2023 Match Reports

Crondall CC 2nd July 2023 Home - Won

A warm summers day, intermittently cloudy, as Teddy and I arrived at the ground after visiting our old digs at Bentworth Hall. We both had tails up at the prospect of some cricket, finally, for the season. Clearly there was no one there as we may have been early but weren’t sure so we got on with some chasing after the ball, well at least Teddy did.

We were hailed by the opposition who had arrived on time and they asked us to open the gate but I had to advise this was beyond us as we had no key. Time continued to pass and Teddy with tongue hanging limply from the side of his mouth, a sure sign that the tank was past half empty looked at me wondering how much more running he would have to do before team leadership would open the gate.

I was recalling the game against Crondall the previous year at their ground with my first (and only) wicket bowling for the club and a memorable guest appearance from Charlie Armstrong. In the few years I have played with the Vags it seems that Crondall has been one of the more regular fixtures for me and I continue to find them a friendly and worthy opposition.

It transpired that the Skipper had forgotten to collect the key but this was remedied by hungover Max who bravely was still playing after his leavers ball. His bravery was mustered by his Mum however who I think was the real reason some Cricket took place at all as she kindly ensured the teams could access the ground.

As seems to always be the case with the Vagabonds it’s a Zero to Hero start, Skip won the toss and elected to bat first but the accumulation of players was slow; hungover max and I did not know which strip was to be used, I was off duty as it was Sunday and he was, well, hungover, so with no capacity to make any kind of decision he rang his dad Dick Mountain who at least guided us to the obvious conclusion that it was the other lane and not the one used for the match the previous day.

We then had trouble getting the stumps into the hard ground and with Phil Mitchell whistling the default tune of a circus and with a cricket ground now full of fielders, he took his position as Umpire when eventually two batsman made it to the middle to give the correct assemblage of players in the arena of play and with much relief all around the match got underway.

Opening for the day were Al Whitman and preferred Skipper Tris. Al started strongly after getting his eye in with a few and then two boundaries and a single. Never one to be rushed, Tris adopted his regular 5 day test playbook and waited for the correct opportunity to score.

A nice partnership was commenced, Al seemingly to be the more casual in his approach alternating between boundaries and singles, Tris taking time but helping the score build none the less.

I will digress slightly at this point to internally remonstrate with Stu Best that the score book does not have the fall of wickets filled in and as he had so kindly elected me to umpire I feel no particular remorse at pointing this out, as I should, but it was his first attempt I believe, so I probably shouldn’t grumble; being in the middle was the better of those two particular options. Oh, where is Captain Haddock?!

So whilst Al got 52 and Tris got 23 I’m an not sure exactly how the wickets fell, it would be my recollection that in fact it was Tris that went first with an LBW decision (as recorded in the scorebook that was more like ‘bowled by the keepers gloves’ the first of two questionable decisions for the day), with the 2nd change of bowler in his second over but not long after followed by Al dismissed by the third bowler causing some consternation and a mis placed shot was caught.

Skippy had gone to the middle to replace Tris but found a revolving door in the pace of a decent knock and was caught for naught. Farrel then found his hattrick with the Colonel enabling another catch but had at least ably contributing 9 to the total.

Hungover Max did not fair much better and after a blistering boundary was caught with one of those shots that had it worked would have been a great shot but competent fielder placement and a safe pair of hands made this not so. The burley (Lancastrian?) David Jarmany was now at the crease with the cool experienced player that is Luke and David started knocking the bowlers around for almost all boundary shots. Luke with almost equal aggression continued the run of form and the game was back on.

Now the score book then tells us that David was lost with the score on 166 for 23 quick runs which had established a 50 partnership with Luke on 27. Matt Mitchell came to his side and played like he had somewhere better to, be scoring a couple of singles then 6, 4, 1, 6, 1, 6. This combined with Luke’s cool composure saw the score settle at a good high water mark setting the stage for a good 2nd half.

Luke was the first of the two to get out with what was at best a questionable decision, marked down as bowled but could best be described as ‘Cricketed’ as no one really has a good enough definition of what had taken place but the keeper was adamant and Luke being the gentleman that he is and in the spirit of the game walked back to the club house with the score at 207 and finishing on a commendable 51.

