2020 Match Reports
Ancient Mariners CC 2nd August 2020 Home -Drawn
I should, by past standards at least, regale you dear reader with accounts maybe of the trip to the ground and encounters along the way but living so close as I do this would not contribute any literary allegory but I was struck as I often am travelling down the drive from the grounds of Bentworth Hall what a particularly lovely corner of England it is that the Vagabonds call home. Indeed the clubhouse to the left and visible across the newly mown hay fields from the drive with golden fields of corn to the right did remind me of the poem and later hymn ‘Jerusalem’ by William Blake.
With Teddy my trusty hound ensconced on the front seat of the car next to me it is easy to imagine that it was a scene such as this that inspired the words ‘pleasant pastures seen’. Certainly it put me if a fine mood and expectant of the forthcoming cricket match with Ancient Mariners CC. The weather was glorious and sun shining as I arrived at the ground.
Skip was early for a change, assuming of course the start time had been 13.30. Sadly it was 13.00 so in fact was typically late but cheerful enough and every bit ready to ignore any criticism of such tardiness. This inauspicious start was continued by losing the toss but we were elected to field first which would have been the Vags choice in any case so no harm, no foul or maybe to continue the theme ‘countenance divine’.
Shortly after the Toss there was a special and appropriately socially distanced ceremony to initiate the capable young man, Max Hill with his cap and shirt as recognition as a fully-fledged Vag which was rewarded with aplomb on the field thereafter watched over by competitive dad Dick Mountain. There was a debut for Stewart Best as well who was a pleasure to occupy the field with on the day.
Max opened the bowling with Charlie Preston at the other end. There were only 4 wickets taken overall in an innings that saw a total run tally of 240 (26 extras). It had looked as we would expeditiously work through their batting order in good time with Max deftly taking two wickets in his 8 overs for impressively only 34 runs, he was certainly in possession of a ‘bow of burning gold’. However as the hue of the clouds changed from glorious summer white to a leaden grey; the Ancient Mariners dug in after the openers had been sent back to the clubhouse.
An impressive wicket was taken by Skip nearly removing stump from the ground who bowled 6 overs for 41 runs and another wicket taken for Si Allen who bowled 4 overs for 46 runs and a particularly efficacious catch by Charlie who modestly made his excuse long before the ball re-entered earth’s atmosphere and straight out of the sun, shining in his eyes, with a call that he would never catch it; he did, cleanly, to the excitement of all. Dick Mountain and Steve Hyde made valiant contributions with ‘arrows of desire’ in keeping the run rate down as best they could and Si Allen always seeming to be in the thick of any fielding action as the ball raced through outfield and with his efforts not so often to the boundary. Sammy took up the mantle as wicket keeper for the afternoon and arrested all with few balls managing to pass him when delivered through the batsman.
Tea was a socially distanced low key affaire brightened up with more baked delicacies from the Hyde household and without wishing to be at all dismissive of such generosity; Sammy produced two cooler boxes with lashing and lashings of beer and ice that was a particularly welcome and generous contribution indeed.
With all the expectation so typical of the Vagabonds, each one quivering with excitement, the openers walked to the crease, mindful of a high score to beat. Trevor Edwards felt cheated to be caught for 19 and Tris was bowled for a steady 18. The Skipper dug in and produced an heroic 56; determined to despatch the opposition from the field he hit an opposition bowler on the head in his opening salvo but was caught in similar fashion sometime later as the then bowler decided it was eminently more prudent to (bravely) catch the ball hit directly at this face rather than let it strike home. Hill Senior, the cricketing man mountain shone forth on clouded hills and managed a steady 21. For myself, my trip to the crease was short lived, determined not to let my sword sleep in my hand I managed to ignore 200 years of cricketing technique to waft gallantly at any passing ball, of which there were in the end scant few. The bowler was more reminiscent of Mr Smee of J M Barrie fame than a salty sea dog or ‘Ancient Mariner’ but was annoyingly on target, so that was that. Thanks should go to Sammy for giving up his more deserved space higher up the order for my short lived experience at the crease. Charlie came in with a conventional style and ability; managing a rather enjoyable 58 but in the end given LBW by the equally experienced and fair minded Dick Mountain. Si Allen and Max Hill saw out the innings ‘not out’ having tried hard to make up the required deficit which was by that point a distant possibility and in the end we drew after running out of overs for an sadly deficient 203.
