Full to the brim of cricketing talent, The Hendrick's XI have an embarrassment of riches to call upon. Below is a guide to our current and past embarrassments.
Tim Saunders - So the fable goes following a resounding win on Brian Lara cricket, slightly tipsy from the victory and his breakfast Gin & Tonic and buoyed by the uplifting background tones of Groove Armada, Saunders was in this moment convinced that he himself could re-create the graceful cover drives of a computerised Ian Bell despite a distinct lack of any previous ‘real world’ cricketing experience and proclaimed “Wickers, V, Quest- we shall start a cricket team!” Other than his continued presence as captain Saunders has cemented his place in the top order as a reliable run-provider, benefiting from a number of loan moves to clubs in deepest darkest Oxfordshire. Saunders also chips in as one of the ever-rotating wicketkeepers for the team, with an unusual yet effective keeping technique that makes byes improbable and catches at least possible.
The Big V (James Hewlett) - Having spent much of his adolescence confined to the scoring huts of the Welsh cricketing leagues, Hewlett was only too keen to take to the pitch but has not lost his passion for score booking and has made the role of club statistician his own. A steady batsman, nudging and nurdling the ball around, it was some innings into his Hendrick’s career that he achieved the feat of hitting the ball off the wicket. More recent net sessions however have shown a more expressive and expansive style akin to the modern style of play, crashing and careering the ball about. Pads off and ball in hand Hewlett has bowled some memorable spells and topped the averages on the 2014 tour, perplexing batsmen not only with seam movement but also through emitting a number of grunts and groans on release adding to those famous deliveries such as Murali’s doosra and Warne’s flipper, Hewlett’s James Brown ball. Waaaaaah.
Qas Khattak - A new addition for the 2015 season Khattak joined the team with whispers around the dressing room that he was this rarest of creatures to sport the Hendrick’s floppy, a genuine cricketer. With an enviable cricketing claim to fame of being the youngest player to hit a century in his county’s league. Perhaps the most versatile cricketer in the team as a batsman, spinner, seamer and a highly talented fielder, surprisingly his crowning moment of the tour came off the field in the form of a moving duet of Oasis’ Don’t Look Back in Anger as the sunset on the weekend’s cricketing escapades that left not a single dry eye within earshot. We shan’t ever look back in anger Qas, never.
Oli May - A fiery redhead, Oli fulfils the "Ben Stokes" role of the team, by providing reliable medium pace in the middle overs and frequently hitting the ball a lot further than any of us are ever likely to. He once completed an innings in near pitch black darkness, returning to the pavilion claiming to have hit a very well constructed 48; unwilling to engage in an argument with such a muscular man, Big V simply penned the score in to the book. A qualified barrister, Ollie is also in the team in case the Hendrick's drinks company ever wish to discuss the legal implications of appropriating a registered brand name.
Tom Metcalf - Tom joined the Hendrick's XI as part of a frantic bout of recruitment that took place in the team's third year of existence, following the loss of some key players. He adds variety to the team's bowling attack with his wobbly left-arm seamers, and variety to the team's batting line up with his ability to play a forward defensive. Famed for his "keepie-uppie" approach to catches, Tom is unafraid to put his notoriously tough ankles to use in the field, and provides an aggressively chipper voice when other members of the team find themselves daydreaming.
Simon Minchinton - With us from the start, Simon quickly established himself the position of fielding all-rounder within the team through a number of acrobatic performances in the point/gully region, although really simply being able to both throw and catch put him well above many others in the field. Once famed for eschewing the more traditional forms of sporting footwear and opting to play in flip-flops, it subsequently emerged that this was not the daring fashion statement that had been assumed by his team mates, rather due to a spot of gout on his right foot, he now dazzles and amazes those who stay for the post match revelry with his vocal performances from a back-catalogue ranging from Michael Buble to Cindy Lauper.
Ross "WG" Quest - They say that no man is an island. This is incorrect. Like Andy Flower in the Zimbabwe team of the 90's or Shiv Chanderpaul in the post-Lara Windies team, Ross is an island of actual (as opposed to entirely imagined) cricketing ability and experience, awash in an ocean of stick swinging and pie chucking incompetence. However, despite repeatedly performing under pressure with the bat, Ross repeatedly crumbles under pressure with the ball and has been responsible for at least two shoulder strains as umpires repeatedly struggled to spread their arms. Ross is also one of the team's coterie of wicketkeepers. Like the bassline in the Talking Heads' Psycho Killer, Ross was there at the beginning and is the foundation on which our humble team is built. We love him dearly.
Ajay Shah - Another one of the originals, ‘The Shah-man’ has cemented his place in the team to the extent that he needn’t give any indication of his attendance at games. Ajay once established himself as the opening bowler for the team, delivering numerous spells of consistent line and length bowling on that nagging off stump line. Against fierce competition, he's also made the no.11 position his own and rarely looks less comfortable than when holding a bat. Legend has it that he is unable to bowl sober, although we've never actually put that theory to the test. Regrettably in recent seasons he has sustained a series of injuries that have prevented him reaching his full, dizzyingly high potential. However, rumours abound that 2019 will see a glorious comeback...
Henry Wickham-Smith - One of the founding fathers, it was once thought that "Trigger" Wickers held the distinction of playing in every game of the club's illustrious history. Sadly, since official records don't go back that far, this will remain mere conjecture. What is certain is that after six years with the club, he produced the most astonishing moment in Hendrick's history, when, despite having already contributed his customary annual single, he doubled his total career runs in one fell swoop, hitting a towering six back over the bowler's head. Previously a medium-slow pacer of nagging line and length, Henry now bowls a slow pace on a variable line and wildly unpredictable length. His write ups of club activities are legendary and can be sampled on the "History" section of the website (if you have 4 hours to spare).
