Category: 2015 Match Reports

How to get away with losing

This week there is not a blow by blow account of the game between Captain Scott Invitation XI and long standing rivals East Meon.

The reason for this is because it’s no fun giving account of a battle so one-sided, especially when it’s your team being murdered.

One of the requirements of playing for the Captain Scott Invitation XI is that regardless of your ability, you simply need to try your best… today no one showed or tried their best.

There were no stand out performances as the Skipper won the toss and put us into bat, on what was a perfect summer’s day. We were reduced to 95 all out after 27 overs, Kaps top scoring with 37 and only one other Scottie, Jamo-Love, making double figures. It wasn’t a difficult pitch with it’s own demons, nor were East Moen superstars. It simply looked like 10 players turned up who weren’t really interested in playing cricket that day. It was unfortunate and embarrassing.

Tea was a welcome distraction but afterwards we were put to the sword by East Meon, who were obviously in a hurry to get home or to the pub. Perhaps they were simply being polite, as they knew we had a way to drive and they wanted us to leave with plenty of daylight to space. They plundered their way to 98 for 2 in 12.4 overs. We only managed to take a single wicket. The other was one of their players who retired out after he reached his 50 in double quick time.

Not one of Scottie’s better days in the middle.

The score card of disaster can be scrutinised here

Massive fan of Midsomer Murders scores big

Little Missenden, home to the Little Missenden Misfits Cricket Club, has featured in many television programmes over the years, a frequent filming location of ITV series, Midsomer Murders. The title “Missenden Murders” was actually considered as a possible title for the series.

Weirdly enough, a measure of the success of Midsomer Murders in Australia is that repeats of the series still rate highly and often feature in the nation’s top twenty shows in national surveys. Watching James “Jimmy Slatts” Slatter batting under a sky of dull steel in the Chiltern Hills on a lazy Sunday in June, it occurred to me that Jimmy is obviously a huge Midsomer Murders’ fan and recognising the surrounds, from hours in front of the gogglebox, decided to put the Little Missenden Misfits CC to the sword and create his own version of “Missenden Murder”.


Due to the location of ground, the starting locations of some of our players and the origins of their lifts, it was no surprise that 2:00pm rolled around and there were very few Captain Scott players visible. The skipper arrived around 2:10pm (with a car load of players). Before the car came to a complete stop, Sean had stepped out and was making his way to the middle for the toss. This was even more remarkable considering he was the one behind the wheel. The look on Ant’s face, as he realised that he was still in the driver-less car, easily doing two to three miles an hour, was one of abject terror. Fortunately there was a subtle incline upon which the car deposited itself and no lives were lost. Mind you, Ant, with the help of Rupert “Hound” Wells-Thorpe, still required a wander down the far side of the field to indulge in local flora and fauna, namely flora, to still his beating heart.

Having briefly spoken to the opposition captain to inform him, that our Skipper was still en route with the majority of the team accompanying him in his luxury Japanese vehicle, informed me that his team had spent a fair amount of time in the outfield in previous weeks, so was hoping to bat first. I failed to pass this nugget onto Sean, who again won the toss, asked their skipper to go back to the club house and determine his best bowling line-up. Scotties were batting.

Having realised early in her Scoring career thatthe batting line up of the Captain Scott Invitation XI is often as fickle as the sergeants that the Barnabys (both DCI) have partnered with throughout the run of Midsomer Murders, only the opening pair of, Slatts and Sidhu were pencilled in. The others would only be added to the book when they stepped over the boundary and into the field of play. Slatts proceeded to face the first over, while whistling the Midsomer Murders theme tune under his breathe and a surgical (or should that be murderous?) look in his eyes.

The second over Sunny looked to flick the ball down to fine leg, but only succeeded in kicking it there instead, a single was pinched and Sunny was down at his favourite end, the safest end, that of the non-striker. Sunny found himself back on strike for the second time and facing Little Missenden’s opening bowler. Sunny’s foray as an opening bat was not as successful as his previous time opening the innings and he was trapped in-front without a run to his name. 7 for 1. In strode Danial Khan, playing his first game, for Captain Scott, this season.

Slatts and Danial proceeded to rotate the strike and keep the rate per over looking good. Danial fell to a catch that I’m unable to describe adequately. Firstly, because I failed to see it and secondly because those that did see it could not fathom the adjectives required to turn the observation into a succinct spoken or written account. Suffice to say, from the awe and mutterings, Danial smashed, and those best describing the event mean SMASHED, the ball back to the bowler who miraculously managed to hold onto it. From the accounts I got, I understand that the ball had just about reached terminal velocity off the bat and the only way they Danial would have been able to get the ball to go any faster would to have been playing at a ground where there was minimal humidity, resulting in minimal drag. I guess this means he hit the ball rather well and the bowler did even better in grasping and hanging onto the leather comet bound for the outer reaches of its small galaxy and across the boundary. Unlucky is the best way to describe that dismissal. 59 for 2 in 10.5 overs.

For those long time Captain Scott fans and players, the next players stepping into the field of play for his season debut, was long time Scotty’s superjock, Dan “Jock” Vale (so named for his heritage and not his sporting prowess, though previous outings in the past could cause some debate over the origins of his soubriquet). With Jock finding the middle of the bat, this being his first outing with willow in-hand, Slatts was now hitting the ball to all parts and quoting lines from his favourite episodes of Midsomer Murders, every time the cherry crossed the plastic-flag-marked-boundary. The pair of tenured Captain Scott Invitation XI bludgeoners put on 64 runs in 39 balls, before Jock very tamely gave the young lad in the covers some simple catching practice. 1 2 3 4 5… not actually, but if would have been mathematically pleasing on the eye. It was 123 for 3. Jimmy, unbeaten on 78, was joined by the Skipper.

Old Sean, Skippering the Captain Scott Invitation XI for as long as he has, obviously has his promoters and detractors (you can’t please everyone all the time and I refer you back to “Hatgate” – for those that have read the previous match reports and namely the one describing the on-field antics against Butlers) but I didn’t think he’d convert our Scorer as quickly as he did. No mean feat… I should know, it took me 35 years before I managed to make our scorer and my lovely mother one of my promoters, but I digress. Laurie, having dutifully recorded and thus observed that Sean is presently going through a lean period, ignored my signal of a leg-bye after Sean had clearly been rapped on the pads before strolling down to the non-strikers recorded a single against his name and got him off the mark.

Jimmy had plundered 20 runs off of a opposition bowler’s first over and when the guy saw Sean and his fantastic willow facing the first ball of his second over, made a very audible gulping sound. I inwardly smiled as this is the type of bowler Sean eats for breakfast. This was going to be fun! In he ran and bowled a ball a foot outside the off stump, but it didn’t get half a foot off the ground and Sean having a look tried sensibly to move his bat out the way. Moving his bat sideways and up, proceeded to nick the ball with the bottom corner of his bat as it ascended in its parabola, deflecting it onto his stumps. A terribly unlucky way to get out and an extremely charmed way to earn a wicket. At least it wasn’t a duck… a solitary run (leg-bye?) had been added to the total. 124 for 4, 18.1 overs complete.

