2021 Averages 1 of 7

1. 2021 Overview

After last year's truncated season, we were relieved to be informed that most of our teams would be playing a 'full' season, though the 2's were once again playing in a regionalised division with 10 teams, whilst the 3's would be playing in a regionalised division of 7 teams, making up the rest of the season with friendlies, where availability allowed. The Women's 1st Team was, again, going to be playing a mixture of league and cup cricket, providing games weren't cancelled due to players being involved in County matches, while the Women's 2nd Team would be playing a small amount of fixtures in the Super 8's as a development team. On the other hand, the Midweek friendly XI managed to successfully complete all but one of their 13 fixtures, a record for midweek cricket.

The season started early for once, mainly down to the dry early Spring weather allowing the ground staff to prepare pitches. Availability meant we were able to field three Saturday teams from the off, and with the Women's 2nd Team involved in the super 8's, we were easing into the new season pretty well. There was some early season form with the bat too. Chris Curtis started the season where he left off with 60 against Bewdley. Unfortunately we were to see all too little of him though, as he became unavailable after three games. A big miss. Matt Stanczyszyn fell agonisingly short of the first century of the season in the 2's win at Himbleton, but it didn't go unnoticed by Jon Bassett, as he promptly 'pinched' him to replace Curtis at the top of the 1st Team order. There were runs aplenty in the 3's too, Ian Garrett setting the pace with 64 against Pedmore, while Steve Moore smashed a brisk 76 in the same match.

Then May happened. or didn't, as it transpired. Rain put the dampeners on much of the month, the 2's particularly badly hit with four consecutive washouts, though there were strong suspicions about the legitimacy of Old Halesonians' reasons for calling off their fixture on the last Saturday of the month, when virtually every other league fixture was played! Notable performances in May included Dave Potter hitting what turned out to be the highest score for the 1's all season with 84 against Chaddesley Corbett, Usmaan Mahmood getting 78 in the same game, & James Hamilton with 65 against Pershore. Laura Hill scored 55 in her only Women's Team game of the season, and remained their only scorer of a 50 plus innings the whole season. With the ball, Hannah Hardwick picked up the first 5-fer of the season, with 5-16 for the Women's Team against Berkswell.

Once the weather decided to pull itself together, the season got back into full swing, and June saw runs and wickets aplenty for all of our teams. Several players found little pockets of form with the bat, Sukhraj Gill, Usmaan Mahmood, Khizar Khan, Ian Garrett and Jim Braddock all knocking braces of half centuries. Garrett, in fact, topped his month of runs off with a 69 ball century in the 3's fixture at Feckenham, only to see his score bettered on the same day by Iain Wingfield, who carried his bat for 104 not out in the 2's match at Astwood Bank. Chris Webber also found his touch at Bank, as he hit 74 in an unbroken stand of 151 with Wingfield. The same game also saw the first Saturday 5 wicket haul of the season, when Hamzah Sarwar demolished the opposition batting with 5-5. there were several 4-fers throughout the month, with Lucy Hardy picking up 4-24 in a midweek fixture, following it at the weekend with 4-32 in the Women's Team, while Wingfield, Sabir Ahmadzai, Steve Moore, & James East also avoided buying a jug each, with their 4 wicket hauls.

July started with an upturn in results for the Midweek Team (oddly coinciding with skipper Dave Kendall's absence due to taking his coaching course), that possibly had repercussions upon the rest of the 2nd Team's season when Jon Tovey damaged knee ligaments. His absence in the subsequent Saturday fixture with local rivals Alvechurch & Hopwood may well have contributed to the 2's first defeat of the season, but it could also have had something to do with one or two particularly good players in the opposition ranks. Strangely, they were missing from the return fixture the following week, as A&H made seven changes, and were roundly thrashed by the 2's, even with a visibly hobbling JT back at the helm! Notable performers with bat were Khizar Khan, hitting half centuries in three of his four games in the 2's, while his brother, Abid, showed the 1st Team that he was a genuine all round talent with a first 50 for the club. Hamzah Sarwar did the same in the 2's and there were scores for the Midweek Team of 79, 70, & 69 for Craig Heath, Sameer Khan, and Ant Ogley respectively. James East became the third bowler to take 5 in a match, while there were 4's for Anthony Jones, Nick Porter, and in back to back Saturday & Sunday games for Abi Crompton.

As things heated up during August, the 3rd Team's league season was over with, and apart from the odd friendly, their players became very useful back up for both the 1's and 2's, as holidays, injuries, and dog sitting took a toll on availability. The 2's took over top of the table as they turned into the home straight, so to speak, and were on course to qualify as divisional winners until they did a 'Devon Loch' during the final game of the league campaign at home to Cookhill. The 1's were never in contention for title honours, but they were hanging onto the coat tails of the top three, and with the right results, there was an outside chance of promotion due to league rules regarding multiple teams from one club being in the same division. They did everything within their powers to give themselves a fighting chance, as they won every game apart from the clash with Coombes Wood that was abandoned to bad weather. The Midweek Team finished off their season in style, winning all of their remaining games. Highlights of the month were Sameer Khan's annihilation of Stourport, taking 7-20 in a return to the form that he has been noted for in recent seasons. There were several 4 wicket hauls also, from Nick Porter in the 1st Team, & Anthony Jones, Hannah Murray and Hamzah Sarwar in the 2's. On the batting front, Craig Heath hit an unbeaten 101 for the Midweek Team, whilst also scoring 56 for the 2's in the losing cause against Cookhill. Abid Khan smashed 79 as the pinch hitter in the 1's, and there were also 1st Team half centuries for Matt Stanczyszyn, Usmaan Mahmood, and Sukhraj Gill, while Khizar Khan notched another 50 for the 2's, and Stanczyszyn added 62 for the Midweekers.

September. The business end of the season. The 1's fizzled out on the back of two tame losing draws to Stourbridge & Lye. The ranks had been steadily decimated as the season went on, but considering they ended the season with more than half of last season's 2nd team holding them together, they certainly punched way above their weight, and finishing 4th, behind the sides that they did, was an excellent achievement. There were some notable performances for the 1st Team during September, Abdul Azam finally reaching a milestone score after several near misses, with 62 not out against Lye, and 4-fers for Abid Khan and Nick Porter against the same opponents. The 2nd Team were drawn away to much fancied Barnards Green for their last eight clash, but a gritty batting display, based around Jim Braddock's unbeaten 76, meant that Green were always going to struggle against the 2's bowling attack. And so it proved, as they were blasted out with a third of the overs left in their innings, losing by 71, with Hamzah Sarwar picking up 4-42. Unfortunately, Jon Tovey's team came up against a younger, fitter team the following week against Claverley, who despite being bowled out within the allotted overs again by Ways, had too many good bowlers, backed up by some excellent fielders, and ended the 2's hopes of promotion with a 32 run defeat.