Sunday 20 June 2021
West End Esher 117 all out (38.5 overs)
SCCC 120-3 (22.5 overs)
Won by 7 wickets
40 over match
SCCC won the toss

Richard Seeckts writes:

Covid and shifts in thinking have conspired to reduce the length of games in recent times, but collaborative spirit ensured that a 40 over game was agreed on condition of a 1pm start. All happy, it improves the chances of everyone getting involved in the game which is the whole point. On this occasion the Cryptics bowled too well to give the batsmen a stiff challenge, but a warm welcome and fine hospitality (within the ECB’s ridiculous rules) made for a merry afternoon.

With three Wright brothers, Ben, Jonny and Will playing their first game together against proper opposition, plus Pippa in the side, a dedicated scorer in the shape of (football) injured Ed Grinders was both essential and a luxury. If the dunderheads who insist on foreign holidays can’t tell the difference, why should the Cryptic statistician? PAJA was so delighted with the state of the scorebook that he proposed we break more of Ed’s toes if he shows signs of recovery.

Toss won, all we had to do was concede enough runs to ensure most of us would get a bat in a thrilling chase as the church bell rang for evensong. Ben and Will Wright restricted West End’s openers to 24 off 11 before middle brother Jonny hit the base of the stumps by pitching on a length halfway between his well worn bouncer and less controlled beamer. So thrilled was the bowler at this outcome, he did it twice more, finishing with 3-11 from five overs. Quick learner – never rely on Cryptic fielders to help you take wickets.

Young Joe Witt, billed as the new Gossy, bowled seven overs worthy of his esteemed predecessor but ended wicketless due to dropped catches, one a caught and bowled chance. T’other young left armer, Will Hicks, was equally parsimonious in his seven overs, displaying changes of pace that deceived batsmen and wicketkeeper Hugh in equal measure so that when the nick came, Hugh gave an involuntary display of his juggling skills prior to holding on.

All this success had the skipper sufficiently worried about West End’s prospects of setting a challenging total from 59-3 off 23 that he gave himself a bowl. Suddenly YJW remembered how to catch – twice – and though Pippa had read the script and dropped a sitter, geriatric amnesia made him catch the second one. Grinders joined the ‘attack’ but scarcely helped things in either direction until being flayed through midwicket for four by a young lady brimming with confidence at the sight of OMG (Old Man Geography) shuffling in. 10 Cryptics sniggered, Grinders castled her next ball and comedically made to give her that fearsome stare normally reserved for kids who don’t know their cumulonimbus from their cirrus.

Seeckts resumed at the other end, this time having some filth given appropriate treatment to raise the target by 24 in the last wicket stand before Will Orr, who had fielded like a puppy all afternoon, pouched a skied catch to end proceedings. 4.5-1-26-4, no justice for the real bowlers.

Youth policy, succession planning, the very future of the Cryptics in mind, Hugh and Keith magnanimously insisted on fresh occasionals taking the prime batting slots after Pippa, on a king pair from last week, was given his chance. Chance not taken, he nurdled his way to 13 while Orr, Pip’s newest opening partner swung from the hip for a run-a-ball 22, playing in the ‘V’ in front of square with panache to match his prowess in the ‘V’ behind square. Will Wright carved an entertaining 30 before falling to an excellent catch, brother Ben looked classy for his 29* and Hicks joined him for the final furlong.

Perhaps not the challenging nailbiter of two years ago, this was still a delightful afternoon out with welcoming hosts who are the essence of Sunday cricket and with a bar open all day on one side of the ground, an ice cream van on the other, what’s not to like?

  • Grinders bowling out the young “batter” (unfortunately cameraman missed the previous ball…)

  • Will Hicks wicket – courtesy of Hugh’s juggling behind the stumps

  • Jon Wright hitting the stumps