Played 12 Won 6 Drawn/Tied 4 Lost 2

Sunday 6 September 2015
Woking & Horsell CC 130-8 (20 overs)
SCCC 118-7 (20 overs)
Lost by 12 runs
T20 match, nuf said.
Toss by negotiation, call it a win

Richard Seeckts writes:

Cricket’s capacity for surprise lobbed up a wrong ‘un, delivered by Woking’s fixture secretary, when we arrived to find ourselves one of two opponents he had booked for the day. A triangular match of 25 overs each of batting, bowling and resting by rotation was mooted, as was going home, but eventually everyone settled for Woking playing each opposition at T20. Without hesitation, it was unanimously agreed that the Cryptics would patronise the bar first, have tea second, and play last.

In glorious sunshine we took ale and talked nonsense while half-watching the first game and, evidently, learning nothing of how to approach our first T20 match. Briefly, it was like a tour without the travel, the sleep deprivation or the Pup’s xenophobic rants. (Hmm, could catch on – Ed)

When Woking mustered only 77 in their first game, and the challengers made heavy weather of passing it, T20 looked a doddle. Nice short spell in the field, frequent changes of bowling, spread out, take a few catches in the deep and knock off the four-an-over to win. What could possibly go wrong?

Captain Gossy’s choice of Stu to open the bowling looked inspired as he bowled Woking’s Peters with his first ball. ‘No ball’ cried the umpire as Stu had done a Finn and knocked off the bails at his end in delivery. Four balls later, Peters spooned a dolly to Hoggers at extra cover but, not wearing Geoffrey’s mum’s pinny, he couldn’t hold on.

In all, six catches were spilled, all of them easier than the two that Keith held. ‘Keeper Cooper had an astonishing hour, taking three catches (and dropping two) and two stumpings, which may be a record. The wickets were shared among Stu, Rod, Scottie, Tommy and Seeckts, while Gossy’s three overs went for 27. The new ball was lost in the neighbouring industrial estate in Rod’s second over, and at least three more were used in the Woking innings.

All that six hitting didn’t seem right to us, so we didn’t hit one. Not one. Nor even a four for quite a while, or a two. George Hirst and Wilfred Rhodes must have been purring with admiration from the celestial pavilion as we set about getting 131 off 120 balls, in singles. And dots. Lot’s of them. We were 21-2 after seven overs, Hoggers having fallen five short of the six he needed for 3000 career runs, and Keith for 11.

Pippa, meantime, had assumed Titanic violinist Wallace Hartley’s persona, serenely playing the usual anchor role while it became increasingly apparent that the situation demanded a rescue operation. Hugh’s arrival led to a doubling of the score in three overs (44 off 10) and that in turn was almost doubled in the next five (83-3 off 15) with Hugh gone, the first of three run outs.

By now, Pippa was employing the bat to good effect, playing attacking shots off front and back foot and showing that scoring six, seven or even eight an over really can be done. When he was stumped for 40 in the 16th over, the metamorphosis had come too late. Those that followed selflessly gave it everything they had. A few averages took a knock as swords were fallen upon, and we got closer than expected.

Praise be to Woking for making a purse of some description from an Old Spot’s ear. Sun, beer, free tea and a light-hearted game made for a convivial day all round. But there’s no pretence that T20 is what we want to play very often.

Sunday 16 August
Chipstead, Coulsdon & Walcountians 251 for 2 dec (38.3 overs)
SCCC 208-8 (46 overs)
Match drawn
Cryptics won toss

Peter Andrew writes:

The first time we played Chipstead etc, we got nine of them out, and survived, 23 short with nine down. That was 2013. Last year, we only got three of them out, and were 104 short with nine down. This year, we only got two of them out, and……….you see where I’m going with this? Lucky that Bridges won the toss, then.

And it all started so well. We only conceded 15 runs off the first six overs, with two maidens to Bridges. Opening, you see – privilege of captaincy. T’was always thus – ask yourselves why Scotty and Atkinson have 5-fors. Anyway, after Rod took our first wicket (19 for 1 in the eighth over), it all went a bit askew. There was this partnership of 97 in 14 overs, with little respite for the toiling bowlers, who had by now extended to include Scotty, PAJ and Seeckts, old and new. Finally Scotty held a violent return catch off his own bowling. It was just as well, since nobody else had looked like holding one all day. So, 116-2, 22 overs. Just enough time for Chipstead to put on a 135-run partnership without further loss, and damage only the statistics of the trundlers as more opportunities fell to earth. Bit like Ziggy Stardust, but without the charisma.

