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June 2006

June 21, 2006

Dandy Highwayman Victorious On Debut

Sunday 4/6/06

Ingatestone 215
Chigwell 216-3

Having just about recovered from a tiring and mostly fruitless tour, it was a pleasant surprise to have a beautiful summer’s day to play cricket at Ingatestone. As acting captain, I decided that a day’s cricket was not necessarily the best course of action and tried to lure the Ingatestone captain into a Chav version of the Highland games. Unfortunately, he won the caber toss and we decided to play cricket instead of donning sporrans and Burberry. We fielded first.

With Dom taking early retirement and Rob Allum still struggling with illness, I thought the best course of action was to open the bowling with Owen and The Highwayman. I started well enough with a nearly maiden ruined by the last ball that was sent over the short boundary for six. This was to set a trend of easy runs scored through the short boundary with some shocking fielding at times. Owen started at the other end and struck first, bowling their number one. The highwayman took the next two wickets; one caught at gulley by Tim Hall and the other, a stunning catch by Newars, at long on. Game on.

Brad and Tim replaced Love Monster and Dandy to good effect with Tim taking the prized wicket of number three, A Speller dismissed LBW for 56. UK Garage Sensation bowled a tough spell and was rewarded with a wicket in his last over, caught by British Beef. Tim finished his spin spell with a straight bowled wicket.

Graham and Nick completed the bowling line up, Nick bowling their number ten and Graham proving himself with three wickets, one caught by Nick, one bowled and an LBW. Ingatestone eventually finished on 215 which was probably 30 short of a formidable total considering the short boundary.

After a simply pathetic team talk by the captain, Ross and Rob Allum were sent to the crease. Ross was first to fall on 14 trying to generate runs through the short boundary. Nick joined his bro and the runs started to flow with both batsmen running and calling very well. Rob reached fifty after an awesome display of batting, especially considering he was very ill. Nick reached his fifty soon after, which contained a great straight batted six. Nick was out soon after. Graham got a good ball straight away and was dismissed LBW. Then I was out for 1, bowled middle stump. Oh dear!! Time for the Uzi to be released! James didn’t mess about cracking everything out of town scoring 30 off 17 balls and partnering Rob successfully to victory.

Rob finished on 79 and combined with Nick provided the backbone to our innings. Man of the match – Rob Allum

June 20, 2006

Surprise Guest Not Enough as Chigwell Roll Over the Newman International XI (18/6/2006)

I was at Lords on 1st August 2003 when Nasser Hussain came down the steps to bat for the first time since relinquishing the captaincy of the England Cricket team. I will always remember the prolonged and deeply heartfelt ovation he received from the crowd; recognition for all that he had done to help turn the national team around. It was he, along with Duncan Fletcher, that set us on the path to Ashes glory.

Nasser played his final innings in first class cricket against New Zealand at Lords in May 2004, scoring a match winning century, and also hitting the boundary which took England over the winning line. Since that day he has become an incisive member of the Sky cricket commentary team, and has shown no inclination whatsoever to play any form of cricket.

It says a lot then for the friendship he shares with Paul Newman that he was persuaded to become Newers' surprise package in the Newman International line-up, taking on the might of Chigwell CC on 18th June 2006, a full two years since his retirement. It is reported that he said "Paul over the years I must owe you 100 favours... this repays 87 of them!".
As for the game... well, first priority was to win the toss, both teams eager to bat first on a warm summer's afternoon. Paul called tails and we both chased the coin as it landed on its edge and careered off towards point. It was tails, dammit!

Those Chigwellians who needed to slunk off to the changing room to remove shorts and pull on whites, mumbling about the substandard tossing skills of their skipper. Five minutes later we were in position and ready to start the game. Except we didn't have a ball. I fetched one from the dressing room and the game began. Dom fired one down the leg side of a left-hander and a bye was called, much to my consternation as wicket-keeper - it felt like a wide to me! Another delay - no scorebook! I raced off again and fetched it from the dressing room. At last everything was in place... except Joe Rudkin who had not realised it was an early start and would eventually turn up about 2 hours into the innings, and immediately replace me as keeper.

Dom found his line and before long had the classy-looking left-hander in trouble. Late swing at pace is never easy to play and after surviving a confident shout for LBW Gordin was bowled next ball by a very similar in-swinging delivery. Dom went on to claim the wicket of the other opening batsman and finished with 2 wickets for 10 runs from 7 overs. We may not be seeing a lot of Dom, now that the Norfolk Nosherie is up and running. He has been such a valued member of the side and such a top bloke we will miss him terribly. He knows he is welcome to a game anytime. I'd have liked to have kept him on a little longer - maybe to go for a "five-fer", but in the Chigwell spirit I had to spread things around as best I could. Rob was having very little luck at the other end. He did claim one wicket, a mis-timed pull arcing gently to Brad at square leg, cuing Brad's customary dramatic high celebratory throw into the air. Gary Field, number 4 for the International XI, rode his luck and made the most of several extra lives offered to him by fielders dropping catches and the stand-in wicket-keeper missing an easy stumping. Gary passed 50 in his first knock for 2 years, but departed soon after for 54, victim of that classic partnership-breaker Brad, who bowled well once he had found his line. The dismissal was all the more enjoyable for Brad's full throttle appeal for LBW to a startled umpire who pointed out that the batsman had in fact been bowled. Brad claimed his second wicket courtesy of a smart catch by Harvey; after 2 earlier drops I'm sure it was a relief for Harv to pouch that one. Zarghum bowled well in his debut performance for the Chigs, imparting a disconcerting (for the batsman) wobble on the ball. He claimed his first Chigwell wicket in slightly controversial fashion, the batsman adjudged to have taken an edge which many didn't see. Unfortunately I wasn't in a position to be able to tell one way or the other, so I couldn't really call the batsman back. Paul Newman himself came in at number 8 and Zarghum claimed a more authentic wicket by inducing a light inside edge onto the stumps. Time for spin. Nick produced a hugely spinning delivery to bowl the unfortunate Hannah, who seems to have developed the unwelcome knack of receiving the best ball of the innings. So as Hannah left the field we noticed a familiar figure making his way to the middle.

