SATURDAY 1ST XI REVIEW OF 2001
Promotion was at last achieved by the 1st X1, and skipper Richard Walsh after four full years of captaincy resulting in positions of 6th, 3rd, 7th and 3rd respectively was able to savour the delights of a top-two finish. For tenacity, determination, commitment and leadership, nobody on the circuit had deserved it more. Even now finishing runners up was something of a disappointment for the team as the contest with Ashstead and Nazir - looked forward to more by Woking than (it would seem) most of the rest of the League -was washed out.
The season started off brilliantly with 4 consecutive wins, the highlight being James Morley’s 6-6 against local rivals Chertsey. The first of only two losses then came against Oxted. 4 wins and 2 winning draws in the next 6 completed games, culminating in a brilliant chase against fellow-contenders Dulwich, restored the team to top place by the end of July. The first weekend of August then witnessed an abject defeat against Southern Railway, which was followed by a somewhat shaky run chase which ended two short against old Ruts.
Even more frustration ensued when rain brought a premature conclusion at Cobham with the home team on the ropes. In this period, Ashstead slipped back into a top spot they were never to lose, while Dulwich had also clawed their way back into range. Three matches now remained, and morale seemed fully restored by a crushing win over Warlingham, but with a point needed for promotion the trip to Alleyn old Boys on the penultimate weekend had to be undertaken with a team seriously weakened by injury and other absence. Toby Aldred, who had spent much of the season plying his trade in the 3rd XI, contributed 35 of Woking’s paltry-looking total of 89, but in truth it was never going to be an easy target to chase down. A spell of 23-14-18-4 by Glen Morley was mainly responsible for a nail-biting 23 run victory, coming at about the time Michael Owen put away his first successful strike in Munich. The prize of champion status remained tantalisingly in view if only Ashstead would slip up on the final day. Inevitably they didn’t but Walsh was able to mark what he hopes will be a final match in charge in Division 3 by sending Old Tiffs to an 8 wicket defeat and chalking up an eleventh victory for the team.
Apart from the wobble in early August, the team played positive cricket all season reflected by a zero in the losing draw column. On the batting front, the expected bonus from the return to the fold of Peter Richardson was fully realised (540 runs at 68) while Glen Morley (405 at 29) Toby Green (310 at 22) and new boy Regan Smith 250@35 in only 9 innings also contributed significantly. On the bowling front Charlie Johnson yet again led the way with 41 at 10, with Richardson and Glen Morley claiming 28 victims at 15 and 12 respectively. James Morley used the new ball wisely (most of the time) and bagged 25 at 15, while Damo Honey despite enduring an injury-ravaged season chipped in with 16 at 10 in the games for which he got (or stayed) on the field.
The fielding was usually excellent, and the team spirit exceptional in a team who enjoyed each others company off the field as well as on. Many thanks to Erica for her scoring and John for his umpiring, as well as various others who helped out when called upon. Roll on 2002.