James Hogben’s parents had come to watch him play, so he was naturally dropped from his usual opening slot down to #5. Wright and Windeatt (two of the Cryptics’ three Ws, along with…err, Williamson? Woodmartin? Wood? Guess it has to be Ware) started off well, and were ahead of our opponents’ pace when Philip gave a return catch smartly held by the bowler, for 18. Martin Cloke came and went too quickly, and Scotty and Chris then added a further 57, at which point the latter was caught for 58, dropping his season’s average to a mere 167. Scotty followed an over and one run later for 29, leaving him one good score behind Seeckts’s fourth place in the lifetime batting aggregates. 118-4, 27 overs gone, start of the last 20. Six and a half an over – possible, yes. Likely? Not based on history.

And so it would prove. Seeckts the Elder was next to fall, to his third comedy dismissal in three weeks. A belated stumping attempt, a mumbled appeal from the bowler, Richard confident he had never left, let alone needed to regain, his ground, and an umpire who was convinced that he did, and didn’t. If you get what I mean. Rod followed swiftly, and then James – whose parents had long since repaired to the warmth of the bar to watch their offspring’s effort – was caught for 39, leaving him a tantalising six short of 3,000 career runs, and another 400 short of second-placed Atkinson. Skipper Bridges, exercising authority’s privilege of picking a batting slot with a good chance of a reasonable not out score, joined Toby and they put on a further 37, thereby setting a season’s record for the eighth wicket. When Toby went on 203 (our sixth catching victim – there’s a lesson there, somewhere) we needed 48 from almost four overs. But the bowling was always too good for those heroics, and Chipstead were a little reluctant to try and buy the wickets that we know could be ever so cheap.

So, we played out for an honourable draw, eight down and our third successive failure to chase, but successfully defend, at this most picturesque of grounds.

Sunday 09 August 2015
Blackheath 208 (33.5 overs)
SCCC 202-8 (40 overs)
Match drawn
Cryptics won toss

Peter Andrew writes:

Another glorious day, at arguably the most attractive ground that we play at [and most difficult to find – Ed]. Our team notable for the debut of yet another Cryptic son, William. This time it was Ware, joining Hicks and Wright of earlier days. Like Cook at Nottingham, Seeckts did the most difficult bit and won the toss. Tommy H-D was given the privilege of the new ball, and the more dubious honour of uphill into the wind. It did him no harm though, as six overs later he was sitting pretty with 3-22, his best Cryptic performance with the ball. Gossy picked up a fourth in an excellent spell which made the most of a bouncy track, and Blackheath were rocking at 47-4.

However, a balanced partnership between skipper McRae and veteran opener Wrigley more than stabilised the innings. McRae smacked a rapid 80 by hitting anything he could reach a very long way (usually off PAJ, who shipped his third 50 in eight days), and Wrigley who was more sedate but no less effective. This despite an entirely acceptable spell from William Ware, especially given he’s used to bowling on tracks a couple of yards shorter. As usual, as the bottom order (and tea) approached, the occasional bowlers were offered a chance, and took it (Windeatt 2-11 from two, Seeckts (T) 2 for 17). Scotty also became only the 11th Cryptic to 50 wickets. Remarkably, nine of the ten wickets we took were caught.

Wright and Ware (snr) set off in search of 209 runs to win, found seven between them, and then returned to the pavilion. Chris Windeatt and Seeckts (snr) took us along to 50, before Richard was held at slip (off the seventh ball of the over, thanks Gossy – Ed) to leave us three down, and Blackheath favourites. But Scotty and Chris were comfortable in taking us past 100 and beyond. When Scotty fell for 36 we needed 80 from 15. Just the scenario for Tommy, but something in his life must be sapping his strength because he was unnaturally subdued on his way to 28 in ten overs. Will he struggle his way past a career 2,000 runs this season? Two wickets in an over from McRae clipped our wings, and the lower order was unable to give Chris enough of the strike as the final 20 overs closed out. He was ultimately stranded on 95*, giving him a season’s average of 276 (and a Cryptic lifetime average of 168).

Yes, a draw, but – as has often been said in these reports – a draw that kept everybody interested and all results possible until we reached the last knockings. As usual in these circumstances, credit is due to both captains for a tense game of cricket which got everybody involved. And a good bunch of opponents, whom we’ll happily continue to play as long as they’ll have us.

Sunday 02 August 2015
Maori Oxshott 259-3 dec (37.1 overs)
SCCC 260-4 (44.1 overs)
SCCC won by 6 wickets
Cryptics won toss

Peter Andrew writes:

And so, two days later, another stop down the Guildford line to Oxshott. Or, for the drivers, a tedious and protracted journey avoiding roads full of Lycra Louts on a day out. Anyway, when we were all assembled, Grinders won the toss and put Oxshott in. It looked like another toiling day for the bowlers, on a firm and true track, with another lightning quick outfield. Bridges and Grinders plugged away unsuccessfully as the hosts cruised past 70. Henry Thorpe picked up his 50 off PAJ and, buoyed with confidence, fatally called for a second run after the slightest of misfields by Puppy. An instant recovery and sharp return was completed by keeper Gav. 94-1.