I am not one normally to be picking on my good friend Stu Best as it appears I am today but we had agreed that he would not get out and I could continue in my afternoons relaxation as 10th man but it was not to be and he found the same revolving door that the Skipper had used and I reluctantly found myself joining Matt in the middle for the remainder of the last over as the match which was by this point timed out. I was very happy with the one run in the score book acquired after Matt shook me from my amazement at not being out and ensuring that we ran for the single and that was as they say that!
Tea was very pleasant with Skipper having assistance from his mother with Sandwiches, the Colonel had leftover sweet treats from his recently celebrated renewal of his vows (congratulations BTW!) and a savoury selection from my good self, I’m not sure olives and nuts are the thing but the mini Spanish Tortilla was well received even in the absence of Senior Aturo Gale.

So back to the grindstone; more of a get on with some Cricket for me, and we took to the field with Max from Crop Field End and Stu Best took up the mantle at the Road end. Did I mention Max was hungover,? If I didn’t, he was and I think I may actually prefer hungover Max bowling.

The first over came and went with a comparatively loose 6 runs given away but the pace was there, Stu Best (who was not hungover or had even had a drink as he was taking part in dry July which sounds better than dry January) started well with only 1 run given . Max straighten up his accuracy and the first of his victims fell (for 2 runs only) in his second over no less which was also a maiden over; the game was on.

Stu was on target and only a couple of decent shots against his pace enabled the boundary to be found from his second over; had he had his requisite three pints pre match there would have been wickets, it was good bowling! This back and forth from the pace attack continued with Matt Mitchell taking over from Stu after his 4 overs and it was the 8th over before Max struck again with a maiden over in his 7th and 8th over, he was looking peaky by this point but is no wimp and had stumps flying.

Interlude: I cannot remember the exact circumstances but the highlight of the day for many was the sight of the Colonel putting everything on the line for the team. By this I mean the his approach of stopping a ball bowled by Max at pace and deftly defended with his entire collection of Crown Jewels. Such commitment is laudable but he was not himself for sometime after.

The Mitchell Brothers (actually they are father and son but for dramatic effect this sounds better ) came on for the next spell of success and Phil took a scalp in the 13th Over which may have been a key moment as it was their opener who had racked up 54 and was caught by the still hungover Max; Bravo! Matt then bowled the 4th of their line up out in the next over with a good catch in the field from Anon (it was a catch so it was obviously good) and competitive dad Phil landed the riposte in the next over with another wicket for only a couple of runs between them and then Phil despatched his last man for naught; boom!

It seems I had a spell after Phil from the road end with a fair first over but loose second with the casual all-rounder Al Whitman (who wears his retirement well I must say) from the other end. Al had come on to replace Matt and straight away begun to supress the run rate before a wicket in his third over for only three runs and some really fine bowling.
The experienced and capable Luke came on for a couple, but a lingering injury left him disappointed for no wickets but a distinguished couple of overs none the less. Al was keeping the oppo busy with good line and length with three consecutive maidens and then hungover wonder kid came on again with a second wind of a different nature to the night before (who else wistfully recalls wearing a hangover so well, oh the benefits of youth) who in short order got another wicket, caught by Al.

Al was still not satiated quite yet and enabled the Skipper to get his hams, sorry I mean hands, around the ball to help settle the day before Max still had enough in the tank for the coup de gras and another great delivery that clean bowled the last of them. In the end they were all out for 128, with 10 extras vs our 221 for 15 extras, it was a victory and a none too shabby one at that.

For all you Chaps who like the stats here goes:

  1. Max Overs 9, Runs 18, Maidens 4, Wickets 4
  2. Stu Overs 4, Runs 20, Maidens 0, Wickets 0
  3. Matt Overs 4, Runs 29, Maidens 0, Wickets 1
  4. Phil Overs 5, Runs 28, Maidens 1, Wickets 3
  5. Me Overs 2, Runs 10, Maidens 0, Wickets 0
  6. Al Overs 6.2, Runs 3, Maidens 3, Wickets 2
  7. Luke Overs 2, Runs 8, Maidens 0 Wickets 0

Things were wrapped up quickly, I can’t remember if hungover Max made it to the pub, I think not but we will give him a pass for that performance. Stu Best washed his roast down with an orange juice and lemonade much to the Skippers consternation and we shared some good social moment with the opposition. After a day like that who would not look forward to next year’s re-match!


