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Bledlow Ridge 1s v Banbury 4s

 

Home : Saturday 1st September 2018

 

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Ridge Win Again Despite Presence of Non-Playing Captain

 

Planets Realign as Dakes, RolfeDog, Gilet (and Taggart) Resume Rightful Roles

 

HairBear ‘Goes Indian’ and Celebrates Season Mostly in Horizontal Position

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BRCC:             286 (50 overs)

Banbury:      171 all out (36.2 overs)

 

Result:  BRCC Won by 115 runs

 

And so, in the last match of a long and successful season, order was finally restored.

 

Captain DakesEye became a Sloth again, RolfeDog, with more runs on the day than BenDog returned to his rightful position of top run-scorer, Lloydy spilled a dolly, we had a proper ‘keeper wearing scuba gear, Hollywood had a bowl and Gilet was back in the wickets; Henry and Doug were watching on the sidelines and Geoff turned up to remind himself of former glories.

 

Talking of which, BenDog needed just 18 runs to beat Middy’s record of 753 league runs in one season, made back in 1933 – and did he string it out or what?!

 

We opened up with the now-traditional Hamsah firework show. Opening bowlers just can’t stand it (see MR two weeks ago v Buckingham) as they expect opening batsmen to pat the ball back in the traditional manner.

 

No team has used a pinch-hitter up the order as we have done in 50:50 matches and if I didn’t know Captain DakesEye better, I’d say it was an inspirational move; more likely he got the idea from a discarded cigarette card lying on the patio floor somewhere.

 

Banbury players all got into a state watching Hamsah launch some air-shots, air-shots as in air-guitar: great play but without contact with the instrument. When Luke Wetherill offered him some advice from square leg then dropped him next ball, Hamsah was up and running and it all went very quiet. In fact there’s not much running involved when Hamsah is batting (thank God) and when he was bowled by a low one from the aforementioned Luke Wetherill early in the fifth over, his scoring sequence had been 1,4,4,4,4,4,6 = 27: 41-1 after 29 deliveries of which RolfeDog had blocked at least nine.

 

Mr Wetherill responded with “that’s enough of that filth” and RolfeDog at the other end was inclined to return the compliment but didn’t, instead saying there was no need for a send-off and this caused a bit of a hissy-fit.

 

Under instructions from Middsy, RolfeDog tried to run BenDog out a few times alas without success. BenDog was focussed and determined and certainly determined not to be run out.

 

Just after drinks RolfeDog was himself run out at the non-strikers end when in an act of revenge BenDog struck the ball back so that the outstretched finger of bowler Seb Finch deflected it on to the stumps with RolfeDog out of his ground. Out for 62, one short of his age, a score more and more difficult to reach as the years pass by.

 

Not so hard for BenDog (aged 42) who expired on 43 not only caught by a Badger but also bowled by a Badger. Well O. Badger actually.

 

His total runs for the season? 779. Geoff Tombs’ season’s record for a RidgeBear? 780… OMG!... LOL…albeit in the South Mid Bucks Short-Ass Wine-Connoisseur’s U16 League, back in the 70s or 80s.

 

Great news came through from the 2s at Kingston Bagpuize: Chesh and Taggart were both out for 0, having we understand, managed to meet midwicket and effect the first ever double runout off the same delivery, the umpires adjudging them both dismissed in order to save time. Back at our place, Hollywood was undone by a full toss from a Badger and Allan joined Middsy on 167-4.

 

Where was DakesEye?

 

Answer: in a trance on the boundary occasionally shouting “We want 400” on the basis that if RolfeDog can make 50 then batting must be a piece of cheesecake.

 

The person most likely to get us somewhere near 400 was the person on the boundary shouting “We want 400”. Not even padded up, hardly even dressed. “We want 400… get on with it…. we want 400”.

 

Middsy knew better, judging the wicket too slow to take inordinate risks. Allan, being an animal lover briefly took kindly to the Badger before being dismissed for 18, becoming his third victim and completing Badger’s set, as it were.

 

LLoydy joined MIddsy and decided Middsy was a good judge of the wicket and built up the score steadily, immune to cries of “Get on with it Lloydy” from Captain DakesEye who occasionally flung his beard on the floor in frustration.

 

Eventually Middsy ran passed one and was either stumped or run out – hard to tell - which brought Junaid to the wicket for a cameo in which he struck the Badger against the sightscreen and the RSPCA was called.  He too was stumped by Alistair Short, short of his ground, then with the score at 226-7 out hopped Birdy and with it any chance of the sort of ridiculous total that DakesEye, now putting his beard back together, was mumbling on about.

 

He and Lloydy took the score up to 286-7 which was reached with a final boundary from Lloydy who will be 50 in two months’ time. LLoydy ended 47 not out, as if to demonstrate how difficult it is for some of us to make a score which matches our age. Birdy with 24 not out did at least match his maturity in terms of years. We ended the season 7-down with Lloyds and BirdDog at the wicket with DakesEye due in next. Not to mention Gilet who has hit at least one boundary this year.

 

Sheri Loxton made a good attempt to knock Roz off her lofty perch and there were warnings of Tea Wars to come. She did however receive a reprimand from Gilet for not shopping at Tesco and thereby depressing the share price.

 

BenDog, an investment banker with a house the size of a small country and a car which turns into an aeroplane, was heard to say in a severe attack of irony that football is a great game but spoiled by all that money. RolfeDog spilled the contents of an egg mayonnaise sandwich all over his bib and had to be wiped up. “Who’s coming to RolfeDog’s funeral?” asked BirdDog who went to put on his spare body parts in preparation for a spell behind the timbers.

 

Not only had DakesEye not batted he had decided not to bowl. Finally, finally, therefore, our best bowler, Mike Statto Gilet was given the chance to open and to bound down the hill, the first time this has happened on the first day of a month. He extracted two LBWs from Umpire Graham something that no other Ridge bowler has achieved all year, at least not on the first day of a month.

 

Adnan Ahmed who had caused us a bit of bother with 70-odd at their place achieved a first for the day, namely a bit of action from DakesEye. He had tried giving a catch to Lloydy earlier but gave up on him and hit one to Dakes who

back-pedalled at mid-on to take a catch meaning another wicket for Gilet.

 

Then Short was caught short, caught by Hamsah and they were 75-4 all dismissed by Gilet.

 

Dakes did the only thing possible at that point and took Gilet off. Hamsah at the bottom end had been replaced by Junaid who bowled Kieran Churchill and had Luke Wetherill caught by Matt Hollywood. Allan replaced Gilet and had to bowl a lot to the aggressive and effective Andrew Prior. Non-Captain Dakeseye played a tactical blinder based on an old Chinese Board game wherein he removed a playing piece, in this case a fielder, every time Prior hit a boundary, just for the hell of it, mostly to annoy the Dog family.

 

Allan removed Richard Wetherill (aka “Dad” by his captain) caught by Junaid. Junaid’s final bowling figures were 6-1-23-2. He was replaced by Matt “I can’t bowl” Hollywood who eventually removed 3-year-old Seb Finch who had batted stubbornly for a while.

 

Talking about “stubbornly”, Dakes was by now mentally “curled into a ball in the fork of a tropical tree” which Google says is where sloths mostly live. NO he wasn’t going to bowl, NO he wasn’t going to change the field, and at the moment RolfeDog hurled his eyebrows onto the ground in frustration, DakesEye exclaimed “I am going to do the opposite of everything RolfeDog suggests”.

 

RolfeDog suggested DakesEye shouldn’t run off and put his whole head in a large ice bucket and DakesEye became suddenly deaf.

 

There was a tight run out chance which went begging, prompting RolfeDog (who has never kept wicket in a league match) to give BIrdDog some wicketkeeping advice. “How long have you been playing cricket?” asked BirdDog which was probably the wrong question to ask RolfeDog. At the next opportunity RolfeDog threw the ball in when the sun was right in BirdDog’s eyes and thought it very funny.

 

All this was the perfect build-up to a sharp stumping attempt off Brighthollywell. As BirdDog has been playing cricket for less than fifty years it was rightly rejected out of hand and this resulted in a tizzy-fit from BirdDog whose mantra this season has been “It is what it is”.  Except when it isn’t presumably.

 

That BirdDog was clearly in a state of mental collapse became evident when he celebrated Junaid dropping a difficult skier (thinking he had caught it, obviously). By now Gilet was in a stage of panic with four wickets to his name and only two wickets left to take. Fortunately there was yet another Wetherill available to bat and Captain Joseph obliged by hitting one up in the air to Allan who caught it comfortably because he mistook it for one of the many cup cakes we had had for tea. BirdDog kept silent as by now he had lost all idea of when a batsman is out or not out, but Gilet made a delightful little skip, known as a Pique Turn in the world of ballet, the first time this has been performed by a Wycombe Wanderers supporter taking his fifth wicket. In September.

 

Finally Wellbrightholly got someone out who was aged more than three, Junaid taking a Skier off Prior (geddit?) to general celebration for the end of a season in which we had broken and established various club records. Statto’s figures were 9-2-31-5 and at last he had the best average (6.20) and best Strike Rate (10.80) in a match. Is there a future for DakesEye we pondered having won without him again as it were. For his part we had won by 115 runs despite  moving all the fielders out of the way and watching the game from high up in a tree.

 

No doubt Statto and Taggart will lock horns and produce the season’s statistics. As far as our league status is concerned we came second by just three points to Challow, who also won on Saturday. They had no games abandoned for rain during the season. We lost a potential 19 points in each of three games abandoned, so we might well have won the league by a clear 54 points. No other side in the top eight divisions had three matches abandoned.

 

We lost one game, v Twyford at home. Only Oxford Downs 1s went the season unbeaten and they were promoted into the Thames Valley as Division 1 Champions.  Charlbury 2s who won Division 8 were the only other team in ten divisions to lose just one game.

 

Our evening petered out quietly except for the five hundred or so cans of lager and numerous jugs of beer which were consumed over the next six hours, and except for the full evening of karaoke and except for Indian food ordered by Sharon, for fifteen people, which by now included HairBear.

 

Bear asked that nice man Hollywood for advice about what to have and accepted the recommendation of  Phall which within the hour had almost killed him and which he somehow blamed on RolfeDog on whom he threatened revenge between bouts of exceptional nausea and lying on the ground.

 

BenDog proved he not only holds the record for The Ridge League Aggregate Run-Scorer, he also won the season’s award for Worst Ridge Karaoke Singer Ever. RolfeDog got occasional stick and was able to retaliate by grabbing the mic and asking the audience who the 1s top scorer was that day. ShakEy arrived and had some red.

 

The world therefore, was back to normal. Lloydy left for another party dressed up as something like a Mermaid (or was it a Dolly?!), HairBear was laid out on the floor, the girls were dancing to the music (except when BenDog took the mic), the blokes were gathered in a small group somewhere else telling blokey jokes, finding everything funny, bursting into laughter and making “aaaaarrrrggghhh” noises for reasons which could only be blamed on alcohol and a general lack of education.

 

The 2s returned at some stage.

 

Taggart described his second consecutive duck in some detail. His 91 not out seemed a long time ago. He said he would be bowling again next year as he could see no future as a batsman.

 

Normality had indeed returned.

 

 

James Goodband is currently unavailable for comment.

 

 

 

Bledlow Ridge 1s v Sandford St Martin 2s

 

Away : Saturday 25th August 2018

 

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Family Bust-Up as RolfeDog Disappears Down Black Hole Created by Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang

 

 

Gilet Combusts as SamDog Makes 132 and The Ridge Secures Promotion on Day of Records

 

 

Umpire Gains Revenge as Guilty Verdict is Passed in Post-Match Court Case

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BRCC:    382-5 (50 overs)

SSM:      274-5 (50 overs)

 

Result:  BRCC Won by 108 runs

 

So many questions to answer:  Who is the best-looking RidgeBear? Could we win without Dakes? Would we get promotion today? Would we be able to find Sandford St Martin? Who is the fairest of them all? What is Quantum Physics? Does Cooperman chop wood? What is the meaning of Ben Ackland Snow?  Why was Ben Keeping not available? 

Just as we mused on the last of these questions a silent car landed gently on the car park. Its doors and its boot opened and a mechanism removed the driver from the car, placed him upright on the grass, removed a kitbag from the boot, placed it in his right hand and remotely closed all the doors which flapped behind him like a pigeon completing a bath. 

If this was Wallace, where was Gromit? And was the vehicle a Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang for grown-ups? 

On second sight this Wallace-in-a-Tesler turned out to be an investment banker with beautiful wavy hair, suave good looks and over 600 runs banked (geddit?) for the season. It was not Wallace, it was his personal adviser BenDog alias BenGod. 

“Why are you here BenDog?” asked BirdDog “You are not available”. A stunned BenDog imagined all those WhatsApps, text messages and team lists on the website and realised his butler must have missed them all. ‘What is the market like for replacement butlers?’ he mused. 

“I was always available”, he pleaded’, I said I’d let you know if I thought of somewhere to go on holiday even further away than Cornwall. 

“Like the Silly Isles” asked BirdDog, remembering the one geography lesson he ever attended. “Like the Scilly Isles” corrected BenDog who had studied metaphysics at Hogwarts and instinctively knew BirdDog had misspelt the word in his mind. 

“You’d better go and see Captain SamDog” said BirdDog. 

BenDog walked into the dressing room at the moment SamDog was saying to RolfeDog what a relief it was not to have BenDog in the team and the worry about what time he would arrive.  BenDog had in fact managed to arrive early for a game he wasn’t playing in. 

“Well he’s got to play said RolfeDog” and went to tell Birdy he was dropped. Birdy for his part, made the point that as Sandford St Martin (SSM) were far more intelligent than us, he had to play because he had been to Princes Risborough Uni. 

“Well I could go home and spend the afternoon with my wife” offered BenDog. SamDog instinctively knew that this was the last thing that Hermione would want and that in any case she would not give him catching practice (see last week’s report re the Loxtons). 

So SamDog fired RolfeDog, his father, mentor, tutor and cricket coach. Axed, without ceremony. “After all I’ve done for you” said RolfeDog. “Remember when you locked me in my room in Year 8, until I finished my Quantum Physics homework?” asked SamDog “I told you then, you’d pay for it some day”. 

“In that case, said RolfeDog, I’ll go and spend the afternoon with Hermione, remembering the day he accompanied this six-foot blond, former ladies Rowing Blue to a Varsity Rugby Match, when a number of people randomly stopped her to congratulate her on her choice of handsome partner (and Hamsah and Hollywood hadn’t even been heard of then0 and to ask him for investment advice. 

And so it came to pass that every Dog has its day even if it means that SamDog and BirdDog conspire to replace RolfeDog with BenDog. BenDog in a fit of jealousy forbade RolfeDog from visiting Hermione. 

A cricket match broke out and the Greatest Living Batsman in History, aka Midds, opened the batting with The Greatest Living Batsman of 2018, BenGod. 

The first great news of the afternoon came from The Ridge 2s where Chesh had successfully run out Taggart without facing. “Taggart is the only person we’d want that to happen to more than you RolfeDog” said one of his good mates, Brooksie or Birdy. Later, in the evening Chesh would spend hours trying to make up for it by buying the Scotsman alcohol under the impression that it helps to feed the patient with his favourite poison. 

SSM only had ten but the opening trio of Ben Ackland Snow (BAS) was making the ball sing, with similar bowling from Ben Taylor at the other end. A bowler can still bowl a good ball without a full complement of fielders and so it was that Midds got a cheesecake (or a Jaffa if you did not go to Princes RIsbro Uni) from Ben Taylor who also once went to university. 

Captain SamDog joined BenGod and started with a series of fluent shots through 3rd man off the middle of the edge. Records were beckoning. First a 50 for SamDog, 100 partnership, then a 50 for BenGod, 150 partnership and so it went on. 

Gilet was in the scorebox where injured SSM captain George Thorne was using a computer programme to score. The combination of this technology and all these Ridge landmarks made Statto-Gilet occasionally set on fire and froth at the mouth. RolfeDog, still reeling from the afternoon’s events was called upon to revive him with a series of fine jokes. 

There was almost a runout when in a rehearsed move, a SSM fielder at cover slid as if celebrating a goal for Man U (chance would be a fine thing) and propelled the ball hard off his knee to extra cover who almost ran SamDog out. 

Otherwise the batsmen were making hay, this being a ground in the farming community as the sweet aroma of manure nearby reminded us, but Nathan “Skippy” Marsh came on as fourth change and asked a few questions like “Fancy a barbie mate?” in a distinctive Antipodean accent. 

He should have bowled earlier but one can only assume that he was not allowed to bowl for the first 80 minutes to satisfy some immigrant quarantine regulations, or perhaps there is a language barrier or perhaps SSM do not recognise his university degree. 

The partnership reached 236 and with Gilet on his third sedative, BenGod missed one from Skippy and was cleaned up, which was a special treat for someone who has spent the last six or seven years cleaning up after a brood of children. 

On returning to the pavilion he kindly donated his score of 94 to RolfeDog. 

SamDog eked out his first league century by trying to run both himself and Fats out before reaching the milestone with a deft edge for four off Skippy Marsh who congratulated him with a fist punch. This Gilet noted, was the first time such a friendly gesture had ever been made by an Australian bowler to a centurion since Shane Warne said “Well batted Freddie” to Flintoff at Edgbaston in 2005. Freddie’s innings was on a Thursday however, so SamDog’s was even better in Gilet’s view and Gilet had to be revived with a Tommy Cooper gag. 


SamDog went on to 132 including one large straight six, until the moment that his father decided he should film a few shots for austerity, or is it posterity, whereupon the very next ball he hit one off Ben Ackland Snow hard to deep extra cover where he was caught. I see from looking at the scoresheet, that the catcher was somehow also Ben Ackland Snow which only goes to prove that the said individual has solved the conundrum of space and time. Having mastered Quantum Physics he has apparently now turned his attention to Accountancy to which he has brought his knowledge of time and space to improve the Faster Payments system and with any luck will stop my money disappearing down a black hole which is the problem with Quantum Physics. 

That paragraph contained two long sentences. 

Gilet observed that this was the first time a left-handed ‘keeper-captain had ever made 132 for The Ridge. At Sandford. 

Fielding is hard work against a big total but SSM stuck to their task although there was one unfortunate moment when BAS made a sliding boundary stop only to propel the ball over the line with both knees in the aforementioned practised-manoeuvre. The words “baby giraffe” were muttered by one of the awaiting Ridge batsmen, probably Ben Hillarious and an investigation is under way into this example of bad manners which is usually the domain of BirdDog. 

Talking of BirdDog, he said: “We don’t really miss Geoff Tombs do we?” Everyone else agreed then talked about him for half an hour. 

Fats had been sent in as a token right hander and he and Junaid kept up the momentum despite their general reluctance to run. Junaid it seems, runs on his toes and being quite a big chap made me think of an Amazing Dancing Bear. Junaid made 28 and Fats 20 before Brooksie (26no) – who is always up for a little asterisk -was joined by Allan (10no) and took the total to a Ridge record breaking 382-5 with Skippy ending with three wickets for SMM. 

Tea was excellent and included Carrot Cake (Roz take please note) but despite this it took a lot to prize away Statto-Gilet from the scorebox, the computer and all those records. Astonishingly on this bright Summer’s day it began to rain – potentially our fourth rained-off fixture – but happily after a short while BAS’s face reappeared again from the clouds and we were OK. 

SSM’s priority was to get a full five bonus points.  Cooperman - who I learned on the way home is a Thespian (or as they say in Spain, a “Thethpian” – ask me Birdy) on his return became the first RidgeBear to open the bowling with a man-bun and after a while induced a catch from Ben Taylor, snaffled by Allan who for once caught the ball without any unnecessary falling over. 

During Martin Anson and John Springer’s second wicket partnership of 68 the traffic lights in SSM turned green somewhere and a long line of cars arrived. This was the returning SSM 1st X1 who were encouraged by the sight of the score at 50-1 on the scoreboard with a target of only 77. Unfortunately the 77 was the Duckworth Lewis par-score for this particular over (there being a hint of rain about) and the D/L score grew by increasing margins during the afternoon. 

Cooperman’s first eight overs went for 1-29 and Junaid’s first six, 0-32. Ben Hillarious eventually bowled Martin Ansom (pronounced ‘Handsome’) for 24. John Springer was joined by Skippy Marsh and they put on 80 while Gilet-Statto bowled another mean but wicketless spell there being a league conspiracy not to get out to him. 

Eventually Springer knicked-off behind, caught SamDog bowled Allan bringing someone called Derek Hoebrugger to the wicket, a name that just reeks of intellect and The Ridge immediately felt insecure.  It was a long time before Hillarious bowled him in his second spell for 43 with the score 241-4 and five batting bonus points in the bag. 

It only remained for BAS to fall to a fine diving catch by SamDog and while BAS hung around for a moment while the decision was confirmed we witnessed the unusual sight of the batsman’s teammates on the boundary telling him to get off which he did without complaint or throwing his bat, or smashing anything. 

SSM ended on 274-5 with Skippy making a cultured 85no, not something you can often say about an Australian. 

Both teams had a Bird who did not bat, bowl or even fly (BenGod has a car that can fiy FFS) and BirdDog got the Thanks for Coming Award this week ahead of RolfeDog who was credited with Ben’s 94 of course. Among SSM’s did-not-bat batsmen was Fred Lamb who was spared from slaughter.   

The computer programme produced more scorer’s delights: 

Junaid bowled 40 dot balls, Gilet 42 and Cooperman was wedged in the middle with 41. Statto took 0-38 off 10, Junaid 1-63 and Hilarious 2-63. We won the other match by only bowling 30 wides against SSM’s 57 which we generously did not applaud. In fact not only are we promoted we are the Wides Champions for the whole of the Cherwell League with 292 to date and we have done pretty well with 62 no balls too. A total of 354 extra deliveries means we have already bowled an additional match.  

Availability for next week was checked and is a revolving door: SamDog would be in Corsica; Brooksie would be somewhere abroad too but not Corsica; Fats would be away; Hillarious was working; Cooperman would be chopping wood on holiday in Dorset (in a kibbutz we suspect). But we’d get Hamsah, and Matt Brightwell back in a remake of Bollywood meets Hollywood, plus Captain Dakeseye, RolfeDog (fresh from a day’s holiday in Sandford St Martin), not to mention Lloydy (God help us). 

SSM may have been struggling in Div 2 but all their players know how to enjoy themselves and were particularly generous in congratulating us on our season’s success, something we milked for all that it was worth. And thank you for the beer, Ben Proctor. 

Their clubhouse became quiet however for a rather serious matter. A Hearing commenced over a written allegation of unacceptable behaviour against one of their players. How serious was it? The presence of Skippy in the public gallery made it feel like a Kangaroo court. 

The allegation was read with gravitas by senior player Simon Smith.  Smith looked around in vain for support from his Amazing Dancing Bear (The Alan Price Set, 1967) but Junaid was already halfway home with Allan. A fair-haired cricketer known to belong to SSM but as yet unidentified stood accused by Panel Umpire, Anton Saverimuttu - who was present as Witness for the Prosecution - of removing Anton’s belongings from his seat in a public hostelry some time during the previous winter and worse, taking over that seat for the rest of the evening. 

He might have got away with it. He might have stayed straight-faced and successfully dobbed one of his fair-haired mates, or even a ginger. He might have kept the truth to himself. As it was, it was soul-destroying to see Tom Goffe (3-0-17-0 v Oxford II, fairly respectable) crumble abjectly in the face of the thinnest of evidence presented by Simon ‘no Dancing Bear’ Smith (1.5-0-15-0 v Oxford II, completely useless), like a child who had had his big fingers in the cookie tin. 

