Pinner Cricket Club News story

2022 1st XI Report

26 Nov 2022

Pinner Cricket Club
1st XI Report

Hertfordshire 8a Division Champions

In the words of a certain left arm opening bowler, our aim for 2022 was to ‘get the ….. out of this league’ and the team certainly did that!

Following a stop and start season in 2021 due to Covid, weather and cancellations, we had a scorching summer with no games lost to weather and an end of season results of played 18, won 15, lost 3.

I firmly believe the title was not only won on the pitch but off it as well. We gelled as a group, fought as a team with a team spirit second to none. When we lost, we all collectively took responsibility and when we won, we celebrated together (some more than others!). Low lights were our 3 defeat, back to back against Hitchin and Old Minchendenians with successive batting horror shows and despite the strength in depth in our bowling we couldn’t muster victory. A loss away to Watford Town in the soaring heat, distracted by the lack of facilities and a local baby shower (or in the words of Hari ‘the most appalling gender reveal party ever’) was our catalyst to go 8 games undefeated to win the league.

With winning 15 games pulling out some highlights was going to be a challenge but our victory in the first game of the season, chasing 205 whilst being 12-4 in the 7th over, a fantastic team performance (Under Ro’s leadership) against our biggest competition for the title in Aldenham, double victories over St Albans in sticky affairs, including a last day victory to steal the title with the heavens having opened an hour into the game are my personal favourites!

Throughout the season, we used 18 players, 2 less than in 2021, 10 of which played 14 or more of the 18 league games available. Opportunities were given to those performing well in the 2s (and in the 3s) in Manish, Bhavik, Simon, proof that those performing in the 2nd XI will get a chance in the 1st XI. I have always been a firm believer in having a settled team that doesn’t chop and change. Being a 1st XI gives us the luxury to have that, but it’s still great to see the team being challenged by others!

A thanks to everyone who played this year. Every one of you were a pleasure to play with and I commend the 100% effort you put in on and off the pitch. This has been my most enjoyable year of cricket at Pinner and that’s down to all of you guys.

As expected when you win titles, the team are the ones who get the accolades, but there is a whole army of helpers and supporters who make years like 2022 even more special. Thanks to Leeroy, Richard K and Rob Fells who worn the white coat on many occasions throughout the season in the soaring heat. We are extremely lucky to have a President who not only keeps our guests up to date with our club history but carries his pens with pride every weekend, thank you Alan Kay.

Special shout outs to Lisa, Rhian, Emma and Tina for keeping us hydrated throughout the games (and after). A thanks to Marisha Dhawan and Shivani Arora who provided us with post-match treats in additional to Kavit for ‘facilitating’ the evening food.

As a club we now have our own groundsman in Peter Caisley who diligently rolled our wicket and kept it green during the hottest summer on records!

Personal thanks to Rohitesh for his vice captaincy skills and to Hari for his wit, humour and abuse in the post-match reports, many of us look forward to Monday mornings for the detailed and highly inaccurate account of our Saturday’s!

Special thanks to the other skippers Rob, Bob and John/Felix for all their help and assistance, a great font of knowledge, humour and wisdom at every selection meeting!

Finally as many of you know, Rob Bonneywell has stepped down as 2nd captain prior to the AGM. Rob has been a fantastic leader of the 2nd XI since 2013 and stands down at a time where the club is really flourishing. Having taken on the reigns when the club was sending out sides with 8 players we are now in a position where we regularly have in excess of 40 players wanting to play and Rob has been instrumental creating this environment. The 2nd XI have won titles, been promoted and broken many records under Rob’s stewardship. Over the last few years, all of this has been achieved whilst skippering Middlesex 2nd XI which is a truly remarkable achievement. Luckily for us, maybe not so for the batsman’s out there, Rob is going to continue playing and supporting the sides going into 2023. Over the past 10 years Rob has become a great friend and I am looking forward to this new chapter in his cricketing career. I am sure everyone will thank Rob for his service to Pinner Cricket Club.

Notable Mentions
Phoenix from the flames, James Baker topped the runs charts this year. Scoring 525 at just under 60. His 2021 hip replacement really worked and with a highest score of 96*, James was instrumental in setting foundations for us winning many games. James was supported excellently by other members of the top 4 with Rohitesh (395 @ 27) Hari (250 @ 20) and Manish (245 @ 25). Rohitesh continues to excel at the top of the order, and was well equipped well this year with Manish (who played for all 3 league XI’s!) adding the sensibility we’ve missed. Hari’s innings against Aldenham was one of the best of the season and having the ability to score runs whilst wicket keeping (22 catches and 3 stumpings) is a true reflection on what a great all round human he is.

Everyone who knows the 1st XI know the side bat down all the way down the order and there were valuable contributions from Jack, Kavit, Omkar and Sal. This has been key to our success knowing that at 12-4 we still have enough in the tank to chase or put a score on the board. Our bowling unit has always been out strength and over the past 5 years has been the strongest in any division we have played.

I was lucky enough to take home the most wickets award with 31 wickets @ 9.26. Luckily I am in a position where I come on to bowl after our 4 excellent seamers have normally done the damage! This year, new seam bowling recruit Kunal Ghandi added some more fire to our bowling returning 24 wickets @ 12. Our unit was led by the ever present and passionate Felix who ended up with 27 @ 12. Sal (19 @ 14) and Jack (18 @ 14) coming on first and second change shows our depth. Batsman think they have seen of the openers to be greeted by both charging in!

Kavit took 13 wickets @ 14 in his role as second spinner until newbie Bhavik Raiyarela arrived on the scene. Bhavik oozed class, with his flight, turn, spin and ability to go from 20mph to 75 mph which really pleased our slip cordon! Bhavik returned an amazing 20 wickets at 3! Looking forward to him playing a bigger role in 2023!

Our fielding continues to be as strong as ever. Led by Hari behind the stumps, we took some amazing catches throughout the season. I firmly believe our warm ups always helped us execute these skills better through the game.

From an individual achievement perspective, I took my 300th wicket for Pinner, Hari’s league catches haul were the highest since 2005, James’s run total for the 1st XI was the highest since 2017 and Bhavik’s ridiculous average of 3 with the ball is the best since records began!

Improvement areas
In a season where you win the league it is quite difficult to look for improvement areas. However, one area we highlighted as a group was our top order collapsing. Albeit they were less frequent towards the end of the year, with a line up as strong as ours, we can start our innings with caution and take advantage later in the innings. There are not many teams who have bowlers of our ability coming on 4th change so this is an area we can look to focus on. Our chat can always be better

What a season. Champions for the 1st XI, 2nd XI promoted, 3rd XI finishing mid table and the Sunday side going from strength to strength. Our junior section is growing daily and off the pitch thanks to the great leadership of the committee the club is getting bigger.
From a 1st XI perspective, I loved every moment of 2022. Spending Saturday with such a great bunch makes cold mornings at Nower Hill worthwhile! The aim for 2023 should be to continue our assault up the divisions and win 7A! Stay safe and winter well.

Club Captain