When the club competes in the Cherwell League and Village Knockout cup, the competitive juices start to flow and the will to win comes into play, however not all cricket at the Ridge is quite so serious. The club organises a number of twenty/20 games when the summer nights allow, against teams from as diverse backgrounds as the local pub, the junior's parents, High Wycombe rugby club and Heinz (plenty of sauce for the BBQ those nights!).

We also play Sunday friendlies against a number of other clubs, and both formats allow for a much more relaxed environment to play in. These are often used to blood some of the youngsters into playing with the "grown ups" or to allow new players to get a feel for the club before committing to the longer, more competitive formats of the game. 

Our Sunday format relies on a number of match managers, who take responsibility for a couple of games a year each. If you are coming back to the game, trying it for the first time, or just fancy a more relaxed Sunday afternoon than you can get in Tesco, the only qualifying questions are usually "Are you available?" and occasionally, "Does your wife make a good sandwich?" You can get contact details here, or go to our Contact us page and send  us a message and we'll get you out on a field in no time.  

The restrictions enforced by Covid 19 made a mess of everyone's plans for 2020 but with a bit more time to plan, we are hopeful that we will get a number of Sunday games in, and with luck, maybe even some midweeks games in 2021. Details will appear here as and when. In the meatime, here are some classic match reports from friendlies gone by.




 Friendly Match: Saturday 2nd May 2015










40 overs match – Lost by 9 wickets


BRCC            232-5 (40 overs)

Kimble           233-1 (38 overs)



They say it’s better to travel than to arrive – that’s debatable when you are travelling from Hornsea on the East Yorkshire coast to Kimble in South Bucks, to play as an emergency in a game you are not available for. 

Four hours in the car including the dog break, a quick unpack and an urgent drive to Kimble where no doubt the whole team would be desperately awaiting my appearance to get them out of trouble, actually resulted in a rather anti-climactic arrival. 

No one took any notice. The score was over 180-4 and there was no chance of getting a bat so I reflected that, as a non-bowler, the journey was likely to be the high point of my day. 

 A smallish batsman in a multi-coloured Jazz-hat was hitting the ball everywhere and running between the wickets like a greyhound on speed; a slightly larger figure in a helmet and about fourteen sweaters was trying to keep up. For the latter, arriving at the end of a run was clearly more fun than travelling. 

Yes Luke Willliams, future surgeon to the great and decrepit was in the 90s. A quick look at the scorebook indicated he had come in at No 6 and had scored over 90 while Brooksie at No 4 had scored about 10 in the same time. 

Tragically the future doctor was surgically removed from the wicket for 96 just four short of a club debut century. It did at least mean that Brooksie’s heart rate could come down a bit and that the likelihood of artificial resuscitation receded.  Later, Phil gave Luke a mini-lecture on how to play for your hundred. In Phil’s case this involves blocking out from 50. 

The story was, that James HairBear (will he still be given this name in his sixties when he looks like Ed?) had briefly threatened with the bat. A further look at the scorebook and it appeared that Scorer Tom was under training for Morse Code. 

This turned out to be Lloydy’s innings - a typically boring 35-odd made with plenty of dots, before he settled into the armchair outside the pavilion.  In contrast Luke’s innings looked like an arithmetician’s convention. 

I noticed one or two of us had got out to a Rose or someone by any other name. 

Following the departure of the whirling surgeon, Brooksie was joined by Ian Kerrigan who made nearly 10 before giving way to Simon Martin (otherwise known as “Fats” although the similarity to Fats Waller is not obvious). 

Taggart had a brief arithmetical blind spot when he could not work out who our 11th man was… it turned out to be Geoff who was on the pitch umpiring, far beyond Taggart’s field of vision. Geoff was no doubt giving the opposition the benefit of his unique brand of…. erm…well his unique brand. 

We ended up with 232-5 off 40 overs. Plenty. Dominic Gabrielle was the unlucky batsman who would have gone in next. I noticed the scorers had him down as Gabriel. 

We devoured a fine tea, Scorer Tom munching a couple of plates and a wooden chair and trading in his payment for 36 extra chocolate cakes. Lloydy took tea wearing several sweaters and a scarf as he will be modelling the front cover for the reprint of “Fatty Batter”. 

Captain Taggart stressed how important it was to set high standards from the start and Geoff responded by making his first two fielding attempts with his right ankle.  An early wicket and a Rose was joined by a McRae. 

It is remarkable how one fielder can make an entire side look good and Luke was doing just this. It should be pointed out that his cap’s many colours are shaped like bits of orange peel and the colour scheme looks remarkably like the 3-tone batting grip that a certain Rob Hawkinsport recently supplied me which seemed to have been designed around the Italian national flag. 

When bowlers Taggart, Fats and Ed had got Kimble so far behind the required rate that they could not win, a few bowling changes were made. The Angelic Gabriel being one. It was only a couple of days later that Dom revealed by email that his daughter Eva would be taking part in a cheerleading event on the following week. Looking back, it is obvious now that Dom has been training with her. 

Once this training wore off Dom bowled a few good ones and there is definite potential… as a Cheerleader… (no just kidding, cheap gag) and was eventually replaced by the Surgeon, while Ian bowled at the other end. 

We began to do a lot of ball chasing, much of this at high speed by HairBear in Dickers’ trousers… clothing which had never before got above a slow jog. There’s no reason now why James should not go the whole hog and wear size 15 shoes and a waistcoat.  At one point his biggest challenge was to retrieve the ball from the field and get back on to the pitch before Luke bowled another one. He didn’t quite make it; the batsman, having spotted the gap temporarily vacated by James hit the ball into it, where it was pursued by James who had by now re-entered the field of play and hared (‘haired’?) into said field again at a hundred miles an hour. 

Around this time a couple of seemingly crippled old men arrived on their Motability scooters and walked around the ground together. They had heard of the presence of a budding surgeon. 

They turned out to be Jelly and Birdy which sounds like some kind of Instant Dessert mix.  They had been up to a most interesting carpet cleaning convention in Crewe, so you can imagine how fascinating their conversation was. Words like “30% polypropylene”,  “fine weave” (remember them?) and “shag pile” wafted across the pitch only to be absorbed by Dickers’ trousers. They had both recently qualified as Students of Universal Carpet Cleaning and English Rugscrubbing or SUCCERS for short. 

Back to cricket. About to bowl, Luke got rather confused by the sight of a man in a white coat hopping on one leg signalling a leg-bye, and tried to perform an vasectomy on him. This prompted Taggart to reveal that with good availability this season Luke could relieve the club of the need to have any qualified first aiders. He is certainly likely to play in any team that has Taggart, Geoff, Brooksie, Birdy and Rolfey in it. The club may also need to sponsor him for training as a psychologist. 

The match? Oh we lost by nine wickets as Kimble’s arrival was as good as their travel. Rose – by any other name – made 102no and McRae was unbeaten on 99. So Luke, who amused us all in the dressing room by saying he played rugby as a flanker, somehow ended up third highest scorer in the match. Mind you, add the runs he saved in the field and he must have been nearer 130. 

But it was fun, there were good performances and if we can just start to catch we should do quite well this year. 

After the match Brooksie confirmed he was allowed to stay out for a drink or two. “I gave Roz twenty quid today”.   Just a word in your shell-like, girl: you might like to up your price a bit as we think Brooksie’s getting away with murder. I’d say that someone who has offered to do at least five teas this season must be worth more than a £20 note.  I’d have thrown in a couple of bottles of Cola at least. 

