Sunday 7 July 2019
Holybourne 198/9 dec off 39 overs
SCCC 138 all out off 39.1 overs
Holybourne won by 60 runs

So, back to Holybourne for our eighth game.  You’d have thought that, having lost last year on the last ball, we’d at least have rocked up with 11.  But no.  Fortunately the Seeckts family is sufficiently embedded in the local community that jungle drums could summon an eleventh, albeit late in the first innings.  Thank you, Charlie Fowler.  Another time, we’ll hopefully give you more of a go.  

As usual, half of Holybourne’s side came from two houses, featuring more ‘M’s than a packet of M&Ms.  [you did this in last year’s report.  Stop it.  Ed]  With two experienced and sympatico Sunday skippers, there was no Michel Barnier to obstruct a consensus on a declaration game, or that the home side would have first use.  No coin needed.  After 10 overs we were feeling kind of smug, Holybourne sitting on 50 for 5.  We had disposed of two Milners and all three Maddocks.  Last year Maddock minor and Maddock minimus   [look, stop it. It’s not funny and it’s not clever.  We didn’t all go to that kind of school.  Ed]  delayed us with a stand of 70.   This year both were snaffled at first slip by skipper Seeckts for ducks, one an instinctive snatch and one where he had no time to get out of the way.  Modestly, he never mentioned that the second took him to 100 Cryptic catches. The five wickets were shared between our openers, Stu and debutant Marcus Ruffell.

But Holybourne’s batting order was clearly picked in a raffle draw, and Saturday Firsts skipper Harry Martin proceeded to play Battleships with Stu at long-off, pinging the ball either side and beyond him, before finally picking the right square and holing out for a belligerent 50.  The lower order continued to chip in with a series of 20s before Seeckts brought finally Tommy into the attack.  Stu took his second catch, oppo skip Rob Milner declared on 198.  Extras were second top scorer with 35; keeper Hugh would wish it to be know that there were no byes, and 28 in wides.

Stu, so cruelly vilified in the West End Esher report, picked up double-jug avoidance with two catches and his best Cryptic figures of 4-31 from 9.  The legendary Holybourne pitch, capable of sudden lift and doubly capable of unexpected pea-rollers, gave no room for complacency.

Between innings, some opponents provide tea.  A few provide Tea.  Just occasionally, we get TEA.  Lashings of it, because it goes so fast.  Sweet and savoury.  Homemade and judiciously shop-bought.  Healthy and chocolate-coated.  Mark Waugh allegedly acquired the nickname ‘Afghanistan’, as the ‘forgotten Waugh’.  Well, Holybourne tea is the domain of Queen of the Tea Room, the Forgotten Milner.  Tea doesn’t come better than this, not from M&S, not from Waitrose – as the boys from Las Vegas said, ‘Believe Me, Natalie’.

And it’s the secret weapon, because who wants to go out and bat after that?  Well, Pippa and Keith, obvs, because Philip always wants to bat, and all Keith had really done was compensate for his lack of breakfast.  Both were back with us before we got to 30, the pitch playing its part.  However, we were more confident at 93 for two, with Tommy going well and constantly seeking to claw back the five 6’s by which he was trailing Scottie, finding two of them.  Dwight was providing solid support at the other end, until being stumped off the youngest Milner for 26.  When Tommy holed out off the same bowler for 37, 106 for 4 didn’t look so smart.  But a lot smarter than 111 for 5 (Hugh, for 1) and 123 for 6 (Marcus, for a no-nonsense 12).

And then 130 for 6 became 138 all out, Toby finally succumbing for a stubborn 19 with three overs of the last 20 remaining.  Milners took eight of the wickets, Dylan taking 4-37 from 10, Elliot cleaning up the lower half and Rob chipping in.  But the star Milner performer wasn’t on the field.