In early 2016 the Cricket Section was finally obliged to draw stumps.
Cricket Captain Rob Hinton wrote:
In January 2016, and following on from the well publicised problems with playing membership over recent years, I enquired to the Club’s Officers whether it was the intention of the Cricket Section to try and seek a positive way forward for the 2016 season by undertaking yet another recruitment drive for playing membership. Though it was felt that this would be futile, it was agreed that it was the proper and correct course of action to take before the future of the Cricket Section could be officially decided. An invite for committed playing membership was subsequently issued however, after 3 weeks we had received NO positive responses and it was clear that the principle of commitment is missing from the club and unlikely to ever return and that we would not be able to muster the required commitment to our opposing teams and so to agree a fixture list would be an unviable option. The lack of players’ commitment was also evidenced by the very poor attendance at the 2015 AGM. We reached the point where it was clear that we did not have enough people to fill the roles of Club Officers let alone anywhere near the numbers required to confidently commit to a season of fixtures. No officers were selected for the 2016 season and the Committee took the decision to formally wind up the Cricket Section.
Below is the report on their final season which epitomises the ethos of both the Cricket Section and The Cachalots.
Despite the well publicised struggles over recent years and against all the odds, yet another season of dedication was faithfully pledged by the resilient, core group of Cricket Section Officers for 2015. A fresh recruitment drive for committed playing membership was undertaken by early Spring and after the loss of Hardmoor as our home ground, Otterbourne Cricket Club was again secured for our home fixtures meaning that the 2015 season began with promise and a refreshing sense of vitality.
Pre-season commenced with our annual nets practice sessions at the Ageas Bowl. In total 3 were booked and all were well attended and with a good standard on show, which provided a great deal of encouragement for the season ahead. With a full set of fixtures in place and the promise of yet another glorious British summer, The Mariners’ season was all set to go but alas, once again our opening fixture was lost to the weather and just like 2014 it was also against Kerala XI CC.
Our season finally got underway on a fine spring evening in Southwick against DSTL. Our pre season fears about our ability to raise a team were initially eased and we enjoyed what turned out to be a fantastic and hard fought game that was played in the true spirit that we all play the game for. Though we lost by 1 wicket it will forever remain in my memory as one of the most memorable evenings with The Mariners’, if only for the final ball of the game which resulted in the wicket resembling a skittles alley! The contest was also followed by some superb hospitality. We went on to lose our second game, this time against Swanmore by 8 wickets but then went on to beat OMCC, a highlight considering losing our first two batsmen to the first two balls of the innings! The Swanmore result aside, most games ended in close finishes, indeed, the away fixture against The Vine actually finished as a tie although this result wasn’t ratified until later….in the pub!
Although we were constantly under pressure to put out a team only 3 matches were cancelled, the home game against Kerala XI CC due to the weather, the home game against DSTL due to lack of players and the Gosport Mayor’s XI cancelled their home fixture with us due to other issues. Throughout the summer all games were played in the right spirit and with good humour throughout, though the will to win was shown by all players in the right way and at the right time. It is also fair to say that, given the weekly struggles we had in confirming a full team, those that did turn out were usually fully involved throughout each match.
A summary of the Club’s results for 2015 are as follows;
Fixtures 13; Won 4; Lost 5: Tied 1; Canx (Weather) 1; Canx (Other) 2
Despite the best efforts of the Captain and Vice Captains we again struggled with player commitment in all areas from our playing membership and also found it difficult to muster support with the post match social scene, looking after the kit and writing reports for the benefit of all. We were unable to maintain a nucleus of the playing membership to a consistent level and as a consequence each match, like previous seasons, became dependent on a rather nomadic band of players and this weekly cycle again placed undue pressure on the Captain and Vice Captains.
This summary of the 2015 season would not be complete without paying tribute to Captain Keith Edwards, our shipmate and ex Cricket Section Captain who finally succumbed to his hard fought battle with his illness on 8th December. He was an immensely popular figure within the marine and cricketing fraternity and the attendance at his funeral was testament to that. I always considered Keith to be the consummate professional. He was what I referred to as ‘old school’, a highly skilled, knowledgeable and pragmatic mariner with a dogged determination to achieve anything and to the highest of standards. He demanded the same from those around him, always remaining firm but fair. His honesty, integrity and sportsmanship combined with the driest of dry sense of humours meant that we all connected with him in some way. Keith was an utter gentleman and epitomised all that The Mariners’, and The Cachalots, stand for and this can be summed up by a quote that he lived by, one that any of you who attended his funeral will be more than aware of and one that I now find myself using on an almost weekly basis,
“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence”
Keith’s life was taken far too early, his loss is still raw and his loss will forever leave an irreplaceable void in all of our lives.
See also SMMC Cricket Umpires for a report by Ian Bagshaw on a special day for him.
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