As for the 3rd X1 well last year's handbook records that “another crack at promotion is very much on the agenda for '99” and so it proved to be as they won their league. The standard of the cricket was quite outstanding for much of the season. The emphasis was on positive cricket and only one of the matches was drawn and that after the loss of two hours to the weather. In all 10 of the 13 matches were won and the defeats at Old Rutlishans and Richmond Town only strengthened the resolve of the team to win all of their remaining matches.

A mere 25 players represented the team all season and several played all, or virtually every, match. For the first time in the club's history a 4th XI was raised on a weekly basis and as a result when the 3rd XI were short of players or players were out of form there was always someone from the 4th XI in form and ready to step in. Competition for places was intense.

Several players had outstanding seasons. Neil Cheetham opened the batting in every match and finished with 368 runs at an average of 41. He also scored his maiden century in the run chase at Woodmansterne and chipped in with important wickets and catches. Matt Allan continued to show just what a consistent cricketer he is, taking an impressive 30 wickets as an opening bowler at just over 11 apiece. He also scored almost 150 runs and his fifty at Woodmansterne went a long way to ensuring victory. John Dunbar bowled his slow left arm to great effect and his 19 wickets came at just 8 apiece with two five-wicket hauls. Captain Peter Smith gave steady support taking 15 wickets with his leg breaks. When not required by the 2nd XI Jeremy Day hit the ball with tremendous power and his 242 runs were scored at an average of 48.

Other players had some fine moments. Chris Wearne took 7-37 against Old Emanuel, Ben Storey took 5-22 against Chipstead & Coulsdon, Simon Church scored 83 against Leatherhead, Richard Franklin scored 56 against Ashtead to go with several other useful knocks and a number of great catches. But the innings of the season came from Andrew Murphy in the final game of the season when, having only been called into the team on the eve of the match, he proceeded to bat for two hours for an unbeaten 56 against Sanderstead which secured victory and with it the title for which the team had worked so hard. Peter Day and Nigel Pakulski may not have scored as many runs as in other years but their commitment and enthusiasm was never in doubt. One other player who deserves special mention is Peter Allan who at the age of 60 kept wicket quite beautifully and regularly held the middle order together when the need arose.

The team go forward into the 2nd Division with great optimism and a feeling that they are finally where they belong.


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