The team sheet for the first day contained more fictitious characters than Apple’s employment figures on their declaration of workers pensions. With a big cross over with the winter sport season, Clapham had a number of key players missing and was forced into granting debuts to eight new players, less than ideal. In true Clapham style, the agreed meet time was again treated as a suggestion. With only seven players ready to play 15 minuets before the start of play, Clapham started the season by conceding the toss to newly promoted Wimbledon Corinthians and the new boys putting COX into the field to punish them for their sins. However, the heady heights of Division 1 cricket had clearly affected Corinthians. With the chaos that had marred the pre-game organisation, their was a clear serenity to the COX boys on the field as the game plan was clear. Attack. You would not be alone if you had glanced at the score bored after 10 overs and then proceeded to rub your eyes, check your pulse and wonder if the early season sun had caused heatstroke. Wimbledon Corinthians 28-6 after 10 overs. No tissue throwers in this league boys. Welcome to Division 1. COX closed the game out by bowling the visitors out for 43 and chasing it down so quickly that the game had been finished before the elusive 11th player had made it to the ground.
This would mark one of few highlights of the early season for COX who would consistently put themselves into winning positions and do everything on their power to throw it away. A game that immediately springs to mind is game no.3 where a COX side travelled to Morden. Stepping out onto what looked like a set from Trainspoting, the start of play was delayed whilst glass and what i have been reliable informed was empty “poppers” capsules were removed from the playing surface. In what was clearly an unplayable surface, the reliable and sensible league appointed umpires made the smart and safe decision to tell the captains the game would still be played. COX did well to put the travesty of the decision making behind them and managed to bowl the opposition out for 186. Despite an early wobble, COX began chipping away at the total and one of the only early season stand out stars, Syed Jaffri, moved himself along to a comfortable 80. The game looked finished when COX had made it 170-5, but in true Clapham style, the total was missed with COX being bowled out for 185 and loosing by a single run.
On reflection, this was a defining moment in the season, as it sparked a run of form that ran through May and early June where COX managed to pick up a solitary win and were precariously positioned above the danger zone. June was a month that could only be described as moist. Rains cascaded in biblical proportions and washed out the middle season with 4 matches abandoned. Crucially, however, these were games that the strategists within the COX roster would describe as winnable. As July came back around, the weather cleared and again, COX turned up to a pitch that would have blended into the landscape of current day Mosul. And again a low scoring game where COX fell short by 15 runs to the league leaders Croydon of India CC. Clapham left thinking what could have been. Clapham were able to pick up a win at Home to Morden before attention began to turn to the end of season.
Cricket Pics 1
Cricket Pics 2
Cricket Tour 2016
Now onto TOURquay. As we all know what goes on tour stays on tour but a press release prepared by our league secretary which gives the now infamous “alternative facts” was put out on the Club’s website. If stories of betrayal, bloodshed, crime and cricket tickle your fancy, I would recommend it.
Upon returning from tour clapham found themselves in 7th place in the league. However, the difference between 3rd and 7th was just one win - it is probably important to point out at this point the league system is worked out on an average points basis (this ultimately negates the impact of loosing matches to rain). The two at the top and the two at the bottom had been cut clear. COX had a simple task but the run in was a tough set of fixtures. Having lost games to rain which involved the two teams below them, COX were faced with facing four teams ahead of them including league leaders and local rivals Economicals who were the next game. The game started with COX posting a competitive 247 runs on the board, however, the abysmal fielding that followed at some stages mimicked old Laurel and Hardy sketches. Having managed to drop the batsmen who would go onto take highest run scorer in the league an astonishing 6 times that day, Economicals went on to win by 7 wickets.
This put more pressure on the last three games of the season. Nothing but wins would suffice if COX were to find a respectable finish to the season. Onto Wimbledon Village. Sat in that changing room on the 20th of August, there was not a lot of talking. Everybody new, especially those who had not contributed greatly to that point, would need to pull their finger out. COX were put into bat first. Captain fantastic and Steady Ollie saw off a new ball that at times watching from the boundary, looked more like a grenade than a cricket ball. Slowly but surely COX grafted their way to about 100 for 1 wicket after 20 overs. An injury to the opposition keeper caused a large break in the game. This lead to the loss of 5 overs to each side, however this news was not filtered to one of the batsmen out in the middle at the time. As the innings drew to a close and COX began their usual demise, the news was filtered out to batsmen and vice captain Josh Dickinson to hurry up as there were only 2 overs left in the day. This however proved to be counter-affective as the final three balls of the innings were big swings and misses from the batsmen who managed to get to tea just passing his half century but in for a lot of ribbing over the ham and cheese sandwiches and the promise of a big fine after the game. COX cleaned up Wimbledon with the fastest bowling attack in the league. COX then took that form to Reigate Priory and blitz the opposition off the pitch with Paul Gooding smashing his now regular 80 run cameo and a strong bowling performance from all who managed to restrict the opposition batsmen to less than 4 runs an over.
A loss on the final day saw COX stumble from 4th to 6th on the final day of the season. Sadly it appeared that an umpire who turned up had a previous engagement which started at 6 o’clock so therefor blasted everyone for LBW even when it hit the middle of the bat.
There were some standout performances this year. Captain Richard Macintosh led the batting stats by finishing 4th in the league batting table with 332 runs (at an average of 41.50). Syed Jaffri kept the team propped up at the beginning of the season and a top score for Paul Gooding of 88. Sadly this meant that COX spent another season without a century in the League but overall the batting had greatly improved with scores consistently being over 230. With the ball, the top bowler was Abdullah Rehman who took 16 wickets closely followed by the captain again contributed with 15 wickets, however, the effort put in the remainder of the bowling attack of Steven Routledge, Effy Usman, Matthew Benedict and the most unlucky man in cricket Azim Mirza who had probably 30 catches put down over the season.
Overall, the season will be remembered for the big win at the start of the season and a great Tour with a new first lady of COX Cricket Club becoming part of the family. The focus for the new year is to tighten up on the field and with the ball and undoubtedly, COX will be there at the end of the season pushing for promotion.
Joshua James Dickinson
Updated 12:18 - 5 Jun 2017 by Frank Barretta