Played 10 Won 5 Drawn/Tied 3 Lost 2

Sunday 4 September 2011
SCCC 104 all out (28.2 overs)
Woking & Horsell106–4 (28.4 overs)
Lost by 6 wickets
SCCC won the toss

Peter Andrew writes:

Right,12:30, off to Woking. Spitting with rain, hope it stops. Cobham now, wipers on full. Doesn’t look good. West Byfleet, and fast wipe not clearing the rain, it’s bucketing. Turn round? We won’t play in this, surely. At the ground now, still raining. Odd thing is, it’s an early start and the only other Cryptic here is Scotty. Parallel universe? Clearing up a bit now. What, help you move the groundsheet off the pitch? Sure. So, we’ll play a 38-over game then. Good, Gossy’s won the toss. We’re what? BATTING? Definitely a parallel universe.

Who’s their opener? Fortescue? He took seven against us last year. Oh look, he’s got one for this year as well, first over too. Hoggers won’t be pleased. Didn’t even leave time for his parents to get here. He’s got his second now, Pippa gone too. 18 off the first ten, good thing they’ve gone for a double bowling change. Too late for Dan, though. Hardly limited overs scoring rate. Never mind, Scotty and Kurtz taking us along fairly well. Shouldn’t have said that, 60 for 4. Nice 18, Peter. And there goes Grinders, 95 short of the 100 he made here five years ago. And that’s it for Scotty, a good 40 but we’re still only on 92, six down and 24 overs gone.Oh joy. It’s a Cryptic collapse; that’s four wickets lost for two runs. No parallel universe now. Still, here’s a season’s record tenth wicketstand to comfort us. No too much comfort, though, since it’s the only tenth wicket partnership of the season. And some people are on the pitch, with us on 104, still criminally more than six overs short of our allocation.

Right, Gossy and Rod get us under way. Oh, that’s awesome! Absolutely blinding, leaping-salmon catch by Pippa in the gully off Rod. Champagne moment. Just as well because so far today Cryptics have been pretty Mateus Rosé.These two bowl out, 14 overs gone, 35 runs conceded. That’s actually 7 fewer than we’d scored at this stage. And immediate success for Will Hicks, catch by Rod. Hello, parallel universe again. Just think, in April Rod had only taken one catch this century. He’s now got four this season alone. Funny game, cricket. Nothing funny, though, about Woking’s regulation progress to 106 for 4 off no more overs than we used.

Sad, that’s two years running we’ve failed to do ourselves justice here. Makes our record here won one, drawn one, and lost four. We can do better.

Which is not a bad epitaph on the season. Played 10 won 5 drawn 1 tied 1 lost 3 doesn’t look bad. But it’s been tough raising sides, at times we’ve been weaker than we like and rain robbed us of three games. Special mention to David Grindrod, who played every match, and is rewarded with the captaincy for 2012. He’ll be expecting help with player recruitment for next season.

Sunday 14 August 2011
Shalford 164 all out (39 overs)
SCCC 165 – 0 (29 overs)
Won by 10 wickets
Shalford won the toss

Pippa writes:

A new fixture for the Cryptics and one that could have some of the more selective members queuing up to put their names forward for the return match next season.

Returning skipper Goss cemented (semented?) his credentials as a useless tosser and found himself invited to bowl on a pitch that looked true and duly played well throughout the afternoon. In spite of the benign strip, Shalford had only progressed to 23 after the first 11 overs, although still had all 10 wickets intact.

Rod bowled his customary miserly spell (eight overs for 24) but is still in search of his first wicket since June. Gossy was equally stingy at the other but also without luck and decided to take himself off after five overs to see whether wily veteran Peter Andrew could break the deadlock. He did, Grinders taking the catch at mid-on. The resistance broken in the 16th over with the score on 55, wickets started to tumble. Three fell at 88 and 89 and the Shalford middle order contributed four ducks in a row.

PAJA was unable to add to his haul and was replaced by William Hicks, who bowled seven overs (probably more than he expected) for 24 runs (probably fewer than he expected) and took three wickets (definitely more than he expected), including one caught behind by Dan, taken with disdain (surprise?) one-handed, which marked his first catch as keeper. Dan duly informed all and sundry that he has never dropped a catch while keeping, a brave claim in any company, especially among 10 Cryptics who witnessed him deflecting an edge off Grindrod to a rather surprised Edwards at first slip just a few overs earlier. Rod has now taken three catches this season, doubling his tally since records began in 1990.

