Neyland Cricket - 20 years of terrific players

We asked club stalwart Gregg Miller to pick our Neyland ‘Select XI’ and he’s come up with a terrifically strong team and writes about each one of them in his typically analytical but dry-humoured style.
Gregg MillerThere is one glaring omission from the squad and that is Gregg himself but he modestly opts not to put himself in. But we can say that he would certainly be in our team somewhere because he has been a wonderful player who scored runs regularly, has been an under-rated bowler early on in his career and revels in the fact that he has also been one of the best fielders in the county too!
Not a bad captain either and for many years the lynch-pin of the club’s superb indoor cricket team!
“Having been tasked with picking a Neyland side from this century, I’ve spent quite a lot of time thinking it over, checking a few stats and have come up with the following,” said Gregg.
“I’ve been lucky enough to play with some great players in the first team since 1991 but unfortunately after winning Division 1 in 1996 the club lost a few great players that would have undoubtedly made the side so I have to mention those, in particular Ian Capon, Andrew Milne, Andrew “Bob” Williams and Phil Sutton.
“This set us back considerably and we as a club had to rebuild, waiting on the next batch of upcoming players to step up and take us to where we are today....... so here’s my 11, in batting order.”

Paul Murray

1. Paul Murray 
Paul started out in the first 11 at the age of 15, opening the batting and scoring runs aplenty for many seasons. He topped the run-scoring in his first year! The ability to dig deep when needed, but just as likely to back himself to destroy any attack on his day, as in the 2011 bowl final giving us the impetus and setting the platform for a great win. He was MOM in the 2017 H-A final. Excellent fielder in the offside ring, used in the outfield in the latter stages with safe hands and a great arm.  


Nick Koomen 

2. Nick Koomen 
Nick burst onto the scene with a ‘cultured’ 3 off 62 balls at the racecourse and has never looked back. An outstanding cricketer and as classy a batsman as you’ll see. We saw his ability in Neyland but until recently I think he was very underrated by others. The opposition used to try and get under his skin as he’s quiet, but it never worked; it just made him better! He backs his ability every time, and his stats back that up. A more than useful bowler, playing key roles in big finals, definite big-game player having won MOM in the 2011 Bowl final and also taking a hat trick in both finals!

** Two mentions for potential opening spots that may consider themselves unlucky are Scott John and Patrick Bellerby; Scott certainly played his part at the top of the order during the early 2000s,  although something of a donkey in the field (he’s sure to disagree) and Patrick is now a great opening bat and outstanding fielder who’s come into his own the last two seasons, I’m sure his best is yet to come **

 Andrew Miller  

3. Andrew Miller (Captain)
‘Windy’ has been around the scene forever, playing first team since 1990, and quite literally holding the team together when the going got tough;  never more apparent than after losing so many key players in the late 1990s. He’d bat at No 3 for me (although in recent years he’s dropped down) with his ability to read and adapt to any situation. He’s in as one of my two spinners, or ‘pie-chuckers’ some might say, but stats don’t lie. Regularly topping the county wicket takers he is invaluable and the longest serving captain of the club; gets the nod for captaincy here too. Also George Cole trophy winner in 2009. 



Ashley Sutton

4. Ashley Sutton
In recent years Ashley has been outstanding, and is definitely a big game player, having won MOM awards in both the Harrison-Allen and Duggie Morris finals, scoring an excellent century in the televised Bowl final of 2013. Usually bats at No 3 these days but in this team at No 4. He has the ability to increase the tempo of the innings and score very quickly. Also a great ground fielder, quick over the ground and with a decent arm.


John Jones 

5. John Jones 
John last played for us in 2006 before moving further afield due to family and work commitments, but in those years did more than enough to make this side. Deceptively quick swing bowler, but his batting in my opinion was even better. Very classy to watch and one game that sticks in my mind is a Welsh cup game at home to Ammanford (who always used to beat us comfortably) where he scored 80 in quick time, planting a few balls  a long way into the rugby field. 



Nathan Banner

6. Nathan Banner
Signed for us in 2013 and what a difference he made. After dropping a dolly in his first game, it could only get better, and it certainly did! His first league season brought 28 wickets and 300 runs at an average of 43. A fiery character and not always the easiest to handle, but certainly had the ability to swing a game with either bat or ball and often did just that. Would want him in my side every week! 


Jeremy Charles 

7. Jeremy Charles
‘Charlo’ left the club for Australia a few years ago now but during the early 2000s played a big part. An all-rounder that could bowl aggressively and always very competitive (maybe got that from his dad?!) He was a middle-order batsman capable of hitting the ball a long way and an outstanding fielder.


Henry Durrant

8. Henry Durrant
A left-arm seamer who, on a good day can cause any top order batsman problems. Underrated as a batsman and would be used as a floater in this team. Can hit the ball nearly as far as Ashley, and has a textbook cover drive in his armoury. Claims to be decent in the field, but he’d definitely be hidden at fine leg in this team 


Sean Hannon
9. Sean Hannon (Wk & VC)
Very competitive, Sean has been a first team regular for around 15 years. Established himself as a great keeper, astute leader and more than useful late order batsman (hits big, apparently!) Highly respected around the locality, the current club captain and invaluable to me during my years at the helm. Misses out to Windy on the captaincy here largely on experience but a very close call. 



Patrick Hannon

10. Patrick Hannon
Like brother Sean has been a first team regular for the last 15 years. A medium pace swing bowler who takes the new ball here. Very enthusiastic cricketer, great ground fielder and lower order batsman who is lightning quick between the wickets. He is composed under pressure, having hitting a last-ball boundary to clinch the 2015 H-A bowl.


Gary Lloyd 
11. Gary Lloyd 
‘Gaj’ would simply have to be in my side. A club legend that’s been around for an eternity and always gives his all, plays with a smile, and personifies sportsmanship. Would have been first-choice slip fielder in his prime having seem him take many screamers off a quick Ian Capon. Often used to open the bowling in cup formats, quietly goes about his business and picks up plenty of wickets along the way. Topped the club batting averages in 2005! 

** Others unlucky to miss out on the bowling here would be Ian Charles and Peter Burton. Both medium pace bowlers with great accuracy who I played with for many years, but unfortunately miss out here as their best days were probably pre-2000 **