It’s been seven years, over 100 games and in excess of 50 players donning the Ramblas’ whites and there’s no sign of the fun stopping. So, on the dawn of the new season, it’s time to introduce our cast of characters…
Dave Brewer The newest full-time member to our motley crew, offers almost unparalleled self-sacrifice in the field and, now he’s off the mark, will surely be delighting the crowds with those lusty drives down the ground on a regular basis.
Lucy Brewer Supporter-in-chief and the woman behind the man (well, a man…), LB has more than embraced the Ramblas ethos, is a lively and welcome presence on the sidelines and also a fine deliverer of the squad’s cake requests.
Michael Cooper Having served with distinction as vice-captain, treasurer and player wrangler, the ever-dedicated Coops takes over the reins as captain for the coming year, looking certain to pass a century… of appearances. We’ll take the odd middle-order 20 with the bat.
Mrs C Potentially the glue that ties the Ramblas together, selflessly producing exquisite spreads when called upon, Mrs C has maintained the high standards set by her predecessors with hosts and visitors alike hoping for more of the same this summer.
Ian Dacre Currently escaping reality and pretending he’s 10 years younger by ‘travelling’ in the southern hemisphere, we’ll be looking forward to the return of the grammar police’s chief inspector and the most genuine of genuine number elevens in the second half of the season when his wily bowling will be welcomed back with open arms.
Alex Danks One of a stream of talented all-rounders, AD made the switch from devastating opening bowler to wicketkeeper-batsman extraordinaire look effortless last year and while his counting might not be up to his father’s standards, he can leave it to the rest of us to tally the inevitable stream of runs.
Doug Danks Twirling deliveries as he twirls his ‘tache, the distinguished Danks (not much competition there in the Ramblas ranks, granted) goes about his business with a minimum of fuss, but always with a smile on his face; and that enthusiasm remains infectious.
Tom Danks Completing our Danks Dynasty (alphabetically, at least) is our reliable No.3 Tom. He might be infuriatingly unable to accumulate a full kitbag of his own, but he sure as hell knows how to accumulate runs and keep that scoreboard ticking over.
Steve Fitch Having last year enjoyed his best showing with the ball, Stitch will be looking to maintain those high standards once more – largely in the hope that it means he doesn’t have to get the next round in.
Peter Ford For someone who insists he hates the game, there is nary a soul who enjoys a Sunday in the field as much as our brilliantly bearded baldie. Flashing the bat at the top of the order, he can take the game to the bowlers straightaway, while his work in the field is almost without peer.
Rich Ford Part-time player he may be, but Rich’s terrier-like dedication to the cause is always welcomed when called upon. Having retired from the police force, that experience comes in handy trying to keep Peter and Sam in check.
Sam Ford Rightfully named player of the year in 2016, Sam broke the season record for runs scored and tops the all-time list and also served with distinction as stand-in skipper on multiple occasions. Surely a front-runner for top run scorer again, as well as the foremost Jason Manford lookalike in the squad.
Ed Gibbs Turned up having not played cricket for almost 20 years and showed that once you’ve got it, you don’t lose it. He’s already taken a hat-trick and been involved in a couple of key batting partnerships, as well as having an arm on him that leaves the keeper’s gloves stinging.
Dave Green Another who hadn’t picked up a cricket bat for some time, Gibbs’ fellow Plymothian Green has shown a huge appetite for all aspects of the Ramblas. With a contender for catch of the season and some almighty whacks with the bat, he’s already bedded in nicely.
Howard Hardy-King Having become the latest Rambla to prove his virility, fatherhood will likely (and rightly) limit performances this year, but if it is just the odd cameo we are treated to, we can only hope they resemble last year’s phenomenal knock against Locksbottom.
Ash Harriss Not content with being the driving force of landlords Ex-Blues, young Ashley also finds time – where permitted – to bring his own brand of devastating batting (along with no shortage of energy and acumen in the field) to the Ramblas.
Mark Loughlin The man who never stops (although some times after a couple of sherries maybe he should…), Mark bowls with unerring accuracy as attack leader and offers sterling support in the middle order, as well as being like a whippet in the field.
Geoff Parrett Sometimes reluctant to take centre stage, when he finds his mojo there can be no way to get him out… of the buffet. Mercurial with bat and ball, Geoff has also been integral off the pitch in terms of finding willing opposition.
Ruth Parrett Fuelling the side with some of the best grub seen outside of the Michelin star restaurants in central London, Ruth has been selfless in giving her Sundays up to work her magic in the kitchen at Ex Blues.
Jonathan Stocks Our erstwhile leader has relinquished the captaincy after seven distinguished years and will now be focusing on what he does best – churning out nuggety runs at the top of the order (and offering an ‘interesting’ take on returning the ball to the ‘keeper).
Laurie Stocks It’s that time of the year again where we don’t know if the shoulder injuries that have occurred through (by his own estimation, at least) carrying so many teams will take their toll, but we live in hope that we’ll have one of our founders back on the pitch.
Chris Thomas In danger of becoming a part-time match reporter who bowls a bit (and bats even less), Thommo still has a happy – if expensive – knack of getting in among the wickets.