Played 11 Won 5 Drawn/Tied 1 Lost 5
Sunday 9 September 2012
Woking & Horsell 211 for 5 dec (41 overs)
SCCC 85 all out (26.2 overs)
Lost by 126 runs
Woking & Horsell won toss
Peter Andrew writes:
In July of 1997, we had a forgettable match against Deansbank. Paul Williams took 2 for 39, his best Cryptics performance. Douglas Reeve top-scored with 26. A match remarkable for no reason except for Mark McLoughlin batting at no 4. And our final score of 86. But after last Sunday, that unremarkable match drops out of our 10 worst-ever batting performances.
We hadn’t played for a month. Both our regular openers were unavailable through injury. None of our other specialist batsmen were available. So we turned up to opponents against whom we have one of our worst playing records with a rusty team of 10. We’d been promised a late-arriving Nick Pow. By the time it became clear that late would not be better than never, we’d borrowed the young Chris Pyle, a quarter of Pow’s age, and height. But he was there, fielded like a good ‘un, had a chance to bowl his brother out, and scored as many as four of our top five batsmen did.
A negotiated toss saw our hosts have best use of a hard, grassless track under a blazing sun. This was a pleasant change – Woking are our only opponents to have (and need) mechanical water-sponge. Not today. As usual, there were a number of Hargans in the opposition ranks, and Rod bowled the dangerous elder brother with the score on 22. This was the last time we were in any sort of control. A steady five per over took them casually to a declaration at 211 for 5. Grindrods bowled twelve overs as a family, skipper David conceding a mere 10 from six overs, and young Ed providing Goss with two catches while only conceding 24. Otherwise, catches went the way they usually do in Cryptic fielding performances.
We’ve never scored 200 at Woking. We started the right way, with a bye and a wide from the first two deliveries. Unfortunately, by the end of the over, wickets had caught up with Extras. The score remained on 2 until the fifth over, by which time we’d lost two more wickets. Puppy hadn’t batted for three months, Nick Andrew for two years. Neither lasted to their second ball. We lost another with the score on 9, and the all-time nadir of 37, against Old Salesians, was beckoning. But Seeckts and Grindrod (D) took us past that milestone. Richard, with a solo gritty defensive attitude much missing elsewhere, helped Goss take us to 71 before offering the nagging Guy a return catch. He’s a good bowler, but probably not usually 4 for 8 good. The rest was a shambles, and we capitulated for 85, the same score we made against Claygate in 1991, in the last year of the Dickson era. But in that game we made them struggle, Jimmy taking 5-39 before they passed us with seven down. Must have been something in the wicket in that game.
Hopefully we’ll do better next year, because Woking & Horsell are a decent bunch of people as well as a decent bunch of cricketers, and they deserve a better game at the fag-end of the season.
Richard Seeckts writes:
After another rain break long enough to forget how to play cricket, the Cryptics limped into Blackheath for August’s only game to the unfamiliar sights of bright sunshine and a hard pitch. Probably the loveliest ground we currently visit was at its picture perfect best, more than can be said for our cricket.
It all started in high spirits; antipodeans Goss and Edwards marking out their run ups while the English contingent talked about the Olympic medal table. Everything was following a regular pattern until Goss’s first ball met the bat and fizzed off towards the extra cover boundary. And so it continued, 34 off the first five overs and a rare tonking for our MCC Playing Member, 1-58 off nine overs. Edwards, the more economical of the pair, was swiftly replaced by skipper Grindrod whose lack of pace did for the aggressive Hardcastle, castled by and even slower one. Maidens followed, but not for long.
Grindrod foolishly pouched a sharp catch in the gully (Pippa who?) off Goss, bringing Mostin-Dye (better check that name PAJA) to the crease. He walked down the pitch before Goss sent down his first ball, and his second ball and pretty much every ball he received unless wicketkeeper Cooper was standing up to the stumps. With little regard for what the bowlers offered, he whipped and steered through the leg side at will to a chanceless 85*, while wearing a Cranleigh Prep School Under 11s 1999 shirt, the provenance of which remained a mystery. No.3 Crarte joined the fun in more conventional style, finally flaying a PAJA half-volley to the bucket hands of Keith Taylor at extra cover. Rod’s and Gavin’s earlier drops didn’t cost much more than 50.
