Saturday team player critiques - 2005
Always one to stick his nose in give advice on team matters, IP has compiled a 2005 player critique for prominent members of the Saturday squad. Serving a similar purpose to MC's critically acclaimed Waverley School of Cricket, it is designed to give our players an overview of their performance in the 2005 season and help them improve as cricketers.
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Simon Brewer - Captain (a.k.a Chimo, The Boy, King Viv, Skip)
Simon continued his reign of tyranny into a fourth year and pretty much carried on where he left on in 2004. As Skipper, he had the hardest job in football, the poison chalice. If we lost, it was his fault and if we won it was a marvellous team effort. However, he always did his best to ensure everyone got a game, even if it meant we lost where we should have held on for a draw or drew when we should have won. If the rumours are to be believed, Simon will not seek re-election to Captain, no doubt having grown weary of the constant moans of "why aren't I bowling", "why aren't I batting further up the order", "why am I fielding here", "why are you bowling him", etc.
Reliable as ever behind the stumps, his successful dental work, following last years ball/teeth interface, resulted in him looking less like Farmer Giles beneath his trademark (smelly) floppy hat. Being first choice with the gloves meant he rarely bowled, but when he did his pace and swing always caused trouble, sometimes for the batsmen too.
Aggressive as ever with the bat, Simon only knows one way of batting - there really is no chance of him padding out the last ten overs for a draw. This tactic seemed to work most of the time, winning the game single handed for us at Wonersh. However, there were times when we were in need of a bit of stability and we ended up all holding our head in our hands as the red mist descended and Simon miss timed another big heave.
Pros: Possibility the best hitter of a ball in the team, excellent glove man.
Cons: A few defensive shots would not kill him.
Stuart Webb - Vice Captain (a.k.a Jerzy, Stewy, Honey Bun, Darling)
Another year as understudy for the best batsman of 2004, Stuart had the unenviable job of opening up the innings and thereby facing the best bowling the opposition had to offer. He had his highs (four fifties) and lows but still stuck to his task like a stubborn stain on your Y-Fronts. It would have been a hard task to equal or exceed last's season achievements and, perhaps, the efforts of trying to match it did affect his performance which suffered from an "all or nothing' approach. If he got in, Stuart looked comfortable and would gracefully spread the ball around the park, none of this ungainly heaving across the line for him.
A shame then for him that his first century still eluded him this year; we were sure he would get it at Bookham, ably assisted by Mog's even slower than usual scoring, a cruel lapse of concentration cost him when he looked well set in the 70's. It was obvious to us from the side lines, though, that when he could not settle, our predictions for an early bath were usually right and, wracked with grief and self loathing, Stuart would trudge off to beat himself up for the next three hours whilst seeking solace in the arms of his ever supportive wife.
Stuart's irreplaceable bowling was rarely called upon by his Captain, but he is one of our most reliable fielders patrolling the covers in an almost homosexual relationship with Pedal Bin. The odd lapse of concentration, though, did let the odd ball go through his legs as he tried to bit a bit too clever.
Pros: Reliable in the field. Graceful opener when set.
Cons: Must remember use of the "long barrier" when fielding and that there is no need to commit ritual suicide if you get a low score.
Bob Moxham - (Belgian Bob, Sponge Bob, The Fist)
Reduced to a team player on a Saturday, the Sunday Skipper joined Jerzy in the task of opening up the batting. As good a player of opening bowling as you will find in the team, Bob's main enemy is his less than youthful frame, a couple of times when looking well set, Bob has been know to mutter, "me back's gone, I'll just get myself out" or "sod this running lark, I'm knackered. Time to get out and bring the kids in". Despite this he managed a Waverley record by carrying his bat at Wonersh whilst scoring only singles and twos. There is no need to check the score book to see if there were any three's as asking Bob to run one is like poking a hungry lion with a sharp stick - dangerous and likely to lead to loss of a limb.
When not standing at Gully, and helpfully pointing out that the ball has gone towards the Third Man boundary, to the fielder at Cover Point, Bob's slow right arm has been known to annoy the batsman and take wickets at an alarmingly regular rate.
Pros: Steadfast opener and grinder down of opening bowlers. Useful change bowler.
Cons: Getting out when running out of puff.
Adrian "Have a Gay' Day - (Moggy, The Crooked Billet, Love Puffin)
Often unfairly accused of batting at a snails pace, Adrian had another solid year with the bat, although in parallel with the Saturday V-C, his performances suffered from the "boom-bust' approach. Still by far the most comfortable looking batsman at the crease, there really is no one else you want to see going to seal up one end when we were at 14-4 which happened more often than we would have liked. His measured approach saw him score four fifties this year as an almost tit-for-tat duel between him and Jerzy developed. When he does fail though, no-one is safe from his fury in the changing room and it is rather foolish of the in-going batsman to offer any form of condolences as they walk past each other; avoiding eye contact is the safest approach.
