YMCA Cricket Club, Bristol
Playing cricket at Golden Hill since 1902

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Maks Executive Travel

 MILSOM LEADS BY EXAMPLE

Long serving batsmen, Keith Milsom has been officially recognised as the YMCA’s most successful First Eleven captain since the formation of the Bristol & District league in 1973. Left handed opening batmen, Milsom’s record as skipper is unmatched by his peers with an excellent match-winning ratio of nearly 44% during his 119 matches as Captain between 1976 and 1989.

YMCA First Eleven Captain’s League Results Record

Name

Played

Won

Drawn/tied

Lost

% of wins

K.Milsom

119

52

31

36

43.6%

S.J.White

156

62

21

72

39.7%

S.Buckland

52

17

11

22

32.6%

P.A.Dowle

28

8

9

11

28.5%

P.A.Wride

40

10

9

21

25.0%

M.J.Whale

15

3

5

7

20.0%

The chart summarises the results record for each of the 6 players who have captained the first eleven since the start of the Bristol & District League in 1973. Records do not include matches abandoned before one completed innings and cancelled matches.

The ‘YM’ entered Division Two of the newly formed league in its opening season under the leadership of Pete Wride, who led the side through three difficult seasons whilst the club adjusted to the unfamiliar surroundings of the league format.  

Keith Milsom

It was not until 1976 that a young Keith Milsom took over the reigns of skipper for the start of six consecutive seasons. Keith’s positive attitude influenced a gradual improvement in the teams’ fortunes, which peaked during the 1980 campaign, with 13 league victories (including a 1st X1 record of 8 straight wins) and a deserved promotion to B&D Division One. 

But, in the early days, it wasn’t always plain sailing for the inexperienced captain as Keith explains…

“My first spell as captain started in the long, hot summer of 1976. The previous season I had stood in as captain for one game in place of Pete Wride. As these things have a habit of doing, everything went right for me on that occasion and we recorded a much needed victory during a season in which we generally struggled.

Needless to say, being a young and naive cricketer of 24 I had no hesitation in accepting the job as captain when my name was proposed at the AGM since. I could not see any difficulties based on my career experience to date (one whole match in charge!).

In complete contrast to that one match, the whole 1976 season turned into a disaster that ended with me captaining the team to the only relegation in the clubs' history. We didn't win a game until the end of June, I couldn't score a run to save my life and we ended up going down on the last day of the season.

Ray Cork

Better Times Ahead with the masterclass of '80
In 1977 we looked like getting promoted at the first attempt but fell away close to the end. In 1978 we had an average season and in 1979 we diced with the lower reaches of the table for far too long before, in 1980, we finally mounted a successful promotion challenge. That was the season we set the club record for straight wins and with the players we had it's easy to see why.

Ray Cork and Lionel Harris provided the class in the batting and were backed by the likes of Danny Wood, Steve Buckland and Mike Lawrence who were followed by all rounders such as Keith (Tom) Sawyer and Mark Ryland. Pete Walker opened the bowling and he was given tremendous support by the 'spin twins' of John Ireland and Grant Reed whilst behind the stumps we had the safe hands of Pete Huckle.

On top of all this we had in Keith Young the best all round cricketer I have seen the club produce. He could open the bowling with some of the fastest stuff in the league and then go out at number four and destroy the opposition attack with his batting. I was lucky enough to be at the other end when Keith Young scored the Club’s first ever first team league century and although our game was the star match he never won the bat because Grant Reed then proceeded to take 9 wickets. Keith was still at university that year and by the time he came back we had already won 5 or so games so he was by no means the only reason we went up but he definitely cemented our place in the top two.

Championship title goes to the wire
The only disappointment of the 1980 season was that we missed out on being champions after being at the top for long periods. By a strange twist of fate we played title rivals Cleeve in the last match of the season at home, a week after we had sealed promotion. In those days draws and winning draws were possible as well as straight wins and defeats. All YM needed to do to be champions was avoid defeat. The game started well and we had them struggling on a pitch that we still drying after overnight rain. Unfortunately, they recovered well and set us a target in the region of 175. A draw seemed the best objective for us but the fortune we had for nearly all the season deserted us on that final afternoon and poor old Pete Huckle was the last wicket to fall with less than 2 overs to go when he was caught behind off a ball he swears he never touched - and Pete is now a senior master at Bristol Grammer School so I'm inclined to believe him!

As the old football adage goes, it's harder to get out of the division below than stay in the one above and so it proved for us because we've now effectively been in the same division ever since we were promoted in 1980."

Further spells of captaincy were enjoyed by Steve Buckland, Phil Dowle and Mike Whale with varying degrees of success until the current first team captain, Simon White took over for, what has become, an impressive unbroken sequence of more than 150 matches during 12 seasons with a further commitment to the 2003 season.

Simon White

Experienced all rounder, White has enjoyed some glory of his own with a notable promotion, albeit for one season, to the Senior Division Two during the 1994 season. Further title challenges followed but were, perhaps, eclipsed by the 2002 season in which the Golden Hill club came close to promotion to Division One of the newly structured Bristol & District League before eventually finishing fifth. White reflected on his decade as YM skipper ….

“Cricket - its only a game”
“In general, I love to win every game of cricket but I never lose site of the fact that it’s just a game.

I have really enjoyed being 1st X1 Captain at Golden Hill over the previous 12 years but it is the friendships I have forged with so many players that gives me the most satisfaction. I am proud to say that I have never had a problem with teammates, on or off the field, and they have always supported me with my decisions. Maybe this is because I always try my best to ensure that everyone gets a game each Saturday – although, as other captains will know, this not always possible.

In terms of team performance, I consider the highlight of my captaincy to be the Plate Final appearance in 1990 against a strong Claverham side. I had just taken over as Captain from Keith Milsom and we came so close to winning the match (if only Hitesh Shah had held that catch off my bowling!!)”

Finally, ymcacricket.com would like to thank each of the Captains for their dedication and energy in running the first team over the last 30 years that has helped make the YM one of Bristol’s most popular cricket clubs.


© 2004 YMCA Cricket Club