There followed a tedious interlude while Oxshott added another 150 runs without loss, as a range of bowlers were tried and found wanting. This was broken at last by Gavin’s third stumping of the weekend, to give Chris Windeatt his second wicket of the season. Shortly afterwards, PAJ’s second spell (in itself a clear sign of the skipper’s desperation) also doubled his tally for the season. Oxshott declared on 259 for 3. Extras contributed 10% of this, though Gavin was essentially blameless for the four sets of 4-byes speared down the legside. We used seven bowlers, including James Grindrod whose spell was no worse than his more experienced seniors. And whose ability to run around in the field far exceeded theirs.

We opened our chase with Wright and Bridges, and it was an indicator of the batsman-friendly nature of the pitch that they put on our best opening stand of the season (99); Bridges scored his maiden Cryptics 50; and Philip equalled his highest score this century (apart from the 111* he scored at Oxshott in 2006). Nothing much changed when Paul departed for 52 (having thereby joined a not very exclusive group of Cryptics who have both scored a 50 and taken a 5-for), to be replaced by Chris Windeatt. With the score on 185, Philip went for 71, having helped also set the season’s record for the second wicket. Ware, never slow, contributed a brisk 29 in a stand of 52 in 5 overs as the Oxshott skipper used 10 bowlers with the intention of everyone making a contribution, no matter the state of the game.

Even Hugh Greenway’s two-ball duck failed to stay the momentum, as the skipper pummelled a quick 14 to give us a six-wicket victory. Chris was undefeated on 64, which continues his remarkable series with the bat for us, and leaves him with an average of 125 against Maori Oxshott.

Friday 31 July 2015
Claygate 243-6 dec (44 overs)
SCCC 244-6 (54.1 overs)
SCCC won by 4 wickets
Claygate won toss

Peter Andrew writes:

Claygate, on Friday of their cricket week. Our 25th match against them (ITME), overtaking Headley to become our most-played opponents. Glorious weather, a day marred only slightly by those people who don’t understand the bit about ‘not walking behind the bowler’s arm’. A match notable for two features: the willingness of our opponents to create a match that went the distance, albeit to their eventual detriment. And the coming of age of Cryptics’ younger generation. We turned up with four of them, three of whom were too young to join the Army, drive a moped or buy a lottery ticket. You wouldn’t instinctively choose to expose them to Claygate’s run-laden track, but too many holidays and editorial deadlines gave us little choice.

The shallowness of our batting was explained to Claygate’s captain, who took the hint and elected to bat. One of our key weapons against Claygate is their tradition of a late night celebration with Stoke d’Abernon, Thursday’s opponents, resulting in a certain fragility in their Friday line-up. 1st XI regulars Sapsted and Watkins, however, showed no signs of having got home around 5:00am, and laid into openers Goss and Grindrod (D) with relish. The first wicket fell at 125, but only after Watkins had been encouraged to retire unbeaten on 78. This barely slowed the carnage applied by Claygate’s batting power on a good track and a glass-fast outfield. Claygate eventually instituted a policy of retiring at 50, to enable them to juggle the batting order.

The early bowlers bore the brunt, the Grindrod family shipping over 100, and PAJ conceding half that on his own. Even Gossy, with a lifetime economy rate of barely three an over, conceded 26 from six. As ever, the occasional bowlers benefited from Claygate’s desire to give a bat to those otherwise unlikely to do so. Debutant Rob Milner, borrowed from Holybourne snaffled 3-17, including two stumpings by Gav. Puppy and Toby Seeckts each collected 1 for 1.

Our catching was to our usual standards, and opportunities went to ground like Cristiano Ronaldo. It would be harsh to point out that this tendency was started and finished by Sophie Cooper. Her first chance was thrashed brutally to mid-off, where her instinct to move towards, not away from, the fizzing missile was both rash and thoroughly unCryptic. It resulted in a chipped bone in her left hand, and a temporary though lengthy retirement to the pavilion to get acquainted with the ice bucket. Fortunately, Jimmy G (Grindrod not Greenhough) was a more than adequate substitute. After lunch, however, she insisted on getting the hand strapped, and returned to bowl a fine seven-over spell for just 31 runs, a worthy effort on the day. However, the injury also meant she was no more likely to hold on to a late spooned chance off PAJ than Def Leppard’s drummer.

Claygate declared on 243.

Chasing an estimated five an over, Hugh and Puppy opened our response (vindicating earlier comments on the depth of our batting). They lasted until 37, when Hugh went for 20 (all in fours) and Puppy for 15 (mostly in fours). Milner and Ed Grindrod eased us to 77, when Rob was castled for 16. Enter Seeckts (R), keeping Ed company in a 50-run partnership until becoming our fourth ‘bowled’ victim, a top edge going straight upwards and coming down on top of the bails. Goss, pushing his all-rounder credentials hard this year and already in his most prolific Cryptic season with the bat, helped keep the score ticking over until Ed offered a return catch to Watkins. But not before having completed his maiden 50, an achievement generously acknowledged by the opposition. He will, without doubt, play for better teams than the Cryptics.