Taggart admitted to having gone on his best friend’s honeymoon. Bearing in mind his past marital situation someone enquired if it was as a threesome or foursome. This seemed to me to miss the point as I am not sure that in the same situation, if I was that way inclined you understand, Taggart would be my first choice. 

With this thought I drove home to a mild rebuke for my day’s timekeeping, prompting me to again reflect that it was slightly better to travel than to arrive. 

On the telly, Gabriel was bowling for the West Indies. Looking much like a cheerleader.




Bledlow Ridge v Hurley (Home) 

Saturday 18th April 2015 


Ridge Rore to Victory 

Ice cream salesman also finds his timing


Won by 5 wickets 

Hurley                211-9 (45 overs)  Easton 3-40, Spiers 3-35, Saeed 3-30 

Bledlow Ridge   215-5 (38 overs)  Easton 20, Cheshire 53,, Lloyd 59, Spiers 54 no 


Match Report

It was all about timing. There were jobs to be done, sightscreen slats to be cleaned and put up, flags to put out, covers to remove and a scoreboard to put up. Plenty of HurlEy-BurlEy. 

Birdy had apologized in advance for being late and was the second to arrive, all in a tizzy. Simon Lloyd texted he too would be a little late but arrived before the text was read; ten minutes before the start there was no sign of Saeed but before a text could be sent he appeared in the doorway, like a mirage, without a care in the world. 

Mirages don’t usually care about anything. 

In the meantime debutant Ian Kelloway had showed fine technique cleaning the slats with a broom, but the flags had been buried without trace somewhere in the shed. Most disappointingly, my 23 inch cLock – yes you did read that correctly –which had arrived the previous day, proved to have one minor flaw. The hands did not go around. This is a significant disadvantage in a cLock.  It’s all about timing. 

Hurley supplied an umpire (Mike) and a scorer (Rita), while we didn’t. Well we don’t know anyone called Rita: Mike and Christine would be a possibility, albeit unlikely (have you seen Mike umpire?) 

The Youth Club opened the bowling. Jake, hey ya, and Rory, playing his first game since emigrating from Croydon, testing wicketkeeper BirdDog’s back. We went a long time without a wicket , despite Pete Atkinson’s fielding masterclass, but once Rory had asked to come off he managed to take three and should therefore have asked to come off earlier. Timing again. 

Ed Montague replaced Jake and took some advice on bowling from Joe, who then came on at the top end to show how it is done. Joe was then offered advice from Ed. Between them they did not take a wicket which only goes to show. And also meant that Hurley were progressing smoothly and remained only three down at 3-125. 

That, is until the return of Saeed. Last seen in 2013. Any other sightings had proved to be a mirage. He removed Ridgeway for an aggressive 69 in his first over. Joe was taking a bit of tap at the other end although he induced enough catching practice for the captain to offer a free pint of beer to the first catch by a Ridge player. This was eventually taken up by Ed once Jake ya, had returned at the top end. Fortunately for the captain Ed had to leave immediately after the match without taking up the offer; this sort of timing takes years to perfect. 

Inevitably the Hurley No 5 Abullah who was wearing a grey hoodie, made 70, which probably means he will wear a hoodie again. The Big Question at the Ridge is whether Joe will wear his huge fluorescent yellow/green watch again. This question was put to Joe who with his encyclopedic knowledge of cricket trivia came up with the name of some obscure cricket professional who also wears a watch on the pitch. It was pointed out that had be ever played for the Ridge he would have been cured of this affliction. 

Jake bowled rather well and took three wickets as did Saeed, one of which was a catch in the deep by Chesh – sorry! first mention, that is Paul Cheshire newly of this parish – who celebrated in the manner of a player whose mantra is “you should celebrate success, Rolfey”. It is fair to say that working for John Lewis as he does, Chesh’s celebrations are “never knowingly undersold”. 

And so Hurley ended their 45 overs at 211-9. Special mention should be made of Rory’s ability to scale the electric fence at the far end of the grounds to retrieve the ball, an important role this seeing our club is suffering a massive, yes massive (that word should never be undersold) ball shortage.  A ball shortage of of course, is what threatens anyone scaling an electric fence. 

After a tea provided by the Eastons (Jake clearly does not go hungry at home), Jake and Chesh opened up. 

Now the idea is that Chesh should demonstrate that there is a slower scorer at the club than RolfeDog (why else open with him?) and so it seemed to prove as early on he perfected the late cut straight to backward point, timing being at first hard on this slow wicket. However he discovered his radar and much to the captain’s disappointment progressed to a debut 50 in good time giving Jake the hurry-up between the wickets on several occasions. The latter prompted Ed to observe, on returning from an umpiring stint, that they were bickering like brothers… or was it like father and son? 

Jake eventually located a fielder’s midriff called Abullah  - that’s the name of the fielder not the midriff by the way, otherwise the fielder would have been called Solar Plexus - and he was replaced by Lloydy, he of Beechdeen Ice Creams fame. Or infame. Or Beechdeen Farmhouse Dairy Ice Cream if you want to be pedantic. 

Talking of which, a little earlier, Joe who scored all innings as studiously as a student preparing for his AS exams, had asked Simon whether anyone ate ice cream in the winter. Or put another way, whether there was any point in Lloydy getting out of bed for six months of the year.  Lloydy explained that ice cream vans by the seaside was not the only available market in the winter, in fact it was hardly a market at all and this inspired Joe to consider taking a degree in Economics. 

Probably more likely than one in Maths, because he and Rita did not always agree on the score, or anything for that matter and at one point I thought Joe was going to be sent up to his room without ice cream for a week. Or a winter. An ice cream debate ensued in which LLoydy passed the opinion that a cold country like Iceland was not a great market for Beechdeen  Ice Creams - they don’t even need fridges out there.  

Very useful to know. 

Anyway Lloydy went about his business in the middle and was so inspired by Chesh’s running that he even took a quick single himself. Chesh was eventually adjudged leg before off “Ridgeway” which seemed particularly appropriate for someone living in Haw Lane with easy access to the National Trail of the same name. It’s a bit like us playing Oxford and fielding a player called “Dreaming Spires”. 

Anyway, talking of Spires, as we progressed nicely past 100 with just one wicket down, A dilemma was forming. Rory Spiers (who could be Rory Spires in a game of Scrabble) revealed he should be working at The Boot at 7pm which was fast approaching. The time that is, not the Boot… it’s all about…Ed then said he too had to leave at 7pm. It was by now 6.45 and Timing was once again becoming important. 

So there we were , willing Chesh and Lloydy to both win the game and to get out. It took rather longer for LLoydy to oblige, batting by now with Rory who had been assured by the arrival of the President and his wife that there were no customers in The Boot yet. This was another way of saying that Mike was not in it. 

Lloydy, finding his timing, put two big sixes in the field but disappointed us all, following earlier scores for the club of 63, 36 and 63 by miscalculating and making 64. This must have been why I found myself watching him and humming “when I get older losing my hair many years from now…”. 

So with another 45 wanted and Rory now batting with aggression, he was joined by Ed who was already in trouble at home and to my mind might just has well have batted normally and taken whatever was coming to him on his return to Downley. As it was, he went for it and after one boundary and his dismissal he more or less ran off the field straight to Downley. 

Thus RolfeDog arrived at the wicket with 24 wanted and scratchingly contributed 1 of them to the winning total which was reached with seven overs to spare as Rory, who had by now discovered his timing, opened his shoulders and too reached a debut fifty in his first match, a sort of Double Debut if you like which Joe suggested to Lloydy could be a suitable name for a new Ice Lolly. This could be marketed in Iceland, and why not Iceland? After all they sell ice cream in M&S. 

