Under 10’s Sunday Team reach League Cup Final

Congratulations to our new Under 10’s Sunday team who continue their great season and remain unbeaten.

The team is made up of a mix of players from the two Saturday teams and a number of development players as the age group develops more players for next year’s extended teams.

For the last few weeks they have been taking part in the Coventry League Cup and they qualified as Group winners for the knock out stage following wins over Counden Cockerels (2-3), Firefighters (3-7) and St Finbar’s (5-1).

In the semi-final they took the lead three times against Rugby Town but on each occasion they were pegged back before they made sure of a final appearance with a 4-2 penalty shoot-out victory. They now face Christ the King FC in the final.

Well done to Manager Leigh and the boy’s – although it’s still relative early in the season it’s nice to report a bit of cup success.

WOOTTON 2nds BATTLE HARD AS UNBEATEN CHAMPIONS CLAVERDON WAVE GOODBYE TO DIVISION 5

As the final round of fixtures concluded in Division 5 of the Cotswold Hills League, Leek Wootton 2nd XI gave a good account of themselves at home in a high-scoring 51-run defeat to undefeated champions Claverdon. Wootton secured full bowling and batting points as they finished on 213-9 in their 46 overs, in pursuit of the visitors’ 264 all out.  Claverdon’s total was built around strong lower order contributions from Green (76) and Richardson (39).  For Wootton, Dec Cook (3/43) and Dan McKenzie (3/42) were the main men as the visitors were dismissed in 44 overs.  Following a sensational (albeit carb-heavy) final cricket tea of the league season featuring special guests in the form of hotdogs and crinkle-cut chips, Wootton’s response was propelled by an 81-run partnership between openers Matt Burge (51) and Scott Jones (30), with the battle of skills and wills between Burge and Claverdon’s seamer Tony Andrews providing genuine drama and spice despite the nature of this dead rubber fixture.  Further down the order, Ben Bramley’s scholarly 44 was a reminder of his fluency in what may have been his final game for Wootton before his move to the Gloucestershire area.  Matt Holt contributed 26 before the final six batsmen stuttered and stumbled to the end of Wootton’s allotted 46 overs.

On perfect early September evenings such as these, the tips of the trees are turning a reddish hue; perhaps kissed by the embers of a dipping sun, or perchance with leaves turning their thoughts to the onset of Autumn.  Shadows stretch across the field, shadows as tall as the tales that will be told all winter; of deeds done, of battles fought and of adventures shared.

By Saturday night, cricket is measured in moments – the glorious perfect off-drive, the smartly taken catch, the despair of a misfield, the laughter at a nonsensical comment made by a mischievous fielder.  By the middle of the week, the cricket is seen through the prism of victory or defeat, the memory of a howling wind, a sharp shower, or on those rarest of precious high summer days, a sweltering sun burning the back of the neck and dazzling the eyes.  But by the time Autumn is upon us, cricket is measured, weighed and remembered by different scales altogether.  Each of us asks those gnarled old questions of ourselves that arise each year; “Did I give all that I could?”  “Am I the cricketer I once was?” “Was I ever that cricketer I believed I was?”  “Do I remember it as a dream, or a chore, or a trial, or a nightmare?”

Only the distance of time allows us to be truthful with ourselves.  Cricket is a game of time:  The interminable wait between seasons.  The long week between games.  The distant journey to far-flung shires to fulfil fixtures.  The dread wait of a rain delay.  The slow march to the wicket.  Time.  So much time.  The infinity between a bowler looking a batsman in the eye, the run-up, the delivery stride, the ball arcing to its destination.  The seeming chasm of years as a batsman decides upon the stroke he will play, and the moment where he learns whether his judgement was true, as the ball either meets or passes the blade.  The aeons that a fielder has as he watches the ball sail towards him, either in the air or across the green green grass – decades to think of all that could go wrong between bat and hand.

