Played 13 Won 5 Drawn/Tied 4 Lost 4

Sunday 8 September 2013
Woking & Horsell CC 171-7 dec (40 overs)
SCCC 175-3 (28.3 overs)
Won by 7 wickets
Declaration match, Woking & Horsell won the toss

Richard Seeckts writes:

History records rain as a regular hors d’oeuvre for our Woking fixture. This year the rain returned for a main course, nipped off briefly and returned for cheese, port, brandy and cigars Cryptic style. Much of the Cryptic innings was played in filthy conditions, the outfield awash in places as fielders made a game of diving about in the mud, cheerfully marking the season’s finale with admirable determination to see the game through to its conclusion. Sou’westers off to our hosts of W&HCC.

Luckily, Woking now own covers and a super-soppa. Well, a big sponge on a wheel which someone has to push around, but it does a good job on the wettest of the used pitches while the covers keep the match pitch dry until you carry on playing in a deluge. Then the falling over starts, though it would be so, so wrong to liken Hoggers or Keith to Bambi.

Skipper for the day (me) maintained Grinders’ record of losing the toss, and off went Woking’s young’uns at five an over while Rod sought his radar and Paul Bridges worked up some steam. It looked like being a long afternoon, Suddenly Hayes, a kiwi of some talent, clubbed Rod (another kiwi) to Stu H-S, loitering out of position towards long off. Stu’s spent the summer making simple catches look hard, and this was no exception as he added a juggle to his show and, crucially, held on.

Jonny Hargan’s sideshow continued past 50, Chris Windeatt had his first bowl for the club without reward and Scotty, currently tarting his talent around at Follies Farm, may have had his last, if the fee is sufficient. Scotty’s wicket was another catch in the deep by Keith. 107-2 and Stu shackling, but not dismissing, a circumspect No.4 to flattering effect.

Five bowlers having failed to snare the dangerman Hargan, skipper was forced to bowl himself and quickly had his scalp, caught by a surprised Bridges a long way out. Two wickets in successive balls in Seeckts’ next over prompted everyone to run for cover, specifically to avoid the prospect of a hat-trick. It was, coincidentally, raining hard, so an eight month wait for the hat-trick ball looked possible.

The clouds lifted after an extended tea midway through the 34th over at 145-5. Woking batted on briefly, Bridges castling two successively in the final, sloggy over.

With time short and a maximum of 31 overs available, birthday boy Pippa was off like the clappers, taking a single off each of the first two overs, then falling for six in the sixth. Keith was joined by Hoggers, unseen since early July and lucky to survive at least three chances before reaching 10. He was soon into his stride as the rain varied between light, heavy and, briefly, torrential. Tumbles were taken, not least by both batsmen, and Keith was face down in a puddle when run out for 25.

Puppy, who not only turned up this week but also stayed to the end, adding a cultured five before Scotty (24*) joined Hoggers to see us home, 86 coming in 11 overs of generous bowling of a very wet ball. Hoggers ended on 89*, spurred on by news from his partner that he was passing Andrell and Seeckts to become all-time third highest run scorer for the club. A fine achievement by a trusty Cryptic in front of three generations of his family.

A happy end to a season that saw new players recruited, occasionals became regulars, and all 13 matches completed with five wins, four draws and four losses. Nobody retired from playing, so things look more promising for the future, with a tour already arranged for Oporto in September 2014.<

Stat of the year: We conceded four individual centuries and four more scores of 80 or more. We scored one individual century and two scores over 80. And that’s why we love declaration matches.

Hoggers at woking and horsell cricket club
Hoggers 89* – Woking & Horsell, September 2013

Sunday 1 September 2013
SCCC 239-4 (35 overs)
Grafham & Smithbrook CC 240-6 (34.5 overs)
Lost by 2 (not 4) wickets
Grafham & Smithbrook CC won the toss
35 over match (adjusted from 40 after half an hour)

Richard Seeckts writes:

Another Conference fixture due to overwhelming demand and availability; 14 during the week, 10 on the day and a Puppy locked in his kennel for administrative failings. Coincidentally, Grafham also had nine men, the numerical difference between the sides being the best cricketer in her family, Sophie Cooper.

The scores on paper / screen suggest something more thrilling than it was, for the result rested entirely on whether we dismissed their hard-hitting star batsman, Rowland. He began the match as wicketkeeper, morphed into a respectable death bowler with 2-30 off five overs, came in to bat with Grafham needing 141 to win from 15 overs, and was dismissed for 121 with the scores level. That’s pretty devastating batting by any standard, but is it what 21 others (or in this case, 18 others) give up their Sunday afternoon for?

It wasn’t his fault Keith dropped him before he had 10, or Pippa when he had passed 100 and, in all fairness, he came in at number 6 (of 9). Had we dropped the catches earlier to delay Mr Rowland’s arrival, we’d have won handsomely.

Grafham’s is a small and pleasant ground, surrounded by brambled woodland in most directions and the A281 along one side. It has ‘lost ball’ written all over it, and yet the original match ball lasted at least 55 of the 70 overs before it finally hid from Rowland’s “400 pound bat”. We wondered how he managed to lift such a monster.

After the obligatory maiden while Pippa marked his territory, he and Keith set about some tasty opening fair with elan. Sufficient time was spent ball-hunting in the woods for the game to be reduced to 35 overs with September twilight in mind. When better bowling was offered, they ran ones, until Pippa went for 44 in the 19th over. Scotty joined Keith and a big total looked on immediately they started competing for boundaries hit, as well as the regular tussle for strike on the sixth ball of each over. Keith holed out for a lifetime best 94, Scotty opened his shoulders for 54 and Tommy first prodded, then slogged 34*, taking 16 off the final over.

