IV.46 Team Of The Week
1 Teddy Hyams [LeBon Rockets] [162* (154)]
2 Edwin Spencer [Team Tomba] [127 (128)]
3 Leigh Cash (wk) [Team Tomba] [122 (127)]
4 Dwight Kealey (c) [RM] [Jamees 999ers] [105* (85)] [8.4-0-38-7]
5 Adrian Foster [Grovehill Plodders] [118* (111)]
6 Fitz Towse [the beakers] [112 (115)]
7 Nigel Sykes [the beakers] [101 (114)]
8 Keith Lamb [RF] [Grovehill Plodders] [7.4-0-29-6]
9 Ron Coles [LM] [the beakers] [10-2-25-0]
10 Loknath Hamed [RF] [Inspired Reality] [9-0-41-8]
11 Sol Davis [RFM] [Team Tomba] [10-2-35-2]
A week for the batsmen, as shown by the selection of Coles and Davis, allthough Kealey, Lamb and Hamed managed to cash in. Kealey selected as captain and Player of the Week, just beating Teddy Hyams.
The man behind the legend
Marvin Gray in action for the West Indian U-16s
In anticipation of the Anchormen stalwart's 100th one-day game this Friday, today we'll have a look at the man that has carried the fortunes of his side squarely on his shoulders for nearly the entirety of both his and his team's career.
Marvin Gray was born in Trinidad & Tobago, the country that has produced the likes of West Indian greats Ian Bishop, Wes Hall and more recently, Brian Lara, and unsurprisingly, Gray nominates Lara as his batting idol. "The things that man could do with a bat in his hands," he says, "He was incredible. One of the most prolific batsmen ever." He also considers his father Leon, a moderately successful and nippy left-arm seamer at first-class level in his day, as his biggest influence. "He never took his cricket that seriously, but he had a lot of natural talent. He brought me up playing cricket every day in the backyard, so without all those boiling hot afternoons of nurdling and trundling, I really wouldn't be here today," he admits.
As a budding 17-year old, Gray signed his first professional contract with strong local outfit, Southlands AC. A promising batsman with an unflappable temperament and a solid technique, Gray was also a reasonable part-time keeper, and it was believed he was well on his way to becoming a first-team regular. However, Gray struggled with fitness issues, as well as an apparent lack of on-field motivation, and consequently failed to break his way a strong Southlands AC outfit, and towards the end of his first season, both Gray and his club realised he was unlikely to figure in the team's long-term plans, and consequently sought a move onto the transfer list.
The-then Robertinho Select XI, led by the dashing Robertinho, had just sold star batsman and poster boy Terry Knight to escape ever-increasing debt, and had both a gaping hole in their batting lineup and a surplus of money. Sensing the opportunity to secure one of Trinidad & Tobago's hottest batting prospects, Robertinho swooped on the youngster, parting with £82,667 in the process. At the time, relatively inexperienced Robertinho was overtly delighted at his purchase, proclaiming it as his "first 'big' transfer" and warning fellow managers to "look out". Without a decent wicket-keeper at his disposal, Robertinho opted to invest heavily in Gray's development, giving him intense sessions with the club's batting, wicket-keeping, fielding and fitness coaches.
Rushed into the side immediately to face West pinjarra CC, Gray struggled on debut, falling for 7 after opening the batting. Conversely however, his glovework was impressive, snaffling three catches, assisting in a run-out and conceding only two byes. He performed well in several non-competitive matches, striking a fluent 74 and a brief 30, but it was in the high pressure environment of a Cup game where he struck his maiden half-century. Opening the batting and chasing 188 against the potent seam attack of Prebbles on a green top, Gray shone in the first Cup fixture of the season, notching up an extremely solid and patient 69. He followed it up with scores of 62, 27 and 62, and it seemed that for the time being, he was destined not to progress any further than the 60s.
That was, of course, until a fateful cloudy afternoon in a league game against Booie CC. Opening the batting on yet another green top in humid, cloudy conditions, Gray gave the 5000-strong crowd something to remember, hitting what is still his highest score in a one-day game, a mammoth 195* off a mere 153 balls, smashing 16 fours and 3 sixes in the process. Speaking to the press after the game, Gray was ecstatic yet thoughtful. "I thought the batting conditions were very tough... I don't know what happened, but everything went right. I feel like my batting has flourished in the new environment, as has my keeping. I just hope to keep it up." He quickly realised his error, correcting himself, "My form, that is." He continued to improve exponentially and by the season's end was the club's leading batsman, whilst his keeping had also improved incredibly. In that year, which was his first full season at the club, he lead the Robertinho Select XI on an unbeaten run of 14 games, cruising to Division IV with ease.
