As the euphoria of the promotion season of 2003 finally crept into our collective reminiscence the Premier challenge of 2004 came rushing in Paul Horton was again in charge of cricket matters on the pitch and Vin Mane returned in the form of his life for Mumbai and West Zone.
The development of the Premier League K.O has become an excellent pre-season work out in recent years. Our 3 games brought the disappointment of rain at Bootle whilst well placed; defeat at Ormskirk and a solid victory at home to Maghull.†
The benefits of such competitive games was quickly demonstated as we lost only 2 games in the first half of the season. Wins against Southport, Leigh, Ormskirk and New Brighton elevated us to a top four position; one we held until the closing fortnight of the season. By mid August further victories over Maghull, Northern and Ormskirk put us third with 6 games to go. The disappointment of no more victories after then gave us the jitters but our finishing position of 7th was our highest Premier League placing in 4 attempts.
The batting was very reliant on Vin and Paul. Chris Nicholas contributed much with bat and gloves and should push on in the future. Ben Moore, Phil Disley, Chris Whelan and Rob Houghton had their moments but were not consistent enough to take pressure off the other three.
Wickets were shared around with Dave Poskitt, Howard Parker and Stuart Wade taking the lionís share. Howard was on target for a big season until injury robbed him of 5 games at the end.† Vin Mane and Chris Whelan each weighed in with a 5 for and Vinís strike rate was excellent.† He will bowl more I am sure in the future. Rob Houghton was steady and will return to the top of the wicket taking list very soon.
Our cup season was unspectacular. The Echo K.O defeat with a very under strength but committed side at Bootle was to be expected. Our Comp K.O defeat at Liverpool was deserved and totally avoidable. They were the better side on the day.† We did reach the regional semi of the National and lost narrowly to Chorley; another game that got away.
Watching both Chris Whelan and Paul Horton make County debuts on television last season were great moments for our club and local cricket. We are all very proud of them and we wish them well in the future.
The club had a very successful year last season. The 2nd team bounced straight back under Captain Delve and won the 2nd team Division one title. A marvellous effort. The 3rd team under Terry Cordner won the Cup in great style and finished 2nd to a very strong Ormskirk team. The 4th team, like the 2nd team, bounced back at the first time of asking under Colonel Foulder. They finished second to Maghull and will rejoin the 3rd team in the top division.
Last but not least the Sunday X1 under Peter Hazlehurst also finished 2nd and were promoted to the top division.† An excellent club year resulting in all 5 senior sides playing top division cricket in 2005.
Thanks must go as always to many people;
Paul Horton, Steve Delve, Terry Cordner, Paul Foulder, Peter Hazlehurst and Stu Marshall-Clarke for their work in producing cricket teams every week.
Mike, Charlie, Andy and Dave for the ground preparation and weekend support.
Dave Cunningham, Mo, Dave Fleming, Nicky, Jan K, Carol and any other bar staff I have forgotten.
Dave Finnan, Chrissie, Joe, Marilyn and all the catering staff.
Mike Poole, Raz, Jean, Judge John, Bob P, Ron Ash, Dave D and Tom Hughes for their sterling support over the year.
The Quarry brigade for their constant banter and support and to Liverpool Ladies for brightening up many a Saturday afternoon!!!
Howie Baird, Mick Foster, Dave Whelan, Paul Newton , Joe Nelson and all other parents helping to run our successful youth section.
If I have missed anybody sincere apologies. But donít fret for long; The 2005 season will soon be her and we will have to do it all again!
Stuart Wade Cricket Chairman