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Bledlow Ridge v Hetairoi


Sunday 30th July 2017 

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Defeat to Hetairoi pronounced a “Load of Balls”

 

Shaun is the New Henry 

Cam outbowles Doug in battle of the Mcindoes

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Timed match:

 

BRCC                           174 - 6 dec (49 overs)

Hetairoi                        177-4           (45.2 overs)

 

Result: Lost by 6 wickets 

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Yes The Ridge were outdone by a Load of Balls. 

Brian Slade of Hetairoi, as usual promised to supply a ball. In a dastardly covert manoeuvre he supplied four. How could we compete with a Four-Ball? 

Had we known, we could have retaliated with an entire HaleStorm but in the event Nat, Jolly and Andy stayed at home while Henry Hale took time off body-building to grace the field of his youth. 

Henry opened the batting with Brooksie and the first five wickets fell to one Ball or Other or to five Balls depending on how you look at it. 

Henry, 14 and Brooksie 16, (runs not ages) survived being slayed by Richard Slade and then both fell to Henry Ball. Shaun Dryden arrived and on looking up to see the athletic figure of RolfeDog at cover substituting for a latecomer (which remarkably was not Shaun himself) promptly commented that he knew “what to aim for”. 

After making 24 he did achieve greatness by being the only one of the first five batsmen to fall to Will Ball (which I though was a new game from Nintendo) as Doug succumbed to Henry Ball for 7 as did Sam Gilbert, who was bowled a Curve Ball, for a round figure. 

Talking of round figures RolfeDog was later to fall to an old adversary but in the meantime he and Dales consolidated which always means blocking the **** out of it and boring everyone to death as the score creeps up. 

Eventually RolfeDog was bowled a head-height delivery. Brooksie, now umpiring decided that today of all days, with so many on or around the field it was impossible to call “No Ball” there being so many of them and so he didn’t and RolfeDog was nearly caught. 

Extraordinarily Henry and Will were replaced by two bowlers not called Ball and after a while RolfeDog decided to plumb a new low in a very average season. 

A few years ago I was dismissed by two very old (as it were) adversaries at Bledlow Village and trudged off Caught Floyd -  Bowler Spooner, two Scoundrels if ever I met one. Or Two.  This was a painful low point in a career full of low points. 

Today, Stephen Matthews offered up an enormous pie and I was Caught Slade -Bowled Matthews, two Absolute Bounders if ever I met one (Or Two)  both of whom I have played with or against for 25 years or more. In doing so I knocked the memory of Floyd and Spooner into a deflated Ball. 

This was a timely dismissal however as Allan Loxton marched out, wondered what all the fuss was about, startled the patient Dales, who had been in for an hour and a half. Allan mullered 34 not out including a big six, in about 15 minutes while Dales reached the same not out total in a slightly longer time. We declared on 174-6 and took tea. 

This being a good old-fashioned, proper-cricket Timed Match we aimed for a twenty minute tea and would have achieved this had it not been for one of Roz’ magnificent spreads which made it hard to stop eating. 

News had reached her overnight of the exceptional tea offered up to Long Marston the day before by the modest author of this piece and she raised her game yet a few more notches. 

Out we went and Shaun and Gillett opened up with a New Ball. As if we needed another one. They bowled to Stuart Banham and, wait for it, John Ball. 

There were more Good Balls than Bad Balls and of course no No Balls. The best incident of note to this point was the discussion between Gillett and Umpire Matthews on the subject of whether Gillett had been running on the wicket or not. 

Never in his life had Gillett been accused of running on a wicket on a Sunday in July playing The Hetairoi. 

 The scoring rate was kept in check but no wicket fell until Lauren Head and Allan Loxton were bowling and Allan got both openers with two Excellent Balls. 

Doughty Doug replaced Lauren and immediately Lauren took a fine running catch to dismiss Neal Thathapudi off his bowling, an event which would have been most unlikely the other way round. 

Unfortunately this heralded the arrival of Will Ball to the wicket and he plonked one of his first balls to the boundary and set about the task of upping the scoring rate. 

By this time Shaun had begun to resemble the Henry HaleStorm of old. Memories of Henry speeding around the boundary like RoadRunner came flooding back as Shaun tore around making twos and fours into ones -  here at least we had one player On the Ball. 

We had bowled 26 overs in 1hr 20 minutes after tea and before 6:30pm, when Cam Mcindoe came on to bowl five good overs at Ball W and Andrew Wilson. This helped put Hetairoi back behind the rate but Cam made the mistake of getting the latter out with his penultimate Ball and thereby brought the Ultimate Ball in the form of Henry, to the wicket. 

This was clearly a mistake on our part as this Pair of Balls set about our bowling with increasing enthusiasm despite a good spell from Henry HaleStorm. 

Doug and Allan returned and kept it tight, or so we thought until Henry Ball hit one of Doug’s balls so hard and so far that it hit a tree. Or that’s how Doug said it felt. 

The onslaught of Balls proved irresistible.  We even lost a Ball but that did not help. The Hetairoi just had a Ball and made it home with over an over to spare for the loss of four wickets. The Ridge  players were left to ruminate that the batsmen who did not have to bat were Three Slades, One Matthews and One Abel and even though the latter in particular is quite Able, we might have been victorious had we been able to separate The Pair of Balls. 

Afterwards we retired to to the bar where we learned that we had been knocked around the park by a Philosopher and a Professional Oboist. 

We really hadn’t stood a chance.

 

 

 

Bledlow Ridge 1s v Long Marston 2s

 

Saturday 29th July 2017

 

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Dickers & Hollywood save The Ridge


Dickers replaces diesel fuel with pies


Outstanding Tea makes up for rained off match

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BRCC                           184 all out (45.3 overs)

Long Marston              DNB

 

Result: Match Abandoned (Tea -  too filling)

 

 

What is it with technology? You email the whole team requesting they arrive by 12 noon latest to finish getting the ground ready on a wet day and some server diverts the email to the opposition. The entire team was there by 12 noon but on close inspection it turned out to be their team not ours.

 

At least Long Marston did not put us through the humiliation of conducting pre-match fielding drills as our team arrived in dribs (slightly) and drabs (mostly).

 

We were spared the joyful experience of playing with both our Happy Scotsman as Captain McTaggart was overseas.

 

But there’s always Dakes to cheer you up. “We’ll never play, let’s go home” said our demon bowler who had lost most of his beard in an industrial accident.  “The forecast is for rain” said Doleful Doug.

 

We put the covers back on as it started to drizzle, discussed with Drab Doug the benefits of running the water hoses uphill, lost 6 overs to the weather and started at 1.21pm precisely, in bright sunshine.

 

Having lost Brooksie early and with the score at 34-1 SamDog and RolfeDog briefly celebrated one of the best starts in living memory and this prompted a collapse to 66-7.

 

The collapse involved a few drives smacked in the air and caught (SamDog 14, Drib Doug 0 and Malik 18) a few bowled (RolfeDog 8, Hamsah big-fat 0) and a nick to slip (Dakes 6).

 

There was nothing particularly comical about any of this except perhaps for Hamsah’s traditional response to advice given about playing himself in, selecting his shots and using up time, which was to try and hit his first and only ball out of Buckinghamshire.

 

The ample and very comforting figure of Dickers made its way out to join Matt Brightwell who ShakEy  has named “Hollywood” as he sometimes mistakes him for a film star. This is a mistake not often made about Dickers unless there’s a blockbuster I haven’t heard of called “Who Ate All The Pies?”.

 

The two of them tried a novel approach to batting at The Ridge, namely staying in and waiting for the bad ball. Matt decided to lighten an otherwise rather disappointing performance up to that point by calling Dickers for a number of sharp singles and then stretched a point from time to time by running some twos and heaven forbid, the odd three.

 

I remember as a child watching the old steam trains, and the firemen who would gradually raise the temperature of the boiler until you thought it might explode.

 

These images came back to me as Dickers batted, none more so than when he actually ran nine whole runs in one over. I thought for a moment of The Flying Scotsman but remembered he had made himself unavailable due to work commitments and so, since the game ended, I have googled “steam engines” to find one that resembles Dickers. With some gratification I came across a very early model called Steam Elephant and one called Big Boy, though I prefer to settle on the one named Fairy Queen, even though it is not really a true reflection of the image created by Dickers’ performance at the crease.

 

He presented a very straight bat.  The one I bought from the Goat Centre a few years ago in fact, when I only dropped in to buy a shirt. Batsmen are suckers for sports retailers who have excess bat stock and not for the first time, the chap running a cricket shop knew a sucker when he saw me walk in.  Anyway I gave it to Samuel as I didn’t need it. Somehow it ended up in Dickers’ large hands in this match.  And if you need to know what I was doing buying cricket kit from a Goat Centre, just ask sometime.  After all you do get keys cut at a shoe shop and I’ve never understood the sense in that either.

 

Matt had a decent bat as well and while he found it amusing making Dickers run Dickers’ own runs, he decided to plaster the Stud Farm with boundaries rather than run his own.

 

Having worked through some tight bowling Dickers deserved to receive a few pies which he gratefully swallowed whole and the score began to advance rapidly.

 

It put us in a strong position getting us up to 161, before Matt “Clooney” Brightwell was eventually stimped – or even stumped – for a fine 54.

 

The partnership had saved the innings and as it transpired, the match. Allan Loxton added 10 useful not out runs before Dickers’ boiler exploded and he was bowled. David Saint decided to see if Umpire Knappy was watching first ball which he was and so we had tea.

 

And what a Great Tea.

 

It is exactly a year since the last RolfeDog tea and the start of twelve months of  psychological therapy following complaints by BirdDog  (Steve) on that day that there had been insufficient filling in the sandwiches. This, despite that fact that every sandwich had been gratefully consumed.

 

I consider it one of my great culinary triumphs that twelve months later, not only were the fillings so thick you could have plastered your house with them but that I produced so many that not even a team with Dickers in it, could eat them all.

 

What I could not provide was the level of glamour that you get when Roz is serving cups of tea, but I think she would have been proud of this effort. Brooksie even asked if he could come and live with me but I hear he is a bit untidy around the house, so declined.  And he tells bad jokes.

 

David Saint reflected on his afternoon’s cricket which involved waiting two and a half hours for one ball and was overheard asking Hamsah how Hamsah had worked his way up to No 8 in the batting order so he only has to wait one and a half hours for the same result.

 

Anyway they both agreed that the Great Tea had made the whole day worthwhile.

 

Rain started and we put the covers on and ran the hoses uphill.

 

The game was called off at 5.30 and because they are a decent lot, Long Marston stayed behind for a drink. And because we are what we are, we stayed behind for several drinks and talked about Geoff Tombs, while I tried to think up another explanation for arriving home after 8pm for a game that ended at 5.30.

 

Dickers had a pint or two of course, the second being served at about the tine rigor mortis set in.

 

The seconds returned with the good news that they had bowled Abingdon 3s out for 80-odd but with the bad news that in reply we had succumbed for about 66. It was delivered by an Australian Paramedic with a very pronounced accent. This proves you can be a paramedic even if you have a pronounced accent however his grasp of geography - in terms of where he had been to play the match -  left us reflecting that no matter how good a paramedic you are, it is of no consequence if you go to the wrong place.

 

We said “ gooday mate” which seems to mean both  “hello” and “goodbye”, as Mattie left.

 

In a rare moment when conversation veered away from Mr Tombs, Shaun fessed up to not having known he was in the team for the game the next day v Hetairoi until his mum saw the team sheet on an email sent from the club account in the week. But, I pointed out, Shaun had texted me he was available and I had immediately replied he was playing. ...so what had he made of that? 

 

He had thought it was his football coach.

 

What did I make of that? Only that Shaun had made himself available for cricket  and received confirmation by text for a football match that didn’t exist. We never discovered what ground he was going to turn up at or what time he thought kick off was.

 

Lawd help us.

 

Dismal Doug ever the pessimissist, managed to find a website that predicted the match the following day would be cancelled owing to the pending arrival of a monsoon or something worse called Hurricane Taggart.  Everyone else found sites predicting sin  - or more likely but less happily, sun - and only the odd shower.

 

It has come to something when our two Scotsmen are fighting to lose the title of Happiest Scotsman of the Year. 

 

Jacob Rees-Mogg is currently away, holidaying in the 16th Century.

 

 

 

BLEDLOW RIDGE 1s v KINGSTON BAGPUIZE 1s

Saturday 3rd June 2017 – Home

 

Ridge field too many Drama Queens against Baggers

 

Brooksie rewrites victory as Roz nearly burns the cakes

 

 

BRCC 135ao  (38.5 overs)

Baggers 137-5 (33 overs)

 

Result Lost by 5 wickets

 

 

Short report. Short game!  - and Brooksie has a short attention span.

 

At least we turned up, well sort of, well most of us.

 

There were a number of changes from last week’s winning team at Long Marston. Shaun for example was revising somewhere, Jack was protecting the country somewhere (gawd help us) and Sniff was planning mighty deeds for the 2s.

 

Therefore we brought the big guns back – and got beaten.

 

The Dog Brothers, BenDog and RolfeDog batted for 14 overs. RolfeDog managed to get out on the last ball of the last over of the opening pair. To make it worse, caught by someone called Arthur.

 

“No wonder he burnt the cakes” said Brooksie who thinks Ramadan is Ramadam and has a slightly sketchy grasp of history.

 

BenDog was in fine form and played the best shot RolfeDog had ever him play which led to a brief Ceremony of Congratulations mid-wicket to the admiring applause of the opposition who had never seen anything like it either. He kept going despite RolfeDog’s attempts, in a pique of jealousy, to run him out.

 

Lloydy was caught at slip. In Division 5! How unlucky can you get? Dakes made an aggressive 22 which included an aerial shot (aren’t they all?) which their umpire described as The Shot of The Day much to BenDog’s irritation.

 

Dakes got a half tracker and was caught. SamDog arrived and after a short while Ben ‘Drama Queen’ Keeping decided he was not getting enough attention and pulled a hammy. He needed a runner which brought with it the usual chaos.

 

There were three ‘out’ batsmen who could ‘run’. Of RolfeDog, Lloydy and Dakes, Captain MacTaggart chose Dakes. I mean, really! The choice was between a Sloth, a Barrel and a Gazelle and he chose the Sloth. I continue to be amazed how, at the age of 62 with about 900 years of cricket behind me, I can continue to hit new low points in my career.

 

Cue some more fine shots from Ben Drama Queen Keeping but eventually the game stopped for a performance of General Post involving our three men at the wicket which so did SamDog’s head in, that he was out caught next ball, at slip. In Division 5! How unlucky can you get?

 

80-4, but we’d be OK as here comes Brooksie, back after a four week layoff with a foot operation. Unfortunately he tested it out by hitting the ball on to his foot and it lobbed into the air back to the bowler. A neat trick 

Baggers have a left-arm slow crap bowler (no offence meant) who is as effective as our left-arm slow crap bowler  (none taken). It seems to me that in Division 5

all you have to do when you want to bowl a team out is bring on a slow-left arm crap bowler (no offence meant) and thus it was that Stuart Bullen produced enough pies (where was Lloydy when we needed him?) to finish us off despite 1) a few brief pyrotechnics from Hamsah, 2) Captain MacTaggart’s determination to see the overs out with an innings of One Ball Resistance, 3) Russ-I-Thought-I’d-Retired-Moran’s  personal Presentation of Arms Ceremony and 4) Some frantic hitting, running and being Sent Back You Fool-ness from Scott.

 

Our innings finished so early the second innings started straight away and we did manage to remove Toby Ricks with the unlikely combination of caught Sloth bowled Hamzah at long leg. We had to wake the Sloth up as the ball was in mid air with shouts of “Cakes, Dakes”, and he swallowed it whole.

 

At tea we briefly thought Scott had some friends, indeed not one, but two. It turned out they had showed up not to see Scott and not to watch the cricket, but simply because they’d heard that Roz was doing the teas. They are deaf anyway which explains why they sat with Scott as he chuntered away about his magnificent Chinese cut for four. Roz excelled herself and RolfeDog told Brooksie he doesn’t know how lucky he is.

 

Marco Cecchini has been in fine form recently, mostly running an upmarket Bistro in Kensington, but also with the bat. Therefore it was necessary to bring some slow left-arm crap on early to subdue him and eventually he was caught on the boundary by Scott – a minor miracle in itself – for just 11, another minor miracle in view of Marco’s fine form (or did I mention it already?).

