2018 Match Reports

Mad Hatters CC 9th September 2018 Home - Drawn

And so, as the long hot cricketing summer of 2018 rolled to an end, a few questions remained – could Cook get a final match ton for a most deserving send off, will Jennings be on the plane to Sri Lanka and could J. Anderson finally burst his cherry at the Vagabonds? Cook ended on 147 (he was on 45 when I started typing this!!), Jennings looks like he’s getting the nod, and despite his cherry still being intact I’m delighted to report that wor Jack did finally manage to take his first wicket(s) for the Vags. For the first time, and surely not the last, we welcomed the colourful chaps representing the Mad Hatters CC to Bentworth. A group of chums who came together at St Andrews university, the Mad Hatters were a pleasure to play against, enjoying the day in the same spirit as the Vags and playing with no shortage of skill with bat and ball to make a for a very closely fought and competitive match.

Skipper lost the toss and we were promptly inserted. The conditions were warm with a fair bit of cloud, with the pitch, as has been the norm at Bentworth in recent weeks, offering a fair bit of irregular bounce to help the bowlers.

The opening stalwarts of Chairman Jim and Auburn Tris marched out to the middle and quickly had the scoreboard ticking over with a few elegant boundaries, despite some tight bowling from their opening attack, in particular their number 2 bowler, the slippery T. Seaman. The score had reached 24 when in the 5th over the Chair was caught behind for 12, leading to the Skipper replacing him out in the middle, briefly! Very briefly! Having brought almost his entire family down for a day of watching him strut his stuff in the middle the Skip was no doubt mildly despondent to suffer the same fate as the Chair, caught behind, but on this occasion off his very first ball. Having chosen to stay for dessert in the Sun Inn it was unfortunate that the wider Boote clan missed his entire innings then spent the remainder of the afternoon watching him change the scoreboard, make the tea and some nice field alterations. Big Al Whitman was next man in and after a few typically classy strokes he was clean bowled for 13. With the score now at 46 for 3 big Al was replaced by Trevor Edwards who managed to get the scoreboard ticking over a little quicker, along with Trisha ‘the glue’ Hutchins, before succumbing to some tight bowling by the MHCC number 3, A. Whittet, for a sharp 19 runs. Phil ‘Nelson PK’ Kennelly was next man in and following a few sighters early on he continued his excellent form with the bat of late, putting on a partnership of 66 with Trius ‘captain cavemen the prius’ Hutchins, propelling the Vags beyond the 150 mark. After another inspired bowling change from the MHCC skipper, PK fell in the new mans first over for a dashing 32. Also in fine form with the bat currently is Luka ‘Toni’ Harding, but unusually his stay in the middle was as brief an England number 3, clean bowled for 2 by the same B. Francis who felled PK. Next up was the intoxicating William Perton, who’s introduction meant no let up in the run rate, indeed with a strike rate of 137 it only increased and after a explosive back end to the innings, which saw a partnership between Will and Patricia of 87, the Vags ended on 240 for 6 from their 37 overs. Will ended up unbeaten with 33 and special mention should go to Tris who ended up carrying his bat for a fine 101 runs, particularly as this wasn’t agreed on until well into lunch, due to discrepancies between STD’s traditional pencil and paper method of scoring and the MHCC skippers magical phone app electronic style thingymabob, which works magically in his pocket from 1st slip and is, I suspect, from the future!!

Tea was taken, which was nice.

Will P opened up from his usual Road End and was no doubt surprised to see his very first delivery, not a particularly bad one, spanked to the cover boundary by their number one bat, the afore mentioned B. Francis, who looked very competent with willow in hand. In fairness, Willard P saw out the rest of the over without losing another run and went on to have a cracking battle with both their opening pair. Likewise, from the Dick Mountain Stately Home and Country Club End, Phil ‘Gerard PK’ Kennelly also battled away, finding some incredible movement through the air, which had the Chairman licking his lips behind the stumps as if he could smell his dinner time burger cooking away in the the Sun Inn already. With the score approaching 50 for 0, the Skipper opted for a bit less pace and threw the ball to S. Hyde, along with a lot less pace in the shape of S. Davidson and despite a few decent overs between them, they could not make the breakthrough and remove either of the opening pair. With the score now 113 for 0 the call was made for Luka’s mesmerising spin from one end and young Jacks constant barrage of ‘effort’ balls from t’other. Jacks first over was interesting (wd, wd, dot, dot, 4, 6, 5wd, dot, dot), but thereafter he settled down into a nice rhythm and showed his true capabilities. Before that though was the breakthrough we needed courtesy of a beauty from Luka, in his second over, where he clipped the top of off stump to send their number two bat packing for a well constructed 45. Bang Bang!! As the Chairman loves to shout…. and so it was with the 2nd ball of the next over that Jimmy Nails least attractive love child finally took his first Vags wicket with probably the worst legitimate delivery he has ever bowled! If memory serves me well he seemed to try and bang in a short one, got it a bit wrong, and it just seemed to flop onto the pad of their main man, bang in front. Up went the umpires finger, up went all the Vags and off trugged a surprised and dejected looking B. Francis for a very classily constructed 86. Bang Bang Bang!!! as the Chairman is less prone to shout, but with their tails now well and truly up Luka and Jack went in for the kill. In the very next over Luka bowled an almost carbon copy of his first ball to see off their number four, before Jacks next over which saw him remove their number three, with the help of the ever reliable and assured glove work of the Chairman. With the runs at both ends drying up, as well as wickets tumbling, the pressure was begging to tell and in his 5th over Jack struck again, I think finding an outside edge and the meaty paws of Luka at 1st slip, via the right nipple of the Chairman? With Jack now looking happier than if he’d just been invited round to Kevin Keegan house to run his fingers through that legendary tight, shaggy perm, he continued his assault, in the next over accounting for their number seven with the aid of the even meatier paws of the Skipper. There were now only 4 overs remaining and we still needed 4 wickets to take what looked a very unlikely victory 10 overs prior. The tension continued to mount when Luka bagged his 3rd and 4th wickets of the day in consecutive overs, the first of which again clipping the stumps, followed by the unfortunate T. Seaman coming in-between the 2 Harding brothers, deceived by Luka only to have his bails whipped off by the Chairman!!

216 for 8, and thus a draw, probably a fair reflection of the afternoon and a decent end to the Vags season at home. Congratulations to Jack for getting off the mark and getting his jugs out thereafter. I believe that makes Adam Rik James Tony Cuthbert-Waller the lowest wicket taker in the kids flat and therefore the ‘spit-roastee’ until the next match, so that sounds like a long hard winter to me.

With the English season now taken care of attention turns to the touring party as it plans its assault on Portugal. Tour report to follow at the hands of master scribe, the honourable M.Gale, in due course, assuming his strained vagina and dislocated eyebrow do not preclude him from tour.

Scorecard here if you wish to glimpse the future…..

All the best

STD

 

 

Washington CC 2nd September 2018 Home - Drawn

Sunday gone saw the Vags line up against the southern hemisphere-dominated Washington CC for our penultimate fixture of the season before tour in conditions to which we have fortunately become rather accustomed this summer with sun beaming down, blue skies and enthusiastic discussions of evening roasts prior to the match even commencing.