He blurted out: “It Wasn’t Me…” (Shaggy, 1999) “…honest, it’s just a ShaggyDog story” and as his face turned from pale to crimson he was formally identified by Anton and in a particularly sad example of complete mental disintegration, Thomas Goffe, of no fixed address in the batting order,  made a full and heart-rending confession so that the case for the Defence crumbled.  To think that the Prosecutor (Smith) and the accused (Goffe) had bowled together in tandem only recently in their famous Duckworth-Lewis victory over Wolverton. 

Goffe looked around in vain for Duckworth or Lewis but neither were there to help him having also cadged a lift home with Allan and Junaid and so Goffe was condemned to drink a yard of ale, or that length which he did not spill, bare-chested in full view of the public gallery. 

Ever-generous even in the most trying of times, several RidgeBears quietly advised him never to play a game at Bledlow Ridge. The Red Kites which circle the ground in search of carrion have given up on SamDog on the basis that what meat there is would be impossible to get off the bone. Goffe’s carcass on the other hand, has just enough about it to feed a small family of scavengers for a week and Bledlow Ridge CC’s Public Liability Insurance does not extend to convicted criminals. 

I have seen cricketers dressed in horse-riding gear after cricket at Horley, I have watched a player run naked around the ground with a stuffed donkey for company at Eynsham and  have now witnessed the total humiliation of a Fixture secretary at Sandford St Martin. It almost makes Bledlow Ridge seem civilised, (were it not for the presence of BirdDog). 

We left to a Guard of Honour and made our way home. 

We had answered so many questions: We could win without Dakes; we did win promotion; we could find Sandford St MartinTom Goffe, is the fairest of them all (and the most guilty); we learnt that Quantum Physics is just Faster Payments for Bright People; Ben Ackland Snow is an Accountant living in Peckham; Ben Keeping was not, not-available. 

Only one unanswered question remains: who is the best-looking RidgeBear? With Hamsah, Hollywood and RolfeDog back next week, it’s going to be a tight contest, regardless of whether or not BenDog shows up. 

We’ll get Hermione to decide. 


This is a story of fiction and any resemblance to real cricketers is purely accidental



Bledlow Ridge 1s v Buckingham 3s

 

Home : Saturday 18th August 2018

 

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Ridge Win Love-In with Buckingham

 

RidgeBears are Compared to a Bunch of Flowers

 

Allan Reveals secret Behind Catch-of-the-Season

 

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Buckingham:  111 all out (32.3overs)

BRCC:              113-2           (21.1 overs)

 

Result:  BRCC Won by 8 wickets

 

At 12.20 for a 12.30 start we were one short. The peace was disturbed as a large kitbag crashed in followed by its suave owner.

 

“Bloody Hell Birdie – you told me it was a 12 o’clock start” mumbled an out-of-breath BenDog who had at least three hairs out of place.

 

In our house this sort of thinking is described as “Pretzel Logic”.  One can only imagine that if Birdie had said “12.30 start” BenDog would have arrived sometime before midday. He had after all travelled all the way from Henton for this match, a journey which is clearly harder to time accurately than a trip from Cornwall - see two previous match Reports where four hour journeys each way resulted in scores of 2 (in a victory) and 103no (in an abandoned match -  ha ha).

 

Everyone was on their best behaviour owing to the events of nine weeks ago. I sometimes think that all it takes is a bit of aggro for everyone to get on famously. Three years ago, after the then CCL Committee abdicated responsibility over the behaviour of East Oxford in a home match, we almost had a love-in over at their’s. They were a good deal stronger than us the second time around though and we’d have lost by more than five wickets had it not been for a fine spell by the usually-invisible Cooperman and a fine catch by that rare species, the legendary Harry “Rolfe: you make very funny jokes” Balakrishnan, both of whom are rarer to spot nowadays than a Cuckoo in Spring.

 

Everyone was polite. The Buckingham umpire gave the impression at first that he might be rather officious but proved to have a good sense of humour (GSOH – LOL) and a soft glove. He and Graham Hillarious had a good day.

 

The ump should have lent his soft glove to SamDog first ball of the match. “Slip catch coming, first ball” whispered RolfeDog to BirdDog in the slips, and Captain Birdseye ran in and induced an edge from Michael Taylor. As our keeper had not been directly included in the conversation he acted surprised when the ball came to him in the air – as you do when keeping wicket - and… well… shelled it.

 

With the score 23-0 Raj Lali hit one off Birdseye to Junaid who snaffled it and he wasn’t even wearing gloves.

 

The second wicket took a while to arrive. Junaid replaced Dakes to the sound of Birdy twice cooing “Booootiful” after fine deliveries. “Too many Booootifuls” complained RolfeDog. “Fantastic” cooed BirdDog to the next delivery, this being the new word he had learned the week before.

 

With the score at 46, and Mike Statto Gillett now bowling at the other end

 (“G -I -L- L- E- T- T” he told the scorers clearly at the start of his spell in case they had been reading match reports and put him down as plain old Statto), Anant Peshavaria flicked at one down the leg side off Junaid and was adjudged caught behind.

 

And with this came the one tense moment of the game. We genuinely believed he was out and Graham thought he was too.

 

The batsman said something as he departed. “Whatdidhesay” asked Captain Birdseye. “I think he said we’re a bunch of flowers” replied Brooksie. “No!” replied the batsman “I said ‘You’re a Bunch of Idiots’ “. Grateful for this clarification we gathered ourselves into a bouquet while Anant, in a moment of remorse, went to great lengths to explain that it was us he considered to be Idiots and not the umpire and in no way did he consider the umpire to be anything less than a very fine gentleman.

 

This seemed to become more important that the dismissal itself and he walked off quite briskly without smashing any furniture with his bat.

 

For some reason in all this, I asked Allan Loxton where he had been on holiday as he had missed a couple of games. Alan explained that he hadn’t gone away, he’d simply spent some time with his wife.  

 

I mean… what’s that all about?

 

We were about to find out, after all Men are usually from Mars and Women from Venus

 

Buckingham were well behind the clock and Taylor was trying to push the score along when he flicked a ball from Junaid in the air, behind square, (see what I did with the rhyme there?  … ah, ‘there’s’ another rhyme!).

 

It’s hard to do justice to a catch in writing, but the facts are that the ball had gone over Allan and past him on its way to the boundary when he leapt backwards and sideways and performed a double-reverse somersault in the tuck position (See Olympics - Diving, 2016) before combining this with a Fosbury Flop and emerging with the ball in one very outstretched hand. For good measure it was his ‘wrong’ hand.

 

Perhaps I should just tell you that the Buckingham Umpire said: “You’ll never take a better catch than that” and James Hickey called out from the boundary: “That was better than your catch last year RolfeDog”. RolfeDog made a note never to sign any more autographs for him.

 

Whatever training the Loxton’s had put themselves through during Allan’s time off cricket had paid dividends and several players asked Allan for a copy of the manual. “We spent our break doing catching practice” said Allan.

 

Moments like that inspire a team and that was the start of a regular flow of wickets. Vichal Valambhia lost patience and edged to SamDog who by now was clinging on to everything hurled at him which eventually included the grand sum of 20 wides out of a total of 111.

 

Junaid with 3-30 off 5 (strike rate 10 versus Dakes’ strike rate of 36: just saying) had ripped the heart out of their middle order and as BirdDog had run out of adjectives, Junaid had to come off. He (Junaid not BirdDog) was replaced by Ben Hillarious while Gilet (strike rate infinity: just saying) continued wheeling away from the bottom end.

 

Talking of ‘wheeling away’, it should be noted that BenDog has now developed the Gilet Dutch Windmill Underarm Method of returning the ball from the field to the wicketkeeper in the method pioneered by Gilet (see match report: Horley away). BenDog used this method after several chases in a sort of Banker-Does-Statto Tribute Act, while pretending to save his really powerful overarm throw for later.

 

To cut a long story short, and this is already a long story, Hillarious, who was wearing all his own kit, took five of the next six wickets including Caught and Bowled off consecutive deliveries, something which even Statto could not even remember happening before, in August. BirdDog said “Boootiful” several times and reached for a dictionary just as Statto called for a smart phone.

 

Then, just as he was saying “Boootiful” yet again, BirdDog was hit in the heart by an edge from Thomas Buggey, via SamDog’s soft glove and clung on in case a defibrillator went off anywhere.

 

As Gilet was too busy checking economy rates on his smart phone, he was replaced by Allan “Can Do No Wrong” Loxton. A little asterisk here: Allan did in fact perform one forward roll over a moving ball that evaded him, which just proves that like Andy Carroll, he is much better in the air.

 

‘That’s “C -A- R- R- O- L- L” thought Statto, imagining how he would call out the bowler’s name for the scorers if Andy Carroll was playing. Which he wasn’t as he is always injured.

 

Allan bowled 17 fine deliveries in three overs and dismissed Brijesh Valambhia with a full bunger, snaffled by Dakes (what are the chances of that?). Allan ended with 1-6 off 3 overs and an economy rate of 2.00, the same as Gilet, 8-2-16-0 who was by now thumping all the bowling stats into his smart phone.

 

Hillarious had the stubborn Tim Riley caught by SamDog before castling Matthew Dipple’s off stump and walking off with figures of 5.3-0-20-5 which caused the wicketless Gilet, to stamp on his smart phone in disgust.

 

It was only just past 2.30 so we did not take tea straight away and in any case Roz wasn’t fooled this time so hadn’t put the kettle on.

 

RolfeDog hit the first ball for four: what are the chances of that? And the fourth too (although the ball, a lifter, kinda hit him for four). As the bowler Matt Dipple arrived to bowl the fifth he pulled up and got in a bit of state over Hamsah advancing down the wicket at the non-striker’s end in a rare case of backing up. Dipple then got in a right tizzy for the same reason before the sixth “You are taking the piss” he explained (or “taking the pith” as they say in Spain) only this time Hamsah’s bat was still behind the crease which was even more annoying.

 

To cap it all RolfeDog hit the last ball, when it was finally bowled, for four. Three in an over: what are the chances of that? To put it in perspective Wycombe Wanderers have not yet managed one league goal in the whole of this season, let alone three.

 

Hamsah tried a few batting pyrotechnics in the second over delivered by ‘Spraggy’.  Opening bowlers don’t like it when a batsman tries to smash every ball out of the ground and Hamsah was clearly causing offence. Then he faced Buggey and hit balls one and two for six and four and it got a bit quiet.

 

“You’ve got a higher strike rate than me” said Hamsah in-between overs. “Nothing to be ashamed of” said RolfeDog.

 

This might have been the reason why, next over, Hamsah was then bowled by the nice Spraggy who had just said “All we want is a friendly game of cricket” and gave Hamsah a send-off starting with “f” and ending with “off” for which he abjectly apologised on being reminded by the Buckingham umpire that he is supposed to be the nicest man in the team.

 

BenGod arrive at the crease at 32-1, adjusted his hair and started smashing it around. The ball that is, not his hair. It was 49-1 at tea of which there was a lot.

 

When BenGod, who must have had too much cake, skied a full toss off the leggie Andy Humphries to the boundary it looked safe but Matt Dipple somehow caught the ball one-handed while off balance, performed a mini-salsa and miraculously remained within the boundary rope. “You’ll never take a better catch than that” said the umpire.

 

“That’s the only time two one-handed catches have been taken near a square-leg umpire on the same afternoon. In August” said Statto, who was repairing his smart phone.

 

Dipple’s mood reduced from angry to grumpy.

 

SamDog joined RolfeDog with the score at 74-2 and generously allowed RolfeDog to make nine of a partnership of 39. SamDog hit a six to the short boundary: “How can that go for six?” chuntered the bowler Michael Taylor who hadn’t quite grasped the concept of a boundary rope. SamDog moved on to 25 not out.

 

The game ended slightly anticlimactically with some wides especially as wides are our speciality. Everyone walked off clapping and shaking hands just like they did at a happy-clappy open-air service I once went to.

 

On the patio, ShakEy WhatsApped the whole world but failed to mention that Brooksie again won the “Thanks for Coming” Award although to be fair he did provide a glorious assistant who provided a glorious tea, which was mentioned with admiration by Buckingham after the game, in the mood of general bonhomie.

 

Twyford and Challow won so we now need 17 points from two games. Captain Birdseye announced he would be at a wedding next week involving two similar people and we wondered if Hari would be marrying Cooperman so they could both do fielding practice together and make a comeback.


BenDog said “Sorry lads, I’ve got to leave straight away” as if this was anything new. “Birdy told me the game would end at 7pm and it’s already 5.15”.

 

No one from Bledlow Ridge CC is on holiday in Cornwall this week.





Bledlow Ridge 2s v Bletchley Town 2s

Away Saturday 18th August


BRCC           74-10

BTCC            75-2

Lost by 8 wickets


Terrible pitch

We Lost

Nothing funny happened


No lies were told, comic licence employed or apocryphal stories related in the compilation of this report




Bledlow Ridge 1s v Minster Lovell 2s

 

Away: Saturday 11th August 2018

 

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Ridge Defeated by Drops of Dangerous Rain

 

 

Ben Keeping’s Average Increases to 15 Runs per Mile

 

Hillarious and Brooksie Divide the ‘Thanks for Coming Prize’ which is a Share of Hillarious’ kit

 

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BRCC:                          357-5   (50 overs)

Minster Lovell:               54-1    (13 overs)

 

Result:  Match Abandoned - Rain

 

On a day when Challow & Childrey were bowled out for 61 by Eynsham yet got 10 points in defeat, Bledlow Ridge made 357 in 50 overs at Minster Lovell (ML)  and got just 6 points for an abandoned match. A little bit of rain was deemed enough to take the players off after 13 overs had been bowled in reply with the score 54-1 and not a hint of sawdust anywhere. 20 overs are needed in the second innings for there to be a result.

 

Let’s face it – and without diminishing our batsmen’s achievements - Minster Lovell had largely given up after about twenty minutes.

 

By this time Hamsah had already hit enough boundaries to make it clear we would make a large total. RolfeDog had gone early to a sharp catch behind the wicket which in the context of the rest of the fielding was little short of miraculous.

 

Three of four lost balls were recovered during the afternoon by Rolfe “Sniffer” Dog after ML had made little effort to recover them themselves from the river or look for them from the bank beyond. In retrospect then, it was not that surprising that the ML umpire (who had started the game with the unusual entreaty of “Let Battle Commence” rather than the more traditional call of “Play”) should be so keen to take players off in the lightest of rain. More surprising was that ML should be happy to go off despite being in desperate need of any points they could get in their fight against relegation.

 

We had arrived in bright sunshine. Cilla Hillary arrived too, not with Graham and Ben, but on her own. For this week’s edition of “Where’s My Kit?”, Ben had arrived only to realise it was sitting on the sofa at home. Usually it is in his father’s car in a garage somewhere or bits of it are scattered within other players’ kitbags.

 

But Cilla, loyal as ever, made a 60+-mile round trip so that Ben could sit all afternoon in his kit and watch the others bat, before fielding for 13 overs.

 

There had been some concern at the dryness of ML’s ground. The drought had caused many areas of the outfield to crack open. Much of this had been filled with topsoil and the boundary brought in on one corner.

 

None of this bothered Hamsah who started by trying to break mid-off’s hands twice and by peppering the car park on the other side. As encouragement, every time he played a defensive shot a round of applause broke out from his teammates and RolfeDog reflected on how much applause he might have had over the years if this rule had applied to him.

 

Ben Keeping – alias BenDog – had travelled back from Cornwall for the second week running (life’s just one big holiday) in an attempt to improve his average of 0.25, ie 2 runs for every 8 hours travelled.

 

He played the perfect anchor innings as Hamsah made his way to 90 and was out with the score at 144 after 20 overs. Hollywood carried this on before being bowled for 25 having tried to break one bowler’s hand with a return drive.

 

ML were pleased to see him go but this brought in Dakes who is having various personal competitions with teammates mostly on the wicket-taking and wicket-average side.  He is now involved in a six-hitting competition with Hollywood and Hamsah and this continued as he made 49 with 3 sixes, in about 10 minutes while in his sleep, including one huge effort over the pavilion (worth 9) which ML recovered quickly, probably because it did not involve any fishing.

 

When Dakes was out he credited these runs to RolfeDog whose cap he wore for inspiration and returned it to him a lot more sweaty than when he had started. For RolfeDog’s part, there was a moment when he looked at the scoreboard when it showed 202-2 and reflected happily that he had contributed 7 of them.

 

Junaid went out to bat, described previously as “Like Hamsah but with defensive shots” and returned five balls later to be described as “Like Hamsah”. The one disappointment of the day - apart from a few drops of rain and an umpire’s determination to end the game – was how near we had come to having two brothers score a century for the club in the same season, Junaid having made a century for the 2s a few weeks earlier.

 

All this time, Brooksie had been put down the order to protect him from the new ball, then the slightly old ball, then the old ball, and most of all from himself. He commented that he would have like to open after all but with Hamsah not RolfeDog and thus ended a long friendship with RolfeDog who retaliated by refusing to get him a cup of tea.

 

Luckily Brooksie was able to spend much of the afternoon chatting with BirdDog and when they could not think of anything to say about sex, there were long silences, and when they could, there was a lot of exaggeration.

 

SamDog – rather short of runs this season – went out to join BenDog who was moving remorselessly on towards a hundred with a mixture of pushes, drives and toussles of his beautiful hair. With late cuts and drives SamDog nursed BenDog past the dangerous 98s and to his second century of the season so that with a final score of 108 not out each hour’s travel was worth 13.5 runs. 

We had a magnificent tea and a quick headcount confirmed that no player had been lost down any of the cracks in the ground caused by the excessively dry summer and whose condition rain seemingly does little to alter. 

Dakes opened up in traditional fashion with five wides but thereafter did a ‘Jimmy Anderson’ on both batsmen finally inducing an edge from opener Ryan Frost who was caught behind by SamDog. 

The ML second wicket partnership made a good if forlorn attempt to keep up with the rate, with Hamsah hit for the Six-of-the-Day by Ashley Horne - bigger than any of Hamsah’s or Dakes’ and which RolfeDog later recovered from the far river bank. 

No attempt was made to find this ball at the time, but an old lump of leather was provided in its place before Dakes bowled a few with it, then made the point that a nearly-new ball should have been chosen to replace a nearly -new ball and had it changed.

 

Batting well, ML were in with a chance of picking up bonus points as we carried on in the lightest of rain which inconvenienced no one, not even the bowlers who were careful to avoid the dry areas while fielding on the boundary.

 

Gilet came onto replace Hamsah, put Hollywood on the boundary about 80 yards away and cursed him as he ran ten yards in an unsuccessful attempt to make a very difficult catch. “That’s why I put him there” said Statto. “I’d have preferred it if you had put me 10 yards to the right in the first place” retorted Hollywood who a little earlier might have run one of the batsmen out had Dakes not been standing in the way. I know what I’d have done.

 

And then… it spattered slightly harder for a minute… yes marginally harder but not as hard as the rain at Lords in which the Indian batsmen are facing Jimmy Anderson as I write.

 

One of the officials pulled up a set of stumps.  We looked for signs of rain on the run up, wickets and surrounds and couldn’t find any.  No one had slipped or slithered, no one had fallen down the cracks cause by the excessively dry conditions and ML were going well on 54 for 1. Was it too wet or too dry? No one knew.


Once you come off for rain it’s difficult to come back on even if it is scarcely spitting, unless you are playing a test match at Lords v India, where they have just done exactly that.

 

There was a dilemma when it did stop completely for a few minutes. At this point the ML captain said that the groundsman (who was nowhere to be seen) wouldn’t like us to play and he was terrified of him anyway because they’d played once before when it was a bit wet and the groundsman had got quite cross. It was not clear what the pitch was being protected for unless one of the tests v India is due to be played at Minster Lovell.

 

The umpire was busy looking for anywhere that might be wet and carried out an experiment, rolling an old ball for a few yards which proved it had previously been raining. At this moment RolfeDog gave him the nice shiny new ball that had just been found, which was probably not a wise move.

 

If you wait long enough on a grey day the rain will eventually come down harder and finally it did and with it any further chance of going out to play. We could have got about 30 overs in instead of consuming more tea and cake.

 

The Ridge was therefore again scuppered by rain, for the third time this season to a team in bottom or second-bottom place, this time with 357 on the board. There is a rule in 50:50 matches that forbids declarations. It’s not a Cherwell rule, it is copied directly from the rules of the HCPL, which are copied from the ECB rules. We considered sending in our batsman with the instruction to deliberately give away their wicket to hasten the end of the innings, but decided quickly that was not in the spirit of cricket and up (or down) there with the player somewhere in the country, who recently threw the ball over the boundary to prevent a batsman getting a century,  so discarded the notion, but it might have got us another 19 points!

 

Had we done so of course BenDog would not have made a century and would have paid someone a lot of money to have us all killed.

 

A disappointing end to the day was lifted somewhat when, having hurriedly dressed to make an early start back to Cornwall, BenDog dragged his kit through the changing room, went bright red and exclaimed while looking at Birdy, “You’ve put Deep Heat in my underpants”. “Don’t worry you can take them off after four hours driving” said Birdy who was giggling like a 10-year-old.

 

The dressing room finally emptied so we assumed that Ben Hillarious had taken all his kit with him rather than put it inside his teammates kitbags. There was panic about the missing scorebook after we’d left but it was eventually found at the bottom of Dakes’ kit along with Ben Hillary.

 

News had come though of an extraordinary result at Eynsham nearby, where the home team had been bowled out for 65 and had then bowled Challow out for 61 with Sam Whatshisverylongname taking 6-10 off 10. SamDog and RolfeDog stopped off there en route to give thanks and to return Luke Smitten’s cap.

 

It turned out that credit for victory did not go to Sam Aforementionedbowler but to Tom Gerken who had promised to run around the field naked if they won. Challow thought this worth the 15 points they would sacrifice for the sake of Tom fulfilling this promise.


Luckily for SamDog and RolfeDog, they arrived in time to witness the event, shown here, and to offer condolences to a toy donkey which had been chosen to protect Tom’s modesty. Two thoughts here: 1) why the presence of a toy animal at a club where players like to get naked? (don’t answer: it’s a rhetorical question) and 2) no wonder Tom’s one victim was LBW shouldering arms if this is what he looked up and saw as the bowler ran in. 

It was a day of strange news as one of our close rivals Twyford, had cried off on the morning of the match and forfeited 10 points.  More bizarrely Taggart had made 91 not out for our 2s - with this, the umpires realised that all sense of reality had been lost, so they abandoned the match. 

This did not alter the fact that on this particular day 357 had not been enough for The Ridge to win. There was one more piece of good news though: BenDog had got back to Cornwall in record time with the added incentive of a change of underwear on arrival and had made it in 3.5 hours not four, thus bringing his average per mile down to 15.  Not even a drop of rain could alter that.

No ducks were harmed during the writing of this report



 

Bledlow Ridge 2s vs Stokenchurch 2s

Home: Sat 11th August

____________

 

How the hell …. ?

Actual language adapted for publishing purposes

 

BRCC                     233-3       (45 overs)

Stokenchurch            95-6       (24 overs)

Match drawn     BRCC 15pts, SCC 7pts

Saturday morning 01.00hrs. A decent percentage of the 2s are at the club (Sniff, Taggart, Saint, Shaun, Jov, Hairbear). Arriving 12 hours before ‘play’ is called, suggests impressive dedication, except that this was still the night before the morning after as we said goodbye to probably the most important RidgeBear never to play a game for the Ridge, the inimitable Tommy Beattie. There was cricket, there was beer, there was Jenga, there was karaoke, there was dancing, there was wine, there were speeches, there was much hugging, there was more beer, there was a presentation, there were some teary eyes, there was more wine, there was even a hospital dash (all good thankfully). It was a sweetly sad night.

