2003 Season

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Liphook and Ripsley Cricket Club - Formed 1885

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Liphook and Ripsley CC Review 2002 (Written by Duncan Berry)

Liphook earned the tag of SPL1 draw specialists after sharing the spoils in six of their seven 'time' matches, but a closer examination of the results suggest Duncan Berry's side held the upper hand on at least four occasions. Three wins from the last four 50-over matches lifted the East Hampshire club to a creditable 7th spot, two places and some 39 points higher than the previous summer.

The season got off to a terrible start with reigning champions BAT Sports inflicting the first of two heavy defeats, but Liphook bounced back to pull off a creditable last over win at Bashley-Rydal, only to fluff a great chance of victory at Calmore. Had we squeezed out two more runs at Loperwood Park, the middle part of the season would have seen us comfortably in mid-table.

By this time, though, our little known South African overseas player, Alistair Gray, had adapted to the English conditions and was beginning to score consistently. After his two blips against BAT and Bashley, he went on to score more than 50 in nine of the next 13 games, recording his maiden SPL century in a crucial match against Burridge.

June saw the arrival of the 'time games' where, in 2001, both the toss and new format had proved to be our undoing. Last season, however, the all important tosses went our way more often than not, and we were to lose only one game in this format, albeit heavily, at the hands of BAT, drawing the remainder of the games. Whilst it was reported in the press that we sent the crowd to sleep on Southsea seafront when playing Portsmouth, most of our drawn games were close affairs which ended with us achieving a "winning draw".

We finished less than ten runs adrift against Bournemouth, Andover and Bashley and were also unlucky not to dismiss South Wilts when defending 238, although their SEC Cup final victory the previous evening might have contributed to their under-performance! Our improving form put us in good spirits for the remainder of the limited over games where we won three out of the last four, and probably should have beaten Havant after the game had been reduced due to rain.

The season ended with a comfortable victory against Portsmouth, Neil Randall making a quickfire fifty, enabling most of the team to get to Chris Nevin's wedding reception in time for a few celebratory drinks. Alistair Gray, who has enjoyed a prolific winter for his Alma club in Cape Town, finished head and shoulders above the remaining batsmen with an aggregate of 701 runs. Hampshire YCs all-rounder Chris Wright finished as the leading wicket taker with 21 wickets ahead of Tim Wheatley and Alan Crawford who took two well-deserved five wicket hauls in the season and proved to be our most economical bowler over the season as a whole.

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