In strode one, who would not be remiss as the villain in an episode of Midsomer Murders and has spent more time in the Miami Airport interrogation suite than Sean’s spent in Bolton recently. I’m talking about none other than Aidan “no apt-nickname” Naude. With the bit between Jimmy’s teeth and Aidan, as juiced up as Epileptic Apache Telegraph Operator on Benzedrine, the run rate sky rocketed as the two mates cut lose. A partnership of 133 in 14 overs saw Jimmy bring up his century with the 19th four of his innings. Slatts’ acceleration could be likened to that of a television series murderer in a frenzy. His accomplice, was happy to rotate the strike and only put the bad balls away, reached his 50 after getting into the forties (41) relatively quickly and then took seven singles and a two to reach his fifty.

Slatts reached his 150, off 96 balls, smashing another boundary, which included 26 fours and three sixes. At this stage the Skipper had made a tactical decision to join Aidan and Slatts in the middle, so he could declare when he was ready too. The imminent declaration was communicated to the two batsmen, who again looked to raise the run rate. Stealing one single too many, Jimmy hared down the pitch towards the striker’s end, only to look like Forest Gump, clutching his butt in the Vietnam scene. It wasn’t quite a sniper, but Jimmy was injured… no other option to retire with a red 150 next to his name and a season average of 96.

Brett joined Aidan and one run later, courtesy of a wide, the Skipper declared with 258 for 4 off 33 overs on the board. Time for tea and some exquisite Victoria Sponge. The sandwiches were good too.

30 minutes later it was time for Little Missenden Misfits’ captain to ponder his batting line up and for the Scotties to take to the middle to take 10 wickets and prevent the opposition from reaching 259. Opening with pace of Aidan and the nagging length on Ant Thickett, the boys were fired up. Well nearly everyone… Slatts was keeping wicket and moving as lithely as a 90 year old with arthritis. Mind you we had no other options as we only had a team of 10 and keeping wicket was the best option as it would involve the least running.

It took less than five overs to take the first wicket. Aidan induced the edge and Jimmy forgetting that he was injured moved to his left and took a great catch down the leg-side. 9 for 1. Their number three was not going to get out wondering and liked playing across the line. Ant, into his fifth over, planted the ball on the off-stump on a good length, the batsman, looking to deposit the ball over cow-corner, missed and had his off-stump dislodged. 30 for 2 after 10 overs.

This brought the Misfits’ tenacious number four to the crease. He hit one of his first balls straight to a lonely mid-wicket, resulting in no run, but also the comment of the day. Jimmy, I’m assuming had taken some painkillers which were stronger than he realised, trying to keep the enthusiasm up, stated that the fielder had been surgically placed. There were some bewildered looks and Jimmy realised that he meant with surgical precision, tried valiantly to correct his faux pas – the damage had been done and after that any action was surgically done.

Inspired bowling changes were done surgically and when the Skipper replaced pace with spin and Aidan with Danial resulting in the third wicket, it was a surgical change when a surgical ball ripped, gripped and bowled their opener for 31. The Misfits were 44 for 3. With batsman number five joining the number four, it looked like we’d rattle through the team without much difficulty. It was not to be and the fourth wicket partnership produced 107 runs with all manner of bowling options unable to make a surgical breakthrough. Being a timed game there were only 20 overs remaining from 6:00pm and with this partnership moving along nicely and eating into the remaining overs it like there was a extremely minute chance that they would chase the total down as they needed 123 with 15 overs still remaining. It took the wileyness of Jock and another great snatch from behind the stumps to procure the fourth wicket and break their largest partnership. 151 for 4.

This started a mini collapse and Ben Smail, Jock, Danail and Aidan each claimed scalps, 156 for 5, 163 for 6 and 7, 175 for 8 and 9. We could smell victory. Nine wickets down and 29 balls to take the 10. Danial from one end and Aidan from the other. Batmen numbers 10 and 11 were also 10 and 11 years in age and this plucked at Aidan’s heartstrings, which meant he went from his usual competitive self to a large wet blanket and started bowling spin.

With spin now operating from both ends and nothing full and straight on the stumps, the youngsters faced no real pressure and with great credit to them, saw out the last 4.5 overs without any incident and snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat.

Not a win, not a loss, but a winning draw when you factored in the two run rates. A great game, but the final result had the team divided on whether a draw was a true reflection of the game and had our mind-set been different there might have been a wicket from one of the final 29 balls. Certainly not surgical.

Would Midsomer Murders be content with such an ending? Only a massive fan will truly know.

If you’d like to cast your eye over the finer details, the scorecard can be found here.

Would it be a tie or slippers?

Surprisingly, the trusty slipper gift isn’t the most popular Father’s Day present – it’s actually a tie. For those fathers that played for Scotties on Father’s Day, there was no sign of a tie only a comprehensive win!

Iggle Piggle, Makka Pakka, Upsy Daisy, the Tombliboos, the Pontipines and co are all characters of a BBC Children’s programme called “In The Night Garden”, which features a large cast of colourful characters with unusual names who live in a magical forest scattered with large daisies and brightly coloured pompom flowers. The characters mostly speak short, repetitive phrases and each has their own special song and dance. The garden is a sunny, colourful environment and the music is jaunty and music box-like. Children aged one to six, in and around South West London, were thrilled to learn that In The Night Garden Live would be putting on four shows a day for two weeks from Saturday the 20th June until Saturday the 4th July. Great news for the kids, but crushing for some of the Scottie’s players and their opposition, Lancaster Wanderers XI. Not because Michael Stepney and Rupert Wells-Thorpe were unable to purchase premium tickets to any of the Ninky Nonk or Pinky Ponk Shows on Saturday 20th June, but because Richmond Council simply cancelled the fixture due to be played at Old Deer Park on Sunday. They tried their hardest to stop play, but failed where penguins have prospered in the past.

Our wonderful wily President, Lisa Thompson, was wise to their ways and conspired with the Lancaster Wanderers’ Skipper. TW9 it should have been, but NW11 it was. No longer Old Deer Park, but Hampstead Heath Extension instead, as none of the irritating little bastards from In The Night Garden venture that far north.

In the night garden

With XI on Friday, that suddenly changed to nine on Saturday as the move north proved more a hindrance for some and a hindrance for some of their expectant partners. There was a mini-rush, a mail, a tweet and even some asking on Facebook but no one stepped up. Sunday morning arrived and Brett’s daughter, Xanthe was drafted in, as was the father of a friend of Seran’s. We had XI. Well 10.5 as Seran’s friend’s father had to leave at 5:00pm.

It was not Lancaster Wanderer’s first rodeo on Hampstead Heath Extension and they not only pitched up with a gazebo, but tea already made in a cooler box and a dozen litre bottles of water. One could be forgiven for thinking we were playing the Boy Scouts.

The skipper, bored with all the hullabaloo around the double-headed coin, bamboozled the opposition Skipper with talk about the length of the grass on the wicket, comparisons of grass-type found on Hampstead Heath Extension and that found on the greens of Chambers Bay (home to this year’s US Open), current levels of the water table in North London in June, direction of the wind and other such banalities, called heads before the West Country skipper knew what had just happened and immediately put the Captain Scott Invitation XI in to bat.

