FRIENDLY GAMES REPORT 1988
In common with the League campaign, the friendly season was a success off the field, although not quite matched in terms of results. As in the past few seasons, senior Club members had commitments at weekends with family, work etc. which prevented players appearing on both Saturdays and Sundays. Consequently, we turned to the village youth to fill team vacancies. They did not let the Club down.
The side started with two good victories at home against Steeple Claydon and Twyford, with Tim Lawrence hitting 65 in the latter game. As we progressed into the season, new young players were pushing for places in the side and with Darren Snook managing to arrive at the occasional game without rolling his vehicle and Dom Evans arriving on time occasionally, the side's average age was seen to fall from over 25 to under 20 by the season's conclusion.
Despite scoring 693 runs in the next five games (196-8 against Badby), all resulted in defeats but with J. Adhemar getting 44 against Ryelands and D.H. Durose taking 4-22 at Eydon, the team spirit was still good. A guest performance from Steve Yuill (46) emphasised the Tovcestrian's robotic ability to accumulate points at a steady, if not particularly rapid, rate.
The result of the season in friendly games was seen at Twyford, where "Norton Youth" dismissed the South Northants Division One side for 44 on a wet wicket and coasted to victory for the loss of two wickets. Again Durose came in with a haul of 4-16.
Two hefty defeats against Ryelands and Milton Keynes followed. The latter had me doubting if cricket was really a summer game, particularly as we had lost at least one Sunday game in each of the first three months, due to the atrocious weather. The only really hopeful signs were the improvements in Dom Evans' batting (who now had two stroke options) and the regular good performances of Justin Gill.
The Presidents' game proved to be the most successful to date. With Norton scoring their highest total in the fixture at 194 (Asprey 41, Gill 34), a higher score would have been seen if not for Chris Spackman's incredible four outfield catches.
In reply, S. Holton and R. Evans led the Presidents' XI scoring 50 and 37 respectively. Their innings closed at 158-5, so with an honourable draw the two sides retired to the pavillion for refreshments.
For the next three games, I appointed Pete Adhemar to Captain the side, who achieved three good victories, ably supported by P. Truman (5-44 against Middleton Cheney and 4-18 against Gawcott) and Mike Durose (67 against the Towcestrians RFC and 4-0 against Gawcott and Hillesden).
The season came to a rather quiet close with four more defeats, although our six victories surpassed last year's total and as far as I can remember, this was the first season Norton had not cancelled a game as a result of not raising a side.
As is Bob, I am indebted to the tea ladies, all of whom I thank personally for their assistance, namely: Anne Asprey, Josie Holton, Anne Alger, Mrs. Davidson, Mrs. Burton, Audrey, Debbie and Sue, all of whom continue to perform miracles on a £15 budget.
Other than the tea ladies, I'd like to thank all the players who supported me, often at short notice and in particular Pete Adhemar, who always offered constructive support. I'd like to wish him and Phil Truman, the very best for the 1989 season and hope the Sunday side continues to improve.
(Sunday Captain 1988)