Played 11 Won 8 Drawn 2 Lost 1
Sunday 9 September 2007
Woking and Horsell 194-8 dec (45 overs)
SCCC 195-2 (32 overs)
Won by 8 wickets
Toss by negotiation
Experience triumphs – 472 years of Cryptic beef
This was David Grindrod’s match with jingling bells on. So often marooned in the lower order as a result of his contributions with the ball and the Cryptic ethos of trying to get everybody involved in each game, David reluctantly accepted the vacant opening slot and made hay.
He reached 100 in the 20th over of the chase with the total on 116, skied a catch next ball and made for the shower, via a raucous reception from his team-mates. No prizes for guessing the identity of his partner. Pippa hit the first boundary, but his second one came after watching ten fours and four sixes from the other end. Sensational straight driving defined the innings, but there was plenty more besides, not least some rare aggressive running between the wickets by the opening pair.
Pippa then assumed the lead role, dominating a partnership of 46 with Dwight Cupit (5) and finishing the game off with five overs to spare in the company of fiery debutant Alex Bogdanovski (17*). 59* at the end, Wright stressed “the victory was sealed by some sensible batting from No.1, aided in small part by Grinders clearly riding his luck in a completely irresponsible innings”.
Two previous encounters with Woking and Horsell have seen the Cryptics out-played in most departments. This time the sides appeared well balanced, both carrying ample evidence of good lunches and much experience. With an aggregate age of 472, the Cryptics were about six years per man older than usual. Wright, Greenhough, Atkinson, Andrew, Seeckts…. it could have been the early 1990s, not least because much of the fielding was vintage Andrew Thompson.
Starting without the over-sleeping Hope-Dunbar, Cupit borrowed gloves, and later took a fine catch with them. Woking’s pedestrian start against Pow and Grindrod accelerated briefly with the introduction of Greenhough. Jimmy’s first over cost 14 but, shopping on credit these days, his next nine yielded 1-38. Peter Andrew was treated with respect suggesting the batsmen had read about last week’s five-for, snapping up 3-23. The wicket of Allen, c Atkinson, b Andrew, represented 171 years of experience. After 31 overs Woking had mystifyingly limped to 94-5.
Eventually they upped the tempo. Jamie Craig-Wood, making his third appearance in five years, cheerfully assumed the role of declaration bowler, one he executed with panache, and no little bad luck. At the other end Bogdanovski was intent on all out attack regardless of the simmering tea urn or the state of the game. A slip (Jimmy!) was posted; the first ball flew straight through him. Fielders were ordered hither and thither to the announcement “I know where I am going to bowl it”. Well, not many Cryptics can say that. Sunday afternoon somnolence turned to vigour as the new boy (a forceful bat and effective off-spinner, according to Wisden 1993) oozed ‘attitude’ and turned in fine figures of 3-28, including two wickets in two balls. Woking were thus obliged to declare later than they might have done.
Tea was taken with the chase looking tough in the time allowed. Grindrod’s fabulous knock reminded all present that a declaration should not be judged until the game is over. He made it look generous but that won’t happen too frequently.
A final revelation on the roots of Bogdanovski’s obvious cricketing ability and supreme confidence. Around the time he was born, his uncle, Philippe Henri Edmonds, took 5-28 including two wickets in two balls on his England debut.
A fine way to end a rain ravaged domestic season. The cricket has been good when the weather allowed. Two further games remain for the artificial pitch specialists who take on Ljubljana CC and any other challenges Slovenia can offer, the first of which may be getting through the airport in some astonishingly foul pink shirts.
Sunday 2 September 2007
Headley 140 (31 overs)
Headley won toss
Peter Andrew writes:
Ah, Headley! Never in the field of Cryptic conflicts have so many people walked behind the bowler’s arm. Nor so many soi-disant comedians leaned out of a speeding car and yelled ‘Owsthat?’. But it still provides our biggest crowd of any year, even if half of them are merely queuing for a burger at the scarf’n’barf van across the road. And it has always been a happy hunting ground for Cryptics, yielding no fewer than 9 bowling jugs, headed by Finn with 7-81 in ’95. Even last year’s rare defeat had Jimmy taking 6-45.
