Sunday 9 August 2020
SCCC 171-8  (32 overs)
Hufton’s XI 174-8 (30.4 overs)
Lost by 2 wickets
32 over match
Hufton’s XI won the toss

Richard Seeckts writes:

A late addition to the fixture list, borne of Covid, a cancellation, boundless enthusiasm among Cryptics to play and, particularly, a Caper and Berry catering wagon having been booked. It turned out as a day to pass into Cryptic folklore. That we lost mattered not a jot.

The Lurgashall ground is a rare gem, bordered by narrow lanes with fancy houses beyond, the village shop and the Noah’s Ark pub with many tables out front. The boundary at the pub end is as short as a Scottie 2020 innings, but who’s complaining? The sixes that won the game would have gone all the way at the Rose Bowl (no grubby sponsor’s names here).

Lurgashall 2020

There was a toss, pre-negotiated to the contentment of all concerned. Word had been leaked there were some non-cricketers among Hufton’s merry band. What hadn’t been leaked was the presence of James Hamblin in the side. A modest first class record still equates to a rhincodon typus in the birdbath of Sunday afternoon cricket, so the challenge ahead was likely to hinge on one player’s success or improbable failure.

Stu gloats over his bunnies

Stu gloats over his bunnies

Order was restored after last week’s young openers’ riot of runs at Blackheath. Pippa and Keith, collectively over three times the age of last week’s nippers, managed 25 runs between them, 19% of….(oh, that’s enough of that – Ed). In fact, Pippa hit the game’s first ball for four. It’s hard to know how to tackle a 32 over game, but this went as well as could be hoped. Except for the openers, who both suffered the enormous indignity of being dismissed by our man / fruit machine Stu H-S playing for the opposition

Hoggers’ welcome re-appearance was typically economic of movement, six boundaries and a couple of singles being a tidy return. Will Orr topped his debut 31* with a brutally biffed 46, requiring partners Seeckts and then Cupit simply to give him as much strike as possible. Jug avoidance from the young semi-Scot saw Ed Grinders assume the junior slogger role in company with the more sedate Ingo. The icing on Ed’s cake was heaving Stu for an almighty six towards Lodsworth, leaving him on 24* when time was up.

The word ‘tea’ doesn’t do justice to what followed. A sumptuous spread of delights that took longer than usual to consume, not least because there was enough to fill six  PAJAs and a cart-load of Hope-Dunbars, had they been present. Too good for a cricket match.

Daddy Grinders started proceedings, having the talented Kenny brilliantly caught by Joseph Muldoon at mid-wicket off the third ball. James Moss was his opening partner, once a mad keen, pesky little boy constantly demanding us to bowl at him in the Headley net in the 1990s. We shouldn’t have done so. Now a ferocious hitter, his 22 came in five strokes before he was smartly caught by Ingo behind the timbers. Pippa took the third blinding catch of the day at gully – where else? – and a procession of occasional cricketers came and went until we had Hufton’s XI 71-6 after 19 overs.

Stu came in briefly at No.8, only to be outwitted by an Ed Grinders straight one. By  now all the bowlers had taken a wicket, even the ‘fifth bowler’, a four over Cupit / Seeckts interlude to ensure the real bowlers would have some overs left for the eventual arrival of Hamblin and Hufton. Chas Huntingford took his maiden wicket in a tidy spell of 5-0-14-1 and Joseph snaffled two before H & H came in to damage both men’s figures.

Hamblin duly arrived at No9, fielders scattered to the boundary and, on a few occasions, into the gardens beyond to retrieve a ball. Not the ball, for several were left as gifts for residents to find in future. We tried to give Hufton the strike. He politely traded mostly in singles, despite being capable of much more, to set Hamblin up for the next heave-ho.

Rhincodon typus, however, is docile and poses no threat to humans. Hamblin’s strokeplay didn’t exactly meet that description but it was marvellous to watch from about 50 yards and he was thoughtful enough not to marmalise any of our young bowlers who continued to run in, relishing the remote possibility of taking his wicket. He was on 59* when Hufton drove Grinders down the ground to seal victory in the 31st over, a relief for the Cryptic skipper who had no-one to bowl the 32nd.

Had the Cryptics dropped catches in the usual manner, we would have delayed the arrival of these two batsmen and, possibly, won. More likely that marmalising would have occurred, I reckon.

More magnificent victuals and liquid refreshment flowed from the catering wagon as families spread out on the field in the evening sun. In a brief and touching ceremony, Cryptic legend status was bestowed upon Keith and Stu by the awarding of pink and black blazers, with the promise of fuller tributes as and when we can have a club dinner.  Somehow it felt fine to give one to a fellow playing  for the opposition on a day that reaffirmed there is plenty of life left in Sunday afternoon cricket in general and Cryptic cricket specifically.

Huge thanks to Tom for laying on a fabulous day.