Played 15 Won 9 Drawn 4 Lost 2

Tilford 12.09.04
SCCC 242-7 dec (42 overs)
Tilford 175-8 (44 overs)
Match drawn
Tilford won the toss

The share of the overs suggests that the declaration was about right, maybe even generous. On a fast scoring ground it was a shame that Tilford, having elected to chase a total, made no attempt to do so. They shut up shop with the tea still being cleared away while the Cryptics sportingly had six fielders round the bat in the early overs and inviting them – even verbally – to play some shots. That Tilford’s talented young opener, Rooney, batted thoughout the reply for 88* and never looked in trouble made their tedious reply all the more baffling.

JimmyEarlier Greenhough opened the Cryptic batting to illustrate the end of term feel to this fixture. He raced to 15 while Andrell scratched around at first against some appetising early Tilford bowling. Hogben got within 5 of his season’s best of 16 and Wright, the club’s best walker, was away before his edge hit the ‘keeper’s gloves for a brisk 23. Seeckts took time to get going but eventually played a pivotal captain’s knock of 42 as Cupit perished cheaply and McLoughlin slogged an attractive 38 on his return to a team that had done remarkably well during his two month absence. Seeckts was caught at deep mid off yet again but his dismissal was well timed for hard hitting Grindrod and Scott to rattle up 67 in the final 38 balls of the innings. Both played some terrific shots, the biggest and best a huge moo from Scott which landed in the house next to the pub.

For a long time after tea it seemed that the fun was over. Pow and McLoughlin pinned Tilford down but couldn’t make sufficient breaks through. Greenhough’s canteen was spurned by the batsmen, Scott and Grindrod were kept at bay so with the game seemingly dead at 114-3 with 11 overs remaining, Seeckts turned to the joke bowlers for some entertainment. Wright took 2-16 (one of them hit wicket) and Cupit 3-29 and at 157-8 with three overs remaining we hade a real contest on for the first time in the day. Tilford held out in fading light in spite of the return of McLoughlin who unleashed an unfortunate high full toss in the last over.

Tilford is a charming place to play and they are a delightful bunch of people. They might have more fun if they tried a bit harder to win. Have a look at the 2003 report.

Cryptic families focus on the game
Cryptic families focus on the game

Headley 29.08.04
Headley 185-5 dec (41 overs)
SCCC 103-3 (16 overs)
Abandoned as a draw
No toss

Older Cryptics hold fond memories of warm sunny days at Headley, the ground litteredGoss & H-D inspect the pitchwith spectators, a hard track and fast outfield making for free flowing cricket, lengthening shadows and long evenings with sausages and beer aplenty. Not this year. Wind and occasional rain swept the ground, ultimately killing the game with 12 overs remaining and the Cryptics well poised to notch up an eighth successive win. Headley’s groundsman had clearly suffered with Britain’s arable farmers, failing to harvest the hay crop on the wicket. A rotary mower was sent for before the start but it had little effect and, ashamed of their pitch, Headley generously offered to bat first without the need to toss a coin.

Goss and Grindrod did their usual thing with the new ball, the former not quite finding the edge and the latter not only finding it but having the catches held by stand in wicketkeeper Hope-Dunbar and veteran slipper Richard Atkinson. The former captain was making an overdue return to the side after several years of knee injury and New York living but still deserves his spot as first choice slip.

Peter Andrew left the field to put on a knee brace before bowling but stumbled as he returned to the field, spraining his ankle in the process. He bowled five pretty good overs before retiring to the pavilion for the rest of the day. By then Headley’s Hopper was tucking in for 75 but when he chopped a Scott long hop onto his stumps the scoring slowed again. The long exiled Paul Neate turned up much as he used to, later and heavier than last time, and bowled respectably as Headley looked to declare. After a late start and a rain break, only some generous bowling from the skipper and the return of Goss finally forced the declaration which left us with a maximum of 32 overs to score 186. Goss took a wicket with his last ball as a bachelor.

The reply had to be aggressive from the start. Scott was promoted to open with Wright as he wished to leave early for a party. Wright got a straight one on 10, Scott was caught on the third man boundary on 29. 43-2 after 5 overs. Atkinson batted like his Dad used to on uncovered pitches in the 1960’s, nudging singles at the end of most overs, Goss swiped 12 and the second rain break came on 67-3 from 11 overs. Fielders and batsmen alike were ready for the 12th over when it became apparent that Headley’s umpire had made for the pavilion. Fifteen minutes were lost during which it rained harder and then stopped. 21 players were happy to continue (Scott had left by now), one non-player took some convincing. It was then decreed that 17, and not 21, overs remained. The Cryptics agreed to chase 7 per over, giving Hope-Dunbar the licence he enjoys to strike the ball high and hard. For five more overs he and Atkinson exceeded the required run rate and with Cryptic confidence high and some respectable batting to come we were favourites when serious rain put an undisputed end to procedings.

