In terms of pre-season goals, undoubtedly the big one would have been securing promotion back to Division One of the Championship, and in this respect, they can say that has been successfully achieved. An experienced and highly capable squad ticked this off with exceptional performances from the likes of John Simpson and Toby Roland-Jones to get them into the promised land of Division One. This somewhat masked a disappointing white ball season where they were heavily reliant on the runs of Steve Eskinazi to keep them competitive, and he had little substantive support with the bat. Their young talent showed some promise in places, with a talented batch of seamers such as Ethan Bamber, Tom Helm and Blake Cullen to back up Roland-Jones and the evergreen Tim Murtagh. They will need some smart recruitment in the close season to strengthen the middle order if they are to compete in Division One, plus some white ball batting firepower should be a priority.
LV= CC: 2nd – Division Two (Promoted)
Vitality Blast: 8th – Group B
RLODC: 4th – Group A
LV= CC: John Simpson – 1039 runs at 64.93
Vitality Blast: Steve Eskinazi – 431 runs at 44.33 (SR 140.49)
RLODC: Steve Eskinazi – 658 runs
LV= CC: Toby Roland-Jones – 67 wickets at 18.80
Vitality Blast: Martin Andersson – 17 wickets at 22.11
RLODC: Luke Hollman – 13 wickets at 29.84
Player of the season: John Simpson – the popular long serving wicketkeeper will have done much to nudge the selectors towards including him on a winter tour. He was the only wicketkeeper batter to pass the 1000 run mark, which alongside 46 catches and 2 stumpings put him in the top ten on both the first class run scorers and most Championship dismissals list for 2022.
Breakthrough Player: Max Holden – Much of the Seaxes’ success this season can be credited to the senior pros like John Simpson, Mark Stoneman, and Toby Roland-Jones, but Max Holden appears to have started to justify his talent on the domestic circuit. 749 runs at 39.42 in the Championship, 232 runs at 38.66 in the Royal London One Day Cup added up to a solid season for the 24-year-old batter who looked more at home in the middle order. He is at an age where he is starting to understand his game more and could be one that the Seaxes’ build their team around for the next few years.
Could have done better: Next season they will be looking for more from their overseas players, who at various times flattered to deceive. Shaheen Shah Afridi looked threatening at times, but Peter Handscomb and Pieter Malan failed to contribute a single Championship hundred between them which both averaging in the low 30’s. In Division One, they will need a reliable overseas player to contribute in red ball cricket, particularly someone to strengthen the middle order which looked fragile at times. The Aussie duo of Jason Behrendorff and Chris Green also did not have much impact in the Vitality Blast.
Need to work on: Overseas recruitment and strengthening the middle order and spin department. They appear to have made a good start with bringing all-rounder Ryan Higgins back to the club from Gloucestershire who will be a good addition in all formats. Most of the first-choice batting line up, especially in red ball cricket is the wrong side of 30, so they could also do with some younger blood stepping up, so the likes of Robbie White and Jos De Caires need to start contributing more regularly. Luke Hollman showed some promise but is still relatively unproven in red ball cricket. In the white ball, Stevie Eskinazi aside, the batting looks to have little power and consistency, so this will be another area for consideration in 2023.
What’s next? The primary goal for the Londoner’s as achieved through securing promotion back to Division One of the Championship, and they will look to consolidate their place next season. They have an excellent seam attack with likes of Toby Roland-Jones, Tim Murtagh, Ethan Bamber, and Tom Helm which will cause problems for any batting line up.
Season Rating – Mark: 7/10