Binsted CC 25th June 2023 Away- Won

MATCH REPORT—Mikey G has a cricketing wet dream… in which he talks to a faceless voice called “Yoursoberself”

“Have I come to the right place?”
“That depends….”
“Well…when I got to some pearly-looking gates, this guy with a bunch of keys with the word KINGDOM printed on the key ring directed me here…?”
“Ah that would mean you’re an honoured member of the VAGS down there” (pointing below the cloud line)
“Yes that’s right, how did you know?”
“Well, nobody down there or up here wears a ridiculous jacket like that for starters, supplemented by a stockpile of different accoutrements supplied by no ordinary jack!”
“So, what am I doing here?”
“Well, it’s the 25th of June and you’ve been selected to play cricket for the VAGS against Binsted.”
“But this is a pub?! The Cricketers in Kingsley, if I’m not mistaken. What am I doing here?”
“All part of a heavenly plan for Sundays, matey. Firstly, you’re playing away today and secondly…more importantly…it’s all in the VAGS 12-step programme*.”
“12 step programme???….
“Oh come on…you know…Step 6?
“Step 6??”
“Oh blimey…do I have to repeat them all?

  • Step 1: Honesty mixed with a bit of dishonesty makes banter work better
  • Step 2: Hope with a bit of hopelessness is in your DNA
  • Step 3: Surrender only after the last ball and still believe in winning draws
  • Step 4: Courage in the face of merciless banter is paramount
  • Step 5: Integrity to never blame (but taking the p…ss when someone misfields is obligatory)
  • Step 6: Willingness to succumb to the odd beverage – a fact of life
  • Step 7: Humility even when you find a golf ball in your pint
  • Step 8: Love for all fellow VAGS and for the beers
  • Step 9: Responsibility for buying a round occasionally and doing stuff like scoring
  • Step 10: Indiscipline – say no more
  • Step 11: Awareness of the skipper’s higher power – to bat and bowl you wherever!
  • Step 12: Service or making tea, especially sandwiches sometimes!

“Okay understood. I’ll have a pint. So, who else is here?
“Well, Boots the skipper, Stu B, Rosco – although he’s not playing, but you’re lucky he’s kindly brought the founder, Baz, out for bevy!”
“Excellent, be great to catch up with him and hear stories old and new!!”
(A couple of beers later…)

