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August 2005

August 30, 2005

Chigwell's Disgraceful Catching Means Laycock Ton is not Enough ( WG Gracefully 29/8/2005)

WG Gracefully put Chigwell's bowlers to the sword yesterday, but the worst wounds were self-inflicted as catch after catch was spilled. We are well aware of the potential of the top order of WG and giving them several lives is really not a very good idea. C. Smith finished the innings with 150 not out; a colossal performance, but in the end WG spent a little too long batting to a massive total of 291 for 3, and the game was almost certainly destined for a draw by tea. Joe Rudkin was the only Chigwell bowler who caused any trouble, his leg-spinners bowling two victims, whilst he also managed to cling onto a difficult catch off Nick's bowling. Even Joe dropped one later on though, as the fielding malaise spread throughout the team. Thankfully the batting innings was somewhat more enjoyable, although at 20 for 3 things were looking decidedly wobbly. Nick had opened with Rob and a brotherly disagreement about a run was the highlight of the partnership, Nick soon departing having stretched to tickle a wide one to gully. As umpire I had to bite back the call of "wide" and change it to "Why did he play that?". Joe and Olly quickly came and went; two of our quickest scoring players out for 2 between them! Our chances of scoring 292 did not seem good. From this point however Rob A and James shared an initially steady and increasingly free-scoring partnership of 126, Rob finally bowled for 55. I joined James and after surviving a confident LBW appeal first ball, set about trying to give the established James the strike, the asking rate being about 12 per over. James asked Brad how many he thought he was on, Brad thought about 80. They had both missed the fact that Ritchie, alone in the score-box, had been displaying James's score for the last 10 minutes! Actually James was on 95. In blissful ignorance James smashed the next ball straight for six to bring up his ton in what for him was a rather tardy 66 balls. For a while it appeared possible that James might be able to score quickly enough to challenge the imposing total, but finally he had to depart, LBW for 106 magnificent runs.

Graham joined me at the crease, and we tried our best to keep the total within reach, but after a few beefy blows rustiness prevailed and he was bowled for 14. The game was now up, and a draw was all we could play for. Owen did just enough and fell in the last over, leaving Tom Wiskin to stoutly defend the last four balls and secure a share of the spoils. Chigwell finished on 241 for 7, not a bad score, although we faced 3 more overs (47) than WG.

It's always difficult to take 10 wickets on the flat track of the paddock. It's impossible to do so if the team spills eight catches! In the end an honourable draw was the most, if not more, than we

August 22, 2005

WG at The Paddock!

For those that haven't yet heard...our game against WG Gracefully next Monday (29th Aug) is being played at F+H's ground: The Paddock, Green Lane, Chigwell, IG7 6DN.

Skipper Acts Like Headmaster as Chigwell are Punished with the Best of Sixes (S. Woodford 21/8/2005)

Giving up fags was never going to be easy, and my mood was already grim before I received the call from Brad that over half the team were going to be late. I snapped, barked a few sharp words at Brad down the phone and set off seething for the South Woodford Ground. On arrival I had to spend an uncomfortable few minutes explaining that the early start required by the opposition (to prevent a clash of teas with the game taking place on the adjacent pitch) was not going to happen. I then had to talk the opposing team out of making the game a limited overs affair. We eventually started (a couple of men short) about half an hour late, but the South Woodford Batsmen were in the mood to make up for lost time. One opener in particular treated all Chigwell bowlers with more or less equal disdain, flaying them far and straight, the ball often clearing the rope by 30 yards. He finally departed, to our immense relief, for an amazingly quick 84, stumped smartly off Nick's bowling by Paul Newman who had by then arrived with Hannah to take his place behind the timbers. Paul at least had had a very good excuse, nay reason, for being late as his interview with Adam Gilchrist had been delayed by the Aussie keeper insisting on extra batting practise beforehand. Fat lot of good it did him! Before Paul's arrival the one bright spot for the Chigs had been Dom tempting the other opener into an indiscretion with a wide ball that the skipper as temporary keeper had caught off a thin edge. The scoring rate did slow down for a while but the damage had been done and a huge total of 281 was made in very good time. Dom bowled very well and took 3 wickets in all, Nick (2 wickets) and myself, liberated from keeping duties managed a degree of control for a while, but 281 in 46 overs was too many to give away. We were short of batting really and the tail was lengthened by a concussed Owen having to drop down the order after bashing his head on the deck attempting a catch. I could write many more sentences that contain the word "Owen" and the word "drop", but that would be senselessly cruel. Tim Hall and Brad opened the batting and closed up shop simultaneously. There was never any prospect of Chigwell realistically attempting to scale the run mountain that lay before us, but we tried to play a few shots, and after the openers departed Paul and I shared a decent partnership, becoming so close that I even allowed him use of my helmet. This helped to stop him drifting too far towards leg when facing the fast bowler, but proved no help in preventing the useful off-spinner turning one through his gate and Newers innings ended on 24. Dom zonked a few before the fast bowler bowled him, then Nick arrived to share a long slow partnership with me that realised 52 almost incidental runs. A tiring skipper reached 52 before scooping one politely to not-at-all-deep mid-wicket and a mini collapse ensued, the wickets of Nigel, Ritchie and Charlie falling in rapid succession. Hannah looked technically excellent in blocking one end while Nick suddenly came to life and smacked the quick bowler for 2 delightful fours in the last over, which meant we finished only 103 short of the South Woodford total. Jugs and banter flowed after the game and I made sure I sat close to the smokers to savour the benefits of passive smoking. Shame it had been preceded by passive cricket!

