The season did not start well with the elected captain, Richard Larkin having to step down due to changes in his work commitments. With the early retirement and several injuries to a number of the senior players it looked like the 1st XI squad would be a little thin on the ground. The decision was taken to blood a number of the younger players in the club so that in a few years time Bidborough would be in a healthy position to win the league again and be in with a chance in The National Village knockout competition. 2013 was thus going to be a rebuilding year, a mid table learning experience that would be a launch pad for 2014 and future years to come. To finish second in the league then, and to have a winner takes all game against our fiercest rivals Penshurst in the last game of the season was more than we could have hoped for. An early exit from the National Village Knockout was expected and duly arrived at the hands of Linton Park, but the league form remained fairly consistent throughout the year. The standout batsmen was Charlie Harding who scored 738 runs at an average of 123 – an incredible effort at any level. His three hundreds were all undefeated and we are blessed to have such a talent at the top of the order. Mark Mitchell deservedly won player of the year – he didn’t score the most runs or take the most wickets but when the chips were down and we needed someone to stand up and perform Mitch always obliged. He scored his runs when they were most needed and always took the ‘big’ wickets. Dale Hillhouse won the bowler of the year and for someone of such a young age he has a very bright future ahead of him.

We were able to include several youngsters who hadn’t played 1st XI cricket before – Elliot and Jordan Heim both showed huge potential with the ball. Archie Wells bowled well when available and Jack Mauduit showed that he has a great eye and good pair of hands in the field. With the likes of Stu Pinchin and Jack Redden established at the top of the order the future does look bright for the club. We are aiming for a top two finish in the league again in 2014 but our real ambition and focus is on The National Village Knockout. It might not happen this year but we have a squad of players now that will allow us to challenge in this competition for the forseeable future and one day a final at Lords! The season culminated in the traditional Groombridge six-a-side tournament which under the youthful control of Dale and Dom Trett saw a famous victory over the hosts in the final. A valued and welcome piece of silverware that we will hopefully add to the 2014 season!

James Baldock
1st XI Captain

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