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Redbourn's bicentenary season draws to a close

Redbourn's bicentenary season draws to a close

Redbourn Cricket Club12 Sep 2023 - 19:32
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Review of the season's senior cricket by Jon Fleming

The curtain came down on another hugely enjoyable season on Sunday with a comprehensive win for the Sunday XI at home to Shenley Village. A late onslaught from the Shenley batters took them to 214-9 from their 35 overs with Bertie Roe (2-23), Hugo Crowley (just 9 runs conceded from 5 overs) and Jon Fleming (3-19) the pick of the bowlers. In reply, the game was in the balance with 80 needed off the last 10 overs before Charles Waddington (80 not out) & Antony Mauder (68 not out) went on a boundary hitting frenzy and took us to victory with 4 overs and 8 wickets to spare.

Last weekend saw the end of the league season and there were mixed emotions, with the 2nd XI crowned champions of Division 4b but the 1st XI and 4th XI both suffered relegation from the Championship and Division 10W respectively. The 3rd XI finished a creditable 4th in Division 8a having been promoted last season.

1st XI

A first season in the Championship was always going to be a difficult step up for Will Hales’s 1st XI who for much of the season were missing many of the players who were influential in getting them promoted last year. Hopefully the experience of playing at Championship level will help the team bounce back next year. The relegation was not without a bit of bad luck, with the rain twice robbing us of the opportunity to play relegation rivals without a ball being bowled and twice having games rained off when in strong positions including the relegation decider against Hemel Hempstead in the penultimate game of the season. We were 17-1 chasing just 152 when the heavens opened, and no further play was possible.

Despite the disappointment of relegation, there were still some strong performances throughout the season.

Openers Conor Yorath & Will Hales led the run scorers with 525 & 376 runs respectively. Conor also scored 2 centuries, including a fantastic 136 in the final game of the season to help beat league champions Shenley Village. Ed Hales also managed a century and 2 50’s from just 5 innings including a match winning 102 off just 51 balls against Preston.

Conor also topped the wicket taking charts with 21 wickets at 22.43 followed by Dan Darvell with 17 and Adam Pritchard with 14, with a season’s best of 5/23, also in the final game at Shenley. Jack Cobb’s 5/10 was the best individual bowling performance of the season in the win at Preston.

The first team also had another successful run in the National Village Cup, successfully making it through to the National rounds for the 3rd time in 4 years before losing to the eventual runners up, Leeds & Broomfield.

Another highlight for the first team this year was a first ever fixture against the MCC as part of our bicentenary celebrations. A large crowd assembled on a rare sunny day to watch the team play a selection of Hertfordshire’s premier club cricketers and we were treated to a fantastic spectacle. The MCC set a challenging total of 265 in 50 overs thanks to 112 from 93 balls from Hertford’s Jayden Broodryck and despite 73 from Josh Arnold and 50 not out from Ethan Bury, Redbourn fell 54 runs short. Despite the result, a great day was had by all and one we hope to repeat in future years.

In this year’s President’s Day the first team/Chairman’s XI beat a side assembled by President Graeme Smyth by 4 wickets with strong contributions from Dan Darvell (6/64), Ethan Bury (91 not out) and Ed Hales (56 from 29 balls).

Sadly, the end of the season brings an end to the Redbourn career of Dan Darvell who has decided to play closer to home next season. Dan has been a fantastic servant to the club for many years, coming through the junior ranks and making his first team debut aged 15 in 2005 and has gone on to take 671 club wickets, 371 of those in the first team. A huge thanks to Dan for his efforts and commitment and hopefully we’ll see him back at the club in the future.

2nd XI

The 2nd XI had a fantastic season with Dan Lennox’s team winning 11 and losing just 2 games, securing the league title with a week to spare and promotion to Division 3b. Three times batting first the team scored 300+ and there were some huge victories including by 216 runs v Radlett III and 213 runs v local rivals Harpenden III. They also showed they could win the difficult games, notably when recovering from 54-7 to chase down 125 away at Mill Hill Village.

