Played 15 Won 6 Drawn/Tied 3 Lost 5
Sunday 5th September 2010
Woking & Horsell 238-3 dec (40 overs)
SCCC 125 all out (36.3 overs)
Lost by 113 runs
Woking & Horsell won the toss
Peter Andrew writes:
We looked a bit light in both departments going into this game, which is not how you want to be against an opposition you’ve only beaten once. It didn’t help when Will Butterworth called in sick with a gastric emergency, thereby preserving his 130+ batting average. One of three Cryptics with that statistic this year. Anyway W&H, being the very decent blokes that they are, lent us young Angus Hargan, teenage leggie and no-nonsense batsman who did himself proud.
Fielding first as we always do when Seeckts is captain, we had early hope as Rod got a breakthrough with the score on 5. But this only led to the first century stand, as Williams and Wolff steadily took the game away from us. Nobody got carted, Nick Andrew putting in a brisk and tidy 8-over spell for 31 and his father doing likewise, with 33 from 8. But the only wicket was a catch by Nick off PAJ, the first ‘ct junior b senior’ since 2003 when Dwight did the honours for Tony. Seeckts, on as much through necessity as a desire to ensure a place in the season’s main bowling averages, picked up the third, and W&H were 128 for 3. Unfortunately the introduction of young Angus into the attack coincided with the arrival of his elder brother at the crease. He might have hair like Sideshow Bob, but he’s no clown with the bat and a determination not to be embarrassed by his younger sibling resulted in a quickfire 65 which was the mainstay of the second century partnership. Woking & Horsell declared at 238, with a mere three wickets down.
Our reply needed a solid foundation, because – leaving aside openers Pippa and Hogben – the cumulative season’s best for the rest of the team barely edged past 150. So it was all smiles up to the 7th over when James became the first of Fortescue’s eventual seven victims, with our tally on 29. We then lost wickets with reliable regularity, at 36 (Pippa – 20), 48 (Espejo – 9) and 56 (Gazzola – 4). A burst of three between 75 and 85 saw off Ware, Andrew (N) and Seeckts, until a stand (stand!) of 24 between Angus Hargan and Rod delayed W&H’s inevitable progress. Rod spectacularly landed a massive 6 onto the roof of the nets, somewhere in the next county. But when Angus fell for 19 with four overs left, Meek and Andrew (P) were unable to keep the rampant Fortescue at bay. 7 for 45, with five of them bowled, shows that even at the end of the season there are Cryptics who don’t know where their stumps are.
It was a sad and low-key end to the season, not least because we usually give these guys a good game, irrespective of the result. But this year, not for the first time, we were a couple of players short of mounting a credible challenge, and went down to a fifth defeat. Only done that twice before in the entire Cranleighan era.
Sunday 29 August 2010
OCA 54th CC 206-5 (40 overs)
SCCC 199-6 (40 overs)
40 over match, lost by 7 runs
SCCC won the toss
Richard Seeckts writes:<
The Cryptics started and finished this game strongly, but lost thanks to a stodgy period after an hour was lost to heavy rain 24 overs into the game. Not only the WAGS had had enough by the 8pm finish on a day to excite meteorologists, but not cricketers.
Last year’s report promised investigation into the name of this opposition. They have evolved from the Old Comrades Association of the 54^th Battalion of the West Surrey Home Guard. Mainwaring, Wilson, Fraser are all long gone and this team was weaker than last year’s due to lack of availability caused by observance of Ramadan. So we were spared another mauling by Asif, his centurion’s boots being filled this time by skipper Cunningham. No Headley bullyboy pro this lad, just a Sunday cricketer who cut so well that the Cryptic bowlers fed him time and again.
This game of three halves started on a slow pitch with Edwards and Iain Williams (Celtic bickering at the font, I reckon) having the upper hand. Williams was fortunate to end up with three wickets, catches being held by the improbable triumvirate of Seeckts, Scott and Grindrod. Chetwode came on – a cry of “Bowler’s name?” might have been answered with, “Don’t tell ‘im, Mike” – only to be withdrawn after four overs having allowed the batsmen one scoring shot. The downpour interrupted Grindrod’s spell. Parsimonious before, cannon fodder after. Must have been something in the early tea.
The resumption surprised many. Fielding dropped a notch, bowling dropped several notches. Skipper Goss gave himself a go to halt the rot and was tonked for 26 from two overs to sniggers about him being Ed Dyson in disguise. (See last week’s report.) Suddenly OCA were bounding along at nine per over on a sodden pitch and dishing out a lesson in limited overs batting. The students weren’t paying attention.
By the time the scoring rate climbed above three per over again, 25 overs of the chase were spent. Pippa and Hoggers had done a passable impression of Brearley and Boycott in the 1979 World Cup Final. Both scored 33 after surviving early LBW shouts, but with the light fading and the required run rate climbing, questions were being asked about the early umpiring.
Grindrod and Scotty manfully tried to rescue the situation, but long grass meant boundaries were hard to come by and we were never quite up with what was needed. Chetwode was caught once either side of the boundary, Scotty added a cheeky 55* to his season’s tally and Goss thumped a rapid 21. Too little, too late. 26 had been required from the final two overs, shame the skipper couldn’t bowl to himself.
