Taking 1270 Wickets For Hythe
- First XI Championship Winning Captain 2001
- Hythe's Finest Bowler Over The Past 20 Years
- Taken 1,270 Wickets for Hythe
- inc 591 SPL/County League Wickets & 12 Regional Wkts
- League Wkt Hauls inc 4 of 7, 8 of 6 & 12 of 5
- Best 7 for 7 vs U.S Portsmouth
- Scored 8,452 Runs (inc 2,389 SPL/County League Runs & 537 Reg League Runs)
- 1 League Century - 119* vs Lymington IV
- 3 Friendly Tons - Best 115* vs Swanmore
Hythe & Dibden’s all time leading wicket taker, Paul is one of the Clubs finest all-round players and arguably, the most complete bowler produced by Hythe, he started his career bowling medium paced leg cutters, then speared the attack as a genuine quick, before turning to spin and then med-brisk seam, all with amazing success.
Hythe almost lost Paul, as although he was the U-15 colts top bowler he was not offered cricket on a regular basis, so at sixteen he went to Southampton Cavaliers. However fortunately after playing a friendly for Hythe at the end of the 1978 season Paul’s talents were spotted by 2nd XI league skipper Phil Pick and he persuaded ‘Whits’ as he became known to all, to open the bowling for him in the 1979 season. Paul made an immediate impression taking 6-48 on debut against Southampton University from 24 overs and a remarkable career at Hythe had started.
In his first two seasons Paul picked up 121 wickets, which included a league best 7-10 against New Milton. A call up to the New Forest U-21 rep side, and promotion to the 1st XI would soon follow. His early games for the senior side were very much as back up to the opening quick’s Terry Rawlins & Wayne Effeny, but his ability to break partnerships and his superb fielding meant he was always in the game and Paul featured in 3 Sidney Wyatt Cup Finals incl. the 1981 win, two Echo Cup semis and Hythe’s 1983 Southern League runners-up side. Meanwhile in the Sunday XI Paul was leading the attack and taking hatfuls of wickets, and Sunday cricket got him his first chance to bat, already dubbed “the best no. 11 in the Southern League”, by skipper George Knights, Paul came in against Calmore with Hythe struggling at 19-7, and hit an unbeaten 51, then followed it up by taking 5-26 to pull off a Hythe win.
By 1986 Paul was now often opening the bowling on Saturday’s & Sunday’s and still enjoying success, he took a hat-trick against a formidable Northwood I.O.W. side on their batting paradise, and his 6-13 set up a 7 wicket win for Hythe, but the end of an era was just around the corner as at the end of the 1987 season half the 1st XI incl. Paul left the club.
Again it was Phil Pick who managed to get Paul back to Hythe after a season and a half away, but Hythe were now club on the slide, and despite some match winning performances by Whits including a 7-23 against AWE Tadley to bring Hythe’s first win in over 2 seasons and his 59 wickets in all games that season, the club were slipping down divisions. 1993 Paul opened the batting and bowling, he topped the bowling averages again and scored 330 runs at 32 incl. 80* his highest score to date, 1994 Paul tops the bowling averages yet again and the highlight is when he makes 76 and takes 6-9 in a big win over Alton as Hythe at last find some stability.
In 1995 disaster hits Whits as an ongoing back injury finishes his quick bowling days, but 1st XI skipper Ian Tinson suggest he tries his hand at spin, and an inspired decision it turned out to be as Paul starts to run through sides with fast, big turning off breaks, and tops the league bowling averages with 26 wickets at just 7.69. In 1996 & 1997 Hythe would push for promotion helped by Paul’s all round performances, Whits again topped the league bowling averages and wickets taking 39 at 8.56 he also made 99 with the bat against Steep, and scored his maiden Sunday century 107* against Fareham, but in 1998 a shock relegation for the 1st XI hit the club hard although Whits himself again had a great season finishing second in the league bowling averages with 25 wickets at 11.72.
1999 and a new era for Hythe & Dibden, Whits takes over the captaincy of the 1st XI and makes it clear things have to change, or the club will lose HCL status, practice sessions become mandatory and a more professional attitude coupled with everyone enjoying playing was called for. The results over the next few seasons were remarkable, the players and Whits in particular turned in some superb performances, winning seasons in 1999 and 2000 followed, Paul himself was taking over 30 league wickets a season as captain and scoring vital runs. On Sundays he passed 400 runs for the fourth season in a row.
2001 got even better, Paul brought the club sponsorship from ABP, and encouraged Wayne Effeny, Kevin & Rob James to join Hythe, and along with a young South African Bowler Eugene Burzler brought to the club by Whits’ vice skipper Richard Froggett, Hythe took their first title in 25 years with a perfect 13-0 record, Whits led from the front with the ball topping the league wickets yet again with another 39 victims at an average of just 7.31, his best haul being 7-7 against US Portsmouth, and Hythe even pushed Southern League Bashley to the limit in the Presidents Cup Final. Paul’s batting was flourishing too with another century 103* against Fawley as he scored 536 runs at 89.33 on Sundays.
2002 and Hythe were promoted again, Paul himself had stood down after 3 years in charge finding it hard to lift himself after so many seasons of two day cricket, and the euphoria of 2001, but still took another 24 league wickets, and made 400 runs in all competitions including his third century. By 2003 Paul was back in charge of 1st XI affairs bowling a combination of spin and seam-up the side finished 6th in County 2 and Whits picked up 20 more league wickets whilst his batting particularly on Sundays was excellent as he past 400 runs for the season again. In 2004 Paul tore a bicep muscle and was effectively out of bowling for the next 2 seasons, he still managed two more centuries though, and now has 5 in total, including his highest score to date 119* playing as a batsmen in the Second XI in 2005.
By 2006 Whits was back bowling for the 1st XI and although he would miss a number of games due to hamstring problems he managed 19 wickets including a remarkable 6-3 against South Wilts, and made valuable runs batting at no. 8.
The 2007 season saw Whits play his 28th year with Hythe, though restricted in games through a serious calf muscle tear he still managed to finish 6th in the League bowling averages and helped the First XI finish 4th in County 2. In 2008 Whits played further 11 matches, taking 22 wickets including a 5-41 before announcing his retirement from the game in July. He was also promoted to opening the batting vs United Services and helped Hythe win the game with a 50.
A Hythe career of 30 years full of great achievements - A massive whole left for the club to fill.
Paul's total of HCL 1st XI wickets now stands at 456, his total League wickets is 591, and added to that over 100 Cup wickets, and more than 500 Sunday/Tour/Pre-season wickets. On the runs front Paul has 2,286 HCL 1st XI runs, 537 HCL 2nd XI runs and over 5,700 Sunday/Tour/Pre-season/Cup/SL runs
Without doubt Hythe's Best Bowler Over the past Twenty Years and one of the Hampshire Leagues Finest
- A True Hythe Legend