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May 2006

May 23, 2006

COOPER SALE SET 'MINI' TARGET FOR CHIGS

14/05/06

Coopersale 129

Chigwell 133-7

After a superb victory against Hadley Wood Green the previous week, Chigwell's spirits and confidence were riding high. The weather was somewhat gloomy and grey as the team assembled in good time and began their fielding practice in the outfield; a fine discipline to assume before any game. Ollie was the man with bat in hand, crashing balls high into the sky and careering along the deck for his assembled team mates to snaffle up like hungry seals catching pilchards at feeding time at the zoo. As feeding for the seals continued I went to prise the Coopersale captain from his dressing room to get the match underway. After a successful 3rd toss of the season I opted to bowl first and see if we could once again chase down a score with only two changes to the successful batting line up from the previous week; myself in for Tim Hall and Ross coming in to replace Mitz.

Rob Allum and I took the new ball and with conditions overcast and muggy I was sure we'd be able to make the ball talk. Rob indeed stepped up to the plate and had the red orb weaving, dipping, seaming and swinging all over the place, however conditions did little to aid me and I had to be content with beating the outside edge on the odd occasion. Robs canny ball charming soon resulted in the first wicket as he induced Dipple into a hurried defensive block which looped straight back to him for an easy catch. Rob and I kept exerting the pressure and I eventually chipped in with my only wicket of the day which saw the left handed Armstrong chopping a straight delivery onto his own stumps. After Rob had taken his second wicket I removed him and myself from the attack having shared the first 20 overs between us.

With Coopersale trying to consolidate on around 30-3 I opted for the spin twins; Rob O replacing Rob A and Nick replacing me. The tale of fortune couldn't have been more polarised for the two turn meisters; Nick seemed a bit out of sorts struggling to find the right length, and when he did, the batsmen seemed to play and miss with no reward, or connect only for the ball to be dropped or fall tantalisingly close to one of our fielders. Our pre-match catching practice had yielded the usual results of giving the whole team a case of The Dropsies. Nick's disenchantment with the fine art couldn't have been in starker contrast to Rob's mirth at the opposite end, as he seemed to be taking wickets for fun! His first victim, Charlton (not Ritchie), had wriggled off Nick's hook on a few occasions but Rob pounced with a well taken chance driven back to him. The flood gates opened from here with Rob taking 2 wickets in succession, including the prized scalp of Hancock, caught by Ross at backward point. Hancock was anchoring the Coopersale innings well, so to see the back of him with a score of 35 was a real breakthrough. With the Coopersale tail now exposed and their run rate still stuttering I thought we might see their remaining batsmen batten down the hatches in an attempt to frustrate us, but nothing of the sort; every new batter that strode to the crease seemed to continue the attack. This attacking spirit combined with Robs unusual left arm round the wicket action and good variation in pace delivered him another 3 wickets meaning he finished with the first 5 for of the season; 9 overs 5 for 39. Nick eventually gained some reward from his frustrating spell as a chance was gathered in by Owen who also chipped in with a run out; hitting the stumps directly from mid wicket. Brad was brought on for Nick for the penultimate over and Coopersale were eventually all out for 129.

Our reply to the modest total began with Harvey and Ross, who established a good early platform. My main concern in chasing the low total was complacency, resulting in the loss of quick and careless wickets. However Ross and Harveys cautious approach steered us through the early overs until Ross was bowled with the score on 25. Ollie was next to perish after only adding another 13 runs to the score in his brief partnership with Harv. Then Harv himself fell, caught and bowled to Hancock leaving us 46 for 3. Coopersale were obviously buoyed by their regular strike rate and felt as though they were back in with a shout. The fall of Harvey brought James and myself together at the crease and before long James nudged at a straight one from the wily spinner Hodgson and was caught behind. Nige was next up and looked in confident mood after smashing a four from his sixth ball; however this was to be his last as Hancock, now bowling leg spin, pushed one through quickly which whistled through Nige's defence and bowled him.

67-5 ALARM BELLS! Surely we can't lose chasing 129 at Old Chigs?

