After the club's phenomenal playing success in 2018 when all 4 of our SNEL XIs gained promotion, it was always going to be difficult to emulate in 2019. And so it proved. But although our senior teams weren't able to clinch any titles or lift any trophies, our Under 13s performed magnificently in winning the SECPG Final for the second successive year - well done to them for waving the flag for the club.
Although our league teams didn't quite achieve the match results they would have wished, many outstanding individual performances were recorded with maiden centuries/fifties and '5fors' being registered, while three batsmen clocked up 1,000 runs and three bowlers surpassed 50 wickets. And a good many new club records were established along the way. Praise is due to our 5th XI players (many of whom were experiencing their first taste of SNEL cricket) for their highly creditable success upon their return to SNEL under the skilful leadership of skipper Jim Robertson.
SNEL Premier Division
Our 1st XI competed in the SNEL Premier Division for the very first time - a major achievement in itself given that they had entered the Shepherd Neame Essex League (3rd Division) only in 2009. They were baptised into the longer format of the game (120 overs) and met a couple of clubs they had not previously encountered in a competitive league situation. And despite suffering a few key player absences due to injury, they did extremely well in holding their own to maintain their place in the top flight Premier Division in 2020. Joe Joyce was the leading run-scorer in the Premier Division and Matt Doran finished in second place - excellent seasons for them both. Danny Joyce is stepping down as 1st XI captain and we extend our thanks to him for his unswerving commitment and dedication over 7 continuous, successful seasons. Billy Winter will take up the leadership reins in 2020 and we send him our best wishes for the challenge ahead.
Under 13s crowned SECPG champions
After winning the SEDCB title in 2018 with a fine victory over Orsett, our Under 13s again showed their class by lifting this year's SECPG title. To win the title once was an excellent achievement, but to be crowned Champions for the second successive season was superb indeed. In the Final at Garon Park, Southend-on-Sea, against a strong Hadleigh & Thundersley side, we produced some impressive performances to win by just 1 wicket in the last over. Managers Robert Waters and Jim Robertson instilled professional discipline and commitment, and are to be congratulated for guiding their young charges to a season's final record of - Played 22, Won 20, Tied 1, Lost 1 - an outstanding record by any measure. A 'togetherness' spirit among the squad was evident throughout the season.
Under 13s - SECPG Champions
Dukes Essex T20
The 16 top SNEL clubs competed in the Dukes Essex T20 competition and we competently played our way through to the last 4 on Finals Day that was held at Billericay CC on 7th July. In our semi-final match against 1st Division side Harold Wood, we bowled and fielded well to restrict them to just 98 for 6 in their allotted 20 overs - what we thought would be a 'gettable' total. And in our reply, when we were perched on 76 for 5, the game was all but over (or so we thought). But a 'Belhus Collapse' ensued as we lost 5 wickets for 16 runs to be dismissed for 92 and suffer an agonising defeat by 6 runs. Dear oh dear. The game of cricket can be cruel sometimes. Well played Harold Wood.
1,000 wickets for Cliff Cansdale
In capturing two wickets in the 2nd XI's match against Paddington CC at North Stifford on 28th April, Cliff Cansdale notched up his 1,000th wicket. Only one other member has ever taken 1,000 wickets for the club - the legendary swing bowler Don Pegler who took in excess of 1,300. Cliff's magnificent milestone included a hat trick against Pitsea CC on 7th August 1993 and a best return of 9 for 34 against Snaresbrook CC on 19th May 1994. His most productive season was in 2010 when he captured a total of 96 wickets at an average of 13.40 with an economy of 3.69. Our congratulations to Cliff - a truly remarkable career achievement - and he is still going strong!
