Played 16 Won 7 Drawn/Tied/Abandoned 5 Lost 4

Sunday 4 September 2015
Woking & Horsell CC 162 all out (40 overs)
SCCC 68-3 (23.2 overs)
Abandoned as a draw due to injuries
40 over match
SCCC won the toss

Richard Seeckts writes:

Eventful. An unhappy ending to the domestic season as the game was, rightly, abandoned after a sickening collision between two Woking fielders going for a catch off Bridges’ bat. That the delivery had been called a no-ball for height makes the serious injuries sustained all the more cruel, and we send our best wishes to the players for a speedy and full recovery.

Skipper Bridges had no hesitation inserting the hosts on a rain effected track that he hoped would get easier as it dried out. It didn’t, though who knows what might have happened in the remaining 16.4 overs.

A foreboding descended when Grinders’ second ball of the match disappeared, never to be found, but it turned out to be the only six of the match. A large, lush outfield and muddy wicket ends across the square made it a tough day for batsmen and fielders alike. Grinders and Bridges bowled well early on, the senior man reeling off his eight overs on the trot for 1-33. Bridges’ cracking slower ball accounted for Ahmad in the eighth over, and Woking plodded to 70-3 at 20 overs with Stu and Scottie tightening the grip.

Young Woking opener Pyle, a duck in last year’s T20 game, calmly went about compiling a steady 67 (suggesting Cranleigh’s cricket coaching has improved since the three Cryptic OC’s were in residence). Dropped by Hugh and then Scottie, he was eventually caught by an oppo sub fielder after Scottie had taken himself to hospital with a broken finger from aforementioned drop. What with Pippa and Stu also getting hurty fingers in the field, it wasn’t great and someone had to bowl Scottie’s remaining five overs. Or four. Because Pyle became Stu’s only victim in the bowler’s ninth over prompting brief debate over the authenticity of the dismissal. Sunday manners prevailed.

Chris Muldoon took 2-37 in two respectable spells and Seeckts filled the Scottie void with a filthy spell of wides and allsorts that yielded 3-22 and overt disgust from the real bowlers. (Look in the book – Ed.) Skipper, needless to say, exercised his option to snare the rabbit.

Big tea, small plates – carefully constructed cairns of tucker on each, as ever.

The chase ticked over until Hugh was out for 11 (of 17) in the fifth over. 15 runs, three of them wides, followed in the next 12 overs as Pippa (9 off 38 balls) and Windie (7 off 35) set about building a platform from which their successors would have to score a run a ball instead of a run an over. Astonishingly, Pippa was run out by a direct hit, and Windie top-edged to slip in quick succession. Skipper’s effervescent arrival brought Keith to (run for his) life as they nudged and scampered 32 in 32 balls, showing what was possible despite the unarguably difficult conditions. With 95 required from 100 balls when disaster struck, the game was nicely set up.

Woking and Horsell’s hospitality and charming approach to Sunday cricket always warms the heart as the light fades on summer. Departing with an ambulance parked on the field was a sobering reminder of cricketers’ fragility and how fortunate most Cryptics are to be playing at the ages we are. Enjoy it while you can.

Sunday 14 August 2016
Chipstead Coulsden & Walcountians 200-6 dec (43.3 overs)
SCCC 177-6 (40 overs)
Match drawn
SCCC won the toss

Peter Andrew writes:

We pitched up on a glorious afternoon to play easily our longest-named opponents, for the fourth time. We’d never won here. Mind you, we’d never lost here either. Pre-match discussion centred on Dombrandt-spotting. We’ve riffed on this topic previously, but if the bar here sold cigarettes, they’d be labelled “Warning – Dombrandts can seriously damage your chances of winning”. But as we discovered, there’s more than one family playing here.

With the skipper restored to the bridge, we again won the toss and ritually inserted the opposition. He and Goss took the new ball on a good hard track, which offered movement and bounce. Progress was consequently more steady than dynamic, until Gossy finally drew an edge to Gav with the score on 24, after 9 overs. The game was 11 overs older and the score on 59 when Stu also drew an edge, to give Keith his first Cryptic slip catch.

As the ball softened, so did the bowling. Tommy got the third wicket, with the third catch behind, as Gav moved ever closer to Kiwi legend Andrell in the keeping stats. Rod and PAJ didn’t get anything, and didn’t deserve to.

The openers came back on but, having kept the rate down to 2.5 an over in their first spells, shipped damage at a rate of 5 in their second. Compensation came for Goss with two clean bowleds in successive balls, and for the skipper with a final wicket that prompted a declaration on precisely 200, for the loss of six. The Heal family provided more than 80 of these.

Wright and Cloke opened for us, and moved us on to 25 in just four overs. Unfortunately, Philip was also back in the hutch for 15. Seeckts lasted 10 balls for 5, but a solid stand of 71 between Martin and Keith got us back on track. Martin, having scurried and scuttled his way to 48, was then caught. 100 for three. Three overs and 20 runs later, and Keith perished, caught – as all our first five were – for 31.

With Rod and Tommy at the crease, we were expecting fireworks. And the pyrotechnics threatened, as another 23 were added in two and a half overs, but had not properly taken hold when Rod also holed out.

57 needed from eight overs. Still doable. But bowlers were being rotated, and the sun was dipping low at one end of our opposition’s unusual east/west oriented track. Tommy and PAJ huffed and puffed, but couldn’t blow anything down.

We ended on 177 with six wickets lost – our fourth successive draw on this ground. Not a run from a Dombrandt, but with Nathan Heal sending down an excellent eight overs for a mere 13 runs as well as snaffling a couple of catches, who needs them?

Despite the lack of a winner, a thoroughly entertaining match played as it should be on a Sunday against welcoming and generous opponents, and splashed with a brief moment of high comedy as the skipper confused the duties of scorer and umpire.