Thought for the week:
Friendly Sunday cricket is played purely for the enjoyment of it, largely by players lacking either the talent or the temperament for League cricket. Games are almost always umpired by players from the batting side without dispute or acrimony. The captains agree match conditions and occasionally vary them in the interests of creating as good a game as possible for everybody concerned. Bad weather, late arrivals, prolonged tea intervals, illness and injury can all be accommodated. Perhaps at our level the best chaps to wear the white coats also wear white trousers.

Claygate 15.08.04
SCCC 254-7 dec (46.2 overs)
Claygate 130 all out (42.5 overs)
Won by 124 runs
Claygate won the toss

248, 251, 257, 242, 253, rained off, 203, 224. Those are the Cryptic scores at Claygate since 1996, all of which have contributed to some great games. This was the first time that the opposition have not come to the party, although at 66-1 in the tenth over they had made their intentions clear. In the end their unnecessarily wreckless approach to a chase in which they needed to score 5.54 runs per over proved their downfall.

The Cryptics opened with a club, and maybe a world record 13 foot 3 inches of batsmen in the form of Streeter and Hogben. Streeter was put down at slip off the third ball and proceeded to be dropped six more times on his way to an otherwise graceful and well constructed 112. Classic drives punctuated his excessively chancy knock and with the Claygate keeper missing an easy stumping when the tall fellow was on 99, it was his ninth life that finally saw him depart in the 41st over. His partners were less lucky with the fielders and all fell to the first or second chance they offered apart from Hogben whose rotten season was not helped when cruelly triggered by umpire and workmate Joss Dare. David Grindrod continued where he left off the previous week, blasting 32 to bring on the declaration early enough to allow Claygate a possible 46 overs to chase.

It is tough for Peter Andrew to be asked to open the bowling at a venue where the tea is so good and the plates 12 inches in diameter. He and Grindrod did a reasonable job in tandem again while Claygate’s openers began with gusto. Rufus Legg, a veteran of this fixture, has now completely given up off side strokes, but he carried his bat for 38 as all around blazed their way back to the heavily fortified pavilion. Legg pulled to Dare but was dropped, the first of about eight chances to go begging but Grindrod was always in the game, taking three catches and making a run out. Debutants Matthew Siebert and Danny Rowlands (more from the Dare camp) tried to offer some buffet, Siebert quickly trying his 8-1 legside field for Legg who continued to play the sweep shot. So  the ninth fielder moved to leg and the only offside shot Legg tried was the reverse sweep, which he missed. Scott was too tidy as ever so Greenhough was left to do the shopping, bagging numbers 7,8,9 and 10 for 28 runs. His first ball to number 11 (and hat trick ball) was a straight full toss that hit the pad bang in front of the stumps but the home umpire found cause to turn down an appeal audible in Esher. At the time 15 overs remained and it was not until only 3 overs and 2 balls remained that the returning Siebert induced the top edge that Andrell clung onto to win the match. The Cryptic gloveman had not batted (listed as number 11) due to a claret experience but had recovered well by 7pm.

The skipper’s run famine and butter fingered season continued but a string of inspired bowling changes and field placings saw that the unprecedented run of victories, now seven, continued to the delight of Cryptics around the world.

08.08.04 Ottershaw
Ottershaw 158-7 dec (49 overs)
SCCC 161-3 (26.4 overs)
Won by 6 wickets
SCCC won the toss

Winning team at Ottershaw – 08.08.04

Nine English Cryptics and a Scottish one romped home at Ottershaw with 16.2 overs to spare. This was the first time since 27 June 1999 that a Cryptic team included no overseas player. That day we beat Royal Mills at Esher by 30 runs, Richard Atkinson kept wicket, made a stumping and scored a laboured 48 including two boundaries and Jimmy Greenhough took 3-38. It was also young Charlie Greenhough’s first appearance at a Cryptic match, aged five weeks. The second to last time we fielded 11 Englishmen was 7 September 1997 at Tadworth, Richard Atkinson scored 64, Pippa 44 and Jimmy took 3-65. We lost.

So without pre-match bickering among the southerners about Tri Nations rugby we got on with the cricket at a refreshingly old fashioned 20 overs per hour. David Grindrod and Peter Andrew made a tidy start with the ball as the Ottershaw openers treated their green pitch and the bowling with undue respect. Andrew extracted considerable bounce up the hill but we didn’t take a wicket until the 21st over when the score was 62. By then Jimmy Greenhough was giving the ball considerable ‘air’ down the hill but it seemed nothing could tempt the batsmen to take risks. For over an hour we used 100 years of bowling expereince in tandem. Andrew, now 51, bowled 16 overs unchanged for 2-39 and claimed to feel fine when taken off for no better reason than to give someone else a go. Greenhough bowled 13 requiring less huff and puff and took 3-43 including two in two balls. James Scott was too good to feed Ottershaw runs so it was left to the selfless captain and Dare to lower the canteen prices sufficiently to encourage the declaration. Ottershaw’s Sexton came in at 87-3 in the 25th over. He was 6* after the 49th.