No thinking outside the box was required today and the batting line-up went back to a more normal looking line-up. Kaps and Aziz were to open, with Stepney in at three, Vidishka (Grant v/d Horst) at four and the Skipper at five. The renaming six were pencilled into the scorebook, but would not be required to strap on protective clothing and brandish some lovingly worked English Willow.

Kaps and Aziz proceeded to see off the new ball and put together a partnership of 63 in the first 15 overs. Kaps on 24 received an innocuous ball which he gently hit back to the bowler who had him caught and bowled. With the fall of the wicket umpires were swapped and Brett and his daughter, Xanthe (possibly Captain Scott’s youngest umpire and definitely Captain Scott’s youngest female umpire) took to the field, for the best seats in the house, as Mike “No-quick-singles-my-hamstring-is-dodgy” Stepney strode (or should that be limped) to the crease. Mike and Aziz proceeded to increase the run-rate and the 87 run partnership came to an end 49 balls later when an exceptional catch was taken at cover. Aziz having reached his half-century was now out for 56.

Mike’s first instructions to fellow South African, Vidishka was “No-quick-singles-my-hamstring-is-dodgy”. With that out the way the boys took the score from a good 150 for 2 to a very respectable 268 for 3 in 11.2 overs.

An opposition bowler, one Will Burns, bowling with a bit of pace got a ball to bounce, a little more than normal, off a length which the batsman missed. The keeper looked to take the ball without any difficulty, misjudged the line of the ball and it hit the top of his gloves and straight up into his right eye cutting the eyelid and producing a torrent of claret. The Lancaster Wanderers’ keeper was off to A&E, Aziz having lost his wicket and still containing an untapped supply of energy offered to substitute and slipped on his keeping apparel. Completely forgetting that he was playing for the opposition he proceeded to almost run-out both Mike and Grant during his time behind the stumps. On one occasion after Vidishka played and missed a ball while walking down pitch, Aziz rolled it back towards the stumps instinctively, suddenly realising that he probably shouldn’t have. This caused him to giggle like a school girl and forced Grant to dive back to make his ground. Needless to say the ball missed the stumps but much mirth was had by all in the middle. Shortly after this amusing incident (the almost run out, not the keeper’s injury) Stepils took one of the bowlers for a maximum to reach his century (from 51 balls), crashing 12 fours and seven sixes in the process. We won’t mention that he was dropped twice on the way to his milestone, but Mike was dropped twice, both chances were difficult, but I think Rupert “Hound” Wells-Thorpe (who we found out will be a dad by December) would have held at least one!

With six balls to go, Vidishka was on 46. The first ball of the final over was a dot, the second Grant took two and at this point in time, Brett informed Grant that he was on 48 with four balls to come. This was also overheard by the bowler who gee’d by this news bowled a peach of a delivery, but Grant didn’t play straight and was bowled. Had Brett done the correct thing in informing Grant of his score? Team mates are still divided. The Skipper strolled to the middle knowing there were only three balls left in this innings. Facing his first ball, it was despatched, via a lovely straight off drive, back past the bowler. Four. A single was pinched off the penultimate ball and unfortunately it was not a hero’s ending with Mike smashing a six from the final ball. It was a rather disappointing dot, but Stepils had a red ink entry in the book, 110 not out. The team had posted 273 for 3 in 35 overs. 7.8 runs per over and the Lancaster Wanderers had a tough task ahead but first, tea beckoned. 210 runs were scored in the final 20 overs.

It has to be noted that our scorer, in a particularly brazen mood, kept tipping the portable scoreboard over and removing the legs when no one was paying attention and then with tears of laughter running down her cheeks, blamed the wind… mind you the book balanced yet again, so all could be forgiven and I think to some extent the wind was to blame.

After a sumptuous tea (who knew a tea that good could come out of a cooler box) it was time for a repost from Lancaster Wanderers and for the Captain Scott Invitation XI to field.

Ed and John, the Holcombe brothers, made the opening pair. Ed looked to drop anchor and lay the foundation while his brother, should we say, more bowler than batsman, came out to get the run rate off to a healthy start.

Moving along at a brisk pace of 5.2 runs per over, it took six overs before Ant struck. Ant has been bowling miserly for the last few games, unfortunately not reaping the benefits he so deserved and going wicketless to this point. John, one hoick too many had his off stump knocked back by Ant and two balls later the number three having misjudge the line and been struck plumb in front, was also back in the change room, well more accurately under the gazebo, with a great big blob next to his name. Suddenly they were 26 for 2. Number four was in, but it was not to last, he got seven before Ant rearranged the furniture again and he had three all three of the wickets to fall. Our opposition were 44 for 3.

At this point the boys realised that 274 was probably out of their reach and decided to see if the team could reach 150 before they were all out.

The Scotties were not fielding particularly well, which lulled Ed and his partner, Gary, into a false sense of security. Gary cut a ball to point and called for the run, but KP fresh from a cup of cordial during the drinks break, tore in, picked up the ball first time and fired it directly back to Grant now behind the stumps, he whipped the bails off and Ed was found wanting on 55 and on his way back to the shed after having reached his his half-century a little earlier, the same way Mike reached his century, with a maximum and the umpire reaching for the sky.

At 118 for 4 in the 24th over, the Lancaster Wanderers were only playing for pride as the win was now firmly in the grasp of the Scotties team.

Having lost Seran’s friend’s dad at tea-time and Lancaster’s keeper at A&E a couple of cricketing youngsters playing in the nets next to the pitch were roped into the game one playing for us and the other for, you’ve guessed it, the opposition. With young Ollie bowling for us, in strode his mate. Who would have bragging rights? While Master Winston managed to make 13, smashing a ma-hoo-sive six off Brett, the final rights went to Ollie when Winston went for one hit too many and pulled it down the throat of KP, who already had a run-out to his name. 138 for 5.

Sean decided to bring Hound on for a spell, and with a two step run up and an action that would not be remiss on the front lines of WW2, tossing grenades into the trenches of the Germans and muttering “Geronimo” under his breath, proceeded to rip the heart out of the tail and take 3 wickets for 14 runs. 158 for 6, 180 for 7 and 180 for 8.

Aziz, bowling from the other end and bowling the final over of the day got Gary Coulter, who had been in when the third wicket fell in the 10th over, to cut a ball directly to covers where Stepils dived smartly to his left and took a blinding catch. Mike owed Aziz that wicket as he’d been making Aziz do all his fielding as for most of the game anything half a foot either side of Mr Stepney was left for the energetic Aziz. Gary was out for 45 and the third wicket to fall on 180 and nine in total. A wide, four byes and a single and the game was over. Lancaster Wanderers were 186 for 9 and the Captain Scott Invitation XI had a win. There was not a tie (or a pair of slippers) in sight.

The scorecard, for those interested in the finer details, can be found here

The yo-yo of inconsistency

It was uncanny but there were quite a few parallels between the third ODI between England and New Zealand and the game between the Captain Scott Invitation XI and Braywood Cricket Club; starting with the unwavering fact that both games were to be played on Sunday the 14th June 2015.