Sunday 7 August 2016
SCCC 284-4 dec (37 overs)
Blackheath 171 all out (34 overs)
WON by 113 runs
Blackheath won the toss
Peter Andrew writes:

In the five most recent matches against us, Blackheath have averaged 230, losing 7 wickets. Last year, their no.9 came in and carved a rapid 80 that powered some mammoth maxima into the surrounding woodlands. Gorgeous countryside for walking in, less so for ball-seeking, or for the averages. Ask your correspondent, who went for 10 an over.

So it was with some trepidation that we pitched up with a bowling attack that had some quality, but appeared somewhat shallow. Add to that losing the toss and a couple of wickets before the total hit twenty (Wright, returning to the top of the natural order steering a half-tracker to backward point, and Cupit returning for his fourth innings since we went to Menorca last time, offering an equally acceptable opportunity), and omens were not great.

But a series of fine partnerships steadied the floundering ship. Keith and Hoggers added 86, before James departed bowled for 66, his slow walk back due not least to the clear and impending demand to take his sons to the nets. Scottie, who averages over 50 on this ground, joined Keith. 87 runs later, Keith left him with a satisfactory 68 to his name. Chris Windeatt joined Scottie, and these two plundered another 92 runs against a tiring attack. With a big but fast outfield that slopes away helpfully on half the ground, this week’s skipper Seeckts was taking no chances of sleepwalking into a Blackheath batting powerplay. He therefore let us move onto 284 (our third-highest total evah) before declaring after receiving 37 overs (and another three in bowling extras). Scottie, undefeated on 68, retains his supra-50 average here, and moved two ahead of Tommy at the head of the all-time 6-hitters race. Chris, undefeated on 49 with one ball due before the declaration, literally crawled his way to 50 after an undignified tumble mid-run left him scrambling on all fours for the privilege of buying a jug. What with his 95* last year, he still doesn’t have an average against Blackheath.

Rod and Gossy opened up for us, the latter picking up an early wicket safely pouched by Dwight. Blackheath then moved steadily on to 69, and Seeckts had relieved Rod. PAJ then came on for Goss (same action, just less pace, direction, consistency and all that stuff). But it worked, and he clean bowled the remaining opener who left his leg stump unguarded. It’s getting tedious riffing all the time about how few catches Rod gets, so let’s not josh about the one he took off Seeckts, who then promptly bowled the new man, and Blackheath were 70 for four.

A little more fuss was made when, ten runs later, the opposition’s top scorer charged PAJ, and missed. Reliable gloveman Toby Seeckts pulled off a successful stumping, and PAJ finally moved ahead of Cryptic legend Jimmy Greenhough’s wicket tally, in only 220 more overs. Two-thirds of these 255 wickets were caught (a remarkable Cryptic statistic), although it has involved at least 52 separate fielders (even Rod. Damn, I wasn’t going to mention that). Biggest contributions from Philip (19) and Grinders (12).

Having lucked out with the bat, Dwight then got the chance to prove this bowling lark isn’t really that difficult. His very first ball was spooned up to Scottie, who made no mistake. A second, caught by Toby, and a third, bowled, gave him 3 for 24 from four. PAJ picked up another, also bowled, and 139 for nine didn’t leave Blackheath much wriggle room. But their last pair demonstrated some unorthodox stuff until Seeckts brought Gossy back and his yorker settled matters.

Not as close as some of our games on this lovely, WAG-friendly ground, but there’s no doubt this is one of our most attractive fixtures. Across the complete total of seven previous matches with this opposition, we had scored precisely seven more runs than Blackheath, lost just three more wickets than we had taken, and bowled only six more overs than we had received. Good, even stuff. We look forward to returning.

Sunday 31 July 2016
Oxshott 228-8 dec (45 overs)
SCCC 175 all out (38.4 overs)
Lost by 53 runs
SCCC won the toss

Richard Seeckts writes:

Five Cryptics survived from the corresponding fixture five years to the day earlier, the first occasion on which Ed Grindrod, then 11 years and 11 months old, joined his old man in the Pink and Black. That day the Grindrod family bowling figures were 19-1-90-0 and they scored one run for the loss of two wickets. This time they fared a little better, with 23-5-89-5 (surely a family jug – Ed) and 113 runs (another jug – Ed) for the loss of one wicket.

Dan Espejo’s report of the 2011 game also records Gavin gave “an LBW decision that Sir Humphrey Appleby might have described as “courageous”.” Atkinson the 2011 victim was no more amused than Seeckts the 2016 victim, triggered on a ball from a left-arm over bowler, geometrically almost impossible unless the bowler is J K Lever or Wasim Akram. This bowler, however, was equipped with neither Vaseline nor bottle top. Umpiring consistency, nevertheless.

And while we are on former skippers, Gossy was in charge for the day, armed with 10 batsmen and therefore confident of chasing anything Oxshott could set. He led with customary aplomb in the field, overflowing with wicket-taking plans not reflected in his own figures 11-2-69-1 (13 year-old bunny). He then put Pippa at No3, something scarcely done since a woman was last at No10, so to speak. What could possibly go wrong?

Oxshott’s father and son, the Ryans, opened up with 56 before wickets fell at regular intervals ,but there was a boundary ball in almost every over from Gossy and Stu, whose end conceded 125 from 22 overs, a tad more profligate than the parsimonious Grindrod end. Ed was the best bowler by far, wisely taking his three wickets without the help of any fielders, and going at under three runs per over until declaration slogging had the ball bouncing off the squash court roof, twice.

The reply went well until Gavin raised his horrible, itchy finger. Then all hell broke loose. 21-0 became 21-3, then 43-6 and 56-9 in the 20th over, when Dad Grinders (detained in the dunny when he should have come in) joined Ed. Meantime Pippa made the most of his opportunity to chunter about what happens when you change the natural order of things (Hmm, last week we saw what happened when you don’t – Ed) and statto PAJA had arrived salivating about new record defeats, low scores and all sorts besides. It was a collapse of epic proportions, sword-falling everywhere as Hansom, purveyor of Spedegue Droppers par excellence, accounted for Gordon Mousinho, Gav and Stu in the space of 11 balls.