Claygate scoreAt this point we were still over 90 runs short, and three overs into the final 20. But Goss and the Grinders patriarch accelerated, until Goss was run out for 38. Now 53 short, enter Toby Seeckts. David smote silkily as only he can (in this team, at least), and suddenly we were on the cusp of victory, with some overs to spare. David moved to 49 on the last ball of an over. Now, against Teddington, David had left Gossy stranded on 95 by knocking off the winning runs. So the pavilion was bathed with schadenfreude as young Toby calmly smacked the first ball of the following over for four, not only winning the game, but also leaving David one run short of his elder son (and, one wicket short of him on the day as well).

Grinders Junior with his first jug - Claygate 2015Praise is due to Craig Schultz, Claygate’s skipper, who could easily have taken the game away from us and set us 400. He didn’t, and that decision on its own kept everybody interested until 7:45 in the evening. And without the dynamic contributions of our younger generation, it would have been a winning decision.

Lunch, finally, is worthy of mention, a fine occasion in Claygate’s excellent new club house, supplemented by enough port to go around (‘cos Tommy wasn’t playing). And we finished the day with a hog roast and an entertaining celebration of Claygate’s ambitious tours, which make Menorca and Portugal look a bit tame ! Anyone for Sri Lanka 2018 ?

Sunday 28 June 2015
Teddington 222-7 (40 overs)
SCCC 223-5 (38.2 overs)
Won by 5 wickets
40 over match
Toss by negotiation

Richard Seeckts writes:

So near and yet so far. Harold Larwood, Eddy Hemmings, Alex Tudor and now Paul Goss, all legendry bowlers who have taken their chance batting up the order but narrowly missed out on a ton. Gossy’s chanceless knock of 95 on Sunday, full of fluent drives, compares best with Tudor’s in 1999, as both were not out having selflessly agreed with their partners that winning the game was priority over personal milestones. Still, Thorpe got a lot of stick for denying his mate a ton, and doubtless Grinders will too. For as long as the Cryptics exist.

The circumstances leading to the former skipper’s finest hour would arouse interest from the ICC Anti-Corruption and Security Unit but, since the ACSU is utterly useless, our man would be in safe hands. Which is more than can be said for the simple catch he shelled from Rod’s first long-hop. “I wasn’t trying to catch it”, he explained at teatime, having been persuaded that Teddington’s batting depended on their talented young openers doing well.

It was this bluff from our hosts – for they batted pretty well – that caused Gossy to negotiate the toss and field first with only eight Cryptics (and no captain) on the ground. And we were only playing Teddington after some nimble 11th hour correspondence (by Gossy of course) to find a fixture after Stoke d’Abernon had cried off, citing Glastonbury as robbing them of players.

With the game under way, all we had to do was concede a decent score, get the ginger-boy in when the opening bowlers were taken off, and find someone to keep him company while he stroked his way to a maiden century. All went according to plan until Grinders hammered the four that made the century mathematically impossible and Gossy settled for joining the Not Quite Club.

Teddington’s Dads and Lads team were a perfect match on the day for a Cryptic team whose batting was weak on paper and bowling was weak on grass.

Rod went in the fetlock at the beginning of his second over, retiring to slip where he took a rare catch. Bridges and Grinders were tidy as ever but Teddington’s colts cruised to 97-2 at 20 overs without alarm. Goss’s excellent first spell was not matched by his expensive second, without which he’d never have needed to bat so well. Stu was the only bowler to send down a full eight overs, once again a curate’s egg spell that yielded three wickets, two of them caught by ‘keeper Cooper, back from his Azerbaijan experience and eager to ward off the young pretenders who took the gloves in his absence.

James Grindrod, a last minute replacement for the ailing PAJA and purveyor of similar crusty baked Melton Mowbrays, was so tidy and effective with the ball that his intended brief spell extended to the end of the innings with commendable death over figures of 7-0-33-3.

The interval saw Gossy moaning of feeling below his best, too much work and drink during the week, and not enough sleep. Same as everyone else, really. No sympathy.

Martin Cloke, in for a second dig as opener, partnered Hoggers in a brief but productive stand. Keith made a season’s best 30 before taking a dim view of the umpire’s raised finger, Seeckts got a snorting, in-swinging yorker from an opening bowler about to be taken off, and the stage was set for Gossy. Bridges looked good for 16 until being run out by a deflection while backing up, extremely unlucky and having to give himself out after umpire Cloke had been momentarily unsighted and therefore unable to give a decision. Incident prudently avoided.