Sunday 22nd August 2010
Headley 248-6 (35 overs)
SCCC 243-6 (42 overs)
SCCC won the toss
Richard Seeckts writes:
In the end Headley were mighty relieved to escape with a draw from a game they had not really considered losing. Not since Australia survived at Old Trafford in 2005 has a dot ball been greeted with such enthusiasm as the penultimate ball of this match. A fielding side can usually relax when a team needs 28 from five balls, but Will Butterworth, on 118 at the time, had other ideas and smote Headley stalwart Grant Waller over the road three times before missing one and accepting the draw.
The day had begun with some introductions. Well documented difficulty raising a side for a fixture once deemed a highlight of the Cryptic calendar allowed us to field two debutants, lacrosse playing Dominic Jackson (nephew of PAJA) and 14 year old Alex Miller (nephew of Ed Dyson). Five others couldn’t raise 50 caps between them, Goss, Andrew P, Seeckts and Wright made up the numbers. Really. The three old pink jacketeers contributed one catch, three runs and conceded 32 from two overs between them. Thanks for coming.
Headley’s opening bat, James Moss, belted his first six in Nihill’s opening over. The tone of the day was set. Older Cryptics will remember James as the effervescent progeny of Malcolm “Goooooooood Headley!” Moss. The tireless youth who ran around the field’s edge all day when too young to play doesn’t run now. He knows a pie when he sees one, and hits the inedible ones very hard.
Tidy work from the Wright / Goss combo saw Moss off for 32 (of 35), to be replaced by Viv Paver, 21 years old, professional cricketer from Western Australia, currently on the payroll of Ashstead CC who sit 5th in the Surrey Championship Premier League. Think barramundi in a goldfish bowl. Silent and po-faced, he played himself in carefully before launching a savage assault on the change bowlers. Briefly, it was good to watch but it got a bit silly when his teammates, fielding in the distant car park, were more involved in the game than the real fielders. Much time was wasted ball-hunting in the woods, but Paver’s gift to Cryptic statisticians and mischief makers was to hit Ed Dyson for six sixes in one over, prompting mirth to match Atkinson’s 1992 FZY innings.
Dyson’s first over had been a gem of a wicket maiden, claiming Headley skipper James Midmer LBW, triggered by his brother. Figures of 3-1-47-1 really should put him top of the all time Shopping List.
Nick Andrew, playing his first game for two years, suffered less of a hiding than his Dad, if only because Dad’s balls aren’t as wild and unpredictable as the gap year student’s. Their seven overs cost 83. Gossy bravely tossed the ball to young Miller, whose first offering disappeared beyond the cars. Miller kept his composure, his line and his length and was duly rewarded when Paver holed out to Uncle Ed at midwicket for 106. It just might be a wicket to tell his grandchildren about, and to prove it was no fluke, he took a second wicket by hitting the stumps.
Nihill returned to stem the flow somewhat before the declaration, but remained wicketless. Goss had snapped up three and fled to the boundary while the big man went about his business. Skipper’s prerogative (9-1-28-3).
Butterworth was introduced to the Cryptics by Gordon Mousinho, who scored 100* with a runner at Headley in 1995 and raised eyebrows by keeping wicket after tea. Knowing this, his evident application produced a knock that was a Cryptic classic. Needing a run a ball when he replaced Pippa one over into the reply, he paced his innings perfectly. With stand-in opener Jack Nihill for company, he kept things ticking along while Jack celebrated his promotion and played the big shots for 61.
Butterworth picked up the reins as the middle order took different approaches to not helping him much. Dyson dozily managed to get himself run out, Seeckts couldn’t hit it off the square, Nick Andrew blossomed all too briefly and Goss ran himself out with consummate ease. As the game got closer, Paver the bowler’s run-up grew longer and some of his deliveries had a ‘personal’ touch, but to no avail. Fellow second-timer Gavin Cooper joined Butterworth with 68 required from 8 overs and held an end up (9*) while the fireworks from Butters became bigger, brighter and louder. That the finale didn’t quite bring off the win was down to others, though Pippa was quick to point out that the five penalty runs conceded when Butterworth allowed the ball to hit his redundant helmet in the field were all that separated the scores. Welcome to the Crypos, Will.
Against all odds, it turned out to be a thrilling finish, but Sunday village cricket can lose its appeal when hijacked by someone far too good to be there. Headley have ample talent and charm to adhere to the mantra on the homepage of their website, ‘On Sundays we put out a village “as it should-be” social cricket team.’ The Cryptics are not alone in hoping for something closer to that in future.
Infamy and glory – Dyson and Butterworth – Headley – 22 August 2010
In his debut game as skipper, Gazzola delivered a 500-run, er, run-fest and showed that he bears all the hallmarks of a Cryptics captain by manipulating the batting order to secure a cheap not out at the end, hitting the winning boundary after all the hard work had already been done for him. That he still has some things to learn, however, was exemplified by a helpful on-field call of “left hand”, which was followed by complete silence, thus leaving the fielders to sort it out among themselves.
Starting in the field on the afternoon of what was obviously National Flying Ant Day, opening bowlers Edwards and Grindrod started brightly, the wily old teacher kicking off with two maidens and then trapping his first victim flatfooted on the crease in front of all three, for six in the ninth over. Rod meanwhile plugged away and was rewarded with the other opener three overs later.