Awaiting the winning Ottershaw
Awaiting the winning runs…

It would have been another great opportunity to drop Wright down the order, were he not already on holiday. Debutant Keith Taylor and veteran Gordon Mousinho kicked off in a way that could easily have been Hope-Dunbar and Wright. Mousinho last opened for the Cryptics in 1995, scored 100* with Thompson as his runner (due to his bad back) and then kept wicket after tea. This time he managed 7 before spooning a very young leg spinner to square leg. Hope-Dunbar looked in a hurry as usual, clouting 20 in three overs before finding the only fielder likely to hold onto a difficult catch. Dare caressed eight in gentlemanly fashion before finding the same fielder and Grindrod quickly put an end to such nonsense striking eight fours in 41* that spanned just six overs. Taylor batted throughout for his 67* showing all the hallmarks of a good Cryptic. Extolling the virtues of patience and playing the ball along the ground between overs, he nevertheless played some beautifully impetuous lofted strokes and reached his fifty by having an absolute sitter dropped at cover. For a man who had not batted since the 20th century it was quite a show. Batsmen who holiday in August risk finding out how Mark Butcher feels these days.

Crondall 01.08.04
Crondall 111 all out
SCCC 115-4
Won by 6 wickets
SCCC won the toss

A scorching day, a new fixture on a suspect looking pitch in the enchanting village of Crondall, a record 22 Cryptic spectators aged 0 to about 65 in attendance and the skipper bravely elected to field first. He did not reveal who had won the toss until the end of the third over, by which time Crondall had slumped to 0-3. Yep, three wickets down and not even a bye on the board. Debutant wicketkeeper Nick Pawson, yet another find from the legal profession, had a great day. He snaffled Crondall’s talented opener, Strachan, second ball off Goss, took another in the third over, one more off Pow a little later and once he learned to wait until the ball had passed the stumps before taking it he made a stumping off Greenhough. This is getting harder as Jimmy gives the ball more loop by the week. If batsmen miss they now have ample time to regain their ground before the ball passes the wicket.

Crondall’s recovery came courtesy of their skipper, Goss (no relation) whose solid defence was punctuated with some savage blows that threatened to maim reluctant silly mid-off Ware. Our Goss eventually got their Goss, and another for good measure and was removed from the attack with yet more splendid figures of 12-5-19-4. Like a man who has just heard the bell for last orders (he marries on 4 September) he has bagged 11 wickets for 65 in his last three games. Pow, meantime, had turned orange in the heat and been replaced by the wily Greenhough who managed to keep the bunnies down his end while Peter Andrew got some stick from Crondall’s last capable hitter, James. Knowing his partners would not last long he thrashed a blacksmith’s 29 before skying one to the reliable Cupit. The scorebook, copied by PAJA, says Greenhough took 2-28 and PAJA 2-17. It must be true.

Crondall 01.08.04
Village cricket at its finest – winning at Crondall 01.08.04

The modest target allowed some tinkering with the batting order. Ware and Brooke-Webb were set to go off at a gallop but B-W was cruelly cut short heaving at a straight one. Hogben took up the chase and scored the first single of the innings with the score on 30 in the ninth over. He and Ware also succumbed to those pesky straight balls on 16 and 13 respectively bringing Wright and Seeckts together at 36-3. An avalanche of singles followed as they ensured the Cryptics were spared embarrassment. Seeckts perished to a rare ball that bounced above knee height, but Cupit whacked a hasty 31* to secure victory with 12.4 overs to spare. Wright, quietly grumpy when demoted from opening, had anchored well for his 30* and can be grateful for what was only his 10th not out in over 140 innings since 1992.

Sadly the ease of the win denied Pawson the chance to show his skills with the bat, and the bowlers missed out too, which can only be their fault for getting the wickets so easily. Well, it’s supposed to be a team game. 

Old Cranleighans 17.07.04
Old Cranleighans 179 all out
SCCC 182-6
Won by 4 wickets
SCCC won the toss

Wicket keeper, Andrell, celebrates Greenhough bowling Pollitt with a double-bouncer, OCCC 17.07.04
Wicket keeper, Andrell, celebrates Greenhough bowling Pollitt with a double-bouncer, OCCC 17.07.04

After 364 days plotting their revenge for the Cryptics surprise 2003 win, the OC’s came up short again in a contest riddled with dynamic batting, dropped catches, great catches and every sort of bowling imaginable. A morning downpour had left the pitch wet for the start, making the insertion an easy decision on winning the toss, in spite of OC (non playing) skipper Martin Williamson’s midweek proclamation that they would ‘bat and bat and bat’ before declaring with the game safe. Well, that depended on not being all out in 37.2 overs.

