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Captain's Report 2011.
Here is the Captain's Report as delivered at the AGM...

Honourable secretary, committee and members it gives me great pleasure to commend to you the AMCC captains report for the 2011 season. It was an excellent summer for the Mariners and I hope that some of our longer standing members will attest that statistically at least, it was our finest season for some years. I hope this is not correlated to the fact that I personally played less games than in recent years - but one consequence of this is that I will be relying on the interjections of others as we go through the matches.

Firstly, outlining the season in numbers...The Mariners had 19 fixtures scheduled, of these:

We Won 11
We Lost 3
We Drew 1

4 fixtures went unfulfilled - 2 due to weather, one due to a lack of opposition and one due to the opposition being Maori Oxshott.

The season actually started ominously with the net sessions at George Abbot School, as plucky Mariners tried their best to see the ball coming out of the bowling machine, let alone try and get some bat on it. Personally my confidence was destroyed as I took a 70mph directly onto the toe and then hit the next delivery onto the back of the same foot. Others did fair better than me though in 2 well attended net sessions.

First to Fernhurst where the Mariners took to the field and Opening Bowlers Rough and Westwood got stuck in with wickets, Will's coming courtesy of a diving Magnus at slip. Notably there were also 2 catches off Nick Barnes' bowling coming from the unpredictable fielding of Greg Foster. However despite skittling the homeside out for 104 and heading in for a bat prior to tea it was noted that a chap called Brad with somewhat of an antipodean accent would be opening the bowling. He finished with 6-25 from 11 overs as the Mariners fell short of their target all out for 77, only Freddie, Charlie and Will making it to double figures. It would comfortably be our lowest total of the season.

The weekend of the Royal Wedding saw the Mariners travel to Tillington and bat first. Some variable bounce saw the Mariners fall to 49 for 6 before the Charlie and Neil show got going, balls were deposited over the wall, into the hedge by the house and Neil even got the ball lodged in the pavilion roof - as an ex-roofer Neil even gave an assessment of the damage at tea. A partnership of nearly a 150 got the Mariners to 209 when tea arrived. Rough and Westwood shared the new ball afterwards and got an Fernhurst opener each. However it was few overs later that Stephen really hit his straps taking 4 more wickets for no runs in a 25 ball spell. Combined with wickets for Jake and Magnus Tillington slumped to 48 all out - Stephen finishing with 5 for 6 from 8 overs.

The next weekend saw the Mariners first trip to Ockham- this fixture has come about through Stephen who plays league cricket for there on a Saturday - on this occasion though he would captain the Mariners to a victory. We were well welcomed in the bar and bowled first with Rough and Wootton taking the new ball. Despite a hard hitting 72 from the Ockham number 4 the Mariners restricted the home side to 153 with van Oppen brothers sharing 5 wickets and John Chestman taking 3 stumpings and 2 catches behind the poles. In reply a brisk 46 from Tony Nixon and an even faster 59 from late arrival Will Westwood saw the Mariners over the line with 5 wickets down.

Although I was absent for the Ebernoe game the next week the immaculate score card reveals the Mariners made 149 batting first - Ben Corke top scoring with 39 and Greg Foster remaining unbeaten on 25. Perhaps suffering from a lack of Stemps, Ebernoe were rolled over for just 39 in 18 overs with Magnus collecting 4 for 7 and Mike Methley tearing through the tail with 3 for none.

Having lost the chance to play Blackheath due to their lack of players on that particular weekend the Mariners headed to Puttenham for the visit of Captain Crawford and his Screaming Commandos. Batting first the Commandos made 157 for 9 with an even spread of wickets amongst the bowlers. In reply the Mariners countered the painstaking placing of fielders by the opposition captain with staunch middle order batting from John Chesterman and Charlie van Oppen who made 40 and 64 respectively. With the 10 Mariners teetering on 140 for 7 with just Finlay Chesterman to come it was 'the finisher' Richard Francis to get the Mariners over the line - knocking 4 fours on his way to 21 of the finest match winning runs you will ever see.

With both Dunsfold and Charterhouse being called off in a monsoon filled June the next Mariners game was a 9 aside at the Hill. I wish I was there to witness the carnage of both Mariners openers making hundreds in possibly the clubs highest opening stand. Neither batsman was beaten Will retiring on 124 and Matt Beckett later on 104, Barnesy also posted 40 not out, perhaps the less said about Jake and Corkey's ducks the better - as the Mariners made 281 for 3. In reply the 9 men of Toys battled but fell over a hundred runs short, all out for 170, Magnus the pick of the bowlers with 3 for 31, all caught by Barnesy behind the stumps.

In a closer game at Chiddingfold the Mariners struggled to make inroads with the ball as Chidd put on 204 for 5, their top scorer making 94 before CVO took a remarkable catch in the deep off the bowling of Ben Corke. In reply some early runs from Chesterman, Wootton and Barnes set a solid platform for middle order powerhouse Charlie to smash an unbeaten 86 and get the Mariners over the line with 3 wickets in hand. I remember a six flying into the pavilion and nearly decapitating the Chesterman mother in law and another ending up racing along the A283 as it bounced off a speeding car wheel...