What ensued led us to fear that those wickets were a mistake: a 111-run partnership in double-quick time that at one stage made it look as if it we would be chasing 300-plus after tea.
Variety was duly introduced into the attack, although it was not a day for the Cryptic spin (aka slow) attack, Cupit, McDougall and Seeckts combining to send down 10 wicketless overs for 59 (it seemed more – runs, not overs).
That a semblance of decency prevailed was largely down to late call-up Michael ‘Snake’ Chetwode, who overcame an unpromising start to end up with 11–3–38–2. Never before in his illustrious career can he have been called ‘Mick’, however. Then again, never before has he been skippered by some Italian-Australian who obviously easily confuses snakes with crocodiles.
The slow option abandoned, the returning Grindrod removed no.3 Giles for 81, while Chetwode accounted for the no.4 for 56 (good on ya, Mick!). Wickets then fell steadily until a late partnership saw Blackheath past the 250 mark as the kettle boiled. As PAJA was not present, tea was just tea and not the highlight of the day.
After the break, Hoggers and Pippa set about setting us on our way towards a not insubstantial target, although a promising eight off the first over turned into a slightly more worrisome 20 after nine as the bowling proved difficult to master, Having seen off the openers, however, things proved easier and they had amassed 109 off 20 by the time Pippa was adjudged LBW for 40 (bad on ya, Mick).< Ex, sorry, resting law boy Hoggers was joined by current law boy Benham (only a matter of time) and they had pushed the score to 150 at a similar rate when Hoggers was bowled for 87. Benham then upped the pace in a partnership of 83 with Peter Kurtz (26), who then provided the champagne moment by edging a ball from their ‘off spinner’ into his stumps after the second bounce. (Note to Peter: get some net practice with Jimmy in the winter.) Benham then showed him what he should have done, putting one into and one over the pavilion to finish on 76*, before Gizzie typically stole the glory. All done in the 38th over with almost seven left; maybe 300 wouldn’t have been beyond us. “A very professional performance,” was how skipper Gazzola described it; and he’s certainly been around enough pros to know.
Peter Andrew writes:
A welcome return to winning ways, and a revival of the Cryptic spirit, in a close and tense game at Steels Lane on Sunday. It started well when Gossy won the toss, and we could have a run-about early. Although when 22 came from the first four overs with both batsmen eschewing boring things like singles, the match threatened to have much in common with our last two. However Rod and Gossy reined them back in, with the Kiwi striking first as Puppy juggled an edge for an eternity before clutching it at the third attempt.
Our fielding was much improved on recent weeks, despite the bumpy outfield deceiving some ground fielders. We were holding our catches all round today, with Gizz and PAJ taking neat ones, and debutant Gavin Cooper holding on to a steepler a foot in from the boundary. Conrad Marais, returning precisely four years since his last Cryptic game, on the same ground, tried the same trick, stretching to grasp an otherwise certain 6, only to overbalance beyond the boundary. But in falling, he still had the presence of mind to lob the ball into the playing area and save 5 runs. Our second debutant Greg Rock was also busy in the field, with big areas to cover but unfailingly fast, alert and safe.
Sympathies were due to James Hogben, who had to patrol huge swathes of lightning-fast outfield with varying results, as well as suffering a massive double tea-pot from the former skipper after an alleged refusal in the face of a skier down towards the boules pit. He’s lost weight, Richard, but it’ll still take more than pigmentation shots and a Jamaican passport to make him Usain Bolt. Unfortunately James’s day wasn’t going to get any better.
A middle-order 50 threatened to break the shackles, until the returning Rod found a beauty that pegged back the top of off-stump. A couple of quick lower order wickets left him on the cusp of a first Cryptic Michelle, as he vied with Seeckts to take the last wicket. However, the latter was seeking a third wicket to bring him level with Ross Greenwood’s tally of 72 dismissals in just 190 more matches, and he finally prevailed to finish with 3 for 34, compared with Rod’s 4 for 66. Oxshott had gathered 209, fewer than seemed likely at one stage, but still a respectable target.
Our innings began inauspiciously as Hogben’s mid-season blip became a trough, with a second duck in three days. Philip followed a little later, and we were 23 for 2. Ware, promoted to #3 not least due to a claimed need to leave by 6:00pm, and Gazzola accelerated us to 60 after 14 overs. The next two overs brought 10 each, as the Puppy tried to beat the clock, but it was considerably after his scheduled departure time that he was caught behind flashing hard, but not before completing a second Cryptic 50 to go with last season’s ton. And then rushed off, but not without leaving cash for his jug (are you reading this, CH-D?).
Gazzola went the same way for 22 in the next over, and we were wobbling again, needing 107 from the last 20, with four down and a pretty long tail. Goss and Marais took it to 120, and Cooper kept his skipper company until Goss was bowled for a fine 44. Definitely one of the better Cryptic scores made while your dad’s watching. Anything was still possible when last pair Seeckts and Edwards came together with 19 still needed, and four overs to get them. Did we ever doubt them? Well yes, actually. But we didn’t need to, and we were home and hosed with five balls to spare.