Some minor differences between home and away were noted before play started- Washington eagerly going through a catching drill whilst all Vags stood around discussing who hated Virat Kohli the most…

With the quadruplets, Lukey, Chair and Chair’s sideburns celebrating their 29th birthday, Chair, captain for the day, gleefully wandered to the track for a toss with the opposition captain. The toss was lost which left us warming up to field. With STD’s traditional pre-match sacrificing of a lamb to his portable shrine of Ruth Davidson complete, the Vags opened up with Nelson Gerard PK. After the initial first ball ‘loosener’, PK produced a fine display of opening bowling with plenty a ball harassing the top of off stump. The highlight of PK’s two wickets being a nick behind to Chair, who, with brotherly love in mind, clipped the ball on to Lukeywho dutifully caught at first slip. Humbly, Luka did not mention ONCE the fact that he is now level with an ageing Vags record of most catches taken in the field. Safe as houses. J Anderson opened from the other end. His hunt for his first Vags wicket continues- another stat not mentioned ONCE by any Vags members.

First change saw Tris’ not-so-secret lover, STD, get his hands on a different type of ball and begin with some fantastic accurate bowling. However, this performance was overshadowed by Stuey’s impersonation of Bruce Forsyth in his run-up; shuffling and foxtrotting up to the wicket so much that the team, led by Chair, approximately a metre from the earlobes of Washington’s established opener, Kiwi (so far unsure as to the reasoning for this nickname…), let out a collective scream of laughter. Keeeeep bowling. Stuey secured a considerable Brucey bonus though and took an important 3 wickets.

L Harding took ball into hand at the other end and produced another fine display of spin, his big wicket dispatching the wicket of Kiwi (anyone, any ideas?) for 40. Highlights of the performances in the field came from Peter, elder of the Nokestribe, who ran around the field with a boyish energy akin to son Nokes when told his French girlfriend’s house is free. A mention must go too, to the ability of Washington’s middle order to run four. The ball pushed out down the hill, with Saman in ardent chase, long locks wildly blowing behind him. Saman evidently decided to play the long game and managed to keep a steady distance with the ball up until just before the boundary rope. Two throws later and the ball was back somewhere near enough to the stumps to stop the batsmen running. Joking aside, top effort from Sammy to stop the boundary and restrict the batsmen to just the four runs.

Silky Al Whitman took the ball from Luke and helped mopping up the tail end of Washington. Si Allen, Lord of Beers, relieved STD at the other end, much to the annoyance of Tris at mid on. Si’s first few balls were an interesting bunch- most definitely chin music, but with the absence of the bass note of the ball bouncing on the wicket- and were dutifully dispatched by Washington’s men. Trev helpfully piped up at this point from mid off and exclaimed that Si was going for 10 runs off effectively zero balls! Yet, Si took his first two wickets for the Vags to finish off Washington and we walked off the field for tea with the whispers of ‘jug’ in the air. Washington had set us a target of 198 to win. “You don’t get anything for a pair”, said Stu, gloomily looking into the middle distance. No one understood what he meant.

Kiwi 40

M. Egdn 30

S. Marsh 19

___________

PK 8 1 37 2

J Anderson 5 0 27 0

L Harding 9 1 28 2

A Whitman 4 0 26 1

S Allen 1.4 0 27 2

PK and Tris stepped into the middle after tea with the sun still beating down and a clear target to reach. Tris began proceedings in aggressive style, with a handful of off-drives that scampered away for four- the incredulous cheers from the scorers ringing around Bentworth as his run rate increased at a rate of knots. Controversy then hit Bentworth, Marsh, a tricky left-handed opener, bowling over the wicket to our right-handers got a ball just right and hit PK with what the umpire described as plum and raised the finger. This was much to PK’s dismay who claimed it had been bat followed by pad rather than vice versa. The umpire’s finger remained aloft and PK trudged off for 8, just as he was finding his rhythm, and watched on, bemoaning through gritted teeth how bad the call had been and how the umpire didn’t deserve to have opened the bowling with him. As previously stated, the umpire wishes to remain anonymous.

With cold beers from the King of Beers’ coolbox (many thanks Lord Si) being swigged at the boundary, and news of Virat being back in the hut down on the south coast making its way back to the more rural parts of the county, all Vags were hopeful that Tris would produce another crisp drive to the rope to bring his total from 46 to 50. Alas, no. Clean bowled by the quality spin of Morrain whilst attempting a sweep shot. “It was the perfect ball for a sweep shot, for someone who knows how to play a sweep shot”, Tris succinctly summarised in the changing rooms post-dismissal. An impressive 46, nine of which were fours, from the Vags opener, meant he was warmly received when he stormed back to changing rooms.

After a slow-ish start, Chair began to find his rhythm before he too watching his stumps go flying, bowled by Creed (no relation to Apollo). Out for 18, with all Vags hoping for a big score on his birthday, Chair also departed possibly contemplating what could have been. So, in walked Big Al Whitman and began to notch up a graceful half-century with shots that made all the tail-enders begrudgingly say “he made that look so bloody easy”. 6 fours and 2 sixes later, Al was thanking us for his applause as he hit his 50th run. Al obviously then must have got bored, or wanted a fag, and was caught out in the deep with a cracking diving catch from a lively Washington fielding team.

Trev, who had been with Al most of the way (barring the final foot on the tape measure) had kept plugging away at his own score, including a big hump of a six early on in his innings. A solid 27 not out made sure the Vags kept in touching distance of their total for the vast majority of the match. With Al gone, however, runs did begin to dry up somewhat. Sammy stepped out for a couple of overs, registering one run, before no doubt starting to miss telling all his team mates to “f*** off d***h***”- for no real reason whatsoever- and was duly bowled by the dangerous Morrain. In stepped Peter Nokes to see out the final few overs with Trev, making sure to get his own boundary before balls ran out- the match ending in a draw, with the Vags ending on 169 with a loss of 5.

A terrific game of cricket against a good group of lads, who were all keen for a pint or two after. Roll on the final game of the season at Bentworth before eyes turn to Portugal and cheap bottles of Sagres.

Aside from cricket, they say one must know where a friend comes from to really know him. Thomas Nokes will be pleased to know, I know where he came from all too well now, after Nokes senior jumped into the shower post-match.