All the while, Sophie fiddled with an Ipad, producing a mass of information and analysis on each player, wagon wheels and graphs galore which served to confirm what we already know; that no real pattern emerges when one bunch of middle aged village cricketers sends down 35 overs at a similar bunch. PAJA, be not afraid.

After tea, the response. Paul Bridges escaped too much punishment by bowling most of his overs early on, while Ed Grindrod was harshly treated opening at the other end. Then we took it in turns to be carted into neighbouring postcodes, though Sophie kept things under control better than most. Papa Gavin initially stood up to the stumps, but retreated upon understanding the potential humiliation of conceding byes off his daughter.

13 were required from Grinders’ last over. Rowland was caught by Tommy at long on from the third ball, but the scores were already level.

Sunday 18 August 2013
Chipstead Coulsdon & Walcountians CC 189-9 dec (37 overs)
SCCC 166-9 (37 overs)
Match drawn
Declaration game, SCCC won the toss

Richard Seeckts writes:

Such is the plethora of new old talent to join the old old Cryptic talent this year that an extra fixture was arranged at a rare middle-of-nowhere spot, not far inside the M25. The only reason not to play Chipstead Coulsdon and Walcountians Cricket Club again is PAJA’s concern that the name is too long for his record keeping software.

Everything else was as the God ‘Cryptos’ would have wished. A good pitch on a beautiful ground, first class pavilion facilities, delightful people of mixed ages and abilities, TWO eager and meticulous scorers, an impartial umpire, new practice nets, and no question of playing limited overs cricket. And the tea. Salad and water melon were offered, but largely overlooked by the Cryptic tea committee in favour of the sumptuous spread of things you don’t get at home. PAJA, not required to score after tea, took up the challenge and was still offering praise to the tea lady after 8pm, in hope of renewing the fixture.

Either side of tea, and before a scoop at the well stocked bar, was a cricket match. Grinders stuck them in and a youngish top three went off at the gallop. That’s how 18-year-olds bat these days, so when they offer a catch it’s worth taking. By and large we did that, the exception being this week’s “Bridges moment” (a drop that goes over your head for four), provided by skipper Grindrod.

Debutant John Beckett and second capper Chris Muldoon shared the new ball, mixing the good with the rusty and thus giving the look of Cryptic old-hands. Skipper started taking the wickets, PAJA nipped one and Stu Heniker-Smith greedily nicked three in his first two overs. From 78-1, CCW were suddenly 117-6, and the swashbuckling sons were replaced by their more sedate fathers.

Toby Seeckts and Ed Grindrod had a twirl. If the club has a long term future, these two will be instrumental. Gavin Cooper took three more catches in his big gloves to further his claim to be the club’s second best left handed wicketkeeper.

Grindrod father and son opened the batting, unashamedly fulfilling a wish to bat together. Father played responsibly and well, son perished for 0 in the sixth over. Thereafter was a procession of not quite looking like we’d get there without something special happening. Seeckts Snr (1) fell to a ghastly shot, Tommy struck a belligerent 28, Gavin a ponderous four. Richard Atkinson, having failed to cry off during the week, enjoyed 45 minutes’ batting from a different era (including a sweetly timed drive over mid off for four) and remembered what fun this game can be.

Stu, now three times the cricketer he was in May, entertained for 20, Beckett and Muldoon opened their accounts and PAJA got off the mark. By now our sights had been adjusted from win to draw but, to keep it interesting, PAJA became the ninth wicket with 10 balls remaining. Last man Toby saw out the penultimate over, studiously leaving anything not straight for a valuable 0*. Muldoon prodded the final over away and a fine afternoon ended with honours even.

Sunday 11th August 2013
Blackheath 234 for 6 (36 overs)
SCCC 229 for 7 (41 overs)
Match Drawn
Declaration game, Toss ‘Need you ask’

The skipper writes (as no one else would):

One of the strongest Cryptics teams for a while, or so we told ourselves, convened outside the smart new Blackheath pavilion. The skipper lost the toss again, despite canvassing opinions from his charges, and tossing up with a stand in captain. Having been asked to field we then ran into Blackheath’s young proper captain Giles, who turned up just in time to open the batting.

Opening pair Goss and Edwards chose their ends and decided shortly afterwards that they preferred the other ends. But not before Gossy spilled a ONE handed attempt at a caught and bowled and Rod got a LBW decision against the other opener. Grinders, Scottie and Mars toiled to no avail, with Giles in particular looking in no trouble at all.

Given one final over and the instruction to ‘get one, no make that two’ wickets, Mars did exactly that to find himself on a hat trick. After the first wicket Grinders forgot where he was fielding and found Tommy blocking his view. Dispatched into the slips so Grinders could see, Tommy snaffled a sharp chance next ball off the unfortunate Whitehouse.

After a bit more bishing and bashing it was Rod’s turn to find himself on a hat trick, the second victim almost middling it before being given out LBW. It was agreed by all, bar Rod, that he would have to get a six-fer if it was to count properly as his first Michelle. Grinders solved the problem by taking him off.

At the other end by now Ed Grindrod was twirling away, having skipper Giles dropped second ball in the deep. Having played beautifully until then Giles changed to a more agricultural methods and didn’t look half as good but managed to carry his bat, and declare unbeaten with 124 and setting us a target of 234.

Appropriately Mars opened with Pippa, as Blackheath’s open bowler sent his dibbly dobbers into orbit. The pair gave the Crypos a great platform putting on 95 in sixteen overs. Mars had by this time reached his fifty but having been put down three times, including a sharp slip chance. Pippa was the first to go, from the first chance he gave to, yes, a sharp slip catch by the old timer who dropped Mars, and left muttering about the injustice of it all. Mars eventually departed for 73 Peter Kurtz came and went quickly, all three to Blackheath’s Hart.

