Sefton 4s: Captains Report 2007
As one of only two 4th teams in the Saturday Premier League, survival is always going to be difficult. This year it was left until the penultimate ball of the season, in a stunning display against Bootle, before the 4ths knew they were safe. With the relegation of Northern 4ths it now means that Sefton are the only club to have a 4th team in the Premier League.
The 2006 season was marked by enormous problems in getting a 4th team out on a regular basis. In this respect 2007 was much easier in that far more players were available. Paradoxically this led to its own problems as players young and old felt aggrieved, understandably, at not being selected. Sensibly a club decision was made about selection policy, at least 3 under 18’s to be selected in each of the 3rd and 4th teams. The formation of a 5th Saturday team in 2008 will hopefully mean that there will be cricket for everybody and a through movement of young and talented cricketers to the higher teams.
As always the 4ths played with a great team spirit and a smile on their faces. Is there any point playing cricket if it isn’t fun? After a slow start we had a purple patch in May winning three games on the trot, significantly against Northern 4ths, where Jakob Surtees-Smith scored a maiden senior cricket 50 to guide Sefton to a tense 3 wicket win, and against St Helens and Wallasey, thanks a magnificent 80* by Vince Abel.
The rest of the season proved to be a bit of a struggle, scattered with great individual performances, but rarely with the whole team playing well enough to ensure victories. We generally bowled well and this meant that we continued to accrue vital bonus points.
In June we almost had a famous win at a typically badly behaved Northern 3rds, runaway champions for the second year running, bowling Northern out for 122 and hanging on for at 99 for 9 thanks to a great innings of 41 from David Walton despite constant snarling and poor appealing from players old enough to know better. For Northern 3rds read Bootle 3rds three years ago.
The following week saw the inter-club game. Chasing a formidable 190-9 dec, the 4ths were 133-2 when Vince Abel was bowled out for an incredible 105, an innings including eight 6’s. From this position we managed to get bowled out for 169.
We had another victory, under Robin Brown’s captaincy, against St Helens. After this we didn’t taste victory again until the final game.
We went into the final game knowing that anything less than a victory would mean certain relegation. The final game was against a talented young Bootle 3rd team. Losing the toss Sefton were inserted and reached a promising 153-3, with Abel scoring 53 and Cordner 40, collapsing to a less than impressive 158! Sefton bowled very well, taking early wickets before Bootle’s middle order built a potentially match winning platform at 137-5. Bowling changes seemed to work magic and Abel and Anderson took stunning and crucial catches. Ric Anderson’s catch, off Surtees-Smith, was a triumph of determination over logic and gravity! Robert Kelly bowled three great spells taking a vital wicket in his final over. As the final over began Bootle were on 156-9. On the pavilion were virtually the whole of the first team, including Lancashire’s cricketer of the year Paul Horton! Abel, without doubt our cricketer of the year, bowled the final over. Bootle scrambled a leg bye to leave them needing 1 run for a tie, 2 for victory. With two balls to go Vin bowled an in-swinger which caught the outside edge and then the pad of Bootle’s final batsmen. The ball seemed destined to fly between 1st and 2nd slip for a heartbreaking 4. But former Leicester City trainee goalkeeper, veteran and almost Parliamentarian Nev Bann had other ideas. Leaping like a salmon, quite an old salmon, Nev took a breathtaking catch to secure the most memorable of victories. Beer had never tasted better.
Batting: 4 players scored more than 200 runs, Surtees-Smith(217 @ 19.73), Cordner(244 @ 22.18), Bann(251 @ 22.82) and Abel(431 @ 30.79)
Surtees and Kevin Walton had fairly disappointing years with the bat.
Nick Blackburn, Jakob Surtees-Smith and James Baird show promise for the future.
Batsmen of the year: Abel
Bowling: 3 players took more than 20 wickets. Brown 22 @ 26.50, Surtees 22 @ 18.18, Ahmed 23 @ 17.61.
Abel took 14 and was probably under-bowled by a clueless captain.
Robert Kelly shows enormous promise bowling with pace and discipline.
Thomas Crawley, a leg spinner also shows a lot of potential.
Bowler of the year: Ahmed.
Fielder of the year: Surtees-Smith
Performance of the year: Abel for his all round performance against Bootle.
Joe and Marilyn for the great teas.
Briggsy, BV, and Rob for great wickets in a year of difficult weather.
Robin Brown for taking over as captain during July/August and doing a grand job.
Bob Paisley for running the best cricket web site in the North.
Dave C, a friendly a face and a friendly bar.
Howie Baird, Ted Williams and all who give up their time to provide us with the cricketers of the future.
Ben Moore for being a star, a great club captain and being interested in all levels of cricket at Sefton.
For everybody who played and watched and made me laugh.
Over and out.