The Committee have asked me to record a few thoughts on the past season. Also provided and back by popular demand after a gap of a few years are some brief (semi light hearted) profiles on each current Dodgers player.
Overall this was a disappointing season both in terms of results and particularly the weather (the 2nd successive summer blighted by rain). Of our 26 scheduled fixtures we won 7, lost 11 and a further 8 were either cancelled or abandoned with no result due to weather or other factors. One of our 11 defeats was against the mighty Science Museum (their first ever win against Dodgers and their first win against anyone for 4 seasons!).
On the plus side we were competitive against most sides and I can only recall a couple of occasions where we were stuffed out of sight. At least five of our defeats were extremely tight encounters which we might have won, thus converting our win stats to a positive. It is also fair to say that the standard of the opposition we are playing has increased significantly in recent years (partly driven by weekend club players wanting to jump on the 20/20 bandwagon having previously turned their noses up at the format).
Under the circumstances, we have done well to remain competitive and people need to be realistic about the impact this will have on personal averages (I’ve heard a few people bemoan their worsening average and suggest this reflects ravages of age, lessening ability etc – in my view its much more to do with the higher standard of opposition - some folks might actually be better players now even though their averages are heading south!).
Two further issues are worthy of mention, albeit with mixed feelings.
First, both of our sides gave a good account of themselves at Sports Day but yet again we fell just short in the final against our old foes Superstars. Hopefully, next year will bring an overdue and deserved win. Second, the poor weather made most of the pitches we played on more conducive to bowling than batting so it was definitely a better year to be a bowler than a batter. It would certainly be nice to see a few ‘shirtfronts’ next year even if some of our bowlers might not agree!
Whatever next season might bring it is important that we remember the ethos of the Club. We are not (and hopefully never will be) a side where a few players do all the batting and bowling and the remainder turn up to field. There is a balance to be struck between being competitive and giving everyone a go and I hope we get it right most of the time. Our games need to be both fun and competitive but in that order of priority.
I should conclude by acknowledging the contributions of two people whom the Club has come to rely on and without whose efforts we would very likely fold. First, our esteemed Fixtures Secretary Kim Matthews continues to work his magic in delivering a balanced portfolio of games and venues. Second, John Cooper works tirelessly to manage all our communications and to ensure we get 11 individuals out on the field of play. Thank you for your efforts chaps.
Have a good winter and see you all next season.
Many thanks to Phil who has also written updated Player Profiles for our current roster.