Runs having flowed from the start, the target was within comfortable reach from 128-5 off 24, unless two more wickets fell. The calm and steady accumulation of 95 more runs with 10 balls to spare was perfectly executed by the skipper his predecessor.

Great to see Gossy have his day in the sun as a batsman, almost 18 years after his Cryptic debut. Best get back down the order though, or it may become a habit.

Jingle bells.

Sunday 21 June 2015
SCCC 257-6 (40 overs)
Wood Street Village 239 all out (39 overs)
Won by 18 runs
40 over match
SCCC won the toss

team at Wood Street June 2015

Richard Seeckts writes:

Could this have been the dawn of a new Cryptic era? Scottie’s local, Wood Street Village, became our 81st opposition club since records began on 22 April 1990. A charming ground, surrounded by native trees (and devilish undergrowth for finding cricket balls), new Cryptic kit and, most pleasingly, a score of the modern age in a limited overs match. 496 runs in the day comes straight in at No.10. Still, conceding big scores is nothing new to the plethora of Fulham fans in evidence on both teams.

If Bridges arriving with a large box of new shirts – whiter than white – and hats – pinker than pink, of course – surprised us all, so too did Grinders winning a toss. And then, shock horror, electing to bat first. Whether his decision was a reaction to 40 over defeats the previous two weeks or just a case of the wrong words coming out, only he will know. What we all now know, however, is that when we left the field at 8.10pm on the longest day after a thrilling contest, it had worked.

Wood Street - Rod and MartinPerhaps we learned that scoring at damn near 6.5 runs an over is easier when setting a target than chasing one. Certainly we learned that scoring at 2.9 runs an over for 14 overs needn’t be a barrier to scoring damn near 8.5 for the remaining 26 overs. Needless to say, Pippa opened for the 222nd time, with new partner Martin Cloke, the second new Cryptic of recent times to have been picked up by Rod at a ‘street party’.

Batting looked decidedly tricky as the pair wrestled a new ball propelled at them by a couple of sons of fathers also playing. Indeed, the family trend was so strong that Wood Street’s XI could only muster six surnames, to the Cryptics’ 10.

“They’re doing all sorts with it,” was the gist of the openers’ reports when each returned for single figures after weathering the storm for nine and 13 overs respectively. And we believed them. Trouble was that the day’s remaining 66 overs saw a run-fest almost without equal and the game took so long due to frequent searches for the ball in the woods. Scottie anchored the innings with a composed 63, just happy to be in the middle while his progeny demonstrated, inter alia, a fire siren. Cloke, upon de-padding, instantly recognised Mrs Scottie from days long gone. Small world.

Keith’s 10 was glorious but too brief again. Hugh heaved a splendid 46, finally showing what we suspected, that he can hit a ball quite a long way. Rumours that 200 was plenty at this ground were ignored as bluster while Chris Windeatt showed his higher gears for 45*. Grinders (25) and Bridges (19*) enjoyed the luxury of a death-overs slog as 99 runs flowed in the final ten overs. It was as though they’d been watching the new look England on telly.

Wood Street - Bridges and TobyTea was taken with a confident swagger, but Wood Street were in no mood to roll over. Slyfield looked at two balls from Bridges before smearing the third deep into the woods. The assault continued against a Cryptic attack that looked vulnerable on paper and, at times, hapless on grass. No bowler was singled out as a weak link and, remarkably, all catches were held (Keith, Bridges, Toby, Windeatt, Scottie) and most run out opportunities taken, but the hosts kept bashing away and were ahead at every milepost until the 39th over, when they ran out of wickets after some harebrained running between wickets as the pressure mounted. Thus Bridges, the quickest current Cryptic bowler, earned his first stumping thanks to the cool-headed work of ‘keeper Toby Seeckts charging forward to remove the bails rather than hurling the ball at the stumps from standing deep.

By then the Williams family (71 aggregate) had won the runs race, followed by Slyfield solo (52), the three Grists (51), the Binfields (38) and the Ewins (7). Poor old Ram, after a lengthy net, was run out without facing a ball and had neither a father nor a son to make amends.

Skipper Grinders was the Crackerjack Cryptic bowler, taking 3-30 from his eight overs, with Bridges close behind on 2-32, somewhat flattered by that stumping. Scottie, Seeckts (Snr) and Windeatt made up the 4th and 5th bowlers’ overs in unspectacular style, any punishment being dwarfed by Edwards’s comeback over, the 36th, in which 15-year-old J Grist hit three sixes, two of which went so far that nobody even looked for them. It was as though Edwards had been watching New Zealand choking again on telly. But Grist was well caught on the boundary by Windeatt off the last ball of the over, triggering the final collapse to a really well fought defeat for Wood Street.