So the first win of the season, debuts for Ian and Pete who unfortunately, and most surprisingly did not get in to bat, and from Rory who eventually got into the bar at The Boot. Incidentally with a great sense of timing Rory hit the second last delivery into the field at the far end where the ball (we have a massive-ball-shortage-problem, remember) was left overnight for the captain to return next day and risk what remains of his manhood in retrieving it. 

The lovely Rita then dutifully copied out their innings into our scorebook sustained by a hot cup of tea (Rita that is not the scorebook)  – the very first one produced by the new club kettle. This is believed to be the first time the club has had a working kettle since the President was born, which is a long time ago. 

The award of the Biffen’s Bridge T-Shirt went to Jake mostly for wearing red slippers around the clubhouse. His earlier observation that Shaun Dryden on the boundary appeared to be wearing a paintbrush on his head is also worthy of mention. So I have mentioned it. Here. 

Amazingly Jake knows where he lives and I was able to get him home to Loosley Row and back to mine in Radnage with no comment at all about my being late.


My timing must be coming back.


Happy Days 




 BRCC v Hetairoi

Match Report – Sunday 28th July 2013, Home



BRCC 192-7

Hetairoi 196-4 

Lost by 6 wickets 

Captain Doug was nervous. Today was the launch of the business project he had been managing for months, named...wait for it: “Carisma”. Don’t you just love Scottish irony! He had to be near a mobile phone at all times. At some time an important call would come in. Hard though it is to imagine, an important call not about cricket. Or tea. 

The Hetairoi, led BY Brian Slade arrived at the Ridge to witness Lord Keeping giving prizes to the Junior 6-a-side competition. Little did they know how lowly a Lord is now at the Ridge. 

Yes, owing to the extensive McIndoe recruitment network that can reach as far as Downley the Ridge decided to field a King and an Angell.  All it needed was for God to arrive, and so with plenty of time to spare, Steve Williams drove into the ground. 

Was there to be a Goddess as well? As an itinerant side of wandering immigrants forced from Greece by the prevailing cricketing economy there, the Hetairoi may not have expected to be up against the Ridge’s own wandering player, especially one turning out in his sister’s ballet shoes. Yes, Morf had Morphed into his sister for the day, raided her shoe cupboard, come up with a very fetching shade of blue ballet shoes cunningly described as trainers and arrived as a dancing Goddess. 

The Ridge Six were joined by the Downley Three and the Bledlow Village One. Captain Doug finally realised this added to ten and the Carismatic mobile phone was put into action, but as the game got underway with the Ridge batting, the problem was solved when the Hetairoi produced their own Inside Agent Akillish to play for us. 

This name brought back memories of the so-called ”Bombay Jock” who had played against us for the Fiddlers a fortnight before. Was this Sean Connery in disguise? 

Offered the Number 6 spot Agent Akillish was very specific about his best batting position: certainly not 6, definitely 4,  but prepared to bat at 3. We agreed on 3.2 and settled down to watch Brad grind out a boring twenty -odd. 

One of the Downley Three, this was Mark Bradshaw known as Brad, Mark and Brad being interchangeable apparently.  I jest about the grinding-out comment. As Captain McMcindoe stated “He doesn’t die wondering”. 

At the other end Brooksie, who supplied an uncle and a father to umpire, got one that bounced a bit and nicked to the keeper. Shortly afterwards during the post-batting-calming-down process he was heard to comment “I wouldn’t mind facing this bowling every Saturday”. 

Mike Price the bowler, for his part mentioned that he wouldn’t mind bowling at Brooksie on a Saturday.  We must arrange a net session for them… on a Saturday. 

So after a short delay Allikish went in to bat at Number 3.2 and pushed the score along until Brad decided it was time for a pint of beer or a rest and was replaced by Morf.  Morf was wearing his sister’s blue ballet shoes, or did I mention that?  He soon pirouetted beautifully as he launched a six into the paddock, scattering Lord BenDog’s invisible horses to all parts.  

We got to 90-odd but lost both Akillish and then Morf (to a fine running catch by someone called Henry: the first time Morf has been well caught by someone called Henry on a Sunday; while wearing blue ballet shoes…belonging to a relative). 

RolfeDog joined Nathan who was already shaping up wells to cries of “Great Shot Nasser”  from someone on the boundary with a large glass of wine called Shakey (No E)  - the person is called Shakey(NoE) not the bottle of wine. 

RolfeDog slowed down the scoring as usual and may still “be wondering” to use Doug’s phrase, in 25 years’ time, while Nasser “Nathan” Hussein started slowly but then to RolfeDog’s embarrassment got quicker and quicker. While RolfeDog struggled against the bowling of youngsters Charlie Fryer (aged 3) and Richard Slade (aged 7) Nathan opened his shoulders and made a fine 46, being there long after RolfeDog had been stumped by Mike Penington (OneN) off the leg-spin bowling of 4½ year-old Alex Lancaster - the first time he has ever been stumped by an Australian off the bowling of a 4½ year-old leg-spinner…on a Sunday. 

There was time for Marcus Angell to show up RolfeDog’s slow scoring by smashing a few and for Kingy to do the same while Willow got a nice little not out at the other end, once breaking into a sprint. With the help of an Angell, a King, and God and a Goddess, we reached 192-7 and declared. 

We were playing a timed game otherwise known as a ‘proper game of cricket’: a rather strange concept to some but one that has been how most cricket has been played for  over 250 years. Think of test matches for example. 

Tea followed. 

Last year’s tea was the subject of a self-imposed McIndoe post-match investigation. Apologies were sent to the opposition and promises made for 2013. You see last year it had been a bit of a last minute affair, a 4 Michelin Star meal, and only fit for a Lord, not for a King. This year Jude was on trial. Well! It was mountainous and scored even higher marks for appearance than MorfDog’s shoes. Or his sister’s. The cream on the scones was even sculpted. How could anyone bat on that meal? 

Doug stationed Cam on the bench  on the Deep Cover boundary to ensure the transfer of a mobile phone could be made at any moment. Rumour had had it that one might be found in Doug’s pocket but as Malik would confirm, this is not allowed during play. 

We opened with Kingy and Jimmy mostly because it almost rhymed and was the best rhyming opening combination we have had since Brez and Fez. Matt Donnelly and Henry Donnelly is not considered a proper rhyme although we are referring the matter to our Oxford English Graduate…or is it English Oxford Graduate, Mr Dv Maunder…or maybe Scottish Graduate as “Jimmy” sounds suspiciously like a Scottish recruit selected by Doug in order that somebody else wins the annual Grumpy Scotsman of the Year Award. 

Kingy and Jimmy got the ball to swingy but the batsmen Penington and Ball, which sounds like a comedy act or a hospitality catering firm, managed to get the ball away backward of square on the offside and backward of square on the legside.  Jimmy was especially pleased about the latter, fielding there between his overs, hoping for a rest. 

Suddenly – a catching chance to Morf in the covers – a flash of blue, a triple salsa and the ball escaped… but it looked great. 

Eventually Jimmy trapped Penington LBW with one that might have gone under, but by this time MorfDog was really in the game, bowling from the top end. Jimmy had thrown down a challenge. He had come out with bright orange shoes…possibly belonging to his sister. Morf racked up the pace until Mike Price or John Ball – I can’t remember which but usually The Price is Right so we’ll assume it was Mike – blasted one back at Morf the bowler. 

