Member of the Morrant Four Counties League
[Home] [Members Area]


With 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.

But SCECC were in for a shock - Edlesborough were first up, but 25 points instantly gained and Nick Rogers steam-rolled through the home side's resistance with a five wicket haul for only 9 run, along with De Beer's 3-for, to blitz their opponents to 74 all out. Shenley eased to victory with the loss of only one wicket. Caddington were next up, and Shenley were first to the crease to notch up 244-6, skipper Fletcher putting 73 on the board. The Bedfordshire side were typically resolute, and ground out a draw, taking 177-5.

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.

Frustrated at not being able to put things right against Milton Keynes Village - the match rained off - and high riding Studham were next up. Unfortunately, Shenley's bad form continued, losing simple wickets to crash to 104 all out. Studham closed the game out with ease, managing to find 2 wickets in reply however, and failing to really trouble the batsmen.

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.

This month desperately needed home form. And it came with Caddington's visit. Reducing them to 190-9, Sidwell taking 4-57 as the batsmen adopted an attacking policy - which cost them wickets, it took Anton De Beer's unbeaten century to reach the total and produce the first home victory since May. Then with just 9 men, SCECC travelled to Soulbury and won, chasing down a very gettable total and Andy Peacock producing a gut wrenching 99!

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.

The heavy rain failed to arrive as expected at Biddenham, and with Shenley down to 9 fit players they were hoping the heavens would open. They did, but it allowed Biddenham to rack 191 - the positive side of this was SCECC grabbed all 10 wickets with a gutsy bowling display on the typically flat Biddenham track, Simon Sidwell grabbing 3-35, and Richard Fletcher catching a pearler at gulley! With Shenley faltering with the loss of 4 wickets, rain saved the day to give both sides a welcome points boost.

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!

[Members Area]

© SCECC 2009 - Created and maintained by Simon Sidwell