Tag: Gareth Butler

What the Butler(s) Saw

It was a day for heartaches and hangovers. The former being the home ground of that notable cricketing outfit captained by Sir Tim Rice and our venue of play, Aston Rowant CC. The latter, what a few of the Scotties brought with them to the ground. Young Master K. Pack mumbled something unhappily about reliving his (quite recent) University days and pints of wine, whilst Reilly (J) arrived with what could only be described an elephantine hangover, kindly donated by that cruellest of mistresses – red wine. The skipper meanwhile, determined to break free from the chains of his reputation for lateness, arrived early once again (three in a row!!), with 46% of the team, about one tree’s worth of willow, several mattresses of pads, and a child’s bike in the boot. However, the Butlers being similar in style and temperament to the Scotties, the curtain was not lifted on any sporting endeavours until around 1400 anyway. The toss proved not to be ours on the day, and we were sent in to field.

First up – Messrs Pack and Thickett to opening the Scotties attack. Kyle managed to beat the bat early and out went their number two with scoreboard reading 20-1. Ant laboured hard in the sun but his efforts were to go unrewarded, harsh returns for a fine effort that regularly asked questions of the batsmen. Luckily, Justin and Brett had definitely had their Biltong and Boerwors that morning, and were hungry for wickets. Justin turned the screw and ended up with three wickets early on as unsettled from the other end, and soon the scoreboard was more tragedy than farce, at 90-6. However, like every good play, a hero arrived. Messrs Jones and Bullen, we salute you. What can only be described as Oxfordshire’s version of the Battle of Thermopylae followed as they bravely withstood everything the Scotties had to throw (or maybe bowl) at them, and by the end of the Butler XI innings the scoreboard read 214-6. The game was on.

Tea was delicious, a fabulous assorted collection of carbs made all the sweeter (or more savoury?) by the fact that the fielding bit was done, and cold refreshments could be enjoyed in the sunshine. Perhaps one more than planned in the author’s case, but no-one would begrudge him the indulgence – the services of his bat were not to be required. Brett decided that some runs was the order of the day and headed to a controlled 43 as a few unlucky wickets were going down at the other end, but no-one (least of all himself) was ready for the virtuoso performance of Watson, D(avid). In keeping with the arts theme of the day, the newly formed Captain Scott Invitation XI cheerleading outfit “C**ty and The Hat-Tricks” struck up with their favourite one-word song “shoooooooot!”. Davey drove, pulled, smote, struck and lofted his way to a wonderful 77* as the brothers Reilly each contributed at the other end with a quick and tidy 24 (Reilly, S) and 22 not-out (Reilly, J). Davey, that would have been a century if you had needed it. The victory was sweet, and the Butlers XI as ever an excellent group of opponents and long-standing friends. We look forwards to seeing you next year chaps!

Long may the run continue

It was an action packed game, with centuries on both teams, a hat-trick and a thrilling final over.

Pitching up at Stratfield Brake Sports Ground, there wasn’t a pitch ready and waiting, instead there was one field with a lush green square, another field with the covers still on and an assistant manager who knew sweet fanny-adams and kept asking us to wait until his manager arrived, who was right round the corner at the local Sainsbury and would be here very soon. Yeah right!

David and Jim (Copeman – Scottie debutant) took the initiative and decided to remove the covers from the square and see if we could get a game started. The opposition captain was eager to get going and obviously had a strong batting line-up as he asked if each bowler could bowl eight overs in a 35 over game – it’s a friendly, so why not… “Sure thing Dave, eight per bowler”. Seeing people removing the covers Dave then asked if we could toss. We headed out and Dave didn’t even look at the square and said, “Ready?”. I wasn’t sure what we should do, but tossed and Dave called tails, tails it was. “We’ll bowl!”, no hesitation or deliberation. Well at least I didn’t need to decide…

The mysterious manager turned up and it appeared that there were no boundary markers or stumps. Kidlington CC had everything locked up and even though you can hire a square, that’s all you’re hiring. To be fair, our awesome President and Tea-Maker had warned me to bring stumps, but a couple of eager beavers packed the car and I forgot the stumps – doh! I did have bails in my bag, as did the umpire. At least it wasn’t 100% village!

