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Some players take a while to make their mark. Others toil away anonymously in the shadows for years, hoping against hope that fate and opportunity will one day hand them the chance to shine.
And then there is Wardley. Recruited via the internet in 2009, Wardley made an instant impact as the Worst Ringer in History before going on to great things as The Donald (a title that owes more to his failure to get off the mark than any comparison with the great Australian batsman).
Wardley rose to prominence when he was unwittingly selected as an unregistered player for the trip to Rickmansworth. This subsequently resulted in Offley being deducted 10 points (or 2 more points than Wardley contributed in runs that day – although in fairness at the time 8 was probably his highest ever score). Undaunted, Wardley returned to the ranks the following week and was soon racking up the ducks, invariably sharing his failures with his teammates as he commemorated each duck by buying a jug.
Despite spotting Marc Ward a healthy lead in the race for the Duck Watch Trophy, Wardley stalked his man throughout August (bagging the dreaded pair in the process), finally moving ahead in September and duly claiming the prize with seven ducks. Only injury prevented him from establishing a new record.
However, despite scoring 146 runs from 25 innings, Wardley defied the odds to produce one of the best knocks of the year. He smashed 43 against St Joseph’s, hammering Martin McCulley all round the park, including three fours in three balls. Wardley also took on Thomas Reilly and showed enough poise and composure to suggest that he can take great strides in 2010.
Wardley was often outstanding in the field, taking the third most catches in 2009, invariably snaring batsmen at mid off with his patented crocodile technique. Wardley also showed promise as a bowler with a slingy action reminiscent of England paceman Simon Jones. They both have dodgy ankle ligaments.