Played 14  Won 6    Drawn 4  Lost 4

Kingstonian 7 May 2000
Beaten by Kingstonian – a grim fact indeed but…………….we scored 186-7 with no Cryptic getting a duck, we unearthed 4 new faces all of whom made an impact of one sort or another, our bowlers used up their summer’s quota of legside dross, it was interesting right up to the last over when they needed 6 to win and Jimmy bowled a wide. What was Jimmy doing bowling the last over? What indeed?………

Follies Farm 14 May 2000
With eight wickets in tact and twenty overs remaining, scoring 5 an over should be a doddle, 6 certainly achievable but 7.5 against tight bowling and fielding was a rather tall order after the top three had blitzed a staggering 36 runs in 23 overs. Debate may rage on for weeks, and the Follies team were giving nothing away after our spectacular 1999 win, but we managed 70 in the last 10 overs when the win was out of the equation……

Readers may wish to refer to England’s disastrous assault on the west Indies 286 in the 1979 World Cup Final. That day England needed 158 from 22 overs, yesterday we needed 157 in the same time. (Australia, by the way, only managed to beat Canada in the whole tournament.)

Earlier in the day the Cryptics bowled and fielded well, fiery Greenwood hitting the leg stump three times and a head once, and McLoughlin providing the champagne moment with a leaping, diving caught and bowled which betrayed some desperation to get a wicket. MacDonald was amusingly whacked for 20 off one over.

Beddington 4 June 2000
Beddington 162-7 declared
Surrey Cryptics 91 all out
Lost by 71 runs

The bowlers did a good job, particularly McLoughlin and Greenwood who restricted a decent Beddington side to about about 55 from 22 overs with little help from some lacklustre fielding.

The declaration was entirely fair, allowing us plenty of time for a good chase, but the Cryptics were proved far better on paper than grass and self destructed with admirable efficiency.

Wright left one in the first over to be bowled round his legs, four more were bowled, three caught at mid on or mid off and Hogben is by no means the first man to be run out by a captain (though not necessarily this captain) who couldn’t, so wouldn’t turn round.

That we were unstitched by a veteran faggot bowling what can only be described as cerebral dobbers while Beddington’s real bowlers were still grazing only stressed the level of collective incompetence. The game ended in comedy with McLoughlin being comprehensively bowled by consecutive balls, the first being a no ball.

Remarkably no Cryptic has yet got a duck this century. Anyone like to lay a small bet?

Old Hamptonians 11 June 2000
Old Hamptonians 235-7 (40 overs)
Surrey Cryptics 217 all out (32.3 overs)
Lost by 18 runs

It looks almost respectable but the game was over manipulated due to the extremes of talent and lack of it in the Hamptonian side who were always able to control the game by involving a South African professional who was by far the best batsman, best bowler and best wicketkeeper (of 3 they used). He retired twice from batting.

Our chase was so good early on that they had to apply the SA man to swing it back in their favour, and once achieved Greenwood and Goss enjoyed some lusty hitting towards the end.

The Cryptic cause was not helped by some remarkably daft umpiring demonstrating not only total ignorance of the LBW law but also an inability to count to 6. These accounted for 3 Cryptics and Banks and Hogben have a new umpiring chum.

Salesians 18 June 2000
Surrey Crypics 133 all out
Salesians 100-8 (plus 2 retired hurt)
Won by 33 runs

Jingle Bells at last. The season is back on track. A gripping game for the purist. None of that hit and giggle flat track nonsense in which bad players get buckets of runs and all bowlers are equal. The Cryptics managed to collapse from 85-0 to 133 all out against very tight bowling and an outfield that probably saved 40 or 50 runs due to a broken gang mower.

Andrell’s fine 56 was put in true context by no other player in the match reaching 20. Wright eclipsed his 16 from 22 overs at Follies by scoring the same in 28 overs but on this occasion it was just what was required and the All Black man did take most of the strike.

The Salesian reply was kept in check by tight Cryptic bowling and fielding, an obvious enthusiasm from every player and of course the long grass of the outfield. Only at slip was there a gaping hole where, before bowler Goss tells you, I admit ducking a frighteningly sharp chance that may have removed my left ear.

With two Salesians retired hurt and one batting with a runner, the 8th and last wicket was taken with 10 balls remaining and celebrations thoughout Ewell ran long into the night. Some Cryptic bowlers ended with rather flattering figures.

Deansbank 8 July 2000
……..catastrophe, collapse, crap……….alliteration is king and our batting was that of queens. One Ross Greenwood has been by far the best bowler in most games he has played this year and yet he was absent the only time we won. So blame him.

