2002 Review

BowledThe 2002 season held much to look forward to. Rayleigh Cricket Club's Centenary year looked promising on and off the pitch - the club's first Cricket Week was organised for July, and both the First and Seconds teams had a difficult season ahead of them after respective relegation battles in 2001. With some major absences from the First XI, getting three competitive league sides out each week was going to be difficult.


For the first time in many years, the weather over the preceding months to the season had been good. The scenes of the Rawreth outfield resembling a marsh were not repeated and the season got underway with relatively dry wickets. Things looked good in the pre-season friendlies - Willie Leadbeater put in a very early bid for the batting cup with 141 in the Firsts' win against Hornchurch Athletic, whilst the Seconds easily beat Old Southendians. The start of the league season told a different story - the Firsts and Seconds barely managed 200 runs between them in the first week, but at least the Thirds under the stand-in management of Andy Thurogood made a fight of it at Springfield.

Things didn't improve much as the month continued - both The Firsts and Seconds slumped to four straight defeats, but to be fair, the Seconds played their toughest four fixtures first. The Thirds got the first league win at home to Hullbridge, the Sundays beat Writtle and the Fourths maintained a 100% record Beating South Woodham Ferrers and North Weald.


Things didn't improve much in June - another three defeats for the Firsts, but then the first win came at Roxwell thanks to a solid 107 opening partnership between Paul Dudmish and Andy Thurogood and superb bowling performances from Tim Rees and Mike Law. The Seconds started winning too, against Burnham, Fairview and Purleigh, mainly due to the Rayleigh bowling attack of Tofts, Cane, James, Dunne and Starling whilst the Rayleigh batting struggled. The Thirds found wins hard to come by, two successive nine wicket defeats preceded a win against Hockley, whilst the Fourths had a mixed month. The Sundays lost all matches, but a 50 on debut from new wicketkeeper Mike Hillis pointed to a strengthening of the batting line up.

A welcome break from league woes was brought by the Club's first ever cricket week. The week was kicked off by the Six-a-Side tournament, won by Danny White's 'Young Bucks' despite a spectacular thunderstorm and a flooded wicket. During the week we played hosts to Great Dunmow, Leigh, Witham and Herongate, plus the colts had their own day. Rayleigh lost the the matches, but that didn't seem to matter as we entertained our visitors over the road, the highlight being the games night with Herongate, yoghurt and all. The Sunday match saw a return of the President's Match, with many old faces returning to Rawreth Lane to respresent the President.

President's TeamBack in the league, things were looking very bleak as the Firsts only managed two more wins in the season and ended bottom of Division 3. There were some plus points to be taken away from such a dismal season - Jon Cook developed into the all-rounder he always threatened to, scoring almost 400 runs, Mike Law had a great season with the ball with 42 wickets, and Danny White and Michael Robinson showed great promise for the future playing at the higher level.


The Seconds struggled too - again, the batting let the side down, although the batting highlight of the season was Simon Harwood's and John Suckling's 188 partnership against league leaders Canvey Island. Two wins in the last matches saw the Seconds pull away from the relegation zone and finish a creditable fifth in the league.

The Thirds had a mixed season with only five wins, but the younger players did well and gained valuable league experience. The Fourths had similar fortunes, chalking up four wins in their first four games followed by six straight defeats, but always playing with good spirit.


Matt NobesThe Sunday XI struggled with a team depleted of some of its major stars from previous seasons. Mike Humphrey had a great year with 29 wickets, and Andy Thurogood got his maiden ton against Great Dunmow in an otherwise disappointing season for the team. The undoubted high spot of the season was colt Matthew Nobes's 6 for 27 in the very last game against Navestock to snatch the bowling cup.


The end to such a memorable season was marred by the sad news of the passing away of President John Monk, a great Club member throughout well over half of RCC's 100 year history, who will be sorely missed.

The Results
Pld Won Drawn Lost N/R
First XI 22 4 1 17 0
Second XI 23 9 0 14 2
Third XI 18 5 0 12 1
Fourth XI 11 4 0 7 0
Sunday XI 19 3 2 13 1
Other Matches 10 2 0 9 0
Total 103 27 3 72 4
RCC Web Awards
Dullest Innings : Andy Thurogood, 2 off 53 balls, Thirds vs Brookweald III
Mr Kipling Pie for Worst Bowling Figures : Michael Robinson, 44 runs off 3.1 overs, Firsts vs Chignal
Duck Award : Mike Humphrey, 8 ducks (4 golden)