After narrowly avoiding victory in 2010 hopes were high for the return to Follies Farm, an often unhappy hunting ground for the Mariners. In the absence of a few regulars Phil Roper, a contemporary of Nick Barnes was brought in to strengthen the batting. His unbeaten 144 with 8 sixes and 13 fours did that and made for a decent second outing for the Mariners! With Will also getting another 50 under his belt the Mariners made 261 and for once at Follies it was enough - the homeside only making 219 in their 40 overs. The nine wickets were evenly shared as the Mariners utilised 9 bowlers.

With the AMCC either unable or unwilling to fulfil a fixture at Oxshott the next game was at Hambledon. I had to work that afternoon and left after about half an hour of play, had I known Tony Dixon was on his way to amassing 197 runs as part of 349 for 6 I might have called in sick and stayed to watch. Tarny scored 15 sixes and 18 fours and I believe was only out in an attempt to break 200 with another maximum. However great this innings it I know Tony Nixon would not want it to overshadow his telling contribution of 58 and Tim also batted well falling just shy of 50 - something he would make up for later in the season. In reply Hambledon also had a centurion who retired unbeaten as they scored 208 for 4 on their way to saving the game as a draw. I'm not sure to what extent that game re-wrote the mariners record books?!

On The last weekend of July the Mariners played Shackleford and batting first made 192, Magnus the pick of the batsmen unbeaten on 48. In reply on a questionable track Nick Barnes had early strikes with the ball bowling both openers, Magnus and Jake then removed numbers 5, 6 and 7 all for ducks and it was left to Will Westwood and Jack Dixon to take the last 2 wickets as Shackleford finished on 143, another AMCC victory by 49 runs.

After a few years without a game at Midhurst it was nice to be back at Cowray Park - especially with an opposition there to meet us! It was even nicer to come away with a victory; Tim Goldman and Freddie Hodgson set a solid platform, with Freddie making a brisk 83 and Tim carrying his bat to an unbeaten 90. Nick Barnes also contributed 40 as the Mariners put on 239. In reply Midhurst were all out for 152 with Tom van Oppen the pick of the bowlers with 3 for 21 from his 5 overs figures which are bloated by 6 wides and 3 no-balls!

Late august sunshine saw the Mariners return to Ebernoe where Stemp and Whittington were back to face us. However in making 220, including an unbeaten 110 from their number 3 Ebernoe would be short of runs. In reply the now in mid-season form Tim Goldman hit a match winning 115 not out, ably assisted by Matt Beckett and Will Westwood - the Mariners doing the Ebernoe double with 8 wickets to spare.

Much of the Witley game was shrouded in a thick boozy fog that consumed me that day, I'm sure this had nothing to do with the return of Martyn Rush from his long term injury lay off. I can however be sure Witley batted first and only made 110. Barnesy took 3 for 14, Jake 3-13 and me, perhaps in an effort to get off the pitch 3 for 1 in the last over of the innings. In reply the Mariners were indifferent - despite 30 from Freddie and 37 from Tony Nixon, I found myself a reluctant number 11 dragging my form to the crease with the Mariners needing just 10 for victory. Despite batting with the seasons aggregate top scorer in the shape of Westwood I found myself with lion share of the strike and was either too intoxicated or inept to preserve my wicket, edging behind on 6 with the mariners needing just 4 for victory.

The morning of the Kirdford game was met with heavy showers and many a phonecall and text message flying around, however now into September the homeside were reluctant to call the game off. As such most of the Mariners assembled and made themselves comfortable, perhaps too comfortable, at the Forresters Arms. When word was received that the game would go ahead as an abridged 25 overs game the term beer match was rather quite apt. AMCC made 171 from our 25 overs; Barnesy and Charlie hitting 46 and 64 respectively. After tea Stephen made immediate inroads taking 3 wickets in the first over. A short while later he finished his 3 over spell with 5 wickets for 3 runs. Magnus and Charlie both took 1 for none as Kirdford were bowled out for 57, it was then back to the pub!

The last game of the season at Warnham saw the Mariners battle well against a good bowling attack, but to little avail. Fighting out for the top scorer position Charlie and Will went out to open and perhaps showed why their strength lies in the middle order... As well as fighting 29's from Matt Beckett and Stephen Rough it was the younger van Oppen who had his day - battering 52 out of the Mariners 170 in the face of some hostile bowling. Special mention should also go to Jim who held out against probably the quickest bowler we face all season. In reply Warnham scored steadily and pushed themselves over the line for the loss of only 4 wickets.

Despite ending on a low note the season was an excellent one for the mariners and not only due to a high win ratio; there were great performances right across the spectrum of Mariner folk and a real feeling of cohesion in the team. Other than for Oxshott we fielded strong sides and on some occasions had up to 15 names on the availability list. Long may it continue.

Honourable Secretary & Gentlemen, This concludes the Captain's report, thank you.

Mark Wootton - 27/01/12

He Stoppeth One of Three...