2009 saw Ricky 1st XI start in Division Three of the Herts League. The previous year had ended with Ricky being relegated along with Hatfield and Abbots Langley, after Ampthill had hung on 9 wickets down in the penultimate game of the season (how we will miss those drawn games!) and then the last game was called off by a Preston team who therefore escaped relegation themselves as a result.
So Division Three it was. Ricky were boosted by the generous offer from Watford Town to loan one of their 3 overseas players. A young quick bowler and vice-captain of the Tanzanian team, called Khalil Rhemtulla. And by coincidence we started the season with a friendly against Watford Town, which they won thanks to 117 from Neil Sen. However Shammi posted good intent with 96 and he and Sacha Hattea (72) put on 147 for the 2nd wicket. Khalil showed respect with a duck. But it all looked good for the season ahead.
The first League game against Hemel started so well with the fiery Khalil taking 7-59, but chasing just 181 Ricky were skittled for 62. Only extras reached double figures. The second game also was a draw, as Stevenage posted 212/5. After a good start by Maz (41) and Naseer (34) the chase fell away finishing when Zaf had to retire hurt. 160 / 8. The next game also started well as Totteridge were restricted to just 150. Even that was an improvement from 16/4! But once again Ricky’s batting frailties were exposed with Maz being forced to carry his bat for 60 not out as every other batsman scored less than 11. Maz’s contribution of 68% of the runs in a total of 88 was probably one of the highest ever seen in recent times.
3 games and Ricky were in relegation trouble and things went from bad to worse as a decent total of 191/10 (Nawaz 51, Ibby 41) was easily overtaken by Letchworth with overs to spare. 5th game and Ricky took on Hatfield and posted a very good 223, based around Naseer Nawaz smashing 93. However the bowlers couldn’t return the favour and despite 4 LBW’s Hatfield hung on at 191/9. We had 8 overs at numbers 10 and 11. With the next game washed out Ricky were Played 6 Won 0
In the next game Ricky were playing Shenley, who would eventually finish as Champions. But Ricky finally put together a good performance. The first five batsmen all scored 24 or more and 249 was a good score. Khalil and Safraz took 3 wickets each and whilst no 8 scored 57. Shenley ended up 14 runs short of victory. Khalil wrapping up the tail.
In the meantime, the 2nd XI in Division 6, were winning some and losing others. 274 against Radlett was a highlight, but 49 all out 2 weeks later was not! Ray Collins and Sohail Bashir were leading the way with the bat, alongside Pete Brannen.
The 3rd XI had already won 2 of the 4 games they would win in the season, with young Callum, Rainey, Ash and David Burne (who would score his first 100 later in the season) leading the way.
Back to the 1st XI, the win was not built on in the next game as Redbourn racked up 248/8 whlst Ricky slipped to 155/10 despite 55 by Khalil before the usual LBW’s that tended to blight most games. Chipperfield next and Ricky’s bowling frailties were again exposed as they posted 254/7. Scores above 240 were very good in these days. Ricky then were on their knees at 94/9 with 6 batsmen out for 1 or 0 before the rain came and saved the day.
Ricky were now 2nd bottom and needed a win. So it was timely that Ibby (40) and Chris Lyons (49) contributed to a score of 233/9. Chris Lyons, the enigmatic South African, who appeared from nowhere, really helped strengthen the 1st XI. He also bowl as he took 3-32 (in 5 overs) of leg spin to help skittle Abbots for 191. And more was to come.
In the next game against Clifton, Paul Blackwell was recalled to the 1st XI, from the 3rd XI, and scored 64* whilst Khamber (44) and Zawar (88) helped themselves to runs at will. Zawar was choosing which trees to hit as 9 6’s were hit in the innings in total. Khalil took 6-19 as Clifton were dismissed for 130. However the joy didn’t last as a total of 185 was chased down by Wheathamptead for 9 wickets. In the next game Khalil (61) and Ibby (40) helped Ricky to a good score again, but couldn’t bowl out County Hall who finished 9 down.
A score of 272 in the next game was ruined by the rain, but 251/9 against St Albans (131 for Khamber) resulted in a win, that helped move Ricky out of the relegation zone. North Mymms scored 178/8 but Ricky finally won a game by chasing a total down, with Chris Lyons (77) and Ibby (49*) providing the necessary impetus.
For various reasons (including various religious festivals) the Ricky team that headed up to Sawbridgeworth was more like a 3rd XI. Kamran with 32 was the highest run scorer, but 115 all out was nothing to trouble Sawbo on a very hot day, famous perhaps only for a young Brendan bowling for the first time in the Ricky 1st XI. Chris Lyons (45) and Zaheer Abbas (69) helped Ricky to 200 in the next game, but Ickleford chased it down.
But then came a record setting final game. Maz with 98, Zaheer with 53 and an imperious 116 by Zawar helped Ricky post 369/10 which was Ricky record and just 4 runs short of the League record. Eversholt finished on 269/7. Not a day for the bowlers. After all that effort Ricky finished comfortable in 13th place.
The top run scorers for the first XI were Zawar (424 at 60) and Zaheer and Ibby who both scored around 370. Khalil took 28 wickets, whilst Marc Robinson took 32 spread scross 1st and 2nd XI’s. Amit Pau with 16 wickets was next highest.
Meanwhile in the 2nd XI, it was a mostly Aussie affair, with Collins, Lyndsey and Johnston taking the bowling plaudits and Collins and Brannan the batting awards. The 2nd XI finished halfway up the table, winning one week and losing the next.
The 3rd XI also finished off comfortably mid-table with Callum scoring 344 runs and someone called Mohammed Rizkhan taking 28 wickets. Not a name I remember.
We also put out a 4th XI in 2009, led by Matthew Shepherd. Raffukh Mian, Waheed Mahroof, Naveed Mahroof and Faisal Murtaza all played key roles at different times.
Rare names that might stir a memory or two –
Eric Stewart & Kris Curtis (fireman friend’s of Tim)
Grant Tunmer and David Hargreaves (both Kiwi’s I think)
Adam Mitchell (A good young keeper)
And also those legends who were either playing in early games for the club, or perhaps somewhere towards the end, such as Andy Molloy, Ronesh Nathwani, Paul Cayghill, Dave Lewy, Rory Cusack, Rumpole, James Weedon, Sasha Hattea, David Burne and Martin Walsh.
If you have any memories of 2009 then post them below. It was only 9 years ago, but it feels like a lifetime!
Updated 14:57 - 9 Mar 2018 by Paul Blackwell