Week 11 of the league season was a mixed one for the club. The 1s battled hard but eventually lost to promotion hopefuls Wycombe House, whilst, a terrific 79 from Ankit Rana set up a winning draw for the 2s against the same opposition. Hopefully better things to come this weekend.
This week, I caught up with legendary Wembley bowler Alan B Jones. Alan is now a first class scorer and having viewed his work, I can say that he is up there with the best.
1) Firstly, congratulations on starting your 11th season as Wembley CC 1st XI scorer. Of that time, which year did you think had the best team and Why?
Hard to compare as we have been in all three divisions, the 2014 side was very successful, clinching the Division 3 title with matches still to go.
2) How did you get into cricket?
I was good at languages at school and the French master ran the school 2nd XI. He got me to score for them when I was 12.
3) Do you remember your first team debut for Wembley CC? Was there anything interesting that happened?
It was against Lords Nippers, the name of the Lords ground staff team at that time. We were bowled out for a low score and I didn't get a bowl!
4) From your time playing in the Middlesex league and now scoring in it, can you see any change in the standard of the league?
Sadly yes the standard was higher when the league started, for two reasons. The league then comprised of 16 teams, most of whom were comparatively strong. With a Division 1 now of 10 teams, the better players tend to move to another top division club if their team is relegated, and so there are now only about seven top teams. Secondly players 40 years ago played every Saturday and Sunday and often midweek as well, obviously developing their skills more than many present players playing 15-20 games a season.
5) You’ve obviously played a with a whole host of players, which was the best player you ever played with and why?
This is the hardest question, I am going for Gordon Chetwood. An excellent batsman bowler and fielder, he knows his cricket and was a player every captain would want in his team.
6) Having played for so long, you must have a few forgotten nicknames. What were they and how did they arise?
Not really, I have been called 'AB' since I was a teenager.
7) What is your best moment in cricket?
Making my first class debut in Abu Dhabi in 2013. I have now scored 18 days of first class cricket, not many but 18 more than the vast majority of players and officials around the world!
8) What is your funniest moment in cricket?
Dr Richard Battye is a true genius, he is a professor of cosmology at the University of Manchester and the associate director (science) in the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics.
One day about 20 years ago John Haskell, Richard and myself were in the old top dressing room, which had an inner and outer door. Richard went to exit through the outer door, but could not open it, moaning in his wonderfully pompous way about 'this club'. Seconds later a young colt came in through the inner door to talk to John about the next day's colts match, and then opened the outer door and walked straight out!
9) You have been on many a Wembley tour, but what has been your highlight and why?
Another off field moment, about 30 years ago John Malley had a disappointing day in the field at Sidmouth, dropping two dollies. In the pub that evening there was a fairly substantial mishap behind the bar, a tremendous sound of breaking glass unusually followed by a few seconds of silence, broken by Graham Bean's shout of 'John Malley's glass'!
10) Who is your best friend in cricket?
John Haskell, we have shared many highs and lows, and have played without doubt with some of the maddest people ever to set foot on Mother Earth.
11) Where did the phrase “stupid boy” come from?
Captain Mainwaring to Private Pike in Dads Army. Tony Smith introduced the phrase to Wembley regarding his son Paul, but it has never lost its relevance!
12) Who do you think will finish with the most league runs at the club this season?
Harry, if anyone in a lower side scores more he should be in a higher team!
13) Who do you think will finish with the most league wickets at the club this season?
Vimal, same note applies.
14) Who is the toughest opponent you have ever played against?
Hugh Pearman of Hornsey, I never got him out or looked like doing so! In the 1970s cricketers were not well paid and Hugh preferred to stay with his career as a teacher rather than follow his brother Roger into county cricket.
15) Who are your cricketing idols? Why?
Garry Sobers was the idol, at different times in his career he was the best batsman bowler and fielder going. Difficult to compare generations, probably Bradman was the best batsman ever, Warne the best bowler, and Sobers the best cricketer, so I have been lucky enough to see two out of three!
16) From all of the Wembley player’s you have played with in your time at the club, what would be your #one2eleven? (Only 1 overseas player is permitted)
1) Patt Atkins - In a way ahead of his time, a devastating opening batsman.
2) Rajesh Rao - The most successful of the first 'stupid boy' generation, played first class for Sussex.
3) Rod Porter - Naturally gifted and stylish batsman.
4) Richard Battye - Eager compiler of runs, with a decent first class record from his time at Cambridge.
5) Graham Bean - Gifted player who should have achieved more, and a good cricket brain.
6) Martin Schultz - Fine batsman, opening bowler at times pretty sharp, and a great fielder.
7) Gordon Chetwood - Produced numerous match winning performances, often against top opposition.
8) Peter Ray - Thought by many opponents as the best bowler they ever played against, and has topped the batting averages.
9)Tony Smith - Simply the best keeper I have seen outside the professional game, often opened or batted 3.
10) Mark Bracewell (overseas) - opening bowler 1979 season only, 103 wickets, no further comment required!
11) Peter Waterman - genuine fast bowler, played first class for Surrey.
Many thanks to Alan for taking the time to do this. In future weeks, we will hear from the likes of John Haskell, Vinoj Srinivasan and Vimal Arjan.