Following last year’s disappointing set of results, and subsequent relegation, the aim of the 3rd XI’s 2017 campaign was simple, to achieve promotion. On paper, a consistently strong side was put out, testament to the strength of the club. Unfortunately, the game is not played on paper, and as we reflected on this season, the high standards we set ourselves had not been met.
The squad benefited from a number of pre-season friendlies, which allowed the boys to get some valuable game time in before the BUCS season commenced. The first of these came against a very strong twos side at Topsham Road. The 2nd XI batted first and their strength in depth was highlighted with the lower order contributing significantly to a total of 230. Positives could be taken from our bowling attack who utilised the conditions with a collectively good performance. The reply told a different story as we failed to post 100. Hugo Blogg’s season got off to a disastrous start, as his captain managed to run him out without facing. Disappointed by our efforts in this season opener, the side registered some very good performances in the other pre-season games, notably against Cardiff Met, who proved a rather vocal outfit. I tried not to take being told I was the worst cricketer on the planet too personally, and we went into the season proper in good spirits.
In our first BUCS fixture, we hosted Uni of South Wales, eager to create some momentum. Two notable individual performances stood out. Bowling first, Jack Park took 5-22, bowling what he would consider part time off-spin. Chasing a modest 182, Matt Clarke registered a century on his BUCS debut, guiding the side to victory from just 26 overs. Good start. Following this, the season failed to get going with a number of disappointing team performances. Nevertheless, there have been positives to take forward. A close game away to Bristol finished with a loss, as did our away trip to Cardiff Met. In our last game of the season we hosted Gloucester, with a very unfamiliar side which included a bat only Jonathan Burden. Despite a fantastic effort from the boys, we once again came off second best.
I have thoroughly enjoyed captaining the side this year and would like to thank all the boys who played for the 3rd XI. I would also like to thank my right-hand man, Glyn Lewis, as well as the coaches, Jack and Sandy.