After the storms and cancelled fixtures of 2014, the 2015 season began on a much brighter note, with a victory in our first fixture on 19th April against Castle Hill. For the large part of the season the good weather remained and as a consequence we were able to complete the majority of our scheduled fixtures.
The 1st X1 played fixtures against the Royal Artillery, MCC, Free Foresters, Hampshire Hogs, Band of Brothers, Marlborough Blues, Butterflies, Radley Rangers and also against Old Westminster, Hampstead, Kensington, Refreshers and London New Zealand. Whilst the results were mixed, there were some very close and competitive games, some very good cricket and some excellent individual contributions – the most notable being James Watt’s 140 runs against Marlborough. Ed Jones, Liam Casey and Sean Parry also made significant contributions with the bat and Cameron Edwards, Tim Lawson and Sean Parry with the ball.
The AX1 played fixtures against a variety of military, wandering, City of London and the occasional village sides and secured almost twice as many victories as losses. A memorable victory came against the REME, playing one of the last matches at its soon to be demolished ground and barracks at Arborfield. Other notable wins were secured against The Wine Trade, The Stock Exchange and The Chelsea Arts Club. Unfortunately, it was not possible to avoid a rare defeat against a strong Rhino team featuring a number of second generation players (and potential future HAC recruits) despite Milan Jain’s excellent spell of bowling which bagged him 5 wickets for 32. Tim Lawson’s “sixfer” against the Grannies and Sean Parry’s 120no against The Village were other stand-out performances.
The Squadrons’ X1 had a busy season playing 12 matches including an inaugural and closely fought match against the Royal Lancers. Highlights included victories over Oxford UOTC and a Charles Stanley X1 followed by a “Danny BBQ” generously sponsored by Major Charles Marment. Exciting games were also had with the Highland & Lowland Brigade CC, the Royal Corps of Signals, the Rifles and the Foreign & Colonial Office. In terms of individual performances, the stand-out all-rounder was Jordan Morgan, with a heavy bat and 80mph ball, whose bouncer was seen to ricochet for 4 runs after striking the Highland & Lowland Brigade CC opening bat’s helmet. The addition of the gentlemen of M troop also made their mark and the squad was all the better for their character and not just for their enthusiasm for parading in the HACCC blazer!! At the end of the season Major Robert Quain, after more than 20 years service to the X1, finally bowed to the inevitable, and decided to hang-up his playing boots. Regimental Cricket Officer Mike Joy also passed on the baton for regimental cricket to Sam Hibbs who wasted no time getting stuck into his new role both on and off the pitch.
Saturday 1 August, President’s Day, saw the club come together to celebrate the return of the Help for Heroes cricket team in a match they had won the previous year.
As a warm-up for the main event the members of the club played an intra-club T20 match. The game provided a great opportunity for a number of past HAC players – from a golden era – to come back to their old stomping ground and to play with their current counter-parts. Two balanced teams took to the wicket – the President’s XI, managed by the President and a Vice President’s XI managed by Robert Gordon-Clark. It was a high scoring game with the President’s XI reaching 171 runs in their 20 overs. There were notable innings from Will Wilson, Matthew Edwards, Ant Gillard and Alex Houghton. The Vice President’s XI bowling started well with miserly spells from Damian Bush and Cameron Edwards, who took particular relish in trying to bounce his father. With the introduction of slower bowling, the run rate picked up as the boundaries flowed. In reply, the Vice President’s XI managed to keep up with the run rate in the face of some canny bowling form the likes of Arvin Dewan and Brian Tomlinson with youthful promise on display from Ollie and James Newcombe. With 9 runs to win from the last over, James Newcombe bowled an excellent line to leave the Vice President’s XI needing 6 runs to win from the last ball, with Ed Jones back on strike, having returned to crease. In a fine piece of theatre, Jones kept his nerve and struck a clean blow over extra cover for the six runs required to win the game.
After a short interlude allowing a chance to enjoy the excellent catering efforts from Ed and Naomi Haines with support from Matthew Edwards and Lil Houghton, a Squadrons’ XI took on the Help for Heroes side. There were a number of familiar faces from last year who were clearly very excited to be back at Armoury House and playing in the wonderful surroundings. The Squadrons’ XI set a challenging target of 144 in 20 overs, despite some skilful bowling from the Help for Heroes side. Ed Haines hit a notably brisk 25 before he had to retire. In reply the Help for Heroes side made a bright start with lusty hitting keeping them up with the early run rate. The Squadron’s XI however fought back well, including a probing spell of bowling from the President. Eventually the steady fall of wickets began to slow the Help for Heroes chase. Despite a late flurry of boundaries the Squadrons’ XI came through victorious.
After two games there was still appetite for one more dose of cricket as a Survivor’s XI took on the Help for Heroes XI. The Help for Heroes XI compiled a respectable 77 in their 10 overs, only to see this comfortably reeled in by an HAC XI that was surprisingly fresh considering the refreshments that had been enjoyed during the course of the day.
The day drew to a close with a very satisfied Help for Heroes XI expressing their gratitude for a fine day’s cricket and hospitality and the presentation of a cheque from the cricket club to Help for Heroes for £2,500 raised at the end-of-season dinner. Special thanks must go to Matthew Edwards and Tri-Force Recruitment for their generous contribution towards the food for the day
So overall the club remains in good shape and good heart. For this, special thanks are due to the Hon Secretary, Alex Houghton, who will be standing down at the end of the season after many years of club service, the Hon Treasurer, Tom Morgan, to the team captains Dan Brooker, Ed Haines and Charlie Martin and to everyone else who give so generously of their time and talents.