Sept 19th -
Ivinghoe & Pitstone - Home
This week you have a bit of a
treat. Rather than the ethanol-withdrawal induced reporting you know and
love, this week there is a cold-blooded, factual, unbiased, sober (well
almost) view of events on the “Heath”. No tales of vicious phantom
leg-spin bowled at mere children – actually, we might have done better if
there was. Just tales of my last game as Chairman, a chance for the team
to achieve the highest number of wins in a season, a chance for 5 people
to avoid the “duck award”, a chance of making enough runs to win the
batting prize, enough wickets to take the bowling prize, a fielding
performance to take the “fielding cup”, sandwiches to influence the
awarding of the Captains Cup, or even behaviour sycophantic enough to
influence the President’s Cup (the Prix d’Or of Hyde Heath).
Right, so much for the scene
–setting, what about the cricket. Charlie walked to the wickets, and
promptly lost the toss in a timed game. Now my esteemed correspondent
doesn’t like limited overs cricket and I can sympathise. However, once we
lost the decision and were put in, the excellent pitch produced by Mike
O’the Common became a handicap – make 200+ and you struggle to prize
batsmen out, score too few and it’s a cakewalk. We achieved the former.
However, the battle for “Cups” took over.
Henry and Dom walked out to impose
themselves and, allegedly, both were in “the Zone”. Dom needed a small
task of 250 n.o. to take the batting cup but thought he would take Henry
out as his first task. “Come One” is always a frightening call,
particularly when the ball is lodged in Gulley’s hands. Apparently Shrimpy,
in the pavilion, was out of his seat in no time to greet Henry back and
stake his own claim for glory, thanking Dom on the way. Could he take
control? Could Dom make the 250? Well, not really, but both batted really
well. The score ticked along. Shrimpy decided to give one fielder (their
Captain, no less) catching practice and after 4 close calls was taken at
mid-wicket by hthe same man in spite of very sore hands with an excellent
catch, for a good 34. Dom missed his target by 224 but was unlucky to pick
out deep mid-wicket.
Enter Nick Burgham who just loves
Iving and Pitstone’s bowlers. He really got stuck in with some violence
and made 49 with an array of shots to make Ian Botham jealous. However,
avoiding buying a jug seemed more important than ever and he perished on
49. Vinney and Sims took over, both scoring freely. Vinney had the unique
experience of being called back by the bowler of all people, after being
caught of a head-high full toss. Dom umpiring at the bowlers end and
fearing another challenge to the batting cup (only 600 short) wouldn’t
call “no ball” and Brad at square leg sympathized with a rather
full-pitched delivery agreed. Would Jeremy have been so generous with the
Bowling Cup at stake? Reprieved, Vinney pushed us up to 226 for 6, helped
by an excellent 15 n.o. from Spencer
Bad news for Tom and Jeremy,
however; an innings with no Ducks (not one!). The Duck prize (probably the
ultimate end of season reward and usually achieved with 6 or 7 ducks
called Tim Nutman) might just be traveling in to London with Tom’s first
and second ball ducks beating Jezza’s first and a few balls. It only
needed one slip-up from any of 3 players but…
Tea and cakes next with the
stirring sight of the President, who has not been in the best of health
recently, arriving chauffeur driven to a standing ovation which even
brought a dampness to the Chairman’s eye, to sample the fare. Great to see
him back!! Needless to say tea did not disappoint and the Heath took to
the field with possibly (certainly) too many runs and far too much cake as
Jeremy and Shrimpy were neck and
neck in the race for the Bowling Cup with little to choose between them.
Both bowled well although the opening bat seemed to be a bit impatient,
hitting Jeremy particularly severely around the ground. Little did we know
that he had to retire to return to College but not before he had been
dropped in consecutive balls. The second which ruined a run from Champagne
Charlie, our “El Capitano”, who had looked invincible under the high ball
in the last few matches. Unfortunately after the opener’s exit, the other
batsmen failed to shine, in fact they were truly pedestrian. In the past
at Hyde Heath the odd shooter or ridiculous movement off the seam could
have still won the game for us but Mike is far too good a groundsman and
the pitch played true – too true! 123 for 7 but no chance of winning
particularly playing canny I & P’s league players. However, several
bright spots: Zohail bowled beautifully with only 9 runs off his 7 overs,
Shrimpy, 11 overs, 2 for 28 and Brad, bowling what one of my old
cricketing friends would describe as declaration bowling. Can you tell me
why half of Hyde Heath who bowl fairly well off 5 paces feel they are
Swann’s half-brother? Stand up Brad, Austin and Barnsley (spot the odd one
out). However Shrimpy has proved me wrong with excellent bowling all
season. Maybe some bowlers might reverse the trend!!
Right, on to my reason for taking
this write-up on!!! Timed games are good fun and when we were weak and
with winning out of the question, achieving a draw against far better
players by batting second was a bit of fun. But the boot is on the other
foot now. We would have walloped this side by either batting second or
playing overs. We can’t rely on other sides’ naivety or Charlie winning
the toss with his double sided coin. Not convinced!! (neither am I
Still, what a real pleasure to
see the great spirit HH played with in this rather negative game. Was it
that they didn’t have to retrieve the ball from the woods time and time
again as our previous correspondent “bought” a wicket? Was it that the
season was ending? Was it that the match started an hour and a half
earlier and therefore we were in the pub much earlier? I don’t know and,
really, I don’t care. What I did notice was a really enjoyable time for me
is coming to an end. Tom Hicks might have to buy his team to enjoy their
performance but this Chairman has just sat and watched eleven players time
after time who have played cricket on the Common and loved this great game
we all share. What great value!
John Capper - Chairman HHCC
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Sept 12th - Abbots Langley - Away
The penultimate match of the Hyde Heath 2010 season, and sadly the last
for your humble correspondent – thanks, family. I'm aware that this blog
is perhaps becoming more about my burgeoning drink problem rather than the
cricket, so I'll try and stick to the point this time. What was the point
Oh yes, cricket. For the first time ever we paid a visit to Abbots
Langley. Apparently we always play them at the Heath because they love our
teas so much. Well, it's understandable, but theirs was truly excellent
too. I wouldn't ever presume to advise our tea-making committee, but the
onion bhajis and samosas did go down extremely well. Just a thought...
