Goring Cricket Club 2011 League Season Review
With the best playing conditions arriving shortly after the end of the league season, the number of weather affected fixtures had no small influence on the stop start nature of Gorings Berkshire League Division One campaign this summer.
Despite the weather disruptions Goring found a number of reasons to be cheerful this summer; a new look courtesy of playing kit by local sponsor Masooms Tandoori, debut seasons for a number of new players helping to bring a fresh dimension to on and off field activity, and the welcome return of some previously regular GCC players and stalwarts.
The season started with a close winning draw at Embrook and another notable draw at Crown Wood away that saw Matt Armitage, Stephen Wincott and Jonny Russell all score runs under pressure to nearly force a win against the divisions future champions. This approach was evident throughout the season, with Goring showing some tenacity and grit to draw the games that may otherwise have led to defeat.
The first victory of the season followed against last seasons relegated Premier Division side, Harlington, Duncan Kent showing his enduring class with a well judged half century. New ball bowlers Kenza Barton and Peter Slade frequently enabled Goring to create tight, pressured starts to opposition innings throughout the season. Jamie Vickery had a superb season with the ball, operating as a highly effective change bowler to take 17 wickets in 8 games. Len Sexon showed his depth of both skill and character through the summer, operating as a wicket taking left arm spinner and as an explosive opening batsman.
By the end of May and a second league victory, this time against local rivals Checkendon, under their belts there were good reasons to be optimistic for the season. The start of June however saw Goring go down by just a wicket against IBIS and then suffer at the hands of the weather versus South East Reading. Goring then continued to make a tradition of close results claiming a winning draw with Farley Hill, Peter Slade making some trademark lower order impact with the bat.
Early July saw two weekends lost to the weather and denied Goring the chance to build momentum, however later in the month victories again against Harlington and Checkendon, both inspired by Len Sexons turn with ball and bat respectively, reignited the season with a number of teams all being very close on points margin as the month ended.
August proved a problematic month for player availability, however this gave opportunities to others, such as an outstanding partnership between Peter Slade and Matt Norman batting out a crucial draw at IBIS. The on-field highlight of the season was a powerful hundred from wunderkind Jim Ross, taking Goring very close to an improbable win against then unbeaten league leaders South East Reading.
Mid-August had Goring well clear of the two relegation spots, however a tightly contested bottom half of the division left Goring needing to take points from the final two games against the teams below them in the table to be certain of Division One cricket next season. Weather again contrived against Goring at Farley Hill with Goring failing to chase in a restricted overs match and having to settle for draw. This left Goring needing just a few points in the final game against Shinfield to be sure of survival. Batting first Goring did enough to need just a single point from their bowling display, however it was not until the improbable and much coerced introduction of Stephen Wincott in the final overs that saw the wicket needed for the final point.
Goring finished a creditable 7th this season with much of the cricket tightly fought in the division.
Off field the social scene was exceptional with Masooms, our sponsor, challenging us to eat the entire menu – something approached whole heartedly and with no little gusto by players after many fixtures. We entertained an opposition team with a wine and cheese evening that took place directly after the game in the long rays of the the setting sun, a wonderful picture of cricket and sportsmanship on a handsome village green at high summer.
Looking ahead to next year, we can expect some of the Goring Academy players to be knocking on the door of league cricket, with classy players such as Alex McGee certain to make an impact. As is often the case with village cricket, player availability has much to do with the results in the league format and I fully expect 2012 to build on the excellent progress made this year, as long as the club keeps welcoming new players, rewarding those that offer commitment and finding ways for lapsed players to come back and put on the maroon and gold one more time.
Jonny Westcar, Club Captain
*Apologies for the late posting of this report – GW