Played 15 Won 6 Drawn/Tied 4 Lost 5

Sunday 31 August 2014
South Nutfield 244-7 dec (43 overs)
SCCC 222 all out (38.3 overs)
Lost by 22 runs
South Nutfield won the toss

Richard Seeckts writes:

The domestic season finished, appropriately enough, with a batting collapse in pursuit of an unlikely victory. The last six wickets fell for 22 in five overs but unlike Woking, where we lost 6-17, Stoke (5-19) and Chipstead CW (5-9), there was a realistic chance of winning the match until the skittles went down. A genuine case of sticking to the Cryptic mantra on the homepage of this website, penned at least a dozen years ago.

It was a credit to South Nutfield, as well as our four batting heroes, that the game ended up so close. They kept us interested in the 8-an-over required from the last 20 which Hoggers (56) and Keith (42) attacked with a flurry of ones and twos until Keith realised that the short straight boundaries, as found frequently by the opposition, were easier than scampering to and fro.

But the Judean People’s Front Crack Suicide Squad arrived, firstly in the form of Hugh, who ran halfway down the pitch and most of the way back to be run out for a one-ball four. An appeal followed for a catch off Keith, who thought it was a bump ball. Umpire Pippa agreed and gave him not out. The fielders claimed the catch was clean and Keith toddled off, not wishing to cause a scene. A bit odd though.

Skipperfortheday Pup hammered an entertaining 47 and Scottie more than doubled his season’s aggregate with a form-finding 37. Then came the choke as the tail missed a series of straight deliveries, a shambles crowned by Gav and Rod engineering a run out immediately after the order was sent, at nine wickets down, to shut up shop. In the final analysis, South Nutfield only had to send down enough overs for the Cryptics to find ways of getting out. We did it with 15 balls to spare.

All of which seemed most unlikely when South Nutfield declared before tea, having biffed a depleted and misfiring Cryptic attack into the neighbouring fields time and again. Gossy kept one end tight at first while Rod was all over the place, but it was the eight dropped catches that really hurt us, both in the context of the game and the fact that the ball was being hit so flippin’ hard. Fingers and thumbs aplenty were fattened. Five catches were held though, and everyone would have lost money on your correspondent running 25 yards from long on to take a steepler at full tilt to dismiss the much dropped Lewis for 79. Thus Scottie took two wickets he had earlier denied others with his buttered fingers.

Stu was forced into a second spell after Seeckts’ (2-0-31-1) pies proved irresistible to skipper Brown. Damned near 12 overs for the double-barrelled one before Gav got the stumping that heralded an excellent tea, home-grown tomatoes and all.

Hoggers always seems to get runs when his parents watch. Perhaps they could be persuaded to come more than once a season.

Sunday 17 August 2014
Chipstead Coulsdon & Walcountians CC 219-3 dec (32 overs)
SCCC 115-9 (42 overs)
Match drawn
Declaration game, SCCC won the toss

Richard Seeckts writes:

15.4 miles separate the venues of two embarrassingly one-sided cricket matches last Sunday. But cricket’s strange laws have it that while England thrashed India at the Oval (thus denying the Grindrod family their Day 4 entertainment), the Cryptics crept away from Chipstead with a draw, convincingly walloped in every aspect of the game, apart from blocking.

The final 21 overs (half the Cryptic innings) yielded 32 runs for the loss of seven wickets, thanks to stolid partnerships of six in six overs from the Seeckts duo and 23 in 11 overs from Paul Bridges and Ed Grindrod.

By contrast, the first 21 overs (two thirds of the CCW innings) yielded 129 runs for the loss of one wicket. And, if you must know, the fourth over alone went for 22 as B Dombrandt repeatedly heaved Daddy Grindrod back over his head. Really blood-thirsty readers, and certainly statto PAJA, will note that the Dombrandt family trio notched 139-1 and took 6-31, while three Grindrods responded with 13-3 and 1-91.

Plenty more cruel statistics could be harvested from this match, but PAJA’s first problem will be persuading his software that we were allowed 12 players, partly reflecting the enthusiasm of our three colts but mostly as cover for the frail, geriatric carcasses of the senior pro’s. Rotation in the field and Peter’s self preservation at batting time ensured we never used more than 11, but when one family achieves more than the entire Cryptic team, it matters not.