What was the point again? Right, yes, sorry. We won the toss and elected
to field first in a 40-overs per side game, and I have to say I've never
seen the Heath field as well as we did today. It really was exceptional –
highlights included Nick's catch at backward square leg, Brad's at cover,
and Charlie's (yes, Charlie's) at mid-off. But the outstanding performance
was by Spencer, who with catches, chases round the boundary and brilliant
diving stops must have saved a good 20 runs on his own. It was really
pretty impressive. Even I only misfielded once, I think.
Jez and Shrimpie bowled well early doors to keep Abbots Langley pegged
back, but they began to find their range when Nick and myself came on to
bowl – their left-hander hit some massive sixes off both of us. But the
drinks break brought a change in fortune as I picked up two wickets in the
over. One – Brad's catch to remove the destructive leftie – was
particularly impressive as Brad had only just arrived at the ground,
having landed from America that morning.
Ordinarily at this stage we would have closed in for the kill, but because
it was limited overs we held back a little. That's when the game becomes
boring and I'm so glad we normally play time games where the emphasis in
the field is always about wickets and not maidens. Nonetheless we did well
to keep them to around 180 and were pretty confident about chasing down
Unfortunately our innings never got going, and despite a classy 50 from
Shrimpie, a sensible supporting role from Spence (whose batting is
beginning to get there) and some late fireworks from Sohail, we fell well
Of interest coming into the final match are various awards, still very
much up for grabs. The Bowling Cup is very tight between Jez on 30 and
Brad with 28, although Shrimpie could stage a late bid if he takes 7-fer.
More important though is the Duck Cup. Half the squad it seems have got
two this season but, with a golden duck each, Jez and I are tied for first
place on count back. The fact that my other duck was a second baller might
see me in trouble if nobody bags a blob in the final match. Fingers
crossed – I don't think I could stand the humiliation.
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Sept 5th - not
Cublington - but The Rising Stars (not counted in stats)
Apologies for the tardiness in writing up last week's match – it's been
a bit of a hectic week or so. Anyway, I'll try and remember what I can –
my memory rarely stretches to anything more than a week ago, and for
reasons that will become clear I wasn't quite at my sharpest that day.
According to the fixture list we were due to play away at Cublington, but
all did not quite go to plan. On the way to the ground, Charlie got a call
from Shrimpie – apparently another team were already encamped in the away
dressing room. Oh dear, some kind of mix-up had clearly occurred.
Apparently we never confirmed the fixture and Cublington had arranged for
a team to fill in for us at the last minute. Oops.
Assuming cricket to have been cancelled for the day, we all adjourned to
The Plough and prepared to settle in for the afternoon – to be honest this
was a rather welcome turn of events, as the evening before has been
rather, um, lengthy. Unfortunately – for me at least – Charlie manageed to
contact Chesham's Rising Stars, who agreed to play a 30-over game. By this
stage I'd had a good five pints I think, including one before even getting
out of bed, but we won't get into that.
Anyway, to put it succinctly, Rising Stars gave us a bit of a pasting. My
first ball – surpsingly, given that I could hardly see – was a fairly
well-pitched leg-break. Excellent, I thought. The batsman deposited it
into the trees over long on. Bugger. It didn't improve much as my 3 overs
went for 50-odd and they racked up a pretty hefty total (I really can't
remember what now).
We never really got going, and despite a characteristically pugnacious
40-odd from Nick, and a bit of a lower order recovery, we fell rather
short. Oh well, at least the match won't count for the end of season
averages. Thank the Lord.
Coincidentally, the match took place in the midst of the Pakistan
spot-fixing crisis, and whilst I was umpiring in the middle, their
left-arm quick started to bowl no-balls. I called him, and prepared myself
for a diplomatic disaster. Fortunately everyone thought it was hilarious.
One other amusing note – that President John Capper was keen to point out
several times – was that the match took place during Ramadan. Imagine the
result if the oppo has actually eaten anything that day. It doesn't really
bear thinking about.
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August 29th - Bank
of England Touring - Home
Oh dear. A 24-hour binge beginning at Lord's at 11am on Saturday,
continuing with dinner with one's alcoholic uncle, thence to a Bethnal
Green house party and back home for breakfast lagers, is perhaps not the
ideal preparation for a cricket match. Two quick pints at the Plough
seemed to perk me up somewhat, but not for long.
, Nick mows
The opposition were Bank of England, and with the absence of Dom (on
holiday I think) and Henry (being unspeakably lame) I was asked to open
the batting. Fortunately some heavy rain meant the game was reduced to
30 overs per side, and I got time for a quick pre-match snooze. It
didn't help. I was dropped twice on my way to a painful 6, before being
stumped having a mow.
I'm out; there's a fly-by to
Unsure quite how to bat (not quite normally, not quite all-out 20/20
hitting) Hyde Heath rather collapsed and it was thanks to Jez with
30-odd, Atif and Spence that we got up to a roughly par 134 for 9.
Jez opened up with an extremely tight opening spell of 6 overs for 15,
but it was only from the boundary that he managed to hit the wickets –
sending in a throw of pin-point accuracy to run out one of their openers.
In fact by the time I came on to bowl, we'd only taken two wickets, both
to run outs, but that was all to change.
I'd like to say I bowled amazingly, but it would be a lie – the usual
array of full-tosses and long hops were all in evidence, but fortunately
the batsmen weren't good enough to capitalise, and they also weren't good
enough to keep out the decent deliveries, of which there were also some.
Anyway, I finished with 4 for 20 off 6, and with Nick and Shrimpie also
keeping things tight we closed the game out to win by about 20 runs.
All of which meant we could amble back to the pub. Thank god for that.
|pre match preparation !
|Shrimpie is first to go
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August 22nd - Ivinghoe &
Pitstone - Away - 14th win out of 18 games this season !
A clinical performance from Hyde Heath away against Ivinghoe & Pitstone
made 2010 a record-breaking year for the club. We've now won 14 out of 18
completed matches to record, apparently, our best victory tally of all
time. And with another four matches still to go, 2010 could well come to
be hailed as Hyde Heath's annus mirabilis.
Winning the toss, Charlie elected to bowl first despite this being a
40-overs per innings game and the team being rather light on bowling.
After Ivinghoe & Pitstone got off to a flier in the first three overs, it
looked like we might be in for a long afternoon of leather chasing. But
Jez and Shrimpie – taking the new ball with his off-spinners – clawed
things back, and as wickets fell, a talented but fatally gung-ho batting
line-up failed to adjust their tactics and ended up in a mess. Jez plugged
away to pick up two wickets, but it was Shrimpie who did the bulk of the
damage with six for 26.