To the pub it was! We had a fine time in the pub after with pleasant exchanges with the opposition and the very pleasant view of their womenfolk to boot. Teddy managed to find what can only be described as true love with Bracken who joined us via the Edwards household and it transpired to be an educational experience that would best be covered by listening to The Bad Touch by Blood Hound Gang. Smoked stilton and Ginger Nut biscuits (thanks to Dick Mountain) were another educational coupling that contributed to our merriment.
Whilst not a win and perhaps with only the foundations of Jerusalem laid, it was indeed a very enjoyable day in England’s green & pleasant land, playing its most glorious contribution to the world of sport with one of its finest teams.
Padre Paul Abbo
Max Hill receiving his cap from skipper Richard Boote
Racqueteers CC 26th July 2020 Home- Won
“Goodbye… tata… best of luck!” shouted the crowd, waiving their hankies in the air, as I left on my train, with my police chaperon, the hustle and bustle of the virus-ridden capital for the safety of rural Hampshire. We met our contact off the train in West London who had promised to get us over the border; a man rarely sober but who had recently swapped carrying a keg for a baby, mixing drinks for mixing formula, pushing legal and sexual limits for pushing prams. He greeted us in his darling Trucky with a can of special medicine to settle our nerves ahead of the journey to safer pastures. We arrived at the rendez-vous, Inspector Pas-de-Clouseau went inside and ordered two pints and a double vodka soda, the code to let the Sun know that we were not followed by any of our numerous enemies: The Non-Sunday Drinking Militia; The Anti-Test Cricket Action Group; The Normal Jacket Expeditionary Force. Our leader arrived and quickly left to meet the opposition at the ground. A message by electronic carrier pigeon (all the normal pigeons had been shot) to suggest another pre-match drink for Perts at 1303 was met with a short sharp message back from Captain Boote via electronic carrier ostrich reading, ‘We are fielding, games starts at 1310’. We headed to Bentworth’s ground for the match.
Perts and Prezza opened the bowling for the Vags, both getting into groove very quickly, very promising for the 2 months or so ahead. Prezza in particular coming at the batsman’s stumps with vigour, like they were a naked Tony Blair covered in gravy. Chuck was quickly rewarded, bowling Caldwell for a duck and picking up another wicket in a brilliant opening six overs. Perton, still seething over his lack of another drink, channeled his anger too and picked up a trio of wickets. All done whilst sporting a middle parting and humming Let’s Ger Ready to Rumble. Impressive. Our openers taking most of the Racqueteers top order for 9 runs. The first change came, with the able Maximilian Hillius replacing Perton- Maxi switching during his spell to spin and bothered the Racqueteer batsmen throughout. How depressing to see someone under the age of 18 give batsmen bother with two different actions when most Vags struggle to do so with one. Psycho-Si Allen, Grand Leader of the Alicante Assassins, replaced Preston and after a shaky start found form. A master stroke from Si, pitching the ball slightly short, going nowhere near the stumps to tempt the bat into slapping it down Prezza’s gullet just after his third beef and kidney pie of the day. Speaking of gullets, Jeggs’ use of his own to stop any ball that came his way in the field was quite astonishing. Unfortunately, this repeated assault on Jeggs’ windpipe did not restrict his ability to talk absolute dross for the rest of the Sunday. 2ndchange came with PC Rik, so pale he now works undercover as a shower curtain in a Russian mobster’s Chelsea penthouse, replacing Max and bowling tight for his five overs and being rewarded with a deserved wicket. Anderson came on at the other end and bowled brilliantly for five overs*, taking the important wicket of Talks for 42, who had caused us some issues. Boote finished the magnificent seven of bowlers and grabbed a wicket too before time was called with the Racateers finishing on 138-9.