A Whitman 50

T Hutchins 46

Trev 27*

________

Morrain 3-38

Marsh 1-2

Match Report: Jack Anderson

 

Ancient Mariners CC 5th August 2018 Home - LOST

Blessed with fine weather and a seemingly strong batting wicket, skip either elected to field first or lost the toss (can’t remember). Either way the decision soon started to work in our favour, as our strong bowling line up preceded to tear into the Ancient Mariners, giving no quarter. Max struck first followed quickly by Perts, who was aided by Tom’s seemingly impossible catch from a shot that was otherwise destined for the boundary. A further succession of wickets from our two openers moved the wicket tally up to 5 for a modest total. Perts avoided a hattrick with a widish delivery down the off and murmurs of ‘jug avoidance’ quickly reverberated through the outfield. However, to dispel such notions, Perts did succeed in removing what seemed to be the Ancient Mariners’ last hope from the crease, with a fine delivery seeing its way off the bat into the hands of PK to clinch his fifth and final wicket for a jug, which later materialised in the form of a 4 pack. With 70 odd runs for 7 wickets, talk of ‘early pub’ and ‘job done’ soon turned out to be ill-fated as their tail-end batting order rallied. Despite the ferocious endeavour of our Flying Scot and Luke’s perseverance, which was finally rewarded with a wicket secured by a catch from STD, the runs against us accumulated. The remaining wickets were taken by Tom and PK with the final tally reaching 162. Whilst this was more than we had hoped for, given the fast start, it was a strong performance by the Vags and a realistic target given the conditions. Further mentions of excellence include Trish from behind the stumps, whose confidence is clearly growing (watch out Chair!!!), and Si, whose enthusiasm in the field is surely putting him in the running for fielder of the year.

Confident in our batting line up, we set out to reach our goal of an all-out win, led by the opening pair of Trish and PK. PK looked classy from the off, steadily increasing our total without any unnecessary risk-taking, whilst Trish fulfilled his role of frustrating the openers until he was bowled by a fine delivery from a sharp bowler who none of us on the boundary were particularly keen to face. Boote then proceeded to move the tally on with some classy shots, but was eventually found out by a Yorker which he was unable to dig out. The strip (now increasingly variable), could not be blamed for my departure (b. Clay) or Si’s, but was undoubtedly the cause of Luke’s demise when a decent length ball failed to bounce, taking yet another stump out of the ground. Confused and bewildered, Luke made his way back to the pavilion, soon followed by PK, who eventually capitulated having scored a stunning 54 runs, putting the match firmly in the balance with about 50 runs needed for the victory. Our hopes now lay in the hands of Max and Tom, whose fearless contempt of their bowlers saw a flurry of fours and a beautiful six of Max’s bat, moving us to within touching distance of the 163 that we needed to secure victory. With two wickets remaining and 7 or 8 runs needed, the opposition brought their openers back out in a last-ditch effort to stop us. Paul saw off four balls from their quickie and struck a beautiful four from the other end, moving us within touching distance before being bowled. STD stuck it out whilst Perts added a further run to bring us within a few runs of victory. Alas the LB call went up and in the spirit of fair play, so too did Boote’s finger. Whilst STD did his best to see us over the line, the loss of his wicket was distinguished by the fact that he was the only one not to be clean bowled.

The opposition were gracious winners and contributed to a match played with excellent spirit. Whilst the final result may have been frustrating for us, it was undoubtedly one of the close classics and will be remembered as so; great weather, great sportsmanship, great cricket all-round.

Bertie Clay

 

Valley End CC 22nd July 2018 Away - LOST

And so, the fourth instalment of a quite epic month on the road for the Vagabonds saw the pink and red warriors visit our dear friends at Valley End, as we ventured once again into the neighbouring county of Surrey to do battle. The slightly earlier start time of 13:30 managed to fool the fixture secretary sufficiently for him to consider highlighting the need for a secretary to inform the fixture secretary of things like the fixtures, Baz, please add to the AOB at the next AGM. A quick spot of refreshing San Miguel, on tap from the wonderful little bar in the Valley End pavilion, provided adequate lubrication for the troops whilst the skippers once again performed their tossing ceremony. As usual, the outcome of this event will remain a mystery to you readers, as your retard scribe was still on the M3 at the time.

Whatever the outcome, we batted first, with the usual opening stalwarts of Jim ‘Chair’ Harding and Patricia ‘Trius’ Hutchins reunited out in the middle after last weekends enforced break due to the Chairman requiring emergency surgery to remove a small family of hamsters from his anus. The innings took on a familiar pattern with the Chairman striking a few lusty blows to get the scoreboard ticking, whilst young Fanta pants at the other end made sure he had a good look, indeed it was a good 19 balls worth of good look before he got off the mark with another one of his well run 2’s. Just as the runs began to come a little more freely, due to some nice striking from both openers, tragedy struck when the big hitting Chairman was bowled by their No.1, who in fairness bowled very tightly throughout and ended up with impressive figures, and the Chair finished up with a run a ball 32. Ensuring that the average waist size in the middle remained quite constant the Skipper replaced the Chair and he too made sure he had a decent look before settling into his usual attacking style with some big hits racing to the boundary on the concrete like outfield. Just as it looked like Tris and Skip were settling into a good partnership a ‘misunderstanding’ led to both of them being at one end of the pitch and the wicketkeeper, the ball and a set of demolished stumps being at the other end, with the inevitable outcome of the ‘non-Skipper’ being run out and heading back to the pavilion muttering something barely audible which sounded like “clucking bell, what a big clucking stunt”?? The end result was that Trius was out for 10 runs from 37 balls in a rather sharp 40 minutes in the middle. Thereafter the young sprightly Bertram ‘Bertie’ Clay joined the Skipper and immediately settled into a nice rhythm, cracking a couple of blows to the boundary with his usual panache and wristy ease in his first 4 balls, only to then inadvertently pick out a fielder, somewhere on the field (I was watching the golf at the time!) with his 5th ball, returning to the pavilion and wondering what could have been. He was replaced by Si Allan, who was probably getting his first real opportunity to spend time in the middle to build an innings, which he done, before succumbing to one of their young bowlers who would go on cause a fair bit of damage in the following overs. Si batted well for his 21 runs and there will no doubt be more of them to come in the weeks ahead. Tom ‘Dawid Malan’ Noakes was next in and having spanked his 5th ball for a 6 was soon making his way back having mysteriously played on to end his knock at 7. Prior to his departure the Skipper had also been bowled, finishing up with a solid 42 runs, and replaced by Luke ’the only man in the world who likes Lewis Hamilton’ Harding. Just when things looked they couldn’t get any worse for the Vag’s up stepped STD, having been promoted up the order to number 8, he was promptly out, LBW, on his first ball, with the Auburn Warrior Trius ‘Prius’ Hutchins only too happy to ‘trigger’ him from the far end as pay back for 2 weeks of match reports no doubt! That and the fact it was probably hitting about half way up middle stump! Having ordered a US led NATO task force into the former Yugoslavia in the nineties to end the widespread ethnic cleansing and genocide taking place, having seen down his impeachment charge for his salacious behaviour with his secretary M. Lewinsky and having managed to maintain some level of firmness whilst pumping Hilary Clinton, one would have hoped the President Stevie “Clinton’ Hyde would manage to see off the threat of the now impending hat-trick ball that the young Valley End bowler, Smith, had set up, alas he could not, clean bowled, and he joined STD in this weekend’s ducky hall of shame. Soon after Luka followed us in trudging back off, at least he’d scored some runs, 6 in total, but probably his lowest score of the season to be fair. Thereafter the tail wagged, but young Jack ‘Jimmy Plunkett’ Anderson and Adam John “Rik’ Waller Davies (or Adam Rik Waller Davies for short) are no typical tail enders, indeed both look accomplished batsmen and in scoring 16 runs a piece, before Jacky boy was bowled, managed to the get the scoreboard up to a reasonably respectable 179 all out from 38 overs.

