Sunday 1 September
Woking & Horsell CC 247-6 (40 overs)
SCCC 242–7 (40 overs)Woking & Horsell CC 247-6 (40 overs)
Lost by 5 runs
40 over match
Woking & Horsell won the toss

Another glorious and exciting season’s finale at Woking was played out in fine weather, topped only by great spirit and humour all round. A few personal bests and a rare appearance from the (mostly injured) skipper ensured that we go into the long off-season confident that there’s life in these old dogs yet.

In 2018 – Scottie never wrote a report as requested – Woking’s No.3, Sharples scored 141 having been dropped twice before reaching double figures. We collapsed to 59-8 before an all time record 9th wicket stand of 101 between Gossy and Alec Hudson restored some respectability, but it was still a thorough hiding.

With six of 2018’s rabble re-selected this time, imagine our delight when Sharples came out to open and continued where he left off 364 days earlier. Crash Bang Wallop – What a Fixture. Grinders took such a pounding (8-0-56-0) that at tea he wondered out loud if these were his worst ever figures. Not quite, Hampshire ‘Gents’ and Sutton having flogged him for plenty more in recent times, but he found cause to employ his brutal stare and offer the batsmen some technical advice between deliveries while someone fetched the ball from afar. 

Rod was removed from the attack early despite taking the first wicket and sending down the only maiden over of the innings, and the skipper rotated his bowlers more in hope than expectation until Seeckts’ variation of pace snuck a straight one past Sharples for 66 in the 20th over, after Stu and Ruffell had been tried in vain. Eventually, Scottie and the lesser spotted Tommy came closest to stemming the flow of runs, taking 2-35 and 2-29 respectively off their collective 15 overs, leaving Rod out in the long grass. Skipper, despite a knee functioning no better than Parliament, couldn’t resist taking the 39th over when a nipper appeared at the crease, but that was tonked for 12 runs, 240% of the eventual margin of defeat. 

For Woking, jovial ‘keeper and sometime skipper Martin Peters avoided the ignominy of a third consecutive duck against the Cryptics with 33*, and tea was taken with more concern for enjoying the day and getting everyone involved than hatching any great plans to score more than ever before at Woking to win the match. It came down to sending in some cannon fodder and holding back Scottie and Tommy until Nos 5 and 6 to assault Woking’s joke bowlers who would surely be on when we were 20-4.

With expectations low and the shackles off, the top three of Grinders (13), Seeckts (31) and Ruffel (40) biffed 76 off the first 12 overs. Keith, showing more respect to the bowlers, nudged 10 of 48 in his 11 overs in the middle before being savagely run out by Scottie, whose defence was “skipper’s orders”. This kind of incident can cause extreme toy throwing in other clubs and even among some Cryptics (mostly past) but somehow Scottie got away with it, all hail to KT’s teeth-gritting magnanimity.

Whatever, the teatime plan worked well while Scottie (56) and Tommy (39) added 91 in 11 overs, taking us to 197 when the former was fifth man out in the 33rd over and an unlikely victory looked more than possible. The loss of Hugh and Tommy in the next two overs might have put the lid on events but Ingo (9*), all energy and elaborate plays and misses, and Stu (28*), all massive heaves with eyes tight shut, weren’t letting the sun set on the season without throwing the kitchen sink at the target, and the game was still winnable until Stu didn’t hit the last ball for 6.

The better side definitely won, but we gave them a fright and made merry as plans were made for the autumn drinking night on Friday 15th November. During the day, Ruffell and Stu had made their highest Cryptic scores, Stu’s 28* taking his career average from 8.7 to 9.6 at a stroke.