Scottie joined Tommy at the start of the last twenty with 125 required. Fifty were added in the next seven and all looked good. Then in the next 9 overs we managed to score a not so grand total of 20 runs, losing Tommy (20) and Grinders to excellent catches by Hart again in the deep, Scottie (25) uncharacteristically missing a straight one and a crocked Keith Taylor taking 17 balls to get off mark.

But now needing 58 off the final four all hell broke loose and Taylor and Goss struck 41 in three. In the last of these Rod strolled to the wicket in the form of his life, with a short legside boundary and a spinner bowling leg stump. Two singles later (playing for his average???) and leaving Gossy (28n.o.) too much to do we ended up 6 short.

Oh and Gav played too before being hauled away from the after festivities because his tea was on the table. The others enjoyed the new facilities and talked ourselves up over beers as the strongest Cryptics side never to win a game!!

Sunday 4 August 2013
Maori Oxshott 310 (batting), 300 (bowling), 295 (Grinders’ estimate) or 279 (scorebook) for 2/5 (32 overs)
Surrey Cryptics 252 (scorebook), 249 (batting) or 247 (bowling) for 9 (54 overs)
Match drawn
Declaration game, Oxshott won the toss

Pippa writes:

As can be seen from the above, the scorebook for this game was a bit of pig’s ear – apart, of course, for the time that PAJA was in charge of it. As can also be seen, the upshot is that Oxshott scored a lot of runs very quickly, while the Cryptics scored fewer more slowly.

And that, for some, is where a veil should be drawn over the proceedings.

However, for those wishing to get a vague idea of how things panned out, it all looked reasonably normal for a couple of overs, Paul Bridges and Grinders (Major) bowling relatively tightly and both having good shouts for LBWs. Then all hell let loose.

The opening duo sensibly withdrew to the outfield, to be replaced by Stuart Henniker-Smith and PAJA, then Ed Grindrod and Seeckts, and finally Peter Kurtz. Given a run rate the best part of 10 an over, no matter which final score you choose, suffice it to say that none of them will particularly relish the addition of this match to the statistics.

That ‘retired out’ was the top ‘wicket-taker’, taking care of three of the five departing batsmen, says more than enough about the penetration. However, there was a modicum of success for PAJA and Grinders (Minor) with a wicket apiece, Ed pouching a good catch and then snaring himself an LBW. He also ended the game with another gritty Not Out – 1* on this occasion – and was undoubtedly the Body Logic man of the match.Each departure heralded the arrival of an even more belligerent striker of the ball, until a couple of the less frequent players came in towards what turned out to be the end, but we couldn’t even get them out.

And that end was around 4pm, which meant we would potentially have plenty of time to reach the target, even if we didn’t actually know what it was.

Tea was taken in reflective mood, perhaps one of the reasons being that Oxshott included among their number Neil Saker, ex Surrey, Kent and Unicorns, but still only 28 and a one-man potential for a beer match.

Oxshott chose ­– very wisely, thought at least one Cryptic opener – not to start off with him, opting instead for some less tried-and-tested fare. “Make hay while you can,” muttered the Pup, who had nabbed the slot to partner Pippa.

And out came the combine. It only lasted nine balls, but there was a nice-sized 24-run bale at the end of it. Pippa, meanwhile, was on more than the 2* that some more seasoned readers might have expected, the wicket falling on 36.

Out came debutant Chris Windeatt – who could have been excused for leaving at tea-time, given the slog in the field – and there followed a remarkable 117-run partnership. It was probably all the more remarkable in that Pippa was possibly, possibly not bowled behind his legs by said Saker N about half-way through it, some thinking it came of the keepers’ gloves (he was bowling offies), others that it had clipped leg stump. Pippa batted on and reached 69 (taking him past 6,000 runs – in the modern era) before the introduction of what looked as if it should be fairly benign left-arm spin, but wasn’t, saw him caught at slip.

In came Seeckts, needing 5 to pass Greg at No.3 in the all-time run-scoring list. He got 8, but only because he mistakenly timed his second scoring shot.

Kurtz shuffled about for a duck and Bridges for 5, while Saker off a slightly longer run did for the Skipper for 11, well taken at slip. Stu H-S biffed 18 in typical blacksmith style and it was then left to young Ed and old PAJA (47-year age difference and probably a greater discrepancy in kilos) to see off the final four overs and secure an unlikely draw. They nearly made it, before Peter holed out, leaving Gavin Cooper to come in to survive the final ball.

And that, as they say, was that.

Friday 2 August 2013
SCCC 234 all out (46.4 overs)
Claygate 175 all out (46.4 overs)
Won by 59 runs
Declaration game, Claygate won the toss<

Richard Seeckts writes:

The annual Friday match at Claygate, festival cricket as God intended, with warm sunshine after overnight rain and a fine lunch washed down appropriately. Raising a midweek Cryptic team in the 1990s was a doddle, such was the extent of self and unemployment. Injury, detention abroad, and jobs make it much harder now, though surely none of the above would prevent Tommy from playing. No sign of him.

Marston York, curiously picked up by Rod at a street party, offered to open with Keith Taylor. Both were back in the shade by the end of the third over, Mars (as friendly earthlings know him) having cut to gully and Keith, conversely, being yorked. A long spell in the white coat beckoned.