Ravi Patel - Once described as 'deceptively effective', Ravi's slingy action and knack of 'making something happen', have made him the Hendrick's equivalent (i.e. lower quality) of Ravi Bopara. Not sure how we came up with that metaphor. For the past few years Ravi's bowling has been a major asset to Hendrick's captains craving a key breakthrough. However, his extraordinary umpiring decisions have also meant that on many occasions he's provided the opposition with a key breakthrough - the mere sight of him donning a white coat can reinvigorate and provide new hope to a previously flagging fielding side. Miraculously, and given the absence of video evidence, somewhat unbelievably, he claims to have dismissed Eoin Morgan in a charity match - once you've seen him bowl, we'll let you decide whether to believe him!
James Rollett - Mustachioed. Australian. Subject of a derogatory Barmy Army chant. James Rollett is none of these things, but his ability to mix up devastating and wayward bowling spells have seen many an observer identify a likeness to Mitchell Johnson. This is not least due to his propensity to swing the ball laterally; and sometimes it even lands on the pitch. 2018 was a year when James' batting fulfilled it's full potential, and possibly even more, with a particular highlight coming when he guided the team home to an exhilarating one-wicket win on a dicey batting track. His fielding mirrors his bowling - capable of extraordinary highs (a stunning run out in 2018) and dizzying lows (3 dropped catches in one match in 2017) - meaning there's never a dull moment with Rollett in the field.
Ed Robinson - when Ed first appeared on the Hendrick's XI radar, we were extremely excited to discover that he owned both a car and a legal driving license. You can barely imagine our excitement when it also transpired that he could play cricket. Bowling with pace and accuracy not seen in a Hendrick's shirt since the days of the legendary Bilal, James G and Ed have formed the spearhead of the Hendrick's bowling attack for the last few years; frequently conning opposition teams into believing that the rest of the bowling attack will be equally dangerous and difficult to get away. Ed bats like a golfer who has left everything but his 3-wood at home, and when he connects hits the ball just as far.
James Gilbert - While fellow opening bowler Robinson's gentle demeanour brings to mind the genial Mr. Barrowclough from Porridge, James Gilbert aspires to the image of the angry and harsh Mr Mackay - as many a dawdling fielder has found out. He actually would ban Christmas celebrations if a catch were dropped off his bowling. A mounting wickets column demonstrates that his aggression makes him the perfect foil to the affable Robinson. The team's sharpest dresser, James takes more shirts on tour than the rest of the team combined, and is the world's only owner of a double platinum Charles Tyrwhitt loyalty card. As a batsman, James' best performance came when he was stranded on an unbeaten 49* - nothing has been seen since of the unfortunate number 11 who got out before James could reach 50.
Will Pitt- Will joined the team in its third year following the mass exodus of a number of regulars to fulfil their lifelong ambitions of moving to the smoke and working in professional services. Will was welcomed into the team as a bowler who possesses some nip and a middle-order pinch hitter. A man who has the utmost disdain at even the thought of giving himself a couple of balls to play himself in, Will's innings are always entertaining however oftentimes easily missed on account of one’s having to blink. It is also claimed that Will was responsible for the original re-write of Gala's 90s classic 'Freed from Desire' which was then bastardised by fans of the Northern Irish striker Will Grigg and popularised at a sporting event that received a similar level of support and media exposure to the 2016 tour. Debate continues to rage over who plagiarised the plagiariser. Currently taking a sabbatical in the U.S. of A., we hope he will return one sunny day.
Alex Harding - Early in 2015, Ross, Henry, Big V and Tim were settled in for the night in one of London's seediest bars, lamenting the team's lack of genuine pace, since the departure of the Gaspers and Bilal, when they espied a lithe and athletic figure across the room. Throwing social convention out the window, Tim wandered over to him and enquired whether he'd ever thought of standing in a field and throwing a ball at other people. Remarkably, he'd done it before and bafflingly was happy to join the Hendrick's XI on their 2015 tour, without showing even the slightest reservation. As it emerged, Alex was the answer to the team's prayers, displaying express pace and providing Shah with an equally potent partner at the fore of the attack. Having downplayed his batting ability, he promptly strode out in his second game for the club and hit a blistering half-century. Much to our dismay he then strode out the country two years later, taking up a lucrative offer to emigrate to Helsinki and star in the country's fledgling Big Finnish Bash.
Jay Modi- a fellow alumnus who sadly only made his debut for the team post-university, Jay finally found his rightful cricketing home on the 2016 tour. Little was known of Jay before the tour other than that he was a Warwick PPEist, although given past experience the team could reasonably have inferred from this that he was highly intelligent, witty, handsome, a damned good cricketer, and a gentle and caring lover. It took just two innings for him to leave an impression on the history books, claiming the highest score in the team's history, albeit this was a record that stood for just 24 hours before it was reclaimed by its rightful owner. Jay also filled a void left by the team's only recognised spinner’s lack of availability for the aforementioned tour, sending down deliveries that not only gripped and turned off the surface but were also at a pace that left most of the team's seamers looking a little embarrassed. Regrettably, at some point during the tour Jay noticed that none of the rest of the team were actually any good and has politely declined further invitations to play...