August 15, 2005

Rob Allum Hits Maiden Ton in the Grand Manner!  (Hainault & Clayhall 14/8/05)

Chigwell, much like England a day later at Old Trafford, were unable to complete victory in a game they dominated. I lost the toss with consummate skill, saving me from making the decision, which is always tough, when our team has strong batting: bat first for fun or insert the opposition for the best chance of winning. After all you don’t need to take 10 wickets to win batting second. Anyway, as I said previously we lost the toss and batted for fun. Not all that much fun for Tim Hall who departed early for a duck, the venerable gentleman at slip showing surprising athleticism to hold the catch. This brought together our Fives and Heronian guests Nick Rotsey and Matt Sutton, and for a while it looked as if Nick would threaten the Chigwell quickest century record, adding numerous boundary fours to the six hit from the first ball he faced. His fun was short-lived on this occasion however and he perished mis-hitting one to mid off come extra cover for 22. Nigel was a little unlucky that the bowling had become much tighter by the time he arrived and he joined Tim in the duck house before too long. This brought to the crease Rob Allum, who hit a series of frightfully short deliveries to the boundary to get underway, and was looking good on 25 when the rain intensified and the covers were called for. While the more astute but less noble players shot into the pavilion to watch the gripping test match, four brave souls struggled with the sail-like covers in driving rain. The fact that they were the next four in the batting order was surely not their motivation. Eventually the boundary marker flags secured the cover and the drenched quartet joined their less committed friends in the bar. Tea was taken early and for a while it seemed that no further play would be possible. Eventually however the rain did pass, and all were summoned to help remove the cover in a way that would minimise spillage onto the wicket. The flags were taken out and the wind took charge, removing the cover with no problem at all! Luckily the pitch, though suffering patchy wetness, played OK for the rest of the game. So Rob and Matt resumed their excellent partnership and added well in excess of 100 runs before Matt departed the scene with a score of 44. During his partnership with Rob he had played mainly a supporting role, and a mighty fine job he made of it too. Meanwhile Rob had accumulated runs at a frenetic pace, the declaration always looming on the horizon. Shouts from the skipper on the boundary alerted him to the fact that he was on 91, and approaching the century that has eluded him since he first wielded the willow many years ago. No nervous nineties for Rob – he knew he had no time to get there in singles. He baffed another four and, on the 59th delivery he faced, smashed the ball straight back over the bowler to bring up his glorious maiden ton. Brad, who was the bowler’s end umpire, shot his arms aloft, the momentum lifting him several feet off the ground. Rob conversely sank to his knees and then lay on the pitch, scarcely able to believe that his 20 years or more of waiting were over. Personally I’ve got enormous respect for his achievement because it rewards him for the sheer hard work and determination he has put into improving his batting over the last five to ten years, and he now stands as one of the teams most talented batsmen. This will not be his last century. Rob’s exciting achievement meant a slight delay in the declaration leaving Hainault and Clayhall a target of 198 in an hour plus 20 overs to win, which proved a few too many to really give them much chance, although I was aiming at 190 notwithstanding Rob’s landmark score. They lost an early wicket (from Ritchie’s bowling) to a good catch from Chigwell’s newest centurion, and with Owen bowling well and snaffling another victim the signs looked good. Nick Allum replaced Ritchie and bowled for the rest of the innings, taking 3 good wickets. Brad replaced Owen and in a rather truncated four over spell weaved his magic to claim two victims. The only batsman who looked as if he was capable of scoring quickly enough to challenge the target set by Chigwell rather carelessly ran himself out, with Ritchie, now keeping wicket, hitting the stumps direct having retrieved a fumbled take. From this point on H&C dug in for the draw and despite the skipper claiming a somewhat unpleasant wicket with a beamer that dipped enough to drift over the ducking batsman and strike the stumps, and despite the hero of the day having one over at the last pair, we were unable to take the last wicket, and the match was drawn.