Dean Flynn was the team’s top scorer with 436 runs in 9 innings including 148 at home v Mill Hill Village. He was followed by Stu Barker, with 347 runs at an average of 57.83 with top score of 78 not out. Harry Cobb’s 121 against Northampton Exiles was another highlight. All 3 represented the first team on several occasions throughout the season.

The wickets were shared with all-rounder Ben Roe the top wicket taker with 16 wickets at an average of 14.19, closely followed by spinners Chris Godfrey & Matt Lloyd with 14 wickets and Henry Amos 13. Dean Flynn’s 6/32 at home to Stevenage was the standout individual performance.

3rd XI

It was a tricky start for the 3’s in our first season in Division 8a losing our first 3 games, albeit close games each time including nearly defending 80 away at Bentley Heath in the first game of the season. There was an upturn in fortunes mid-season, winning 5 of the next 7 games to give us an outside chance of promotion going into the last 3 games, but batting collapses on tough wickets against strong opposition meant we had to settle for a respectable 4th place.

George Dalton was leading run scorer, scoring 255 runs in just 6 innings with a top score of 85. Tommy Everitt was next with 230 runs and top score of 84.

Much as we like to promote youth at RCC, there is still room for experience and the 3rd XI bowling attack has plenty of that with 3 bowlers with a combined age of 143 leading the way with the ball. Martin Benfield once again was top wicket taker, with 24 wickets at an impressive average of 10.88. Jon Fleming was next with 20 wickets followed by Darren Bassill with 15. At the other end of the age scale, special mention must also go to 15 year old Krrish Sharma who took 8 wickets and was always first to put up his hand to bowl the difficult overs.

4th XI

Defeat for the 4’s on the final day meant finishing bottom of Division 10 West and relegation to Division 11. Early season availability problems meant an ever changing team and in total 46 players were used but this included 21 players who were 17 or under with some promising performances from our younger players. James Riley was leading run scorer with 165 runs followed by Iain Griffiths with 145 from 4 games having played much of the first half of the season in the 3rd team. The highlight for the 4’s was the bowling of Olivia Bartlett who became the first woman to play in an RCC senior men’s team and ended up joint leading wicket taker with 11 wickets and best of 5/36 away at Royal Herts, one of the stronger sides in the division. Captain Crispin Hedges also took 11 wickets with a best of 4/27.

Sunday XI

It was another successful season for the Redbourn Sunday XI, winning 6 and losing 2 of 8 games played with the rain also having a say, cancelling 2 games. Thanks to all those who have captained and helped organize the games. There were some excellent performances, particularly from our junior players with highlights being 96 from U16 Max Waddington and 51 from U13 Will Pearson in successfully chasing 235 against Kensington & Chelsea and 3/13 from U13 Gabe Ayers and 3/31 from U12 Henry Roe in a 46 run victory over Great Gaddesden.

With an increasing number of juniors moving up to play senior cricket plus a few new joiners we have used approximately 115 players across all senior teams this year. Whilst it is great to have so many people to call upon, it has meant increased competition for places and people not always getting a game when they are available so apologies to those who have not played as many games as they would have liked. We also had a few weekends early on where we were struggling to get 4 sides out so it can be very difficult to plan fixtures and be consistent with selection. We are aware of the cost of joining the club though and hope to be able to provide more opportunities to play next year. We are once again looking into the possibility of entering a 5th XI in the Herts League and we also hope to arrange additional Sunday fixtures so please consider playing in those if not getting regularly selected in the league teams.

Finally, a huge thanks to everyone who has supported the club this year and for all those whose efforts we couldn’t have done without – captains, coaches, groundsmen, bar staff, committee members and anyone who I may have forgotten!

Just 4 months to go to winter nets…

Jon

Further reading