Saturday morning 10.00hrs. A decent percentage of the 2s (see above) are softly weeping to themselves in between bouts of vomiting and swallowing handfuls of Ibuprofen to calm the hammer drills going off in their heads. Collectively they have one question they are all asking;

How the hell ….?

Saturday morning 11.30. The covers are pushed off. After 4 weeks of Saharan type drought and 2 days of rain, the pitch is a vivid deep green. The kind of green that would have the long absent Cooperman declaring “Whoa man, that’s like … really … like … green.”  And the grass on it seemed to be growing at a rate you would normally only see on a time lapse camera. 90 mins of sun and a quick run with the mower later, Sniff went out to toss, won it, and came back in to announce that we would bat. Collectively the team have one question they are all asking;

What the hell ….?

Stokenchurch started the day in 3rd place in the table with more than a sniff of promotion. They had brought pretty close to a full strength side that contained 2 of the top 4 run scorers in div 9, the top wicket taker and another bowler who featured in the top 10. Despite a morale boosting win against Nondies last week, The Ridge were in 8th, a position we look destined to be glued to. Nevertheless, Chesh and Taggart (yep seriously, he’s still doing it), went out and batted carefully, very carefully, the kind of soporific carefully that could have emptied the stand at Lords as quickly as Botham emptied the bar.  The 48th ball of the innings was the first to reach the boundary (off the bat) as Taggart worked out why he had taken his bat out there and creamed one to extra cover. But 4 balls later, Chesh got a wonder ball. It pitched about a foot outside off stump, jagged at a right angle (ish) and thudded into said peg. Chesh stood for a moment, looking bewildered and thought to himself;

How the hell ….?

Enter Jai Angell at 3. Taggart warned about the vagary of the pitch as he walked in and having dutifully defended the first ball Jai decided it was actually fine and slapped the next one over extra cover for 4. And so it began. Taggart clipped a few to square leg (collective gasp of astonishment), Jai smashed 10 fours in his first 14 scoring shots and the scoreboard began to take on a moderately respectable look. After Jai had taken a particular liking to Sam Leppard (purveyor of Chesh’s wonder ball) and dispatched him for 3 4s in an over, skipper Plows decided to play his ace and brought on Jack Springett, a young off spinner who had gone through us at their place earlier in the season and was sitting top of the div 9 wicket taking list on 34 from 14 matches. Bowling up the hill at the Ridge is not the most difficult end in the Cherwell, but it does require you to push the ball up on what would be a fuller length on the flat, especially if you’re bowling slow. He didn’t quite work that out and without ever getting too brutal (we didn’t want him coming off too quickly) both batsmen milked the bowling effectively and Taggart began to see it so well that many of his shots were coming off quite thick edges.

With Jai on 35, and starting to think every ball should go, his more (life) experienced partner called him down the wicket for a chat. “Forget the game, forget the score, get 50. Oh, and if you call me through for any more 2s, I’m going to beat you to death with my bat” It took him 6 scoring shots. As Jai progressed serenely, Taggart’s score was now reaching hitherto unimagined levels. In the clubhouse, Shaun and Hairbear figured they were still drunk and hallucinating, Shaky was posting Whats App updates with provisos like “this is real, honestly” and Chesh was just sat quietly, shaking his head and thinking:

How the hell ….?

With Taggart on his highest ever league score in any form of league cricket (45), his more experienced (run making) partner, who at the start of the day was precisely ¼ of Taggart’s age, called him down the wicket for a chat. “You’re playing some horrible hacks. Get them in 1s and get to 50”. 6 more horrible hacks, 2 dropped catches and 3 singles later, he finally got a short ball that was hit off such a thick edge that it might have been mistaken for the middle and went for 4. Most batsmen on reaching 50 politely acknowledge the applause with a gentle raise of the bat. Taggart did this, then off came the helmet, both arms up, a hug for his partner and a bit of a one man Mexican Wave. He stopped short of kissing the wicket, but otherwise it was a celebration worthy of a double hundred at Lords on debut to win a test. Celebrations on the sidelines were equally ebullient. Chesh and Sniff shouted loud, Shaun stripped off his shirt (no, me neither) and Hairbear vomited again. Stokenchurch were very gracious but you could see the question that was collectively in their minds; 

How the hell ….?

Taggart celebrated a few overs later by top edging one to a fielder on the mid-wicket boundary, who seemed to have caught it, only to drop it over the boundary for a 6 (drop number 4!). He then sent out for lottery numbers. BetFred had long since stopped taking bets on whether Jai would get a hundred (the only thing that looked less likely was a Stokenchurch fielder actually holding on to a catch from Taggart), so it came as quite a shock when on 91, he got a full bunger from slow left armer Bains which collided with the top of off. It was all the more surprising as the over up to that point had consisted of 2 smashed to the boundary for 4 and 2 deliveries that were called no ball on account of them bouncing twice before reaching him. But 9 short it was to be for a chanceless, imperious innings that contained 15 4s and 2 6s. The score was now 184-2, meaning that the old dog and the young pup had put on 163, which I am sure Gilet (who will not be mentioned in this report) would confirm, is the highest partnership for any wicket, for either team in the last 4 years (when we started recording partnerships). The previous best of 150 between Rolfie and Rory, also featured a 40+ year age difference. Determined to finish top of every list, Keeps is now on the lookout for an octogenarian who can hold a bat long enough for him to smash 164.

Fahan came in and made a bright and breezy 18 before being trapped in front. He had suggested to Taggart, who had now worked his way into the 80s, that he should just smash his way to a hundred. Funny, I thought Fahan had seen Taggart play before. Besides, Stokenchurch, having given up any hope of holding a catch, were now deploying 2 sweepers on each boundary plus a long on and long off. Shaun came in, grabbed a quick single and made a very decent attempt to run out his now dead on his feet partner, but the wilting Flower of Scotland survived to carry his bat for 91*, which he wasted no time in informing Jai was just a little bit better that 91 without the asterisk.

Shaky posted it on the Whats App and momentarily the internet looked like breaking as a billion cyber dudes typed;

How the hell ….?

After the least complicated tea of the 2s season (it was all made by the same person) Stokenchurch came out and their early intentions were clear, at one end at least. Sam Leppard launched himself into the bowling, making a quick 23 before David Saint just pulled his length back a little and induced a skier to backward square where ……. well who else but probably the possessor of the worst catching record in recent years. But sometimes you just have a day and it stuck. The Saint went on to maybe his best spell of the season, removing 2 more leg before and running up an impressive 3-41 off 10. Rohit had bowled without much luck at the other end and gave way to the owner of the 2nd worst hangover in the team. Shaun was quick and in combination with DS, brought the run rate down from 9 (27 off 3) to around 3.5 after 20 overs helped particularly by the other opener Langford who was still in single figures at drinks. Along the way he induced a sharp catch to Taggart (you’re making this up!) at point and completely confounded Langford with a slower ball off which Jovan took an excellent catch.

On any normal day, Hairbear coming on to bowl might have had people wondering, but reality was suspended and so it seemed like the natural thing to do. In his first over, he brought about a hook shot that was landing in Taggart’s general area and despite a bit of a lunge he did NOT take the catch, proving that there may still be some shade of normality left in the world. Taggart claimed that he picked it up late and to be fair, everyone was aware that it was getting dark. Very dark. Hairbear bowled the same batsman with a full bunger in the next over, by which time it had begun to rain. It had been drizzling for a while, but now it was definitely raining. The umpire decided that it was a bit much, on came the covers and off we went, with no-one really complaining. Half an hour later, it was looking a very astute decision so the captains shook hands and settled for a draw. Stokenchurch were 96-6, with no realistic chance of getting close, but they had only had half their overs, so the draw points were split equally, 3 a piece.  

So on a day when our 1s scored the 11th highest total in Cherwell history, our 2s made 233 against one of the best sides in the division and bowled them out of the game (if not out), the only side above the 1s in 6 got bowled out for 61 and lost, both teams stayed exactly where they were before, but in slightly weaker positions.

How the hell ….?





Bledlow Ridge 1s v Eynsham 1s

 

Home: Saturday 4th August 2018

 

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The Ridge Scrape Home on Wicket of Uneven Bounce 

 

Keeping Finds ‘Miles Driven’ Easier than‘Runs Scored’ 

 

The Beatles’ Music is Slammed by the Next Generation of Ridge Cricketers

 

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Eynsham:   95   all out  (28.1 overs)

BRCC:        96-6            (22.1 overs)

 

Result:  Won by 4 wickets

 

If it had been a golf match Ben Keeping would have won the prize for the longest drive. As it was, his four-hour trip back from holiday in Cornwall yielded two runs (which reduced his batting average from just over 9,000 to about 85), no wickets, no catches and later in the day, several pints of beer as he considered the possibility of driving all the way back, for so long that five hours and several pints later, it made no sense to do so.

 

Enysham had arrived en masse well before 11.30 for a 12.30 start but without wicketkeeper Jacque Cousteau who has apparently sunk without trace following the match report for the game played on 2nd June. His replacement did not wear a diving suit, helmet, goggles or breathing apparatus although his flippers did look a size too large.

 

It was a good thing they arrived early as they were able to cut, roll and mark the strip and put out the 30 yard discs, although marks were deducted for not putting the sightscreens in place before the game commenced. Had it not been for drink-driving laws they would probably also have stayed longer than the home team after the game was over, as this proved to be the perfect cricket match: it lasted 50 overs, ended mid-afternoon in bright sunshine with a fully stocked bar and platefuls of leftovers from another of Roz’ specials.

 

Eynsham won the toss and chose to bat not realising they had just rolled a number of IEDs into the wicket. What they got was fizzing, spitting and shooting… before we told Brooksie that that was not appropriate behaviour from a fielder.

 

Sam Hollingshead was caught by Hamsah in the unlikely position of Gully off Captain Birdseye before skipper Sam Jones – who had made 29 of the first 35 runs, edged one to Sam Rolfe off the bowling of someone not called Sam, unless Hamsah has been pretending all along.

 

There then followed an example of the first Repeating Phenomenon which has occurred several times this season (see earlier reports) where the batsman pleads that he hit the ball down on to the ground instead of upwards to the keeper.

 

“What the Sam Jones is going on?” said wicketkeeper Sam and received a clip around his ears from his dad for bad manners.

 

Fortunately for The Ridge the umpire adjudged him out which means that Joss Goff’s shot (Twyford) two weeks earlier which ended in the hands of first slip might just have been out too… but I’m not bitter. At least Sam Jones agreed he had hit his.

 

That was a good wicket to get, not least because we now had two batsmen not called Sam at the crease so it was less confusing. It was also much more classy to have someone called Roland batting, yes Roland batting, not Roland Batting, and his surname Margerison is even more classy - the best we can do in our side being James Goodband and Matt Brightwell, whoever he is.

 

Anyway, enough of this rubbish. Hamsah and Dakes began to chip away. SamDog stood up to the stumps for one ball, nearly had his nose rearranged from a lifter and retreated again. The score went from 35-1 to 46-5 in a short time despite each batsman taking the precaution of wearing bomb disposal suits and riot protection headgear. What they weren’t prepared for was the odd scud missile which added to the variety of dismissals of which four were bowled or played-on and six were caught (five behind the wicket)

 

Hamsah bowled Dan Clarke with his best ball of the season, an inswinging yorker but he had overstepped the mark, something we normally associate with Steve Bird and rude stories. This batsman stayed around to cause a bit of trouble until he was eventually caught by SamDog off Hamsah which is about as unlucky as you can get.

 

All this while, BenDog was quite chatty at slip - having made such a long journey - a position in which he had been retained from the previous week in spite of, or perhaps because of, his 50% catching record. We learnt among other things how attractive he had been to the opposite of the species when in his late 20s he had loadsamoney and an Aston Martin (not to mention extraordinary good looks as we reminded him).  Moving onto the current era, he described his occasional frustration with England’s cricket - even though they were in the process of winning a wonderful test match against India - with a sentence that started “I told Hermione she had to make the children lunch before finishing the gardening, and then when I sat down to watch the cricket I couldn’t believe…”. It makes you wonder what all those nannies, not to mention several butlers, are doing most of the time. 

Anyway, more than enough of this rubbish. We had six wickets by the time Tom Gerken came to the wicket. He took a temporary liking to Ben Hillarious, before realizing what the RidgeBears have learned the hard way, that ‘temporary’ is the best option, as Hillarious is best in short doses. He (Tom Gerken) hit one huge six which is the only known instance of a pie being hit out of the ground by a gherkin. It was lucky that Dakes didn’t swallow them both. Tom G then let Hillarious bowl him with a trench-cutter.

 

Hillarious (2-29 off 6) also got Tom Smith which seems to me to be a perfectly normal name, like Sam Jones for example and one can only assume Bill Brown was unavailable and was what had let Roland Margerison, or perhaps Ben Smitten, into the side in the first place. Ben Smitten incidentally was bowled by Hamsah who ended with 3-24 off 7.

 

Junaid had taken over at the top end from Dakes (3-24 off 12) having already stunned us with a piece of fielding excellence when he rapidly got into a position to back up a loose throw-in and save some overthrows, something rarely seen in our team (backing up that is, not overthrows). He stood out for this alone although he was difficult to miss in smart white trousers and contrasting shoes. He has not however, yet learnt to stop the ball with his feet (Shaun) or to perform a forward roll while letting the ball through his legs (HairBear).

 

Having watched ShaunDog bowl one over, Junaid (2-6 off 4, best strike rate of all of 12, best average of 3 and economy rate of 1.5, just saying) finished with the wicket of Nigel Walker caught behind off SamDog and with that surname you can’t really hang around in the hope of being given not out.

 

SamDog ended with five catches, putting him ahead of Hollywood who is not a wicketkeeper and which only goes to show how much we missed Mike “Chairboy” Gilet who wasn’t there to tell us when this last happened. Luckily Gilet was not missed at all as I can give you the answer: it has never happened before.

 

Gilet was missing under the pretence of supporting his football team: “Why would Gilet miss playing cricket to watch Wycombe Wanderers?” enquired Mrs Hollywood sagely after the game. In truth he needed a week off from being victimised in match reports so he won’t get mentioned here save for two things: firstly Sam Jones said after the game that he had been nice to his bowling in the first match but he would have smashed it all over the place this time, and secondly with The Chairboy away, both our teams won their matches before 5pm. Just saying.

 

Eynsham had set us 96 to win.  Roz was informed that we would not be taking tea yet and it is just possible she cursed RolfeDog who a half hour earlier had told her during a drinks break, that she need to get a move on as Eynsham were already six wickets down and we’d probably take tea early.

 

Not even the British can have tea at 2.20pm so RolfeDog and Hamsah went out to bat in a new passive-aggressive partnership and I will leave the reader to guess which was which or who was who. Or whom.

 

There was a small clue in the field Sam Jones set to the second over. Having remembered Hamsah’s pyrotechnics in the first match, he placed various fielders on the boundary only to see Hamsah’s first ball fly over slips for four as he attempted to knock the Golden Ball off West Wycombe church. 

Alas there was to be no Golden Ball’s day for Hamsah whose second shot exoceted straight into the hands of the player he had yorked first ball with a no ball, Dan Clarke. The fielder failed to return the compliment and caught it on the deep Extra Cover boundary, before in a fit of guilt, wheeling away over the boundary rope in order to evoke some controversy. Unfortunately there was no one in at Lords to take the call for clarification of the law and so Hamsah was adjudged out. It is possible that from now on we may see top level cricketers catching the ball on the boundary before tearing towards the crowd in celebration (Roy Essandoh, Wycombe Wanderers FC 2 v Leicester City 1, FA Cup Qtr Final 2001) and taking off their shirts only to receive a yellow card (Steve Brown in the same match).

 

BenDog went next, plumb LBW to Nigel Walker, the umpire failing to realise how far he (BenDog that is) had travelled for this innings and that he is a very important investment banker. Gilet texted to say that every four hours in the car had been worth one run.

 

RolfeDog followed after two boundaries, deciding to tuck his bat inside his right pad to a ball from Sam Hollingshead (unnecessarily long name) and thereby appear to be leaving a ball on middle-and-leg. 

We were in a bit of trouble at not-many-for-three (bad work with the scorebook someone), but Dakes and Hollywood started a revival until Hollywood was LBW to a scudder for 16 at which point SamDog stuck around for a while with Dakes, without actually scoring a run.

 

He was able to direct ball-hunting fielders to a lost ball from a six by Dakes which had landed a good thirty yards into the flourishing Wildlife Garden next door. With this we were treated to the second Repeating Phenomenon of the year, already described at least three times in earlier match reports. The ball was found, somewhat miraculously in the long grass, sorry wildflowers, in exactly the position pinpointed by SamDog who had watched it go in, only for the finder to question whether it was the right ball. Suspicion seems to remain that a UFO is dropping slightly used Cherwell League match balls into all the fields and hedges surrounding all the grounds so that no one can be sure that the ball they have found in the right place is the one that was lost.

 

Anyway, SamDog forgot to bat properly and was caught. This meant that RolfeDog (8) had outscored SamDog (0) and Hudson (2nd X1: did not bat) but that the latter two did at least manage to match RolfeDog’s runs on the day, with eight catches, Hudson having got three, something BenDog can only dream about .

 

Captain (Corporal?) Jones rotated his bowlers from the bottom end, leaving Sam Unnecessarilylongname 4-29 off 11, unchanged at the top.

 

Try as he might, Captain Jones could not get Captain Birdseye out although Brooksie, who came in in his rightful position of No 7 to win the match, did his best first ball, calling for a quite reasonable single, but forgetting that Dakes does most things, including batting and bowling, in a stupor from which he can only be awoken with a loud call of “YES”.

 

Dakes survived and after a cameo 10 runs, Brooksie made us all chuckle (RIP Barry Chuckle, Chuckle brother, comedian and Malcolm Ashby lookalike, who passed today, 5th August, aged 73) by hitting the winning boundary straight into the safe hand of Nigel Walker, who might also once have been a very good wing three quarter for Wales.

 

And so with four wanted, it was left to Junaid to finish the job. “What’s Junaid’s batting like?” enquired BenDog of RolfeDog. “Like his brother Hamsah’s…” RolfeDog replied “…except with defensive shots.”  “Thank God for that” said BenDog with some relief.

 

Thus it was, that Junaid carefully took guard and blasted his first ball through midwicket for four and made me look a complete arse.

 

A win by 4 wickets. Challow got 20 points from a draw with Horley (well played Horley) while Twyford beat Oxford 3s narrowly, so we stay 2nd but with Twyford well in contention.

 

It was about 5pm when the day really started. Eynsham stayed for plenty of refreshment in the old time-honoured fashion and discussed how we could fit more people called Sam into the game next time. BenDog dithered over whether to travel back, Hollywood was joined by his wife who Taggart, on return with the victorious 2nd X1, called Mrs Hollywood all evening as he could not remember her name (it’s  ‘Felicity’, Tags, or ‘Fliss’ if you can’t manage four syllables after a pint) and Captain Birdseye’ was joined by his mum and dad who are trying to work out where Dakes has got all his energy from this year - we think it’s the beard.

 

Everyone reflected on the moment in the game when Dakes fielding in the covers, called to Brooksie who was fielding at Long Leg. As if that was not ironic enough, he asked Brooksie to move 10 yards to his left. I’m not saying Brooksie missed the opportunity of a lifetime but if it had been me I’d have put my hands on my hips, stamped the ground and said: “I have been fielding in this position to our bowling for fifteen years and know exactly where to stand, thank you very much”.

 

Eventually after putting much of the world and cricket to rights we said goodbye to the last of the Eynsham players but not to Ben Smitten’s cap which I recovered and am currently keeping as hostage for some purpose or another. We know he is intelligent as he is smart enough to have  put his name in his cap (unless his mum did it for him) so perhaps he deserves it back.

 

The rest of our 2nd X1 were back by now and the quality of the conversation gradually went downhill though they were only partly to blame. Dales, yes Dales (who got five wickets for the 2s and should not be confused with Dakes who only got three wickets for the 1s) eventually went home but left his wallet behind. As the bar regrettably does not yet have contactless payment we called him back. Instead of collecting his wallet and hurrying off home, he decided that as he had come back he might as well have enough drink and continue the slightly morbid game of “Dead Or Alive?”. This involves naming a player from our vintage or earlier, at High Wycombe Rugby Club and declaring or guessing whether their blood is still warm.

 

Taggart and BenDog got into a very pretentious game of “Name Your Favourite Book and your Favourite Song” where each tried to name an author or musician the other hadn’t heard of. Where was David Oxford English Graduate the one time you needed him? He once left a textbook behind at Teddington that was so heavy I had to get someone to put it into the car.

 

BenDog came out with the classic “I’ll tell you someone who writes a good book” as though authors set up an industrial production line. It turned out to be Charles Dickens which was rather better than Taggart’s Enid Blyton, although Taggart tried to rectify the situation by bandying about the name of Robert Louis Stevenson which as everyone knows is the name of the man who invented the steam engine. The best Hollywood could come up with was one entitled ‘Best SAS Manoeuvres 2005’ so we moved on to music.

 

Hudson said he had listened to some of his parents’ Beatles records once and declared they weren’t up to much. At the time I took this to mean The Beatles but on reflection he has complained about bad parenting from time-to-time. When RolfeDog mentioned Sgt Pepper as a classic album, HairBear, who kept mentioning the names of bands that I cannot believe exist, said “Nah, it’s all too samey”. Thus one of the most ground-breaking albums of all time, with songs as diverse as She’s Leaving Home, Lovely Rita Meter Maid, For The Benefit of Mr Kite and When I’m Sixty Four (next year actually) was written off in a single casual statement by a Bledow Ridge lower middle order batsman.

 

HairBear went from reasonably sober to reasonably pissed in the sixty seconds it took him to take a comfort break during which Mr or Mrs Hollywood must have laced his drink. On return and as he had not batted, he whined on about wanting a bowl, so much that RolfeDog went and got him one from the kitchen to quieten him down. 

We finally packed up and left. We reflected on Hamsah’s news that he had passed his driving test and that in contrast Shaun, despite starting driving into walls three years ago at aged 16, has still not driven beyond the gatepost of No 6 RIdgeside.  Stuart Murdoch for his part, began to go white on realising what he had done in passing his test this week. There he was, waiting, tee-total for his dad to be ready so that he could drive him home; he was then off to collect his sister from somewhere. And so the rest of Stuart’s life will pan out as a taxi driver for his dad (to whom he owes 3,791 trips) and for his sis (quantity unknown), on perpetual standby. 

Best to have failed that test Stuart, or to have somewhere in Cornwall to escape to. The four-hour trip would be worth it. Ask Keeps. 


Greg Inge, Seb Gibson and Mark Weller of Eynsham were not insulted in this match report and got off lightly for reasons unknown.

 

 

Bledlow Ridge 2s vs Oxford Nondies 3

 

Away: Saturday 4th August 2018

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Ridge 2s sail the Longboat home with 16 overs to spare

 

Dales reveals why he taught PE rather than History

 

Nondies         121 all out   (32.2 overs)

BRCC            122-4           (28.4 overs)

Won by 6 wickets

 

As we entered the changing room on a picturesque little ground in Islip, we were greeted by Dales smiling face and the first of what was to be several ‘pop quizzes’ for the day. “Guess who was born in Islip?” Now given that both Hudson and OGIMD were in the team, sending the average IQ way beyond this year’s average score, you would have thought that we could have knocked this little piece of English history straight out of the ground. There were some random guesses; Winston Churchill, David Beckham, Madonna (??), before Chesh tried to bring some sense back to proceedings and asked for a clue. Was it a politician, and was he recent?

