I have been hoping to write these words for some time but the complex system of calculating points meant that if Greystones beat us we could be knocked off the top spot by Bagenalstown.
There had been a considerable amount of rain during the week and the pitch was only just playable. If the fixture had to be abandoned due to weather our position in the league would be unassailable. However we are not that sort of team and as Greystones were prepared to travel we were happy to play the match.
Greystones won the toss and elected to bat. However in view of the weather forecast the match was reduced to 30 overs per side.
Whilst there have been some spectacular batting performances this season it is the bowlers who have been the model for consistency. Over the years Neville and JT have taken over 250 wickets for Halverstown between them at an RPO of approximately 3.5. Our top 5 bowlers have an average that would make Glen McGrath cry. Moon has taken 44 wickets at 9 and Neville has 154 at 13. Well the boys tucked into the wickets again and Greystones were back in the hut for 37 after 20 overs. Given the weather it was decided to postpone tea until we had batted.
HCC started the season with a determination to recruit new players. We are a small club and therefore our catchment is limited to sons, daughters and acquaintances of existing players. Des Drumm handles the media end of things and made it known through the press that we were looking for new recruits. Last year Moon and Wasif came to our team through the offices of Ahsan. This year our ranks have been swelled by Barra, Gunter, Kevin and Ray. Ray has scored two centuries and Gunter one. Only Sir Don Bradman betters the latters average of 98. Barra is an excellent all rounder and a good team player with an encyclopedic knowledge of the rules of the game. Kevin is a ‘reformed’ around the wicket bowler and now bowls over the stumps to great effect. We have welcomed them into the Halverstown family and they have become an integral part of our team.
Ray (26*) and JP (7) got the runs with the help of a few extras. Greystones were very sporting and congratulated us on our victory in both the game and the league. We retired, with some relief it has to be said, to the pavilion for an excellent tea prepared by Barra. This team has always been content but today we were genuinely happy and a little bit sad. Happy that we had won the league but sad that it was all over for another year.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the captain. He has led from the front for the last two years whilst rebuilding a fractured team. He knows the game backwards and he understands bowling changes, batting orders and field settings. This team is now happy to let the captain call the shots because he has our confidence. If he does something that we think is incorrect we smile indulgently and are happy to be proved wrong.
Richard, the HCC President, and Tim, the Chairman, have put in a lot of work to keep the club going. Both had significant moments of success this season. Richard hit 84 runs against Wicklow County and Tim got two stumpings against Clondalkin thereby proving that he is the only ‘proper’ wicketkeeper in the club.
The supporter’s award goes to Gunter’s parents, Lene and Willie, together with his wife, Helen. They have been at most matches both home and away rejoicing in his prowess and our success. Stuart Conroy hasn’t had many matches this year but he has been a great support via social media and in person.
Ahsan also deserves a mention. He has recruited new members and plays every game that he is asked to. Therefore it was unfortunate that his thumb was both broken and dislocated in the Pembroke game and he couldn’t play in the last 2 matches. Needless to say he turned up to see us win against Greystones and celebrate the success.
Tea was a celebration of our league success and you knew from the good-humoured banter that this was a team of equals. There are no stars just players. Everybody there on that day, despite past or future affiliations, is a Halverstown man to his bootstraps. Whatever happens next season or in the future the 21 players who turned out this year have shared this victory equally and unequivocally.