ARCC 2018 Season Report
It was a mixed season for Aston Rowant Cricket Club on the pitch this year, which saw the 1st XI finish in 3rd having been top for much of the season; the 2nd XI were unfortunately relegated from Division 2, the 3rd XI had a fantastic season gaining promotion to Division 4 & the 4th XI were also unfortunately relegated having to play many games with 10. The 5th XI had to be disbanded due to the lack of players & poor playing commitment.
ARCC 1st XI Season Report – Played 18, Won 11, Drawn 3, Lost 3, Abandoned 1
Having gained promotion last season & being heavily tipped at the start of the season to be relegated the 1st XI had a quite staggering season in finishing 3rd, competing against large city & town club like Oxford, High Wycombe, Banbury & Henley to name a few with equally staggering wage bills. Rumour has it every player at Henley CC picks up a handsome brown envelope with wads of cash in, which is also the case at most other HCPL clubs. Not at ARCC though, with some lads driving some distance just to represent the club they grew up playing cricket at, which shows a huge amount of loyalty to the club & playing with their mates each week for the love of the game. We call it the ARCC Brotherhood, Aston Rowant Band of Brothers no matter what team your selected in.
We managed to do the double on every Oxfordshire club beating them convincingly at home & away starting at Oxford CC in the first game of the season to give us the perfect start to life back in the big time, a league where we’d been before but been relegated the same season. The 2nd game was abandoned against Finchampstead when we look set for victory having bowled them out for 140, which proved costly come the end of the season, ultimately losing the league by 13 pts to Henley. The 3rd game saw us beat Henley at Henley, a result that will be remembered for a long time by ARCC members, we didn’t just beat them, we hammered them. The Henley 1st XI represent much of the Berkshire MC XI & has already been mentioned are well financed. A real David vs Goliath test, so it was especially sweet beating them on their own patch by 5 wickets. We ended the 1st half of the season, Won 6, Drawn 1, Lost 1, NR 1. This represented a great start to the season & one where we could look up & not over our shoulders looking down. We made a concerted effort to enjoy each win with a raucous version of the team song belted out & a team photo after every win. Wins at this level of cricket are hard to come by so we definitely enjoyed each one, enjoying each others company & success.
We went into the 2nd half of the season sitting top of the league pinching ourselves but trying hard to stay level headed & focused on some tough tests to come, namely a tough loss at another huge club in High Wycombe who also have a huge wage bill. Yet another David vs Goliath test, one that we lost by a long way, which was a hammer blow to us as Slough & Henley caught up ground on us. We also produced a poor performance at Tring Park, which was the one that really cost us as it was now out of our hands. We went into the last 3 games of the season needing to win them (which we did) but relying on others to beat Henley & Slough (which they didn’t). As I mentioned we finished the season on a high with resounding wins against Banbury, Thame & Horspath respectively but falling 13 points short. If finishing 3rd had been offered to us at the start of the season I think everyone at the club would have snapped it up but it’ll take a while to get over not winning it this year but competing against these huge cricket clubs is no mean feat for a small ‘village’ club. Let’s not forget the standard of cricket that ARCC compete at, it is the highest standard of cricket one can play at below being contracted at a first class professional club.
The 1st XI would like to place on record our thanks for all that came to support us home & away, to the ground staff for preparing the ground so well & to all our wives & girlfriends who have to endure the 18 weeks of peace & quiet. We also massively appreciated the efforts of Amelia & Charlotte who prepared lunches & teas throughout the season. Competing at this level as has already been mentioned is a huge commitment on all fronts, no more so than off the pitch putting on lunches & teas so we’d love to hear from any of the parishioners if you feel like you could help out in any way. We’re keen to boost our support off the pitch & always keen for more non playing members to get involved as we look to engage more with the local villages. Sorry we couldn’t win it this year but we’ll give it our best shot again next season.
Josh Smith, 1st XI Captain
ARCC 2nd XI Season Report, Played 18, won 7, lost 10, drawn 1.
It proved a tough season for the 2nd XI as the hoped for recruitment at 1st XI didn’t materialise to help strengthen the club across all the sides so the table come the end of the season didn’t lie, we were unfortunate to be relegated though having finished 3rd bottom in 8th place. Despite a late rally which saw the 2nd XI win three games on the spin, we were sunk & doomed to Division 3 for next season. Some might say a fall from grace after the 2nd XI winning Division 1 only a few years ago. The reality is however that the 2nd XI are a side in transition & suffering from losing a few players to other clubs & poor commitment. We used 40 odd players & relied on players too much from the 3rd & 4th XI squads, which often left them depleted.
