Tag: Win

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.

A Rather Hazy Day

As the milky clouds hung on the horizon on the morning of 23 June, the fine group of gents at Shalford Cricket Club prepared the wicket in time for a grudge match to last the ages. Or rather, a very friendly game of cricket and BBQ afterwards. Never mind the clouds, the hangover the author turned up with was utterly thunderous. Thank god, Scotties were allowed to go into bat first (the skipper was, naturally, late – with me in tow). This is usually where there is a few sentences dedicated to the unfurling, silky shots played the Scotties openers, or anyone called Watson. This would then usually be followed with a few observations about some huge Shanghai-slice and the skipper trying to threaten some windows in the nearest postcode. I was asleep on the boundary however, and saw basically nothing until Ben awoke me with the worrying news that I may have to go in to bat. (Luckily I didn’t have to). The skipper came off and said something about a Pelican, but as far as I can remember he was far more interested in Birds when they come from New York.  Hats should be duly cocked to openers Jimmy Slatts, (fresh from a victorious day at Ascot, and ready to keep riding his luck here) and Watson, D(an) with fine scores of 53 and 51 respectively, both out to Shalford’s David Shilcock. Brother and sister pairing Oliver and Jessica Rowe then shared the majority of the wickets with 2, and 3 each.

Thank god for tea. Thank even more gods that it was really excellent. A plethora of delicious treats awaited us. Homemade quiche, pies, sausages things. Our cups runneth over. My hangover finally cleared. The sun came out. The world was setting itself to rights by the time the Scotties took to the field. Now, we should also point out that Shalford is something of a home for retired Scotties. Unable to travel with our merry band as much as they would like, both Aidan and Bryan had found a regular club home at the pleasant surrounds. It also made this something of a chance for revenge, and to make a few new friends, so it was with unusual energy that the Scotties took on the challenge of defending their (pretty respectable) total of 264.

Enter Prateek Shah. Perhaps the world’s least likely strike bowler, which is perhaps why he outfoxed Shalford’s top 3, including and absolute beauty of a catch from Watson, D(avid). He may have dropped a dolly previously, but this was more than redemption enough. At some point in the batting order, an attitude turned up with a South African attached. Aidan Naude sauntered Viv-Richards like into the middle, twirling his bat and ready to lay his old friends to the sword. Those that live by the sword, can also die by it. So excited was Aidan by the opportunity in front of him that the first ball bowled by Brett ‘The Beard’ Hawson was cross-batted into the stratosphere above Shalford. Just short of going into orbit, the ball returned to find a Watson brother running like streaked lightning across the field to catch it. Dan wasn’t going to drop this one, even if he pulled his hamstring. He didn’t. Cheers erupted around Shalford. Aidan turned, speechless, and went to prepare the BBQ.

I can’t remember a lot more of the day after that – The Beard chipped away at Shalford nicely, and at one point we looked to have things wrapped up a good ten overs early. Sadly, for our aching knees, we looked to snatch that particular defeat from the jaws of victory, and it wasn’t until 37 overs that we managed to seal the win. This was the first victory for the Scotties in what has now become the annual Terra-Nova shield, so named after Robert Falcon Scott’s ship (and the name of his first expedition). First blood to us.

The BBQ that followed was truly fantastic. However terrible my pronunciation of ‘Boerewors’, this luckily had no effect on their taste. Absolutely awesome. It would appear that Aidan’s lack of runs had not affected his ability on the BBQ. So, too Shalford, we raise a glass. A very friendly bunch (populated with a few Scotties, no less) and firm friends for the future. We look forwards to seeing you next year lads and ladies, it was a blast.

Detailed scorecard can be found here.

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!

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!

We went, we played, we returned victorious

Last season we managed to play out a 20/20 in the pouring rain. This year the picturesque Windsor Great Park ground was all azure blue sky and golden fire. Our scorer Laurie called for a sun-shade and dispensed sunscreen. The skipper was as always horizontally tardy, (a hard crack to case?), however he made up for this by winning the toss and doing the right thing.

On a dry, dusty, lively track Westie and Vidishka gave us a good start. This momentum was maintained by the team with the stand out contribution coming from Prateek who was severe on anything short. Billy didn’t die thinking about it at the end of the innings and 168 looked pretty good.

The Windsor Great Park groundsman opened the reply and standing more than a yard outside his crease (in order to nullify the bounce), smote the ball all over the place. His innings had us all reeling until Ant did for him via a played-on inside edge. Galvanised, Ant then took a further three wickets (in five balls) including that of their skipper and a caught and bowled that looked like the first CGI dismissal. Billy took a wicket with his first delivery that looked like a bit of a ripper, Langley chipped in with a couple and Sunny polished off the tail. All told, a good performance and a happy return to winning ways.

Windsor Great Park boast the best showers anywhere, ever, the power of the water knocking you to the other side of the room and having finished early we supped a few pints and for the benefit of the skipper discussed the merits of early starts. Should it be 1.00pm or 1.30pm? No-one was sure. Except for the skipper who felt he was increasingly over-worked on Saturday nights. Should we play more 30 over games because 40s too long? Ant, who brokered the subjects, sat limpet-like to the fence, musing that 1.15pm and 35 overs would be best. The beshorted Langley won the bad behaviour award but the skipper’s one handed dropped catch was considered shabby when two is always better than one.

Saturday league conditions on a Sunday?!

