Sunday 10 July 2022

Frensham157 all out (31 overs)
SCCC 158-2 (25.5 overs)
Won by 8 wickets
Declaration match 
Frensham won the toss

Richard Seeckts writes:

Ten Cryptics made it to a parched Frensham, seven survivors from the inaugural 2021 game plus Geoff Warrington (one previous cap) and youthful debutants Alex Clinton and Hayden Bishop. A proposed match format had arrived midweek – 35 overs and retire at 50 – but by the time the coin went up, the skippers had joyfully agreed on a declaration game and no colts-appropriate retirements. The the coin landed upside down.

With Daddy Grinders the only known reliable bowler, the prospect of rolling back 30 plus years to when McLoughlin and Greenhough occasionally bowled 23 overs each unchanged was a genuine possibility.  Hayden, recruited by Jimmy Grinders and described as a wicketkeeper / batsmen, admitted he could also bowl a bit of ‘medium’ and was immediately given the new ball. Well under a second after he first let go of it, it thumped into Ruffell’s gloves and the cordon took a few steps backwards.

DG was canny as ever, perfect length and variation of pace keeping the openers guessing as his first seven overs went for 19, which would have been his lot under the proposed match format. Some iffy bounce at the northern end assisted Hayden’s thunderbolts as he knocked the stumps over twice and finished with 2-26 off 8 at 15 over drinks, Frensham on 50-2. 

Whatever was in the drink shifted the batsmen into Bazball mode, the indecision on how to treat Grinders now a question of landing the ball on the embankment behind him (in which case it would roll back onto the field) or in the car park beyond (in which case anxious motorists sportingly lobbed it back and removed their vehicles). Young Alex (billed as off-spinner) started with six variations of his ‘seam’ bowling, the last of which induced an ugly shovel to Jimmy at midwicket. 

When Grinders took his leave after 11 overs, the final four having gone for 47, Alex assumed the senior bowler role, turning the match by taking three in four balls. Perhaps fortunate insofar as the second and third were uncharacteristically smart catches by Keith and Seeckts, he was now one wicket away from doing what took Rod three decades and 172 matches, bagging a Michelle. That the fifth came in his next over, caught between Ruffell’s otherwise clanging cymbals, was as welcome as it was surprising.

Brief rolls of the arm from Geoff and Jimmy polished off the tail just after 3.30pm, leaving us a theoretical 110 minutes plus 20 overs to knock off 158, a situation tailor-made for Pippa. Sadly, his heel had flared up while standing at gully, causing him to spurn the opportunity to bat like no one’s watching.

Instead, Marcus accompanied Jimmy to start the chase, mimicking the senior pro with a technical masterclass for 11 in an opening stand of 82. At the other end Jimmy resumed where he left off at Banstead with glorious drives and pulls straight from the coaching manual. Fortunate to survive a big appeal for a leg side catch behind on 48, he fell on 58, by when Geoff was well into biffing the change bowlers to all parts of Frensham apart from its renowned ponds. Keith accompanied Geoff to the end, cautiously notching two (of 30) to protect his season’s eye watering average of 91.5. Statistics eh? That’s too many red inkers, we’ll have to do something about that (as an Ashes winning England captain might have muttered). Geoff’s thunderous 60* matched his only previous Cryptic innings. The rest of us enjoyed the sun and some Hog’s Back TEA as the game was over well before its status as a declaration game came into play.

Statfest: 1. We have used six wicketkeepers in eight games this year. PAJA says this is ‘almost certainly a record’, which points to a gap in the  record keeping.

2. Jimmy Grinders has jumped from 45th to 33rd on the all time run aggregate list this summer and now sits less than a jug below brother Ed. 

3. Pippa reached 350 caps since records began in 1990, in which he has batted 343 times. Can’t really grumble about lack of opportunity.