A fired up Goss bowled beautifully from the start, having Chetwode neatly pouched by Hope-Dunbar at slip for a duck and Miller bowled round his legs. Leng was removed from the attack early to give them a chance from 19-3, but Goss soldiered on for 12 overs, finishing with a splendid 4-18 including the wickets of hockey stars Westcott and Stephens, who had engineered a recovery by getting stuck in to the change bowling of debutant Graham Thompson and Greenhough at the other end. Veteran Greenhough sent down 8 dismal overs but still managed to bowl one with a double bouncer and have another caught off a full toss. From 110-7 the OC tail wagged as Sam Watkinson and Peter Rollings struck the ball high and hard to set a target. Meantime the Cryptic South African contingent dropped 7 catchesTommy Hope-Dunbar, Kowalski 3, McLean 3 and Thompson 1. Enough were held and the Cryptics were left with ample time (43 overs) to score 180.

Wright and Hope-Dunbar approached the task in their own different ways. A well constructed 8 from one and a belligerent 55 from the other which included a six that cleared the conifer hedge in front of the car park by some distance – see right. The OC attack was never allowed to find its rhythm as on the field skipper Chetwode tried all bowling options bar himself. Watkinson bowled the only maiden of the innings but now lacks the fire of his youth, and his attempts to intimidate the Cryptic lower order induced more chuckles than fear. His incensed ‘harrumph’ and protracted ‘teapot’ stance on being taken off only served to give his teammates a good laugh too.

By then the victory was a formality. Cupit and Thompson had done their bit and Basher McLean was casually stroking threes and fours to all corners. So solid was the Cryptic batting that it mattered not that Leng and Andrell, at 6 and 7, did not contribute, the latter pulling a hamstring and retiring on 3. Kowalski and then Seeckts kept McLean (58*) company to the end, which came with 20 balls to spare.

“It’s behind you Dwight”

Andrew ThompsonIt was a well-contested and widely enjoyed day. With a gaggle of supporters including former Cryptic captain Andrew Thompson (left) to air his views on proceedings, Cryptic cricket looked in good health after a fourth win from four games in July. Jingle bells!

FAS Ramblers 15.07.04
FAS 189 for 7 dec
Cryptics 191 – 1
Won by 8 wickets
SCCC won the toss

After last year’s rain and mud slinging it was a welcome sight to see the dark clouds whistling by without dropping their load, although in fact by the end of the day the FAS must have felt that they had been dropped on, not by the rain but by the weighty bat of Cyptics ringer Matty Heelan. His unbeaten 102 was a brutal assault on a bowling attack that was tiring after 4 consecutive days of cricket, and such was the rate of his run scoring that he made the Cyptics’ most prolific batsmen, Andrell, look pedestrian whilst compiling 68 not out. The only success for the FAS was the wicket of Peter Moore who displayed great energy with the bat in hand, the only drawback being that he failed to transfer any of that energy to the ball. Although his Zoro like innings failed to trouble the scorers, he did keep Greg company for long enough to establish a 29 run opening partnership.

The stand-in skipper, Big Jim, had earlier won the toss and inserted the FAS side on a green strip that kept new ball bowlers Pow and Edwards interested. Joss Dare, a regular Cryptic, made batting look easy to begin with and runs started to flow until the whole wealth of Cryptic spin was thrown into action. Jimmy lobbed them up to claim two victims, including one catch by Big Jim and his go-gadget arms that was plucked out of nowhere. Operating at the other end were the ‘Ging’ twins of Stevens and Scott, keeping things tight, the former ending with most respectable figures of 2 for 31. A late flurry of activity as Cupit bowled an over that was despatched so far that he sought solace behind the stumps as Andrell finished things off with the ball.

Shackleford 11.07.04
SCCC 215-7 (42 overs)
Shackleford 122 all out (30.4 overs)
Won by 93 runs
Shackleford won the toss

With the weather promising an on/off game at best, stand-in skipper for the day, Pippa, declined Shackleford’s offer of a limited overs thrash on the basis that the inevitable rain breaks would make a nonsense of the format. Better, he argued, to rely on the respective skippers’ finer judgement to juggle the situation to manufacture a competitive, exciting game. Toss lost, the Cryptics promptly posted 215-7 in 42 overs untroubled by rain.

The opening pair of Wright and Hogben – restored for the first time since the Platypods debacle – saw themselves comfortably outscored by wides (16 the final tally) before Hoggers managed to pull a short one onto his middle stump on 6. Pippa followed for 17, having almost hit (top-edged) his first 6 since 1992, long-leg taking a fine diving catch at deep backstop.

