As always in the Fifth’s, we stated at the beginning of the season, that we would like to challenge and finally get promoted from the Division!

Saturday 11th May – No League Game

Saturday 18th May – Home
The season started on a damp cold day in May against Stoke Green 3rd’s. Cove were scuttled for 114, with Gary top scoring with 65*, maybe not again this year. Our strength for most of the year has been playing together as a team, and so it was in the field where we bowled Stoke Green, out for only 81 with 5 fielder’s taking catches and run-out backing the bowlers up with Craig taking the first of his 36 wickets for the season.

Saturday 25th May – Away
In the next game against Wokingham 5th’s, we had Andy Short in the team who was injured and couldn’t bowl in firsts, so with his eyes firmly fixed on the Club Record against the same opposition that the previous record holder set the mark at 189*. He set about the bowling playing with a straight bat, but pouncing on anything short or with width usually dispatching the ball over the boundary for 6. Andy finished 206* and through he has had some bad press (some of it justified), on this occasion he was neither cocky nor arrogant, in fact he encouraged the youngster’s who bowled against him. At the other end, he was ably assisted by Atif who finished with 72*. We scored 306-0 off 30 over’s and declared. Wokingham 5th’s also had a first teamer playing in the game, but he could not match Andy’s innings and the game limped towards a draw with Wokingham refusing to try and chase down the target despite having 60 over’s to get them.

Kidmore End 3rd’s went top of the League, without having played a single game!

Saturday 1st June – Home
Next up were NPL Teddington 3rd’s who won the toss and decided to bowl, again we were all out cheaply for 138 with Steve Lynch 40 and Dave Schultz 38* making the only notable score’s. But Teddington hadn’t counted on “the Claw” to come in and take 7-29 off 11.2 over’s including one of the best one handed catches I’ve ever seen (more of these later) and another run out, so we kept pace with Kidmore End.

Saturday 8th June – Away
Next up were Kidmore End 3rd’s, who were top, but who haven’t even played a game!!!! So I won the toss and thinking they would be rusty decided to bowl and the plan looked at one stage as they were 54-5 with young Michael Try taking a couple of wickets, and who may have had a few more if Craig had remembered his catching hands, rather than the Teflon coated hands which he had brought with him. Kidmore End had a second teamer in at 6, who had played all season in the two’s, but who had been dropped (over an argument with the second team skipper). He rode his luck and got 81 with Kidmore posting a target of just over 200. Craig took his first of three fivers in the game. With Matt Loubser opening with Craig, and with small boundaries, we were hoping to get off to a flyer, but we never got going with the bat, and when Matt ran himself out for 14, this set the tone for the innings, with only a guest appearance by Paul Clarke, scoring 38, saving our blushes. So this put Kidmore off in to the distance, at the top of the table.

Saturday 15th June – Home
Yateley 4th’s were the next team to visit “Fortress Cody”. Upon winning the toss, and with heavy cloud above, they asked us to bowl. We bowled them out for 41 off 34 over’s with Gary taking 4/14 off 16 over’s and “the Claw” taking 4/10 off 13 over’s. Steve Plater was superb in the field taking two catches and a run-out. As Yateley were third in the table and we were second, we wanted them to go away with as few a points as possible. As it turned out they went back with non, as Andy Minshaw and Simon Tickner took us to 31 without loss, making a mockery of the slow batting of Yateley. Keith Mosley joined Andy, to see us home without losing anymore wickets, in just 10 over’s.

Saturday 22nd June – Away
Travelling to Bracknell to play their 2nd’s, we were asked to bat first, and with our opening batsman MIA somewhere in Bracknell!!!! Michelle Collett opened the batting with Shiv, playing his first game for Cove. Michelle was brilliant in seeing off the new ball after Shiv fell early. Gary top scored with 45 and was supported by Dylan (21), Steve (12), Pete (10), Michelle (6) and Athol (23*) – who had finally managed to work out how to find the ground!!! We declared after 44 over’s for 176. After Craig took a couple of wickets, the Bracknell team went in to their shells and we showed the first signs of cracks in the team – after changing the bowling, we lost a few over’s with players getting at each other, but the plan worked as Bracknell were back in with a chance to win and we were renewed in the field, as we started taking wickets again, in fact we had Bracknell 9 down, with a couple of over’s to go. Unfortunately a young lad with his Dad at the other end, managed to hang in for a draw, but if I had listened to their umpire and kept Dylan where he was, and not swapped him with Steve, we would have won off the last ball, as the batsman chipped the ball over his head to point right where Dylan was!!!!!