Grindrod Jnr had a quick twirl and Seeckts one over to ensure the declaration came once Blackheath skipper Giles had applied some gloss to his own average.
A reasonable target, good track, fast outfield, plenty of time but a dizzily daft capitulation. Taylor took 13 off the second over, leaving Peter Kurtz time – one ball – to get himself stumped. Taylor went LBW next ball at the other end, rapped on the toe. Scottie and Dwight Cupit took up arms briefly, a straight one sending Cupit back to the crèche on the boundary. Seeckts came to steady the ship but departed puzzled when an appeal from behind got the better of umpire Kurtz. Grindrod’s scoop to square leg was ghastly, Scotty sensed a jug coming so holed out for 41. 90-6 off 23 overs. Game all but over.
There was a rally, Gavin Cooper biffing and edging a career best 31 before missing a straight one, and Goss enjoying the freedom of the situation by thrashing nine fours in a rapid 42. Scoring as fast as he had conceded runs earlier, he was unfortunate to be given out, caught behind off his forearm, after which the end came quickly. There was an aroma suggesting Blackheath’s wicketkeeper / skipper knew he’d been fortunate with the umpiring, but his intent to win overcame a good spirited suggestion from within his team. It didn’t change the result, but it tarnished an otherwise very pleasant day.
Peter Andrew writes:
On the weekend of 15th /16th June 2002, two remarkable things happened. Firstly, Near Earth Asteroid ‘2002 MN’ missed the earth by a mere 75,000 miles (about 1/3 the distance to the moon). And the Old Salesians beat the Surrey Cryptics by 51 runs. Ross Greenwood took 4 for 29. Kiwis Andrell (33) and Edwards (17, batting at 8 on merit) scored more than half our runs. Only one of these events is in Wikipedia, perhaps surprisingly, because that was the first time since 1991 that Cryptics had lost three matches on the spin. And the last.
Until the Friday of the Claygate Cricket Week. Last year, we prevailed in the corresponding fixture by importing a couple of excellent Kiwis, and by most of the Claygate team having been in a lock-in until three that morning. But the management of the bar in their smart new clubhouse frowns on such frivolous, licence-threatening behaviour, and it was a largely clear-eyed and alert opposition that pitched up to face the Cryptics at the end of July. Gossy was captain in his 100th match, we batted first. Lost the toss, obviously.
Rod has scored more runs when opening than at any other position in the batting order, and he had his annual outing here. He was accompanied by Paul Gamble who, having had four years to recover from his first experience of playing for the Cryptics, was back for another go. Before long, Rod gave way to Ed Dyson, who picked up his maiden 5 in a 51-run partnership. Gamble was taking his time, milking the area down towards 3rd man. An underestimate of the athleticism of Claygate’s youngster Boyce led to Ed being triggered, run out for 27. Dwight’s penchant for the delicate dab was betrayed when he tried a shot in front of square and was caught at cover for 3. Scotty, who likes batting here (averaging 64 in 9 visits), and Gamble put on another 60, interrupted by lunch (twice).
The new clubhouse’s catering arrangements mean that fish and chips are a thing of the past. Lamb stew and vegetables provided a healthier option. The Scottish approach to vegetables was evident on Tommy’s plate. Port remains a luncheon component, served in individual glasses to try and avoid Tommy annexing the bottle. A tactic that was partly successful.
With our score on 133, Paul departed, his anchor role in counterpoint to a rapid-fire partnership of 62 in fewer than 10 overs between Scotty and Tommy. However, when Scotty was finally stumped for 56 to make it 195 for 5, the earlier, steady pace was more than vindicated in the face of a quintessentially Cryptic middle order collapse that required only five further overs to move us to 209 for 9. Only some vigorous cavalier batting from youthful debutant Alex Bond (16* in four scoring shots) put us in a declaration position at 229, after 51 overs. Extras, helped by two sets of 5 wides, were one short of a jug.
