Mark Gannaway played his first match for Lymington as an Under 12 colt back in 1983. Since then he has represented the club in hundreds of matches (even the most conservative estimate would put that total in excess of 600 games) and has been a loyal committee member since 1995. Therefore it was with great sadness that Meg recently announced his decision to leave Lymington Cricket Club, due principally to a new teaching post in Basingstoke which has seen him relocate to the north of the county.
In his 25 years with the club Meg captained the Under 14s, Under 16s, Fourth XI, Third XI, Sunday Third XI, Sunday Second XI and Sunday Firsts, as well as organising and skippering indoor sides and managing the Under 11 colts in recent years. Add to that the treasurers post which he has held since 1995, the organising of many club dinners, and of course the major part he played in making last years Bicentenary celebrations such a huge success, and its pretty obvious that Lymington CC has been a massive part of Megs life. It would also be fair to say that Meg has equally played a huge part in the history of Lymington CC.
As well as captaining, managing, and organising, Meg (M.E.G. are his initials, in case anyone was still wondering if his parents had perhaps been hoping for a girl!) was a highly prolific batsman for the Third and Fourth XIs. By any standards, Megs stats in recent years have been impressive: 600 league runs (including two centuries) in 2005; 394 runs in 2004; 595 runs in 2003; not to mention the thousands of runs accumulated in friendly matches. And remember, the majority of Megs runs came on the low slow pitches at Woodside where even the best batsmen often struggle to score runs. Whether it was a lack of self-confidence, or perhaps an unwillingness to dessert his beloved Third and Fourth XIs, Meg never got the chance to show if he could score runs in the Second XI or higher, preferring instead to live up to the rather harsh and unjustified I'm just a slogger self-assessment.
Despite all this, it must be added that Megs bowling was genuinely awful.
Although Meg had a less than auspicious start to his senior Lymington career when Chris Walfords Fiat Amigo broke down in the middle of Highcliffe on the way to the match at Suttoners, there were still plenty of happy memories for Meg to recount. Highlights include hitting Shaun Udal into the bowling green during Adi Aymes floodlit testimonial match at the Sports Ground a blow that earned Meg a good shot! compliment from wicketkeeper Matt Le Tissier; and hitting the winning runs against the MCC last season. He also fondly recalls the 130 he scored against Canford School, not to mention the time he clean bowled Guy Hayward at the same venue. Presidents Day 2001 will also live long in the memory: Id had a few drinks during the game, and I was fielding at square leg when Brian Clemow got an almighty top edge in my general direction and I somehow clung onto it. I was basically three sheets to the wind at the time and I'm still not sure how I managed to catch it!
Then there was the time that Meg was so desperate to find players for a Sunday friendly that he even personally mowed Martin Hunts lawn to free him up to play in the afternoon. Perhaps not so high on the list would be the time he recorded a 50 ball duck at Milford where his tortuous innings was eventually ended, bizarrely enough, by a catch at deep square leg. Or the time that he fell out with a certain South African teammate during a Sunday League match at Hursley Park and was promptly ordered down to fine leg to cool off by the captain.
Megs biggest regret during his time with Lymington was losing out on the Under 11B league title by a fraction of a point two years in succession, a bitter pill to swallow after dedicating so many years to nurturing the clubs emerging talent. The disbandment of the Fourth XI in 2006, and the subsequent retirements of his sparring partners Robin Goff and Bob Iles were also a major blow for Meg.
Having started his new job in Basingstoke just a few weeks ago, Meg wasted little time finding a new cricket club in that neck of the woods and recently scored 39 on his debut for Bagshot 4th XI in Division 9A of the Thames Valley League. My first impressions are that Bagshot seem like a good club. The standard of the bowling is a bit higher than I've been used to, and matches consist of 100 overs, of which the team batting first can use up to 52. It makes for quite a long day my first match finished at 8.30pm!
Meg admits that he had never envisaged ever leaving Lymington CC. I thought I was here for life he lamented, but events have transpired against me so its time to move on. But I've got lots of happy memories to take with me. All at Lymington Cricket Club wish him well.