For what it’s worth, PAJA, Tommy and James Grindrod took wickets while Bridges was most economic thanks to a bouncer plan that almost worked. B Dombrandt hit the ball in the air plenty on his way to 117, but it fell in a gap every time bar when ‘keeper Cooper cuffed one to the ground while he was on 80-odd.

The declaration came surprisingly early, but CCW will be wondering how to get our tenth wicket, having also managed only nine in 2013, a much closer draw. Rod opened the batting, clattering a breezy 39 while Pippa anchored for 13. They were castled in quick succession by A Boosey, and though Tommy and Peter Kurtz, playing his final game before re-patriation to his convict land, briefly threatened a respectable chase, the wheels soon came off. Kurtz was bowled by J Walker (I promise these names are real) and the Dombrandts took the next six but, crucially, not seven.

The excellent hospitality CCW offer deserves a better Cryptic showing next time. Meanwhile, anyone wishing to sponsor a Dombrandt family holiday in mid August 2015 should step forward.

Chipstead 2014

Sunday 3 August 2014
Maori Oxshot won toss and batted 235 for 6
SCCC 168 for 8
Match Drawn

David Grindrod writes:

On a very pleasant afternoon the Cryptics visited Maori Oxshot. Unlike last year the only evidence of carnage was the presentation in the opposition’s scorebook. The youngsters of Oxshot chose to bat and seamers Pow, Goss and Grindrod kept a reasonably tight lid on things to start, on a nice track and outfield.

After signs of acceleration the breakthrough came after Grinders cleaned bowled the opener, the ball after he made it clear he was batting without his spectacles on. Maori No.3 was a lad promoted up the order to have a bat, which was nice to see, and good for Nick Pow who got him caught nicely by Grinders E.

In the field debutant Monk lived up to his name by looking to the heavens with hands clasped together, only for the ball to bounce out of them from a skier to long off. Divine intervention did not materialise as he repeated the experience a couple of overs later.

One was not too costly as shortly after, by now big hitting opener Lee was run out by a throw in from boundary from Hugh. A jolly time was being had by all, apart from the old dears on the neighbouring bowling green who gave Hugh and Grinders a right earful when seeking to get one big hit from Lee back.

Junior Grindrods each picked up a wicket, with Ed unlucky not to get a couple more. Dougall Monk had better luck with the ball when bowling and picked up a debut wicket in his first over.

Tea was taken with Cryptics set a target of 235(ish).

As we know the game is about partnerships and we had a flier with the openers putting on 50 in the first 7 overs. (Hugh 40 Pippa 5). The anchor man was the first to go smartly caught behind the stumps and Hugh the next over. Cooper G made a patient zero, before the skipper got what was generally considered by all a shocker and we were soon 75 for 4.

Gossy started to sort things out with Keith Taylor, before the former’s hamstring, playing its second game in three days, gave out going for a second run. A brief cameo that lasted the rest of the over from Dougall and we were 100 for 6 still short of the final 20.

We needed someone to stay with Keith Taylor who was making the most of the good pitch. Ed Grindrod batted very maturely, (unlike his dad) and allowed Keith to complete a nice 50. Nine overs were still left when young James Grindrod strode in to join his brother, after Keith had missed a straight one. Weighing probably less than 10 stone between them there were few lusty blows but some determined rear guard defence, and they looked relatively untroubled. Edward (19) fell in the last over letting Nick Pow have the opportunity to see off the last two ball and thus complete a hard earned draw.

Friday 1 August 2014
Claygate 217-7 dec
SCCC 190-8
Match drawn
SCCC won the toss

Rod Edwards writes:

The Claygate Friday game is always a jovial affair. Half of Claygate turn up half cut due to lock ins the night before. This year the game was moved to a 2pm start to enable Clayagte to turn up more sober, it had limited success. It is a game on a fast track, normally with lots of runs scored and watched by the local families. To stay in the family theme the Cryptics turned up with three Atkinsons, two Coopers and two Grindrods.

Grinders senior surprisingly won the toss and Claygate were put in to bat. The Claygate opener Dear was bowled first ball, missing Rod’s straight one. The Claygate number three, Howe, looked very good caressing Gossy through the covers a couple of times, before Gossy then produced a flashing edge, well caught by Scottie at first slip, despite Gavin’s attempts to put him off. Edwards then bowled the other Claygate opener and at 31 for 3 off 11 overs we thought Claygate were in trouble.