Maidenhead and Bray Cricket Club describes their ground as “situated in the beautiful village of Bray, Berkshire, on the banks of the Thames, overlooked by the Church of St Michael. The main ground is widely acknowledged as one of the most picturesque in the country.” It was very fortunate that the groundsman of Maidenhead and Bray Cricket Club was able to direct our Wicket-Keeper, Grant van der Horst to the ground of Braywood Cricket Club where the other 10 Captain Scott players had correctly gone. He was only 25 minutes late. Unbelievably Mike Stepney was early for once and it turned out that he was really looking forward to playing at Maidenhead and Bray Cricket Club, where he has scored a plethora of runs in the past, only to be slightly disappointed when the SatNav got him to the actual (correct) ground.

The Skipper was back to his old ways and running 20 minutes late. Clarification was sought as to whether that meant 20 minutes past the meet time (13:50) or 20 minutes past the start time (14:20). It turns out it was the latter. With Sean not around, Brett was deputised by the other Captain Scott players and walked out to the middle with the Braywood Captain for the toss at 13:55. Brett wise to the double-headed coin trick employed by opposition captains, called heads and therefore won the toss. Knowing that several players (Sean R, Paul D, Grant vdH, Martin on debut) were still to arrive, decided to bat.

A quick telephone conversation between Brett and the Skipper established the batting order down to number five. The big surprise was that after Brett’s 35 runs last week, he was asked to open again, this time with Kaps Vara. This was the second parallel as England and Captain Scott both had South African born batsmen confirmed in their opening pair. Mike Stepney at three, Paul at four and the skipper at five. The remaining order would be established when the Skipper was at the ground.

Kaps and Brett got off to a brisk start and with 47 on the board Kaps refused the 2nd run (something to do with being related to the Reillys) with Brett a fair way down the track. He turned back, but was an inch short when the bails were removed. Senior Smail, umpiring at square-leg, informed Brett later that if he’d grounded his bat it would have made the decision very difficult. With Brett gone for 24, 47 on the board and only 6.5 overs gone, the team had got off to a good start. Stepils now made his way to the middle and kept the run rate going with Kaps looking to bat through the innings. Mike went for a pull and proceeded to sky one. Braywood’s money was on the ball, but no one told that to the fielder who held on and Mikey was out for a 29 ball 37. 114 for 2 in 14.4 overs, Captain Scott were cruising at 7.7 per over.

By this stage, Braywood had brought on stalwart and Braywood regular, Brett Carter, who tied up one end with some good line and length. Spin was reintroduced and both Kaps (close to his 50) and Paul found the going difficult and were struggling. Carter produced a good ball that seamed back found PAD wanting. Wickets splayed and PAD was not to be in the runs like his previous two innings. At 136 for 3 at the halfway point and drinks break, Captain Scott’s were still in a good position to post a 200+ total.

After the drinks break the Skipper found himself at the non-strikers end, hoping that he would not get a third duck in as many innings. The Skipper got off the mark to a ball that he felt should have been a no-ball on height, but was not called by, the qualified umpire, Brett. A brief discussion, between Brett and Sean, a short while later, had Sean informing Brett, that any ball above waist height is a no ball, which Brett disagreed with as he said that it is a no ball if above shoulder height for slow (read spin) bowlers. It turns out that the actual law is as follows;

      Law 42.6(b) Bowling of high full pitched balls

      (i) Any delivery, other than a slow paced one, which passes or would have passed on the full above waist height of the striker standing upright at the popping crease is to be deemed dangerous and unfair, whether or not it is likely to inflict physical injury on the striker.

      (ii) A slow delivery which passes or would have passed on the full above shoulder height of the striker standing upright at the popping crease is to be deemed dangerous and unfair, whether or not it is likely to inflict physical injury on the striker.

It turns out that Sean is partially correct, as ICC International Match Playing Regulations do not permit any full-pitch ball above waist height, but as all games played (or to be played), by the Captain Scott Invitation XI, in 2015 are not influenced by ICC International Match Playing Regulations, umpires, umpiring in games between the Captain Scott Invitation XI and their opponents are to follow law 42.6(b) and only call no balls for slow (spin) bowlers above shoulder height. Glad that has been resolved, back to the match report.Kaps reached his 50 (second of the season) off 52 balls, with his cousin and Skipper, having shaken him by the hand, after having run the single. Two overs later, the bowler sent down a slightly quicker one, which rapped Kaps on the pad. Braywood vociferously appealed and out came the dreaded finger. Kaps had no choice but to make his way off with 52 to his name. 142 for 4 and in strode the familiar figure of Aidan Naude. With some batting still in the hutch it was not panic stations yet.

Aidan and Sean, looked to consolidate and see off the two bowlers that were bowling very well in tandem. Shah with one wicket to his name already ripped the last ball of his fifth over, which spun sharply and bowled Aidan for 8. 159 for 5. Grant after his mini adventure to Maidenhead and Bray Cricket Club earlier in the day, joined the Skipper in the middle. Grant has scored numerous fifties and centuries seasons past and has batted at the top of the order with Sean often, so the team were quietly confident that at five wickets down Scotties would post a competitive total. Shah having a purple patch got one to bounce, catching the top edge of Sean’s bat resulting in Sean being caught for 11. Scotties were on the ropes, but not down and out yet. Time to absorb some pressure and let our opponent tire and then come out with a classic combination and put them on their backside. 162 for 6 after 28.2 overs. Time to rotate the strike, put away the bad balls and see if we could add an additional 50 runs or so from the remaining 68 balls.

Junior (Ben) Smail fresh from his 45 on debut the week before very suddenly found himself in the middle. Sean and Grant had crossed so Grant was on strike. He struck a single and yet again Shah struck with the last ball of his over. Ben left a ball that looked to be wide, but it bit, turned and took the top of off. Ben was out for a golden duck. Three batsmen to come and Scotties were reeling, looking a little punch drunk and wobbling. In hustled Martin “Marty” O’Neil, the fifth debutant this season.

Brett Carter having bowled his eight overs made way for another spinner. Grant, with four runs to his name, shouldered arms and fell in the same fashion as Ben, to a ball that turned and rearranged the furniture. 165 for 8 and the captain Scott Invitation XI regained their feet at the six count. Senior Smail coming in at the unfamiliar position of number 10 has made 23 and 16* in previous knocks looked to bat out the remaining overs, unfortunately Marty and KP perished shortly after one another. Marty looked to pull a ball but forgot to pull with any force and proceeded to lob a simple catch to square-leg, while showing his disdain by yelling “nooit” – an Afrikaans word meaning “not”, but in context meant “no!”

It must be said that the KP’s dismissal was the least conventional dismissal I have seen in a long long time. The Braywood youngster brought on, bowled a first ball no ball that resulted in two additional runs, Alastair then hit the next ball for a four. The third ball was a bye and KP was on strike. The fourth ball was called a wide resulting the the bowlers annoyance. His fifth (only third legitimate) ball was bowled too short (imagine a very slow bouncer), tennis-ball bounced up over the top of KP’s bat and hit his stumps three quarters of the way down. Parallel number tree and both England and the Scotties paid the price for a (late) collapse, both teams losing the last five wickets for less than 16 runs each.

