ALTHOUGH we began the season lacking a number of players who had been expected to stay on, we have enjoyed more success than has been experienced for a number of years. This has been largely due to the high standard of keenness and willingness to practice, which has been stimulated by the outstanding captaincy of Ratcliffe. He has set an excellent example and has done much to raise the standard of cricket and interest in the game throughout the School.
Three of the most important games—Manchester, Bradford and Nottingham—could have ended in victory if the batting had been rather more enterprising and the fielding a little tighter. Bowling has undoubtedly been the strongest feature of the team. Ratcliffe has been fortunate in being able to use varied resources both of pace and spin, and he has usually handled them well. Our leading three bowlers have taken nearly a hundred wickets between them, and an indication of the competition here is that Hawley, who was using the new ball late last season, has had to be content with a much more modest role this year. Searle has enjoyed a most successful season, varying his length and pace very intelligently and being most economical. Somewhat ruefully, this Staff reporter must admit that his best bowling performance was reserved for us ! Pike has justified the good opinions held of his bowling in earlier seasons when his figures were not so impressive. He is now able to bowl steadily for long spells and is experimenting with spin in a pleasing manner; when he matches this with greater subtleties of flight, he will be even more penetrating. Walker has had his days of success but is too much inclined to bowl without a proper plan and with insufficient variety; nevertheless he has the keenness and determination which are essential to success as a pace bowler. Lord and Board in their first season have been useful support bowlers and promise well for next year.
Cricket First XI 1956/57
J D Walker, D W Searle, Keith L Board, A G Wagstaffe, C J W Powell;
T K Robinson, , D W Searle, I W Newsom (Sec), J G Ratcliffe (Capt), D. A. Pike, J C Hemming;
P C Hawley, G L Lord, E W Powell, J A Brown.
Photo courtesy of John Ratcliffe
Ratcliffe has ably shouldered a heavy responsibility in the batting and his record speaks for itself. His technique is very sound, with his offside play often a delight to watch. His partnership with Newsom against Sheffield Collegiate was the highest opening stand the School has had for many years and was particularly encouraging since, prior to this game, Newsom had been badly out of form and lacking in confidence. Since then, although his style is still rather stiff and restricted, he has played several valuable innings and has gained in experience which will help him next year when he is to captain the team.
The main support for Ratcliffe, however, has come from Pike, who has developed into the most promising all-rounder the School has had for several seasons. He is now a competent and consistent batsman with a steadily increasing range of strokes and great determination to succeed. He has been unlucky in his dismissals on several occasions but next year should score heavily once he can learn to step up the rate after he has settled in. The rest of the batting has been patchy. C. J. W. Powell played most forcefully in the opening game but since then has promised more than he has achieved; but his younger brother had an excellent innings at Nottingham late in the season and this should give him greater confidence. Brown is essentially a defensive batsman ; he performed quite adequately as opener in the earlier matches and played a valuable innings in an awkward situation at Stockport; but he has not yet the capacity or the temperament for forcing the pace and this has sometimes proved dispiriting. Lord and Board may develop into useful all-rounders but have basic faults of batting technique which they must overcome.
Fielding has been the one department in which the standard has fallen below that of last year. It has never been bad but it has often lacked the zest and efficiency which one has expected. There have been some notable exceptions—Newsom in the covers, E. W. Powell in the gully—but the slip catching has been especially disappointing; picking up and throwing in still leave much to be desired. C. J. W. Powell's wicket-keeping has been handicapped by this, but he has had a rather patchy season, some good displays being marred by casual and ragged work, especially in stumping to the slower bowlers. We are restricted by lack of facilities in the Close for good fielding practice, but weaknesses in this department can make a vital difference in closely contested games.
At the end of the season, full colours were re-awarded to Ratcliffe and awarded to Pike, Searle and Newsom; half-colours to Walker, C. J. W. Powell and Brown. The outlook for next season is distinctly promising in batting, rather more uncertain in bowling; but whatever happens, we must hope that the side then derives as much pleasure from its cricket and gives as much enjoyment and satisfaction to those who take it as the team of 1957.