“WTF…how did I get here? This is turning into a nightmare!”
“I told you, you’re playing Binsted CC!!”
“Yeah, but what am I doing with this scorebook on my lap?”
“Well, you’re at the beautiful Binsted Recreation ground now. The sun is shining, the sky is blue (as it always is up here) and Trius won the toss and chose to bat – as per the higher power’s message from the pub.”
“But why am I scoring?? That’s not something I’d dream up…ever!!”
“Not your dream, matey, it’s mine…and you need to keep evolving in the VAGS. Anyway, catch up…Alex and Trius went out to open…..”
“What happened to Chair, why isn’t he opening?”
“He’s been pushed down the order…and don’t ask…just look at Step 11…anyway Trius was out, like third over and is quietly quacking in the clubhouse! So, Richie was scoring but has had to pad up and you stupidly put your hand up…anyway, well done…that’s Step 9.”
“Who is this guy, Alex? He’s batting well…seems to know when to hit the bad ball, and boy he gives it a clout when he wants to…he’s racking up the runs pretty damn quickly!
“Yeah, he’s a friend of Max’s, going on tour to Malaga later this year.”
“Malaga? You’re kidding! Now I know I’m in a dream! Or am I? ‘Cos Boots seems to be doing his usual routine…just one single and five fours so far! …Oh no….friggin’ hell, think I put the kibosh on him…he’s gone…LBW! That’s 2 for 39…hmmm…hope this dream’s not gonna become a nightmare….”
“Hey,hey…remember Steps 2 AND 3…”
“You’re right, Richie has gone out there and played beautifully…really timing his shots. And this guy, Alex, he’s relentless, smacking the ball to the boundary everywhere, and with such panache. Seems to favour that shot over midwicket/mid-on a lot!”
“See what I told you? In fact, I calculate that losing wickets hasn’t hurt your run rate one bit…it’s been consistently at 6 or more an over from the very start!”
“Crikey you’re right. Aw….rats! Alex is out…on 97!!!! What a shame! Second time he’s done that this season apparently. He must be gutted…and that was an easy catch he gave too…. Ok don’t wanna kibosh this scenario but honestly…father and son batting together…now who wouldn’t want to dream that one up? Max and his father are doing a real job in partnership, keeping the run rate up and putting on 47 and 43 respectively…brings a tear to your eye…. ten of Richie’s runs were fours and Max even smacked a six! Well batted indeed both!”
“By the way…you’re in No.9, you better think about padding up!”
“Yeah but no one wants to friggin’ score! I even had to sprint to the loo during one lost ball episode for C’s sake!!”
“Aha…Step 4 in action…”
“I see Chair’s batting…and he’s got his eye in…. good to see things are working out for him in this dream after the last coupla matches…”
“Excellent, that’s Step 8 in action, you’re doing quite well for once.”
“Well how about bringing in a bit of Step 2 on my behalf then? I spent half of yesterday sweating to get this putrid green bit of rubber onto my……”
“You what?!!!”
“No… not that! Talking about a new bat handle…Now’s my chance to baptise it today and score a ton of runs…. Step 2? Hope against hopelessness??”
“Uh…sorry…not in this dream…that’s it, they’re coming in for tea. Innings is over.”
“Over? What d’ya mean?”
“It’s 35 overs a side. Their rules.”
“We never play overs!?”
“Matey, it’s a dream…don’t you get it?”
“Well in which case, at least feed me a coronation chicken sandwich or two, a chicken wing and some dreamy lemon drizzle cake please!”
“It’s a deal…and I tell you what, I’ll also get Boots to let you open the bowling with Max…and you can bowl out their opener even though you’re gonna perform like sh… t….”
“Well, thanks a lot…still, at least I get to bowl to my limit of 7 overs and re-enact Step 10 in the process! And I see Max gets to bowl immaculately in both his spells…that’s a dreamy conception…probably the most consistently accurate he’s bowled too…he deserved more than two wickets though…I guess dreams don’t dish out perfection, eh?”
“Well yes and no… this one at least dishes out fairness to almost everyone…Chair gets some redemption at 37 not out, Stu B and Matt M nab 2 wickets each, Jon S grabs a wicket…”
“True…but it’s a slightly weird fairness…Jon S is new-ish to the VAGS and bowled really well… so steady, with great ball placement, making it difficult for the batsmen to really hit out, but he only gets the one wicket, whereas Matt bowled a bit like me and gets two…then what about Ally? First game for the VAGS and he pulls a hammy for his trouble? Then we wheel out poor Timmy who was just umpiring to protect his shoulder….”
“That’s cricket matey. But you are forgetting that the good stuff Matty bowled was a lot better than you for starters! Plus, he showed a lot more promise…he’s a hell of a lot younger than you and he just needs a bit of encouragement to go on and outperform you by miles! As will Jon given time. Lastly, with Ally, remember, at least he got to spirit way a virtually new cricket ball..tee hee.”
“Alright, alright…blimey…I thought this was my dream?”
“Actually, I have to keep telling you, it’s mine…. although, if you look at the finale to this match, you’d have to say it must be Alex W’s dream and one for the VAGS too!!”
“Jeez…am I seeing what I’m seeing?? That’s Alex coming into bowl, third ball of the last over and they are 242 for 9…. and….YESSSSSSS! Wicket! What a star! We’ve bloomin’ well won!!!”
“Yep…and did you notice?…even as things got squeaky…your skipper and vice-skipper and the rest of the team kept to Step 5 in the programme…even when you dived right over a ball and the youngsters redeemed you in the field, or when someone dropped a catch or when you and one or two bowlers served up some trash….!! “
“True…this isn’t just a dream, is it? It’s like a dream telling me, it’s a dream to be able to play for the VAGS…right?”
“Well yes…and no…”
“Hmmm…as usual…dreams always turn out to be complicated riddles…. but, wait a minute…tell me, I’ve been looking at the title…..is the “wet dream” all about just getting the victory?… because nice as that is, with the inspirational last-over-wicket blah blah…. I was hoping for a different ‘happy ending’ if you see what I mean…especially as this is the second victory that I’ve experienced this season!”
“Actually, no it isn’t about the victory…”
“Oh gad…. here we go…”
“Time to finish you off…so to speak…with Step 7….you get to down a few victory bevvies with the boys at the Binsted Inn before winding your way home…. absolutely desperate for a wee and not making it to the khazi before soaking your shorts………. happy wet dream, Mikey!!

