Sunday 6th August 2023 

SCCC 210-5 (40 overs)
Claygate CC 195 all out (40 overs)
SCCC won by 15 runs
40 over match
Claygate won the toss

Dom Wood writes:

Sunday’s match was likely a record-breaking game for the Cryptics with 9 men under the age of 28 and unable to remember the Fall of the Berlin Wall, Michael Atherton, dial-up internet or good music. This was promised to be the beginning of a bright, if not blinding future with dazzling pink bucket hats and swashbuckling Bazball cricket on the cards.

This cricketing revolution was delayed as the Gen Z cricketers arrived late after the Pret a Manger barista got their skinny-oat-milk-iced-Frappuccino-with-extra-cream wrong and then joined a Just Stop Oil sit-down protest in the middle of the Upper Richmond Road. With the environment saved, the tardiness of the young pups was mitigated by the fact the South African skipper of Claygate decided to delay the start of play by an hour to “give the pitch more time to dry out”. The skipper spent that spare hour rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.  

Our fearless leader, Eddy Grinders, failed in his first job of the day to win the toss and bravely sent out his brother, James, and Dom to open the batting on a strip which more resembled the Somme than the sunlit uplands of the home counties. These two did battle against a couple of sharp Claygate openers and laid a solid foundation of 41 off 10 overs until James chipped to extra-cover and departed for a pleasing 22. Shot of the day was won by James for a glorious drive, dispatched on the up and clattered through cover, a particularly impressive achievement considering the sticky nature of the wicket.

James’ departure brought Toby Seeckts to the crease and began the partnership that would form the backbone of the Cryptics’ innings. The young, dynamic duo were a credit to their generation and represented the values of Bazball in all it’s glory; dispatching with great disdain any pies and half-trackers which lead one opposition player to describe the youthful pair as “excellent at pulling… I wonder what else you can pull?” Once recovered from the Claygate ‘sledge’, Toby found form and hit 15 in one over from one of Claygate’s more senior bowlers whose loopy grenades asked to be biffed back over his head (but have probably yielded hundreds of wickets). Drinks were taken midway through the 18th over after Dom lost the ball in a dense hedge, the Cryptics sitting pretty at 84 for 1. Toby and Dom both ‘earned’ themselves a jug and pressed on until Dom skied a floaty pie to square-leg and departed for 74, ending a partnership of 106. 

Although Toby and Dom represented the Cryptics Creche well, the rest of the kiddos struggled to pull their weight, citing ignorance of scoring and umpiring, and took some arm-twisting to muck in with vital non-playing aspects.  One over in, the first umpire realised he needed six items to help his counting. He was furnished with more than a pocketful of walnuts and rocks. When eventually in the middle, they had not done their Mindfulness meditation that morning and were therefore not in the right frame of mind to make any serious decisions. Consequently, Gen Z umpired from square leg all game, leaving the adults to wait on the youngsters hand and foot with Pup umpiring both ends for 36 overs of the match. 

With Dom gone, the father and son duo of Seeckts and Seeckts was unleashed. The leash was quickly reapplied as Seeckts Snr. was given LBW by Dom. Was it missing off-stump? No. Was it missing leg-stump? No. Was it high? No. Did Seeckts claim he was unfairly triggered? Absolutely. (Oh, the might of the pen! Nonsense, it was definitely out but Pup would never have given it and this was one of four overs when he wasn’t the standing umpire – ED) 

Eddy Grinders arrived to the party to join Toby. Without Toby’s previous partner in the middle to coach him through the innings, any fluency of batting was entirely lost as neither man could scrape the ball off the square. The runs dried-up and frustration followed which led to a heads-gone moment where Toby attempted to blast the ball into Hampshire and instead missed the nut entirely and was bowled for 77. 11 runs were scored between overs 34 and 39. Hurman ze German batted well for the final 2 overs of the innings, playing a Cryptics inaugural ‘Dill-Scoop’ ramp shot. The poor Gen Z got his left and right mixed up and instead of playing it into the vacant fine-leg area, the ball was deflected straight to third-man for one run. The Cryptics finished on 210 from their 40 overs.

Freddie opened the bowling, wearing one of three shirts provided by Seeckts Snr. and wore the shirt wonderfully well according to London fashion icon and wicketkeeper Tom Pup, “[The shirt] is far more attractive on a thin chap, billowing in the wind during the run-up, like a classical John Emburey.” Eskimo Joe Witt took the bottom end and both openers were very tidy, restricting Claygate to 61 for 2 off the first 12 overs. Witty, being the athletic adventurer that he is, was asked to bowl his eight overs in one spell and ended with excellent figures of 3-22 including a lightning sharp caught and bowled. A half-volley was clubbed back towards Witty’s head at alarming speed which was snaffled by Joe (mostly out of self-preservation) and stopped a “dangerous” wicketkeeper-batsman early for 0. 

Eddy Grinders brought himself on to keep the required run-rate just out of reach with 2 maidens bowled. The skipper marshalled his troops well, deftly moving fielders to gaps which were subsequently picked out the next ball by the batsman in a self-proclaimed “genius” series of captaincy moves reminiscent of Napoleon deploying flying batteries of cannon or Caesar mustering his legions across Gaul. In another stroke of captaincy brilliance, Will Ware and Jamie Hall came into the attack to make the game a little more competitive. Will was particularly entertaining, keeping captain, fielders, batsmen and bowler guessing with each delivery: a range of variations were deployed, some of which did not quite stay in the Surrey postcode, finishing with figures of 38 off 6 overs. Jamie Warne’s leg spin showed great promise, producing figures of 24 off his 4 overs. 

The bowlers were well-supported by a surprisingly professional fielding performance with virtually no dropped catches (apart from drops in the gully from Toby and Dom) and James throwing himself all around the Claygate recreation ground, turning 90% of his whites brown. Our thoughts are with Mummy Grinders who had to apply a whole carton of Daz to clean those trousers. Eddy Grinders and Freddie finished the game with some deft death-bowling, but the match was already out of reach after an impressively tidy spell from Hurman ze German whose career as a wicketkeeper might be over if he continues to fire such precise rockets in the middle overs. Figures of 2 for 11 off 3 overs suggest something better than the ‘right arm village’ with which Hurman introduced himself to the umpire. Claygate finished 15 runs short as the Cryptics cruised to victory.

Jingle Bells. Grandfather of the Cryptics, Mark McLoughlin, kindly delivered a jug of lager to the changing room, concerned that Gen Z would prefer mocktails.

Claygate’s hospitality was as delightful as in the old days, though the beer pricing in the fireproof new pavilion / cafe is clearly not controlled by the cricket club.