And so it came to pass, the season which came to be known as 2016………so much to look back on, reflect and celebrate after which we can then look forward to next year and beyond with renewed optimism.
Before a ball had even been bowled in anger, we welcomed Gloucestershire CCC to the club in February for a “Night With the Champions”. GCCC Head Coach Richard Dawson and CEO Will Brown brought the shiny Royal London One Day Trophy with them – an excellent Pre-season social for the whole club to enjoy.
Pre-season started in February for both Senior and Youth Sections. Perhaps the past two seasons have borne out testament to the analogy you don’t get anything for free………the rewards for the hard work put in throughout the whole of last season started the ball rolling for the success that followed……..
March saw a very successful fundraising/ social evening……..a Cider & Chilli Quiz Night. This unusual combination raised a massive £470 towards replacing life expired machinery.
Events such as this and the Lottery Bonus Ball run by Carol and Lee Dyer have seen just
over £2000 raised – still some way to go towards a realistic target of £4.5k so we can replace the sit on mower used on the square…….kindly modeled here for us by Roland Allen!!
March we also ran (in conjunction with the local ACO Training Officer), an Introduction to Umpiring Course for 15 of our members and volunteers. The running of this course ensured our 2nd & 3rd XI’s have enough people accredited for us to be able to claim valuable “Fair Play” points in B & D League games. The youth section also boosted numbers able to umpire youth matches……….all passed the course with flying colours!! Running the course allowed us to again demonstrate our ongoing commitment to running the club for the members as well as investing in its future………..
By early April the youth section had completed its pre-season programme but the seniors were still building for the new league season which was only a few weeks away. With Head Coach Neil Higginson once again overseeing things, the intensity started to crank up……….little did we know at this point what was to lay ahead when the action started shortly afterwards………it must be said that Neil’s arrival on the scene and the change in club fortunes have gone hand in hand, I am pleased to report Neil will be working with us again in 2017.
April again saw Hambrook participate in the annual NatWest CricketForce event where volunteers ensured the club was ready for the start of the new season – thank you everyone for your help!!
By late April the Youth Section had started its league programme and just ahead of the senior league games our 2016 overseas players Tyler Johannson arrived from New Zealand. Pre-seson started well with a win at Chipping Sodbury……….a positive start which unfortunately came undone spectacularly the following day at Box………
Saturday 7th May the 1st XI travel to Lansdown for their first game in the vastly restructured B & D. Batting first Lansdown were restricted to 172 all out and Tyler hitting his straps taking 5 for 31 to blow away the opposition top and middle order. With Hambrook chasing the total down in the 35th over (Edin Ahmed 87*) and a winning start. With the 2’s also winning it started a trend that continued for most of the season.
Spring Bank Holiday Monday saw the biggest crowd seen on the common for many years with the now fabled Hambrook Legends XI taking on a current Hambrook XI. An excellent game with lots of former players turning out for the Legends……..not to mention an excellent day for bar takings!! A tight game with the current Hambrook XI running out as winners but everyone in agreement it was something to do again in the future.
The Youth teams were going strong and the U15’s performing well in the league, indeed eventually winning their section. Friday night and Sunday morning sessions were extremely well attended. To see so many young players and parents on the common is a great advert for our club to anyone passing by.
July, we held a mini fun day. Unfortunately the weather brought the day to a premature end but not before lots of burgers/ hot dogs had been eaten, beer drunk and Kwik Cricket played plus some impromptu games on the common. Bradley Stoke and Stapleton sent teams to play against our U9’s.
In the meantime the senior programme was moving on with pace……. the 1st XI in the top 4, the 2nd XI sitting top of the table, the 3rd XI holding their own in Division 13 and the Sunday XI running away with things in the village league.
The senior cup competitions saw further success, the 1st XI beat WEPL opponents Claverham in the main B & D Cup with teenager Louis Martin shining in front of the local press covering the game. In fact its perhaps right to say at this point a massive thank you to Steve Hill for his excellent coverage of local cricket in the Bristol Post and on the GCB website. Eventually falling at the quarter final stage Hambrook concentrated on their defense of the Bateman Trophy and what was a momentous semi final against Coalpit Heath. With Hambrook chasing a good score, skipper Lee Dyer and brother Mark striking the ball well it was when these fell so did the Hambrook run rate and the eventual defeat ensued………The game was also notable for a major injury suffered by Aidy Kislingbury attempting a catch and skipper Lee Dyer who took out his frustrations on the changing room wall, breaking his hand and all but ending his season…….. (Hambrook played a Sunday League game straight after losing the semi final and racked up a massive 350 runs in 40 overs against Christian Malford – definitely not the time for them to be playing us!!!)