“He was a sort of politician, and a good couple of hundred years ago. His middle name was ‘the’ “.

 As more random guesses floated around the changing room (Winnie the Pooh, Alexander the Great, Henry the Eighth) my will to live floated gently out of it into the shimmering outfield just as Dales revealed the answer. Edward the Confessor (born 1003). He must have been a good age.

I’m not sure what it was that Edward was famous for confessing, but he would have denied vehemently any involvement in the preparation of the latest incarnation of div 9 pitches we were faced with. The surface didn’t look as bad as Thame, but you could almost see the writhing snakes just below the top. As we embarked on a serious discussion on how to play on it, whether to bat first, pace on vs pace off, back foot/front foot, Dales piped up again.

“Did you notice that the playpark we walked past is themed? It’s based on a Viking Longboat. Anyone know why?”

Hudson discovered that no matter how far the will to live has drifted, it is still too strong to allow you to kill yourself by holding your breath, OGIMD, having only completed 3 further degrees since the last match, made a note to get one in making yourself temporarily deaf, and we en masse looked sympathetically towards Sufiyan and Farhan who had travelled up in the car with Dales.

As it turned out, Islip was where Edward the Confessor had made his last stand against the invading Vikings. It’s unclear as to whether he chose the place deliberately, or just happened to be at home watching Love Island when they arrived, but it was the site of a great battle, which was then commemorated by the building of a playground. It seemed a strange place for the Vikings to be invading, given that Islip would be a genuine contender for the title ‘Town Furthest from any Coastline’ but we them realised that actually discussing it would only encourage him further, so we turned our attention to cricket.

All plans were scuppered when Sniff proved himself to be a consistently useless tosser, but the spirit of Odin threw a thunderbolt at Nondies’ skipper Saleem (I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest he does not have any Viking blood) and he found himself saying that they would bat.

Islip CC jumps immediately ahead of Lord Bills on the grounds that they have sightscreens, however it seemed that the wheels had been forged from Thor’s hammer so they were a little less portable than would be desirable. As the nearest fielder to the screens, Taggart moved them for the first over and them informed bowler Saint that he choose over or round and stick to it, cos they weren’t going anywhere again.

Having examined the pitch, our bowlers clearly deemed it unsuitable for bowling on and so decided the safest thing to do would be to consistently deliver the ball on the full. This let Nondies get away a bit faster than we would like. The word fast however was never used in the description of the first wicket (run out) where their opener, while shouting push push to his partner, ambled one and a half and then dived in just as the next batsman was approaching the crease.

Sniff made some rapid bowling changes, bringing Dales on at one end in the hope that it would give him something else to think about, and eventually Farhan at the other. Dales wheeled away relentlessly, threatening the batsmen’s ankles with some short pitched stuff, and getting a ‘one for the over’ for a half volley that the batsman only had to nod at to duck under. In all the pitch excitement, no-one really noticed that Dales was consistently taking wickets (5-22), and when he made way for debutante Carlton, they were 6 down with only 2 left on account of 2 of their originally selected players getting held up in a traffic jam at Valhalla. Carlton picked one up on debut, Farhan was quick and unlucky, and David Saint was a bit grumpy about having been taken off after 2 and came back to get a cheap tail ender.

As we left the pitch, there was much grumbling about how defendable 121 might be on that surface.

After a top notch tea, where the water for the tea was just left out in the sun and was amply hot enough, Sniff announced that Taggart opening against Thame 2 weeks ago had not in fact been a practical joke, and that he was going to do it again. And so the Batman and Robin of the Ridge (Chesh and Taggart (dynamic duo, it’s ironic, keep up)) opened the innings. Chesh tickled the first ball for 1, Taggart swiped a full bunger off his shoulder that was deemed to be there or thereabouts waist high, next ball for 4 and thanks to a couple of extras, we were 8-0 off 1. At the end of the over, the head-banded crusader came down the wicket for a stern word with the boy wonder.

“I want a call every ball!! Doesn’t matter where it goes, or how far it goes, a good clear call! Understood?”         

Bowing to his more experienced opening partner, Taggart began building up the volume and variety until a loud ‘NO RUN’ for a leg bye was met by an incredulous look from the man of steel (yeah I know that’s Superman, but go with it, we’re sort of on a DC Comics theme). Slightly non plussed, Taggart looked around to see what had so upset the Dark Knight, only to find that the umpire had answered the little more than polite enquiry from the bowler in the affirmative.

22-1 and the pitch was starting to live up to what we were expecting. As the bowlers settled into decent rhythms, batting got a little harder, but OGIMD was punishing on the loose stuff and Taggart was patient (barring a couple of loose swishes) and made it to the 18th over before going the same way as Chesh (7) to a different bowler for 21. With the ball softening a little, the mischievous parts of the pitch were now more theatre than threat and OGIMD and Farhan batted very well to get us to within 5 runs of the win before Farhan was adjudged in front for 19.

With OGIMD at the other end on 46, newbie Carlton came to the wicket, swished and missed, swished and missed again, and then swished and smashed the ball 18 inches short of a 6, leaving the scores level and OGIMD needing to hit a 4 for his 50. First ball of the next over was short, he stepped back and decided to make it safe by hitting a 6, which he surely would have had the ball ever come back from ground level. Smacked him in front and he was gone. Sniff went in, faced a wide which won us the match and came back asking what all the fuss was about.

We were umpired all match by someone from Nondies (which seemed a bit strange as they had only 9 players) and lost 4 wickets LBW. It’s possible that he made mistakes (obviously just mine, the other 3 were plumb in front), but if he did, they were certainly honest mistakes, and he turned down a lot more than he gave. Didn’t catch his name, but if he ever reads this report, I hope he will accept our thanks for doing both innings. That’s a luxury you don’t often get in 9.

As Dales switched on the shower he got hit with a blast of cold water. “ooh, that was a bit refreshing. This is interesting. Who knows where showers originated from? Anyone …… anyone?” Tumbleweed blows through an empty dressing room.

With the 1s all wrapped up by 5, we were back at the club with both teams on the patio by 6 o’clock for only our second 50 point weekend of the year. This despite the fact the aggregate number of runs from both games was less than Keeps’ total for the season, a stat that Gilet (who will not be mentioned in this report) would have thought so obvious as to not be worth mentioning, and Keeps, had he thought of it, most certainly would have.

 

    

Bledlow Ridge 1s v Horley 2s

 

Away: Saturday 28th July 2018

 

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Rain Defeats The Ridge But Makes Brooksie Happy

 

 

Alan and George in Slithering Contest as Hamsah and Gilet Each Take Four Wickets

 

Gilet’s Brain on Statistical Overload 

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Horley:        168 all out    (52 overs)

BRCC:         62-2             (12 overs)

 

Result: Match Abandoned - Rain 

 

The carphone rang. It was Brooksie. “It’s going to piss down all afternoon” he said cheerily after 70 consecutive days of sunshine.

 

A win at bottom-of-the-table Horley would help us pull away from one or both of the other top sides, Challow and Twyford, who were playing each other.

 

In bright sunshine Horley were 3 for 3.

 

BenDog caught Andrew “Shagger” Parker off Dakes in the first over. Shagger who had made 82 in the first fixture went quickly back to his nest.

 

Unusually this was the only wicket Dakes would take during the innings though he was mean as usual. “Great shape” called SamDog after one particular delivery. I reflected that SamDog and I had known Dakes for about 20 years since he came to High Wycombe CC as a junior and that in all that time he had received a number of compliments (probably as many as half-a-dozen) but “great shape” wasn’t one of them.

 

Hamsah, had given up expecting anyone to take catches after BenDog shelled one off Henry “Half” Moon, who, try as he might, couldn’t get anyone to put him out of his misery at facing Hamsah on a lively bouncy wicket. Hamsah chose the better option of hitting the wickets and bowled David Quinney and “Half’s” father (presumably) Perran “Full” Moon (as if you need a nickname with a name like Perran) who departed with the comment “Well that worked well” as he was bowled the first ball after altering his stance.

 

Half Moon began to burn brightly, this, only two days after Friday’s lunar eclipse had caused a Red Moon. After 68 days of consecutive clear skies, the sky had clouded over Britain on Friday evening so the Great British Public could not witness the event for themselves. Photos from elsewhere in the world only proved what we know already: that the moon is made of Red Gloucester.

 

Later BenDog shelled Half Moon again who turned around and said “hard cheese”. By now though, they were 28– 5, Mike “Statto” Gillett having accounted for Richard “Lion” Hart and Mark “Bath” Tubb. Two wickets close together is a rarity for Statto - he finds it hard to bowl just after taking a wicket as his mind is busy updating his average.

 

He was also busied with regularly recalculating George’s Diving Score. This, George was maintaining at around 50% for Success, but well over 80% for Style…at least until he gave chase to a lost cause down the hill which ended up with a self-tripping manoeuvre and a belly-slither into the hedge. Once Statto had allowed for the Neymar Factor, George’s percentage for Style rocketed to 94%.

 

So far so good and no sign of rain, or of Brooksie who was very quiet at gully. The only other aspect of our fielding of note (other than all BenDog’s dropped catches while standing in for RolfeDog at slip, no offence meant) was Gilet’s method of throwing the ball in underarm in an action reminiscent of a Nineteenth Century Dutch Windmill.

 

Why he chose Holland for inspiration when there were many fine windmills in Buckinghamshire to Yorkshire is anyone’s guess (though orange may have been his favourite colour at school) but the outcome was almost the exact reverse of his bowling action with less accuracy.

 

As the ball softened, Horley fought back. BenDog shelled a chance at slip off Half Moon  (did I mention this before?)  this time off Hillarious who seems destined to bowl a few unlucky overs before being taken off. BenDog had been promoted to first slip as RolfeDog was by now fielding in one of the euthanasia positions under the lid, Short Euthanasia Leg in fact. It was on crossing to Silly Euthanasia Point on the other side that the plug had been pulled on Bath Tubb who chipped one up two balls later and RolfeDog was given a bear hug by Gilet which nearly asphyxiated him.

 

The comeback continued with an assault by Simon Cox and for us, the unusual experience of sensing relief when a delivery only went for five, as the previous two had gone for six. Hamsah accounted for him on his return, snaffled by RolfeDog in the more usual lid-position of Short Euthanasia Leg.

 

Drawing inspiration from George, Alan went for the double-legged side-slither. The ball passed him to the boundary, so he gained low marks for Content but 95% for Style putting him straight into the lead at the first attempt. Eat yer heart out, George.

 

Unluckily for 16-year-old Half Moon, he had been unable to get out before the return of Hamsah and having given up on Keeps at first slip, tried SamDog behind the stumps but the latter got BenDog fever and shelled a diving chance. It was only at this point that BenDog realised Half Moon was too young to buy him drinks and so snaffled the hardest chance of the lot later in the over. Half Moon departed for a brave 21 runs and 32 bruises.

 

Mark “Imp” Hillman batting at 8 was joined by Julian “Frank Lloyd” Wright batting at 9 boasting well over a century of years between them. It was only after the game that The Imp told RolfeDog that this was his first league match for 20 years and “Frank Lloyd” came along to add that “We haven’t batted together for 25 years.”

 

“Well I am very happy for you both” I said looking back on their partnership that took Horley from 91-7 to about 150 -8 in roughly five minutes. When The Imp deposited Dakes well into a field with an enormous blow, Statto announced that this shot adversely affected Dakes’ economy rate by 0.04 runs per over, the first time this had ever happened at Horley when rain was forecast.

 

We then went off for rain. “I told you so” said Brooksie. Tea was hurriedly prepared and RolfeDog, Gilet and Brooksie were all enjoying a cuppa when the umpires announced we would not have tea after all and would resume the innings. They calculated that one over had been lost to each innings and that the time remaining for tea-proper would be reduced by 20 seconds for every cuppa consumed.

 

Alan finally caught The Imp off a big blow to deep midwicket though not before one shot to cover point had caused Hillarious to take cover (geddit?) in an ‘I’m afraid-of the-hard-ball”  sort of way, whereupon BenDog noticed that a tube of lipstick had fallen from Hillarious’ pocket.

 

At last Frank Lloyd holed out too, offering a skier to RolfeDog who could almost hear Gilet’s brain recalculating his bowling average as the ball descended. A moment too late, RolfeDog realised that taking the catch might mean another bear hug from Gilet, and to his disappointment found the ball in his hands and set off in the opposite direction.

 

Now nine down, young William “No-Nickname” Connor hit some fine blows before attempting a single to Hamsah at deep mid-on from Gilet’s bowling off the last ball of the innings. Fearing for his personal safety and for the safety of Hillarious’ tube of lipstick which the latter had put in Gilet’s pocket for safe keeping, Gilet screamed “Underarm, Underarm” and at his first attempt, Hamsah perfected the Nineteenth Century Dutch Windmill underarm-throw action and ran the batsmen out by yards.

 

168 all out, Gilet 4-44 off 12 and Hamsah 4-37 off 14 … and talking of ‘safe Keeping’ RolfeDog reflected that BenDog had caught two from four and RolfeDog three from three, prompting Hollywood to point out that both players needed to do more to match his season’s total of catches.

 

We took tea and Dakes took enough cake to explain the earlier comment of “great shape”. When it started to rain, Brian Standish, the Chairman of the Cherwell League surprisingly had no idea what the rain rules were and was doubly confused when taking the extra tine for cups of tea, into account.

 

Taking advice from Statto (who wouldn’t?) he announced time and overs would be counted back from 7.30 and that the latest the game could start with the full 46 overs remaining was 4.50pm. Statto took his seat in the scorebox, calculator at the ready. RolfeDog and Brooksie faced a few balls, went off for rain at 4.55 and resumed 15 minutes later at 5.10 only to be told that there were now 40 overs left. RolfeDog started to question how five overs had been lost at 3.5 minutes per over during the 15-minute break but almost lost the will to live so didn’t.

 

The score started to rattle up but Brooksie was LBW for 7 and then – for about the fifth tine this season – RolfeDog was bowled by someone roughly 14 years old. This brought in Georgeous to join BenDog, or BenGod as he is called when batting.

 

Georgeous had trouble recalibrating to Richard “Lion” Hart’s pies, which had Dakes been batting he’d have swallowed whole. At one point Umpire Standish tried very hard to leave the pitch for rain but Umpire Hillary stood his ground and the rain blew over within a couple of deliveries.

 

The score rattled along to 62-2 off 12 overs but then the heavens did open and Brooksie said “I told you so” once again.  Lots of references to handbooks were now taken and calculations made but the sound of thunder meant that we could not take the field for half an hour whatever other calculations applied, under the ECB Safety Guidance for Thunder and Lightning. Yes really, I kid you not.

 

These rules deserve a match report of their own but because a former cricketer in Malaysia once took a bath outside in a bathtub made of tin during a thunderstorm, the ECB have decided to protect us from ourselves. Yes, it is true there have been some bad injuries on a cricket pitch but the habit of sheltering under a tree which was so popular in the 60s has now gone out of fashion and generally speaking cricketers tend to stay indoors during a monsoon anyway.

 

Nevertheless the ECB warns that players might be in danger if “You feel you hair standing on end” and now I know that I have spent the last thirty years of my life only  one thunderclap from immortality.

 

The rain did for us in the end though BenGod was able to up his average with 18 not out and we all thanked Hollywood for coming. It was then discovered that any countback should have been made from 7pm, not 7.30 anyway, at which point Gilet spontaneously combusted.

 

We parted for the club to celebrate Chesh’s score of over 60 for the 2s, though Brooksie went straight home as he is teetotal. My carphone rang. Brooksie’s voice said “It’s nice and sunny in Henton” …  so at least the day ended with good news for everyone. 

 

 No calculators were sacrificed while writing this report.

 

 

 

Bledlow Ridge 1s v Twyford 2s

 

Home: Saturday 21st July 2018

 

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RidgeBears Lose Unbeaten Run as Batsmen Fail to Fire for the First Time 

 

Statto Hits Record-Breaking Boundary 

 

Laws of Physics Re-Written by Magic Bullet-Ball

 

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BRCC:      149 all out (40.2 overs)

Twyford:    150-3 (35.2 overs)

 

Result: Lost by 7 wickets

 

People don’t walk like they used to. In our village they even have a Walk to School Week where mums and dads drive that little bit further to reach a car park from where they walk their children to school. 

Saeed always cuts it fine so maybe he walks to Bledlow Ridge. He could come from High Wycombe with Twyford captain Mohammed Shafaqat who also lives there, except that we know from the first match that he is not a walker. And in any case this would not help either of them arrive any earlier. 

RolfeDog and Brooksie walked out to bat ahead of the Twyford team who were not ready by 12.30. The top of the wicket started breaking up from the third over and Brooksie was its first victim unable to get out of the way of one that snorted. 

Lloydy followed when he was adjudged to have hit one to the ‘keeper, then Hollywood tried to go big too early and skied one, which brought in Georgeous. 

Georgeous played two delicate (gEorgeous) late cuts to the boundary and then, so he said, was bowled off stump by one that pitched on leg. ‘Unplayable, Extraordinary, Unfair’. 

In contrast, RolfeDog at the other end, Umpire Graham and the bowler, all agreed that George had simply played down the Piccadilly line to a ball pitched on the Metropolitan. RolfeDog imparted this news to him later and George went into therapy. 

RolfeDog was joined by Captain SamDog on an unpredictable surface. When RolfeDog went for 32 of 75 from the first loose ball bowled by Shafaqat It seemed a lifetime had passed but there were still almost 30 overs left. 

By this time Twyford were down to 10 men with young Harvey Kimble injured but The Ridgebears failed to capitalise on the gaps in the field. SamDog nicked one behind when well set on 23 and ‘walked’. Brothers Hamsah and Junaid offered strong resistance but went for 19 and 14 respectively, Hamsah to a fine catch off a skier taken by Adnan Shahzad. 

Saeed hung around while Ben Hillarious came and went And Then IT Happened…. Mike ‘Statto’ Gilet came in to bat… and… ran a two and then… wait for it, hit a four. He later announced that this was the first boundary by a Ridge No 11 through midwicket within a few months of becoming a father, against a town name which appears in eight counties. In July. 

Roz was unsure how soon we would need tea. We said ‘a couple of minutes’ and Saeed duly obliged by trying to emulate Gilet, not by producing another child as that was not a sufficient challenge, but by hitting a boundary to mid-wicket. He would have succeeded but for Harris Malak taking the catch: the fourth aerial catch taken by Twyford during the innings. 

149 all out in the 41st over. This was well short but on a dry wicket of very variable bounce it could have been enough, provided of course we did not gorge ourselves (or George ourselves) on Roz’ tea bonanza. 

It might have helped our cause if we had not shelled six chances of varying degrees of difficulty from opener Umar Zaman. Hamsah was one of the unlucky bowlers, Hillarious the other (several times). 

Gilet came on and bowled Majid Aslam which brought in Harris Malak who looked like he would get out to almost every ball but didn’t.  Our failure to take our chances had cost us, but we finally nailed Umar Zaman with a catch at slip by RolfeDog off Saeed, which in traditional fashion he made more difficult than it was by falling over in the process. The rest of the team in traditional fashion had to pick up his fragile figure and dust it down. 

Twyford were winning the race to 150 but a rush of wickets always seemed possible when Junaid, cool as you like extended two large hands to grab a blow from Haron Qayyam that appeared destined for the boundary. The first 1st team catch – said Statto – by Junaid, off the bowling of Gilet in the history of the whole wide world. 

Junaid replaced Saeed at the bottom end and bowled accurately. 

And Then IT Happened. 

With about fifty needed, three wickets down, ‘keeper-batsman Josh Goff was adjudged not to have nicked one to first slip - a seemingly regulation chest-high slip catch

Josh Goff’s school had never had a Walk to School Week and so he remained rooted to the spot awaiting we assumed, for a car to arrive. We asked the umpire if he would assist us but he decided that Goff had somehow defied the law of physics and hit the ball downwards even though the ball had pitched and was on its upwards trajectory. 

At least he thought Goff had hit it; the player himself offered the opinion that he had not hit it at all meaning that the ball had presumably taken a late left turn from our own ‘keeper’s waiting hands into those of  RolfeDog standing a few feet to one side of him. A sort of Magic Bullet (see JFK 1963). 

And with that went the last chance of winning the game – a final turning point.  RolfeDog resisted – only just – the temptation to tell Josh Goff to *** (G)Off (‘Walk’ Off obviously).  As a pressure-release Goff started blasting the ball to all parts, while Harris survived a very faint sound, again off Junaid and otherwise squirted it to those parts of the leg side not previously explored. We lost by seven wickets, with a misfield which summed up a bad day. 

The bowlers had done well but had been let down by the batsmen who did not build a large enough score to create pressure and by fielders who did not match the normal high standards of this season. Junaid on his debut performed well in all three departments. 

Shortly after the game there was not a single Twyford player or supporter In view despite the early finish and the well-tended club bar.  It was not that long however before a post came through from Scott on the club’s WhatsApp Group page. A number of the Twyford team were celebrating in Chairborough Road, High Wycombe (an unlikely venue) including his mate Shafaqat 

How did he get there? He might have chosen to walk.  On the other hand, he probably hadn’t.

 

Theresa May is on holiday in Brexit

 

 

Thame 3s vs BRCC 2s

21st July 2018

 

Ridge average IQ goes up by 15 points as OEUG returns

Extra spell in classroom does little for Hairbear’s continuing education

News of Taggart’s debut as an opener gives Rolfie fresh heart

 

BRCC 2s                177-5  (45 ovs)

Thame 3s             178-4  (31.4 ovs)

Lost by 6 wickets

 

It takes a fair amount of research and intelligence just to get to Thame 3s’ ground. On the website it says Lord William’s School, and whilst that is technically where you are playing, the procedure for getting there is that you drive into the school’s visitors’ car park, ring your skipper and ask how the hell you get to the cricket pitch. He then tells you that “everyone did that” and you need to park in the leisure centre next door and walk yet further away from the school. Upon mentioning this to one of the Thame players when I eventually arrived, he said, “Yeah, everyone does that”.

Is it me?

A good job then that we had upped the intelligence quotient of the team this week by including the cricketer formerly known as OEUG (Oxford English Under Graduate). I say formerly because since his last game, he has graduated with about 8 degrees in any and every subject involving Law or the English Language and so should now be known as OGIMD (Oxford Graduate In Multiple Disciplines).

Having been a student for the last 15 years, OGIMD felt particularly at home in the “changing room” which bore a striking resemblance to a classroom. Suitably inspired, Shaun, currently known as ALGPR (A level graduand, pending results), decided that an intellectual warm up would be in order and used the magic marker board to challenge Hairbear to a game of BRCC hangman.

Shaun:                 8 letters, clue, in this room

Hairbear:             Z

Shaun:                  Nope

Hairbear:             X

Shaun:                  Nope

Hairbear:             J

Shaun:                  Nope

Taggart:                Try a vowel you muppet (in a nurturing and encouraging tone)

Hairbear:             Oh yeah! S

 

Shaun laughs, Taggart despairs and OGIMD makes note to take another degree next week in teaching rurally educated cricketers the alphabet.

Move on a few of the longest minutes of everyone’s life. Board now reads HA_RB_AR

Hairbear:             Is it Haurblar?

Tags starts trying to swallow his Deep Heat in an attempt to overdose, Jovan cracks 2 ribs laughing and OGIMD makes a note to make it a joint honours in helping rurally educated cricketers remember their names.

At this point Sniff walks in with a teacherly swagger, ends the frivolity by putting Jov in detention and announces that he lost the toss and we’re batting, but it’s OK because it’s an absolute road and he was going to bat anyway. Chesh and Tags to open. At this point Jov needs oxygen to be resuscitated.