Grinders picked up two further wickets (6-0-24-3), including one clean bowled with his slower ball off the last delivery of his sixth over. Gossy did the only sensible thing under the circumstances and took him off. He was replaced by Dyson, who opened up with a wicket maiden (filthy long-hop twatted to mid-wicket, but never mind). Now, those who were at Headley last year know that when Ed begins his spell in such a manner, fireworks can often follow. On that occasion it was 36 off his second over; on this we had to wait until the fourth, which only went for 24. From having said after his first over that he wanted to roll the pitch up and carry it around with him, he was probably hoping it would open up and swallow him after his fourth.

Most of the damage was done by Shalford no.9, Vorster, who top scored with 43 and pushed his team towards a half-defendable total. The returning Goss accounted for him with one banged in short that he gloved to Dan (who has still never dropped…etc etc). Despite the late acceleration, 164 was always likely to be too few, and far fewer than the injured Seeckts might have guessed at given that he arrived during Ed’s spell and nearly ran a ball-searching Rod over on the A281 that runs past the ground.

In Hoggers’ absence, Pippa was in search of yet another opening partner, Peter Kurtz being offered the slot but preferring to opt for the No.4 berth. This is a mistake he will not make again. Even Dan at No.3 was surplus to requirements, and a middle order containing such proven run-scorers as Scott (playing as a specialist fielder after the previous week’s five-fer and unbeaten 50 – with very limited success, it must be said), Grindrod, Goss, etc had to content themselves with playing with the various Cryptic offspring that were on show.

Although Pippa might normally have drooled over Shalford’s early scoring rate, on this occasion he took 10 off the first over and you sort of knew it was going to be one of those days. Having put his hand up for the other opening slot, Dwight joined in at the other and the progress was swift and untroubled. They posted their 50s one ball apart, none of the eight bowlers used causing much problem.

By the time Dwight was heinously dropped the score was already past 140 and the result a foregone conclusion. He finished on 76* (his highest score in any form of cricket, apparently) and Pippa on 67*, still with 10 of the last 20 overs left.

A good game (for some), played in good spirit. Get your name down early for next season to avoid disappointment.

Sunday 7 August 2011
Blackheath 211 – 9 (41 overs)
SCCC 215 – 7 (40.3 overs)
Won by 3 wickets
SCCC won the toss

Rod Edwards writes:

This was to be a weekend when experience would show youth they still have a bit to learn, just ask the Aussie rugby team. It would also be a weekend when some of the younger generations can show Dad how to do things. Finally it was definitely a captain’s day. The Cryptics fielded a mixed eleven, with Sophie Cooper playing as the first female Cryptic (although we have had a few play like girls) and 11 year old Edward Grindrod helping bring down the average age and weight.

Scotty was captaining the Cryptics for the 2nd time and had the Cryptics fielding on what looked a good track. Grindrod senior and Edwards opened the bowling to a generally youthful Blackheath team. Blackheath scored quite freely with Grindrod senior going for 28 off his 6 overs and Edwards bowling with his usual luck to finish with 0 for 29 off 8 overs. Scottty having dropped a slip catch, showed that captaincy means you can bowl early and came on in the 13th over to bowl unchanged for 15 overs. The first wicket fell at 72 to Scotty which was a high swirler that Sophie took with aplomb – Surrey coaching is clearly good. Blackheath continued briskly moving onto 122 before Scotty got a plumb lbw for his 2nd wicket. Espejo came and went after 3 overs of liquorice all sorts for 20, but not before Scotty waved another catch goodbye. Edward Grindrod then came on and showed wonderful control and spin, as well as probably being quicker than dad.

The spin twins of Little and Large (Who? – Ed) then reeled off 18 overs of delightful spin, showing the Blackheath team cunning, guile and that the Cryptics could surprisingly take catches and Puppy could miss stumpings. There were milestones to be had, with Edwards taking his 2nd catch of the season, Gavin Cooper showing that both family members can catch caught Blackheath’s top scorer Milton for 58. Peter Kurtz, Dwight and Puppy also took catches and Pippa finally took his 100th catch of the modern era. Scotty having decided several times to take himself off, didn’t and reaped the rewards with 5 for 66 off his 15 overs. Young Grindrod couldn’t quite get his first michelle, much to everyone’s annoyance except a relieved Dad. Grindrod junior finishing with 4 for 52 off 9 overs – move over Dad. Blackheath then sportingly declared at 211 for 9 from 41 overs, which was a great comeback by the Cryptics.