Claygate went off more sedately than we had, in the face of a sharp opening attack of Bond and Goss. After 10 overs, they had 25 for 2, with one for each opener (including Goss’s 150th for the club). By contrast, we had been 58 for 1 after 10. It took Claygate another ten overs to reach that score, but they did so without losing another wicket as Price and Guyatt made measured progress against the change bowling. Sophie Cooper put in a tidy spell, and will bowl worse for more success. Guyatt went at 103, Price at 108, and skipper Labacik at 128 (for a duck, like his counterpart). PAJ got all three. We were in with a shout, but a powerplay from Jones and good support from Dear (batting deceptively lower than his usual opener status) took the game away from us. Dear finally went to a quite superb diving, tumbling one-hander from Gavin Cooper off Rod, but by then it was just a bit too late, and Claygate cleaned it all up in the penultimate over.
A post-match session enlivened by the company and by the Olympic opening ceremony had the Cryptic stragglers heading home well after dark. Good match, fine session. Shame about the result.
40 over match
Peter Andrew writes:
The Cryptics side at Holybourne was full with people who remember when snooker was all about Higgins and Taylor. Well, sport on Sunday was all about the Bradleys, Wiggins and Taylor, with only one of them old enough to hero-worship Paul Weller. Most of the Cryptics, by contrast, could remember Keith Weller. A few were from the era of Sam Weller. [Oh, do stop – Ed]. Suffice to say that the Cryptics were represented by 1,343 caps. Only four had fewer than 100, including Goss (99) and Cupit (95).
There being so many former skippers on show, Seeckts (2-Ex) claimed local knowledge, and took precedence over Goss (Ex) and Atkinson (XXXX). For devious and ultimately futile reasons, he felt we should bat first, and thus negotiated the toss. [Cryptics bat first? Pah! It just ruins tea for the bowlers. It’ll end in tears, you mark my words. Ed]. In a 40-over game, Wright and Hogben took us to 35 from 8, and we waited for the acceleration. But James played all around a lowish, slowish one and was triggered by umpire Goss. It might have been given in compensation for his not watching when Philip was probably run out three balls earlier, but that may just be an ugly rumour.
A sad procession against average bowling disposed of Cupit (15), Cooper (6) and Wright (30). Greenhough and Atkinson share a city and a football team, and on Sunday shared 8 runs. We were 114 for 6, after 30 overs. But the day had, at least, been brightened by two monster 6s from 2-cap Andy Rayner. He picked up another couple in a fine, undefeated knock of 66, watched at close range by Seeckts (6 in a partnership of 29) and Goss (2 in a partnership of 31). We closed on 174, which didn’t seem enough, even on a low, slow track.
Holybourne went off at speed, picking up 36 in 5 overs, before Newens was bowled by Goss. Paul hasn’t moved to third in the bowling statistics by relying on his fielders (almost 45% of his 149 victims have been bowled), and he quickly clattered the timbers twice more. We saw a chink of light. But while Hampshire is the County of Jane Austen (it said so on the road signs), it was no country for old men, and the flighted guile of Greenhough and Andrew went unrewarded. But Rayner disposed of Pinnock (bowled, again) to put Holybourne on 87 for 4. The light gleamed a bit stronger. But 5-wicket hero Masters joined youthful opener Bradley Taylor, and the light dimmed as the pair steered their side within easy sight of victory. Taylor then posted his century and, a worthy milestone achieved, he retired, presumably happy to escape the sub-Brandes-quality sledging he was getting from our skipper. A run out later, Holybourne were home and hosed with 6 down. The candle guttered, and died.
On a statistical rarity of a day, the Cryptics didn’t drop any catches. Mainly because Holybourne didn’t hit the ball in the air very much. We stand at one win apiece with these WAG-friendly opponents, and we look forward to the Seeckts’ lunchtime hospitality (probably the best Cryptic performance of the day) in future years.