It was only 2 stops on the train from the changing room to the pitch and when we got there we went out to examine the aforementioned “road”. I have seen roads that looked like this, but only after a brigade of heavy artillery have gone down them, realised they had forgotten to turn the oven off, reversed back up it and then gone down again. There were some even parts where the weeds had been killed by the caterpillar tracks and nothing had grown back, which was better than the outfield which was sporting some particularly nasty rather tall stinging weeds. The fetching blue string boundary ‘rope’ would have nicely set off the bright white sight screens, if there had been any and there was a man from the Tour de France measuring the slope across the wicket to see if it was too steep to include as a 1st category climb in next year’s edition.

Thame’s opening bowlers were also magicians. They were both able to bowl 3 variations off the same length with no discernible change of action. There was the one that came through, the one that rolled along the ground and the one that went vertical.

Chesh gloved one behind, Jov decided to take the vagaries of the wicket out of the equation by planting both pads in front of the stumps and letting the ball hit them, and Tags, having batted for 10 overs for 3 at a pace that would have had Rolfie tutting about slow scoring, got a full length ball that reared and clipped the top glove.

Fahan tried to dig in but was bowled by a ball that only just pitched on the strip and after being joined by OGIMD, Haurblar came off blaming the pitch for a ball that had hit halfway up the stump … on the full.

OGIMD had worn a few, but had also found the boundary a couple of times and was joined by Shaun. The heat was starting to take its toll on the fielders and wasn’t helped by the extra gallons of hot air that were coming out of the keeper’s mouth, and the ball was softening a little, but 39-5 never looked like it was going to become a game extending total.

They soldiered on however and gradually began to exert some control. At the second drinks break (30 overs) OGIMD had got to 41 and Shaun to 38 and the score was just over 100. Taggart, who was now umpiring and was unusually grumpy, started to count off the batsmen’s runs as they approached 50. OGIMD got there in good time and carried on pushing the rate along. Shaun however became somewhat becalmed and whilst umpiring the 43rd, Tags let slip to OGIMD that he reckoned that Shaun was on 45 and at the current rate could get to 50 if he batted until Tuesday. OGIMD then tried to farm the strike in reverse, but each time he pushed for a single the ball rather inconveniently went for 4. With 2 balls left however, Shaun finally got one away for the 2 he needed at that point to take him to 51, and then just to emphasise how easy it was to bat, plinked the last ball over mid- wicket for 6.

177 for 5 hadn’t exactly put them out of the game, but 138 run partnerships don’t come along every week in the 2s, so we booked passage on the Queen Mary to get back to the changing rooms for tea in good spirits.

A goodly number of top order batsmen in the Cherwell League will tell you that the Tiflex ball on a less than good pitch, particularly a dry one, is a bit of a hand grenade for about 15 overs. To take advantage of this as a bowler however, you need to a) use the pitch, and b) put it in roughly the right place. This we have not managed in too many games and despite some decent bowling, a flying catch from Sniff and a body flexing feline catch from Chesh, we shipped far too many runs early on and after 12 overs, Thame had muscled their way very close to 100 for 2. Dales calmed things down a bit from one end, Chesh revved them up again from the other and Huerbier settled into a decent spell after a some wayward early stuff.

Mark Neal has been a trouper this season, always cheerful, always willing, but usually batting low and not bowling very often, so as a last throw of the dice, Sniff threw him the ball.  Thame needed about 20 to win, had 15 overs to get them and 8 wickets left, so you could argue that it wasn’t much of a kindness. His first over went for a few, but first ball of his second was a half volley on leg stump, which Ian Chappell, who had played well for his 49, chipped agreeably to Mark’s best mate at mid-wicket. As the batsmen had crossed, it was Justin Avery on 80* that faced the next ball, which he chipped agreeably to Mark’s best mate at mid-wicket. Surely not! Everyone in for the hat trick ball, apart from David Saint, who was told to stay exactly where he was. And the next ball …. A rank long hop which the new batsman smashed rather disagreeably over mid-wicket for 4, as he did with the next. Game over.

The frustration for Sniff as skipper would be that he had 3 bowlers in his team who would have been salivating at the prospect of bowling on that wicket, but weren’t fit enough to turn their arms over. Nevertheless, there has been considerable progress in the approach and attitude in the 2s over the last few weeks, and we no longer look like a team that you can walk all over. With availability looking increasingly good over the next couple of weeks, there’s still a couple of results left in this team.     

 

 

Match Reports

Saturday 14th July 


A Tale of 2 Draws but 1s stay top as Challow slip


Class distinction shock as Ridge field player posher than Keeps


Midds comes Home


Taggart in 2 report sensation despite playing in neither
BRCC 1s          237-5  (53)

Oxford 3s          233-8  (47)

Match drawn      BRCC 16pts    OCC 10pts
BRCC 2s           165-10 (39.1)

Oxford 4s           146-9  (45)

Match drawn      BRCC 17pts    OCC  15pts
12.30
Hollywood established himself as the most successful tosser in BRCC history (1 from 1) and bats. 2 leg byes off the first.
12.30
What's the alarm code? Who has keys? Does anyone know which pitch we are on? Why don't the stumps fit in the holes? Where is Saeed?
13.00
Thank god for leg byes. 7-0 off 6. with regular pinch hitter Rolfie at Lords, the scoring rate is looking a bit soporific. Brooksie gets bored and whacks a couple of 4s to put the 12.30 starting 1s back in front of the 1pm starting 2s
13.00
Sniff establishes himself as a useless tosser and is invited to bat. An Angell smokes the 4th ball to EC for 3 and smashes the first ball of the 2nd for 4. Saeed has arrived!
13.30
Brooksie and Fats have tiptoed back so as not to wake the sleeping watchers and after a brief visit from skipper Hollywood, normal service is resumed. Keeps is playing with the normal aplomb, and batting with Midds, yes Midds, who looks like he's never been away. Scoring rate is up to almost 4 an over. 65-3 off 17
13.30
Jai has crashed a couple and gone to a leading edge. Jov has smashed a couple then played round one. Chesh has expertly threaded one between slip and keeper for 4 then obligingly walked on account of the next one being caught at 2nd slip. 30 mins gone. 3 wickets gone. Might get to watch the England game after all. 37-3 off 8
14.30
Keeps has gone for 50, which probably constitutes a failure in the context of this season. Midds is still there on 27 as Birdie limps to the wicket forgetting that he is not injured until after he bats. A low murmur of "Middsy's Coming Home" can be heard as the anticipation builds. 133-4 off 34
14.30
Chirpy lot Ox 4s. Much heralding of "Good Areas" as the ball slides a yard down the leg side. Not as daft as it sounds though because anything on the stumps is being battered to the fence by Junaid. "he's playing by numbers" declares the Ox skipper. Yes mate, mostly the numbers 4 and 6. Saeed got a brute of a lifter off a pitch that had played pretty well up to then. Marcus and Vajid have been and gone and captain Sniff is at the wicket. Junaid finally holes out for 46. 95-8 off 21.   . 
15.17
Midds completes his 1st 50 for the Ridge in 4 years, and his gazillionth overall. Birdie's hit a couple of 4s and has now embarked on a run of 19 consecutive singles #getmiddsyonstrike. 173-4 off 43
15.17
Rizwan and Sniff are still together. Riz playing an uncharacteristically reserved innings, with a few whacks interspersed. They have put on 36 for the 9th so far. Chesh checks WhatsApp and cheers with delight "Midds got 50". Fahan responds "Who's Midds?" Tumbleweed moment. Fahan goes and hides in shame. 131-8 off 31 
15.54
One ball left in the innings. Midds on strike on 94. Currie bowls, Midds launches, he misses, bowler hits. The fairytale ending is denied. Innings closed 237-5 off 53.Birdie bolsters the averages with a 33*. It's competitive, but it ain't a done deal. 
15.54
Score? 1-0 to Belgium. Oh the cricket? We're halfway through tea mate. Riz was unlucky to find a fielder and David Saint who bats at 11 because he can bat, put on 28 with Sniff (31) for the last wicket, including an over where he hit 14 off a 7 year old who promptly went down to long leg and cried for the remainder of the innings. 165 all out off 38.1. Despite never really looking like it would be, it's competitive, but it ain't a done deal. 
A well kept scorebook and an active Whats App account make retrospective minute by minute reporting reasonably easy, but when everyone is out on the field it gets a bit trickier. Whilst there may be some license in the above timings, they are mostly pretty accurate, however for the second innings, you get all we know in one hit.
In the absence of the mighty Dakes, the opening bowling partnership boasted a combined age of 36. Hamzah's new partner was Robert Armstrong-Jones, of Eton and West Wycombe, prompting Keeps to immediately enquire what the cost would be of adding 3 surnames and 3 hyphens by deed pole. RAJ was debuting after just one net and after a slightly nervy start, settled into a good spell. When asked what he thought of his new opening partner, Hamzah (1-84) opined that Robert (2-39) was good, but possibly not an opener. 

Oxford started well and at a reasonable pace, with opener Parry underpinning the innings with 60 before falling leg before to Al. It was Al (3-29 off 8) and Gilet (1-45 off 12) who put the brakes on and dragged it back so that it looked like Oxford were dropping out of any chance of a win. Captain Hollywood positioned himself such that he took another 2 catches, bringing him back up level with Sam for the season. One of these was off Gilet, making it a round dozen he has taken off his school mate's bowling and this appears to be going some way to mitigating the misfield he made off Mike's bowling in Yr 9 which cost an extra run.

With 4 overs to go, Oxford were still 50 adrift and 7 down and it only looked like 1 team could win it, with the draw a short odds favourite. However the well set Cahir and Dogar had other ideas. With Hamzah back on, there was pace on the ball as it hit the bat, and considerably more immediately after. It went to all corners and with 2 balls left to to be bowled, Cahir launched into one that went into orbit. It was up there long enough for the batsmen to run 1 and then cross for the second before it was taken by Hollywood. Or was it? The batsmen maintained that they didn't cross, meaning that the new batter would NOT be on strike. The Ridge, and in particular Birdie, maintained that they had, meaning the new batsman would be on strike. 

Birdie's application for the role of Child welfare Officer is still under discussion, but may not have been helped by his insistence to the 16 year old in question that he was incorrect. At this point the Oxford captain came onto the field and told Birdie in no uncertain terms that if he had something to say, he should direct it to him as skipper, not to a 16 year old. Showing an admirable consistency, SB duly obliged and gave the skipper both barrels.

In the end, Graham decided that they had not crossed a second time and with one ball left, 5 needed to win and 2 wickets left, there was now only on team that could win and it wasn't us.

Sadly from a dramatic point of view, but happily for the Ridge, the last ball was a non event and Oxford finished 4 short in their 47.

For those of you missing the excitement of the timed commentary, it was about half an hour later that the Challow result came in. Remarkably, they had also made 237, and Banbury of all people, had finished 4 short on 233-9. It meant that we had shipped one point to them, but remained on top of division 6.
We were playing on the same wicket as the 1s had played on last week and bowled Challow out for 130 after making 313. It had been dry ... very dry and looked well suited to the spinners. It was something of a surprise therefore, particularly as it has been 30 degrees all week without a drop of rain, that the pitch was less dry than last week. Jamma (Thames Water's new most wanted) had done a very good job of ensuring that the wicket would hold up.

Nevertheless, Sniff decided that he was opening with Saeed down the hill and Junaid up. Whilst it did not rag square as had been widely predicted, Saeed bowled well and had both the ball and the batsmen turning in both directions. Despite a resilient 21 from De Silva, Oxford found themselves 3 down relatively quickly, but with a partnership developing between Oates and Baldock. 

Runs were not flowing, but the wickets were no longer tumbling either and the prospect that 165 was actually enough to get the better end of the game was looming. Saeed then got one to go absolutely straight and had Oates trapped leg before, a decision (from your correspondent) which was met some disgruntlement, however this was nothing compared to what followed.

The next batter chased a wide one from Saeed (3-46) and nudged it catching practice style into the hands of the safest slip fielder on the pitch (Vajid). He was not a happy boy. The bat was slammed into the pads, the helmet thrown off and kicked all the way back to the pavilion. As he rounded the pavilion, all car owners listened nervously for tinkling or alarm sounds, but thankfully he contained his disappointment.  

Said slip fielder had now replaced Junaid (4-25) at the bottom end and trapped another Baldock, presumably son of the batsman at the other end, leg before.The batsman dutifully walked off, but the non striker was livid, and let the umpire (his own umpire) know exactly what he thought of the decision ... repeatedly. 

It was fast becoming apparent that the remaining Baldock was Oxford's only real chance of winning as there followed a procession of young lads. They were keen and well disciplined, but the experience of Vajid, David Saint and Saeed was making it difficult to progress.With Baldock on 45, back came Junaid. He bowled one down the leg side which the batsman flicked at. There was a clear sound, Jovan caught it, juggled it and caught it again. Up went the umpire's finger. The batsman was too busy arguing with the fielders about why they were appealing to see this and stood his ground. It took an uncharacteristically calm intervention from your correspondent, walking in from the square leg umpire position to get him to leave. He had been livid about his son's dismissal but was now incandescent. 

With still 7 overs to go, they were 9 down and the captain was batting with the number 11. Given some of the shots played earlier, number 11 will be lobbying for at least a 3 place promotion next week as he played straight and risk free. There was one very big shout against him for a leg before, but Oxford's umpire (who, for what it's worth, I thought was very good), declined to give his team any more reasons to lynch him.  

They saw it out for what was probably a fair result, from the best 2s bowling performance of the season.
No Tardis's were damaged in the compiling of these reports

Bledlow Ridge 1s vs Challow & Childrey 2s

7th July 2018

Ridge smash their way to Top of the Table

Gilet 7 for outshone by perfect spell from Brooksie

Dakes 78 outshone by patient 16 from Keeps

“No-ball gate” continues

 

BRCC                     313-9 dec  (51.3)

C & C                     130 ao  (30)

BRCC won by 183 runs

There was indeed a lot of shining going on as the top 2 in division 6 met at Meadow Styles, not least the glint of the div 6 championship trophy (assuming such a thing exists). It may be early in the season to be talking about league deciders, but given the records of the 2 teams concerned up to this point, it was hard to avoid the conclusion that the winners would have the League to lose.

By a vagary of the British weather and the out of date Cherwell league rain rules (if only we knew someone on the committee who could get something done about that), BRCC went into the match unbeaten, having already played Challow, but in second place, 12 points behind them. The normal response to winning the toss in Challow’s position would be to bat, the pitch having been generally agreed to be looking as flat as **** (to use the technical terminology), so Dakes could barely contain his surprise (and pleasure) when having called correctly, Alex Lynch opted to bowl.

So we all slathered on a litre of Hazmat grade sun cream and headed into the middle.

The hero of our tale was umpiring at square leg (Oi! If you want to be the hero, you write the bloody report) and as opener Luke Cheshire whizzed a couple past a slightly bemused Lloydy, he was starting to think it wasn’t a bad decision to bowl. On ball 5, Lloydy reckoned he had finally managed to get a thin nick on one, however the other umpire disagreed and given that it had thumped into his pads plumb in front, he was on his way. Keeps made a slightly better fist of leaving the last ball and we were 0-1 from 1.

In the second over, Brooksie at least got the runs ahead of the wickets with a lovely cut for 4 to point, followed 2 balls later by a nicely timed 4 to square leg. On neither occasion did he take so much as a step out of his crease, which may have been an expression of his confidence in his timing, combined with the lightening quick outfield, or it could have been a statement of intent to get absolutely nowhere near the end Luke Cheshire was bowling to. Keeps hopped about a bit, hit a few back to the bowler and after 9 consecutive dots decided enough was enough, got a scruffy edge on one and used the powers invested in him as Lord of whatever to command Brooksie through for a single. Two balls later, the pitch showed itself to be slightly duplicitous and as Phil went to clip the ball through mid wicket, it just stopped on him a little and he was caught at mid on off a leading edge.

As they were waiting for the incoming batsman, Keeps cheerfully commented to our hero that we were 12-3 when he had to rescue us the last time, so actually 13-2 for was a step in the right direction.

Actually it should have been Enter Gorgeous George, but for a “wholly acceptable reason” GGG had arrived at the ground late, which was reason enough to be grateful that Taggart and Rolfie were 15 miles apart as they would have then spent the next week discussing whether Penalty Time was applicable. But if Gorgeous isn’t available, there’s only one man you can send in without disillusioning the opposition to the notion that you are the best-looking cricket team in the CCL. Enter Hollywood!

Hollywood is a big lad and 32 degrees is a hot day, even for someone who looks like he spends his entire life on a sun bed, so he decided that running was definitely not a sensible option. His first scoring stroke was a 4, as were his next 3. In fact, by the time he had got to 41, he had run just 3, and collected the rest in a series of brutal boundaries. He bullied the other opener out of the attack and traumatised the first change bowler, while Keeps held down the other end. Ever the giver, this prompted Keeps to comment once again to our hero that “It must be brilliant for Hollywood to be able to play freely, knowing that there is no chance of a wicket going down at the other end.” 6 balls later, gone for 16!

They had however put on an invaluable 70 partnership by this point and the moment all the ladies were waiting for had arrived. The handsome twins were batting together! It was all too fleeting but not without incident. In particular, GGG may have been lucky to survive a run out appeal, having smacked the ball extremely hard, directly at Taggart’s head. The bowler, much to the disappointment of all Ridge regulars, actually got a hand on it to deflect it away, however our hero had already headed boundary ward and downward in search of sanctuary. GGG had set off on a very dicey run and the ball was thrown at the stumps, but by the time Taggart had surfaced from his trench with a severe case of PTSD and a tin hat on, all he saw was a broken wicket and a batsman in his ground. He explained that he was too busy watching his entire life flash before his eyes to notice the point of impact and to be fair to C & C they accepted the decision with good grace.

Perhaps blinded by all this shining handsomeness, C & C took off all their seamers and introduced a variety of spinners. Hollywood felt the beginnings of a bead of sweat and as sweating puts him in breach of his image rights contract he was forced to hole out for a savage 55 (11 4s, 1 6). George wasn’t much more sympathetic to the bowling and made 52 in a partnership of 86 with Dakes, and then Samdog got the biggest cheer of the innings when he hit a boundary and didn’t get out next ball. His partnership of 94 with Dakes meant that when he finally went just 5 short of a 50, we were at 273-6 off 46, and C & C were really really fed up.

Dakes was struggling to believe what was being offered up and was hitting the ball to all corners. He got particularly riled when Taggart sent him back for a leg bye on the basis that wafting the bat in vaguely the same hemisphere as the ball did not constitute playing a shot. The batsman declared the decision ridiculous while the bowler congratulated the umpire on the decision, declaring that batsman get away with far too much. He wasn’t quite so sure however when Dakes, in a fit of pique, smoked the next 3 balls to the mid wicket boundary for 4 to bring up his 50. The bowler shuffled off mumbling something about it being the umpire’s fault.

Hamz was pushed up the order for quick runs, but this theory proved flawed as it took him 13 balls to get his 29. There was a hint of collusion when Dakes and Hamz met in the middle of the pitch to discuss who they were going to let C & C run out (Dakes (78) went on the basis that he was knackered) and when Hamz finally holed out 3 balls into the 52nd, we were forced to declare on the basis that Gilet wasn’t prepared to change his shirt for 3 balls. 313-9 however looked pretty decent on a pitch that was starting to pop a bit.

It was suggested at tea by someone from Challow that perhaps we had spoiled the game by not declaring at 260. He forecast at that point that it was going to be a really dull draw but it’s funny what 300+ does to your mindset.

A typically superb Roz Moran tea was accompanied by several attempts to delay the resumption on the basis that there was footie on the telly, however it was decided it was easier to ignore Keeps continued insistence that his 16 was actually the backbone of the innings, on the pitch than in the changing room so out we went.

We’re running into a third page now, so I’ll make this bit quick.

Dakes was knackered and bowled 6 overs off half a run. 2-16 with no wides. Just saying!

Hamzah took 3 wickets, but Taggart nicked 2 of them back on the basis that you need to bowl off 22 yards, not 21.

Al bowled better than his figures suggested, but sent down the obligatory 2 full tosses so had to be replaced by Keeps (what were you thinking?!?) who did the same in the next over and had to be replaced by Brooksie, who returned the near perfect figures of 0.1-0-0-0.

Gilet bowled well, but couldn’t match Phil’s economy rate, going for 35 off his 10.3 overs.

He did however take 7 wickets, and thus won us the match (if you don’t count Keeps’ quite brilliant 16).

So having smashed Challow twice, and beaten everyone else in the League (barring rain and one wicket against Minster Lovell), we are top by 7 (we really need to find someone to talk to about that). Football is coming home but England aren’t and you can get a very decent curry in Chinnor at 11pm on a Saturday night.

We’ve had worse days. 

                 

BRCC 2s v Kimble 2s

 

Away – Saturday 7th July 2018 

 

Eleven Ridgemen fall to the Nine of Kimble

 

Cool diplomacy as Captain Chesh and Umpire Graham quell moments of dissent

 

ShaunTrap absconds with proceeds of Summit Meeting tickets (pursued by a Bear)

 

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Kimble 240 all out (40 overs)

BRCC     53 all out (27 overs)

 

Lost by 187 runs

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An empty Kimble ground on a sunny day half an hour before the start of a cricket match is rather an attractive if lonely place.

 

As RolfeDog and the Kimble captain surveyed the scene, the arrival of David Saint was much like the first sight of another human being by survivors on a desert island.

 

Players trickled in but very few of them belonged to Kimble whose captain said he had lost four to the firsts that week or that day or even that hour.

 

The sound level increased with the arrival of Hillarious and the non-arrival of most of his kit which, he revealed, was in the boot of his dad’s car which was in a garage for repair. One assumes the car rather than the kit was in for repair.

 

Mysteriously Ben could only relate this to one item of kit at a time so firstly he texted all and sundry at about 11.45 that he would need a shirt and then, an hour later while changing, announced that he did not have any trousers.

 

RolfeDog obliged with the shirt and Jovan with the whites and Ben decided he would audition for a remake of Madness’ Baggy Trousers.

 

HairBear had once played at this ground wearing Dickers’ whites – or “tent” as we liked to call it - but today he spent the pre-match deliberations complaining about the ongoing heat and that he was already “40 degrees”. Being a Ginger he may indeed have been hotter than anyone else.

 

We assembled, ten of us ready to field, for another of Captain Cheshire’s rousing Churchillian motivational speeches.

 

In the event this was more like a Parliamentary Brief with every potential aspect of the game covered except for the fact that the opposition might blast 240 with a team of only nine men. Suddenly an eleventh Ridge man appeared at the door in the form of Malik whose promptness with two minutes to spare would put Saeed to shame.

 

Had we opened the match with a hat-trick the game would have been over there and then but for the one run required for victory. As it was, during the second over a trail of opposition cricketers, ready-changed walked across the car park at approximately 10-yard distances to bring the Kimble contingent to nine.

 

We had already managed quite a few wides by the time in the fourth over the ShaunTrap bowled one of the openers. “Great reward for pressure” enthused the irrepressible Chesh.  This prompted a brief debate after which the team concluded that with the score at 24-0 off three overs and with a chest high full toss having been despatched for four the previous ball, the wicket was more a reward for complacency than for pressure.

 

This brought in the diminutive Kimble No 3 Ateeq Ahmed whose shirt design, rather unusually, sported a large dark rim under and around each armpit as if someone had swapped his can of Brut with a spray can of dark creosote.

