LEAGUE AND CUP REPORT 1988


The Saturday side enjoyed an excellent season, gaining promotion to South Northants Cricket League Division 1. The celebrations were only tempered by the knowledge that with a little more application, three of the four defeats could have been avoided, along with some of the nerves in the last few matches and we could have won the Division handsomely. However, scme fine victories were achieved, the best probably being the defeat of Evenley, the eventual league winners by 12 runs. Key players on the day were Mike Durose, who took 3 for 29 and Tim Lawrence whose 69 not only gave us a total to bowl at but won him two bottles of champagne and folk hero status from the local paper.

The league season started with a comfortable victory over below strength Middleton Cheney (Steve Holton 7 for 30), followed by the controversial defeat of Syresham, whose appeal against the result, claiming that the wrong number of overs had been bowled, was dismissed by the league committee. This diverted attention froth Tim Lawrence's 50 and Cliff Davidson's 32 not out. The following week we were outplayed at Evenley, although it may have been more interesting had we been able to put the opposition in on the dodgy wicket.


This was followed by home victories over Woodford Halse (Cliff Davidson 5 for 23 and Bob Asprey 51 not out), Hinton-in-the-Hedges (Bob Asprey 45 not out) and Byfield 'A'.

The win on Gayton's mat was noted for Ivor Gardner's 48, Cliff Davidson's 5 for 19, some outrageous time wasting and the awful tea. For the visit of Silverstone, the Norton outfield was faster than anyone could remember seeing and Tim Lawrence (59) was one of seven players to pass 30 in the match. Mike Durose's 5 for 58 didn't prevent Silverstone from getting within 40 runs of Norton's 265 for 7.

Victories over Helmdon and Middleton Cheney were punctuated by Aled Roberts' 79 and Tim Lawrence's 50 respectively. We then slid to defeat in the
rain at Syresham, but the following week came the epic Evenley game, des-cribed previously.

After winning at Woodford Halse and Hinton-in the-Hedges, we again sub-sided in the rain at Byfield, although Mike Durose and Chris Spackman's swashbuckling last stand of 29 took us to within 4 runs of victory.

Worse was to come, as the following week it was raining steadily, we lost a wicket to our first ball and slumped to 8 for 4 and 43 all out. Thus Gayton inflicted our only home defeat.

The following week we finally mastered the rain and achieved a well earned victory at Silverstone, clinching promotion in the process, significant contributions coming from Fiery Phil Truman (6 for 29) and Bob Asprey (34).

The last match at Helmdon resulted in another comfortable victory.

Over the course of the league programme, we used 21 players, of whom only Cliff Davidson played in all 18 matches. Bob Asprey, Chris Spackman and Tom Wills only missed 1 game each. Best batsman was undoubtedly Tim Lawrence, who scored 3 fifties and but for his unavailability once harvesting started, we would have probably have been more successful in the last few games. 50's vere also achieved by Bob Asprey and Aled Roberts.

The loss this season of Tim Starmer (to the international jet set) and Phil Truman for most of the season (to the local rock circuit), made the Norton attack look potentially a little less sharp. The situation was recovered, however, by the development of Mike (Richard) Durose, who took 30 league wickets, hitting the stumps on 17 occasions. The other bowler who performed above expectations, was Cliff Davidson, the leading wicket taker with 45. Third highest was Steve Holton's 18.

The Club's efforts in the midweek cup competitions were unfortunately less successful, indeed our only victories being over Twyford (in the Wardington Cup) and Helmdon (in the Percy Bradley). The victory over Twyford was notable (other than the fact that we beat them three times this year) for Tim Lawrence's 57, including 17 off the first over. Other first time achievements this season, other than Tim's champagne, were the selection of Bob Asprey to play for the South Northants Cricket League against the Oxfordshire Cricket Association (although in the event, the match was rained off) and the qualification for the Primary Club of the following - Bob Asprey, Tim Lawrence, Mike Durose and Nick Evans, who was dismissed first ball by Mike Durose when playing for the Presidents XI. Chris Spackman would have qualified but he was already a member. (The Primary Club is an organisation which raises money for blind sportsmen, and the qualification for membership is to achieve a golden duck).

Finally, I would like to thank various parties, firstly of course, all the players who have contributed to the success this season. Secondly, I would like to thank Rose Spackman, who's scoring has been as reliable and impeccable as ever, and the tea ladies, particularly Anne Asprey, Josie Holton and Anne Alger, whose efforts ensured that Greens Norton maintained it's reputation for the best tea in the League. Last, but not least, I would like to thank my fellow committee members and single out for particular praise, the one with probably the most difficult job of all - Cliff Davidson, the Sunday Captain, whose contribution in time and effort must have been the greatest of all.

Never has so much cricket been played so often in so much rain.

Bob Asprey

(League and Cup Captain 1988)