The Claygate no 4 Thorpe then produced sublime straight drives, usually off Gossy, but then also off Tom Atkinson (RGA’s nephew). Gossy found out what shopping really is about, finishing with 9 overs 1 for 64. Tom Atkinson bowled with good pace but Thorpe continued to hit straight and often. The fact he scored 92 out of 122 says it all, as it was proper batting. He was out to one of the highlights of the day, hitting a lofted drive off Atkinson the youngest, to deep mid off, where Sophie came sliding in to take a great catch. Tom then picked up his second wicket two balls later, bowling the Claygate no 6 for a duck.

Claygate continued scoring at a good pace, helped by a five and a lost ball six, both off Gossy. Sophie picked up a wicket, having a catch taken by Grinders at mid off. Rod then returned to pick up a caught and bowled (to most Cryptics’ amazement) off Claygate’s Macham who was out for 51. Edwards finishing with 8 overs, 3 for 11 to turn around recent form. Claygate having despatched Gossy’s last over for 17, then declared at 217 for 7.

The Cryptics response started with Keith and Tom Atkinson opening the batting. Keith was quickly back in the hutch for 4. Tom looked great in scoring 17 before Nigel Abbott, having bowled 5 dot balls, had him caught at mid on. Pup also came and went and then the Atkinson brothers Richard and Peter, put on a nice partnership, both trying to get the bragging rights of being the highest scoring brother. The honour went to Richard with 30, with Peter out one run behind. It was noted that Peter’s last game for the Cryptics was (in 1992) watching Richard score 1 out of a total of 247 for 1, sadly history did not repeat.

The last 20 overs required the Cryptics to score at 7 an over but wickets kept falling. Most batsmen got starts, but none carried on. Scottie, in the worst form of his life, was out for 18 finding the only fielder in the deep. Grinders and Rod put on a brief partnership with neither really timing the ball. Edwards was out for 16 including the only 6 of the innings. The biggest cheer of the day came when Gavin, having achieved an Audi last year (four noughts in a row), came out to bat trying to make the Olympic Rings. A full toss on leg got him off the mark, much to Sophie’s disappointment.

The game finished with Gossy taking 16 off the last over to top score with 31 not out. This also brought up Gossy’s 1000 run, 100 wicket double, joining the illustrious group of PAJA, Grinders and Seecktsie. The Cryptics finished the day on 190 for 8. The game was followed by a great BBQ/Braai and many beers. It was another very enjoyable Claygate fixture.

Sunday 13 July 2014
Holybourne 107 all out
SCCC 108-6
Won by 4 wickets
SCCC won the toss
Declaration game

David Grindrod writes:

The last time I had the scorebook to write a match report, I noted we had the strongest Cryptics team to take the field for a long time. At Holybourne we had probably the youngest Cryptics team to take to the field for a long time. Three teenagers from the youth academy/breeding pit, another borrowed from the opposition and Tommy (age 39). Only one had a shocker in the field. Despite having gloves on, the oldest youngster dropped Holybourne’s young number 3 Hudson twice (including his first ball) and dived in front of first slip to give the lad a third life. Debutant Alun Barlow spilled him again next ball courtesy of a sharp caught and bowled chance, before taking a good catch to remove the lad with the third chance he gave in three balls, but this time off Grinders E. Hudson made the most of his opportunities to top score.

Other than that it all went swimmingly. Dads Grinders and Seeckts safely ensconced in the slip cordon, whilst their sons ran around, made two catches look easy and gave Nick Pow reward for a good opening spell. Grinders Senior bowled two of Holybourne’s danger men with absolute jaffers, before giving way to first Grinders Major and then Grinders Minor.

All the bowling from the Pavilion end was thus kept in the family. Between them they snaffled a six-fer, with James joining the select club (including Toby in the same match last year) who took a wicket with their first Cryptics delivery. That wicket, oppo skipper Milner, opened the hutch and James got two more, whilst Seeckts Senior got the last to deprive son Toby of a bowl.

Mother Hudson’s tea, and what a tea it was, was taken with Holybourne all out for 107.