This was the best Cryptic fielding performance of the season, a genuinely pleasing team effort in which Cloke, all too often stationed near the (by now) injured Pippa, ran more miles than the rest.

Champagne moment was Keith’s catch of Slyfield for the first wicket. Adjectives don’t exist for the acrobatics performed by a lofty, 50-year-old desk-bunny, but those who saw it, and Keith himself, will long treasure the image as he rose from the turf, stunned to have the ball still in his left hand.

Jingle Bells all round, and another invitation to Wood Street in 2016 would be most welcome.

Sunday 14 June 2015
Follies Farm Old Spots 242-5 (40 overs)
SCCC 237-7 (40 overs)
Lost by 5 runs
40 overs match
Toss irrelevant, we always chase

Richard Seeckts writes:

Read last year’s report and change some of the names. In 2014 the margin of defeat was 3 runs and Big Ben Griffiths scored 78 for the Old Spots. This time he finished on 81*. On both occasions the game looked far out of reach with 10 overs to play but a spirited Cryptic partnership brought us within a whisker of victory.

Last year Greenway, Seeckts and Edwards got runs (this year 8 between them), while Pippa, Scottie and Tommy flopped. This time the roles were reversed; Pip’s 46 sent a defiant message to the selector that he’ll still be doing this in ten years’ time. Scottie’s 49, his best since Graffham and Smithbrook 652 days previously, was a really determined effort after a streaky start, and Tommy’s excellent run of form continued with 50*, a partnership of 79 with bro-in-law Gossy (30) taking us within 24 with two overs remaining.

Needless to say, the common thread with last year’s finish was the presence of Kiwi choker Edwards as the final dot balls were delivered. At least this time he was at the non-striker’s end.

Paul Bridges, skipper for the day, took the new ball with Gossy while the Hogbens were still unloading the car, and for the first hour it was calm. Lumley and Campling played with untypical sobriety, building a solid foundation for the flasher Harrys to follow. Bridges rotated his bowlers with guile, though he might have had more luck with dice. Catches began going down and no breakthrough came until the 18th over when Scottie pouched Lumley at slip off Edwards. Then Campling fell, top-edging a Scottie ball to Pippa at gully. Two big mistakes, as it turned out. Had we bowled all 40 overs at the opening pair, we might only have been chasing 160, but Griffiths and McGahon played aggressively after drinks, in particular feasting on an over of full bungers from your correspondent.

McGahon had several lives, being dropped a couple of times and, very probably, caught behind early in his knock. Looking as sheepish as the flock in the neighbouring field, he opted to bat on, and did so to good effect, scoring 63 before clouting Bridges to long off. By now all the bowlers were getting the treatment. Gossy castled Tebbitt in the 38th over and in walked skipper Leng, over from Jersey for the game but muttering about getting a first baller, which he duly did, courteously marching off as the ball hit Tommy’s gloves.

A substantial posse of WAGS and Cryplets had arrived by tea, Follies being their favourite venue as well as ours. Note to any future owner of the Farm: please let the cricket continue.

The target wasn’t out of reach at 101-2 after 20 overs, looked impossible at 144-6 after 30 and made for a fine finish. 87 off the final ten overs in 2014, 93 in 2015. Despite the best efforts of Tommy and Gossy, six years to the day after they put on 92 to win the match from 74-6, it still wasn’t quite enough.

Sunday 7 June 2015
Banstead 214-6 (40 overs)
SCCC 157 all out (34.2 overs)
Lost by 57 runs
Banstead won the toss, 40 overs match

Richard Seeckts writes:<

Plenty of fodder for Cryptic trivia aficionados in this convincing defeat:
– An opening bowler (Stu) whose first two overs went for 29, including 10 in wides.
– Only seven Cryptics who pay full fare on the buses, there being two over 60s and two under 16s in the XI. Just one player between ages 15 and 46.
– Surely a record age aggregate for taking a wicket, ct Mousinho G, b Andrew P totalling a few days short of 123 years.
– The youngest Cryptic wicketkeeper, Toby Seeckts, at 14 years and three days (no catches taken, no byes conceded).
– Pippa’s highest score (28) since his 44 v Graffham and Smithbrook 645 days earlier.

Banstead’s beautifully manicured turf – ‘like a gay man’s beard’, according to Natasha – was bathed in sunshine throughout. It was also plagued by the incessant drone of generators from the neighbouring funfair until well after tea, but a smattering of spectators came and went, mostly looking puzzled as the cricket evolved from atrocious to attractive, via attritional, ataxic and, fleetingly, athletic.

Fact is, however, that the Cryptics’ early sloppiness with the ball and in the field left us with a mountain to climb after the traditionally sumptuous Banstead tea. PAJA’s first appearance of the season being entirely coincidental, it was good to have the scorebook back in reliable hands, and he bowled pretty tidily too. His 1-27 and Seeckts’ 1-35 off eight overs apiece stanched the run flow in mid-innings, but the stand-out Cryptic bowler was Ed Grindrod, whose figures were only slightly damaged by having to bowl at the death. Grinders Snr and Stu took the punishment, though both came back to better effect later.