Next debutant, Mark Costin, a real cricketer who found our website by accident, biffed a rapid 19, was horribly dropped once but caught next time when gloving Walker’s wicked legspin to gully. Liam Rabbitte, another interesting recruit via the Edwards family, got a duck and at 32-4 in the seventh over, an early bath looked on.

Secret weapon Ed Grindrod joined Scotty to start the recovery, but the young’un wasn’t going to allow batting to make him rush his port so he got out before lunch, taken at an uneasy 85-5. Brief speeches included Claygate’s Nigel Abbott explaining what a lovely cricket week it had been, but that they hadn’t won a match yet. Grinders responded that he had reversed the batting order. Such bravado – humble pie was ordered for one of them. Much was riding on Scotty’s blade.

Skipper holed out for 19, Tom Akeloyd (borrowed from our hosts for the day) was stumped for 6. 114-7. Seeckts and Scotty played with selfless maturity for a while, adding 40 and even running two threes in an over, until the former was adjudged LBW when struck above the pad. That the South African wicketkeeper thought it was a stinker says enough. Gavin Cooper’s runless career at Claygate extended by another year and at 163-9 it became Rod’s job to usher Scotty to a ton.

Claygate’s wonderful scorer, Penelope, struggled to tell the difference between the two. Oh, how we laughed, except the centurion. His was a splendid 122, Rod’s a blacksmith’s 29*, but the old Kiwi has scored 75 runs since last being dismissed, and averages 47 this year. A record all time last wicket stand of 71. Statto PAJA will have to bump his own name into oblivion.

For a while everything went as expected. Edwards and Grinders bowled tidily. Seeckts dropped a slip catch, Edwards tweaked his calf again, Junior got a bowl, the three remaining debutants got a bowl, Rabbitte having returned to his warren between innings. Then catches started sticking, wickets fell regularly and the game was in the balance. Cooper took three catches and a stumping, giving credit to his ‘inners’, a pair of exfoliating gloves. The jury remains out on his new trousers, padded around the rump and giving a Mr Blobby effect. The wickets were shared around as Claygate gradually slipped behind the required rate but a seventh wicket partnership of 67 between Jones and Murphy threatened to save the hosts.

Shackleford 2013
Keeper Cooper, 3 catches and a stumping, with Ginders Jnr

Grinders, now permanently employing his slower ball, had Murphy smartly stumped by Cooper and bowled another in the same over. Jones was hell-bent on smashing Seeckts over the new pavilion, a dual made more entertaining by Mars crashing to earth in dropping catches, one of which was pushed over the boundary for six. Third time it worked. 163-9 for the second time in the day, six overs to get the final wicket. Costin came back, uncharacteristically brave fielders crowded the bat, and up went the catch to Grinders, the only fielder grazing in pasture near mid-wicket.

Mars and Rod at Claygate 2013

Once again Claygate had produced a splendid day and warm hospitality. Everyone had a go at something in a game that was competitive throughout. But we’d have been a mess without Scotty, whose jug of beer was gone in a trice. Jingle Bells.

Sunday 14 July 2013
Holybourne 169 all out (38.1 overs)
SCCC 172-3 (31.3 overs)
Won by 7 wickets
Holybourne won the toss, 40 over match

Richard Seeckts writes:

SCCC web mistress cheerfully assumed the mantle of catering manager prior to this relaxed, family-friendly game in the sun. Eleven Cryptics at the ground at 1.40pm, all well fed and mildly lubricated. Another scorching day, 11 of the 22 players surviving from last year, with two bred-for-purpose Cryptics, Charlie Greenhough and Toby Seeckts, joining their old men in the side, with predictable results.

Goss and Edwards steamed and huffed in respectively at Holybourne’s contrasting top order – Neil Ship, with the cover drive of Colin Cowdrey, and his partners, less schooled but eager to tonk everything that came their way until the deadly straight ball, as delivered by Rod in the fourth and sixth overs. Tommy H-D’s brief spell again attracted no respect, but he sunk Ship, taking a fine catch off his own full toss.

The Greenhoughs bowled in tandem, Charlie’s use of the dot ball betraying some outside influence. Combined figures of 13-3-44-2 included a wicket each, though Charlie would have had two but for Dad Jimmy spilling a chance at mid off. The arrival of two Holybourne Under 13s at the crease prompted a spell from their team mate, HCC Under13 wicketkeeper and Cryptic debutant, Toby Seeckts. He joined Rev’d Tony Cupit in taking a wicket with his first ball for the Cryptics, caught and bowled.

Not to be outdone, Holybourne’s father and son Milner launched a recovery from 81-6, adding 33 before ‘keeper Cooper whipped off junior’s bails to give Toby his second wicket with his final ball. Milner Snr’s dual with Seeckts Snr saw initial caution quickly develop to utter contempt, the bowler retiring upon being flayed into the nettles beyond square leg. Family figures of 7-0-42-3 need no further analysis, beyond that Snr’s 100th Cryptic career wicket was a filthy leg-side strangle.

Edwards and Goss returned to stop the filial nonsense, taking the last two wickets. Gossy’s being his first of the season, Milner Snr for 51.

With Hoggers and PAJA absent, Keith Taylor made opening the innings look easy, while Rod took full advantage of his opportunity with the scorebook. Holybourne’s opening bowlers (aggregate age 25) will be more of a handful for the Cryptics’ opening batsmen (aggregate age 101) in years to come, but will have learned from Pippa how batting used to be done – in singles, stupid.

Pippa (26) and Keith (32) had us 103-2 at 20 overs. Having studied his team, and in the spirit of the fixture, skipper Grindrod had not bowled so deserved his spot at No.3. His dashing 47 included a six into someone’s garden, while Tommy scratched around, ultimately for 12* of 71 runs scored while he was in.

