The new millennium and beyond
[ St Albans Centennial Book (1905-2005) ]
The storm of the decade preceded the drought of the century as the men's first grade team, captained by Knox and with Englefield contributing four centuries, reclaimed the two-day championship in 2000/01.
Martin was called to South Africa to reinforce a New Zealand team which already included Harris. At Lincoln, Campbell played in the pulsating four-run victory over Australia to win the women's World Cup. It was Campbell's fourth cup tournament since 1988 and her swansong. Payne was also a member of the White Ferns squad, while at club level she scored 132 and joined with Beth McNeill (94) to equal the all-time partnership record of 245 against Sydenham.
In 2001/02 the men retained their two-day trophy, overcoming the sudden departure of captain-coach Darron Reekers in mid-season. Neil Fletcher took over the captaincy and Ian Blanchett was our English professional. A total of seven grade wins also included the women's one-day and two-day competitions and the men's knock-out final. Harris and Martin were Black Caps and Sarah Burke was to have joined Payne on the cancelled White Ferns tour to India. Emily Travers, who joined us from Palmerston North, captained and McNeill played in the New Zealand A team in Australia.
Knox returned to lead the first grade men to the one-day title in 2002/03. Harris, Payne and Burke were our internationals, though Payne was to retire after eight seasons with St Albans and move to Wellington. She left with a club record of 10 centuries, one more than the legendary Phyllis Blackler. Burke, McNeill and Rowan Milburn were in the New Zealand A side.
St Albans was again to the forefront of the 99th (2003/04) inter-districts season, with the senior men claiming their fourth one-day title and the women winning every grade from first (for the 29th time) to fourth. The Petersen Shield was also back in the trophy cabinet after an absence of six years.
Martin, having earned a Black Caps recall, produced this country's best bowling analysis (11 for 180) against South Africa during the home Test series and became the fastest New Zealander to capture 50 Test wickets. Harris extended his illustrious one-day career, while Burke, McNeill, Aimee Mason and Amanda Green were chosen for the White Ferns from our club.
The first grade men's season was played under the shadow of having the two-day competition numbers reduced from nine to six in 2004/05. St Albans was never under threat, finishing second. Although the Saints did not come marching in at the national one-day club finals in Auckland the experience will be invaluable when they return to represent Canterbury in April 2005.
By then the club will inevitably have achieved more team and individual successes and players in all grades will have experienced the highs and lows that are liberally sprinkled throughout a cricketing summer.
We will also have celebrated our first 100 years, taken a new guard, and set off in pursuit of our double century.