President’s Serious Thoughts on GCC vs IBIS Saturday 15th May

This is all about expectation.

IBIS always provide a great track and a competitive match so I was looking forward to experiencing the feeling within the club following the efforts of the committee in the Cricket First campaign. The team were somewhat light on bowling but the three strong spearhead of JV, Mark Dickinson and Simon Butterfield controlled the IBIS innings with accuracy on what was, without doubt, a glorious batting track. However, this left us a bowler short for the last ten overs and this enabled IBIS to progress from an average score to a good one of 273. As I recall there were no dropped catches of note and the fielding was good on a fast but quite bobbly outfield. The mood at tea was that the total, though impressive, was easily reachable by our strong batting line up.

To mirror the bowling, the game was lost in the first ten overs of the batting. Though the track was good the shorter ball seemed to bounce low and slow and our first 5 wickets all fell to short, straight balls resulting in LBWs or batsmen being bowled having played their shots long before the ball arrived. However, a stellar performace by Jonny Russell, pinging the ball to all parts of the ground for 82, backed up by the eternally dependable Duncan Kent (41), put us back in the game from a disastrous situation. Unfortunately we could not quite finish it.

The reason I am writing this is because I feel there is a certain amount of expectation in the team born of a great will to succeed. The set up is fantastic at the moment; a great team feeling, a positive relationship with the opposition and an eagerness to perform. Sometimes expectation and this eagerness can result in a worry of not performing and a head dropping feeling if things are not going as planned. Simon Butterfield bowled extremely well in his first spell but his confidence left him at the end of it when the batsmen attacked him. Chris Lewis obviously has the shots to make big scores this season at the top of the order but admitted himself that he felt his confidence was low. Will Smith was furious with his decision. These all relate to confidence and are very positive signs that the players really want to perform to their best. I would say that the IBIS team had three cricketers. They had nobody near the speed and capability with the ball of JV, nobody near the batting skill of Will, Chris, Mark, Jonny W, Dunc etc. I would also say that they had no great expectation.

This was a team we should have beaten easily and I have no doubt that when they come to Goring they will be blown apart. GCC is in a fantastic position at the moment with the coach and hunger to progress fronted by the excellent captaincy of Jonny Westcar. Just relax a bit lads. Simon, don’t analyse everything you do and open yourself up to self criticism, just enjoy the game, you are better than you think. Don’t look for confidence Chris, relax and trust in your ability.

In a few weeks there is no doubt that GCC will be regularly winning games, the post match beers will be all the sweeter and as a result this early lack of confidence will be forgotten. I want to thank you all for a day I thoroughly enjoyed. Just be patient and the wickets, runs and wins will come. Look at the opposition and realise how much better than them you are and relax. I look forward to hearing great things in the coming weeks as the belief in the Cricket First campaign continues to grow. We have a superb pool of players who given time will be making winning their habit, not their expectation.

Jim Ross – President, Goring Cricket Club

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