At the beginning of the season, skipper Wes Nichols had 3 goals, to consolidate his side, bring in fresh faces and press for improvement from 2007. He knew the season would start slowly, he knew it was going to be very competitive but with an influx of youth, he hoped the back end of the season would reap the benefits.
The season began with losses to Datchet, Maidenhead & Bray and a lossing draw to Marlow. Not a bad start against the ‘better’ sides in the competition. Those three games also saw the emergance of Oliver Birch scoring his maiden 100 in his now customary role of opening batsmen.
A near miss against Chiswick claiming 15 pts and a training mishap that left Millman with a broken nose were the precursers to a forgettable performance against Basingstoke resulting in the sides 3rd loss in 5 games.
With numerous players unavailable for this game it gave the younger guys a chance to prove thier worth. Unfortunately it was realised some of these youngsters were not ready…
As such changes where made for the game against Farnham Royal, which resulted in the sides 1st win of the season. Once again worse was to follow the week after with Windsor putting in their worst performance of the season lossing to Beaconfield and getting rolled for 86 in the process.
The side had hit rock bottom.
Selectors reviewed their plans and Windsor brought in more experience for the game against Finchampstead, which recorded the sides 2nd win. Windsor were more than lucky enough to ride on the coat tails of Michael Gould whose cameo set up a winning draw against rivals Burnham.
At the halfway mark Windsor were only just out of the relegation zone and needed a much better 2nd half to claw there way out.
The next 3 weeks saw Windsor play some of the best cricket they have done in years. A poor batting performance on a water logged pitch was turned into a winnable target via superb bowling and astute captaincy, as Windsor beat Datchet at home to claim 25 points. Mohindru claiming 5/6 off 7 overs finishing off the opposition.
Windsor than travelled to Marlow and on the back of the seasons best knock from Bird, posted 234, which was too many for Marlow as Harris, Malloch and Nichols shared the wickets to give Windsor two 25pt wins on the trot…
A tie against champions Maidenhead & Bray was highlighted by the emergance of Ben Harris as a potent spin pairing to Mohindru, as he took 6/87 off 18 overs. Not bad for a 17 year old!
Windsor were solidly forced into mid table and another 2 near misses against Chiswick and Farnham Royal, having them 9 and 8 down respectivly harmed any future progress… A losing draw against bogey side Beaconsfield was remedied a week later with an emphatic win against Finchamptead away, assuring Windsors place in 5th position.
A dead rubber against rivals Burnham resulted in a loss but the work was already done.
The second half of the season was the key to Windsor rivival where they claimed 157 pts in 9 games at an average of 17.4 pts a game.
Malloch was superb at finishing innings off and often was the sole reason the side would post 200+ rather than 200 shy totals. It would have been very easy for the selectors to push him up the order, but with him being so important to the lower order, he really shown as the best finsher in the league. Next season he will get his chances up the order as new players come in to take his ‘old’ role…
With Birch, Bird and Nichols all scoring heavily at the back end, new players introduced like Nair, Riches, Lines and Weston managed to chip in a vital times.
Birch was a revelation as the left hander carved his way to 3 fifties and a 100. His attacking impetous put oppostion sides on the back foot early on.
Bird was all class as his swiped his way to 300+ league runs none more important than the 114 he scored at Marlow setting up the win. his combination with Birch is something that hopefully will last for a few more years yet! His fielding at times was also inspiration as the portly balding doyan threw himself around like Tim Smiths stockings saving runs.
Nichols often found himself batting down at 8 he pushed reasponsibilty to other members of the side, to varying benefits! He did step up when the pressure was on though like against Marlow on a wetty and Chiswick on a green top. Next season will see him restored up the order to his more familiar role bridging the innings.
The bowling that used to centre around Nichols and Mohindru evolved as Harris, Gregory and Malloch emerged. With Hartridge and Kellard getting chances they will be better off for 2009.
Harris was a handful on anything that turned and with ultra attacking fields managed to make most bats feel umcomfortable. The balls that dismissed Bashir and Khan from Maids were great examples of this.
Mohindru tasted a week in the 2nd XI early on in the season but from here never looked back, chipping away at opposition batting. His guile and experience is a crucial factor in Windsor performance late in the season.
Nichols and Malloch shared the seam duties and with 2009 coming, will be looking for additional support from either Hartridge, Gregory or Sam Condon, dependant on who can put their hand up in the pre-season…
The one thing that was a massive difference to 2007 was the fielding. Selectors decided early on not to select poor feilders, blokes who let others down in the feild.
With players like Birch, Lines, Malloch, Harris and Nichols patrolling the feild, catches seldom went down (save for a a couple of games!) and proved a massive difference from 2007 where catches where shelled often. Meaning the bowlers would not have create as many chances. The slips catching of Malloch was a massive highlight as was some of the unbelievable outfield catches from Ben Harris.
In round up the massive improvment in the squad from game 1 to game 18 was remarkable, as they learnt what it took to play good cricket. Unfortunately some players where pushed aside after the 1st half and placed in the 2nd team to work on their games, players like Chana, Kellard, Riches and Hartridge will be mich better for that experience in 2009.
2009 will be a massive one for the side with easily 20+ players capable of playing in the top grade, competition for spots will be high. If Windsor can replicate the same form from late 2008, they will be in with a massive shout!
2008 AVERAGES AND AWARDS
1st XI Captains Player – Oliver Birch
1st XI Players Player – Wes Nichols
Oliver Birch – 507 runs @ 31.69 (100 x 1, 50 x 3)
Craig Bird – 337 runs @ 30.64 (100 x 1, 50 x 2)
Wes Nichols – 331 runs @ 23.64 (50 x 2)
Andy Chorley – 290 runs @ 20.71
Bevan Malloch – 286 runs @ 31.78 (50 x 1)
Adam Weston – 210 runs @ 30.00 (50 x 1)
Wes Nichols – 56 wickets @ 14.20 (4 x 5W)
Rah Mohindru – 33 wickets @ 17.91 (1 x 5W)
Bevan Malloch – 23 wickets @ 27.13
Ben Harris – 17 wickets @ 33.24 (1 x 5W)
Richard Gregory – 7 wickets @ 24.29
9 – Oliver Birch, Ben Harris
8 – Rick Baumgartner*
7 – Bevan Malloch
4 – Wes Nichols, Andy Chorley, Adam Weston, Mark Lines
* Best wicket keeper with 11 dismmissals (8 catches and 3 stumpings)