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May 2007

May 10, 2007

Chigwell Home and Hosed by 6.30 (Hadley Wood Green 6/5/07)

There's no place like home... there's no place like home... there's no place like home... Chigwell CC clicked its heels together three times last Sunday, and the team was transported back to the land of victory. After three defeats, the last two sound spankings, Hadley Wood Green were beaten by six wickets with the whole of the last hour to spare; even the christening party which occasionally spilled onto the field of play couldn't dampen the reignited spirits of the Chigwell XI.

Ironically things started badly, with the toss being won by HWG. Their skipper chose to bat, much to the irritation of many Chigs, whose "bat first" lobby had been in keeping with my own opinion. We appeared to have a strong batting line up, and HWG seemed to be a little short in the bowling department; certainly no sign of A. Randall, a thorn in our sides all too often in the recent history of the fixture.

Rob Allum and Tim Mitzman were entrusted with the new ball and claimed an opener apiece. To Tim fell the prize wicket of Mike Davey, a quicker ball rifled through the gate, the extra velocity perhaps generated by the disappointment of seeing him survive a difficult chance (to Oli at second slip) the previous ball. Jim Wallace departed after Charlie took a good low catch at point off the BGC.

Around this juncture we witnessed the start of the Rob Allum catching master class. His first catch was probably his best, at slip to Brad. Great positioning and reflexes, a steady hand and eye combined with a seemingly telescopic arm to dismiss Blake. Rob went on to take three more excellent catches; the rest of the team took a further three - at last a good catching day for Chigwell! Not too much resistance was realised by Hadley Wood, Chaddha alone shone with a quick-fire 36 before Brad induced a drag back onto his stumps; two important wickets for Brad in an eight over spell for 34 runs. Just one somewhat less important wicket for me, Oli making good ground to a ball scooped to mid-on. Nick did what he is so good at doing - tied the batsmen down, then got them out. He finished with 4 wickets for 16 runs in 6.5 overs. Charlie was brought into the attack two overs too late, and showed my mistake up for what it was by bowling a wicket maiden first over. Nick's last wicket and Rob's last catch brought enforced closure to the HWG innings and Chigwell "enjoyed" their poor value, unimaginative tea, contemplating a target of 141.

John was surprised first ball by a delivery that lifted alarmingly at him, but relieved sighs went up as the ball looped short of any fielders. Harvey began to show signs of talented stroke-play, before he failed to get on top of a cut and rather chipped it to gulley. Enter Oliver who was in no mood for a marathon innings. He had crunched 30 runs from 16 balls when he fell trying to repeat the mighty six he had smitten the previous delivery. He was well caught by Coburn off his own bowling from a shot that went straight up into the air and took a long time to come down. John continued his love affair with the Old Chigs pitch until he perished in an action replay of Harvey's dismissal.

Seventy-seven for three might have caused the jitters, but Mitzy, extremely ably assisted by Nigel who seems to be improving with each innings, steered us to within sight of the promised land of victory. Tim's lapse on 38 caused no problems for Chigwell, indeed it gave Paul the chance to cream a couple of fours through the covers to end the game an hour or so before the scheduled close. Nigel scored 17 not out, a mixture of sensible defence and clinical clouting.

An easy win then in a game where everyone played their part, victory achieved without the need for compromise on our preferred cricketing methodology.

Chigwell man of the match: Rob Allum - I can't remember anyone taking 4 catches in a match as an outfield player before!

May 09, 2007

Chingford Snaps

Robbie O took some pictures of the Chingford game.

May 03, 2007

The Wandering Fox Stumbles into Chingford (29/04/07)

A good start to the day and my skippering career was had by winning the toss. With a strong batting line up, a short boundary, and the recent warm spell I was tempted into having a bat. My decision was, in honesty, swayed by the fact that we had made a pig’s ear of chasing in our previous 2 games, so why not have a bat. What’s the worst that could happen…

The opening pair of Harvey and the cheating wotsit looked comfortable enough and whilst runs may not have come freely, neither seemed to be in too much discomfort out in the middle. The terror of WG then begin to open his arms to carve a few away nicely before getting trapped by one that seemed to keep low.

With kidneys now seemingly in full working order but with an ageing body creaking under the exerts of Saturday cricket, Allum, R. strode to the crease and it was soon business as usual, solid defence with scoring opportunities pounced upon. Harvey looked good until he picked out the fielder whilst attempting to pull one to the boundary.

Next came the welcome return of Mitz for his first game of the season together with the familiar sound of leather on garden fences. In typical style, Snooty progressed briskly and with a blossoming partnership beginning to develop, Chigs were still in with a good chance of setting a competitive total. However, after holing out for a jug avoiding 45, today’s debutant skipper stepped out knowing that a captain’s innings was needed to settle the listing ship.

Unfortunately, facing the wily McGreggor, I had the usual problem of how exactly to deal with proper line and length bowling. Solution, pad up and go after the other guy. Fool proof. After departing following the unusual experience of a mid-innings explanation to the boundary of the benefits of sitting in a wooden box to write down numbers, my worst fears of choosing to bat first were beginning to be realised.

Nick fortunately provided some much needed ballast to the innings but perhaps lacked the security of knowing there were many more to follow and was a little hamstringed on what was already a wicket that had so far proved difficult to score off. Thankfully Chigwell rallied and whilst our total may have been a lowly 156 on a day when somewhere around 240 was required, we had at least salvaged some pride by batting our time and we even enjoyed a touch of bun smearing by our prodigal son.

After a typically splendid Chingford tea, the skipper now realised that after having completed the task of picking a batting order, he now had to choose his bowlers carefully and work out how to set a field. Without wanting a volley of sweet northern dialect, I threw the ball to Miss Milly to open the bowling and hoped and prayed for a devastating opening spell. Not far off! The opener’s middle stump was soon disturbed and the fox hoped that the bugles that he had heard earlier in the afternoon had been a false alarm and the hounds would be avoided for another day. No such luck unfortunately. Dom continued to bowl well with accuracy and pace and Paul cleared up nicely behind the sticks. However, on a day where luck and slip-catching avoided him, Dom was left with his solitary scalp.

Frank bowled well, and whilst not claiming any wickets, went for a relatively economical 28 off his 5 overs and showed a great deal of promise for the rest of the season. However, with such a small total, bowling changes had to be made for fear of letting the game drift away. Mitz and Rob found no assistance on what I should have realised wasn’t a seam-up wicket. Whoops, oh well.

Remembering at least that spin works, Nick halted the run rate and turned the match once again into a semi-competitive occasion. Brad, in turn, immediately repaid faith by claiming his wicket and was unlucky not to take a second. However, once the young lad Peek had decided that he had seen enough he polished off the game, and Nick’s figures, to ensure that Chigs were finally put out of their misery.

How do I remember the first time? Was it the worst time? No, I hope not. Simply, we did not set a high enough total against a strong team and were stuffed from there on in. Lessons have been learnt but hopefully, with time to lick its wounds, the fox will be able to venture out of its den once again some time this season to lead us, next time, to victory.

Man of the match: Rob Allum