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July 2004

July 26, 2004

Deja Vu for Fives as Chigwell Grind Out Another Draw

There was an air of bemusement in the Chigwell camp as the skipper, returning from 2 weeks off, exhibited more erratic decision making than a deluded prime minister with dodgy intelligence.  At least I won the toss, and definitely got the decision to bowl first just right.  Dom was awesome, deserving of at least five wickets, suffering several drops off his highly belligerent bowling.  The problem is he bowls so fast, nobody can hold the edges!  Dom ended up with three wickets and had the opposition muttering about "facing bullets". 

So who did the skipper elect to partner Dom as opening bowler?  Well Owen, primarily because the conditions seemed right for a bit of left arm in-swing.  After a mixed start Owen found a good line and length, bowling a maiden to our customary bete noire Norman, whereupon he was swiftly removed from the attack! Rob A was wheeled into the attack, but seemed to struggle to find the right length and line, although in mitigation he was bowling into a stiff breeze.  Nick bowled a few tidy overs, but I followed a hunch that the area outside the right-handers leg stump was so poor that a left arm spinner (me) over the wicket would make life difficult for the well set batsmen, and passed the keeping gloves to Phil.  With the innings approaching its conclusion Brad was somewhat belatedly brought into the attack, but bowled far too short and suffered to the tune of 35 runs in 2 overs.  Dom was brought back to replace him, all too late, and despite a direct hit by Tim to run out one half centurian Fives strode to a total of 242 for 5.

This was not a memorable display in the field, with a general lack of concentration and a few very half-hearted attempts to stop or chase the ball.  Dom deserved much better support.  The captaincy was, I confess, erratic, and I take my share of the blame for the loss of control.  Fives are a good team, and it's difficult to get everyone into the game and remain competitive.  Perhaps sometimes the best way to keep everyone interested is to keep things tight; it was always likely that everyone would bat, so it may be that the tightest bowling, including a much longer spell for Dom, should have been employed throughout.  Ho hum, such are the trials of captaincy!

The Fives opening bowlers, whilst not as fearsome as the Dominator, enjoyed more success and soon put an end to the slim chance that Chigwell had of winning the game.  James displayed his batting potential with a sparky 21, including his first ever six, before heaving across the line to a straight one and falling to the Fives five wicket hero.  Brad and Tim started the staunch resistance, their partnership highlighted by the unlikely sight of an all run 4!  Eventually it was a farcical piece of running which saw the end of Brad; a shame when he was looking in good form.

I joined Tim at the wicket and, with the opening attack at last rested, we dug in and progressed well into the last 20 overs before Tim was adjudged LBW.  Owen arrived at the crease and fought his way to his favourite score, 0 not out, as the last pair secured a draw, yours truly finishing on 47 not out.

July 18, 2004

Strength and Honour to the fore as Chigs last pair tough it out for a draw (Coopersale 18/7/2004)

Brad writes: As we were pre warned by the new Poet Laureate this fixture was always going to be tough, in comparison to last week's stroll in the Essex countryside! In fact, it has been tough all week with the game almost being cancelled and the skipper having to enter the fray with 4 ringers who need to get some sort of game including 3 players not even coming close to matching his age between them! This difficult task is not helped by the withdrawal of Rickie with a back injury.   Skip manages to persuade the home side to bat first on a pitch so green you can barely tell it from the rest of the ground, 1st objective achieved. We start extremely well and have the home side at 49 for 5. 1 wicket for Harvey and 3 for Rob A including the very dangerous Graham Hancock who plays on for a duck. However, as we know only too well Coopersale are not a one-man side. Skip comes on to bowl and removes the left-hander who has been ruining his so-called field placings!  There follows a top 4 over spell from young Reece who looks a very good prospect, let's hope we can snare him before F & H! James bowls well and is rewarded with a catch by Owen who takes it by changing his hand position at the last possible moment and clutching the ball to his chest! Nick is brought on to bowl on what is really a seamers wicket and suffers badly as both the skip and his leading spinner lose the plot to allow the opposition to make 185 for 6 when they should have been restricted to a maximum of 160.   The target is not out of the question but the skipper is only too aware he needs runs from his top 4. Harv and Nick are looking good until Harv is bowled by a beauty that he leaves as it pitches at least a foot outside his off stump and hits middle! Guess who the bowler is, oh yes, "it's our Graham" we wish! Gary and Nick keep the score ticking over until Nick is bowled by a ball that rolls under his bat off a length for 24 and Gary is bowled off his thigh pad. Our middle order then collapses to its knees like Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office with 5 ducks! What do you do if you are watching these proceedings from the other end; well I suppose throwing your bat down in disgust is one option! The skipper comes to the wicket with 11 overs left and the asking rate now in excess of 10 an over. The draw is achieved with surprising few alarms as Rob A expertly plays out the penultimate over from Graham and the skip survives the last over. Rob finishes with 30 and the skipper with 20 in a total of 126 for 9.   Special thanks go to the Hanna family without whom this game could not have taken place and Rob A for contacting them. To James for replacing Ricki at the 11th hour and fielding superbly, he is an example to us all and Owen for recruiting him, and also to Phil for taking the gloves at the last minute and doing a top job.

