Despite the lack of cricket, we’ve got some good news on the playing front as we welcome to the club new players Ed White, Alistair Burns, Mark Gower and Sam Collyer.
A number of you may already know Sam Collyer as our assistant groundsman and official photographer! If you follow us on Instagram you'll have seen many of his incredible photos but Sam is multi-talented and has also previously played cricket for Merstham and Dorking in Surrey, although he's keen to stress a long time ago! Whilst we got to know Sam last year as he quickly got involved off the field we're hoping to see if his batting/bowling match his photography and pitch preperation skills this season!
Ed White will be a familiar face to anyone who played for the Second XI against Aldwick last season or in various Sunday fixtures where Ed made guest appearances, scoring 71 against The Buccaneers and 67* against Amberley! In 2019 Ed scored 831 league runs in Division 6 West for Aldwick at a small average of 92.33!
Alistair Burns (brother of Rory?) and Mark Gower (son of David?) are both new to cricket and are looking forward to getting involved. Welcome Sam (in a playing capacity!), Ed, Alistair and Mark!
We are also really pleased to announce Hugo Gillespie returns to the club as a senior player this season. Hugo joined our club in Glyn Lucas’ U13 squad in 2015. Initially as good a bowler as batsman, this is not the case today. He remains a more than useful spinner who can be relied upon to break up partnerships but he’s also a terrific fielder and his batting is what draws the crowds to the Rec. Having spent last year on loan at Brighton & Hove, his return to play league cricket here was a huge statement of intent by us as a club. He more than held his own in the Premier League last term but having spoken to Howgate, he was impressed with the signing of Matt as club coach and was delighted to come home. When not playing at school or at the Nevill last year, he could usually be found at the Rec cheering us on or playing colts and on Sundays. In 95 games for us, he’s made four hundreds and 13 half centuries. Add to that, 80 wickets and 56 catches. Expect that to rise when he finally straps pads on for us again.
Also returning to us are the three West Chilt footballers, Scott and Craig Pulling and Ryan Ashley, who principally want to play Slam but will no doubt appear in some longer matches at some stage too. All three (and others) started playing when Mick Armstrong and Dave Robinson first came over. In those days, it was worse than today as there really were no players between the ages of 18 and 40. The Chilt footballers occupied Mick and Dave off the field going to Hove as well as footy games and showing them the bars on the coast. Whilst some like the much loved David Bundock have got married and left the area, our three amigos got married, had children but stayed local and kept an eye on things at the Rec. Right back for West Chilt FC, Scott Pulling was a resilient middle order 1st XI wicketkeeper batsman for us who started in 2009 and last played in 2015. 66 matches averaging over 30 with the bat, he has one ton and four fifties to his name - two of those half centuries were for the 1st XI. Younger brother Craig Pulling was 2nd XI vice captain for a while under Stephen Hodgson. A bowling all rounder, he started with us in 2008 and last played for us in 2016. 88 matches at 24.59 batting plus 32 wickets at under 35. Two hundreds and six fifties. Both also played Sundays and Craig also came on our first East Devon tour. Ryan Ashley is an extremely useful 2nd XI bowler who also played Sundays. 2009-2014, 46 games with 47 wickets at just over 25 and a useful economy rate too. Always entertaining with the bat if you got to the ground quickly! Will be great to see them and their families back at the ground. They also were fierce competitors and good fielders to boot - Ryan is extremely quick...
Welcome home Hugo, Craig, Scott and Ryan! Let's hope you all have the chance to play some cricket this season!