The Grindrods had other ideas and made clear what they thought of Gossy’s comedy batting order. Did I mention Gav went in No7? Gossy himself departed early to fetch the family from an airport. Rapturous applause at 128 gave Grinders to think he had 50, but it was a record 10th wicket stand of 72, kicking Scottie and Rod (at Claygate 2013) into touch. On they serenely went, making monkeys of us all with the time-honoured method of hitting the bad balls and keeping out the good ones.

As the overs ticked down, a most unlikely draw looked on. Oxshott had declined a drinks break at the start of the last 20 overs, thinking the game was all but done, and huge merriment was had asking the boundary fielder if they were ready for a drink yet. He mumbled that it had all gone a bit quiet in the middle. Grinders passed 50, the 100 partnership came and went. PAJA had his records alright, just not the ones he expected. 14 balls away from the most remarkable escape since Fulham escaped relegation in 2008, Grinders was caught and bowled by Hansom and Oxshott secured the win they deserved.

Ed finished on 42*, David on 71, the highest score by a Cryptic No11, thereby making the spot his own for years to come. The final hour lit up the day and made this report much longer than it might have been.

Friday 29 July 2016
Claygate 294-7 dec (47.2 overs)
SCCC 271 all out (47 overs)
Lost by 23 runs
SCCC won the toss, declaration match<

Peter Andrew writes:

We’ve been playing the Friday of Claygate’s cricket week since 2009, and it remains a highlight of the season. This year’s run total was the highest, eclipsing 2011’s 520, testament to Claygate’s run-laden track. But there are wickets in it as well, even if Claygate left it late. More on that anon.

As usual, we rocked up en famille, with a couple of Coopers and more Grindrods than you could shake a stick at. In a side featuring three ex-club skippers, Grindrod patriarch failed to move backwards fast enough, and found himself out in the middle with Claygate veteran Nigel Abbott, and a coin.

The correct outcome followed, and Rod and Gossy took ownership of the new pill. But, as the scoreboard eased past 100 without loss, pill ownership had clearly passed to Claygate’s openers. With lunch in sight, the prospect of a wicketless session threatened to sour the taste of the traditional port accompaniment (if anyone could get it away from Tommy). But then a dawdling Sollars, relieved to complete his 50 in the face of some serious banter while on 49, found himself overtaken by a Grindrod fielding relay from Ed to David to stumps.

Not to be outdone James, Grindrod minimus, picked up an LBW as the lunch bell approached.

Some ale and a shot of Ruby (or for Tommy, Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, Ruby), to go with the excellent lasagne (‘almost as good as dad’s’, admitted Sophie) perked us up. Fortified by a couple of bottles of Magners [other ciders are available. Ed], PAJ picked up three of the middle order, and for a moment Claygate were teetering on the border between sheer dominance and mere respectability. The bowling was rotated regularly, Ed got a wicket, Seeckts another. Sadly this only brought Julian da Silva to the crease, a talented Sri Lankan borrowed from a Claygate first XI that is riding high at the top of Division 2 of the Fullers League [other ales are available – Ed].

He wasted no time in giving everyone some fearful tap, and was soon in sight of his 50. However, captain Abbott spared us further punishment and declared just shy of 300. All ten outfield Cryptics bowled, none let themselves down. However, shipping fewer than three an over was highly creditable on the day, so step forward Goss (17 from six) and Grindrod (E) (23 from eight).

Our batting looked light on paper, and only a little better on grass. Rod and Seeckts opened (see what I mean?), putting on 36 before Rod was bowled. James Grindrod collected a respectable 15 in a partnership of 43, before Richard was caught for an excellent 47. Something has clicked with his batting this season, whether filial rivalry or the concern of Scottie chasing him in the run aggregate stakes [who wouldn’t be concerned at Scottie coming up behind them? Ed]

Tommy, Scottie and Grinders all got started but never quite got going. But we were always within sight of the target, if never quite within touching distance. Gossy, this year’s other batting revelation, was moving along nicely.

It all went a bit wrong when we got to the Coopers. Our Kiwi umpire failed to distinguish between Sophie’s pad and her bat (she says, and I for one am not going to argue), and gave her caught behind. Gossy failed to recognise Gavin (of the dodgy knee) at the other end and, thinking he was batting with Jamie Vardy, called for a brisk single. PAJ had no such excuses, and suddenly Ed Grindrod had joined Goss for the last 7.4 overs, with 60 needed to win.

By the last over, we are a miracle (or a Brooke-Webb) short of a win. [see report of the 2000 match. Ed]

The drama builds to a climax.

The umpire, a New Zealander
The batsman, an Australian
The crowd, in white in fielding positions, various
The chorus, observers on the balcony

Act <the last>, Scene 1 The bowler bowls to the Australian.
Umpire: ‘Wide!’
Five more balls are bowled. Two runs are scored.
The bowler bowls another ball. It is quite wide. Nevertheless, the Australian strikes the ball, in the air.
One of the crowd catches the ball near his own feet. There is much noise, the crowd celebrates. The chorus laments, finding the Australian insufficiently distraught.

Act <the last>, Scene 2 The New Zealander, the Australian and the chorus are discussing the events of Scene 1.
Chorus: why did you hit it? It was really wide.
Batsman: I thought he (indicates umpire) would call it a wide.
Umpire: I might have
Chorus: but then you could have left the next ball as well
Batsman: well I didn’t and I don’t care and a pox on all your houses. Where’s this barbecue?

