|Accrington Cricket Club|
look back at the 2003 season
In the pre season preview that I gave to the website, I started by saying "I genuinely believe if we can put a couple of decent runs together we are capable of finishing half way up the table". Well that did not happen for a variety of reasons, however it may surprise you to know I still stand by that statement, we could and should have finished higher up the league than we did, so therefore it has to go down as a disappointing season.
One of the contributory factors that did not help us included the necessity to field 26 different players in the first eleven, it is almost impossible to be successful in any sport with this level of disruption in the first team. Of course the reasons for using this number of players are many and varied but we have to aim for a more settled side next season.
But, disappointing as it may have been, that's where the negatives should end. There were a good number of positives to take from the season. On the batting front, Professional Andre Seymore once again showed that he is a very classy batsman indeed finishing with 1235 league runs including 3 hundreds and 10 half centuries. On the amateur front real progress was made with Mohsin Ahmed passing 500 runs for the second consecutive season, and, he is still improving, he certainly has the ability to take this on and score a lot of runs in the future. Matt Wilson topped 400 runs for the first time and is more than capable of making it 500 next term. Graeme Sneddon almost apologetically sneaked his way up to 350 runs in his first full season whilst contriving to avoid a half century. He also weighed in with some decisive overs with the ball, what a talent he has; there are not many better prospects throughout the league than Graeme. Other players who impressed with the bat at different stages of the season included Adam Barnes with a couple of important scores early in the season, Zahir Afzal with his first 50 in the last game at Burnley, a very impressive return toward the end of season from Richard Burrows and who can forget Jimmy Hayhurst's match winning knock away at Bacup? Not to mention the subsequent lap of honour that followed it!
So, onto the bowling. It was good to see two amateur bowlers passing the 30 wicket mark for the season and that professional Andre Seymore weighed in with 30 also is testament to the hard work he put in at home the previous winter. Having decided part way through the season to relinquish the captaincy, Damian Clarke had an excellent season notching 31 victims, but yet he is still striving to improve. Possibly the only criticism of his bowling is that he is sometimes too self critical - come on Damian just let the ball do your talking. Jimmy Hayhurst more than fulfilled his pre season promise picking up 30 wickets at 22.5 and but for a mid season injury sustained at work this would surely have been nearer 50. Something to aim for next year. Other bowlers who caught the eye during the season included Zahir Afzal who bowled consistently well without a lot of luck, Len Dewhurst who reminded some of the younger players that cricket is not just about youngsters but that there is still no substitute for experience at times. I could not produce an end of season report without mentioning the self styled "old man" of the side Steve Juliff. Restricted in his appearances this year, he still picked up 24 wickets for the team at 22.5. His attitude on and off the field is a model for all the young players to try and imitate - what about another season Steve? I would certainly like to see you back in the dressing room next year.
On the fielding front it was unfortunately like the proverbial "curate's egg" - good in parts, at times brilliant, at other times awful and sometimes just plain comical. This is an area we must improve on in future seasons. Adam Barnes behind the sticks however, continues to improve; a tribute to his hard work and first class attitude to the game.
So that's it for another year and where has this seasons journey taken us? Definitely forward, we are fortunate to have experienced players who still have the desire to improve, young players in every department who must be the envy of most teams in the league and a team spirit that we have no right to have given our league position.
Already I await next year with tremendous optimism. I would like to finish by thanking all the players who played this year, it has been a pleasure to be in the dressing room with you, and whilst I have mentioned a small number of them in the main text, there are plenty more good youngsters on the way through. "The future is bright, the future is Accy"!
you all next season.