The Hat Trick Club
As we all know, a hat trick is a rare feat - many bowlers in club cricket can play for 30 or more years without achieving one. In 2019, more hat tricks were taken - 4 - than in any previous season in the club's history. So we extend our congratulations to the master bowlers who joined the illustrious Belhus CC Hat Trick Club:
James Webb - Under 11s v Wickford - 19th May
Ashir Saleem - 3rd XI v Chelmsford - 22nd June
Seth Coelho - 5th XI v Chelmsford - 13th July
Henry Overy - Under 13s v Hadleigh & Thundersley - 1st September.
To view the full historical list of the club' s hat trick takers, please visit HAT TRICK CLUB on the left-hand side menu of our website.
New club record 1st wicket partnership
Only weeks after Ryan Prendergast and Dean Henry had established a new club record 1st wicket partnership of 272 (including 95 extras) in the 4th XI's SNEL match against Southend-on-Sea & EMT CC on 22nd June, Michael Cansdale (163*) and Tom Thompson (145*) produced an astonishing, unbroken opening stand of 326 in the 3rd XI's SNEL match against Old Southendian & Southchurch CC on 13th July. Whilst it was also the highest-ever innings total by a Belhus CC 3rd XI, it is believed to be the very first triple-hundred partnership in the entire history of cricket in our borough.
We suspect that this new club record is likely to remain in our record books for some years to come although, of course, you never know. . .
Although the season might not have been one of the club's best in terms of team match results, we nevertheless watched some fine innings by a good many of our batsmen who stroked a total of 12 centuries (13 in 2018), with maiden centuries being recorded by Andrew Williams, Gus Philpott, Lewis Blake and Dean Henry.
Three batsmen reached 1,000 runs for the season:
Joe Joyce - 1,353 runs @ an average of 56.38
Michael Cansdale - 1,248 runs @ an average of 29.71
Robert Healy - 1,114 runs @ an average of 35.94.
It was the first occasion that Michael and Robert had reached the milestone, but the 10th such instance for the impressively consistent Joe who notched up his 43rd century - a record number for the club and the leading run-scorer in the SNEL Premier Division in 2019.
Other batsmen who fared pretty well with the bat in both league and friendly matches were - Zak Wilson 973 runs @ an average of 37.43, Matt Doran 937 runs @ 40.74, Henry Overy 894 runs @ 26.29, Wayne Read 843 runs @ 26.34 and Ryan Wells 830 runs @ 29.64.
Whereas 15 '5fors' were registered by our bowlers in 2018, we witnessed no less than 21 such instances this season, with maiden '5fors' being achieved by Izzy Overy, Antonio Darrell and Henry Overy. The leading wicket-takers of the season who each totalled more than 50 wickets were:
Henry Overy - 69 wickets @ 16.90 and economy of 4.54
Matt Doran - 57 wickets @ 21.89 and economy of 4.08
Tyler Robertson - 52 wickets @ 21.71 and economy of 3.94
Other notable performers with the ball were: Cliff Cansdale 45 wickets @ 14.40 and economy of 3.54, Joe Joyce 36 wickets @ 25.61 at an economy of 3.75 and Max Osborne 30 wickets @28.77 at an economy of 4.17. The best returns were achieved by Ashir Saleem - 6 for 3 (3rd XI v Chelmsford on 22nd June), John Wilson 6 for 27 (2nd XI v Mount on 1st September), Rob Long - 6 for 38 (4th XI v Orsett on 1st June) and Matt Doran 6 for 62 (1st XI v Buckhurst Hill on 1st June).
Oldest and youngest
You're never too young or too old to play the game at Belhus CC. We welcome players of all abilities and of all ages. Some brilliant playing performances have been recorded over the years by young and old alike, and we respectfully acknowledge our appreciation of their records in the 'Oldest and Youngest' page on the left-hand submenu on our website.
in senior matches, the 2019 season saw Cliff Cansdale become the club's oldest player, at 62 years 158 days, to take a '5for' (for the 2nd XI against Hutton CC on 24th August), while Robert Healy became the youngest player, at age 13 years 9 days, to score a fifty (for the 3rd XI v Horndon-on-the Hill CC on 4th May). And on 13th July, Seth Coelho, became the youngest bowler, at age 13 years 91 days, to take a hat trick (for the 5th XI against Chelmsford CC). Well done to them.