Tea was taken and in a move away from normal procedure consisted entirely of cakes, biscuits and apple pastries, which all went down splendidly well with a good cup of English breakfast tea, providing sufficient ‘sugar rush’ for our spell in the field, prior to us being treated by our kind hosts to a fantastic barbecue at the end of the match, where we were lavished with beef burgers and hot dogs, a great effort by the Valley End lads and one which is much appreciated.

Having bowled well as a unit this season, more often than not, the Vags took to the field relatively confident that they could defend the total and opened up with the West London seam attack duo of Stevie Clinton and STD. Stevie troubled their 2 openers with his usual probing length and swing and STD bowled relatively tightly from the other end with his usual ‘pace off’ approach. Stevie made the first breakthrough when he trapped their No1. for 16, LBW, and then the first bowling change saw Tom Noakes replacing STD at the pavilion end as the Skipper went on all out attack, along with Luka Harding replacing Bill Hyde. Tom bowled well, but has set such high standards in the previous weeks, usually 4 wicket hauls, that it seemed strange for him not to take any wickets in his 4 overs. Luka bowled very well and had a cracking battle with their number 3 who was scoring at a good tempo and was the mainstay of their innings from the minute he came in. Although Luka could not quite claim his scalp, he did rip through the rest of their line up with some fantastic spin bowling, indeed he was that threatening that he bowled 15 straight over from the road end and was a constant menace throughout claiming 6 wickets in total, 2 of which were catches by the Skipper (one a cracking one handed effort at 1st slip), a catch a piece for Trisha the Hutch and Tom Tom Noakes, a very sharp stumping by the MS Dhoni-esque talents of Chairman Bruv, as well as bowling their No.6 too. The Skipper also weighed in, heavily, by bowling their No.4, before handing over to AJRW-D who bowled really well, probably the best I’ve seen him bowl since his debut at Worcester Park, so it was great to see him well back on form. Having competed so well to get the game to this point, it was now on a knife-edge, Luka and Rik continued to pound away, knowing one wicket was all that was needed to claim yet another victory on foreign soil, but by the same token their No.3 had batted so well to get them to within touching distance of our total as wickets had tumbled around him. As many fans around the world were no doubt intrigued by the climactic ending to the Open at Carnoustie it was no less enthralling viewing at Valley End, one wicket wins it for the Vags with each run creeping Valley End closer. There was a bit of a chance to win it late on for the Vags, again off the bowling of Luka, but the fielder with ‘Clay’ hands shall remain nameless. Alas the Valley Enders took the spoils on this occasion as their main man with the bat, P. Wieland, tickled Rik the Ripper to the boundary in the 39th over to seal a famous victory and confine the Vags to a rare defeat this season. A splendid effort in the end by all those in the famous pink and red, but the truth is we were probably about 30 short of what we needed or should have had.

S. Hyde 5, 0, 27, 1
S. Davidson 3, 0, 8, 0
T. Noakes 4, 0, 24, 0
L. Harding 15, 3, 63, 6
R. Boote 5, 0, 16, 1
AJR Waller-Davies 7.2, 0, 25, 0

Nonetheless it was a fantastic day out and our thanks go again to our host Ray Ferris and the rest of the Valley End lads. Its always a pleasure to play them home or away, although it has to be said the 3 TV’s in their pavilion certainly make the trip there more enjoyable when the Open is in full swing and you need a freshly poured beer to mull over your latest failure with the bat (and/or ball!). I’m giving the cheese burger a 8.95 out of 10 and the hot dogs(s) 8.84 out of 10. Next week sees the Vags back at their spiritual home of Bentworth, and for the remainder of the season, where the opposition will be the Racqueteers. Please note a 14:00 start time………

Cheers

STD

Hook & Southborough CC 15th July 2018 Away - WON

What started as a routine trip home to Columbia to take care of business, that business being the assassination of several leading figures of a rival ‘nose candy’ cartel, ended with a late night call to the Skipper from the Bogata Royal Infirmary, with news that a one Michael ‘Arturo Cementos’ Gayle had been kept in overnight for observation having suffered a mild strain to his vagina after a particularly heavy menstrual cycle. The result of which meant that the Vagabonds turned up to the latest instalment of a riveting season with only 10 players. However, what they lacked in numbers they more than made up for in determination, skill and no shortage of spunk. The two Skippers tossed off, I’m not sure who won, but we took to the field under blisteringly hot conditions overhead, and parched, concrete like firmness underfoot. The pitch, as it turned out, offered the bowlers highly unpredictable bounce throughout, although anything off the bat that found the gap more often than not found the boundary too with the lightning quick outfield, and thus battle commenced.

The Vagabonds opened up their attack with the ‘Ketamine Cannonball’ William Perton charging in from the ‘council estate end’, ably supported by his Uncle and life mentor, Steve ‘Bill Clinton’ Hyde, who came running up the hill from the ‘travelling community illegal camp end’. Having spent the previous evening solely in the company of another man cruising the bars and clubs of Brighton, William, at first appeared more subdued and distracted than usual, sometimes simply staring into the middle distance, was arse achingly creamed for 4 boundaries off his first 4 balls, before getting it together and finishing the opening over strongly. Uncle Bill meanwhile quickly settled into an impressive length, which would surely have met with approval from a certain M. Lewinsky of Washington DC, and with his usual movement through the air caused a few problems for their opening pair. Wary of the inconsistent bounce their openers both played decent knocks, putting away the odd bad ball, without ever getting too much on top, before Bill snared his latest victim, their No.1, caught in the gully by the meaty paws of the Skipper. Perts then proceeded to bowl quite beautifully with something in the region of 5 maidens on the bounce which put a lot of pressure back onto the batsmen, before being replaced at his end by Adam John Rik Waller-Davies, he of 5 name fame, bowled well again and was unlucky to end his spell wicketless, but there will be many more for him to take as the season progresses. Uncle Bill was replaced by big Al Whitman who bowled very well also and accounted for their No.3 who slashed at one which looped up in the air and into the safe hands of fielding dynamo Si Allan. Rik was then replaced by STD who rather fortuitously accounted for their skipper who played on from a thick inside edge and their number 5 who was again snaffled, this time at 1st slip, by the Skipper. There then followed a run out of their No.2, who had a great knock to get to 51, by dead aim and bullet arm Bertie Clay who combined well with ace glove man and more than able stand in for the Chairman, Tris Tricia Trius Hutchins. The final bowling changes saw pace at both ends with the return of Willie P and the introduction of the Geordie gent, Jack Jimmy Plunkett Anderson, who seems to be improving his rhythm with each game so it’ll only be a matter of time before he bursts his Vagabonds cherry, and takes his first wicket too! Perts took the 2 remaining wickets to fall, picking up where he’d finished his 1st spell, having their No.6 caught behind by Trius before cleaning up their No.8. Special mention must go the fact that Perts, having gone for 16 off his first 4 balls, actually only went for a further 7 runs from his remaining 10 overs. An impressive performance in anybody’s book, regardless of what he’d received the previous evening!!