Fewer catches were dropped than usual, and Hugh held the best on the cow boundary, made to look even better by his not quite being in the right place.

The chase was sporadic. It never died, but 92-4 off 23 from the top half demanded 123 off 17 from the bowlers and juniors as the sun went down. A more 21st Century approach will be required at Follies next week.

Still, Pippa and Hugh (25) found some form, Hoggers smote 20, Gordon (6) launched one over midwicket, and Keith’s 18 didn’t waste time. Seeckts Snr stroked and scampered 29 in company with the tail of Grinders Snr (1) who skied one and perished, Stu (0) and Toby (9) who nicked them and walked and Grinders Jnr (16) who nicked one and ‘was going to walk’. You’d have got long odds on the most productive over of the chase producing 13 from Seeckts father and son.

PAJA strode out last with 58 required off six overs and was immediately called for a suicidal run by a Seeckts, who had momentarily forgotten that his partner’s age had just increased by a factor of four and a half. PAJA wisely exercised his right to lean on his bat and bellow ‘NO’ and we adjourned to compare bruises over a pint of Pride, while the tireless teenagers carried on playing cricket on the outfield.

Sunday 17 May 2015
SCCC 189-8 (39 overs)
Crondall 193-4 (38.1 overs)
Lost by six wickets
Crondall won the toss

Richard Seeckts writes:

The format of the game (overs / declaration) usually appears under the scores but, in this instance, it was sufficiently baffling and lop-sided that the ECB will probably adopt it as a sure-fire winner. The first batting team would have two and a half hours. The second batting team would have one and a quarter hours plus 20 overs. No option to declare, no set equal amount of overs. Limited time with the option of a draw. Get it? Neither did I.

In theory, a team could win the toss, insert the opposition, bowl 15.6 overs per hour to keep the score down, then receive a more appropriate over rate of 17.6 after tea, giving them three more overs to reach a known target. In theory.

Whatever, we didn’t play well enough to beat a decent side with a better blend of youth and experience than ours. Playing in the shadow of Farnham Castle on a delightful afternoon with an excellent tea and welcoming hosts was delightful.

Pippa and Hoggers followed the script – Pip caught first time for two, Hoggers dropped several times on the way to 53. Keith (0) was the first of three Cryptics to be cleaned up by the pace and accuracy of Osborne followed by Hugh, whose nought took six overs in a partnership of 23. Not many teams win from 26-3, (or 30-4, eh Kiwis?)

Tommy to the rescue, as if stats are important to him. His first innings since his 40th birthday yielded more runs than Scottie’s entire season as a forty year-old. Club Dinner attendees will be aware that the club trophy currently resides on Scottie’s mantelpiece. Tommy overtook Hoggers in a well constructed partnership of 110 – catching practice notwithstanding.

Grinders was run out for the second time in three games after launching his trademark straight six, then Tommy fell for 95 to a brilliant catch by ‘keeper Ungaretti. Bridges and Edwards fell cheaply in the late slog, Seeckts and Stu survived, the latter painfully scoring his run with a thumb nail. Keeper Gav, now a fixture at Jack, was spared any blushes.

Crondall were off to a flier, punishing Rod’s erratic control before Bridges produced the ball of the (Cryptic) day to splatter the dangerous Godden’s stumps. Writing this nine days after the event, the detail escapes me, but when the bowler reminds us in years to come, it will have improved considerably. Grinders found the edge twice in his first over, Seeckts dropping the first and pouching the second to make it 41-2 and game still on.

From there, Crondall cruised to victory with 3.5 overs to spare and little to fluster them. Hugh’s day improved with a steepling catch held over his head, on the extra-cover boundary and under a tree for revenge on Osborne. Bowler Stu claimed to have set the trap.

Jugs were bought, and the silent bell put away for another day. With Gav off to Azerbaijan for a while and Pup injured, the gloves will be passed around in the coming weeks.

Sunday 10 May 2015
SCCC 139 all out (42.4 overs)
Reigate Pilgrims 81 all out (33.3 overs)
Won by 58 runs
Reigate Pilgrims won the toss, declaration game

Rod Edwards writes:

Having not managed to form a team for last year’s fixture, every effort was made to get a team this year. Therefore all 11 were at the ground 15 minutes before the start. Being given an earlier start time also helped. Grinders lost the toss and the Cryptics were put in on a green topped wicket. Pippa and Hoggers opened the batting, hitting some decisive shots to push the scoring along nicely.

It must be said that the Pilgrims were extremely generous in their fielding, managing to spill numerous chances. The Pilgrims have a fine system, where if you drop 3 catches in the game you have to buy a jug. By the 15th over, the wicket keeper and first slip both owed jugs.

