The 2020 season was completely over shadowed by the Covid pandemic. Before the lockdown the Ladies Ninjas played in the Surrey Slam indoor soft ball competition held at Box Hill School. They reached the final only for the competition to be suspended.
Similarly our under 13s played in the Identilam 6-a-side competition at Tandridge House School. This too was abandoned.
The Government issued instructions and the ECB distributed a pathway back to cricket.
Finally in July we were able to resume training and matches could be played.
Saturday 1st XI – Lewis Davies
Sunday XI – Monjur Elahi
The weather was fairly favourable for cricket throughout the 2020 season. Bright sunny days in the weekends, grass in the outfield were cut nicely, pitches were ready, but cricket was not being played due to the pandemic caused by CORONA virus. We finally started the season in July, in an adaptive format, which was nicely adopted and strictly maintained by the cricketers, visiting teams and the supporters.
The extra-ordinary social situation offered a unique scenario as well, which I doubt I will witness again. A big number of our regular Saturday players did not get their kits out, some of the regular opposition failed to form teams and fixtures were cancelled. Some strategic tweaks were needed – quick adjustment with fixtures, renewed approach in player recruitment all worked well and what an extra-ordinary season we had!
We started the season with the match against BBC Bushmen on 12th July, with the hope to play 8 to 10 matches and we ended up playing 16 matches in the end! Out of those, 10 played at Home and 6 Away. We attracted some new opposition, most of whom brought their stronger sides. We managed to secure quite a few away matches when we needed them, thanks to Surrey Cricket Foundation’s Facebook page.
I enjoyed a sweet problem too, availabilities of too many players and I did not want to disappoint anyone – so we started to form two Sunday teams and we saw that happening four times this season! It did give me a lot of admin works, a lot of liaison, the support from the club was great and the happiness on the faces of the players was my prize!
Players were coming from all sources, colts, coaches, parents, internet queries, restaurants, colleague of a player’s friend (can’t believe my luck!) and everywhere else. People just wanted to break-free from the monotony of the lock-down restrictions and we provided them with the perfect opportunities in a safe environment.
I was also able to focus greatly on a sustainable future for Newdigate Cricket Club by creating a pathway for emerging players easing into adult version of the matches. We saw our colts thriving with the given opportunities and putting up good performances. Colts in the likes of Thomas Clark, Tom Harper, Tommy Stimpson, Tim Holt, Redwan Islam are my rising stars. I take pride of my solid bowling battery made up of the ‘Triple J’s (James, Jacob, Joe) – they have pace, bounce and swing – watch them in 2021 if you have not had the opportunity as yet. Joe claimed the highest 18 wickets for the club this year. In batting, busy, crafty Jack Butler enjoyed a fabulous season, seasoned campaigner Jack Bowley had a run-fest this year scoring almost 500 runs. Fearless batting has earned the Players’ Player award for Angus Harper who enjoyed playing alongside his son. I have to mention Mike Duthie, inspired by his son’s performance, added an all-rounding skill to the team; and Ryan Visser kept claiming a promotion every time he bowled or batted.
While the individuals shone, it was not all good news for the Sunday XI. We managed to secure win in only four matches out of the 16 matches we played. In our defence, we played quite a few new oppositions who fielded their best XI – understandably they needed some cricket in absence of the league matches. Even so, we had quite a few close matches against some strong opposition. Post-match reports are available in the play cricket site on this link – https://newdigatecc.play-cricket.com/match_reports
Importantly for me, I was able to deliver another season this year for Newdigate CC, engaged 55 players in this fun form of game who are looking forward to continuing next year. Encouragingly, 12 out of these 55 players are colts. Sunday XI friendlies provided a great platform for some to have some fun, some to bank on their performance and for some a great escape from the COVID restrictions.
My heart-felt thanks to the players for being available and help me during the matches, Jack Bowley for updating the scores in the Play Cricket web-site; Andrew Major, James Penfold, John Callcut, Craig Jones, Charlie Major and Karen Fordree for their help in running the matches successfully. Also, my gratitude to our wonderful members and their families for the continued support.
