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Cricket Report 2023

Cricket Report 2023

John Woolfenden25 Oct 2023 - 19:12
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Speech For Awards Night.

Cricket in 2023 has been a successful one for all teams as each side has improved on last year’s position. It’s crazy to think the season started in January when a few hardy souls traipsed over to Edgbaston on a Saturday night for nets but this dedication put the WOCC in good stead as friendlies were non-existent due to the wettest March in 40 years. The club was rocked with news of President John Day’s passing on the eve of the season. I know that it inspired all the cricketers to do the best they could this year, winning games and raising a silent toast to John’s photo on the wall. This season would have cost John a fortune in jugs and I know that he will be smiling proudly on the club’s achievements this year.
Before we go into the performance of the teams this year, I want to go through some of the highlights outside of the league fixtures. My favorite day was the Cricket 6s tournament organized by Scott Jay. I might be biased here because my team won it, and, I managed to reverse-sweep Steve Murphy for four but this epitomized Water Orton as a community club, with teams from all cricketing abilities within the local village coming forward to play. We will look to get another 2 tournaments in next year as it was a quality day down the club.
Also, we had a game in memory of John Day which involved a 40 over match against former players. WOCC managed to win thanks to Chris Murphy taking 4/5 wickets and Matt Smith murdering Michael Bevan to chase down the Veteran’s Score. The President’s Day at the end of the season was also in memory of John this year. Again, a game that came down to the wire, Daisy would have been pleased that the President’s side just sneaked the game in the last few balls. We hosted our first ever t10 tournament with live music and outdoor food and was an absolute triumph for modernizing the format of the game. Shout out to Shaluka for organizing that at such short notice.
Water Orton CC relies on volunteers to keep the club running, and, this was put to the test when the outdoor mower broke mid-way through the season. To combat this the cricketers had to use push mowers to cover the ground. This involved turning up at 09:00-09:30 for about a month to get the game on. Amongst the volunteers, special shout out to Ibby (who I think wants to buy a roller as his next car), Harrison, John Knight and Prem It’s dedication like this that will help keep the club moving forward in years to come.
Shaluka put in a massive effort in recruitment, organizing sponsorship and new cricket kit and he has been one of, if not, the most pro-active captain we’ve ever had here at Water Orton. Not only putting in a shift with the off-field work but he has led the team from the front again this year – the league’s top wicket taker (yet again) with 40 wickets at an average of 13.33 and 434 runs at a 25.53 average with the bat. He is the WOCC’s player of the year.
As mentioned earlier, Shaluka recruited well, and, one of the shrewdest moves was getting Waqar Ali back after leaving the club in 2019. Since then Waqar has fallen in love with weights and with explosive batter Carl formed a solid right-hand, left hand opening partnership getting the team off to a solid start which had been lacking for the last few seasons. Top run-scorer for the WOCC at 435 runs and an average of 25.59 he is the 1st XI batsman of the year.

Now onto the 2nd team, the side was frighteningly strong for several games this year and this is our strongest 2nd team since the Birmingham League days. It’s a strong sign of club, when you have 1st team and 2nd team players intermingle between the sides and not look out of their depth. Captained by Ibby, the team’s strongest suit has been bowling, with only two teams making more than 180 runs against us all year.
Losing 3 games all season, and, one by only 1 run, it was a real shame to miss out by auto-promotion by 1 point but there’s still a strong chance that we will be promoted as it’s usual for teams in leagues above us to move around divisions after the season ends. We hope so, as, if we stay in this league, we might have to start looking at houses around Coventry or Nuneaton due to the travelling each week! The bowlers will naturally take the plaudits for the 2s, but, there were some strong batting performances as well. Harrison Glastonbury, scored 223 runs at an average of 24.78 for the 2s and a strike rate of 87.50! Surely that can’t be right! There is one award for Harrison and that is the best duck of the year award after getting bowled for 0 but it not actually hitting his wicket.

Other batting performances came from destructive Jack Hudson scoring 183 runs at a fantastic average of 61 including a 78* against Bablake. The return of Luciano from Wishaw also bolstered the side scoring 149 runs at an average of 49.67. Batsman of the year though goes to top run-scorer John Woolfenden, the Wall of Water Orton, with 250 runs at an average of 25, including a fine 87 against Willow. After a very iffy start (the side dropped 7 catches in the first game) our fielding improved, particularly with Harrison in slip and Ryan Westwood club record 12 catches for the season earning him the nickname “The magnet”.

As mentioned earlier, the 2s were a bowling force to be reckoned with. All of our bowlers having played at a far higher standard and this showed as sides were bowled out continually for low scores. Spinners really had fun, with Jonathan Lee and Ibby being the top two wicket takers in the division. Jonathan Podgy Lee, despite playing 1 in 2 games due to work, was top of the division’s charts by a massive 10 wickets with 30 wickets at an unbelievable average of 5.70. The last two games he got 5 wickets for 7 runs and 6 wickets for 3 runs including a hat trick (after switching the bails over trick). He is our 2nd XI bowler of the year. Finally, our captain Ibby, took on the role this year and led from the front. A genuine all-rounder, with a booming cover drive over extra cover and the quickest leg-spin in the Warwickshire League. Ibby did a great job of marshalling his troops and rotating the batting and bowling at key times. His 23 wickets came at an average of 9.22 and 190 invaluable runs at 23.75. His best performance was when he pretty much single handedly won the game against Bablake. Having to play with 10 men (thanks Podge!) and running out of bowling options he took 8 wickets for 33 runs and then got 56*.

In 2023, regularly the forecast was 100% chance of rain. This helped and hindered our teams. Thanks to our ground’s great natural drainage, we managed to get games on where other sides were forced to abandon. However, our 3rd team, though were on the rough end of the weather at their new ground Bishop Vesey, and unfortunately hit their fixtures against the lower teams in the division. Managing to beat the top two teams, showed, that on their day they’ve got the best side in the league, they just ran out of steam towards the end of the season and finished 5th. A big thanks to Mohammad Salman and Mohammad Wamique who captained the side during the season. A tricky but critical job for this club as the 3s keep developing our future stars.
Key performances from the juniors were Isa with 10 wickets and Bilal with 10 wickets including a phenomenal 6 wickets for 7 runs vs Walmley. Bowler and Player of the Year was Kamal Khan with 12 wickets at an average of 6 and 186 runs at an average of 23.
Batsman of the Year was opener Mohammad Salman with 201 runs at an average of 22.
As mentioned, the 3s is so important for our club in bringing through talent and the next stars of the club. Every year, we have a performer who suddenly grows a bit, matures and puts on an extra yard of pace/hits the ball harder. Harry White has been that junior this year. Turning up to pretty much every Thursday session has helped him improve and get used to playing with senior cricketers which is invaluable for his development. Regularly opening the bowling for the 3rd team he has a respectable average of 27 with the ball and importantly only going for a miserly 3 runs an over. He is Water Orton CC’s young player of the year.
To conclude, Water Orton CC have had a successful year, this doesn’t happen by chance and there have been big efforts both on the pitch and behind the scenes to ensure that everything is in order. We are always on the lookout for volunteers to assist in the work for the club. If you would like to really help out and make a difference then please get in touch with chairman Pete Coles on: 07812 241046.

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