New 1st XI team captain
Tom Collins has taken over as the new first team captain as Guildford prepare to win back a place in the Travelbag Surrey Championship Premier Division in 2018.
A desperately disappointing season saw the club finish ninth out of 10, winning just three games and losing 12 to finish 53 points short of safety, although relegation was not confirmed until the penultimate game of the season at Sunbury.
Next year will see Guildford in Division One for only their second season below elite level and it is all the more disappointing as it will be the league’s 50th anniversary campaign.
Tom has been vice-captain to Joe Pipkin for the past three seasons and will be bidding to emulate Tim Walter’s achievement in 2005 of bouncing straight back. He has already made a busy start to preparations and the club will shortly be announcing further steps towards recovery.
Cricket committee chairman Bob Cunningham said: “We’d like to thank Joe for all his efforts over the past three seasons and I hope he has a big part to play in the side’s resurgence next season.”Picture above: Joe Pipkin (left) swaps notes with his successor as Guildford skipper, Tom Collins, at the Travelbag Surrey Championship dinner at The Oval.
The 2nd and 3rd XI
There was better news for the second team, who finished sixth in Division One but still had an outside chance of promotion on the final day of the season, being beaten at Malden Wanderers. Chris Coombs and his side can look back on a season of solid achievement though given they had a difficult start. The third team also had a summer to forget, ending up bottom in Division Three.
U15 ECB National Champions
A remarkable double has seen Guildford become the U15 ECB national champions – just two years after claiming the U13 title. Dean Skidmore’s side battled through nine rounds to reach the finals day at Rugby School, one of four teams out of more than 1,500 starters. Guildford found themselves up against the same two sides they had seen off at Oundle in 2015, seeing off Horsford again in the semi-final. Skipper Matty Stephenson’s 50 and 39 from opener Will Perceval ensured they reached 131-4 from 20 overs.
The Norfolk rivals started well but were checked by the spinners and paceman Toby Jones’s 2-17, three run outs in five balls also ratcheting up the required run rate to secure victory by 12 runs. That set up a repeat clash with Edinburgh-based Grange, beaten in the U13 final, with many of the same players from both sides doing battle again.
Guildford openers Perceval and Freddie Geffen set a cracking pace with 22 apiece while late hitting from Rob Butler (20no) took them to 131.
Grange also made a good start and were up with the rate at midway. Tight bowling backed up by wholehearted commitment in the field saw the Scottish side’s batting being chipped away. They needed 13 from the final over but Stephenson returned to claim the last two wickets in his 4-17, earning Guildford victory by 12 runs and the title with it.
England’s one-day all-rounder David Willey presented the medals and cup to the delighted youngsters.
There was a successful finish to the season for the U21s, winning the Wasim Raja Shield when they beat Ashtead on Surrey Trust League tier one finals day at Old Whitgiftians. Having finished second in their group, Jonny Charles’s side overcame Valley End on run-rate in the rain-hit semi-final.
The captain’s 3-32 plus two wickets apiece for Harrison Charles, Cameron Green and Alex Sweet dismissed Ashtead for 168 in 29.1 of their 30 overs, Sweet’s accomplished 67no seeing Guildford to victory by four wickets with 14 balls to spare.
Sadly, although the U18s won their tier two semi-final at Horley by 20 runs – largely thanks to Nathan Tilley’s 83 out of 186-7 and Jonny Charles carving his way through the hosts with 5-25 in seven overs – the result was overturned when Guildford were deemed to have fielded an ineligible
Will Jacks has joined the illustrious ranks of players who have moved from the Guildford junior ranks to the professional game after signing a two-year contract with Surrey. He follows the likes of Darren and Martin Bicknell, Nick Peters, Ashley Giles, Nick Peters, Rikki Clarke, Neil Saker and Jade Dernbach.
A busy winter for opening batsman Nathan Tilley started when he headed off to Cape Town for Reed’s School’s tour to Cape Town.
There was sad news for the club with the passing of Margaret Woodhouse in early October, wife of former captain, chairman and president Charles. Margaret was a great friend to many people at the club and a wonderful support to Charles in his many roles at Woodbridge Road.