However, some heavy pre-season rolling has taken some of the demons out of the strip. Headley – batting first after another unnecessary toss – moved to 80 from 18, having seen off openers Goss and Espejo while losing two wickets to Goss: a neat catch by keeper Ware and the first of the day’s four LBWs. 116 for 3, still at nearly 5 an over, looked menacing with skipper Chapman, a classy batsman, and the powerful Waller, still to come. But then the wheels came loose, as Goss held two off Grindrod (one with snow on it), and PAJ deployed that most dangerous of Sunday deliveries, the straight full toss. A run out from James Hogben, patrolling the road-side boundary, brought the score to 140 for 7, but Waller was still there.
In PAJ’s next over, however, Waller also holed out to Goss (‘what do you mean, a jug for three catches? It’s only about field placing’), and Peter then turned on Mopsy and Cottontail to clean up with three from four balls, giving him 5 for 37 and leaving Headley on a seemingly inadequate 140. Interestingly (if you like figures), 5 for 37 was also achieved at Headley by media mogul Ross Greenwood in ’02, and by media hack Philip Wright, helped by 4 catches from Richard Atkinson, in ’97.
The day’s champagne moment came when Toby Seeckts (aged 6) beat the charging Cupit to a ball that was heading for – but not yet reached – the deep mid-wicket boundary. Dwight has presumably now enlightened the cheerleader who observed ‘Oh well done, Toby! That’s saved a couple of runs.’ Plaudits are also due to William Wright who agreed to play at extreme short notice, fielded like a good ‘un, and has a promising arm on him.
Rolling the opposition out in 31 overs meant an early tea, and then Wright and Hogben moved us to 60 from 13, when James missed one from Waller and departed for 30. Cupit followed at 95, having amassed 11 before catching an LBW decision against the youngest of the four Pickerings in the Headley side. Seeckts had barely joined Wright when the latter was also adjudged leg before for 44, with the 100 barely posted. Aware of the potential fragility of the later batting, Seeckts and Gazzola eased the run rate down. Having seen the potency of the full bunger, Seeckts patted back an over of them to Pickering minimus. With fourteen overs to go, 14 needed and seven wickets remaining, the gallery twitched as only a single came in three overs. But we eventually crawled over the line with ten overs left, Gazzola on 17 and Seeckts on 21. This takes Richard to second in the season’s batting averages. An undefeated 50 at Woking next Sunday will put him into top spot. The things you can do with statistics! (Pigs might fly, Ed.)
Anyway, this was a competent and measured performance against opponents to whom we have only lost three times in 22 games. It was a competitive but well-spirited game, despite four LBWs – probably helped by three of these being ‘blue-on-blue’. The subsequent barbeque was reminiscent of the days when we played Headley twice a season, as was the presence of veterans of the game from both sides. It will be more challenging at Woking next week, and probably more riotous in Ljubljana the week after, but to the rose-tinted traditionalists among us, these are the games that get us out of bed on a Sunday.
Sunday 12 August 2007
Claygate 178 (33 overs)
SCCC 178 (47 overs)
Claygate won the toss
Nevermind what a recount of the scorebook reveals, when Cryptic skipper Paul Goss lost his off stump just before 8pm, it was unanimously agreed that Claygate had snatched a tie from the jaws of defeat. The last team to celebrate something less than victory with such unalloyed delight were little Ricky’s 2005 losers when they got out of jail at Old Trafford.
Again the toss was pointless, both sides being happy with the outcome. The Cryptic team looked short of bowling, and so it proved. History teacher Dan Espejo was worthy of the new ball in the absence of Grindrod, offering more pace and hostility but lacking the mean, nagging accuracy of the geographer. Three wickets in his opening spell put Claygate to the sword, not least because Goss was having a purple patch at the other end. Three wickets in four balls, in fact, pretty glaring jug avoidance.
At 40-odd for 6 the canteen was opened and the till left unattended. Nick Benham’s long hops were quicker than last time, and went further. Gazzola – the new Blamphin in many ways, but not bowling – was given a generous spell until his (triple) bouncers saw him no-balled out of the attack. The skipper’s generosity towards Claygate was lapped up by numbers 7 and 8, Howe and McKinley. A little too much, these fellows can bat. Howe was dropped early in his innings by a juggling Puppy behind the timbers, and later at long on when a skier went through the hands of Pippa, playing on the back of a long Saturday at The Oval. He was eventually stumped off Ed Dyson for 63. By then we had a more than respectable target to chase. McKinley, meantime, was careless enough to be caught and bowled by a jubilant Gazzola for 40, and showed what he thought of his shot by kicking his helmet all the way to the pavilion.