He varied his pace well and the young batsmen didn't seem to have the
patience to play him at all as they all succumbed to recklessness. That's
not to take away from an excellent bowling effort, but the fact that the
oppo were bowled out for 81 on a pitch that did nothing but keep
occasionally low suggests poor thinking on their part.
One highlight was Dom bowling his first spell for the Heath in some years,
and picking up two wickets. That one of them was caught (excellently,
running backwards) by his brother Oli was particularly entertaining.
Caught Haddock, bowled Haddock – what a way to go.
With such a small target the result was never really in doubt, although we
did contrive to lose three wickets en route, including Shrimpie
controversially given out caught behind by Charlie. Anyway, Oli Haddock
came in to finish things off in style and a thorough pasting was
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August 15th - Gamecox - Home
An absolutely brilliant game of cricket down at the Heath on Sunday,
witnessed in part by none of other than England captain Andrew Strauss,
again. I have to say I think I bowled rather well, and by all accounts
the second spinner's berth is wide open for the forthcoming Ashes tour
to Australia – coincidence? You do the math...
Anyway, to the cricket, and it genuinely was one of the best games I've
played for the Heath in, ooh, probably about a decade now. Reassuringly
returning as captain, Charlie won the toss and we elected to field.
Gamecox made a quick start, after a speculative and expensive solitary
over from Ben Sonley, but were then pegged back by the accuracy of Jez
and Brad, who also picked up two wickets.
From there, Charlie turned to the spinners – myself and Richard Austin,
and we proceeded to wheel away for pretty much the rest of the Gamecox
innings. After a poor start, Henry suggested that my right arm was
getting too low, and thereafter I found a decent rhythm and a level of
accuracy that had been markedly missing for the past few games. I got a
couple of deliveries to really zip and turn, and picked up two wickets
off a nice, long 11 over spell – of course these were off the rankest
balls I bowled, but then such is the way with leg-spin (it could have
been four were it not for two dropped chances at mid-off...).
At the other end Richard bowled tidily and also found some turn to pick
up two wickets himself, and at the tea break, Gamecox were 183 for 6 – a
gettable target, although it would have been nice to take more wickets.
We were thwarted here by a gentleman of no less than 71, who made a
Capper and Haddock started the Heath response in solid style, putting on
yet another half-century opening stand. But when both fell in
consecutive balls from the oppo's unlikely-looking medium pacer, and
then Matt and Napes followed soon after, we looked in some trouble.
Fortunately Richard and Ben strode to the rescue with a partnership of
sensible accumulation. Even though Ben took some time to get going,
Richard was aggressive against the Gamecox spinners, and runs began to
flow. During their partnership there was a nice moment of controversy as
I wided their off-spinner (the captain's son). Both were none too
impressed (although the ball was pretty rank) – my guess is that
Capper's shout from the boundary of “great decision, Tom!” probably
didn't help too much... Just as Ben looked set however, there was a bit
of a mix-up and he was run out in slightly ignominious fashion.
But Richard kept on going to reach his half-century off just 35 balls,
and some big shots from Brad and Spence brought the target down to an
eminently gettable 4 an over from the past four. But when Richard 'the
finisher' Austin departed, the dots agonisingly mounted. When the
opening bowler returned, things were still in the balance. Until Brad
smote him over the trees for a colossal six. Surely the game was in the
Well, no. Brad was bowled with 2 needed and it came down to the final
over. Fortunately, Jez ran a single off the first ball, and on the
third, Spence chipped one just, just over the heads of the infield and
the batsmen scampered through for the winning run. Victory! With two
balls and three wickets to spare – a brilliant match. And perhaps, in
the end, that wide proved crucial. Guffaw.
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August 8th - Longwick
- Home (eventually !)
Probably the biggest shambles you could imagine preceded Sunday's game
First we had 12 players, as Richard Austin and a friend of Brad's were
due to play in addition to the list of ten names sent to me by Charlie.
This then dropped to 10, as Brad's mate was told he was superfluous to
requirements and then Amala failed to arrive on the train (and failed to
notify Caroline Capper who was waiting at the station to collect him).
Thankfully Hyde Heath Chairman Mr J Capper stepped up when the club
needed him most, and we managed to field a full eleven.
But this was just the tip of the iceberg. With half of the side well on
their way to Longwick (and some already there) the Longwick skipper
showed up at Fortress Heath with the rest of his team following shortly
behind. I explained that we were playing at Longwick. He explained that
we were playing at Hyde Heath. Neither side had a pitch prepared or
(more importantly) teas to eat. A right bloody shambles.
Thankfully at a moment's notice our brilliant groundsman Mikey zoomed
across the outfield and proceeded to cut and roll last week's wicket. In
a frenzy of action we painted the boundary line, put out the flags and
benches, set up the clock, and put in the stumps. Cricket, despite
everything, would happen. We made sure of it.
In all this confusion I went out to toss – I was skipper by the way –
my earlier tirade
against limited overs cricket, conceded to
Longwick's captain who wanted a 40 overs match. Anyway I won the toss
and, just like Charlie, elected to field – mainly because I had no idea
how the pitch would play. It turned out, as Mikey's pitches always do,
to be perfect, if with a little more spin than usual.
Jez and Brad opened up and kept things tight, before Nicko replaced Brad
at the Plough End. Continuing his good bowling form from tour, he bowled
a full length and attacking line and was rewarded with three wickets
from his allocated 8 overs (although it probably should be noted that
two came from rank long hops, but hey ho). Shrimpie also wheeled away
with accuracy, loop and a good bit of turn. He was more expensive than
he should have been – party due to some bad fielding and partly due to
some pretty bad field placement on my part.
Anyway, he took three wickets, including two in two balls, I bowled
their left-hander through the gate with a sharply spun leg-break and we
were well on top. From there I rather let things drift and from being
about 80 for 6, Longwick eventually scrabbled up to 171 all out., partly
aided by about 25 extras. A lot of credit though to Jez for the
outstanding figures of 1 for 7 off 7 overs.
After tea – generously put together by the kind folks at the Plough – it
was our turn to bat. I have to say I was a little nervous after we'd
collapsed the week before chasing a similar target. But a century
opening stand between Capper and Haddock effectively sealed the deal.
