2006 was certainly one of the most successful years in the club’s history. The 1st XI finished 3rd in the 1st XI Premier League, Twenty/20 Cup Champions, League Cup Semi-Finalists while the 2nd, 3rd and 4th XIs all won their respective Premier Leagues. The 5th XI finished runners-up in the 4th XI Division 2 West.
The feature of the 1st XI’s season was the number of youngsters who played in the side. In the last league game of the season against Ilford there were 8 players aged between 16 and 22, and they outplayed Ilford. The most satisfying feeling for the captain Arfan Akram was to see the disappointment on the boys’ faces when they only finished third in the league - they are setting 2007 as a title-winning season!
Arfan Akram, the captain, led from the front with over 700 League runs including three hundreds. Mohammed Fayyaz had the season of his life taking 38 wickets at under 17 and below 3 runs an over and 16-year-old Steven Baldwin made an immediate impression on 1st XI cricket taking 11 wickets at 13.55. The ever reliable John Chambers held his own with the bat, ball and in the field, Maurice Chambers took 22 wickets in his first season with the club and Mervyn Westfield (who broke into the Essex 1st XI regularly during the end part of the season) also contributed! Both Maurice and Mervyn were chosen for the England U-19 Winter Tour to the Far East. Nik Velani was once again solid behind the stumps. Thanks must go to Henry Chambers, not only for his scoring but also for all his administrative help during the season.
Led by the enterprising Mark Webb the 2nd XI won the 2nd XI Premier League leading the table for much of the season. Having struggled with the bat early in the season, Mark Webb ended up the leading run scorer with 600 runs followed by the experienced David Richardson with nearly 450 runs. Graeme Webb had a fine season in the middle order and of the youngsters Andrew Joslin did particularly well in his first season in the 2nd XI. Amir Mohammed also performed well in the second half of the season including scoring a fine century to win the game at Woodford Wells. Scott Maddin had an outstanding season with the ball taking 43 wickets and he was well supported by Rory Ellison and David Richardson. The club would like to thank Paul Baily for his umpiring.
The 3rd and 4th XIs both had very successful seasons winning their respective Premier Leagues. They both enjoyed their new home at Nutter Lane although at times the pitch left a bit to be desired. Extensive end-of-season work should lead to much better pitch in 2007. The 3rd XI had a very enjoyable season in what was a very competitive 3rd XI League. The star of the season was Mark Bowen, who returned to the club after a few years’ absence. He was the top run-scorer with nearly 800 runs and the leading wicket-taker with 30 wickets. Martin Pluck, the captain, was again thankful for the experience of Brett Bothma with the bat and David Smith with the ball. Both of them for different reasons will not be playing next season – they will be sorely missed. Hassan Chowdhury came in to the side late in the season and played some match-winning innings.
In his second season as captain Nigel Baldwin led the 4th XI to the 4th XI Premier League title with a good mixture of youth and experience in the side. Mahesh Velani and Karan Singh, both of whom scored over 600 runs, again led the batting. The young Mahesh Velani showed why he will be playing in one of the higher sides in 2007. Joe Palmer also made some important contributions when he came down from university. Ron Fitzgerald started the season well with the ball taking 22 wickets before a serious knee injury put him out for the season. The other main wicket-takers were all youngsters – Alex Tosh, Marlon Cox, Max Potter-Clark and Steven Baldwin – which is very positive for the future of the club.
The 5th XI had an excellent season. Despite early season problems with availability, due to school and university commitments, the team spent the whole season competing effectively for the league title. The team eventually finished second to a superior Ardleigh Green side. Whilst the mid-season loss of all-rounder, Monti Sodhi, because of business commitments, hampered the side’s balance, the 25 youngsters (from age 12 upwards) who appeared all performed admirably scoring some 1500 runs and taking 60 wickets between them, four Under 13’s scoring 50’s in the process. The team’s batting was led by keeper Andrew Osborn who scored just shy of 500 runs, including his maiden ton. The bulk of the bowling, and wickets, fell to the evergreen, not-quite-so youngsters Len Enoch and Nigel Hutchings who toiled away uphill and into the wind for the whole season. With the additional year’s maturity of the youngsters, the whole team is looking forward to going one step better next season.
The club’s juniors had another successful season, with some 238 youngsters playing 219 games during the summer. Our Under 16’s reached the semi-final of the Matchplay, only to lose to unfancied Goresbrook, who were much the better team on the day. The Under 15’s lost off the last ball of a wonderfully fought quarter-final game against eventual winners Woodford Wells in the Peters Cup but went on to win the Cox & Kings Cup.
The Under 13’s had a dream season winning all three Essex Trophies, the David Bradford, the Peter Coe and the Len Stentiford. They went on to win the regional Under 13 championship and, after a happy and cricket-filled week in Oakham, finished runners-up in the ECB Spirit Of Cricket National Under 13 Championship. Our Under 11’s had a modest season in terms of trophies but even more youngsters played even more games than usual and started at a younger age.
Our girls had a tremendous year. Our Under 13’s became Lady Taverners Essex Champions and went on to be runners-up in the regional finals. The Under 15’s were runners-up to friends and rivals, Harold Wood, in their Essex championship. The female section continues to progress but, as always, suffers by not being able to get fixtures although most of our under 11 and under 13 teams contain at least one girl. The club has achieved entry into a Ladies League for next season.