But overall, as mentioned many times in these columns, the match was a vindication of declaration cricket. As long as you’ve a couple of captains who want to make the game go the distance and keep everyone involved.

No wonder Claygate is our most durable fixture.

Mid-season Statnews

Some milestones have been achieved in the last couple of games – Scottie has passed 3,000 runs and moves within a good innings of Hoggers, and an excellent one of Seeckts (himself pushing on towards Atkinson in the middle distance).

Tommy passes 2,000 runs, but is now 400 ahead of Puppy and 400 shy of Grinders, so don’t expect much change any time soon.

Gossy leads the season’s batting averages on 61, a whisker ahead of Scottie.

Gossy also pursues Grinders at the top of the season’s bowling averages; however, David’s 18 wickets for the season puts him in a good position (184 career victims) to catch Paul (187) in the race to 200. Rod lags on 177.

Rod’s catch at Claygate (his 11th) propels him up to joint 29th in the catching order. [Andrew Forrest, since you ask. Ed]

And the time may be approaching when Jimmy Greenhough needs to go up to the attic to find his kit and defend his Modern Era record wicket tally.

Sunday 24 July 2016
Hampshire Gents 282-7 (40 overs)
SCCC 222-7 (40 overs)
Lost by 60 runs
Toss unknown, 40 over match

Richard Seeckts writes:

An experimental game against a scratch team raised by Charlie Whittington, wine merchant and friend of Tommy. So Tommy captained us. Farnham’s ground was hired for the day and, at the time of writing, we’re unsure how this came to be the most expensive game in Cryptic history.

Pippa was welcomed back from injury for his 300th cap (ITME) and thought we’d all forgotten until presented with a signed mini bat in a touching ceremony after the game. To have played 300 of the last 365 Cryptic games shows immense commitment and no little stamina over 27 seasons since his 30th birthday. Reluctantly pressed into captaincy on only a few, desperate occasions long ago, his anchoring the innings and stout fielding at gully have held the Cryptics together more often than not, he has made every tour and once took a five-for, never to be forgotten by those present. Hats off!

broken windscreenThe game was peculiar, 89% of Hants Gents runs and 60% of their overs being bowled by the same four players, all handy enough, one rather too handy for the occasion. The bit-part players were exactly that. Nick Boulton played for Somerset and Worcestershire as a young man – at 37 now he is still a baby to all bar one of the Cryptics on show – so, after some initial swinging and missing, he feasted on old men’s pies. Having taken Grinders for 26 off one over, he retired on 142, a mammoth total already in the bag. Grinders’ final achievement was to lob up the delivery that ultimately smashed Mrs Scottie’s windscreen, the highlight of the day for the many children present.

The Cryptic fielding highlight was a tremendous, running full gallop, juggling catch on the extra-cover boundary by Toby Seeckts. It’s in the genes. Many hits were retrieved from far flung car parks and across the road but, astonishingly, we only used one cricket ball, and generally fielded well with only one drop (Gav).

Over tea, we mistakenly agreed to allow a 12-year-old to bowl at us with a children’s ball. Had we known said child would bowl his full eight overs with a ball that wouldn’t bounce, the request would have been answered in the correct manner.

Boulton opened the bowling (team game, y’know) and saw off Keith and Hugh in his first two overs. When Toby went in the 10th over, it was 31-3, Pippa having not so much gone back into his shell as never come out at all. Grinders (37) and Scottie (39) tried to chivvy things along but we weren’t going to win the match with shots being played at one end only. Pippa’s work to rule would have been perfect to scrape a draw in a declaration game, but in this instance it was an uncharacteristic show of detachment from the game around him, and some in the pavilion struggled to disguise their exasperation. It ended on 50 in the 34th over, the score 165-6 and the game dead.

Tommy, Seeckts and Gossy flayed a few here and there, 57 coming in the final six overs, but Whittington had no more tried to make a close game of it than our 300 cap man. We’ve all had far better days on the cricket field and will have plenty more.

Pippa's 300th Cap
Pippa’s 300th Cap – Farnham, July 2016

Sunday 10 July 2016
Holybourne 160-9 dec (42.2 overs)
SCCC 161-3 (38 overs)
Won by 7 wickets
SCCC won the toss, declaration match

Richard Seeckts writes:

An even spread of youth and experience on both sides, a balance of talent and enthusiasm, and two skippers (both have played for both clubs) eager to make a decent game promised well. Morning ombrophobia at one end of Holybourne was overcome and the game took place mainly in breezy sunshine.

Gossy’s first bowl since May saw him hit the stumps four times in three overs after a wayward first. Aided by the misguided determination of Holybourne’s top five to heave across the line, he was removed from the attack after skittling two in one over, on the promise of coming back later to try for a five-for. To save moving the sightscreen, fellow wrong-hander PAJA was summoned and promptly castled another, leaving the hosts a parlous 25-5. The ‘make a decent game’ challenge was on.

New cap for new cap - Hamish Hudson at Holybourne CC 2016Holybourne veteran Pinnock (50*) and colt Bochereau (44) rescued the situation as the bowlers were rotated, Stu H-S, the Chrises Muldoon and Windeatt sharing the right armers’ end with young Hamish Hudson, borrowed for the day and showing an abundance of enthusiasm and ability to bowl straight in six very respectable overs for 1-27.

Gossy returned to secure the jug (11-1-29-5) before Holybourne’s star turn, Patel, and skipper Milner came in at 10 &11, leaving them little time to make an impact. Patel fell victim to a Gav special stumping, a back-handed, unsighted throw from about five yards, the kind of thing he attempts countless times without success most weeks. With tea going cold, skipper Seeckts lobbed up the two balls required to give Pinnock his 50 and bring about the declaration. He had batted bravely with a runner from about 10 after a hamstring ping, but his loss from ‘keeping duties was to prove more costly.