Dom was dropped four times on his way to 60 but in between times played
some great shots off the back foot. Several pull shots were particularly
withering, and it was amusing that Longwick continued to feed the
Capper started sedately and was content to push the singles while Dom
hit the boundaries at the other end. When he was out though, Henry
started to find his timing, and although things got a little tense
towards the end as we got a bit bogged down with the total in sight, he
drilled two consecutive boundaries to swing the match decisively our
way. All in all his unbeaten 83 was a measured and mature innings, that
showed exactly how a run chase ought to be paced.
After the embarrassing lead-up it was a well-earned victory and, with
everyone chipping in just to even get a match, it once more demonstrated
the great spirit that lies at the heart of the Heath.
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August 1st - Bourne End - Home
Tour hangover strikes again as a rather inept batting performance sees
Hyde Heath felled at home by a nine-man Bourne End team. We should really
play someone really, really bad immediately after tour.
We won the toss and, as usual, inserted the opposition. Brad and Jez
bowled well to nip out one of their openers and a rather one-dimensional
number three – at one stage we about six fielders between the keeper and
point until he popped a leg-side catch to the keeper.
But from here problems arose as their number four – a semi-pro ringer from
Portsmouth – announced his intentions by slamming his first ball, a full
length delivery from Brad, back over wide mid-off for 6. At the other end
Azhar interspersed sweetly timed lofted drives with frequent and
frustrating air shots, and the pair proved rather hard to bowl at. The
ringer hit one particularly memorable straight drive back over Luke's head
before drilling a long hop from Shrimpie to Brad at deep midwicket for 53.
After that they folded to 186 all out with Shrimpie finishing with four.
On a flat pitch with a fast outfield the game was in the bag. Surely?
Well, no. Nicko opened up with Shrimpie, but both departed early, followed
by Nick's mate Travis to a horrible mow (he'd looked pretty good before
that). So it was down to Luke's mate Harry (who'd earlier kept wicket
tidily) and Tim Barnsley to steady the ship, which they duly did in some
style until Harry received a brutal lifter from the Portsmouth ringer,
From there, we lost Spence (although not until he'd hit a colossal six
over the trees), Brad and Luke for very little and the innings was in
tatters. When Tim was caught on the boundary for an elegant half century,
Jez and I were too late to salvage anything and we were bowled out for
about 130. A pretty dismal display. Thank god for skipper Nick's chicken
tikka sandwiches at tea.
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July 28 - 30th - tour -
Cobham, Harvel & Petts Wood
- Tom's blog
The Hyde Heath Invicta Tour – the 2010 incarnation of the club's annual
foray away from leafy Buckinghamshire – lasted precisely one match. It
then swiftly became the more aptly named Victa tour, during which,
ironically, we won both matches, thus returning to the Invicta state in
which we'd so presumptuously begun. Kind of.
Before we begin in earnest, a quick apology: I was drunk for most of the
first match, exhausted for the second two, I tend not to pay attention
to what's going on unless I'm personally involved and I have a terrible
memory. So what follows is only hazy recollections at best (aided by
Matt's tour notes). If I've got anything badly wrong or missed anything
out then do please comment in the box at the bottom. Ta very much.
Anyway, enough wittering – to the cricket already!
Cobham vs HHCC
This year the first village to bear the brunt of the mighty Heath was
not, as is customary in Kent, Meopham, but another village named,
similarly, Cobham. But before the match, Tour Manager and Skipper Matt
Sims rallied the troops with Gladiator
speeches (“If you find yourself alone, sitting in a cool room with a
cucumber sandwich in your hand, do not be troubled! For you are in the
pavillion! And you're already out!”) and tour-themed gifts: Clark Kent-esque
specs and super hero t-shirts, courtesy of tour sponsors Primani. Alas
they couldn't help us play like superheroes. Yet.
No shows from Spencer's imaginary friends meant we were down to nine men
and despite loans from the opposition, our fielding was poor. Swinging
it at will, Jez and Brad bowled extremely well but I dropped around
three catches, Capper one, Angus one, and our inspirational skipper one
of the all-time howlers at mid-off. All this helped one of the oppo
batsmen make it to 98 before he was sharply stumped by Capper off me.
I've now forgotten what their total was but once we collapsed horribly
the draw was our best bet. Batting at number 6, I was last man standing
for 8 not out – the once mighty Heath had been bowled out for 88.
Invicta no more.
The main controversy of the match surrounded, as so often, Atif, who
after not being given a bowl decided to limp off the field with a “groin
strain”. The fact that it seemed to recover in time for him to chase
Brad round the park with a cricket bat suggested that it might – just
might – have been feigned. It did, however, return the next day with a
vengeance – more of which later.
The evening was then spent enjoyably making up for the loss by boozing
our way round Maidstone. We kicked things off in the Wetherspoon's
(yeah, it's all class with the Heath) before the party split in two –
the oldies (oh god, that includes me) going to some late bar, and the
young folk to what I hear is these days referred to a “night club”...
Harvel vs HHCC
Nobody wants to read about what went on at either location, so it's on
to the second day of tour against the strong and highly competitive
Harvel. After a solid opening stand between Matt Sims and Richard
Austin, the latter really began to find his feet, eventually scoring an
elegant and classical 80 – his highest score for HHCC. Studded with
authoritative cover drives and signature pull strokes, it was a classy
backbone to the innings. Jez kept up the momentum with a quick scoring
half-century, before which I suffered the ignominy of a second ball duck
by padding up to a fairly straight delivery and getting bowled. Nice.
So we eventually made 240 off our 50 overs and Harvel set about their
chase in their customarily belligerent fashion. But a brilliant reflex
catch at slip by Spence removed their talented ginger opener, and Brad
again bowled well to peg back the top order. Their middle order began to
flourish against a succession of rank full tosses from yours truly,
until Nicko decided enough was enough. Bowling the best he's ever bowled
for us – on a full length with a bit of pace and nip – he removed both
set batsmen and the dangerous Wakeman (I think that's his name) who'd
apparently scored a ton the day before. The ball he got their top scorer
with – nipping back off the seam through the gate and into the stumps –
was an absolute cracker.
The inspired Sims then turned immediately to Richard Austin who
decisively beat their Australian overseas player with a bit of flight
and guile (and a horrible mow) and it was all over bar the shouting.
We'd beaten Harvel. Again! They're certainly the strongest team we play
all year and to beat them – even if they do give us a few runs to make a
game of it – is really rather satisfying, and shows the commitment to
the cause that marks the Heath apart.
