Tag: Bat First

How do we do it justice?

Since Oxford Downs successfully chased down the 185 we set for them, with only three balls to spare, considering they were 98/1 after the first 20 overs, I’ve been pondering the match report. What should be included, what parts should I leave out? Do I try describe the feeling in the change room post-game? Should I write it tongue-in-cheek piece or do I try to successfully convey the tenacity, drive and determination we all felt as we clawed our way back into the match and took it to the final over?

I’ve ruminated over three different openings to the match report, one with Sean (and entourage) arriving late again and playing up to the usual stereotype or where Ben asked to bat at two more than acquitted himself and top scored for Captain Scott with a very respectable 35, or even starting the report with it feeling like a win with the pride in the change room after we so very nearly beat a really strong team by quoting some cheesy reference from somewhere in history.

None of them quite captured the day and I’ve arrived at the conclusion that my amateur match report writing skills will never be able to adequately capture the true essence of the match. I cannot competently describe what occurred on a partly-cloudy and blustery afternoon in West Oxfordshire, where every Scotty who participated, lived up to the Captain Scott Invitation XI attitude of, when out in the middle, always giving your maximum regardless of your cricketing skill.

I can, however, confirm that as every Oxford Downs’ player shook each of our hands, thanked us for a great game and looked every one of us in the eye, you could see the steely-glint of newfound respect.

Oxford Downs may not remember this game, in seasons to come, as one they nearly lost, but for a few of us, we will remember it as one we we almost stole, when we had absolutely no bloody right too.

Detailed Scorecard can be found here.

What’s your view on singles?

One often wonders what the exchanges are between England batsmen as they walk out to the hallowed turf of say, Lord’s or Headingly. Perhaps a “Go well” against Pakistan or “Was that Sandpaper?” against our Australian cousins. What they definitely do not say, is “What’s your view on singles?”. This exchange could only be between Hareen “The Mexican” Potu, and James West Esq. of The Captain Scott XI. It would appear that Hareen did not want to run any singles, and was quickly caught out, mis-timing a nice heave across the line (well it probably was, I wasn’t watching) to be caught out. Very swiftly, the Scotties were one wicket down. It might have been that for perhaps the first time in club cricket history, we started a game spot on 2:00pm. This appears to have disconcerted the top order somewhat. Perhaps they had not had time for enough refreshment before the game, but we were quickly into a Scotties collapse. Prateek was gone for 9, an unusual moment in a so far excellent season. Spare a thought too for Watson, D(avid) who twisted his ankle, to add insult to injury, while frantically trying to return to the safety of his crease, was run out. Jamo-Love was out to a caught and bowled, and the author found himself in to bat at number 7 alongside Kyle Pack rather earlier than expected.

Tailenders of the world, unite and take over. So goes the podcast. So went the rear-guard action. Kyle nudged, he nurdled. We ran a few singles. I blocked, I heaved, even hit one or two that could be counted as cricket shots. I got a bit too cocky and tried for an even bigger heave and was promptly bowled out to a straight one on 13. Kyle stayed strong to hit 31 which would be our top score. The Beard Hawson was done for 2, and Ben Aspland hung around for a useful 11. That wonderful character, Extras, came in as second highest scorer for 28. So, it came to pass, 121 all-out. This was to be a day of firsts, and our first Sunday game defeat looked to be looming.

Tea was the usual assortment, and those with hangovers started to recover some composure. Those without, purchased more beer. The Mexican, musing on his dismissal, wondered whether he would be best placed with The Scotties as an international player, his ‘domestic’ appearances thus far not having been the most successful.

A timeless scene followed: the sweet music of willow on leather, shadows lengthening in the long summer afternoon as we played up and played the game. The author himself had at the start of play wondered where Ant might come from. All were agreed that Ant being Ant, he would not appear by conventional means (i.e. through the car park or the front door). I placed my bet on him appearing out of one of the bushes that surround the ground. I wished I had placed more money on this, as shortly afterwards our new addition to the club, (and all-around nice chap) Jake described the scene of Ant appearing Apocalypse Now-style out the nearby hedge. Sadly, Ant’s lucky twig was destined for the great wood-chipper in the sky on this game as he toiled to no rewards for his fine effort. A cruel mistress indeed, especially after his disciplined overs for someone else to go and take two wickets with filthy long-hops, as is so often the case.