Pippa’s hurty arm still rendering him useless, Martin Cloke accompanied Keith to the crease while three more padded up expecting action before long. The openers rode their luck while the hosts spilled catches like seasoned Cryptics. (Were they taking the Mick? – Ed). Every set of fingers, even the reserve ‘keeper’s gloves, seemed coated with butter. Keith was eventually bowled for 36 with the score on 94 and Martin for his first Cryptic 50, a masterclass in scampering and, later, exploiting the space over the bowler’s head.

With the returning Chris Windeatt at 3 and a wealth of Cryptic ‘allrounders’ to follow, the 55 required from the final 20 overs were straightforward. Seeckts Snr had time to chop one on cheaply, leaving Seeckts Jnr (11*) and Windie (27*) to ease over the line.

10 of the 12 wickets to fall all day were bowled, Chris Muldoon taking the only catch off Hudson. Remarkably, possibly uniquely, the Cryptics didn’t drop any chances. Had Holybourne held their chances, the game would have been much closer.

Season stat of the week: In eight matches so far, the Cryptics have taken 69 wickets and lost only 45. That makes 28 DNB’s, seven of which belong to Gav. His one knock was, obviously, a duck in our only defeat.

Sunday 3 July 2016
Shackleford CC About 268-9 declared (51 overs)
SCCC 201-4 (45 overs)
Match drawn
Shackleford won the toss, declaration match

Richard Seeckts writes:

Shackleford, now boasting a beautiful new pavilion (with surprisingly small changing rooms), welcomed 11 Cryptics and two new players to their own ranks, one a schoolmaster and one a Prosperous-Looking Kiwi. Suffice to say that our schoolmaster and PLK were somewhat left in the wake of theirs.

Aided by some terribly wayward Cryptic bowling, a liberal dose of full bungers and long hops, the hosts raced to 100 in the first hour and continued at that rate until the allotted teatime, 4.45pm, when they declared with more on the board than we were ever going to get. After 51 overs, on a pitch that would have helped the bowlers if only they had managed to land the ball before it hit the bat.

Plater (46) was ruthless from the start, endangering cars and spectators as 50 were taken from four Bridges overs, including six fours and four sixes. Indeed, the skipper conceded only five singles in his two spells, final analysis 8-1-79-1. Fortnum’s shopping, by any measure.

Grinders, Stu, Sophie and Scottie all took wickets in slightly erratic spells, and Cryptic PLK Rod lumbered in for a full 14 overs, taking 3-63 without getting injured.

This week’s hamstring twang went to PL Aussie Cupit, whose sprightly fielding included two fine catches in the same over, the first off a no ball (for height, obviously). Then, chasing one on the boundary, he pulled up lame, informing everyone within a mile or two, “I’m too old for this sh*t”, and retired to rest his leg on a cold tinny in the shade.

Gav took two sharp chances behind the timbers, one off daughter Sophie who had risen from her sickbed to play. Super troopers, those Coopers.

No-one had counted on Shackleford PLK Owen, coming in at No.8 after a late call up, biffing 105*. If equestrian types in southwest Surrey need a farrier, this could be the man. He played the innings most of us can only dream about, and if the declaration was delayed to allow him to reach his ton, it matters not a jot. His moment was fully deserved, especially after he spent five balls of the last over on 99 at the non-striker’s end. Sending the last ball for six added metaphorical insult to real injury as it clattered Mrs Cupit’s ultra-low emission German battle bus.

Splendid tea was followed by Greenway and Seeckts Snr making a start of 31 in six overs. When Hugh (22) and Grinders (0) went it was 50-3 after 11 overs and Seeckts Jnr joined Scottie in the middle for some circumspect rebuilding work. Oh yeah?

The partnership was worth 151 by the time Scottie was bowled by the penultimate ball of the match for a majestic 104, his sixth Cryptic hundred to go with 19 fifties in 72 innings. His reputation for not finishing the job remains intact. Handy bloke nevertheless, and a first rate partner for young Toby at the other end to learn from.

They played shots without fear, hit one six each and played out only four maidens of the 34 overs they faced, scoring at around 4.5 per over. And still we were 70 adrift. (Enough about the declaration – Ed). Stu came in for the last ball, took an almighty swipe and missed.

The Scottie (104)/ Toby (34*) partnership was an all time record for the Cryptic fourth wicket, eclipsing the 145 between two more distinguished sportsmen, Tony Dodemaide (103) and teenaged John Mousinho (30*), at Farley in 2003. The parallels between the two partnerships are uncanny.

The draw felt like a victory of sorts, for Shackleford never got to see the bunnies waiting in the hutch, still licking their wounds after such bowling performance. Final stat for the anoraks: Shackleford bowled 22 overs in the last hour, without which the partnership record, Scottie’s ton and his dismissal would have gone begging.

Sunday 26th June 2016
Stoke D’Abernon won the toss and elected to bat
Stoke 218 for 6 declared off 43 overs
Cryptics 124 for 7 off 42 overs
Match drawn

Hugh Greenway writes:

The village of Stoke D’Abernon appears in the Domesday book of 1086 and their cricket team started playing the Cryptics shortly after that. But rarely in its thousand year history will the village have witnessed such an epic of obduracy.

Stoke put themselves into bat and started comparatively slowly scoring at under four an over for the first ten. Bridges skippering with a gargantuan hangover started brightly and produced a nimble throw on the turn direct hit from mid off run out number two for the first wicket. He then had the number three caught behind which was about the only time in the day the ball ended up in Gav’s gloves.

Stoke then started to build a platform as the fog descended in Bridges spirit. He contrived to drop two catches; falling over and twisting a knee on the second and left the field injured. Cloke then grabbed a catch at midwicket off Muldoon’s very next ball to demonstrate how it should be done. Greenway added a perfectly straight forward sky grabber at long(ish) on only to fall over afterwards in a shameless attempt to increase the technical difficulty.