 Morf’s options were: to field the ball with his hand (recommended and generally safe); field the ball with his foot ShakEy-style (puts the ball at risk, but generally effective); stop it with his foot any other way (quite risky and potentially painful). It was with the latter option in his mind that Morf performed a most delightful little hop allowing the ball an unhindered journey to the boundary. Evidently he had promised his sister the shoes would be returned unmarked. 

Doug rotated the bowling but wickets came slowly. Nathan got an LBW but Hetairoi were always ahead of things. Kingy brought some life to proceedings by hurling a huge fast throw in Jimmy’s direction for Jimmy to produce an astonishing first touch thus showing Morf how it’s done. Or at least how it can be done. If you are wearing Orange shoes. Perhaps that’s why Jimmy was able to take a catch of Nathan. It’s the shoes you see. 

After a caught and bowled from Nathan,   Captain Doug cunningly placed Morf on the boundary with the words "I think you could be in the game in this fielding position". How right he was as he soon found himself searching for a lost ball that sailed over his head into the paddock. To make matters worse for Morf he trod those lovely shoes into a pile of invisible horse dung.

We were beaten by the Hetairoi for the first time and with about 12 overs to spare. It was fantastic to have two umpires and after the game the Brookes family and Mark Bradshaw found that their respective families go back a long way together and as Doug put it they “have several common friends”.  Well so do I but I don’t boast about it.

Finally Jude appeared with an enormous serving plate of sandwiches left over from tea and started force feeding Kingy. He submitted on the understanding that he would “take a few” into work the next day and thereby save £3. 

I took Morf home. Or rather he danced along behind the car while making daisy chains. But the future is Orange…eh Jimmy? 


 Match Report 

Bledlow Ridge v Fiddlers – Sunday 13th July 2013, Home


Fiddlers 264-7 dec

BRCC  190 all out 

Lost by 74 runs


In hindsight, this was a match dominated by Magical Realism. 

You see, towards the end of our innings a book the size of a breeze block, and written by someone whose name contained loads of “w’s” and “k’s” was being passed around the Intelligentsia. The last time I saw a book that size it was entitled: “How to Kill an Insect” and had only one page which read “Drop this book on the insect”. 

David Graduate Oxford Maunder English knew what it was about, as did Freddie, then suddenly everyone claimed to have read it including Dom and no doubt Tombsdog who wasn’t there, would have claimed to have read it too. 

“What’s it about?” I asked Freddie. 

“Nothing really” came the reply. 

It seemed to me that 600 pages was an awful lot to write about nothing. 

“Well” Freddie went on, “It’s about Magical Realism”. 

Ah! I got it. “A bit like Harry Potter”? 

There was rolling of eyes between Freddie and Dave not to mention Dom who was now in this inner circle brains trust. 

”No, Magical Realism is a genre where magic elements are a natural part in an otherwise mundane, realistic environment” they opined together in an act of magic.

“A bit like Mike Stevens fielding a ball in a Sunday match” I replied.


“You’ve got it!” 

I realised the game had had several moments of Magical Realism. 

The first example had been when The Chairman arrived wearing his playing kit and asked if anyone had a bigger shirt for him.  Not even Harry Potter could have magicked that one up. 

The next came when, opening the bowling, Brooksie induced a played-on with the world’s slowest ball, one that scarcely had the power to remove a bail. We can only assume that by hitting the ball the batsman increased its speed. 

This good start was put into context as their second wicket partnership  knocked us around,  although Brooksie’s floaters did have an element of magic about them, defying all expectations and reaching the other end each time. 

Dan Not-an-Oxford English-Graduate spilled a chance, deeming Brooksie’s bowling not worthy of a wicket  and then when Brooksie went to take up his fielding position by the boundary he noticed  that a genial looking elderly gentleman had set up for the afternoon with deck-chair and picnic. Obviously a cricket-lover.  Brooksie gave a kindly wave and thought about entering some friendly Sunday-afternoon conversation. But the kind-looking gentleman got in first. 

“Your bowling’s sh*t”. 

This gentleman knew his cricket. 

A large ancient military airplane flew overhead. Somewhere in a garden in Radnage, a garden gnome called Malcolm could hardly contain his excitement.  By now it was rather hot. The Chair was fielding in the shade of a large tree. The rest of the team was trying to field in the large shade of a Chairman. 

More magical Realism as Dan took two catches, one on the boundary. Alan Goulden recruited from the highly successful U13 parents, was given a bit of a workout and tore about the field all afternoon putting most of us to shame with his effort, fielding and throwing. Which brings me to the next example of you-know-what. 

Malik fielded a ball. 

Yes, all on his own without even the Chair to help him. Malik just stuck out a limb to a ball travelling at the speed of light and where there had previously been nothing, this time there was a hand. It happened again and then again. 

 I really must read this book. 

Freddie was brought on to bowl. His first words were “My spin bowling is rubbish”.  I thought this was some sort of magic spell. What we got was a combination of a helicopter, a threshing machine and Dakes being chased by a wasp as several arms all seemed to rotate at once. His bowling also had a number of different settings and one of its advantages is that the batsman spends a large amount of time looking for the ball to emerge. Thus it was that Freddie was our most economic bowler. Having had one batsman get out to Brooksie, none of them was prepared to get out to Freddie.

Well done Freddie, with this great example of reverse psychology. Or Magical Realism. 

No one was prepared to get out to the Chair either despite being distracted by his little noises as he made the yard and a half uphill to the wicket to deliver each ball. 

So the bowling changed again and they lost the odd wicket in between scaring the odd rabbit or invisible horse in Lord Keeping’s paddock, but the Fiddlers still continued scoring apace. The rate did come down when Malik Magically appeared as a bowler, promised he would not throw the ball and remembered this promise for at least an over. 

An increasingly kinked arm was worth his three wickets, their umpire obliging with two LBWs, and suddenly, off his own bowling Malik was fielding everything.  I really don’t want to get repetitive but clearly there was some force at work. 

It turned out to be Roz, who provided the usual wonderful tea and then later cleaned up so well that the Chair could even see his face reflected in the work surfaces. This was rather a shock and he had to lie down for a while to recover, only getting up again when someone threatened to drop a large book on him; or to read some of it out loud. 

RolfeDog opened with Dan Brother-of-Intellectual. 

Mike Salmon Fiddlers skipper and bowler, put square leg back, smiled at Rolfey and shortly afterwards bowled the ball that inevitably RolfeDog hit in the air straight to that fielder. Mr Salmon had obviously read the book while waiting to bat. 

Dave “Magical Realism” Maunder hung around for a bit which was more than Jamma who with his first-baller joined RolfeDog and David in a big sulk. Later the Chair had the satisfaction of outscoring his son, albeit with just one run, albeit credited to him although off his pad. 

Fiddlers went through an array of bowlers while Dave Meander, showing grumpy scotsman tendencies, started calculating how long it took to bowl each over (as if we had rattled though ours). We were particularly amused by Mike Salmon referring to an Asian teammate with a scots accent, who later wore tartan trousers, as “Bombay Jock”.  MacTaggart and Doug have a lot to learn about fashion too. 

In the meantime Dan kept us going with an attractive 37 but it was only when Doug joined Brooksie that we were able to open our shoulders. 

The gentleman under the trees was no longer present to pass an opinion on Brooksie who made his way to 50 by his calculations and 47 in the scorebook, so his acknowledgement of applause that never came was premature. We took some satisfaction from telling him he had made 49 when he was out when it was actually 52… or was it 55? 

We had made it to 190 by the time Freddie made his way out as last man, to join Doug, play a few defensive shots and then run him out. Freddie had been urged from the sideline to run when he was not ready to and not to run when he seemed keen to, but not even the crowd could stop Freddie from being pleased at hitting one ball so hard that the presence in the neighbouring area of a fielder was little reason not to run.  With Doug stranded by the proverbial country mile, Freddie kept moving fast towards the pavilion to evade possible retribution from his partner (who made 27). 

