Ben Moore’s Season Review 2007


Hard as I now find it to motivate myself without a camera on me, the season for belated annual reviews is upon us once more and it is with no little reluctance that I find myself, nose to the summarising grindstone once more.


2007. Well that was fun wasn’t it. I thought so anyway, many thanks to all those who contributed, THE END! Not enough? Oh, alright then…..but I hereby notify you, this is going to be loooooong. So if you’re not actually that interested, I probably wouldn’t bother. Still reading?! Well don’t say I didn’t warn you….


Firstly, THE THANKS, and bearing in mind this will be last official chance to get them into print I’m afraid you may just have to bear with me. Altogether now, paws in the air, Grrrrrrrrr!! Bear with me! No?! Just me then….


As per always with such things, the first will be last and the last first etc etc, and when I inevitably contrive to forget someone please may they either not notice or accept my humblest apologies. Cheers!


Joe, Marilyn and Harry: caterers extraordinaire! Not only is the food at Sefton the best in the league but it is always served with a smile. Nothing is every too much trouble and if generosity truly was a fault then you’d be known as the San Andreas 3. Many thanks for all your help.


Dave and Graham: it is not exaggeration to say that I truly do not know how I would have coped over the past 2 years if it were not for the pair of you. Your enthusiasm and dedication are not only a huge credit to yourselves but a massive boost to the club. Whilst I’m at it, special thanks to both Dave and Frank (whose contribution I’m sure Max has covered in greater detail) for stepping up to the umpiring plate this season at times of need, often at extremely short notice (and indeed Graham for scoring on such occasions). Many thanks the three of you.


Ted and Skully (and their cohort of volunteers): thanks to their efforts the juniors continue to move from strength to strength. There is plenty of talent in the lower regions of the club which can only be a good sign for future years. Untold hours of work went into getting the Junior section into shape to meet the strict Clubmark guidelines, all credit to both Ted and Howie for achieving it. Ted’s coach driving heroics for the trip to Oxford are also worthy of a mention, mind that post Ted….


Briggsy, Charlie and the groundstaff: for men very often lacking in the basic equipment to do the fundamentals they regularly achieve the remarkable. Though it is strange to wish that April lasted all summer! Special mentions to the regular helpers (coming down to help once because you’ve had a domestic and want to get out of the house doesn’t quite scrape me into this bracket): BV, John and Rob (and I’m no doubt missing people here) – thanks for everything. May I also take this opportunity to thank Briggsy for his contribution on, on and off the field over the last few years. All the best for the future and hope you’re feeling better matey!


Captains my Captains! What can I say that hasn’t already been said?! Well, quite a lot really considering I completely forgot to mention them in my Hotpot speech! Oops…Max, BV, James P, Robin B, Hayzo, Briggsy and last but certainly not least, Saint Robin of Sefton/Surtees! I’m sure I’m missing a few, and if so apologies, but, unless you’ve worn the cap it is difficult to comprehend exactly what goes into getting a side out for Sefton, whether it be on a Saturday, Sunday or Bank Holiday Christmas Eve. Life at the cushy end of the club has been made so much easier for me by the willingness of all of the above to accommodate my slightest selection whim and fancy. Thanks for all your support and good luck to all of you taking on the mantle for 2008, including the newbies, Jamie ‘Arrows’ Bowman and Mark ‘Keith Piper is the greatest living wicketkeeper’ Boyns. All the best! He is still alive isn’t he…?!


The Boards: my thanks to everyone that has entertained me on the long winter Thursday nights for the last 2 years. So much goes into keeping the club’s many chins above water and it is thanks to the efforts of a dedicated few that we are able to while away a summer’s afternoon pondering just what exactly is said when JJ and Belly meet in between overs for a chat. I reserve special mention for Stu M-C (a tireless worker for the club), Jean Wharton (without whose help I’d have never made it through the first month of being skipper, cheers Jean!) and The Notorious Bob. – when he’s not jinxing me with his camera that is! Special mention also to Dave and Jan behind the bar, always ready with a smile and a pint, in my book a winning combination!


Now I’m sure I’ve forgotten a multitude but I think its time to move on to the cricket, what little of it we managed to squeeze in between apocalyptic deluges. And I’ll start at the top. Both on a personal level and on behalf of the club I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate Paul Horton on his remarkable season for Lancs. To get player of the season and capped despite missing that sitter of a run out to bring the Championship to Lancashire for the first time since Lord Ted was weaned is an incredible achievement…! ;-) Hey, Notts got promoted, I don’t care! Good luck for 2008 matey, hopefully see you at the highest level soon.