July 14, 2004

Ritchie Charlton Waxes Lyrical

I had to publish Ritchie's superb e-mail, which relates to Olly's destruction of Tim Mitzman's bat in the game at Thaxted. A work of purest genius.

Dear all
Sung to the tune of The Streets "Dry your eyes mate..."

the ginger german, a firm man
batting in your position
the thing stunk to high heaven
to despair you were driven

veins poppin', muscles ripplin'
your bat he was weildin'
wot was to come we was guessin'
but you could see he weren't messin'

dry your eyes mate, staring at your toe end will just make things worse
you've got to walk away now, it's over

the buffet was open
assorted pastries were chucked
by this time we knew that your bat was f****d
someone said "don't mention the war"
boris, bristling, drove the next one for four

the kraut now feeling bold
was driving yorkers untold
defensive shots took divots
your bats life in the balance

dry your eyes mate, it's only a bit of salix caerulea
it's time to walk away now

it should be you, not him
your patience wearing thin
shackled to the bench
olie's thirst yet unquenched

your blood ran cold
as bully boy schwartzfold
enjoyed his feast
your bat now deceased

dry your eyes mate, there's plenty more bats left in the shop
it's time to walk away now

as you blubbered
boris uttered
"this is more fun than a poke in the cupboard"
by this time ross' bat was in the fray
yours by your side had had it's day

dry your eyes mate
200 pounds will buy you a pristine thunder hammer
walk away now
it's over

dry your eyes mate, thinking about your mjolnir will only make things worse
there's plenty more left in the shop

dry your eyes mate
if you think adolf will stump up the quids,
you've got another think comin'
walk away now
it's over

July 12, 2004

Skipper's Double Jug Avoidance Plays Second Fiddle to Brilliance of Chigwell's New Freddie (Thaxted 11/7/04)

This is the match report from Brad, (Sounds like an enjoyable romp)! Thaxted CC

What do you do when you have a strong all round side against relatively weak opposition in a 40 over game? Bat 1st, get loads of runs and you do what the hell you want in the field, and no I don't mean bowl loads of overs!

After a pre arranged toss with their karaoke skipper we bat first on a greenish pitch. Rob A is promoted to open with Ross and they put on 45 at around 4.5 an over until Ross is bowled. Tim H is out fairly quickly and Nigel is brilliantly run out by a direct hit from the boundary when starting to look good.

At this point Olly, Chigwell's new Freddie (thought he was Boris - Ed) enters the fray to devastating effect. In a superb display of stroke play he races to 50 in 23 balls almost overtaking Rob on the way! Rob goes on to make an excellent 50 before being bowled trying to up the pace for 63 off 74 balls. Olly goes on to make a magnificent 86 off 43 balls including 3 huge sixes and 12 boundaries before being run out in the last over, Nick finishing with 16 not out as Chigwell close on 243 for 5 off their 40 overs.

