Last year, the Templars made a conscious decision to create a new team structure, ethos and atmosphere, headed by the principles and values of the game. Since then, the team as a whole has continued to strive for these goals and skills both on and off the field. Accordingly, credit goes to Head Coach Peter Wooden who has emphasised the “work hard reap rewards” philosophy in an enthusiastic environment, motivating and challenging us during our training sessions and the entire season.
In a rather topsy-turvy season, with several squad members abroad in the Netherlands, England and Australia, and with skipper Roy Lamsam often away on National Duty representing Hong Kong at the Asian Games, PNG, Sri Lanka and Division 2 & 3 tournaments, astute team-management played a crucial role within the internal team dynamics. Supported by senior squad members, Vice Captain Miten Khatri met these challenges head-on. Not only did he perform well in the Hong Kong League, but he was also selected as Hong Kong’s U19 Captain for the ACC Elite Cup in Malaysia. Templars squad members Sunny Bhimsaria and Kinchit Shah also represented Hong Kong at this prestigious tournament. This is indeed a proud moment for the Templars and KCC.
As ever, the Templars were once again ably supported by a vivacious core group of senior squad members both on and off the field, including stand-out bowler Afzaal Haider who bagged 37 wickets in 21 matches, Saumil Shah, Dylan Dearing and Maroof Khan who will be sorely missed as he relocates to Singapore. Maroof certainly led by example, holding true to the high standards set for the team at the beginning of the year, providing much-needed guidance and sensible know-how to the less experienced members of the team. The ever-solid Dylan Dearing provided much of the Templars’ batting backbone by scoring 526 runs, with 2 centuries including the fantastic innings of the year of 146* when he calmly guided us to a memorable 1 wicket win over the HKCC Wanderers. Other commendable performances for the season include a skilful 89* from Kinchit Shah against the HKCC Scorpions, where the innings was highlighted by a season record highest 10th wicket partnership of 87 with his brother Ninad at the other end.
As proven on several occasions this season, the Templars certainly knew how to win in high-pressure games but simply lacked the overall strength and experience to overcome the biggest teams in the league such as Pakistan Association or LSW. Nevertheless, it was a laudable season result for the team that has worked hard to notch up their 7 wins and is constantly striving to produce better and more consistent performances.
Although several young squad members are beginning to shine and have made significant improvements and advances over the course of the season, it goes without saying that they should not rest on their laurels but should be inspired to work even harder during the summer months to ensure that they are even better prepared for the new season, and are able to step up and start becoming match-winners on their own.
Once again, sincere thanks to Simon Scanlon, Peter Wooden, Afzaal Haider, Dylan Dearing and the rest of the Templars for their kind support throughout the year. I very much look forward to the 2012 cricket season, which should have many exciting prospects. I am confident that the Templars will meet these challenges head on and accomplish greater heights.
By Roy Lamsam