The sight of Rallum readying himself to join me in the middle eased my concern a little bit and with two of last weeks heros; Rob O and Nick still to come, I was confident we could still win through. Rallum proved to be just the clotting agent we needed and he and I put on 40 for the next wicket. Rob seemed to revel in his role of Boycott to my Gilchrist, by defending and prodding away whilst I was swinging the willow at the other end. He accrued a total of 10 runs from 43 balls illustrating zen like self control in shot selection, before falling lbw with the score on 107. A different kind of innings from 'The Wise One' showing the rest of us mere mortals what true greatness really is. With Nick next in I felt secure enough to continue in cavalier fashion, however one extra heave ho proved one too many and I skied one to mid off and was out caught for 49. A 50 in my last home game would have been sweet, but getting the win was more important. This arrived in due course as Rob Orange scythed away a pull shot to the boundary for four leaving him and Nick both on 5 not out and happy with the early season polish applied to their averages.

Lets hope we can provide Owen with the perfect birthday present next week ... another win at Willingale

May 11, 2006

Lord Snooty and his pals PLANT seeds of doubt into Hadley Wood Green as Chigwell NICK thriller in final over

Hadley Wood Green 215-8 dec. Chigwell 216-6

at Old Chigwellians on 7/05/06


Following a dreadful run of luck regarding the weather, along with a 12-hour downpour the day before, the stand-in captain arrived early to check the possibility of play, writes stand-in captain Owen Evans. Finding himself amidst glorious sunshine and a nearly dry outfield, there was no doubt that the game was on. The despair of missing the Hollyoaks omnibus was no more. Having rung around to confirm play and get everyone to help erect the screens, we were ready to go.

My reputation as a supreme tosser was justified and I decided to insert. Five minutes before start, however, it had become evident that I had, in my eagerness, forgot to confirm with Charlie, who was by now out shopping in Enfield. We were down to 10 men before kick off, which didn't bode well for either the game itself or my future captaincy aspirations. Taking to the field, in the absence of the Dominator, who was on char duty, we opened up with Rob Allum and Mitzy, who both found their rhythm quickly and bowled well. Rob was very unlucky with a number of false strokes landing safe and one leading edge fell tantalisingly between Olly and Nige around the cover point area.

From the far end, the young fop bowled over after over of accurate swing, removing both Jim and the number 3 lbw to end with figures of 13-6-24-2. After an hour or so, we saw the first sight of spin, with Rorange coming on for the BGC (as he doesn't like being called Rallum), then a few overs later, Nick replacing Tim to turn in down the slope towards the exceedingly short boundary. I was wary of this, but the good doctor insisted that was his end and who am I to disagree, to quote a Scottish tranny.

The spin twins bowled good lines from the off, with a number of balls turning or bouncing prodigiously, but for a while no wicket was forthcoming, as Messrs Blake and De Villiers took the attack to the Chigs. Having put on nearly 100 in around 15 overs, Nick got one through the gate to bowl Blakey (I hate you, Plant). Shortly after this moment, receiving a call due to the mix up over Charlie, Graham entered the fray, cutting short his golf © to help out in the field. Looking rather red and with a few pints already inside him, Boiled Beef set about his task admirably, arguing with himself whether a ball he could have caught on the boundary went for 6 or 4.

By this time, Mr De Villiers had declared "you can have another two fielders if you like", then immediately chipped a half volley to Mitz at point, from the bowling of Rob O. Upon this dismissal, Hadley Wood decided to attack the remainder of their innings, to some degree of success, although Rob and especially Nick kept things tight enough and the wickets tumbled with enough regularity to persuade me to keep things as they were. Taylor went to Nick, caught behind by James, then, after a quick 60 partnership, the same combination removed Turner, this time via a stumping.

Groves was sent on his Byker shortly afterwards to another James stumping, this time from the bowling of Rob, whom I then decided to remove from the attack after a sterling 15 over spell. Brad replaced Rob and helped support Nick who took the eighth wicket, again a Laycock stumping (for which no jug was purchased), bringing about the declaration at 215-8, from 49.4 overs.

After the standard fare of an Old Chigs tea, which would have gone done a treat at White Hart Lane, we set about chasing the target. Looking around, there were not too many options for higher up the order, so I turned to the Tims, despite Mitzy's gargantuan efforts with the ball not two hours previously. Bad luck and a good ball saw Tim Hall back early, so Tim M was joined by Nige, pushed up the order to play a few shots and get the scoreboard ticking, knowing the big hitters were still in the locker. After eyeing a few and working the strike to Mitz, Nige hit a ferocious straight drive to the only place that stopped it being a boundary - the bowler's hands. A great catch from Turner, who ended up with figures of 19/3 off 10 without being quick or able to move it.

