As I sit here on a cold and wet November afternoon, staring out of the office window and along Thames Ditton high street, the cricket season seems a distant memory. But then I think a little bit more about it, the cold and the wet disappears and the realisation of what a year 2018 has been and what the club has achieved is nothing short of miraculous. But it didn’t always look as if it would be that way…
Back in January of this year the senior side of the club was looking a lot different. We had lost our Indian trio of Pradeep, Prabhakar and Felix, whilst our 1st XI skipper had jumped ship, taking with him another experienced clubman. Crisis meetings were had, and many hairs were pulled out of heads. Fortunately good things happen to good people, and at TD we have a lot of good people.
I won’t go in to huge detail about the league campaigns, as the captains have done that for you in their respective reports. To summarise though, the job that Chris Dixon did, bringing together a brand new 1st first XI and taking them from relegation favourites to league champions is quite frankly one of the greatest achievements in this clubs long and glorious history. It reads more like something from Schoolboys Own, or even a Rocky film, and will be remembered for a very long time. Amrik Natt lead with passion as he always does, with his team having their first season back in the championship. A mid table finish was well earned, and with a bit more luck there is no reason they will not be challenging for honours in the 2019 season. Chris Harding took over the reins in the 3rd XI, and whilst results didn’t always go their way, there is a lot of promise for next year. Chris lead from the front, and was happy to give young players an opportunity. That will pay dividends in years to come. With a 4th XI taking the field every week bar 2, Andy Jones stepped up to the plate and ran a very solid ship (with great help from Andy Cassie and David Packington) and from a results perspective they turned out to be the most successful side at the club this year. It is testament to the work put in that the 4s will enter the league structure next season. Yes, that’s correct, whilst supposed “big clubs” all around us fold teams, little old Thames Ditton keep going from strength to strength.
Away from the league setup there was all sorts of cricket going on. Jonny Annable as always ran a fun and exciting Sunday XI, winning the majority of their games. During one of these games Max Newbold scored 161 not out, the 12th highest score in the history of the club, at the age of just 16! Incredible stuff and again credit to Jonners for always giving youth a chance. Alongside the regular Sunday team we ran the pyjama side in the Surrey trust competition. This year we won our group, however once again we came unstuck in the semi-final stage. That’s the fourth time we’ve been eliminated at the stage, so next year we plan to go a step or two further! We also entered the first Surrey Slam competition this season, playing in the hot pink shirts. After winning our group, we beat the AMY Peacekeepers is the quarter final, before falling just short to a strong Spencer team in the semis. We fielded a good mix of youth and experience in this competition and the guys learnt a lot. Finally, I am delighted to report that for the first time in over 20 years we fulfilled a full cricket week. We had fixtures against The Russell Blumire Invitational XI, Old Cranleighans, The George and Dragon, Twickenham and Long Ditton. This was a great week to be around the club and we will emulate this next year.
My thanks on the senior side go to all of those that put their hand up to captain a side at any point, to Chaz Dixon, Wes Steyn and Nick Darby for umpiring the season, to Sue Dixon and Claire Annable for providing us with lovely teas all year, to Chris Notton for preparing the best wickets we have ever had and to Alan Hague for scoring for us in the Surrey Trust Competition.
Moving towards the junior side of the club, once again we had a resounding success of a season. The colts keeps on growing year on year, and in 2018 we had an incredible 250 colts on our books, aged from 6 to 14. Not many clubs can boast that, and we don’t intend on stopping there. Jon Sealy does an incredible job brining this all together and is ably assisted by Jon Buckley and many others over the course of the year. I’m not involved in the colts side of the club as much as I perhaps should be, but please guys don’t think for one moment that I and the senior playing members don’t first of all understand the amazing job you are doing and secondly appreciate it. You are laying the foundations for us to become one of the greatest clubs in Surrey. Friday nights at the club are the only place to be, and that is because of the atmosphere you have created. Thank you.
The club is going from strength to strength. The committee are wonderful and I applaud every one of them for the sterling work they put in. The hours they do sometimes are understated, but the work the achieve certainly can’t be. But please, I ask all of you to keep putting your hands up to help out. Whether its doing a bar shift or just general helping out from time to time, any time you put in enables the club to function at maximum capability and also relives the stress on the shoulders of the committee. The more you help, the stronger we become.
My final thanks go to Kirsti and Steve Newbold. It can never, ever, be understated how much these guys do for the club. Personally they have helped me a lot with various bits around the club, and I know you will have all seen them there every Friday and Sunday working as hard as anyone, every week without fail. A lot of what we do couldn’t be done without them, so thank you both so very much.
So there we have it, from the depths of January and hair tearing meetings, to the glory of a league title and everything in between, what a year 2018 turned out to be “down the green”. Here’s to whatever 2019 brings.
TD are bouncing. We’ve found our trampoline.
TDCC Club Captain.