So, hopefully our own mid-season blip is a thing of the past, and we can take the jingle machine to Blackheath next week.
Peter Andrew writes:<
We came to join in Claygate’s cricket week for the second time, buoyed by the knowledge that big Tommy was safe in Scotland, so there might be enough port, and ketchup, to go around this year. Recognising the status of the occasion, we turned up in full club colours, which turned heads along Claygate High Street as we strolled from the station. Sadly, our sartorial elegance off the field was not to be matched by our performance on it.
This year we have only won when batting first at Stoke d’Abernon, and the writing was on the wall when Gossy called wrong again, and we were invited to make first use of a typical solid Claygate track. A ground where our matches this century have averaged 425 runs a game. We told ourselves that an 11.30 start meant we had plenty of time to pace ourselves.
James Hogben put a dip in his season by pacing himself back to the pavilion in the third over, the first of six victims who would be bowled, testament both to the perfect overcast swing bowling conditions, and the ability of the Claygate bowlers to put it in the right place. Rod had opened as compensation for his bad luck at the crease the previous week. Mind you, he has more Cryptic runs batting as an opener than any other position in the order. And, having promised to behave himself for the first 10 overs, he fell to veteran Nigel Abbott for 13, in the 12th. Ed Dyson included some splendidly correct and powerful shots in his 31, and Peter Kurtz dug in for an effective 18. Dwight was particularly vicious on change bowler Price, with a six into the woods, and 16 in boundaries in his following over. He then missed one from spinner Wells in the last over before lunch, departing for 30. He later claimed – around a mouthful of chips – that his dismissal had nothing to do with a desire to enjoy the excellent lunch (both solid and liquid).
Suitably immobilised by solids and liquids, Seeckts and Grindrod pottered around without great effect in the afternoon session before both fell without adding much to their tallies. Jack Nihill gathered a neat 16, before becoming Wells’s third victim. 157 for 8. Gossy, who’s only played here 7 times (his most frequent opponents) failed to remember that Nigel Abbott brings it gently back at you, and had his off stump tapped. Next ball Jimmy snicked to slip and it was Kenneth Wolstenholme with the score still at 157. Extras were again our friend, contributing 22.
158 doesn’t sound like much to get on this track even on a Sunday, despite some variable bounce at both ends, and Claygate had more than enough time to spare. What we needed was to take an early wicket, and then hope for a bit of a collapse. Gossy got the early wicket, part of a fine spell jagging the ball away from the right-handers, when Grindrod picked up a well-judged rolling catch at second slip. But, with no pressure to take risks with the good balls, Claygate were in no hurry. Murphy and Salmon brought up their respective 50’s using the bad balls only.
We had a couple of successes, Jimmy holding a c-b, and nearly taking another, much more vicious, similar chance. PAJ picked one up when a ball of questionable merit was plucked from its inevitable trajectory towards the mid-wicket boundary by Peter Kurtz’s grasping hand. Thereby proving the Cryptic adage that the quality of the delivery bears no relationship whatever to its success. And so as Claygate skipper Watkins smacked a brisk 26, we went tamely to back-to-back defeats for the first time since September 2006. And, surprisingly, our first defeat to Claygate this century.
For the second week running, we found it difficult to accelerate the score when trying to set a target, perhaps deceived by the extra time available in an all-day game. And so to Oxshott, scene of one of our three defeats last year. It’s May 2002 since we lost three on the reel, so let’s hope our somewhat makeshift team does itself justice.
Sunday 25 July 2010
SCCC: 204 for 8 dec (39 overs)
Grouse & Label CC: 205 for 6 (35.5 overs)
Grouse & Label CC won by 4 wickets
SCCC lost the toss
Richard Seeckts writes:
The Grouse & Label CC is allegedly named for the favourite tipples of its two founders. It could, therefore, have equally been Famous Johnnie. They’re based in Bisley, famous for hosting the National Shooting Centre. Quite who needed shooting after the Cryptics went down to a second defeat of the season is unclear.
Losing the toss didn’t help, being inserted didn’t either. However, we started comfortably enough, and were 63 for the sole loss of Pippa after 15, with our legal team of Hogben and Benham cruising nicely. The inning kept cruising as wickets – mostly in catches – also fell from time to time. Hogben (18), Benham (26), Ware (19), Seeckts (23), and the batting was down to the bowlers. Jimmy held up an end as David Grindrod sparkled and threatened to ignite, but fell for 41. 172 for 6, after 34. Rod, promoted to the dizzy heights of #8, was relishing the opportunity of a bit of a bat. The relish soured after a communication breakdown with Jimmy, and Rod returned to the hutch run out without facing. It wasn’t funny, and we didn’t laugh. A lot.
A brief knock from PAJ, which saw him creep past James Macdonald’s total Cryptic run tally in only 123 more matches, and we declared on 204, boosted by 29 extras.
We were fairly happy with the total, boasting as we did an attack with four front-line seamers, and the Grand Old Men to give it a bit of air. We were not anticipating an opposition reared on a diet of T20 cricket, that was prepared to throw the bat from the outset without waiting to see the quality of the bowling. They picked up 62 from the first 10, and 124 from the first 20, for the loss of a single wicket. Unorthodox shot selection (using the term ‘selection’ loosely) made it close to impossible to set a field. Shots in the air inevitably fell between two or sometime three fielders. The rare shots that went to hand also went to ground.