That evening we all went for a well-earned curry (something the Pett's
Wood changing room would come to regret the next day) and there was much
booze-related rejoicing, despite everyone's exhaustion. One notable
omission from the evening's revels was Atif, whose groin strain/strop
had flared up again to such an extent that he decided to bugger off home
in his van. There's precedent for this (cf. the case of HHCC vs Nutman
2007) and Asif, in absentia, was fined the standard penalty of
Pett's Wood vs HHCC
The final match against Pett's Wood always sees Hyde Heath below par
(it's probably all that team spirit) and again our fielding and bowling
were lacklustre – although credit again to Brad for a long and accurate
spell. Without his bowling this tour, we could have been in serious
trouble. On a flat wicket though and with the outfield like lightning,
wickets were hard to come by and Pett's Wood declared at tea on about
After tea, Jez and I strode out to open the Hyde Heath riposte, knowing
that a quick start was imperative. Luckily – because I have literally no
shots – Jez kicked off in some style, slamming their bowlers back over
the heads with impressive timing. When he was out cutting for a
quickfire 34, he'd given us the impetus we needed. But when Shrimpie
continued his run of poor form and I was splendidly caught behind down
the leg-side for 30-odd, the innings faltered. Luckily Brad kept things
together, scoring quickly but sensibly on his way to 60, ably supported
by an increasingly confident Angus. When Brad fell though (I gave him
out LBW!) it was still all in the balance – especially as we only had
nine batsmen – but Richard Austin guided us home in style to cap an
excellent tour for him. It was a tense, but ultimately well-paced run
chase and a fitting end to another brilliant tour.
The one moment of controversy came when Matt laid out the HHCC flag with
pride upon the table, only for Pett's Wood to later lay their tea upon
it – the sacrilege! But we'll get over it. After yet another wonderful
tour, Matt deserves a whole heap of praise. It must be a bit of a bloody
nightmare sorting the whole thing out, but Matt always does it so well,
and in addition, his on-field captaincy was genuinely first-rate. To
Kent again next year? Or pastures new? Who knows...
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July 25th - Turville Park - Home
Unfortunately Turville were unable to raise a team and cancelled.
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July 18th - London Dragons - Home
Charlie's absence this weekend meant that the great honour of
skippering the mighty Heath fell into the grateful hands of your humble
correspondent. If the naysayers are to be believed however, it was an
honour towards which I rather neglected to show the requisite respect. But
if only these naysayers had realised quite how horrendous I felt when I
woke up they'd have realised the necessity to drink four pints before
One side-effect of this was that I arrived only 20 minutes before the
start of play; the other that I was a tad hazy about what was going on. No
matter though – erstwhile vice captain Capper sorted out all the pre-match
bits and bobs (including finding in Spencer's mate Liam a last-minute
replacement for Amala who'd phoned in sick).
The oppo were the London Dragons, a new fixture with an intimidating name.
We lost the toss, were sent into bat, and things quickly fell apart.
Capper was out cutting to point for zero, Shrimpie edged to 1st slip, and
when Haddock was out too, it was left to Jez (promoted to number four by
his confident/drunk captain) and Ben to steady the ship. Which they
largely did, until disaster struck. Four wickets fell for the addition of
not a single run (including myself for a rather humiliating second ball
duck and Richard Austin contentiously given out LBW by Capper). We were
suddenly 100 for 7 and staring down the barrel.
Enter Brad and Spence who both batted superbly to rescue the innings. For
probably the first time ever, Spence not only realised that the forward
defensive is actually a real shot but also actually managed to deploy it,
in between some clean strikes to the boundary. When he fell for a mightily
valuable 28 it was down to Ali to support Brad, which he duly did rather
well: the two put on an unbroken 49 for the ninth wicket, of which Ali
made a doughty 2. Brad's innings of 76 off 60 deliveries was quite
brilliant and rested the match well and truly our way. After starting
cautiously, his last 40-odd runs came from just 20 balls as he took the
Dragons' attack to the cleaners in a calculated assault. There were some
great shots, none more impressive than a pulled six that seemed to require
no effort but still sailed miles into the trees.
So having secured an ultimately impressive total of 214, it was now a case
of seeing what our bowlers could do. And thankfully they didn't let me
down. Jez and Ali bowled excellent opening spells, with Ali in particular
causing all sorts of problems for a top order that looked potentially
pretty strong on a fairly flat pitch. By bowling at middle and off and
hitting an impeccable length with the odd variation in pace, he made
captaincy easy, and the wickets duly came along in a rush – four were
bowled and one excellently caught by Shrimpie. Apparently I dropped a bit
of a shocker, but I'm still feigning ignorance.
Ali's five wickets broke the back of their innings and then the spinners
mopped up – Rich with two, myself one, and then Brad wrapped things up
when the last man chipped a catch to Ali to give the Heath a satisfying 99
run victory. All in all an excellent match, that I feel rather vindicated
my controversial early morning captaincy decisions
HHCC 212-8 declared - Bradley Holt 77 not out, Jeremy Stevens 35,
Spencer North 28
London Dragons 103 all out - Alistair Richards 5-28, Richard Austin 2-12
HHCC won by 99 runs
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July 11th - Chesham Bois - Home - a
view from the pitch by Tom Jeffries
Another blindingly hot Sunday afternoon at Fortress Heath and another
sub-standard match from yours truly. But a clinical performance from
Hyde Heath resulted in a very comfortable victory against a not
particularly strong Chesham Bois side.
Capper scores through the leg-side.
Having said that, things didn’t start exactly as planned. Apart from
Jez’s opening wicket – a full delivery that enticed the drive only to
result in a nick to Richie Austin in the gulley – we bowled and fielded
poorly in the sweltering heat. This allowed Chesham Bois to rattle along
at almost a run a ball. Brad, Nick and I were expensive (although Nick
at least picked up the second wicket) whilst Capper, Danny, Nick and I
all dropped catches (Nick’s admittedly was a bloody toughie). By the
drinks break, Chesham Bois were ominously placed at 110 for 2 and it was
looking like we’d be chasing something like 250.
But Charlie rallied the troops and made two canny bowling changes.
Recalling Jez at the Pavilion End resulted in the immediate removal of
the oppo’s chief run-scorer, sharply stumped by Capper as he
overbalanced on the drive. From the other end, Charlie turned to
Shrimpie’s part-time off-spin, and it proved an inspired decision, as he
combined accuracy, changes in pace, and a bit of occasional turn to roll
through the Chesham Bois middle order. He finished with five wickets and
Jez four as they collapsed horribly to 137 all out.
