Sarisbury At Lord's
By Ray Hammond
Setting The Scene
Hard to believe, but it's been nearly four years since Sarisbury went to Lords. To me it seems only yesterday, but with our new generations of young cricketers coming through, it occurs that we have a large number of club members who don't know the story of those dramatic days. I thought it would be nice to tell it all again and maybe leave it on the website (if the webmaster approves). I also thought that as it goes online, the principal actors in the drama, the players, would put in their thoughts and memories and correct any mistakes. The finished article will, perhaps, complement Ian's keenly awaited story of the 2008 season, though I doubt I can match his literary prowess.
Now, we travelled up to Lords in 2007, but the story really starts back in 2005. Just after the summer season ended, the club decided to re-organise the indoor teams for the forthcoming winter. Chairman Steve Roberts was, I believe, at the centre of the decision. Previously our best players had been split evenly between Fareham and Fleming Park. Now they would be concentrated at Fleming Park. They would be playing in the first division there against BAT Sports and Winchester who, with other teams, made Fleming the toughest indoor league in the county. Simon Orr, Pete Hammond, Matt Journeaux, Steve Clark, Michael Bond and Joe Humby were the Sarisbury side at Fleming while Dom Ducellier was playing for his college in the same league. Meanwhile, another key player in the drama, Keith Hammond, had been left behind at Fareham, as captain of the much weakened side. At the same time, Sarisbury had entered a side in the Rosebowl indoor league, to be accurate, the Southampton Evening Cricket League, Indoor Division. Now nobody regarded the Rosebowl competition as very important because it wasn't really a very strong league and the league wasn't "affiliated" to the Hampshire Cricket Board indoor organization. In fact, it turned out to be very important indeed!
Now, we jump ahead to the end of that indoor season. It's March 2006 and our indoor sides have fared thus:- In Fareham, the weakened side has ended up bottom and been relegated. Keith ain't 'appy! However the team plays well enough to at put up a reasonable performance against Havant, the strongest side in the league. Nevertheless, however you look at things, Sarisbury at Fareham have not done well. Meantime, at Fleming Park, the "Team of all the talents" has had a tough season. After losing a great game to BAT Sports, they also lost a rather unpleasant clash with Winchester. Then, unexpectedly, they also lost to the Solent University side that starred Sarisbury's own Dominic Ducellier. The Sarisbury side are good enough to beat everybody else in the division and in the cup competition, they get revenge on Solent but go out in the next round to Winchester, another nasty affair with the umpires coming in for lots of abuse from a couple of Winchester players. The important thing here is that the Sarisbury side have learned an awful lot about playing indoor cricket against the best opposition. They have also made a strong impression on a number of people, including the Winchester wicketkeeper, Phil Green. Now, as it happens, Phil was in charge of arranging the Hampshire indoor finals for 2006. This is the competition that will decide which team will take part in the national knockout in 2007. The winners from all the indoor venues are invited to participate and Phil has seven teams listed at the time. He would like an even number so he considers inviting the winners of the Rose Bowl league even though they are not officially "affiliated" (whatever that means) and the winners at the Rose Bowl are..Sarisbury!!! Yes the third venue was the most successful for the club, even though the standard is fairly poor. The side also admit to not playing very well (except against the Sarisbury "B" side!) but whatever, they win the league and find themselves invited to the county finals. Simon Orr is skipper and before the matches take place, Simon has a difficult decision to make. Basically, what players should form the team? Should a new team be formed for the event, or should the actual Rose Bowl winning side simply step up to the next level. The decision is that the winning team stays together. One person loses out from this decision. Matt Journeaux, unable to get back from University on Monday nights has not played at all in the Rose Bowl league and is thereby excluded and some consider that the team is a lot weaker without him. On the other hand, Keith or possibly Dom, may be considered lucky to be in the side, though they both prove their worth in the event.
So Simon's team is himself, captain and wicketkeeper, Pete, Bondy and Clarky from the Fleming team plus Dom Ducellier from the same league and finally Keith from Fareham.
Apparently, a few officials from other clubs have complained about Sarisbury being invited in to the competition, but nobody thinks they have the remotest chance of even getting to the finals so the moans are rather muted. The teams involved in the quarter finals include BAT, reigning Hampshire Champions, Winchester, Champions at Fleming and Havant, Fareham league champs. All three teams have been to Lords before. BAT and Havant have both won the National Title before and are regularly fighting for the Southern league division one title while Winchester have 4 Gold Division cricketers plus Billy Taylor who is a professional with Hampshire! The other 4 side are all premiership teams while poor little Sarisbury are Hampshire Cricket League Division One plodders. Sad..then the draw for the quarter finals comes out and Sarisbury have to face Havant.