Hugh, having hurt his finger in the field, decided to keep his gloves away from the ball, and thus could not find a way to glove it behind as he had done in past two games. Pippa (13) managed to get another LBW decision against him (what is the record for a season PAJA?) before Hugh’s hand (18) gave up such that he lofted a catch to mid-on. Seeckts Snr (15) looked in good touch before falling to a good running catch by Holybourne youngster Patel. This all allowed Tommy to take on the senior statesman role for once and guide young master Toby in a partnership that saw the Cryptics to within sight of victory. Both fell with just two to win, Tommy for 41, which just about covered his drops. Barlow having waited patiently for his chance advanced down the wicket to his first ball to finish the game in style. Unfortunately he missed it. A pair of Grindrods finally got us over the line and we headed for the bar and to finish the tea.

Jingle Bells.

Sunday 6 July 2014
SCCC 160 all out (30.2 overs)
Shackleford 161-1 (30.3 overs)
Lost by nine wickets
Shackleford won the toss, declaration match

Richard Seeckts writes:

A fourth consecutive defeat, the margin increasing week by week. Mysteriously missing Peter Kurtz, 10 Cryptics found daft ways of getting out, kidding themselves that the pitch was possessed by demons, the kind that saunter off for tea and don’t come back.

In fact, tea was taken with Shackleford already on 48, so rapid had the Cryptic capitulation been. It started in the first over when Hugh gloved to the keeper and immediately walked off, denying the umpire the opportunity to give him not out. An identical dismissal to last week so he should bat without gloves at Holybourne.

Pippa showed signs of finding some form, battling to 13 while Puppy and then Grinders raged at the other end, playing festival cricket at a healthy lick that couldn’t last long. It didn’t, and 62-2 quickly became 82-6, then 123-8. Tom Hufton made a classy 41, with new boy Paul Plewman (16) and then Rod (22*) flaying enough to reach a vaguely respectable total.

Shabby batting was matched by butterfingered fielding and some wayward bowling as openers Swan and Taylor smashed Rod out of the attack after two overs. They were still there when Rod had his second two over spell at the end. 4-0-41-0 for the silver ferned choker.

So unbalanced was the contest that our only wicket was a run out at the non-striker’s end, the fluke upshot of Ware dropping a caught and bowled chance that deflected onto the stumps. The towel had already been thrown in for that chance to occur.

Curiously, Shackleford captain Taylor opened the bowling and the batting, finishing on 100*. No.3 De Candle had taken 5-25. They don’t seem to operate the ‘give everyone a game’ creed familiar to Cryptics of the last two decades, so it’s possible their five players who neither batted nor bowled were complete bunnies. This time, however, we weren’t good enough to find out.

Still, the tea was fabulous and the giant net curtains protecting the new homes at cow corner did their job, though the residents, unlike the home team, appeared to be all out.

Sunday 29 June 2014
Stoke d’Abernon 209 for 7 dec (46 overs)
SCCC 133 (31 overs)
Lost by 76 runs
SCCC won the toss

Peter Andrew writes:

Back to the Rec at Stoke, where last year Grinders was captain, Rod took four wickets and Stu took 0-23. This year, Grinders was captain, Rod took four wickets and Stu took 0-23. End of similarity. Because last year, we had Scottie and Elliot Scrivenor. This year, our batting has misfired, and we weren’t up to the task on Sunday.

Needless to say, the opposition batted first. It started well, with 11 dot balls on a pitch with big boundaries on all sides. Then the aggressive Anderson picked up a slightly short one from Gossy and put it straight into the playground at long leg. Paul got his revenge, but the Stoke man had helped himself to two further maximums and 41 more runs, by then. 12 overs, 58-1. Then the change bowlers were on, and the score moved gradually to 115 for 4, as PAJ picked up the next three, before retiring to the pavilion with a ruptured Achilles. The only action of note between then and Stoke getting to 188 without further loss was an uncharacteristic drop by Gossy of a remarkably simple catch off Seeckts. Indeed, he and Philip – star bakers with five catches between them at Woking last week – demonstrated their butterfingers this week, while five separate colleagues held their chances. It was left to the returning Rod to mop up the lower order, which he did courtesy of a three-wicket over, as Stoke tried to accelerate towards a declaration. He finished with 4-34, thwarted of his first recorded Michelle by opposition skipper Nick Lo calling in his last wicket pair with the score on 209.

