“2017 has been excellent for TCC, but certain players still have work to do through the winter. That's reflected in the new deals we're offering to these guys”
Jon Varney (TCC Chairman)
The league season may have only just ended, but the TCC committee is already looking forward to 2018. With that in mind deliberations have begun on player contracts for next season. It’s been a tough process, but we can now reveal the first wave of names to have made it on to the retained list.
Given that the 1st XI were promoted in 2017 and given that his on the field performances have been of the usual high standard, you would have thought that he would be a shoe in for a new contract. Well, yes, but the committee feels it has a duty of care to all its members, and there are questions about his sanity. I mean, how can anyone captain Clint McCabe for 10 whole years and not lose their marbles?! Carlos is either genuinely super-human or he must surely be on the verge of a complete meltdown. Decision: contract extension, but the committee will keep a close eye for signs of mental instability.
Strong bowling performances through 2017 ensure he’s safe for another season. Rumours that he has sold his shares in the Cabbage Patch may, however, be affecting his performances. The committee may feel obliged to demand he put in more regular appearances there than he did in 2017. There is also a strong suspicion that his MCC cricket will soon see him turning up to the Green in bright red trousers, loud blazers and even more outrageous jazz hats. If that happens, disciplinary proceedings will almost certainly beckon. TCC will not tolerate crimes against fashion on its territory.
Strong season from the 5th XI’s stalwart opener. Has to be the first Wounded Giraffe ever to take wickets in a 1987 League game. Offered strong analysis (particularly early-season) of the toilet facilities on offer around (and indeed beyond) Middlesex grounds. Illustrated an ability to write even more left-field match reports than Phil Walker (see here) – no mean feat!
The one worry moving forward is the lack of injuries. Over the last 15 years TCC has been used to at least five of these a season whereas this year there was only really one of note. Rumours that the real Andy Donelan has been swapped for a mean, lean fighting machine have quietly done the rounds. Providing these rumours are indeed quashed at some point over the winter, AD is certainly in for another season.
Steady season from the club’s resident statistician. Rumours abounded of sixes being hit, brilliant catches being taken and a developing role as a middle-order finisher. There were even tales of league wickets being taken. Solid performance all round.
Needs, however, to move on to the next stage of his statistical development. Averages, strike rates and such like are all fine and dandy, but where are the multivariate regressions? Where is the causal inference modelling? We all need to carry on learning so the club is going to have a word with Darshan Chohan to see if Nihal can be enrolled on a Further Maths degree at Cambridge. Watch this space for the outcome of that.
Has moved from a bit part player in the threes to one of the go-to men with the ball. His partnership with Ozzie Qavi looks particularly potent. Also nice to see refreshingly honest analysis of pitches on watsapp throughout the season.
Paul Johnson; “decent track was it, Robbie?”
Robbie Bosier: “I have absolutely no idea”
Paul Johnson: “You did bat on it though, right”?
Robbie Bosier: “Yep, but I have no idea at all about whether it was a good track.”
Scepticism has nonetheless been publicly aired (mainly by Olli George) about his ability to hold himself together after anything more than half a shandy. The committee are undecided on whether to unleash him on the MCCL annual dinner. It could get very messy.
Providing Bosier doesn’t choose to become a pitch analyst with Sky Sports, contract extension duly secured.
Led the threes to promotion in imperious style. Has been a driving force in turning the club around off the field through 2017. He even managed to go a whole season without mentioning the Miami Dolphins on Watsapp. That’s focus for you folks, fair play.
Contract extension therefore a no brainer, but he does need to work on champagne-bottle-opening. Judging by his decidedly average performance in this regard on the last day of the season there is plenty to work on. Decision; undoubtedly a contract extension, but regular sessions needed through the winter with McCabe and his MCC buddies on how to improve his champagne-etiquette.
Magnificent season. The leading league wicket taker in the club this season, and also illustrated that when the pressure is on he’s your man. Joins an illustrious TCC club of league hat-trick takers, but is well and truly out on his own in taking a hat-trick to win a league title. Also contributed admirably off the field in organising what was an enjoyable day at the Uxbridge 6-a-side tournament in August. Respect.
Moving forward, it’s clear that there is potential to make more of his batting. 80 last Sunday on the Green illustrates that there is talent there, the question is how to translate that in to more regular runs. It may well be that a similar routine to Week 18 needs to be followed. Indeed, he wouldn’t be the first TCC player who appears to bat better with a hangover. Decision; most certainly a new contract but three hours on the lash on Friday evening have now been mandated. Clint McCabe to oversee.
Mr Vanilla has had a rock’n’roll season. On the one hand he has attended more weddings than the local parish vicar. The fact that he generally still manages to get back to the pavilion for last orders is nonetheless impressive. Made an awe-inspiring debut in the ones that will be talked of for many a year to come. Very harshly dropped for the week after, too …
On the other hand, he started the season like a man possessed, firing off runs (including one excellent century) like there was no tomorrow. Form then deserted him almost completely … until he hit 48 in three overs (!) in the Uxbridge sixes to win TCC the plate.
Decision; new contract, if only as Kev’s presence makes Phil Andrews’s life much easier. On half the Saturdays in a season Phil knows it’s time close the bar at exactly the moment Kev turns up in his wedding gear.
A club legend of the highest order. No man has written so much on the life and times of a TCC side (the 5ths, in this case) than has Phil Walker. A number of his match reports are in contention for the Nobel Prize for Literature. That includes match reports of games that never even took place; excellent tekkers.
Decision; obviously a (long) contract extension, although there is a caveat. Phil will be attending an anger management course during the winter. The ECB have agreed to put on 6 sessions on “how to deal with opposition players who ask for coffee whilst eating their cricket tea”. Phil’s dealing with his problems in this regard, so let’s all make sure we’re sensitive to his needs.
Finally, I am pleased to report that I have also been awarded a contract extension, although the committee have (sensibly, in my book) added a number of caveats. Globalisation is all well and good, but it would be nice if the Secretary actually spent some time in the country for a change. Indeed, at one point in 2017 the club had a secretary in southern China, a chairman in Brazil, a treasurer in Turkey and a Club Captain in Portugal. A little more commitment by all four is clearly necessary.
Secondly, these obsessions with leave alone shots and forward defensives need to be dealt with. It’s no longer 1957 and hitting the ball off the square is actually allowed. A crash course of T20 watching is therefore on the cards for when I return. If I survive that, then business as usual in 2018.
Updated 12:29 - 4 Sep 2017 by Dan Hough