The Cryptics opened their reply with Pippa and the in form Dan. Dan stonewalled from one end, being outscored by Pippa who was first out for 13 and the score at 26 in the 10th over. Peter Kurtz came and went before Blackheath introduced their own version of Jimmy/Seeckts in Chambers. Dan cut his average in half by hitting a leg side long hop to short fine leg for 33. When the final 20 overs started the Cryptics were 78 for 3 needing a further 134. Dwight hit a lively 25 before also falling to Chambers who promptly had Sophie stumped to be followed by Dad Gavin. The Cryptics were then 106 for 6 with 13 overs to go. Time for the captain to come good.

Puppy showed his eye was in, as well as his luck getting dropped twice in his 35. Pup finally missed a straight one leaving 41 required from 6 overs. Scotty was hitting the ball beautifully, including a lovely cover driven 6. Grindrod senior, having scored no runs in July found August kinder. Between them they kept the score ticking along while hitting the bad ball to the boundary. In the penultimate over Grinders senior bottom edged to the boundary to bring the scores level, but couldn’t hit the winning run off the last over. Scotty was then facing the last over on 48. Off the third ball Scotty on drove to the boundary to bring up his 50 and more importantly hit the winning runs. It was a great game, played in good spirits – Jingle Bells again.

Sunday 31 July 2011
Oxshott 260-2 dec (47.3 overs)
SCCC126-8 (46 overs)
Match drawn
Oxshott won the toss

Dan Espejo writes:

The suffering of wounded Austrian and Italian soldiers at the Battle of Solferino in 1859 led to the creation of the International Red Cross. While an altogether more gentle encounter took place on the field at Oxshott, without the chap behind the bar and his amply stocked first aid kit, the carnage would have been greater. Both bowling attacks featured an array of spinners and medium pacers, Captain Grindrod’s opening ten over spell after losing the toss was made necessary by a lack of viable alternatives. Debutant Will Hicks, one of two new sons of fathers playing on the day, became the latest in a long line of left arm opening bowlers to go wicketless, but his future is much longer than any of the others.

Grindrod’s miserly spell at Claygate on Friday was noted for his genial behaviour toward the batsman, however normal service was resumed here. The teacher became increasingly curmudgeonly as he was dispatched with some regularity to the long on boundary by the retiring opening batsman Davis. His mood was not lightened when Seeckts bowled Davis early in his spell for 66 with a non-turning twirler. Oxshott’s progress toward an imposing target was largely serene with Davis’ teenage opening partner Harper failing to succumb to tempting pies on his way to an unbeaten 100.

Grindrod turned to a variety of bowlers in a bid to slow Oxshott’s progress, some more unexpected than others. The player profiles section of this website suggests that the last time Richard Atkinson flirted with bowling was in the early 1990s when he captained the Cryptics, however when Pilot Patrick Hicks was struck on the hand dropping a heavy straight drive off his own bowling, aviation fuel began to spurt alarmingly and the leak was only plugged with the assistance of a hand dryer! Hicks Snr had earlier taken an impressive caught and bowled, but any attempt to repeat it was, at best, brave. Atkinson swiftly declared his interest in finishing the over; figures of 0.1-0-4-0 suggest he made need to wait for the next millennium to turn his arm over again.

11 year-old Ed Grindrod’s bowling embodies many of the finer elements of Snr’s. He displayed a fine command of line and length and gave his off spinners a genuine rip, however, he has yet to perfect the Grindrod stare or find ways to get lost in the field.

Unlike the declaration at Shackleford which left the Cryptics no hope of victory, the target of 260 in 46 overs was obtainable yet went untested as the Cryptic innings ground to a halt following Hogben’s dismissal in the 12th over. With 176 runs were required from the final twenty overs, entertainment was provided by Atkinson calling Pippa through for a run following a delivery that had been cleanly taken by the Oxshott keeper.