Saturday 29th June – Home (League game cancelled, so Friendly against Hambledon)
Teddington Town 3rd’s were the next team due at Cody, but they cancelled, so we gained 20 points. The Fifths went to Hambledon to play a friendly (not the one in Portsmouth, but the one just south of Guildford), however that doesn’t stop this team, so they eventually arrived at Hambledon in Guildford via Hambledon in Portsmouth!!! The short boundary, which was supported by a road and then a ditch, provided many entertaining moments during the game, the most memorable being when Dylan Lai was completely swallowed up by the ditch, none of us initially realised was there. The next victim of the ditch was “the Claw”, who whilst retrieving a ball managed to make it over the ditch one way, but had to receive a “helping hand” from Hambledon’s age challenged umpire to get back across. Last to be attacked by the ditch was Steve Plater, who like “the Claw” made it over safely, but missed his footing on the way back over and ended up rolling around in the road like a piece of road-kill – much to the amusement of both teams!

Saturday 6th July – Away
Final game at the halfway stage of the season was away to Chiswick & Latymer 4th’s, with one of best batting performances by the Fifths. We only lost 5 wickets but every batsman who batted, getting into double figures, with Atif top scoring with 52*, Gary (42), Shiv (35), Simon (21) Keith (20) and Athol (10) getting us to 202. A special mention to Simon, not playing for his average, who came down the track to the last ball, only to be stumped! On to the bowling were Craig looked hostile and “the Claw” looked menacing (ha ha! 😉 We created chances but there was no luck for either of them. Atif replaced Paul and started to take wickets, whilst Gary replaced Craig and took two wickets, but with over’s running out and Atif running out of steam, two players stepped up to the mark, firstly throwing the ball to Guy Barden, who took a wicket in his first order and then Steve questioning a very dodgy umpire call for a caught behind from the bowlers. I would like to say thank you to the Bracknell Umpire at Square Leg, who corrected the umpire and confirmed that the batsman was out. This put them 9 down with 7 balls left – a very brave call, but correct from the umpire! With the next ball Shiv his the pad in front and Chris took the ball. We all appealed, but the umpire turned it down and we walked away disappointed, only for the umpire to call over and say that if we had appealed for LBW, the batsman would have been out, but we had appealed for the caught behind – oh well lads! 6 balls left we can do it. Guy bowled the over of his life, he was unlucky, on almost every ball, including the third where he got a leading edge off, the batsman popped it in the air, only for Atif to lose it and then, just missing him as the ball came down. But in the 5th’s we do learn our lessons, and for the last ball, we pushed point and square leg back a little, and off the last ball the batsman clipped it to Square Leg and “the Claw” took the second best one handed catch I’ve seen – well done to the 10 lads.

At the half way stage Cove 5th’s were in second place!

Saturday 13th July – No League Game (Friendly against Whitely Village CC)
The first challenge of the day was to find the ground! Sat Nav took us to the entrance of an old people’s home, but not believing that could possibly be the venue, the convoy carried on down the road, until we reached the conveniently situated cemetery, next door. Whilst the boys sat in the cars “discussing” where the ground could be, Michelle used female initiative and jumped out of the car and approached an old boy, who was sat outside the cemetery and asked for directions to the grounds, which we discovered was through the gates that lead to the old people’s home. Whilst fielding at square leg Guy fell flat on his face – to this day we’re still not sure whether he was taken out by a sniper, or whether he simply tripped over the flip-flops of the umpire, which were sat there minding their own business – it’s a mystery!!!! As it was a friendly, I decided to mix the batting order up to give those who normally bat further down the order to move up and have more of a chance to bat. Michelle went in at five and managed to frustrate and amaze the wicket keeper by the amount of times she managed to nick the ball between his legs – oh er Mrs! She took the mickey out of the fielding team so much, that Craig who was at the other end was barely able to run between the wickets, due to laughing so hard! The best comment made, was when she thanked the fielder, who had been stood at very silly mid-on, for moving position, so that she could hit the very next ball right to where he had previously been stood! Craig made his best score of 87, Michelle scored 15 and Guy achieved his best score of 31.

Saturday 20th July – Away
We started the 2nd half of the season away to Stoke Green, and again I lost the toss (I seem to be a useless Tosser!!!!) We were asked to bowl and on a hot day with short boundaries Craig took another 5 wickets and Guy steamed in again to take 2 vital wickets off only a couple of over’s, dismissing Stoke Green for 161. After tea we had a tinkle with the batting order and pushed Craig up to 3, Reg Leather missed out big time with only 19, but with Matt Loubser scoring 72* and Craig on 61*, they saw us home comfortably without too many dramas and over’s to spare.

Saturday 27th July – Home
Wokingham 5th’s called the return fixture off as they couldn’t raise a strong enough side – our reputation goes before us!!!!!