Paul Harley bowled his first Cryptic over. His second may be some time coming. The Claygate tail wagged until Espejo and Goss were recalled to finish things off. Goss finished with 7-2-8-4, figures justifying a fine spell, but he’s still never taken a five-for.
Early tea, splendid tea, seconds of tea, and still lashings of time to knock off the runs. But Tommy McKinley is quickish these days, Prabhakar is accurate and cunning, and Pippa wafted one to gully again in the second over. Thanks for coming. James Hogben hung around but couldn’t score, while Scotty embarked on a classy, cultured knock that looked like it would carry us home. Claygate’s fielding was enthusiastic and sharp throughout and Scotty fell for 38.
Harley itched and scratched his way slowly towards the target, making the pitch look 35 yards long every time he took a run and being dropped countless times by the wicketkeeper. Seeckts and Benham dazzled briefly until losing their off stumps, Ware and Espejo likewise with less dazzle. Harley was unsurprisingly run out for 51. Gazzola joined the fluent and capable Dyson at a crucial moment, 161-7, but a moment of madness saw Dyson call for a bye off the sixth ball of an over when keeping the strike was surely the wiser course.
Gizz ran himself out; Espejo went, bringing last man Goss to the crease with 11 required from three overs. They scored 10 in two overs, before Goss became the sixth Cryptic to be bowled. Devils, those straight ones.
We should have won. We could have won, easily, by keeping the pressure on before tea, rolling Claygate over, knocking off about 100 for about three and going home early. Instead we manufactured a gripping, enjoyable game that went to the wire, and didn’t quite work out. Everyone had a bat, six had a bowl. It was fun for both sides and the corny adage about cricket being the winner sort of rang true. But it won’t happen like this again at Blackheath. Time for some bells to jingle.
Sunday 5 August 2007
Maori Oxshott 231-8 dec (44 overs)
SCCC 169-9 (39 overs)
SCCC won the toss
The hottest day of the year saw Oxshott outplay a wilting Cryptic team in all departments, but we got out of jail thanks to an unbroken last wicket stand of 25 in seven overs by Goss (8*) and Peter Andrew (19*). Stone-walling PAJA style involves clubbing sixes and fours. Not wanting to be number 11 and having the skipper as partner may have something to do with it too.
Inserting the opposition was risky in such heat, particularly since they well remembered our 270-1 declared in 2006 and were in no mood to lie down again. Goss and Grindrod operated well with the new ball on the low and slow pitch, taking an early wicket apiece. Oxshott 6-2 was the high point of the Cryptic day. What followed was two and a half hours of lacklustre fielding, dropped catches and half chances not even attempted. Only Scotty fielded with any energy, but he wasn’t out there as long as the rest.
Skipper Goss tried eight bowlers, each more erratic that his predecessor, and the wickets were randomly spread down the list. Nick Andrew finished with three wickets, two of which came in his final, 11 ball over. Beamers, long hops, wides, no balls, a decent catch and a sitter dropped (both by the skipper), he also hit the stumps with a beauty. If there was a comedy moment in the field, it was new boy Dan Espejo enquiring as to whether Andrew Snr was getting much turn. For the record, he wasn’t. But don’t be surprised if he pinches Junior’s wickets for the records.
Tea was welcome fortification, inspite of the backdrop of spoilt-brat-ball on the telly, which seemed incongruous after waiting three months for summer to arrive. The chase required six runs per over, and we never got close. Harley’s nine was one fewer than the byes he conceded, but this was his first poor game for the Cryptics. Beware Claygate. Hogben’s 33 was more quorn than beef until an unfortunate run out, responsibility for which was shared with Seeckts. The former skipper had no difficulty hitting the ball to fielders, much more difficulty finding a gap, and eventually holed out for 22. Espejo’s (1) reputation (and a straight ball) undid him, Scotty (12) sparked and died to a good catch and Grindrod was typically aggressive for 40 until another deadly straight one put him back in the hutch.
The wheels were coming off. Ware’s 13 was brief and spectacular as ever, topped and tailed by Gazzola and Andrew Jnr both perishing first ball. Their respective explanations, “I got bored waiting for the ball,” and “I wasn’t concentrating” summed up the general malaise.
Golden boys. David Gazzola and Nick Andrew compare first ballers.