 

Thus we had taken two catches on the boundary but sadly RolfeDog was unable to take a chance at slip off James Boon – well it is Division 5 after all – and although SamDog almost ran him out, Boon proved a boon to Baggers as usual. In fact he so likes playing against us, he arranges his family holidays around availability to play against The Ridge.  A few years ago he even moved from Abingdon to Baggers to ensure regular first team cricket and fixtures against The Ridge bowling. Especially Slow Left Arm Crap.

 

I should mention at this point that Ben Drama Queen Keeping did not come out to field. He had had his bat after all (59) and really did not feel it necessary to encumber us with his fielding. He usually has a servant at hand to perform such tasks (they used to be called ‘slaves’) but there were none around bad enough to perform this role so we fielded with ten until... we realized there were three fine, registered Ridge cricketers on the boundary. Of these, Charlie Farlie Carter (the best cricketer in the Carter family apart from Molly and Tina) looked as if he had been sent to sit on a bench on his own as a punishment for something (probably for being the best cricketer in the Carter family apart fro Molly and Tina). We also had Robbie Carter and Shaun-I’m-Revising’-Dryden.

 

Of course given a choice we’d had gone for Robbie owing to his athleticism in the field, but he said he was going shopping which was about as unlikely as Shaun doing any revision. That left Shaun who was consuming something liquid and was quite content with life until Scott said he should field (the only sensible thing Scott has said in over five years at the club) and RolfeDog insisted.

 

After a minor tizzy-fit Shaun joined us, sporting a fetching brown shirt under a Ridge sweater and tore around the boundary like someone who had forgotten he too had a bit of a hammy problem. It did seem fair though to replace one Hamstring Drama Queen with another Hamstring Drama Queen and the good news for Shaun is that Ben has taken him onto his permanent staff.

 

I had the misfortune to stand between Scott and SamDog both of whom were talking rubbish. SamDog’s target was mainly James Boon who took it all rather genially until he could take it no more. When SamDog decided to stand up to the Dakes’ bowling there was no escape for the batsman who let kindly Dakes bowl him so he could flee to the silence of the dressing room

 

But, Baggers were getting nearer, in fact with only three wickets down, almost Home and Dry, well Away and Dry.  Right at the end, Hamsah got Arthur in a moment of rhyming slang and Dakes had Will Woodley caught in SamDog’s mouth.

 

Not a good day, but bizarre results elsewhere have left us right up there with the leading pack. In Division 8, the 2s made 100 with 22 from The Mighty Sniff and 20 from Allan Loxton who also took three wickets.

 

With slow left-arm crap of course.

 

Boris Johnson is permanently on vacation

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bledlow Ridge 1s v Long Marston 2s (Away)

 

Saturday 27th May 2017 – Match Report

 

 

Long Marston: 199-9 (53 overs)

Bledlow Ridge: 203-4 (36.1 overs)

Result: Won by 6 wickets 

 

The good news that Jack Brooks would be one of the replacements for the missing Lloydy and Birdy (a 70s middle-of-the-road singing duo) was offset by the appearance of Scott when we met at the club, as one of the others.

 

“Who’s umpiring today” I asked of Taggart as I looked forward to playing on one of the few grounds where I have a good batting record, “You are” replied MacTaggart. It had its consolations: I would not have to watch Scott swinging his John Thomas around like a yo-yo in the dressing room.

 

I was despatched to pick up Lord Bledlow of Henton at his new hard-to-find multi-million pound megamansion hideway.

 

What a mess. What an absolute mess. Don’t be fooled by the manicured lawns at the end of the mile-long driveway – the clue is in the pram outside the door.  On stepping inside you learn how many toys Ben has thrown out of his pram over the years - so many that Hermione makes him park it outside.  I stumbled into the living room to find his children giving him much needed fielding practice with a Velcro ball. “Two hands daddy: imagine someone’s throwing you a twenty pence piece”.

 

Got to Long Marston, shook hands with a few Long Marston regulars who could hardly hide their relief that I would not be smashing their bowling around all afternoon and started behaving like an umpire. By squinting.

 

One other benefit of umpiring not playing was not having to endure Captain MacTaggart’s Motivational Team Talk No 4.

 

The Ridge took to the field. Behind the wicket as Dakes marked out his run up, the lean SamDog and the svelte Saeed (wicket-keeper and first slip) went through a range of stretching pyrotechnics while prone on the ground. Standing at second, Fats tried to touch his toes.

 

First ball: pace, bounce, thick edge and, just as the Dish ran away with the Spoon, Fats  dived, rolled and clasped a wonderful slip catch. All without the need to stretch.

 

Hamsah had told me on the way over, that “I won’t be bowling for a few weeks now during Ramadan” (known to Brooksie as Ramadam) so as I approached the wickets to stand for my first ever over umpiring a league match, it was no surprise to see Hamsah marking out his long run up.

 

This over like the first was a maiden. Indeed something extraordinary was happening. Dakes, the man who once started a season with four consecutive wides,  was not bowling wides. Long Marston did not get off the mark until the 29th delivery just as The Mouse Ran Up the Clock.

 

In the eighth over SamDog caught Paul Marsh off Hamsah by rolling around and catching the ball in his ‘ample’belly – it was all kicking off: somewhere Mary Was Having a Little Lamb and you can’t say fairer than that.

 

Mike Lyons and Simon Robinson rebuilt the innings until with the score at 61, Fats said “I’ll show what an ample belly really looks like” and performed a perfect 10 as Robinson edged Dakes so that he took the catch belly-up between his legs, while juggling a beach ball on his nose. Just as The Cow Jumped Over the Moon, while plucking a banjo with its tail.

 

As if this wasn’t all extraordinary enough, Scott took a catch. MacTaggart had  by now exercised Captain’s Prerogative by replacing Dakes who was running away with the end of season bowling awards, with …. Himself.

 

The catch was an important one as Mike Lyons was on 58 and with Captain, Wicketkeeper and Former Musical Heartthrob Paul Young, at the other end, he was building up the score.

 

Scott for his part, had undertaken various attention-seeking manoeuvres already during the innings and so I have to say there was a small part of me that willed him to drop the catch. Unfortunately he didn’t. 122-4 off 31.

 

It was at this stage that BenDog started claiming credit for all wickets taken on account of tactical misfields in the overs concerned. He certainly made easy pieces of fielding look hard and Long Marston’s batters could be forgiven for being lulled into a sense of false security.

 

Paul Young reeled out a string of Top Ten hits before he, like many other batsmen, could not believe what crap the Ridge Skipper was serving up and lobbed one up to Fats. Caught Fats, bowled MacTaggart as Lord Lucan rode by on Shergar.

 

At this point Dakes slipped the captain a fiver and returned to bowl. We kept on picking up wickets (one to Saeed) and BenDog claimed credit for each of these due to the excellent way he was throwing the ball back to mid-on or because of deliberate misfields, and I thought Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush again.

 

There was a brief exchange of words at one point when Chris Fletcher decided Simon Martin needed more catching practice and to everyone’s surprise the ball rebounded off our teammate’s ample stomach and back to the bowler. It is fair to suppose that Mr Fletcher may have helped himself to Simon’s left-over meals from time to time and when the word ”Fats” was bandied about, mostly by the attention-seeking Scott, a little temporary misunderstanding may have occurred over who he was referring to. NO offence meant… unless in the direction of Fats Martin.

 

We took nine wickets including the wonderfully named Yogesh Mistry who was caught behind off, you’ve guessed it,  Dakes’ Mistry ball.

 

They ended 199-9, M Dakes, as he is now officially named in Stu’s scorebook, 5-50; SamDog four catches and Fats three, both of which defy explanation.

 

Long Marston treated us to their usual magnificent tea.

 

I am not going to write much more because you are already bored and no one reads this rubbish anyway.

 

Fats was LBW early on, hit on the toe, one of few body parts he had not used already during the match. BenDog was stumped down the legside. He posed for a few moments hands on hips and went off singing “I’m a Little Teapot Short and Stout, Here is my Handle, Here is My Spout”.

 

SamDog could not hit a banjo with a barn door to start with and was unable to get going with quick singles as Dakes The Sloth was at the other end. Dakes finds all this running around malarkey unnecessary and showed as much by hitting a humongrous six.

 

SamDog eventiually found his wheels to such an extent that when he had about 50 bowler Matthew Wareham asked if this was the same player who had been unable to bat only an hour earlier.  Long Marston rang the changes and our batsmen worked hard to keep the Measley Beasley out, as he has a habit of running through sides.

 

When Dakes was also out stumped down leg for 43, and then next ball Saeed  was LBW following “I am comeeng with “I am goeeeng”,  in came Jack Sprat. He clearly eats no fat. “Jack Be Nimble Jack Be Quick” urged SamDog which Jack was, until he remembered he has had major knee reconstruction and decided to do Dakes’ impressions by smacking the ball to the boundary and not running.

 

And so, with no Lloydy, RofeDog, Brooksie Snr, or Birdy, we won with almost 11 overs to spare, by six wickets. SamDog 81 not out and Jack Sprat 29 not out.

 

My impressions of umpiring a league match for the first time: not having to share a  dressing room with Scott; not having to endure MacTaggart’s team talk;  the especially good manners of the LM bowlers when asking me to look after their cap or thanking me on returning it at the end of each over; having to keep widing Shaun to ensure he recorded even more wides (four) than Taggart (three).

 

Which brings me to another point. This was probably the most disciplined performance in the field I have ever seen by a Ridge X1. True, Scott ‘s diving for the ball occasionally brought Gary Sprake to mind, but while the fielding was generally tidy, the catching was excellent and the bowling remarkable. Seven wides only, in 53 overs? And none from Dakes? How did that happen? That’s league-winning stuff.

 

And Captain MacTaggart made good bowling changes.

 

One day they may refer to this Ridge team as “The House That Jock Built”…. and to the Lord of Bledlow: the “Old Lady Who Lives in a Shoe”.


MATCH REPORT


Bledlow Ridge 1s vs Abingdon Vale 2s (Home)


Saturday 13th May 2017



BRCC 265-9 dec (42 overs)            19 pts

AVCC  231-8   (58 overs)                  9 pts

Match drawn


There's never a dull moment when the Ridge meet the Vale. This was our 5th meeting in 3 seasons and as dramatic as the first one was, so the sequels have become ever more outlandish in terms of plot and the production values have soared to unimaginable heights. Like every good single story exploitation franchise, the heroes become more heroic, the villains more villainous, the plot twists more .... well ..... twisted. In a desperate attempt to spice up the format, the producers introduced some new elements to the 5th incarnation of the The not that Fast and the mildly Irritated, including magically appearing princesses, dashing young bucks and horribly out of tune singing. But to our story ....

Taggart's pre-match monologue began about 11.15, and it was much to the relief of the majority that it was eventually running out of steam at 12.15 when most of them arrived. The essence of it was that despite all the shenanigans of last year, we should just get on with it; oh and if it's all the same to the batsmen, could we try to avoid being 60 odd for 8 (like last week). Clearly there has been a change in the writer responsible for Taggart's character which had not been known to Captain Luke Pointsgrabber who on having very definitely felt the force when his hand of friendship was offered and slapped back in his face at the last meeting of the sides, had become a bit more Blackadder than Jedi and put his underpants on his head, two pencils up his nose and refused to travel to BR on the basis that "they don't like me over there." 

With the loss of the two other perennial nuisances (in a playing sense only), Paul Butcher and Dan Hartley, Cackling Chris declared the side very weak. Taggart won the toss, and having done so last week as well, that presumably will be that for the rest of the season, and opted to bat. With Rolfedog away again (that's twice now in 3 years) Keeps was hoisted up to open with Fats. Now Fats opened with Rolfedog last week, so he should have known the script well enough. 5 runs is quite enough from the first 6 overs before one or both you make way. It was no surprise then that anyone coming out of the pavilion after the first three overs would have just assumed that Tom was having trouble with the controls on the new scoreboard and that was why it was showing 27-0. But no! With Fats swatting full tosses off his nose for 6, and the wavy locks and dashing elan of the Lord at the other end (in my memory he was wearing a cape, but that may just be me), the score was rattling along. 

Abingdon were very definitely missing their three bowlers ... at one end at least. From the top end, Matthew Darley was occasionally going for a few, but when Prince Charming got a bit too expansive, he was gone, following Fats back to the hutch, Sam got a great nut a couple of balls later, and debutant Andre (sorry, can't find the acute for the e on this keyboard) was adjudged caught behind by the usually implacable Mr Knapp. Andre reckoned the bat had hit the pad, but not the ball and Steve's rather penitent look a few minutes later suggested that with hindsight he may have agreed. Birdie was a bit surprised to be given out at the other end, but just as the finger was going up, the ball did indeed hit his pad, so we assumed that was LBW. Dakes had spent the early part of his innings searching for a sausage roll he was sure he had left in his beard the night before and so had been a bit preoccupied while all this was going on, scratching his way up to 9 or so. At this point, Doug, often cited as the inspiration for Marvin the Paranoid Android, shuffled his way to the wicket, murmuring his usual self motivating mantras of "I bet I won't get any today" and "be just my luck to get the only good ball of the day" etc etc. no surprise then (to Doug at least) when he nicked off early. Off he turned to walk back, only to have his satisfaction at being right quashed when Chris Butcher declared it not carried. "Are you sure?" said Doug, "cos I'm not staying where I'm not wanted". Definitely didn't carry and back he went. This incident was later cited to me as an excellent example of the spirit of cricket, "Your man walked, our man called him back, excellent spirit" Mmm ... we'll come back to that.

When Doug finally became the first player to be dismissed by someone other than Matt Darley, we were 108-6 from 22. It wasn't dull for sure, and it was better than 60-8, but it felt a bit precarious. Dakes had meantime given up on the sausage roll and was now befriending a family of jackdaws he had found nesting a little further into the beard. This oneness with nature had calmed him somewhat and he was batting a little more fluidly and was up to 29. He was joined at the wicket by Hearbear. There was a genuine concern that if they crossed within 2m of each other each other while taking a run that Hairbear's hair could easily become entangled with Dakes' beard and neither might be seen again for a long time. 

At this point, Birdy declared that 180 would be a decent score.      

The running fear turned out to be baseless. They had no intention of running for anything. They were dealing strictly in boundaries. In around 12 overs, they put on 88 for the 7th. When Hairbear (32 off 34 balls) finally failed to get one over the boundary and it fell into a fielder's hands, Dakes was on 73. By the time Hamzah's pedestrian 34 off 20 deliveries was over, Dakes had passed 100 for his maiden 1st team ton. When he fell immediately after Hamzah, we were 261-9 off 40. Having faced one ball from Darley (6-70), and watched Shaun swing and miss at 6 from the other end, (a couple went for wides), Taggart decided that his chances of lasting 6 more balls against the opener were slim, and in a fit of self preservation, declared.

In the pre-match pre-amble, it had been noted by the more food aware that no-one had brought a tea. Shaun, Dakes and Hairbear skirted around the issue, perhaps wondering if they had missed a memo or were supposed to have done it themselves, before the prospect of no half time food overcame them and the question was raised, "Who's doing teas?" "Roz of course" answered the skipper. Well that is the answer normally in at least half the 1s home games, even the ones, like this one where Brooksie's not playing, and so after yet another splendid repast, we headed into the field with Birdy still telling us that 180 would have been a good score.

The watchful Cardy fell early to Dakes and Hawthorne, who was determined to hit everything through the covers, even the balls pitching outside leg, stepped away from one too many and fell to the same bowler for a spirited 38. With Hamzah having picked up one at the other end and we had them 40 or so for 3. this brought together Tom Allen and Chris Butcher, and after we dropped a couple of very sharp chances, they began to settle in. With plenty of runs on the board however, Taggart decided that some left arm filth might be the order of the day. And then some more. And even more. Allen in particular took a shine to this and was hitting some very good shots, and some less good ones. He hit it in the air and all around the ground, except where we had fielders. Taggart was all for coming off after 6, but somehow Birdy convinced him to keep bowling with the absolute promise that it would get us a wicket. It was turning out to be one of Birdy's less astute days on the prediction front. Both players played well and they put on an excellent partnership of 143, before Tom Allen hit one too many aerial off Andre and Doug snaffled the catch. 