Being a 40 over a piece match, we retired for a splendid tea and re-hydration, having restricted our dear hosts to 178-7.

W. Perton 10, 6, 23, 2
S. Hyde 7, 0, 43, 1
A, J, R. Waller-Davies 5, 1, 28, 0
A. Whitman 6, 0 22, 1
S. Davidson 5, 1, 13, 2
J. Anderson 7, 1, 37, 0

Replacing the Chairman, with either bat or glove, is no mean feat, so it was down to big Al Whitman to slot into an opening partnership with Tricia on a pitch that was still offering a lot to the bowlers. The pair of them had the scoreboard ticking over very nicely, with Trius showing his usual dogged, attritional style, blended with big Al’s sophisticated and elegant stroke making, making for a very solid partnership of 72 before Al was stumped off the bowling of M. Dainty for a classy knock of 52. The Skipper then strode out to the middle and after taking a few sighters promptly proceeded to muscle the ball to all parts of the ground to take us within striking distance. Tris continued to knurdle away at the other end and was unlucky to miss out on yet another half century when he was caught, by someone, standing somewhere, for a well measured and assured 42 runs (off 61 balls and in only 108 minutes). Si Allen replaced Tris, for possibly his first bat for the Vags??, and settled in with the Skipper to hopefully see us over line, but was unfortunately caught, again by someone, standing somewhere, for 4 runs. With the end in sight the Skipper was joined by Bertie Clay, who promptly proceeded to smack his second ball for 6, before the Skipper finished it with 3 boundaries on the spin to cap a relatively comfortable run chase in the 26th over, 182-3, with the Skipper not out on 62 and Bertie not out on 6.

We joined our hosts for a few pots of shandy, before the roasting crew departed for additional sustenance at a local eatery, where the obvious disappointment of finding out that the roasts were finished for the evening, was soon forgotten when the Chicken, Leek and Thyme pie turned up, although its difficult to see how any dish containing shortcrust pastry, when puff pastry exists in the world, could ever score more than 6.5 out of 10. By all accounts the Wagyu Burgers went down very well.

Many thanks to our hosts Hook & Southborough, who we look forward to welcoming to Bentworth next year, as the Vags bandwagon rolls onto another week when we visit our chums at Valley End next Sunday.

Cheers

STD

Crondall CC 8th July 2018 Away - WON

Yet another wondrous day of sunshine welcomed a more youthful than normal Vagabond side as they made the short hop across the county to the beautiful Hampshire village of Crondall, locking horns with the aptly named Crondall CC. Prior to the match bore witness to our spiritual leader and cricketing guru – Baz, conducting the ceremonial handing over of a new Vags cap to young Tom Nokes, son of sometime Vagabond and long time Cliff Richard lookalike Pete Nokes. The lavish and moving ceremony took place in the away dressing room under the watchful gaze of T. Hutchins, in his underpants. Tom, along with flatmate Adam (Rik) Waller-Davies (how many names do you need!!), had kindly volunteered their joint live-in-lover and ex-university friend, a one J. Anderson, to step in and take the place of Jeggings who absentmindedly forgot that he was participating in a large ceremony held in central London over the weekend with a number of his friends who are keen on waving rainbow coloured flags, for whatever reason!

Skip tossed up, somebody won, not sure who, but we took to the field with ball in hand on what was considered to be a relatively batsman friendly surface. Young Max Mayes opened up the bowling, down the slope, and soon settled into a nice line and length with good pace, causing a few problems for their opening pair. Multi-named Rik came charging up the hill, almost breaking his front foot, with the ball, with his opening delivery, much to the amusement of all in attendance. He soon got more into the groove, but having not bowled too much of late struggled a bit with his line and length, which will no doubt improve considerably the more time he spends with ball in hand throughout the rest of the summer. He was replaced at his end by the mercurial Luke Harding, who continued his fine bowling form of late causing no end of problems with his looping and spinning deliveries. Max took first blood, accounting for their number 2, (possibly) caught at first slip by S. Davidson?? Luke then took their number 3 (possibly) caught in the slips as well by the Skipper?? Young Noakes then replaced Max from the top end, and proved that he’s not only a lot sounder than his dad, but he also contributes on the field of play as well, accounting for their number 1, (possibly) caught by Trius at mid-on?? and their number 4, LBW, mesmerised, no doubt, by the flight and guile through the air, catching his front foot on the full. Having had a bit of a flier, the wickets, as well as no end of sharp fielding, particularly from the 4 guys under 12 years of age, had slowed the run rate dramatically, indeed sufficiently enough for Skip to allow S. Davidson a few overs of pace(less) lobs, which bored their number 6 so much that he took to reverse sweeping, leading to him being out LBW as well. Skip came on for a dash, along with new recruit J. Anderson (Jack not Jimmy!), who again looked a little rusty having not bowled for a few years, but there was sufficient encouragement of the pace he displayed which will no doubt be a handful when he gets his rhythm back and hits a more consistent line and length. Much to look forward to there. No more wickets fell, but those final two restricted the batting side to 207-6, with the Crondall number 7 being run out by (someone) after running between the wickets that Naser Hussain would have been ashamed off! Good effort it was, having looked at one point as they could have had 250+.

M. Mayes – 7, 2, 17, 1
A. R. Waller-Davies – 2, 0, 28, 0
L. Harding – 8, 0, 30, 1
T. Noakes – 5, 0 26, 2
S. Davidson – 8, 0, 40, 1
J. Anderson – 4, 0, 31, 0
R. Boote – 4, 0, 24, 0

Tea was welcomed in the searing heat, with plenty of iso-tonic liquids and cakes taken on board.

As has become the norm of late, the stout and auburn pairing of the Chair & Trius led the reply, with the Chair in particular leading the way with a few lusty blows that his batting idol and Asian lookalike, Inzamim ul-Haq, would no doubt be proud of. Dealing in boundaries, as he does, Chair had raced to 21 before being trapped LBW. The more sedate pace of Boycott Trius, anchored the innings and his methodical accumulation of his 9 runs from 35 balls in 49 minutes were a valuable contribution to not only the score board, but also in taking the shine off the ball and wearing down the opening pair of the Crondall attack, the highlight of his knock being a well run two. The Skip, who had replaced the Chair, once again had the scoreboard ticking over, and despite not feeling he’d found his timing managed to get to 36 before being caught on the boundary, having again just not timed it right. Prior to this though, Bertie Clay, having replaced Trius, had played a few cracking shots, with wristy ease, to quickly get to double figures before unluckily being trapped LBW. His replacement, young Max Mayes, scored a valuable 19 runs, including an absolute beauty of a 6 which would not have been out of place in the IPL. As well as having a great season with the ball, Lukes batting has been of a high order for a number seasons now and this continued on Sunday with a vital knock of 57 which really brought the Crondall total into reach. Having been joined out in the middle by the young whippersnapper Nokes, Luke started rattling a good few off to the boundary, including 4 sixes and 7 fours, accounting for 52 of his 57 runs. Anyone would think he doesn’t fancy running!! Having brought their opening pair back on to try and stem the tide, Luke finally succumbed to their nippy opener, caught, whilst mid charge. S. Davidson then joined young Nokes and with plenty of balls to come, both tried to see out the game in a sensible and calm manner, at least for a couple of balls. Nokes continued to play a solid defensive game when required, putting away the bad ball when it came along. Davidson, showing the elegance and grace akin to John Leslie at a late night disco, managed to squirt a few to the boundary too, but was also caught off the bowling of their opener for 16 having just managed to tie the scores. Paul Abbott ambled out to the middle to see the game out with young Nokes who hit a crisp on-drive to the boundary to win the game and finish on 19 Not Out. A splendid result, to which everybody contributed, and continues the excellent season the Vags are having this year. Its again worth mentioning the difference the higher standard of fielding has had on this season.

