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June 16, 2005

Chigwell More Ruthless Than the Aussies! Report from a Scalded Scyld Berry (Newman International 12/6/2005)

Last Saturday the Australians played their first serious game of their tour, and thumped Leicestershire out of sight. Last Sunday the Chigwell All-Stars XI played Paul Newman's International No-Stars XI and thumped them out of sight. Both the Australians and Chigwell batted first and ran up totals above 300 in similar vein. Chigwell wobbled a little at 90-5 but the right-handed Dominic scored a century in partnership with the lefthanded Rob to take them past 300 without losing a further wicket. All the bowling came alike to Chigwell's sixth wicket pair - fast or slow, swing or spin, male or female, all the bowling was treated with growing disdain. The fielding of the Newman International No-Stars creaked a little. Once the practice had finished and play started, it creaked even more. Both Rob and Dominic were missed, but perhaps it was more surprising when a catch was taken, by Mr Philip Newman, a cousin of the impressario no less, who had not played cricket for 30 years. He took a good catch to dismiss opening batsman Tim, and did not appear to catch another ball cleanly all afternoon. This contrasted with the fielding of Pete Mitchell who caught everything except the early slip catch offered by Dominic, when Chigwell were reeling just before lunch. Cricket coaches might learn from the above experience. For better the man who only takes the important catch than all the super-fast fielders who stop everything except for the crucial chance. The No-Stars' pursuit of Chigwell's total was as vain as Leicestershire's and they never looked like coming close. It was virtually a two-and-a-half-man show. The portly Mitchell rolled back the years to make a very fine hundred (he was the one-and-a-half man), while his only support came from Richard Copeman with 65. In his more sylph-like prime Mitchell was the wicketkeeper-batsman for Cape Town University, and the class showed in the strokeplay off the back foot, none more so than his hook off the fiercesome paceman Johnny Wilkinson. Chigwell had the game won for certain with some ten overs to spare, if not long beforehand. When Ms Newman came in, her strokeplay was not to be readily distinguished from that of her father. Perhaps it was therefore a case of mistaken identity when the fielders crowded her bat and ran her out when taking a harmless single. The Australians would never have been quite so ruthless.

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