Sunday 9 July 2023

Frensham 231-2 dec (37 overs)
SCCC 218-8 (40 overs)
Match drawn
Declaration match 
SCCC won the toss

Richard Seeckts writes:

Another thoroughly enjoyable day on which the Cryptics came close to pulling off an ambush even greater than that at Woking last September. Blessed with only 10 players after a particularly feeble midweek cry off, we gathered with only one proper bowler who had played since 2020 and two who hadn’t.

It was therefore essential that a/ we negotiate a declaration game, b/ we field first and c/ we the pull off a batting miracle. Who better to send out for the toss than youthful charmer Toby to settle a/ and b/?

Tom Leonard (young and rusty) and Tommy H-D (old, rusty and on rare visit from Scotland) opened the bowling with creditable accuracy, the former inducing an old schoolmate (on nought) to leave a ball that ripped his leg stump out of the ground in the third over. There followed 20 overs of mayhem as Frensham raced to 120 for the second wicket, then a further 15 overs of chaos during which centurion Dunne retired and the score reached 231-2. To their considerable credit the bowlers, Ed and Toby in addition to the openers, stuck to their task brilliantly despite a very short boundary in three directions, too many extras and regulation erratic fielding from those whose birthday cakes now require a fire extinguisher on hand. But at least they turned up.

Leonard was treated to a second spell, Ed bowled 11 overs straight for 41, Toby bagged the second wicket, caught on the boundary by Ed, and foolishly gave his old man a very brief and expensive spell. Tommy huffed and puffed and very nearly took a brilliant caught and bowled.

Tea….didn’t exist until Pup raced his Chelsea tractor to Rowledge store, cleaning them out of everything Mr Kipling can offer. Splendid.

Those who hadn’t bowled (and Ed) got first dibs at scoring the runs. Keith, given a life with an LBW shout, top edged one immediately to ensure a long spell ‘in the coat’. Ed joined Hugs for a testing period facing the Goldsworth brothers until Hugs (13) tamely slapped a long hop to cover, bringing Pippa in for his first knock in over a year.  Ed was bowled by one that kept a tad low for 13, Pup likewise after clubbing a couple of boundaries, quickly followed by Pippa who had reached 17 courtesy of four overthrows. At 58-5 from 17 overs, 174 was required from the next 23 with four wickets remaining. Did I mention we only had 10?

Rolly and Tommy then ebbed and flowed for 10 overs – even now no-one knows if they were trying to win or draw the game – until Keith (in aforementioned white coat) stamped his mark on the game by giving Tommy run out for 30, a decision they will still be debating in their dotage. When Rolly was bowled for 20 with 11.1 overs remaining, the score was 117-7.

Lord Wandsworth College class of 2019 then bashed 84 off 10 overs with Leonard striking 10 fours and two sixes in a thrilling fightback that silenced the fielders who, naturally, brought back their fastest bowler to treat Seeckts Snr as a coconut once Leonard had perished for 68. 

31 from the final two overs was too much for the Seeckts boys who scampered 17 before shutting up shop for the final two balls with 14 required. Toby notched a red-inker 29 from the unfamiliar No.9 slot, the true mark of a Sunday captain. 

Frensham were the better side in all departments and generously shipped in some jugs of beer to jolly the afterparty, but declaration cricket nearly allowed a result inconceivable under pyjama rules. I recommend it.