The procession of returning Cryptic batsmen came at roughly 5-over intervals, as Wright (6), Taylor (12), Greenway (8) and Seeckts (12) failed to keep James Hogben company. The bowling was relatively tame, until the introduction of Ashwell, who was a couple of yards brisker than your typical Sunday bowler, demonstrated by 6-3-17-2. James himself was finally triggered sweeping at a straight one for 35, his best of the season. He was sixth out when we were 114, and the final four wickets crumbled for a further 19, most of which were scored by Grinders, raging against the dying of the light. Time remained only for extras to pass James’s total and end the day as top scorer.

For true masochists, Stoke’s version of events, with a link to the day’s scorecard, is here:

Sunday 22 June 2014
Woking & Horsell 156 (35.2 overs)
SCCC 123 (30.4 overs)
Lost by 33 runs
40 overs match
SCCC won the toss

Peter Andrew writes:

Rushed out for 156 after a solid start. Last six wickets going down for 8 runs, on the back of some tight bowling and excellent catching. Couldn’t even last the full 40 overs. Sounds familiar? Another typical Cryptic collapse? Well no, actually. That was Woking & Horsell.

They got off to a solid if unspectacular start, losing their first wicket to third change bowler Stu, having accumulated 61. We were handed a fait accompli of a 40-over contest, and stand-in skip Seeckts was juggling his resources to hide fifth bowler duties. Thus Keith Taylor had already made his bowling debut, although he would make a greater impact in our innings. 61-1 became 96-4, as Stu picked up his second (a superbly judged catch at long-off by Gossy to remove Woking’s classiest batsman for a mere 6) and Philip was invited to show us his twirlers. The last time he took a wicket in this country, Yasser Arafat was still alive. So it was a surprise to many that he took two in successive balls. Less of a surprise was that, with long experience of Cryptic fielding, he caught both himself – the second a sharp chance that others might have shunned. A brutal partnership took Woking rapidly to 148, when Seeckts (3-22) picked the moment to operate in tandem with the returning Goss (3-11), and wipe out the warren. Woking finished notably short of their allocation. Only PAJ completed a full 8-over allocation, with no great impact except (almost) on a local youth driving his Ford Asbo down Brewery Road.

Rushed out for 123 after a solid start. Last six wickets going down for 17 runs, on the back of some tight bowling and interesting umpiring. Couldn’t even last the full 40 overs. Sounds familiar? Another typical Cryptic collapse? Well yes, actually.

In true Sunday tradition, Woking opened with 9 and 11 from their batting order, and brought on 8 and 10 as change bowlers. Philip, perhaps overly enthused by his adventures with the ball, went for an extravagant aerial drive and was caught at mid-off for 7. Keith got started, then perished for 22. James Hogben got started, then confused Jubilee with Piccadilly and was bowled, also for 22. Peter Kurtz picked up an idiosyncratic 16. Hugh Greenway top-scored with 32, and always looked about to cut loose. At 106-5, chasing 156, the game was balanced on a knife-edge. 106-6, and Hugh wouldn’t be cutting loose this week. The remaining batsmen still had an aggregate of 13 Cryptic 50’s between them. But sadly, they managed a mere 16 (and three LBWs, of varying contentiousness) between them, and then some people were on the pitch.

This was only the second time we’ve bowled Woking out, so it was disappointing not to do ourselves justice. It’s always a fun fixture to play in, a nice ground with challenging but sporting opponents, and good that we could rearrange the fixture from the end of the season, to accommodate the Portugal tour. We move on to Stoke d’Abernon next Sunday, whose website notes their desire to avenge our victory last year.

Sunday 15 June 2014
Follies Farm Old Spots 201-9 (40 overs)
SCCC 198-7 (40 overs)
Lost by 3 runs
40 overs match
FFOSCC won the toss

Anyone who has played at Follies Farm understands why it is the easiest fixture to raise a team for. Anyone who has captained the Cryptics knows that when 14 or more players are available weeks in advance, there will be a player shortage on the eve of the match.

batting at follies farm
Thus two debutants, Hugh Greenway and Tom Hufton (son of Headley Hufton, for those with long memories), enjoyed a Cryptic baptism. The finish was a nail-biter that rose from the mess of 67-4 after 17 overs, then 99-5 after 28 and 125-7 after 32. That it was Seeckts (42*) and Edwards (44*) who came so close to pulling off the heist surprised many, not least the fielding side. Their merry romp to victory turned to something near panic when the 34th over went for 17. Suddenly the 52 required from six overs looked on as Seeckts eventually found the middle of his new bat and Edwards defiantly biffed three sixes and four fours.