Meanwhile, Rod, having secretly exercised the ‘power of the pencil’ to etch his name in at No.5, palmed the scorebook off on young Charlie and put some pads on. To widespread speechlessness, the Kiwi trundler waddled out with 39 required off 14 overs. Of the many possible outcomes, only Rod himself would have predicted he’d hit three sixes in 35* off very few balls. Of his many nicknames, Lightning seemed the most apt. It won’t happen again.

The young went home to prepare for school, the old took ale made merry. It had all come together like a plan, with everybody contributing.

Shackleford 2013
Youth and experience, again, at Holybourne

Sunday 7 July 2013
Shackleford 206 all (8) out (38 overs)
SCCC 178-9 (43 overs)
Match drawn
Shackleford won the toss, declaration match<

Shackleford 2013
Youth and experience secure the draw

Richard Seeckts writes:

Another poke in the eye for myopic disciples of limited overs cricket. This was a draw that not only went to the wire, but had the left-handed Cryptic tail of three tugging and jumping up and down on the wire. They survived, but the match was alive until the final ball was bowled, a rare occurrence in the “more exciting” form of the game.

Cricket at Shackleford is under threat. The neighbouring mushroom farm is being developed to provide shelter for people with more money than sense, especially whoever coughs up £2.5million for the house going up at cow corner. Cricket having been played at Shackleford since the Norman conquest will count for nothing if a ball goes through Tiffany’s window, and in a litigious world where the insurance industry hates to cover events that might actually happen, problems are afoot. All being well (ha!), the club will soon have a spanking new pavilion as compensation for the vast Lego set on the opposite boundary.

With that in mind and a Scottish bloke playing tennis somewhere, 11 Cryptics took the field in sweltering heat, which made it hard to hold catches, rather like all other weather conditions. Edwards and Bridges opened up and were punished for erratic length. By the 10th over, skipper Grindrod was economically plying his trade at one end and Stu H-Smith was showing, and getting away with, all his variations at the other. They accounted for the top three, pouched in turn by Keith Taylor keeping Hoggers away from a skier, Pippa juggling in the gully (and obviously hurting his ankle) and keeper Cooper snaffling an inside edge.

Shackleford’s Barnett, a re-incarnated blacksmith if ever there was, forged 59 without reference to the MCC coaching manual and, entertainingly, without any respect for Tommy’s buffet bowling (3-0-29-0) which went everywhere except – insurers please note – into the cow corner construction site. Ed Grindrod, now a confident regular, sent down six respectable overs (1-26). The match winning bowler at Follies Farm didn’t get a go. Instead, Edwards (2-59) and Bridges (0-25) returned, and a couple of run outs saw a par target set.

Pippa (12) and Hoggers (10) set off with rare haste, but 23-2 wasn’t what was required in the sixth over, and umpire Bridges was relieved of his duties once Pippa had, apparently, been struck in the wrong place. Keith Taylor played the best shots of the day and looked on for ton until a straight one from Shackleford’s Taylor shot through. Gone for 23 immediately after Seeckts (10) was bamboozled by Hopkin’s first ball. The solid middle order of Hope-Dunbar and Bridges melted. From 59-2 to 61-6 in four overs, with only sloggers, lefties and old men to follow. Edwards sits in the middle of that Venn diagram.

Out of the blue, the tail wagged like fury. Stu H-S promised repeatedly to play sensibly and along the ground, then gave catching practice to most of the nine fielders while swinging wildly at everything, for 26. Guess where he went to school. Grinders looked cultured by comparison for 14, but they fell in quick succession leaving 94 required off 17 overs with two wickets in hand.

Enter Ed Grindrod, with a broken size five bat, to join Cooper. Ed’s first ball nearly took his head off, courtesy of the pitch rather than the bowler, but the lad was resolute, even defiant, and still there at the end. He even scored a six, thanks to some overthrows. Cooper played out of his skin for 26, running like a puppy and keeping his young partner focussed. 38 balls remained when he was bowled and replaced by last man Rod, who likes to play his shot. Only 55 to win, why not give it a crack?

Because no matter how many times Rod plays his shot, he rarely connects with the ball. It wasn’t a dull draw. The final over saw Rod offer the gentlest of catches to the best fielder at silly point. Dropped. He tried to run himself out taking two off the penultimate ball – why? – and failed only because the ‘keeper broke the stumps before the ball arrived. Finally, for the last ball only, common sense prevailed. 17 overs of cricketing education Ed, who finished 22*, would struggle to find elsewhere.

We looked for a watering hole, but they all stay closed on a Sunday evening in those parts. What kind of person would buy a house there?

Cupit at Shackleford

Sunday 15 June 2013
SCCC 226-6 (40 overs)
Follies Farm Old Spots 166 all out (37.1 overs)
Won by 60 runs
FFOSCC won the toss
40 over match

Richard Seeckts writes:

A glance though previous reports of this fixture reveals a strong pattern. Follies bat first regardless of who wins the toss. They mix up the batting order, lose some sloggers early, send in better sloggers later and score 20-30 more runs than we can chase. The cricket, the hospitality and the banter never disappoint, and there are always matters for post-match debate.

Angelo at Follies FarmSo began the report of 2007’s game on the farm. Thereafter, the Cryptics won three on the trot, had a washout in 2011 and reverted to pattern in 2012’s summer of mud. With the series now standing at 7-6 to the hosts, and a never-to-be-repeated draw in 2000, cricket-wise things have moved on. Happily, the setting and the WAK-friendly welcome (Ks and age have completely seen off the possibility of Gs now) remain as warm as ever, and this year was no exception in that the Cryptic following topped 20 around tea time. And the banter? Modesty forbids.