Dominatrix and Mitzy open the bowling for a miserly 20 odd runs of their 10 overs, 2 wickets for Tim and 1 for the dominator. Owen takes over from Dom bowling very well and beating the bat several times before finishing unrewarded with only 15 runs from his 5 overs. The skipper takes over from Mitz and bowls tidily without joy until achieving a most unusual dismissal as the batsman gets a very thin edge which whacks him on head and flies into the air where is superbly caught one handed by Tim H running round from gully. The next delivery bowls the batsman off his pads and we have a hatrick ball which the skipper only manages to bowl well outside the leg stump! The 3rd wicket arrives shortly afterwards at which point I was going to come off but was persuaded to go for the elusive 5 by the experienced duo. The 4th wicket is taken in the next over much to the skip's delight with his best delivery, but the skip fails to achieve the goal as he puts down 2 catches off his own bowling, both of which were very takeable according to Mr and Mr experienced!

At the other end Nigel bowls a lively spell without taking a wicket and Tim Hall bowls like Shane Warne with 3 wickets one of which is the perfect leg break beating the batsman all ends up. Rick finally holds onto the ball behind the sticks and the skip brings down the curtain on a great day's cricket by clinging onto a dolly!

I would like to add that I think we had a terrific vibe out their today, long may it continue, the opposition really enjoyed it as well and want to make it a regular fixture.

Nigel, if you can make Sunday that would be great, that 50 is going to come this season!

I look forward to the honour of skippering you again next week; roll on Sunday!!!!!

July 05, 2004

Cricket the Winner as Chigwell and Hadley Wood Green Slug out a Draw (4/7/2004)

Imagine how I felt. Lost the toss; promoted myself to opener; watched Harvey fall for 3 runs; saw last weekend's batting hero Ritchie expose his leg stump and depart first ball; edged one to the keeper for 4; witnessed last weekends icing hero Steve fall for a duck; wondered where we might go from 8 for 4! I need not have worried because this was only the first act of an intriguing game, where both sides held the initiative and tossed it back and forth like twin brides practising bouquet throwing.

In what seemed like the blink of an eye Dom and Tim M had produced a partnership for the fifth wicket of some 137 runs; indeed if there hadn't been so much time spent searching for the various balls which were lost somewhere in or around Hadley Wood Station, it might actually have been the blink of an eye. The four batsmen who had perished, and had been commiserating with each other in a huddle on the boundary, puffed excitedly on their Malboro Lights as the boys laid waste to the attack. Dom passed the fifty mark for the first, (but assuredly not the last), time for Chigwell. Tim was so graceful yet brutal with the bat at least one of the opposition was heard to mutter "ringer" as the advantage began to tip towards Chigwell. Bad news for them: Tim is no ringer, they'll be seeing a lot more of him!

Eventually Dom fell for 55, and shortly afterwards Tim went for 77. We were 149 for 6 and we had only been batting for an hour and twenty minutes! We needed to bat out some time as well as accumulate runs and Rob A stayed steady while Olly and Nige blasted quick fire runs - Nigel hit his first three balls for 4, and scored an entertaining 30 in 17 balls. Enter Nick who scored 7 all in singles as Rob began to accelerate, hitting their best bowler for a massive straight six before being superbly caught at point for 34. Brad collected 5 runs, including a powerful 4 through extra-cover, before the declaration came on 255 for 9, in 39 overs and just over 2 and a half hours. Quite a relief after 8 for 4!!

We enjoyed a fabulous tea, surely the best so far this year, and set about the task of trying to win the match with four pounds of egg sarnies, a pork pie, two pieces of quiche, a bramley apple-pie, a dozen kettle crisps, and a mini "time out" weighing each of the fielders down.

Dom, still high from his willow wielding, charged in as usual, although Mr. Carter, one of the openers, looked to be profiting from an aggressive approach, including a shot smashed at me standing at silly mid off, which some might consider a chance, but which I consider an escaped death sentence. No worry though as Dom zipped one through his defences, bowling him for 17. The dangerous Davey appeared at 3 but was soon on his way, snapped up at slip by Tim from Dom's bowling. Brad bowled well for no reward, I replaced Dom and again went unrewarded, although at least some of the balls turned! Nick Allum took up the baton and bowled his usual tidy stuff taking two wickets to remove the rather stubborn opener and his slightly more aggressive third wicket partner. It looked highly unlikely that we could lose until P (Paul I think) Randall arrived at the crease and took a liking to both of the Allum boys' straightish line and bludgeoned a very rapid 60 including six sixes. Steve Meggs helped to break the tense mood on the field by tumbling spectacularly over a low boundary wire fence and into a dense thicket head first whilst chasing the sixth six. Luckily he sustained no injury!