This brought in Scott to join an up-to-then-watchful Simon Parrish, promoted to the three slot in only his second Cryptic appearance. The 56 partnership that saw the 100 up in the 24th over was evenly split, despite it looking like Parrish’s circumspect rapier to Scott’s cultured bludgeon.

And talking of bludgeons, Scott’s failure to pick a rare straight one brought Highland He-Man, Tommy Hope-Dunbar to the crease just one over after Shackleford skipper Blundell-Jones had resorted to spin. Anyone hazard a guess at what happened next? Hope-Dunbar; Blundell-Jones: four names (all foreign); two hyphens; one result.

When H-D departed fewer than six overs later, he had added 36 runs, the Cryptics 59, and some of his belligerence had rubbed off on Parrish, who cruised to his 50. Mousinho Snr came and went and would not have claimed even to have got close to hitting the one to which he was adjudged LBW. PAJA had rather the same feeling when he was given out caught behind. The pool umpire was on a roll, however: he obviously had a firm grasp of all the laws and was keen to apply the whole lot at some stage during the course of the game.  A back-foot no-balling of a non-plussed Shackleford bowler was the zenith, ‘one-shorts’ in both innings rather tame. Just why it took him until the third over of the second innings to signal ‘dead-ball’ was a mystery to most.

Mousinho Jnr came in for a classy, if brief, 14* and when the seemingly tireless Parrish finally ran himself out for 80, Goss arrived for his weekly cheap not-out. Only 5 this time, but his average must fast be approaching 50.

With tea pencilled in for five o’clock (and history dictates that tea waits for no man in Shackleford), Skipper Pippa declared at five-to, only because he was too short-sighted to see that England youth soccer sensation Mousinho had been quicker than expected and not been run out after all.

A spot of fatherling teatime cajoling saw said Junior discover a previously undetected muscle tweak. His resultant volunteering to be gloveman for the day had nothing to do with the fact dad was going to have to do it otherwise. Obviously.

And a fine job he did as well, snaffling one early on off Goss (11-3-32-3), who was heard to comment that it made a pleasant change to have a keeper who moved his feet rather than just sticking a big glove out. Mmm, could be his last caught behind for a while then.

Nick Pow opened up at the other end, bowling a beautiful line outside off stump. When he can do it for six balls an over, he’ll be a real handful and his figures better than the 7-0-38-1 he ended up with. He was replaced PAJA, who was treated with all the respect his age deserved (and more). His 8-4-17-1 saw him reach 100 wickets ‘in the modern era’, as he termed it.

A still fresh-looking Goss was supplanted by future family member H-D, who proceeded to spend three overs shopping, taking 3-26. Lucky under normal circumstances, but even more so given that one was to a fine catch by Scott at long-on, the ball having gone up many a mile. Having already dropped two (far) easier chances and been baled out of another by the ever-eager Parrish, the smart money was on an easy two runs.

With wickets falling distressingly regularly, it looked as if veteran spinner Greenhough could be in danger of having driven from Oxfordshire in vain. A decision to spare the opposition any further Hope-Dunbar saw him eventually get a go with two wickets still needed, however. Perhaps out of fear, perhaps out of sheer spite –  we will never know – the Shackleford No.8 promptly ran himself out, his demise brought about by a direct hit from, yes, you guessed it, Simon Parrish at wide mid-on.

When No.10 Palley twatted the fourth ball of Jimmy’s next over to the ubiquitous Parrish at square leg, it was all over: Shackleford all out for 122 off 30.4 overs. Had they used their remaining overs, they would have had 42, the same as the Cryptics.

All-in-all, it was a comprehensive victory, helped in no small part by Parrish’s fielding and batting. Those that saw him at Headley last season know that he can bowl as well! It was just like having a new Puppy – with talent.

Simon Parrish wins this week’s Pedigree Chum man of the match award. 

Bounders 04.07.04
SCCC 178-8 (35 overs)
Bounders 159 – (all) 9 (30.1 overs)
Won by 19 runs
Bounders won the toss

The Cryptics arrived at the Bank of England ground with ten players after Mousinho jnr got a call from Watford FC. Luckily the Bounders turned up with nine, and a girlfriend who fielded for them. It was agreed that their lowest scorer could bat twice in a 35 over contest with bowlers restricted to eight overs. Wright got off to a flier (22 of the first 30) as Hope-Dunbar, the hero a week earlier, lost his middle pole for a duck. Wright’s downfall was swiftly followed by Hogben running himself out for nought. McLoughlin made to play sensibly but became the first of four players on the day to be bowled the ball after hitting a six. When Gordon Mousinho became the third duck we had lurched to 53-5 in the thirteenth over. The out of form Seeckts joined the scratchy Cupit and the pair doubled the score, cautiously at first, by the 26th over. Not quite the stuff of Strauss and Flintoff but certainly against the odds. Cupit, previously thought to be Australian, ‘walked’ on getting the finest of edges to the ‘keeper for 35, bringing the hopelessly out of form Ware to the wicket. Sporting his new spectacles and instructed to have a look at the bowling first, the puppy carted his first ball for six. He proceeded to blast a thrilling 34, Scott followed with a more educated 21 and the captain’s anchor role ended on 29. It had been a most un-Cryptic recovery.