Coming from all parts and congregating in Wembley, proved more difficult for some and believe it or not the Skipper was early, as were the opposition, who, all of Asian decent, were more interested in warming up and practicing slips catches than getting involved in England’s football team thrashing of Panama.

With regular service restored the Skipper lost the toss and Captain Scott were inserted into the field. Starting only 35 minutes later than scheduled. The opposition started confidently, losing their first wickets for 51 in the 11th over.

While mentioning overs, it’s worth noting, while this is a Sunday friendly game, the over rate, after the first eight overs, was mentioned to the Skipper by one of the umpires. This definitely endeared the opposition to Sean, who gracefully accepted the rebuke (though never quite running from mid-off to mid-off between overs), continued with his game plan.

After the first wicket fell, the others fell regularly and we had them all out for a questionable 172, by questionable, I mean we’re not sure how they got from 130-odd with three overs to go to 172 all out, without anyone quite going at 9s or 10s an over. The scorebook was sparse to say the least, with the bare minimum having been filled out.

I have to quickly mention the great catch Dan Cooke took out on the boundary, which resulted in him completing the catch with a little celebratory jig, which all happened to be in vain, as Ant had overstepped and a no-ball had been signalled. It was a great catch, alas it was not meant to be and Dan has to continue to persevere to achieve his first Captain Scott catch.

The innings was complete, two balls short of a full innings, by 16:25. 35 overs bowled in 2 hours and 20 minutes – let the record reflect 15 overs an hour is not a bad over rate.

Tea was taken and Scotty’s two openers took the field and the game resumed shortly after 5:00pm. This was after the scorebook had been interrogated and it was “calculated” that we required 173 to win.

The Skipper and myself also took to the field, but under the guise of umpires to cover for Xanthe who was in Barcelona (with god-knows how may ex boyfriends – much to Dan’s chargrin) on a photography and art class trip, while Ant did his best to replicate our wonderful scorer’s work, who was living it large at the Hickstead Show jumping in Sussex. When I say replicate, I simply mean record what’s going on in the outfield while hoping it all balances as the end.

It takes persons of strong character and iron will to umpire a game like this. The appealing for LBWs when the ball was merely in the pad’s vicinity or the incredulity that a wide be called when the ball passed the batsman, though in a different post code, was amusing. Let’s not even mention the outcome of a close run out chance. You’d swear this was the final game of a league season and a win was required to clinch the silverware.

Still smarting from being denied the run out chance, it was too much to bear for the keeper and the skipper when one of the bowlers was called for a wide. From my vantage point at square leg, it was very amusing to watch their skipper, all 4’7″ of him, run up to Sean, from fielding in the covers, indignant that a wide be called as the wicketkeeper hadn’t moved while taking the ball (it didn’t matter that the keeper was standing a foot outside off stump and had taken the ball on his right hip and then brought his hands back in from of him) . It looked like a Rumpelstiltskin-lookalike having a mini fit because his circus bear wouldn’t do as instructed and climb upon his little bicycle. This all before we’d reached 30 runs.

Ayman fell with the score on 29, David Watson and Langley put on a 67 run partnership before Chris edged one to the keeper. Rishi and David both fell at 115 and when Prateek fell with the score on 125/5, Sean strode to the crease, with a steely glint in his eye, to set the record straight and add another mark in the win column. Accused of a slow over rate, of not giving a run out and being being further abused by a tall dwarf for calling a wide. Enough was enough!

Sean and Jock added 42 runs, before Jock fell with six runs still required. Jamo-Love then ably assisted his older sibling in seeing the win home. The pièce de résistance, with us only requiring a single to win from six balls, was the skipper deciding he should bowl the final over. He then proceeded to bowl the first ball for a wide, assisting Captain Scott in reaching their target of 173 after three hours and 25 minutes in the middle. 10 overs an hour, no wonder over rate is so closely monitored.

It turns out the cricketing gods do have a wry sense of humour after all.

The detailed scorecard can be found here.

Enough time for a curry?

The Skipper regained his mojo and was back to adding winning notches to his belt. In what is a perennial low scoring affair, the Skipper marshalled the troops to claim a convincing win.

Losing the toss and being asked to bat, at 34-4, plans were being made, by certain Scotties, to book a curry, for 6:00pm, somewhere nearby. Uncle and Langley settled things down for a while, but they both fell after the drinks break for 61-5 and 70-6, respectfully. The skipper batting at seven fell soon after and at 78-7, no one quite sure if it was a good ball or the thought of a good curry that was the Skipper’s downfall. It seemed the bowling was going to have to be impeccable, if we couldn’t post a 130 plus runs.

Enter Dan “Jock” Vale who was playing his first Sunday game in the 2018 season. Those hoping for the 6:00pm curry had forgotten to involve Jock in the plans, so Jock proceeded to work with the wagging tail and see out the 40 overs, he himself adding a red-inked 40 to his name and allowing the team to post a 144-9. The highest batting total by either team from this and the all the other games from past seasons.

After tea, some tight opening bowling by Ant and Jock, forced Sandhurst into playing shots and great rotation of the bowlers, by the Skipper, saw wickets falling regularly. Though, I think it was Uncle’s right-handed snaffle, at the extreme reach of his outstretched right hand, which broke Sandhurst’s spirit, who happened to be sitting comfortably at 75-4. Spirit broken, Sandhurst stumbled to 114 all out. A 30 run win in a low scoring affair is a virtual chasm and a great win.

Walking off the pitch at 7:40pm, celebrating the win, the aforementioned curry long forgotten.

The detailed scorecard can be found here

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.