We not say a huge amount more. Kyle thundered in, full of spit and vinegar. The Beard bamboozled, flippered, swung and zootered away. We needed 60 more runs. We did not have them. OD CUACO had a batsman of some talent who came out for some Sunday practice and proceeded to bludgeon the final runs. Did we play cricket? Yes. Did we enjoy ourselves? For sure. Were OD CUACO excellent hosts? Absolutely. Can we see them next year? We hope so.

A postfix for the scorer. It occurred to me recently that our dear scorer-extraordinaire Laurie Davies has largely not featured in dispatches thus far. Mainly because she quietly and without fuss, does a Stirling job for us every week and does not seek the limelight, unlike those attention-seeking Scottie cricketers she mothers with such love through the season. Without her we would be lost, so our thanks to you Laurie!

Always bat first, Always!

Statistics from the Cricket World Cup, which at the time of writing, is three games away from finishing, clearly show the team that bats first has a better chance of winning the game (two thirds of the time) and it’s an unwritten Scott’s rule that you bat first. That being said, with the Skipper late once again (you can blame Kyle Pack, having to be picked up at the train station, this time), Chipstead, Coulsdon & Walcountians CC deciding to leave the square uncovered over a wet Saturday night and stand-in-skipper-for-the-toss, Jamo-Love, actually winning the toss, it was decided we’d field first. In Jamo’s defence, the nine other players told ordered Jamo to bat first if he won the toss, after they’d all cast an appraising eye over the damp strip.

The Skipper was so horrified by the decision to field first, he decided that he’d only field for the first 16 overs, leaving Jamo-Love to step in as the Jadeja-esque substitute and do the remaining overs. It turned out to be 26 more overs, as it was a timed game and Chipstead, Coulsdon & Walcountians CC were bloody well going to bat until tea or until all their wickets fell, whichever arrived sooner.

Tight lines, tactical bowling changes and good catching kept Chipstead, Coulsdon & Walcountians CC to 174/7 dec after 42 overs. 42 overs – what do you think about that Sprat?

Tea was taken and we figured we’d get about 33 over back with the final 20 overs starting at 18:30. 5.3 per over – could we do it? Our first two wickets fell with only 19 on the board. As one of these wickets was the Skipper, and he was off to New York the next day, in love, and having to see his daughter before he flew out, he showered, packed his kit and left a couple of tyre marks as he peeled out the car park, leaving the rest of the team to face the consequences of not batting first. They would have to learn the hard way!

However a third wicket partnership of 72 saw us work our way back into the game. We weren’t far off our estimates as we were going to receive 35 overs in total as they’d bowled 15 by the time 18:30 arrived. The fourth and fifth wickets fell for 113 and 147 respectively, and Prateek was out for 78.

We were also moving along at the required rate, but things were beginning to look rather close. Was the Skipper correct – should we have batted first? Wickets were falling regularly and trips to the change room to pad up were becoming more frequent. But, with Kaps keeping his head and rotating the strike and Ayman hitting a quick-fire 15 from 9 balls, after Jamo-Love fell, restored calm to the camp, well almost. Ayman managed to get himself out with the scores tied; it was up to Mr Pack to see us home with a only single needed from the last three overs. Aidan and Billy, numbers 10 and 11, having loads of faith and composure in their compatriots out in the middle, were furiously looking for their kit and putting it on a fast as they could.

Kyle’s first ball, a dot, his second, a HUGE heave across the line. So big the wicketkeeper had to take evasive manoeuvres and proceeded, just like Kyle, to completely miss the ball, and so a bye was run and the match was won with 3.4 overs spare.

A. Successful. Run. Chase! Though, I can see why the Skipper prefers batting first as the tension cannot always be good for everyone’s heart and fingernails.

One last thing; be wary of an angry Prateek! He felt Chipstead, Coulsdon & Walcountians CC were taking the proverbial, batting for as long as they did. Our umpire, while at square-leg, got to hear first hand at how incensed he was and left nothing to the imagination when describing their approach to the game. After Tea, he was heard to be saying “Hulk Smash” to himself while putting on purple pants and padding up. After the first wicket fell, he strode out to the middle, like an angry dad stomps into a child’s room to spank their naughty bottoms, and spank them he did! I not sure, but I also think Prateek agrees with the Skipper. Always bat first!

The detailed scorecard can be found here.