Now that the Winter Solstice has passed and thoughts again turn to longer and warmer days ahead, our Senior Men’s team captains offer their reflection on the past season…
Moseley Ashfield 1st XI by Iltaf Rehman
The first team started the season in high spirits. The introduction of younger players sparked the experienced players into jostling for a place in slips. However, it quickly became apparent that some of the youngsters were less agile than the more experienced. I have to say I never expected to witness this but then it would not be Moseley Ashfield.
Three games in and we were rocked by the news a serious shoulder injury meant leading run scorer John Pemberton was out for the season. John’s knowledge, contribution with the bat which includes excellent running between the wickets and dynamic fielding would be dearly missed. If that wasn’t enough soon after we experienced another setback, our top order batsman Salah Khan suffering an ACL injury which would rule him out for the season. A hard-hitting talented batsman for whom we had high hopes would be one of our leading run scorers.
In terms of the season out of twenty games (excluding abandoned and reduced overs) we scored 250 or more on only four occasions. Confusingly three of these performances were against the top sides, losing by the tightest of margins to Cov North Warwicks and Sutton Coldfield but beating Attock at home. Playing the top sides somehow got the best out of us but the difference between winning or losing was often an overseas professional or paid player.
Decent batting contributions in the season came from our stalwart Ollie Thomas top scoring with over 500 runs, Masharraf Shazad and Hayden Evans our promising top order batsmen both scoring around 400 runs. Masharraf enjoyed a strong first season often looking impenetrable. As for Hayden he showed his talent by scoring a majestic century in the final game of the season, hopefully the first of many. In addition, there were four other players who scored over 300 runs, Sultan Afsal with a strong average, Alex Perry, Shah Waqas, and Charlie Greening.
One of the highlights has been watching Rayyen at the tender of age of 16 steaming in and clean bowling some of the best batsmen in the league, including leading run scorers Shivam Bhambri and Wes Ryan Landsdale. A highly promising start to his Moseley Ashfield tenure.
Other notable performances include amongst taking crucial wickets, we witnessed Felix Shears score an unbeaten 41 against a strong Aston Manor bowling unit, revealing a hitherto unknown talent for the sweep shotl. Jack Wadelin scored an unbeaten 46 against Sutton Coldfield holding his own against a barrage of bouncers from ex-Warwickshire player Aaron Thomason: the silence from his fiercest critics, , aka best friends, spoke volumes. Sultan Afsal’s pyrotechnics against Attock pretty much winning us the game. Mohammed Akeel’s wizardry bamboozling the best batsmen with his wrong un.
It was wonderful to see Ian Carey taking his 600th wicket. Over the years I have been fortunate to witness many of those wickets and know how much hard work goes into achieving such a feat. After several years of giving his all Ian has decided to hang up his boots. I look forward to seeing who will step up and build on the huge contribution Ian has made over the years.
All in all, a season where we could not avoid relegation however the experience gained will hopefully go towards strengthening each player and building a stronger team ready to make Moseley Ashfield proud again.
Moseley Ashfield 2nd XI by Micky Bromhall
The second eleven looked set for consecutive promotions at the half-way stage of the 2022 season but ultimately fell short due to injuries and availability. Akeel Mohammed was once again superb with bat and ball and Noel Hall with 46 wickets, outstanding. Luke Baker showed why he’s the outstanding fielder in our club with many remarkable “grabs”. Mo Azam continues to defy age with several impressive performances with bat and ball. I believe there are huge futures in the game for Rayyen and Stephen, who look destined for long first team careers, remembering of course Stephen’s maiden century for the club at the tender age of 15. All things considered we should be proud to maintain our division 5 status as it is in my view a very high standard of cricket. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my two years leading a great bunch of lads and believe our spirit remained high even during lows. We now need a strong leader and some smart recruitment to make sure the twos push on.
Moseley Ashfield 3rd XI by Hassan Idrees
The 3rd XI season started one week earlier than intended with a rearranged fixture against Moseley 4th XI at the Centenary Ground due to the Commonwealth Games fixtures later in the year. It meant that we were able to start the season with real momentum, winning this game and the next two (coincidentally including the reverse fixture against Moseley) and only losing four wickets in total whilst chasing down the opposition totals.
The middle period of the season saw mixed results, with an ever-changing line-up, though this was in part due to the promotion of several players into the 2nd XI. In total, more than ten players that had played 3rd XI cricket played at least one 2nd XI fixture, with half becoming regular players for the 2s. The highlight of which was Stephen hitting a century and ending the season as the 5th highest run scorer in the club.
For the 3rd XI, success was shared out between players, with five bowlers contributing more than ten wickets in the season and three players with a batting average of 40 plus. Whilst a league position of 8th meant that our goal of achieving promotion was not achieved, the season did allow for a number of players to progress through the playing XIs at Ashfield.
Moseley Ashfield 4th XI by Richard Bowpitt
A really positive season for the 4th XI built to a brilliant conclusion with a 5th place finish in the League after a late surge that saw us pick up four sets of 24 points in our final five games.
This year, we won more games (seven), made more runs (making over 200 four times this year, including the 4s highest ever score of 253/6) and bowled more teams out (five times) than any previous year, which goes a long way to showing what a step forward it has been not just for individuals, but for the entire side.
One particular highlight was the continued development of MACC Youth Cricketers into the Senior Sides. Over the course of the year, we had 22 different under 18s turn out for the 4s and maintained an average of at least five youngsters in each game – giving more kids than ever the opportunity to experience open-age league cricket and continue to develop their skills in match settings.
On an individual level, Stephen and Hashim, who began the year with the 4s, ended it playing for the 2s; Stephen leading the way with his maiden century and Hashim contributing key runs for the 3s. Asad, Panu and Evran were also among those to earn a spot in the 3s on the back of solid outings for the 4s, and show that they are more than ready for the step up. It’s fantastic for the group of youngsters coming through to have such tangible examples of the potential for progress up the sides when natural talent is allied with hard work. A word too for twelve-year-old Aleem, who wrapped up the 4s season with a hattrick on his way to figures of 4/2 in the final game. One to watch out for in the (not too distant) future!
Perhaps the most positive aspect of the whole year though has been the tremendous sense of team spirit and the growth of an encouraging and positive culture displayed by all the guys throughout the season, whether we’ve been winning or losing. Leading the way, individuals such as Nasser Hussain (24 wickets, second highest in the league), Mohammed Billal (179 runs and 15 wickets), Rob Green (212 runs) and Kevin Cuthbert (6 wickets and a maiden 50) have shown their value to the side not just in their performances, but more importantly through the way they have set the standard for the lads coming through. It’s always been the goal for the 4s to provide a really supportive environment for those taking their first steps into adult cricket, and that wouldn’t be possible without the example of those senior players each week, plus the one and only Ash Patel and his immeasurable support in both matches and training.
It’s been a privilege to lead the 4s this year (even though I haven’t had the opportunity to play that many games for the 4s myself!), and I’m really proud of the progress that we’ve again seen this season. There’s more to come from this side, and I’m excited to see the development continue in 2023 and beyond!