Hill M. 6-0-27-0
The Fuzz 5-0-16-1
*Bowling figures true according to Racqueteers’ scoring. May not count numerous wides, no balls and deliveries that made most Vags laugh.
With a target of 138 set, Trius and Trev went out to the crease. Trius still sporting his dead, Bundy eyes from last season got energetic early on, playing some super shots to the boundary. Trev, in typical Trev fashion, looked for the nippy single and raced up the track boosted by his ridiculously healthy lunch (referred to the Committee for a decision around fines). However, some nifty fielding from the Racqueteers saw an appeal for a run out and Plod raise his finger quicker than when he volunteers to do all his shift’s cavity searches. Trev left furious scoring the one run, the Vags confident he will not change his ways and many more singles will be scored from Trev in the coming weeks. Captain Boote, sporting his Guantanamo beard, then walked out and evidently just wanted to get back to the Sun as soon as possible, hitting 7 Fours and 4 Sixes in a brutal 66. This complimented by the classy end of Trius’ innings as well as Hill senior who played some terrific shots for an unbeaten 39. Jeggs stuck in too and added a good 10, with a particularly nice drive that drew the scores late on. Hill hit the winning runs with the Vags winning by 7 wickets.
Hill R. 39*
Ted Bundy 22
A terrific win for the Vags. A special mention must go to R Hill who was late to the pub after finally herding the Racqueteers (NOW YOU GET THE PUN) out of the ground who unfortunately chose not to enjoy the Sun’s fantastic hospitality. Rik and I loved getting back to Bentworth, can’t wait to get back again!
Valley End CC 19th July 2020 Away- Won
As we approach a new normal, with queues in pubs and masks on the tube it is nice to see that there are some things that never change; The Vags will have a jolly wonderful time, we will be a public nuisance and Jeggs will get out for a Duck. Like your mums homing cooking (not my mums though, that stuff should come with a public health warning), it is comforting and a reminder of a simpler time when these things happen.
Having arrived at Valley Ends luxurious new ground, Skip won the toss and elected to bowl after a morning of rain had left the pitch a little damp and with cloud overhead. Valley end got off to a very quick start with 45 off of the first 7 overs despite Emily and Charlie bowling some absolute peaches. Charlie struck early with their number 2 caught behind. This may have been before or after our stand in wicketkeeper Steve Berryman went of injured before being replaced by our stand in stand in keeper Jamie, making his debut for the Vags. The run rate slowed down with some surprisingly tight fielding with Emily getting a much deserved wicket, again caught behind. A change of bowling brought on Ali and his usual enthusiasm, with Stevie going from the other end. Despite no wickets, the run rate was restricted before Si and Skip took over. 2 wickets each restricted Valley End to 197-6, with which we were pretty happy!
Tea was whatever people had got themselves. I am like a Labrador with no self-control and ate mine before the match had started, but Amanda Hyde provided some muffins, which were delightful!
Trevor and Jamie oppened the batting and got off to a solid start. Meanwhile a few Vags were trying to work out how the electronic scoreboard worked. After 15 minutes of messing about it was pointed out we had been changing the score on the next pitch repeatedly. A quick glance over and it became evident a small child was being blamed. In true Vags style we decided not to own up. The two openers survived until after the drinks break before Trevor was unfortunate to be caught behind. Jeggs trotted out to the field and trotted back a few balls later, his pre-season training having done wonders to his batting. Skip them went out and pushed on with Jamie who played some lovely stuff. He eventually reached his century before Bootes fell with a few runs remaining. The injured Steve Berryman saw us over the line, the Vags were 198-3 with several overs left. A fairly comfortable win with special congratulations to Jamie on 109 not out.