Time, so much time.  And it is in the dark months between seasons that each of us will either renew our vows and fall in love with the greatest of all pastimes once more, returning refreshed and exhilarated come the Spring, or packing up our troubles in our old kit bag, never to return.  The folk singer Roy Harper captured the great melancholy of the rhythms of cricket better than any bard or poet in his lament to the passing of time, “When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease”.  The passing of a season.  The passing of a career.  The passing of a life.  There is a time in every cricketer’s life that he realises that the song is about him and him alone.  And only once that day comes does a man fully understand the true beauty of cricket.  Tragically, he realises with a tear and a gasp at the self-same moment, that the revelation has come too late.  That the beauty that was once before him lies now only behind him, or in the path of others.  The author Marvin Cohen wrote that “Life is an elaborate metaphor for cricket”, and rarely may a truer word have been committed to paper.  Astronomer Patrick Moore once replied to an inquisitor, “Yes, I am confident they play cricket in heaven. It wouldn’t be heaven otherwise, would it?”

But whether we return or do not return come the Spring, the game will go on.  New faces, young faces, dreamers who are yet to live out their moments in the sun, will stride once more across these very fields next summer.  They will be joined by others, old and new, and the game will go on.  The seasons will turn, the mowers will turn, the rollers will turn, the ball will turn, the batsman’s wrists will turn.  The game, as it ever did, as it ever will, goes on.

WOOTTON 2nds FALL TO EARSWOOD 4ths’ YOUTHFUL ALL-ROUND STARS

The season cannot end quickly enough for Wootton’s 2nd XI down in Division 5, as their losing streak now stretches to three matches.  Batting first against a youthful Earlswood side, Wootton lost regular wickets on a capricious wicket which occasionally remained ruinously low.  Wily senior opening bowler Snipe excelled in his spell of 10-3-26-4, dismissing the Wootton top three, while an array of technically gifted and promising youngsters were given a chance to shine at the other end.  Pocket rockets E Plain (4.3-1-11-1) and C Bennett (4-0-20-2) particularly caught the eye with their devilish leg-spin and nagging seam respectively, as Wootton were shot out for a mere 103 in under 31 overs.  The total, such as it was, was built around contributions at the top from Scott Jones (22) and Ben Bramley (19), and then the lower order engine room of Dan McKenzie (14) and Dec Cook (21).  A stunning horizontal flying catch to the right by Warwickshire under-14 representative Hashim Iqbal at cover to dismiss Wootton’s dangerous Chris Roberts typified the skills that Earslwood’s youths are perfecting, and many of the side will doubtless excel at senior levels in the years to come.

After a luxurious tea, Wootton made a strong fist of defending their meagre total, at one point reducing the hosts to 92-8 thanks to incisive spells from Pream Kumar (7-3-20-3) and Chris Roberts (10-5-22-4).  However, fresh-faced youngsters C Bennett (19) and E Plain (7 not out) were once again to the fore at the end of the Earlwood innings, as they eased their side off the bottom of Division 5 with two wickets remaining and 28 of their 60 overs to spare.  Earlier in the innings, Hashim Iqbal (18) and A Booker (14) had kept Earlswood in the game as Wootton looked set to conclude an unlikely turnaround.

Safe from relegation, Wootton now have the chance to test themselves one last time this Saturday, against the undefeated runaway league leaders Claverdon back at the Memorial Ground in the final game of the season.

WOOTTON 2nds SPLUTTER TO ANOTHER DEFEAT

Underpowered Leek Wootton 2nd XI failed to defend a below par total of 164/2 against Welford, as they limped to a 6 wicket defeat with seven overs unused in the visitors’ successful chase.

Opting to batt first on a hard, true wicket, Wootton openers Ben Bramley (61) and Scott Jones (36) compiled a watchful partnership of 96 in 33 overs, but were unable to release the handbrake at any point. Bramley was eventually dismissed in the 44th over.  The seemingly innocuous Welford bowling was given too much respect and Wootton’s total always seemed well short. Wily left arm orthodox spinner Ed Gough was the pick of the Welford bowlers with his figures of 10-3-20-0.

The visitors’ chase was fuelled primarily by skipper Will Gough (23), and an unbroken partnership of 48 between C Farrow (46*) and G Mason (32*).  Seamer Dan McKenzie (10-1-35-3) briefly threatened to tip the balance Wootton’s way, but as tempers and discipline frayed, Wootton were unable to get a real foothold in what had been seen as a winnable game.