Gav had clearly nobbled the scorer as only 12 byes show in the book on a day when the Cryptic fielding was not actually dreadful. Bridges was the most economical of Cryptic bowlers leaking only 12 off his six overs, most of which came from the last over. Muldoon took 2 for 32 off 7. Henneker Smith and Andrew were both wicketless for 77 off their share of 16 overs. Rod went for a steady five an over off ten but grabbed two wickets and Seeckts snaffled one from a long hop hoiked to Hoggers.

Keith and Hoggers opened Cryptically putting on 32 from the first ten overs, most of which came from Hoggers’ bat. Then Stu triggered Keith LBW in a decision that was either “absolutely plum” or “absolutely not” depending on whom you asked. Cloke and Greenway added some runs before getting run out and getting a bottom edge through to the keeper. This was followed by an equally Cryptic middle order collapse bringing Seckts and Muldoon together with the score on 87 for 7 with 17 overs remaining. Seeckts was building the perfect picket fence before he spoiled it by running a two. But both batsmen were ruthless in their pursuit of dot balls. Altogether there were 11 maidens from the Stoke bowlers. The rain threatened to ruin a classic rearguard action in which only 20 runs were scored off the last ten overs.

All in all rather fun for those fans of ‘proper’ cricket.

Sunday 19 June 2016
Wood Street won the toss and elected to field
Cryptics 190 for 6 from 40 overs
Wood Street 93 all out from 30.3 overs
Cryptics won by 97 runs

Peter Andrew writes:

Our debut fixture at Wood Street’s secluded (a.k.a ‘hard to find’) ground in 2015 yielded almost 500 runs as the hosts ran us close, falling just short in the penultimate over.

This year, in overcast conditions and with a pitch keeping low at one end and lifting unexpectedly at the other, a repeat was always unlikely. Wood Street won the toss, and – to the disappointment of Cryptic aficionados of the cricket tea – asked us to bat first. Hogben and Grindrod took off at a healthy lick, pushing on to 40 after seven overs. Then, in tribute to the still absent Wright, they added a further eight in the next six overs. James was caught with the total on 65, his partner similarly on 73, James’s 21 exceeded by David’s 35. Paul Plewman, returning for his second cap after a two year absence and one of six Old Cranleighans in the Cryptic side, sparkled briefly for 11. Seeckts young and old came and went, father outscoring son by 25 to 21. More notably, in his 240th Cryptic innings Richard achieved the milestone of 3,000 Cryptic runs (that’s just 80 more than his bowling has conceded). His first 1,000 batting runs took exactly 80 innings, his 2,000 precisely 80 more. Nothing if not consistent [you mean he hasn’t improved since 1991? Ed].

Richard also shared the inexpressible joy of hitting his target while batting with Toby, whose own enthusiasm extended to offering Dad batting advice between overs (although wisely eschewing the fist-bump). A bold move from one well aware that he hadn’t been born when Richard got his first thousand Cryptic runs. I mean, we all want to give Seeckts advice on his batting, but the rest of us don’t have to rely on him for a lift home.

It was fortunate that he had already achieved his milestone before being joined in the middle by Goss, whose insistence on turning fours into twos resulted in much unwanted exercise. Bridges perished early, but Gossy remained undefeated on 44, including only his fifth 6 in 84 innings. Fellow undefeated batsman Stu responded to some boundary barracking by collecting two 6s in his 14. This takes him level with Wright on four lifetime maximums, in only 270 fewer innings. We closed our 40 overs on 190, and repaired to the pavilion for one of the outstanding teas of the season.

Bridges, perhaps conscious of the presence of three former club captains in the side, followed their example and took the new ball. Wood Street’s openers moved cautiously to 22 at which point Tom Hufton – another OC returning after two years – rattled the timbers. A few overs later Grindrod clean bowled the other opener – 36 for 2, from 13. It may have been two years since Hufton’s last Cryptic appearance, but he clearly remembered all about Cryptic catching ability, and clean bowled his next victim three overs later, plucking the stump out and spearing it towards keeper Cooper. Grindrod picked up another in the next over, and Wood Street were 50 for 4 after 17, all bowled.

Overs 19 to 22 saw a wicket fall in each, two more to Grindrod (catches by Cooper and Henniker-Smith) and two to PAJ (bowled and LBW). At 61 for 8 the writing was on the Wood Street wall; Grindrod completed his second Michelle of the season and Stu wrapped up the innings, both wickets again clean bowled. 93 all out, bells were jingling. A decent all-round team performance from a side so lavishly stocked with bowling that top scorer Goss wasn’t called on. Hufton further showed he knew how Cryptics catch by decking one at long off, Seeckts (snr) was close to holding one at slip that would have been close to outstanding had he held it. But he didn’t.

Grindrod’s 5-fer takes him to 15 wickets for the season already, and moves him level with Goss on 181 lifetime Cryptic wickets, and a virtually identical strike rate.

Special mention should also be made of Cryplet Jimmy Grindrod who generously and efficiently umpired throughout the entire match, and refused to be swayed by optimistic shouts from either side, giving only a single (absolutely plumb) LBW decision.

Sunday 5 June 2016
Cryptics won the toss and elected to field
Banstead 190 for 8 off 40
Cryptics 195 for 7 off 38.5
Cryptics won by 3 wickets

Hugh Greenway writes:

Pippa was missed. Doubly so. Edwards standing in at gully demonstrated Pippa’s comparative mastery of the position by not even reacting to the first pair of chances that sidled past on either side. But he grew into the role as the innings wore on eventually managing to stop one and then, towards the end of the Banstead innings, reaching the dizzy heights of actually dropping the last chance that came his way.