Edwards faced the final over needing 13. After a six, two singles and a wide, four were needed from three deliveries, but an All Black under sporting pressure is a delicate thing. The throat tightens and the spluttering starts; the dot balls passed and scorer Greenway announced his final etching in the book, “Kiwi choked”.

Prior to the drama, Grinders enjoyed opening the batting for 34 with Pippa (3), who paid the price for being hit on the pad at the end umpired by an off-duty Old Spot. Greenway’s 24 and Hufton’s 31 confirmed they both fit the Cryptic mould – making an impact, then considerately allowing others to get a game too. The chase was intended to be built around man in form Tommy and all time great Scottie, but they served only to make it harder for those who followed, collectively playing five scoring shots in 13 overs at the crease.

It was Captain Scott for the day, Grinders being a late arrival. Regardless, the Follies script was followed; they bat first, play shot-a-ball cricket resulting in bizarre dismissals, bizarre non-dismissals, recover by feasting at the Cryptic buffet and set a target just beyond our reach.

Pup dropped a screaming catch at point, gathered the ball and pulled off a run out. Later, Hufton picked up in the deep, ignored calls to get an easy run out at the bowlers end and made a direct hit at the ‘keeper’s end for a would-be champagne moment. Only umpire Lumley thought Griffiths had made his ground.

Pup limped off in an undiagnosed state of decrepitude, leaving us with only 10 to bat.

Edwards, Hufton, Grinders and Stu H-S all finished with wickets from eight over stints; the ‘fifth bowler’ of Scottie, Tommy and Seeckts was leakier.

As ever, Angelo’s bar prospered to the happy hum of two teams who share the pink and black colours and love a decent contest played in a spirit strong enough for all the ‘ifs, buts and whys’ to be forgotten.

In time honoured fashion, Captain Scott’s mission ended in glorious failure.

follies farm 2014

Sunday 8 June 2014
Banstead 201-6 (40 overs)
SCCC 202-4 (37.4 overs)
Won by 6 wickets
Banstead won the toss, 40 overs match

Richard Seeckts writes:

Apollo must wear pink and black pyjamas, for in a summer that has seen most Saturday and midweek cricket washed out, Cryptic Sundays continue to be drenched in glorious sun.

Back on Banstead’s fabulous main pitch again, this was another win that defied the age / form book. The hosts’ youth made them at least 30 runs better than us in the field, but they were let down by the bye count – we conceded five, they 27 – and Tommy led us home with a superb 81*, calmly collected as the required run rate floated between six and seven until the final thrash. 165 runs in two knocks may be an excellent return, but it doesn’t get you in the averages until you’ve been dismissed a few times.

Peter Kurtz and Paul Bridges made their season’s debut, the former because he lives nearby and the latter because this was the scene of his best Cryptic bowling (5-40 in 2012) and batting (44 in 2013). Otherwise, there was a familiarity to the opening salvos. Grinders lost the toss (for what it was worth), he and Bridges were parsimonious, Cupit arrived eventually, Sophie took a fine catch at mid-on to get the skipper his second wicket of the season, and Bridges knocked over the other opener. 17-2.

There followed a chanceless partnership of 146 between Estall and Hooper in about 23 overs. The change bowlers, Muldoon and Sophie, the surprise bowler, Henniker-Smith, and the joke bowlers, Seeckts and Cupit, all suffered in the face of decent batting and deteriorating fielding. Balls were palmed over the boundary, went between the legs, through the gaps, everywhere but to hand until Cupit induced the false shot that broke the partnership, Seeckts reluctantly taking the catch. Cupit’s 4-0-34-1 was expensive shopping, but he’s used to that.

Skipper marshalled his flock expertly through the ‘death’ overs, though a minor pickle saw H-S confidently take the final over, flinging down some costly full-bungers.

Not too costly, however. Tommy’s 81* grabs the headlines, but there was vigour about the chase from the start, Pippa (15) and makeshift opener Dwight (32) pushing it around neatly. They’d have got a lot more had the fielders not been so damned young and bendy, a problem that also got to Kurtz (7) and Seeckts (0) who perished trying to pierce the ring of vultures.