12th August 2017: DIVISION 5 – Great Alne vs Leek Wootton 2nd XI

SEESAW MATCH DECIDED BY WOOTTON’S BUNGLED CHASE

Leek Wootton’s 2nd XI fell 39 runs short in their chase of 151 at Great Alne, in a game which saw both sides failing to capitalise on strong platforms that had been set by their respective top orders.

Invited to bat first, Great Alne set off at a roaring gallop, going at seven runs per over early on.  While opening bowler Dec Cook (10-1-30-1) bowled through and exercised good control from the Northern end, the seam bowling from the other end was clattered to all parts for seventy runs in the same period.  Having skated along to 102-2 by the twentieth over, the hosts looked well set for an onslaught in the latter part of their innings.  However both Chris Roberts (8-2-24-4) and Ash Clifford (7.1-2-25-4) recovered spectacularly well from a couple of early wayward overs to asphyxiate the remainder of the first innings in taking four cheap wickets apiece.  Once opener J Lawrence (70) had been trapped LBW by Roberts, and A Henderson (32) had been skittled by Clifford, none of the remaining batsmen were allowed to reach double figures.  Wootton’s tenacious recovery meant that they were able to take tea having set themselves a target of 151, with an extra nine overs to play with.

Requiring just a touch under three runs per over to claim victory, Wootton’s early efforts mirrored those of their hosts.  Two early wickets were followed by a stabilising and watchful partnership of 52 runs between top scorer Stuart Turner (30) and Phil Robinson (26).  Turner in particular looked well set as he combined judicious accumulation with occasional powerful front foot strokes through and over the off-side ring.  However, Wootton lost three wickets in the blink of an eye with the score static on 80, and when Turner was run out in a catastrophic mix-up before triple figures had been reached, Wootton were six wickets down and Great Alne were circling, scenting the kill.  Shortly thereafter three further wickets fell in a bunch for just three runs, and by the time their last man was adjudged caught behind, Wootton had subsided in a collapse which saw their last eight wickets fall for 32 runs. T Alder (10-2-19-3) and J Ward (5-0-26-3) did the majority of the damage for the hosts, but Wootton will rue a game which they appeared well set to secure when at the midpoint of their chase.

Stuart Turner is watchful in defence on his way to Wootton’s top score

 

Leek Wootton Sports Club Defibrillator Fund

Many thanks to everyone who has helped with the Village Defibrillator fund. In just over 2 months over £2,000 has been raised and the Sports Club will be looking to make the purchase over the summer.

Special thanks to both the Rotary Club of Kenilworth and the Lions Club of Kenilworth who contributed £400 and £250 respectively. Other fundraisers included a charity football match and a Ladies Social Evening at the Club which combined raised £1,000. Well done and thank you to all.

Dr Dan Ford, who is one of the Sports Club members, is currently dealing with the British Heart Foundation and the plan is to get the lifesaving equipment by September which was always the intention of the project when it was initiated.

The defibrillator will need to be housed on an external brick wall with power connections and this is something that the Sports Club does not possess hence we are in discussions with the Village Hall to see if we can locate the defibrillator there.

When the equipment is purchased we will also need to pay for ongoing maintenance costs and we hope that we will have sufficient funds for this but we are also in discussion with the Parish Council on this issue.

Once again many thanks to everyone who helped with this project.

WOOTTON 2nd XI WIN AGAIN AS COOK ADDS FRESH SPICE TO THE MIX

Leek Wootton’s 2nd XI eased any lingering relegation worries in Division 5 as they blew away mid-table rivals Rowington at the Memorial Ground, chasing down a revised target of 151 with eight overs and six wickets to spare, despite having to make up the numbers in the field with an enthusiastic but shambolic member of their catering staff.