Whilst this partnership had ensured they weren't out of it, we had managed to keep the required rate just high enough that they had to keep taking risks. At this point it looked like the next batsman would be their last chance and he started well hitting Dakes for a flat six over mid off. He followed this with another straight drive and took off for his run, only to get within a couple of yards of safety and find his partner well and truly planted in the crease. As he turned and sprinted back, Shaun picked up the ball, threw a perfect trajectory to Sam who duly whipped off the bails. Much cheering and merriment from the Ridge was rudely interrupted by a booming call from square leg of "THAT WAS NOT OUT!!!". To be fair, it had to be loud because the batsman, who had given up the run half way down the wicket, had carried on and was now halfway to the pavilion. There were some expressions of bemusement, not least from the batsman, but we mostly got on with it, apart from Birdy who suggested to the umpire that he may have been mistaken ..... several times      in several ways ..... before being politely requested by his captain to cease and desist.

Shaun, who had bowled a decent spell earlier, came back and removed the same batsman shortly after, so in the end no real harm was done.With Dakes having removed the belligerent Chris Butcher for 63, that was pretty much that in terms of their chance of winning. We squeezed in the field for the last few overs but their tail stood firm and the game ended as draw.

This was great game of cricket, played on a really good track that flattened out a lot towards the end. With 12 overs to go, all results were still possible, and with one to go, there was still a chance of a win and some draw points to be fought for. The points split was 19-9 and that would probably be a pretty accurate assessment of the relative strengths of the 2 sides. If it had been win lose, it would have been dead well before that.

A number of the Abingdon players stayed for a drink and a chat and hopefully one of them will have told their non playing captain that he can give the pencils back to the scorer.

looking forward to the sixth installment.


    

MATCH REPORT

 

Bledlow Ridge CC 1s v Cropedy 2s  (Away)

 

Saturday 6th May 2017

 

 

RIDGEBEARS DEFY DASTARDLY CHOCOLATE CAKE TRICK TO OVERCOME CROPEDY

 

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Ridge Literally Likely to be Div 5 Heavyweights in 2017

 

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NOBODY CALLED BEN PLAYS FOR THE 1ST TEAM

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BRCC: 159ao        (43.3 overs)

Cropedy: 103ao  (30.4 overs)

 

Result: Won by 56 runs 


Cropedy learnt two important lessons: firstly never trust a Bledlow Ridge batting order and secondly, it takes more than scones with double cream plus thick chocolate gateaux to weigh down a team of already amply-proportioned Ridgebears.

We looked around the dressing-room and decided that among the heavyweights The Future of the Club was represented by Hamsah and Luke Williams (no, Williams is not Hamsah’s last name, Hamsah is just Hamsah).

With Taggart’s observation that he’d prefer we were 100-2 at drinks rather than 160-4, ringing their ears, Fats and Rolfey were welcomed on to the pitch by fielder Charlie Wise’s call of “c’mon lads, let’s stop the quick singles” before he collapsed into hysterics.


This analysis of our team was not altogether fair. Dave Wells had already announced his return with an inspection in the mirror after which he declared himself free of any hair-loss, and we did after all have Luke Williams who later proved it is possible to run two singles before Birdy has time to set off.

For now though, Fats and Rolfey were tasked with setting the season up strongly which they did with scores of 4 and 0 respectively, Rolfey being particularly proud he faced 21 balls.

Wellsy was about to exceed this total of balls faced when he fell prey to a mystery full toss having just watched Lloydy decide to leave one alone which was adjudged to have been straight and true.


Dakesy who had set his watch incorrectly and arrived 45 minutes early, made 11, yes 11, in rapid time and went on to make at least 14 before Bizarre Dismissal Number One.  His back leg was hit by a ball going down the leg side which came to rest alongside both it and the stumps, whereupon he lifted his leg in pain, said “ouch” and was stumped.  When Matt Brightwelly was out after one fine blow we were 43-6 and I was reflecting on Taggart(y)’s drinks batting target.

The situation was both desperate and extremely miserable, in other words tailor-made for Dour Doug - or ‘Dougy’ - who was joined at the crease by Bright Birdy who probably asked Dougy to avoid any quick singles. As Birdy with a bad back can hardly run and Doug is hard of hearing, the stage was set for a repeat of the historic partnership between Long John Silver and Ludwig van Beethoven which ended in disappointment when LJS came for a single but failed to get back after Beethoven had failed to hear the call.

Doug revels in a crisis. When things are so miserable and forlorn, he is never happier: at one with life, like a pig in sh*t one might say. Thus encouraged he and Birdy put on 25 without running each other out until Doug remembered what Jude had told him to do earlier that morning and swept.


This sweeping did not involve a broom but unfortunately it did not involve a bat either and he became the second of many LBW victims of the day. 74-7 and still no drinks. Cropedy were entitled to think they were on top and they gave the impression they thought they were.


Luckily our team included a combination of heart specialist, newly qualified doctor, future heart surgeon and possibly heart-throb (step aside George): Luke(y) Williams. 


Luke is quite quick, like Birdy used to be, but isn’t any more. When Luke hit one up in the air, Birdy judged it would land next to the wicket where he was standing and one way or another any attempt at a run could only end in tragedy in the unlikely event the bowler dropped it.

Luke for his part had calculated that if the bowler became aware that he was advancing towards him at pace, he would be likely to drop the ball.


Both Birdy and Luke were entirely correct in their thinking.

You see Luke arrived at the bowler’s end as the bowler dropped the catch. Had Birdy been running in the other direction he would barely have reached the half way point and was hardly likely to set off now. Luke therefore set off on the return journey having originally only purchased a one-way ticket (and not planned a round trip) to discover he was in a race, first with the bowler and then with the ball, a race which he narrowly lost amidst a lengthy sprawl and a pile of dust.  He thus completed Bizarre Dismissal Number Two.


Luke was the eighth player to make the Walk of Death and the Cropedy team started salivating at the thought of the traditional wonderful Cropedy tea.

Out strode a Time Delay in the form of Hamsah his new curly hair bunched up inside his batting helmet. I can’t bring myself to call him Hamsahy, but he might be The Future of The Club.


Not for the first time, Hamsah failed to read a wicket correctly. This was of course slow, it being May and of variable bounce it being, well May. Seven distinguished batsmen before him had demonstrated how hard it all was. He started by demonstrating the late dab for four, an impossible shot on a wicket of this (lack of) pace and chose to embarrass the rest of us by playing it three times.


When the opposition made a comment to the effect that he was not striking the ball properly he hit the next ball back over the bowler’s head against the sightscreen.

Here, at last was a batsman sensitive to Birdy’s preference for not running and it was not until Hamsah had made 38, at least three minutes after he went out to bat, that he had scored runs which were not boundaries.


Birdy played cat and mouse with the off-spinner Jamie Jennings, ensuring he stayed in so he could watch Hamsah bat. Hamsah made 64 off just 31 balls including two more sixes, the best innings of its kind for the Ridge since Brezza made over 60 off 26 balls at Bledlow Village around 2013.


The tea lady was in quite a state. She had boiled the kettle and poured the tea some time ago but Hamsah had confounded her plans. She relaxed however on seeing Taggart walk out to bat, made some remark about a “walking wicket”, made another pot of tea and was able to welcome us in three balls later.


159 all out, Birdy 28 not out.

The Future Heart Surgeon eyed Fats and Doug as they ate cream scones and chocolate cake, rather like a tiger lining up its prey.  Birdy was preoccupied with Hamsah’s new image and referred to him being rather like a Woolly Sheep (what other kinds are there?) while Fats objected that he had not so far been referred to as a Woolly Mammoth. 

Taggart produced Utterly Boring League Team Talk Number One of the Season and out we went with the thought that you only know what a wicket is really like when you see the second team bat on it.  Well that’s what RolfeDog was saying to the annoyance of his teammates, but each batsman was welcomed with this observation and the only batsman who proved he could really play on it was the one RolfeDog dropped later on, much to the amusement of The Greatest Mid-Off in the World  Dapper Doug.

Dakes obliged with an opening wide or two. Thus confused the batsman was bowled by a straight one and the other batsman was caught and bowled by Hamsah who got to the far end to take the catch with Luke-like speed.

There started a gentle procession of batsman with the exception of Thomas Bunting, to the point when Lucky Taggart worked out that all the other best batsmen had gone and brought himself on to replace Hamsah (2-25).

We call this bowling ‘slow crap’.  Cropedy skipper Chris Plumbe, pulled out his Thumbe and obligingly hit the ball in the air to Lloydy. I was able to see sheer terror on the face of our winetrader as he waited for a spinning catch to come down but fortunately he gripped it tightly … in his teeth.

A while later, Taggart decided he could only get Blocker Coggins out by bowling a full toss and put RolfeDog back for this purpose. Tim Coggins had not bought into this plan however so kindly hit it in the air to Lloydy instead and Lloydy clung on thinking it was a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.


Taggart was so desperate to get ahead of Dakes in the season’s bowling analyses that he made sure all the fielders went back when the dangerous Bunting was facing his bowling and came back in for the blockers. Somehow he got four wickets (how does he do it?). 


Fats and Birdy swapped fielding positions at slip and at mid-wicket a few times depending on who was the latest to have hurt himself bending to field the ball. Luckily there came a time when they swapped positions only for Bunting to hit a catch straight to Fats who had gone to stand in a totally different mid-wicket to the spot Birdy had been occupying.   There must be a gag about ‘Putting out the Bunting’ in there somewhere but I cannot think of it.

With Cropedy nine down this prompted one last effort from Dakes who induced a catch to RolfeDog who somehow clung on. With 4-18 against Dakes’ 4-54 it’s ‘game on’ for Lucky Taggart this season.


Thus we won by 56 runs and ate some more cake so that Charlie Wise could take the empty cake box back to his mum. We departed Cropedy with the news that the 2s had won, largely thanks to Ben Keeping’s 66 and Ben Hilarious’ 5-4 in 2.4 overs. If we had had anyone at all called Ben in the 1s, we could have won by an even bigger margin.


Back at the club we learned that Lisa Kelly-Tonge had kept wicket efficiently. She has broken a record in becoming the first Ridge lady to play – let alone keep wicket  - in a league match. Plenty of girls have already done so - Brooksie being the first among them of course, but today he was lying in a bed with part of his foot cut out and the rest of it suspended from the ceiling – but no ladies.

It looked for a moment that another lady had been playing for the 2s but it turned out to be BenDog dressed up as a character from a Jilly Cooper novel, without the horsewhip.


James HairBear boasted about his large number of GCSEs before regaling us with various stories from when he was fifteen: “That was two years ago” he said. “How old are you now” asked Birdy, “Nineteen” said HairBear.

He,  Girls, Ladies and Gentlemen,  is The Future of the Club.

 

Bledlow Ridge 1s v Horspath 3s – Away

Saturday 3rd September 2016


Outbreak of cricket only surpassed by late outbreak of Karaoke


Brooksie’s gloves emit unrecognizable odour


A Hat-trick for Dakes

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Horspath 3s 96-2 (27.2 overs)
BRCC 1s Did not bat.

Result: Match Abandoned – rain.

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Yes! Dakes arrived early three matches in a row.  Three! A hat-trick. No one would have predicted that a few weeks ago, a few months ago, a few seasons ago.

What was predicted, with reference to the weather report, was that we would play for a short time, come off for rain, have an early tea, hang around talking rubbish for longer than necessary and eventually bow to the inevitable and call the game off.

We wouldn’t have predicted that Dakes would perform his own calling-off ceremony at 4.30pm and drive off before the umpires had reached the same conclusion.

This week, promotion from Division 1 has been determined by the League’s decision to overturn Great Brickhill’s forfeit for giving one of their bowlers one over too many, in direct contradiction to the sanction imposed against us for the same ‘offence’ in our match versus Abingdon Vale in May. With the League Committee in this mood there was every chance that Dakes’ departure would prompt a points deduction for the Ridge and a warning for failing to keep his players under control, for Captain McTaggart.

Reprimands would be made, results reversed and children confiscated.

Luckily, League Chairman Clive Ricks, a Horspath member who had been at the ground earlier in the afternoon had gone home to see if there were any more emails from the Ridge.

Cricket: BenDog arrived last and complained at the lack of space for him and his ginormous kitbag in the dressing room. Horspath chose to bat. Dakes didn’t really want to bowl as the weather was gloomy, it was going to rain anyway and after all he had to run down a steep slope from the top end so that at one point his legs were whirling away faster than his arms.

Horspath opened with Akheam Fox who was foxed by the sight of Captain Birdseye bowling at him. At the other end Hamsah, sporting bright new blue shoes, flashed in and took a wicket when Jason Cardy drove uppishly to cover. Here, BenDog – who was wearing a long-sleeved jumper -  made an easy catch look quite difficult and claimed later that it had broken his finger. We concluded that he was simply jealous of the amount of attention that Dakes was getting. 

Incidentally, Cardy was caught by someone who was wearing a cardy.

At this point Oxford veteran Adrian Manger walked out to bat and we all walked off, none more enthusiastically than Dakes who doesn’t often display enthusiasm, except when not playing cricket is involved.

Manger did not take offence because it had also started raining. We hung around for over half an hour smelling Brooksie’s inner ‘keeping gloves and discussing what the smell reminded us of before going out again. Luckily Scott wasn’t playing and so could not add his opinion.

Some nervous jokes were shared with the umpires about the maximum number of overs permitted for each bowler now that the first innings had been reduced to 48 overs and we reflected that at least in Division 5 the umpires and captains know the Playing Rules.

We got a total of 27.2 overs in and took one more wicket. The Ridge’s wicket has had inconsistent bounce at times this year but nothing compared to the wicket at Horspath. Worse, the areas behind the stumps were like a series of bomb craters and one short ball from Hamsah bounced a second time in front of Brooksie and took off so sharply that it struck Lloydy (at slip) in the face with a sickening thwack.  We all hurried to check the ball to see if any permanent damage had been caused, but the ball was lucky: none of Lloydy’s nose was in it.

Lloydy was lucky too, the blow to the head being the only place where it couldn’t do much damage. He did leave the field for one over however to have a little private weep in the dressing room, before returning to great applause.

Talking of applause, our fielding this year has not generally been good enough to generate a lot of it but there was plenty of applause on this day. Most of it for Taggart.

This was because, soon after our return to the pitch Taggart adjudged one shot so good that, at the last minute, he felt it would be inappropriate to stop it going to the boundary. He upped his game for what remained of the rest of the match however and stopped every single ball that rolled towards him and on each case the rest of his team loudly expressed its appreciation.

Brooksie was by now wearing a helmet to keep wicket standing back and is looking forward to turning out for the club’s Under 10s next season

One thing we had to be wary of was a low over rate in the event we did get a full innings in and were deducted points. As a consequence we developed a method of transferring the ball from Brooksie to the bowler in as few moves as possible. Brooksie, to RolfeDog, to whoever was at Extra Cover, and then to the bowler. Occasionally a return throw went slightly astray, or was dropped but generally it went very well and the ball was back in the bowler’s hand well before he reached the end of his run up.

On one such occasion Dakes then ran in to bowl at Manger who edged one to RolfeDog at slip in the belief this was a pretty safe shot only to find that RolfeDog had remembered how to catch for the first time in weeks.

Captain McTaggart called the team together, barely mentioned RolfeDog’s extraordinary achievement, and gave the entire team a bollocking for its regular, dilatory failure to get the ball to the bowler quickly, describing it as “painful”.

We reflected on this and concluded that McTaggart must have been looking the other way or perhaps practising the long barrier position on over 100 occasions.

Matt Brightwell replaced Hamsah and up to his final over before the rain came again, proved almost unplayable. It was remarkable that during 27 overs on a wicket of variable bounce, the ball only found the edge once.

If we can get Matt fully fit to bowl, and perhaps find a spinner from somewhere, we should have a formidable bowling attack next season, if only we can learn to get the ball back to the bowlers quickly enough.

We hung around talking more rubbish including references to the fact that Dakes has played all season in a black Guinness cap, BenDog to comparing him to some third rate rapper.

I am conscious that a few attention-seeking players have rather stolen the limelight in this report so here are the three others.

Ian Kerrigan made his 1st X1 debut and commented on the mature level of conversation; Hairbear got a rollocking from Brooksie and Dakes for telling the umpires that a ball had gone for a six not a four even though it had gone for a six and not a four. 

Schniff was sartorial, wearing a smart cricket sweater with the badge of his sponsor Grey-Nicholls so that we could not see his smart new Ridge shirt beneath. New in the sense of being his first such acquisition in 30 years.

