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May 2005

May 25, 2005

First Away Win? I'll Have Some of That!! (Willingale 22/5/05)

The day started strangely for me. A dash to my deaf 94 year old Nan's house - she'd pulled the emergency cord and was not responding to the intercom - where I found her fully ok - and naked - in the bathroom. Shocked and relieved I headed to Willingale.

Charlie had had to pull out in order to play for Essex under 11s, so we were one short and that, coupled with a complete lack of knowledge with regard to the likely strength of the opposition, having never played them before, meant that I was happy to lose the toss and have to field first.

Phil had not yet arrived as we took to the field, being lost in darkest Essex, so I tossed the new ball to Rob Allum and Owen, freshly shorn and newly turned 28 years old. Owen set the theme for the Willingale innings by inducing one of the openers to play on, before deceiving the other with some useful left arm swing bowling. He finished with 2 for 24 off 7 overs, most of the runs coming from his last, slightly wayward over. Rob joined the party with a ball that clipped and broke the off bail, and things looked well under control. Ritchie bowled well, but couldn't quite reproduce last weeks magic, finishing with none for 28 off 8 overs. During this time Mr. N. Copper, who had arrived at the crease after Owen's second wicket, began to wield his bat like a member of the SPG might wield a police baton, taking a particular fancy to Nick's uncharacteristically wayward bowling. He hit a peach of a shot through the pavilion window - much to the alarm of the tea-ladies - along with three or four more sixes to the leg-side boundary.

Feeling Nick had suffered enough punishment I decided to bring myself on to replace him, although I must say I feared I would suffer similar treatment from Mr. Copper. After the aperitif of a gift wicket where the batsman played on, the ball scarcely having enough energy to reach the stumps, yet somehow dislodging a bail, my main course of bowling to Mr. Copper arrived.

He was obviously full of confidence, but he tried to smash the wrong ball and to my delight and surprise I saw the ball turn through the gate and bowl him! "HAVE SOME OF THAT" I yelled, sounding like the lovechild of Mike Reid and Delia Smith, and punching the air in best Brad Davis fashion. How embarrassing. My mum had turned up to watch too. Oh dear. It was a decisive breakthrough however. With their top scorer finally removed for 77 and time running out, Willingale huffed and puffed to a total of 181 all out, Phil Bannocks doing particularly well to take two wickets and a catch (off Brad), and Owen effecting one of the two late run outs.

Who to open the batting? Tim Hall was a natural choice, but could I risk Nick partnering him; would that run the risk of too slow a start? I decided to chance it, but after 8 overs there were only 11 runs on the board, and questions were being asked on the boundary. Then Nick and Tim began to accelerate, initially by taking tight singles, and turning ones into twos, and later by striking the ball to all parts of the ground. By the time Tim fell on exactly 50 runs the total had reached 134 from 26 overs. Nick was eventually out for 75, leaving Rob and Olly to bring home the Chigwell victory.

It was a really good team performance from Chigwell, with a fantastic vibe to the team on and off the field. And now the tour beckons. I gather from the Beamers' blog that they feel confident after a couple of victories over (no doubt) inferior sides. Beware Beamers, the Dominatrix might teach you a painful lesson in humility...

May 17, 2005

"The Cobbler" Nails Coopersale

Chigwell stormed to a first ever win against Coopersale on Sunday, with three Chigwellians putting in performances of strength honour and a high degree of skill. Boosted by the late inclusion of Stan, a guest from Fives & Heronians, and Joe Rudkin, taking a little time away from his revision schedule, Chigwell showed plenty of application when, having lost the toss they took to the field on a glorious late spring afternoon. Dom and Rob Allum opened the bowling and were unlucky to take only one wicket between them, Rob holding a skied catch off his own bowling, made doubly difficult by his fear of tripping over the stumps as he manoeuvred into position. Dom's luck again deserted him, but he maintained pressure on the batsmen, and ensured they were unable to score freely.

