All-rounder award

For­mer Northants man Rob White, of Old Northamp­to­ni­ans in the Northamp­ton­shire Cricket League, is our fourth win­ner of The Cricket Pa­per’s ‘All-Rounder of the Month’ award, which recog­nises out­stand­ing all-round per­for­mances at all lev­els. The award is in

The Cricket Paper - - NEWS - “All-Rounder ale was cre­ated in as­so­ci­a­tion with the Cricket Writ­ers’ Club. An ideal ses­sion ale for a long sum­mer evening watch­ing the cricket, this straw-coloured re­fresh­ing pale ale is gen­er­ously and ap­pro­pri­ately hopped with English and Aus­tralian var

Find out who picks up the prize for Au­gust’s per­for­mances

Ayear ago Rob White helped Old Northamp­to­ni­ans to a first Northamp­ton­shire Cricket League ti­tle in 23 years – mid­way through this sea­son a re­peat seemed very un­likely.

That was un­til a resur­gence from ONs over the sec­ond half of the sum­mer, led by for­mer Northants player White, a stand­out with both bat and es­pe­cially ball.

Now, with just one game re­main­ing, ONs need a sin­gle point against Rush­ton to clinch back-to-back ti­tles and demon­strate they are a team to be counted on in the long term.

And while White may have been bet­ter known for his bat­ting in his county days – no­tably scor­ing 277 in a clash with Glouces­ter­shire back in 2002 – his bowl­ing has been just as im­por­tant this sea­son.

“I’ve had a pretty de­cent sea­son for most of the year, and es­pe­cially since it looked like we might be able to win the league,” he ex­plained.

“We were in third for much of the year, but we were never com­pletely out of con­tention. Un­like last year, lots of teams have been drop­ping points against one an­other, so even though we started slowly, we knew there was still a chance.

“It was just a case of try­ing to stay in touch un­til we started to find our form.

“I’ve bowled a lot more than in pre­vi­ous sea­sons, and I’ve even taken 50 wick­ets, which is some­thing that I had never man­aged be­fore.

“We’ve been with­out a cou­ple of bowlers for a lot of the sea­son. Gareth Wade, who I had spot­ted when I was um­pir­ing, had come in. But he had a stress frac­ture and has only just come back, while Tom Heath­field broke down in our first game, so we were miss­ing both of our main strike bowlers.

“So that’s put a lit­tle more re­spon­si­bil­ity on me to bowl, but I’ve en­joyed it and it’s nice to be in­volved in that side of the game.

“I only bowl leg spin so it’s not as if it puts too much of a strain on the body!

“For the club it’s great to be on the verge of an­other ti­tle. Last year was our first ti­tle in 23 years so it would be huge to do it again.

“We knew it would be harder sec­ond time around. There had been a few teams who had won it for the first time and then found it dif­fi­cult to back it up, so it’s a great ef­fort by all the play­ers for us to be back there.”

Au­gust was a par­tic­u­larly good month for White, who man­aged to rack up 331 runs in seven in­nings in­clud­ing a pair of cen­turies against Northamp­ton Saints and Wol­las­ton.

Add in 12 wick­ets at an av­er­age of un­der ten, and White has been the stand-out all-rounder in the ECB Premier Leagues, earn­ing the Hares­foot All-Rounder of the Month award.

The next tar­get is that soli­tary point against Rush­ton, who cur­rently sit third, with Peter­bor­ough Town ly­ing in wait in case ONs slip up.

And from a per­sonal per­spec­tive, White has an­other tar­get in mind as well, al­beit se­condary to se­cur­ing the ti­tle.

“I’ve got 50 wick­ets in the sea­son but it would be great to be able to fin­ish with 1,000 runs as well,” he said.

“I don’t think many peo­ple have done that, and I’m not far away. I need 45 in the last game to get there, that would cer­tainly be a feather in the cap to achieve that.

“We just need a point against Rush­ton, so hope­fully we can do it, although last time we played them they beat us by ten wick­ets so we can’t take any­thing for granted.

“We’ve im­proved since then, and it was when we played Peter­bor­ough, an­other of our ri­vals, that it started to feel that we could do it.

“In that game (in late July) we scored about 240 and re­stricted them to 121-6 for a very good win­ning draw.

“I was al­ways con­fi­dent we could take it to the fi­nal game, and af­ter that we’ve just been able to kick on.

“Then last week­end’s re­sults re­ally

went our way so that we’re al­most there.”

Five straight wins have all but wrapped up the ti­tle, and ONs were even able to call on a high-pro­file for­mer player in one of those games.

Lack­ing game time at York­shire, David Wil­ley popped back to his first club to play a game against Stony Strat­ford at the start of the month.

His bowl­ing fig­ures of 2-39 were not bad, although over­shad­owed by White’s 4-35.

How­ever, Wil­ley cer­tainly made his mark with the bat.

He ham­mered an un­beaten 83 off just 37 balls in an eight-wicket suc­cess, and White ad­mit­ted it was nice to have Wil­ley back at the club.

“David got in touch with us be­cause he was look­ing for some game time and had not been play­ing a huge amount at York­shire,” he said.

“He re­ally is a club man. He came through the ranks here, he played for ONs be­fore go­ing on to play county cricket, so when he called we were de­lighted to have him.

“He’s ob­vi­ously a great player and got 80 off not many balls and it’s great for the league to have an Eng­land player turn­ing up.

“Now he’s not able to do it quite so much be­ing up in York­shire, but when he was at Northants he used to pop down to the club most Satur­days when he wasn’t play­ing.

“He’d be happy to move the sightscreen or help out so it’s nice to have him back now and again.

“It’s sim­i­lar for me. ONs was my club be­fore I played county cricket so it was great to be able to come back and play for them again.”

It’s cer­tainly been a suc­cess­ful re­turn for White, who called time on his first-class ca­reer in 2012.

Now he has the chance to lead ONs to a sec­ond suc­ces­sive ti­tle while com­plet­ing a fine all-round sea­son – it just re­quires a point and 45 runs on Satur­day.

We are de­lighted that The Cricket Pa­per, Hares­foot Brew­ery, The Lord's Tav­ern­ers and our­selves have come to­gether to ini­ti­ate this new award which, over time, will re­flect the all-round con­tri­bu­tions made by in­di­vid­u­als to the suc­cess of cricket teams at many lev­els of the game. When, two years ago, we com­mis­sioned Hares­foot to pro­duce All-Rounder: Cricket Writ­ers' Club Ale, we did so in the be­lief that cricket and beer is a mar­riage to be ranked along­side the likes of straw­ber­ries and cream, Lillee and Thom­son, Greenidge and Haynes, and horses and car­riages. The beer was cre­ated with sig­nif­i­cant in­put from a group of our mem­bers, and we are so pleased that All-Rounder has not only been well-re­ceived com­mer­cially but that it has now pro­vided the spark of an idea which has re­sulted in the creation of this monthly sum­mer award.” Mark Bald­win, Chair­man of the Cricket Writ­ers' Club

Hey­day: White in his days play­ing for Northants

Each monthly win­ner of the award will win a crate of All-Rounder beer. It could be you next month!

Ti­tle as­sault: Rob White, front row mid­dle, lines up with his Old Northamp­to­ni­ans team-mates Class act: White bowl­ing for the ONs

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