Deansbank were restricted to 152-8 from 44 overs, Greenwood’s first spell was 11-6-7-2, PAJ Andrew bowling slower and better than for years and sundry others giving away the runs. The afternoon was also a MasterClass in slip catching from “flypaper” skipper.

Easy target, loads of time, Wright and Hogben off to a solid (ie slow) start, scoring 20 in 14 overs before the powerful middle order strokemakers made a total hash of it, successively holing out playing daft shots to modest bowling. MacDonald’s lowest score for the club has now been revised to the same as almost everybody else’s. 0. Once again the final act was farce, Andrew being run out without facing a ball while both batsmen hesitated mid pitch wondering if the other was going to call at all! All out 117.

Our performance on the field was made to look solid by an abject display after the game. That only three Cryptics made it to the pub on our only “home” game of the year was hardly complimentary to the opposition and particularly wet from a series of individuals who supposedly had to leave immediately after the game. Had the same people batted better, the game would have lasted another half hour. Enough time for a drink you might say.

Havant 6 August 2000
Havant 289-3 dec
SCCC 257-5
Match drawn

Yesterday was a remarkable day. The Cryptics annual jaunt to Havant did not end in customary humiliation. Having carefully avoided the option of a limited overs game, we lost the toss and fielded – or rather watched while Havant amassed a cautious 289-3. No Cryptic bowler had a dream day but Mark Blamphin’s 13 overs, 1 for 61 was a trojan performance (particularly in light of his initial reluctance to travel from Northampton – a fine example for some of the rather feeble cry offs last week).

With Havant on 150-0 we turned to MacDonald, largely to see how far they could hit him, but he got a “wicket” in his first over, the batsman being given LBW despite hitting the ball quite hard. Good track, fast outfield, 10 fielders, big score.

In reply the Cryptic openers took good heed of the captain’s teatime instruction to take no risks and notched up 100 in 16 overs. Regular readers will immediately conclude that P E Wright was not playing. An unlikely win looked possible at 147-2 with 20 overs to go and Andrell and MacDonald at the crease, but MacDonald was run out amid a debate about tri-nations rugby and Andrell was tiring. We ended on a creditable 257-5, the highest Cryptic score in the modern era, equalling the 257-7 at Claygate 2 years ago when we lost!

Andrell’s 121* was more than handy, Hogben’s 42 was savage and Davidson’s cameo 38 towards the end was refreshing if overdue.

Hartley Wintney 13 August 2000
Hartley Wintney 107 all out
SCCC 108-0
Won by 10 wickets

PAJ Andrew made the most of a rare opportunity with the new ball, taking 4-17. All 8 of the Cryptic bowlers did a good job, Andrell took 3 catches and a filthy stumping, Hoggers caught a blinder in the gully and we looked like a decent team in the field though the opposition was not in the same class as Havant last week.

Andrell grabbed the chance to protect his average by batting down the order leaving Hogben and the captain to open the batting under darkening skies on what the Cryptic bowlers had demonstrated to be an unpredictable track full of demons. Hogben was pinned to his crease for a maiden over after taking a circumspect 11 from the first over. As the rain became heavier, the threat of abandonment became far greater than that of defeat and in a calculated assault on the hapless Wintney bowlers, Seeckts blitzed a whirlwind 65*, Hogben fidgeted his way to 32* and the target was reached in 13 overs, shortly before a downpour that would have ended proceedings.

This was the club’s first 10 wicket win in the post Dickson era, must have been the fastest century opening stand ever (well, who usually opens?) and may have been slightly indulgent of a skipper increasingly desperate to get one off the square before the season’s end. In fact it was a rather unsatisfactory day but……..look in the book and look out Claygate.

Sunday 20 August 2000
Claygate 248-6 declared (43 overs)
Surrey Cryptics 253-5 (39.4 overs)
WON by 5 wickets

This was a truly remarkable win. Cryptic folklore will refer to ‘Brooke-Webb’s match’ long after dear James has hung up his boots and settled by a Scottish river with his sons, his flat hat and his fishing rod. But what a tale he will bore the young B-Ws with!

The game was eventful from McLoughlin’s first ball which the batsman contrived to knock onto the stumps. The eratic Briggs managed to terrify a man into treading on his own stumps and the B-W day began with a simple catch at mid on. Unfortunately 25-3 brought Claygate’s best player to the crease and he carted the ball to all parts for 106. Only McLoughlin could control the free scoring so the old man had to bowl 17 overs straight off before getting his man and immediately retiring to the pasture.