Haddock collects 4; JC looks enthralled...
Against a pretty ropey bowling attack such a total was never going to
be a problem, unless we really decided to balls it up completely. Which
we didn’t. Dom and Caps batted with calm aggression and Chesham Bois
were quickly demoralised. A ten-wicket victory was no less than we
deserved – if anything, simply for the quality of the tea alone. It was
probably one of the all time great Heath performances in that department
– I mean, smoked salmon sandwiches! Sheesh. Let’s never play away again
Hyde Heath won by 10 wickets
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July 4th - Ballinger Waggoners
- Away - a personal view from Tom Jeffries
Not the most exciting game of cricket I've ever played in, but
nonetheless a strong win for the Heath away at Ballinger. Things started
badly as – with Charlie picking up Amala from the station and Spencer
running late – we took the field with only 8 players, no captain and only
one opening bowler. The first few overs were terrible as Jez and Shrimpie
bowled repeatedly short and wide and Ballinger motored along at 7 an over.
But Charlie's return saw a marked improvement in discipline from the
bowlers and enthusiasm from the fielders and we were soon right back in
it. Jez bowled splendidly on a pitch with a bit of pace and bounce to
scythe through Ballinger's powerful, if a little cavalier, top order. To
take six wickets after an expensive start was a great effort – the
highlight probably being the uprooting of the middle stump on no less than
After some tedious resistance from Ballinger's tail – during which time I
struggled to find much rhythm – we eventually bowled them out for 168, an
eminently gettable target.
Tea – as so often when we play away – was distinctly below par. It made
one yearn for the home-baked cakes of Hyde Heath and Nick's signature
chicken tikka sandwiches, which I inexcusably forgot to mention last week.
Anyway, to the run chase, and against some disciplined bowling we didn't
start well: Capper was caught and bowled, Shrimpie edged a drive to 1st
slip, and Napes had his off stump removed. But Dom was still there and
playing with increasing fluency, and he was joined by Brad who helped to
steady the ship. When he was out, in strode Nick who – probably in an
attempt to prove a correlation between quality of sandwiches and quality
of batting – proceeded to destroy Ballinger's bowling attack.
With Dom and Nick in full flow we cantered along towards the target, and
although it all must have been very entertaining, I'm afraid to say I
spent more time concentrating on our own little game in the net with a
half-width bat. But Nick made 40 with a couple of sixes and Dom was last
out for 75, and in the end we won pretty comfortably. Back home next week
– thank God.
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June 27th - Southwell Ramblers
- Home - a personal view from Tom Jeffries
A scorching day of unrelenting sun was matched only by splendid game of
cricket in which Hyde Heath came out on top, eventually. The match started
early so that an extended tea break could coincide with some other
“sport”, and in the heat, we won the toss and opted to bat.
All of our top order looked comfortable but contrived to get themselves
out in a variety of ways. Only Nicko capitalised on his start, making 40
before being bowled cramped for room on the cut – he really must stop
playing that shot. But he looked very classy nonetheless. One cover drive
was particularly memorable – not only was it classical, but it was hit so
fiercely hard that the ball seemed almost to scorch the earth on its way
to the boundary.
But with our strongest top order so far this season largely failing, it
was left to Ben and Brad to drag us up to a competitive total with an
enterprising half-century stand. We finished on 194 for 9 – about 50
short, we thought, but it actually turned out to be something of a
After a couple of early wickets, Southwell started to put together some
partnerships, and with 140 needed from the last 20 overs it was anybody's
game – especially as I (bowling from the Plough End for the first time in
years) started expensively. But when things were looking like they might
slip away, I lobbed one up on leg stump which the batsman crashed straight
down Jez's throat at deep backward square. The ball seriously flew and it
was a very good catch, but even better was to come.
They say catches win matches, and Hyde Heath took three absolute screamers
to swing this one decisively our way. Shrimpy got everyone going with a
brilliant one-handed leap at cover – his fielding there all day was
outstanding. Then, as Southwell continued to go for their shots
(encouraged both by my erraticism and our sub-par total) Jez took the
catch of the season so far. Another ball from me lobbed up on leg stump
and smashed flat and hard towards square leg. A flat six? No! Jez hurtled
round to his right and leapt high, to pluck it one-handed out of the air.
An absolute bloody blinder.
I then removed one of their dangermen (he'd just smote me for a massive
six) with a flat, ripping leg break which knocked back his off-stump,
allowing the Heath to close in for the kill. With two overs left, Amala
zipped one in, it took the edge of the bat and flew fast and low to Dom,
diving forward at 2nd slip – another brilliant catch to seal a hard-fought
and highly entertaining match.
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20th - Plough - Home
The Plough batted first - 154 all out. Henry Capper 42, Luke Brennan 81
HHCC in reply - 155-0 - James Shrimpton 101 not out, Tom Jeffreys 51 not
HHCC won by 10 wickets.
On Sunday the Heath took on the might of the Plough (reinforced by Jez
as skipper, Henry Capper and Luke). We bowled first (as ever, it seems)
and with Brad and Ali finding some swing, they were quickly in trouble. It
was left to Capper to grind things out, whilst at the other end Luke
played with a combination of class and power to finish unbeaten on 82.
There was one back-foot straight drive that was particularly sweet. I
dished up two overs of filth (rather resting on my laurels I think) and
dropped two catches. The second – a spiralling top-edge off Nutman –
involved some rather unsportsmanlike behaviour from Stevens, who yelled
“DROP IT!” just as I was about to do so anyway. Really, Jez....
Anyway, the Plough were all out for 154, and James Shrimpton and I
strode out to open the batting. A couple of hours later we wandered back
in having knocked off the runs without the loss of a single wicket – an
opening stand of 154. Shame it doesn't count for the avergaes.... Shrimpy
batted beautifully for his hundred – there were some scorching cover
drives and imperious pull shots and it was really ratehr pleasant to
simply watch him bat. I pootled along at my usual dour rate, getting to 50
just in time. I managed the odd boundary here and there with a cover drive
or a late cut, and that was it. An impressive ten-wicket victory.
A splendid weekend then – good old cricket.
