SHENLEY CHURCH END
Member of the Morrant Four Counties League
15/10/2009 - END OF SEASON REVIEW - SATURDAY LEAGUEWith a new season approaching, Shenley were gearing up for the first season in Division Two, knowing the opposition strength would be far more consistent than the league below. Richard Fletcher took up the reigns as skipper, Anton De Beer ably assisting, and along with new players Steve Williams and Ben Riches, the squad looked increasingly stronger.
The next two home fixtures saw Shenley chase down modest totals and rise up to the upper echelons of the league. Soulbury posted 151 all out, De Beer moving up the wicket taking charts with 4-17. Shenley realised there wasn't much pressure with overs to spare, and Richard Fletcher's 47 and Stuart Burke's 40 moved eased them home. A similar story at home to Stewkley. Some sturdy bowling from Rob Hatcher and Simon Sidwell reduced the Vicarage to 136-9, allowing Shenley to complete victory by 9 wickets, Colin Wayman notching 55 not out.
The tour weekend allowed the players to enjoy their high position in the top 3, but were served with a stern reminder of relaxing on Biddenham's trip to Manor Fields. The visitors went in first, and Shenley's shoddy bowling and fielding allowed them 275 runs off 44 overs - Graham Teagle finishing with 4-55. Despite the total, the chase was on - until the 220's - where a succession of wickets late on meant blocking out for a draw in the final 4 overs was the only option. Teagle and Nick Rogers were the last men standing, 231-9 at the death.
But as they say form is temporary - the very next week SCECC made their first trip to Olney Town in some 7 years. Graham Teagle pitched in with a 4 wicket haul and others bowlers restricted the North Beds side to just 119 all out, the innings seeing some terrific fielding. Despite a little mid innings wobble, reducing SCECC to 60-odd for 4, Anton De Beer's typically astute batting took the game away with only 30 overs into proceedings.
The chance to collect some home form eluded Shenley once again with another confusing performance. Aston Clinton made good use of the Manor Fields track to bowl out the home side for 140, but the key was the additional overs collected. Despite making a 3 figures score by the midway point, Clinton began to struggle as Shenley's fielders used the lack of pressure to their advantage. So much so, it took the visitors 6 overs to gain the final 5 runs, but the win was with 4 overs to spare.
One of Shenley's best games of the season was away at Stewkley. Batting first, SCECC inexplicably were shot down for just 160, late efforts with the bat by Rob Hatcher bumping up the total. But the bowling honours went to Jay Fletcher. His first two overs saw no success, but later a change of ends saw 5 wickets come his way - including a fantastic c&b and wild celebrations! As against Aston Clinton, Shenley slowed the Vicarage's progress sufficiently and notched up 9 wickets, ensuring defeat wasn't likely, but the final 5 overs couldn't see the final wicket taking in the thoroughly entertaining draw. Again a blank week with Edlesborough departure from the league meant 5 games left, all in August.
Milton Keynes Village travelled to Manor Fields along with new personnel - which was to see them survive impending relegation. Their win, chasing down Shenley's 166-8 (De Beer 52, R. Fletcher 31) was made tougher by the last late wicket stand, which bat one point saw SCECC 40 runs shy of their eventually total with a couple of wickets left - with 14 overs remaining! Sidwell's late 25 not out pushed the score up. Little did it matter - the visitors neared their total with 3 wickets down, but Rob Hatcher's 4-24 unexpectedly put MK on the ropes, but stumbling home with overs to spare.
Shenley's visit to league leaders Studham was always going to be tough, but again a rearguard spirit again enabled a winning draw. batting first SCECC notched 214-6, De Beer's century charge continuing with 118 not out. Studham's superb start to their innings meant they were well ahead on runs/overs ratio, but after a brilliant diving one-handed catch by Simon Sidwell on the boundary, tight bowling from Graham Teagle and Richard Fletcher made any win increasingly unlikely as overs ticked down. Studham, clearly frustrated, eventually settled for the draw a few overs from the finish, recording 190-8 and showing on their day, Shenley can and do compete with the best of the division - and the league position didn't lie, top 3 they remained.
A poor performance against Olney Town in the next match effectively ended any slim promotion hopes. Olney reached 230-7 thanks to a couple of half centuries from the visitors, but Richard Fletcher's 47 and Kieran Burke's late charge against the opening bowler, it ensured despite the weak batting line-up, a respectable draw was still achievable.
A trip to Aston Clinton in the final game drew little to cheer about. Batting first and posting 191 (Nick Rogers with 65 and Richard Fletcher with 49), it seemed a defendable total. The match's result was irrelevant as both team's would maintain their league position, but Clinton's ease at the crease result in little breakthrough, gaining a final total of 195-3 with 4 overs to spare.
Shenley Church End can be extremely proud of their achievements, finishing 5th position on 227 points 5 wins, 7 draws, 4 defeats. With only 1 away defeat, numerous comebacks but some very bad games, Shenley know where the improvements should lie, and are keen to come back next year refreshed and fighting!
© SCECC 2009 - Created and maintained by Simon Sidwell