Praise be to the cussed defence shown by Goss, who let nothing past for 15 overs, and the senior pro PAJA whose delight at his own ‘red inker’ was utterly justified. Good thing we weren’t playing pyjama rules.
Seasoned Cryptic jug dodger Greg Andrell was left standed on 99* last weekend playing for his village side, Houghton, while the Cryptics suffered another cancellation due to the weather. With nothing to report from a waterlogged Crondall, we can reflect on the hundreds that our veteran Kiwi has not reached. Houghton’s last man Cryptically perished to a boundary catch to save our man from a pricey trip to the bar.
There are at least four previous instances of Greg stalling at the thought of three figures. Most memorably, at Spencer in May 1997, he was on 97 when loony Saffa Fred Kuys was dismissed with the Cryptics needing four to win. In waddled fellow Kiwi Rod Edwards, they had a chat and Rod promptly smacked his first ball for the required four, something he has not managed before or since.
A month later at Salesians, Greg so dominated the chase yet again that he scored 91* while the next best score was 18 by partially sighted John Banks, who was close to collapse as Greg ran him ragged. While not quite so close, a ton was still possible when the Puppy (6*) joined him eight runs short of victory.
Experience – and some centuries – taught Greg that he can’t always trust others to pull him up short, certainly not the jester’s hat wearing Joss Dare, his partner when he fell on his Gunn and Moore for 98 at Claygate 1999. As appearances became more rare, we had to wait until Tilford 2003 for his final Cryptic jug-avoidance. On 94 and with the declaration on hold until he reached a ton, the ball passed Greg’s outside edge into the wicketkeeper’s gloves and off he smilingly trudged to barely a mumbled appeal.
Greg’s age is rapidly approaching his batting average of 49, and he still has the most centuries for the club, four, but younger Cryptics and James MacDonald should understand how that could easily have been anything up to eight.
This week we travel to Oxshott, scene of Greg’s Cryptic record score of 132*, also made in his bumper 501 run 1997. In the 1998 season he scored 10. Great leveller, cricket.
Peter Andrew writes:
So, another Cryptic match, another Atkinson record gone. Last time out, Grindrod and Seeckts inched past Atkinson and Gray for the 7th wicket record. This week, a couple of Aussies consigned the 3rd wicket record of the former skipper, and the one-hit wonder Jeremy Lloyd-Jones, to the dustbin of history. More anon.
It was always going to be a strange day when Scotty arrived before 2:30. But then he was captain. No jokes about Captain Scott; David Grindrod spent the afternoon trying to link Shackleford and Shackleton, and ended up wicketless for the first time this season. Pays to keep your mind on the job. Good thing he teaches geography, not history. Anyway, the debutant leader did the Seeckts stuff properly – negotiated a time game, won the toss, and inserted.
Shorn of their usual blond Carthusian dynamo, Shackleford went off sedately against the pace of Grindrod and Hope-Dunbar. Scotty held a well-judged catch at slip, having exercised captain’s prerogative to stand there and tea-pot his exasperation to his underlings. Faith in Grindrod’s ability to bowl an off-stump line was demonstrated by having only the club vegetarian and the Leicester pie-man patrolling the leg-side. Warrick Price arrived to make up the full side around the 10th over, paying off the taxi in a manner betraying his misplaced hope that Boss Hogben would sign it off on expenses. A fine catch by Dan Espejo at deep point saw the next one back in the hutch, a brace of catches for Grindrod and one for David Gazzola followed. Jimmy was a little less than his usual mesmerising self, due probably to the batsmen being of comparable vintage; he was nonetheless unlucky not to get several comedy stumpings as the Puppy almost pounced time and again. Remarkably, no ball went into the mushroom farm.
In the end, Shackleford made their way to 192 for 7, from 46 overs. Tommy took 3 for 42, PAJ 2 for 44.
At 29 without loss from 6 overs, we were moving along nicely. At 31 for 2 after 8, we weren’t. Neither Pippa (12) or Hogben (16) had looked especially troubled, despite a pitch that often kept so low that James’s helmet might have benefited from a miner’s lamp. At this point, Gazzola joined Price. DG had had a blinding revelation in the previous game, expressed thus: ‘I was inspired by Seecktsy – I saw him block out a 50 the other day and I thought to myself – Giz, you could do that’.
