Against all odds (a little Phil Collins reference early on in the year for you there, Mr Fitch), the Kent Ramblas are heading into their fifth season.
Having secured what three years ago would have been a barely believable six wins in 2013, we head into this year with a sea of familiar faces…
Parenting duties mean appearances will be at a minimum for Bense this season, but we know that if he can don the famous shirt, we’ll get an excellent ‘keeper and fielder, as well as some big hitting. Training our burgeoning youth team will be his top priority in the coming years.
Best Ramblas Moment: Hitting a career-high 31 in our second season. Definitely not being hit in the knackers earlier that year.
An injury-free season saw the best of the perennially-upbeat Mr Cleverley in 2013, with some fantastic performances with bat and ball, including coming within a desperate dive by the man below of the first-ever Ramblas hat-trick.
Best Ramblas Moment: Has to be coming so, so close to claiming that first hat-trick. Well, that or the ‘Oh shit’ moment away at Petts Wood last year…
Our treasurer and vice-captain stepped into lead the side on a number of occasions last year, including a few memorable wins, while his own form with the bat returned to go alongside with the ever-excellent fielding.
Best Ramblas Moment: Swatting the winning runs against Eden Park, as we chased down 235 to win with an over to spare.
Our third-highest wicket-taker last year, Ian continued to form an at-times devastating new-ball partnership with Mark Loughlin. Didn’t get much chance to bat last year, for which a certain team-mate feels just desserts after one particular innings…
Best Ramblas Moment: Hoiking an almighty six on tour in Bristol… and then trying to recreate it without the same success against Commonwealth last year.
An unfortunate injury sustained while on Ramblas duty curtailed much of his season last year, but a winter honing his game on the indoor circuit will hopefully mean we get to see a lot more of him (as it were) in 2014. Will hopefully refrain from injuring his team-mates this year, too.
Best Ramblas Moment: That infamous strop against Old Whitgiftians following a regulation drop, surely?
Deservedly the Captain’s Player of the Year in 2013, formidable with bat and ball, as well as behind the stumps, it’s likely that Sam will be asked to don the wicket-keeper’s gloves on a regular basis due to the ever-expanding Ramblas nursery/feeder team.
Best Ramblas Moment: His century against London Saints was also the Ramblas’ first. Although his hungover performance against Herne is also worthy of note.
The first of two new full-time Ramblas for this season, Ahsan first pulled on the Ramblas shirt last year and showed off his prowess with the ball, as well as being more than capable of chipping in with some lower-middle order runs.
Best Ramblas Moment: His now patented shout of “Easy catch, easy catch” when a ball looped up to a fielder on debut should now be a more regular occurrence.
Another who warranted his award last year, Ash was crowned Players’ Player of the Year following a stellar showing with the bat that included four centuries and no end of sixes. A natural in the field too, he’s never short of a word to say… or a pint to drink.
Best Ramblas Moment: The highest score by a Rambla of 132 against Cuddington. Or every time he can’t find an item of kit in the changing room.
The second of our triumvirate of dads, Jon’s main focus will be the latest addition to his – and the Ramblas – family. However, if that arrival is as slow coming as a Cooper delivery, we may still get a chance to witness his superb ‘keeping skills this year.
Best Ramblas Moment: Striking the first Ramblas 50 against Bickley, or a stunning catch off the batsman’s gloves against London Saints.
Our premium pace bowler was again top of the tree in terms of wickets in 2013 and he allied that with some hugely important innings that were integral to many of the victories notched up.
Best Ramblas Moment: So many to mention, but a one-handed leap against Norwood at long-on was the peak of athleticism. Particularly in this team…
Geoff was another injured in the line of duty last year, but came back with aplomb to stifle many a batsman with his wrist spin. Perhaps more impressive, though, was his batting, smiting some big sixes and thrashing his first half-century in victory against Eden Park.
Best Ramblas Moment: That 50 not out against Eden Park. Or *that* drop-kick against Norwood.
Our High Mistress of Teas continued her own fine run of form, putting on some stellar spreads inbetween studies. Even overcame stout opposition from some to the introduction of salad.
Best Ramblas Moment: Introducing lemon drizzle slices to our teas.
Completing our trio of dads is Felipe, who juggles parenthood with being a postman and a some-time Rambla. Showed he hasn’t lost his touch with a wicket in his return last year and his team-mates look forward to more of the same in 2014.
Best Ramblas Moment: A 3-12 that was the shining light on a miserable day in Eastry in our second season.
The erstwhile Mr Scoates Esq showed glimpses of that glorious cover drive last season, while also reducing the number of ridiculous excuses for his absence. Another we’ll hopefully see more of in the coming season.
Best Ramblas Moment: The catch of our first season on the boundary rope. Or getting barked at against St Mary Cray a year later.
Our second new permanent face, Drew made his debut in one of the worst ever Ramblas performances at RACS last season, but that clearly didn’t put him off and he did manage to take a superb catch, before turning out a few more times.
Best Ramblas Moment: While that debut catch was top-notch, it has to be the unflinching 40 he struck against Priory.
An in-and-out season for our esteemed leader didn’t dampen his run-scoring appetite, anchoring many an innings and leading us to an unprecedented level of success. Also proved to be one of the safest pair of hands last year.
Best Ramblas Moment: That tip, tumble and juggle of a catch from last year will live long in the memory.
Continued to offer steady support with the bat on numerous instances last year and always feels comfortable at the crease. Prone to the odd bit of dressing room ‘rearranging’.
Best Ramblas Moment: Shouting “Yes” before even completing a fine catch in our opening game of last season. Or being part of our first-ever ton partnership.
Became only the second man to claim 20 wickets in a season for the Ramblas and managed to secure more catches than drops… just. Perhaps more ‘renowned’ for his questionable cricketing ensemble than anything else.
Best Ramblas Moment: Confusing an incoming opposition batsman by being dressed up in his customary attire of headband, Aviators and shirt collar up.