Ongar Cricket Club secured the services of Blake Hall for the 2009 season and after his performances in 2008, coupled with the appointment of Rakesh Bagga as the new 1st team skipper and new players Ben Chambers, Jas Chaggar and Matt Reynolds joining the club the 2009 season was eagerly anticipated as members felt this could be our best season for many years.
FIRST ELEVEN REPORT
Looking back on the 2009 season, I believe that it can be called a success. Granted success can be measured in various degrees. But, firstly we managed to keep a Captain for a whole season. With new players joining and the return of Blake Hall, on paper we were a stronger team than last year. However, with a new captain and a new team there was much to learn, so here is how we did.
We managed five league wins, one more than the previous campaign, we finished 8th in the table, one place higher than the previous campaign and we finished on 159 points. More points than we have managed for quite a number of years. Add to that, that we actually managed to win our 1st round League Cup game, not something done in living memory! It did help that we were drawn against Old Brentwoods a fellow Div 3 side! Albeit we came unstuck in the second round, against premiership South Woodford but few who played will forget Carl Greenidge measuring his run up, with the leather bound builders tape measure, and Jamie Abbott not even bothering to duck (well he isn’t very tall!) as the ball sailed over his head not once but twice and yes on Ongar's wicket too!
Of our 5 wins I'm sure most will agree that Old Parkonians away was easily the most memorable, for a variety of different reasons. Having only scored 110 runs for starters, to Neal Clark’s glorious celebratory run as he evaded capture by the rest of his delirious team mates having taken the final catch of the game. I'm sure that Jamie Abbott and Joe Curtis enjoyed it just that little bit more than the rest though!
Of the defeats, the biggest disappointment was obviously Woodford Green, a real 20 pointer given both teams league position, having been set only 153 runs to win and then sitting pretty at 143-6 to still end up 5 runs short was a massive disappointment for all concerned.
However the positives being that, unlike previous years, we competed and apart from a couple of games, were in the games to the end. We fell short chasing 174 in our opening league game and then comprehensively beat Woodford Green by 9 wickets. Next was a draw away to Southend-On-Sea, where with 5 overs to go and either result possible tragedy struck on the pitch next door, and it quickly became apparent that a simple game of cricket was of no importance whatsoever, as the match was abandoned as a draw.
Ongar Cricket Club would like to add our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Andrew Sasiadek and to all at Old Southendians C.C. who sadly lost one of their own that afternoon.
Next we fell short chasing 176 and this was followed by three defeats. This would have been four but Ongar batted for 64 overs on their first visit to league newcomers Belhus, who fell two runs short chasing 212 in 36 overs. A very exciting game which went right to the last ball. This was followed by a home victory and this should have been back to back victories but at 143-6, Ongar fell 5 runs short chasing 153 against Woodford Green.
A draw against Old Brentwoods was then followed by a game against tablet topping and eventual league winners Benfleet. Chasing 143, Benfleet were reduced to 63-8 and Ongar destined for a crucial victory when the heavens opened.
Another exciting game followed as chasing 124 Ongar were 109-9 but managed to get the runs required to do the double over Old Parkonians.
A loss at Stanford was followed by another draw against Belhus. Another tight game as Ongar fell 17 runs short chasing 231.
A victory against local rivals Epping was followed by a loss in our final game away to West Essex.
On to the individual stats then, Jamie Abbott finished second highest run scorer with 320 runs at an average of 24.62, Jas scored 287 runs at an average of 23.92 and both Sam Adcock and Ben Chambers also scored over 200 runs. With the ball, once again Jamie Abbott finished the second highest wicket taker with 36 at an average of 18.69, Matt Adcock was the 1 other bowler to take double figures with 21 wickets at an average of 17.95. But and I'm sure you didn’t think I would miss him out! Blake Hall 470 runs at an average of 36.15 (for a guy who can't bat!) and 60 wickets, yes 60! at an average of 17.57. What a truly great performer he was for Ongar Cricket Club over the 2 season that we were lucky enough to have him here for. Whoever we manage to pick up as an overseas player for next season, they are certainly going to have big boots to fill (size 13's actually!) Its just a shame he wasn’t English! Still, I believe they have already named a mansion just outside Ongar after him, in recognition of his fine achievements for Ongar CC.