He continued to improve upon his highly impressive debut season, regularly amassing huge scores at unprecedented speeds, single-handedly winning games for the Select XI as they established themselves in Division IV. His contribution to the side wasn't only his batting, however, as he quickly overcame his initial edginess with the gloves to mature into a very competent gloveman, showing great aptitude standing up to the stumps to fellow stars, spinners Neil Mills and Roger Mcmillan.
As the years progressed, so too did his contributions. Regularly topping the league batting averages and finishing atop wicket-keeping tallies, the newly-named Anchormen side were carried almost solely by the ever-consistent performances of Gray, and it was his prolific run-scoring that led them to a promotion playoff in Season 6, a game in which Gray scored an impressive yet sadly fleeting 34 in a losing side.
That brings us to today, where Anchormen are once again launching a bid for promotion to Division III, this time during their 5th season in Division IV. Gray says the pain of just missing out on promotion for the past 2 seasons (last season was due to some unfortunate slip-ups in important games) has motivated the team immensely. "There are a few of us that have been here for a while... myself, Rog [Mcmillan] who came through the academy around the same time I arrived, as well as the older guys like Chris [Wolfenden] and Mike [Payton]... and we all agreed that this season, we would leave no stone unturned in our bid for promotion. We've narrowly missed out twice already, and we decided that was two times too many. It's definitely been a positive motivator for this season." And it would seem so, the side having achieved a club best Cup result of the 6th round, and presently occupying the #1 spot on the league ladder, 1 game clear of second, having dropped just the one game.
And Gray has certainly had something to do with it. In 8 league games this season, he has amassed an unbelievable 654 runs, with 4 centuries and 2 fifties to his name. He has also taken 21 dismissals, at nearly 3 a game. The going has been a bit easier this season, though, with teammate, young batting prodigy and ex-Indian U19 representative Ranjeet Bhutia enjoying an equally impressive season, with 621 runs, and the same number of 100s and 50s. "Ranjeet has been fantastic this season. After his U19 commitments last season, he was a little exhausted when it came to club games and I think he was also struggling to deal with the expectation. He also had trouble coming to terms with the final season of The O.C. - I recall he was pretty shattered by the series ending like that."
When asked to nominate the most bizarre sledge he'd heard, he recounted a CW BT Cup game against the Magical Ponies. "Gavin Canning was fielding at slips, and I'd just played an unorthodox reverse sweep to a spinner. He chirped up by saying 'Yeah, more like Marvin Blue'. I've heard all the puns on my surname.. but that was pretty bad. In the same game, Greg Griffin called me 'Marvin Gay', which was quite witty of him," he recounts. "Oh, also, we were playing Asterix XI once, and Sol Cuss was fielding in close. I'd just played a cut straight past him so he was a bit hyped up, and he called me a '******* ****'... that was a bit intense, but at the same time... to be expected." He pauses with an expectant laugh. "Get it?... Sol Cuss."
But now he has greater things on his mind, like this Friday's league game against league strugglers Bowdler's Ballistics, a game which will be his 100th for Anchormen. "It's a huge honour, and I'm just looking forward to getting out there. Hopefully I can continue the way I've been going, because it's been a pretty good career so far," he reflects.
One thing is for sure. He is a legend at the club, and the professionalism he exudes no doubt rubs off on the side's budding young stars, hoping to one day emulate him. The ultimate team player, when asked what his goals for the season were, he simply responded with, "Promotion to Division III. Anything else is secondary and a bonus."
M: 99 I: 96 NO: 49 RUNS: 7658 AVG: 162.94 SR: 103.26 HS: 195* 50s: 39 100s: 31 CT: 201 ST: 25
M: 8 I: 15 NO: 11 RUNS: 1687 AVG: 421.75 SR: 93.93 HS: 216* 50s: 4 100s: 7 CT: 43 ST: 7
A giant in his field, is Gray.
Great write up, Rob!