All 10 opposition batsmen caught
On only two occasions in the club's history had all 10 opposition batsmen been dismissed 'caught' by our fielders. The first instance was in the 1st XI's match against Chadwell Heath CC on 5th September, 1976 and the second instance was, again by the 1st XI in their match against Downshall CC on 7th August 1983. And this season saw the feat occur for a third time - by the 2nd XI against Buckhurst Hill CC on 3rd August. Wayne Read and John Lewis Jnr played in both of those 1983 and 2019 matches and, by coincidence, John was also the team captain in both matches - 36 years apart!
6 sixes in an over by Ryan Wells
In 1984, Wayne Read established a club record when hitting 5 sixes in an over (for the 3rd XI v Rainham CC on 4th August). And the record remained intact until the 29th July 2019 in the Norfolk Tour match against Norwich CC when Ryan Wells, coming in at No. 9, struck 6 sixes in an over. In fact, he scored 40 runs off the over - no ball4, wide, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, creating another club record for most runs scored in an over. His quick fire 93 will long be remembered as his 50 came up in 13 deliveries (a new club record for the fastest fifty). Three new records in his innings made for a truly memorable day.
Visit of MCC
On 21st August, the club welcomed the Marylebone Cricket Club to North Stifford. In the 200+ years history of cricket in our district, it was the very first occasion that a local club had been honoured with a match against MCC - the world's pre-eminent club ("a private club with a public function" said Sir Pelham Warner).
On a glorious summer's day, MCC batted first and were dismissed for a modest total of 220 all out after Belhus spinner Roy Heffernan had bowled with accuracy and guile to take 5 for 31. After a sublime lunch and tea, the Belhus batsmen fought hard to chase down the runs. And after a fine opening partnership of 59 between Billy Winter and Michael Fogg and a cultured 36 by Mark Sansom, we lost wickets regularly to march precariously to 190 for 9. MCC looked poised for victory but were thwarted by a last wicket stand of 28 between skipper Danny Joyce and Matthew Williams who almost saw Belhus home to victory, and we closed on 218 for 9 to secure a respectable draw in an exciting finish. It was a memorable and historic day for the club who brought much credit to the borough.
MCC v Belhus CC
Two more tours
In 2019, the club completed its 35th tour. With a tour history dating back to 1966, our senior and youth sections both visited Norfolk once again, where they enjoyed fun but competitive matches and were blessed with fine weather. With past tours to Northern Ireland, Barbados, Hampshire, Devon, Yorkshire, Lancashire and Norfolk, the club has a reputation for being one of the most adventurous in Essex - and with more tours planned for 2020 and beyond, long may that continue.
Youth Tour 2019
SNEL Final League Record 2019
5th XI - Captain Jim Robertson. Scheduled 18, Won 6, Lost 5, Drew 3, Cancelled 3, Abandoned 1
4th XI - Captain John Wilson. Scheduled 18, Won 9, Lost 4, Drew 4, Cancelled 1
3rd XI - Captain Jack Plane. Scheduled 18, Won 6, Lost 10, Cancelled 1, Abandoned 1
2nd XI - Captain John Lewis Jnr. Scheduled 18, Won 4, Lost 12, Cancelled 1, Abandoned 1
1st XI - Captain Danny Joyce. Scheduled 18, Won 5, Lost 10, Drew 2, Abandoned 1
Full match scorecards for the season can be viewed on our website in FIXTURES/RESULTS on the top bar menu.
We must remember our generous sponsors, social members and vice presidents, as well as our committed army of volunteers who contributed magnificently in their various roles. We might not have excelled on the field of play in 2019, but we enjoyed yet again a hugely successful and enjoyable year off it - our sincere thanks to everyone involved in the efficient running of our club.
* * *
Transmec Group continued their generous sponsorship in 2019. Thank you very much indeed.
* * *