And he went on his merry way, building a neat picket fence in the scorebook, interspersed with the odd boundary. In fact three boundaries, and 16 singles to go with them. Which made 28, in a stand of 161. Warrick Price, meanwhile, was lamping minors to all parts, with four 6s and thirteen 4s in his 111. Nine Shackleford bowlers toiled unavailingly, until he played around a straight one to give a 13-yr old a wicket maiden from his single over. But it only remained for Gazzola to take a final four, and we were there jingling with eight overs to spare.
Good Sunday cricket; six blokes bowled, four batted, and Puppy was at the wicket throughout the match. Decent opponents, above-average tea, good weather. Roll on Crondall. Zip it, Puppy.
A glance though previous reports of this fixture reveals a strong pattern. Follies bat first regardless of who wins the toss. They mix up the batting order, lose some sloggers early, send in better sloggers later and score 20-30 more runs than we can chase. The cricket, the hospitality and the banter never disappoint, and there are always matters for post-match debate. This year it was Cryptic umpiring. With bells on.
Cryptically speaking, the match belonged to David Grindrod, whose opening spell of 7-1-7-1 and blistering innings of 71 suggest that the demons in the pitch nipped off to the pub while we had tea. His bowling was just what we have come to expect; tight, dull, effective. His batting was forthright and fierce. Coming in at 46-6 in the 19th over, smashing six fours and four sixes before falling in the 32nd over, he almost snatched a most improbable victory. Grindrod’s stand of 104 with utter sheet anchor Richard Seeckts (club record) came in the wake of the top four falling in the space of eight balls.
Avoiding total humiliation was priority at 13-4. Tommy H-D and Seeckts were circumspect after the seemingly innocuous Stephenson had got Wright (8), Tim Parkes (0) and Cupit (Golden) in one over, and Leng had castled the dangerous Paul Harley (5). Tommy (13) was smartly taken behind by ‘keeper Doug Lamont, David Gazzola (12) enjoyed his cameo, then Grindrod set about sending a loud message to the skipper about batting orders. It was a privilege to be at the non-striker’s end. Had he not been brilliantly caught by Farman, victory and a century looked on. With Goss and Giles for company towards the end, Seeckts was not about to start clouting the necessary boundaries. His 49* included debatable help from the umpires and, when cramp struck, a runner.
Lamont, a duck making Cryptic when we won in Australia in 2003, chuntered behind the stumps from the third ball of the innings, when Harley survived an optimistic LBW shout. (All LBW shouts are optimistic, you see.) He claimed a catch and two stumpings of Seeckts but, rightly or wrongly, three umpires spared the former skipper to a crescendo of chunter. Mr Nine Lives, glue in the umpires’ pockets, endless huffing, one comical drop (by Mr Lament of course)and some best-unrepeated suggestions later, all was well in the bar.
The day had started well with Merlin Giles, Grindrod and Goss (6-0-8-2)reducing the farm boys to 52-6 after 20 overs. As ever, they recovered. Greenhough bought two wickets at a price but the fielding disintegrated after drinks (they were soft) and the change bowlers, Seeckts, Gazzola and Hope-Dunbar were, unsurprisingly, tonked to all parts. Skipper Goss’s biggest problem was the constant drifting in the field of his brother-in-law. Cupit pouched a couple of catches to save his day but the Old Spots’ curly tail wagged hard and 208 looked too many, even as the home reared ham sandwiches were devoured.
The umpiring debate may continue, but those who doubt that these things even themselves out over time should click here.
Grindrod and Seeckts savour their 7th wicket stand of 104 (a new club record)
at Follies Farm 17 June 2007
Sunday 3 June 2007
Leatherhead & Cobham 257-7 (38.2 overs)
SCCC 261-8 (41.5 overs)
Won by 2 wickets
SCCC won the toss
Team at Leatherhead/Cobham – 3 June 2007
The Cryptics coasted to a club record score batting second, eclipsing the more dramatic events of ‘Brooke-Webb’s match’ at Claygate in 2000. On that day there was tension and astonishment all round, this week at Leatherhead we were, remarkably, always ahead of the required chase and finished with 13 balls to spare.
The Goss honeymoon period continues, his emulation of his predecessor progressing nicely as those around him more than made compensated for his own stinker of a day. (Actually he captained rather well, but the scorebook isn’t too flattering.)