The Seeckts cavalcade fell victim to a sniper on the hill, which rendered him immobile on the boundary with a bullet in the calf. A figure accompanied by a deathly pale then glided swiftly to the the crease following his dismissal with the same glint in his eye that accompanied the start of his umpiring stint at Cuddington when Goss was caught in the crosshairs, however, his prey fell victim to an LBW decision given by Gavin at the other end that Sir Humphrey Appleby might have described as “courageous”. (That 66 word sentence is beyond editing. Anyone fancy a go? – Ed)The Cryptic innings then petered out as Espejo dropped anchor to help secure the draw in the company of Hicks Jnr, Andrew and Grindrod Jnr.

Editor’s note: Congratulations to Peter Andrew who conceded his 5,000th run during the Oxshott innings. As club statto, he might have kept that one to himself.

Friday 29th July 2011
SCCC 308-4 dec (48.5 overs)
Claygate 212 all out
SCCC won by 96 runs
Toss by negotiation

Richard Seeckts writes:

For our excursion to Claygate’s annual cricket week, an all-day game kicking off loosely at 11:30, the Cryptics were full of Kiwis. Proper Kiwis, tall, youthful, athletic and stylishly stubbled. And Rod was there too. There were records to fall, and a spooky coincidence, possums. But I get ahead of myself.

We know there are runs in the Claygate track (ask James Brooke-Webb) and, in deference to a Claygate side weakened by the sporting and bibulous demands of five consecutive days of cricket, we were happy to have first use. Antipodean debutant Mike Gedye began watchfully, partnered by Dan. Three runs from three overs, 13 from the first five, six of them in a single, sweet pull from Gedye down to the basketball court. Claygate veteran Nigel Abbott was his usual metronomic self, conceding 16 from a seven over spell. The other end was leaking more quickly, and we passed 50 in the 12th over. The next 12 overs saw us accelerate to 150, Gedye in particular driving gloriously off the back foot and – despite a big boundary – reaching or clearing the rope nine times in reaching 50.

We lunched without having lost a wicket, on 177 at 6.5 per over. Mike graciously accepted a retirement at this point, else it was likely one end would be shored up all innings. He was on 106, uncannily identical to our last centurion-on-debut, David Kent, at Ottershaw almost five years to the day earlier. Mike would also repeat David’s feat of a single wicket, later. Lunch was everything it should be on a Friday, the fush’n’chups complemented by a crisp, chilled sauvignon and the port supplemented by a spot of cheese. Eeh, Obadiah, who’d have thought we’d be drinking Chateau de Chasselais…..

Dan resumed with Carlos da Costa, who took 12 from his first five balls before returning to the pavilion, stumps askew. Gavin’s fate was similar, for fewer runs. We were then treated to a fine Cryptic flashback, as Richard Atkinson made his way to the crease, shaking the rust from his blade and his knees in his hundredth recorded appearance for the Cryptics. A man with more than 3,200 Cryptic runs to his name has little to prove, and it was typical of the man that he played out the 39th over as a maiden, while the innings double de-clutched, adding only a handful in some half dozen overs. But Dan had by now reached his maiden century, and was eager for more. Richard rediscovered the middle of his bat, posting a big 6 on the returning Abbott – who, nonetheless, had his revenge in his following over when Richard holed out for a solid 32. Scotty shepherded Dan through the fag-end of the innings, confident that his club record was safe, though ready to call for suicidal running if it were jeopardised. In the end we declared on a club record 308 from almost 49 overs, with Dan undefeated on 139, second-best individual score in the modern era.

Claygate’s response started badly when Rufus Legg, longstanding friend of the Cryptics, edged Grindrod slowly into Seeckts’s hands at first slip without scoring. Cautious progress marked the opening spells, until inspired captaincy and a double change brought immediate results. PAJ’s second ball was edged to gloveman Dan, and the skipper went one better with a successful LBW shout from his first. The veterans continued to push through the middle order, PAJ taking an earth-shattering c&b, and Seeckts gaining a remarkable wicket as opposition skipper Shury played the latest of cuts, only to discover the stumps blocking his path to the ball. But not for long, and the first hit wicket in a while.