With two pairs of plastic stumps found in the nets (one set were buggered) play started while I rushed down the A34 to a Sports Direct, I was assured contained stumps on sale. I arrived and managed to find two pairs of spring stumps (no normal stumps available)… not great, but better than the classy plastic stumps we had.

Two pairs of spring stumps purchased, I then careened back the the ground, only to get there to find the idiotic salesperson had sold me one set of adult stumps and one set of youth stumps… FFS!! And to top it off, the youth stumps didn’t contain any bails. Double FFS!!

Unbeknownst to me, the one plastic set were so rubbish, they were rotating the decent plastic stumps every over. Now at least we had a decent pair of spring stumps and a decent [enough] pair of plastic stumps – rotation was no longer needed.

Most surprising, after all my toing and froing, was the opening pair of Mr Hunt and Mr Daniels were still going strong and shortly after I arrived back passed a century partnership, but it was not to last as one of the Butler fielders held a catch and Jim was gone for 42.

While I was stump shopping, Lisa had quickly [and quietly] arrived and delivered a top-class tea and then did a runner… something about her family being more important than the needs of 22 willow and leather obsessed blokes.

Dan Mitchell, a Sunday game debutant (not a complete debutant, as he has toured with Scotts this year) was in at three and looked to settle in on pitch that took a little getting used too. While Dan was trying to get to grips with the pitch, Paul Daniels was taking the bowling apart and brought up his century in style. Dan, while on 7, hit a great shot that the mid-wicket unfortunately managed to somehow get a paw under while falling over. It was an incredible catch and one that no one should ever feel bad getting out to…

Next debutant Jim Copeman, who’d looked great in the nets, and received a sound piece of advice from centurion Daniels, about having a look first. His first ball was an awful ball down the leg-side that should have been called a wide (umpiring, I’d begun to signal the wide, before I realised he’d hit it), however Jim somehow managed to get bat on it and send it straight down the neck of fine leg. Suddenly the bowler, T Wilson, was on a hat-trick.

In strode Prateek, and Butler’s skipper put all the men round the bat. In ran the bowler and tried a bouncer which bounced and was on it’s way down when Prateek attempted a pull and proceeded to knick it to McCormack behind the stumps who juggled it and almost, put it down, almost, but not quite. The Butler XI were cock-a-hoop. 162 for 1 was 162 for 4 and Wilson had a hat-trick. Wilson, having not yet conceded a run, proceeded to bowl two wides and took no further wickets. The skipper then immediately pulled T Wilson from the attack, stating he was protecting his average.

Mr Stoddart (from Mr Daniel’s Alma Mater) took to the middle and a sense of normality resumed… by normality, I mean the Butler boys dropping catches and allowing Stoddart to continue adding runs. It looked like Paul and David had spent years batting together. The opening bowler returned and Paul managed to play round a straight one and was out LBW for 124. Great innings and one that gave the team impetus.

Jimmy CS and his bat, which had been made from a willow tree in his village, that, one, WG Grace once urinated against just before it was struck by lightening, strode to the middle, proceeded to score a run and then hit it to a fielder. 210 for 6 and only a few more overs to go. Tommy “Panther” Mac looking to up the scoring rate, hit two great fours off sequential overs and then also got caught with nine balls of the innings remaining. Final over and hat-trick boy Wilson is brought back, deciding to bowl spin, instead of his medium pace… first ball and Stoddart edged an innocuous ball onto his stumps, gone for a respectable 28.

