Well, would you and Adam and Eve it? The Kent Ramblas are ready to embark on their sixth season and even more exciting than the promise of some dazzling displays of ball versus bat is the breakdown of this year’s movers and shakers. I imagine…
Anyway, in the time-honoured fashion of alphabetical order, meet our squad for the 2015 season:
James Benson: Big-hitting, wicket-keeping Bense may only be pencilled in for the odd game this year, but he’s always welcomed back with open arms by the rest of the squad and his six-hitting duel with Geoff Parrett is one for the ages.
Next Ramblas milestone: A first 50 (current highest 31).
Steve Cleverley: The smoothest-talking of all men aged 30-plus who still dress up like Hulk Hogan, Steve’s bowling can be a joy to watch when he hits his stride and here’s hoping for a few more appearances this season – and a few more of those trademark efforts with the bat.
Next Ramblas milestone: 200 runs (currently 143).
Mrs C: A steadying influence off the field, Mrs C has stepped up to – and filled – the plate as one of our merry band of Directors of Teas, delivering plenty of treats along the way.
Next Ramblas milestone: Convincing Geoff to go low-fat spread (current best providing dairy-free treats/quiche/Battenburg).
Michael Cooper: In control of the club’s purse-strings, if not always his bat, Coops is the heartbeat of the Ramblas and has been integral in finding last-minute replacements to ensure we can field a side. That skill, alongside his infectious enthusiasm and sharp fielding, will be very much required once more.
Next Ramblas milestone: 300 runs (currently 242).
Ian Dacre: VVS Daxman may be lethal (to his team-mates’ hopes of a lengthy innings) with the bat, but it’s with the ball that he can wreak havoc on the opposition, with a nagging line and length that can frustrate and flummox in equal measure.
Next Ramblas milestone: 50 wickets (currently 35).
Alex Danks: Our fast-bowling, lady-loving new full-time Rambla delivered some devastating spells with the ball last year and will be feared by many a batting line-up this season, while a late-season 30 showed what he’s capable of with the bat.
Next Ramblas milestone: 20 wickets (currently nine).
Doug Danks: Sandwiched (alphabetically, at least) between his two sons is the elder statesman of our team. Doug’s relaxed bowling action maintains a tidy economy and creates plenty of chances, while the 2015 emergence of a fine beard could prove a challenge to Peter Ford.
First Ramblas milestone:
Teaching Tom to run between the wickets Five wickets.
Tom Danks: Yes, you’ve guessed it, the older brother of the aforementioned Alex, Tom is another new member to the Ramblas collective, offering plenty with bat and ball, as well as the ability to confound team-mates with some optimistic running between the wickets… and his startling inability to get dressed.
First Ramblas milestone: 250 runs.
Steve Fitch: Another of our army (well, small troop) of military medium pace bowlers, Stitch will first be hoping for an injury-free season after suffering a bit the past two years. And if fully fit, his well-pitched bowling, tidy fielding and batting promise will all come to the fore at some point.
Next Ramblas milestone: 50 wickets (currently 35).
Peter Ford: The owner of the finest beard this side of Brian Blessed, Peter stepped in on numerous occasions last year and has made it to “Full Rambla” status for 2015. Canny bowling and a strong arm in the field back up his more-than-handy batting.
Next Ramblas milestone: 100 runs (currently 57).
Sam Ford: Whether ‘keeping, bowling or batting, there’s usually something special just around the corner from Sam and he has dragged many a shambolic collective Ramblas innings towards respectability. Also in possession of some serious dancing feet.
Next Ramblas milestone: 1000 runs (currently 692).
Howard Hardy-King: Our second entirely new face, Howard’s unerring arm from fine leg has already got team-mates and batsmen on edge, while his tricky left-arm pace bowling is further supplemented by some tremendous big hitting.
First Ramblas milestone: 10 wickets.
Ashley Harriss: The man who resembles a Tasmanian Devil in the changing room is a tour de force with the bat, a vocal presence in the field and always good for a few overs of teasing off-spin.
Next Ramblas milestone: First ever Ramblas 150 (current highest 132).
Jon Loughlin: Watching Jon work his magic behind the stumps is one of the joys of summer and one happy by-product of the lovely Sam and Daniel growing up is that we might manage to get a couple more appearances from one of the original Ramblas.
Next Ramblas milestone: 400 runs (currently 361).
Mark Loughlin: If Sam has dragged us kicking and screaming with his batting, then Mark has fulfilled the same role with the shiny red cherry, putting in some truly superlative spells that has left team-mates and batsman alike mesmerised.
Next Ramblas milestone: First ever Ramblas five-fer (current best 4/3).
Geoff Parrett: What is there to say about the man who is as adept at belting out an operatic aria as he is belting the ball out of the park? Providing a calming impact with the ball in the middle overs is his modus operandi, but it’s Geoff’s batting that sees the real fireworks – and sees bowlers’ figures go pear-shaped.
Next Ramblas milestone: 50 wickets (currently 36).
Ruth Parrett: Our very own qualified accountant (yet we trust Coops with the finances? Wait a second…), as Director of Teas Ruth has been positively imperious in the consistent level of quality grub on show.
Next Ramblas milestone: Getting Geoff and Coops to eat salad (current best getting Chris to eat salad).
Drew Smith: Calm and consistent with the bat, when on form Drew provides a steadying influence in the middle order and has also pulled out some glorious snaffles in the field – as well as one of the most ludicrous run-outs of all time.
Next Ramblas milestone: A first half-century (current highest 48).
Jonny Stocks: Captain. Leader. Batsman. Person. All very accurate words for our safe-hands Skipper who specialises in steady accumulation, allowing his team-mates to do the fancy stuff. That said, a sparkling 20:20 innings late last year hinted that something more racy in terms of run-rate could be in the offing this season.
Next Ramblas milestone: A first ton (current highest 84).
Laurie Stocks: The man who’s not feeling that comfortable out there at the moment due to a potentially season-threatening shoulder injury is a stalwart of the Ramblas collective and those lusty leg-side swipes will be missed if the physio rules him out for the year.
Next Ramblas milestone: That first half-century (current highest 35).
Chris Thomas: Often erratic with the ball, two innings (one official, one sadly not) at the back-end of 2014 saw the headband-adorned Thommo realise a bit of promise with the bat… without putting any real pressure on the side’s genuine all-rounders.
Next Ramblas milestone: 50 wickets (currently 43).