Sunday 1st May 2022
Avorians CC 194-7 (40 overs)
SCCC 195-5 (39.2 overs)
40 Over match
SCCC won by 5 wickets
Toss negotiated

Hugh Greenway writes:

The bluebells came early this year and were still bright in the woods but the air was blue for other reasons when Freddie Guy’s first ball of the match caught  Avorians’ opener, Allenby, plum in front of the stumps. Being a Sunday and the first game of the season, it was obviously not given out. The batsman conceded in the bar later that, “It was close”, which is as near as you get to a confession these days. The Cryptics put this early setback behind them and got on with what they do best, dropping catches and waving the ball to the boundary.

Roman and Orthodox Easter had come and gone, Pesach had passed and even Eid was imminent, but the Cryptic fielding was so holy it seemed a new form of religious observance. Keith genuflected too slowly to one at ankle height in the slips and the very next ball hailed Allah as one fizzed at his head. Ingo, denied the gloves by an eager Puppy, watched one go by at point. To be fair it was traveling, but when have match reports ever been fair? Freddie got fingers to a fast return catch but couldn’t cling on and multiple Cryptics contrived to collapse over the ball on its way to the ropes.

The Avorian openers hit in the air with increasing confidence, putting on 56 in the first 10 overs during which Stu and Freddie saw seven or eight chances go to ground off their bowling. Grindrod pere et fils came on as first change and tried to stem the flow of runs, each managing a maiden, but the drops continued as did the Avorian openers at a little over 5 an over. Daddy G continued to vary pace, length and mode, and a filthy failed googly nearly broke the deadlock until Ingo and Ed both called for and then conspired to run round a simple catch. 

Finally the ball found a fielder. It wasn’t as if any of these fielders were going to find the ball. Hugs held on to one hit straight down his throat (money was lost in the cordon) and other wickets followed.  Jimmy Grindrod took one using the only reliable Cryptic wicket strategy… hitting the stumps. Puppy took a sharp catch down the leg side off Seeckts after a couple of sighters and even Keith made one stick to give Stu his only victim. Pippa was probably the only fielder not to have let the ball go through but he overstretched attempting a run out and snapped an unforgiving hamstring. Although it must be noted that, like the mountie, he still got his man. Ingo had a compensatory bowl, making a good case for reclaiming the ‘keeper’s gloves next time. Avorians managed 194 for 7 off their 40 overs, which was a lot less than the first ten overs had suggested.
Pippa being wounded in the field, gave Ingo a chance to open the batting with Jimmy G. Skipper Seeckts made much mirth at tea speculating on the odds against Hugs taking the first catch and being the first duck.  But both Ingo and Ed Grindrod had fallen without troubling the scorer before Hugs even made it to the crease. Conversely, Jimmy Grindrod set about scoring at pace at the other end, with some delightful shots including one audacious clip off his hip for six. Hugs suffered the indignity of being forced to run a 3 for Jimmy before being comprehensively bowled first ball. Indeed after 9 overs the Cryptics were 34 for 3 and only Jimmy had scored any runs off the bat.

The 10th over saw Keith finally off the mark and so began a beautiful partnership of 96 for the fourth wicket. Jimmy eventually fell, swishing one too many off his legs and was caught on the boundary for an excellent 70. Keith assumed the role of senior partner with Freddie, modelling the way to confidently not call until 2/3rds of the way down the wicket until he successfully ran himself out for a jug avoiding 48. Puppy came in and barked his calls so clearly they were probably audible in Sussex and Freddie hit the winning runs from the second ball of the last over to finish 30 not out. A fine chase with only four of seven batsmen scoring. Jingle Bells.

Editor’s note: Avorians’ hospitality was as warm as ever and the game played in exemplary spirit and fine humour by all. Best of all was our first cricket tea since 2019, a magnificent spread including a welcome array of things middle aged men are rarely allowed at home. Our scribe modestly omits his own distinguished record at Avorians: 5 innings, 32 runs, top score 32, making him the first Cryptic ever to achieve four ducks against the same opposition. By contrast, Pippa’s five 50s on this ground is also a record.