IV.46 Team Of The Week
Originally Posted by Jamee999
1 Geoff Fillery [Jamees 999ers] [114 (136)]
2 Marvin Warnock (c) [Jamees 999ers] [165* (135)]
3 Geraint Woodhouse (wk) [Inspired Reality] [102 (99)]
4 Stephen Holloway [RM] [County Connells] [91 (109)] [8.3-0-50-1]
5 Leigh Cash [Team Tomba] [87* (89)]
6 Graham Fettis [Grovehill Plodders] [87* (66)]
7 Kenny Maynard [County Connells] [84 (109)]
8 Keith Lamb [RF] [Grovehill Plodders] [8.2-1-21-5]
9 Gareth Bardle [RFM] [Jamees 999ers] [10-0-34-4]
10 Loknath Hamed [RF] [Inspired Reality] [10-0-49-6]
11 Howard Vaughan [RFM] [the beakers] [10-3-15-4]
A bowlers' week this time around, with all of the bottom 4 taking 4 wickets or more. Warnock takes the Player of the Week award, with a massive century.
oh man, weren't we all!
Originally Posted by Robertinho
IV.46 Team Of The Week
1 Karl Dillon [Inspired Reality] [136 (142)]
2 Adrian Foster [Grovehill Plodders] [149* (134)]
3 Leigh Cash (c) (wk) [Team Tomba] [168* (150)]
4 Seamus Drench [County Connells] [160* (136)]
5 Geraint Woodhouse [Inspired Reality] [136* (107)]
6 Nicholas Fox [Team Tomba] [122 (116)]
7 Stephen Holloway [County Connells] [5.1-0-23-4]
8 Jonathan Hume [County Connells] [5-1-11-6]
9 Owen Reeves [Grovehill Plodders] [4.5-0-10-5]
10 Loknath Hamed [Inspired Reality] [5-0-19-3]
11 Derek Lenka [Inspired Reality] [10-0-33-3]
No all-rounders this week, but a few big unbeaten tons and some good bowling performances make up this week's team.
Nicolas Fordham - Working Class Hero
Fordham strikes a ball for four in his most recent innings, of 120.
It's a Saturday afternoon and Nicolas Fordham is watching the Tawonga Juniors play at Edmonson Park. Fordham is the Juniors batting coach.
It's been hard going at the Tigers for Nicolas Fordham - he's one of only 3 original squad members to still be playing since coach Greg Thomas took over the side in late 2006.
He is currently the teams leading first class run scorer, but is still coming to grips with the fact by next season, he won't be a first team regular.
"It's been playing on my mind a bit" he admits. "It'll be tough. I'm used to playing week in and week out, but this season has been different. I've sat out a few games already and next year I'll lucky be lucky to get a game at all. I'm not complaining, but it's just a hard transition to make after being so used to this routine."
Fordham's done it tough at times. When the team first started they were in Division 4, against much better opposition.
"It certainly was a steep learning curve, yeah. We were pretty much outclassed everywhere but we still gave it our best. We got demoted which was probably for the best. But then what followed was a cakewalk! We were unbeaten in our one day league and we thought it was great. Then we got promoted back to division 4 and we were outclassed again." he says. "It was tough, basically getting hammered every week when giving 100%. You just stand out there and think "this is our best, and they're effortlessly beating us. It gets you down after a while."
Fordham played in every match of that season, despite 'better' players being rested.
"Yeah I know a few people opted simply not to play because they thought they didn't have a chance, so the Second Xi got a chance. But I wanted to play still...you learn by playing the best and I feel I'm a better player now for it."
Fordham is a hard working player. He's been shuffled around the batting order more times than a New Zealander but continues to pull off impressive performances everytime he plays. In particular, against WorldClass, he played what he describes as the innings of his life.
"We were five down and I was only jsut into my innings with only one recognised batsmen left, so it could've easily gone against us. We didn't have the runs on the board to be in a strong position, but I just knuckled down and tried to keep strike. Ghandi stayed with my for a while but when he was out I was left with tailenders."
Fordham farmed the strike and ended up 135 not out and gave his side a big enough lead to win by an innings.
"It certainly was my best innings. I didn't give any chances and I felt in the zone - and the best thing was it really helped the team. I couldn't be more stoked with that innings.
