 37) combined with useful innings from other batsmen led to strong match positions on a regular basis. However 2016 was a bowlers year, and they were fantastic on numerous occasions throughout the season, regularly keeping teams under 200 if not 150 and making life much easier for the batters. Nicholls (25 at 24), Weill (25 at 34), Coombs ( 19 at 34 ) and Singh ( 19 at 38 ) were the main contributors and constantly stepped up to the plate throughout the season.

A more senior squad has led to increased enjoyment and responsibility amongst players this season. Something that has been lacking in recent years and helped contribute to a higher win rate than seen historically. A change of leadership for 2017 along with good player retention and canny recruitment over the winter should see an increased focus and drive to ensure promotion to the premier league.

The team has been well supported by scorer Martin Montgomery and umpire Rajeev Sanwalka. Our thanks go to them as well as the groundsmen and catering staff for their continued excellence.

3rd XI – Saturday. After a successful relegation battle at the end of 2015, it made a welcome change to be challenging for promotion right up to the last game of 2016. Unfortunately, an inability to win the key matches ultimately led to this being unsuccessful, however it was a great effort overall, with some fantastic individual performances (and absences at key moments) shaping the season.

The team had a strong start to the season, winning three out of the first four, based on strong platforms at the top of the order, and in particular Tim Walter, with winning scores of 66, 86 & 26* against Valley End, Oxted & Limpsfield and East Molesey. His absence to the 2nd team was felt in the loss to Sutton, a trend that continued throughout the season.
Tim Walter yet again led the way with the batting, scoring 577 runs from 12 innings at 64.11, including four 50s and 105 against Oxted & Limpsfield. He was backed up by some key performances, particularly Callum McLean’s 80* vs Streatham & Malborough, batting right through on a sticky deck at Dunsfold. Oscar Martin also shined, with 225 from 7 innings, and latterly Usama Bin Awais, who made 137 in only three innings at 68.5 after joining late in the season.

On the bowling front, there were several standout performances. Jonny Charles took 16 wickets in three matches, including 7-49 vs East Molesey, which inevitably led to a call up the the 2s. Oscar Martin was outstanding, regularly restricting scoring with his pace and taking 11 wickets, including a devastating spell of 5-11 from 5 overs against Streatham & Marlborough on the way to 68 all out. There were also important returns from Harrison Charles, with 15 wickets, Jon Burrowes with 13, Sharath Vasudevamurthy with 11 and Will Jenner with 10.

Hopefully this upward trend can continue under new captaincy in 2017, this time with a successful push for promotion.