In May, when the season was due to start, prospects for getting any cricket played this summer looked bleak. But in July, it was announced that recreational cricket could start, with some rules in place to make the games COVID secure; these included no use of changing rooms, no cricket teas and breaks for sanitising.
The Thames Valley Cricket League announced a shortened season, retaining the league structure and with each club playing their opponents once, either home or way. There would be no promotion and relegation – and to get in a “half season” the close of the season was extended by one week. Although not ideal, we were delighted that cricket could start again at Taplow.
On the field, there were mixed results. The first team, playing in Division 3a, finished in ninth place with two wins. Highlights included a very quick century from Arslan Butt, who scored 128 out of a total of 291 in the final match away to Boyne Hill.
The seconds, playing in Division 4b, finished in fifth place. The biggest drama came on the last day of the season when Harpsden were the visitors. Harpsden scored 263-3 in their 40 overs. Taplow got off to a poor start and, with the score on 7-2, things didn’t look good. But scores of 60 from Haseeb Haider and 73 from Farhad Abbas bought Taplow back into the game. With two overs to go, Taplow still needed an unlikely 34 runs to win – but in the most dramatic finish Taplow got those runs to win the match. Andy Mills said “You won’t see another game of cricket like that … ever!”.
Both sides were in new geographic divisions this season, meeting some clubs that Taplow has rarely, if ever, played before – so it was good to meet some new faces and visit some new grounds. There seemed to be a good social atmosphere with many visiting players staying after the game to enjoy a drink. We look forward to meeting these clubs again in 2021 – hopefully under more “normal” circumstances.
Thank you to all who ensured we were able to play the matches – including the umpires, Andy Bond, Greg Lightfoot, Drew Somerville – and Gerry Mills, who came out of retirement for one game- and the scorers. Sadly the services of the tea ladies were not needed this summer.