Tag: Season Opener

Spring Clean(ing-Up)

Ah the joys of spring. Freshly cut grass, cuckoos singing…the sound of calf muscles tearing. Enter stage left, James West. Roguishly leaning in to dispatch the first ball of the Scotties 2019 season for four, his foot enjoyed being back at the crease so much it decided to stay. To the cost of his calf muscle unfortunately. Westy, we wish you a speedy recovery!

Rewind twenty minutes and the assembled members of the Scotties were placing bottom jaws back in sockets as the skipper arrived early. (Yes, dear reader – EARLY). Good thing too, as he had approximately 45% of the team in his car. For perhaps the first time in the history of the team, the start of play was 30 minutes late because of the opposition. Anyway, with our 1300 start time appropriately arriving at 1330, the skipper won the toss (this was quickly becoming a day of firsts) and Scotties set out with bat in hand.

It was quickly apparent that early season vigour had us in thrall, to the power of trying to steal ‘the cheeky single’. The problem is that this requires the legs for the job as well as the mind-set. Sadly, our communications officer fell to a very good direct hit early on. His time with the ball would come. Thankfully East London, South Africa (or somewhere like that)’s own Justin King had decided today was time to show the stuffy English a bit of Protea Fire. The ball quickly became an object of some interest to the local bird population, so much time did it spend sailing over the boundary. A brilliant 65 off of 34 balls to set us off. This was backed up by noteworthy additions from Messrs Van der Horst (37), Shah (26) and Reilly (27), accompanied by the usual assortment of run-outs and classic collapse of the tail. What was undoubtedly the best ball of the century (swinging a mile, decapitated off stump, at least 90mph) undid the author for a first ball duck. Enough said. Still, we had 181 on the board and a hungry battery of bowlers.

Tea (the usual excellent assortment of carbohydrates and ale) was washed down with gusto. Not enough gusto it would appear, to stop the likes of opening bowlers Ant Thickett and KP (Kyle Pack, in case you were wondering) opening with a very tidy spell indeed. Kyle’s raw, skidding pace was enough to unsettle the openers from one end, whilst Ant’s probing line and length induced some serious King Of The Swingers action with about a million near-edges. It was a fine performance. The fact they only walked away with two wickets each does not reflect the control and pressure they exerted over the top of the opposition’s batting order. No-one however, expected what was to come next. A very bushy (but otherwise rather slim looking) South-African beard appeared, hungry to redeem the disappointment of his earlier run-out. Behind the beard was our club stalwart and comms sec, Mr Brett Hawson. With cunning slight of hand our magician proceeded to conjure a variety of slower balls, spinners, zooters, flippers, all-other form of mammalian sounding similes. The batsmen were well and truly bamboozled. 5-17. An early birthday present, justly earned. On the other end was a certain Aiden Naude, making a welcome reappearance to the Scotties and keeping a miserly bowling length whilst Brett worked his magic from the other end. A special mention also goes to young Zac Naude making his first appearance for the team, and what a pleasure to see two generations taking the field together. After the start given to us and with Aiden and Brett bowling some very tight lines it was enough to take us across the line comfortably, winning by 77 runs with 7 overs to spare.

All-in-all an excellent opening match of the season, against an equally excellent bunch of chaps. The usual refreshments were enjoyed with some post-match analysis and general good humour. Gentlemen of Englefield Green, our thanks for a wonderful day!

Not only was the weather glorious, but the cricket wasn’t bad either.

The season opener was in the beautiful grounds of Headley Cricket Club on the periphery of Headley Heath in the Surrey North Downs.

Losing the toss and being put into field wasn’t a bad thing as if we’d won the toss, we’d have fielded… Headely started well enough and at 67 for 3 were well enough placed to go on and post a 200+ score for us to chase. However, while they are good batsmen, they simply want to hit every ball for a boundary (as the ground is rumoured to be one of the smallest in the UK, who can blame them), while this has it’s rewards, it’s also high risk.

Their approach in this instant didn’t pay off and from 67 for 3 they were all out for 111 in 28.5 overs. All the bowlers chipped in and Billy Smail removed their high scorer (29) and as well as ensuring the tail didn’t wag. He ended with 5.5 overs, 1 maiden, 14 runs and 4 wickets.

After an enjoyable tea, Sunny and Jim opened the batting and Headley CC were eager to prevent us from chasing the runs down. Unfortunately Jim (19) and Sunny (2) fell with only 30 on the board and Watson Senior (22) and Ryan “Spiceman” Spicer (29) put some of the loose bowling to the sword. At 74 for 2 we were cruising, but Dave missed a straight one and the umpire was left with no option, but to raise the dreaded finger. An unexpected (or expected, hence why we fielded first) wobble and we suddenly found ourselves 100 for 6 with Billy and, the stand-in Skipper, Brett at the crease.

Fortunately for Captain Scott or unfortunately for Headley CC, calm heads prevailed, forward defensives were utilised and the realisation that we required 12 runs in 15 overs allowed Billy and Brett to take safe singles and see Captain Scott home for a 4 wicket victory and a strong start to the season.

The full scorecard can be found here for those that would like to pick at the bones of the game.

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!