2019 was a hugely positive season for the 4th XI, one which ultimately resulted in us getting promoted as league runners-up – something that, after two or three years of challenges in terms of putting sides out on a weekly basis and continuing our policy of playing our youth players on a regular basis, was beyond all expectations.
The season started with a 4 run defeat at United Banks – a side we’ve had a number of close games against in recent seasons. This one somehow felt different though. Having been 30-4 chasing 183, we battled our way back into a position to win the game – but with Nathan being run out for a quality 77, we managed to find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory having initially bowled and fielded very well to restrict our hosts.
That game proved a bit of catalyst for us. Winning our next 4 games, and 7 of our next 8, meant we hit the half way stage of the season being right in the promotion mix, along with Winterbourne, Pucklechurch and Hambrook.
Victory at home to Pucklechurch by the narrowest of margins – one run – was one of three games that really defined our season. Mark Beach, opening the batting, scored 111 of our 206-9 and then, with the game on the line, Archie Joslin (3-28) and Greer Barnes both bowled beautifully at the death to restrict our visitors in the final few overs to ensure they were unable to get beyond our total.
The second season-defining game came one week later when United Banks made the trip over to Failand on a beautiful early-July day. The Banks scored 246-2 on an excellent batting track, but that was to prove to be not enough, as Dimi Naeem’s 111*, ably supported by first Stephen Wilkinson and latterly some other bloke, meant we proved we could chase down any total.
That ability showed itself in the third game that really defined our season – the away trip to YMCA. On a helpful pitch, our bowlers did an excellent job of bowling the home team out for 156 – Charlie Vaughan taking 3-0 in 5 balls to close out the innings with an over and a bit still to come. The YM opening bowlers made life very difficult, taking 4 early wickets, but the nous of Kerry Lock, supported by James Diamond, saw us home with three balls to spare.
There were a number of other excellent performances throughout the season however. Tom Beach’s 4-26 vs BWI at home; Murray Bishop’s unbeaten 69 vs Winterbourne, Phil Thorn’s 7-7 at St Mary Redcliffe, Nathan Williams’ 84* vs YMCA at home, Vicki’s 4-26 at Timsbury, Beachy’s 119 at home vs St Mary Redcliffe, and of course Stephen Wilkinson taking a wicket in the first over he bowled all season (in our final game)!
I’d like once again to thank everyone who has supported me during the season, helping to rope players in, Nick and Lisa for their excellent teas (still the best in the league by far – and yet people still wonder why I want to bowl first!), and in particular my vice-captain Mr Bevan for his constant Mitchell-ing out in the middle.
Here’s hoping for more of the same in 2020!
Captain, 4th XI