40 over match
Toss won in skipper’s absence
And it was all looking so good just after the tea break. The Cryptics had restricted Follies to 136 from their 40 overs with some miserly bowling and tight fielding and Pippa had just hooked the first ball of the reply for four (I kid you not). Less than 3.5 an over to get; what could possibly go wrong?
Fast forward 36 painful overs and you have your answer: 10 Cryptics back in the hutch with not even 100 on the board in a run chase that was behind the required pace by the fourth over.
Part of the benefit of fielding first (apart from the bowlers being able to tuck into the – very – locally sourced ham and egg sarnies at the interval) is having 40 overs to gauge the relative merits of pitch and outfield. Despite having a teacher as skipper, however, the Cryptics showed that they had learnt nothing from the experience as a sorry procession traipsed back to the pavilion, for the most part having fallen victim to the deadly combination of slow, low bounce and lack of talent.
Just four of the 11 reached double figures: Pippa (19), Gossy (14), Grinders (13) and debutant Andy Rayner, who top scored with 23. A very similar looking Andy Raynor also acquitted himself well on the bowling front (could we please find out how he spells him name?), coming on towards the end to claim figures of 4-0-1-12, although the usual late-innings thrash was not forthcoming, Follies moving from 122 to 136 in the final five overs. Such circumspection was perhaps something else we should have learnt from.
In truth, the foundations of what would turn out to be an insurmountable score had already been laid by then, overs 20–30 being the key as Follies moved from 52 to 108 courtesy of number 7, Cryer, who ended on 51, and number 8, Tebbit (33). Coincidentally, they were also two of only four of the team that reached double figures, although the difference in aggregate was 36, somewhere close to winning margin. Also completely coincidentally, Seeckts bowled five overs for 37.
The rest of the bowling analyses were tidy, as would be expected given the total, Goss returning figures of 8-1-15-2 – upsetting the natural order of things by being hit back over his head in his first spell but not his second – Rod almost mirroring this with 8-1-17-2, Tommy H-D chipping in with 8-0-29-1 and captain Grindrod proving he’s not a maths teacher by finding himself stranded on 7-0-22-1.
At one stage it looked as if it was only a matter of time before the entire Follies team had to retire hurt, thus resulting in some sort of walk, or maybe, hobbleover. Previous nemesis David Leng didn’t even make the starting line-up, while Tebbit scored the bulk of his runs with a runner, having torn a calf, or some other farming metaphor. He did return to field, however, unlike Spiers (hamstring), who offered to umpire instead and ensured that there was clean sweep for either bowled or caught by adjudging the Puppy LBW, a decision that caused the Ware family to welcome home their patriarch rather sooner than expected.
In terms of the Follies bowling, by far the pick of the bunch from a statistical point of view was Griffiths, playing his second game for the Farm, who returned figures of 6.1-1-7-4. It transpired that said Griffiths was known to the Puppy, their having met at a dinner party a while back. Sadly, however, the Pup was not around after the game to try his hand at recruitment…
Richard Seeckts writes:
Cricket’s a funny old game, some say, which puts this visit to Claygate in the LMFAO (ask your children) category. In iffy weather, the Cryptics notched a third convincing win in four games under the new regime. For a bunch of fat old blokes to have taken 39 wickets in four games and lost only 19 is quite impressive, all the more so considering another hat-load of catches were dropped / refused this week.
Ultimately the day belonged to James Hogben. Fifteen years and 118 appearances after his previous career best 95 on the same ground, he reached his first Cryptic ton, a majestic 120*, to win the match at a canter. On both occasions he was batting No.3, on both occasions his knock began in the company of a moribund Pippa. On this occasion he batted 12 overs with a Blackberry in his pocket, perhaps a 21st Century emulation of Cryptic legend Nigel Dunnett, who scored a ton at Headley using a packet of B&H as his thigh pad. (Mrs Dunnett spent the next month telling the world he’d got a hundred at Headingley.)
