The highlights have been Jack Dimond’s 101 not out against Milland, Oliver King’s intelligent 70 against Bosham to secure a draw, Harry Dimond’s108 not out against Tillington and his 91 against Arundel, Andy Long’s aggresive 56 to beat Bury, Paul Phillips 4 for 38 against Storrington, Graham Braithwaite’s 101 not out against Fittleworth and his 85 not out against Parham Park, Alfie Bunkers 96 not out against Fittleworth and Richard Gough’s 64 against Grayswood. There has been steady support from James Hickey, Matt Hall, Andy Wilson-Smith, Paul Phillips, Dave Clarke, Lee Ayres, Jon Clifford and Nick Bellion.
It is probably true to say that Lodsworth, once better known for their bowling prowess have now become more of a batting team. It was once the case that a score of 150 runs was regarded as par for two and half hours in the field but on five occasions this year Lodsworth scored in excess of 200 runs and in two other games scored more than 300 runs.
But increasingly, having batted first and amassed a large score the village team were unable to capitalise on this and bowl the opposition out. Thus Arundel and Tillington were able to eke out a draw and Parham Park won in the last over even though Lodsworth had put 205 runs on the board. Put another way we could have won three more games if the bowlers had a little more success. Only skipper Andy Long has excelled with the ball this year although Paul Phillips turned in a particularly strong performance against Storrington.
We won mostly against genuine village Sunday XI’s and lost against teams with a strong League contingent in their line-up namely Loxwood, Goodwood, Storrington, West Chiltington and the Cricket Society. But it is good that the village team is playing better opposition for only in that way will we improve. We also have more ‘village people’ in the team with Rob Collins and Fergus Cruikshank playing regularly and cameo performances by Richard Gough, Finn Campbell, Tom Atkins and Gerry Keen. The tail-enders were occasionally called on to add a few runs and Bob Powell, Pete Long and on one occasion John King did this with alacrity.
Apart from the success on the field Paul Phillips is to be congratulated on the quality of the wicket at the Recreation Ground. Over the last five years it has improved enormously under Paul’s stewardship and is now as good as any we play on, including the grounds of League clubs that have full-time groundsmen. The facilities of the club include an excellent practice strip with artificial turf and nets and a newly acquired catching cradle. The sightscreens enhance the quality of the game and again are a bonus that most village teams cannot aspire to. All of this we could not have achieved without the generous help of our sponsors and vice presidents. The outfield is also much improved as a result of regular mowing organised by the Recreation Hall Committee.
And finally a big thankyou to John King our Chairman, Secretary and Fixture Secretary and to Jill King. It is probably true that cricket in Lodsworth would not have survived in the last decade without John’s enthusiasm for the game and Jill King organises a group of ladies (and occasionally gentlemen) including Zena Davies, Teggy Phillips, Vikki Braithwaite and Gillian Johnson who serve the finest cricket teas in Sussex.
I have an admission to make – your scribe and sometimes wicket keeper did not take a catch all season. Is this a record for a wicket keeper in any class of cricket? In mitigation he did stop numerous byes with various parts of his anatomy.