Bounders responded with the whirlwind Spenno Pollard biffing 12 from Goss’ first over and continuing in the same vein as they raced to 74-2 in 10 overs despite efforts to starve the big man of the strike. Scott’s first ball was lofted into another postcode but his second got the vital wicket as Spenno swept onto his stumps. Tenacious field placing, aided by crafty bowling from Scott and Hope-Dunbar dragged the Cryptics back into contention and the wickets fell at regular intervals even though the required run rate was absurdly low. That McLoughlin made the final wicket fall with a classy run out in the 31st over saved the potential embarrassment of having no real bowlers for the last three overs of the match. The gamble came off.

Twice in the match we were all but buried, but we came back to record a memorable win with significant contributions from unlikely areas. Ware kept wicket very well and picked up the Specsavers Man of the Match award.

Tom 'Puppy' Ware
Tom Ware – a career saved by glasses??

Cobham 27.06.04
Cobham 194-6 (40 overs)
SCCC 71-0 (11.4 overs)

Most of team and supporters at Cobham
Most of the team and supporters at Cobham – 27.06.04

The day started so well. Dwight didn’t get lost, the full Cryptic team was at the ground on time with our biggest crowd of the year (7), the sun was shining and England’s overpaid footballing failures had ensured that their game was finally off the menu for a few weeks. Pyjama cricket has now claimed leafy, middle class Cobham and we can only speculate on when the likes of Headley and Tilford will fall victim to the ‘no draw’ form of the game. It will be a sad day. Even football managed to illustrate the value of a draw last week.

Cobham were inserted and initially were cautious, allowing Goss and McLoughlin to bank a few cheap overs. Newland came out of his shell, tonking Goss’ fifth over for 15, and stayed out. By the time Goss bowled him with a beauty of a ball in his second spell the Cobham opener had 92 to his name. Teenage sensation (and current England youth football international) John Mousinho broke the opening stand when Hogben took what his wife described as a brilliant catch, despite her being immersed in The Mail on Sunday at the time. The score was 151 when Goss got his man, by which time Mousinho and James Scott had tidily ushered the middle overs past and Hope-Dunbar and Kowalski had done a respectable impression of a fifth bowler. McLoughlin’s second spell was sharp and productive. The fortieth over, including eight deliveries and three wickets, took an eternity and will have Ross Greenwood spitting in Sydney as the African finished with 4-19.

Tommy Hope-DunbarThe teatime plan to make a bold early assault on the target saw Hope-Dunbar promoted to open with license to play his shot. And how he played it, again and again. By the fourth over Cobham had set a long off and two long ons for him but when the swashbuckling Scot middled the ball it cleared the fielders and when he didn’t it dropped short of them. The plan worked well and we were well on the way to victory when the second rain interruption became a deluge. Hope-Dunbar was on 53* and Wright had played his part in the thrash with 11*.

The Cryptics were robbed by the rain. Duckworth and Lewis would have given us a win but those who had wanted pyjama rules in the first instance decided to call it a draw. Funny old game, cricket.

Landmark of the day: Tommy Hope-Dunbar bought his first full jug of beer (the previous attempt having resulted in three pints of shandy).

Platypods 20.06.04
SCCC 131 all out (34.3 overs)
Platypods 135-4 (28.2 overs)
Lost by 6 wickets

Pyjama cricket, in this case 35 overs per side, has never been the Cryptics’ forte but such was the difference between the teams in terms of sporting talent and youthfulness that we would likely have lost any sporting contest bar sumo wrestling and tug of war. We have to bat first in this fixture to ensure that some members of the Cranleigh schoolmaster opposition meet their obligation to attend evensong. As things turned out they had ample time for a shower and beer before being called by God.

The man upstairs had at least meteorologically smiled on our game as heavy showers fell all around on a blustery day, our game was uninterrupted. Hogben and Wright made a circumspect start as they counted the Oxford University sweaters and other garments in the field revealing the fielding side’s prowess. They also came up with a novel excuse, that they had difficulty seeing the new ball due to the large amount of gold writing on it. The fielders had no such trouble, catching almost everything and saving runs in the outfield in exemplary style. Andrell (32) made a welcome return from paternity leave, putting on 53 with the newly wed McLoughlin (17) as they tried hard to run each other out. Extras contributed 22, every Cryptic got off the mark before joining the catching practice and the skipper’s horror run continued, this time being stumped off a wide in the 33rd over.