Claygate’s innings was a helter skelter affair, unpredictable and never dull. 47-1 off eight overs, the openers playing a shot-a-ball, as if they knew the rain was coming at 6.15pm. It did. Skipper Grindrod, clearly shaken by such disrespect, took himself off untypically early, giving way to PAJA, a man accustomed to being tonked into neighbouring postcodes at Claygate. Rod Edwards found a weakness in Claygate’s method – the straight ball – and snaffled three wickets in quick succession. 104-6 from 19 overs and catches galore already downed.
Few teams respond to such a predicament by scoring 100 in 10 overs, even with Cryptics bowling at them, but Harman (42) and South African skipper Schulz (67) attacked everything with gusto, to the great entertainment of all. Andrew, Scottie, Seeckts and Hope-Dunbar went for 6, 7, 8 and 9 runs per over respectively overall, and while Seeckts actually bought the wickets of both big hitters and a third one, Scottie was purely window shopping and Tommy (being Scottish) wouldn’t buy more than one.
W G Grace (“They came to see me bat, not you bowl.”) even got a mention when Schulz, bowled by Seeckts, promptly turned around, re-assembled the stumps and wanted to carry on in the belief that he had survived a stumping attempt. The innings ended with a brilliant diving catch by Tommy off Grinders, who had brought himself back on to poach a bunny. By 4.20pm Claygate had enough runs, but too quickly for their own good. Tea was taken with enough time left for the Cryptics to receive 50 overs to score 233.
As ever, Claygate tea was a sumptuous spread for all tastes except, possibly, coeliac. It was sad when flannels gave way to man-made fibre trousers, but elasticated waistbands are a Sunday cricketer’s blessing. Especially if he’s only got to score afterwards.
Lots were drawn in the dressing room for the batting order. Dan Espejo chose to open, not surprising after his 139* last time here. Few are lightning-struck twice, however, and after a quick 4,3,2,1, OUT sequence, Dan was back in civvies and ready for a long spell in the umpire’s coat. With 50 overs to bat, Pippa set out his stall for a half century in the last over and was almost halfway there (22 off 22) when put out of his misery. By now Hoggers was the beneficiary of some loose bowling. We all know how bad balls get wickets (look at the all time bowling records) but he clouted everything short or wide, hitting 21 fours and, more remarkably, a three. Scottie joined the fun, looking all class and confidence for a brisk 31. Peter Kurtz smacked a breezy nine before being triggered, leaving Tommy H-D (27*) the ideal partner for the tiring Hogben, a pair that deals almost exclusively in singles and boundaries.
James richly deserved his glorious day. He’s been quiet but constant for almost a generation and now sits within a few good knocks of third on the all time run scorers’ list. Natasha, Queen of Cryptic WAGs, must have watched more Cryptic games than anyone in history, and the spirit in which we play was neatly encapsulated when the young Hogbens, Alexander and Oliver, were allowed to run onto the pitch to congratulate Dad on reaching his century.
Gavin Cooper didn’t bowl or bat, but he kept wicket again and was hardly noticed – a sure sign of a good ‘un.
There is a photo of Tommy with a jug of beer he bought in 2009, in the Claygate pavilion. Such a rare event prompted social historians to remove the entire building brick by brick and reconstruct it as hardcore under the Olympic Park. A tree has been planted on the site (there’s no money growing on it yet, Tommy checked) beside which is a marvellous new edifice, complete with spacious, lockable dressing rooms and a splendid main club dining room / bar. Members of Claygate dreamed, worked and fundraised hard for 25 years to achieve their fabulous new facilities. We congratulate them on their success and are proud to have sponsored a ‘brick’ in the new pavilion.
It needs a bell to jingle when we come to town, though.
Richard Seeckts writes:
In marked contrast to the shambles of Stoke d’Abernon a fortnight earlier, a Cryptic side showing five changes produced a clinical and almost flawless performance to see off Banstead with nearly eight overs to spare. Perfect cricket weather brought the best out of some far from perfect cricketers.