In the field, Adrian is another one you would back to hold on to more catches than he spills and his fine stops in the Covers has certainly left Pedal Bin's average looking better than it should have done; even if Adrian does go on about the bruises he has suffered for the team.
With the ball, Adrian added to his 100 wickets already taken for Waverley and his patent "wobbly eggs' seem to have this uncanny knack of getting us a breakthrough when we need one.
Pros - Reliable in the field. Rock solid with the bat, unlikely to throw his wicket away.
Cons - Kit throwing in the changing room after a failure. The occasional "yips' with his run up causes him more grief than it does anyone else.
Simon Knox - (Chewie, Knoxy, Brother Knox, Eeyore)
Waverley's own little ray of sunshine and we all look forward to Simon's cheery pre-match predictions of a spongy pitch, damp pitch, wet pitch, soft pitch, cracked pitch, drying pitch, grass hasn't been cut, pitch has been over watered, under watered, will take spin, won't take spin, etc. Then there's an optimistic weather forecast: looks like rain, looks like it going to be too hot, too cold, too windy, too humid, even the chance of the odd earthquake.
Predictions aside, Simon had a hard task to live up to last year's highs with the bat and ball, a particularly bad run with the bat saw him change his pads, gloves, bat and shoes in an attempt to find some consistent runs; some even heard him mutter about finding his "lucky socks' from school. However, when he did find runs, Simon can smack the ball almost as hard as our illustrious Saturday Skip and a finer player off the leg side you will not see, well not in this team anyway. A magnificent 10th wicket stand with Peter Brewer against Odiham & Greywell almost saw us snatch an audacious victory and one hopes that innings will give him renewed confidence for 2006.
A genuine all rounder, Simon toiled hard this year for his wickets and was regularly "taking wickets at the other end". All too often, his hard work went without reward, one of the quickest Waverley bowlers, Simon would at times try his hand at bit of spin; however, he seemed to move the ball less than Pedal Bin (a feat in itself) and many believe he should stick to his far superior "seam up' deliveries which caused the batsmen far greater difficulty.
A veritable encyclopaedia of cricket, Simon will always offer advice on anything from pitch preparation, bat care to bowling actions, advice welcomed by all.
Pros: A genuine all rounder and the side will always look a bit stronger with his name on the team sheet.
Cons: Questionable spin bowling and an almost symbiotic relationship with the scorebook resulting in no umpiring duties in the middle.
James Wright - (Jim Jam, Wig Wag Ram Jam Ram-A-Lam-A-Ding-Dong, Jimus Jamus)
Waverley's slimmer of the year, James shed pounds over the winter and now prowls the field like a cheetah sauntering through the grasslands waiting to pounce. The slimmer, fitter James was our best fielders with a strong throwing arm and he also pulled off several fine catches.
Unfortunately, the weight loss had a bizarre effect on James' bowling, a remodelled action did him no favours at all and he was a shadow of his former bowling self. However, in as much as his bowling declined, his batting improved with some fine aggressive batting on display. No doubt his maiden fifty will come next year if he can remember to actually play himself in a bit more and not try and smash every single ball for four.
Always enthusiastic and cheerful no matter of his own good or bad performance with bat or ball, James' only downfall is his constant and misguided belief that he is never out LBW and will berate the poor umpire for hours - in Pedal Bin's case, weeks - explaining just how outside the line/far forward he was. Hopefully, the rumours of defection to another Saturday team are just that - Waverley's starting 11 will be the poorer without him.
Pros: Excellent all round fielder, much improved batting skills, greater restraint over cakes at tea.
Cons: Bowling needs work during the winter to restore its line and length.
Peter Brewer - (PB, Mr B)
Responsible for siring our Captain, but most of the team have forgiven him for that. Peter is one of our respected senior players and can still cut the mustard will the "young-uns'. He may have lost a bit of speed over the out field, but is still sharp enough to pick up several slip catches - as he will continually tell us.
Another genuine all rounder, Peter seems to take five-fors for laughs with his annoying line and length and deceptive pace as Cranbourne and Old Wimbledonians' batsmen found to their cost.
Batting further down the order now, Peter will always insist the younger players go in front of him; he can still play his strokes as his partnership with Knoxy at Odiham demonstrated. It was therefore, rather frustrating that he missed so many games through injury; hopefully 2006 will see him back to full fitness and challenging Herb for highest wicket taker. However, his presence on the boundary was always welcome and his knowledge of the game puts Wisden to shame.