178 all out. The greatest crime was the 9.3 overs that had gone utilised. Tea was taken and the team was left rueing lost chances. Nine wickets fell for 64 runs on a pitch that should have produced 240 to 250 runs in 40 overs. At the half way point we were well on the way to snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, but Braywood could also have a collapse as the did the year before when we bowled them all out for 120 odd. Not all was lost.

Sean once again was thinking outside the box and decided to open the bowling with Aidan and Alastair. Spin had worked for Braywood, perhaps Alastair could make a difference. Aidan was his usual miserly self and opened the innings with a maiden. Would the Captain’s gamble work, could opening with spin from the other end work? Hell yes, first ball and Stepils snaffles the catch at cover. Braywood were 0 for 1. Skip, you’re a god damned genius! 25 runs and 6.3 overs later and Alastair strikes again. 25 for 2.

Brett, who often ties down one side, struggled undoing much of the good work done by the openers, but up-steped Marty “Nooit” O’Neil who backed up his comment that he is a bowler and not a batter. He proceeded to take the next three wickets 86 for 3, 112 for 4 and 116 for 5, but with runs being taken at will from the other end, it was always going to be tough. Kaps not content with his 50, also took two difficult catches (we won’t mention the drop – as it was off a no ball and wouldn’t have counted anyway). The first was the fourth top edge of the day and it went very very high. The second an incredible catch at slip that was almost past him before he grabbed it. Unfortunately Braywoods number six and seven saw then safely home. Braywood were 179 for 5 after 32.3 overs. The fourth and final parallel; New Zealand and Braywood CC were never under much pressure in chasing down the total.

Had the match day XI made fifty more and used all 40 overs, it could have been a different game. This was a game that Captain Scott lost and not one the Braywood won. We simply threw it away by not applying ourselves or being a little more diligent while batting.

The scorecard can be found here – for those that are interested.

Back to winning ways

Wikipeadia describes Hindhead as “a village in Surrey, England. It is the highest village in Surrey, with buildings at between 185 and 246 metres above sea level. It is best known as the location of the Devil’s Punch Bowl, a beauty spot and site of special scientific interest, and as the site of the Hindhead crossroads, a formerly notorious congestion spot, where the A3 between Portsmouth and London was crossed by the A287 between Hook and Haslemere.”

Sunday’s game was anything but a congestion spot! 514 runs scored in 80.1 overs. For those of you who are curious, it’s an average run rate of 6.4 runs per over.

Long-time opponents, Hindhead CC, fooled the Skipper with a double-headed coin, knowing he’d call tails… with the toss lost their Captain, Alex “Side-Show” Bertola, had no hesitation putting us in the field.

Hindhead like to play a timed game. For those that don’t know what a timed game is, long and the short of it is that the team batting first bat until tea (or can declare earlier if they wish) then the second team batting, bat from tea until 18:30. Number of overs bowled between tea and 18:30 varies depending on the team bowling, but from 18:30 there are only 20 overs left of the game. To get a result the team batting second needs to chase down the score set by the first team or the fielding side needs to take 10 wickets. Any other scenario ends in a draw, with the team that has a better run rate claiming the winning draw. Most Saturday leagues play this format with points received for passing a certain amount of runs or taking a certain amount of wickets and further points for the winning draw. This format is very effective when weak teams play against very strong teams, but isn’t the Captain Scott Invitation XI’s favourite format as most teams batting second tend to put the shutters down and play for a draw when a few wickets suddenly fall… but enough already as we would be batting second this time.

Being as prompt as usual the Scotties eventually took to the field at 14:10, with only one player having not arrived. Not bad for Scotties I can hear one or two of you think, but when that player, no names mentioned Mike Stepney, is supposed to be your wicket-keeper and the player having to fulfil the role of the wicket-keeper is your opening bowler, it changes one’s plans slightly.

Fortunately for us, we had had one Justin “Are you sure you’re not Russ Joynt?” Lamprecht on début and was able to bowl some medium-fast with some away swing. Aidan Naude was to be kept in the wings until our regular wicket-keeper arrived (ETA was 30 minutes).

With Ant bowling down the hill and Justin bowling up, they did a great job and restricted Hindhead to 50 after 11 overs. Wickets on the day were going to rare with only nine wickets falling all day. Mind you if legitimate LBW decisions were called as such, a few more wickets might have fallen – but I’m not about to cast any aspersions on the Hindhead Umpires (Players) characters.

Stepils eventually donned the keeper’s gloves, much to the relief of Aidan’s palms and right ankle. Hindhead being one of Mr Naude’s more favourable grounds took the decision to come up the hill and it paid off as he snared the first wicket, clean bowling their opener for 31. Hindhead were 81 for 1. This brought their skipper to the crease. Brett bowling down the hill without any success and going for slightly less than the overall run rate was replaced by the miserly Alastair “Billy” Smail.

Aidan and Alastair bowled in tandem with Aidan capturing the second wicket, the batsman mistiming the ball and hitting it straight down the throat of Sunny Sandhu who was stationed at mid-off. Breaths were held, but Sunny took the catch confidently and had his first catch for the 2015 season. 139 for 2 and in walked Hindhead’s best hockey (yes, hockey) player. With Aidan tiring, Alastair changed ends and began to bowl up the hill with KP starting his spell from the other end.

Alastair fired in a quicker straight one and Hindhead’s “I’ll play across the line” Hockey player was bowled for 19. 198 for 3 in the 34th over. Mr Bertola on 58 at the fall of the third wicket then increased his scoring pace and proceeded to put on a partnership of 57, contributing 43 of those runs himself. The skipper was not out for 101 and his partner adding the remaining 14 runs of the partnership.

Whilst getting changed prior to the game, Russ Joynt’s doppelganger, Justin, informed a few of us that he had retired from cricket and now only played exhibition games. He was duly informed he was in the right place as the Captain Scott Invitation XI played exhibition games most Sundays in the summer. At this comment he chuckled but after watching our fielding and catching on (what can only be called) a fast outfield he realised that he was watching an exhibition in mediocrity. He was included in this exhibition, dropping an extremely difficult chance on the deep midwicket boundary. Catches and poor fielding had probably added 20 to 30 runs too many. We hoped these exhibitions of mediocrity would not cost us…

Hindhead declared with two minutes before tea with a total of 255 for 3 in 41 overs. The scorebook once again agreed (what a luxury, having a decent scorer) and tea was consumed.

The skipper with his mind ticking over like a Swiss precision timepiece came up with a cunning plan to protect some of the usual top order batsmen so that an attempt could be made on the total set by Hindhead and failing that, drop anchor and see out a draw.

The conversation at tea went something like this;

Skipper: “Brett, could you please bat at number two and open with Sunny?”
Brett: “Number two? Who me? Why? With Sunny?”
Laurie (Scorer): “Brett?! At number two? Sean, are you feeling okay?”
Brett: “Geez, thanks Ma!”
Skipper: “Yeah I’m fine. If you and Sunny open then we can protect some of the others and chase the score down when the balls a bit older or drop anchor if we need to play for the draw.”
Brett: “That makes sense, but Sunny and I at one and two? Have you asked Sunny?”
Skipper: “Yeah, he’s already padded and waiting to go.”