But he was not alone in what was a Cryptic masterclass of fielding ineptitude. Greenway managed to cling on to a skier off Bridges’ first over but fell over backwards in what was a precursor to his chosen fielding style of the afternoon, namely falling over and letting the ball hit him. Hogben claimed he was distracted by the LBW appeal for his first drop – despite the appeal happening after the drop. His second chance off Ed Grindrod. might have been declined due to it falling into the sun rather than the shade in which he happened to be fielding at the time or perhaps because he wasn’t related to the bowler. As for the rest of the catches, it was a case of only bothering for a family member or following the long established Cryptic maxim of catching your own, which Henniker-Smith deployed having watched a number of his own chances grounded.

Cooper, having dodged the surgeon’s knife earlier in the week, was clearly benefitting from the after effects of his meds and groped two catches in the Greenwayesque manner of falling over to his left and right to take his total Cryptic haul to 50 dismissals. He also nearly managed to knock the stumps over ‘catching’ Richard Seeckts’ first ‘bowled’ victim, although he maintained afterwards that he only caught the bail. The whole incident being a testament to the pace of Seeckts’ delivery.

In the end Banstead put together a number of 40-run partnerships in their total of 190, lead from the front by the sprightly sexagenarian opener Thorpe who fell for 49 to the first of Gav’s catches.

The bowling ‘honours’ were shared between Bridges ending on 3-52, Ed Grindrod bagging 2-33 (thanks to a Dad catch) and Richard Seeckts 2-19 (thanks to son Toby’s catch off a garbage ball of waist height that escaped the umpires’ attention). Special mention should be given to the umpires for entertaining all and sundry with a cricketing reprise of the classic Abbot and Costello sketch ‘Who’s on first’ over a simple request for, ‘two legs please’.

I said Pippa was doubly missed… Edwards, having made great play over tea about how he would bat sensibly for five overs, proceeded to show that he meant, ‘miss the ball comprehensively for five overs and turn an easy run chase into a game’. With Ed Grindrod, Edwards contrived to score 25 off the first 10 overs. However, Hogben, brought to the wicket by Grindrod falling for 9, quickly found the middle of his bat and cut so successfully that for a period he had four people fielding in the covers to him. This woke Edwards up who started to miss the occasional fielder and smacked his way to a Cryptic career best of 70.

Rod at Banstead 2016
Rod admires his career best 70 in the score book

Richard Seeckts arrived in the third act of Edward’s epic innings by which point Rod was more puce than pink and only running off his own batting. Seeckts came and went falling 3 runs short of his 3,000th run and Rod followed him shortly after. But skipper Bridges escaping an early LBW shout, kept the scoreboard ticking over with Toby Seeckts. and then the younger Grindrod to steer the ship comfortably home; accelerating in the 38th over to cuff successive boundaries and magnanimously allowing Henniker-Smith to spank a six to win over long on.

Grindrods at Banstead 2016
All three Grindrods outscored by one Rod

Sunday 22 May 2016
Kingstonian 242-8 40 overs
SCCC 243-4 38.1 overs
Won by 6 wickets

Rod Edwards writes:

Bridges, under pressure after Grinders captained the Cryptics to their first win last week, began well by winning the toss and putting Kingstonian in to bat. Bridges opened the bowling along with the in-form Grinders. The Kingstonian openers looked good, although Bridges and Grinders kept a tight line – Grinders first 4 overs only going for 3 runs(that would change). Bridges got the first two wickets, the first a leading edge caught and bowled and the second wicket a stunning one handed catch by Pippa in the gully. After 10 overs, Kingstonian had crept along to 24 for 2.

Bridges then brought in a double change, with Edwards and Seeckts taking over. At this point the remaining Kingstonian opener, Wakarahmed began to find the middle of his bat. He put on a 146 run partnership with Montgomerey, of which Montgomery scored 38. Edwards dropped Wakarahmed on a hard straight drive and he was dropped again by Hoggers, but well after his hundred.

Wakarahmed was not afraid of the lofted drive, hitting 8 sixes in his 137 not out. As Kingstonian chased hard in the last 20 overs most bowling figures took a hammering. Grinders returned to bowl, finding Wakarahmed liked his dibbly dobblies and succeeded in hitting Grinders for 5 sixes. So after 4 overs for 3, Grinders finished with 8 overs for 49, but is sitting on a hat trick, taking wickets with the last two balls of the innings. Bridges was the only bowler with respectable figures, taking 4 for 29 off his 8 overs. It could also have been a Michelle, apart from a rare drop by Pippa at midwicket. However Kingstonian showed how to accelerate an innings, going from 84 for 2 after 20 overs to 242 for 7 at 40 overs.

The Cryptic reply began with Wright and Taylor opening the batting. They began well by putting on 73 for the first wicket, with Keith edging onto his stumps in the 15th over. Hogben batted at 3 for a change and looked good in bring up his 3,000th run for the Cryptics. Hoggers eventually fell for 21, taking a risky 2nd and being running out again. Hoggers run out brought the in-form Greenway to bat. Wright then reached his 50 with his 24th single, but was out shortly after trying to accelerate the scoring for 53. Young Toby Seeckts came and went for 7, including a lofted 4 off his first ball.

It was then left to Grinders to accompany Hugh, who was timing the ball well. Hugh scored a rapid 89 not out, often admiring his own driving, while forgetting to run. However Hugh and Grinders scored 58 runs in 4 overs and 3 balls. Grinders hit 2 sixes on his way to 21. The Cryptics scoring the winning runs off the first ball of the 39th over.

Talk in the bar afterwards showed that if you run 80 singles, then you have run a mile. Pippa is estimated to have scored 50% of his 6,000+ Cryptic runs in singles and has therefore run over 40 miles in singles alone. Pippa is the new Marathon man, although having watched him bat maybe Snickers!

