Andy Wingfield 100 wickets

Exiles skipper Andrew Wingfield reached a landmark for the club on 29th June when he took his 100th wicket in the win over Giltec. The Exiles website thought it appropriate to ask him about his achievement…and naturally the skip obliged with a deluge of stats.

Andy, congratulations, 100 wickets in your 100th appearance for the team, must be glad to have finally reached the landmark?

Yep – after a slowish start to my exiles career, the wickets have come pretty steadily in the last couple of seasons. It is also a great honour to be following in the footsteps of the likes of Naren Patel and Jeff Hilson in taking 100 wickets for the club.

Any particular bowling spell stand out?

The ones in my first full season stand out most: my first spell for the club – against Clapham Nomads in June 2003, which although wicket-less, showed me that I could be a capable bowler at this level, my spell against the Whalers the following week – when I took my first 3 wickets for the club, including 2 in the first over of the match, and my 5 for 44 against WICC in the last game of that season – my first, and so far only 5 wicket haul in adult cricket – made all the more satisfying that all 5 wickets were my own work – 2 bowled, 2 caught & bowled and even one lbw.

How has captaincy affected your bowling, if at all?

I hope it has affected my bowling positively – certainly my average as a bowler is lower as captain (59 wickets @ 22.93) than not (41 wickets at 27.51) – but I feel this is just as likely due to increased bowling experience as much as captaincy responsibility

What is your next target? Jeff Hilson’s haul should be in your reach in a couple of seasons for example.

I think Jeff’s 157 tally is a bit distant at the moment! And I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to somehow convince him into playing regularly in the not too distant future – so that it’ll take me a little longer to catch him. I’m the 7th bowler to reach 100 for the Exiles and I think it’s possible to catch Matt Cook (114) and Sam Scott (120) this season to get me up to 5th. It could take some time to match Naren’s 254 though!!

Any wicket taking ball you fondly remember….and any you prefer to forget?

Without doubt the ‘Thanks Andy’ wicket is a fond memory – though more for the comedy value that the brilliance of the bowling. I usually get most satisfaction from getting a batsman out bowled or caught behind and if it’s a key player as well then that’s a bonus – getting Steve Thody of Agricola caught behind a couple of years ago springs to mind. I enjoyed number 99, which came on Sunday, as the guy looked a decent batter and it was pleasing to see a yorker get through and hit off, whilst I guess I’ll always remember number 100 – an important wicket in the context of the game, caught in the deep by Jasper.

Any bowler, Exiles or otherwise, who you have tried to learn from?

Of course Jeff, on the style front, is certainly poet-in-motion, ahem, but Naren has continued to demonstrate that you don’t need to necessarily bowl as fast as you can to take wickets. If I’m half the bowler he is at his age, I’ll be delighted.

With most Exiles games being 40 overs, which is more important to you – taking wickets or keeping the runs down?

Bit of both – depending on circumstances – obviously wicket taking is satisfying – but sometimes just feeling you’ve done a good shift in a close win is as satisfying as taking 3 wickets on an easier day.

That said, this Sunday just gone is a good example of the benefits of wicket taking – after we had batted our way to a record score, Giltec were obviously going to come out all guns blazing – so to get 2 early wickets on a flat track was important to stop them building a platform – even if I did give away a few runs in that opening 5 over spell.

Only conceding 27 runs in my full 8 overs against Agricola when they scored 262-2 against us recently was also quite satisfying on a personal note (though on a tough day for the club) – especially managing to avoid conceding a boundary in my final 3 over spell that day – when the likes of Almond, Thody and Yates were throwing the bat.

Is there any opponents or grounds that you have enjoyed, or not enjoyed, bowling against over the years?

WICC stand out a mile in my personal bowling stats – I’ve taken 17 wickets against them – which is totally bizarre, considering they’re normally a pretty good side (coincidentally – or perhaps not – I’ve also scored more runs against WICC than anyone else as well!) and my second most is the Strollers, who I have 9 wickets against. The teams I’ve found hardest to take wickets against are North Croydon/Merton (2) and British Library (5 – but I’ve bowled more overs against them than anyone).

I’ve got most wickets on Chiswick B (22) – but I’ve bowled far more overs there than anywhere else; Chiswick is, I think, a very fair cricket ground – there’s some help for the bowlers at the start and ends of the season, but its hard going in July!

Pitches that offer a lot of help to the bowlers are fun – Barnes Elms for example – but strangely enough, I think I enjoy bowling at the John Innes Rec – the home of North Croydon/Merton – as much as anywhere – despite the fact that its normally very tough to get wickets there – I enjoy the challenge as well as the ground itself

Interview by Jasper Searle, 30 June 2008