Have you ever been halfway through eating a horse and thought to yourself “maybe I wasn’t as hungry as I first thought”?
With 50% of the horse in your gut it’s time to decide whether you are going to pick up your fork and attempt the Hind Shank or just fling it in the green bin and hope One Trafford eventually collects it after a couple of phone calls.
We have reached that point with the cricket season.
Our teams are sitting comfortably in the saddle with the 1st XI placed 5th at the time of writing and four points off a promotion spot, only behind four big spenders. The 2nd XI sit in second place four points behind leaders Flixton; a team defeated only a week ago. The 3rd XI lead the Sunday Central League tied with Ashton.
There have been some sumptuous individual and team performances while others that have been harder to stomach.
Munir Khan (317) Ryan Williams (278) Ajay Shah (184) Jamie Cotton (178) and Josh Julius (198) have all been consistent with the bat. The team have consistently compiled scores over 200 hundred but there hasn’t been an individual who has really cashed in with a big score. That will hopefully change.
The team have been formidable defending scores with evergreen Ryan Williams (32) the dependable Tom Coulson (34) and firecracker Jack Blackwell (15) the leading wicket takers.
Excellent victories against Monton, Swinton and Dukinfield have been offset with defeats by Friarmere, West Leigh and Mottram however we are sitting comfortably in mid table. Injuries and availability could play a part in the second half of the season.
The second team have picked up that winning habit, 8 in 11 to be precise. They are definitely in contention for promotion despite the loss of homegrown Ethan Page who was leading wicket taker. Robert Renforth (16) young left arm seamer Adam Taylor (11) Mark Bevan (14) and Ben Riddle (11) have all filled the void.
Mark Bevan (209) Nasir Ghani (175) and Robert Renforth (129) have scored the bulk of the runs but there have been some outstanding performances by James Watford and Adam Prescott who both scored big match winning half centuries against Winton and Flixton respectively
Usman Hasan has been typically prolific for the thirds scoring 188 runs in four matches including a brutal 137* against Denton but young wicket keeper Waqas Mahmood is not far behind amassing 149 runs from 6 matches (even if he has incurred the wrath of the groundsman for scratching his fielding positions into the outfield). Pav Aqueel has taken 7 wickets and scored 128 runs and is the leading all-rounder.
In the current day and age where some very average cricketers receive brown envelopes perhaps the most pleasing aspect of the season is that we have picked up some very good new players. I honestly don’t remember a time in my 30 years playing at Stretford where 5-6-7 new players have joined who are capable of providing such competition for places in the Saturday teams. My hope is that they settle in quickly and enjoy the culture in our hard-working club. We need to continue to recruit players and I am sure a combination of good league performances, development of facilities and work on our digital profile will do just that.
[BURP} Excuse me, apologies those Short Ribs are repeating on me!
Now it’s time to decide how you want that Sirloin cooked?
We have a top Senior Head Coach in Mike Murphy; his group sessions twice per week are quality and included in the price of your membership. Players need to attend training. There is room for improvement in every team. Every individual should feel suitably prepared to be able to step up to the plate when needed. Give yourself the best chance by practicing.
As mentioned above, availability is also the issue that could affect the remainder of the season. I hope team performance and team spirit will make you want to play as much as possible in the highest standard we possibly can. Rump anyone?
Finally, we are selling advertising space around the ground and on our newly designed website stretfordcricketclub.co.uk so if anyone is a business owner or would dare to ask their boss please direct them my way. If you would like to get stuck in on a subcommittee for ground, events, fundraising again please see Russ Carson, Benjy Evans or me, if you can offer more time in a lead role again please let us know.
Good luck and go well in the second half