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June 19th - Presidents XI - Home
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June 13th - Lt Missenden
Misfits - Away
Another nice day and here we are, facing again the
Little Missenden Misfits, only this time it’s away at the other end of the
parish…still, I expect that they’ll soon be sick of the sight of us. I
spoke last week of his success with the toss, which was the kiss of death
for Charlie, because he lost here, and Hyde Heath were invited to bat
first. Little Missenden is one of the largest grounds on which we play and
so the run rate was restricted in the early stages of the innings, but it
soon improved from four to six an over as Henry Capper got into his
stride. He was ably assisted by Nick Burgham (35 – six fours), Tim
Barnsley (21 – four fours) and Amila Pieris (26 not out – two fours).
Together they managed to advance the score to 254 for 3 dec. by teatime
with Henry on 101 not out (fifteen fours from 92 balls). For the home side
Hallam was the most successful bowler with two wickets for 87 runs and
Alistair again umpired throughout the Hyde Heath innings.
With such a huge mountain to climb it was not
surprising that the home batsmen preferred the comfort and safety of their
pavilion, where alcoholic beverages were later on sale. With Bradley Holt
bowling chinamen and taking five wickets for 14 runs from 11 overs and
Amila sending down 4.2 overs and taking three for nine runs the home side
was dismissed for 61 in 37.3 overs. And just in time, too, as a heavy
rainshower threatened to swamp the ground.
Result: HYDE HEATH 254 – 3 dec.
LITTLE MISSENDEN MISFITS 61
Hyde Heath won by 193 runs
Next week: Saturday, 19th.
v. President’s XI 14.00 hrs.start.
v. The Plough and the Stars (twenty 20 match)
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June 6th -
Lt Missenden Misfits -
D-Day…and promises from the weathermen that it would
be deluge-day were not fulfilled. A little overnight and early morning
rain did not appear to affect the wicket as we prepared to host visitors
from a Club Cricket Conference emergency bureau fixture. Apparently we had
had communication problems with Bledlow CC., so we settled instead for
Little Missenden Misfits, which means that we will play them at home and
away on successive Sundays.
Charlie Samuels continued his run of form, by winning
the toss and inserting the opposition…again. Alistair Richards and Jeremy
Stevens bowled with great economy and the first sixteen overs yielded just
31 runs and two wickets. The home third-wicket pair of Lyne and Kaye were
slow starters, but, aided by some very ordinary bowling and substandard
fielding, they were soon setting the pace, in fact their partnership
realised 140 runs, Kaye contributing 78 (eleven fours) and Lyne 56 not out
(ten fours). This stand was the major reason that Misfits were able to
reach a teatime declaration at 174 for 4 wickets from exactly forty overs.
No home bowler managed to take more than a single wicket.
And so to tea, of which the highlight was a
magnificent coffee and walnut sponge. This would in genteel mode be eaten
better with a fork than with fingers, although the latter in no way
detracted from its scrumptiousness.
Thank you, ladies. Back to the match…the home reply
began at the spanking rate of six an over. Henry Capper (73 not out –
eleven fours) and Dominic Haddock (44 – nine fours) added 90 runs for the
first wicket in a shade over the hour. Tom Jeffreys (27 – three fours)
then joined Henry, and they added a further 63 in fifty minutes. They were
not inconvenienced by some light rain, and, after Tom’s departure, Bradley
Holt enjoyed himself briefly and struck the winning runs with a huge six
into the woods, from which the ball was not recovered. So, the target was
reached with eight wickets and five overs in hand. Thanks to Mike Thompson
for giving us a playing strip which produced 349 runs for the loss of just
six wickets, and thanks to Alistair for again umpiring all through the
Hyde Heath innings.
Result: MISFITS 174 – 4 declared. HYDE
HEATH 175 – 2 Hyde Heath won by 8 wickets.
Next Sunday: v. Little Missenden
Misfits – away - 2.00 pm. start
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30th - Ley Hill - Away
Hyde Heath CC. played their annual fixture with Ley
Hill, this year at the latter’s ground, and very high-scoring it was.
Your correspondent reported sick and, regrettably therefore was not
present, so this report is based on word of mouth and the stark facts in
On a pleasant afternoon Charlie Samuels won the toss,
and, as is habit, asked the home side to bat first. A forty overs per side
contest was agreed, with no bowler to have more than eight. What happened
next was that the home opening pair added 169 runs for the first wicket
and were not separated until the fifth bowler had been tried. Mark you,
defending the short boundaries at Ley Hill when an attacking batsman
consistently hits over the top, is nigh impossible, so the visiting
fielders felt that they had been run ragged at the end of the 40 overs,
and their efficiency suffered accordingly.
For Ley Hill Peterson (no, not that one, although it
might as well have been !) scored 58 and Tuckett an incredible 181 in a
total of 272 for 4 wickets ! For Hyde Heath all the bowlers suffered,
except Jeremy Stevens, who finished with a creditable 2 wickets for 29
The Hyde Heath reply began brightly enough with Henry
Capper (63) and James Shrimpton (84) adding 123 for the first wicket, but
after that the run rate slowed and the visitors began to fall behind the
clock. Also there were no further innings of significance, except for a
defiant 33 from Jeremy, so the reply ran out of steam after 38.3 overs at
233 all out. The best bowler for the home side was Morris with 3 wickets
for 41 runs.
Result: LEY HILL 272 for 4 wickets
HYDE HEATH 233 all out Ley Hill won by 39 runs
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May 23rd - Warners End - Home
Phew! What a scorcher…It was far too hot for the
Nomadic Medics, who, for the second year in succession, felt obliged to
cry off. So Matt went to the Club Cricket Conference Emergency Fixtures
Bureau, where we got fixed up with Warners End C.C. (in a suburb of Hemel
Hempstead). When applying for a fixture every club says that they are of
medium strength, but, to avoid the risk of a potential mismatch, this
description should be modified by words such as “strong” or “weak”. So,
Hyde Heath won the toss and asked the visitors to bat first. (plan A). The
captain for the day was, I thought, Charlie Samuels, but due to a
discrepancy between the number of players present and those entered in the
“availability” book, which has been left, and therefore lost, in China he
stood down and Nick Burgham assumed the mantle of office for the second
The visitors’ score was ticking over quite nicely,
but Jeremy Stevens then grabbed three quick wickets, was ably supported by
Bradley Holt and, before you knew it, the visitors’score stood at 75 for
five wickets, and it had taken them 29 overs to get there. Further
miserliness took place in the form of Richard Austin’s bowling, and
Warner’s End were put out for a below-par total of 96. Rumble (20) and
T.Dyde (26) were the chief contributors to this figure, and for Hyde Heath
Jeremy took three wickets for 14 runs from 12 overs, Bradley two wickets
for 24 from eleven and Richard four for 19 from six.
