For the 6th XI it was one of the toughest seasons they have known since the team was formed for the 2005 season. An eventual finish of tenth and bottom place in Division One West may look bad on paper, but it does not tell half the story. Captain Ray Calder used 56 different players during the season, and availability higher up the club meant Ray’s job was made almost impossible. Two games did have to be conceded, only the second and third time the club have conceded any league games since entering the SNEL in 1999, and it is only down to Ray’s enthusiasm, commitment and diplomacy skills that it wasn’t more than this!!
However, there were a number of positives to come out of the season. Several young players represented the side and improved as the year went on, a number of new players were introduced to the game (including several colts parents) and a number of old faces returned to help out, and we hope we may see more of them in the future.
The season actually started with a good performance against Chingford 4s which resulted in a draw. U13 Callum Berry made 46 on his senior league debut as Upminster made 190 and Chingford were 99-4 when the rain came to washout what looked like being an exciting finish. The team continued their good start a week later as Casey Adams and captain Calder were in the runs to secure a hard fought draw with Harold Wood but the month ended on a low note when the game against Wanstead and Snaresbrook had to be conceded.
Youngster Liam Roberton impressed in the nine wicket defeat to Brentwood at the start of June before the experience of Ian Twine helped the team to a deserved draw with Oakfield Parkonians a week later. Casey Adams was in the runs in the game against Walthamstow but it was a returning player who caught the eye. Tom Langston, a regular for the club in the 00s, made an unbeaten 63 and picked up three wickets, but it was not enough to stop the Stow picking up a five wicket win. June finished with two heavy defeats in local derbies. Firstly Gidea Park 4th XI proved to strong for Calder’s side and then Hornchurch 5s dealt out a heavy defeat a week later, despite four wickets for youngster Harvey Daniels.
The World Cup Quarter Final between England and Sweden caused problems for a number of SNEL clubs and it meant that the game with Hutton 5s had to be conceded, before Mike Larke stepped into the breach a week later for the return game with Chingford. With the captain on holiday and vice captain Paul Scott not available, Larke and his nine man side put up a brave fight before falling to a seven wicket loss. Ben Kinder impressed with the bat. Week 11, the 21st July, finally brought the victory the side were after as they saw off local rivals Harold Wood by 81 runs. Colts coach Martin Davis struck 77, the returning Sam Langston (buoyed by his brother’s efforts a few weeks before) made 63 before colts parents Matt Malby and Glen Cargill struck some late blows to get the score up 238-5 from their 40 overs. In reply Paul Scott, playing his last game for the time being having captained the side for 12 of the 14 years they have been in action, took 5-28 to help his side to a memorable 81 run win.
A number of club legends came out of retirement a week later for the game against Wanstead, but it was captain Calder who was in the runs, making an unbeaten 79 and without support from Keith Pedrick the side did well to make 174-5. Michael Jones reduced Wanstead to 13-2 in reply but that was as good as it got as the Herons picked up an eight wicket win. Brentwood’s Shane Surujbally, a destructive batsman at 2nd and 3rd XI level not to long ago, helped himself to his second double ton of the season as Brentwood wracked up a massive 402-3 from 40 overs on the hottest weekend of the summer. Mushnoon Mustofa stuck to the task and picked up two wickets amongst the carnage. Lloyd Sutton battled well in reply but Upminster were dismissed for 102. Things did not get any better a week later as Calder’s side were rolled out for 61, despite 20 from George Sadek, and fell to a five wicket loss despite the bowling efforts of Karim Govani, Callum Berry and Molly Amrani. The Team did secure a hard earned draw with Walthamstow a week later, but they finished August with a 10 wicket loss to Gidea Park, despite Matt Malby making 38 out of a total of 52!!!
With the end of season on the horizon the side finished the season well. Ben Hamberger and Lloyd Sutton made excellent half centuries against Hornchurch 5s but it was not enough as Hornchurch won by nine wickets, but the season finished on a high with a brilliant performance against Hutton 5s. Hamberger was in the wickets, as were Clive Wilson and John Morley, as Hutton were skittled out for 81 before the skipper made 32 to get the reply off to a good start. The honour of hitting the winning runs was left to Brent Denman and Mushnoon Mustofa as Upminster won by seven wickets.
A final record of played 18, won 2, drawn 4 and lost 12 (including two concessions) shows that despite the difficulties the side faced, they put in some good performances. A big well done must go out to all of the regulars and especially youngsters Mushnoon Mustofa and Molly Amrani who showed great enthusiasm week in week out right till the end of the season. Also a thank you to the more experienced regulars who helped Ray out during the season, the colts parents who played and will hopefully return again in 2019, and the old faces who stepped in to help out (we hope to see more of them as well in 2019). And a huge thank you from everyone at the club should go to Ray Calder for ensuring the side completed the season. There were weeks where Ray had 5 players 72 hours before the game, and yet on all but two occasions he overcame this to get a side out. Not only this, but on most occasions the side competed well and put in a good performance.
Updated 13:59 - 16 Sep 2018 by Paul Middlemiss