Sunday 15 May 2016
SCCC 214-5 (38 overs)
Crondall 145 all out (33.5 overs)
Won by 69 runs
40 over match (adjusted to 38 at tea)
Crondall won the toss

Richard Seeckts writes:

A convincing victory to banish the memory of the Avorians debacle a fortnight earlier. In the absence of the new skipper, Grinders re-took the helm and lost the toss, as ever. We also welcomed Dwight for his 102nd cap, two years after his 100th, and Big Jim Streeter after a break longer than his own trousers. Both enjoyed a day of modest returns while the headlines were grabbed by Hugh Greenway’s 77*, his first Cryptic half century in his 20th match and Grinders’ 5-17, his first Cryptic five-for in his – read this carefully – 139th match. Geography’s eminent beak endured 14 whole summers, bowled 949 overs and took 169 wickets before finding the right day to take five.

Nevermind that Crondall were missing most of the Farnham 2nd XI that usually provide their potency, overlook that Nos 2-10 of their batsmen amassed 33 runs between them, the cocktail of joy and relief when the ex-skipper finally shook the monkey from his back was shared by all present, including the opposition.

Indeed, this was a splendidly harmonious and good-natured affair, both sides made up largely of players for whom every game played is both a pleasure and a bonus.

One constant at Crondall is that teatime determines the length and type of game. Thus, when the church clock chimed four after the 38th over, that was our lot. Which everybody agreed was fine, particularly Hugh who was knackered and thrilled to have his first Cryptic ‘not out’. He had walked to the crease having never scored a run against Crondall and not scored a run this season, and surely would have felt no pressure but for the reminder as he put his gloves on. By then we were 73-3, Streeter and Wright having perished cheaply and the hobbling Keith having biffed a breezy 38. The Keith / Grinders running between wickets pantomime continued, this time without a victim, skipper being caught at cover for 23 with 108 on the board after 23 overs.

The Greenway / Seeckts union yielded 92 in 14 overs, not bad considering neither could find the gaps in the field, only eight fours coming in the partnership. Cupit’s red-inker was surely enough to entice him back for more.

Crondall’s chase was doomed when opener Knox was castled by Rod for 0. Goldsworthy (60) could have won the match for them, and we dropped him a couple of times to keep it interesting, but reliable partners were not forthcoming and he marched off without waiting for the umpire’s finger upon getting a thin edge that stuck in ‘keeper Cooper’s gloves. Hats off.

Pippa took a leaping blinder at gully off Gossy, then two more easy ones to earn the honour of buying his fifth catching jug since 1990. Previous occasions have been in June, July, August and September, so this completed a rare set.

Grinders’ ruthless rabbit hunt was complemented by respectable efforts from all the other bowlers, and when Cupit’s flight and guile lured a man down the track to (eventually) be stumped by Cooper, they all had a wicket.

At 92-9 we were mentally in the Plume of Feathers, but No11 Shepherd thrashed a profligate 48 to dent some otherwise flattering bowling figures. Evensong was well under way over the road when both teams cheerfully tucked into three Cryptic jugs and the Plume’s speciality fried potatoes, an absolute must if you ever go near Crondall.

team at Avorians2016
Grinders, first Michelle after 139 games / Hugh, 0, 77* and 89* so far this season

Sunday 2 May 2016
Avorians 154 -9 (40 overs)
SCCC 110 all out (32.4 overs)
Lost by 44 runs
SCCC won the toss, 40 over match

team at Avorians2016

Richard Seeckts writes:

Not many leaves on the trees as the Cryptics reconvened for the new season with enthusiasm and rust in equal measure. After a steady first 68 overs of the day, the end came rapidly as we lost six wickets for 19 in 32 deliveries. Your correspondent, the first of those six wickets, was in the changing room for the remainder of the collapse so readers are spared the detail. Suffice to say it was undignified.

Searching for positives, as real sportsmen do, Rod got through the game without injury – he wasn’t playing – Hugh didn’t drop two catches in the first over and Pippa out-scored his own age – no mean feat since his age is now higher than the best of Cryptic career averages. A case of peaking too early? We shall see.

Avorians have resisted the change to limited overs cricket longer than most, and we’ve had some decent declaration games there, but the incessant march of pyjama cricket seems to have got them now. New skipper Paul Bridges, complete with notepad and pen, led with conviction from the outset, undeterred by having only nine men and one woman from the 15 players available at the beginning of the week. Our 11th fielder was young Archie Goss. He lasted the full 40 overs and exceeded expectation, even making one fine stop with his foot that reminded us he was there because PAJA wasn’t.<

he slightly injured Daddy Goss’s third ball hit the stumps. Stu’s extended first over barely hit the cut strip but he has an element of surprise that keeps batsmen (and wicketkeeper) on their toes. In all, seven bowlers were used in quick succession and none took a pasting. Some sharp chances were dropped, two of them by Grinders off his own bowling. His was a very fine spell of 3-27, though the 138th consecutive occasion on which he hasn’t taken a five-for. He may have been fortunate to get an LBW, the young victim’s petulant protest to the umpire and volley of invective leaving little doubt that he had edged the ball onto his pad, and considerable doubt that he understood the fundamentals of cricket etiquette.

Bridges also bagged three, the Seeckts boys’ drops sparing him the need to buy a jug. Sophie Cooper was parsimonious as ever and 154 looked modest enough to chase down after the usual bumper tea.

Turns out we didn’t have the batting or stomach for the occasion, Pip aside. Hugh spooned one to mid-off early on, Grinders got his leg bang in the way of a straight one, Seeckts Jnr and Snr nudged a few around before hitting in the air, Gossy and Stu likewise. Bridge slapped a couple to the boundary but missed a straight one, leaving Gavin and daughter to make the last 45 runs. Didn’t survive one ball. Archie was spared.

Which all made Pippa’s 58 look rather good. Patient, measured, some would say dull, but a damned sight better than the rest of us. “There’s life in the old dog yet” he muttered to me upon reaching 50. Woof woof.