Platypods at Cranliegh

The total was too small to defend. McLoughlin and Edwards bowled well and the openers had a bit of luck early on. Andrew’s dobbers kept control from one end while McLoughlin was saved for a later burst which delayed the inevitable defeat. Brooke-Webb and Scott had a go and with three runs required, Seeckts’ second ball was propelled most of the way to Dunsfold to complete the humiliation.

Landmark of the day: Peter Andrew took his 99th wicket since records began, so might just have to buy a jug at Cobham next week. 

Cedars 13.06.04
Cedars 158 all out
SCCC 159-6
Won by 4 wickets

A topsy turvy match made all the more interesting by the best efforts of both teams to lose. The Cryptics won the toss and elected to chase a total, batting second looking like the only way to win on a hard and flat pitch. Goss (11-3-28-2) and Edwards (8-3-11-1) continued to enjoy their 2004 purple patch in yet another difficult opening hour for the batsmen. The skipper did not drop a catch at slip until the sixth over and Cedars barely scored a run in front of square.

As in 2002, Cedars made the Cryptic change bowling look good. Blamphin’s first over since marriage was a maiden and Brooke-Webb rattled through nine tidy overs either side of lunch, taking 1-31. A grand plan, hatched by Edwards, for Kowalski to bowl an over of bouncers immediately before lunch ended disastrously, taking nine deliveries and costing 14 runs.

With Dwight Cupit wearing the gloves for the first time this year, Graham ‘Basher’ McLean was able to bowl (7-1-16-2) and he performed a rare Cryptic feat by knocking a stump clean out of the ground to dismiss Phipps, Cedars’ top scorer with 40. Inspired (or sympathetic) captaincy saw Blamphin given a second spell. Opening the hutch at once the Ulsterman gobbled up Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail in three overs to end with 3-30. By the end the Cryptics had dropped half a dozen catches but still left themselves a straightforward target.

Grindrod, after his second ball duck in the previous week’s debacle at Salesians, was promoted to open with Wright. In a trice he was tonking the ball to all parts as if to make a point. Twice dropped, but twice heaving the spinner into the neighbouring cornfield, just watching this innings was a dizzy experience. The tea interval did nothing to slow him down but he finally missed a straight one in the 16th over, on 76 in a partnership of 91. Wright was on 8. Ware, Seeckts and Cupit then tried to even things up by falling on their swords, Wright (24) perished LBW at the hands of an umpire who wanted to see someone play shots and McLean was out skying a big shot. It was left to Kowalski and Goss to see us home from a dangerous 129-6 with Cedars closer than they realised to opening the Cryptic hutch. The pair showed uncharacteristic maturity in securing the victory, apart from one filthy cow shot that Goss fetched from a foot outside off stump.

The bells jingled with three overs to spare, the Cryptic flag had flown for the first time and we had been joined for tea by Tim Lamb, though he wasn’t brave enough to watch any cricket.

Landmark of the day: Richard Seeckts took his 50th catch since records began, while expressing relief that records are not kept of dropped catches.  

Salesians 06.06.04
Old Salesians 162 all out
SCCC 63 all out
Lost by 99 runs

The Surrey Cryptics’ 47 week unbeaten run ended with a jolly good hiding thanks to three men called O’Connell and one Nick Potter, a veteran veteran if ever there was.

The Cryptics bowled and fielded pretty well after losing the toss. McLean and Kowalski took the field with water bottles, having spent the previous evening with Andrew McLoughlin on his ‘Night of a thousand tongues’ stag event. The shotgun groom was well enough to open the bowling respectably, partnered by Edwards whose form with the ball this year is better than his Black Cap countrymen.

Once the skipper had dropped a blistering slip catch in the first over, good catches were taken all round the wicket as Salesian batsmen played a variety of strokes to reflect their lack of confidence in an awful pitch. The bounce was less irregular once the ball had softened but we knew from the start that 150 would be a good score on the day.

Grindrod (11.4-3-33-3) kept it tight from one end while Kowalski, Scott and Ware used considerably greater variation from the other, keeping the runs flowing in the process. Ware’s two overs pitched almost everywhere except the cut strip, apart from the ones that bounced two or three times.

With bags of time available, and recognised batting from top to tail, the Cryptics had a sporting chance. Sadly the pink and black beast proved spineless and we were dismissed for our fifth lowest score since the great Penner Close scorebooks disaster of 1991. 