Morning rain and a damp outfield made for a difficult decision for the home skipper once he had won the toss, but after some consideration Dec Cook decided to field first and took the new ball himself, ending his self-imposed three-year exile in the batting ranks.  Coming in from the Northern end, both Cook (9-2-29-1) and later Dan McKenzie (9-5-14-3) found some zing and irregular bounce from a good length, which when combined with controlled swing made both seamers a real handful for the Rowington batting order.  The spice and bite augured well for that evening’s scheduled club outing to a Kenilworth curry house, with Cook providing the appetizer and McKenzie offering up a mouth-watering main course.  Meanwhile at the Pavilion End, Pream Kumar (7-0-35-2) probed away with some success but the real damage was done by Chris Roberts (10-2-20-3) in a forensic spell of left-arm orthodox spin.  As Roberts and McKenzie combined to dismantle the visitors, terrifying banks of clouds built in the Northwest and flashes of lightning lit up the horizon.  With the bails regularly being blown from their grooves by the buffeting gales and the wind swirling and threatening to whip up a cyclone, the scene from the little wooden scoring hut was reminiscent of the opening moments of The Wizard Of Oz.  The briefest of precautionary delays as the edge of the storm clipped the playing area meant that two overs would be lost from the hosts’ reply later in the afternoon.  However, the cyclone in truth came in the form of Dan McKenzie and the wizardry was all courtesy of Chris Roberts.

A strong all-round performance in the field from Wootton was epitomised by a simply breath-taking grab by Scott Jones at slip off the bowling of McKenzie to dismiss a member of the visiting Haywood clan, as he twisted salmon-like in mid-air to catch up with a hurtling nick that was flying high and past his right shoulder, with a nonchalant scoop of his left hand.  Dumbfounded onlookers were left shaking their heads and making awe-struck comparisons with Rudolf Nureyev in his heyday.

Rowington’s resistance came almost entirely from opener Ben Skillings (43) and latterly Clive Haywood (57 not out), with Haywood compiling a half-century partnership for the eighth wicket with his son Scott as the visitors struggled to 159-9 in their allotted 45 overs.

Following his earlier heroics with the ball, Chris Roberts was promoted after a hearty tea to open the batting along with Scott Jones.  Roberts had scorched his way to 58 out of a partnership of 62 runs for the first wicket inside the tenth over when he was stumped when seemingly set to knock off the majority of the target single-handedly.  As the clouds cleared and the afternoon unfolded in brilliant technicolour, Kash Choudhry (43) and Matt Burge (27) eased the home side almost all the way to the close before falling with the finishing line in sight, leaving Phil Robinson (6*) and Matt Holt (8*) to complete the chase in the 34th over, with 52 balls to spare.  Amongst the visiting bowlers, Leon Clarke (9-1-22-1) and Clive Haywood (7-0-28-1) emerged with particular credit, but Wootton were excellent value for their six wicket victory.

 Matt Burge ponders the state of the game in the evening light (pads: model’s own)

Leek Wootton 2nds take on Alcester & Ragley again:

This rematch was much anticipated after the teams’ first meeting ended in a thrilling last ball finish. Wootton won the toss and elected to bat but things quickly went the way of the visitors as both openers fell cheaply. Alcester’s opening bowlers, Jeffries and Clarke both proved difficult to deal with on a green track that offered variable bounce. Some stability was restored by Bramley (54) and Turner (30) who’s partnership provided the foundations on which the powerful hitting of Burge (43) and experienced stroke play of Farndon (26) built. Wootton ended with a total of 213 and the game nicely poised.

Radley and Alcester set about their reply with positive, if risky, stroke play. Openers Bennett and Jefferies both hit boundaries but fell without really getting established. The resistant Hawston (19) was joined by experienced batsman Swinburn and soon the lack of depth to Wootton’s bowling attack was exposed. Swinburn used his feet to great effect against the three occasional Wootton spinners and he looked to have taken the game away from the home side. However, the excellent Bailey (3 for 53 off 10) returned for his second spell and accounted for two quick wickets as Alcester batsmen were trapped LBW. He, supported by the simmering aggression of McKenzie (2 for 42 off 10) at the other end, briefly threatened to turn the game around. Swinburn, though, had other ideas and he batted on scoring a match winning 87 before McKenzie got his man.

Another great game, played in excellent spirit, but with the same result. Alcester & Ragley proving to have just a bit more depth than Leek Wootton 2nds.

