The leading run scorer in SRCC history, and the Godfather of modern Rambling. Ali’s greatest achievement, more impressive even than his many match winning innings, has been in moulding a motley crew of school chums, university pals, workmates and randoms into something far bigger than just 11 blokes on a pitch. Anyone is welcome and everyone gets a game, captains with a soft touch without ever being one, and we are all heavily in his debt.
The self-proclaimed Ginger Prince burst onto the SRCC scene on Tour 1999, wearing nothing but a smile and a passion for the game of cricket written all over this face. You’d have thought meeting the love of his life on Tour 2000 would have be enough for GW but no, Gussy has become a driving force for the Ramblers in recent years getting new fixtures, players and family involved.
A brilliant swing bowler that will stare out a batsman if that’s what’s needed, he also regularly scores essential runs that more often than not gets the Ramblers over the line time and again. ‘Competitive’ doesn’t do it justice.
Fatherhood changes all of us, but nobody could have predicted the effect Sarah Isabella would have on her Pa. Out went the run-shy nurdler of previous years and in walked the run machine with the dancing feet and the slashing blade. No team was spared as Stanners unsheathed rapier and broadsword to cut opposition attacks to ribbons.
His catching, however, remains a work in progress, and his bowling is a threat to batsmen and close fielders alike.
Russ Jones (Gore)
Once a bustling seamer and a liability in the field, Russ has evolved into a keeper-batsman with a technique all of his own. Scores his runs at a decent clip and keeps things lively behind the stumps. A willing umpire with a shaky knowledge of the laws, a short attention span, and a keenness to keep the game moving. Don’t get hit on the pads.
Tim Powell (Tiny)
The ultimate team-man and a full-time member of the 100% club. Look back at the ledger, find a memorable Ramblers win, and T Powell’s name will be there front and centre. Bats, bowls, fields, scores, umpires – never grumbles and always comes back for more. A specialist in the slips, and safe as houses out on the fence.
Matt Unwin ("Gwat")
The most consistent run scorer in recent Ramblers history, Gwat-Back is closing in on four figures. Scores the bulk of his runs down the ground and is never afraid to go aerial early – hits it hard, hits it straight and hits it a long way. Occasional bowler, reluctant keeper, brilliant fielder.
Dave Bosomworth (Boosie)
Duncan Fletcher would love Dave; a Three Dimensional cricketer of incalculable value to the team. Good enough to open the bowling and bat anywhere in the top six, his fielding is box office. Whether swooping in the deep or catching close in, Dave saves more runs in an afternoon than some of us score in a season. He’s our Jonty Rhodes, only he can bowl, and he scores more runs.
James Lane (on the right)
A genuine fast bowler with a whippy action and an air of carefully concealed menace, Leggie, is the spearhead of our attack, and a man who relishes the white hot heat of battle. Moves the ball both ways and troubles the very best. A selfless volunteer for 9- 10-Jack, Leggie rarely gets the chance to show his wares, but he’s a languid leftie who loves to go high and handsome over deep midwicket.
Ben Leach (Leacho)
Another of the Leeds Uni Alumni, Leacho bats with calm authority and a hint of hockey. Cool as cucumbers out in the middle and a good man for a crisis. Nasser Hussain would describe him a “situation” player. Classy keeper who drives standards in the field. As with the rest of the Leeds lads, there’s always a sense that outscoring each other is more important that outscoring the oppo.
Jim used to commute from Sydney to represent the Ramblers – exactly the kind of commitment that catches a captain’s eye. Now back in Blighty, and making a big impression. Spins the ball both ways and has the happy knack of taking wickets. Busy with the bat and far quicker in the field than he ever was on the footy pitch.
Nick Mullen (Moo)
Devon resident, Tour specialist, and a genuine game changer with the bat. Out there for a good time, not necessarily a long time, but when you can hit a ball as cleanly as Moo – why worry about occupying the crease. See ball, hit ball is Moo’s mantra – spectacular when it works, entertaining when it doesn’t. The classic “personality” player on the Hussain index.