* The VAGS 12-Step programme is underlined by the VAGS membership code, which is defined as “a physical compulsion to play cricket coupled with a mental obsession to consume alcohol at some point – in which cravings for alcohol are always catered to, even sometimes when they shouldn’t be. (whispered).”


Team & Batting Line-up:

  1. Wilson A
  2. Hutchins T
  3. Boots R
  4. Hill R
  5. Hill M
  6. Harding J
  7. Smith J
  8. Mitchell M
  9. Gale M
  10. Best S
  11. Brown A


Bourne Hub CC 28th May 2023 Home- Won

Vagabonds: 155 a/o

A. Whitman – 58
T. Hutchins – 29
Bourne: 135 a/o
A. Whitman – 5/15
M. Hill – 3/29
S. Best – 2/13
Vagabonds won by 20 runs.
With a strong line up and pleasant atmospheric conditions, Captain R. Boote, having won the toss, put his faith in the Vagabonds batsmanship. However, in spite of the glorious weather, the first innings was tricky to negotiate as the pitch took a little while to come to life. Low bounce accounted for a number of Vagabonds wickets, with the Bourne seam attack probing on an excellent line and length. The Chairman fell to a sharp catch at square leg, whilst T. Hutchins (VC) punished anything off line. A. Whitman was watchful and composed – mainly scoring in the ‘V’ – eventually completing a fine half century with a sequence of lofted drives over mid-on. The Vagabonds middle order featured an exquisite ‘exposition de canards’, with such heavy hitters as R. Boote (C), T. Gay, B. Clay and Tweaker himself all registering magnificent zeroes. Unfortunately M. Hill was severely reprimanded for a blatant act of duck avoidance (‘discrimination fondee sur le canards’) after being clean bowled for 1. The innings concluded with an energetic cameo from M.Gale in support of A.Whitman. Though the total of 155 seemed a little low, with some whippersnappers in the team, a successful defence was certainly on the cards. Unbeknownst to the playing staff, team statistician ‘Moneyball’ Jeggings was running the numbers on the Deloitte supercomputers and had concluded that both the ABGR (Average Beer Gut Radius) and the AFJI (Average Functioning Joint Index) were favourable.
Bourne would face the other side of the variable bounce coin. Blessed by the presence of the patriarch Dick Mountain at first slip, youthful speedster M. Hill found some sharp lift and was almost unplayable at times. His second spell featured a return catch which resembled some kind of computer glitch from ‘Brian Lara Cricket’. The Chairman was forced to submit one delivery for analysis at the National Physics Laboratory, as it appeared to have quantum tunnelled through the stumps. At the other end, M. Gale brought some South American flavour with his sinister left-arm round. After the changes the game was poised, with Bourne only one down. At this point S. Best took two in two (2 in 2) to change the momentum of the game. This was attributed to the sudden arrival of club President Andrew ‘Bollywood’ Kennedy – a man so brown that he is on the verge of being offered a position in the Tory cabinet. In the presence of such awesome power and authority, the Vagabond’s fielding was elevated. B. Clay was particularly fleet in the deep, in spite of a shoulder injury, and T. Gay showcased his new catching technique which involved first disciplining the ball with a hard slap. A superb team performance saw the runs dry up and the regular fall of wickets. A. Whitman, a normally stoic individual, was inspired by M. Gale’s adherence to the left-hand path. Suddenly taken by a fast spirit, he too decided to come around the wicket – a decision that yielded five scalps. The game sped towards a thrilling conclusion – with all results possible as the final five overs commenced, but it was the Vagabonds who were victorious, avenging their defeat from last season. By all accounts this fixture has produced two rather good games. Both sides retired to the Sun Inn for afters, with several experienced Vagabonds partaking of a new innovation – the under the counter roast.

Addendum from Mikey:

Excellent tweaker! But let’s call out your worthy modesty and also celebrate your incredible catch, lunging low and deftly to your right to cut off what was a slightly lofted but exocet-ish off-side smash whose boundary-bound flight was so brilliantly brought to an abrupt end!! In addition the roving and roguish energy you brought to the field was infectious!!

A glorious win to remember