There were a number of encouraging signs emerging towards the end of the season, across all grades and individually. Our overall standing in the club championship, I think should be pleasing to most. There were many things that we could all point to as not being as good as we would have liked them to be with the 2015/2016 season; from training to the way different teams played at various times.
The performance of the first grade was particularly pleasing, the way they trained and worked as a team during the season; contributions from all the top order bats and the work of the quicks throughout. To have finished one point out of the six with no front line spinner and a shortage of meds through various reason, for much of the season, is a wonderful effort. The leadership of the team is to be congratulated for this performance.
Fifth grade was our only grade team to play in finals with good consistent performances during the season. Unfortunately that couldn't be maintained into the finals. Some very good young players have emerged from this season.
Threes couldn't quite get to the finals in the end which was disappointing, there was some good cricket played at stages.
Two's and four's had disappointing seasons however some good signs towards the end of the season from both teams leave me with the feeling that there is enough to build on for next season.
Colt's were unlucky to miss the grand final with weather robbing them in the semi. Again some young players have come under notice.
If we can continue that direction and build on it for the 2016/2017 season, there is no reason the club can not have a lot more teams playing finals cricket then.
Back in pre-season training at Riverview last August I suggested to all players to set themselves some goals for the season, even to the extent of writing them down. I don't know how many did that, however I am sure you can all look back on your season now and know whether you performed as you would have liked, performed above or below expectations. I suggest you all take some time now to review your season and identify the areas that you intend to improve next season. Obvious areas like batting bowling and fielding come readily to mind; don't overlook attitude to and during games and training.
My observation during the season was that there are too many people prepared to 'leave it' to someone else; a strong, successful club is built on everyone getting in and having a go. There are many that do have this attitude, but there are unfortunately too many that don't. One thing is for sure, if you hope to improve on last season, starting the next one with the same old ideas, thoughts, attitudes and habits, won't do it.
One area that I personally would like to see an improvement in is the non game bowlers doing more bowling at training. At some point during training we invariably end up being under-maned at the bowling crease. Spinners should be looking to bowl most of the night, mediums probably the same, quicker bowlers for at least an hour in two spells, if the non game bowlers do at least half an hour, it spreads the load on all bowlers.
Last season fielding at training was mostly under worked. Every player should be doing 30 to 45 minutes, made up of throwing, ground fielding and catching. This along with the bowling above are areas where too many are prepared to leave it to someone else; either to do the work or to organise a session. There are some things in fielding you can do on your own (i.e throw at a target), there are plenty of things in fielding you can do with only one other person (i.e catch, ground balls, throw).
Many players are happy to grab one other person to throw or lob them balls to hit, do the same with your fielding, and I suggest get the fielding done first.
Helping each other is so important in cricket, particularly to be a successful side or club. Every night at training last season I saw players that would have a bowl and a hit and vanish into the trees on the hill. I am sure many had legitimate reasons to be doing so, but I am equally sure there were a lot that thought, I've had my bat and bowl, I'll be off now. Stay half an hour extra to do some fielding; don't use the excuse that nothing is organised, you only need one other person to do something meaningful.
Pre-season fielding come August will be along the same lines as last season, mostly focused on footwork and technique, with a lot of repetition. Nearly all these exercises can be broken down to just two players, remember them and use them during the new season.
In August I will again be suggesting to all players that they write down some goals for the upcoming season; spend a few moments now to get some ideas together, then put it into your cricket kit and enjoy the winter season. When it comes time to dig out the cricket bag you will hopefully find the note and be one step on the way to a successful 2016-2017 season.