The first three wickets to fall were to catches, but
after that the field failed to contribute to any wicket-taking, despite a
couple of spectacular efforts by Richard Cousins at slip.
Tea and the usual spread of good sandwiches,
delicious sponge cakes and tea in the presidential cup…nirvana... Thank
There was a shock after tea as last Sunday’s
semi-centurion, Dominic Haddock, departed lbw.to the third ball of the
innings, but then Henry Capper (54 – nine fours and one six) and James
Shrimpton (25 not out – three fours and one six ) added 87, the Australian
unlucky number, for the second wicket. The target was reached at the end
of the fourteenth over with some nudges from captain Nick, and we were in
the Plough just after six.
Result: Warner’s End 96 all out (35.5
overs) Hyde Heath 99-2 (14 overs) Hyde Heath won by eight
Next Sunday: at Ley Hill (2.00 start)
||50 up !
|The winning stroke
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May 16th - Full Tossers - Home
The opposition for last Sunday cried off too late for
a replacement fixture from the CCC.emergency bureau to be found and the
Sunday before that was a complete wash-out, so the enthusiastic ones were
moaning in their beer and wondering if the 2010 season would ever get
started. Of course it did, eventually, at 2.18 to be precise, and after
thirty-six minutes the visitors were 51 for two wickets and the first of
the two rain breaks had begun.
The covers were quickly in place, but after thirty
minutes they were wheeled off again, as the players were anxious to make
the most of the playing time available (before it rained again, which it
did fifty minutes later, so early tea was taken…excellent filled rolls and
sponge cakes…thank you, ladies.) At this point the Full Tossers were 104
for five wickets after nineteen overs and the captains, bearing in mind
the time lost and the time still available, decided on a 30 overs per side
match, always assuming that there would be no further weather
interruptions. Bradley Holt (4 wickets for 40 runs) and Amila Pieris (3
for 17) then polished off the innings in the next seven overs, so the Full
Tossers were dismissed for 125 in 26 overs. Stand-in skipper Nick Burgham
was happy with this situation…now, all his batsmen had to do was get a
relatively modest total on a rain-affected wicket…Dominic Haddock made it
look a fairly simple task, hitting six fours and one six before he was run
out, by a direct hit, for 55. His opening stand of 84 with the less
explosive Amila (38 – four fours) was achieved in twelve overs, and,
although the run rate then slowed, James Shrimpton and Nick saw us to the
target with ten overs to spare. For the visitors A.Brooker was the most
successful bowler with two wickets for twelve runs from four overs Thanks
to Johnny Capper for his stint as substitute fielder, and taking a catch
at slip, while we waited for our stragglers to put in an
appearance, and to Alistair Richards and Ben Sonley for umpiring (in damp
kit) during the whole of the home innings. Thanks are also due to Mike”me
Dook” Thompson for preparing a strip which withstood well what the weather
had to throw at it.
FULL TOSSERS 125 HYDE HEATH 126 for 3. Hyde
Heath won by seven wickets
at the Common v. Warner’s End 2.00
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May 9th - The Lee
Cancelled as The Lee were unable to raise a team
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2nd - Chartridge - Away
Cancelled due to heavy rain
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Pre Season Warm up April 25th
Having awoken for the past weeks to blue skies and bright sunshine I draw
the curtains this morning to find
that, contrary to the weather forecast, it’s raining.
Still, the garden needs it and the runners in the London Marathon will be
glad of it. Speaking of that event, I go downstairs to find the Home
Secretary glued to the television, hoping to catch a glimpse of our nephew
who is competing.
By lunchtime the weather had cleared and the game
could start, which indeed it did, at six minutes after two.
It was to be a forty overs per side contest between
the Captain’s team, Charlie’s Chinamen and the Vice-Captain’s side,
Capper’s Cavaliers. No bowler was to deliver more than eight overs, the
batsmen were to be given one “life” before they had individually scored
ten runs and would be obliged to retire should they reach a half-century.
Right, now that we’ve got the adjustments sorted out, let’s get on with
The Vice-Captain won the toss, invited the Captain to
bat first and then saw his bowlers restrict the run rate to a tad less
than five per over. For the Chinamen Dominic Haddock (23), Matt.Sims (31)
and new man Amila Peiris (27) all made solid starts, but it was Tom
Jeffreys (52 – retired – six fours) who provided the backbone to the
innings, and he got a little help late on from Tim Barnsley and Brad.Holt,
who each scored 17. When Tim had scored only two Alistair Richards bowled
him middle stump, taking a chunk out of the top, but of course it didn’t
count in the scorebook. At the end of their forty overs the Chinamen had
reached a total of 193 for 6 wickets, a run rate of 4.825. For the
Cavaliers Richard Austin took two wickets for 27 runs in his eight overs,
Alistair two for 33 from eight, and there were good spells from Nick
Burgham (no wicket for 17 from eight) and Ben Sonley (one for 30 from
First tea interval of the season contained some
well-filled sandwiches, a splendid fruit and cream sponge and some
exceptionally tasty ginger cake…thank you, ladies. We also welcomed
Mr.Webbe-Master and his mono-pod, to take his first action snaps for the
The heavens opened again after tea, and within four
overs play was suspended. The Duckworth-Lewis system, or something
resembling it, was introduced. The target was reduced from 194 to 145 in
thirty overs, and a factor of 0.75 was applied to all important
numbers…that should do it. Henry Capper (43 – retired – seven fours) and
Nick Burgham (39 – retired – five fours and two sixes) brought the
Cavaliers to within sight of the target, and they were assisted by
anchorman Richard Cousins, whose knock of 34 contained three fours. Brad
Holt (no wicket for 15 from six overs) then put a brake on the run rate,
and the atmosphere became a trifle tense, but Spencer North smote three
fours and a six to see the Cavaliers home at 147 for 2 wickets with three
overs to spare.
Result: CHARLIE’S CHINAMEN 193
for 6 wickets (40 overs)
CAVALIERS 147 for 2 wickets (27 overs) Cavaliers won by 8
Next Sunday (2nd.May) at
Chartridge (2.00 pm.start)