We staged a partial comeback as PAJ picked up a couple, and the returning Jack Nihill made inroads, not least through an acrobatic if debilitating catch by an already-injured Benham. Didn’t stop him sneaking in at #20 on the ‘best shopping’ list, with 4 for 74 from 10. And Grouse & Label scotched any chance of a surprise victory by reaching the target with a couple of overs to spare.
Ultimately, we were short of really aggressive batting, and were always running a gear lower than we should have been. And the initial onslaught by their batsmen gave them an advantage that we were never able to recover, always being a wicket or two short of what was needed to give us a shout of victory.
Peter Andrew writes:
Rarely have the combined ages of the opposition’s opening batsmen been less than that of our youngest player. Mind you, with our average age exceeding 43, caps exceeding 110 each, it was a pretty experienced Cryptics team that assembled at Holybourne’s pleasant rural ground, after a lunchtime house-warming barbecue chez Seeckts, a couple of minutes down the road. And whilst there was maturity among our opposition, it was also liberally peppered with county-class Colts. ‘He gets big scores for their Saturday firsts’, noted skip Seeckts of the 14-year-old opener. Didn’t stop Grinders bowling him for 4, albeit with a complete Jaffa. The next pair of young’uns put on almost 50, though slowly against tight stuff from David and Jack Nihill (conceding a miserly 12 from his 5 overs). Lesson 1: in future, lads, there’s usually at least one to anyone who fields with his feet.
Lesson 2 followed shortly afterwards, which is that when Jimmy’s bowling anything can happen. Having loosened up with a first-ball wide, he rapped the juvenile opener’s pads with his second. Or his first, for the pedants. Anyway, lesson 3 is that however young you are, you can’t treat a cricket umpire with his finger in the air the same way that John McEnroe did a tennis umpire. A run later it was 59 for 3 as his partner patted a simple c-b back to PAJ. It was clear who would be batting 10/Jack when Jimmy and PAJ got 10 overs each, cleaning up six wickets between them, Jimmy reaching 250 since records began.
Next in line to turn his arm would have been James Brooke-Webb, but he did something to a muscle in the field, and we were denied the sight of the neat little seamers that once took 4 Tilford wickets for 8. That’ll teach you not to play for four years, James. So it was left to Dwight to bag himself the no 9 slot by persuading Holybourne batsmen to pick out Hogben and Nihill in successive balls. Seeckts cleaned up the tail with his second ball, having magnanimously given Jimmy an extra over to try to get his 8th Cryptic Michelle. Which he would have already achieved, had our catching not been down to usual Cryptic standards. David Grindrod has 25 catches from 81 matches, which is not a bad return (alongside, say, Rod’s 3 from 84), but it could have been 28 just from Sunday. And we were treated to the sight of veteran Richard (‘I’m only here to watch the golf’) Atkinson rushing in for a high one that went over his head for four. How are the mighty, etc… OK, we’ve all been there, it’s just nice to see it happening to real cricketers as well.
It’s becoming a bit of a cliché, but this was another excellent tea. Is this a trend? Is there, somewhere, an EU mountain of mouldering fish paste sandwiches? A landfill of redundant plain crisps? A Vimto lake?
Our chase was, it must be admitted, a little mundane. The WAGs had already taken the Cryplets for a walk during the Holybourne innings, claiming that the cricket was too boring but probably because the shops would be closed after tea. Pippa and Hoggers started with our season’s best stand for the opening wicket, putting on 89 before James fell for 37. Philip continued until he’d reached his 27th 50, and was stumped on 56. We were then treated to a brief flash-back to Claygate 2000 as James B-W slapped an unbeaten 18, 14 in boundaries and more runs than the last five years put together, sharing a quick stand of 21 with Jack Nihill. We were there with eight wickets to spare.
And the experience of the Ex showed in that, despite a game that lasted fewer than 64 overs, everone got to do something, even if Dan only stood behind the stumps discussing with the batsman how he’d get a stumping off Jimmy eventually (he didn’t, but 2 byes is better than many of our stumpers have ever managed, and he did pouch one off Seeckts). Which brings us to a fitting close with the selflessness of a skipper who spent the day telling 10 blokes what to do, but only did two balls worth of doing himself. But if that gets us to keep a nice fixture against a decent bunch of people, it will have been worth it.
Richard Seeckts writes:
A jolly good hiding was dished out. Grindrod failed to take his first five-for again (4-43) and the run chase was dominated by Hogben (70) and Benham (57*).
Benham was appointed to write a report of the match but the club’s entire funds were blown on his fee just to tell us the result.
Peter Andrew writes:
The only thing we were missing at 1.45 at Windsor Avenue was a captain. Grindrod, skipper of the equivalent fixture last year, sloped off to his car to mark some homework, so the rest of us volunteered James Hogben to make his debut. Bet he wishes he’d won the toss. At least then he’d have won something.
We came into this game with a good record against Kingstonian (W7 D5 L1). Last year, Scottie set the club record score of 148* (caveat, caveat…Ed). And, with Cryptics invited to have first use of a hard flat track, he soon got the chance to try and overtake it, with Pippa thumbing one to the keeper, and Wojtek also caught behind early. 19 for 2.
