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TWCC Gazette
"TWCC's very own Wisden"
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2020 Captain's Review
Richard Brock
TWCC captain

Played 12, won 11, drawn 0, lost 1
(2019: P16, W10, D3, L3)

Well this has been the most extraordinary of seasons.  When players of the future TWCC look back on 2020 they will read part of the history of the nation, and part of the history of our club.  The coronavirus pandemic stopped us playing until July as the country went into lockdown.  Then suddenly, unexpectedly, we were told we could play.  We enjoyed a socially distanced net – which was mostly the opportunity to see each other and enjoy a beer together - at the ground in July.  Then on 12th July the season restarted.  Strange additions to the rules:  we couldn’t go inside any pavilions, we had to use hand sanitiser every 6 overs, there was to be no body to body contact – so wickets could only be celebrated by the slightest elbow bumps, victories the same.  And horribly…we had to take our own individual teas. The better prepared brought flasks of tea- but the virus ripped out a tradition going back hundreds of years: the cricket tea.  Yet the desire to play cricket had fermented during lockdown.  When we finally got back on the field of play, two and a half months later than usual, we were buzzing with uncapped energy.  And wow:  didn’t we convert that into good cricket!
Our results this season have eclipsed all other seasons.  Putting aside the extraordinary nature of the season we managed to play 12 matches and lost only 1.  Our squad has been strengthened by more regular appearances from a number of players including Tom Firth, Mikey and a happy return to fitness for Phil.  We’ve had some extraordinary individual performances: Tom Rydon ripping through Parham, Richard doing the same against Bolney, Tom Firth’s maiden TWCC 50 vs Bolney – and his hatrick vs Brighton Beamers.  And Ed finally letting his batting side come to the fore – whilst still helping clear out wickets against Hadlow Down and Warninglid.  We’ve seen far more of Jonathan and he’s led from the front for the batting – 78* vs Staplefield was the season’s top score.  How’s this for a stat:  we’ve had only 5 noughts all season!!  As captain, week after week I’ve had the privilege of looking through a team of fine batsmen and a stable of thoroughbred bowlers.  There has been one unfortunate side effect:  the top order has been so successful that far more frequently than previously, later batsmen have been unable to get a bat.  I have tried to balance things so that everybody gets either a bat or a bowl, but on occasions that hasn’t been possible for which I can only promise to try to address things next season.  But I can’t apologise for people doing what I ask of them so successfully!  My philosophy – perhaps even more so in this season – has always been to ensure everybody gets a good game of cricket – I think that’s far more important even than the result.  A short season and some sensational performances have stymied me to an extent in terms of batting. 
And through all this we’ve been living TWCC history, for during 2019, and with a particular act of generosity, funding was in place for a much-needed new clubhouse, which was just as well as a winter storm then ripped the roof clean off the old pavilion, damaging struts, doors and window frames. The old building was beyond repair and, with the presentation of a magnificent donation, a team went into action to prepare for, plan and oversee the construction of a brand new pavilion.  Throughout the year that team – led brilliantly by Paul Hunter, and including Edward Bunn, Jim Simon and Jonathan Rowland  – has worked ceaselessly, dealing with the council planning department, the planners, the local councillors, the local residents and the pavilion supplier and a local builder.  At every turn Paul has faced difficulties and frustrations – but he has shown extraordinary dedication and determination to keep pushing until, in August, we saw the remains of the old pavilion fully demolished and the new one erected weeks later.  Over the winter it’s being kitted out and next year we will have an official `opening` day.  I should also add that, in addition to one major donation in particular, Paul also managed to secure a £10,000 grant from Rampion, the energy company which has substantial works in Wineham, a sum most gratefully received and which has further helped the project to reach fruition.
It is hard to overstate the amount of work Paul in particular has put into this.  The club owes him enormous thanks.  The same for those who’ve worked with him.  Every hurdle put in their way they’ve dealt with.  They’ve dodged, weaved, sewn a little magic, sprinkled a little fairy dust – and the result now stands proudly ready for the next generation.  Paul, Edward, Jonathan and Jim:  thank you.
We will have a pavilion to be proud of, and through an act of, yes, great financial generosity, but also, and not missed, a generosity of spirit, this historic club will have a clubhouse which will enable it to play the magnificent game for years to come, to attract new players, something for the club and the villages of Twineham and Wineham to enjoy.

Last season I said I would reintroduce the Player of the Year Award – to be done fairly, points awarded after each match.  That went to pot as we struggled simply to get matches on.  I will bring it in next year .  But there have been enough matches for me to award it this year.  As I said earlier there have been many stand out performances, and many excellent seasons for players.  But one man has stood out.  One of the assault bowlers, somebody I’ve also made my  `go to` guy to clear up the final two or three wickets.  And he’s shown that – given the opportunity – he’s also pretty handy with a bat.  Oh…and he can catch!  The TWCC player of the year goes to Ed Howes.  Congratulations Ed. 
Richard Brock, Captain TWCC

We sat at home and kept safe.  We locked down.

At last, we played cricket.  A winning run that stretched until  August.  No tour obviously,  but big wins all the way with our batsmen putting in a series of challenging targets and our bowlers rifling through the opposition.  Paul’s early season 61 vs Crescent helped secure the win, along with 57 fron Tony.  Richard and Ed’s season’s best partnership of 114 helped see off Hadlow Down, Tony and Alex Rydon chipped in to help us past Balcombe, Tony’s 66 and Tom Rydon’s sixfer blasted aside Parham.  Our only defeat came at Ditchling, despite good knocks from Paul and Jonathan.  Jonathan kept his form the following week with a season top score of 78* vs Staplefield.  Against Bolney, there was a very classy opening century stand by Tom Firth (maiden TWCC 50) and Jim Simon and Richard took a sixfer before Ed cleared out the tail.  We finished up with wins against Streat and Brighton Beamers, lost a match to the weather and decided against playing in October because even in an extraordinary season that would have been super weird!

Next season will be very exciting.  We will move into our lovely new clubhouse – if restrictions allow by April.  Our intention is to hold the official opening during the season, involving WAGS, friends of the club.  And – again Covid dependent – we will tour.
Gentlemen, it has been a testing season – testing mostly because we have been deprived of so much cricket and the fun, friendship and bonhomie that goes with it.  But as ever it has been a privilege to be your captain, it continues to be a great honour and I have to say that what this wretched virus has done is show us all how we value everything that Sunday cricket offers us.  Thanks to an expansive donation, a gift that has made a long wished-for pavilion a reality, that is something that will be available to us all for many years to come.
Richard Brock
Captain TWCC

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