Take care and stay safe.
Ladies XI – Karen Fordree
The highlight of the season was Graham Capel’s 80th birthday celebration when he selected a team with a combined age of over 800 to play a match.
We played 9 and won 5 which was very encouraging. We had some great games with very close results and 4 decided in the last over. Our average runs per 20 over game was 112 which was a lot higher than usual. There was one record loss with the opposition getting 216 runs in their 20 overs. We lost but still scored 124. Our highest score was 138. We had a really good team spirit this year despite the late start and problems, with a number of new players who joined in well. Angus Harper and Jonathan James who both have children in the juniors. In one game we had three members of the Brien family playing.
Graham Capel – Mid Week Team Captain
At the conclusion of the season the Chairman sent out this notice:
As we approach the 2nd wave at breakneck speed and a mini-lockdown imminent, it seems like Covid-19 chose to give our membership some respite in the form of cricket this season.
Apart from a couple of lost games to rain and a spurious fly ant attack, the weather did its part in providing us with a Summer to remember, in a year that most would rather forget.
Cricketers in this country are used to dealing with a delayed start, which is probably why we took to the season starting in July with such little fuss.
This is not a season’s review by any means, however without the normal forums available to offer thanks to all those involved, this seemed the most suitable option.
I would like to offer much thanks to all that have given their time and efforts to making the toughest of seasons so successful. From the committee and the coaches to the members and the colts, all of you have contributed to the excellent atmosphere around the club.
Above and beyond this, notable mentions must be given to:
John Callcut, for his continued work around all areas of the club, including organising the team of “grasshoppers” (outfield grass mowers) who also deserve thanks for their continued work (messieurs Bailey, Beale and Mumford).
Andy Major, again, for his continued work around the club, especially the preparation of the tracks.
Phil Mumford, for pulling together an expanded and protracted colts training program, which I know was a relief to so many parents, plus securing sponsorship for the colts’ shirts.
Graham Capel, for taking the helm of the Midweek team and fixtures as well as hitting a “6” on his 80th birthday (I’m not sure too many others will ever be able to claim that achievement…..certainly not me! (although I do feel 80, does that count!?!?))
Becky Chapman, my better half, who has always supported me and has undoubtedly been affected the most by the time I give to the club.
The coaches and committee members, who volunteer their time to make the club what it is. I can honestly say this is by far the most productive, positive, and genuinely fun committee I have ever sat on; thank you!
As chairman, I am afforded 3 awards to recognize the efforts of key contributors for the season, so I wanted to share these with you now:
Karen Fordree; who has gone the extra mile both on and off the pitch; the enthusiasm she has brought to the ladies’ cricket team has added a new dimension to the club; coupled with her work inside the club (physically) and on the committee, she is a credit to the club in all that she does.
Monjur Elahi; who has similarly excelled in so many areas. Bringing in extensive resources to meet our Covid-19 requirements and running an adapted “All Stars” programme (which was officially cancelled by the ECB). He has also delivered not one, but two Sunday teams on a regular basis, adding fresh blood and offering senior cricket to our youngsters coming through the ranks.
The Ranmore Crew, (messieurs Harrow, Zee Log, Grimley, Hussey, Gibbs and Tanner). Over the course of the season you may have noticed six stalwarts socially distancing themselves in front of the home changing room door. They have supported nearly all of the senior fixtures (more vocally as the game goes on), helped the club financially (in a season that could have been catastrophic to other clubs) and with their entourage, again, added to a great atmosphere. Special mention should go to Nigel Grimley, who has been supporting Karen and working behind the scenes (trying to avoid the limelight) and Bob Zee Log (not his real name!), who built and erected the wooden boundary fence, which has been a superb addition to the ground. Their efforts (cough) this season will help the club for years to come.
If you have made it this far through my ramble, thank you again for your time.
I am genuinely already looking forward to cricket in 2021.
Happy Christmas!!! (too soon?)
James Penfold -Chairman
(I promise less brackets next time!)