Dan, the Hadley Wood skipper had just uttered the words "We've got them worried" when Rob broke through to send him on his way. The dangerous Randall P was eventually dismissed by Rob, caught by Nigel, and with his departure the game swung back towards Chigwell. Dom returned to great effect, sending two more Hadley Wood Greensters on their way, but neither he nor Tim could break through to take the final wicket and the home side hung on defiantly to what in all fairness was a deserved draw.

We bowled 54 overs in a little less than 3 hours, which spoke volumes for our desire to win. We were left with the memory of a great game of cricket, 487 runs and 18 wickets and the thought that we were but a thin edge away from winning a game from a position of 8 runs for 4 wickets.


Here's a belated match report for our tour game against the Brighton Beamers back in May. Luckily, Beamers skipper Niall Chafey saved me the bother of writing one by publishing his version of events on their website. Here it is, reproduced on our own Captain's Blog. Thanks Niall!


It's hard to win a game of cricket when you drop seven catches and nine of your eleven batsmen don't score more than five runs.

Harder still when your opponents have an opening pace bowler with more venom than a boxful of Tasmanian tiger snakes. Chigwell nickname their paceman, Dom, The Dominator, but he might just as well have been The Dominatrix so submissively did the Beamers top order surrender to his will. Jeremy even batted in a corset for goodness' sake! Not since 9/11 has there been such an aggressive attack and when the Twin Towers of Bailey and Arthur had collapsed the Beamers were reeling on 5 for 2. Time, if ever there was, for a captain's knock. Well, the captain suffered several knocks from some hostile stuff and then a fatal dent as Siddo forgot the First Law of cricket and gave his skipper out LBW. When J and Ritchie the Chigwell Ringer departed the Beamers found themselves in a hole bigger than that left by the Tunguska asteroid at 37 for 5 and needing 150 to win.

But the Beast was still there, his beastly torso a patchwork of bruises. He was so in the zone that 13 minutes later as his team-mates cheered his half century he could no more acknowledge it than Steve McQueen in Papillon can believe the sun when he comes out of three years in blacked-out solitary. By this time, with Siddens making amends for his umpiring with a quickfire 32, the Beamers were just 48 short of their target with 11 overs to go and five wickets left. The Chiggers were getting panicky and the green shoots of a Beamers recovery were poking through the earth.

These shoots were scythed down as Siddo and the Beast fell in quick succession, like an old couple where one cannot survive without the other. But they'd added 64 for the sixth wicket and restored Beamer pride and hope. As Steve took guard the skipper was heard to mutter "Whatever you do, Esso, don't play a big wafty wendy heave-ho across the line". No prizes for guessing what happened next. Marlon batted bravely with a broken leg but was undone by a snorter and it was left to Musso and Jonners to see out the last four overs as our chances of winning evaporated. Inevitably, the scent of victory meant the return of the Dominatrix and there was no gainsaying her as Mussett fell leg before with the Beamers 30 runs short.

Things had started rosily enough for the Beamers earlier that afternoon as Marlon achieved a double breakthrough and the Chiggers limped to 8 for 2 off the first eight overs. Then the dropsy set in as chance after chance went begging. More catches were dropped than aitches in an episode of EastEnders. You'd normally bet your paisley-clad bottom dollar that Dave would cling on to at least one of three chances at slip, but, alas, the catching gods had gone to Margate for the Bank Holiday. Surely Siddo would take that skier - oh, no, he's mounting a buttery unicycle and is pedalling backwards and … oh dear. Others were culpable too and only the Beast and the skipper with three catches apiece came out with any glory. Siddens clawed back some pride with 3 for 14 with the ball but by then Chiggers had raced to 149-8 and the Dominatrix was just pulling on her thigh-high boots.

The bitterness of defeat at the hands of the Chiggers was sweetened by jugs galore and enjoyable banter in the Battle afterwards. No doubt Ritchie's inside information about the Chiggers' batting foibles, offered up with zealous candour almost as if he hates the lot of them, will prove invaluable next year.