Both teams then retired to the beautiful Plume of Feathers pub, for copious amounts of ale and mirth, as well a healthy portion of roast beef, to which I would happily award a score of 8.79 out of 10.

Our thanks to our hosts Crondall for another highly enjoyable encounter.

Lastly, I believe the Skipper will be in touch through the week with further arrangements for this Sundays game, as for some bizarre reason many people seem extremely keen to see Belgium v. Croatia in the association football World Cup final!!

Cheers

STD

Ripley CC 1st July 2018 Away - LOST

We ended up playing Ripley as our original opponents Binsted CC sadly couldn’t turn out a side for our game so the website thingy that does fixtures threw this one out and the Skip accepted. Ripley is a nice place. The ground is tucked just off the high street. There’s a 17th Century building that acts as their pavilion with an excellent bar up on the second floor. The outfield was parched, brown, very hard and looked in desperate need of water. Something happened at the toss and we batted first. The Skip did say that he felt the pitch would only get worse but that may well be to cover the fact that he lost the toss………again.

Our stalwart opening pair of the Chair and Tris wandered out into quite an inferno of heat in front of a small crowd of onlookers. They made a decent start on a trickyish pitch and both looked in decent touch. The Chair rattling a few off to the boundary and Tris blocking, nudging and occasionally smashing the ball nicely until he nicked one behind. With the Chair at one end looking relatively comfy the Skip joined him and they moved the score onto 56 when the Skip got caught in front of the stumps and was out LBW. Another good start for him but unfortunately he wasn’t able to keep going. Mr Willings came and went very quickly, missing a straight one and leaving in the same fashion as the Skip. The Chair was still going having hit some lovely on drives but with the score now at 61 for 3 things were precarious. Unfortunately the Chair soon departed to leave us at 67 for 4 (Chair made 26). This meant we now had Al Whitman and Trevor Edwards at the crease and they put on a good stand of 52. Al looking very assured, hitting some lovely shots and Trevor acting as a very able partner to him with some very sensible play interspersed with a few cracking boundaries. Sadly Al perished LBW with the score on 119 (Al 39) and the rest of our innings was made up of little bits here and there. Luke came in and hit a quick 15 including one six that nearly killed a lady in a car opposite. I believe it bounced on the road and whistled inches over her head but to be honest I had closed my eyes at that point! Mikey, Perts, Stuey and Paul all chipped in and we ended up on 155 all out. Not the best score on this pitch but it did give us a chance.

Tea was excellent, the addition of bread-sticks bringing an interesting, slightly European feel to proceedings. Good tea and lashings of Gin and tonic.

Vags took to the field to defend their total and it wasn’t long before our strike bowler in chief Willy P made the breakthrough taking the edge of their No 2 batsmen and seeing a good catch taking behind by the Chair. Mikey G was at the other end and although he made the ball move all over the place he did struggle a little with his line and length. No surprise as it was his first game of the season! Luke came on and struggled a bit at first to find a good length but he did manage to get one through the defences of their No 3 and a few overs later he accounted for their No 4 in the same fashion. Luke was soon replaced by Stuey D and Al Whitman came on at the other end and they both bowled very, very well. Stuey in particular has hit a nice vein of form recently and his nagging line and length and complete lack of any pace whatsoever made getting the ball away very tricky. They both took a wicket each. The Skip came on to replace Stuey as he tired and soon got the key wicket of their No1 batsmen who made a solid, if slow 38. At this point their overseas lad from New Zealand came to the wicket and put on a good stand with their No 8 and saw them home with a couple of overs to spare. Willings, as usual, was spectacular in the field. Probably the only member of the side not only capable of running but prepared to do it time and again In 30+C heat.

We fought really, really well and although it was tight at the end Ripley were deserved winners. As is often the case, these last minute match ups often end up being really good games and this was no exception. A lovely ground, a welcoming oppo, the game played in a great spirit and a close (ish) result. They also had a subsidised bar. We hope to play them again in the future.

Forgive the lack of info for our bowling performances but there isn’t a lot of detail in the book and I’m not going to work it out!!

Sorry that it’s late!

Best to all

Luke

Brook CC 17th June 2018 Away - WON

Great game – won. Maybe match report to follow. Who knows?

Pyestock CC 10 June 2018 Home - TIE

Great game. Tied on 170. Maybe match report to follow. Who knows?

Little Marlow CC 3rd June 2018 Away - LOST

Little Marlow is famous for 2 things; being the former home of Mel B (of Spice Girls fame) and also containing one of the best uncovered pitches us Vag’s play on. Over the years several of us have posted our top scores there and with the sun out there was a chance that some more personal bests may tumble (Spoiler alert: They did).

Having met in the local for some pre-match isotonic sport drinks, Skip told us we had to leave at 1.15 as it was due to start at half past. Having won the toss, we eventually got underway 20 minutes late with Chair and Trius going out to bat. We were playing an 84 over match (we were all confused by that oddly precise number too), with the opening team allowed anything up to 83 overs (again, we didn’t get it) with the second batting team allowed any remaining overs if they were bowled out or decided to declare. This could prove pivotal (Spoiler alert: It did).

As Chair and Trius doggedly got underway, Jeggs went back to the pub to get some refreshment for those on the touchline. STD was doing his normal job of scoring, with Emily doing the combined job of umpiring and scoreboard, through the use of a special remote control. Chair was going along nicely before disaster, caught behind on 24! Chair was convinced he didn’t touch it, but was very gracious and walked without too much of a grumble. Despite this, the opening stand of around 50 was a solid start and gave the Skip something to work on as he strolled out in his garish atomic-green boots.

Trius managed his 50 without any wobbles and Skip soon joined him as we pushed up past 150. Skip really accelerated the scoring rate with a series of boundaries’ and overtook Trius whilst in the 80s. It looked like a ton was on the cards, but he was gone on 94!

