The 2nd X1 season also had a familiar look as the season commenced with the side struggling to perform with both bat and ball. The weather didn't help with three of the first four games being severely affected by rain.
However, the arrival of dry weather heralded an excellent victory over Sanderstead, courtesy of the spin bowling of Dave Gibney (6-37), and saw the commencement of the best sustained performance and final league position achieved since promotion in 1992. It comprised a run of six successive victories against Egham, Camberley, Maori, Hamptonians, Chipstead and Coulsdon and Chessington and left them challenging for the single promotion place by the end of July. Here the challenge faltered with poor batting performances against close challengers Normandy and Midwives. But good results returned with victories against Cobham, Warlingham and Cranleigh enabling the side to finish in fourth place, within one more win of League Champions Purley, and just three points adrift of second place.
The most pleasing thing about the season was that it was a real team effort. No single player really stood out although with the bat Adam Portlock was the most consistent scoring 328 runs at an average of 27. John Ambrose re-joined the club some way into the season after a four-year absence from cricket but soon re-established himself hitting 210 runs from his seven innings at an average of 30. Ed Smith came into the side after an extended spell in the 1st X1 and made an impact with 171 runs at 34 from five innings, including a match winning 75 against Chipstead and Coulsdon. Regular openers Peter Murphy (294 at 20) and Steve Jones (224 at 22) also made consistent contributions.
On the bowling front Keith Goodwin topped the averages with 19 wickets at 14 apiece, and from only nine games. If only he could play more!! But the best bowling performances of the season were undoubtedly produced by spinner David Gibney taking 34 wickets also at an average of 14, including four hauls of four wickets or more from his 157 overs. Good support came from Chris Murphy (19 wickets at 21) and Ben Storey (20 wickets at 24), who continues to gain pace and accuracy and remains an excellent prospect for the future. At the other end of the career path, skipper Andy Richardson struck numerous blows for the more mature with 20 wickets at an average of 18.
In all a most satisfying end to a competitive and productive season and one which will give a great deal of encouragement for the coming season.