Another successful season for the 3rd XI saw them finish second in the league for the third season running, unfortunately missing out on winning the league and securing promotion but once again being beaten by the better team in Stockport. Miraculously only one game was abandoned this season because of rain compared to five last season thanks to some favourable weather and excellent work as usual by groundsman Duncan.
It was a strange season in terms of a regular playing XI for the 3rd team, with many late changes to the Saturday teams meaning players were often going up and down between the 4s, 3s and 2s. However the 3s were boosted once again by the ever present Faisal Maqsood who finished the season as the top run scorer in the league, also chipping in with valuable wickets and proving he is too good for Sunday cricket. Saturdays next year Faisal? Faisal was supported throughout the season by 3rd XI regulars; Sanjay Shah, Charlie Gilluley, Asad Sheikh, Shabaz Shafiq and Freddie Payne.
Aside from Faisal who amassed over 750 runs averaging 59.31, batting has once again looked shaky with the next top batsman only amassing 197 runs. Lack of runs was not only the case in the 3rd XI but evident throughout the club and is something we really need to focus on improving moving into next season. That being said there were some standout 3rd team innings that included: Faisal 102 vs Bowdon, Faisal 95 vs Stockport, Zeb 81 vs Cheadle, Sanjay 69 vs Brooklands and Ross 50* vs Georgians.
Bowling was certainly a positive for the 3rd team this year with many good bowling performances from numerous players. Faisal, although used sparingly by the skipper, led the way with 20 valuable wickets from only 57 overs. He was supported by new comer Akil Saleem, Taylor Entwistle, Charlie Gilluley, Shabaz Shafiq and Asad Sheikh. All of whom bowled well throughout the season and were unlucky not to claim more scalps. Standout bowling performances include, Taylor 6-39 vs Cheadle, Akil 5-14 vs Brooklands, Faisal 5-27 vs Georgians, Parth 5-19 vs Romiley and Charlie Gilluley 5-33 vs Stockport.
This season has once again seen many juniors step up and develop their game. Freddie Payne, Ismail Khan, Junaid Shah and Aman Raza have not only improved immensely as the season progressed but showed excellent commitment, regularly attending senior practice and playing in whichever team they were asked without any reluctance. Keep up the good work lads. Towards the end of the season U13s Billy Hayward and Pat Glare showed they certainly have a bright Mersey future ahead!
In addition to individual performances, this season had many moments worth a mention:
- Handing Stockport their only league defeat of the season at their ground.
- Being told to take Charlie out of the attack vs Hale Barns for bowling too many waist high no balls; this was after he was hit for consecutive sixes into the trees losing all the spare balls!
- When young leg spinner Aman decided to recreate the ball of the century vs Brooklands to dismiss their skipper. The ball pitched outside leg and bowled him top of off.
- When Sharjeel turned up the game vs Brooklands fifteen minutes after the start claiming “he wasn’t even that late…” Ok Sharjeel!
- Asad’s on field chat. If you think you’ve heard bad on field chat before you clearly have never heard Asad! It’s almost as bad as Abbas’ organisation skills. What I can say though, is at least he is being loud and vocal!
- Finally when Faisal stepped up to keep vs Hale Barns I never thought he’d stand up to our opening bowlers without a helmet, taking everything and letting through zero byes. Fair play mate, I think it’s only your running and calling that need improvement!
The end of this season sees me step down as 3rd team captain after three enjoyable and successful seasons. Although I would’ve loved to win the league, we were beaten by the better team each season, and I believe the league we are currently in is the correct standard for our squad to develop. The main highlight for me over the past 3 seasons has been watching the development and progress of various juniors. Players such as Jack Humpage, Mike Ingham, Tom Russell, Humzah Wasim, Joe Glare, Taylor Entwistle, Mark Lever, Aengus Laverty, Luke Lewis and Shabaz Shafiq.
On a final note, big shout out to the Saleem brothers (Manni, Zeb and Akil) who joined the club over the winter and have been a welcome addition, showing excellent commitment and helping the 3rd team out on numerous occasions when short. Also Shabaz Shafiq, I don’t think you’ll find a more dedicated and enthusiastic player who loves cricket, often playing Sat and Sun this season. I must also give my thanks to Tim, who is doing a wonderful job as Chairman and dedicating so much of his time in improving the club and also dealing with many challenges the club has faced over the past few seasons.
Good luck to whoever takes over as 3rd team captain next season. Not that you’ll need it!
3rd XI Top 3 Batsman:
Faisal Maqsood – 15 innings, 771 runs averaging 59.31. Eight 50s and one 100. High score 102.
Sanjay Shah – 12 innings, 197 runs averaging 16.42. One 50. High score 69.
Shabaz Shafiq – 15 Innings, 145 runs averaging 11.15. High score 23.
3rd XI Top 3 Bowlers:
Faisal Maqsood – 57.2 overs, 20 wickets, 193 runs, 9 maidens, one 5 wicket haul. Best figures 5-27.
Updated 15:10 - 5 Jan 2018 by David Flisk
Akil Saleem – 42.1 overs, 15 wickets, 116 runs, 14 maidens, two 5 wicket haul. Best figures 5-14.
Taylor Entwistle – 55 overs, 14 wickets, 221 runs, one 5 wicket haul. Best figures 6-39.