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Captain's Report : Hampshire C v London C

Inter CountyApologies for the late posting of this! The C team once again pulled off a 27-17 win when we travelled down to Hampshireís new venue in Portsmouth, thus repeating the result we achieved at Sussex previously. This, though, was probably a better result, for a number of reasons. First, we had struggled to beat Hampshire when we played them at home. Second, we were missing some of our top-scoring players, notably current stats leader Mark Eldridge plus Alex Lawrence and Joe Cunningham, who were drafted into the Bs to fill a gap there. Third, we got off to a great start, 8-1 up at one stage in fact, which is crucial for taking the pressure off, compared to going 0-4 down as we did in Brighton. All in all I was delighted with the way the team played.

Losing the above-named three took us down to only eleven players on the day but it says something that we could still field a team despite those losses! Thanks to everyone for their commitment. Initially that eleven included me but after chancing my arm (or more to the point, my leg) in practice I decided it was unwise for me to actually play, so we drafted in one of the juniors to take my spot. The junior in question was young Frank Costello Ė not a bad substitution, when all is said or done. Teammates were far too polite to mention this, of course, but letís be honest, in a straight choice between myself and the mighty Gangster, I doubt Iíd have too many supporters! And as it happened, Frank was an absolute superstar, playing first and winning all four of his frames for us in impressive style.

But those four frames alone did not make the difference between a win and a loss and everybody chipped in, there was not a single winless player on the team. Patrick got 3 out of 4 again Ö Akar did the same Ö Graham took 3 from 4 and duly sneaked ahead of Mark in the chase for player of the season Ö John returned to his rightful spot in the starting line-up and secured another 3 frames for us Ö Mikey put on the style to win 3 from his 4 Ö And in what was a very impressive performance and, dare I say, a real highlight, Peter Mac made a welcome return to form with 3 from 4. Danny put in a 2 from 4 effort, and Jeremy, Adam and William all secured a frame each. Well done indeed to everyone.

That blitz at the start was wonderful. Frank got the ball rolling, Graham did his bit, then Peter Mac played a delightful game nonchalantly rolling balls into pockets without any need for excessive fireworks. John won to make it 4-0 before Jeremyís defeat gave Hants their first frame. No chance of them staging an early comeback, though, as Akar, Danny, Mikey and Patrick reeled off the next four. Defeats for Will and Adam at the end of the first quarter gave the southerners some hope, and Peter Macís loss in frame two closed the gap further, but John stopped the rot. Jeremy then lost to make it 9-5 to us, but wins for Akar, Frank, Graham and Patrick extended our lead to 13-5. Will and Adam lost so they pulled back two, then Mikey won and Danny lost to make it 14-8 at half-time.

John was first up in the third quarter and his loss may have given Hampshire some hope but Frank, Graham and Peter Mac reeled off three more good frames for us to make it 17-9 and looking good. Akarís defeat was not a huge blow as Jeremyís win cancelled it out and kept us ahead. They then had one of their better runs when we lost three on the trot, Adam, Patrick and Mikey coming up short. It was 18-13 at this point. Then wins for Danny and Will took us to the 20 mark. Grahamís run came to an end in the next frame when he lost but Peter Mac and John both won to take us 22-14 up and guaranteed at least a draw. Jeremy lost but Adam, Frank and Akar all won (Frank potting the match-winner, and technically Akarís game was the very last because it was postponed due to their player being unavailable, but this is what it says on the match sheet!). Danny and Will lost but Patrick and Mikey cleaned up to complete the comfortable victory.

The team has really pulled together these last couple of games and I get a good sense of team spirit and identity shining through. We will need that for the next and final game, which is Surrey. Depending on the A and B attendance, we should expect to have some of the on-loan players back with us, and I donít doubt that others who unavoidably missed the Hants game will be vying for places in the starting line-up. I do think it is fair to say to everyone that I intend as captain to take each match as it comes, to pick the best team I think there is to play each opponent. Previous performances, while certainly important indicators, will be no guarantee of a starting place or not for anyone Ė I want nobody getting complacent about their place, just bring your best game and let it make the case for your inclusion!

Due to my injury I never got around to organising a Wednesday night session for the C team prior to the Hants game. I do think it would be useful to arrange one before the home fixture against Surrey. Let me know if you agree that would be a good idea. I certainly intend on giving a bit of a pre-match talk. Remember, even though we cannot win our division, beating Surrey will be more than just about our pride. It will ensure that we donít have a losing season Ė so far we have won 4 and lost 5 so we want to be even stevens by seasonís end. And more importantly we will be making a contribution to London county topping the overall region stats, and that really is a big deal because thatís the whole reason we give up our precious Sundays and trek all the way down to the south coast or wherever once a month Ė for the glory of London county!

Sharing that glory with one and all, your proud and grateful skipper,

The Doctor


#1 | PineapplePete on November 03 2009 10:50:00
Nice thorough write up Darren, hope your academic papers are just as well researched.
Here's hoping the Surrey game gives us the impetus to kick start next season with a real taste for blood.
See you all next Wednesday 11th.
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