We took tea early. Brooksie announced he would be leaving home very early Tuesday morning to go on holiday. “Where are you going?” asked Rolfey, “Gatwick” replied Brooksie. This seemed rather an uninspiring holiday destination and we felt he could do better than this for Roz especially if he wanted to encourage her to get her teas up to the standard that RolfeDog provided last week.

The Horspath tea was excellent and I had lots of jam scones while Dakes had loads of everything else. Conversation turned to TombsDog as it always does.

We recalled that his last appearance for the club was as a supporter at the same ground last year, before declining McTaggart’s invitation to represent the club in Division 7 for the 2nd X1 the following week.  So now, we eagerly awaited news of Bledlow Village 2nd X1’s result which would determine whether they would be relegated to Division 7 next year.

Later in the evening, bad news of Bledlow 2s came through and we started to make plans for TombsDogs immediate return to the Ridge with grovelling apology. Assuming of course that he would be happy to represent our 2s in Division 8.

News also came through of a fine performance by our 2s in bowling out Cumnor 3s for little over 100 but that sadly the rain had arrived there too and prevented Mohsin making another hundred.  It transpired that elsewhere, Great and Little Tew 3s lost with only 2 points meaning that our 2nd X1 ended a highly creditable fifth in Division 8.

We returned to our club where standards of sobriety and behaviour slowly deteriorated to the background of ShakEy’s disco and Kamikaze singing. That should be Karaoke apparently but Kamakaze seems more appropriate.

When it reached the stage that Mike Gillett started singing and ShakEy started delivering slobbery kisses (two unrelated events incidentally) I felt it was time to go home and tell my good wife what a wonderful day I had spent at cricket.

Bledlow Ridge 1s v Chearsley 1s –Home

 Saturday 27th August 2016

 

Rain-affected word association game badly affected by outbreak of cricket

Tea- horror: no sandwiches survive

 Dakes and Taggart prepare for end-of season shoot-out



BRCC -         145 ao  (46 overs) - 13 points 

Chearsley –    69-8    (23 overs) – 10 points     

Match Drawn (rain affected)

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BenDog apologized for arriving only 30 minutes before the 12.30 start. Dakes was feted for arriving at the same time. Mind you BenDog does have a long way to travel and he has to open a gate.

 

He was also the only player who could claim to have had a two-hour massage in the morning.

 

RolfeDog was under strict instructions from Captain McTaggart who was collecting son Stuart from somewhere and followed these to the letter by opting to bat on a green wicket.

 

For the umpteenth time this season, as I sat on the boundary with my head in my hands contemplating a score of 30-4, I wondered if it wouldn’t be better to simply reverse the batting order. Or perhaps we had and this was the outcome.

 

To get to this point RolfeDog and Lloydy had livened up a slow start against tight bowling by embarking on a sprint relay that ended with RolfeDog lying prone at the far end, outstretched bat only a few feet short of the stumps when the bails were removed.

 

BenDog started with a cover drive. Indeed it was mentioned he is a stylish batsman and it is not hard to see why with wavy hair neatly combed backwards, and a smart long-sleeved sweater. But there is more to batting than suaveness so he departed, quickly followed by Dakes who was narrowly adjudged stumped – or adjudged narrowly stumped.

 

In fact Dakes’ departure was anything but quick as, looking more and more like Captain Birdseye these days, he contemplated his misfortune.

 

Lloydy had battled bravely to much heckling from RolfeDog on the sideline but was dismissed for 14 and here we were, on the rocks again.

 

SamDog and Doug started rebuilding up to the point that Ken Baker came on to demonstrate that it is not only Taggart who can get wickets with left-arm filth and Doug obliged.

 

Scott did not Waite about, hitting two of his first four balls for four, but mercifully he was immediately out and as he only matched my score of eight was not able to spend the rest of the day with bragging rights.

 

Time to start again: BirdDog and SamDog knocked it around until SamDog missed one and went for 25 with the total at 95-7 at just about the point where Mohsin, batting for the 2s at Kimble nearby, was approaching 95 runs all of his own.

 

Enter Hamsah to the rescue, for the umpteenth time. He stunned us all with a defensive shot first ball. In fact he played a few amongst the fours and sixes so that when BirdDog departed for 13 we hardly missed him at all.

 

Hamsah bats like a coiled spring and many of his shots unwind over the legside but today his repertoire included a fine, powerful lofted straight-drive for four. This inspired McTaggart to hit a boundary all of his own. He described it as a leg-glance although others might have congratulated the bowler on hitting the bat.

 

Greatly encouraged by this and by Hamsah’s ongoing pyrotechnics at the other end Taggart attempted a shot in front of the wicket only to see bowler Ed Holland take a low return catch similar to, but not as good as the one McTaggart took himself against Thame, which seems so far away… and so unlikely that perhaps it was all a dream.

 

This brought in Cooperman to bat as our last hope.

 

There is a bird called a Garganey which is a “rare and secretive” bird, which visits only occasionally in the summer. This Gargany might be the same as a Cooperman who fits the description very well.

 

Anyhow, worryingly the Garganey, or Cooperman as it may be called, is a ‘duck’, the one thing we did not need at this stage of the game. He survived his first ball however – better than last time -  then another then another and a partnership began to ensue.

 

On the sidelines, RolfeDog, the day’s tea-maker was coming under increasing pressure from a group of players who have clearly been spoilt by the standard and quality of Roz’ teas. BenDog accused RolfeDog of under-supply and RolfeDog noted the irony of being accused of fraud by a banker.

 

The team went in turn to inspect the spread, each one returning to say they were being short-changed and a sort of verbal feeding-frenzy developed with the human-food-disposal-unit known as Dakes, to the fore.  RolfeDog found himself trying to defend the choice of and extent of culinary delight he had spent the whole morning preparing.

 

This rather took away from Cooperman’s heroics. The RSPB site describes the Garganey as a “dabbler” which, watching Cooperman bat is further evidence that they are one and the same. He gave Hamsah the opportunity to display his full range and Hamsah ended up with 41 not out and the team 145 all out, by the time Cooperman was bowled.

 

This gave us a chance and we were lifted by the news that Mohsin had reached his second consecutive century for the 2s by hitting the final ball of his innings for six.

 

Needless to say our team gorged themselves on the tea and some went back for more. It reminded me of Woody Allen’s complaint about his schooldays “The food at school is dreadful… and they give us such small portions”.

 

With a tiny bit of almost everything left over this was proof of a cricket tea judged to perfection and only slightly spoiled for its provider by a) BirdDog opening one sandwich and licking out the contents in the middle before presenting it to RolfeDog as evidence of lack of substance, and b) Dakes’ complaint that his Oreo biscuit tasted of peanut butter.

 

The latter was so ridiculous that I ransacked the kitchen bin for the packaging only to find that these were indeed ‘peanut butter’ Oreos. For goodness sake, can’t the peanut butter industry leave anything alone?

 

If proof were needed of the quality of the tea (apart from the fact that no one died either making it or eating it) our opening bowlers Dakes and Hamsah tore into bowl and after an initial flurry of runs accounted for two batsmen for just 25 runs.

 

Was this going to be another of The Ridge’s low scoring victories we were wondering, but the heavens opened, we got the covers on and took shelter.

 

For one hour fifty-five minutes.

 

A reduction in batting time available would work in our favour and so it was that Cooperman was firmly instructed to go outside, reprimand his mum and dad for wandering around saying “the weather’s fine, they can restart play”, and lock them in the shed.

 

We played a long word-association game in which Cooperman had trouble with his “S’s” and his “W’s” - perhaps he was worried about his mum and dad locked in the shed with a Ransome mower.

 

When we got back out there was time for 11 overs: Chearsley’s target being to get from 31-2 to 146 in 11 overs and ours being to stop them and try and get them out.

 

It was a huge ask for Chearsley but they had a go starting with the admirable Crichton.

 

He hadn’t accounted for Cooperman who was at his most fiery and took his wicket in a fine five-over spell. While McTaggart began picking up cheap wickets at the other end with more slow left-arm filth, Dakes who could no longer bowl due to over restrictions, began to wish he had had more tea and then began to weep quietly as he realised that Taggart had now drawn level with him for wickets taken during the season.

 

But it was Cooperman who grabbed the moment. He first followed through to effect a run out with a direct hit (just as Lord Lucan flew by on Shergar) and then at the moment Donald Trump declared undying love for Hilary Clinton, he snaffled a catch on the deep square leg boundary (Cooperman that is, not Donald Trump) off McTaggart’s full-toss-pie.

 

This put McTaggart one ahead of Dakes and the sound of wailing was heard from Dakes and his family.

 

Time ran out; we had taken a further six wickets and ended up on thirteen points and with it probable safety for us in Division Five and sadly, probable relegation for Chearsley.

 

It only remained for the team to clean up the leftovers from tea, for Cooperman to vanish without trace and for BenDog to arrive home late and tell Hermione this was because he had had a two-hour massage from Birdy. 

 

 

 

 

 

BRCC 1s v Kingston Bagpuize  - Away

Saturday 20th August 2016

 Baggers in maximum permitted overs near-miss – no one hurt

 Dales outscores Dakes in draw

 Hillary’s batting leaves Baggers a mountain to climb

 

Bledlow Ridge  1s                (47 overs) – 15 points

Kingston Bagpuize 1s         (42 overs) -    8 points

Match Drawn

-------------------------

Dakes shocked us all by arriving early for this fixture at Kingston Bagpuize. He insisted that he had arrived even earlier except that he had been somewhere else nearby by mistake, and then pronounced himself happy with the facilities except for the changing rooms, toilets and bar area and especially happy that Scott was not playing, as Scott would no doubt have wished to test  all these facilities.

 

On this day when Dakes arrived early the game started late, due to a little rain. Life can be unfair.

 

That’s what RolfeDog, Brooksie, Bendog and Matt Brightwell (for whom we need to find a nickname: Matty? Brighty? Brightwelly?) all thought as they discussed how we had been reduced to 21-4.

 

There was plenty of time to do this while Snchniphher played himself in. In fact there is usually time to do the weekly shop while Snciniph (for short) plays himself in.

 

At the other end Dakes was expressing his joy at his surroundings and with his early arrival at the wicket by hitting a few boundaries. Furthermore he had never seen Scniff looking so smart – after 30 years Schnyph has replaced his museum piece clothing with a Ridge shirt.

 

Yes that’s rich coming from me, but luckily I am the one writing this report.

 

Shniph’s 12 was invaluable as we reached 72-5 when Vajid, in his first game for the 1s this year joined Dakes and made a cameo 22 getting us up to 110-6. He was the first dismissed batsman with a strike rate over 30… 75.57 in fact for the nerds among us – and there are a few.

 

At this point Ben Hillary joined Dakes. Which reminds me that at some point we had come off for a bit more rain and the game was now 47/42 overs. Why did it remind me? Well Ben’s dad Graham had volunteered to umpire and with this single act had effectively contributed five points to the team, more than RolfeDog’s batting contribution has been worth in the entire second half of the season.

 

In the nets, Ben’s batting is not short of an aggressive shot or two, but we needed someone to anchor the innings as Dakes had begun to score freely at the other end.

 

Which Ben did.

 

I am sorry if that is not much of a punchline, but he did exactly what we needed and stayed at the wicket for the rest of our innings comprising 87 more runs.. During the first part of it Dakes scored heavily and passed his 50.

 

Then there was nearly an incident.

 

Regular readers of this news column will be aware that we had to forfeit 25 points to Abingdon Vale earlier in the season as Taggart had committed the crime of bowling one over more than his permitted quota, something which according to the rules we play under is two and a half times worse than being reported for bad behavior in three matches in any one season.

 

As Baggers’ James Kemp ran into bowl the first ball of his 16th over, which would have resulted in Baggers suffering an immediate forfeit and the confiscation of any siblings or children related in any way to the club, we yelled at James to stop and not to bowl.

 

Like this:

 

“Stop! Don’t bowl”.

 

James’ brakes screeched as he pulled up hard, narrowly averting a severe breach of playing rule 5.15 and the disappearance of the youth of Kingston Bagpuize.

 

The rules were checked, disaster had indeed been averted and to show their gratitude Baggers replaced James Kemp with Tom Scrase who Dakes then hit for 20 runs off his first five deliveries.

 

Feeling somewhat guilty Dakes ran past the last ball of this over and was stumped for a fine 88 off 96 balls giving him a strike rate of 91.67 which he can check if he likes as he is an accountant.

 

On this wicket our score of 159-7 at this stage was not enough.

 

Enter Hamsah.

 

Hamsah’s 23 was off 17 balls, strike rate 135.29. That’s more like it Dakes!  189-8 with an over and a bit to go and Ben still there hitting the ball hard to mid-on and mid-off, along the ground.

 

Enter Paul Daly, who until his previous game had held out even longer than Sniff with a cricket shirt from the 1980s but who was now bedecked in club colours.

 

Thus inspired he showed even Hamsah how it is done, with a strike rate of 150, reaching 6 not out off 4 balls to end our innings at 197-8, Ben Hillary with an invaluable 11 not out (SR 30.56)

 

We took an early wicket: caught Ben Hilary bowled Hansah but for the second time this season Baggers’ James Boon threatened to win the game on his own, surviving a tight LBW call to rattle to 89.

 

He revealed afterwards that for family reasons he had not played that many games but rather enjoyed our bowling.  To be fair he did not say the last bit, but did not need to really.

 

At 98-1 we were staring defeat in the face but enter Matt Brightwell, he of the dodgy knee, or back, or something.

 

His spell transformed the game and when Boon was the sixth out, caught by Dakes – itself a miracle – for 89 off 102 balls (SR 87.25) the game was pretty much up.  Matt got James Kemp too, caught in the massive hands of Vajid at first slip, but by then the ball was wet from light drizzle and ceased to swing and Tom Scrase and Ben Fisher enjoyed themselves as the game endned in a draw in our favour.


Mention must be made of Baggers’ middle order comprising Marco Cecchini,


Sayeem Waliulah and Samsad Latafat and I refer to Cumnor 2s attempt to outfox us in our first fixture this year with names like Pierre During Plessis,  Mo Chatterj and Christopher de  Verteuil.

 

We are used to such treachery and are prepared meet wordplay with wordplay and so it was they were dealt with by Ian McTaggart, Matty Brightwelly and Hanzah Ahmed who incidentally is in the middle of an identity crisis as we have been calling him HaMzah all season.

 

Matt took 4-45 and there is a good case for employing a full time physio to keep him fit to bowl at all times. Well not at all times obviously because no one would want him to exceed his permitted quota, but his eleven overs was five more than he had managed in any one game before.

 

Hamsah or Hansah took 2-56, and Taggart 1-44 with some filth which was looked on with nervousness by Dakes (0-29) who realized Taggart must be catching up with him on the total-wickets-for-the-season list.

 

Discussion in the bar revolved firstly around Baggers’ Dave Warner’s admission that he had been mistaken by a passport official for an Australian cricketer, something that none of us could match although Ben Keeping has once been mistaken for a batsman and Ben Hillary, for a climber. Then the subject moved to bowlers’ permitted overs and match forfeits and it was ironic to learn late that evening that Great Brickhill had been made to forfeit their important match in Division 1 due to a bowler bowling one over too many. At the time of writing a week later however they have just been re-credited with a win and we await more news of this with interest. 


Dakes missed all this. He had left soon after the game because he had to get somewhere early even though it was not exactly the right place when he got there. Let’s hope Scott was not there waiting for him. 

 

 

 

BRCC v Didcot 2s  - Home

 

Saturday 13th August 2016

 

 

Sir Garfield McTaggart in World Class Tizzy-Fit

 

Rare HairBear Flair Scare

 

Saint and Cooperman in team of Superheroes

 

 

BRCC             142 ao (51.3 overs)

Didcot 2s        106 ao (34.2 overs)

 

Won by 36 runs

 

It’s rare for HairBear to arrive early, refreshed and in his own cricket kit, but with 29 players unavailable we needed a team of SuperHeroes and he arrived as WonderMan.

 

Extraordinarily, Dakes SuperSloth arrived early too. He introduced himself to an unfamiliar face, that of SuperHero (David) Saint. He asked who this new member was, and the Saint surprised the Sloth by revealing he had played as many games for the club in 2016 as the Sloth had…just for a different team.

 

Enough of that. RolfeDog opened with Sheriff Brooks and immediately ran into confusion. Convinced they were playing against just one team they looked up to find that the opposition was wearing  headwear in nine different colours. No I don’t mean that their caps each had nine different colours, I mean that they were mostly wearing caps or hats each a different colour.