Either way his arms were well oiled and after a sighter or two he smacked a decent ball from Hillarious into the field and shortly another, against the sightscreen.

 

RolfeDog was in best ball-searching form chiding anyone who was looking for the ball somewhere other than where RolfeDog was standing. The field had been planted with peas which – I had never seen this – grow on stalks meaning that you can see the ground below, rather unlike the wildflower garden which is developing on the ‘Keeping’ side of Meadow Styles.

 

Chesh made a poor joke about being ‘peed’ off and then repeated it when nobody reacted. Everyone was peed off with RolfeDog however when the youngest member of the opposition, aged 13, found the ball nowhere near where RolfeDog was looking and made his discovery with the now traditional remark “I’ve found a nice shiny looking Cherwell League ball, just a few overs old, in the place where I thought it went in, but I don’t know if it is the match ball.”

 

With recent match reports in mind RolfeDog was keen to quash at birth, the possibility that aliens were randomly dropping nearly-new match balls into fields surrounding the Kimble ground just as they have been at The Ridge and confirmed that the probability of it being the match ball exceeded 100% so we carried on with the game.

 

Unfortunately, although he quietened down a bit Mr Ahmed had rather a good game. Chesh rotated his other bowlers, Vajid, Junaid (3-60) and Farhan and the wickets gradually game, one held by Junaid who is a Good Catcher, another by Chesh who is also a Good Catcher. The wickets which fell, fell at the other end however, until Ahmed eventually ‘walked’ for a nick behind caught by Jovan off the Real Saint (appreciated by the fielders) for 88 making way for Raza Shah and Nisar Ahmed to have bit of a blast at the end until we bowled them out needing only to take eight wickets to do so (Kimble having just nine men).

 

The only other incident of note had been an unrequited appeal for LBW by The Real Saint which ended with him lying on his back doing a “dead ants” turn, for which he was awarded 8/10 for style + 1/10 for needlessly drawing attention.

 

 

We found that England were 1-0 up in the WC Quarter-Final v Sweden and the absence of any loud cheer from the pavilion at this goal was explained by the shortage of Kimble players together with the need to provide an umpire to support Graham and a scorer. There had therefore been only three people watching the game at the time Harry Maguire rose above all the Swedish defenders and scored, bringing to mind McGuinn and McGuire couldn't get no higher” (Mamas and Papas, Creek Alley, 1967)

 

It was agreed that if the openers padded up in advance we would watch the end of the match and RolfeDog was rewarded by someone walking in front of the telly just at the moment Deli Alli scored England’s second goal.

 

Buoyed by England’s 2-0 success we found ourselves 16-7 off about 15 overs,then Farhan scored our second boundary off the last ball of the 19th over and it was at this point that the top scorer exceeded 5.

 

HairBear, a Gilet-Statto trainee, because obsessed with low-scoring records in the Cherwell League (CCL) and was delighted that Farhan’s boundary took us out of the lowest ten scores in CCL history, the lowest ever being exactly 10.

 

The brevity of our innings up to the point that Hillarious, batting No 10, joined Farhan at the crease is impossible to match with sufficient brevity in words, so I say no more about the first eight wickets, except for a strange discussion that took place after the loss of our 7th.

 

By this time, Captain Designate S.Niff was on the field kindly doing some voluntary square-leg umpiring and Captain Extraordinary, Chesh, was scoring. Chesh was forced to do so while answering rapid-fire questions of a critical nature from Malik, starting with the batting order.

 

Some would argue that Malik’s dismissal bowled, while pirouetting 180 degrees on one leg trying to hit a regulation delivery to Glamorgan, had done little to advance his case for promotion up the order. Malik however saw it differently, then moved on to captaincy, bowling and field placing, before moving on again to Brexit, climate change and the Meaning of Life.

 

Captain Chesh dealt with this with the cool of an experienced diplomat, promising that he would attend to the matter when not having to acknowledge signals from the umpires and generally watch the game. A Summit Meeting was offered at which he was prepared to ‘drill down’, ‘take it to the next level’, ‘run it up the flagpole’ and ‘peel back the layers of onion’, an event for which Shaun began to sell tickets.

 

By now RolfeDog had taken over at square-leg and Hillarious and Farhan, batting with exemplary defence, were showing some resistance and hitting the odd boundary giving us hope of survival, although we were only 23 or so overs into the innings.

 

Umpire Graham chided both batsmen for chatting for an unnecessarily long time between overs and keeping the fielding side waiting: “But there’s plenty to talk about” responded Ben. One couldn’t help thinking that of the two batsmen involved Ben was probably doing rather more of the talking and Farhan, more of the listening. There’s also not a lot to talk about when your score is 40-8 with twenty overs more to play out and most of your kit is in the boot of your dad’s car in the local garage.

 

It was against this backdrop that a minor umpiring incident emerged as the – until now – quiet and thoughtful -  Arun Singh, fielding at mid-off, demanded of Farhan that he be ready to bat.

 

This might have been a reasonable request a) had he been an umpire and b) had Graham not been dealing with a recalcitrant stump at the bowlers end where he was trying with only partial success, and no help from mid-off, to secure the stump and replace a rebellious bail.

 

This cut no ice with the fielder who chose Graham as his next target then took his reprimand with poor grace, continuing to do so after the next wicket when Farhan fell to a very fine diving catch for a plucky 17.

 

Order was restored just about, though one sensed that if might have been easier for the Kimble skipper if he had been more familiar with all his players.

As far as I can remember, Kimble had not supplied a match umpire – a point which eluded some of the opposing team - whereas Graham umpired the entire match at the bowler’s end on behalf of both teams, in searing heat.

 

We had also provided another non-playing official at square leg for a number of overs during the second innings.

 

With Farhan’s dismissal we had the exciting prospect of ShaunTrap batting with a runner on account of a recurrence of a hip injury. We were spared the fun however when Ben was bowled and in scoring 53 we had lost by 187 runs, Nisar Ahmed taking 6-25.

 

HairBear announced with great excitement that our score was not in the lowest 200 totals in CCL history and for that we were grateful and we could not wait to inform Gilet who had probably made a wirelsss connection to Kimble anyway.

 

Malik was no longer around when Chesh convened for the Summit Meeting and an angry mob gathered demanding their ticket money back from ShaunTrap who was nowhere to be seen either. Goodband gave chase.

 

A discussion followed about the 1s victory by an almost identical margin (183 runs) v former league leaders Challow and the absence of some of our bowlers in the coming weeks. “Gilet is bowling very well but not taking many wickets” someone remarked as the news came through that he had bowled Challow out almost single-handedly with 7-35.

 

RolfeDog was the last RidgeBear to leave and could see no other signs of life. He reflected that an empty Kimble ground on a sunny day half an hour after the end of a cricket match is rather an attractive if lonely place.

 

 

 

BRCC 1s v Banbury 4s Away 

Saturday 30th June 2018 

 

Cpt Birdseye leads The Ridge to Victory Again

 

Lord Keeping of Toad Hall now scoring more runs than his bowling concedes

 

Ridge early batsmen culled by Badgers

 

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Banbury 4:              189-9     (53 overs)

BRCC:                     190-3      (41.4 overs)

 

Result: BRCC Won by 7 wickets

 

“Last time we played here I hit one onto the roof of the DHL building” said Hamsah on the journey up. “One of their older players said he’s only seen it done three times”. 

That player was Steve Partington who was rolling the wicket he had prepared when we arrived, was organising teas, had got the bar rota sorted and then opened the batting. 

Unfortunately Mike Stevens was not available to umpire so could not give him LBW second ball as he had three years ago, as a reward for a week’s hard match preparation. 

Instead, Steve cut an impressive figure in helmet, thick glasses and mouthguard as he faced up to Captain Birdseye’s first ball. Either he was planning to do a bit of spot-welding while at the crease or had heard about the vagaries of Dakes’ first-ball-of-the-match each week. 

“See if you can avoid bowling a wide first ball” said RolfeDog to Captain Birdseye who had once opened a new season with four wides. Amazingly the first ball was straight and true which fooled Umpire Graham who was already in the process of signalling a wide out of habit and was forced to retract, or redact which is a word I learnt recently, or ‘learned’ even. 

Birdseye bowled straight and true for much of the afternoon getting Edward Phillips and Seb Finch early. Partington proved harder to remove as he had by now dug a trench, welded a bit of corrugated to the roof and was resisting all-comers. 

Well all except Gilet-Statto, who, fresh from giving the inexperienced 63-year-old RolfeDog a lesson in shining the ball, breached his defences and got him LBW with a bouncing bomb. 

Partington de-partington-ed and if SamDog had caught Adnam Ahmed early doors the innings might have finished early doors, but he didn’t so it didn’t. 

As it was, there was time for Dakes to experiment widely with his bowling options allowing Ben Hillarious and Shaun “Shauntrap” Dryden plenty of practice for when Dakes would be away in a couple of weeks’ time. 

Shaun was pleased to accept this opportunity only breaking the news to Captain Birdseye that his holiday would coincide with the Captains’ once his spell was complete, so the experiment was all a waste of time. 

Hamsah bowled in two spells with great accuracy and as usual was the unlucky bowler in respect of the dropped catch. He eventually returned to get Sophie Mitchelmore caught by SamDog (reason for celebration in itself) but not before Ahmed had built an innings which threatened to take Banbury well past 200. 

In the event he was well caught by Brooksie off Hillarious for 72 whose final figures were 8.4-1-26-1. Interesting figures those, since the innings went the full 53 overs exactly. 

This is explained by the Keeping Phenomenon: in fact it is more like a Keeping Ritual wherein Keeps sees how many balls he can bowl before getting banned for bowling two no balls above waist height. 

This time he managed 14, ie 2.2 overs. This ECB rule is nonsense in the context of young bowlers plying their trade in, say, Division 6. A young talented leg spinner for example – who needs to learn his art and keep bowing - might have two high deliveries go for two sixes and yet be removed from bowling for ‘endangering the batsman’ … absolute nuts! 

Ben Keeps however fits none of the categories ‘young’, ‘talented’ or ‘spinner’ so it is always with great relief that his teammates watch the umpire terminate his spell for the greater good of the team in particular and of cricket in general. There was almost an argument however as Umpire Graham insisted he had to come off and the batsman implored Graham to keep him on. At least on the day the rule worked to our advantage as that brought Hillarious back and later Dakes who ended with 5-34 off 10 making him the highest wicket-taker to date in the division. 

Gilet poached another wicket somewhere too, caught by SamDog which all seems too much of a coincidence really. 

In the end Banbury set just 190 to win which could have been a whole lot more had Adnan lasted longer and had McTaggart been fit to bowl 

Tea was par: those of us with longish memories remember the day when Banbury produced a truly magnificent spread. It had been ordered in by a catering company who had got rather confused with other orders and sent a wedding banquet to Banbury CC by mistake leaving us to ponder how the young couple and their guests were getting on somewhere else with a few sarnies, pork pies and Wagon Wheels, on the greatest day of their lives. 

RolfeDog went out with Brooksie for the usual ritual sacrifice and was bowled by a badger. A Badger in fact, first name Alex. 

The scene began to resemble the Wind in the Willows as A Badger had nailed a Rabbit and after a fine aggressive innings by Brooksie, A N Other Badger, this one by the name Ollie, bowled him a long-hop. The book says Brooksie was caught by a Finch but there is no mention of a Finch in the famous book written by the then Secretary of the Bank of England, so I rather suspect that Brooksie was in fact caught Owl bowled Badger for 37. 

Anyway, he left the field looking rather Ratty, paving the way for a second ritual Rolfe-Sacrifice whereby SamDog chipped another long-hop back to the bowler and suffered the ignominy of being both caught by a Badger and bowled by a Badger - or to be pedantic (and who isn’t?) of being caught by O Badger and bowled by O Badger. This, as everyone knows is something Stoatally different and is occasionally referred to as completing the Set (geddit?). 

During all this time, Lord Keeping of Toad Hall had been batting sublimely as he has been all season. He progressed past 50 while Captain Birdseye was still scratching around in the Wild Wood.  The Great Lord may never make it to be Secretary of the Bank of England but he is one hell of a Banker to his teammates. 

Try as they might, the Eight Bowlers of Banbury could not Weasel either of them out and just when Lord Toad was beginning to near a century and with it, a definite absence of any match report, Birdseye opened his shoulders and showed his class as someone nearly said of a large Cuban athlete (Dakes only qualifies in respect of the word “large”). 

He hit two sixes and won the match though neither threatened Hamsah’s rare feat. With the match over the DHL warehouse ceased to be at risk from any stray deliveries (geddit?). 

Lord Toad (86 no) marched off to great applause and comments like “Oh Bliss, Oh My”. He was able to quote his batting average to three decimal points as he crossed the boundary, arousing suspicion that he is now receiving Gilet-Statto updates wirelessly while batting. 

We then watched some exciting World Cup football on telly and when Gilet-Statto jogged the telly by mistake a couple of Uruguay players and Ronaldo of Portugal fell over. 

Steve Partington said it was only the third time he’d ever seen that happen. 


Ian Duncan-Smith was unavailable for comment

BRCC 1s v Sandford St Martin 2s Home

 

Saturday 23rd June 2018

 

Gilet goes wicketless but finds his trouser cord

 

RidgeBears lose intellectual battle but win cricket match

 

Birdy wears Shaun’s clothes in battle of Time & Space

 

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S St M:              193 ao (52.3 overs)

BRCC:               196 -6  (45.5overs) 


Result: BRCC Won by 4 wickets

 

Sandford St Martin arrived with car loads of students. Clearly The Ridge was not going to be able to match their level of intellect and intelligent discussion. One player, watching Gilet warm up in the nets commented that it is remarkable how bowlers have so many different methods with which to propel the ball to the other end of the wicket. 

He might just has well have said: “Look at that chap’s strange bowling action”, but being polite he didn’t and just chatted about Einstein’s Theory of Relativity instead and in particular that ‘’massive objects cause a distortion in space-time” as anyone who has ever shared a changing room with Dickers would know. 

Sandford batted. Their batsmen were like Russian dolls in reverse: each time we got one out a bigger one came in. 

In a nutshell they raced to 29-0 off 6 but although they batted for all but three balls of the permitted 53 overs only Greg Pearson made over 16. 

Captain Dakin Birdseye greedily took 4-47 while Hamzah was a little more expensive, but still effective with 3-67. Ben Hillarious managed 1-13 off seven overs upstaging Gilet-Statto who also conceded only 13 off 7 overs. Gilet decided not to concentrate on taking wickets, but more on containment, in the sense that his new trouser elastic kept his shirt contained within his trousers for most of the afternoon. This alone justified the comment about the strange action referred to in the second paragraph of this piece. 

While all this was going on we had the incident of Shaun and the Mobile Net. 

Shaun had bowled his first spell of the season. This had included a number of deliveries to a Ben Taylor who had played a wide range of impressive and aggressive strokes very few of which had made contact with the ball. RolfeDog was just musing that Ben Hillarious was wasted on the deep square leg boundary when next ball, Mr Taylor made contact (law of averages) straight into the hands of said fielder who did not have to move an inch. Ben did however perform a neat little ballet manoeuvre on catching the ball to give us the impression that staying inside the rope had not been easy. 

Being only about 3 years old, Shaun was taken off after six successful overs but soon found himself haring after a shot which he stopped with his foot inches from the boundary while still running full tilt. He only came to a stop on hitting the horizontal bar lying across the open end of a mobile net situated a few feet beyond the boundary – which from now on shall be called a ShaunTrap. 

In brief, Shaun’s body stopped instantly except that his little legs didn’t, which shed doubt on Einstein’s view on the relationship between Space and Time. These little legs only stopped running when they realised Shaun was by now on the floor having struck the metal bar with his manly chest causing it to bend appreciably  - the bar that is. – bringing into play Shaun’s Theory of Elasticity. 

Drama Queen that he is, he lay there until his father – one ShakEy Dryden - arrived with the news that had Shaun bothered diving as the ball went passed he would not have run into the ShaunTrap. Luckily Shaun was more ShakEn than Stirred and in the event it only hurt when he laughed, RolfeDog telling him lots of jokes to cheer him up, and that. 

The outcome was Shaun, Sharon and ShakEy looking very twee as they sat on a bench, while BirdDog who had been sitting out this week due to injury, forgot that he was injured, offered to field as a substitute for our newly broken man and squeezed his way into Shaun’s kit. He took the pitch as some sort of muscle-bound-looking Buzz Lightyear and proved just as ineffective as Shaun at stopping the ball without histrionics. 

SStM set us 194 to win and after Roz did her best to reduce our lifespans with another gourmet tea, The Ridge made a ritual sacrifice of two RolfeDog’s in the first over in order to give the opposition encouragement. 

Both fell to Ben Ackland Snow – he who had commented on Gilet’s bowling before the match. He has three names as he is as tall as at least three people and is at least as intelligent as all of our team combined. 

He bowled an outstanding spell and the RolfeDogs lived in hope for a full 12 overs that Brooksie would join them with a 0 to his name, a hope that was dashed only in the 13th over when he got off the mark. He had 8 after 20 overs but the RolfeDogs grudgingly had to admit that his patient innings with Hollywood who was going silly at the other end, set up our hard-won victory 

There was still a lot to do when Brooksie was caught for 35 by those Three Wise Men, Ben Ackland & Snow, but Dakes kept up the momentum while watching Hollywood pepper the field. 

One of these shots brought about a return of this year’s new phenomenon whereby a fielder hops over a boundary fence to retrieve a ball, picks up a bright match ball from precisely the point where the shot has landed only to declare “It’s not the match ball’ as if by some astronomic phenomena nearly-new replica cricket balls have been scattered over the place to confuse match-ball-hunters. 

That last paragraph contained only one sentence. 

Anyway HairBear made 7 after Captain Birdseye’s dismissal for 22 and Hollywood’s for a very lucky 73, mostly in fours and sixes. This brought in Allan to join Hamsah who had stunned us all by not trying to hit his first ball into the stratosphere where Einstein might catch it and bung it into a black hole. 

He was also wary of the  bowling prowess of top scorer Greg Pearson who had accounted for Brooksie, Birdseye and HairBear and was making a decent bid for Man of the Match (in the end Albert Einstein shaded it, so to speak). 

Indeed another strange thing was happening… another new phenomenon: Hamzah was batting sensibly and was playing defensive shots. Whatever next?: a RidgeBear running full speed into a ShaunTrap perhaps?  Lord Lucan riding past on Shergar? 

SStM decided against recalling any of Ben, Ackland or Snow (2-19 off 13 overs), gambling instead on the slow bowling of Ian Reynolds to the surprise of all those RidgeBears with a lower IQ than B.A.S., ie all of us. 

it was Allan who hit the big six that added to Hamzah’s good work and got us very close, before in a bizarre moment with just four wanted for victory and 8 balls left, Hamzah drilled a shot with great power only for its journey to the boundary to be interrupted by Allan who took its full force much in the way the bar of the ShaunTrap had taken the full force of Shaun and his little legs a few hours earlier. 

Instead, next ball, Hamsah went for subtlety and finished the game with a delicate leg glance to the square leg boundary and left the field to applause and to the sight of Statto looking at his mobile phone before declaring ‘That’s only the third time since the age of 13 that Hamzah has made a score of over 15 without hitting a six, in a year which is not a leap year and when there’s a World Cup”. 

At this news, we all stared into a vacuum. 

It remained for us to share a beer or two with the opposition who later sent a message by email to say what a nice ground we have (probably true) and what a good bunch we are (definitely true) all of which just confirmed what an intelligent bunch they were, even  though they have no idea the Earth is flat and the Moon is made of cheese.

 

Rob Brydon is away.

 

Bledlow Ridge 2s v Bletchley 2s

 Home – Saturday 16th June 2018




               Ridge defeated despite strong performances by Young Guns

 

Chesh auditions for remake of DARKEST HOUR

 

“Shock” appearance of debrillator 

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BRCC- 211-7 (45 overs)

Bletchley – 212-5 (38.2) overs 

Lost by 5 wickets

 

Despite posting our best total of the season by a considerable amount the 2s lost to league leaders Bletchley by 5 wickets on a barmy afternoon at The Ridge.

 

RotlfeDog was surprised that all the team arrived well in advance of the start of a home match, he not being used to this sort of thing in the firsts. Taggart and RolfeDog learned to their great pride that they were appointed to Chesh’s Senior Management Team for this match and shared responsibility for the running of Captain Chesh’s Barmy Army or Young Guns (YG). 

Chesh won the toss – Lucky Tosser – elected to bat and gave a Churchillian speech about commitment, pride and the fact that if you were batting down the order it didn’t mean you weren’t valued. He could have saved time simply by saying “David, I know you can bat but you’re No 11 today all the same”. 

At the moment that RolfeDog was dissolving into tears of emotion there was a knock on the door and his friend Graham Keens from Bledlow Village and Bucks O60s appeared at the door with a gift, announcing “I have a defibrillator here for you John”.  RolfeDog fainted with embarrassment and was resuscitated with the help of the defibrillator and a bicycle pump. 

Chesh and Jovan opened and Chesh hit his second ball for four which was some kind of a record. He and Jovan put on over 60 before Chesh was out for 14 to be replaced by Efan. Meanwhile Jovan was slapping the ball through the covers off the back foot with the face of the bat and to fine leg off the front with the inside edge. He was bowled for 41 at which point RolfeDog, the No 5 enquired of the whereabouts of HairBear (YG). 

The Bear had chosen to wait until he was the next in to bat, to make an extended visit to the Little Room from where he explained through the locked door thathe would not be available to bat at No 4, if the rule about going out within two minutes of the previous wicket, was still in force as he still had much to do. 

RolfeDog bored the spectators for a while but witnessed the shot of the day from Efan  (YG).at the other end. Efan made 31 and RolfeDog 13 before HairBear who felt all the better for his commercial break, slapped 32 and while doing so, gave Kelvin some valuable sprint training during his first outing of the season. Farhan (YG).and Junaid  (YG).maintained the pace and took us to 211 with 29 and 16 not out respectively. 

The Bletchley innings commenced. Chesh had advised RolfeDog that Junaid likes to bowl with his cap back to front. It had not been anticipated that David Saint would bowl an entire spell wearing a cap, albeit it the right way around. The cap acts as a kind of rudder apparently and is particularly effective for bowlers running down the hill. 

In essence we took a marvellous catch (Junaid) and a sharp catch (The Real Saint) but our failure to hang on to some other chances cost us the opportunity to put Bletchley’s batsmen under enough pressure even though we took wickets at intervals. 

Farhan was the pick of the bowlers bowling with a fluent action and good pace and accuracy. 

Junaid took a wicket without wearing a cap either way around. Taggart who replaced Farhan was suffering from the effects of not bowling for six weeks and found it hard to find his length. Well he found his length but not Farhan’s and as a consequence we had some ball-searching to do in the Stud Farm. 

After one of these visits Taggart bowled a yorker which was successfully defended. “Try hitting that for six” said Taggart invitingly to batsman Rubel Miah but instead of replying “I needn’t bother because I know there’ll be another juicy delivery along soon” the batsman started following Taggart back to his mark and a brief verbal exchange followed at which point the umpire, an inscrutable individual called Martin (formerly known as Sniff), stepped in and threatened to smash both their faces in. Well that’s what he was thinking, anyway. 

Taggart did bowl Rubel out shortly afterwards and shook him gently by the throat as he walked off before mentioning to the rest of the team that that was his 200th wicket for the club, not that records mean anything to him and all that. RolfeDog said it was a happy coincidence that taking his 200th wicket followed shortly after conceding his 200th six. 

