I will now briefly touch on the season`s performance of our teams - The Captains Reports to come will go into detail on individual and game performances.
Our first season in HCPL Div. 1 was at times quite stressful as we struggled to come to terms with cricket at the highest level of the Club game.
I think it is fair to say that our team took the first half of the season to understand what is required to compete at the very top level of Club cricket.
They responded with a strong final nine games which included four away wins and a draw.
If that form can be replicated over a complete season next year then Harefield CC will be firmly established in HCPL Division 1.
Justice Chibhabha had a stunning season finishing the season as joint leading run scorer in the League - 689 runs in 15 innings at an average of 49.21 including one century and six fifties.
In a great all round season Justice also finished third place on the League wicket taking list with 34 victims.
He was well supported by team-mates, most notably Simon Macey, George Shiel and Doug King who came good when it mattered towards the end of the season.
Our brilliant final game victory at Banbury confirmed a second season in the top division of the Home Counties Premier League and consigned Big Wes to Level 2.
Congratulations to all our 1stXI squad and coaches for a great outcome to the 2014 season, the Club is very proud of your efforts and achievement.
Again under the strong leadership of Jamie Knife the twos played some great cricket to be in contention for the Div 2 championship throughout the season.
We finished just 12 points behind eventual champions Cookham Dean due only to the fact we lost three games to the weather while Cookham lost none.
The main reason for this high finish in Level 2 is the overall playing strength of the Club.
Regularly our 2ndXI would field almost a whole side with significant 1stXI experience.
For the first time ever the Club has 17/18 players of genuine 1stXI ability/experience and this of course adds to the strength of all our teams in the Club.
Our star performer was Mluleki Nkala in his last season for the Club but he was well supported by all the team most of whom contributed significantly throughout the season.
Harefield has always been well served by our overseas players over the past 35 seasons but I think the efforts of Justice and Syke this year have been the best ever.
The Threes finished comfortable in 5th place in Div 5A. We were in contention for promotion at the half way stage but results dipped towards the end of the season. David Cokeley is standing down as Captain and I would like to thank him for his time in charge.
Paul Collett was leading run scorer and well done to Freddie Lavers our leading wicket taker.
Like the Threes our Fourth XI had a mid table season finishing in 5th place.
It was a big disappointment to have to cancel our match at Cove due to lack of players, the first time we have ever had to do this….despite the tireless efforts of Jamie our Team Secretary who did all he could to get a side together.
The cancellation may not have appeared too significant at the time but in the final analysis if we had gone to Cove (the bottom side) and won the 4thXI would have been promoted.
Not only have that, without this cancellation HCC would again have won the TVL Respect your League award and the £1K prize money that goes with it.
Just goes to show how important it is to fulfil our fixtures!!!!
On the field the evergreen Mike Christelow and Neil Parnell were leading run scorer and wicket taker.
I spoke about our Sunday teams earlier and will mention here the respective leading run scorers being Justice Chibhabha for 1stXI and Matt Ogden for 2ndXI.
The leading wicket takers were Scott Morris for 1stXI and Ryan Finch for 2ndXI
Our new ground-staff have now been in place for two years. Craig, Barrie and I are prepared and able to put in much more time on the ground and surrounds than our previous groundsmen.
We can all see the benefits in the clearance of trees and shrubs around the main ground and the general tidiness of both grounds.
Also more time spent preparing the Dairy Farm, including regular rolling has seen a significant improvement in wickets.
The main ground square which was re-laid two years ago will we are told by the Contractor will take three to four years to settle.
This would seem to be the case as the wickets showed an improvement last season, so much so that makings received by the Umpires and captains in the HCPL placed our pitch 4th of ten in Div. 1
Similar markings from the TVL placed the pitch 7th out of 30 in levels 1 and 2.
Rest assured we will do our best to see improvements continue.
Furthermore the Club is investing in new ground equipment including a new mower for the square.
Also we have spent over £3K on Autumn maintenance works on both squares and both outfields. Works done include:-
- Weed-killer, worm control and fertilizer has been applied to both outfields
- Both squares have been scarified, seeded, top dressed and fertilized.
All is looking good, indeed we have never seen so much grass on the squares at this time of the year.
It is also planned to completely refurbish the scoreboard with a brand new frontage with an LED light numbering system. Also a small electronic scoreboard will be placed in the main bar linked direct to the main board. Eggy and Timber will no longer have to leave their seats in the bar to find out the scores. A new scoreboard will also be purchased for the Dairy Farm.
We will also have to budget for the inevitable installation of a high fence or netting system in front of the new houses.
After well documented problems in recent seasons I am delighted to report discipline has not been an issue in 2014. So no rant from me this year, just my thanks to the players for your responsibility shown on the field of play. The suspended sentences hanging over the 1stXI were never in danger of being imposed.
Marks from Umpires and Captains in the HCPL placed us 4th best disciplined of 20 Clubs.
Similar markings in the TVL placed our 2ndXI second best disciplined of 30 Clubs and Jamie our Captain as best and most respected by the TVL Umpires.
I am sure there is still some sledging/banter going on…..but now at least it is out of earshot of the Umpires.
Well done to all you players for playing the game in the right spirit….and long may it continue?
The good reputation of this Club depends on you.