 

RolfeDog soon became dazzled, but not by the caps, by the sun shining off the Knapster’s car a 100 yards away. SamDog’s towel was used to solve the problem until the wind blew it away, so the problem was finally solved by moving the sightscreen far enough across to block out the whole lot, which all goes to show how interesting a game of cricket is and how useful sightscreens can be.

 

Just when he thought he’d mastered the conditions RolfeDog who could now see the ball, hung his bat out to dry and was caught for 15.

 

SuperSloth started out with some handsome drives but was LBW for 12 and then Sheriff Brooks gave Ranjit Singh a return catch. Ranjit is a banker (but then so is Ben Keeping so it’s nothing to show off about) therefore this was much the same as ‘returning the ball to payee’ or bouncing a cheque and Brooksie departed for 25 and tea duty with Roz.

 

FatsDomino and SamDog came to a grinding halt against The Banker’s bowling.

 

SamDog played and missed and hit and batted and missed until at last along came a full toss from Captain Beasley of Didcot and he smashed it into the hands of the only fielder within about seven hundred yards.

 

SuperHero SnifferDog arrived to join FatsDomino, and schnaffled a neat boundary before being yorked by a Yorker.

 

Five wickets down for not many and in strode WonderMan. WonderMan had even tucked his shirt in. Into his own trousers.

 

And he must have wondered what all the problem was as he drove, bashed and biffed.  Flair in his batting and flares in his trouser- legs.

 

Eventually FatDomino was out for a hardworked 26. We then wondered if WonderMan had worked out a subtle batting plan with his new partner The Saint but as HairBear is usually on a different planet (whether as HairBear or as WonderMan) we concluded this was unlikely. Nevertheless his partnership with The Saint was worth 30 runs before The Saint succumbed.

 

Taggart had promoted himself to be out bowled at No 9 this week, then Cooperman took his captain’s lead magnificently, and achieved the same mode of dismissal much more quickly. This wicket gave Didcot’s Kieran Beesley 5-33 off 12 overs, earning himself the title “Measley Beesley” (which I am told, is like a joke, only smaller).

 

So our last man Mike Gillett came to the wicket to add a few more runs until WonderMan HairBear entered negotiations for a single which only ended when Mike was run out while still wondering what WonderMan was talking about.

 

Wonderman ended on 32 not out and the team on 146 all out. We’d only know if this was enough after Didcot had batted… obviously.

 

Roz, so lucky to have been asked to do teas once again, produced the usual feast and then we set about Didcot.

 

It went pretty well as Didcot discovered why we had found batting difficult. McTaggart and the Sloth ultimately helping themselves to four wickets each, but we at one point we needed a breakthrough.

 

Enter Mike Gillett who was available for the 1s because, well, pretty much no one was available for the 2s.

 

He has clearly spent the last year studying Supersloth’s bowling action and it helps that he has connections with Tesco Princes Risborough, from where presumably, he can view the windmill at Lacey Green and work on SuperSloth’s unique style.

 

It was more than enough for the dangerous Ross Fryatt – who Dakes had mistaken for Ross Fryup -  and Mike accounted for him first ball by dismissing him both LBW and Bowled (a unique double) and then next ball accounted for Kunan Patel.

 

So now it was all going well until Beasley – who had rather a good game, started belting the ball all over the place. This meant we got a bit behind the over rate to the point that Captain McTaggart who was the bowler at the time, snapped that we should save time by just ‘getting on with it’, and ran up to bowl.

 

He had a point, something we reflected on as we used up the next five minutes in a fruitless search for the ball which Beasley had sent in a huge arc (that’s “arc” not “Ark”) into one of BenDog’s distant fields where it presumably now still lies and may forever, until eaten by a horse.

 

McTaggart got his revenge, soon bowling Beasley the Dangerman with a banana, but we needed two more wickets.

 

Luckily we now had a fielder on the boundary in front of BenDog’s field. Well at least that’s where he was supposed to be as McTaggart bowled Ranjit “The Banker” Singh a big pie which just asked to be put in aforesaid field.

 

Sherrif Brooks, the fielder in question, was looking towards the field as the ball was bowled but happened to turn around at the right moment and dived forward to catch what he thought was a pie but turned out to be a Government Bond, and whatever it was it was the ninth wicket.

 

McTaggart was on a roll, in the zone, on the case, and he finally produced a round-arm melon to bowl Scot Wheeler and we had won by 36 runs.

 

This was a victory margin which was somewhat against the odds at tea and I wish in hindsight, I had eaten more of it. Supersloth took 4-33, Captain McTaggart 4-42 and the newly discovered Windmill of Princes Risborough, 2-26.

 

For once HairBear did not need a lift home to Downley. He made his own way there on the back of a meteorite. Back to another planet.


 

BRCC v Hetairoi 

Sunday 24th July 2016


Elvis lives… and sledges… in Malik’s shoes

RolfeDog in boring innings surprise

Hetairoi’s Ball makes history at the Ridge


Hetairoi  184-8 dec

BRCC     154 -9

Match Drawn


Yes John Ball of The Hetairoi became the first batsman to be dismissed in senior cricket by a lady bowler playing for the Ridge. I must admit to being dismissed from the kitchen by a few ladies at the Ridge and Vera Carter could be quite dismissive of Tex’ s bowling in years gone by, but no one had actually had their wicket taken in a cricket match by a lady, bowling for the Ridge…on a Sunday… in July.

Lauren Head has this distinction. It would be fair to say she is not the first girl to have taken a wicket for the Ridge: Scott Waite and Brooksie fall into that category, but a lady? No – this has never happened before.

This was a day for firsts: Elvis lives… and plays…for the Ridge. In case you have suspicious minds he made himself available during the week, went and bought some kit, borrowed Malik’s blue suede shoes, arrived, pronounced the weather a bit gloomy but said I don’t care if the sun don’t shine.

Here’s another first: RolfeDog blocked out. Can you believe that? Me neither.

And another: Lauren’s first wicket was a catch behind the wicket by Brooksie – it certainly was a day for firsts.

Mike Gillet and Hairbear had opened the bowling. Hairbear became the first cricketer to look like death yet insist he was feeling great while looking awful. Their opening foray, though wicketless gave the witty Doug McIndoe the opportunity to warm up with comments like “the batsman’s all shook up” following a quick ball or an observation that a powerful shot back down the wicket was a “return to sender”. Thanks Doug.

This in turn encouraged the artist formerly known as “Joe” (Mannion) to come up with a few observations of his own while Mike was bowling, despite the real pronunciation of his surname being Gillet as in Fillet (English-version) not Gillette as in Diskette.

Comments like “looking razor sharp today” or “that was a close shave” were enough to prove the value of a Grammar School education.

Back to the cricket. Messrs Ball and Penington of the Hetairoi who have never knowingly given up the chance of hitting a short ball outside off stump to the boundary, were progressing nicely when Lauren replaced Hairbear – who was badly in need of sustenance – at the top end.

“I bowl quite fast” Lauren had told me in answer to my enquiry.  But then, I thought, Brooksie once described himself this way, before actually overtaking one of his deliveries on its way to the far end. 

Well, off a few paces Lauren put the batsmen through their paces in front of the stumps and Brooksie through his paces behind them, with a series of in-duckers before getting one to go away, inducing a sharp catch to our beloved keeper. Phil, so shocked, clung on and proclaimed this as the best catch he had ever taken. ‘Well you’re not spoiled for choice’ I almost said but at the sight of Elvis high-fiving him I reminded myself don’t be cruel.

Celebrations were otherwise slightly muted, Ridgebears not being sure whether to celebrate a lady’s wicket with massive hugs, high-fives or a handshake.

For her part, Lauren coolly mentioned that she had meant that delivery to go the other way, the art of describing the subtleties of a wicket-taking delivery being a key feature of a successful bowler.

As if to prove no fluke, in Lauren’s next over Mike Penington drove only slightly uppishly to cover where Doug took a fine catch diving forward, while muttering that he’d do virtually anything to help a lady. Two wickets for Lauren aged 20 with catches taken by teammates with 104 years between them. Age shall not weary them.

By now Saad had replaced Mike and eventually Lauren wearied and was replaced by Joe.

Which brings me to another small diversion.

Lauren used to throw the javelin – a long way presumably because in comparison, throwing the cricket ball seems to be a doddle. Even Hairbear woke up to the fact that his throwing ability was under challenge. 

Joe for his part realized straight way that he could not compete, so set a different kind of challenge. Joe has never mastered the principle of lobbing the ball gently back to the bowler via the fielders, preferring instead overarm throwing practice aimed at the victim of his choice.

On this day the victim of choice was mostly Lauren. Smitten by the sight of a lady bowling quickly and throwing the ball miles, he decided to test her catching with a series of increasingly vigorous overarm throws to mid-off which culminated in Lauren casually catching, one-handed above her head, the nearest that Joe could get to a rocket-throw and his acceptance of defeat with an exclamation of “corr” in sheer admiration, plucked straight from the pages of Jennings and Darbishire.

This meant that Joe not only got to ‘bowl a maiden over’, he also got a turn to bowl himself and he had a good day. There was another “corr” moment as he got someone called Reading to play a shot just above the ground towards Dramatic Doug who dived forward and took a one-handed catch which was stunning, notwithstanding he thought it was a 50 pence piece. “I don’t miss those” he said and we all agreed “that’s the wonder of you”.

I said above, “someone called Reading” as the first innings is missing from our book and I have to do much of this from memory. What I do recall is the importance of calling out the bowler’s name, as Mohsin’s three overs were added to Saad’s eight, all under Saad’s name.

But before this and while Joe was wheeling away very accurately for a leg-spinner who hadn’t bowled for a year, Dominic Laurie, former Business News presenter on BBC breakfast television strode to the wicket in the manner of a man who enjoys cricket and business lunches in equal manner. Who said you can’t mix business with pleasure?

He then proceed to coach his batting partners through their innings, although I noticed he gave up with Ollie Fryer as a bit of a bad job, while thrashing any short balls he received to the cover boundary. Generally speaking he preferred fiscal policy though I noticed his inclination towards quantitative easing off, at the end of a second run.

HE exuded self-confidence up to the point when he was confronted with Elvis, Elvis the Bowler. As an economist he is used to making predictions and equally used to making inaccurate ones. No one could predict how Elvis would bowl and it would be fair to say Elvis went through a wide repertoire bringing Umpire Alan Brooks into the game for the first time as he warned him he would be taken off if there was another high-pitched delivery.

Well what do you expect from Elvis other than high-pitched deliveries? Haven’t you heard the top notes in “It’s now or never”?  Mind you if we’d had Johnny Rae we’d only have had high-pitched deliveries.

Anyway, Alan stepped in, Elvis was warned that he was near Heartbreak Hotel and from that moment Alan was always on his mind. I gave him another over at which the other umpire one Taggart McTaggart groaned “Oh no” – “love me tender” but I insisted to Elvis I’m stuck on you.

Suddenly Saad struck and slayed Brian Slade (that took hours of planning) with a direct hit as he tried a quick run.

And then Dom Gabriele (“bowler’s name please…whaaaat?”) replaced Elvis. That’s not often been said. Dom bowled an over then after Joe’s next, was nowhere to be seen. The only explanation is that Dom is conditioned to bowling only one-over spells and had never experienced being asked to continue. 

In fact never before has someone called Dom, bowled to someone called Dom… at the Ridge…on a Sunday… in July.

Somewhere in all this, Dom – the Laurie version -  experienced some elasticity of supply, reacted with a demand curve, slightly overbalanced at the crease and the square leg umpire adjudged him out, stumped by his son, Phil. As an economist Dom is generally accustomed to moving the target before making assertions and so he confidently asserted that he was not out.

He had reckoned without our very own business correspondent Uncle Alan who likes a bit of volatility in the markets and assured Mr Laurie that not only was he out, but that he should get on his merry way (Go Cat Go) and that he was lucky Alan was not carrying that stump with which nearly he made such a firm point – so to speak – to Dan Stranger, all those years ago.

And so the rain came, Kentucky Rain probably. It was interesting watching some of our players running the hoses on the covers uphill and we took an early tea with a good portion of Tutti Frutti . Then Hetairoi then reached about 180-8 (I don’t have the book) and the Ridge gave chase.

If he wasn’t awake before this, Hairbear was rudely awakened by the pace and bounce of Reading (first name unknown, possibly “Book”) who somehow didn’t take a wicket, while Will Fryer high-stepped his way to the wickets of Doughty Doug and Mohsin. That’s two people not three, by the way.

Brooksie was just getting into gear, but was caught behind for 27 (the biter bit?) off Richard Slade, who also accounted for Saad in the same way. 

Richard Slade, son of Brian, attracted the attention of Uncle Alan who was in combative mood, with a couple of chest high deliveries and when Father Brian pointed out that a little leniency in a friendly match for unintentional errors would not go amiss, there was Alan’s soulmate, Umpire McTaggart to remind Brian of their obligations and that any dissent would be frowned upon. The words “black”, “kettle” and “pot” were murmured by some.

The target seemed to recede but interest was sustained for a while by the innings of Elvis who appeared at the wicket as if the devil in disguise and took guard for each ball he faced until the Scottish part of the Brooks-Taggart Dream Team pointed out that this was not entirely necessary.

Elvis made good contact with the ball and made 13 but his innings was notable mostly for another first. Sledging is normally reserved for the fielders in Saturday cricket but as Elvis faced an incoming bowler, words were clearly spoken. This did not appear to deter Elvis and he would hardly complain or reply as it became apparent that Elvis had become the first ever batsman to sledge himself… on the Ridge… on a Sunday… in July… or ever, for that matter.

He and Dom Gabriele a little later, were both stumped off the bowling of Stephen Matthew’s pies, neither  eing quite able to believe that anyone can actually bowl that slowly, or that Dom Laurie had not intercepted them on the way down.

RolfeDog was blocking along nicely and the target was still theoretically reachable when, eight wickets down, he and Mike Gillet (as in Fillet, English-version) met mid-wicket and agreed it’s now or never at which point Mike played out a maiden before being bowled by Ollie Fryer (as in Fillet, English-version) so the only possible results now were a defeat or a draw.

It remained for Joe to show how slowly RolfeDog had batted before RolfeDog prepared to face the last over to save the match. It was interesting to see the field brought close in and to hear the sort of comments I have spent a lifetime making, along the lines of “go on, hit out, you know you want to” and “are you feeling lucky?” and “I forecast Brexit will push Britain into depression”.

Well I survived… just… to hear Dom Laurie claim a moral victory but as everybody knows, you can’t mix morality with pleasure.



Robert Peston is on holiday in Grimsby





BRCC v Leighton Buzzard 2s (A)

 Saturday 23rd July 2016



Ridge in agonising one wicket defeat


Agony

 Agony


BRCC                           107 ao (23.1overs)

Leighton Buzzard 2s     111-9 (39 overs)

 Lost by 1 wicket

 

AAAAArgh!

GRRRRgh!

 

I cannot bring myself to write a long report – after all it was such a short game.

 

And it mostly wasn’t the wicket either. We just kept finding amazing ways to get out. In between dismissals we thwacked the ball to the boundary or in Matt Brightwell’s case, a long way beyond it. But there is a reason why Leighton Buzzard have slow bowlers who just toss the ball up. For years they have done this and watched batsmen play Kamikaze cricket.

 

It wasn’t just the slow bowlers. RolfeDog Senior his the third, fourth and fifth ball of the match to the boundary and then offered a gully catch, SamDog offered a hard low return catch after hitting a couple of boundaries, Lloydy offered no shot after some fine boundaries. Brooksie got a spitter,  Matt D kept out the good yosrker and missed the next one, Matt survived Saeed’s short sprint training to give us a total to aim at before falling to the pie-chucker, Doug missed one, Scotty tried to hit his own arse with a banjo, Hamsah tried to land his first ball in Bletchley and Taggart decided not to be bowled and put his leg in the way assuring us that although he is occasionally bowled there is no way he can ever be LBW.

 22.3 overs 

22.3 overs


We had them 6-2. Hope. They got to 90-4, no hope though Taggart had bowled tightly.

 

Then Taggart made a sharp move and put Doug on. Just joking. The smart move was putting Doug on and giving Hamsah a spell at the football ground end. Hamsah took a hat-trick and a fourth wicket in 5 balls in a wonderful spell. 