As the skipped walked back he decided to declare once Trius got to his 100, and with Bertie Clay at the other end it was thought he had done just that so the chaps were called back after 41 overs with the score at 257-2 declared, giving Little Marlow 43 overs to reach the target apparently (Spoiler alert: We did not realise this when the declaration was made). However, having gone through the scorebook whilst writing this report it seems like there was a wee bit if an error and a leg-bye 2 had been counted for Trius’s score, actually giving him a 99! Sorry about that that Trish, I’m sure your first hundred will come soon enough!*

With a large proportion of the opposition observing Ramadan, tea was plentiful and before long it was time for the boys in pink and red to step out into the field.

Emily and PK opened the bowling, but with the pitch offering so little to the bowlers their efforts were not giving them much in return. The opposition opening pair did not seem too interested in running, going for a gentle ramble for a single when even the most lethargic of Vag could get a cheeky 2. This will maybe give you an idea of their attitude to travelling between the stumps. However, with the fast outfield and a little sloppy fielding from ourselves, they were not required to run all that much as boundaries kept them going at about 8 an over until the 50s. But as the run rate slowed down and it seemed that there was a chance they would not make our substantial total, but we did need wickets!

After a few bowling changes, we eventually got 1 (bowled by Skip), and soon after the other opener reaching his hundred Emily got a much deserved wicket. A couple more followed and on the field we were under the impression that they only had 41 overs. Oh how wrong we were, due to our early declaration they had 43… a boundary in the 43rd over sealed our fate and rather a subdued set of Vagabonds trudged back to the Pavillion after a very long slog in the field (the match had lasted a total of almost 6 hours).

There were plenty of positives from the match despite this however: Emily’s efforts gave him the rewarded he deserved and Bootes is bowling very nicely, getting wickets on a pitch which can be a wee bit of a bowler’s graveyard. Si’s fielding was as a good as I can remember a Vag fielding, throwing himself around the boundary like a stoat, and obviously a maiden Vagabond century for Trius being the highlight of the match. The post-match at The Queens Head was particularly glorious, with plenty of well cooked beef, even if the roasties were hotter than the surface of the sun.

Until next week,

Jeggs

*Editor’s Note: He did actually get 101, I made that last bit up. I am just hoping to annoy Trish for a few moments until he reads this bit

Worcester Park CC 28th May 2018 Away - WON

Good Morning Vags,

The thunderstorms from Saturday night had leaked under the covers at Worcester Park but the deck still looked rock hard! We had a couple of new players Tom Nokes and flatmate Rik (Adam) Waller who stepped in for Phil Green who had a dental emergency Sun morning. Hope to see you out on the field soon Phil!

Skip won the toss and decided the bright sunshine and a hard deck meant we should have a bowl….we opened up with Perts and Maxy and they kept things tight bowling in good areas which made the batsmen work for their runs. Perts had already dropped one caught and bowled chance but then had another one the next over and he snaffled this one. Their skipper and the opener put on a good partnership but we continued to keep the run rate down. With a double bowling change Emily and Rik joined the attack and Rik picked one up in his first over with Chair taking a great catch standing up. STD also bowled a good spell but the wickets started to stumble when the spin twins as they are now known came together. Lukey bowled the best I have seen him bowl potentially ever or certainly for a few seasons. The control changes of pace, dip, drift and getting it to turn both ways would have made a mockery of most batting lineups. Pedals figures where outstanding with a super stumping from Chair 2 bowled and a catch at mid off to finish up with 4 wickets from his 7 overs. Junior Nokesey had quite an impact there was quite a lot of talk on the field about finally having a Nokes that produces on the pitch instead of the bar….Tom started with 2 wickets in his first over and even though a little rusty he bowled very nicely for his first spell for the Vags. Tom finished Worcester park with 2 more wickets to end up with 4-11. Great start to the first half bowling them out for 124.

Tris and Chair got us off to a great start putting on 30 odd for the first wicket with few alarms and both of them looking very comfortable. Tris got a worm burner that skittled him and Skip went out 1st wicket down. Soon after Chair was caught behind of a great one handed diving catch high to the keepers right. Even though Skip hit a few boundaries what happened at the other end was making a regulation chase look very challenging. Tom Pos, Emily, Lukey, Tom Nokes and Perts came and went in very short order which included 4 ducks. Boots continued to score at the other end but then a poor shot bought Max and STD together with 30 runs still needed. How well they did, after the initial nervousness they settled into the run chase with some lovely shots and good running. One of Max’s straight drives off their skipper was the shot of the day. No more wickets fell and with plenty of overs to go we finished up with 126 for 8 after STD hit one through the legside to score the winning boundary.

A great start to the season with 2 wins and draw.

Cheers

Bootes

Waverley CC 20th May 2018 Home - WON

Our first home game of the season, the weather was just about perfect and the pitch looked dry and even had a few cracks in it (In May??)

Skip lost the toss……………..again. We were put into the field. Perts and Max opening up for us and both bowled really, really well. The ball was doing a fair bit in the air and there was a little bit of pace and bounce in the track, something none of us are used to at Bentworth, especially in May!

Max struck in his first over, removing their skipper LBW for a duck with a good ball that nipped back, Perts then struck in his first over removing their number two for a duck in the same fashion. It swung back and looked to be plumb in front although there was a small suspicion that he might have nicked it. So, 0 for 2. A great start. Perts soon struck again with a swinging Yorker that clattered into the stumps and the Vags were almost giddy with the start our bowlers had given us. 9 for 3 on what looked to be a decent batting pitch.

The course of the game changed at this point. Well, let me rephrase that, their No. 4 bat B Harris changed the game at this point. He came in and immediately looked comfortable and classy. Whilst wickets continued to fall around him he compiled a very fine hundred. Only one other Waverley batsman made it to double figures! Luke H bowled a decent spell with no reward, Si Allen came on and got a bit of punishment but he definitely looks like he’s capable. Stevie Hyde managed to bowl four overs without being warned once for dangerous play! Max by this point had finished his spell and ended with figures of 7 – 3 – 38 – 4 . One of his best bowling performances for the club so far. His control was excellent and all his wickets were deserved! Well done mate! The skip bought himself on and finally managed to remove B Harris for 108. His main batting partner was a young lady M. Short who made 14 but it seemed like more. Proper player, lots of power, good technique. Anyway, Skip removed her and mopped up the tail to finish with 4 for 15 off 6. Definitely the bowler of the day on an occasion where all the bowlers performed well. Good to see the Skip bowling properly again. Waverley all out for 170. The fielding on the whole was excellent, especially given the hot conditions.

Perts 5 -1 – 21 – 2

Tea was awesome. Our new landlady at the Sun, Daisy did us proud….in fact there was way too much! Thanks Daisy.

So, time for a bat. The Chair and Tris assumed their usual positions and wandered out to a now pretty warm pitch to face the Waverley attack. Sadly Tris didn’t last long as he was caught on the drive by the Waverley centurion maker. This bought Bertie Clay to the middle. He and the Chair settled down nicely. Both making use of the fast outfield to regularly find the boundary and keep the score ticking along. They had taken the score to 99 for 1 when the Chair was removed for 40. Another good score for the opener who struck the ball cleanly and looks to be in decent nick.

