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Thursday, 25 August 2011

Maladroits chase down their nomad rivals with 5 balls to spare

v Drovers CC

Sheen Park

Sunday 14th August 2011

Maladroits won by 3 wickets

James Horton reports

On a fair mid-August Sunday, Maladroits once again inflicted a crushing victory over the Drovers, casually knocking off the required 223 with 8 balls and two wickets to spare.

The result was only ever really in doubt when Boozer strode confidently back from the toss and announced that he'd lost and that we were fielding. But we swallowed our doubts and having fended off Boozer's offers of new kit, we took the field for some relaxed catching practice. The attack began fiercely from the Park End with Ryder rumbling in to pepper the opening pair with a series of unplayable balls and Dom delivering the more of the same from the Plough End. Drovers capitalised on the extras that these deliveries had gifted them, took advantage of some lapses in concentration behind the stumps and built a troubling opening stand. It was time for a rethink.

With Dom retired to a bench at deep backward square/deep extra cover and Ryder lounging in the slips, Matty and Charlie took up the reigns and restored order. Sweepers were deployed, traps set at cow and the wickets began to fall. The openers fell in quick succession and the middle order failed to make the most of a commanding position. We agreed afterwards that this may well have been caused by the deployment of some seriously vintage equipment: not for some time has Sheen Cricket Club been graced with a pre-Hick DF, a GN Elite and the suspicion of buckle-up pads. Yearnings for a Gooch-esque white helmet and a SS 333 sadly went unsatisfied but we all enjoyed the trip down memory lane.

Perhaps it was the hint of moisture in the pitch following overnight rain, perhaps the short leg side boundary or perhaps our inability to come up with new fish-related puns, but whatever it was, the Maladroits' spinners took some fairly serious tap in the overs around the drinks interval. The field dropped as a result (Dom moved benches), Drovers piled on the runs and a challenging chase began to look likely. But heads didn't drop and some good fielding ensured that the target remained manageable: Chad's cat-like reflexes bagged him a truly remarkable one-handed caught and bowled that he made look sickeningly easy, and James H held a ball skied so high that passing jumbos were diverted. Such was the confidence at the end of the innings that Brenner called upon to put the finishing touches to an otherwise solid performance.

Tea was stunning. Home-made sandwiches with a dizzying variety of fillings, combined with crisps, sausage rolls and other snacks to whet appetites for dangerously good rocky road and brownies. The opposition shook their heads in helpless admiration and were heard remarking that the Maladroits could always be relied upon to put on a good tea.

The innings got off to a shakey start with Matty bowled going ugly early and James H walking for nicking a off cutter; the pitch had evidently livened up during the tea interval. Cool heads but contrasting styles shored things up, with Brenner yielding his club like a rioter outside Curries and Ryder carelessly stroking ball after ball to the boundary. Chad went for an unlucky duck and was replaced by an irrepressible JC, who followed a strong bowling spell with a match-winning 69 not out. When Ryder finally fell for 57 (apparently because of a low sun, Dom walking in front of the sight-screen with his tea and the keeper breaking wind), Charlie picked up the baton and added a priceless 27.

By the thirtieth over, we were confident that victory was in our grasp, especially when Matty refused to be bullied into dismissing JC at a critical point. Umpire Brenner finished his phone calls in time to see the winning runs dispatched through extra cover and the day was ours.

The Drovers took it well and over a drink in the Plough it was agreed that overall, honours were about even.

Man of the Match - JC and Ryder for match-winning all around performances

Fielder of the Day - Chad and James H for two lucky catches

Dick of the Day - Dom, for sleeping on benches (and taking advantage of drunk pikeys).

Teas - A strong 75%, which goes only some way to represent the extremely positive all-round experience.

A king pair of Locks

  • Sunday 7th August 2011
  • Opposition.: Lock Senior Rural XI
  • When, where and what: 2 pm at Arundel Cricket Club. 30: 30 match.
  • Conditions: Really nice, overcast and sunny.
  • Team: Ryder, Brewer, Retter, Lock (Junior), JC, Lees, Bowden, Lowis, Toovey, Moore, Bolland
  • Ash reports.