It is a fielding captain’s nightmare to see the score at 100-1 after 12 overs. Worse when you won the toss and inserted them. Worse still when you have been smashed out of the attack after three overs and dropped a couple of catches, one off your brother-in- law. Having your predecessor chuckling at mid on and muttering about giving Jimmy a bowl could be a further irritant. So when you give Jimmy a bowl, the last thing you want to see is his first ball clobbered straight down the throat of a grinning former skipper, by now on the long on boundary.
With the gung-ho Hort back in the pavilion for 74 at 3 o’clock, order was restored. The scoring rate fell sharply and we nearly managed to run out a batsman running his fifth run. Instead the Puppy demolished the stumps only after deflecting the ball away, and the batsman injured his shoulder diving to make his ground. Sniffing some calm, Goss came back and bowled well, notching three maidens. When Greenhough took his second wicket, however, the carnage resumed as Baker (Saturday 1st Xl opener) opened his shoulders. He cleared the pavilion, the car park and the fence onto the railway. He even landed one on his mother’s car bonnet. Goss’s tenth over went for 26 or 30, leaving him with comic figures of 10-3-80-0.
Merlin Giles (11-2-42-2), Tommy Hope-Dunbar and Jimmy did well in the teeth of Leatherhead’s gale, and Scotty was lucky to pinch a couple of cheap bunnies as the declaration approached. The usual dose of drops and misfields silenced chirpy fielders from time to time.
The declaration was fair, the target huge. Skipper got the batting order right, and once Wright had marked his 200th game (since the great scorebook disaster 1991) with an airy waft to gully in the second over, we were flying. Debutant Warrick Price, the latest recruit from the Ashurst Australian Cryptic Academy, pulled and thrashed 67, Nick Benham stroked 43 dripping with class. Hitting along the ground gives Benham the look of a ringer, but he is becoming the real Cryptic deal now, accompanied as he was by the vocally enthusiastic Kirsty.
(left) Pippa searching for his 200th cap
Scotty (46) and Hope-Dunbar (39) didn’t let up, resuming their six-hitting dual by scoring none at all, but plenty of fours in trying. Cupit looked good for 16, Ware, Seeckts and Giles edged us closer, and when a beamer flew past Greenhough he looked furiously at the bowler in full double teapot pose, obviously wanting a chat. But the ball had also flown past the ‘keeper to the boundary, the bells were jingling and Gossy’s nightmare had become a fantastic dream. He didn’t even need to bat. We all knew what would have happened.
By crypinfo staff:
The unique charm of Putney. We were greeted by ‘don’t leave anything in your cars. Actually don’t leave your cars there due to break ins.’ Between the pavilion and the pitch was a large, noisy fun fair. At least it served to dilute the constant roar of aeroplanes heading into Heathrow.
Gossy, as new captain, produced a team of debutants, Aussies and gingers (some all three) and promptly lost the toss. Openers Grindrod and Wright both tried to get out third ball. The former succeeded, the latter was dropped and moved on to another 50 inspite of a ‘very painful beamer on the forearm’ giving him the early season injury he craves.
Next began the mixture of known and unknown, Fraser Matthews made a solid 15 before swinging across the line of a straight one. The remainder all offered something different. Notable contributors were Dan Espejo, our new Columbian History teacher, with a highly entertaining non-technical 41, Tommy Hope-Dunbar scoring 29 including an off-driven six and then a cameo 37 from Gossy, who, when out, promptly declared for 221-8. All batted except Edwards who was lucky enough to spend time in the middle, umpiring for 1hrs 40.
After strolling through the funfair to tea, Gossy discovered he had nine military medium pacers, with his spin option behind the stumps. Resisting the gamble of opening with debutants, or himself, he used the experienced (old) Edwards and Grindrod! The bowling was relatively tight with the first 2 wickets shared LBWs, although Edwards also had dropped a caught and bowled (no surprise here). This was the first of four Cryptic drops in a typically mixed bowling and fielding display.
Welsh debutant Paul White, renamed Skippy for his unorthodox run up, also showed beamers were not just Putney’s privilege. Aussie Scott Matthews, however, produced the slowest beamers of the day. It was no party for ‘keeper Dwight Cupit! Dan Espejo was treated to a warm Cryptic welcome in his first over, two sitters being spilled before a super catch was taken by F Matthews at slip.