Being a middle order player hasn't helped Fordham in his time at the Tigers. Despite playing over 40 one day games, he's batted just 29 times with 10 not outs.
"Sometimes I don't bat at all, and sometimes I just come in with a few runs to get. You only get the cards that are dealt to you but more time in the middle would be great. Obviously Bongers and the openers will always bat before me, so I can't really ask for more." he says.
But the future now looks bright for Fordham. He was asked to open in the Tigers most recent one day game, something which he hasn't done since his first season where he simply failed, and scored an impressive 120. Rumour has it he will now partner Martin Thomson at the top of the order in ODI's.
"I'm certainly not going to turn it down!" he laughs "i'll bat anywhere for the team and if I'm asked to open I'll happily do it. Personally it means more time in the middle so again I have to say I'm stoked if this rumour comes true."
Vermaak sold for 12million to Bulldogs CC. James Vermaak was today sold to English I.1 side Bulldogs Cricket Club. A player that showed so much promise but rarely delivered on it. Hard to say if he'll be missed really. All we can hope is that he can someone lift in one of BT's moer fierce league.
He played 81 compeitive matches for the club. Scoring 353 runs at 17, including a highest score of 133. A rampaging innings when given a rare opportunity to open the batting in an early cup match. He captured 105 wickets in this time at 27, with a personal best of 5/26. Despite having a mentor in former West Indian international, Tel Lee, Vermaak was never able to become a consistent performer at Airbase Road.
Very promising young talent who simply never lived up to it. A change of scenery and a less demanding schedule could do him a world of good.
Just an interesting fact that really is worth noting; James Vermaak's debut for Bulldogs CC came against Tel Lee's Sky Blues.
Fordham confident dark days are behind club
Nicolas Fordham, hard working batsman for Aussie club team Tawonga Tigers thinks the coming season in division IV will be different to their previous two seasons in that division.
"The last time we were in division 4 we simply didn't have enough experience. Most of the players were still undergoing intense training while the rest didn't have enough game time or form to make a difference" he says.
This will be the third journey into division IV for the Tawonga Tigers. In season 5, the season that the club was created, they won a solitary match. The following season (number 6) they were unbeaten in an easy one day league. Then, in season 7, they were hammered in every match in a season that included a 20 match losing streak against league and friendly teams.
However, team management, players and supporters are confident that this season will be different.
"We've had a look at tapes of other clubs playing, and checked out their stats" says Fordham, "and honestly? We're better than most of them, but not as good as the rest. We're predicting a mid table finish, but hoping to do better than that. However we don't think we're going to be dominated like we were (in season 7."
"Jimmy (Knowles) and Dhinners (Nicolas Dhindsa) will be two players to watch next season. They're both quality and will be turning 19, so all eyes will be on them to see how they perform. It's hard on young performers these days as a lot is invested into their training and they're expected to perform sooner rather than later in the career when they're probably at their peak" says Fordham.
Fordham is possibly reaching his peak. He's 25 and scored 350 one day runs at 70 to go with 1736 first class runs at 192 - the highest for any batsman in the club.
Sweeney sets sail
Steven Sweeney, a member of the great Whenuapai CC youth class of season 2 which produced the likes of former New Zealand International batsmen Jason Duggan, is set to leave the club.
In his 8th season with Whenuapai, Sweeney has the most wickets for the club with a record 258 scalps at a handy average of 18.34 in 139 matches for the team. This has included no less than 8 five wicket bags. His personal best with the ball reads well with figures of 7/13.
His First Class record makes for similar reading. In 13 matches to date he has 58 victims to his name at 18.22 and a personal best of 6/22.
He will be dearly missed by fans and players alike. "I think I'll miss Jason [Duggan] the most of all." We've been running around in the same side since we were 11 years old. It's gonna be somewhat weird not having my dear old friend around. Seamus Hamshaw also deserves a mention in my opinion. He was an excellent mentor in my early days, and for this I will always be grateful."
Sweeney expressed his desire to some day return to Airbase Road to face his old teammates. "Preferably, I'd like to remain in New Zealand. If this doesn't end up happening, I guess I wouldn't be opposed to joining a side from the Cricketweb fraternity, as long as it isn't Withington. I've heard awful things about some of their players from very reliable sources. Tea bagging your woman is something I simply don't approve of."
Withington coming in for some flack in the trash tabloids...