Played 17, Won 13, Drawn 4, Lost 0.
The washout at Putney on 21 May 2006 ensured that the Surrey Cryptics achieved a full year unbeaten. This remarkable record was not down to the weather - Putney was the first total washout for over two years. Nor was it down to a short fixture list – 17 games were played, including two in Malta on the back of very little sleep. Nor was it luck.
The Cryptics of 2005 and 2006 manage to combine worthy individual performances with a solid team spirit. We are fortunate to have attracted, over recent years, some players young and fit enough to play decent cricket but old and fat enough to enjoy the Corinthian approach to life and the game. Enough of the old guard remains to ensure the retention of Cryptic fundamentals of laughter, everyone getting involved, and plenty of dropped catches. Nobody is omitted from sides on grounds of lack of ability and none have been encouraged to retire.
On 25 June 2005 all things Cryptic came together when the Northern Hemisphere Xl drew with the Southern Hemisphere Xl. All 22 players batted, nine failed to make a run. The scores were 142 all out and 141-9 amid fierce competition and much entertaining but unprintable chat on the field, but good humour and a bacchanalian event including many women and children completed the day. There were no hard feelings about Kowalski refusing to walk and Andrell got over falling to a sensational catch by an otherwise butterfingered fielder. Goss avoided reference to going wicketless by scoring 67 and Blamphin avoided reference to scoring 0 by going home.
Some remarkable statistics arise from the 16 games against other clubs. No opposition has taken 10 Cryptic wickets. We have batted second 13 times and while this is usually the preferred option, the results of the tosses were: Won 6, Lost 8, Negotiated 2.
Highlights of each match can be found in the 2005 Match Reports. Summary figures produced by statto PAJ Andrew show the name of James Scott most frequently. Top run scorer with 425, involved in the highest partnerships for the second, fourth, fifth and seventh wickets, top outfield catcher, third most expensive bowling analysis and still a batting average almost three times his bowling average. Imagine how good he could be if he ever arrived on time.
The year was far from a one-man show, however, with 16 half centuries shared among eight players. Only four ducks occurred (apart from in the North v South game). Pippa scored over 400 runs and now has over 4000 since records began. All the more impressive since most of those runs have been made in defiance of injury and / or hangover. Malta tour manager Dwight Cupit and Tommy Hope-Dunbar also made great contributions with the bat and when required the ball or the wicketkeeper’s gloves.
The bowlers also shared the burden and the rewards. Paul Goss and David Grindrod have been consistently tidy for 20 wickets each, while PAJA and Jimmy Greenhough offer the batsmen something so bafflingly rare that they too took 20 wickets, between them. If ever Jimmy should retire – and don’t hold your breath – we have a young pretender in Glen Skarrot. So natural a Cryptic from the first ball of his first game (it went through his legs) arrives once in a pink and black moon.
The hardcore of the club would be nowhere without the dependable enthusiasm of so many others. Tom Ware has metamorphosed into a fine wicketkeeper and scored some valuable runs. The law boys James Hogben and Nick Benham have done their bit too.
September’s Malta trip was another huge success. Expertly organised by Dwight, who also produced more stunning garments for the Cryptic wardrobe, the cricket was well contested and everyone got a go at something. The tour party was happy, united (even at 4.00 in the morning) and adroitly marshalled through the eating / drinking / paying process by kittybitch Nick Pow. Wholly unsurprising was the speed at which the wheels came off when the Puppy briefly wrested control of the kitty.
Congratulations to all involved in a great period of Cryptic history. It is not over yet, but it is comforting to know that when it is, we will have the same fun, the same fan club of Natasha and Lex, it will be Gossy’s fault and Scotty will be late. Until then, remember that last time the Cryptics lost a match, Australia had The Ashes.