Sunday 13 September 2020
Claygate 167 all out (35.1 overs)
SCCC 169-5 (32.5 overs)
Won by 5 wickets
40 over match
Toss preordained

Richard Seeckts writes:

An administrative schemozzle put paid the enthusiastically anticipated renewal of the Sunday fixture at Claygate in August, but it rained that day anyway. Claygate graciously agreed to our request for this match as replacement and we were truly excited to return to a club where our history is long, eventful and particularly happy, both on Sundays and their cricket week Fridays more recently.

For context, we have visited Claygate 26 times since records began in 1990, games that have produced 11087 runs and 377 wickets in total which averages down to 426 for 15 wickets per game. Great fun generating great stories and camaraderie with long standing opponents.

It was a touch surprising, therefore, when the home skipper greeted us by stating that he had “a Very Strong Batting Line Up” and though he would have a toss-up if we wanted one, his intention to bat first could not have been clearer. It took a nanosecond to accept the challenge of this VSBLU and run the risk of conceding 400 while trying to get them out. Why ever not?

Chas announced that he was in the form of his life, a bold enough statement to earn him the new ball, which made its first contact with planet earth halfway to the square leg boundary after his high and wide opening offering. From 5-0 after 0.0 overs, Claygate really could have got a monstrous total. Sticking with gambles, mercurial Seb opened with a rare maiden of looseners before Schultz decided that attack was the best form of defence, using his feet in the direction of square leg and regularly clouting Seb towards the basketball court in farrier fashion.

Chas’s ‘form’ became yips by his fourth over, so Daddy Grindrod came on for a brilliantly parsimonious spell with more varieties of slow and wobbly than found on a Benidorm beach. He was ultimately rewarded with figures of 8-5-18-4 and two dropped catches, one a simple caught and bowled. Seb’s rhythm – lots of oohs and aahs and eight runs an over – went the full eight overs, the skipper confident that Ed Grinders would make amends, even against this VSBLU. Ed’s eight overs cost 14 runs, ‘nuf said.

At 17 overs, Claygate were 104-3, on course for 300 plus, you might think. Then they hit the doldrums, but couldn’t hit the Grindrods or Stu off the square. Word reached the middle that the VSBLU batting order was decided by drawing lots, which could be interpreted as end of season jolly japes or plain complacence, but it made us wary of when the VS element of the BLU might arrive, maybe No’s 10 and 11.

Highlights in the field were a blindingly sharp, full stretch, left handed catch at second slip by Seb, and advice from Jimmy G to Stu to “try and bowl it on the pitch” as he ran in, giving the bowler a fit of the giggles. Chas came back refreshed and mopped up, going into winter on an unnoticed hat-trick as the last three fell in eight balls.

BYO tea as usual, apart from the hungover late arrivals who trudged off in search of refreshment, which is fine if you don’t want to bat in the top five. Hoggers and Jimmy got us off to a hasty start of 47 in 9 overs, the latter cajoling the former into running four twos before falling first. Seeckts arrived dizzied by the heights of No3, and Claygate wisely reckoned on a partnership well over 105 years and 30 stone producing run out opportunities, which it duly did. Each batsman scored a five in one Webb over, the bowler taking his fielders’ waywardness in good humour. Seeckts chopped an inviting full toss on, Hoggers missed a straight one for a forthright 37, Keith came and walked for a catch behind to end a composed 11, making way for cousins Toby and Will Orr to reprise their unbroken partnership at Ripley.

Familial rivalry once again served us very well as the pair rattled up 64 in 11 overs with some classical strokeplay until Orr walked off with a huge grin, announcing that he loved being caught behind as it was ‘just like professional cricket’ (except that he walked – Ed).

Ed Grinders accompanied Toby to the win, smashing an exquisite straight drive to finish the game with seven overs to spare and Toby stranded again on 48*. A measure of disgruntled petulance had been displayed, the one facet in which the home captain led by example, some in the direction of our most scrupulously honest umpire whose only ‘crime’ was to display his knowledge of the LBW law in respect of where the ball pitches. This was most un-Claygate like, based on my 23 previous outings in this fixture, but made the win all the more satisfying.

Jingle Bells.

Irrelevant examples of current Cryptic leisureware with thanks to Chris Muldoon for promoting innovation in the health service – and socks from an aspiring Cryptic.

Chris Muldoon's broken finger