Nevertheless, the wickets, catches and run outs mostly came from long odds bets, and the runs from three men having their first knock of the season, or the decade. Captain Grindrod, under the watchful gaze of three illustrious predecessors, shamelessly grabbed tidy bowling figures (8-1-17-1) by getting through his overs in one opening spell, then marched out to bat with 63 needed from 20 overs and managed a cheeky 44* as the bowlers and fielders surrendered to the inevitable. Banditry of the first order. That he was able so to dominate the later stages of the chase is indicative of how a ‘no pressure’ situation got to Scottie, whose scratchy 17 made one think he was batting with a walking stick. Richard Atkinson’s cameo 4* was just enough to show he can still do it without harming his career average or increasingly fragile limbs.
Such a comfortable stroll to the target was facilitated by Pippa (13) and the returning Big Jim Streeter (60) laying a firm foundation before the tall guy let fly with some rasping drives and pulls, adding 44 in six overs with the lesser spotted Keith Taylor (17), who had turned up for his now annual exercise in measuring the increasing disparity between his calling and his running.
The day’s first conundrum, after losing the toss again, was to find a wicketkeeper. Gavin Cooper volunteered and promptly gave the first Cryptic bye-free display under the coalition. Demonstrating agility well beneath his years and, at times, bravery down the leg side bordering on sheer stupidity, Cooper got something in the way of everything. The pace of Goss, the wobble of Grindrod, the swing of Paul Bridges were all nonchalantly taken. He then stood up for the darts of Scott and the variations of line from Seeckts and length from Hope-Dunbar but still stopped anything that passed the bat. And the usual dross coming back from the fielders, all of whom lost in the silent(ish) sweepstake on the bye count. Puppy who?
The Goss / Grindrod opening combination prevented Banstead from making much of a start. Grinders got an LBW some umpires might have declined, but otherwise they dealt mostly in dot balls. Gossy’s five overs at the beginning and three at the end cost only 14 runs and yet, bizarrely, he never looked like getting a wicket. That honour fell to Paul Bridges, the baby of the side at 34 who finished with 8-0-40-5. A ‘Michelle’ in his seventh game for the club, that’s just 93 games (and still counting) quicker than Grindrod and Edwards, not that anyone mentioned it as the jugs were shared out. Bridges, you see, didn’t rely too much on his fielders, hitting the stumps three times, getting the benefit of an LBW shout and getting lucky when Seeckts made light of a well struck head-high drive to mid-on. For the same fielder to make equally light of an over-the-shoulder, out-of-the-sun steepler off Hope-Dunbar later in the innings could have won a punter a tidy sum, but a trifecta of those catches and a spectacular direct hit run out by the deceptively lithe, swooping former-former skipper would have bankrupted bookmakers on a Greek scale. Stunned silence, then noisy, mildly abusive incredulity from all concerned. Just one of those days really, time will tell if it lives on like the Fine Young Zionists’ match.
Sunday 13 May 2012
Stoke d’Abernon 193-9 dec (44 overs)
SCCC 128-7 (41 overs)
Stoke d’Abernon won the toss, declaration match
Richard Seeckts writes:
This was a Cryptic performance best forgotten. That we escaped with a draw was only down to a solid unbroken eighth wicket stand occupying 18 overs between Tommy Hope-Dunbar and Kiwi Elliott Scrivener, who brought up his maiden Cryptic 50 in the final over. Thus, on a day when records for poor performance were threatened, ultimately a new all time 8th wicket stand record of 84 pushed the Edwards / Brooke-Webb 75 in 1999 into second place.
Raining raining spring gave the ground underfoot a feel of February, and Stoke’s groundsman had done brilliantly to produce a playable pitch, albeit slow and low. Grinders opened his reign as skipper with a duff call, the other side of the coin giving Stoke first use.
Our fielding withered on the vine and we paid the price. One’s too many when it comes to dropped catches, but after last week’s good show in the field we were nutted by reality for no reason and produced a chicken and feathers display.
Hard hitting opener Nick Lo treated Grindrod’s half volleys without love but there was to be no sound of breaking glass, the pitch being as far from the pavilion as possible. When Grinders finally sneaked one under Lo’s bat, young Dowthwaite showed great heart in anchoring the innings for a two hour 62. Scrivener shared the new ball with the skipper, had a second spell before the declaration and would have been the pick of the bowlers had he not ended wicketless. Scottie and Hope-Dunbar were chosen to bowl the easy mid-innings overs, snaring three and two wickets respectively, largely thanks to the lack of bounce. By the time Dowthwaite was caught biffing a Seeckts full toss to cow corner, Stoke had plenty.