WOOTTON COME OFF SECOND BEST IN RUN-FEST

Serious consideration was given to making an emergency 999 call for the Air Ambulance from Fladbury’s ground at around 6:30pm on Saturday, as the home side’s number 4 batsman continued to suffer one of the worst cases of chronic pad-rash in Cotswold Hills League history.  Having spent the entire Fladbury innings ready to bat the previous week while his side racked up 201-1 in a successful chase against Alcester & Ragley 2nd XI, the poor fellow was subjected this Saturday to an even longer bout of pad-rash as he watched his top order crash their way to a sensational 263-1 as Fladbury chased down what had seemed an imposing 259-7 set by visitors Leek Wootton 2nd XI.

Having won the toss, Wootton were delighted to bat first on a sensational batting strip, which remained firm and true throughout the afternoon.  With a dry outfield and under a hot sun, good strokes were rewarded and fielders were to chase leather to the boundary in vain for both sides all day long.

Most of the Wootton top order were able to make good contributions, with Scott Jones (33), Ben Bramley (31), Matt Burge (23) and Lee Farndon (33 not out) all looking good, but the glue that held the side together was Kashif “Sir Colin” Choudhry with an imperious 86 which was peppered with elegant cover drives and stylish pulls.  Choudhry looked set to make his second century of the season, and was ultimately dislodged only by a run-out as he began to tire.  Fladbury’s attack generally bowled with great skill and application, but the pitch was truly a batsman’s friend and the bowling figures looked bleak.  The pick of the attack for Fladbury were seamer Ryan Dixon (7-1-32-0) and spinner Liam Roleston (10-3-41-1).  Special mention must go to Shorthouse, who took a brilliant reflex catch at silly short leg to dismiss Jones off the face of the bat from the bowling of Roleston, before moving back to a rather more sensible orthodox position at short midwicket for the remainder of the spinner’s spell.

At around 4:45pm and having consumed a splendid tea, Wootton took to the field hanging out of the windows and doors of a rickety ¼ scale fire engine, each of them wearing outsize shoes, red noses, spinning bow ties and squirty flowers in their lapels.  Having trundled and clanked out to the middle, their ramshackle vehicle promptly collapsed, with the wheels coming off and most of the flannelled troupe tripping over their laces and falling flat on their faces.  Carnage ensued, with Fladbury openers David Pruden (52) and James Turner (108 not out) carting all of the visiting bowlers to every corner of the field in a scintillating demonstration of controlled power hitting.  They had gone well past 100 when Pruden fell to a top-edged sweep off the bowling of Ben Bramley (4-0-30-1), only for Turner to be joined by Ryan Dixon (88 not out).  If anything, the pace and ferocity of scoring accelerated at this point, and none of the visiting bowlers were able to boast an economy rate below 7 runs per over.  A series of straight drives went into the gardens to the South of the ground, with several further deliveries being deposited onto Station Road on the leg side.  Fladbury chased down the seemingly imposing target at a canter in under 33 overs, with their number four batsman left to ponder on his chafing calves and knees for the second week in succession having now witnessed 464 runs being plundered by his teammates without him being required to take guard.

Wootton have now played the runaway top two sides in the division away from home on back-to-back weekends, and can look forward to some more competitive fixtures in the remaining months of the season.  They will also reflect on their own good batting performance, on a game played in excellent spirit, a beautiful pitch and an excellent cricket tea laid on by their hosts.  The halfway point of the season has been and gone, and there is yet much entertainment to be had on the fields of the Cotswolds.  The joys of an English summer remain beyond compare.

 

Wootton’s Kashif Choudhry slog-sweeps

Wootton’s Kashif Choudhry leaves the field having been run out for 86.

Football Tournament Season comes to an end with four trophies

 The football tournament season has come to an end and we can look back with some success with four tournament victories three of which came from the Under 10’s MJPL team that won at Southam, Bidford and Barrow. They also came runners-up at three other tournaments so a very impressive performance from them. Our other bit of silverware came from the Under 12’s Juniors who won their first ever bit of “tin” at the Tysoe tournament.

All age groups have now eased up for the summer and will reconvene towards the end of August as they prepare for the new season.