Never before had we batted first. It was easier than suspected, not least because this was an almost unheard of instance of the skipper getting the batting order right. Not right in the Cryptic sense, but more or less on merit, apart from the promotion of an eager Puppy, which was supposed to eliminate him as a bowling option.

Pippa (33) and Hoggers (49) set a foundation of 73 in the manner you might expect of one who spent his week searching for a pair of real flannels and another with a pair of tearaways awaiting in front of the pavilion. Dismissed in the 24th over, James spent 20% of the match appreciating Fathers’ Day, but only because he’s not allowed to umpire.

Elliot Scrivener played with now familiar comfort after being dropped by Lumley early on. On 47, sensing a potential beer assault on his wallet, he escaped being run out when the ‘keeper dropped the ball. You can’t keep a good Kiwi down, though, and he carved the next ball skywards to Campling on the cover boundary, who held on. Scottie, meanwhile, had busied himself by hitting a catch to Lumley – survived, natch – and teasing bowlers with the use of his pad, survived because the ball kept pitching outside his leg stump. 50 not out at tea.

Gavin scoring at Follies Farm

Tommy H-D creamed 24 from the change bowlers before the comedy duo of Ware and Grindrod succeeded where others had failed; Ware ran himself out for one and Grinders was caught by Lumley for a duck. Tea and giggles.

Paul Bridges steamed in from the pavilion end, fortified by lemon drizzle cake and spurred on by the presence of both older and younger generations of Bridges. Swish, swipe, swish went the openers without much joy, for it was swing from the bowler that got the upper hand, accounting for Lumley, caught by Stu Henniker-Smith making something quite straightforward look almost impossible, and Roser, bowled round his legs. A fine 8-2-20-2 in one spell while Grindrod, then Henniker-Smith, parsimoniously plugged away at the far end. 51-2 after 16 overs.

Seeckts, denied a bat by the temporary meritocratic system, was summoned to replace Bridges. Three filthy deliveries later, a bellow of “he’s got worse” emanated from Follies’ padded up skipper, David Leng. Immediately, Gavin Cooper pulled off a sharp stumping and Leng strode out to prove his point. Some chatter, a four, Francis caught by Scottie off Seeckts, a single, Leng on strike, a drum roll, over came the arm. Leng struck firmly towards the square leg boundary, a pin was heard to drop somewhere in Dunsfold, Ware held the catch above his head, 59-5. Worse?

Hoggers took the catch for Seeckts’ fourth wicket in four overs and the skipper gave full opportunity for a fifth. Leng bravely returned to umpire, called a wide in the exex-skipper’s final over, thus facilitating the fifth wicket to be taken on the seventh ball of the over. 122-7 off 31, game over.

Grindrod exercised his prerogative to return at the scent of bunnies, increasing his chances of mopping up by putting Ware on at the other end. Meritocracy already dead. Pup’s second over was so costly that a/ we lost count and b/ it became possible to lose the match. Two excellent catches by Scrivener off successive balls got the skipper his wickets, No.11 Tebbit agreed it was bar-time and obligingly poop-scooped Pup into Scottie’s paws and it was all over bar the banter. Of which there was plenty.

Follies Farm 2013
“He has got worse y’know” Leng, Follies Farm – June 2013

Sunday 9 June 2013
Banstead 202–4 declared (39 overs)
SCCC 157 (38.4 overs)
Lost by 45 runs
Toss by negotiation

Pippa writes:

With a group of Banstead players with hair as grey as the overcast skies traipsing down to the bottom pitch, it looked like business as usual. The only problem was that we were playing on the main square against an opposition with an average age little more than a third of ours, even taking into account the presence of teenage debutant Charlie Greenhough, son and heir of the Cryptics’ longest serving player, Jimmy.

Faced with a tail that looked as if it started sometime the previous week, captain Grinders negotiated the toss and claimed the new ball for himself. There followed some slow ones, some slower ones, and a quicker one that surprised everyone, including the batsman, who gloved through to ‘keeper Cooper (Pup having graciously declined the gloves/disappointingly not had a strop* – Delete as applicable).

At the other end, Rod, coming in off two paces to protect the groin injury he picked up at Stoke d’Abernon, failed to protect the calf injury he picked up in Menorca and had to retire to the short grass after seven largely uneventful overs. But by that stage, the score was approaching 70 and Banstead’s No. 3, Sultan, was beginning to get his eye in in just his third innings in 18 years, and what initially looked as if it would be a brief affair suddenly became more ominous.

Bridges kept him quiet at one end, bowling five tidy overs for 16, PAJA having less success at the other with 41 coming off his seven. Meanwhile, opener Stainer was calmly going about his business, having eased passed 50.

Charlie Greenhough was called up before Dad on the bowling front, the latter suddenly showing more keenness in the field since, well, ever. Junior put down six overs that showed great promise for the future, although had to overcome the obstacle of having to use three different balls on account of his father coming on at the other end. Jimmy’s first three deliveries went 6–4–6. The irony was that he did manage to slow the run-scoring down, but only because of the 15 minutes spent searching the neighbouring (not so) sheltered housing complex for balls.

Charlie eventually snared the hard-hitting Sultan for 68 on the cow boundary, claiming his first Cryptics wicket of what will likely be many, Grinders holding on to a steepler. There had almost been a similar result a couple of overs earlier, although a sprawling Paul Bridges was just unable to get to the ball. However, in a rare case of a Cryptic actually learning anything from the previous week (when he had allowed a ball to go over his head for four at mid-off – and admitted it), Bridges immediately got up, dusted himself down and signalled six. It was four. He knew it; we knew it.