The trail of tears that followed beggared belief. Pippa and Hoggers decided to play accurate bowling with their pads time and again, both eventually falling LBW having tested the umpires’ considerable patience to the limit. Cooper swatted his third ball to mid off, Ware caressed his straight to extra cover, called ‘yes’ for his Red Bull run and was sent on the long walk back by a direct hit from Hall. Not a lucky dog. Dwight Cupit must be angry at batting 34 balls for his five, Espejo was quicker going about his four. At 34-6 after 19 overs we began to thumb through the record books, albeit half-heartedly as this cock-eyed batting order gave us a tail of Scott, Hope-Dunbar, Scrivener, Grindrod and Seeckts.
Having been deemed a bowler before tea, Scottie batted like one (44-7), Tommy took responsibility for avoiding as much strike as possible and Scrivener alone got to grips with salvaging Cryptic pride.
We have 14 days to come back pinker and prouder at Banstead. Cruel to be kind? Oh, enough, enough…….
Richard Seeckts writes:
London’s Olympic Year got off to a thumping win for the Cryptics. New club captain David Grindrod kicked off by not turning up. Rod Edwards reached a century of Cryptic appearances (in the modern era) and marked the occasion by registering his best bowling figures, 4-20. That’s right, dear reader, our opening / strike / lightning bowler has never taken a five-for (in the modern era). That two catches were dropped from consecutive balls in his final over is neither here nor there; all Cryptic bowlers have to tolerate Cryptic fielding. That those two drops were the only drops on an afternoon when seven catches were held is something for conspiracy theorists.
Most remarkable is that we played at all. Plaudits galore to Avorians for wanting to play and not being precious about their pitch. It was mud, the divots from Saturday’s game gave the look of the first tee on a pay and play golf course, there had been more rain overnight so batting was almost guesswork. Avorians’ guesswork, sadly, wasn’t much cop.
But who would have guessed that Rod would hit the stumps in his first over? Or that Gavin Cooper would hold a catch in the second? And Dan Espejo another in the third? Dan was skipper for the day and, having learned much from previous Cryptic captains, that catch was his only contribution beyond managing to get all 10 others to bat or bowl in a game of only 34.3 overs.
Gossy was wagging his tail and chirping in the field like ex-skippers do. He bowled rather well too (5-1-6-1) without due reward before giving way to PAJ Andrew who was, arguably, whistled up to make life easier for the batsmen. Such occasion often inspires PAJA to poke his captain in the eye and with figures of 5-0-13-4 Dan was left virtually blinded. Four catches were sent to all points of the compass, all were held. Edwards’ hard-done-by look said it all as Kurtz (twice) and Seeckts showed fly-paper hands where Edwards had found only butter-fingers. Paul Bridges sent down three overs of sprightly away-swingers, stuff that will be better rewarded when summer arrives.
With change of innings closer to lunchtime than tea, the old firm of Pippa and Hoggers set about the chase with gusto. 12 from the first two overs (Pippa 1, Hoggers 11), then a sedate plod to victory. Hoggers obligingly spooned one back to the bowler to open the rabbit warren that is the Cryptic middle order. Cooper 1, Kurtz 0, Seeckts 3 can’t claim not to have had value for their match fee. Tom Ware accompanied the grimly determined Wright over the line and warm handshakes all round put paid to any threat of a beer match.
Unsurprisingly, there was much merriment over cakes and ale. The Cryptics are as happy and united as ever, and there’s much to debate after a long winter. This team, however, has celebrated 487 birthdays and 1157 caps. Clearly we enjoy each other’s company and love coming back for more, but there is a need for some recruitment and succession planning if the next batch of club ties is to be sold.
So if you are an internet lurker reading this, come and play. It’s hard to be a misfit among so many others.