More savage hitting up to the declaration left us a very stiff target on a pitch that had showed signs of devilish bounce at one end.

The Hogben / Seeckts opening partnership was wisely used again but with Hogben taking a nasty blow above the eye in the first over, and having to retire, a determined MacDonald strode in. He farmed his way to 53 of 80 until he, Wright and Ware fell in quick succession, leaving a long tailed Cryptic side reeling at 83-4 with one in hospital and requiring 166 from the last 20 overs. This reduced to 139 from 14 overs when the balding property guru sauntered to the wicket with the captain’s wise recommendation to ‘treat it as a net, we haven’t got a hope now’, ringing in his ears.

Brooke-Webb responded by setting about the Claygate bowlers with a brutal display. The footwork was all Thompson, the middling of ball after ball was not. Unworried by some attempted hostile bowling, and hugely assisted by PAJ Andrew who got the sniff of Claygate blood too, a close draw looked likely with 54 still needed from 4 overs. No problem if you take 24 off the first of those, PAJ carving two mammoth cowshots for 6 in succession. With only 30 needed from 18 balls, the crowd began to leave, realising that the home side were doomed. Aware that without victory the partnership would have been pointless, our men finished the task in style with a thundering heave onto the basketball court and 2 balls to spare.

Andrew finished with a fine 61* and Brooke-Webb a staggering 88* and the jubilation was perhaps understandable. This was what Sunday (and particularly Cryptic) cricket should be all about and it was an utter delight for all who were there to see a loyal, though far too occasional, Cryptic notch up his first 50 in 9 (or 10?) years with the club and bring off such a thrilling win.

For 5 successive years the Claygate fixture has registered around 500 runs in the day and and a good finish. Looking ahead we have Headley on 3/9. They haven’t beaten us since the soft Atkinson years and now is not the time for them to start.

Selection (from 17) will take place in the next few days but I can tell you now it is a game for the old, senior, long serving type club men.

It has long been acknowledged that this club is not a democracy. It ain’t a meritocracy either. Edge of your seats chaps………………..

Headley 3 September 2000
Cryptics 165-9 dec
Headley 134-7
Match Drawn

It was an untypical Headley day, with the pitch far from the road, the opposition considerably younger and more athletic than in the past and runs harder than usual to come by. The Cryptic team was stacked with 7 over rated all rounders, two batsmen, two bowlers and no wicketkeeper. Wright and MacDonald recognised their responsibility and scored 46 and 55 before the wickets began to tumble. Captain was the only other to reach double figures, sending a huge six all the way to Tadworth before being cut off by one PAJ Andrew’s absurd attempt to pinch the strike by hitting the ball straight to a fielder and running. Is there a Cryptic captain anywhere out there who has not been sacrificed on the altar of Uppingham’s finest?

James Brooke-Webb, needless to say, came back to earth with a confident 5.

Come the evening session Greenwood bowled magnificently, ably supported by 4 others. 5 fine catches were held in the field and the unlikely Edwards kept wicket very well in light of his physique. If you have a couple of bad days this week, comfort yourself with the thought of how painfully stiff our Rod will be.

Headley, rather disappointingly, made no attempt to score the runs from about 100-5 with 11 overs left. Ross maintained the tradition of the Headley “incident” by responding to the penultimate ball being hit straight for 4 as predicted. In fact it wasn’t that short but it still crashed into the helmet and created a talking point for later.

Tilford 17 September 2000
The Cryptic winning machine never looked like stalling at Tilford yesterday. Tilford scratched their way to 155-9 while the Cryptic captain ably juggled 8 bowlers without ever letting them off the hook. The sight of J Greenhough bowling caused the opposing captain to send in a series of utter bunnies and Jim ended with a filthy 4-25. Pow and Andrew had provided the platform in a good opening spell and though Greenwood ended on the winning side for his first time this year, he was for once rendered innocuous by a pitch that had been under water on Friday. The debutant Stevens impressed with slow lefties while Tilford’s opener out Pippa’d Pippa with a blistering 50* from 43 overs.

In an attempt to shorten the tail Greenhough was promoted to open but was soon in the shower. Wright and MacDonald added a solid 80 together, from where we were always in the driving seat. Hogben’s rather thuggish 46 showed he is undeterred by being felled at Claygate (though the seam mark is still there) and after a brief spell of late anguish, the slender taff James John saw us home with 2 overs to spare.

We like winning. It makes the beer taste better, and it may be more satisfying than corporate entertaining at the pistol shooting or weightlifting in Sydney, but doubtless we will know soon enough!