Mitz was then joined by the ginger forearms at No. 4, with Olly landing a couple of lusty blows before getting underneath one to a fine running catch at backward square leg. Rob A was next in and combined sensible shot selection with good running to play himself in and let Mitzy get the strike wherever possible. After a very good lbw shout, given not out by the very neutral umpire, Tim played over the top of one and Chigs were struggling at 41-4, of which Tim had scored 32.

In came James who attacked from the off, but seemed to have the unfortunate knack of picking out the fielders. After being dropped by De Villiers, James was unlucky when a meaty drive was held well at mid off by the same fielder. Now, Chigwell were 51-5. In came Rob O to partner his namesake. Despite the level of "experience" at the middle, the target was still a long way off, but it was decided that we should still go for it rather than get a draw in a style not ill-befitting the opposition.

The two Robs went at their work with relish and gusto, slowly going through the gears and running together smoothly. Even so, at the turn of the last hour, we were 62-5, requiring a sizeable 7.7 runs per over. As these two progressed, however, aided by some sloppy fielding and bowling changes at both ends, we dared to dream. With the run rate fluctuating around the 8-an-over mark, the target was still on as long as the wickets were in hand. With Nick and Graham padded up to come in later, this allowed the batsmen the security to play their shots, which they duly did.

Keeping the scoreboard ticking over at nearly the required rate, Rob A reached his 50 from his 47th ball, which was then followed by two thunderous strokes for four. After a partnership of 117, at over a run a ball, Rob A finally holed out for a vital, season-leading innings of 68. Rob O was then joined by Nick, who carried on in the style of his little brother. Sensing trouble, the captain turned to our friend Mr De Villiers. We then took great pleasure in seeing his bowling being dispatched by both left- and right-hander, much to the chagrin of his girlfriend on the bench next to ours!

As the target grew nearer, with 36 required from 30 balls, the captain brought himself back, but to no avail, as our valiant heroes kept on chipping away at the total, culminating in 14 from the penultimate over, including an extremely popular delivery that went for five wides past fine leg. This brought us to within one run of the target and on the final ball of the over, Rob O chipped the ball delightfully to silly mid-off for a single while three fielders seemed to leave the dolly catch to each other. This brought up a solid, invaluable and well-deserved 50 for last season's skipper and tied the scores. The game was won on the next ball with Rob beautifully guiding a leg bye behind square for a win that was cheered vociferously and joyously from the sidelines.

Nick finished 33 not out from only 24 balls, which, allied to his bowling figures of 11.4/0/40/4, just give him the edge over Tim M for the man of the match award.


Thanks to Kate, Harv, Ritchie and Kerri for your support, along with Dom, who'd ab'scone'ded his duties in Norfolk to watch our innings. Also thanks to Graham for turning up at short notice and making up the numbers. A fantastic start to the home season and a game played in a great spirit. An honour to fill in as captain for a game like this, and I'm glad my tactics of not letting myself do anything meaningful seemed to pay off. Let's hope the momentum can roll on to next week against Coopersale.

May 06, 2006

HARVEY'S HAUL ALL FOR NAUGHT AS MIDDLE ORDER MIS-FIRES

(Chigwell vs Chingford at Forest Side, 30/4/06)

Chingford 176-8
Chigwell 148

Chigwell finally got their season underway at Chingford on Sunday, writes skipper Dominick Addison. As I walked out to the middle for the toss, Mike, the Chingford Captain ominously told me that they had already played 2 and won 2. Not wanting to show any sign of dejection or weakness at this news I confidently called heads and was rewarded with the luck of the spin. Remembering how difficult we found it to accumulate runs batting first on this pitch last season I decided to reverse the order and bowl first.