Our other debutant, Elliot Scrivenor, having watched his mate Gedye plunder with the bat, was keen to get in on the action. With the rangy build of a scary seamer, he nonetheless opted to put a few slow-uns off a short run. Still quicker than the rest of us, he fizzed down eight overs and was rewarded by a couple of sharp c&b, at a cost of 30. Claygate’s resistance was stubborn, Smith plundering an unorthodox 46, but ultimately futile, Scotty and Gedye picking up a couple of cheapies at the close. Wickets, that is. Claygate closed on 212, having received 49 overs, with a handful of the last 20 remaining. Grinders’ economy was frugal as ever, with seven maidens in 12 overs, and only 16 runs conceded in total. Rod was unlucky to be wicketless, before assuming the gloves. The bye count (21) does not reveal the split between him and Dan, but given Dan was having a day when pensioners and stray children were asking him for his lottery numbers,… His batting average for the season stands at 210.

Justice was done the post-match barbecue, and we look forward to being hosted by our second-most frequent opponents in their new pavilion next year. Oh joy, proper toilets…

Sunday 3rd July 2011
Shackleford 328-7 dec (44 overs)
SCCC 178-8
Match drawn
SCCC won the toss

Rod Edwards writes:

The only thing certain about this Shackleford game, was that after last year’s report writing debacle, Benham would not be asked to put pen to paper. Tommy Hope-Dunbar, captaining in his first game since the 2009 Oporto tour, did his job by winning the toss and electing to bowl. After that success there was little else to follow for the Cryptics.

The experienced Edwards and Grinders opened the bowling, against the younger opening batsmen from Shackleford. Edwards quickly pulled his calf muscle to come out of bowling, as the aggressive Crawford, a NSW under 18 player, played his shots. Grindrod did his best by having Crawford dropped three times. It started with Pippa, still looking for his 100th catch, dropping a tough cut to gully. Next ball Bridges then dropped a more straightforward catch at mid-on. The Cryptic fielding wasn’t going to get any better with five catches in all dropped, including Espejo, Cooper and Hope-Dunbar. Cooper redeemed himself with a high swirler at long-off from Crawford off Espejo, but not before the young Aussie had scored 80 of the first 113 runs. Rushmere then took over making a fine 98 including several sixes. After 25 overs Shackleford had meandered along to a mere 200 for 1.

It turned into a day on which four Cryptic bowlers could have entered the best shopping figures. 17 sixes were hit by the Shackleford batsmen. Cupit led the way conceding 6, Benham had 5 hit off him, Grindrod went for 4 and Hope-Dunbar 2. Figures of 11 overs 1 for 78 by Grindord, 7 overs 0 for 60 by Hope-Dunbar, 7 overs 3 for 64 by Cupit and 5
overs 1 for 56 by Benham showed that Waitrose may be opening a branch in Shackleford soon. The truly surprising stat from the fielding was that Edwards took his 4th catch in the modern era fielding at slip. Dan also redeemed himself taking two catches at cow.

Shackleford batted 44 overs for their 328 for 7 declared, a Cryptic record, but leaving their declaration too late. At tea a major re-audit of the scorebook was required as the Shackleford scorer got confused between the girths of Hope-Dunbar, Benham and Cupit – who could blame him!

The Cryptic batting was opened by Pippa and Grinders. Grinders found that Shackleford could catch and returned for a duck. Carlos Da Costa then found they could field, being run out by a direct hit from side on. Pippa amazed everyone by hitting his first boundary of the year, to be shortly followed by a second, before falling for 15. There was then a procession of batsmen, with the leading score being Extras. Bridges, playing as a batsman, now that his body has given up on him, fell for 24 bowled behind his legs. After 25 overs, the final 20 overs started with the Cryptics being 97 for 5. Espejo then showed, that by borrowing Pippa?s jock strap(!!!), you mainly score in singles. Dan stonewalled 23 overs for his 29 not out, proving some things are duller than his history lessons. He finished equal top score with extras. Benham, Ware and Hope-Dunbar fell in the last 20 overs before Dan and Cupit batted out the last 4 overs for a draw, leaving the Cryptics a distant 175 for 8, thus avoiding a record loss.

The highlight of the Cryptic innings was Puppy, having just been turned down for lbw, went walkabout – try me he said. Well the keeper tried, hit the stumps and Pup walked off, run out. Later protestations that he was stumped were met the same way Dwight thought he had bowled tightly. We retired to the Cider House, for Puppy to be forced to sit in the naughty chair.

Puppy in the naughty chair
Puppy in The Naughty Chair at Shackleford, still looking for toys from previous years.