On that note I’d like to highlight that despite their many detractors, Sefton had at least 3 former Professionals playing international cricket in the last year. Ashley finally got his chance in the 20/20 side, Brendan appears to taken his role as professional athlete slightly more seriously and is one of the shining lights of Zimbabwean cricket and Ramesh, well he’s still a professional athlete and he’s been waddling his web with some success for India. Whilst there will always been debate (albeit an extremely hypothetical one while the club can’t afford a pro!) as to the value of getting an overseas Professional, I think its important to remember that we are extremely blessed to regularly get the chance to watch and even play with and against some of the finest players in the world at our own club, which is not something many amateur sportsmen in any discipline can say. However, as far as I know no one has heard from Saleem Elahi….


Performances: right, now the ‘fun’ bit…..I will attempt to provide a brief summary of each player through the medium of dance/bullet points – which ever one comes out best on paper I’ll go with.


Chris Bellis – “ bat like Geoff Boycott” Andrew Flintoff. Ok, so that’s taken out of context but its an ACTUAL quote! Marvellous. Much maligned I dread to imagine what our season would have been like if Chris hadn’t performed as well as he did. In a side that regularly demonstrated a great mastery of the age old Sefton tradition of collapsing, he batted for over 24 hours in all competitions, a phenomenal achievement, scoring over 500 runs in the process. Regularly left to pick the pieces after another moment of Moore madness, if we could get more people to bat with the focus and determination of Belly then we’d be posting competitive totals week in week out. Oh, and he also got a diamond duck on camera. Priceless!


John Jackson – class lid! Anyone that’s seen JJ cover drive (the one for 6 over extra against Northop comes to mind, though probably because it’s on that frickin golf DVD) will have seen all they need to know about him as a batter. Natural in almost everyway he managed to add composure to his game in 2007 and we reaped the rewards. Over 500 league runs as a 19 year amateur is an exceptional return. Fell short of a well deserved 100 on a couple of occasions but with a little more greed and focus I’m sure there are several awaiting him in 2008. Didn’t get the chance to bowl anywhere near as much as he’d have liked but with a new skipper and the departure of Pos & Foz he may even get the chance to get loose in the Houghton era! Oh and fantastic at short leg all year as well, dig in Lloyd!


Robbie Houghton – there is not much that hasn’t already been said about the veteran spinner (cheers Sky) but there’s plenty that deserves to be said again. I can’t emphasise enough what it is as a captain to be able to turn to someone, throw them the ball and say “Get us a wicket, oh and dry up the runs…” and know that 99% of the time you’re going to get what you asked for. And obviously the 1% is as a result of the skipper “not getting his field right…”! 61 wickets at 12.41 is well deserving of the League bowling award. Robbie also contributed with the bat, scoring over 350 league runs, including a match winning 82* away at Highfield, against someone that was half sharp and everything! He featured in 4 out of the 10 the best partnerships of the year, though not too much should be made of that as so did Possa…! ;-) Add to that a safe pair of hands, a great demonstration of which was the winning catch home to Trinity (the biggest roar I’ve ever heard at the Shack!) and you’ve got an outstanding cricketer. All the best for 2008 Skip, first slip please….!


Matty Phythian – a mixed season for Phydlles finished promisingly, especially with the gloves and the signs for 2008 look good. Finished with 220 runs for the year after some time out of the side, including a fine 48 away to Orrell and with a little bit of luck and some early confidence boosting performances 2008 could well be the break through year for Matty.

Graham Cashin – a man knows not fear till he has faced the fury of a Graham Cashin appeal and wicket celebration combination…..! A fine first full season for G netted just under 300 runs and 24 wickets at 16.83. There is no doubt the wicket tally would have been higher had it not been for Robbie’s great season and, as often one of 3 spinners in the side, he regularly didn’t get the volume of overs that his performances deserved. That didn’t stop him for contributing match winning performances, not least 5-20 away at then top of the table Newton. A talented batter he’d be the first to admit he didn’t necessarily show his true colours with the blade, but his sheer determination to succeed often provided a solid platform in what was an inconsistent middle order. Great blocker at 1st slip as well! ;-)