Sceptically, Brett went off to pad up… not 100% sure that this plan was going to work. His and Sunny’s instructions were to take their time, play carefully and see the first 10 or so overs out.

Nose bleeds staunched, due to batting so high, Sunny and Brett made their way to the middle. The first over was a maiden and no one was back in the hutch… The second over saw runs scored, but a return throw to the keeper hit an old foot mark on a previously used wicket and proceeded to catch Hindhead’s keeper on the cheek, right below the eye… man down, but hey, no one was back in the hutch… yet. The keeper left the field with a bag of ice on his injured eye, and a trip to A&E, a substitute was found and the game continued.

Gasps of pure amazement could be heard from the side when Sunny and Brett showed they knew what a forward defensive was, The strike continued to rotate and after 10 overs they had put 44 on the board (Hindhead had put 46 in their first 10). This brought the about the first change, the bowler managed to eventually swing a ball – straight between Brett’s bat and pad. Someone was back in the hutch. Brett had fallen for 35 runs and the team score on 46 for 1. In walked, Russ, I mean Justin, striding to the middle with a confident swagger.

Justin and Sunny added 29 runs in four overs, one of those going for 25 run alone. This over included two wides, two no ball sixes, a no ball four and four legitimate runs. Sunny was unfortunately trapped on the back foot and KP was left with no choice but to raise his finger. Sunny was also back in the hutch for a well-played 15. Both openers contributing 50 runs to the team total. They were forgiven for looking a little smug.

Stepils entered the field of play and joined Mr Lamprecht in the middle. The skipper’s plan might actually work! 19 runs in three overs and Mike missed a straight one and was the third one back in the hutch for 10. Would the skipper’s plan work? Surely it was too early to drop anchor and play for the draw? 94 for 3 after 18 overs, it could be better, but it wasn’t bad. Enter the other Captain Scott debutant, the younger version of Alastair Smail – his son, Ben. Ben’s dad was quietly confident as he’d recently purchased a new bat for Ben and it was time that it got some runs with it. Alastair’s prediction proved to be correct and Justin and Ben put on a mighty fine 110 run partnership. Ben reaching a personal new high score of 45 from 36 balls, eventually being caught by the substitute wicket keeper off the bowling of the Hindhead skipper, who’d brought himself on to try contain the run chase. This brought the ever vociferous Mr Naude to the middle to with 52 required from 14.5 overs or 3.5 runs an over.

10 runs and 7 balls later Justin holed out at deep mid-off having attempted to hit one shot too many for the team’s top individual contribution of 68 from 65 balls. The two debutants had steered the run chase away from the rocky shores of a loss and towards the calmer waters of a win but left us in a current of uncertainty with only a few gusts of experience to make sure we didn’t end up in the doldrums of a draw. Not quite squeaky-bum time but a slight tightening of the glutes was noted by a few within the team.

Not the Skipper for nothing, Sean strode purposely towards the wicket, looking like Hannibal for the 80’s television show the A-Team, all that was missing was the cigar (no doubt he’d have that later in the evening) and Sean saying “I love it when a plan comes together”! Unfortunately the plan did not quite come together and Sean received the ball of the day, which was quick, seamed back very late and took the top of the off stump. Consecutive eggs in consecutive weeks, but today’s egg could be forgiven considering his bold and cheeky idea to see the Captain Scott team victorious.

40 runs were required from 72 balls, not an impossible task, but without much batting experience at 9, 10 or 11 (no offence lads), Alastair coming in at number 8 was our last line of defence. Aidan realising the situation tightened his glutes a little tighter, again, which gave him a great stance and a look of steely determination (or it might have been wind) took guard, wanting to see the team home.

Both Alastair and Aidan played great shots with one or two lucky stokes (Aidan will tell you he played the Shaolin Slice on purpose) saw them tie the scores at 255 after 39 overs. This allowed Aidan to hit the first ball of the 40th over for a four and the Captain Scott Invitation XI were victorious once again in 2015 with 259 for 6 in 39.1 overs. Not only had we successfully chased down the score set by Hindhead, but we’d done it 11 balls quicker than them. Great Game! While the fielding and bowling might have been an exhibition of mediocrity, the batting was an exhibition of determination and timing. Justin, guess you’ll be playing a few more exhibition games in 2015.

Back-slaps and hugs were shared all round and once we’d all showered quite a few chilled libations were shared with the opposition. Man of the match award was a difficult decision, with the two debutants in contention, but Justin just pipped Ben to the post with his 68 from 63. Hindhead are a brilliant bunch of lads and they play a great game of cricket in the right spirit. Cricket and Captain Scott were winners on the day.

The scorecard for those of you that are interested, can be found here.

And with that it was gone

Just like a very good red wine in the Skipper’s collection, it was never going to last. Captain Scott conceded to their first defeat in 2015 (what goes on tour stays on tour – so those results are not factored in).

On a day that started wet and cold, I personally received a magnitude of calls from the day’s XI asking if the game was still on, you’d be forgiven for thinking that their hearts were not entirely on the game. Assurances were given that the second I heard anything I would let them know, but as far as I knew the game was still very much on.

In typical Scottie’s style, 10 minutes before the match was due to start there were only four of the match day XI present and accounted for, but that was remedied very quickly with the match getting under way at 2:15pm.

The Skipper called “tails”, failed and Sandhurst decided that we should bat first. This was a decision that Sean liked and should he have won, would have taken the same decision.

Mike Stepney, making his 2015 season début, and Aziz Kahn were tasked with the responsibility of opening the innings and laying a foundation for the rest of the team to build on. Sandhurst unfortunately disagreed and 10 balls later both Stepils and the Skipper where back in the hutch with three and a duck respectively. The first ball of the third over saw Aziz do the same thing as the previous two and give some catching practice to an energised Sandhurst team. 13 balls in and we were reeling at 5 for 3.

Dan Watson was down in the scorebook at number three but due to some delays on the M25 car park both the Skipper and Paul “PAD” Daniels were promoted up the order and Dan suddenly found himself in the middle after hastily changing and padding up. The difference between batting at number three or number five on the final day in May was a paltry five balls.

With Paul and Dan in the middle and the score beginning to increase there was a collective sigh from the side-lines as it seemed that a partnership was going to develop and there would be a period of growth. Alas it was not to be, Mr Watson hit a shot that by all accounts should have sailed past mid-off but the fielder (of an older generation) galloped to his right, stuck a single mitt out and held the catch. 13 for 4 and the top order had had it heart ripped out.

In strode Alastair “Billy” Smail which pleased PAD to no end as he got to yell “Gaffer” continuously as Paul is or was temporarily reporting to Alastair in a professional capacity.