Sunday 26 June 2011
Cuddington Casuals 169 all out (39.5 overs)
SCCC 169-8 (40 overs)
Cuddington Casuals won the toss, 40 over match

Richard Seeckts writes:

It could have been 1991 again. 10 Cryptics of six nationalities arrived at a municipal, suburban ground and the game started half an hour late. There was controversial umpiring, curious captaincy, talk of tours past and tours future, and Philip Wright got injured. That we failed to win by the narrowest margin, however, suggests that some things have improved since 1991. And by one measure in the scorebook, upon later inspection, we probably scored 170 and won.

Nevermind, Cryptic ties are world-renowned. London, New York, Sydney, Augusta, Cape Town, Melbourne, Copenhagen and here was another, in Morden.

Losing the toss didn’t matter a jot. Skipper Goss took a novel approach, using his first four bowlers in alphabetical order. Edwards, Espejo, Goss, Grindrod. Rod’s pressure of line and length from one end was relieved by Dan’s big swinging allsorts and extras from the other. Not much came off the bat but there was a 10 ball over, wicketkeeper Ware was diving like Dempsey and, needless to say, the shock straight ball hit the stumps.

Cuddington batted with baffling circumspection for most of their innings. Pippa had arrived somewhat grumpy but was purring with admiration as they spurned scoring opportunities well past the 20 over mark, by when they had reached 70 that included the bulk of the 27 extras we donated. It was hot enough for two drinks breaks, but little seemed to be happening between the breaks. Peter Kurtz took a blinding catch off Goss, Puppy had a brief exchange with some local damsels wandering over the outfield and the skipper decided he couldn’t give your correspondent a bowl while a left-hander was in.

Eventually skipper acknowledged that he and Grindrod couldn’t break the partnership and sent for debutant Carlos da Costa, whose CV confesses to education with Polish Pete Kowalski (who was, allegedly, Head Boy!) and a professional association with Rod. He’s a better fielder than both, but couldn’t get the breakthrough and Goss reluctantly tossed the ball to Seeckts at about 120-2 after 26 overs.

Lefty didn’t last much longer, neatly caught by Ware, top scorer Dhillon followed LBW for 52. Grindrod ran out of wicketless overs and stomped off to graze in the distance, chuntering about the injustice of life. Edwards’ and Goss’ second spells got them couple of late scalps each, Keith Taylor taking a marvellous tumbling catch in the deep to assist. Former skipper’s variations deceived a couple more and the collapse was complete. 4-31 from seven overs at the death and murmurs of “Jimmy who?”

Cuddington’s players provided a fascinating tea, few having previously had fish, pasta salad, celery and dip, chocolate cake and crisps on the same plate.Gossy’s plan to win involved sprinkling the tortoises among the hares in the batting order, with Pippa lined up to anchor the innings. So it was a surprise when Goss the umpire gave Pippa LBW for hitting the ball onto his pad in the fourth over. Taylor, playing his first game for six years, joined Grindrod in a partnership destined to infuriate both teams. Calling was erratic; they kept hitting the ball in the air but not quite to fielders. It couldn’t last. Taylor called Grinders (26) through for an easy single, changed his mind, turned his back and ended his mate’s day. More grazing and chuntering.

Puppy came and went for 8 in rapid time, followed by Peter Kurtz, whose partnership of 55 with Taylor was remarkable for its lack of calling or any other form of communication. The collective rust wore off to reveal some splendid stroke making before Taylor fell for 40 and Kurtz 39. Goss arrived to see a grinning Pippa giving him his guard and, naturally, giving him LBW moments later. Oh, how we laughed.

It may have been absolutely plum, but the revenge aspect will be remembered much longer than that.

Unfortunately a comfortable chase was becoming trickier at 117-5 off 29 overs. Da Costa will score more than 10 in future, Espejo was uncharacteristically subdued for 7* in the last seven overs, in which he seemed hell-bent on avoiding the strike. Seeckts carved a perky 15, mostly in the “V” between third man and fine leg before being done by a shooter with 9 runs needed from 11 balls and last man Edwards in.

One too many, as it transpired, and one in the eye for protagonists of limited overs games because ‘they always produce a decisive result.’

Sunday 19 June 2011
Kingstonian 138 all out (37.1 overs)
SCCC 139-4 (35.1 overs)
Won by six wickets
SCCC won the toss, 40 over match

Richard Seeckts writes:

Fixture picking is a noble Cryptic art form often adopted by those in the first phases of parenthood, but refined by those old enough never to be doubted when announcing they have been let down by their body.

