|Summer 2003 Preview||
It's that time of year again, the snow has melted, the rains have ceased (temporarily) and the temperature is ever so slightly rising, as all thoughts turn to the new cricket season. Pre-season nets are now over and the true test of form approaches - the pre-season friendly. Most players from all weekend teams will be in action over the next weekend, looking to dust off those fielding cobwebs and reacquaint themselves with Dorset wickets after being subjected to the shooting gallery conditions of indoor nets. May I personally thank Mark Nott for sending a barrage of deliveries at me, seemingly directed between the lower rib and neck region.
As usual there are a couple of new faces to look out for this season as new recruits Dave Clifford, from the sleepy village of Farnborough, along with youngster Alistair "Campbell" Chapman, will be trying to catch the beady eye of 2nd XI skipper Grant Neven, and who knows, maybe that of 1st XI head honcho, John Ryan.
The first team is of course now under new stewardship, with JR looking to steady the ship after being drafted in at the end of last summer, following a succession of captains' failed attempts to replicate Martin Hewson's opening day victory against Dorchester. Unfortunately Martin has been forced to retire due to his injuries and will be sorely missed by one and all. JR will surely be looking to restore some pride to the good name of Triangle after last year's many humbling beatings, but these will be seen as lessons learned (albeit the hard way) and he will be hoping to bounce back all the more stronger from such a chastening experience.
Sloppiness will not be tolerated as John will look to mould the side in his own image, clearing out the deadwood to make room for new, young, hungry players who will take the game by the scruff of the neck. Or, as is expected, it will undoubtedly be the same fine bunch of lads and ne'er-do-wells who turned out last year, gave their all, and will be looking for a strong upper-mid table finish in Division 1. The holy trinity of Gary Randell, Jason Styles and Simon Browne will once again be integral to the side's success along with the hardy perennials of Simon Barrett, Jan Davey, new vice-captain Dave Blackman and the unforgettable Alexander Charlton.
The 2nd XI will be playing in Division 6 again this year after Grant Neven turned round a side which had previously been seen as the whipping boys of the league, and fashioned a side with a good, old-fashioned 50-50 record. On their day they proved to be more than a match for eventual champions Branksome, but then there were a return to the dark days with meagre performances away to Suttoners and Sherborne. But enough from us, here's a few words from the captain himself as he looks on to possible glory this summer, take it away Nikolai...
Well said sir, and onto the Sunday team. Last year was one of many highs coupled with a few lows as Triangle finally won promotion from Division 7. Inspirational captain, Graham Elenor, will once again lead by example as he takes on the might of the sixth division (though half of those are from last year's div 7 thanks to a league reshuffle). Thus it will be a case of renewing old friendships as Triangle once again will play Wimborne, Bisterne Willows and the always delightful Suttoners.
Dave Males will be looking to continue where he left off last year as he averaged just under 55 with the bat including his career high score of 108*. Graham will be hoping that he will be able to call upon his other opener, Jan Davey, more often this year who contributed a more than useful 298 runs in just 4 innings at an average of 99.33, but will be subject to work commitments and fatigue. Luckily he has a more than able deputy for the other opener's spot in 1st team skip "Poindexter" Ryan who notched up a couple of 50's when he fulfilled that role in 2002. Bill Trevett will also be looking to cement his role as all-rounder (albeit only on Sundays) after his haul of 23 wickets and a batting average of 51.
The captain was among the wickets as well last season and can rely on the mercurial chairman "Rusty" Davey to chip in and the prodigal son, Scott Males who will be vying for the all-rounder spot. Graham will also welcome the return of Triangle's forgotten son, Joseph Trevett, who will invigorate an already strong top order batting line up, and is always on hand to give friendly advice to all and sundry in the field, with his partner-in-crime, Ben Doidge forming a fearsome slip cordon of hate when Neven is wearing the gloves. Young Doidge is another piece of the Sunday team's puzzle, when of course he is free from his work commitments in the ladies department of Ocean to Earth. Both these two may also make appearances for the Saturday sides, work (and in Doidge's case sobriety) permitting.
This year's evening league campaign will be fought on two fronts as Richard Stewkesbury takes charge of the newly formed 2nd XI, as the make their debut in Division 3. Mixing youth with plenty of experience, old heads like Conrad Cole, "The Doc" John Walker and Ian Loke will be rubbing shoulders with the likes of Tom Cole, Luke Heritage and Steve Cove as they battle gamely for promotion and who knows, cup success?
The "proper" team (i.e. the 1st XI) will be vying for top honours among the elite as the take their bow once again in Division 1, against such heavyweights as RNSTS, The Royal Oak and (cough) Budmouth. Grant Neven takes over the captaincy from Graham Elenor due to work commitments, and will be hoping his players can show the same form that saw them crowned Division 2 champions with a 100% record. The cup draw is as interesting as ever as once again Triangle will be locking horns with the mighty Weatherbury, and will surely right the wrong of last season's upset.