Grinders (35*) partnered Tommy from 84-4, making a tough job look increasingly easy when Banstead appeared to run out of bowlers after 32 overs and served up a buffet more appetising than the mouth-watering tea a couple of hours earlier. The tail was again denied its chance, but it’s usually asked to wag at Follies Farm, where we go next.

Sunday 1 June 2014
Kingstonian 151 all out (37.3 overs)
SCCC 152-5 (38.3 overs)
Won by 5 wickets
SCCC won the toss, 40 over match

Richard Seeckts writes:

In 2013, Kingstonian opener Imran butchered an astonishing 195 from 115 balls and here he was again, hungry for more, but that didn’t dissuade Grinders from sticking them in. The sense of foreboding as we took the field deepened when it quickly became apparent that this time his partner, Imtiaz, was a better batsman. How bad could it get?

Skipper Grindrod boldly led from the front, with a maiden over, and Gossy made the fourth over a maiden too. A modicum of respect was shown, interspersed by some big shots, before Imran fell LBW for 42 to a Scottie full toss. Phew. Scottie’s introduction was the first of a series of inspired bowling changes that brought (surely bought?) wickets.

The field spread as Imtiaz threatened to do real damage, but he foolishly took on the long on boundary, where Seeckts waited. “That’s coming straight down your throat” heckled Goss from long off, expecting anything but the tumbling catch a few feet inside the boundary that followed. Phew again. And a wicket for Chris Muldoon, a bowler whose three games have all been against brutal batsmen on flat tracks, so he’s scarcely met PAJA.

After drinks, skipper brought on the spin twins, Grinders jnr and Seeckts who combined to rip out five middle order wickets in five overs for 11 runs, aided by some fine one-handed catching all round, except for ‘keeper Cooper. A batsman contrived to hit a Grinders jnr ball almost straight up. It was coming down about two yards to the leg side of the stumps, unarguably a catch for the ‘keeper who moved towards it from his position behind, and slightly to the off-side of the stumps. Picture the scene as Cooper, looking up, demolished the stumps, tripped in the process and lay prostrate and helpless before the ball landed safely beside him. Cue laughter that tested one’s bladder control; a Cryptic tale for the ages.

The ginger left-armers came back to bag the bunnies and tea was taken happily having bowled and fielded above expectation.

Only 3.8 runs per over required, and we got there steadily enough, without it ever feeling easy. Pippa (8) blazed his second boundary of the summer before losing sight of a deadly straight full toss. Puppy’s skittish 3 was ended by a fine gully catch and Scottie (3) trudged off steaming at an LBW decision from workmate / umpire Muldoon. Odds on for a Monday morning ding-dong at the coffee machine.

Keith’s carefully constructed 49 took us past halfway until he managed to be bowled by Terry Jacobs, whose notorious grenades induce panic and madness in even the coolest of heads. A pair of Richards, Atkinson and Seeckts, would have had George Hirst and Wilfred Rhodes peering down proudly from the heavens as they set out to “get them in singles”, but Atkinson (19) shovelled another Jacobs cracker into Imran’s hands. Grinders Snr (36*) clouted a couple of straight sixes, dominating an unbroken stand of 59 with Seeckts (23*) to wrap it up with nine balls to spare. Jingle Bells.

In three matches this season, the Cryptics have taken 29 wickets and lost 15. Much more of that and the tail will become twitchy.

Sunday 18 May 2014
Crondall 215 all out (40.3 overs)
SCCC 179-5 (38 overs)
Match drawn
Crondall won the toss

Richard Seeckts writes:

Glorious sunshine greeted the resumption of this fixture after a five year hiatus brought on by events best forgotten. Crondall had freshened up with youths accustomed to playing more serious stuff on Saturdays. Cryptic development since 2009 raised the team’s aggregate age from 427 years to 527. So it was excellent to come away with an admirable draw against superior opponents who contributed enormously to a day of good-natured Sunday cricket.

The rarely spotted triathlete, Gossy, breezed down the hill looking so lean and accurate that he might have been a ‘ringer’. On 24, he took the first wicket, matching his wicket tally for the whole of 2013 in a trice as Cooper took the first of two catches. Opener Ungaretti, a couple of classes above the rest, struggled with absolutely none of the Cryptic bowling despite its including five of the club’s top seven all time wicket takers. Edwards and Grindrod, still not a five-for between them, didn’t manage a one-for here and at 123-1 the stage was set for a mammoth target.

