The seconds made a nightmarish start to the campaign, unable to secure even as much as a draw until the visit to Cobham on 6 June. The first win, against Purley, followed on 20 June, and another was secured a fortnight later against Worcester Park, but going into August survival still looked a far from certain prospect. However, to the credit of the team and its captain, Andy Richardson, it had retained enough underlying confidence in its undoubted collective ability to dominate its remaining matches, and to pick up sufficient points through two further wins and several winning draws to move to 12th in the final table.

The team's greatest problem was the unreliability of the batting, which until late on regularly posted undefendable scores or (on the rather rare occasions when the skipper won the toss) were unconvincing in the chase. It was as well that Steve Jones quickly gained promotion after some initial outings in the third eleven to win an opener's berth and post 440 runs from 10 innings. His demonstration of what solid technique and quiet determination could achieve sadly failed to provide a lead to most of the other batsmen, although useful contributions were made by several players who for various reasons played only a few games for the side.

In view of the batting frailties, the fact that Woking could always harbour hopes of staying in contention and nicking the odd win was largely due to the bowling attack, and especially the seam department. It was no surprise that Keith Goodwin was again at the forefront of the team's efforts with the ball, and Richardson was only the latest of a line of skippers to bemoan the fact that his leading bowler was constrained to work regular Saturday shifts. Goodwin did at least manage 10 games this season, and this was enough for him to be top wicket-taker with 25 at 14 apiece.

The identity of the next most effective bowler was not predictable, since Ben Storey, 18 during the season, had not previously managed to make himself regularly enough available to be more than a third eleven occasional. This time, having impressed at winter nets, he was given a starting place in the seconds which his stamina, hostility and persistence ensured he never lost and which brought him 23 wickets at 17. Chris Murphy, managing a full season after injuries had held up his progress in the two previous years, was the third member of a three-pronged spearhead and could be pretty pleased with 16 wickets at 23 after a period in May and June when scalps were hard to come by. The skipper's little seamers earned him 11 wickets at a lower average than anyone's, including a spell of 4-27 which did much to ensure victory against Worcester Park.

The fielding was marked by many dropped catches, but the team could be grateful to Chris Sheppard for bringing regular availability and consistent form to the wicket-keeping position.

 
 
 


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