Putney kept the score ticking over, their A Taylor scoring a brisk 91 before blasting one to deep mid on. The new captain faced a familiar nightmare, the possibility of seeing a ball sail over his head for 4 while fielding on the boundary, but recovered in time to make the catch. With 12 overs remaining 74 were needed with 5 wickets intact and a close finish looked likely. Gossy and Pippa both took 2 catches, and the bowlers were rotated to good effect. Edwards 3-32, Grindrod 3-45 and Goss 2-16 took the remaining wickets. The last wicket an LBW by Edwards fell with 2 overs remaining and the time at 7:50 for a win by the Cryptics by 33 runs. Jingle Bells!
Peter Andrew writes:
And the cry went around the shires, “Who needs Jimmy when we’ve got Dwight?”. Well, the Cryptics probably still do, although Dwight made a pretty good understudy on Sunday. We took our undefeated record to Avorians’ sylvan ground, and brought it jingling home again. Six Englishmen, helped by colonials from Wales, Scotland and Australia, made somewhat heavy weather of what might have been more routine.
Goss having preferred the delights of Turkey to the joys of Cobham, Seeckts re-assumed the captaincy reins. It was as though he had never been away – we played a declaration game, and the opposition batted first. With an interesting selection of bowlers available, the 220-Cryptic-wicket experience of Grindrod and Andrew (P) occupied one end, while the 25-wicket assortment of Giles, Cupit, Benham, Hope-Dunbar and Gazzola rotated at the other. The veterans took 3 wickets, the newbies 7.
(left) Merlin Giles, another potentially great Welsh number 10
(centre) David Gazzola, 3-13, car boot sale shopping
(right) Tim Parkes, no squash ball in his glove
Avorians, a mixture of youth and experience, eased to 37 before debutants Merlin Giles (Cryptic cap 205) and Tim Parkes (206) combined to have the opener caught behind; Giles, swinging the ball prodigiously, also picked up the #3, nicking his leg stump. The introduction of Andrew and Cupit sent the pace down and the run-rate up. Good catches by Benham, Grindrod and Gazzola found the total at 144 for 5, from 31 overs. Grindrod came back to stem the runs and finish with the typically stingy statistics of 14-5-33-1. The inspired introduction of Gazzola resulted in a haul of 3-13 from three overs, as Avorians’ youthful tail failed to wag and they were all gone for 182, from 46 overs. A tidy performance with the gloves from Aussie Parkes resulted in a zero bye-count. James Hogben’s two catches took his Cryptic total to 20.
The opposition’s tactics were clearly to let the youngsters do the energetic stuff. The combined ages of four of the Avorian bowlers barely reached that of the Cryptics’ senior member. Looking for what was likely to be a 5-an-over target, Wright and Hogben set off at a measured pace. 20 from 5 became 50 from 9, and 88 from 15. Two runs later, to the disappointment of a gallery swelled by the addition of recent proto-Cryptic Hogben (A), Hogben (J) was caught behind for 48.
Wright and Nick Benham progressed to 124, when the 22nd over yielded Avorians’ only maiden in what would be 34 overs, and the wicket of Wright, bowled for 50. Benham sustained his good Cryptic record with a fluent 25 before chipping to mid-wicket. Parkes perished LBW next ball, and suddenly it wasn’t so easy. Four down, nine overs to go, 43 needed. Could we throw it away from here? Did Rose Kennedy have a black dress? Especially with an edgy Seeckts seeking five for his 2,000 Cryptic runs.
And we did lose two more wickets (big Tommy for a 6-less 15, and Dwight caught behind for 8) before the new-old captain, having celebrated his milestone with an extravagantly Pietersen-esque salute to the watching hordes, steered the ship home in the penultimate over with a nonchalant 18*. (I don’t do anything like KP thanks, Ed).
Not a dramatic day. Not a hi-octane day. But a happy new season reunion type day and new Club Captain Goss didn’t put a foot wrong. Two minor umpiring grievances (one on each side) resulted in no more than two minutes of grumbling (the puppy was away too). We bowled seven bowlers, and all bar one took wickets. The other four, and the wicket-less bowler, batted in the top 5. It won’t always be so egalitarian, but today it was. Avorians, equally, used seven bowlers, and gave their four Colts a full opportunity to contribute. And with nine overs left, all results were possible. Like good Sunday cricket should be. Just like Arnie, we’ll be back.< Next week at Stoke d’Abernon, Pippa moves to 199 Cryptic matches (ITME). Atkinson’s knees, incidentally, need to find five more for his century.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]