Ali Macleod-Smith (Macca - on the right)
Classy all-rounder with a smooth as silk bowling action and a cover drive that could grace the front of Tatler, Macca is well on the way to becoming a Ramblers regular. Prowls the in-field with a degree of elasticity long since departed from his peers and as father of two cricket mad boys an important member of our succession planning group.
James Helby (Barlow - on the left)
When the tin hats are on and the flak’s flying, the sight of Barlow marking out his run-up brings calm to the camp. Rock solid action, iron clad composure and a been there, done that, got the T-Shirt [XL] insouciance, Barlow knows every which way to skin the cat. He bats with an economy of movement, and fields with an economy of effort. The wiliest old fox of them all.
Callum Oliver (Super Cal)
Took a wicket with his first ball in Devon and hasn’t looked back since. Super Cal has rapidly established himself as the Ramblers’ premier spinner. Grips it and rips it with a natural high action to provide control with a cutting edge. An athlete in the field with a howitzer of a throw, and a handy batsman down the order, he’s a real asset to the side.
Mark Shipway (possibly driving in this photo)
Never knowingly on a cricket pitch without a smile on his face, Shippers is a great man to enjoy a Sunday afternoon game with. Not only is he simply one of the nicest guys around, Mark is masterful with the gloves, taking our keeping level to something a little bit different. An opener that either scores nought or up into the 90’s, when he comes off you wouldn’t know which one it was… he’s still smiling. A chip off the old block. And, we even got him on TOUR!!
Please rise for a genuine all-rounder and the original Judge. By day, he bowled wicket to wicket and ground out valuable runs, by night, he dispensed justice with wit and wisdom. Before kids and bedtimes got in the way, his marathon court sessions were the stuff of Ramblers legend and a highlight of any tour.
“The One They Call Manninal”
It doesn’t sound like much of an epitaph, but try telling that to the traumatised of Tiverton. Like all legends it’s hard to remember where myth meets memory, but nobody there on that famous day will forget the time that Manninal slayed the dragon and wrote a new chapter in Ramblers Folklore. He still wields the willow with muscular abandon and swings the new ball at decent pace.
MJ has dipped in and out of Ramblers representation over the years but is quickly becoming a steadfast member of the team after touring in 2013 and again in 2014. A stylish left-hand opener that strikes the ball with German precision and efficiency, MJ has done what many dream of – score a ton whilst battling it out for the sacred yellow. Debate still out whether American country music or aggressive drinking of Jagermeister hold the warmest place in his heart.
Daniel George Scrase
Scrasey was back in Ramblers colours for 2014 and we’re hopeful of more of the same for the 2015 season. A strong opening bat that likes to get on with it, DG has been known to get past 50 while his opening partner is still in single figures (Tino). The old man of the side with a love of the straight bat, Sunday papers, slippers and a good ale. More active during tea than in the field. A pleasure to have his family on the boundaries again.
Although it’s been a while since we’ve enjoyed James' company pulling on the SRCC badge, we know his comeback won’t be far away. A brilliant left-arm seamer that troubles the best of them, McEwen is never far from hitting top of off peg and will always do a job for his skipper. Often picks up handy runs at the end of an innings and no one will ever forget his brilliance at Clyst Hydon on Tour 2008. Last over, needing a lot, James does it with balls to spare and hits a 6 over the bowlers head into the cow field to win. Too easy.
Nobody has ever been able to explain why left handed batsmen look so annoyingly elegant, but the sight of Jaggers easing the ball through the covers with a stylish swish is proof that they just do. Gower would never have sullied the image by sporting a bosun's beard, but then again the former England captain never scored a ton at Mt Edgcumbe. A righty with the ball, but just as skilled, he's a genuine all-rounder with a very square head.
Break a stick of Blackpool rock in half and it’ll spell out the name of the North West’s most famous seaside town. Cut Tommy Handley in two and it just says “T-E-N-A-C-I-O-U-S”. A recent recruit to the Ramblers, Tom’s formative years were spent on hockey fields and football pitches. A combative box to box midfielder in both, Tommy is relishing transferring his skills to village cricket. All hands and eyes with the bat, all arms and elbows with the ball, Handles is loving life in the late-middle order.
2 from 3 on Tour 2021!
More great pics from Paul Haddock from the Original years. Click here!