SECOND ELEVEN REPORT - SEASON 2009
The Second XI season was again one of transformation as the club continued to attract new members and younger players continued to grow in to their roles and take greater responsibility.
Lead for a second full season by Tom Stock the league campaign started with a high scoring affair at local rivals Old Brentwoods. Although Ongar lost it was an encouraging display with Tom, Chris Sims and Nick Suker all making runs. Draws against Woodford Green & Southend on Sea followed and confidence was high. The game against SoS was notable mainly for a fine 66 by the rapidly improving Sam 'The Pieman' Sweeting which was a career best.
Big losses against the hugely impressive Buckhurst Hill and Old Parkonians but respectability was rediscovered in a comfortable draw against friendly local rivals Epping. During all this time the Ongar bowling was built around modern day Ongar stalwart and club legend Peter Ellis and the returning left arm swing of everyone's favourite Italian South African Mario Picceri.
Although the next four games saw losses against eventual champions Orsett, impressive new boys Belhus, the resourceful Stanford Le Hope and well skippered Southend the second XI fulfilled another of its important tasks by blooding Ongar new boys Sat Chaggar and Matt Reynolds who have since gone onto 1st XI reckoning. Despite the losses the Picceri - Ellis partnership continued to thrive while Sweeting, Chris Sims and old timer and bone fide legend David 'Powelly' Powell racked up the runs.
Again a couple of draws restored some order to the results with Tom, and the returning and much loved Micky Ayres making 60s against Woodford, scores which were trumped by a typically brutal 80 odd by Matt 'Madcock' Adcock. There are at least a few London buses with cricket ball shaped dents thanks to his big hitting into the Woodford High Road. Mr Picceri was in particularly good form against his old team. The second draw, against Old Brentwoods could have been a win as despite rapid contributions from Tom and Matt and a solid 40 from the popular Joe Curtis Ongar fell 20 runs short of a chase set up by a good bowling performance by the dependable Ellis.
Losses against SLH, BH and Old Parks followed as the whole club suffered from availability issues. The fourth loss against Belhus was by a 10 wicket margin and so the heaviest of all but again there were positives: the wall that is Sweeting again stood firm, David Powell hit his first 50 for a couple of years with a megestic 77 while the ever entertaining new-boy Mukesh Vikaria hit a stylish 28.
Against Epping, the second XI notched up their first win in a hugely exciting game against our local rivals, against whom the games are always competitive and played in a really good spirit. Ellis & Picceri shared 8 wickets, while promising youngster Jamie 'Broady' Watson chipped in again. Ongar were good in the field and helped by the debut of promising wicket keeper Abid Alacrau. With the bat Ongar were indebted to 28 from Tom, runs from the flamboyant leftie Jack Groves and most importantly a unbeaten 101 and career best from Paul Stolworthy.
A fun last game against celebrating champions Orsett again saw runs for Mick Ayres (92 not), Jack Groves (30) and Mukesh (37) while Picceri and Ellis again matched each other, this time sharing 6 wickets.
So overall another tough season but enjoyable nonetheless with plenty of players making runs and chipping in wickets. Many thanks out to everyone who played, made teas and helped out along the way with umpring, scoring and all those other vital jobs without which we couldn't play. Also our appreciation must go out to all the opposition teams for what seemed to be a campaign played in a better spirit some previous seasons. See you all players, supporters and opposition in 2010!
There were many positives in 2009. More games won and more points achieved for both XI’s and promising displays from many new Ongar players. The 1st team gained 159 points, which was more than had been achieved for many years. The aim for next season is to build on this season success’s and move up the table. We showed this year that we can compete and the aims for 2010 are to improve on the number of wins and move up the table. Whatever happens, we as a club will continue to play our cricket in the right spirit.
Onwards and upwards