T. K. R.
SEASON'S RECORD Played 15. Won 8. Lost 3. Drawn 3. No decision 1.
|Powell, E. W.||7||3||80||42n||20.0|
|Powell, C. J.||13||3||115||53n||11.5|
THE season has not been as successful as might have been expected—three matches won, two drawn and four lost—but all members of the team have thoroughly enjoyed and have greatly benefited from their weekly Saturday afternoon pilgrimages to Whiteley Woods. Remarkably few games have been affected by bad weather, rain interfering only once in what proved to be our last match, against Hymers College at Hull—since militant bus pickets robbed us of our final fixture against Nottingham High School.
We opened our programme with an interesting game against De La Salle and in a close finish we lost by 2 wickets. At Barnsley we won comfortably by 79 runs, thanks mainly to a stirring 41 not out by Bagnall and an equally vital 21 not out by Andrew. We were soundly beaten by Queen Elizabeth G.S. at Wakefield, and by the Old Edwardians who were aided in their race against the clock by some decidedly faulty fielding. This fault was soon eradicated and in our next game against Mt. St. Mary's our victory was indeed overwhelming. Obtaining considerable help from the atmosphere, Hill and Bagnall ran through our opponents and dismissed them for 26, the former taking 6 for 5 and the latter 4 for 12. Hill was then promoted from number 11 to number 1 and he and Beckett proceeded to score the runs necessary to complete a 10-wicket win. After a victory over High Storrs and a rather tame draw with Manchester, we proceeded to our most exciting game, against Stockport, whose 7th wicket pair just failed to score the ten runs required in the last over. This was indeed a tense match and provided the most interesting cricket we have played this season. At Hull, Sheasby (36 n.o.) and Wagstaff (27 n.o.) produced some lively cricket before the rain curtailed the match.
There have been few outstanding individuals in our side, but one must mention Andrew who, despite his glorious refusal to take a guard, has proved our most successful batsman. He has a good eye and a sound technique; with careful practice he should develop into an able cricketer. Rickwood, Hill and Bagnall have all bowled well and pulled their weight, whilst Shipton has always come off when most needed with a timely wicket or a brisk " agricultural " innings.
We must thank Messrs. Wright and Hetherington for their interest, enthusiasm and skilful coaching.
Longden has again proved a very able Captain. He is largely responsible for the good spirit which has existed in the team. Special mention must be made of his wicket-keeping which he performed with some success during the latter part of the season. Our thanks are due to Sara who, on several occasions, occupied the position of 12th man and scorer. It is to be hoped that the younger members of the team will have benefited from this season's experience and we look forward to their continued improvement.
Regular members of the team were : Longden, Avis, Sheasby, Beckett, Bridge, Hill, Rickwood, Andrew, Shipton, Bagnall. Also played : Board (also 1st XI), Wagstaffe (also 1st XI), Buchan, Perris, Findlay, Bentley, J., and Sara.
D. F. W., P. S. H.
Played 10. Won 3. Drawn 2. Lost 4. No decision 1.
DIXON has proved to be a sound captain and has set a high standard of behaviour on and off the field. Lack of aggression in his field placing and too many bowling changes have been his main weaknesses.
The batting has been unpredictable. The problem of finding an opening pair was only solved late in the season. Bradshaw and Ellis were tried in the earlier games but they eventually enjoyed greater success lower down the order. Other combinations of batsmen met with varying degrees of failure and only Bell and Bows produced the technique that was needed. Needham batted quite well, and with greater concentration should be quite a useful player next year. Bows is the best prospect of all the batsmen, but he needs to speed up his reactions against the faster type of bowler. The rest of the " batsmen " had their moments of glory, but the potential ability of a batsman is not judged solely on the number of runs he manages to score. Most of the team attempted to achieve a high rate of scoring irrespective of the merits of the bowling or the state of the match. Aggression is a virtue if tempered with a sound defensive technique and common sense.
The bowling honours go to Perry. His deceptive variations of flight and turns off the wicket were the main reasons for several of our successes. With more experience he should be a valuable asset to the School's cricket. The fast bowlers, Elliott and Hudson, bowled well on occasions, but lacked the penetrative power one associates with good opening bowlers. Speed without accuracy is a waste of energy. Riddle, Laughton and Sharpe gave support to the others without having much success.
Fielding improved as the season progressed, with fewer catches dropped and the return throw to the wicket-keeper arriving in the vicinity of the stumps. Some of the team were very slow in the field; an improvement in this side of their game is needed if their other cricketing qualities are to have much value. Bradshaw kept wicket for most of the season and proved capable if not always reliable. He usually got a glove or pad to the ball, but too frequently deflected it for byes.