The James gang put on another 69 before skipper Hoggers was triggered by Kelvin Meek, who clearly didn’t want a bowl. Ed Dyson kept Scottie company for a while before holing out at cover, and Dan Espejo was run out first ball, having failed to notice the change in the field. 124 for 5. Having finished handing out a bunch of B-’s on Italian agrarian diversity, Grindrod matched Scottie, picking up 39 in a stand of 80 before becoming our second run out victim. Debutant Nick Black held up an end as Scottie racked up his 4th Cryptic century (which equals Greg’s record), giving him an average against Kingstonian of 184 across four matches. We set them 230, declaring 7 down after 42 overs.
Historically, Kingstonians’ batting owes much to openers Wise and Walsh, and can then taper off. Maybe it did this year, we just didn’t get to see beyond #4. Indeed, it was only by skipper Wise ripping a calf muscle that we got to see #3. Going down with more noise but less grace than Maria Sharapova, he was helped to the boundary – his score on 40 – never to return. Not that he would be needed.
We hadn’t started that well. Rod was particularly harshly treated, which tempered his glee at New Zealand taking a point off holders Italy in the World Cup (glee diminished somewhat in light of Italy’s next game but one being a kick-about with France in departures at Johannesburg airport).
It’s not often that Ed and PAJ are brought on to bring the run rate down but, such was the way the ball was pinging off the bat, taking the initial pace off was effective. Especially given that PAJ – in collusion with opener Walsh – was bowling to his field. This consisted of Scottie doing the fielding at cover, and nine other blokes hanging around watching.
But nothing we tried ever looked likely to derail Kingstonians’ inexorable march towards victory. Even our sole earned wicket – a bottom edge to keeper Dan off Kelvin – merely brought in a yet more powerful driver of the ball. Any false hope engendered by the guy’s black socks and trainers melted like snow on a griddle after the first two balls, and he powered his way to an undefeated 51, Walsh stranded on 92 at the other end. They still had 7 overs of the final 20 left.
David Grindrod writes:
Once more a full team at the published time for the off. Once more it emerged that the skipper had lied about the start time. Once more he lost the toss.
James Wright, having believed us that last week’s farce was not typical Cryptic stuff, had travelled 3 hours to get to Follies Farm. He was duly rewarded with the opening over. Like the rest of us, he met Follies opener Leeper J. in very fine fettle. Opening partner Gossy cleverly set a field to cut off the ones, thus ensuring that he didn’t have to bowl at Leeper J. Big Dan Espejo did a wonderful Robert Green impression at cover to give Leeper another two, got moved to second slip only to show his David Seaman impression was even better next ball. ‘Twas a pricey drop.His reward was to replace Wright the first time Leeper was not on strike at the far end. He ensured the other opener stayed on strike by bowling so wide, then castled him with a straight one at the end of the over. Complaining bitterly about the harsh wides at the start of the over, he shut up when told it was the extra seventh ball of the over that got the wicket.
Leeper J continued the hit the ball hard, mainly at Seecktsy, who cried out in pain a full second before one ball actually arrived. Gossy and Cupit did their best Schwarzer impressions, before Gossy resorted to heading the ball rather than using his hands. Hoggers was patrolling the boundary in front of the bulls, as he apparently would be less likely to be attacked, being of vegetarian persuasion. Seeckts was almost pole axed by a ricochet of a tree as Leeper J kept up his assault on everything the Cryptic bowlers offered.There were more spells than in a Harry Potter book as Gossy rang the changes trying to install some semblance of control to the run rate. Grinders came and went twice, as did Scotty. Then surprise package Seeckts was introduced. (the main surprise being that the first and last balls were not also creamed to the boundary) Kurtz did almost as well.
Play was delayed for a while as concerned Dads on the pitch looked on as all their offspring walked off down the farm lane, following some bloke who had offered to show them piglets. WAGs aplenty were, however, pleased for five minutes peace and quiet and took the opportunity to replace Formula milk with Chardonnay.
Meanwhile Wright J picked up his first adult wicket, but still the runs kept coming. At 175 for 2 from 29 overs it looked bad. Leeper (116) and Perry had tested, but not broken Cryptic spirit.
The dangerous, but now ageing Leng played on and then it all went very quiet. Leeper A became Grinders’ fourth ever slower ball victim, after thirty years of perseverance, Gossy taking his second skyer of the day. Pippa ran in to snap up another at short third, despite not realising that the batsman had hit it (ever the professional).
The pace dropped markedly, as both Follies batmen appeared to be playing with broken bats. During the last over one of them finally changed his bat and proceeded to swing and miss five times on the trot, prompting a chirp that ‘we’ll never know if that one’s broken’.
A target of only 225 was greeted by almost disbelief as all tucked into the best ham sandwiches on the circuit and the brownest looking Vanilla cake Dan had ever seen.
Pippa and Hoggers made a steady start before Hoggers fell to his first shot in anger. Puppy, inspired by all the cows around apparently, hit every shot in anger. He smashed Leng out of the attack, but on 27 he waited patiently whilst Follies moved their extra cover back on to the fence. Next ball he was back in the hutch, caught. Need I say where?