Thus Scotty, 254 not out over the previous two Kingstonian games, was so keen to play that he arrived before the start. PAJA, among the bowlers who conceded 231 in 33 overs for a nine wicket thrashing last year, explained that a new pair of shoes had rendered him fit only to score, a task carried out with his usual aplomb. In PAJA’s place was the itinerant Jack Nihill, who bade us farewell last September to travel the world but somehow arrived in New Malden en route from Uganda to Norway. The reward for such atrocious navigation was to bowl and bat, something no other Cryptic did.

Jack’s opening spell was typically parsimonious, 1-7 coming from five overs. At the other end Nick Andrew kept tally-keeping father on his toes, being tonked for 50 in the same time by Khalid, three of whose sixes landed in the adjacent tennis courts. 57-1 off 10. Order was restored by skipper Goss and Scotty (8-3-19-0) who suffocated the scoring with admirable control. Goss took himself off after bowling Khalid for 61, to be replaced by the miserly Grindrod (8-3-16-3).

The week’s heavy rain made for a sticky wicket and slow outfield. Nevertheless, this was a decent show from the regular bowlers and the outfield catching was as good as it gets with the Cryptics. Variety came in the form of Seeckts, developing into a wicket shopper of repute in the absence of Jimmy Greenhough. Two wickets in the first over, one in the third, a couple of catches to deny himself a five-fer, Kingstonian crumbled from 102-3 to 138 all out. Goss and Nihill returned to poach a bunny apiece and the urn beckoned.

By teatime there were 20-odd Crypettes and Cryplets on the ground, so we had a helping hand with the cup cakes. The Cupits arrived with a dog named Warnie who has recently had surgery to cure his limp. Who’d have thought it? And a bloke called Dwight who picks fixtures shamelessly, qualifying on both the criteria above.

The chase was never destined to be a riot of flashing blades to please the crowd. Pippa needed time in the middle and spent 35 overs there, with the ball barely out of his reach throughout. His 50* included 27 singles and no boundaries but was the right approach for the occasion, even with a batting order that boasted Goss, Grindrod and Scott at 9,10,and 11.

Hoggers added three runs to his two earlier catches. Matt Cook went after everything for a breezy 18, Gavin Cooper blustered a curious 10 and Nihill compiled a rusty 27 before skying one halfway to cow corner. Dan Espejo accompanied Pippa over the line, nearly depriving him the half century for which no jug of ale appeared later. Next time Dan. It was clinical, dull even, but effective and it revived a season so far restricted by fate and weather to only three games.

Scotty and Grindrod had lengthy spells umpiring and were unimpressed by the pace of things. Having earlier bowled 16 overs for 35 runs between them, it sounded like a mutter from pot to kettle.

Sunday 22 May 2011
Banstead 229-6 dec (41 overs)
SCCC 157-9 (32 overs)
Lost by 72 runs
SCCC won the toss

Richard Seeckts writes:

A gusty day saw some ageing Cryptic stalwarts flop against a respectable Banstead side, while fainter hearted Cryptics spent their day watching football in SW6. The injured skipper’s absence was keenly felt, albeit only for his ability to bowl and bat. See toss result.

Regular Crypo Dan Espejo had opted to play for the opposition but posed little threat after some gentle midweek mind games. Instead, our eleventh man was Gavin O’Callaghan, recruited (abducted?) by Peter Kurtz in a school playground. O’Callaghan’s day, season, and possibly career were cruelly cut short when he suffered a broken bicep midway through his third over. Chiselled of front row rock, his evident pain put the rest of the day in perspective and we wish Gavin a speedy recovery.

Grindrod and Edwards both hit the stumps early on, but if Banstead had been minded to use the lignum vitae bails, they might not have been dislodged by the veteran pacemen. Early breakthroughs are of debatable merit when they bring better batsmen in too soon, and so it proved as Elster and Reeves built a partnership that put the home side in command. Inspired captaincy meant Pippa bowled first change. The aggressive Reeves was gone after one ball; not dismissed but retired hurt having overstretched to whack the looping dobber offered up. One more wicket would surely bring two, with the twitching Espejo due in at No.6 and Cryptics continually raising their bids to bowl at him. Hoggers took a spectacular tumbling catch off Grindrod and the moment arrived.