Opening the bowling with Rob Allum and myself, we got off to an encouraging start. The opening Chingford batters found it difficult to score and as my radar finally began to behave I beat both openers in consecutive overs helped by conditions which offered a little bit of swing and movement off the pitch. Rob followed up with 2 quick wickets of his own, just reward for consistent line and length, and after the first 20 overs Chingford were struggling on 32-4. Not wanting to open up to Chingford too early I decided to stick with the first ball pairing for a few more overs and Rob in particular provided a great spell of 18 overs 2 for 50. By the time the first bowling changes were effected, Nick replacing me and Phil replacing Rob, Chingford were establishing a pretty solid 5th wicket partnership between Rashid and Shawler which eventually accumulated 84 runs; however Nick Allum finally broke through the defences to bowl Rashid. The remaining Chingford batters didn't provide as much support for Shawler although he did go on to make a creditable 79 not out. Nick took the last 3 wickets with the help of easy catches from both Robs; Orange and Allum, and Chingford were surprisingly called in by their Captain to declare on 176-8. All in all a very good first fielding and bowling performance from Chigwell, with honorary mentions for Nigel who marshalled the long boundary with ease and for James who kept extremely well, especially to Rob Allum, standing up to the stumps from his second over.

After a hearty feed, Chigwell's openers, Hall and Brown eventually took the field to start our chase. As they walked to the crease talk amongst the rest of the team was that a target of 177 was always achievable but Chingford have always proved to be difficult opponents especially with the now notorious bowling of Macgregor. As it turned out we got off to a steady start although we were unfortunate to lose Tim early on and James followed soon afterwards. This brought together Rob Orange and Harvey. Bearing in mind Harvey hasn't played competitively since this time last season he was playing freely and exploring his full repertoire of shots, including two garden bound sixes. He was ably supported by Rob who was happy to play out overs and rotate the strike in Harvey's favour which in turn enabled us to move closer and closer towards the target.

Mutterings on the boundary were now growing more confident and as we approached the last hour we found ourselves 102-2 leaving us a more than manageable run rate under 4 an over to win. Even when Harvey's innings came to an end, finishing with 67 and handing Macgregor his second wicket, it did nothing to dent the confidence of the rest of the Chigwell batsmen, and why should it? Thanks to Harvey's great knock we had the game under control with plenty of batting still to come.

What a rude awakening we were in for! Nige was next to the crease and soon became the next victim departing for 1. This brought the two Robs together and a flowing cover drive for 4 off Rallums 3rd ball was enough to restore some of the frayed nerves on the boundary. These were soon unravelled again as he attempted to take the attack to Chingford and was bowled. I joined Rob Orange in the middle and after adding no more than a couple of runs watched him fall to Macgregor caught behind from a decent, full length ball that reared up at him. Our collapse was now in free fall and from our strong position of 102-2 we now found ourselves 134-7 with less than 10 overs remaining. Nick was the next and last recognisable batsmen to the crease and he and I continued in vain to keep the run rate under control whilst trying to protect our wickets. This approach failed as I tried to attack Macgregor (never advisable) and found myself pirouetting out of my crease and ended up stumped. With Brad next man in and the overs running out, the opportunity for victory seemed to be slipping away so the approach changed from attack to one of consolidation in an attempt to bat out and save the game. Chingford obviously sensed the same change in fortune and brought their field in to unsettle our lower order batsmen, this made absolutely no impression on Brad as he resolutely set about his task. Unfortunately he was dismissed after 9 balls LBW although he swears the ball never touched his pad. Nick battled on with Phil for a few more overs raising our hopes that the draw was achievable, however he was soon stumped which brought together Charlie and Phil…..the last line of Chigwell defence. The field now completely surrounded Charlie but his sound technique never let him down and he stuck to his task admirably and kept the Chingford attack out for 8 balls. Hopefully later in the season Charlie will be afforded the opportunity to bat a little higher so we can see more than just his forward defensive, I'm sure given that opportunity he has the ability to push fields back and contribute runs, lets face it he can't do much worse than some of the rest of us!

And so it fell to Phil to see out the last over of the game from Macgregor. Phil obviously thought the best line of defence was attack and slashed at the first two wideish deliveries taking 2 from each one. The next ball brought loud appeals from the Chingford side as the ball carried to slip for what looked a like a catch, however Owen was now installed as umpire and the appeals fell on deaf, slightly hairy ears allowing Phil to survive……but not for much longer; the penultimate ball of the game striking him on the pad and this time the appeals resulted in the slow finger of death from Owen.

Although it was disappointing to slip from a strong chasing position, it was good to get back on the field and get the season underway. The obvious highlights of the day were firstly Harvey's return to the fold and displaying such fine form with the bat and secondly Rob Allum defying the years and turning in a fine spell of 18 overs. Well done Chigs. Good luck for Hadley Wood Green!