Paul Squires – “I have a dream”. No, not MLK but MEF, or Foz to most. Possibly one of the best summaries of 2 separate individuals in one story is about to begin. Foz being Foz he likes to think about his game. In fact he likes to dream about it and he has one specific recurring dream. In it he’s bowling at the Sefton line up (myself excluded apparently, he knows his limits obviously!) and has a plan for each an every one, cleaning them up with ease. Belly doesn’t like it up’im apparently! That is until he comes to Squiz. Try as he might he can’t shift him, the Mirkin digging in like the Sefton limpet himself Scully. Try as he might, Squiz prevails and Foz awakes in a cold sweat. Whilst I feel this says everything I think it needs to about Winter Captain Forster (all the best for 2008 matey, for those that don’t know Foz has signed for Maghull for geographic reasons, a real shame after his 2007 efforts were curtailed after just 2 games through injury) perhaps further explanation is need for Paul. Never in the field of human cricket has one man tried to defy so many on so many occasions! The heartbeat of the side whenever he was available, he finished with a respectable and very determined 209 runs for the season (top score of 48) and, frankly unbelievably, a strike rate of 110.53 in the cup. A pleasure to captain, and not just because he’d regularly say things like “great captaincy that Ben”…


Chris Wylie – Chairman! I’ve waxed lyrical about everything Wylo has done in terms of behind the scenes enough already so I’ll focus on his fortnightly cricketing escapades. As well as providing great relief for my pathetic joints behind the sticks Chris was always a dangerous floating presence in our batting ranks. He was another to finish with over 200 all comp runs, at an impressive strike rate of 91.4 as well as 12 catches and 3 stumpings. A fine return considering he featured in less than half of the league fixtures. Shame his kit really does stink!


Phil Calrow – Perhaps the most underappreciated member of the side Chimp was perhaps unlucky to have been so often selected by me, thus restricting what was shaping up to be an extremely impressive 2nd XI season. My decision to pick a third spinner was not always unanimously agreed with and the success of both Robbie and Graham certainly restricted Phil’s chances to shine. However when given the chance he almost inevitably grabbed it. His 2-11 against Wigan helped turn a game that was drifting away from us. Yet it was in the cup that he really stood up (again because he got the chance) and he was the match winner against Chester Boughton Hall with a fine return of 56 and 2-22. He also takes the prize for the best sledge of the season (as per usual for our side, directed at one of our own players as opposed to the batsmen) at Southport Trinity. Those that don’t know why Dave Finch is our “Thai Pro” will just have to trust me, you don’t want to! However, it must be said Phil does run like he’s got a parachute on his back.


David Baird – I’m determined to say as little as possible here as the boy’s head is already as big as his hair. Enjoy it while it last fellah….! ;-) Nah, in a season of bright spots Bairdy shined as much as anyone. Probably the most notable thing about his performances was their lack of inhibition and his attitude throughout was a breath of fresh air. 30 wickets at a lower average than his 226 runs is a brilliant return for a guy who was only 17 in August. One particular performance must be mentioned. With the score on 49-7 against Southport Trinity he walked out and blazed a ridiculous 82 which allowed me to declare on 190-9. Though rain cheated us ultimately that day in terms of sheer quality of performance under pressure it was the best of the season. With big, some might say clumping boots to fill in 2008 in the absence of Pos I urge people but particularly Bairdy himself not to expect too much and allow him to enjoy his game as much as he patently did in 2007. Now get you hair cut!


David Poskitt – The Bear with no hair! Much as it pains me to compliment him, comfortably the best English bowler in the league last year and I include Robbie in that. Consistently took wicket against the top order (thus allowing Robbie to mop up the tail!) and was only prevented from taking a greater season haul by the fact that quite often guys were simply not good enough to get a bat on it. Should probably have bowled more straight ones then I suppose. Still yet to play for England despite Freddie’s comments, Possa’s departure leaves a big hole, not just in the darker corners of the Raz but to the club as a whole. Contributed several valuable knocks with the bat in trying circumstances and his 216 league runs, including a best of 46* against Wavertree were an added bonus to his 54 wickets at 13.98 a piece. Dave averaged a wicket every 27 deliveries (as did both Bairdy and Robbie) and in addition to this took 15 catches in all comps. One diving effort was particularly spectacular and if, like me you have ever worriedly contemplated the sight of Jumbo Jet taking off, with what would seem complete disregard for the laws of Physics, you will know what it is to behold a flying Poskitt. I’m glad to report that Dave is having a fantastic time in Oz and has even talked to a girl. Hopefully he’ll back at some point in the not too distant future, wheezing his way through a set of 6.


