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Report on 2003
What we really think about it

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tiniball.gif (219 bytes)     It became increasingly obvious as 2002 wore on that we would encounter problems if steps were not taken to counter the loss of players we knew would occur by the seasons end. The club had already undertaken a leaflet drop around the village the previous year but this time around we had more to offer. After numerous delays, the new pitch had been laid in the spring and all had gone to plan with a big opening day set for May the following year. Having also set our sights on developing a colts side the committee planned a more ambitious series of leaflet drops throughout the neighbouring villages detailing what we as a club had to offer. Our reward was a raised profile in the area with much interest shown from individuals wishing to see if they fitted in with our approach to the Great Game. Their reward was that it was just what they wanted, so we must have been doing something right.

tiniball.gif (219 bytes)     The team performed very well allowing for the fact that it was a mainly reorganised side with many new players from the very successful recruiting campaign early in the year. We picked up a couple of reasonable fixtures too. Chadwick are a good-natured side that enjoyed our company enough that despite beating us, wanted a return game in 2004. Shamley Green have said since their beating us in May that we "caught them on a good day" and look forward to a balanced re-match in 2004.

tiniball.gif (219 bytes)     So the season itself started with defeat at Chadwick, but everybody's mind was really on the next game on May 4th - the President's Day pitch opening special. This day saw the culmination of years grafting and fundraising to realise the vision had by the Committee over ten years ago. The programme initiated toward our goal was in part inspired by John Gaisford who, with his wife Gail, gave us the self-belief to follow the plan through despite early setbacks and disappointments. It is perhaps not surprising that we asked John to become our President and were delighted when he accepted.

tiniball.gif (219 bytes)     The great day arrived and rarely - if ever - have so many people attended a West End cricket match. John sadly passed away a few years back but it would have gladdened his heart to have seen such a scene up at the Recreation ground. The match, which featured the Captain Howard Turner's team battling it out with President Paul Bates' team on our new, hallowed turf was preceded by the symbolic opening ceremony for which Howard and Paul were joined by Gail Gaisford. After a few words from each Gail cut the ribbon to declare the new wickets open and after lunch, the battle commenced. To say a team from West End won the game is missing the point slightly, but for the record Paul stated that he'd "never lost a President's Day game", after his side won, that is.

tiniball.gif (219 bytes)     The landmark day in WECC's history was followed with a string of defeats of which the last was a drubbing at picturesque Tilford by both the home team and the weather. Fairlands on our new wicket brought a halt to the losses although, in chasing their total we allowed their opening bowler to reduce us to 8 runs for 6 wickets! A mark of determination brought us back from an embarrassing defeat to a respectable draw. Our long-awaited turnaround in fortunes came the following week against Engelfield Green, and featured a quality innings from Ian Brown. His guts and determination on our challenging wicket saw him through to his first fifty and allowed our bowlers good all-round performances to procure our first victory of the season, all the more sweeter being the first proper win on proper home soil.

tiniball.gif (219 bytes)     The Tour - the eighth one to Cornwall - was excellent, as ever they all are. The hotel welcomed us with baseball bats and chair legs, then herded us into the most appropriate location for us - the bar. We had a full team for the Mount Hawke game - ironically lost to rain and fog - but just the following day against Perranporth saw weather conditions turn 90 degrees. The light breeze and warm sunshine spurred us to another win, however a look at the scorebook displays some dubious circumstances where this was brought about as our fourteenth man in on that day will testify.

tiniball.gif (219 bytes)     Ultimately, the season was better than the two preceding years especially so once the team settled down after May, the rest of the season consisting of only one-third being defeats. The rest were draws or better. Brookwood, Cove, Westfield Saints and Chobham were disappointments, but these were balanced by some good performances against Fairlands where Johnno Greathead scored a confident, battling fifty, and our bowlers did a good job on their batsmen. We narrowly missed sneaking a win against Windlesham where our run-rate was good enough to have reached our target despite the failing light. Perhaps what let us down was "Time Game" conditions applied to the match; this meant we faced four less overs than the home side when the call for "Twenty Overs" was given after the first hour of play. Only the conference game against Pinkneys Green stands out as a major disappointment. They were of a consistently better standard than us, although it must be said that maybe we could have put up a better fight.

tiniball.gif (219 bytes)     Highlights of the season; Ian Brown’s battling half Century; Johnno’s two half Centuries; Adie Lamberth's thrash at Westfield; some very good bowling efforts. Oh, and Adie Barrett’s “Stomp” at the start of his run-up. North Croydon, Fairlands and Engelfield Green all renewed their associations from 2002 and in two cases became a double-header. Another very plus point is that we never struggled for players. Pretty much all fixtures saw a full team out, save one for which we had to cancel as we had just the five available players available. For everyone else to have legitimate reasons for not being available on the same day is some coincidence! But the ultimate highlight has to be playing on grass for the first time in twenty years or more. Sadly, our ex-Chairman and life-member Alan Hull who was a leading light for many years moved away to pastures green and cricket greens new. We wish him and his wife Shirley best wishes for the future.

tiniball.gif (219 bytes)     Pointers for our coming season; Duncan Perry arrives back on these shores full-time and is keen to get back to playing cricket with us, and Richard Tedder from Chobham will join this year as he enjoys our attitude and enjoyment of the game. New fixtures picked up this season - Banstead, Chadwick and Shamley Green - have all asked for a return match. All are very pleasing indictments of the club's current appeal to potential players, but the work must now continue to build on the landmark season that was 2003.

The Committee.

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