The 2018 was one of, if not the most, enjoyable and pleasing seasons in terms of weather, success and historic 150th celebration for Bickley Park Cricket club, along with decent performances from all three Bickley sides where each team has its own tale to tell.
When I took over the captainship in the 2017 season, my aim was to stabilise the 3rd XI from back-to-back relegation in 2015 and 2016. I tried to gather a regular pool of players and encourage and motivate them to play continuously to form a core part of the team, as well as putting my faith into the upcoming youth players within the club which at first I knew would be difficult, as for all the potential and ability they have, a lot has to be said for experience in the senior game along with their school matches in the summer. However finishing mid-table last year and saving relegation this year was a pleasing achievement taking into consideration availability issues we had throughout the year. if we could have the same team each week we could be a potential top two in the league. If we stick together, keep improving and are willing to go the extra mile, I can see the next 2-5 years being very successful with a solid core of players most of whom can be home-grown.
The 2017 season was very much an example of a new team, coming 5th that season with some very good performances. One year on, in the 2018 season we showed great progression as a team, a lot of determination to work not just on our individual games but also to help all the players and finally a great team atmosphere which was illustrated by saving relegation and winning 80% of the games in the second half of the season beset by non-availability issues in the 1st half as well as players being called up at the last minute to play for the 2nd and 1st teams.
This achievement did not just happen by coincidence. It came about through a lot of commitments and also all players working hard and determined to save relegation in the second half and seniors in the teams working hard pushing for places and the younger lads using vital knowledge from seniors in the team i.e Simon Davis, Sahil Bhagat, Sahil Chug, Mark Hardy, Jeremy Frost, Anuj Tomar which definitely helped the juniors to gather experience and play well throughout within the team from the likes of Marcus Day, Mihan Perera, Matthew Arman and Marcus Arman.
Vishesh Mantri and Tom Franks Moore were great additions to our team in the 2nd half. They played superbly in some crucial matches and contributed significantly to helping us stave off relegation. I would personally like to thank both of them and look forward to them returning for the 2019 season.
It was also a huge achievement for the 2nd XI to get promoted which was also helped by 3rd XI players committing to play in the last-minute call. It is great to see all teams with some very good promising young talent but also taking to the field several experienced players who they can learn from.
As 2018 season has gone I have already spoken to most players at the end of this season and stressed how the hard work has only just started for 3rd XI to get back to where they should be, THE TOP!!! There is still a lot to do, but I feel we are very much heading in the right direction.
I would personally like to thank President of the club Chris Hewitt for the great support as always and last but not least club legend Simon Mcquiggan for his efforts behind the scene with me to explore new talents, chase players and making sure I have a team of 11 every weekend when things were shaky which tremendously helped to turn things around in the second half. At times this can be a very difficult job with teams forever changing but with Simon’s help we always seem to get the results needed.
Moving forward, the 2019 season is going to be a very different year due to the huge change in the league structure and formation if it goes ahead. I believe it is a very exciting time to be playing to make it a very big success.
I would also like congratulate Paul Crowdy for promotion and Gordon Darroch for doing excellent jobs as captains of the 2nd XI and 1st XI this year.
I speak on behalf of all the players when I say we are very grateful for all the continued support from the club and look forward to a great season in 2019 already. I wish everyone a very enjoyable Christmas break.