David Finch – The ‘Glory Cloud’ hung for a large proportion of the season over the Sefton 1st XI and several of its members received more than their fair share of showers. However, amongst it all one man, week in week out, ran his heart out, bowled at times superbly and throughout must have been wearing one of those little umbrella hats. You can often tell when someone is accepted as a valued member of a team by the ‘award’ of a nickname. And Finchy has about 10 of them! One of the less dubiously motivated was Simon Birch, after a film which I personally have never seen. However, I am assured that the eponymous character in question is one of the least fortunate to have ever grace the silver screen. The crux of this is of course that, whilst the figures do not lie, they often do not tell the whole story. There are no columns for “catches dropped off bowling” or “decisions not given to me but given to Poskitt at the other end next over” but if there were then Dave’s would be mind blowing! He consistently hit the right areas and troubled good players but with little or no joy all year. Yet despite this his character and attitude were first rate and I hope he enjoys better luck in 2008.


David Kirby – 5-40, on debut, on telly. Not bad self! I’ll give you another game then I’ll drop you….yet another of the talented “Sefton Youth” to perhaps not get the opportunities that his talent and performances merited but when given the opportunity grabbed it with both hands. Incredible cool (some might say to the point of apathy!) under pressure and I can’t tell you how much more fun captaincy is when you’ve got an opening bowler who can produce whiplash inducing bouncers on demand. Undoubtedly a first team future for him if he wants it. Oh and he’s great with a Punt!



Pete Kelly – Pete didn’t play a single League game for the 1st’s all season but I still would like to highlight his contribution. Several good performances in the cup side combined with consistent achievement for the 2nd XI meant he thoroughly deserved a chance in the 1st XI. However, with 3 spinners already in situ opportunities where limited. Despite this his attitude was fantastic and when I finally called him to say I wanted him to play (and in doing so make his 1st League debut) in the final game of the season he asked if he could remain in the 2’s and try and help them avoid relegation. Pete took 5-85 in a drawn game which saw the side avoid relegation by 3 points. I’m sure 2008 will see him get the recognition 2007 has earned him.


Stuart Wade – After a difficult 2006 and a slow start to 2007 Wadey emerged once more to prove himself the stalwart we all know him to be. Any Sefton skipper worth his salt knows the value of a solid number 11! In a side blessed with some much talent yet so little experience it was great to be able to call on Stu to look after the trouble areas of Fine Leg and Mid On. In all seriousness, there were times last season where our blessings were also a curse. On average I would go into a game with at least 7 bowlers and (if you listen to them) 9 batters. As such it was impossible to guarantee everyone a fair crack but Stu’s attitude was brilliant. Happy as long as we won he was often used as 4th change, often going without a bowl at all. Yet when called upon he was another that could always be relied upon to deliver, the highlight being his 3-51 which broke the back of good Prestatyn side. Wadey is the reason I came to Sefton, and I’m not alone in that, and it was great to see him back enjoying his cricket. I look forward to Robbie sanding him down, oiling him up and wheeling out for yet another final season in 2008!


Several other players also represented the 1st XI in 2007, with both Dave Hort (seriously, if you want your kid to play 1st team, call him Dave – a club Dave XI versus the rest would probably be a great game!) and Nick Cockrell stepping up on several occasions. As is often the case in such situations neither really got the opportunities to shine, faced more often than not with thankless tasks, either having to sit and watch while others filled their boots or having to walk out to a crisis. Ritchie Bann also made several appearances, travelling up from London off his own back to make some valuable contributions. In addition to this, thanks to Pete Jones, Matt Pownall, Gaz Cowley, John Davies, Nick Saunders and last but by no means least Brian Viner, who all stepped into the breach on at least one occasion, in BV’s case at 15 minutes notice! Much appreciated, cheers.


Well, that just about does it I think. 2008 was a unique year for Sefton, a brief glimpse of the limelight was plenty I’m sure we can all agree. Well you didn’t have to walk through every door 8 times….for those of you that would like to relive the moments (and there are some funny ones, even if it pains me to say it!) I believe that copies of the Compilation DVD are now available from all respectable cricket outlets on Sefton Park. Behind the bar. Ask Dave. Don’t worry, its not that kind of under the counter material, no matter how many times JJ and Bairdy contrive to appear in it with their tops off.


Told you it was going to be long. I’m pretty confident that if some members of the squad have made it this far it is likely to be the longest thing they have every read without pictures. I’m sure there’s a GSCE/NVQ available for completing it somewhere.


All that’s left is to bid you adieu, it’s been a genuine honour and on the whole also a genuine pleasure to have taken the helm for a couple of years. My future is still somewhat hazy but I may well still be around come April but if not all the best for 2008 and beyond. Long may it continue that The Shack is a place where cricket is played for all the right reasons and in the right spirit.


Moore Over and Out (2 seasons, Relegated x 3, Promoted x 2, Avoided Promotion x 1, Silverware x 1 – Cheers Sky!!)