Enter Tomlinscote School and Sixth Form College’s newest head-boy, Dan “Cookerooni” Cooke for his second season at Captain Scott. He blocked the first ball, knocked his second for to mid-wicket for a single and then proceeded to tell the umpire at the non-striker’s end, Jim Copeman, that he’d just scored his first ever run! Dan was off the mark in more ways than one. Another single and Dan was back on strike. Dan then hit another ball to mid-wicket and scampered his second run on the final ball of the final over. Two not out, twice the amount of runs scored in four innings last season. Well done Dan, and I hope your cricket career is long and enjoyable. We at Captain Scott look forward to watching you grow in the coming years!

That was tea and the Butler XI had to chase 229 in 35 overs for the win. It was a great tea and I have to admit, I completely over indulged on the prawn mayo sandwiches. They were mighty fine!! Thanks Lisa!!

We started brightly enough with T Wilson, the bowling hero, going for a duck on the fourth ball of the first over. 1 for 1. Enter their dark horse and ringer, a Saffa with an Aidan-esque build, who apparently had his sense of humour removed by immigration when he arrived on these shores.

The game proceeded to ebb and flow, a few tight overs and then the release. We eventually removed Steve McCormack for 56 and it was 122-2, enter their big-hitter who’d pulled his groin while fielding, so was accompanied by a runner. His first scoring shot was a large six over cow, after he’d sashayed (groin and all) down the pitch. Pulled his groin you say… not just a lumber-some cart-horse, who needs a runner to turn singles into quick twos? A single and then a four and then bowled, their big-hitter could rest his injury. 140-3 and in strode Tom Cruise from Risky Business wearing a cricket helmet. A partnership of nine and Tommy Mac was in the wickets again, a large hoick, slick glove work, a foot stuck in the pitch and Prateek had an actual stumping to his name. 149-4.

At this stage I could turn to Magic and asking him their required rate, I was then fed, runs required, balls remaining and their required rate… Who would hold their nerve?

Batsman number six, not very long in the legs, joined the party and after adding two to his name, decided a second run to put the surly Saffa back on strike, was a good idea, obviously hadn’t heard that you don’t run on a misfield. Dan Mitchell grabbed the ball, fired and hit the stumps… stumpy was out and unhappy about it. 156-5.

In strode, the silver fox, David Price QC, of Fleet Street. Tom and Dan were bowling well and bringing a halt to the runs and causing the run rate to increase. At this point there was a load going on and I think it got to a point that they needed 34 from 4 overs. seven runs off the 32nd over and eight from the 33rd over and they needed 19 from the last 12 balls.

My final over, dot, dot, dot, single, dot, wide (doh) and a four, three metre’s from Paulie on the short boundary, but difficult to stop. We were still in with a  chance…

They needed 13 from the last six balls. Dan Mitchell entrusted with the final over… He ran up and delivered the first ball to the Saffa, who’d now passed his hundred but due to his team-mates poor scoring had him on 91, he hit it straight and long, six runs. Seven from five balls. Squeaky. Bum. Time!


Seven from four balls.

They could only manage a single and David was on strike. Six from three.

Dan ran in and David cut it to deep backward point on the boundary, two was the shout. I chased the ball as it rushed towards the boundary, Tommy Mac fielded on the boundary and pushed the ball towards me. I grabbed it and cannoned it back to Prateek who whipped off the bails, David was short of his ground. He was out and they’d only scored a single, 224-6.

Five from two balls and the new batsman was on strike, with the Saffa stranded down the other end, his sense of humour being closely watched by Sajid Javid’s staff. The field was brought up to stop a single or a suicide run.

Dot. Straight into Prateek’s gloves. No chance of a single. It wasn’t over, but we were in the driving seat.

Five from one (a four to tie or a six to win)


The Captain Scott Invitation XI had won by four runs and still had a 100% record for Sunday Friendlies in 2018. The Butler XI were both physically and mentally beaten, they’d snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Bet David Price now wished they had batted first.

Great game and well done to the match day XI. All round great performance…

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…”