Quarrel deserves our appreciation for his services in keeping the score-book so neat and tidy. His accuracy with figures was seldom questioned ! We wish all the players every success in their future ventures into School cricket.
G. W. T., D. J. W.
Played 11. Won 7. Lost 4.
The outstanding bowler has been Perry, with figures of 73-21-175-32, an average of 5.47 runs per wicket. Needham headed the batting averages, with 8–0–128–32, an average of 16 runs per wicket. Until the Nottingham match Bradshaw had headed the averages; his final figures were 10-1-137-50, average 15.2 per wicket. Dixon headed the list of catches, with 4.
The team thanks Mr. Wilson and Mr. Taylor for their umpiring, guidance, and never-failing information and advice.
P. J. Q.
THE success of the team depended too much on the performance of its Captain and opening bowlers; the rest were too diffident of their abilities and easily brought to despair on the few occasions when the leading players failed. M. R. Pike was the outstanding batsman, scoring 245 out of the team's total of 876 runs. He was often uncertain at the start of an innings and tended to make fifty runs or none at all, but the placing of his strokes (particularly on the offside), his calling and running between wickets were excellent. G. E. Ratcliffe and Eason provided a solid, reliable opening pair who usually gave the team a good start, but never quite fulfilled their promise. Ratcliffe scored a good undefeated 42 against Barnsley, but normally gave his wicket away by backing to leg or away from the line of flight. Eason was very sound, but too slow and nervous, especially in his running between wickets. Dench's 66 (n.o.) against Firth Park was one of several good innings; he is particularly forceful on the leg side. Cockayne's great fault was lack of concentration; after many failures, however, he redeemed himself at Doncaster and against Chesterfield when he was the only batsman to play resolutely. Wileman proved very useful when the Under 13 XI could spare him; he put his seniors to shame by his application and sound defence on the unpredictable Oakwood pitch. In general far too many lost their wickets by flashing outside the off stump, failing to get their foot to the pitch of the ball, and playing too soon. Hardie was the biggest disappointment : he never did as well as his ability warranted.
Aldridge and Cottingham bowled magnificently; a remarkable number of wickets fell to their hostile and accurate pace bowling. Aldridge always attacked the stumps and varied his bowling intelligently; his unorthodox and therefore controversial action may have accounted for his occasional failure to keep a good length, but his consistent success belied all criticism. Cottingham was not so fast (or so fortunate) but he has a good smooth high action and shows great promise. He did not, however, attack the stumps so well as last year and did not make the progress we expected. Kingman had his inspired moments at the beginning of the season, including a hat trick, but like Tranmer he was too prone to pitch short and was easily put off by determined batsmen. Neither of them, particularly Kingman, could be depended on to do well as batsmen—unlike Aldridge, whose aggressive style rarely failed to depress our opponents. Boys must not concentrate on one department of the game only.
Dungworth, the wicket-keeper, had an unenviable task against the fast attack, but despite his frequent injuries early in the season, he improved with every match and excelled in the game against Chesterfield. He must be careful not to transgress rules through over-enthusiasm in breaking the wicket. The fielding of the team was good ; particularly fine were Bennett (close to the wicket) Tranmer, Aldridge, and (sometimes) Cockayne. Pike, as captain, had a superb control of his team; he always set an attacking field, and was particularly noticeable himself in close positions. He and his side were a credit to the School.
A. F. T., P. D. A.
Played 10. Won 7. Lost 2. Abandoned 1. De La Salle College 71; K.E.S. 74 for 9. Won.
THE chief feature of our short but effective season has been increasing confidence and understanding, leading to sound teamwork. Wileman captained the side very well, showing intelligence and drive, and batting excellently, his 30 not out in the final game being a delightful knock. Several of the team showed sound batting technique, especially Wilkinson, who kept wicket effectively, and Parson. We bowled very well indeed in all matches, highlights being Bailey's 6 for 37 in the first match, Bedford's 5 for 20 in the third game, and Bailey's 4 for 10 and Scott's 3 for 9 in the last match.
An interesting point, which augurs well for next season, is that there were always more First than Second Form boys in the team on each occasion. With better fielding and a greater willingness to hit the bad balls as hard as possible, we should have improved on figures which are in any case satisfactory.
P. R. M.
Played 4. Won 2. Drawn 1. Lost 1.
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