Team at Salesians
11 reasons for scoring 63

The Salesian bowling was good, but we struggled to 60-5, so 63 all out was quite an achievement. Coincidentally the lowest score on record, 37, was made in the corresponding fixture in 1994. The only Cryptic to play in both games? Pippa.

Landmark of the day, Philip Wright passed 3,000 runs since records began in 1992.

Putney 16.05.04
SCCC 190-8 dec
Putney 126-9
Match drawn

Advocates of pyjama cricket should stop reading now. Their preferred form of the game would have rendered this contest dreary in the extreme, for we were never going to lose once our weighty top three had made a commanding start. 86 on the board when the second wicket fell in the 16th over, how did you guess that Pippa had cried off having been leaped at by a staircase?

Pete StewartConservative estimates suggested our top three weighed around 50 stone, and the way they scored their runs should have the Atkins dieters among us reassessing their goals. Hogben’s 13 set the pace for Hope-Dunbar who thrashed 39, launching the ball into the trees twice while Streeter played some sumptuous cricket shots in contrast. Pete Stewart (right) showed too much determination to protect his average by retiring hurt having hit his first boundary for the Cryptics, effectively making the game ten a side after a Putney fielder had injured himself in the first ten minutes.

Putney pulled a fast one by summoning their man Smally – who took 8 wickets and scored most of their runs last year – as substitute and persuading the Cryptic skipper (who had not played in 2003) to allow him to bat and bowl. Result: he took 2-15 including the skipper for 7. Dare ran Streeter out on 48, something Mrs Dare was blissfully unaware of as she embraced the tall fellow when he left the field. Ever the gent, no harm was done, and his form two weeks after giving birth was an example to many a new Cryptic father.

Debutant leftie James Scott looked classy for 25 and Cupit, demoted to number 8 for no particular reason, looked a couple of places too high for a tortured 14. Kowalski had a go too and Goss thumped his third ball into the trees, thus revealing that he’d learned something from the Tilford tail last year who kept tonking his bowling into the river. Putney’s over rate rivalled the 1976 West Indians’ so a late declaration put added pressure on the depleted Cryptic attack.

Opening spells from Goss (8-4-5-2) and Kowalski (6-0-26-1) put the lid on Putney’s chances of winning so we confidently opened the canteen with Dare and Greenhough who had two catches taken by the wicketkeeper in his first over. Both were taken in front of the stumps, suggesting that the veteran publisher has lost a little pace, but it put us in firm command. Our wicketkeeper was the spritely ‘Basher’ McLean, on as substitute for Stewart whose injury was so serious that he could not make it to the pavilion for tea. Scott was tidy for 1-23, the wicket being a Hope-Dunbar juggle on the long on boundary and Greenhough ended with 4-40. The ninth wicket fell with four overs remaining but even the returning Goss could not prise out the last man and we had to settle for the draw.

It felt like summer, the Cryptics looked like a cricket team and the omens for the summer were good. Tougher days lie ahead.

Kingstonians 02.05.04
Kingstonian 119 all out (49.2 overs)
SCCC 120-5 (28.5 overs)
Won by 5 wickets

A break in the Bank Holiday weekend rain allowed the Cryptics to notch a convincing win on the soggy acres of New Malden. The Cryptic side showed ten changes from the last game, that glorious victory in Sydney just before England’s World Cup triumph, but the rusty bowlers were straight into their stride. McLoughlin (8-4-10-2) and Edwards (9-5-7-1) bowled with astonishing accuracy. Pow and Andrew, the most frequent attendees at pre-season nets, took somewhat longer to find any rhythm but swung the ball prodigiously in the helpful conditions. With Kingstonian scoring at less than 2 per over, Wright had his token end of season bowl four months early and the batsmen even made him look good. Debutant Zimbabwean Pete Stewart opened his account respectably, but it was the burly Andrew who took the plaudits with 4-30 from 13 overs. So gentle have his dobbers become that one delivery clipped the off stump on its way to the ‘keeper without dislodging the bails.

Tommy Hope-Dunbar took three catches behind without threatening to look graceful, Wright pouched two good ones in the gully and then dropped a sitter and, naturally, started to bleed. Pow spilled a couple of dollies but he and Hogben were the pick of the outfielders, chasing, diving and stopping with a zest reminiscent of the absent Ware.

Some dark teatime humour led to the skipper and Pippa opening partnership being tried again. They raced to 4 before the skipper got a snorter that leaped from a good length to gully via the shoulder of the bat. Four balls later Hogben quacked his way back for an early shower, Wright soon followed and we were 12-3. Cupit steadied the ship while McLoughlin showed an array of strokes in a sparkling 45. Hope-Dunbar clattered a breezy 25* and David Grindrod got off the mark by hitting the winning run. Cupit’s 25 was made out of 107 while he was in and involved him running 11 threes and 10 twos, mostly for other people. Good club man.