Will Thomson started the season in Manchester and ended it in China, but still managed 18 games in between, (he travelled from Manchester on the morning of a couple of games, but for the record didn’t fly in from China for any!); making appearances for all the XIs and fulfilling a number of batting, bowling and keeping roles; then latterly taking on the role of Trust League Captain where he played arguably the best captain’s innings by a Stoke skipper since we entered the Trust League in 2007.
Memories of the Worcester Park game, and all the other STL matches, are captured in our League Report for next year’s Trust League Handbook:
At Stoke we play nice and in 2016 we ended up being victims of our own generosity! Guildford contacted us to see if we could flip the game scheduled for theirs to ours. They were expecting to concede but found us an obliging lot as we go to extremes to get games on; and defeat in that match meant they ultimately qualified and we didn’t(!) but we still feel this was the right choice as the players wouldn’t have learned anything by claiming a match.
Our campaign started well with a comprehensive victory over Malden Wanderers. Five of eight bowlers used shared the wickets – Jack Townsend 4 for 17 leading the way – before Oliver John, (31 not out), and Baz Medlycott, (67), were only separated by a run out just before the winning hit.
We made hard work it at Godalming, (Adrian Taylor 88, Alastair Curran 41), winning by just four runs. Jack Townsend, (3 for 44 from 8), was beaten by his younger brother Ben, (7-1-25-3) – then came the home defeat to Guildford despite 64 from debutant Zach Burrage and 46 from James Corbishley. Hopefully the boys would have learned by watching how Guildford’s batsmen made a chase of 234, (achieved for the loss of just one wicket), look easy.
We were back to winning ways with a big win over Epsom. Ben Holder, (112), compiled his maiden century and Oscar Jensen, (76 not out), got us up to a formidable total of 275 for 7; that we defended with ease thanks to seven bowlers sharing the wickets, Dan Gluckman taking most with 3.5-1-4-3.
In what effectively became a must win for both sides, Old Ruts put on a total we couldn’t get near on a hot afternoon; (Holder 2 for 33 then Nico Spreeth 43 salvaged some pride); and whilst we then had nothing to play for in the last game at home to Worcester Park, the visitors did, needing to win to progress themselves.
The opposition looked well set when we were 73 for 6 then 107 for 7 chasing 202 but Will Thomson, who captained the side that day and will take over full-time for 2017 had other ideas, making 72 and finding an able partner in Charlie Hill, (23 not out – previous highest score 5!), to take us to the brink of victory, secured on the penultimate ball by 2 wickets with our youngest two players – well under the age of 21 – padded up at #10 and #11.
Holder’s century meant he topped the batting aggregates; Jack Townsend, (11 wickets @ 20.55), led the bowlers. 30 players were used, 20 of them bowled, 13 took wickets; and the learning and growth gained from these fixtures continues to make Trust League cricket a great tool for our development as a club. We have now used 95 players in ten seasons of participation and 53 have played 1st XI cricket.
Our thanks to all members of the Trower family for organising and/or playing in the games and Ian Hopton for preparing the pitches.