Doug’s low full toss went to.. Hamsah of course. 

We had 12 runs in which to get the last wicket and they played and missed repeatedly, sometimes by millimetres, they edged the ball and finally edged one to slip, hard and fast. We couldn’t cling on. They did and won narrowly. 

Had we won it would have been quite remarkable but we cannot rely on being say 80-6 each week and finding someone to bail us out at the last minute. 

The bowlers are doing their bit, Hamsah 6-27 off about 13 overs – it’s time for us batters to come to the party. 

Sorry it’s not funny but I wrote this in 22.3 seconds.

 

 

 

BRCC v Abingdon Vale 2s (H)

Saturday 16th July 2016

 

Ridge fail to soar to previous heights in defeat to Abingdon Vale

 

BRCC                           167 ao (45.3 overs)

Abingdon Vale              168-7 (53.2 overs)

 

Lost by 3 wickets

 

Meadow Styles is home to a wide range of interesting birds. Red Kites are regulars above and Green Woodpeckers are often heard laughing at Scott’s batting.

 

Today it was the appearance of five Ducks that caught the eye.

 

They had heard that RolfeDog and Lloydy had got off to a good start – well Lloydy in particular as RolfeDog managed to hit a rank full toss in the air to cover for 16.  At this point the Ducks landed and accounted for Dakes, Brooksie and the luckless Saeed who got one that really flew (geddit?).

 

At the other end Lloydy was soaring. Hard to imagine I know, but Walt Disney did once make a film about a flying elephant. In fact Lloydy did most of our batting until he received a rank long hop, went absolutely quackers, smashed it to the boundary and was caught for an excellent 79. Doug who has been dashing lately was disappointing today and made just three, whereupon the rest of the team gave him the Bird.

 

Who was this coming out to bat? It looked like another kind of Bird.  It was… a Steve Bird otherwise known as BirdDog the result of Darwinian evolution.

 

He and Matt Brightwell set about rebuilding the innings, and Matt scattered a few nests with two sixes but his departure, eight down heralded the end of our innings as Hamsah tried to hit a crows nest in Risborough first ball and Taggart was then bowled thereby completing the set of Five Ducks.

 

Taggart did look severely disgruntled at the moment of dismissal and although the stumps and bails had been scattered he gave the umpire his “that ball would never have hit the wicket” look.

 

So we had subsided from 167-7 to 167 all out and had given Abingdon eight extra overs.

 

Which made all the difference as they struggled to win with just 4 balls to spare, Tommy Allen, taking time off playing centre-threequarter for Scotland or is it Italy, taking them home with 44 no.

 

They worked out that surviving Dakes was the key to success, something Dakes’ family and teammates discovered years ago, and his 18 overs 2 for 22 was not quite enough alongside Hamsah’s 2-56 and Matt Brightwell who also took 2-22. Matt claimed Abingdon’s only Duck, Dan Hartley who was soon off making jam… or is it ‘making hay’, in the summer? can’t remember, and Brooksie made a couple of swallow-dives hehind the stumps for catches.

 

And so the re-run of our fraught first fixture passed almost without incident except for the slight flap at the end when Brooksie whipped the bails off so late that by that time, nobody was looking and Taggart declined his opposite number’s offer of a drink afterwards saying he’d rather see an elephant fly.

 

 

 

 

BRCC 1s v Thame 2s Away

Saturday 9th July 2016

 ---------------

Top of the table clash ends in draw 

…or was it a tie? or was it a drawer?


Scott decides it’s time for a clear-out

 

 

BRCC:     216-9 (53 overs)

Thame:    197-8 (47 overs)

 

Result: Match Drawn

 

Yes! “Match Drawn” is a Result. You can have three results in a proper game of cricket: a Win, A Loss and Draw, well four actually because you can have a Tie but we’ve been there before and decided that it’s a bit confusing so, because you can put a Tie in a Drawer it amounts to much the same thing.


This was a game to defy those who only want “Win/Lose” cricket. The game swung one way and another, just like Dakes with a new ball, or Scott after a night out. In ‘proper’ cricket the imperative for the side fielding second is to bowl the other team out to win. This we nearly did, Thame nearly got the runs, either team could have won and although neither achieved its objective this was a fine Drawn match.

 It started ominously as Scott kindly shared the contents of his night out with a few of us. This was also an indication of what he thought of the early batting as several batsmen got a start, although not as much of a start as those of us on the boundary, as Scott reached for the sky… as it were.

 

At 103-7 we were starting down the barrel of the league leaders, (leaders, courtesy of our docked points v Abingdon of course, not to bang on about it.)

 

And then Scott joined Birdy and threw up a range of aggressive boundaries each time Birdy advised him to defend.

 

Regrettably for me, his rapid 26 was rather better than my early score of 1, a fact of which I was reminded of at ten minute intervals throughout the rest of the day which included a late trip for a curry in Chinnor, at which I had to sit next to Scott in case he felt like target practice.

 

But even Scott was eclipsed. Hamsah’s magnificent innings of 40 catapulted his strike rate to 156 per 100 balls and with Birdy controlling things from the other end took us to an unlikely and competitive total of 216-9.

 

Or so we thought.

 

Until we were Carrted around the ground for a while.

 

This time last year, Richard Carr was watching the fixture from a seat on the boundary while wearing a leg-brace. Had he been wearing a leg-brace while batting this time around it might have been a fairer contest.

 

As it was, his 55 took Thame to 85 in less than 12 overs and it seemed like game over. But that is the beauty of cricket. With his dismissal, caught by Hamsah on the boundary off Saeed, the game began to change.

 

Richard Carr was slightly peeved to have got out and at the last minute I thought better of saying ‘well batted’ as he walked off, as he might just have had one more big shot left in him.

 

Gradually we clawed it back, McTaggart getting two and Saeed getting three. That’s the ‘long’ and the ‘short’ of it, without meaning to be too personal. Birdy, Hamsah again and Keeps (remember him?) taking catches before an extraordinary thing happened. Just as we were wondering whether Brexit was really true, whether the dish really had run off with the spoon and whether Scott would ever sober up, Matt Furness popped a check-drive back down the wicket and Taggart McTaggart who has never been known to take a catch unnecessarily, dived full length forward and scooped an exceptional catch low off the ground with his right hand.

 

His right hand being his wrong hand in the sense that his left hand is his right hand.

 

And at the same moment Lord Lucan was discovered living with concubines on the moon.

 

So we reduced them to 146-8 as Hamsah got his reward with the wicket of Guy Holmes. Hamsah then asked Richard Carr who had knocked both Hamsah and Dakes around (not literally) and who was by now walking around the boundary, how he would bowl to himself if he was Hamsah (even though he wasn’t… but just supposing he was).

 

Mr Carr thought for a moment, and was on the point of suggesting he should bowl bouncers but realized that in a couple of years time Hamsah’s bouncer might be very fast, so instead suggested giving him a single. Actually we had thought of that but every time we had tried it the ball had gone for six.

 

Matt Brightwell’s mean spell of 6 overs 1-11 assured Thame would not reach the required total so the last few overs depended on us getting Thame all out. Proper cricket, or did I mention that?

 

Dakes gave it everything in the manner of someone slightly peeved at having had to bowl to Carr early on and of someone who had had a minor tizzy-fit at being asked to move  in the field 10 or 12 yards further around the boundary. (We had solved this particular problem by asking Carol and Dave to move instead, so that Dakes followed them, in the belief of course, that they were carrying food).

 

The ball beat the bat a number of times until with one ball left and two wicket to get we could not win.

 

The last ball was hit in the air towards Captain McTaggart  who decided it would be unfair to take another wicket and declined to go for it with either his right or his left hand, or even his wrong hand for that matter.

 

Thus ended a great advert for ‘proper’ cricket in which a Draw can be an excellent game, a tie is something you wear around your neck, and a game in which run rate is not the only criteria for determining the outcome of a match.

 

It only remained for some of us to share the 2nd team’s success by having a curry. Three Drydens and a few others joined by Scott.

 

It was with great pleasure that I came across a Facebook post by Scott the next morning. He had somehow made it to the Vitality 10K in Green Park. His post said: “Beers and curry last night wasn't the best idea I've ever had”

 

So there is a God. 

 




 Bledlow Ridge CC 1s v HORSPATH 3s

Saturday 2nd July 2016 – Home


Bowlers slay Horspath resistance while bench survives Dryden onslaught


Dashing Doug and Marvellous Matt in late fast-scoring run-fest


RolfeDog’s reputation ruined for ever



BRCC  :                                210-7  (53 overs)
Horspath 3s :                91 ao   (38.2 overs)

Result: Won by 119 runs

Who would have thought it? Sir Launcelot McIndoe to the rescue: cheerful, optimistic and dynamic, Doug turned our innings around with a mixture of drives, hooks and quick singles that shook Matt out of his Friday-evening-induced stupor so effectively that Matt joined in with a mix of classic drives and big hits to raise the Ridge from a doubtful 115-6 to 210-7.

All this after RolfeDog had spent the afternoon trying to convince watchers that it was difficult to bat. RolfeDog’s reputation for dogged, dougged determination, carved over a career much longer than Scott has been alive… ruined in one dramatic, dashing partnership between a doughty Scotsman and a dashing guitarist. (Matt is the guitarist btw).

Not that the innings had started badly. When Lloydy casually chipped an opening bowler over midwicket for six to get off the mark, RolfeDog decided enough was enough and ran him out comfortably next ball. Lloydy, already indeed of a rest, ambled slowly off.

Dakes’ innings (0) comprised of a number of balls very close to off stump which he left, until he finally took a swish at one and was bowled… off stump. Clearly he should have left this one alone too and he would have been alright.

RolfeDog waited for his new batting partner to arrive. Before the game we had all lamented the late arrival of Saad and had even discussed Saad’s lack of car at weekend, allegedly because Shaun Dryden needs to use it.

The batsman who arrived at the crease did so from an unexpected direction, without a car, and caught RolfeDog unawares. This man had been playing with his vowels. Saad with two “a”s became the man-formerly-known-as-Saeed with one “a” and two “e”s.  Until this moment, Saeed had been in Manchester all summer working and enjoying a few hearty meals.

He soon cheerfully accepted his lbw decision then SamDog and Matt fell too and when RolfeDog decided it was time to go and enquire which were Saeed’s favourite restaurants in Manchester, we were in a bit of trouble at 115-6.

Unluckily for RolfeDog he would have been safer at the wicket as, now unpadded, he found himself skewered between BirdDog and Mr Dryden Senior in a merciless appraisal of his batting shortcomings of which it turns out, there are a great many.

Mr Dryden Senior you ask? Yes Tarzan and Jane Dryden were down for the weekend looking for Shaun who sometimes pulls up trees, but more often goes missing in a car.

So enthusiastically was RolfeDog’s technique being taken apart, and so unenthusiastically were they looking for Shaun that no one noticed for a while that Doug Batman had joined Matt Robin at the wicket.

Doug definitely defied decades of dinners and dashed and darted while Matt drilled and drove the ball a distance in different directions. Direct, decisive, dashing, Doug (53) defied his Scottish dynasty and added 105 with Matt (43 not out) enabling us to reach 210.

Dakes cleared his tea plate and took four wickets, one with the last ball of his spell which he celebrated with a mega-second’s-worth of emotion.

Thereafter Horspath offered little resistance as a sideshow developed following the return of the Ridge Six from their 2nd X1 fixture at Cumnor several of whom (well a maximum of six) gathered to watch the proceedings from the bench at midwicket. This was badly overloaded with Drydens, near to breaking point, but remarkably just as a new one sat down, one of the incumbents would get up as if in a game on Whose Line Is It Anyway and so the bench narrowly survived. 

At this point Tony was swinging from tree to tree and one wondered where ShakEy gets his extroversion from.  Other things were going on too: Taggart took two wickets and Hamzah one, while Shaun was spotted driving Sharon’s Maserati up the M6.

We still needed three wickets to win when Saeed, not Saad, Sighed and Said that Sad though it was, he needed to bowl and, Sod’s Law, took all Sodding three including a slip catch by Lloydy, thus proving Brexit was no fluke.

So we won again batting first, this time by 119 runs and by Several Drydens to Nil. 

Someone suggested going out for a meal. Saeed said he knew somewhere good in Manchester. Shaun was already there.




MATCH REPORTS

 

Recent club events have taken a good deal of my time so here is a brief summary of our last three games

BRCC         285-4   (52 overs)   Saturday 11th June 2016, Away

Didcot 2s 245-9   (48 overs)

Match Drawn


This game was most notable for the race to find the ground led by Phil “I know the way” Brooks who led us to a level crossing with the barriers down whereupon we held up most of the traffic in Oxfordshire by doing three point turns in front of oncoming traffic and then went back the way we had come. 

On a fast wicket and fast outfield we amassed a large total. It was something of a scandal that Lloydy and Rolfey were in ‘Mistaken Identity Shock Horror” as their scores were posted the wrong way around on the website the next day -  an easy mistake to make as one is “tall and elegant” (as described by a Kent O60s player) and right handed, and the other is… well… 

Brooksie nearly fluked his way to a 100 but sadly lost his way on reaching 90, not the first time he had lost his way that day. Didcot kindly put on a slow bowler while Dakes was in smash mode and if you want to know what it looked like, it was the equivalent of giving him large pies one at a time and watching him swallow each one whole. He made 45 not out in about five minutes, about the same time it takes Brooksie to do a three point turn at a level crossing. 

We took four wickets straight away but Didcot’s later batsmen batted exceptionally well and it was only when Lloydy took a slip catch to dismiss Ross Fryatt that we could breathe more easily, though I see Lloydy was not credited with this catch on the league website. Worse than mistaken identity, this was no identity at all. 

We had about 10 balls at the last pair who we could not shift and came away from Didcot’s ground for the last time, with a creditable draw. 

Yes Didcot are moving from a Power Station to a Housing Development next season. Hopefully details will arrive with a map which we can give to Brooksie.

 

 

 

BRCC                             205 all out  (52.3 overs)  Saturday 18th June 2016, Home

Kingston Bagpuize    193 all out (45.5 overs)  

 

Won by 12 runs

 I don’t remember a lot about this game except that until James Boon who opened for Baggers was the 9th player out, Baggers were winning the game despite us posting a decent total on a slow wicket. 

After RolfeDog’s partnership of 96 with Dakes, (49), BirdDog (30no) steadied the ship while batting with a succession of partners until the umpire quite rightly found the sight of Taggart batting, too much to bear and ended it all three balls early. 

It was Mohsin’s day and he spun us to victory despite having nothing to eat or drink all day, which is more than can be said for Dakes, Lloydy or James Goodband, judging by the size of their plates at tea. Mohsin’s 10 towards the end of our innings including a big six on no food, was also decisive. 

I see that James Boon’s dismissal caught in the slips by a diving Lloydy did make it on to the scoresheet on the website and at the time, the catch was about as likely as a vote for Brexit. Either way it was a historic event and it left us with one wicket to get, and, urged on by a noisey ShakEy and others on the sidelines, Mohsin bowled their no 11 which completed a good day for the club, the 2s also being victorious.

 

 

Chearsley      212-4  (51 overs)      Saturday 25th June 2016, Away

BRCC              129ao (32.1 overs)

 Lost by 73 runs

 

Not our best day at the office despite an exhibition of catching by Dales. 

Dales is still wearing the cricket shirt he bought in 1987 and Baz came under considerable pressure during the day to allow him to sew a club shirt together from any offcuts that may be lying around at the Hawkinsport Superstore along with Doug’s old kilts. 

These three players were back in the side and it is significant that all three have wives who are keen to get them out of their hair on a Saturday afternoon. Doug’s Jude also insists Doug remembers to record the day’s sport on Sky+ so she can watch while he is playing. With wives like their’s it is a surprise these guys don’t play every week although Dales is about to treat Ruth to a fortnight in Vietnam which he chose in preference to a holiday in Scotland or Ireland in case they bump into Doug. 

Matt  Brightwell took a wicket first ball and the club needs to consider funding a programme of physiotherapy for his dodgy back so that he can bowl his full quota. Nothing matched his 5 overs 1-11 although we were good in patches. 

Dales’ masterclass in catching was no surprise to those of us who have played a bit of cricket with him but unfortunately after the up-and-under, the full-length diving one-hander and the more routine lob, Chearsley’s batsmen decided to hit the ball somewhere else. He did announce that this was his first 1st team game in any sort of league in any sort of sport which was very interesting and we all thanked him for this breaking news. 

