When Dave Whisker and Martin Rooke started up the Colts section in 1999 it was surely for days like Saturday 20th August when a side featuring 9 Dagenham lads who came through those Colts teams, not least both of their sons, defended 212 as if their life depended on it against a big hitting May & Baker team, the like of which had bullied Goresbrook XI’s for most of the previous 10 years.
As on every other occasion the 1st XI batted first this season, the boys of 2011 held their discipline, their catches and their nerve and came out winners by 26 runs, clinching a first league championship in the glorious evening sunshine in front of a loyal band of supporters, family and players from other Club XI’s who had gathered to watch the finest moment in the Club’s history.
The celebrations went on long into the night and were especially poignant for Lawrence Walsh, one of the odd two out who didn’t come through the Colts section. He didn’t have that pleasure of course because he was one of the founders of the Club, and it was fitting that the Club’s greatest ever player played a key role both in the campaign and in the title clinching victory, 30 years on from playing in the first ever Goresbrook fixture.
There will hopefully be many more days like the 20th of August in years to come (and we had a fair stab when we retained the T20 trophy 2 weeks later), but whatever anybody in the team achieves in sport in the future, it rarely gets any better than winning things with your mates at the club which you’ve grown up at.
Links below to the scorecard from the title clinching game against local rivals M&B and also to the Post report on a very young side triumphing against the odds at T20 finals day.
Players & League Stats
Kurt Whisker (captain) 16 games, 488 runs at 34.9, 7 catches
Some might say it’s an easy job to keep a happy ship when you win 15 games, but the team spirit was outstanding, the 1st XI in the field were a well oiled machine, players knew what was expected and when it was expected and he scored a few runs as well. As captain and opening bat there’s not a lot more Kurt could have done, although a ton would have been nice. His batting in the second half of the season was like a comfort blanket for a nervous batting line-up, when Kurt made 50, a big total followed.
Michael Rooke 16 games, 408 runs at 29.1, 27 wickets at 14.3, Econ 3.1, 10 catches
Another fine all-round season for the Rat, who carried the batting early season until his top order colleagues turned up, was leading wicket taker and caught some astounding slip catches. A few less tantrums when somebody slaps him around and another 200 runs would be nice, but we’re clutching at straws a bit. His bowling in particular was outstandingly consistent and his aggressive batting after some of the strong starts in the second half of the season took the team to another level.
Jordan Calverley 16 games, 323 runs at 23.1, 4 catches
After an unsteady start, the Reverend showed up for Saturday service in the second half of the season with three 50’s and plenty of time in the middle. A fantastic ball striker who is still learning the ropes as an opener in senior cricket, JC will be the cornerstone of the batting for years to come. Another tremendous fielder with the best arm in the side, Hornchurch Athletic were so impressed with his boundary run out in the T20 Quarter final that they took him on again next ball just to check it wasn’t a fluke. It wasn’t.
Toby Maund 13 games, 234 runs at 19.5, 19 wickets at 20.1, Econ 4.1, 7 catches
Another who started the season like he’d never batted before, Toby bore the brunt of Kurt’s axe after the Comso debacle and it proved to be the making of the man. He dropped down into the 2’s for 3 games, scored 78 and 91*, generally looked a class apart and came back to play a big part in the title push. Toby was also voted the man the rest of the 1’s least like to change next to for the 5th successive year.
Kane Messenger 17 games, 224 runs at 22.4, 22 wickets at 16.5, Econ 3.9, 11 catches
Mr Cricket racked up another ever-present campaign chipping in with his usual tally of crucial innings, big wickets and match-turning catches. The consummate team man, Kane suffered throughout the season with a side injury, but continued to run in hard and whilst his consistency suffered, his spell in the clinching game against May & Baker will live long in the memory. In a side notable for their commitment, nobody gives more to the cause.
Afzal Hussain 16 games, 198 runs at 15.2, 3 catches
A campaign of soft dismissals and frustration for the most part for Afzal, who saved some of his better innings for the Cup competitions. However when the season was on the line in August, Afzal played some big innings, none better than his 46 that sparked the batting in the May & Baker game. His ground fielding was also outstanding and whilst Kane remain the master of the running catch, Afzal is the king of the direct hit run-out, take him on at your peril.
