A weekend summary and a look ahead to the season
After the cricketers of the South of England had spent the first few weeks of the season looking mournfully out at the rain outside their windows (I'm sure it wasn't just me!) I am pleased to be able to report we finally had some cricket this weekend.
Chesham before taking the field vesus Banbury
While Saturday's matches versus Enfield and Sunday's friendly versus Widmer End fell foul of the weather, the 1st XI opened the season with a National Cup tie versus Banbury. Chesham hadn't entered the competition for quite some time and the visit of a Premier League side to The Meadow was always going to be a stern test for the team and give an indication of where we are currently as a club. Bowling first, Jonathan Burden (2-25) led a fiery opening exchange, however Banbury's middle order pairing of West (64) and Cater (56*) battled through and led a late surge that saw our visitors post a score of 207-5 off their 45 overs.
Jonathan Burden dismisses Banbury's Andrew Sabin
Chesham's reply got off to a poor start in the face of some excellent bowling, however a partnership between Andy Goddard (32) and Jason Rance (39) gave Chesham some hope, but Banbury squeezed Chesham out of the game and finished on 135-8, with both sides having taken a lot from what was a competitive game.
David Hughes-D'aeth attempts to raise the run rate
Once again weather permitting this week will see the start of the Thames Valley League season. After falling agonisingly short of promotion last year, the 1st XI will look to make this their last year in Division 2B, starting the campaign off with a home match against Kidmore End. The league sees three new additions from last year in the shape of promoted Newbury and Yateley and relegated Thatcham Town.
The 2nd XI, under new management in the shape of Dave Porter, will also be aiming for promotion from Division 4A, and will face Marlow Park's 1st XI this Saturday at Higginson Park. The League has a distinct local flavour with 7 Bucks sides in total facing off against each other including derbies against Amersham, Beaconsfield and High Wycombe. The new faces in the league are Beaconsfield, Farnham Royal, Marlow Park and Burnham.
After yet another promotion, the 3rd XI will now play their cricket in Division 5A. Farnham Common's 1st XI are the first visitors to Chartridge this weekend. While the 3rd XI will take on a couple of old adversaries in Harefield and Windsor's 3rd XIs, the side will break new ground against the 2nd XIs of Chiswick & Latymer, Marlow, Bagshot and Purley, along with Farnham Common 1sts and Slough 3rds.
The 4th XI face a long trip to Chiswick & Latymer to open their Division 8B campaign, and will face new competitors from Beaconsfield, Burnham and Finchampstead.
Meanwhile the Women's XI also start their league season this weekend, at home to Hampstead. Having joined a new league for 2012, the side will take on sides from the North London area, taking on Hemel Hempstead, Underhill, Ickenham, Hampstead and Totteridge.
Once again we are entering two Sunday XIs into the Chess Valley League, which starts in June. The 1st XI will once again take a tilt at the title in Division 1, with Bessborough, Brondesbury and Holtwhites Trinibis joining the league, while the 2nd XI will aim for promotion in Division 6, against new opponents Stanmore, Harpenden, Harrow St Mary's and the Met Police. The 2nd XI will also play a full calendar of friendlies this season.
1st XI vs. Kidmore End (The Meadow)
Team: O.Turner (captain), Goddard, Habib, Asuaf, J.Rance, M.Watson, Odhiambo, MacIver, C.Royals, Veys (wkt) A.N. OTHER
2nd XI vs. Marlow Park (Away)
3rd XI vs. Farnham Common (Chartridge)
4th XI vs. Chiswick & Latymer (Away)
Sunday 2nd XI vs. Berkhamsted (Away)
Team: C.Royals (captain), M.Watson, S.Watson, Morris, Woodward, M.Hughes-D'aeth, C.Turner (wkt), E.Turner, S.Rance, D.Hughes-D'aeth, P.Hughes-D'aeth