There were positives however, with Thad Cooper scoring 500 runs, Chris Eaton scoring 400 runs but a real highlight was the younger lads starting step up with good performances, namely Oli Shaw & James Coles with the bat. The latter going on to excel at Oxon county age group cricket & at the Bunbury festival, a shop window if you like for being picked up by first class county scouts. Caspar Mason too had a great season with the ball & has been rewarded with a scholarship at the renowned sports school, Millfield where it is hoped he’ll come back in the latter part of next season an even better player.
The 2nd XI would like to thank Peter Coleman who scored the majority of games for us & to all who supported us home & away. We look forward to rebuilding next season & looking to bounce back to Division 2 with hopefully a more settled side & better commitment.
Tim Morgan, 2nd XI Captain
ARCC 3rd XI Season Report, Played 18, won 10, drawn 4, lost 3, abandoned 1.
Once again the 3rd XI enjoyed a great season against all odds having been promoted the previous season. It was a truly remarkable achievement winning Division 5 that will sit beautifully next to the Division 6 trophy that is already in the trophy cabinet.
It went down to the wire in the last game of the season away at Horspath in a winner takes all game, however we managed to scrape over the line winning by 2 wickets chasing down 200. Leigh Lewis scored 400 runs & Tim Foster taking 28 wickets in the season still proving they’ve got it! Thanks go to Brian Fagan & Peter Booth for umpiring & scoring for us most weeks, your efforts are very much appreciated by everyone at the club. Thanks too to Peter Coleman for submitting all our results & umpire reports. We look forward to having our Saturday’s back, putting the feet up this winter & regrouping for the of challenge on Division 4, if the Cherwell League will agree to our promotion as we need to spend a vast sum of money of bringing the 2nd pitch up to standard.
Finally, we would like to dedicate this league title to a very dear friend of us all, Dave ‘Tangles / Tango’ Simpson. He was also a founder member of the 3rd XI and I can’t remember him missing a game in the 20 years he was at the club. RIP Tango me old mate this one is for you. It was recently announced that the 3rd XI have unfortunately been denied promotion to Division 4 next year as the Cherwell Committee have decided that our current set up isn’t good enough, which is a huge shame.
Lee Anning, 3rd XI Skipper
ARCC 4th XI Season Report, Played 18, won 7, drawn 0, lost 9, abandoned 2.
The 4th XI were unfortunately relegated on the final day of the season to go down by 1 point, finishing on what must be a record high for a relegated team, 262 points, with two crucial points deducted. It must be said that although the team went down considering the selection crisis across the club earlier in the season it was a tremendous effort this year. Fielding 44 different players over the 18 week season & having to play often with 10 men ultimately brought our demise.
Division 8 awaits us next year & we will be looking to bounce back with a bang with improved availability & commitment after this years disappointment. Thank you to all that played this year, which proved tough at times & came down to fine margins. 1 point, 1 catch!
So all in all a mixed season with many ups & downs. The couple of social events through the summer were unfortunately blighted by the two days of rain we had all summer, these being the beer festival & the picnic in the park event. It’d be great to see more of the local community supporting these events next year & enjoying themselves as Aston Rowant CC is so much more than just a cricket club. The club would like to welcome any playing or non playing member for next season as we look to engage with the local community to build a club the whole community can be proud of. We desperately need to have more engagement from the local community as we look to the future of providing high quality facilities for everyone to enjoy, not just from a cricket prospective. Even more so with the Cherry Tree being shut for so long & without much hope of it reopening as a pub! The bar is open every Friday night through the summer to kick start sunny weekends & throughout every Saturday & more Sunday’s. We also have the marquee to hire for all members, which makes a fantastic venue for any summer party!
The club have also learnt about our first international call up recently! Linsey Smith who has played for the Aston Rowant CC since she was 7 was selected for recent England Women’s World Cup T20 squad in the Caribbean playing in two group games & bowling well in two good wins against South Africa & Bangladesh. We’re all absolutely delighted for Linsey, proving that despite being seen by a few in the local community as a ‘village’ cricket club we punch well above our weight from the grass roots up, competing in the HCPL & producing high quality cricketers that go on to reach international honours.
Finally, everyone at the club would like to wish you all a very Merry Xmas & a healthy 2019. We look forward to seeing more of you at the club next year.
Best wishes from Aston Rowant Cricket Club.