This new fixture on the MCC sheet saw Lock Junior captain a strong MCC XI playing Lock Seniors Rural XI. With the MCC uncharacteristically loosing the toss and being put into bat. The pitch had one of the shortest boundaries seen yet this season at one end, and the main road between Chichester and Arundel (full of August summer holiday traffic) at the other – admittedly screened by some massive trees. So it promised to be an interesting innings, if we could score runs. JC turned up and before he knew what hit him he was kitted up and strolling out to open with Junior. Junior went for 1 and Lees came in and continued his solid form leaving the strip with a very respectable 40. JC retired on 50 after a solid innings. Retter came and somehow managed to hang around and scrape a nervy 19, dropped three times but the fourth was held. Bowden smashed 37 for his first outing of the year. Ryder came in and was not distracted by the harvest scenes and cows in the fields behind. True to form the rural destroyer went for it and managed to hit the largest 6 of the day - over the trees and miraculously it missed the cars and bounced back onto the pitch. Bizarre. And he carried his bat with 31. Bizarre. Other contributions were Boozer with 4, Matty with 10 and Glen with 14*. Their keeper didn’t have a great day, nearly 10% of our runs came from byes, and I was surprised and pleased to see only one batsman was bowled, the rest caught. 225 for 6.

Tea. Lock (Mother) dazzled the team with a masterclass in the art of a cricket tea. Our southern hemisphere boys hopefully learned a valuable lesson on this day in tea making, apart from the obvious that you need to actually bring the sandwiches. Sandwiches, superb and crucially enough for seconds and a plate for the changing rooms apr├Ęs match. Baking both savoury and sweet - perfect (we won’t mention the carrot cake packaging). I won’t go on except to give the customary score – a very healthy 90% and definitely in the running for the coveted ‘Tea of the year award’ at the annual MCC end of season feast.

I think there were some tactics at play with this tea though, an MCC XI with a food hangover took the field and barely moved, except for Dom and Brewer who skipped the carbs etc.. The first few overs were quiet and they got off to a slow start, losing 2 wickets at the hand of Ryder in his second over (ending up 35 for 2 off 6 overs). With Moore terrorising the batsmen with wides at the other end (23 for 1 off 3) it was not a strip to be batting on. Lowis was tight and straight (28 for 3 off 6 overs), Bolland his usual tricky length (14 for 0 off 2) and Nick ‘dusty the second’ Tooves shuffled superbly for 2 wickets from 5 overs for 39 runs.
The small pitch provided some comedy dives, floundering and misses as anyone that has watched a Maladroit in the field can imagine. Of note (unfortunately) was the author putting down two sitters – he would probably argue atoning for the three drops while at the crease, and Ryder managing to consistently stone drift to a seat on the boundary, much to the dismay of fellow fields who fancied the seat too. Boozer bucked the trend and pocketed three catches behind the stumps, and we managed to dismiss three batsmen for ducks. Lock, Lees and Retter contributed with the ball but neither could get a break through.
Roughly mid way through the innings we had them on the ropes at 75 for 5. All were bowling well and fielding …just about. But they had a couple of tricky characters who were pushing the run rate. What looked easy to start actually turned into a valiant chase by the oppo. And with 10 over to go they needed about 100, with a few tight overs this ballooned to 12 an over at one point. Not content with showing (Lock) Junior, Retter and Moore how to play golf on the Saturday (Lock) Senior finally came to the crease. But unfortunately for him he was not able to show us how to bat, and his son scored outscored him by 1. A plucky number 10 knocked up 25 and out, but this saw their two in form batsman return to the fray having retired earlier at 50. With a hand full of overs left and about 50 runs needed they set about savaging the MCC. Lock (Junior), Lees and Lowis did their bit with the ball, and JC was given the last over, 193 for 9 - 32 needed, with their two strike batsmen at the crease. Retter managed to make up for his drops and held onto the toughest of his catches of the day, and they were all out in the last over for 198. Top scores on their side were 60 and 54*. JC 5 for 1 off 1. A good days cricket and MCC win.
MOM: Mark Bowden
DOD: The two Locks, top organising but two Ducks!
Fielder of the day: Glen

Marlyn reels in the Oxted middle order

Match report to come