Next up was Jeggs who came and went in much the same fashion as the Skip and Luke H. Luckily Dick Mountain was now with Bertie Clay and together they moved our score closer to our target. Bertie finally departing for 46 and then, crucially Dick Mountain for 30. So, 7 down Max Mayes and Will P at the crease. Max looked solid, Perts, flappy but good. 11 to win and plenty of time. Inexplicably Max managed to run himself out! I think he was dreaming. Anyway, In came Si Allen. 8 down, 9 to win. Will nicked a couple of singles but was cleaned up by a girl (lol! – So was I!) 9 down 9 to win. It was getting very, very tight. On the boundary we had Waverley as clear favourites! Si Allen then struck a gorgeous off drive to the boundary and both he and Stevie scampered a couple to leave us needing 3 to win. By this point Waverley had brought on a fairly nippy seamer who definitely knew what he was doing. Stevie was facing. BOOM! Clipped off his legs a la Lara and all the way to the boundary to secure the win.

So, thanks to Stevie and Si we managed to win. Excellent effort from both but especially for Stevie after the ignominious exit from our last game. Amazing how these things work out!

A special mention must go to their bowler M. Short (Maddie??? Mark??? Mildred?) who ended with 5-43 off 11.

A huge thank you must go to Waverley CC who, once again, proved to be excellent opposition both on and off the field. A really good bunch and a game I personally look forward to every season. Thanks Lads (and Lady!)

We’re now away for a couple of games……a trip to the smoke on Bank holiday Weekend…….well, if you have to go there it’s better when no one else is!

Lukie H

Post script from Dick Mountain:

To answer the one question posed – her name was Mallory. Only remember because (a) its odd and (b) one of my best mate’s daughters has the same name. Pip, pip!
Broadhalfpenny Down CC 6th May 2018 Away - DRAWN

So, the first match report of the season……finally!

After a couple of false starts we finally got to actually play a game of cricket. It turned out to be a closely fought encounter played under a cloudless sky within a stones throw (although not thrown by a Vag) of a lovely pub.

Playing at Hambledon is always a bit of a highlight and although a few games a usually scheduled before this game it does feel like the curtain raiser. Even more so when we get the weather we did. Everyone arrived late due to traffic. Hardly surprising really, everywhere was choked with caravans and there seemed to be accidents all over the place. The toss was taken, the Skipper lost and we were put into bat on a pitch that seemed incredibly damp compared with the outfield and all the other pitches! I think they had left the covers on too long and as a result it looked to be quite a tricky wicket.

The Chairman and the Colonel donned their gear and went to face the first balls of the innings. Sure enough the pitch was tricky and it was hard going for a while. The ball not coming onto the bat at all and the outfield extremely slow. The colonel had reached double figures by the time he decided to hit the ball into his own face and stagger off the field with blood leaking from his forehead. Luckily a rather lovely nurse was in attendance and the Colonel retired to the shade with his head wrapped up like an 80’s footballer. The Skip joined The Chair and they put on a really good stand to steady the ship. Scoring was still hard but they kept plugging away. Shots that would have gone for boundaries on any other day (in fact later in this day) getting caught up in the slow, damp outfield and slowing the scoring significantly. The Chairman departed to an excellent catch at square leg by Harry for 38 and the score was 66 for1 off 20 odd overs. Slow but steady! Jack Bruck came to the middle and looked to be in great nick. Striking the ball cleanly and hitting some great shots. He scored a relatively quick (given the conditions) 38 and moved the score along nicely. Tom Postle with 21 and Trevor Edwards with a good 26 not out moved the score along and with a small flurry of late order hitting the Vags reached 175 for 7 at tea. A really good effort on that pitch.

Tea was of the usually high standard we have become accustomed to at Hambledon. A particularly fine apple cake being a highlight. Also one of the finest cups of tea served at any ground I have played at.

So 176 for Brigands to get and we would have to bowl well as the pitch had dried out a little but the outfield was now bone dry and a lot quicker.

Opening the bowling at one end was Max Mayes who looks to have found another yard of pace from last season and Stevie Hyde who definitely hasn’t added pace to his game but who’s awkward pace and errrrm flight caused early (very early) problems for their openers. In fact Steve caused so many problems for the batsman that he was warned after 3 balls for a delivery over waist high. The next ball went the same way but the umpire showed some heart and ignored but when the next ball arrowed in at the batsman’s head another warning was issued. Only it wasn’t a warning! Steve was ‘relieved of bowling responsibility’ by the umpire in the second over of the game. Apparently it is a new rule. One warning then you’re out. It all seemed a bit silly to me. The umpires were entirely correct but seeing as how none of the balls really threatened any harm (at least to the batsmen, the fielders on the boundary might have said different) it seemed quite harsh. Steve took it with characteristic good grace. Anyway, Luke H completed Steve’s first over and Steve retired to the boundary to think about what he had done!!

Max and Luke chipped away and Luke finally dislodged their opener (who I have found out since actually opened the batting for Oxford University during his time there) with a decent ball. Although we weren’t running through them we were bowling tightly. Luke got a second a few overs later and Brigands were 106 for 2 with 17 overs to bowl. Stuart Davidson came in and bowled really well and after his spell our debutant Si Allen came on. Bowling out the back of his hand he turned every ball. His accuracy needs a little work but based on this evidence he’s got a lot to offer and he’ll take wickets. The skip had brought himself on at the other end and with Max Mayes resuming from the other end and 12 or so overs to go and 50 odd to win it was going to be tight. The skip accounted for their other opener who had made a really good 74 and looked to be a very good player. Bootie bowling his slingy whangers tempted the batsman into a square cut and the Chair took a really excellent catch standing up to the wicket. Probably a key moment in the game.

Max was still going at the other end and bowled brilliantly. Decent pace and really good accuracy meant he was hard to score runs against and he finally got the wicket his spell deserved. Trapping their number 5 plumb in front. So it came down to 15 off the last over. The skipper bowling. First ball went for a boundary, second was a wide. Pressure? Naaah. The Skip held it together bowled a really tight last few balls and actually bowled their batsman off the final ball of the game.

A fair draw, played in a great spirit on a lovely day at a great ground. Perfect.

Special mentions for Max Mayes for an excellent bowling return of 11-3-25-1 and the Skipper with 2-41 off his nine. Si Allen was a monster in the field…..he’ll learn though. Then he’ll be like the rest of us. I’ll give him 6 games before he is as disinterested in chasing a ball as the rest of us! A really good debut though. Jack Bruck was also excellent in the field.

We all retired to the pub, we drank, we ate and the sun went down.

Luke Harding

PS Many thanks to Nigel Fletcher who acted as our umpire

PPS: Comments on Luke’s extra-special wicket:

  • Great report Lukie (now on website) – but not as good as that amazing googlie you took your first wicket with! You are too modest in the report. -Stevie
  • Luke is being very modest – his first wicket was an absolute snorter. Bowled from the back of his hand to general bamboozlement and confoundery. F&G par excellence. Truly a risk and the batsman didn’t pick it, perfect length, a well-won and well-deserved wicket. The 1926 Oxford Blue didn’t stand a chance. -Jack Bruck
  • Totally agree with Jack. It was an absolute snorter! Great match report as well! -Chair