So we were out fiddled by the Fiddlers who stayed a long time afterwards and swelled our bar profits and then locked up. 

Meanwhile the Chair announced his retirement. If he actually did retire instead of threatening to each year we would all embrace Magical Realism and my name would be Harry Potter.




Sunday 9th June 2013 

Kimble                               254-7 in 40 overs

Ridge                                  85 all out (yes, no missing digits)

I think Rolfey has coined the phrase that “it is difficult to be funny when you are getting shafted”, so I am not even going to try. In any event, why ruin a good story with the truth and I am, allegedly, the grumpiest Scotsman in the club at present? Since when did voicing an opinion on issues including Under 10 fielding positions, run-out attempts, the “bloody weather”, wicket allocations and sightscreens,  availability, use of Rebellion beer kegs, orange squash, coffee machines, availability and responses re same, salt and pepper, tucked in shirts, bails, 40/40 matches, Taggart’s questionable cycling top, Joe’s cinema booking, Matt’s travel arrangements, out-of date sun cream and availability……make you grumpy??! I prefer to regard as an opportunity to converse, discuss, debate, argue even.  “ Bad tempered and sulky” says the OED of grumpy. Should probably read “holder of position of responsibility at BRCC”………………………………………………(now that WAS grumpy!) 

Being a cheery, accommodating type, the home skipper agreed to a 40/40 limited overs affair, with overs restrictions on bowlers, partly because he wanted the game finished at a reasonable time (having got a ten and twelve year old home at 9.40pm the previous Sunday and having two twelve year olds in the team again) and partly because this would be the only such occasion this season (with Fiddlers and Hetairoi the remaining Sunday visitors on the fixture list, both advocates of a good timed match). The previous week’s 51 overs had also proven hard for the focus levels of our youngsters, so 40 seemed a decent number. 

Kimble skipper Jonny won the toss and batted, his broad smile eyeing up Lord Keeping’s field, into which the pill was to disappear several times in the next couple of hours, 254 was the sort of score which makes it difficult to say that we bowled and fielded well, but we bowled and fielded well for significant parts of the Kimble innings and, for the second week running, the younger element did themselves proud. Joe recovered well from an early assault on the short boundary to take three excellent wickets (two stumpings by marvellous MS Donnelly) and one bowled, with a lovely loop and flight on his leggies once he settled. Efan and Finn (both twelve remember) bowled with great control and energy at a time when Kimble were really trying to attack them. Some lovely encouraging comments, by the way, from the Kimble umpires to all of our youngsters. Finn was told on three separate occasions to “be very proud of his performance..” and indeed all of our young lads should be. They will only get better for playing in games like these. Big vote of thanks to those Kimble gentlemen  a) for standing for us in the first place and b) for supporting our guys with their kind words. Martin, Sajid and the Guvnor bowled tidily. Skipper had a spin but the Lord’s field beckoned again too readily, so he quickly ‘rested’.. 

Thank you to Sarah and Dom for supplying the lovely tea and for all their help with keeping the kitchen and the bar clean, tidy and operational through the day. Also a big hand to Jamma for scoring the whole thing for us; it was great to play in a Sunday game where not having to organise scorers, umpires, drinks etc because the team around you are such a great help. 

We figured our only hope was to ‘Malik’ them early, so he opened with MSD, but both were back in the hutch before we had twenty. Marcus waved his twenty eight year old bat to decent effect for a while, then swung across a straight one before declaring it was “time for a new bat………the attachment must now be severed..”. Martin out-Maliked Malik for a rapid twenty six before Malcolm called him for “the worst yes I have heard”…………Joe had to go up the order because of his cinema booking (I am going to try that when I play for the first team next time….) claiming “I won’t last long”. He lasted one ball. Dom confidently avoided the hat-trick ball……….then got bowled with the next one. Malcolm’s kept low and bowled him. Skipper’s kept straight…and bowled him. So, down to the two twelve year olds. They had a chat in the middle. I would like to think they were saying “look, we need 175 off twenty….let’s have a look and get the pace of the wicket…..make sure we hit the loose ball….and see where we are in five overs….” I suspect was more along the lines of “you should have seen the length of the skirts on the girls at the regatta yesterday….it was insane…” , “did you get any lip action..??” Efan biffed the spinner high and wide…but to where wide mid on was…..Sajid hit a couple of lusty blows, then Finn emulated his father and missed a straight one…game over. 

After two nights on the sauce, the skipper decided against trying to drink the fixture back, largely as he was on his own before long. Very nice chat though, with our visitors, some of whom then engaged in a ‘warm down’ game of rugby on the now sun-kissed outfield. Yes, at least the morning weather misery had abated, the visitors were genial and charming, ranging in age, incidentally, from 15 to 23 and not a grumpy soul in sight at the Ridge come 7.30, cos I went home too…

 Match Report: Sunday 2nd July 2013

Bledlow Ridge 201

White Waltham 198-8

Match Drawn

I have often thought that Ridge match reports dwell a little bit too long on how hard it is to get a team together. Often written by grumpy, disillusioned captains – to name no names – they take until the fifth paragraph to begin describing the match. How hard can it be to get a team together?  Anyway, with nearly 12 hours’ notice I was selected, turned up punctually, and with Robbie Carter (less punctual) we had eleven. Simple really. Let’s get on with it.

It was a timed game. Rolfedog would have been beside himself with glee. As it was, there were only a few senior members of the team to reminisce about this glorious format to the slightly more diffident juniors, of whom there were many. Two miniature McIndoes and a Dryden were in the side alongside a surprisingly not-miniature-at-all Jake Easton who I am sure used to be 4ft nothing but is now 5ft quite a lot. They all say incomprehensible things like “that was sick, literally”, which for some unfathomable reason doesn’t describe the hangovers typically displayed by a cricketer on Sunday morning. However these unintelligible youngsters dragged the average age down to a respectable 43.5 (estimated).

So as is the spirit of a Sunday game, the plan was to give everyone a game and generally enjoy ourselves in the glorious sunshine. No drama, no tension, fun cricket, a nice tan.

Cap’n Doug chose to bat, so Dave Maunder and Dan Strange opened with their contrasting styles. After a watchful couple of overs were stonewalled by his partner, Stranger had one look and then belted his second over midwicket for six. His third followed it on the bounce. Soon sixes were raining down on Lord Keeping’s pristine lawn. It was all ticking along nicely at a run-a-ball when Maunder was yorked and Dom Gabriele followed him back into the hutch, no score.

Stranger, who was rather enjoying himself, then failed to notice that a bowler he had already deposited for some towering boundaries had switched to attack from around the wicket. Unprepared for this devious change of angle, Stranger tried to send another ball towards the mansion and was bowled.

It was all youth at the wicket now. Finn McIndoe (Mac h 1?) eschewing anything so petty as taking guard, was obdurate but sadly couldn’t get going and Shaun Dryden joined Jake Easton at the crease hoping to better his dad’s moderate 140-odd the previous day. White Waltham must have thought that our batsmen were getting progressively shorter. In fact they were probably getting better because these two put on the partnership of the day, totalling 67. Shaun drove nicely through the off side in support of Jake, who scored an imperious fifty including a couple of brutal strikes over the trees at midwicket and two sumptuous on-drives down the ground for four which were undoubtedly the shots of the day.