Our hosts provided a BBQ afterwards and drinks were enjoyed on the terrace of the swish new clubhouse and a splendid day out was had by all!
Until next week…
Bentworth CC 11th July 2020 Home - Won
Hello ladies and gentlemen, Bentworthians, Vagabonds, and Bentabonds alike.
Saturday 11th of July 2020 was a very late start to the cricket season and possibly the latest one any of us will ever see. Having waited so long this spring/summer watching 2019 cricket world cup final (Ben Stokes highlights) videos on Youtube, trading coronavirus memes over Whatsapp, and dreaming of dreary overcast days out in the cold wet British summer struggling to chase down totals of 119 all out, even a sniff of leather and willow would surely amass large numbers of cricket/ale enthusiasts to bleach their whites and rub their groins red…
Alas. So much expectation, so much anticipation, so keen and eager were the two sides to get back at the crease neither of them could arrive with a full team.( 9 and 8 players respectively) Never the less, the two home teams were already firm friends and pre-established Bentabonds indoor teammates. So the captains (powers that be) agreed the format of 30 overs each way, Steve Berryman to score a fifty for each side and to have rolling substitutions in the field like the NBA.
The Pitch looked good/bad/hard/soft/green/dry and so…
Having won/lost the toss Vagabond Skipper, Richard Boote, elected to/was put into bat and the opening pair of James “Chair” Harding and the textbook Hamish McArthur, moved steadily between the wickets with the occasional firm blow off the middle, before the Chair was removed by reliable hands of Trevor Edwards in the deep off the bowling of K.Thomas for 5.
Hamish played a classy chanceless innings for his 52 retired involving a delightful plethora of classic cricket shots and polite and excellent calls between the wickets, wekll played.
Boote in at number 3 was removed while wide eyed going after the pink ball either too hard on defense or not hard enough in attack and caught again by T.Edwards in the deep for naught.
With two down for only a dozen or so on the board S.Berryman came in and steadied the ship expertly with Hamish and the pair of them played exquisite shots and Steve notched his first half century of the day, including a sublime straight-drive/on-drive/hook/slog-sweep/cover-drive for six to bring up his 54* and retirement.
The opening bowlers must have had some offseason practice and the lines and areas they were bowling were exactly what youd want from your openers, and the breakthroughs they made were unfortunately for the fielding side over shadowed by the textbook batting style of S. Berryman and H.McArthur.
Special mention to the father-son pairing of Max and Richard Hill who shared the two maidens the bowling side produced and a noteable mention for Bentworth top bowler on the day K.Thomas 2 for 26 off 5
A couple of well seasoned battle hardened veterans followed the two half-centurions in David “Mad-Jack”,”The Colonel” Bowie Whillans and Andrew “AJ” Robinson. A pair of pretty straight bats that pushed the runs on as the over ebbed away as quick as their joints would allow, before AJ was un-done plum infront on the Bolwing of (…) Cleary.
A returning Vagabond A.Kanji strode out to the wicket uttering some typically modest comments about the size of his penis and the amount of time he would spend at the crease. a spledid little knock for 20 backed-up well by the red-faced colonel scampering betwene the wickets he was eventually caught in the deep off the bowling of Max Hill at the end of his second spell. 1 for 42 off 6.
A true Gentleman and team player, A.Kanji was “really going after it” in the final over and succumbed with two balls to go to give W.Perton a couple of balls to dust away the cobwebs. these last two balls adding 2 off the bat and 2 byes, for a total of 169 for 4 of the first 30 overs.