Scotty’s only meaningful contribution to the game was running out Cupit. He then proceeded to watch as Seeckts, Kurtz, Grindrod and Espejo perished while keeping us in the chase, before chucking his wicket away having scored only 84, with 3 runs still needed.
Last man Wright J had been sitting nervously whilst all other Crypos had been helping themselves at the serve yourself bar. He survived and scampered the necessary 3 runs hit by Dan, to seal victory with four balls left.
That, James, is true Cryptic Cricket. Jingle Bells.
Team at West End Esher
Jack Nihill writes:
If Leatherhead and Cobham 2009 was the “mother of all stone-wallings,” then West End Esher 2010 was surely the “Grandfather” from the same lineage.
The day started off on a promising note with a scenic ground, kind weather, modern facilities and a gaggle of cryptic better halves (and offspring) in welcome attendance.
The toss was won by the West End Esher captain, who immediately inserted the Cryptics on a wicket that had a few early demons. Pippa and Dan soon found out that the tall left armer thundering in from the city end was another demon to contend with. Pippa (8) reckoning that the sight screen was a little inadequate, losing sight of one mid-pitch and Dan (0) reckoning that we should all just look at last years reports for a more favourable description of his batting.
Incomer Ed Dyson summed up the conditions quickly after receiving a couple of early landmine type deliveries and took his time. Débutante Cryptic Will Butterworth wasn’t quite as patient, bringing the Ex prematurely to the crease. Seeckts (20) was quick to point out the shortcomings of Ed’s vocal ability between the wickets, but he couldn’t match the stroke play of his partner during their 68 run stand. Ed easily dispatching the occasional long-hop to the boundary whilst keeping out the good ones on his way to 34. At the other end it was Seecktsy, but it wasn’t Seexy.
Pup soon got a wriggle-on with Grinders and within 4 and a half overs, these two shot makers had put on an entertaining 24 before Puppy fell on 16 with the score at 107-6. PAJA was told to play his natural game and did. His first scoring shot was a crisp on-drive to the boundary, his second effort saw him trudging back to the pavilion. Gossy (31*) had little trouble finding the middle, whilst Grinders continued to punish the hapless bowlers on his way to a boundary-laden half century. These two senior Cryptics ensured the total was enough to set up a win, Skippy eventually declaring after 44 overs on 195-8.
After polishing off the egg sandwiches and cocktail sausages, Nihill and Goss (3/17) kept it tight at both ends. Will Butterworth provided the first highlight in the field with a diving beauty at 2nd slip off the skipper to dismiss T. Jeff for 1. With the W.E. Esher score on a mere 25-2 after the first 16 overs, batsman T. Pam (21) could almost be excused for trying to hurry-up the run rate when Seeckts (1-3) came on to bowl. After looking solid against the quicks, he smacked a slow full toss straight down the throat of Goss at regulation mid-off.
PAJA also fooled the likely Amos into a false drive, Pippa lunging full-stretch to take a good low catch to have the West Enders now struggling at 48-4. The remaining 20 overs could be described in a number of ways, but the words uneventful and boring are probably most accurate. Despite having plenty of “batsmen” in the shed, the home team (led by Hadrian himself) took to prodding, plodding, padding-up, blocking, and leaving most deliveries. Despite the best efforts of newcomer Jim Wright (a handy addition to the bowling stocks; 1-15), Seeckts, Andrew, Dyson, Grindrod, Nihill and Goss, we could only manage another two young scalps before the close of play.
Over a couple of pints in the bar (Grinders’ shout), Skippy was heard trying to convince our two handy débutantes that Cryptic cricket is usually a much more thrilling, exciting and sometimes even fun affair. He’s right…….and thank Goss for that!
Peter Andrew writes:
Back to Banstead for the second year, and promoted onto the big pitch this time. Lots of room to run around, on the hottest day of the year so far. Inserted, Banstead got away to a measured start until one of them Dilscooped Jack Nihill to Seeckts at backward square. ‘This guy can bat’ keeper Dan, a former Banstead player himself, told us at the #3 approached. He was right. Bad and average and good balls hit powerfully and stylishly straight, with time to spare. Everything in the V. Not the Cryptic V, behind the wicket, the real one in front of it. Jack and Rod gave way to Goss and Grindrod. Having celebrated 100 Cryptic wickets last week, David was now seeking his first Cryptic 5-for. The quest began well, as he bowled the remaining opener. ‘This guy can bat’ said Dan, of the incoming #4. And caught him off Goss 8 runs later. David picked up the next three, including the dangerous Nicholas after a silky 53, and Ed Dyson chipped in with a further two, including one bowled with his ubiquitous arm ball. At 152 for 8, the force was with us, and David was desperate seeking the elusive Michelle. Looking forward to an early tea and a straightforward victory target, we set off after the last two wickets. But #9 Steve Reading had other ideas (‘he got 48 for us last week’, revealed their skipper after the game) and, well supported by the stubborn Early, he clubbed an undefeated 45 before the declaration had us in for (an excellent) tea when the scoreboard ticked over to 200.