Aptly enough, Grinders introduced Dan to the Cryptics in 2007, and he reaffirmed the scholastic pecking order by having him about as LBW as you can be, even on a Sunday afternoon. Elster continued to drive into the growing gaps in the field for 75, Hunt cracked a rapid 61 as the impotence of the Cryptic change bowling was exposed. O’Callaghan looked sharp until his injury, Benham’s four balls to complete the over were plenty for him. Wright, Seeckts and Scotty all tried in vain and James Hogben bowled his first Cryptic over in England, 15 years and 117 games into his career. The fielding disintegrated towards the end, Edwards and Grindrod both returned but got injured and clobbered respectively.

The absent PAJA would have renewed the fixture immediately upon seeing tea. Quite simply, the plates were too small and Mr Kipling did us proud.

230 to win, 41 overs available. 37-3 after 13 ain’t too clever. Pippa bowled for three, bringing his season’s tally to three. Hoggers bowled for 23 from six scoring shots. Gavin Cooper notched a convincing duck and the task was left in the reliable, even classy hands of Nick Benham and Scotty. They added 77 in 11 overs and while they were in tandem a win looked possible. Falling in quick succession for 43 and 47, they opened the door for the skittles that followed. Kurtz and Grindrod slapped a few, and Rod, batting with a runner, hit a six.

Harsh statistic of the day: Wright, Cooper, Seeckts and Ware, the most regular attendees at provincial nets mustered four runs for four wickets. There’s a message in that.

Another three week gap before we re-convene at Follies Farm. Hopefully the effect of all those nets will have worn off by then.

Sunday 1 May 2011
Cobham Avorians 201 all out (44.2 overs)
SCCC 203-7 (39 overs)
SCCC won by 3 wickets

Peter Andrew writes:

And the Cryptics kick off the new season jingling at Avorians. We saw the usual early season rustiness as catches were spurned from the start, ranging from the difficult (Pippa), the average (Rod), the dolly (Goss) and the refusal (PAJ). Only Goss redeemed himself by holding two others, and by throwing down the bowler’s stumps for a run out in the immediate wake of the dolly drop. We took early wickets through Rod and Grind of that ilk, supported by two run outs, and at 130 for 6 it looked as though we might be on for an early tea and back home for Songs of Praise. But a powerful intervention from Tribe at #8 slowed us up, and the skipper eventually turned to our occasional bowlers.

And, as if to prove his position in last season’s bowling averages was no fluke, Seeckts picked up 3 wickets for an eventual 38 runs. (‘Eventual‘ because their scorebook was a little erratic, and most of our bowling figures were subjected to some seasonal adjustment before being accepted as Truth). To chants of ‘Are you Jimmy in disguise?’, Richard picked up a couple of soft ones before clean bowling Avorians’ imported overseas pro for 8. It remained only for Dan – clearly rattled by the pre-match discovery that he might be Rod’s love-child – to give us an entertaining 9-ball 11-run over, before his putative father returned to clear out the last man, leaving Tribe stranded on 57. Proving that he knows how well Cryptics catch, Rod bowled both his victims while conceding a modest 36.

Our reply was fuelled by a fine tea, but was five overs old with our score on 13, when Pippa departed scoreless. He was followed shortly afterwards by debutant Matt Cook, who failed to realise what is obvious potential. Next to go was James Hogben, who had been eschewing anything so vulgar as running, except for his final three, in a knock of 19. 40 for 3, 15 overs gone. Dan and Puppy then gave us a demonstration of running in a stand of 55, featuring six 3’s and an all-run 4. Dan’s departure for 24 brought in Gavin Cooper whose steady 15 gave Puppy great support.

However, at the venue of his maiden century, Tom was unable to repeat the feat, falling for an avoidance-avoiding 43, to go with two catches and a mere five byes. Gavin was bowled shortly afterwards, and nerves were a touch jangled at 156 for 7. Cryptic teams of yore would have crumbled. Mind you, Cryptic teams of yore have crumbled from 156 for 2. But cometh the hour, etc; Grindrod smashed a quick and undefeated 40, with Rod then Seeckts mere bit-part players. Our final score of 203 for 7, reached with two overs of the final 20 remaining, was remarkable not least for extras top-scoring with 50.

An entertaining way to start the season, with Avorians playing their full part. The match could have gone either way until David took it by the scruff, and Avorians laudable policy of playing a mixture of youth and experience in Sunday games was well vindicated.