Club Cricket Conference

Monday, 25th September 2017

Teddington ride Morton's early blitz to finish top

By Charles Randall


9 September 2016

 
Teddington's million-pound fund-raising project was given a boost by their second Middlesex County Cricket League title in three years.

Tim Armstrong, a Western Australian all-rounder, provided the batting backbone, but he must have wondered what the summer had in store in his first game at Bushy Park when Tom Morton smashed 232 against them for Ealing. Morton's mayhem took a mere 158 balls and broke the league individual record set only the previous Saturday by his team-mate Ollie Wilkin. This meant Ealing made a perfect start to top the table in the first month, but Teddington pegged them back and eventually won the title comfortably.

Armstrong was powerless to prevent Teddington's home loss against Ealing, but he finished with a total of 707 runs at an average of 54.3, the second-best aggregate in the league. His one century was a match-winner off only 59 balls when Twickenham's 304-5 was overtaken with 7.2 overs to spare. Tom Twiney, with 617 at 47.4, and James Fear made good runs, though it was Teddington's overall depth with bat and ball that probably took James Keightley's side through to the title.

Teddington's success is well timed because it coincides with a new facilities project probably overdue for a club of their stature. Teddington have only had two cricket buildings in Bushy Park since the 1890s, and the current pavilion, not without charm, was erected in 1947 using two ex-Service huts left over from The War. The new building will occupy a different area, and the club envisage returning the current pavilion site and car park to grass to enlarge the outfield. While part of the cost will be met by the usual grants, the club planners say they  will have to raise £1 million to avoid debt.

The 2016 top division's most prolific batsman proved to be the former Potters Bar player Don Manuwelge with 781 runs for Twickenham at 52.1, including three centuries, and his team-mate, the Indian left-arm spinner Parminder Singh, took 41 wickets, more than any other bowler. Yet Twickenham were relegated with bottom club Eastcote to make way for Finchley, bouncing straight back, and Brondesbury.

Joel Hughes's 40 wickets helped North Middlesex to runners-up, their highest placing, but Richmond's realistic hopes of improving from 2015 runners-up collapsed in a heap at Old Deer Park when they were bowled out for 47 by Teddington's seam attack with two matches left.

Ealing, the perennial powerhouse, had a relatively quiet summer after the early fireworks and finished mid-table. Wilkin missed games when he was selected by Middlesex, and  Morton's batting form tailed off after his sensational double-century. Morton,  a Wiltshire minor counties batsman, joined as director of cricket from the Southern League champions South Wilts CC. He had missed only two games in 10 years at the Salisbury club and scored 979 runs at 54.39 in 2015, so this was a relatively disappointing season.

This proved to be a competitive and unpredictable season in the Middlesex County Cricket League, with most sides capable of beating the other, apart from rock-bottom Eastcote. For example, Stanmore won off the last ball at Ealing - thanks to 141 from 46 year-old Mark Ramprakash - and they defeated North Middlesex easily enough,  but Stanmore finished one place above relegation, the place incidentally Teddington occupied in 2015.  Equally the 2015 champions Hampstead were humiliated in a 10-wicket thrashing by Richmond, who were similarly demolished by Teddington.

 
Details of Teddington CC pavilion project:
http://www.teddingtoncc.co.uk/new-page/