With Stainer moving into the 90s, he began to display a nervousness not in evidence before and the field came in. A push towards square leg saw his partner take off but he remained unmoved as Pup swooped and threw to Jimmy, who dropped the ball – onto the stumps – in the process doubling the bruise in exactly the same place from the catch he spilled earlier. He is obviously consistent about where he gets his hands; it’s just that it’s the wrong place.

Stainer then found the runs he needed for his ton but next ball gently top-edged to Charlie at short fine leg. Caught Greenhough C, bowled Greenhough G – the third father and son wicket-taking combo after the Cupits and Andrews and it was never going to happen the other way round.

What appeared to be a generous declaration followed immediately, 203 to get with loads of time.

Tea obviously passed the PAJA test, as he was heard to mutter: “Right, that’s it, they’ve had their chance; I’m going back for more.”

Pippa and Hoggers padded up to begin the reply and that’s where it all started to go wrong. Banstead opened up with spin at both ends, which, as we all know, is cheating and should be banned.

Pippa (2), Hoggers (1), Pup (a breezy 19) and Kurtz (1) were soon back in the hutch and it was 28–4 after 12 overs. This brought Grinders and Bridges together, who put on 57 before the skipper was undone by what had become a “pea-shooter” by the time he was in the bar. Charlie looked like he’d done it before but will hope to trouble the scorers next time. Gavin Cooper then came to the wicket and he and Bridges biffed and nurdled a further 61 runs.

At 151–6 and plenty of time left in the game, some almost began to believe that an improbable win was on the cards. Even the three wise monkeys of nine, 10, Jack waiting on the boundary’s edge (Greenhough J, Andrew and Edwards) started to think they might have a role to play other than administering the last rites. They were wrong.

151–6 became 151–7 as Bridges departed for a Cryptics career best of 44 (beating the previous week’s 43) and then 152–8 as Cooper succumbed for 21. The rest was a formality and over mercifully quickly as Jimmy went for one and Rod for a duck, leaving PAJA stranded on 4* in his first dig as a 60-year old.

Sunday 2 June 2013
Kingstonian 289-8 (40 overs)
SCCC 244-8 (40 overs)
Lost by 45 runs
SCCC won the toss, 40 over match

Richard Seeckts writes:

Records tumbled again, most notably the highest individual score ever in a Cryptic match. Unfortunately, a monstrous 195 (off 115 balls, including 20×4 and 11×6) was scored by Imran Khalid, Kingstonian’s opener. Luckily, no-one dropped him on nought, but Kiwi debutant Chris Muldoon did on about 70 and Paul Bridges put him down on about 140, committing the cardinal sin of letting the ball go over his head for four. Nobody mentioned it, much.

Grinders won a traffic-delayed toss, then declined to inform the opposition of his decision until calls were made to ascertain the ETA’s of the five absent Cryptics. Bowl first, obviously. Further stalling tactics enabled us to start with a full complement and Bridges took a wicket in the first over, a little nick to Cooper’s gloves. After that, carnage.

At the other end, big Nick Pow made a welcome return for his first game since Ljubljana in September 2007, the week that Jose Mourinho left Chelsea. The Special One is back, after a gap of 70 matches, which almost certainly isn’t a record.

Skippering in the field is no fun when the ball keeps disappearing regardless of who bowls. Bridges and Pow were off with 53 off 9 overs on the board. Strapping Caribbean new boy, Shameen Neebar, and Grindrod helped things along to 130 off 17, Grinders’ fourth over having gone for 23, which would have been 28 had Imran not wanted to pinch the strike with the last ball.

Scottie briefly regained some control at one end, Muldoon’s four overs for 54 served as a harsh reminder of his earlier drop, and the 20 years since he last played cricket. He’ll be back to make amends.

At 211-1 off 25 with Imran into the 170s, skipper reluctantly gambled on Seeckts. Better late than never. After one six hit just too far to wipe out Scottie’s entire family, Imran was deceived in the flight and miscued the next towards long on where Scottie made plenty of ground to take a fine catch. Phew, 241-2. You’d have got decent odds on 8-0-32-2 from the exex.

Junior batting partner Ali then set about running out his partners as fast as the bowlers could rip through a tail that, infuriatingly, started at No.5. The day’s third debutant and eighth bowler, James Ripley, managed to include a maiden in four overs for 28. It was that sort of day. Gavin Cooper was both tidy and chatty behind the timbers, but with little beating the bat and so many boundaries struck, was fairly redundant.

Extraordinarily, all 40 overs were bowled using the same cricket ball, despite its frequent trips towards Motspur Park and Kingston. Good thing Imran doesn’t play at Headley.

A lively start was essential to have a hope, and so it was by Cryptic standards, the difference being that Pippa (39) and Keith Taylor (65) mostly hit the ball along the ground while Imran’s aerial route is more rewarding. But the chase was no disgrace at all, just too tall an order. It needed a Scottie wonder knock, but he was caught and bowled for 36, spooning up a full bunger with the score on 166 in the 26th over. With that went the game, though Bridges hit a breezy 43 and Pow a sedate 14*.

Most pleasing, however, was playing cricket in the sun at last, with three welcome new faces from around the globe who fit the Cryptic profile and don’t take themselves too seriously.

Sunday 12 May 2012
Stoke d’Abernon 173-9 dec (45 overs)
SCCC 174-4 (35.5 overs)
Won by 6 wickets
Unknown who won the toss, declaration match

Richard Seeckts writes:

Pinker and prouder than last time? You bet. Captain Grindrod tasted victory for the first time in 48 weeks (we have won in that time, without him) against a handy looking Stoke side. On a pitch as reliable as Puppy turning up to nets, length balls played all manner of tricks. Over-pitched balls, as delivered by your correspondent, landed in neighbouring postcodes courtesy of Stoke’s young M Mahne, who played extremely well for 95 while only three of his team-mates reached double figures.

