TCC 1ST XI Premier Division Champions again- what a journey!

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On the 3rd of September it was confirmed that TCC were crowned the Premier Division Champions for the second time in 3 years.
Before you read our 1st team captain's summary of 2016 I’ve just tried to put some context to this great achievement.  James Keightley’s 3 seasons in charge, which include 2 Championship wins, have certainly all had drama and variety in them.


Pretext

On the evening of Saturday 6th June 2015 TCC had just been bowled out for 57 by Finchley to leave us rock bottom of the table with a record of played 5, lost 5 and already at that stage looking a near on certainty to be relegated. The Championship winning side from the season before was long gone with 4 member leaving for pastures new, and 2 others missing from injury and unavailability.
It was a stand up and be counted moment. From the most senior to the newest player we dug in for the remainder of that season, fought for ‘our lives’ every single week and slowly but surely climbed to safety with 8 wins from the remaining 13. It certainly wasn’t the most complete TCC side of recent years but that experience was invaluable for all concerned - by the end we had learned how to play and win together. The captain should take great credit for that. After that season I wrote:
“As a first team over recent years we have set ourselves many lofty ambitions, and by and large we have been fairly successful. However, I think what this group has achieved after the tumultuous pre-season and losing (that's being polite) the first 5 league games, this has to be our best, and certainly most satisfying, accomplishment of recent times. We are a proud club and the majority showed that they are proper, committed club cricketers, in digging so deep to maintain our Premier League status. This has been a real learning year for all the team about the requirements as players and as side at this level. We are still a long way from where I hope we have ambitions to be, but a platform has been laid that should provide motivation for all involved.” It certainly proved to be the case.

2016 Captain’s Review

"Winning the league was the goal we set ourselves way back in January when we met as a squad for the first time and to have achieved that is a fantastic feeling and something which the squad and I are extremely proud of.  The final points table doesn't reflect just how close it was all the way through the season and North Middlesex in particular must be commended for their fantastic run of results which put them in with a chance on the last day.  That said we do feel like we are worthy winners having lost just the two games all season and won more games (12) than any other side.
 
I believe we are more of a team than we were when we were last successful in 2014 and this win in my opinion was far greater than that of 2014.  Players from this team have more years of league cricket under their belt, they have matured as cricketers and they complement each other very well which always allows me to pick a balanced side.  We have been fortunate enough to be able to replace like for like when injuries or absences have hit us and that has meant we have been extremely consistent throughout the year.  Being able to call on the likes of league legend Nish Patel and a slightly younger league legend in Josh Knappett is something that I was very fortunate to be able to do.  Both guys jumped at the opportunity, got the bug and ended up playing a lot more games than they originally had planned.  This is testament not only to them but to the squad and the atmosphere we have created.
 
Four players scored over 450 league runs and five have taken 18 wickets or more meaning we were never solely reliant on just one or two players.  Our overseas Tim Armstrong was undoubtedly our player of the year with 18 wickets @ 23 and 707 runs @ 54.  His laid back attitude and calm nature was extremely refreshing and for such a young guy he has a fantastic cricket brain.  The other three who scored over 450 runs were James Fear 458 @ 38, Ben Williams 464 @ 46 and Tom Twiney617 @ 47, these three guys are beginning to reach their peak and realise their ability at this level and I expect them to score heavily for many seasons to come.  The bowlers to mention are David Keightley 19 wickets @ 24, Alasdair Pollock 20 @ 20, Jack Sever 21 @ 19 and I managed to contribute 33 @ 15.  We bowled well as a unit week in week out, bowled to plans and have now set our standards moving forward to next year.
 
I have stepped down as captain of the side and will be replaced by James Fear from 2017.  I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to have captained my club and am lucky enough to have two league titles in the bag."

So that’s it for 2016 on the competitive front, and good luck to James Fear, our new 1st team captain for 2017. Have a good winter.