The rebuilding process began and I was reliably informed that at one stage (when Alastair hit a second four in the fourteenth over to bring up the team 50) both he and PAD could be heard whistling “I fought the law” (originally made famous by the Bobby Fuller Four in 1965 and not as many think by the Clash in ’78 – but to be fair it was probably the Clash version they were whistling as this was in the charts when they both had shoulder length hair and were footloose and fancy-free)

Alastair having brought up the 50 crashed a third boundary off the over and deciding a fourth one was for the taking attempted to hit one too many and with his stumps rearranged had to trudge off with the score on 57 for 5 and 23 to his name.

PAD realising he was running out of batting partners tried to field the strike asking his partner to play straight and play a supporting role. Mr Sandhu attempted this, but unfortunately was back in the shed two overs later with the score now 65 for 6.

The seventh wicket partnership put on 35 runs and saw the team reach 100 runs, but Brett playing across the line to a straight one put an end to any rear-guard support and the final three wickets fell for an additional eight runs.

Mr Daniels was the ninth wicket to fall (trying to escalate the team total knowing the end was nigh) for a very respectable 61.

All the batsmen were out and 13.5 overs were unused… This is what cost us in the long run. Had the tail been able to stick around with PAD for another 10 or so overs we’d probably be looking at 140 or 150.

Once again the scorebook balanced as tea was taken and ten players (PAD could be excused) were ruing their performance so far. No one was particularly interested in their batting figure and Laurie, our scorer, cast a lone figure while totalling the book.

With copious amounts of hot tea consumed and sandwiches devoured, the Captain Scott Invitation XI took to the field to try prevent Sandhurst reaching the required 109 within their allotted 40 overs.

Both Ant Thickett and Aziz Kahn bowled manfully upfront, but Sandhurst were never under much pressure and the first wicket only fell in the thirteenth over after the first bowling changes were made by the Skipper.

45 for 1 and Alastair had the first of his wickets to his name. At this point, with Alastair and Brett bowling in tandem, there was a minor wobble and Scottie’s thought they were back in the game as the second and third wickets fell on 46 and the fourth fell on 52, Sandhurst were suddenly 4 down in the 18th over and wobbling. Alastair and Brett had each bagged a brace.

Stepils, keeping wicket, was slightly confused as Scotties are not known to turn the ball, but Mr Smail was doing a masterful job and one of his balls bit, nipped and took the glove of Sandhurst’s number four. Stepils caught the ball cleanly and also whipped off the bails and appealed loudly, as did 10 other players. “Not Out” was the response from the umpire – he’d heard nothing. The very young and inexperienced square-leg umpire (who was doing square-leg to square-leg due to his experience, or lack thereof) was asked to adjudge the stumping but had not even been looking and therefore could not give the batsman out as he had by this time put his foot back behind the crease.

A definite knick and clear stumping both turned down. This was a defining point of the game as the batsmen went on to make an unbeaten 44 and see Sandhurst home with only an additional wicket falling to Alastair with the score on 93.

Sandhurst reached 110 for 5 in 31.4 overs and the game was theirs. They are a great bunch of lads (who even put money behind the bar to pay for our drinks) and both teams are looking forward to next season’s fixture as we’re all very aware that they had the rub of the green on the day and that it could have been a different result had we not supplied catching practice at the beginning of the game.

For those of you that are interested, the scorecard can be found here

A great win and still undefeated

This past Sunday saw the Captain Scott Invitation XI take on the Butlers XI. This is a long standing memorial fixture between the two clubs to pay homage to their founders, Harry Thompson and Gareth Butler.

Due to some alcohol fuelled animosity, late last year, between our Skipper and a member of opposition, that will go down in the annuls of history as “Hatgate”, the Skipper was more jumpy than a teenage girl at her first horror movie. He was in, he was out, he was shake it all about… Firstly he wasn’t going to play, then he was only going to play the first innings, finally he played both, but had to leave early as he’s not only a Skipper nowadays, but a responsible father and Monday was a school day.

Only the second game of the season as the Oxford College games had been non-starters due to the weather (or rather the reasons given for cancelling). Spirits in the change room were high with six of the team having played in the season opener. 11 opinions regarding the state of the wicket with 10 suggesting their plan of attack would be to win the toss and bat. Sean, 50 pence in hand, wandered out to the middle and proceeded to lose the toss which resulted in Scotties being put in the field. The Skipper confessed later in the day, had he won the toss he would have fielded (true story – honest guv!) and this is proof of why he is the Skipper.

Opening with the miserly pair of Vara and Hawson, the Butlers XI got off to a slow, but steady, start making only 26 without loss off the first nine. Knowing that we had to get to the 21st over so the bowling numbers would work the Skipper made a tactical change and brought the slow left-arm pair of Alastair “Billy” Smail and Ketan “KP” Patel on to see if they could find the elusive wicket. With the opening pair trying to increase the scoring rate, their number one had a rush of blood to the head and went for an airborne pull towards mid-on where the Skipper had positioned himself. The first Champagne moment of the day… the skipper stepped deftly to his right and lightly lept (yes, Sean can leap lightly) to take the ball squarely in the middle of his meaty right hand. 60 for 1 in the 14th Over. It should be noted that while the opening pair were strolling to the middle, Mr McCormack (a long-time Butler XI member), clearly pointed Sean out and was heard to say that anything along the ground four foot either side of the Skipper would result in runs but not to hit it anywhere in the air within his vicinity. You could see Mr McCormack, as the wicket fell, mentally yelling “I f*****g told you so!”

With the first wicket falling to the mesmerising bowling of Alastair, he proceeded to bowl a peach of a delivery the third ball of this sixth over (which turned out to be a wicket maiden) and take his second wicket of the game, which pitched and turned and took the top of off stump. Mr MacCormack was out with 53 off 50 balls against his name and the team on 85 for 2 after 19.3. The fall on MacCormack’s wicket sent a shiver up some of the spines of the Butler’s long tail. In marched another long time member of Butlers, one David Nicholson. KP had started his spell with a couple of long hops, but had tightened his line and length to a point where runs were again drying up. A firm shot directly to fine leg, a suicidal run (called for by David Nicholson) and the second Champagne moment, a direct hit from David Stoddart left Mr Nicholson well short and a three ball duck, against his name, in the scorebook. 85 for 3 in 20.4 overs.

End of the over (one ball later) saw drinks called and while we were all standing quaffing orange cordial from plastic cups we were enlightened that the message for the incoming batsman was to “survive until drinks”. With much mirth it was asked what next message would be and we were told that it was to bat though to the end of the innings. Drinks also brought about a bowling change and Stoddart’s good work in the field resulted in the ball being tossed to him. It was obviously Stoddart’s day and the very first ball of his spell had Brian Mack trapped in front and after lengthy consideration the dreaded finger of the umpire was shown. Suddenly the Butler XI were 85 for 4 after 21.1. KP bowling his final over bowled preceded to put a “1” in the wicket column against his name when the sixth batsman’s off-stump was knocked back after his eyes lit up and he had a massive hoick across the line – wrong shot for a great ball. 91 for 5 in 22.4 overs. Would the innings go the full distance?