Claiming an injured back, Dan bagged an opening spot (‘to get it out of the way’), and got it out of the way, bowled in the first over. A fine, boundary-laden partnership between the new slim-line James Hogben and the ever-slim-line Dyson put on 81 before James was stumped for 40, but not before he had surpassed 2,000 Cryptic runs, in 104 innings at an average of 20. Ed departed shortly afterwards for a well-crafted 52, and then Kurtz (17) and Wright (24), batting at 5 for the second time ever, steadied the ship. To the extent that a bit of acceleration was needed as we sought 56 from the last 8 overs. The requisite injection was applied by Nihill (17), Seeckts (14 in no time at all) and Grindrod with an undefeated 21 to compensate for a mere 4 for 42, and we crossed the line with an over to spare.
An excellent game for those who remembered the sun cream, in which – as at Stoke, a few weeks ago – the balance of power swung several times throughout the match. Everyone got a go at something, and we ended with a jingle. What more could you ask for?
Rod Edwards writes:
The Crytpics turned up at new opponents Kings Ashford, with replacement skipper Edwards correctly calling ?Hudds? and opting to bowl first. Never choose a bowler as captain if you want to bat first. Opening bowlers Nihill and Edwards bowled reasonable line and length (Rod’s worst spell in years actually – Ed) before Grindrod came on to bowl a wonderfully parsimonious spell, while becoming the second bowler in the week to reach 100 Cryptic wickets. Grinders, despite getting hit for 14 in his last 2 overs, bowled 10 overs, 6 maidens 2 for 23. King?s showed utmost respect, I think that was the description, for the first 22 overs, reaching 40 for 4 at this point. Wotjek Jurek won the fielding prize by picking up two fine catches and a miraculous run out, hitting the stumps/poles at the bowler?s end from flat on the ground at mid wicket.
To encourage a faster scoring rate, Cupit and Seeckts were introduced to bowl their own variety of slow dross. Both picked up wickets, Seeckts getting two, including the dangerous Inwood caught by Wright off a reverse sweep. In the meantime King?s’ highest score was posted by Pipe who frequently drove straight (through Jack’s legs) for a well compiled 48. Nihill was then brought back to mop up the tail and finished with a respectable 3 for 33 off 11.3 overs as Kings eventually, after a rain enforced early tea, capitulated for 156.
Kings’ late replacement Inwood and opening bowler Tighe showed that the wicket had livened up with the rain and was getting harder to score from, allegedly. After 18 overs the Cryptics had crept to a disappointing 30 for 5, as most of the top order failed to deal with Inwood’s extra pace and bounce. The highlight of this was Benham following up his unbeaten hundred last week with a fourth ball duck, leaving a straight one. At least he has an average now, if not a sense of humour. In perfect weather for ducks Espejo joined the parade, also missing a straight one.
Benham missing a straight one
Grindrod showed rare courage and rode his luck in reaching 22 not out as the rain got worse. Eventually stumps were called with16 overs remaining and the Cryptics at 58 for 5 to end an enjoyable game.
Rod Edwards writes:
With the 1st game having been rained off it was off to Stoke D’Arbenon to get the season underway. This game started much as last year with Gossy losing the toss and being put into bat. However having put on the web page that it was a 1:30 start and without Scotty playing there was a full complement of Cryptics for the 2pm start.
Early banter was about whether Grindrod (97 wickets) or Edwards (98 wickets) would reach the 100 mark first. Hogben having shed 2.5 stone over the winter break also only needed 46 runs to reach 2000 Cryptic runs. Puppy Ware also moved to 99 Cryptic caps or is it leashes in his case. Hogben got first chance to reach his milestone, opening with Wright. He lasted until the 5th over before becoming the 1st of 5 wickets for Stoke’s impressive young opening bowler Bond. He was to be quickly followed by Wright, Ware, Grindrod and Seeckts all for single figures to leave us a shaky 72 for 5. Thank heavens one of the Benham boys can bat. Nick batted elegantly in partnerships with Espejo who made 30 and Gossy 43 not out. The partnership of 117* with Gossy created a new 7th wicket record. Nick Benham scored his 2nd century against Stoke, timing the ball wonderfully well and probably outscoring his brother for the season in scoring an unbeaten 113 as Gossy declared at 236 for 6. Benham then imitated a stranded whale in the field as his 32 year old bones creaked and groaned. Is working at Ashursts bad for the health?
After an excellent tea, Edwards and Grindrod shared the new ball with Grindrod getting the 1st Stoke wicket in the 6th over. Edwards then followed with wickets in the 11th, 17th and 19th overs to complete a fine spell of 10 overs 3 for 46 and moving to 101 wickets in only his 81st game. It shows perseverance pays, as well as being extremely fat – damn I think I hit the wrong vowel again.
With Stoke at 95 for 4 it was all to play for. Peter Andrew showed why he is a Vice President at Stoke by bowling 6 overs for 52. Stoke’s opening bat T Frost was batting well in scoring 94 and with the Stoke captain Finch got the score to 158 with 16 overs to go – advantage Stoke. Kiwi Meek then showed that he could bowl line and length getting 3 for 39 off 6 overs. This included a wonderful straight shooter to remove the dangerous T Frost. Goss and Espejo mopped up the tail, who to their credit kept trying to win the game for Stoke. Three batsmen were caught at Long off/on as Stoke finally perished for 216 runs. Jingle Bells as the Cryptics win by 20 runs.