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October 2005

October 03, 2005

End Of Season

Here is a photo of the 'working party' moving the sightscreen back to the shed on the last day of the 2005 season.

For a taste (or reminder) of Saturday's victory party, have a look at this high quality piece of video reportage.

October 01, 2005

Tremendous Hits From Oliver! (F&H 1/10/2005)

The game started with an arranged toss, F&H wanting to bat first. I'd agreed to this for three reasons: Firstly the F&H team would have preferred a 40 over a side format, but were prepared to have a timed game if they could bat first. Secondly because the pitch was quite damp and looked helpful to the bowlers, or at least as helpful as the Paddock strip is ever likely to get. Thirdly because I would have put them in under virtually any circumstances anyway. One problem was that I had planned to open the bowling with Dom and Mitz, both of whom were stuck in a traffic jam, caused by the partial closure of the North Circular. So with nine in the field I decided to opt for "containment" at one end with Nick and "seeing what happened" at the other with Owen. It all worked beautifully. Nick immediately found a tight line and length, while Owen, bravely trotting in despite breaking his toe playing computer games the previous evening, discovered the Paddock ridge and induced many false shots. Within the blink of an eye Owen had two wickets, one a catch off his own bowling, the other a smart stumping by James. Russ Beckett, who played for Chigwell at Ingatestone a few weeks ago, continued to score freely until the late arrivals combined to dismiss him for 42, caught Mitz, bowled Dom. By now Nick Rotsey had arrived in the middle and was batting like a monster. Chigwell now having a full complement of fielders made no difference to him, as practically every ball he faced was dispatched to the boundary. Several times a replacement ball had to be found, its predecessor flying into unfriendly territory beyond the Paddock. He did enjoy the odd lucky break; one that he sent high towards cow dropping just short of me as my feet flew sideways from under me on the sodden patch of outfield. The scoring rate accelerated alarmingly; Mitz bowled four perfectly decent overs, but was smashed for 42 runs. By now I was thinking, "Who will buy me a wicket?" I decided my name was the next on the list, and I marked out my run, fully expecting to suffer similar ignominy. By now however Fives were getting a little complacent and I was in the right place to cash in. First Graham Neary was bowled off his pad to one that I got to turn. This brought in Mr. Ballard at number 6. "Consider yourself in for it now" said Nick Rotsey, "He hits it like me!" "Well, let's hope he's not so lucky" I somewhat cheekily replied. Ballard smashed the first ball he received from me for six and the scene did look set for utter devastation, however Nick regained the strike and was suddenly out, stumped James. He was out for 93, but he didn't look too bothered. I'm not sure if he deliberately got out, but he was deliberately reckless, dancing down the pitch to one that turned. This pushed the door open a little for Chigwell and we surged through. James and I combined twice more to get rid of Ballard and Britten, one stumped one caught behind, and then an unexpected "five fer" was completed when Ian Rotsey was caught by the reliable hands of Olly. Charlie replaced the luckless Brad at the other end, who had maybe been trying too hard to claim Sooty's wicket - he finished unbeaten on 25 - and the innings ended when Dom took another good catch at mid on. The ten man Fives team had lost all nine of their wickets for 252 in 38.5 overs, an amazing recovery by the resilient Chigwell, who were led from the field by a proud skipper and sat down to flagons of tea and food - glorious food as it happened, with hot pizza a particular favourite. The Chigwell innings started badly when Mitz top-edged one high in the air and was caught with the score on 3. Oliver Diggins joined James Laycock and this pair had a careful look, then, after reviewing the situation, took the bowling apart. In their 18 overs together they scored 117 runs (6.5 per over). James finally departed trapped in front for a jug-avoiding 48. Mind you with three stumpings and a catch under his belt he owed one already. Graham Wiskin joined Olly, already past 50, and batted with much guile, nurdling the ball around to give his batting partner the strike. And why not, with Olly's increasing belligerence taking him ever nearer to his first century for the club? The ton duly arrived, to the unconfined joy of his team mates, but the boy wanted more. As I sat with Brad in the score box we observed another meaty blow, but lost the flight of the ball. "Where's that one gone?" asked Brad, just before the ball smashed into the front of our hide for yet another six. Graham, sensing that the game was almost won departed after a few lusty blows for a well earned 31, sharing a partnership of 96 for the third wicket. The mighty Diggins was next to go for a sumptuous 131, and was applauded and cheered all the way back to the dressing room. After a long wait on the sidelines Nigel was destined to be back soon, falling first ball - Sooty's fourth victim - whilst offering no shot to one that turned. Any hopes Fives had of a revival were dispelled by a brutal knock by Dom, scoring 33 in around 15 balls to see us home. The last shot of the season was Dom creaming a six over long on to win the game. Sometimes it's a fine life, isn't it? Heavy drinking soon followed in the bar, resulting in drunken revelry including enthusiastic head-banging to rock standards, and the lip-synching and Gallic shrugging of Owen to some French chanteur whose name eludes me for the moment. I'm sure Linda Wiskin's attractive colleague was suitably impressed! Dom will, I hope, assume the captaincy next season; I will of course be happy to offer help and advice for as long as he needs me to. However as last games of the season, (and last games as captain), go this was about as good as it could possibly get. I'd do anything to be able to re-live it.