Stu H-S found an edge and, with the guile of Seeckts at the other end, sparked a collapse to 180-6, the latter buying three pricey wickets without help from any fielders. Ungaretti tried to put PAJA into the graveyard across the road upon reaching his century, but was unlucky to find a grateful Grindrod lurking in the shadow at long on.

Crondall had quality to No.10 but, to their credit, came out guns blazing and perished with near perfect timing, three balls before the intended declaration. Goss, after a second spell, and PAJA both finished with three wickets. Cooper’s ‘stumping’ was an embarrassing case of the ball bouncing off his pads, the only blemish on his otherwise faultless afternoon. The port quaffing dual for the gloves in Oporto will be worth the ticket.

The chase meandered sedately to 68-4 after half the overs. By then Pippa (13) had walked for an LBW shout, confirmed by umpire Rod. Hoggers (4) had played all round a straight one, Keith Taylor (13) and Grinders (4) holed out trying to get on with it. Tommy H-D, however, showed untypical belligerence in partnership first with Seeckts (31), then Goss (22*) as Crondall took only one wicket in the final 23 overs.

With a win virtually impossible, Tommy secured a respectable finish with 84* maturely crafted runs, denying Stu and the left-handed tail their moment in the setting sun.

Though his innings was a treat, Tommy’s largesse in the Plume of Feathers trumped it, and when the landlady produced several bowls of scorching fried spuds, the day, like our opponents, was hard to beat.

Sunday 4 May 2014
Avorians 170-9 dec (46 or 51 overs)
SCCC 112-5 (39 overs)
Match drawn
SCCC won the toss

Richard Seeckts writes:

Nine of the 2013 Cryptic XI returned to Avorians, all set and ready for a 1pm start. Significantly absent, having cried off during the week, was our Fixture Secretary who therefore missed his opportunity to discuss Avorians’ assertion that the start was scheduled for 2pm. But there is much tittle-tattle to unload after a long winter and the eager anticipation of Dwight’s 100th cap made the hour pass pleasantly enough.

A declaration game, a firm looking pitch, some WAGs and juniors enjoying the sunshine – Woking in last September’s mud could finally be put to rest.

Edwards and Grindrod showed no signs of rust, wobbling up to the wicket and wobbling the ball down the wicket respectively, to great effect. The skipper looked unplayable in his 5-2-6-1 spell, though taking the first wicket heralded the arrival of Avorians’ D.Worth whose 74, ultimately, was the difference between the sides. Rod took two wickets in two balls and completed his spell without injury for once.

Stu Henniker-Smith’s Cryptic debut a year ago opened with a wide, and his five overs went for 23. This time it was two wides and five overs for 24. Solid. Gossy’s place in the side was taken by Sophie Cooper whose two wickets also came from successive deliveries, the second greeted with an explosion of emotion that made one wonder what she might have done had the hat-trick been completed. Really, her first wicket should have caused the excitement, it being PAJA’s first catch since the week Amy Winehouse died.

Avorians’ innings didn’t raise the pulse until No11, Frise, correctly identified Cupit’s declaration bowling for a rapid 32*. Frise apart, no-one could make a three-an-over pitch become a five-an-over pitch after tea, least of all a Cryptic team with a tail starting at No3.

Pippa and Hoggers – who else?- set about things with seasonal care at almost three-an-over, the perfect start if Scottie and a few sloggers had been in the wings. However, Hoggers (24) played round a straight one in the 15th over and by the 20th over Cupit (4), Wright (18), Grindrod (0) and H-Smith (2) had done the same. Worth (yes, him again) hitting the stumps four times in his first 15 deliveries. 53-5, shocking.

All that remained was for Seeckts (29*) and Edwards (21*) to plod through the remaining 19 overs obstinately rejecting advice offered from around the bat, while keeping out bowling that offered too little, too late. Less exciting than we would have liked, but we didn’t want to start with a defeat.

Washed down in drivers’ moderation, it was good to be back in whites among familiar faces, Cupit being the seventh of the XI to reach 100 caps and the 12th Cryptic centurion overall. The summer ahead has fixtures for everyone – the new and the occasional as well as the old hands will all be welcome. We pride ourselves on getting everyone who turns up involved in the game. And we only go places where the tea is good.