This fine work done, Jake decided to dispense with Shaun’s services and there was an unfortunate run-out. The Ridge juggernaut steamed on but when Jake was finally out Doug McIndoe (Big Mac) was amusingly and painfully ankle-before-wicket. So arrived to the crease Martin King, converted parent-to-player, who had partaken of a pint or two in preparation. He had intimated on the sidelines that he could hit the ball a bit, so might give it ‘a try’. His first real try slammed into the long boundary sightscreen for six and there were some mighty blows to follow. Either a drop of the amber nectar should be compulsory pre-innings fare, or he somewhat understated his abilities.

Long story slightly shorter, Malcolm cleverly inflated his average with another not out by leaving Cameron McIndoe (Mini-Cam?) to face the music at number 11. 201 was the total set, and we took Jude’s fantastic tea quite confident (although we may have to work on the ‘opposition first’ etiquette amongst some younger members, and Robbie Carter.)

Most of the over 18s in the team are crocked and/or don’t bowl and/or have never bowled very well anyway, so our battery of youths also opened the bowling. Shaun controlled proceedings with a beautiful line and length down the hill, all for no reward. Admittedly, there were quite a few drifting down leg for Stranger standing up, although you would not have guessed from the saint-like patience with which he bore these tribulations. Scorer Shakey did make a gleeful comment after the game about the contribution of byes to their scoreline. Dan also bore this with equanimity.

It was Jake, fresh from his batting exploits, who steamed in up the hill and got the breakthrough just when the openers looked set. He has obviously been watching Jimmy Anderson on TV because not only has he converted to seam-up, his reaction to cleaning up the batsman is a protracted sulk. His spell done, he stalked off in a bad temper, apparently about not having taken ten wickets already.

Finn was first change. It’s time for the Mac report, since they followed one another from the top end. Mach 1 was accurate and caused a few to keep low, inducing a low bottom edge from the other opening batsman to peg Waltham back. His overs were a model of consistency and determination. Mini-Cam replaced his brother, the ball now coming down from a terrifying (lack of) height and once he found his length he bowled an admirable little spell. Clearly feeling his powers might discourage Waltham into batting for a draw, he told his dad to bring himself on. Big Mac promptly bowled a load of rubbish and finished with figures the least Mac-nificent of the three. In the bar later, Doug claimed it was all tactics.

At the other end was Martin King. He had said he was only really a bat, but might give bowling ‘a try’ and turned out to be really quite good at that too. However both batsmen were in and going strong at drinks – which heralded the final 20 overs – travelling around 5-an-over which was now the rate required. It took the introduction of some greyer heads to swing the momentum. On came ‘The Guv’nor’ and Robbie Carter, whose sunny disposition had been dented somewhat by people constantly throwing the ball at his feet in the field.

At this stage the Ridge’s fielding must be mentioned, especially in the context of the final drama. Malcolm’s sharp catching, although anomalous to anyone who saw him shell a sitter the day before, was symptomatic of the team’s fine attitude, as any who witnessed haring boundary chases from the irrepressible Dom and brave stops by all of the McIndoes would attest. Robbie and the Guv’nor began to tease out the Waltham wickets, including the important scalp of the opposition captain Andy for a fine 70 runs.

Now Waltham’s younger players got slightly caught in the headlights as a stroll to the finish became a dash for the line. Both sides could scent the win, and with five overs to go twenty were still needed. Jake came back on and proved himself a fine death bowler, and the total inched agonisingly down. 12 needed off 3 overs, 10 off 2, and finally 7 needed off Robbie Carter’s last over.

A couple of scrambled singles, and then with five needed to win, Martin King had to make a solid stop on the boundary to prevent four which would have all but ended the game.

The drama went on to the last ball: Waltham needing three to tie, four to win, everyone back for it. Robbie dipped one into the batsmen’s toes… they set off for a desperate single… Dan whipped the bails off… and the result was……… a draw.

After everyone had their breath back, I explained this ancient scoring system to the kids but all Shaun could say was “I played all afternoon for a draw?” Point made, Shauny. But a thrilling game of cricket with a heart-stopping conclusion had unfolded all the same, which is the reason why we play.

We would like to say thank you to White Waltham, fine opponents in a sportsmanlike and thoroughly enjoyable contest which we hope to repeat next year – perhaps a return fixture at their place which we hear is lovely! Looking forward to that and many more sunny Sundays to come.

How did I do? Should the other journos in the club be worried? I just can’t wait for all the constructive criticism they’re going to give me.


 Sunday cricket as it was written

Hetairoi         174 – 4                     25 overs

Ridgebears  178 – 3                     22.2 overs

Ridge win by 7 wickets


Some rather ominous clouds were gathering, but the sun was shining and the temperature resembled the more balmy days of our recently discovered summer (Wednesday and Thursday last) and so we were all looking forward to the much heralded visit of Hetairoi; right up to the point where we were about to start and the clouds spontaneously burst to peals of thunder that made Danny Boyle’s Friday night spectacular look just a little undercooked.

As we wandered about in the ensuing rain and standing water, several of the youngsters (and Rodders) declared that they weren’t scared of a bit of lightening, which I suppose you wouldn’t be if you’re 4’6” and surrounded by 6 footers, but the real Lord of Bledlow, who had kindly agreed to stand (his full 6 feet tall) as umpire, remained sceptical as to our chances.

But, as the players settled down with a cup of tea to watch the ladies road race (in the full and certain knowledge that the ladies beach volleyball was to follow), and the kids went out and had a net in the rain, and Jude had a minor panic about the club losing its Michelin star for teas and bought up the contents of the local Tesco Express, a strange thing happened. A bright golden orb re-appeared in the sky, the water evolved to steam, and by 3.30, we were ready to start a 25 overs a side match. Doubts that we would get the game finished were expressed, but this may have had more to do with the fact that the beach volleyball was about to start.

The Ridge had had to make a late change due to a last minute huge dose of stupid, perpetrated by Jamma (see 2s report), so Efan Morris, oft time hero of the U12s was drafted in.

Jake was given the new ball and the hill, and bowled his full complement of 5 in a very tidy opening spell which produced 2 wickets and just 27 runs. Taggart opened at the other end with 3 fairly miserly but wicketless overs, and gave way to Rodders, who the new batsman took a bit of a liking to. The visitors began to bat with some urgency, but were held in check by some excellent bowling from our youth contingent, with both Finn Small Mac and fries with a choc milkshake and Efan the Welsh Wizard (even though he’s not really Welsh) Morris, acquitting themselves admirably. They were well supported in the field with Dom ever willing to throw himself around, Dan hurling the ball in from the boundary like an exocet missile  and as tidy a piece of wicket keeping as we’ve seen by anyone this season from Freddie Roddick, who should now be forcibly restrained from playing anywhere other than the Ridge.

Doug chipped in with a few overs to give us the spectacle of a pair of McIndoes bowling together (which may not have happened ever, anywhere in the world before), and Taggart came back to finish out his 5 with a couple of overs round the wicket (we couldn’t be bothered to move the sight screens) and picked up a couple.

All in all, 174-4 was a score that both sides were probably happy with and the game looked well poised, although the challenge for the Ridge, given the number of youngsters in the side, was a fair ask.

Now this particular correspondent had endured a less than uplifting game of cricket the day before, and so it was very re-affirming to note the opposition’s attitude to the game while we were out in the field. They were very vocal in their appreciation and support for our youngsters efforts, congratulating them often on good work fielding or bowling, whilst at the same time treating them with respect in as much as they played their bowling in the same way as they would play any other player. Both Finn and Efan got a bit of tap in the last couple of overs, not because they weren’t bowling well, but because it was the last couple of overs. They both stood up manfully, kept their heads up and proved a credit to the junior coaches.

