A view from the Vale

So another summer sidles to an end, and the cricket kit is packed away till the new year.  It hardly feels like the season has gotten going, and suddenly it's all over.  Time, then, to reflect on my first year playing in York's Vale Cricket League.

I joined Ovington CC for geographical reasons - their Little Knavesmire ground is a stone's throw from the street I live on - but it turned out to be pretty much the ideal club for me.  A good standard, and a good bunch of lads.

Ovington CC pitch and clubhouse, Little Knavesmire.

The number of youngsters playing for the club was amazing, quite unlike anything I've ever experienced previously.  It was a bit disconcerting to be the only player in the 30-45 age group, mind, not least in the last game of the season, when I opened the bowling with someone a terrifying 20 years younger than me!

Meteorologically, the season was pretty unmemorable.  A very warm April fooled us, but, after two summers in Newfoundland and three frustrating seasons with Bon Accord*, it was just great to be cricketing properly again.

It was also great to perform well.  I played mostly for the Seconds, where I averaged 16.50 with the bat and 18.18 with the ball, but I also did alright for the Firsts when called upon.  Indeed, thanks to scoring 19 at Selby and 38 at Hirst Courtney, I ended up with a higher batting average for them!

Personally, though, my best moments came for the Seconds.  Opening with five consecutive maidens when taking the new ball at home to Burn II (I had figures of 5-5-0-1 at that point, and finished with 12-5-20-3) was a completely new experience.  Taking 5-34 away at Bishopthorpe II was my first Ovington Michelle, too.

My best of all, however, came with the bat at Copmanthorpe II.  The platform had been laid by Ben Morrison and Joe Whale, enabling someone to come in and give it some welly at the end.  It turned out to be me, to no-one's surprise more than mine, and I clubbed 45 runs in the last three-and-a-bit overs.  The league report says I faced 19 balls; Steve, our scorer, said it was 17.  Let's call it 18.  It was still a strike rate Shahid Afridi would have been proud of.

We won that match fairly easily, but in the final reckoning, it wasn't enough: Cop pipped us to second place.  Over the season we just weren't quite consistent enough to get promotion.  The Firsts won Division Two at a canter, though, so all in all it was a pretty decent first year.  Let's hope 2012 is even better.  Who knows, we might even be allowed to play a whole season on our own ground too...

*The Bons were a great bunch of lads, and I enjoyed much of my time there, but I was never given many opportunities to actually contribute on the pitch.