2017 Captain’s League Reports

1st XI by John Maunders

The 2017 season started poorly and as defending Champions, it was a thoroughly disappointing start, however, over the course of the season the squad started to string together some better performances and slowly crept up the table, ultimately finishing in the runners-up spot.

Considering the loss of senior players and opting not to get the services of an overseas player this was, all in all, a fine effort during what could be said to be a translational year.

There were some younger players who played some key roles and seeing development from the young home-grown players has been a huge boost.

On the batting front, there were many decent contributions but the most consistent performers were Sam Burgess (505 runs at 31) and Rhythm Bedi (492 at 35). Conor Fulton in his first season improved throughout the year culminating in a first century in the last game and an aggregate of 332 runs at 47, which was a great start to his Premier League cricket.

John Maunders, Martin Andersson, Elliott Shaw, Nathaniel Gregory and Alex Hughes all played their part at stages with some excellent contributions but without doubt the standout performance of the year was that of Ishy Sohi in blasting 127* to lead Sunbury to a highly unlikely victory against Ashtead, which seemed to be the catalyst for the teams improvement throughout the second half of the season.

With the ball, the standout performer was Kevin Smith (35 wickets at 20) and he was well supported by the spin trio of Amar Virdi, Ajit Singh Sambhi and Vishal Manro who all again played vital roles in containing and taking valuable wickets. Nathaniel Gregory bowled with control when available and Ishy Sohi had moments when he looked very dangerous and bowled some pacey spells.

Overall there were many positives from a decent year and no doubt the 1st XI will be looking to push hard for honours next year.

2nd XI by Curtis Higgins

What a difference twelve months can make. A year ago the 2nd XI had to win away at Reigate on the last day of the season to ensure survival. This year it was a case of a few missed opportunities that resulted in missing out on the title.

Eight wins from our first eleven games, including 5 wicket victories away at both Wimbledon and Reigate left us vying for the title with Wimbledon. Unfortunately, only one win over the next six games, including an abandoned home game to Wimbledon and a tie against relegation threatened Valley End, meant that we had to settle for the runners-up spot.

The change in success of the side can mainly be put down to the improvement of the batting, where four batsmen scored over 300 league runs, a feat that no one achieved in 2016. The run scorers were topped by two youngsters, wicketkeeper batsmen Harveer Mahajan (419 runs at 30) and Rajan Soni (381 runs at 38). They were ably supported by Darren London (355 runs at 44) and new recruit Sacha Duran (337 runs at 42).

With the ball, for the 3rd year in a row, Saran Kalsi led the way (35 wickets at 23). His opening partner Ed Knight (12 at 31) impressed in his first season at the club and was unfortunate not to finish with more wickets. Justin Granger backed up the openers and was able to pick up 10 wickets and was always economical. The spinners perhaps should have bowled more at times but when called upon, were often effective, with Curtis Higgins 15 wickets at 20), Alex Hughes (15 at 23), Sacha Duran (11 at 19) and Nishant Madan (10 at 22) all contributing important spells throughout the season.

More consistency throughout the season and there is no reason why the 2nd XI can go one better next season.

3rd XI by James Birch

Following last year’s disappointing season, 2017 showed very positive signs. Under new captain James Birch the 3rd XI managed to win their first five games with very convincing victories including a victory over defending champions, Spencer. This all changed due to several players being called up to the 2nd XI and with the captain Birch getting injured. This made it was an uphill battle and with three games called off due to rain, one winning draw and six losses, the 3rd XI could only managed three wins after this point, but this did include a very impressive win at home to Reigate.

There were only 2 batsmen to score over 300 league runs this year. Much improved Vik Rathore (345 runs at 25) and seasoned opener Lomesh Sharma (309 at 24) who hit the 3rd XI’s only century against Malden Wanderers. Batting lacked a certain responsibility this season and we were bowled out cheaply far too often. Seamer Mani Bains lead with the ball with (18 wickets at 22) with support from Colin Bentall (15 at 28), Lomesh Sharma (13 at 21), James Birch (13 at 22) and Shirsh Bedi (11 at 22). Bowling for the season was very good but at crucial moments, we struggled to find consistency.

Along with Vik Rathore, other colts making significant contributions were Matt Richardson and Jacob Amyatt-Leir. But impressed showing huge potential and excitement for the club as a whole.

The 3rd XI managed to achieve 8 wins finishing 4th which shows a huge improvement on the previous year. Although it was a good return this season it could have been much better considering the excellent start. Losses to teams in the bottom half of the table were the biggest downfall which was mainly due to inconsistent batting performances. This must be improved if we are to challenge for the title next year.

4th XI by Scott Napier

The 4th XI enjoyed a largely successful campaign finishing the season in 3rd place with nine wins, six losses, with two abandoned and just the one draw which was a vast improvement on the previous campaign. We were undefeated at home all season and were involved in some excellent games of cricket that went right down to the wire.

The season started with five wins as a disciplined attack limited the opposition to under 140 in four of the first five games. Starring early with the ball was Jack Greaves (5-51 v Sinjungrammarians) and Mani Baines (5-20 v Oxted) and the evergreen Nobby Clarke (4-18 v Streatham).

Leading the batting was Manvinder Sehmi (452 runs at 35), followed by stalwart Anoop Manro (379 at 27) and Jack Greaves (262 at 52) which was a very impressive return from just 8 games. A special mention must go to the returning Declan Grey, who chalked up 162 runs in just 3 innings including an epic 89 in a heroic effort against Reigate.

Bowling was excellent throughout the side, led as always by Nobby Clarke (26 wickets at 14) with an economy rate of just 3.28. Mark Ventham and Ranjit Gopi shared 13 wickets apiece. Three colts who deserve a mention are Shyam Patel (11 wickets at 14), Neral Gunawardene (9 wickets at 18) and Jacob Amyatt-Leir (8 wickets at 24 and 102 runs at 26) but their talents were needed higher up the club more often than not.

It was good to see a number of young colts either make their senior debuts this season, or push on from the encouraging signs last season. If we can keep the bulk of the side together, then hopefully, we can push on for greater success next season.

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