Once Chearsley started hitting the ball somewhere else, this involved testing Doug’s claim to be best mid-off in Bucks (possibly) or was it Bledlow Ridge (unlikely) or was it his family (doubtful), and it became apparent why Scotland had not made it to the finals of Euro 2016. Thus inspired, James HairBear gave us a reminder of what we are missing with Didier Drogba no longer around, as he attempted the art of flight going for a difficult catch that they dared to hit to someone other than Dales. 

When you lose by 73 runs you can’t attribute a heavy defeat to one single incident but Marc Hignell’s refusal to walk for a catch behind had a major impact on the match. I did ask him if he expected our batsmen to ‘walk’ and although he gave the only answer he could, I am pleased to say that two of us did and the Spirit of Cricket is just about hanging on although it doesn’t do its protagonists much good. 

We didn’t bat very well. There’s not a lot to talk about really except perhaps RolfeDog’s continued efforts to gain revenge for Brooksie’s level crossing incident. A feeble shot off a full toss resulted in him trying to run both batsmen out at both ends, an invitation that Chearsley somehow managed to decline. 

Brooksie looked in top nick but fell to a boundary catch and later, Matt and James HairBear gave an indication of what might have been and Hamsah hit his first ball for six and tried to hit several for nine. Dales’ dismissal removed the opportunity of watching Taggart making a century according to Taggart, and my day ended with Scorer Stuart not finding one of my wisecracks very funny. 

 

RolfeDog


  Bledlow Ridge CC 1s v Cumnor 2s

 

Saturday 4th June 2016 – Home

RidgeBears turn up, tune in and turn it on

Alan Partridge in surprise loan appearance for Cumnor from North Norfolk Digital

 Happy Scotsman discovered in  Cumnor X1

 

 

 

BRCC  :                                147 ao (47.2 overs)

Cumnor Radio 96.4, 2s :  129 ao  (47.4 overs)

 Result: Won by 29 runs

Spurred on by radio DJ Alan Partridge, posing as George Setterfield in the Cumnor X1, The Ridge found just the right wavelength to pip Cumnor to the post –indeed pop-pickers – in this cliffhanger at the Ridge. 

As an antidote to the usual abusive rubbish spewn out by young fielders Mr Partridge provided a non-stop stream of useful news, weather, travel information and phone-ins while Lloydy and RolfeDog opened up against a bowling attack containing some of the most difficult and confusing names in cricket. 

Whoever he really was, Setterfield proved to be a loudspeaker. Sadly the travel reports came too late for those members of both teams who attempted arriving via Chinnor Hill – a little psychological trap we set in cohorts with local authorities but forgot to mention to our own players. 

Even more confusing was the early emergence of the opening bowler as a happy Scotsman, especially surprising to those of us whose only experience of this race has been in the dour demeanours of Doug and Taggart who are the holders of joint last place in the perennial BRCC ‘Happiest Scotsman of the Year Award’. 

The bowler goes by the name Mo Chatterji although suspicion arises that the names of the entire Cumnor team are really the creation of Partridge A. More later. 

We struggled through Mo’s first over only to find no respite as Pierre During Plessis took the second over while trying to work out if he is a Frenchman, A South African or indeed a happy Scotsman. As our openers got going, Alan Partridge delivered a Sports Report followed by some investment advice. 

During this time, or a while later, Pierre During Plessis was replaced by Christopher de Verteuil.  It would have been far easier for us all, scorers included, had they just had Five Guys Named Mo. As it was it all proved too much for Lloydy who, proud of his French connection started speaking to him in Swahili. Lloydy had looked a million dollars if The Price is Right, but he chose the wrong frequency and missed a hoik, departing to a jingle from a brewery ad, for 22… 43-1. 

Doug dug in only briefly before being Mo-jaxed and on his arrival at the crease SamDog was asked by Mo where he liked to score, a question with a wide range of possible answers. SamDog wittily replied “on the pitch”. This he did only once before receiving the wrong signal from a late swinger from Christopher of Verteuil who was giving us very little bandwidth. 

He was also keen to get on with things as RolfeDog discovered on one occasion looking up to see him in his delivery stride. One hopes that the Post-Abingdon Spirit of Cricket would have been invoked had the ball hit the wicket although the concept of bowling  - or even starting to run up – after the batsman looks up, needed to be broadcast more clearly. Fortunately the Spirit was in the right frequency modulation when later in the afternoon Alan Partridge was bowled by Mohsin before he was ready: “Wait a mo, Mo, I’ve not tuned in yet” he exclaimed and was invited to stay. 

One extraordinary thing happened: RolfeDog hit a six. As the enormity of this proud moment dawned, the voice of SamDog some 60 yards away and always proud of his Dad, was heard to exclaim “Top Edge”. 

Too much all this for RolfeDog who eventually ‘missed a straight one’ – a phrase once memorably used by the late Sid Bird in a different, unrepeatable context. 

After Brooksie had batted, Scotty called Dakes for an impossible two and Dakes left the field run out until he learned that the ‘keeper’ had suffered some interference with his receiver and not taken the ball cleanly. Scott soon departed however as did Hamsah next ball. It was sheer bad captaincy to ask Hamsah to bat in the middle of a hat-trick, our guy named Mo being destined to suffer the long wave goodbye, next delivery. 

When Jerrylee Brandish came on to bowl a solitary over, this name stuff all proved too much. From 69-2 we were 89-8. Matt Donnelly however, whose name could just about be abbreviated to Mo – if so we are up to three such guys – had slept off the effects of Friday night and he and Dakes rebuilt the innings until Dakes – as he said afterwards – decided to hit one along the ground to long off but went aerial (geddit?) and was caught. 115-9, and in a most unlikely partnership the Joint Unhappiest Scotsman in the World put on 32 with Matt before Matt advanced too far down the superhighway, received the wrong signal, was stumped and like the rest of us, had to suffer the Long Wave goodbye. 


Tea. Roz. Fab. And lots left over for later.

 

The second half of this report will be shorter – a kind of sprint finish, not least because Alan Partridge’s ongoing narration had run out of steam as predicted by the Cumnor umpire (“he falls asleep after a while”). 

We had a team meeting and our skipper told us this was winnable before he opened up and served up a load of dross as if to demonstrate how much faith he had in his other bowlers. Dakes bowled Alex Hodder-Williams (all three of him) with a full toss. Michael Race at the other end was in a hurry to finish the game but could not beat the clock as Hamsah ran him out and then accounted for skipper James Lee next over. 

The only explanation I can offer for the simplicity of the skipper’s name is that had he not have been captain he wouldn’t have made the team, Alphonse Waitawhile Von Du Preez being available to play. Surely Setterfield, who offered stout resistance batting at four, would have been a far more appropriate name for a captain. 

He even had the presence of mind at one stage to advise Lloydy in the slips, that Cumnor Radio was in fact 96.4 not 94.6 

Surprisingly, George Glew did not stick around for long and Christopher de V was caught behind with the score going from 32-0 to 34-5.  A long rebuilding process started until about 10 overs later David Mitty, whose brother Walter was unavailable, was out with the score at 40-6. 

SamDog, standing up was making some good Takes from Dakes, but Alan Partridge’s stand-in and Mo were there for the long term. They had plenty of overs left and got the score up to 69 despite some untimely interruptions and amplified sound from Tommy Beattie on the boundary, before Setterfield was caught by RolfeDog. This is not the first time that RolfeDog’s teammates have been so surprised he caught one that he is mobbed by them. Last year he received a hug from ShakEy and then TombsDog who promptly left the club. 

Tommy was clearly confusing Brooksie who described RolfeDog as “indisponable”. 

But still Cumnor ground away with plenty of time to go as we received support from the returning victorious 2nd XI and the ghost of Morf on the boundary. Captain McTaggart brought himself on to bowl ‘slow stuff’ and gave his ‘bowler’s name’ as I.Turnem which turned out to be fraudulent. 

He then decided to give Scott an over to break the partnership – so he said. The partnership was in fact broken in the over between but Scott got his bowl and was astonished to he taken off after a solitary over, having offered Cumnor only 15 runs towards their total. 

Pierre During Plessis was bowled by Matt Donnelly and this brought in someone called Joshua Keyte at 10. Joshua had not bowled and was clearly only included to further emphasise how mundane all The Ridge’s players names are, Scott Waite being the best we can muster, although Mohsin Sabri and Hamzah Ahmed would rank highly if they were known as Mo and Jo. 

Hamsah was back bowling. He accounted for Joshua and then finally for JerryLee with a particularly Great Ball of Fire and we had won by 29 runs. 

RolfeDog was awarded Biffens Bridge (don’t ask!) for having made a full length dive for a tight run as the ball was being lobbed gently round the field back to the bowler. 

We stayed on to celebrate, well except Doug that is who had promised Jude a night out at Burger King or somewhere similar despite having regaled her early in the morning with a ‘bacon bagel and tea’ (his words). The mind bagles. After all the talk during the day of tuning in, frequency, radio receivers and such, this sounded like an evening of hi-fidelity. 

 Rolfedog

 

 

 Bledlow Ridge 1s vs Banbury 4s

Sat 28th May 2016

BRCC                     251 ao

Banbury lV              128 ao

Won by 123 runs

Having been rained off from a reasonable position 7 days previously, and robbed of 25 well-earned points from the week before, the Ridge found themselves travelling to Banbury rock bottom of the league with just 10 points. This seemed to come as some encouragement to Banbury who were just 4 points above us in ninth. So much so that they had sent a large quorum of players off on a stag do, leaving only a group of players who were either too young or the wrong sex to participate.

Toss duly lost, we were sent in to bat. As Rolfedog scratched around marking his guard, A Badger ( Alex Badger and as this is not a Rolfedog report, there will NOT be a succession of animal, stripes or cull puns forthcoming) appeared to have had enough already and was walking off. As it turned out he was pacing out a run up so long that Welcome Break had started negotiations on the patch of land halfway to the wicket. He only looked about 8, and they were second bottom of the league, but clearly they had a demon fast bowler to open. He charged into the crease, attacked the delivery stride and released …… a lollipop. Unfortunately for Rolfedog it was a straight lollipop, and so beguiled was he by the anticipation of facing a proper quick delivery that he didn’t even bother to play round it. He just didn’t play it and trudged off to round off a miserable week. Doug jogged to the middle, hopping, skipping, stretching. He looked positive, focussed, determined. Fended at the first one, nicked it and nearly caught Rolfey up on the way back to the pavilion.

0-2 off 0.2. For anyone who was wondering how on earth we were bottom of the league, there was a faint light starting to dawn. Samdog came to the crease, making his 1st appearance in the 1s in 2016 and got off the mark first ball to deny Badger a set hat trick. There was an audible sigh of relief from those Ridgebears not at that point looking for a suitably sturdy branch to sling a noose over.

For the next 20 overs or so however, the runs came almost as fast as the wickets had earlier, and when Brooksie, who had opened but avoided the opening cull carnage, swung round a straight one trying to bring up his 50 with a 6, he and Sam had added 114 for the 3rd wicket. A change in bowling brought Chloe Hill on and despite her mother, who was organising the delivery of a thoroughly splendid tea, giving us her name, Shaun still felt compelled to shout out to the middle “Bowler’s phone number please.” Sam continued on as Dakes and Sniff made small cameos, until joined by Scott, who speeded up the running between the wickets and made a very handy 22. When he departed, Sam looked a sure bet for a ton until he got impatient and charged down the wicket to Steve Partington and was stumped for a fine 86. This later got him a Biffens nomination from his father on the basis that he should have got a hundred, which is clearly a much bigger faux pas than getting undone first ball by an opening bowler who makes Taggart look quick and could conceivably be his grandson. At 187-7 (after Saad had briefly come and gone), a realistic target seemed to be just over 200, and looked like it would be enough. Shaun and Hamzah however had other ideas. Shaun played a very mature innings when facing and tried his best to start a fight with the opposition captain (who was not entirely blameless) when not. His final total of 9 belied the value of the innings as at the other end Hamzah was attempting to hit every ball into a different county, and coming close. The ninth wicket produced 51 runs.

In the meantime, as the total was climbing rapidly again, Taggart got out a computer and did some calculations which he then emailed to the London School of Economics, Prof Brian Cox, Stephen Hawkings and the Govt Institute for Fiscal Studies, all of whom confirmed that if he declared at 46 overs, he COULD bowl 18 overs in the second innings. Most agreed that he shouldn’t, but he COULD.

Suitably reassured, he went into bat with Hamzah, declared quick singles strictly off limits and tried to help the young man to 50. Unfortunately, Hamzah went after one too many and got caught off the first one he hadn’t middled, departing for 46 (off 27 balls), leaving the total at 251.  

The second innings was relatively uncomplicated, with Taggart and Dakes both making early inroads, however Taggart then got confused as to whether he had bowled 7 or 8 and thought it best not to risk anything so made way for Hamzah. Doug replaced Dakes and bowled some cunningly deceptive balls (description from the 3 batsman who got out to him) or filth (description from fielders) and Shauny came on at the end to clean up the last wicket with still 19 overs and 123 runs in hand.

After the match, Rolfey worriedly reported that as he had some time on his hands he had borrowed Taggart’s computer and worked out that the sum total of our ages, multiplied by the number of years the club has been in existence, minus the number of enrolled juniors, divided by the number of runs we made last year was in fact divisible by a perfect prime and under the conditions of law 15.2.6.13 sub paragraph 4, the result may be in some doubt. We await the League committee’s decision with baited breath.

But what of Biffens? There were undeniably a number of contenders. We had a diamond duck, a golden duck and a plain old duck. Shaun had tried his best to start a fight (because we really need another interaction with the League Committee), Taggart it later transpired had failed to even appeal for an LBW that the umpire (big thanks due to Graham Keens of Bledlow Village, who umpired for us whilst injured) described as stone dead out and Sam for being just great rather than god like.

Except……. 2 overs from the end, the skipper told Scott that if we didn’t get a wicket in the next 2, he could come on for a bowl. A few balls later, the no.11 hits one straight at him. It goes in. A glint appears in his eye. It goes down. Slam dunk boy. Get the T shirt on!!!

 

Rolfedog is currently away at residential counselling.

 Bledlow Ridge CC v Abingdon Vale II (Away)

 

14h May 2016


Ridge forced to concede defeat in farce at Abingdon

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Spirit of Cricket exposed as meaningless 

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Colin Cowdrey turns in his grave

 

 

 

Abingdon ll       211-9      53 ov

BRCC                 212-8      42 ov

 

Result: BRCC won the battle but lost the war 

 

In an era when the number of teams playing amateur cricket is diminishing it might seem surprising that league rules enable one team to force their visitors to forfeit a match at half time due to a minor and inconsequential technical error.

 

With some enthusiasm Abingdon (AVCC) and their captain in particular, insisted on applying the rule that any team whose bowler exceeds their maximum quota of overs (in this case 17) should forfeit the match.

 

AVCC showed no interest in any sort of compromise. Their captain seized the opportunity to claim victory with relish and later when we scored the winning runs, with contempt.  So much for “The Spirit of Cricket”, a wonderfully principled but ultimately meaningless concept.

 

All it needed at half-time was a statement to the effect that ‘Abingdon are happy to overlook the minor of breach of rules and to continue the match to its conclusion whatever that may be’, but winning a match proved more important to AVCC than playing it. 

 

I have been visiting Abingdon Vale CC’s fine club and ground for 40 years but this was a very low point. There are people at AVCC I have played against who would never have allowed this to happen. There were experienced players in this match too who should have known better.

 

The League ruled twelve days later that Playing Rule 5.15 stands and we accept this decision with good grace as we have accepted a few decisions that have gone against us over the last twelve months. Some of these decisions have also involved AVCC.   It is a shame that after a forfeited match elsewhere last year attracted disapproval, no action had been taken to change the rule.

 

The facts: BRCC reduced AVCC to 80-6 but Abingdon recovered to post 211-9 after 53 overs.  A few overs into his second spell Ian Murdoch asked the (AVCC) umpire whether he was bowling the third or fourth over of his second spell. On being told it was his third he calculated he could bowl his 17 overs out.

 

It transpired that the 52nd over was in fact Ian’s 18th not his 17th. The Abingdon scorer (for the first time ever we had no scorer) filled in the 18th over alongside Ian’s name, and said nothing; well not for 10 minutes when on his arrival at tea he immediately informed the Abingdon umpire that Ian had exceeded his permitted quota.

