The awards ceremony on 25th February also saw 5 awards presented for Allstars of the Decade 2001-2011. All of them recipients have made huge contributions to the club over the last ten years, all in very different ways. The winners were…
If ever an Allstar was even more than the sum of his parts, it’s this man. On the field, his bowling has the effect of making everyone feel better. His experience, skill, control, and penetration, make us seem a more credible outfit the very moment he begins his run-up.
Self-deprecatingly, he has always under-rated his batting, despite his genuine ability. Off-field, and especially on tour, he is the life and soul of proceedings, and inevitably at the centre of whatever’s happening.
Whether it’s wearing stupid hats, spending all night sleeping on the grass, being chatted up by camp Frenchmen, coining brilliant Michael Jackson puns, or composing one of the most acclaimed ever musical tributes to a grumpy coach driver – the sheer scale of his contribution over many years cannot be overstated.
If you wrote down the names of ten Allstars you’d most like to play alongside, Chris would always be the first name on anyone’s team-sheet. He is the kind of club member for whom the word stalwart was devised.
The most striking things about him as an Allstar are his selflessness, his versatility, and his loyalty to the club throughout our ten year history.
He is always the first person to offer help, volunteer for a task, identify a problem and provide a solution – be it sorting out kit, marking out the boundary, tactics in the field, or a diplomatic incident. He can also be relied upon to gently deflate some of Maxie’s more ludicrous ideas and sagely steer events in a more sensible direction.
Even more importantly, he is a dependable and resourceful cricketer. A powerful and streetwise batsman, a confident captain, a powerhouse in the field, and, as a vastly accomplished wicket keeper, he has the most caps and dismissals in Allstars history.
Loyalty is just as important a theme for our next winner – an attribute which underscores Garreth’s contribution to the club, which stretches back to the very foundation of the Allstars in 1995.
Allstars life would not be quite the same without him. Famously, he wears his heart on his sleeve – and such is the emotion he invests in his cricket, his particularly colourful displays have entered into club folklore and provided some of the most memorable events in our history.
A keen student of the game, his acumen as a cricket brain is perhaps not widely recognised, but has often revealed itself when, as captain, he has led to us to some if the most celebrated Allstars victories of all, for example at Salix in 2009.
Off-field, he is an effortlessly assiduous scorer, an elegant and erudite writer of match reports, and has brilliantly organised a series of hugely enjoyable domestic tours.
But he is best known as the bowler who puts more spin on the ball than anyone in an Allstars shirt has ever done. He is the kind of bowler who clears the bars – because you know that when he steps up to the crease, whatever happens, it’s not going to be dull.
Without Tristan, where on earth would we have been over the last ten years? He may not always be the most spectacular batsman on display, nor the showiest bowler – but match in, match out, season after season, he is the best all-rounder a village club could wish for.
It was he who turned his brother’s fanciful, rather naive idea of forming a cricket club into a tangible, functioning reality – an actual cricket team.
He has a brilliant cricket brain, is our best captain, is all-in-all our best fielder, and makes the best teas. There is a special commendation for his Yorkshire puddings with roast beef and horseradish sauce.
He has also been known to keep wicket, and if he ever gets round to learning to drive, he will presumably be commandeered to look after the team bus as well.
He is one of only two players ever to represent the Allstars in more than a hundred matches. He has scored the most runs, the most centuries (nine), the most fifties, and taken the most wickets and the most catches. Among his many highlights, the stand-outs are probably his epic spell of 6-37 which sealed the breakthrough victory against Trengilly Wartha in 2002, And his relentless batting in the 2003 season, when his broad bat reeled off 969 runs – the lynchpin of a summer in which we won ten matches out of twenty.
Last but not least- in fact, “last but most” would be appropriate – is Maxie. The founder of our club and the driving force behind it for the last 10 years, the club literally would not exist without him. It was an honour for the Awards Committee to be able to recognise this by presenting Maxie with a tangible recognition of all he has achieved.
He is not just an Allstar of the Decade, he is the all time Allstar. He epitomises the Allstar spirit: he loves cricket for the fun of the game, he always plays with the right attitude, he never berates the shortcomings of others, he knows that the whole purpose of the match is to have a beer together afterwards. And like the club itself, his actual cricketing ability is… not actually the point.
He has put in so much hard work for the club over the years, with the result that everyone connected with it has had a fantastic time on so many occasions. All of us owe him a huge debt of gratitude, and all of us recognise that our lives are immeasurably enriched by knowing him.