In the Sunday Gloucester Trophy Hambrook again made it through to the quarter final but fell against a strong Langford (Oxfordshire) XI…….ah well back to the league then!
August and the Under 15’s face Bristol YMCA away in the league semi final – an excellent game which was marred by some inconsistent umpiring by the Home umpire and the ensuing remonstrations from players – a scene more reminiscent of football rather than cricket. With YMCA heading for a win the Hambrook tail started to wag and a lot of nervous home supporters fearing the villagers would upstage them………it was not to be and despite a valiant fight back it was YMCA who won through to the final.
Only a few days earlier the 1st XI had also played at YMCA. With 10 overs to go, YMCA requiring 30 runs it looked like a done deal……..one wicket fell and then another……..panic set in and YMCA capitulated, Hambrook won by 5 runs and set up their run in to end of the season…….what a run in that was to be…….2 wins, a cancelled game, but a thrilling tied game against Winterbourne saw the 1st XI promoted. It was to be the final game, away at top of the table Nailsea to decide who would be champions. However the weather had the final word when the captains and umpires shook hands and agreed no play would be possible…….Hambrook were promoted as runners up. Big thanks to stand in skippers Darren Vickery and Tyler Johansson for your efforts as well as captain Lee Dyer for another great season.
The 2nd XI also had a fantastic end to the season in August with a loss to Whitchurch, a win over Hampset, cancelled game v Timsbury. It was a thrilling 3 run win over Hanham in the penultimate game that saw them also being promoted as runners up, the final game being washed out. Congratulations to skipper Dave Branton and his team.
The 3rds finished a credible 4th but not before coming up against former Australian International Ian Harvey playing for Bedminster 5th’s!!! Quite an achievement for them given the limited resources available at skipper Rich Snell’s disposal.
The Sunday XI won the village league Division 1 title at a canter, the only significant loss coming at Cheltenham Civil Service (bad day at the office!!)
The end of season saw the traditional Youth Awards events this year being split apart – it was great to see so many players and parents celebrating their successes and long may that continue. The main Youth Awards were presented by club president Peter Reeves to a good number of our young players.
The U7’s and U9’s had their usual end of season disco, games and presentations – again a well attended event which bears testament to all the hard work by all of our volunteer officers, managers and coaches!!
For our seniors it was another well attended Club Dinner that was again held at the club. Despite the logistical challenges it presents, the choice of venue continues to be a popular one. We were pleased to see the winners of the Brian Woodbury Award Sarah and Tom Yearsley were able to attend following Sarah’s serious illness partway through the season – judging by the cheering and clapping it was indeed a popular choice!! Clubman was Adrian Kislingbury and the “prestigious” Stump of the Year award went to Chris Millett after he sent the Chairman a text intended for his girlfriend!!
The B & D dinner saw the 1st and 2nd XI’s awarded the runners up trophies. Our overseas player Tyler Johansson was presented the B & D bowling award as the league leading wicket taker for 2016.
The final piece to fit to the 2016 jigsaw was the Outstanding Services to Youth Cricket Award from the Bristol Youth Cricket League given to Peter Woore and Sandra Fox, the full report is on this link: http://www.hambrookcricketclub.co.uk/hambrook-couple-win-prestigious-award/ – a big well done from everyone at the club to both of you for all you have done for the club and local youth cricket.
So as 2016 draws to a close we can look back on what has been another great season, so many highs and thankfully not too many lows.
Looking ahead its hard to believe pre-season training starts in just 7 weeks for our seniors with the Youth Section following just shortly after that, full details will be circulated very early in the New Year…..
I would like to offer my thanks to everyone for your continued support in 2016. Whether you are a player, a parent, coach, team manager, scorer or supporter your impact has again be superb…….perhaps we have just witnessed the two most successful years the club has ever had, or is there more to follow in 2017…….as we have said in the past “the rest is history waiting to be written”.
A very merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone involved at Hambrook CC, I lift my glass to each and everyone of you – Cheers!!
Martin Dyer – Chairman, Hambrook CC