And there goes another summer of cricket at TCC - it only feels like last week we were training in 4 layers in a very cold Spring!
I'd like to start with a few thank you's before getting into the season review... A number of volunteers have been hugely supportive over the course of the season, and keep things ticking over at TCC and enabling us to play cricket week in week out.. I can't name them all, but the below stand out in particular:
Jon Oakey, Toby Summerfield, Carl Botha, and the rest of the grounds team at TCC - once again TCC was in fantastic nick all year, despite some difficult circumstances with the rain.
Andy Weeks and his helpers at Tockington - much like TCC a huge amount of effort went in to preparing a quality ground which is getting better every year.
All the captains for their time and support - the official captains Marc Lezar, Greg Mallitte, Jordan Hicks and Andy Weeks, plus all the stand in captains we've had, especially in the 3s and 4s.
All the parents and players who've given lifts and helped ferry people to and from matches - our travel distances seem to be going up every year, so this support is crucial.
Finally, a big thanks to everyone who played in the men's sides this year. In total 96 players represented the four sides this summer, with total league breakdown for each team listed below:
1st XI: 24 Players
2nd XI: 34 Players
3rd XI: 44 Players
4th XI: 48 Players
In amongst 18 weeks of league cricket, we had a number of selection highlights this season, which I think reflect on how we are progressing as a club.
Four youth players making their 1st XI debut.
Over 30 youth players in total playing senior cricket (accounting for a third of total players).
Our first ever Father-Daughter opening partnership, courtesy of Sunil and Prarthana Reddy.
Our first ever Mother-Son combination playing together, courtesy of Jo and Toby Littlejohn.
A huge number of players of all ages and abilities improving and performing at a higher level than ever before. Head Coach Stu Houghton has been instrumental in this, and our mission to provide equal access to coaching for all is certainly having effects, particularly on the third and fourth team performances.
Season Review In terms of team performance, it was a very mixed season. The first and second teams unfortunately both ended up being relegated, whereas the third and fourth teams both finished 3rd in their respective leagues which we hope will be enough for two promotions. The midweek t20 team also missed out on winning division 1 by the smallest of margins, falling to a final ball defeat at Winterbourne in their last game. In a deeply disappointing end to the season, the first team fell into the relegation zone following a final day defeat at Chippenham. Other results didn't fall in our favour, and despite some great performances over the course of the season, we will be returning to WEPL Prem 2 next season. In what is essentially a semi-professional league, and the highest standard of club cricket possible, this is certainly not a catastrophic result, and the aim all season was simply to try and stay up. There were some fantastic individual performances, with 5 players having statistically their best ever seasons in first team cricket, however a combination of strong opposition and a few tight games not going our way ultimately proved crucial. Captain Marc Lezar led from the front, with over 700 runs at an average of 47, including three centuries, making him the top run scorer across all senior cricket this year. The second team struggled in the first half of the season, winning only one from 9 games, and leaving a mountain to climb in the second half. Despite some significantly improved performances, it proved too much and their fate was secured after the penultimate round of fixtures, and have been relegated into GCCL Div 2. Availability issues certainly didn't help the cause, and the nature of being a second XI in a first XI league made this a particular challenge. The two's have been in transition over the past few years, with a number of players stepping up and adjusting to a significantly higher level of cricket than they've previously been exposed to. Whilst successive relegations wasn't in the plan, it does give us a chance to rebuild next year, get more players playing at a level where they can be successful, and look to change our approach to second team cricket, in particular aiming to find a more consistent side week in week out. The third team ended up third in B&D Div 7, which we hope means promotion, although we won't get final confirmation on this until October. After losing the first two fixtures, the team performed well all season, with the usual mix of youngsters and adults all contributing to victories. The league was dominated by two very strong sides (who were both beaten by TCC over the course of the summer) meaning chances to finish in the top two were always slim after the tough start. However, third place was more than respectful, and no matter what happens with the promotion situation the third team will be targeting promotion next summer. The fourth team had perhaps the most mixed season, starting with us on -6 points having been unable to field a side. This however was followed up by a combination of some strong wins, some big defeats, and coming out victorious in final day third placed decider at Midsomer Norton. Despite playing numerous games without our full 11 players, we still managed a third placed finish, which like the thirds we hope will be enough for promotion. Next season the focus will be on availability, and aiming to build a bigger core of players keen to play 12+ games over the course of the season. If we do this, promotion from whichever league we land in will be more than achievable! Finally, the pink ball, coloured kit Bristol Midweek t20 League started up this season. TCC entered a side into division 1, and finished a tight second behind Hanham, our only two defeats coming in the final over. It was a great side to be a part of, with everyone playing with smiles on the faces of all involved. We'll be looking to do this again next season, with the league growing in popularity.
Cricket Chairman's Final Words It's certainly been a mixed summer, however the club is transitioning in the right direction, adapting to the requirements of being a successful 21st century community cricket club. The positives this summer comfortably outweighed the negatives, and the cricket committee will begin planning 2023 season with a huge amount learnt and a great foundation in place. At full strength, the 1's and 2's were more than competitive in their respective leagues. However, due to the after effects of two years of cancelled holidays, weddings and stag do's, we were missing players almost every week which ultimately took it's toll in two tough divisions. The availability issue stemmed through the entire club, with more than 40 players unavailable almost every week, leading to us giving up on the 5th team this year altogether, and me spending many an hour on my phone! This is something we'll seek to address next summer, and establish how we can make regular Saturday cricket more appealing - less weddings will certainly help! The fact the 3's and 4's both had successful seasons in the face of this shows just how strong our depth is, and the fact nearly 100 people participated in total gives us a great platform, and hopefully a chance to re-invigorate the 5th team next year in some capacity, and provide more opportunity to play cricket. Our core values will remain the same, to offer all players equal access to quality coaching, to help develop and promote our youth players by giving them the right opportunities, and for our teams to be playing at the best level possible! We will continue to push forward, and establish a clear vision for where we need to take the club over the next few years. See you all next summer... Tredders