Bryan Atkins 15 games, 162 runs at 14.7, 8 wickets at 16, Econ 5.1, 3 catches
One of the players in the side who needed to find their niche at the start of the season, Bryan found it in no uncertain terms as the middle order hitter and partnership breaker. Wielding a big bat and roving up and down the lineup with a licence to swing, Bryan won the first game against Asian with a last over assault when all looked lost, a victory which was huge in terms of the belief that it gave the side. He then performed similar feats against Hornchurch Athletic, Hawks and memorably against M&B when his 29 from 8 balls was equally huge, taking us over 200 and setting a score that everybody felt we could defend. Given that track record, 34 from 18 balls to win the T20 semi-final against Asian came only as a surprise to Asian skipper Amir Khan who was already working out his batting order for the final when the ball started disappearing over his head at regular intervals.
Richard Williamson 7 games, 124 runs at 20.7, 1 wicket at 15, Econ 3.5, 5 catches
A truncated season for Dicky, as a summer job at Lambretta ate into his Saturday availability. His 81 against Hornchurch Athletic showed his class, the most valuable 20 not out of the season at Asian to win the match in the final over showed his bottle. Well worth his Championship medal. Which he will probably try to sell for a packet of fags as Meggsy nicked all his during the course of the season.
Richard Williams 16 games, 114 runs at 16.2, 11 wickets at 27.9, Econ 2.9, 1 catch
With the pace now moving from the middle towards the slow lane, the Club’s resident Yorkshireman is strictly a stock bowler these days, but in 45 over cricket, you can never have too many bowlers who go for less than 3 an over. A few more notches in the wicket column wouldn’t go amiss given the pressure on places from the Club’s crop of young seam bowlers, but with some important knocks down the order also in the credit column and a man of the match award from the T20 final on the sideboard, there is hopefully another season or two from Dagenham’s foremost Max Walker impersonator.
Lawrence Walsh 16 games 99 runs at 11, 22 wickets at 13.3, Econ 3.3, 6 catches
With 20,000 runs in the bank, Dagenham’s answer to Piers Morgan has clearly decided it’s time to concentrate on the bowling and the old boy’s renaissance was one of the delights of the season. Lol regained his loop, got his leg-break turning and threw it up fearlessly against a succession of flashing blades, almost always coming out on top. Walshy picked up Asian’s star Ifthikar Ilyas in both games this year, bowling him round his legs in the pivotal clash at Low Hall Farm, and his spell at Barking where the home side’s batsmen queued up to hit the ball down long off’s throat chasing 150 with plenty of overs in hand, was another point at which the title run could have come off the rails but didn’t.
Chris Burke (keeper) 17 games, 99 runs at 11, 19 dismissals
Burkey’s batting opportunities were limited this year, but on the plus side, if you’d offered him as many runs as Lol at the start of the season he would have bitten your arm off… Chris is in the side for his keeping however and after a game against Cosmo where the sideline barracking and a wayward Izzy drove him to distraction, he re-focused, was excellent for the remainder of the season and as an ever-present, the heartbeat of a superb bowling and fielding side. Standing up on some of the tracks in this league is a licence to get some dental work done, but Burkey made it look easy, although he does lose points for moaning about byes being given instead of wides, despite that decision saving the team a run!
Shaun Ross 10 games, 32 runs at 6.4, 7 wickets at 20.2, Econ 3.4,
Still yet to really establish himself in the 2’s at the end of last season, Shaun started the season with a series of impressive displays leading their attack, came into the 1’s for the game at Hawks and never left. Shaun is not the finished article yet, but he runs in hard (whether bowling, approaching a catch or fielding a ball) and produced some superb spells, notably at Barking and Thurrock where with a bit more luck his figures could have been much better. With other bowlers returning in 2012, the pressure for bowling places will be on, but Shaun showed that he is more than up to 1st XI cricket.
Israel Ochwo 10 games, 18 runs at 6, 25 wickets at 13, Econ 4.7, 2 catches
Izzy started the season like he was going to break every record in the book ripping through Barking with 8-40 and then demolishing Fords with 5-21 on a very flat pitch. His season was sadly curtailed, first due to a hand injury and then due to the pressure of exams, but there are plenty of things in life more important than cricket (not least golf betting if you listen to the middle order whilst Kurt is batting) and Mr Ochwo will undoubtedly be back. The team rose to the occasion and went through the second half of the season unbeaten even without their talisman, but life would be easier with the odd early evening in the bar when Izzy has run through the opposition.
Also played: Craig Irving, Matt Friend 1 game each