August 08, 2005

Chigwell gain comfortable bore draw against confused opposition (Aztecs 7/8/2005)

Vice Captain Eggly Cressvis reports: I arrived at the ground at 1.30 to an empty car park full of euphoria and anticipation after the extraordinary events at Edgbaston in the morning! Sadly, the rest of the day was not to live up to expectation.

Nick had warned me that I had to make sure that the opposing skipper was sure of the rules of a time game as they were used to playing 40 overs games and seemed a little confused. After about 10 minutes I thought he had the picture and had reluctantly agreed, he correctly called heads and after some deliberation chose to bat. Maybe I could have become a rocket scientist after all!

We did not start until 2.20 and to be fair to them I did say to him that they should expect around 45 overs if he looked to declare around halfway by no later than 4.45. We did only bowl 42 overs in 2 hours 50 minutes, which was painfully slow. In saying that that they batted 10 to 15 minutes too long, in fact 2 of our players attempted to leave the field an over early, when their skipper at 4.40 for some reason only wanted to know how many overs had been bowled, he was told 39 although in fact it was already 41, c'est la vie.

Guest player Adam Peters opened the bowling with Phil and we got off to a good start with a smart piece of work from James as he threw down the stumps with the opener standing a yard out of his crease. We had to wait a while for the next wicket but Adam then took 2 in 2 balls! Owen bowled well to begin with before being hit out of the attack.

Our fielding today was very poor and we probably gifted them the best part of 40 runs. The notable exceptions to this were Nigel who fielded superbly all day culminating in a lightening run out when facing the wrong way and Nigel's mate Dave who was filling in as we waited for Rob to arrive from LA. Dave fielded really well on the boundary all day, so well in fact that he ended up breaking his hand! To steal a line from Niall how can you expect to win a game of cricket when 2 of our 3 recognised bowlers bowl poorly and your fielders drop 8 or 9 catches?

After Nigel's run out we had to endure a very long stand although both batsmen were dropped at least twice and although Nick, Ritchie and myself were far from at our best we did create some opportunities and we should have had them out earlier or at least restricted their scoring. I admit that I did not have my best day today and that hindsight is a wonderful thing in cricket. When I belatedly brought Adam back he took a wicket it straightaway to end up with a well-deserved 4, but I was short on bowling today and my options were always limited. Another great display by James who took 2 catches, a stumping and a run out.

After a leisurely tea we went out needing 234 to win and having to score at over 5.5 an over from the off. We started well enough if not slightly slowly which meant the run rate was always increasing. Rob made 22 in even time having arrived from the airport and we reached the final 20 needing exactly 7 an over but with 9 wickets still in hand. Unfortunately, as always happens in these situations wickets began to fall as we tried to keep up with the asking rate. Adam fell for 38 and Hamad shortly after for 35. Nigel was looking good for 24 before being triggered and after Phil and Nick went cheaply I came out at number 8 with the rate now over 8 an over and only James who could give us a realistic shot at an unlikely victory.

There were easy singles available and I managed to keep him on strike at 2 or more a ball until he was unlucky to play on and our hopes departed with him. Ritchie came to join me and I was out to a horrible shot soon after. Charlie had been promoted to 10 as I could not get him on to bowl and batted very well as he and Ritchie saw us through to a comfortable draw even though they brought the opener back at end. We finished about 50 runs short with 8 down.

The opposition had all disappeared just leaving their tea money before I was even out of the shower. Whether their complete lack of grasp of the concept meant they were annoyed they had not won or they are just completely unsociable we may never know.

Overall a disappointing performance by the Chigs with our guests proving the stars. We can all do much better. There seemed a distinct lack of strength and honour today, which was surprising after England's heroics in the morning. Not my best day in the chair either after the glory of South Woodford on my last outing!

Let's make sure we go all out to win our penultimate home game next Sunday.