December 2014 - White Horse CC

After 5 weeks of this season you'd had 3 cancellations and 2 defeats! Not exactly the prime start for an assault on promotion! What was the general feeling in the club early season?

Whilst only having been in the league for 3 years we have always believed in our playing ability within the club and despite the not so good start to the season we remained confident that we would do well enough in Division 5 to avoid a drop back into Div 6.  Our first league game was away to Bradford on Avon which we lost by 1 run chasing only 58 and i think that for me, as captain, this was the most difficult defeat to accept. I and the team knew we should really have won the game and many times throughout the season we came back to this fixture as the one that might cost us promotion let alone top spot. Despite this result we remained positive knowing the strength of the squad.

You then went unbeaten for the rest of the year winning 10 straight games with another 3 weather affected weekends thrown in for good measure. At what point did you start to believe you could win the league?

I do not think at any point we felt we would win the league. We knew we were doing well but so were Goatacre who were equally winning their games and staying ahead of us in the league. We also knew that with a blank weekend for us mid August we would not know until after that weekend exactly where we stood in the division. The lost games were also taking their toll as we lost some crucial fixtures against some of the poorer sides in the division where we felt we could pick up a number of bonus points. We had a crucial away match v Hinton Charterhouse toward the end of the season and in winning this we knew then that as long as we won our remaining fixture we would finish 2nd and gain promotion.

It went down to the final weekend though with Beckington 2s, Goatacre 3s and yourself all in contention. Tom Lentschner took 5-12 to help dismiss Spye Park 2s for 77, Goatacre 3s lost to Chippenham 3s and the league was yours!

Going into the final weekend we knew a win would secure 2nd spot and felt confident against Spye Park. However we never expected Goatacre to lose against Chippenham 3rds and we could not believe it when a Tweet received whilst celebrating 2nd and promotion in our pavilion came through advising that Goatacre had lost. At this point  you would have heard our cheers a few miles away. Just proves its never over until the last ball is bowled!

You had some pretty staggering figures recorded by your bowlers this year, Nathan Sheffield took 7-9 against Bradford on Avon 2s and also managed 4-14 and 4-33, Andy Dodson had 4-3 and 5-16, Ian Sharpe 5-23, while Tom also took 6-21 and 4-22. You bowled out opposition teams for less than 100 seven times! The confidence in your bowling attack must have been pretty high?

It was a great team effort from all concerned. With Tom Lentschner and Nathan Sheffield opening the bowling attack and with good support from Mark Watling, Andy Dodson and Ian Sharpe we were always aware that we had a good depth of bowlers so if one had a bad day we had others to turn to. It also meant that there was cover when some were unable to play. We were confident in our bowling but, on the occasions we needed it we were also capable of batting well.

And they stood up to the challege well when it was their turn! Who stood out for the Horse when the bowlers had finished destroying the oppositions batting line up?

I believe we have one of the strongest league batsmen in Chris Ladd. Chris scored 2 centuries in the league this year and was equally well supported by David Jordan and Jon Candy. As a team we batted in some depth most games so there ws as much confidence in our batting when required.

Obviously a fantastic year for the club! Congratulations! You'll now be in Division 4 of the Wiltshire League which for a club with pretty humble origins is a great achievement. Give us a quick summary of the club's lifetime from its inception back in 1983?

Back in 1983 the club was run under the name of Winterbourne Bassett and following the loss of our ground in that village in 2007 we moved to Broad Hinton and at that time decided to rename to White Horse. It has been through a great deal of support from the village and club members that has produced the facilities we have now and through annual fundraising we have, in that time been able to purchase improved machinery nets and sight screens. For the 2015 season we have also committed to purchasing covers which we hope will improve the quality of our playing strips.

We have taken a great deal of advice about the quality of our wickets as we realise they are not always as good as we would like with inconsistent and uneven bounce and I am sure as time goes on the wickets will improve. That said, it is not unusual to see over 400 runs scored in an afternoon game so the wicket cannot be that bad!

Not bad at all! And tell us a little about the significant people who played key roles to get you where you are today?

The club survives on support from its members and also the village. Our land is owned by The Horton family who farm the land around the club and without their support we would not be as far forward as we are now. However Des Clarke, ex player and past chairman should take a great deal of credit for the ground conditions as it is his endeavours and others locally that produce the great looking club ground that we have.

I am a founder member of the club and have been involved since 1983, I have been chairman for the past 4 years and club captain for 22 successive years. I try to ensure we play the game in the right spirit and although we aim to win our matches it is not the be all and end all. We have a great social atmosphere around the club and you would not find a more friendly and social club to play for in the area.

Firstly, that's a great record for you personally - an incredible amount of commitment by anyone's standard! But it's nice to hear that the spirit of cricket is alive and well. So, what about the future? What are the ambitions of the club - both next year and then longer term?

The future is simple, continue to develop and improve the playing facilities, extend our membership to ensure longevity of the team and to perform well in the league and friendly matches. We will be playing Div 4 next season and I am certain if we can maintain the current squad of players that we will finish in the top of the division and who knows maybe push for promotion to Div 3.  Who knows where we will go from there and only time will tell. However  what I can say is that the club will remain and will continue to develop over the coming years.

And finally, here's our Quick Singles:

How long have you been in existence?
Since 1983 initially as Winterbourne Bassett CC and since 1997 White Horse CC

Describe the club in 3 words?
Friendly, Competitive, Enjoyable

Who were your best batter / bowler / fielder in 2014?
Batter - Chris Ladd, Bowler - Tom Lentschner, Fielder - Nathan Sheffield.

What is the proudest club moment to date?
Winning Div 5 in 2014

Who was your toughest opponent this year?
Goatacre 3rds by far

Where were the best teas in the league this year?
White Horse CC!

Nicest ground you played at this year?
Spye Park CC

Which club had the best showers in Division 5?
Trowbridge CC

And finally...if you could sign any player in world cricket for 2015 who would you get?
Stuart Broad - Great all rounder!