As a proud member of the Senior Management Team (SMT) RolfeDog made one suggestion all afternoon which concerned the positioning in the field of Captain Chesh off the bowling of Mark Neal. Unaided by a defibrillator this suggestion was the Kiss of Death as the next two balls went into the position just vacated by Captain “Churchill” Cheshire and RolfeDog resigned as a member of said SMT. 

Chesh entered Wonderland and bowled three overs. The second was bowled with cap AND sunglasses which normally Trumps bowling with only a cap. 

Chesh appears to smile at the batsman as he bowls but no one knows why. Indeed there was a lot of inscrutability about as The Umpire Formerly Known As Sniff met The Cheshire Cat – The Cat With The Inscrutable Smile. 

Ken Hollis then took a liking to Chesh – who doesn’t and how can a batsman resist that smile - and gave us some more ball -searching practice before they won the game off our 28th wide in the 39th over. Well actually it was the 28th wide of the innings not the 28th wide in one particular over although it might have felt like that at times. 

The day’s cricket concluded with another rousing speech from Captain Chesh. In it he recognised that if the freedom of the West depended on our team’s blood and sweat, then democracy was assured for another 100 years, even if Mr Trump became Dictator of Europe in which case Brexit would have been a Good Thing. 

At this, RolfeDog collapsed and was revived by a defibrillator which just happened to be lying around, fortunately moments before Captain Chesh prepared to administer the Kiss of Life.

 

David DImbleby is currently on vacation in North Korea.

BRCC  v Eynsham  Away 

Saturday 2nd June 2018 

Gilet goes wicketless but finds his trouser cord


Brooks takes five wickets – conspiracy suspected

 

Hammy strains his Hammy

 

 

BRCC:        223-8 (50 overs)

Eynsham: 106 all out (37.2 overs) 


Result: BRCC Won by 117 runs

 

The weekend started when the 2nd Team Payer of the Year Trophy for 2015, which had sat on RplfeDog’s office table for three years, was handed over to Taggart to give to the newly returned Hari who was playing at home for the 2s..Hari responded by taking four wickets. 

This bright news contrasted strongly with the appalling events that followed at Eynsham where Phil Brooks had his best bowling analysis in a league match as he scuttled five Eynsham batsmen and with it, their reputations and our sense of justice. 

The Eynsham pitch had been underwater only 36 hours before the match so their wicketkeeper James Merrill was taking no chances. As the Ridge openers walked out to bat, Merrell’s headgear, goggles and snorkel showed he was  ready for deep-sea diving should it be required at any moment. Jacques Cousteau turned in his watery grave. 

His first dive resulted in his first appeal and this trend continued most times he caught the ball. On the first occasion RolfeDog enquired whether we might be awarded a wide, not realising this would prompt an unceasing babble of what might loosely be described as sledging or more accurately described as verbal water-skiing without the right equipment, for the next hour. 

Although a lot of work had been undertaken to get the game on, the wicket behaved much as might be expected in the circumstances and batting was hard against the bowling of Ben Weller and Thomas Gerken. 

RolfeDog was particularly careful not to be bowled by a Gerkin but Brooksie did get bowled by Weller because he was laughing at a sledge that described RolfeDog as his father. Were this the case, the good-looking genes had been withheld, obviously. 

SamDog, possibly Brooksie’s half-brother, joined RolfeDog. SamDog tends to play away games as there are not so many red kites about looking for carcasses. He hit two blistering drives before being undone with a half tracker that hit a mine and looped with the trajectory of a softball in space before landing splash on the base of his off stump on the second bounce. 

Up to this point RolfeDog had convinced onlookers how hard batting was but then Gorgeous George came out for the first time in two or three years, did a little assessment, decided batting was easy, and dispensed with RolfeDog’s services, RolfeDog not being in the picture frame when the throw to Cousteau Jnr came in, owing to his difficulty running in wellies. 

Out walked the second best-looking man in the team, Hollywood, to join the first. Hollywood deferred to Gorgeous’ ascendant looks by kindly allowing him to score all but 8 of their valuable partnership of 42 before he was replaced by Dakes after chipping one to mid-off. 

Dakes showed patience as a batsman. That’s worth repeating: Dakes showed patience as a batsman. It was needed, as batting was mostly harder than George made it look before he too was out. There was a lot to do when Birdy flew to the wicket even though the chirping from the fielders had long stopped. 

Nothing much exciting, interesting or funny happened for a long while unless you include the over from Captain and Head Sledger Sam Jones in which Dakes was beaten four times but survived. What he and Birdy did do was build the score up so that when Dakes sunk for a hard-earned 41, the stage was set for Hamsah. 

He obliged and created quite a splash. “I want go get 50” said Hamsah. “Just bat” said Birdy. Hamsah soon hit a six. “Don’t try it again said Birdy” so Hamsah hit the next ball for six. These two put on 59 in 7 overs. While batting Hamz told Birdy he wanted to know how many runs he had got. Birdy forbade such action so it was nicely synchronised that that both of them ended with 39, their runs eventually coming in waves. 

This allowed Ben Hillarious a few balls to face without running himself out and then Allan too, who hit his first one exceptionally hard only to see it trapped by the bowler with a first touch that we are unlikely to witness from any England players at the forthcoming World Cup. 

SamDog had been scoring for a lot of the innings and needed a bit of help adding up at the end and with the help of differential calculus we ended up with 223-8 – a fine total on this wicket. 

Dakes and Hamsah did not get a wicket in their first spells and they were probably put off by some very shallow sledging from Brooksie who was told to “Shut up you tart” by RolfeDog who wanted to get that in before the opposition. 

Allan swooped at midwicket and opened our account by running out Ben Smitten who looked even older than RolfeDog. Then came a strange period when, with a ripple effect everyone decided they were too injured to bowl.  Dakes started it, then Hamsah decided he had a bad hammy (Hammy’s hammy?). 

Luckily Hillarious did not feel this way until he had splashed out with a couple of wickets. Gilet came on at the other end, declared his knee unfit for bowling after his first over (water on the knee?) but on hearing that his replacement would be Hollywood who is always too unfit to bowl, Gilet’s knee injury miraculously disappeared. 

Gilet was very boring but Allan was this week’s unlucky victim of the ruling that if you bowl two chest high full tosses you can no longer bowl in the match even if they were not dangerous and were hit for four by a youngster. Captain Jones seemed particularly keen to have him taken off. The ECB need to look at this one again (this is Division 6 after all). Twenty miles for nine balls: it’s almost like being a batsman. 

We had run out of bowlers. Dakes looked around but everyone looked away except Brooksie so he got the ball. And with it a cricketing miracle or Tsunami depending on your point of view. He must have signed some kind of suicide pact with the batsmen who found various ways of hitting the ball in the air into the hands of Buckets Hollywood (seven catches this year) Bucket sBird (3 catches in the match) and Buckets Georgeous who managed to make an easy catch look difficult. 

By the time Gilet had ended his spell wicketless, Brooksie had four. At least he could count, as on being asked innocently of course, how many wickets he had taken, Gilet lifted one finger, rather menacingly I thought, even though the answer was zero. For those of you with statistical inclinations like Gilet,his figures were 5-5-10-0 of which the 10 included one Narrow, so it was a reasonable spell. And he had proper cord keeping up his trousers. 

He was replaced by Hollywood and although Eynsham had lost wickets for as long as Jones was at the crease they were in with a chance but he was Brooksie’s fourth victim. 

And then, a difficult moment: with Brooksie having four already Mark Weller hit the ball in the air roughly in RolfeDog’s direction.  In a flash RolfeDog imagined the terrible scene: Brooksie with his fifth wicket and worse, the prospect of the bowler running to embrace him in much the way Fez had done so years before, although hopefully this time, without tongues. 

The only smart thing to do was to drop the catch but sadly instinct took over and Brooksie had five and chased RolfeDog all over the field, arms outstretched. 

At number 10, wicketkeeper Merrill came out to bat: scuba diver’s helmet, goggles and shirt down to his knees. He did not face however and watched No 11 Tom Gerken who had injured his ankle while bowling, limp to the wicket and be surprised that the only ball he faced kept low and bowled him lie a dambuster bomb. 

There then followed the unusual scenario of Merrill giving Gerken a rollocking for wasting Merrill’s chance of winning the game singlehanded despite wanting 118 runs to win and being only armed with a snorkel. 

We returned to the Ridge some of us, happy to celebrate some more. RolfeDog cleared up and found the 2015 2nd Team Player of the Year Trophy in the home team dressing room. 

It now sits once again, on RolfeDog’s table in his office. Brooksie might win it next year.



 

CAPTAIN’S REPORT CARD

Captain: Martin Harris             Team: BRCC 2      Opposition: Nondies 3                  02/06/18  

Result: Nondies 40 all out     BRCC 43-0      Won by 10 wickets

Area of Activity

Grade

Comments

Pre-match communication

B

Martin has adapted himself well to adopting modern communication techniques like WhatsApp and it is good to see him joining in with the banter at times with gentle witticisms.  Well done Martin, keep it up, but just the one message as to who has the keys will do!

Arranging teas

C+

I feel this is an area where Martin could perhaps be a little more forceful. If he looks at the team sheet and doesn’t see any obvious candidates, he will end up doing tea himself every week. Come on Martin, don’t be afraid to tell the players they have a job to do. Stick a pin in the team sheet and get them told. Nice job on the tea though, however watch out for the overuse of pork based products in this league.

The toss

B-

Good job on calling Martin. Well done and of course normally in div 9 bowling first is the right call. One small note of caution. Count how many players are actually at the ground before opting to bowl. Sometimes having 6 fielders plus the bowler and wicket keeper for the first over can play into the opposition’s hands a little

Use of bowlers

A-

Great to see young Charlie Carter getting first use of the new ball (0-9 from 5) and I was impressed with how Martin kept the foot on the throat by bowling Hari Bala right through (10-2-16-4). An inspired decision to give Junaid a spell on debut (4.1-1-11-5 incl hat trick). Perhaps at 30-8, some might have been tempted to share a little of the bowling around, but good to see Martin not just knock the opposition down but kick them repeatedly in the head!!! 

Killer instinct

D-

In contrast to his highly professional deployment of his bowlers, Martin needs to work on suppressing his compassion for individual players in the opposition. Just because the kid at the other end is 13, has more protection than Theresa May, doesn’t seem to know which end of the bat to hold and is sobbing gently as he approaches the crease, does NOT mean we go easy on him. Fortunate to have ‘club royalty’ (in joke) on hand on this occasion for consultation and the right result next ball. Keep working on this Martin and remember that mercy is for wimps 😊

Field Placement

A+

Admittedly it is a lot easier to set the field when you are bowling a side out for 40, but Martin showed some excellent initiative and authority in this area. Noticing that Lloydy was not looking at his most svelte, he placed him at 2nd slip where he took 2 very sharp catches (a rarity indeed in div 9) and when Hari asked for a mid-wicket, he was told in no uncertain terms that he needed to bowl at the off stump. Great work Martin, well done!!! Remember, when batsman hit the ball into gaps, it’s not because the field is wrong, it’s because the bowler bowled in the wrong place.

Batting order and participation generally

B

Tricky situation chasing down 40 as we have to hope not too many people will get a bat, so nice decision to open with Jovan (16*) and Fahan (12*). Shame we couldn’t get debutante Rohit into the game, but he was down to bat at 3 and Jov tried his hardest to get him in, but Nondies refused to actually catch any of the dollies he put up.

Post match

B

Nice piece of delegation to get Chesh to do the money and availabilities (as he had done sod all else all day), and nice bit of tidying up and general administration. Martin needs to better familiarize himself with the match reporting system (or find someone under 25 who knows how to work a smartphone). Sloping off early is OK when you lose, but when the result goes the right way, it is good to see the captain sit around for hours, get steaming drunk and enlighten the rest of the club as to the wisdom and cunning of their captaincy strategy.

Overall Grade

B+

Martin is a likeable and popular member of the team, and whilst these are nice attributes in normal people, I would like to see Martin work a little more on being a nasty b@$&@%(). I’m sure that as the season wears on, the unending chore of selection, the ever absence of sufficient keys to get into the clubhouse without setting off a nuclear alert, the seemingly infinite number of reasons why players are late, the Friday night call offs, the inability of bowlers to understand the excellent field he has set them, the inability of batsmen to understand that they are meant to score runs before they get out and the incessant and interminable flood of advice from every other club member as to what he is doing wrong will soon grind him down to the empty lifeless husk that is most ex captains.

In the meantime, great work Martin, keep it up!

 

BRCC 1s v Horley 2s


Home

 

Saturday 26th May 2018 

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Brooksie and Keeps forget their wallets in runfest

 

Shagger puts up a fight (!) for Horley

 

Pavilion Clock Keeps Mexico Time 

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BRCC:  344-8 (50 overs)

Horley: 199 ao (54.3 overs) 

Result Won by 145 runs 

 

At 10pm on Friday night, Taggart called to tell me that the club clock was saying 3.30pm and I needed to bring a new battery the next day. I went to The Village Store on the way to the match, paid nearly a fiver for a pack of four only to find the clock was working perfectly.

 

Which was more than my eyes were doing, as a first over duck in a score of 344-8 proved. A fall from grace after last week’s 92.

 

There’s nothing much wrong with being bitter and twisted so a couple of hours later, when Brooksie hit the ground, his head, his arm, his elbow and who knows the ball too and was adjudged out for wait for it… 91 there was cause for much celebration particularly from RolfeDog.

 

That served him right for putting all the rubbish he could find in RolfeDog’s rucksack at Lords the previous day and blaming it on Lloydy.

 

Most of the batsmen enjoyed themselves. This time, Brooksie was rapier to BenDog’s banker (see Challow report). With scores of 98, 64 and now 46, BenDog is clearly accumulating runs and hemorrhaging beer money. It had been a tough week on international markets.

 

We then had The Curious Incident of the Lost Ball Which Was Not Lost when a shot bounced over the fence on the Stud Farm side. The nearest Horley fielder went to look for it and immediately found a bright, hard, newish ball in exactly the spot the ball had gone and pronounced that this was not the match ball. There being no other ball in the area at all this was a strange conclusion to make, but Horley’s umpire bought the idea and the game was stopped while the box of spares was brought out before everyone concluded that none were as good as the ball that had been lost then immediately found a minute or two earlier.

 

“That…”, said BenDog, trying to sound intelligent “… is not even village, it’s hamlet” which RolfeDog pointed out is the title of a Shakespeare play. “Who is Shakespeare?” asked HairBear who looked like death… like Hamlet in fact.

 

Still embittered, RolfeDog implored his mates not to applaud Brooksie’s 50. Brooksie counts every run just like BenDog counts every penny so that when the 50th run came he ran down the wicket waving his bat around like a demented cossack with a sabre. It is rare to gratefully acknowledge applause that you haven’t received but Brooksie managed it, whereupon RolfeDog’s teammates weakened and acknowledged his acknowledgement of his fifty, much to RolfeDog’s annoyance.

 

On BenDog’s dismissal someone looking a bit like Mark Brightwell came to the wicket. This particular person had spent two weeks in a sun lounge in Slough which the operators called Mexico.

 

Our groundsman puts a lot of work into mowing the outfield and surrounds but Hollywood wastes it by blasting sixes straight into the field. Luckily, although playing similar shots with all his might, Brooskie’s trickle to boundary and occasionally though the fence which is this week being covered with chicken wire to prevent such an eventuality. It will also prevent chickens getting through if anyone brings any.

 

Hollywood made 53 mostly with boring sixes and more ball-hunting by Horley. Dakes took over from Hollywood and made 50 (that’s how you do it BenDog) and by this time RolfeDog had the satisfaction of seeing Brooksie out for 91, even though he (RolfeDog) had brought Roz out of the kitchen to witness the 100. This was a particular shame as there are few things Roz is allowed to come out of the kitchen for. It would have made a good plot for a Shakespearean tragedy or alternatively a story by someone HairBear has heard of.

 

BirdDog did what BirdDog does and made 37 while the much-awaited season’s debut from Hamsah was a score which equalled RolfeDog’s and for which RolfeDog was most grateful.

 

This brought a highly-dishevelled HairBear to the wicket. He made an aggressive 18 not out in his sleep, while the highlight of the afternoon was the run out of Ben Hillarious, adjudged so by his dad much to the merriment of his mum and sister, watching from the pavilion.

 

Allan made 0 not out without facing a ball and we were all relieved that Gilet did not bat.

 

Tea was the usual Five Star Spread from Roz after which we informed her that she has the job for life.

 

The question for the Horley innings was whether The Ridge could bowl them out before a) bowling so many wides we lost the game, b) being docked penalty runs for slow over rate, and before c) Dakes had to go to a party. It was a race against the clock which was showing the right time, for Mexico at least.

 

To cut a long story short, and this is already a long story, Buckets Hollywood took his fourth and fifth catches of the season then got a run out, only going to prove how effective two-week sun lounges in Slough can be. As further proof of this Hollywood won a race to the ball against Hamzah in a kind of “When Hollywood Beats Bollywood” turn of speed.  RolfeDog caught Henry Moon (known as Half Moon). while his father Perran Moon (a Perran being a very rare alignment of planets apparently) was LBW to Allan.

 

Gilet is very mean with wides so got through his overs quickly. In Dakes’ case the only runs he concedes are wides. Hamzah does not bowl many, Allan bowls a few but BenDog put the victory in doubt.

 

BenDog came on to bowl Left Arm Slow Tripe as opposed to Left Arm Medium Tripe.

 

The result was the same ratio of wides but with much less effort and somehow with more wickets, four in fact which only goes to show.  Taggart has proved for years that all you have to do is trot up and bowl slow left-arm and batsmen commit Hari-Kari. Allan is working on reducing his speed in order to achieve the same mystifying results. Talking of Hari Kari, he is back next week to play and to collect his 2s Player of the Year trophy for 2015

 

Andrew “Shagger” Parker had come in at three and remained to the end being encouraged by teammates calling out his name which he told us he had acquired as a result of the activity he had been involved in when he received the call to play in this match.

 

He claimed to have ignored the call but we knew this was not true because for all cricketers, the opportunity to make a century is better than sex, although that can depend what age you are.

 

Anyway with Horley nine down he was in sight of a hundred but first had to pass Brooksie’s 91. Brooksie the ‘keeper baited him to go down the track to some rubbish from BenDog and was duly stumped which at least potentially gave Shagger more time for other evening activities and enabled Dakes to get to his party. (Who would invite Dakes to a party?)

 

It also, extraordinarily, put BenDog at the top of the run-scoring and wicket-taking lists. Now that is a tragedy.

 

Our third victory in three completed matches was crowned by the presence of the King, Martin Middleton, having a beer with the second best batsman in the club, BIrdDog.

 

Celebrations went on into the evening. When RolfeDog finally got home at 10pm he was greeted with the enquiry: “What time do you call this?” and was able to clear customs by answering, “About 3.30 in the afternoon”.

 

 

Bledlow Ridge 1s v Twyford 2s (Away)

 

Saturday 19th May 2018


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Ridge Victorious in Twyford Wide-Fest


Umpire McTaggart Swallows Rule Book


BenDog Contemplates Marital Good Fortune

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BRCC:      288-6 (50 overs)

Twyford  171 ao (33 overs)

 

Won by 117 runs

 

 

“No Scott and no Birdy -what a relief” said RolfeDog on the journey to the ground.

 

After the – as yet unreported - chaos of last week’s abandoned match v Oxford I suppose it was good to have Taggart back.

 

Last week without him no one knew where the balls were (in the cupboard) or where the scorebook was (well erm, in Taggart’s house) or where my trackie bottoms were (in his kitbag). This week we hit the jackpot: he was there but umpiring not playing. It’s like true love: can’t live with him, can’t live without him.

 

And when your umpire is on the League Management Committee, is the only person on the ground who knows the Playing Rules and his name is McTaggart, well you’re going to hear about it. Made us wish Scott and Birdy were playing.

 

The Inaugural ‘See Who Can Arrive Later Than Saeed’ competition, was won by Captain Birdseye who went to Wolverton who are not in our Division, thus giving RolfeDog ammunition for the rest of the afternoon.

 

SamDog won the toss and decided to sit in the sun while the rest of us batted and watch the Inaugural Most Wides Bowled In An Over competition which enabled us to reach 45 off the first five overs for the loss of Brooksie, caught one-hand-one-bounce.

 

They had a few young hurtlers one of whom pinned RolfeDog on the belly-button with a full pitch and caused the first of a number of interventions by Twyford captain Mohammed Shafaqat who had an interesting day.

 

His comment that this should not have been called no-ball as he claimed RolfeDog had been hit on the leg elicited an invitation from ’RolfeDog to inspect the bruise and a subsequent …. erm ‘discussion’ with a fielder all of which came to a halt when from 90 yards away, SamDog, that most lippy of wicketkeepers, yelled out “just get on with the game”. This was rather like being told by John Bercow to respect women, so in a state of shock we did so and played on.

 

Umpire McTaggart (shoulder injury caused by bowling too much left-arm-slow-crap) was by now in his element. It was just unfortunate for Twyford that they came across him in top form having swallowed the 50/50 Cherwell Rule Book whole.

 

He next took delight in refusing a number of leg byes when our batsmen had pretended to try and hit the ball, by calling “I’m Not Having THAT” in an authoritative manner before undergoing Aashort cross-legged dance routine.

 

No Balls of any description are now followed by a free hit and in this match were also followed by enquiries from Mr Shafaqat such as “What Rules are we playing today then?” to which Umpire McTaggart always had a ready answer.

 

BenDog, fresh from 98 v Challow was by now batting like a million dollars which you might expect for someone who works for an American investment bank even if it is just loose change.

 

Eventually BenDog was rather well caught, for a fine 64 of a partnership of 136 at 146 for 2. SamDog arrived and hit one blistering cover drive before smearing a long hop only to see one of the young opening hurtlers dive full length and catch him. Captain Birdseye arrived, smashed the leather off a half volley only to see Hurtler No 3 grab a caught and bowled with both hands.

 

So having watched the seam bowlers spray it around, three fine catches had been taken and we were a bit shakey (or ShakEy) at 160-odd for 4.

 

Lloydy came in to bat wearing a Gerrards Cross shirt with “The Ceramic Tile Co” emblazoned on the front which was proof that he has not paid a sub for about nine years or obtained any of the goodies that go with it. He may however have had his bathroom fitted for free.

 

He was cautious to start with as if sampling a new wine. He also developed a new batting technique which involved using the bat more than the pad.

 

RolfeDog – who had by now been batting so long and so slowly that everyone on the boundary was asleep – agreed with Lloydy that they would play out the overs of accurate non-spinning off-spin form Shafaqat and another decent bowler whose identity remains unclear at the time of writing. It might have been Majid Aslam however he has only been credited with bowling four overs on the Cherwell League report card.

 

No doubting who Umpire McTaggart was however and the innings continued well until he signalled a wide off a delivery that hit Lloydy’s ample figure, almost dislodging a few ceramic tiles in the process, at which point both RolfeDog and Lloydy did the decent thing and told Umpire McTaggart to pull himself together and withdraw the wide call.

 

Lloydy had wandered slowly down the wicket to make himself understood and Twyford took the opportunity to return the ball and take the bails off in a kind of Gentlemanly-Act-Meets-Ungentlemanly-Act. Mr Shafaqat again got in a bit of a kerfuffle. I do understand that it is not always clear from Lloydy’s running speed whether he is attempting a run or not but this was not in the Spirit of Cricket so McTaggart intervened with “I’m Not Having THAT, I’ve Called Dead Ball” and so we resumed.

 

Lloyds bashed it about. RolfeDog’s innings expired for 92. HairBear had a quick thrash, all in his own kit. We finished at 288-6, with Lloydy  a fine 51 not out, a score from which we had lost at Twyford three years earlier. The bowling figures ranged from 3 overs 0-36 to  9 overs 0-20.

