There can be no doubt whatsoever that the 1966 cricket season has been one of the most successful, if not the most successful, that the school teams have enjoyed for many years, with a grand total of 67 games being played of which 41 were won and only 16 were lost. Moreover, still more impressive than the results themselves was the manner in which they were achieved, for there was present a pleasing atmosphere of determination and of sporting aggression, the almost complete absence of any negative attitude being obvious in that a mere nine matches ended as draws.
However, it would be foolish to assume that, because of the high standard attained this year, school cricket is necessarily at its peak, for there are many problems which must be overcome before our teams can regard themselves as being in any way outstanding. The most blatant technical weakness is undoubtedly the poor, often atrocious nature of the fielding for which, despite the condition of the outfield being hardly conducive to tidy handling of the ball, there is no excuse in schoolboy cricket, but whilst this may be eradicated by constant practice and use of the slip-cradle, rather more disturbing is the decline of support and lack of interest evident in the middle school. Indeed, although this year's U.15 XI has been a really first class unit in terms both of talent and of enthusiasm and should provide the backbone for a good 1st XI in a few years time, the U.14 XI, despite considerable potential ability, was virtually non-existent and promises ill for the future.
As always at the end of a busy season there are numerous people to thank for their invaluable help and assistance, the members of staff who give up their spare time to umpire matches and especially those, namely Messrs. Lord, Elliott and Shaw, who coached the junior teams; Gerry Gatward, the groundsman, who has always done a difficult job so well; Mrs. Lea, who prepared meals for our all day matches; and the mothers who prepare our teas. But one person is more deserving of praise than any, namely, Mr. Chambers, without whose service cricket in this school would simply not exist and to whom any success the school has gained must be largely attributed.
1st X1 Review
Of our teams, it would not be unfair to say that the lst XI undoubtedly gave the most pleasure and satisfaction, for here was a side which at the beginning of the season seemed almost totally bereft both of experience and the ability to score runs, and yet which by cricket week had moulded itself into one of the strongest units the school has seen for some time. Certainly in the middle of the season it was the batting weakness which caused us to suffer heavy defeats against Mr. Shaw's XI and Palmers School, and it was an obvious lack of experience which led us to over-confidence and the subsequently inevitable defeat against Parmiters, but the fact remains that in the last seven games our batsmen six times scored over one hundred runs and twice over one hundred and fifty and that in those games the team three times demonstrated the perseverance to fight back to win or tie from seemingly impossible positions. One may only conclude that had we always played as we did against Colchester or Mr. Chambers' XI then the season would not merely have been a good one but an excellent one.
Although the team was not without fault in that it shared the common weakness in ground fielding and more especially in catching, which cost us both vital runs and valuable wickets, nevertheless it did serve three vital functions for the benefit of cricket in the school, making cricket week the real climax of the season as indeed it always should be, creating a sufficiently good impression against the M.C.C. to ensure the return of a representative XI in future years, and, above all, setting an example of determination for all junior sides to follow.
With eleven victories, the team shares the school record for a lst XI:
M. A. G. Holtham, VIiii