Pros: Tight bowling, sharp slip catching, keen tactical eye.
Cons: Injury prone and advice can, at times, veer away from the constructive side of criticism.
Herbert Scarth - (Herb, The Herbinator, Big Grumpy Quick)
Waverley's opening bowler and another respected senior player. Herb's bowling is one of cricket's greatest mysteries, there is no great pace to it, but cunning use of flight and guile knocks over the stumps at an alarmingly high rate. Quite happy to bowl for overs on end and, if required, can offer firm advice to the batsman, e.g. "That's out son, start walking".
In the field, Herb is an almost permanent fixture in the slip cordon and his famous "tea-pot" fielding technique stops an alarmingly high rate of balls too. Only called on occasionally to bat - usually when we are being skittled out - Herb can still strike the ball with force even if he insists on using a bat that was used by W G Grace.
Pros: Takes wickets for a laugh.
Cons: If the "tea-pot" does not stop the ball, it's probably a four.
Ian Pointer - (Pedal Bin, IP, Pedalo)
With his ever present Oakley's and white wrist bands, Ian comes across as Waverley's very own gay hybrid of Ashley Giles and Kevin Pieterson, except without the talent of either. Ian worked hard on his bowling during the winter nets and this was repaid with a slight increase in wickets taken this season; or a 900% increase as he will bore tell anyone who will listen. Never the greatest spinner of the ball, at least his mix of left arm over or around provided a little bit of variation, but he was too erratic to be a serious threat. The fact that he always took an over or two to settle down as well never helped the side or his average either.
When he did not have the ball in his hand, Ian was one of Waverley's better close in fielders, pulling off some fine saves and holding all of the few catches that came his way, apart from dropping Burgh Heath's skipper (who saved the game for them), though he will tell you he didn't reach it! However, despite nine months of weight training, he still throws like a girl and is of little use on the boundary.
As much as his bowling improved, Ian's batting declined rapidly this year and only two unbeaten knocks against the erratic bowling of the Goode Olde Boys saved his poor average from being embarrassing. Rarely staying long at the crease and never looking comfortable when he was there, Ian probably spent more time strapping on his vast array of protective equipment than actually batting. He will need to work hard during the winter if a top order batting position is top be retained throughout 2006.
Pros - Bowling improved, reliable close in fielder, vaguely fit.
Cons - Spends longer padding up than batting, throws like a girl.
Adam Carmichael - (AC)
Adam's bowling has improved during the winter resulting in him picking up a couple of well deserved "three-fors'. Always enthusiastic in the field, the boundless energy of youth means he is forever running after the ball; however has the same bad habit as his brother of racing after the ball only to stick out a foot and hope.
Batting has improved, although that shot at Odiham will puzzle many for years to come.
Pros: Bowling greatly improved and shows promise for the future, now actually plays attacking shots whilst batting.
Cons: There is no "Reverse Pull" in the coaching manual and may wish to try the use of hands when fielding.
Marcus Carmichael - (MC)
A man to be feared throughout Waverley as many have fallen lbw to Marcus' hair trigger finger. When not upsetting team mates, Marcus is a welcome addition to the team, with the same endless energy as his brother; Marcus suffers from the same "stick out a foot and hope' fielding tactic which spoils an otherwise competent fielder.
Batting has improved and can play some aggressive shots but can suffer from the same self loathing as Jerzy's following a low score.
Pros: Batting improving, useful in the field.
Cons: Use of feet for fielding.
Neil Carmichael - (Hoagy)
Limited to guest appearances due to constant threat of injury, Neil yet again showed his class with some fine scores at the top of the order. Additional appearances were restricted due to injury; he should speak to Pedal Bin for more protection, and a keenness for following Aldershot Town FC.
Pros: Class top order batsman.
Cons: Poppadom body results in too many injuries.
Anthony Harland - (The Guv'nor)
Waverley's living legend playing in his 53rd season, with almost 2000 appearances to his name, The Guv'nor turned his arm with a few guest appearances this year.
Overseeing proceedings from Mid-On, The Guv'nor may have lost a yard or two of pace, but the enthusiasm is still there. Always welcome in the team whether it be flashing his vertical smile as he comes in to fox another batsman, regaling us with a tale of years gone past or puffing away on his pipe under the no smoking sign in the visitors changing room. He can still roll back the years as demonstrated by a splendid diving catch at Abinger. A true legend.
Pros: He is THE Guv'nor.
Cons: Don't even go there