 

The WhatsApp gang excitedly WhatsApped everyone they know and got a photo from Birdy in reply. This being the Royal Wedding Day (Megan and Harry for those of you reading this in 2065) it rather looked as though Birdy was getting married to Larty, somewhere sunny.

 

The tea ladies were thanked for their tea so many times that they fainted with embarrassment and Dakes and Gilet set to, bowling eight of their ten allotted overs in succession with Dakes getting four and Gilet … zero.

 

Dakes’ wickets included an LBW drawn from Umpire McTaggart in the painful fashion that befits a bowler-umpire trying for better season’s figures than the bowler.

 

In order to do this the umpires had changed ends at half time much to RolfeDog’s delight as he was then able to state that this contradicts the Laws of Cricket, the Customs Union and the Laws of Nature. Quick-thinking Umpire McTaggart countered that the Laws have changed (of Cricket presumably) and MCC Member Brooksie sniffily replied that his club were the guardians of the laws and he hadn’t heard anything.

 

Dakes put Henry Wilkinson to the sword (geddit?) before making changes and we revived the Wide-Bowling competition as BenDog got very confused about which were right-handers and which left-handers. David Saint was using BenDog’s radar too but Freddie Wilkinson tried to hit a straight one to Kingdom Come and SamDog, with a lot of yelping while the ball was orbiting the sun, finally located the orb and caught it. Surprisingly, not in his mouth.

 

Chesh celebrated his day of not batting and not bowling by tearing about and confused us all when a batsman hit one to him and took a single, by calling out “There are no singles to me in the field”.  He later explained this Fake News by explaining it was not a description of what had just happened, but a prediction, which proved correct as thereafter, confused, Twyford, did not run any more singles to him.

 

This brought Mr Shafaqat to the crease and after a while he was able to just reach a wide delivery from BenDog and nick it behind but not so clearly as to make him feel like walking ,so he stayed there and we noted that for once he had no complaints about the umpiring. Neither did we either for the record and BenDog put things right shortly afterwards with a catch by Lloydy.

 

Strangely although six wickets down, Twyford remained with a chance for as long as Joss Goff (22 at scrabble) batted aggressively and we had difficulty completing our overs due to a glut of wides.

 

McTaggart was almost beside himself with the news that we would be deducted 6 runs, yes runs, for every over not completed by 7pm and we faced the prospect of losing the game at 7pm with Twyford something like 200-9, 88 runs behind.  At least this day quashed the myth that McTaggart and RolfeDog’s captaincy has been responsible for slow over rates, a burden they have had to bear for a few years.

 

Fortunately Saeed’s radar was set properly and he took two wickets, one a slow motion return catch, before Captain Birdseye decided enough was enough and returned to claim his fifth wicket. Gilet came back and dismissed the dangerous Goff to complete an equally fine spell and one which did not require him to buy a jug of beer in the pub afterwards.

 

So another win, a beautiful evening at Twyford’s local pub where BenDog wondered out loud why on earth Hermione had married him. We tried very hard to think of a reason but failed completely although someone did suggest it was because of his smooth hair and dark-rimmed glasses.

 

The next day McTaggart expressed disappointment that Dakes had awarded his umpiring as only 16/20. This was explained as deductions for: knowing too many Cherwell Rules, too much loudness, changing ends at tea, being Scottish, not waiting for a run to be completed before exclaiming “I’m not having THAT, you never played a shot”, acting Scottish and setting off back to The Ridge in the wrong direction.

 

For the rest of us, the prospect of listening to Birdy again next week was partly alleviated by the good news that Aston Villa will be in the championship play-offs on Saturday so we will all be spared Scott’s burgeoning Brummie accent. Sometimes listening to Taggart can be a joy in comparison.

Bledlow Ridge 1s v Challow and Childrey 2s (Away)

 

Saturday 5th May 2018 

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Ridge end fallow run at Challow


RIDGEBEARS BANK ON A BANKER FOR RUNS


Birdseye and Gilet in WhatsApp Wars




C&CCC: 226-6 (50 overs)

BRCC:    230-7 (45.2 overs)

 

Won by 3 wickets

 

“That’s a Lockheed Lightning Rolfey…” exclaimed Brooksie as he spotted a WWII war plane suspended above the road on the Wantage By-Pass. 

That was our fourth by-pass having already by-passed Wallingford, Wallington and Didcot as part of Brooksie’s master plan to avoid any unknown delays in the City of Oxford area. 

“…Though it might be a Lockheed Martin, or perhaps it’s a Vought Corsair or even a Brewster Buffalo – don’t you know your warplanes Rolfey?”. I had passed his parakeet test at Stoke Green the week before but now I stood accused of warplane ignorance and, faced with four choices, remained silent. 

Ben Keeping called half an hour into our journey to announce he was just setting off having had to take a child, or a wife, or a nanny or even a horse or a horse’s nanny to the doctor. He weighed up the odds, took the Oxford route after all and arrived just after we did. 

As beautiful grounds go, Challow’s is up there with Long Marston and Aston Rowant. We lost the toss and fielded in extreme heat, reflecting – as it were – on the President’s prediction in April that the first round of the league season would be put back to 8th September on account of waterlogged pitches. 

After Dakes and Ben Hillarious had opened with a side-splitting spell conceding just 22 runs off 10 overs, Dakes replaced himself with The World’s Greatest Banker (WGB) who brushed back time and his hair and bowled his first competitive overs for five years since his Fake Shoulder Injury. An over later and Dakes tried some Left Arm Slow Taggart and was surprised how slowly it was possible for a human to bowl. 

WGB attempted a tight fiscal policy to begin with but did offer the batsmen some cheap credit under the strict interpretation of wides within the 50/50 format we were playing. Unfortunately for him he got one of the openers out and No3 and Captain Alex Lynch began to take advantage of some loose quantitative easing so WGB was replaced by Allan who showed what left arm bowling is all about. 

Allan bowled one, then once again showed his trust in Hollywood who caught his third catch off Allan in three matches. 

C&CCC (I rather like that abbreviation or “abbrv”) began to build up a good score with a partnership of over 100 between Lynch and C Robson whose main contribution was to provide a lot of other Robsons to the C&CCC team. 

Allan bowled in partnership with Fats (aka Simon Martin) who went through his range of vintage steam engine noises, occasionally letting off steam by telling the batsmen both how lucky they were and how well they were playing, at the same time. 

The batsmen did test HairBear with a couple of up-and-unders and we learnt that more research is necessary, then Mr Lynch offered a humorous chance to Ben Hillarious who dropped a giggler as they say. 

Allan took 2-33 off his 10 in a fine spell. Fats eventually dismissed both batsmen in qujck succession: a kind of domino effect (Fats Domino?) and Lynch was particularly unlucky to be caught Dakin bowled Fats. “What are the chances of that?” 

Captain Birdseye is taking to this captaincy stuff very well and showed great experience in bringing himself back on once the dangermen had disappeared. He and Hillarious, now on for Fats whose boiler had finally run out of water, pegged C&CCC to 226-6 off their allotted 50 overs with Dakes 1-24 off 10 and Ben 0-40. Taggart bowled 0-23 off a mean, stingy 8 overs as you’d expect. 

Taggart who seemed to be enjoying himself in as much as that is possible, remarked how much friendlier opposing teams seem to be now that he is no longer captain. He also mentioned that he had never been able to decide which came first: the chicken or the egg. 

We were quickly 12-3. A traditional start saw RolfeDog, HairBear and Hollywood back in the pavilion. Dakes with 20 began to restore order to the markets then The Rapier Keeping (WGB) was joined by the Cudgel Brooks, like Robin joining Batman to save the world. 

Ben started with some phishing outside the off stump but soon settled into some fine smoothing both straight, through mid-off and mid-wicket as boundaries became mere commodities. 

Brooksie was a little more agricultural as suits a country boy and certainly showed austerity early on but progressed and extended his account by clearing (clearing – geddit?) the boundary with two big sixes.   

As the target came closer Brooksie then made a bid for a single without factoring in the speed of the fielder and this call was shorted by The World’s Greatest Banker at the other end so that Brooksie’s innings was foreclosed for 43. 

One of the features of 50/50 cricket is that a minimum of five bowlers is required and C&CCC gave lengthy spells to their youngsters including a left-arm seamer with a huge engine and two leg-spinners. The WGB had reached 98, only two short of an annuity, and was facing a leggie whereupon Fats on the boundary exclaimed “OMG if you were on 98 this is the sort of bowler you’d want to be facing”. The WGB gave it the ‘charge’ (geddit) but extended his overdraft with the result that the leggie comfortably cleared the batsman’s debts.  “LOL” is all I can say to that. 

We were six down with Birdy and Fats at the crease - bags of experience for this situation though Birdy, to our surprise was beaten in flight (unusual for a Bird), which allowed Fats and Hillarious to tickle us home much as Pooh and Piglet might have done if this was a children’s story. 

We learnt that someone from Cheshire had batted rather well for 56no for the 2s and there were rumours of PlonkerGate in which Captain Birdseye and Gilet the Filet each called the other a Plonker via WhatsApp: Birdseye for reminding Gilet the Filet a draw was not possible in 50/50, and Gilet the Filet for telling BIrdseye they weren’t playing 50/50 so the 2s could draw if they wanted to, thank you very much.  Something fishy was going on. 

And so to the prospect of a boring trip back with Brooksie. I suggested going through Wantage town centre this time so we could see the statue of King Alfred the Great. “What the one who got an arrow in his eye?” Brooksie replied. 

OMG! Gawd help us. 

I lost the will and so we drove past that warplane on the Wantage by-pass once again and I realised this could have been a Messerschmitt for all Brooksie knew

 

RolfeDog.

 

Angela Merkel is not available for comment

 

Stoke Green CC v Bledlow Ridge CC

 

Village Knockout

Sunday 29th April 2018 

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Ridge Routed in Stoke Green (not Routs Green)

 

Was Taggart missed at all? Captain Dakes makes defining comment

 

HairBear in remake of ‘The Wrong Trousers”

 

--------=-------- 

BRCC: 124-8 (45 overs)

SGCC: 127-3 (15.1 overs) 

Lost by 7 wickets 

 

Report

 

For those of you with a poor attention span (Birdy), illiterate (Brooksie) or time-poor (Marcus) who have asked for shorter match reports, here it is:

 

We lost.

 

For the rest of you: 

The match started the previous evening with a fifteen-message WhatsApp sequence concerning the whereabouts of HairBear’s black kitbag at the club in which I finally ascertained that ‘on the right inside the clubhouse’ did not mean ‘in the ladies’ loo’ but meant ‘on the right inside the home dressing room’. 

So it was that on Sunday morning I collected from this position, a black bag which was surprisingly large for a Bear who rarely has his own trousers, has lost his bat and usually cannot find the rest of his kit. 

I lugged it to Stoke Green CC which was the only interesting feature of travelling with Brooksie, to discover that I had collected a large black Kookaburra bag whereas HairBear owns (presumably more predictably) a small black Slazenger bag. 

At Kimble two years ago, HairBear wore Dave Bird’s cricket whites in the first remake of The Wrong Trousers. This was something of an indictment of HairBear’s eating habits. Two years later and he can fit into my spares which either reflects well on HairBear or badly on me. 

A kind of Kit Jumble Sale ensued  in the World’s Small and Most Chaotic Dressing Room and Our Favourite Bear ended up with a medley of clothes which almost fitted perfectly. 

On a very cold afternoon, the captains tossed up, we elected to bat and watched Birdy drive into the ground for a 2pm start. At 1pm RolfeDog and Hairbear walked out to bat. 

Had we been playing a Zoo we’d have been well prepared, boasting in our top seven: Dog, Bear, SamDog, The Sloth and Birdy. Sadly we were not. 

We played two matches. 

In the first, the ball hooped all over the place, moved in the air and off the wicket; the batting team had to contend with tight bowling, difficult conditions and a slow outfield. 

In the second match which was played after tea, the ball seemed to do nothing at all, batting was mostly a breeze, the outfield seemed a lot faster and the boundaries a lot shorter. 

That we reached 124-8 off our 45 overs was largely due to SamDog and Birdy who work together like Tom and Jerry. RolfeDog had succumbed for nothing, HairBear for just 3, and Hollywood also for zero before The Sloth at least managed a six to the short boundary in his innings of 8 (third highest of the innings). Brooksie then managed 2 before being caught at slip off the 7th ball of an over. 

How we all laughed. 

SamDog was watching much of this with bemusement at the other end, wondering if it would be possible to better partnerships of 3, 4, 1, 20 & 4 all in the first sixteen overs. 

Well he and Birdy managed 55 in the next 17 after Birdy was dropped first ball and despite Zulfi Butt opening his spell with four maidens.  SamDog went for a complete half hour scoring just one run before hitting one into the road which bounced into a well-fortified garden. This was guarded by a small Pekingese big enough to frighten off Brooksie, so they found another ball. 

SamDog’s six narrowly missed a bus going to Heathrow and thereby the opportunity to hit the biggest six ever, landing – or perhaps disembarking – somewhere like Bahrain. 

Birdy was both watchful and aggressive and was only troubled when after a close runout, the part of Sam’s brain that does running and calling, packed up for a while, resulting in a few midwicket encounters with his partner, somehow none of which ended up in a dismissal. 

Birdy was LBW for 28, a number he clearly has a problem with (see last week’s report) then there followed a brief but valuable contribution from Cheshire (well from Haw Lane actually), then a briefer one from Allan and 1 not out from Hudson while SamDog opened his mighty shoulders at the other with another six, ending 57 not out. Raja Khan took 3-22 off his 8 overs and Saud Ahmed 1-16 off his 8 which was both mean and uncalled for. 

We enjoyed a very fine tea, of which the best moment was when Captain Sloth said “Isn’t it nice without Taggart”- and we all agreed that it was. 

I subsequently learned that Dakes’ remark was made at almost exactly the moment that a 17-year-old rugby player in another part of Bucks, was telling Referee McTaggart to F*** Off you [extreme expletive deleted}”. Well they can’t all be wrong can they? 

We then played the second match and this report should be a lot shorter. About a third of the first half in fact as they won in 15.1 overs, the ‘point one’ belonging to HairBear of which more later. 

We went out with high hopes but Stoke Green had obviously changed the wicket at half time and Dan Simpson greeted Dakes by peppering the boundary and road with fours and sixes. As the last six of this first over was being retrieved and the over had cost 20 already, I dared to suggest to Dakes that he bowl round the wicket. “I can’t bowl round the wicket” he replied. I have never been keen on receiving a firm biff on the nose, nevertheless I am extremely proud of the self-restraint showed in not making the blatantly obvious reply. 

Gilet fared slightly better and only went for one six and it was a relief at the end of the fourth over – one in which Gilet beat the bat a couple of times, to realise this was the first over of their innings in which they had not hit a six. We had managed three in 45 overs. 

In fact, after four overs they had reached over 60. In the fifth, Dakes induced Simpson to drag-on to his stumps, for 40 at an estimated strike rate of 250. At least we had managed as many drag-ons as you usually see in an episode of Game of Thrones. 

Then, shock horror, new Batsman Singh, clearly out of Tungh, hit his second ball from Gilet hard to HairBear at cover who quickly took his hands out of RolfeDog’s pockets and held the catch. 

Kashif Abassi and Palmar, whose first name I cannot find so I’ll call him Arnold, were clearly in a hurry and the score continued to rocket until a good over from Allan, at the end of which he remembered the trick he played on a batsman the previous week and bowled a high full toss with the same end result that Hollywood took a good running catch. 

Dakes decided it was time for Brooksie to have a bowl and for us to have a laugh which we did. There was less laughter however from Hudson-Drama-Queen who had spent an hour at home taping up a knee-scrape from five-a-side footy only to remove the whole lot with one diving stop. He left the field temporarily for a good cry (See Simon Lloyd at Horspath, 2016). 

It can only be out of sympathy that Dakes deferred the over he had promised HairBear and brought Hudson on with 9 runs wanted, 9-per-over being the going rate. (Chesh has blown his chances last week by taking a wicket). Would James get on to bowl or not? Hudson managed to concede just seven in an over in which Dakes felt this was not the right time for Hudson to take his first ever wicket and shelled a catch. 

Hairbear did not let us down, his only delivery being hit to the 90 yard boundary for four and we all trouped off. 

Except for Gilet, who is fast becoming the club’s Statto and almost ran to the scorebook to confirm he had only gone for 31 off four overs, 7.75 being slightly below the going rate. 

With new covers, new sightscreens a scoreboard under construction and also electronic scoring, Stoke Green are a friendly group clearly on the up and the Caribbean disco afterwards got Birdy’s feet itching. 

The day ended up back at our clubhouse where a tiny black Slazenger kitbag was found hiding out of sight at the back under a bench in the home dressing room. It contained Hairbear’s kit and Dickers’ trousers.

 

RolfeDog 

William Rees-Mogg is away but will return next week after holidaying in the 18th Century 

 

A Bledlow Ridge X1 v an Aston Rowant X1


Home – Saturday 21st April 2018

 

Ridge Squeeze Home in Fluid First Outing

 

Taggart Rules the Waves

 

Robbie Carter in Irony Shock

 

Aston Rowant X1:    165-7 (40 overs)

BRCC X1                : 169-8 (39.2 overs)

 

BRCC won by 2 wickets

 

Within only 10 days of the announcement that all cricket at Bledlow Ridge would be cancelled until 2023 due to heavy rain, The Ridge sneaked home in the last over of a 40 over match in which at least fifteen players were treated for sunstroke. 

Fortunately Ian “King Canute” McTaggart had bid the rain cease earlier in the week and by dint of private communication with Rowant via underwater megaphone had kept the fixture afloat, so to speak. 

RolfeDog had drowned in a storm of emails about the sodden pitch which had come in waves but just when we thought the fixture would be sunk, Groundman Jamma was joined by the Head of Rolling, Mr Steve BIrdDog for a tidal wave of hard work and preparation. 

Captain “Birdseye” Dakin, formerly known as “The Sloth” could not be bothered to walk to the wicket to toss up and told Rowant they could bat if they wanted to, which they did. 

Dakes put Chesh where we could not hear him and from there he ran out a batsman who assumed Chesh was not only incapable of fielding, but incapable of throwing. Appearances can be deceptive. 

Although not captain, McTaggart took himself off as soon as Rowant’s new overseas-professional-with-a British-passport got going, leaving the lucky Alan Loxton the pleasure of bowling to him and testing our fielders’ ability to identify lost balls in “Keeping’s field”.

Alan fooled the other batsman into giving Matt “Hollywood” Brightwell a fine running catch off a steepler and was later rewarded by being replaced with Chesh, probably the low point of his career so far. 

Ben Hilarious had opened up well at the top end before being replaced by Captain Birdseye who, now captain, was more animated than ever previously known. When not bowling Dakes found himself fielding at Extra Cover without knowing who had put him there. His parents never showed up to watch, a smart move as Dakes would have been lured to the boundary like Jason and the Argonauts to the Sirens, and certain oblivion. 

Now that I’ve completely lost both Birdie and Brooksie and anyone else ending in “ie” with that sentence … back to the cricket. Chesh not only bowled but took a wicket, the return catch thudding satisfyingly into his chest where he grappled with it before sending it into orbit from where is almost landed on Taggart’s head, but didn’t. 

Luckily the British-Overseas-Pro had had to retire at 50 and when he did so the game had returned to normal and normal also meant three wickets for Ben Hilarious in a fine second spell, all the more so as he had mentioned at one point that he could not run. One of these wickets was a catch-behind by Brooksie who hurled the ball even higher than Chesh had done, again in Taggart’s direction, but with equal bad luck. Another wicket was a catch by BirdDog and the third a catch by the opposition’s substitute fielder James, who reminded us that he had spent much of his week in the employ of Simon Tremlin cutting our outfield so that BirdDog could roll it. 

In between time, David Saint had a good bowl and we had the Curious Incident of Rain Stopping Play During a Heatwave. 

Forgetting temporarily the flood of discussion, emails and emotion that had gone into getting the game played despite April’s mostly monsoon-like weather, Taggart ran us off the pitch at the first drop of rain, as he did not want the possibility of any damage to a pitch which would be used for another friendly next week – a game which would only be played if we could raise a team and if it wasn’t called off for more rain. 

As soon as the rain (what rain?) stopped and we realised that McTaggart is neither captain or groundman, we resumed. Luckily we only lost 17.5 minutes which is the equivalent of five cigarettes or seventy-three vapes and after a brief conference it was decided that under Duckworth-Lewis no overs would be lost and no runs added or deducted, only that Cricket Can Damage Your Health. 

Chesh did not get another wicket thereby proving that lighning does not strike twice but Ben had his aforementioned  fine spell and Alan got another go when the prospect of Chesh taking a second wicket proved too much for all of us. 

Rowant ended with 165-7 off 40 overs, and we wondered if Dakes had ever been described as a ‘cat’ before – a word used at one point to describe his fielding by a player desperate to remain in the team. 

We were treated to a fine tea by The Real Saint with the appropriate volume of biscuits and cakes so that not even Birdy complained. 

With brilliant timing Robbie Carter showed up at tea with Charlie and complained there was no cricket. Many of the world’s ills were put right during the next fifteen minutes during which Charlie considered saying something but thought better of it. Robbie commented that his daughter Molly could be really grumpy (takes after his mum) and this is the first known instance of irony by a Carter since Vera told Tex his bowling was useless. 

RolfeDog opened up with Chesh who was proving hard to shake off in this game and did so to a chorus of jokes about being back-in-a-minute and other gems he had never heard before in a fifty-five year career. 

In a sort of “up yours” approach to batting RolfeDog almost hit the first ball of the season for four but didn’t and after Chesh had hit a few powerful shots into the offside field (adding to the suspicion that he now bats on steroids) RolfeDog hit the first six of the season well into the Stud Farm, so that back in the pavilion BirdDog had to be treated for shock. 

Chesh eventually nicked one behind and proved his Australiasation by ‘waiting for a decision’. His replacement Matt Hollywood started smashing the ball around but, clearly unnerved by RolfeDog’s big hitting, played on for 14, trying to emulate his partner. This brought in Brooksie whereupon RolfeDog lost the will to live being LBW for 23. 

Dakes succeeded in hitting a bigger six than RolfeDog just to prove that he can and belted the ball around for 25 until he tried to hit one out of South Bucks but only got the ball as far as the wicketkeeper. Brooksie (13) and Hilarious (unknown) followed soon after and we were in a bit of Schtuck. 

The run rate had slipped as we tried to rebuild the score, that is until Alan started hitting out only emphasising how slowly BirdDog was batting at the other end. Alan’s innings of 27 turned out to be match winning but not before he and The Real Saint had made way for Taggart who gave us a few scares in the traditional manner before BirdDog was shocked into action and hit over the top for four just so that he could creep into pole position with 28 not out. We won by the slimmest of margins with four balls to spare. 

This was a welcome victory in a friendly warm-up match which gave Brooksie his first winning game for two years. Does that tell you something Brooksie? 

Reflecting on our victory over the weather we stayed and soaked up the atmosphere and hoped that our win would have a ripple effect and turn into a deluge rather than prove to be a drop in the ocean. Our thoughts then turned to next week’s weather, use of the same pitch for next week and whether we should put the covers on. 

It was decided not to, on the basis that a drop of overnight rain would be good for the pitch the following week. I woke up a few hours later in the middle of the night not to the sound of a light drizzle but to thunder, lightning and the heaviest rain of the year so far, all of which was somehow the most satisfying moment of the whole week.

 

RolfeDog 

No plains were flooded in the writing of this report