The skipper produced a suitably rallying war cry at the interval, requiring Dan Maunder to change his name to Dick in order that his whimsical witticism about Dik and Dom opening (in some sort of single storey building???) should make sense. Dom had a thrash and then lost his castle, which brought Malik to the wicket to join “Dick”. For those of you didn’t realise, it is currently Ramadan, which means that Malik is fasting during daylight hours. This may explain his reluctance to run, preferring to get his score in boundaries, although you could argue that if he’s that intent on saving energy, why was he trying to hit the ball to Radnage, West Wycombe, and in one instance, Aylesbury? 68 out of his final score of 88 were hit to the boundary, with the “new money, bought his title, Lord of Bledlow”s field being peppered.

Whilst havoc was being wreaked on the pitch, the world’s greatest sports retailer, fast becoming the club’s chippiest sledger, followed up his disdain for an Oxford player 2 weeks ago by taking a dislike to one of our opponents. Whilst Arthur’s sins at Oxford were bad enough (he had the temerity to suggest that Baz had played across the line), the culprit on this occasion had gone beyond the pale! He had tucked his trousers into his socks!!!!!!

As an innocent bystander enquired as to who the culprit was (clearly the plus fours were not that obvious at a glance), Baz informed him that it was the bloke with “Gorgeous George” on the back of his top. Cue two meerkat reactions from the nearby attending Jude and Susie. “Is gorgeous George playing?” “Isn’t he gorgeous?” “Oh absolutely gorgeous ”  “…and he’s so shy” coy giggle, “…but so polite”, “…and so clean” and as they melted away into the 51st shade of grey, Malik finally ran out of energy and gave up the will to hit sixes.

Freddie played straight and well for a few; Baz went in and cleaned up the remaining runs required with a couple of overs left; Dick Maunder carried his bat for a stylish and patient (I shall refrain from the term Rolfesque) 37 not out; the girls continued to go all doey eyed, while Rodders managed to tear himself away from the technical skills of the British Ladies Beach Volleyball team in time to clap the opposition in.

The post-match was as convivial as the game, and this is a fixture we need to make every effort to keep next season.

Some days you wonder why you bother.

Some days you realise.                  Today was one of those.

Ridge youth policy to the fore – young bowling attack flourishes

Rodders’ smile discovered during post-match analysis

Malik wrecks Hetairoi hearts and several balls

Hetairoi 174-4 (25 overs) (Price 65, Megone 40)

Ridge Bears 178-3 (22.1 overs) (Aslam 88, Dan Maunder 37 n.o)

After a beautiful morning, the heavens opened over Meadow Styles at 1.30pm on Sunday. The exuberance of youth, however, ensured that we had a punctual quota of Bears to quickly cover the wicket and give ourselves the best possible opportunity of some play later. Our guests arrived from their many and varied quarters and early acquaintances were made in the bar, while Baz powered up some Olympic viewing to deflect from the downpour outside.

When the rain abated for the first time, the initial pitch inspection did not augur well, with much casual water in evidence. Visiting skipper Brian circled the wicket in double quick time whilst explaining that various members of his team “had nowhere else to go, since they were effectively barred from their homes by the ladies road race…” Thus it was agreed to sit it out awhile and have another look “in half an hour” The current Mrs Mac ‘stuck kettle on’ and cha was served.

The sun arrived and the two skippers ventured again, this time each armed with a pitch fork for no particular reason other than it seemed like the right thing to do, particularly with so many young and eager cricketers begging for play to start. After all, “it’s lovely out here now” they collectively chanted. Indeed it was now and as our guests wandered around the Styles admiring the beauty of the location, the days ‘match managers’ agreed a 3.30 start and a somewhat reluctant acknowledgement that “it will have to be a limited overs affair”. 25 and a limit of five per bowler. Brian won the toss and chose to bat

The 13 overs from the top end were handled by three different bowlers with a combined age of 36; Jakey opened with an excellent spell of five straight overs and two good wickets, one a very good running catch at extra cover by the reliable Dan Maunder and the second an extremely important (slightly pitch-assisted) LBW of the dangerous looking Sipiwe Ndzundzu for just 13. Jake was replaced first by Finn McCool and then the Welsh Wizard Efan Morris, both of whom carried on the good work, bowling a mainly excellent line and length to experienced batsmen, using a larger (and wetter) ball than they are used to. The future is very bright. Meanwhile, behind the stumps, Freddie Roddick was hurling himself hither and thither to gather anything which was slightly off-line, whilst encouraging his bowlers: “keep it there Finny”, “nice work Efan”, “yes, Jakey” and even a “like it Dad”.

Yes, at the Pavilion end, after a steady and predictably miserly three overs from Taggart, ‘big’ Rodders was on, with little Rodders behind the sticks. Now, I think it is fair to say that, which ever side of bed big Rodders had emerged from earlier this day,  he should have jumped back in, gathered up all the gremlins in his world, cast them aside and flipped himself out of the other one….Alas, Chris’s demeanour was not about to improve over the next twelve balls as the now settled Mike Price tucked in on his way to 65 not out for our visitors. Big Mac had a go and slowed it down a wee bit until his ball control started to let him down and full bungers rained down on unsuspecting batters (sorry guys!). Dom did his utmost to keep the run rate down with some brilliant fielding, saving many well struck balls which went his way. In need of a wicket, BM brought back Taggart, who kindly bowled round the wicket (because we couldn’t be “arsed” with the sightscreens with the clouds lurking menacingly) and he obliged with not one, but two, both bowled with one in particular, seeming to do quite a bit…

We still had to find another two overs at the Pavilion end since Taggart’s five were done. I had quiet words with both Finn and Efan and explained that “the chase would be on now……the batters will want to hit you…..last few overs etc” and offered to bowl if they didn’t fancy it. To their immense credit, both were as eager as ever and there was no way they were giving up this chance. And so, the last five overs were bowled by two eleven year olds who did fantastically well in difficult circumstances and kept their heads up and shoulders broad – well done boys!

Hetairoi finished on 174-4 with their alma mater Chris Megone chipping in with a valuable 40 at the end whilst taking many opportunities of his own to commend our young team for their sterling efforts (cricket as it should be…..). Bears target would be exactly seven an over..!

Chris and I reminisced about county cricket at the Oval during the late sixties, early seventies (Edrich, Intikhab Alam and all) and discussed Hetairoi links with South Africa. We talked of the simple pleasures of a day at the cricket with friends. Our conversation curtailed solely by the need to return to the field……..

Despite my churlish efforts to amuse myself with the opening pair of Dan and Dom (believing I had replicated a famous TV duo), I was saddened to learn it is in fact Dick and Dom in Da Bungalow. Hey ho (note to self – watch more TV…or maybe not)

Our Dom was in a hurry, his blade thrashing with gusto, but after a classic Chinese cut for four, Hardwick felled middle peg. Enter the Malik………….

Now for those not familiar with Malik’s modus operandi, it largely features a reluctance to run, an aversion to dot balls and a very heavy bat. Our visitors were dejected at the end of the game, not by their defeat, but by the fact that we hadn’t recorded how many (few) balls Malik had faced in amassing his 88. He did actually score eight singles and a two but the rest was in boundaries (5 sixes, 12 fours) and we concluded it was no more than fifty balls and probably nearer forty. 