M.Hill: 6 – 1 – 42 – 1
R.Hill: 6 – 1 – 20 – 0
K.Thomas: 5 – 0 – 26 – 2
D.Mitten: 3 – 0 – 20 – 0
T.Edwards: 2 – 0 – 15 – 0
Lemonade: 3 – 0 – 19 – 0
_.Cleary: 4 – 0 – 17 – 1
J.Harding: caught for 5
MacArthur: Rrtired for 52
R.Boote: caught for 0
S.Berryman: retired for 54
AJ.Robinson: LBW for 3
A.Kanji: caught for 20
D.Whillans: not out for 21
W.Perton: not out for 2
Tea was, whatever… (insert your own, chicken sarnie, prawn crackers and/or custard tart here) For this scribe, a couple of pieces of outstanding Banana cake that the Vagabonds entourage had brought along, washed down with some Brown Trout Cider courtesy of Steve “bats for both sides” Berryman. Much obliged!
The Vagabonds took to the field bathed in afternoon sunlight, (it really was a perfect day to play cricket) and the opening pair of W.Perton and A.Kanji immediately and surpisingly found tight lines and caused the Benthworth Paiur a spot of bother getting it off the square.
Kanji Striking first with a wicket in his second over snaffled in the air with grace and textbook basket-soft hands by AJ.Robinson , to end the inning of Mitten cheaply for 1.
No such breakthrough luck at the other end as W.Perton continued to bowl adequately enough to keep the run rate down but without any real chances.
A.Kanji second was an absolute beaut. Granted it followed a pile of shit for a delivery the ball before, but that must have been part of the plan. A leg-stump yorker that skidded right through “Jezza” to end his innings cheaply too. gone for 2.
Given a rest after a terrific first 4 overs Kanji made way for S.Hyde to come down the hill from the field end. Immediately finding the “Monks Handkerchief” (a good line and length) the Bentworth pair having played themselves in and seen off the openers began punishing the bad balls to the boundary and showing marked respect for the rest with only 1s and 2s infrequently. At this stage the total of 170 was looking accessible but would involved a fair bit of nosy grindstone. That is until S.Berryman came out the centre for the second time for his pre-agreed second half-century of the day. he continued to play with class and confident calls and moved the run rate right back into the required zone.
Another bowling change brought Hamish McArthur to the road end and his tight lines and fare few feet of extra pace proved quite constrictive to S.Berryman and the whippet between the wickets T.Edwards. Stalwarts they were for a solid partnership but time and overs were marching on and when Hamish was nearly bowled out of overs another change at the field-end brought both innings eventually to an end with Boote and Hamish each taking Berryman and Edwards respectively caught by AJ.Robinson for his second catch of the day and (fielding Sub) R.Hill.
Boote’s second wicket and AJ’s third catch came towards the end of the Bentworth innings as “JP” went for a duck. AJ took a wicket with the ball (after bucking the trend of catching absolute snorters and dropping a sitter off his own bowling) bringing the father-son pair of Max and Richard Hill to the crease. A valiant effort with some self-sacrificial lusty blows towards the end but the 170 seemed to be too far away. Never the less the Hills had eyes and used them. The pair “tee’d off” and carried their bats for 7 (Max) and 26 (Richard) respectively.
In the end the Bentabonds were victorious as the incestual way we shared players, and boxes meant that everyone had a claim to the thrown.
Speaking of which the tiling in the ladies bathroom at the ground deserves a mention as it has raised the clubhouses facilities rating on AirBnB from “basic” to “adequate”.
Thoroughly enjoyable afternoon, that this scribe thinks we should make a regular start to each season in the future. Let’s move the start of the season into March and have a Bentabonds loosener, complete with fluid slutty incestual player management.
W.Perton: 6 – 3 – 12 – 0
A.Kanji: 6 – 0 – 27 – 2
S.Hyde: 6 – 0 – 35 – 0
H.McArthur: 6 – 1 – 14 – 1
R.Boote: 4 – 0 – 19 – 2
AJ.Robinson: 2 – 0 – 18 – 1
S.Berryman caught for 49
D.Mitten caught for 1
Jezza: bowled for 2
T.Edwards: caught for 26
J-P: caught for 0
Lemonade: caught for 6
M.Hill not out for 7
R.Hill not out for 26
Match#1 done. BOOM!