Saturday 10th August – Home
Having not played a home match at Cody for a number of weeks, we turned up to play our most important game of the season, to find a football game taking place on one half of the pitch and the other half of the pitch was covered with archery targets! Whilst the football match was due to finish before our start time, the archery competition was due to start at the same time. Luckily for us, the archery competition was using traditional Nepalese bamboo bows and arrows, which do not travel as far as modern equipment, so we were able to negotiate the safety run off area down, so that we only lost a small area of our pitch, although the fielder fielding anywhere between mid-on and cow corner, risked the chance of wearing an arrow in their back… We then turned our attention to the wicket itself and discovered that it had not been cut! By this time it was too late to call Kidmore End to cancel the game, so we waited with baited breath for them to arrive and make a decision as to whether the game should go ahead, and despite all of these challenges and distractions, Kidmore End still decided to play the game. Kidmore End batted first and put 167 up on the board. It was like playing in a T20 match, as we had Nepalese music booming out over the tannoy system during the whole match – it was very amusing to watch their umpires and batsmen twitching and dancing along to the music as they batted. After tea, Cove went out to bat and managed to reach Kidmore’s score in 34.1 over’s to win the game with both Sam and Andy recoding their debut 50’s for the club and turn the tide for the lead of the League. Despite all of these challenges and distractions, both teams had a fantastic day!!! 

Saturday 3rd August – Away
As with the game against Bracknell at the beginning of June, our opening batsman was yet again MIA, this time somewhere in Teddington!!!! We lost wickets at such a speed that I had to rush to pad up and in the process forgot to put on my thigh pad and most importantly my box, but I only realised this after I had gone out and faced a couple of very quick balls. I ran off the pitch to finish dressing myself, much to the amusement of both teams – I’m glad I did, as three balls later I wore a ball straight to the centre of the box! Simon top scored with 31. Steve managed to stop a ball going for 6, by fielding it with his head, however unfortunately the ball bounced off him and then rolled over the boundary for 4.

Saturday 17th August – Away
Unfortunately the game against Yateley was called off by Yateley so we took the 20 points as again they couldn’t raise a strong enough side!!!!! This worked in the favour of Cove 3rd’s, as they were unable to put a team out, so 6 members of the 5th’s were called up to help the 3rd’s put a team out.

Saturday 24th August – Home
Unfortunately the game against Bracknell was called off by Bracknell, so we took the 20 points.

Saturday 31st August – Away
So for the second trip of the season NPL this against Teddington Town 3’s we lost the toss and were asked to bowl. We seem to bowl without much luck at Teddington and as a result they got to 272 for 5 off 45 over’s. But we had a good batting line up and the pitch has small boundaries, so we were still in with a good chance. But like NPL, Teddington Town know their ground and with a procession of batters hitting across the line, we were all out for 105. After my last issue at Teddington, where I forgot to put my box in, Michelle who was stood at square leg umpiring, joked at me as to whether I had my box in – I simply laughed and continued on in to take my guard, only to realise that I had actually forgotten it yet again, so had to run back off to put it in – will I never learn?!? I top scored with 44, but we still gained enough points to stay top…..just.

Last game of the season and Cove are only 1 point ahead of Kidmore End – the pressure was on!!!!

Saturday 7th September – Home (Crown Taveners)
The final game was against Chiswick & Latymer at home, although having lost our home pitch of Cody to the Academy (thanks guys!), we managed to obtain the use of the Crown Taveners pitch, located behind the Crown & Cushion. As Simon was Captaining the team, due to myself having been forced to join the 3rd team, we actually managed to win the toss (Simon’s a much better tosser than I am). 5th’s chose to bat first, as they had received the message that Kidmore End were also batting first. Cove set a score of 227 in only 34 over’s, providing us 55 over’s to bowl Chiswick & Latymer out. Craig and Mike Hale made a fantastic opening partnership of 60. Sam and Simon Tickner also made a good father/son partnership, with Simon contributing an awesome 6! Craig top scored with 58 and supported with thirties from both Sam and Mike. Once bowled out, we turned the game straight around and fielded for 14 overs, taking 4 wickets, before going in for tea. “The Claw” even managed to field a ball with his head, straight from the keepers gloves, sending it off towards the boundary. Unfortunately whilst we were all happily filling our bellies with tea, the rain came down and we were delayed going back out. We eventually managed to get back out and managed to take the remaining 6 wickets, bowling them all out for 171 in 32 overs.

Cove 5th XI are League Winners!!!

I would like to pass on mine and the teams thanks to all of our scorers and tea ladies, who have helped and supported us all year.

Most importantly I would thank all my team mates for making this such a successful season, we played the best Cricket consistency throughout the season in the division.

So on 25th October the 5ths shall be attending the TVCL awards at the British Airways Cricket Club, to collect their award in person and to get very drunk afterwards…!!! Let’s hope there isn’t a bell there, as I’m not sure the TVCL will appreciate Steve & Guy singing Champeolos at the top of their voices.


Gary Thorogood
Cove 5th XI Captain

Some stats to why we are the best:
We have the top score 206*;
We have 4 batsmen in the top 20 for the division;
We have the leading wicket taker in the division;
We have 5 bowlers in the top 25 for the division;
We have 6 fielders in the top 25 for the division.

We have recorded 8 50’s and a hundred plus numerous of scores 30 and above;
We have recorded 4 fivers while bowling and lost count of the number fourers.

We have taken 45 catches and had 6 run outs and 4 stumpings.

Most importantly, we are a Team on and off the pitch!!!