Dan, meanwhile, compiled a very stylish 37n.o, timing the ball impeccably. Freddie, likewise, looked sound and accomplished before playing across a straight one from young Richard Slade (thirteen year olds both). Hawks, back from his hols, came in and finished the task efficiently, alongside Dan, with 12 n.o

Whilst all the mayhem was being reaped on the field, we tried, as a good team does, to help Rodders out of his disgruntlement with life. What was troubling our usually chipper, upbeat and engaging all rounder? Was it the electrical connections at home? Was it Susie’s reluctance to learn how to score a cricket match (“Doug, while I am umpiring, will you teach Susie to score, she is really keen to learn…” said Rodders; “Sure, Chris, thanks for doing the first few overs”. “Hi Susie, I hear you want to learn how to score?”. “No thanks”, said Susie. “Oh, ok” replied Doug, now confused) It couldn’t still be those two overs for 28, since Malik had repaired that damage in seven balls? Was it the impending golf tournament (the 24th such annual event) which he had never won and which, the form book suggested, he was not likely to capture in 2012? Was it a size issue? Or simple mid-life? Whatever it was, collectively, we could not discover, nor heal.

Our immense gratitude, therefore, to Hetairoi skipper Brian (and perhaps a casual hint of applause in the direction of Australian lager manufacturers), since it was, at approximately 7.45pm and in Brian and ‘big’ Richard’s charming company, that the smile returned to Rodders’ face; the conversation topic? The Olympics. In the middle of our fun day, our own fantastic one afternoon only event, we had neglected to raise the subject with our own would-be Olympian. All was well. Thanks to Hetairoi. Companions indeed!

The Spirit of Rolfe lives on into Sunday!

 Kimble 193-9

 Ridge Bears 160-8

 Bears lose by 33 runs

A youthful (bar two) Ridge side headed to Kimble on a glorious Sunday afternoon (not often we can say that), where the Spirit of RolfeDog proved just how omnipresent it can be as they slipped to a 30 run defeat.

Skipper Jamma lost the toss and Kimble decided to have a bat on a decent-enough wicket. Matt Donnelly, having relinquished the keeping duties to the veteran Shaky (no 'E'), took the new ball along with Jake Easton, who hadn't quite recovered from being dismissed by a girl the previous day (for nought!). The youngsters bowled decent lines and Jake struck first, removing the opener who didn't look like Sid the Sloth with a late swinging delivery that clipped the batsman's foot before going on to leg stump.

Sid, meanwhile, was going along nicely enough but a double-change of bowling did for his next partner. Chris Roddick was fielding like a demon in the deep so it was heart-breaking for James 'Hairbear' Goodband when he induced a bit of a slog to Rodders at mid-on, only for the ex-Wycombe rugby hero to not quite convert oval ball to round ball as he dropped the catch. But Hairbear's misfortune was Shaun 'Bieber' Dryden's gain. The very next ball, the first of a new over, saw the same batsman hit the ball to Rodders again and this time, he pouched the chance with aplomb.

Three balls later, things got even better for Bieber as he cleaned up Dumbarton's leg stump after a horrid swish across a straight one, leaving Kimble in some disarray at 70-3 and Shaun having finished his first spell with 2-16 off four overs.

The wily Rodders now came into the attack with his previously unseen left-arm filth, using the stiff breeze to bring the ball back from leg to off stump. After a few loose ones, Rodders settled into a nice rhythm keeping the batsman fairly quiet. Jamma brought himself on at the other end and immediately hit a good line and length - infact, too good for the next batsman who played down the wrong line and promptly lost his off stump. Even Sid was getting bogged down and gave a chance on 40 when he tried to hit Rodders through mid-wicket but Jamma just failed to hold on to a difficult catch.

With runs becoming more tricky, Sid took a quick single off Rodders to Dan Maunder whose direct hit ran out another partner and the new bat at the other end didn't last long either, fishing outside off stump once too often to Jamma and eventually nibbling a catch to Shaky behind the stumps. To cap a super few overs for the Bears, Rodders then induced a thick outside edge which was gratefully taken by Dan at backward point.

Impressive ground fielding, especially from Dom Gabrielle, meant that Kimble started to take the aerial route, with six and four taken off the first four balls off a Rodders over but he had the last laugh, trapping the batsman dead in front of middle with the fifth. The batsman stomped off, claiming to have hit the ball despite not being within a country mile of it.

Sid, all the while, was plodding into the 80s and 90s and was now joined by the slogging brigade, one of whom took a particularly liking to Shaun's comeback spell with three big sixes. Jake decided to protect his Bieber mate by bowling beamers, one of which was hoicked into Scott Waite's hands and given out, despite protestations from the square leg umpire for a no-ball.

With the 40 overs almost up, Sid the Sloth managed to complete a fine century, ending 101 not out as Kimble finished on 193-9. Jamma was the pick of the bowlers with 2-14, with Jake (2-32), Shaun (2-43) and Rodders (2-45) also in the wickets.

The Ridge reply began strongly, with Jamma also offended that his youngest player had been treated with a touch of contempt by punishing the same (now) bowler into the wheat fields of Kimble early on. After 10 overs, he and Dan Maunder looked like doing it all on their own as they moved effortlessly past 50. But Jamma got a leading edge up into the sky and was caught for 38 to bring the beginning of the Rolfe Legacy to the wicket.

Jake likes to have a net at the club, particularly against his dad (though presumably not to any girls anytime soon), and he bats for hours and hours, scoring oodles of runs (since every shot goes for four or six apparently). But having listened and watched RolfeDog in recent times, he settled in for a long net, seemingly forgetting that even after the great start, the required run-rate remained around five an over. Poor Dan Maunder didn't quite know to make of it and expired with boredom, miscuing at a slower one to be caught for 37, bringing MS Donnelly to the crease.

51-0 off 10 overs became 78-2 off 28 as Kimble allowed MS and Jake to enjoy their Rolfe-like net. At last, sensing the growing frustration from Jamma (who was umpiring at square-leg and doubtless teaching the boys some new words at over intervals), Jake decided to swing from the hip with a bit of success but a-la his hero Rolfey, the ball he destined for the wheat fields went straight up in the air and into the hands of a waiting fielder 15 yards from the bat.

Scott Waite came in to speed up the run-rate but the Spirit of RolfeDog was playing havoc with Ridge minds and he straight-batted out a maiden over. With the RRR now well over 10 an over, MS finally gave way for Dom Gabrielle to up the urgency, a particularly fine shot through mid-wicket registering the first boundary for quite some time. Scott awoke from his Rolfe-induced slumbers by carting the bowler back over his head but in trying to repeat the trick, he fell short and straight into Kimble hands.

Rodders' wife Susie had recently arrived having missed her man's sterling bowling effort and was using Rodders as a nice cushion while lying in the sun. Never a man to upset his wife unnecessarily, Rodders took an almighty swing at his first ball, missed, was castled and returned to provide that comfy leg Susie had missed for 30 seconds on the boundary.

Shaky (no 'E') entered the fray on hat-trick ball but survived and then he and Dom set about trying to get the 20 an over required! A tricky task but they put on quite a few runs to give Kimble some running around to do, Dom holing out to the boundary on 19 while Shaky ended 22no and Hairbear crashed a couple to also finish not out at the end.

An enjoyable game under gloriously sunny skies. It was fabulous to see our younger players perform well in what should be a good learning experience. Dom Gabrielle performed heroics on debut, Rodders was excellent as a bowler, fielder and cushion, Shaky kept quite tidily, Jamma showed why he could bowl more in the 1's. Disappointing to lose when in such a strong position but overall, particularly considering the lack of cricket due to the weather, much more fun that counting the raindrops we've been used to doing (or insert watching Rolfey bat quip here at your leisure....)