At this point scoreboard pressure was the Captain Scott’s twelfth player and he was playing his part, putting crafty little messages into the minds of the opposition, making them see run where there weren’t any… a ball was hit firmly and directly to the fielder who calmly threw it to our experienced Aussie keeper. Slatts whipped of the bails with the batsmen well out his crease and Phil James has his first Run Out in the colours of Captain Scott. 95 for 6 with 10 overs to go. Stoddart then bowled their captain with only a further three runs being added to the total. 98 for 7 and Butlers were on the ropes…

Kaps Vara was reintroduced for his final two overs and proceeded to take the next two wickets, the first of the two producing the penultimate Champagne moment of the match. Vara delivered a half-tracker which the batsmen swivelled, latched onto the ball and pulled it powerfully behind square-leg straight into the breadbasket of KP and there is stuck, very much to the surprise of KP as well of the other 10 fielders but we would take it. 103 for 8 quickly followed by 105 for 9 after 31.4 overs.

At this point the tail wagged (slightly) and with three balls left in the innings the final Champagne moment. While the bowler, Mr James, was returning to the end of his run up, the Skipper asked David “He-who-could-do-no-wrong” Stoddart to move to his right. It went something like this, “David, move five paces to your right, a little more… more… a little more… perfect, don’t move!”. Phil ran in and put the ball on a length, the batsman obviously forgot it was a game and that every run counts and seemed to quite purposely hit it directly to David, who snapped up the chance to add a catch to his run out and two wickets. All 10 batsmen were back in the hutch two balls shy of the complete innings.

Laurie doing the scorebook confirmed the batting matched the bowling and the final final score was inked into the book. 117 for 10 in 34.4 overs. With that tea.

25 minutes later, the batting order given to Laurie (by the way Sean, you’re number four), Kaps and Slatts were champing at their respective bits (we share a lot, but not bits) ready to post the Captain Scott repost. After a brisk start Slatts needlessly ran out the top run scorer this season so far when the score was on 25. In walked Dan Watson, admitting that this was the first time this year he’d picked up a bat. He and Slatts put on a further 14 runs before Slatts cut an innocuous ball straight to point. Walking off cursing himself for offering his wicket so easily, you’d not be mistaken thinking you were sitting on the dockside in Liverpool and not the wonderful countryside in Oxfordshire.

This released the Skipper (by the way Sean, good to see you’re number four), spurred on by “Hatgate”. The Skipper and Watson then played some wonderful strokes against some mediocre bowling put on a partnership of 41 before Butlers brought back opener, the lanky Al Reynolds, who struck twice in the 17th over to bowl Watson for 34 and follow it up with the wicket of the Skipper for a tenacious 13, who was looking spend some time in the middle with one of his younger siblings, Jamo-Love. Alas it was not to be and after a partnership of one, Scotties were suddenly 81 for 4.

This brought Paul “PAD” Daniels to the middle. In Al’s second over of his second stint he produced a peach of a delivery that took the edge of Jamo-love’s bat and safely into the glove of the Butler’s wicket keeper. I say safely, but it was a great catch low to his right, off the laces of the first slip, but the release of the ball following the catch was so quick, had it been a league game and points, not only pride and boasting rights were riding on the result it would have caused the standing umpires to review Law 32.3. The Spirit of Cricket being what it is and the Gentleman that Jamo-Love is the Scotties found themselves staring down the barrel of the gun at 82 for 5 when only 12 balls previously we were sitting comfortably at 80 for 2.

You only get one guess at who joined PAD in the middle. Those of you that weren’t at the game and said David Stoddart, give yourselves a pat on the back for firstly, having paid attention to this match report and secondly, made it this far! So David joined his Alma mater in the middle and with Al’s blood up and the Butler’s Skipper sensing a opening brought back the other opener. David and PAD had to weather a inspired spell of aggressive fast-paced bowling which saw them only score two runs in 30 balls, but with both openers now bowled out and the return of the second line attack, PAD assumed the role of attacker, while David tried valiantly to farm the strike (singing, take some wickets, get a run out, have a catch and score the winning runs, under his breath – sounding like Dennis Waterman from Little Britain with “Star in it, write the theme tune, sing the theme tune”).

PAD oblivious to David’s dream, of hitting the winning runs, pulled a rank long-hop over the top of mid-on for four which brought up the winning runs. Captain Scott Invitation XI 118 for 5 with 2.4 overs still in the locker.

Unfortunately Sean, now donning his responsible-father-cap had already headed for home and was only able to enjoy the result over the phone within the confines of his Lexus. Mind you the celebration when he got home seemed to be one of note!

Man of the match went to David Stoddart for his all-round performance on the day.

The full scorecard can be found here.

The Skipper said it best, “Great Win today Scotties, well played, out played and out fought The Butlers XI…”

The Season Opener

Under the only dark and damp clouds of April we managed a game against Chipstead, Coulsdon & Walcountians Cricket Club for the first time in at least two seasons.

It was the Scotties least favourite format, a timed game, but hey you can’t have everything your way. The Skipper won the toss (100% for the season, so far) and put the home team in the field. The opening pair of Jim and Jim (Slatts and Hunt) started off briskly, giving us a platform to build from. We lost Slatts after a brisk 27, with Jim Hunt playing the anchor role, others began to play around him. Kaps started brightly but then suffered a back seizure which forced him off the field. After that wickets fell regularly until Kaps returned to farm the strike and elongate the tail and make sure we set a decent total. Skipper declared with the 217/9 after 41 overs. Kudos with the bat go to Kaps with 58 not out, Aidan falling on 44 and the two Jims (Hunt and Slatts) scoring 32 and 27 respectively.

We took to the field at 17:17 according to the pedantic, eccentric and thoroughly mad umpire to attempt to take 10 wickets and secure a win. The skipper marshalled the bowlers at his disposal and some tight lines and aggressive bowling saw the home team retract into their shells and no amount of friendly sledging by our Wicket Keeper, Grant, could cajole them out of their shell and attempt to chase down the 217.

Mr Naude, not content with scoring runs also started with a great spell of bowling with figures of eight overs, three maidens, 19 runs for 1 wicket. It shall also be stated that he should keep his “Shane Warne” ball in the locker, as it has no place on the field. The two new boys, Alastair Smail and Dan Clark both performed exceptionally with figures of 5-1-19-1 and 3-1-9-0 respectively. Dan also worked well with young Aziz and a diving Slatts to engineer a great run out. Alastair has an aire of Phil Tuffnell about him, with “Com’on Tuffers” and “Great ball Tuffers” being heard in the outfield. Dan’s geriatric looking run-up belies his line and length and his subtle adjustments of pace also unsettled the batmen more than once. Doc and Brett also chipped in with a wicket each looking like they hadn’t been away (considering how many nets sessions they attended it wasn’t surprising).

Unfortunately with the opposition batting for the draw and not playing many shots they only lost five wickets in the 35 overs they faced for 144 run.

So with it going down as a draw in the book, Scotties took the scant consolation that we had a winning draw on the account of a superior run rate. On dark days like this Sunday, we’ll take that as win!

Our official scorer also scored her first game after completing official ECB Scoring training in the off season. Not only did the book balance at the end of the innings, we could also tell you how balls each batsman faced and we could actually read what the book said. Thank you Laurie and we hope you enjoyed yourself as much as we did safe in the knowledge that the book wouldn’t be trust in our lap at some point during the game – what a relief!