Joe and Ritchie replaced the opening bowling duo, and soon the wickets began to fall. Ritchie - the Cobbler - eager for a long spell after being used sparingly so far this season, volunteered to change ends to facilitate Joe bowling with the slope to assist his leg-spin. His decision was to lead to him producing his best ever return, snaffling 7 for 54 off 15 overs, his magnificent bowling ably assisted by willing fielders taking good catches, none better than Joe's fingertip clutching of a ball that no one else could have got remotely close to. Joe himself extracted turn and bounce from a tired pitch (this was the sixth consecutive game played on it in three weeks!) and claimed two wickets, including the much prized scalp of Graham Hancock, so often the executioner of Chigwell aspirations.

Ritchie led the team off for tea happily knackered, with Coopersale amassing 179 all out. I thought that the pitch's vagaries made that a par score, and with Graham Hancock and Tony Fraser opening the Coopersale attack that opinion looked justified as Chigwell ground and slumped their way to 30 for 3. Down to bat at six I was full of pessimism, and hoped that Joe and Rob Allum might hold them off for a while. The partnership for the fourth wicket was however quite simply magnificent. Joe played as stylish an innings as we are likely to
see from a Chigwellian this season, with Rob continuing his scintillating batting form, highlighted by his superb six off Mr. Hancock, the ball homing in on the same pavilion window he broke two weeks ago. Perhaps it was that physical and psychological blow that established Chigwell as likely winners of the contest. Runs began to flow and cheers from the boundary greeted first Rob and then Joe passing 50.

Joe eventually fell on 78 having, with Rob, added 137 for the fourth wicket. It was nice as skipper to be able to perform the last rites to bring Chigwell home with 8 or 9 overs to spare, with Rob finishing on 52 not out. Great team performance, great individual performances - and Chigwell still unbeaten at fortress Old Chigs.

May 09, 2005

Heavy Weather Chasing Chaseville (8/5/2005)

A day of showers, one of them meteorological, saw Chigwell finish 3 runs short of the winning post, and Chaseville 1 wicket short of a dramatic victory. It was good to see so many of the Chigs arrive in good time for a change although Nigel achieved the ultimate in lateness by never making it to the ground. Luckily Charlie was on hand to ensure Chigwell fielded a full complement of players as they took the field having won the toss. Rob Allum struck early, removing C Callen for a duck, but then the wickets became a little harder to take. Dom bowled very well as usual, but despite beating the bat or finding the edge on numerous occasions finished wicketless. Some team soon is going to suffer a Domolition when he gets the luck he deserves. Rob and Nick continued to keep things tight, Rob removing the other opener to a fine catch from James "standing up". Charlie came on for four overs, but was probably bowled from the wrong end, although he did have a chance put down by the luckless Tim Hall. I decided to give myself a go from the pavilion end and soon took a sharp return catch, which added to another catch from a Nicholas Allum delivery took me up to 3 catches, and jug territory. The latter part of Chaseville's innings provided cheap wickets for myself (3-19) Nick (3-45) and Brad, who buried the ghost of last week's wayward bowling with 2-6. Chigwell dismissed Chaseville for 156, below par really for an Old Chig's wicket, but looked very laboured at times in the field, conceding too many cheap singles, and twos that should have been ones. As it transpired this was to prove very costly. After tea Chigwell batted cautiously in the main, although Harvey attempted to batter the opening spinner and was caught for 8. James perished in a similar fashion, leaving Ritchie and Tim Hall slowly accumulating runs. Heavy weather was being made of chasing the total, and heavy weather was fast approaching as Dom, replacing Tim, arrived at the crease to biff a few sturdy blows before the storm broke just after Ritchie's demise, and Old Chig's was given a severe dousing over a twenty minute period. The combination of lost time and an invigorated pitch made things difficult, although only 3 an over was required for the last six overs with 4 wickets in hand. Rob A spooned one to extra cover and I was left with the tail of Brad, Owen, and Charlie to try to sneak home. Tidy aggressive bowling from the indefatigable R. Laney proved sufficient in the end to secure the draw for Chaseville, indeed but for stout resistance from Charlie they might have won a game that really should have been Chigwell's for the taking.