With the first change of bowling, Hoggers eyes lit up as Arnold was brought onto to bowl. Unfortunately the saying if you miss, I hit was to be seen with Hoggers missing his first ball. From 41 without loss, the Cryptics typically collapsed to 85 for 6 as Pippa, Windeatt, Taylor, Greenway and Grinders came and went. At this point Bridges and Gossy put on exactly 50, with some fortuitous shots and more generous fielding helping the score along. Gossy top scored with 26, while also sending the Pilgrim’s Vijayan to hospital for 3 stitches to his hand, after Vijayan had dropped Gossy at point. The Pilgrims spinner, Saikia, who having dropped 3 catches earlier, then showed what bowling straight can do, finishing with 6 for 36 off 11.4 overs. Six Cryptics were out bowled or LBW, all hitting across the line. This clearly shows that Cryptic coaching in the nets works. Thankfully extras added a further 23 runs as the Cryptics were all out for 139.

Grinders having seen a two paced pitch decided to open with Edwards and himself. It worked a treat with Edwards getting the opener, Janardanan, LBW in his first over. Grinders joined in the act bowling the Pilgrim’s no 3. Bridges replaced Edwards after 3 overs and bowled well. He finished with 2 for 10 off 6 overs. Gossy replaced Grinders and promptly had 2 wickets.

Edwards came back on to bowl his version of spin, picking up the Pilgrim’s captain Mitchell, with the worst ball of the day. It was a long hop slapped to Hoggers at point. Stu then took one of the great Cryptic catches at 2nd slip, where a thick edge which was flying stuck in his right hand.

Gossy was then brought back to finish things off, bowling the last man in with his 3rd ball. The Pilgims being all out for 81, to give the Cryptics a 58 run win. We then retired to the Red Lion where an enjoyable pint was had.

It should be mentioned that Gossy has been bowling very well in the last few games, but then he hasn’t had to bowl to no 11s, who usually tonk him back over his head. However in his last 3 completed games, Gossy has outstanding figures of 17.3 overs, 11 wickets for 26. **** happens apparently!

Sunday 3 May 2015
Avorians 173-7 dec (42.4 overs)
SCCC 174-5 (40.1 overs)
Won by 5 wickets
Avorians won the toss, declaration game

Rod Edwards writes:

The 2015 season began with the traditional opening game at Avorians. In untraditional style Grinders went out and actually won the toss, opting to bowl first.

Opening over was given to Bridges, who started well. Unfortunately Hugh Greenway did not. Hugh, fielding at point, managed to shell two catches in the first over. One was fairly regulation (if there is such a thing with the Cryptics), while the second was slightly harder. Edwards was given the into the wind bowling. Having started with a long hop, Edwards promptly dropped the opener, without getting a hand to a return caught and bowled chance. Edwards was first to strike however, bowling the Avorian’s aggressive opening batsman, Hallam snr for 15 in the 5th over with the score on 17. Edwards after bowling opening game dross, was replaced by Stu Henniker-Smith. Traditionally Stu opens his bowling with a wide, however the wide wasn’t to be seen until his 3rd over.

Avorians lost wickets regularly with Bridges bowling the No 3 in his last over of his opening spell. Further wickets fell to Gossy, bowling very well for the start of the season, with two wickets being catches by Sophie. Gossy finishing with 3 for 12 off 5 overs. Sophie then came on for a caught Dad, bowled daughter wicket, followed by a 2nd lbw wicket. All catches on the day being held by the Coopers.

At 82 for 7 the Cryptics thought an early end to the game was in sight. However at this point the Avorian youngsters, Barrow and Hallam jnr, added a further 91 runs, with both bringing up well deserved 50s. Bridges last over went for 16, being hit to all sections of the ground. When Barrow’s 50 was brought up, Avorians promptly declared on 173 for 7.

The Crytptics opened with Wright and Hugh Greenway, hoping to make amends for his stellar fielding performance. Pippa was first to score, unusually with a 2, to be shortly followed by a pulled 4 – clearly picket fences aren’t the fashion this year. Pippa was first out for 14, however missing a long hop and his middle stump with the score on 26. Hugh knocked a pleasant 32 before he was out bowled as well.

Chris Windeatt, batting at no 3, watched the bowling carefully, if not the fielders. Typical Cryptic calling had Grinders losing his wicket to a run out – only one person didn’t find it funny! Bridges and Seeckts followed, both being bowled. Rod batting at 7 went to the wicket at 130 for 5. Rod saying he would bat sensibly was promptly dropped first ball at cow corner. After that Chris made amends for his calling, bringing up his 50 with stylish straight driving. Chris finished on 67 not out with Rod an energetic 11 not out, as the Cryptics won with overs to spare. Jingle Bells was heard.