Rod Edwards, manfully playing despite last week’s injury and thus doing his war memorial impression from the start, bowled 15 overs off two paces, with two positive effects. It meant that he didn’t have to be hidden in the field for 15 overs and that our over rate was almost 20 per hour. With four wickets to his name and about to continue his second spell against numbers 10 and 11, there were high hopes Rod would achieve his first ever Cryptic 5-fer. Oh, how we laughed when Stoke’s skipper (and no.11) declared prematurely.

It was still a day for the Kiwis. Elliot Scrivener, the Schwarzenegger to Rod’s DeVito, took three wickets in an over, snared a couple of catches and later helped Scottie carry the Cryptics to safety with a classy 36.

Stoke’s evidently competent colt, B Medlycott, lasted only long enough for us to learn that his Dad, one-time England tourist K Medlycott, would be coming in number 9. Would taking seven wickets be a bad idea? Three first class hundreds in the 1980s may be a long time ago, but Medders was celebrating his 48th birthday, making him no older than the average Cryptic.

Paul Bridges’ tidy opening spell was without reward, but the skipper was eager to try his own luck with the variable bounce on offer, and plodded parsimoniously through seven overs of little action for one wicket. Replacing himself with Seeckts, Grinders invited young Mahne to launch a series of half-volleys towards Stoke’s cricket-hating neighbours, though only one cleared the 40 foot high netting. That’ll teach them to buy a house by a cricket ground.

Scrivener’s triple wicket maiden, including two Seeckts catches, saw him inexplicably removed from the attack as K Medlycott took guard. A crisp clip through midwicket betrayed potential for the score to rise rapidly but, just as we sat back to enjoy the show, Medders’ next clip to midwicket landed in Scottie’s surprised paws. Bridges’ only wicket is one to cherish, except that he’s not even the first Cryptic to get Medders out. That honour goes to Tony Dodemaide, for Sussex at Guildford in 1990.

Tea and the declaration were equally generous; the weather less so as it rained gently throughout the chase.

Pippa was lucky to survive an LBW shout on one, not that it made much difference. He and Hoggers fell for 16 and six respectively before Peter Kurtz ran himself out for nine, having started to walk off while being dropped. Bizarre. Thereafter Scottie knuckled down with Scrivener, putting on 95 to take us within 12 of victory. They had awkward moments, (Scottie summoned his helmet after being hit on the thumb!) but played with resolve that Cryptics sometimes struggle to find.

Medlycott Snr put down his birthday drink at long on to catch Scrivener. Scottie (72*) and Seeckts (7*) grabbed the red-inkers in the scorebook with 11 overs in hand.

Weather aside, it came together like a plan. Winning again in England, there’s a returning sense of optimism, which is more than can be said for spending the afternoon at Craven Cottage.

Sunday 5 May 2013
Avorians 210-6 (40 overs)
SCCC 187 (36.2 overs)
Lost by 23 runs
Toss by negotiation, 40 over match

Richard Seeckts writes:

The Cryptics fell to a respectable defeat, after a middle order collapse from 81-2 to 108-7 threatened something much worse. In the end it was a day of records, but the all time 10th wicket record is one that will only ever be broken in adversity. Who better than the combined 110 years of Peter Andrew and Rod Edwards to etch their names into the records with 36 inelegantly biffed runs, ably assisted – needless to say – by 35 additional years of runner in the form of Paul Bridges.

For much of the day, it was as though there had been no winter break. We spilled two catches in the second over to kick off a typical curate’s egg fielding display. Rod’s opening spell was promising until he damaged a previously undiscovered muscle near the top of his trousers, midway through his fifth over. Thereafter he reprised his Menorca tour role in the field, a passable impression of a war memorial.

Gossy, victim of the early butterfingers, took a minor tonking and finished wicketless, while PAJA somehow had figures of 6-0-21-3 by tea. Upon dislodging the bails of Avorians’ smallest colt, Peter became unduly animated before calming down to reveal that it was his first wicket not to have been caught for four years. Later research proved it to be three years, but only a heartless soul would conclude that means he’s rubbish at stats AND bowling.

Last year’s report bemoaned the age profile of the Cryptic side. Eight of them reported for duty again, complimented by a brace of Grindrods and new boy Stu Hennicker-Smith. Neither fat nor bald, H-S didn’t look a natural Cryptic. Pouching two catches went against the stereotype too, but it wasn’t long before the ball went through his legs, his first delivery was a wide and his first shot a blacksmith’s hoick that went for four. Amply qualified to fill Dan’s boots. Welcome.

Avorians’ 210 was built on skipper Stevenson’s 97 (stumped off the penultimate ball) and represented a fair target, had the Cryptic tail started any lower than No.3. Extras top scored with 46 in the chase, Pippa was a distant second with 34. A 13-year old fielder described it out loud, “this bloke’s like a donut, all edges and no middle”. Others chipped in with gusto, only Gavin Cooper and Grinders jnr failing to hit a boundary, but all too briefly.

The WAGS started loading the cars as Rod hobbled out to join PAJA for the day’s most entertaining chapter. The runner was an after-thought. Peter’s 26* was his highest score since 2006 and 13 times his aggregate in 2012. Rod’s 19 was his highest since the inaugural Follies Farm match in the last millennium.

No jingling bells but a pleasant outing in the spring sunshine topped off by warm hospitality and a superb tea. There are worse ways to spend a Sunday.