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    Captain’s Report (from 2018 yearbook)

    Looking back at the 2017 tour, I’m sorry to say that the weather was, perhaps, the dominant feature. With shortened games at Sidmouth, Old Tauntonians and Kilve, an abandonment at Chulmleigh and not even reaching the ground at Bridgetown, Seaton, Axminster and Cerne Valley, cricketing opportunities were limited, especially for the second week tourists. Nevertheless, there were some cricketing highlights during the mixture of time and limited over games – a stubborn, but just failing, last wicket partnership between 16 year olds Alec Sprague and guest James Flatt at Blundells, an opening stand of 210 between Mike Hall and Harry Thomas together with 6 wickets for Al Thomas at Heathcoat, exceptional catches in the deep by another  young guest, Miles Quick, at Exmouth and Old Tauntonians, where Rich Godfree and Justin Williams both scored quick fifties and the youthful pair of Olly Nethercott and James Flatt took us to a last over victory, fifties for Guy Bucknell and Charlie Redmayne at Instow, and finally 5 wickets for Peter Sprague at Kilve with fifties from Charlie Redmayne and Philip Oliver.

    Once again we were heavily dependent on guests to fulfil our fixtures, and we look forward to seeing them again. We also look forward to seeing more of our current membership taking the field of play on what is still a magnificent tour, as wonderfully described by Christopher Dean in his tour report. There are no changes to our opposition in 2018, but instead of ending the tour on a Friday at Cerne Valley, we shall be starting there on a Sunday and ending the tour at Axminster on a Thursday. Once again I look forward to receiving all members’ availability – plenty of it and, in order not to be disappointed, as early as possible.

    I must conclude my report with reference to John Ford’s and Chris Dean’s obituary of Tim Alexander, one of the many truly great Sou’westers. It was through Tim that I joined the club in the early ‘60s when, as a schoolboy at Forest School and holidaying at my grandparents in Westward Ho, I ventured to watch the local cricket match, only to spot Master-in-Charge of cricket Tim steaming in from the sea end. As Chris Dean mentions, the Sou’westers were at one of their lowest ebbs at that time, so I was immediately called upon and kitted out to play the next day at Instow. I claim no credit for this, but it is interesting to note that there are 3 vice-presidents, 1 honorary life member, 5 non-playing members and 20 playing members listed in the yearbook, and many others who have been and gone, whose membership can be attributed to Tim and that chance meeting at Westward Ho!

    Martin Oliver