 

What seemed a minor transgression brought about by incorrect information as described above, soon escalated.  The League later regretted that an amicable solution was not sought. Well it was, but it takes two to tango. This was too good an opportunity for Abingdon to gain twenty-five easy points. They would claim a forfeit and if we played on it would not affect the result, they said.

 

The League’s retrospective suggestion that Ian’s last over  - the penultimate over of the innings - could have been rebowled, while positive in principle, would have been unrealistic in practice. Supposing we had all trooped out again and Ian’s replacement had taken the final wicket first ball, we would then have been chasing 204 not 212.  Given Abingdon’s reluctance to accept the erroneous over, I cannot imagine they would have accepted that possibility; and how are teams to guess what alternative solution would be acceptable to the League?

 

We held a team meeting, decided we would play anyway “in the spirit of cricket” – this is what we look forward to all week and why we were there – and then contest the forfeit.

 

After a shaky start we knocked off the runs, with five overs to spare. Five!  We won easily. The captain had the poor grace to call out ‘no points’ as we hit the winning runs.

 

Our players had agreed we would behave in an exemplary manner and I am pleased to say we did. No adverse comments were made and we stayed for a few drinks. 

 

By the time Ian arrived home AVCC had posted the result as a forfeit.  An email dialogue followed with the League in which Ian, among other things, pointed out that as he had taken no wickets and conceded 5 runs in the over in question (the average run rate was 4 per over) it would have made no difference if his Granny had been bowling.

 

This is the only point on which he and I differ. Had his Granny been available we would have bowled Abingdon out much earlier in the afternoon and none of this would have happened.

 

So, after a delay the League has stuck to the rules. Some have said they had no choice.

 

Personally, I think they have missed a massive opportunity to rule in favour of The Spirit of Cricket and to give The Spirit of Cricket real teeth.  A ruling in favour of cricket would have made it clear to all clubs that they need to think very carefully before taking any actions that go against the spirit of the game. In future a captain would have to consider the potential implications of relying on a rule that was badly conceived for matches in Division 5 without panel umpires

 

There would be a bigger picture too. For example it might improve behaviour if teams knew that football-type mass protests would not be tolerated, and at the other end of the scale it might encourage umpires to have a quiet word with fielders delivering non-stop drivel at batsmen all afternoon. I have no doubt there would be other situations requiring captains to think before acting.

 

As it is, the message which has been delivered is that The Spirit of Cricket is something we mention in passing but something which has no value. Why should Abingdon Vale care about The Spirit of Cricket? Their gentle censure, shared equally with ourselves, was well worth 25 points to them. Teams and their captains now know they can ignore The Spirit of Cricket and umpires know they cannot rely on it.

 

Abingdon Vale owe us one. After a poor ruling on a boundary on the penultimate ball cost us the match last year, we got home to find we had also been docked two points for over-rate despite after-match conversations in which this had not been raised.

 

As for this match. Dakes ate a large sandwich and started the match with an 11-ball over. Umpire Dickers Bird flapped his arms so much he all but took off. Dakes ended his spell with the worst bouncer in the history of cricket to which the batsman played an overarm smash for four. Dakes did bat well though for his 79 to win the game.   A shame.

 

A shame also that the following week the AVCC 3s captain (who had presumably played against us) told Mike Gillett ‘we would have played it differently’.

 

Well I was on the field for the last 15 overs substituting for their injured umpire. Mitchell, Hartley and Butcher all bowled lengthy spells. Believe me, Abingdon gave it everything.

 

 Bledlow Ridge CC v Thame II (Home)

 

7th May 2016

 

BRCC         117ao – 47.4 ov

Thame II     121-3  – 29.3 ov


Lost by 7 wickets 

 

Matt arrived with Great Expectations. Didn’t we all? It spent the afternoon on the ground by Scott’s feet and remained there long into the evening after Matt had gone… to look for his bat presumably. The one he didn’t know he had until his dad reminded him after his innings.

 

Well in the “Tale of Two Cities” (Bledlow Ridge v Thame) he top scored with 36 using RolfeDog’s bat in an otherwise undistinguished team batting performance of 117 all out.

 

Doug doug in with him for a while for 22, an innings characterized by a balletic sweep shot in which he ended lying on the ground with a score of 8.2 for style, before holing out and going into an extended period of introspection.

 

Earlier, RolfeDog , Brooksie, Mohsin and Saad had not troubled the scorers much.


Scott however looked as though he would until BirdDog, in a fit of jealousy, ran him out. We collapsed and failed to use the last few overs.

 

After Roz’ usual five star tea we got off to a good start when Captain McTaggart bowled an opener then took himself off to preserve his average and replaced himself with Mohsin’s off-spin.

 

Dakes was wheeling from the top end, all arms, legs and new-found beard in an attempt to fool the batsmen. He did succeed in fooling the close fielders however and he will have to get used to this for another year and hit the stumps instead.

 

Mohsin is a good find and bowled with increasing confidence bowling more slowly toward the end and taking the third wicket, ending with figures of 10.3 – 2- 30-1.

 

It transpired that all this time, ShakEy spectating on the boundary would have done everything differently as he advised us afterwards, especially McTaggart who made the mistake of knocking over his large red. ShakEy would have had none of the bowlers bowling, or all of them, I can’t remember which, but whichever it was he would most certainly have bowled Doug.

 

Clearly there is some sort of red-wine-bribe arrangement going on here as ShakEy is convinced that Doug, Doug and only Doug could have saved the day and would have taken the seven wickets we did not get after Sean with his first ball had broken the long second wicket partnership. 

 

So we have started with a defeat (“Hard Times” – C Dickens, 1854) due more to our batting than bowling or fielding and thanks to ShakEy’s dissertation we know what to do next time.

 

I returned Matt’s copy of “Great Expectations” to an address in Stubbs Lane where he lives in a “Bleak House” (C Dickens, 1952).

Bledlow Ridge v Kimble  (Away) – Friendly

Sunday 1st May 2016 

 

A Saint, Two Angells and the Angel Gabrielle  are not enough to defeat Kimble

 

Dom the Gazelle keeps Kimble on the Run

 

 

45 over match  (12 –a-side) 

Lost by 54 runs

 

Kimble: 191-9

BRCC:    137-8 

 

“Be there, ready and changed by 1.30pm” Captain McTaggart had commanded and in he wandered at 1.30+30 seconds and proceeded to deliver a slightly tedious lecture on plans for clubs in the South East of England to completely overhaul the league cricket system on a regionalised basis from 2017 with teams divided into Zones or was it FanZones?… I can’t remember. 

Neither can Marcus, whose mind was miles away in a state of bliss. Kimble’s dressing room, let alone their whole clubhouse, was covered in A4 laminated notices and Marcus was like the proverbial p** in s*** as somebody astutely put it. 

Forget the Zika Virus, the outbreak of laminatis , so devastating in Bledlow Ridge in recent weeks is now out of hand and has overwhelmed the village of Kimble and will no doubt leave others in its wake especially on sunny but freezing afternoons like these. 

The captains went out to the wicket to toss up and in an interesting break with tradition McTaggart gestured from afar with a few imaginary batting strokes – well the best he could muster – and returned to the dressing room to announce we were bowling. Irony he called it. - we preferred ‘senility’. 

David Saint opened the bowling on his club debut.  There used to be someone else known as “Saint” at the club, but now exiled in Italy his reign has ended: the Saint has been replaced by a Super-Saint. 

After a couple of looseners the batsmen took a single and David bowled to someone who had no doubt spent all winter cleaning his kit, dreaming of the return of spring, the start of the cricket season and with it the chance to bat for long periods. 

He was probably contemplating a long innings when second ball, he struck a firm drive back past said bowler who being new to the club, has never seen ShakEy’s method of fielding off his own bowling (with his foot), that of The Artist Formerly Known as Geoff (with his head) or Dakes’ (not at all)  and took a stunning aerial one-handed return catch,  at the same time breaking the Olympic high jump record. By the end of the over he had taken another wicket. At this moment he considered collapsing injured never to play again leaving with us with memories of the first Freddie Flintoff to have played for the Ridge. 

We got them 30-6. Somehow Mike Gillett did not get a wicket but that was because David had decided against matrydom and was instead being greedy picking up two more of his own, one of which was – wait for it – an outstanding one-handed catch by James HairBear who was not wearing Dave Bird’s trousers. He had however borrowed almost every other item of equipment, including presumably, David Saint’s right hand. 

The man who has shared last place in the Happiest Scotsman of the Year Award with Captain McTaggart for the last three years had arrived at the ground to offer some support. Dismal Doug mentioned to someone on the boundary that Paul Daly may play a lot more cricket this year with the comment “the more the merrier”. The proof will be in the pudding of course but it is hard to imagine a team with Doug, McTaggart and Dales adding greatly to the level of merriment at the club. More likely, this was the second example of irony during the day and we may have to continue relying on Brooksie’s astute sense of humour instead to keep us merry. 

Our dominant position prompted Captain McTaggart to ask James HairBear if he would like a bowl, but James said he had nothing to put in it. When it was explained that he was being offered the chance to bowl, he returned the favour with two wickets of his own (2-17 off six)  and a couple of wide legside deliveries in order to get Brooksie’s trousers dirty in case Brooksie was wearing trousers belonging to Dave Bird. 

Alan Loxton, another debutant, replaced Mike and produced the most economical figures of the day, conceding only 14 runs from his seven overs and unlucky not to have a wicket or two, as by now, we had started trying to catch the ball with two hands not one. 

At this point RolfeDog had to leave the field to dress a wound that was at least two millimetres long and which prompted the very amusing Brooksie to ask which fingernail had been damaged. 

All this while Dom was fielding on the long boundary about three miles away, out of earshot one would have thought but it transpired that the prevailing wind had carried to him much of Lloydy’s discussion with Brooksie about the state of Dom’s beard, which is beginning to take over and threaten mankind, well that element of mankind which has not been overrun by laminatis. 

McTaggart mentioned it would be nice to chase “at least 150”. Sometimes you get what you wish for and for this purpose McTaggart decided to add variety to the bowling. 

We had already informed their scorer that our bowler “Saint”, had been replaced by an Angell. “What?  --- “Angell…” came the reply   “…with two ‘lls’… as opposed to Christmas with no-el” we quipped wittily and Sniff giggled. 

Jai bowled his first four overs for the senior club before Marcus – who was by now covered in laminating paper and Dom’s beard, came on to bowl. “Bowler’s name?” … “Angell… with two lls” came the reply…“What? Another one?” queried the scorer doubtfully. 

Inevitably Dom was the next to be called on to try his arm. “Bowlers name - another Angell I suppose?” called the Kimble scorer, an Unbeliever, slightly sarcastically. 

“Well you’re not going to believe this” came our reply… “ His name is Gabrielle”. 

While the scorer was being brought round with smelling salts and the aroma of laminated paper, Dom had a long spell.  He’s used to these of course as he has a particularly long name. But this one was with the ball. 

Dom went through his entire not inconsiderable, repertoire. After 11 deliveries, Brooksie started walking to the other end for the next over but the umpire remained unmoved (Brooksie never could count to six) “One more ball” said the umpire, “Well if we’re lucky” said McCaptain who has spent much of the winter attending courses in the art of motivational leadership. 

And so it came to pass that Dom’s long bowling spell did come to an end and for the remainder of the innings he stayed within earshot of Lloydy and Brooksie in case the subject of beards was raised. 

Our wish of chasing over 150 was granted, helped by McTaggart who came on to bowl and conceded the only six of the innings before conning some late batsmen into donating their wickets to him, just in case he was thinking of bringing on Lloydy instead.  

Their score would have been even more than 191 had it not been for the athletic performance of Schniff on the deep cover boundary. He had clearly upped his game for the benefit of a young lady watching nearby, a point which did not escape Brooksie who was in particularly talkative mood.  A series of encouraging remarks ensued along the lines of Scniphh impressing “his missus” (Sniff being madly in love these days) only to learn that this young lady was Mrs Saint who had arrived to support her husband (as if he needed any on the day) and to gain her first impression of Bledlow Ridge cricketers and their sense of humour. 

Undeterred, David returned at the top end and inevitably took a wicket straight away, inducing a catch to Brooksie with no help from Snipff – another example of irony during the afternoon. David ended with 5-22 off six. 

Kimble ended on 191-9. Our one-handed catching had proved rather better than our two-handed catching and one of the beneficiaries was the opener A Whitehead who ended on 81 not out. He was nevertheless entitled to be pleased with his innings and received various congratulations from our team up till the point that Captain McHappy shook his hand and sent him on his way to tea with a ‘tart’: “How many times did we drop you?” 

Such a long report and yet only half way through. Well actually, the second half will not take long and would hardly take any space at all had it not been for a very special performance by the Angel Gabrielle (aka Dom) as opposed to an Angell Gabriel. 

Yes Dom’s career-best performance outshone RolfeDog (14) and Lloydy (a very lucky 58) who gave us a start. Martin Harris with 17 gave us a Sniff of a chance, but then Brooksie was out for 1 (Dom took note of this) Jai survived 14 balls on his debut for 4 and Alan paid a brief visit to the wicket while his wife – who Brooksie had not mistaken for a friend of Sniff’s – melted the icicles  from her hands with a hot cup of tea. 

As the game receded it was Dom who caught the eye with a startling display of running between the wickets of which the late great runner-and-caller Sidney Bird would have been particularly proud. 

Dom batting with HairBear represented the most hirsute partnership to have represented the Ridge, one which RolfeDog and LLoydy will do well ever to emulate, at least without help from Shane Warne Hair Products. 

A Kimble club stalwart kindly took over the scoring and interpreted Marcus’ squiggle of “Gabrielle” as “Gazelle” so Dom, with his sharp hearing must have heard this and decided to rise to the challenge. 

They set off for a run, Dom and Hairbear that is. Well HairBear set off for a run but Dom set off for two, head down, turbo full on. HairBear (HB) suddenly spied his partner heading back in his direction and set off, but by now The Angel Gabrielle was braking. HB reacted by quickly going in reverse, but Dom had to do the same, was a long way from home and had a bad case of wheelspin. He eventually gained traction, turned and went just as the ball rolled past him, both of them in a race to the bowler’s end.  It was a tight call and caught up in the emotion of it all Dom gave himself out and began to leave the pitch only to discover that he had not been given out by the umpire, which is what counts. 

Having got through this, HairBear heard his McCaptain shout “Hit Out” or similar, and expired next ball, thinking the call was “Get Out”. Either way it had the desired effect because it soon brought McTaggart to the wicket following a brief interruption by Marcus whose short innings feature one piece of running where he and Dom were both going in the same direction. 

As the game expired too, we were treated to a masterclass from Dom who played the sumptuous cover drive he has been threatening for a couple of seasons now and ended on a career-best 15 not out. 

Dom left the left the field to applause and as he reached the boundary, generously wished Brooksie, who had made 1, the best of luck next time he batted. Our ‘new’ Saint hadn’t needed any luck: we now realize that Richard Sainter, aka The Artist Formerly Known as Saint, was merely keeping the seat warm until a real Saint came along.

 

The Saint is gone … long live the Saint. 

 

A Footnote 

An observation from a cricketing hack. Purely my own views, not the club’s, perhaps not the same as anyone under 25, not the same as anyone drunk on a diet of T20. 

Limited overs matches are often far more tedious than ‘proper’ games. 

‘Proper’ games? – what are these? They are games where a draw is one of three possible results. 

‘Boring’, I hear some of you say. 

The thing about most drawn games is that there was the possibility of a win for one or other team, right to the last. This does depend on both teams being prepared to risk losing to win, because with out this you can have boring draws, I grant you that. 

Just as you can have boring T20s, 40-40s 50-50s etc. 

‘No you can’t’!  

‘Yes you can’:  as soon as it becomes obvious the team batting second cannot win the game is boring. That might be after just a few overs. There is no incentive left for ether team. No incentive for the batting side to go for it, no incentive for the bowling side to take wickets. 

In a ‘proper’ game, the team bowling second has to keep taking wickets to win the game. They have to use guile and tactics, sometimes feeding runs to keep the other side interested, sometimes working hard not to let the game run away. 

If the game is effectively over after a few overs of the second innings of a limited overs game and there are loads of overs left to be bowled, it will be more ‘boring’ than a match in which a draw can be a result.

 

Just saying.