Paul had kept Nasser's presence as secret as he could, and it was only then that I knew for sure that he was playing. Nick bowled the remaining two balls of his over to Nas, and saw them both dispatched for four through extra cover. I had already decided to replace Zarghum at the pavilion end, and as luck would have it I bowled all six of my first over to Nasser's batting partner the excellent Master Gymer, a youngster who was steadily accumulating runs. Nick had Nasser on strike as he began his third over. I'd moved myself to patrol the boundary at extra-cover, trying to save any fours. Nasser had obviously decided he would attack every ball and swung into Nick's slightly flatter, quicker one, once again directing it towards extra-cover. This time it was an aerial shot and the ball flew on a flat trajectory towards me. I didn't have much time to think about it, instinct took over, and I pouched the catch! Blimey! Nasser Hussain, caught Orange bowled Allum N. for 8! "He'll dine out on that for a while" Nasser is reputed to have said as he rejoined the throng on the boundary. He's right about that. As time goes by the shot will be hit harder and harder, the catch become more and more spectacular. A special moment for Nick and me, but a shame to see Nasser dismissed in some ways, rather than seeing him smack a quick 50 or 100, with all Chigwellians given a chance to bowl at the England legend. The game would certainly have benefited from a higher first innings total, the Internationalists finishing on 163, the last wicket, that of a dancing Mark Jeffries, claimed by my 11th ball - and it was plumb Mark, honest! Master Gymer finished with 54 not out, having batted with the care and skill which eluded many of his team-mates. Nasser signed a shirt for him after the game, which was a really nice touch.

A leisurely lunch was enjoyed by all, there now being no pressure of time on the game. I was uncertain as to the quality of the bowling we would be facing, so I settled for our normal opening pair, Harvey and Rob A. After a steady start Mark Jeffries was replaced at the pavilion end, this year not by a girl, but by the former captain of England. Nasser bowled some steady off-spin, although I was a bit puzzled as to why both he and Gordin (the left arm spinner at the other end) were given the task of trying to turn it up the slope, rather than swapping ends and using it to their advantage. Chigwell progressed steadily towards their target, with just 4 hiccups along the way. Harvey contrived to get himself out top-edging a full toss and departed for 25. He was happy enough though to have hit a boundary 4 off Nasser's bowling. Joe Rudkin was Chigwell's number 3 and he took to the crease like a man intending to be there at stumps. Rob A probably felt like that too, but was adjudged LBW to Nasser and left the arena bewildered and shaking his head. Dom (the umpire) maintains that he was plumb, Nasser apparently was less certain... Nigel entertained us with a swashbuckling 25 before playing on with the reverse side of the bat, having got through his shot a little early. James crashed 18 smart runs before falling victim to the advanced dibbly-dobbley of skipper Newman. Joe progressed serenely to his 50 and beyond, finishing unbeaten on 63. He was ably assisted by Dom who was on 9 when Joe hit the winning runs with the first 6 of the day. A comfortable 6 wicket win for the Chigs.

The barbecue followed a little later, and many drinks were drained to the incessant sound of the Chigwell skipper reliving the glory of "The Catch". So what was in it for Nasser? Let's face it the guy has absolutely nothing to prove as regards cricketing credentials. All that was in it for him was the pleasure in doing a good mate a favour, and giving everyone else the opportunity to say that they shared a cricket pitch with him. It was fun to do so; I hope he'll consider making further appearances in future years, after all, 13 favours to Paul remain unpaid.

June 13, 2006

Falcons Grind Out Unambitious Draw

Firstly and most importantly I won the toss. 30 degree heat and threats of severe violence from various Chigwellians compelled me to go against type and bat first. The opposition, (Loxford Falcon), late substitutes for South Loughton, were a man short but soon Zarghum arrived to even up the sides. Not often you play against your new team on debut!

Harvey & Rob Allum opened the innings and got off top a bit of a slow start, byes racing ahead of them both initially. Rob was dropped fairly early on, and I think it is fair to say that Geoff Boycott's granny would have caughtit in her pinny. Harvey however perished to a great catch in the gully, the fielder diving forwards to take it at ankle height. Olly joined Rob and immediately set about the attack, playing all manner of fine shots to all parts of the ground. e raced to 50 in quick time, hitting 10 fours in the process. He departed shortly afterwards when the elder Barker clung on to a good catch off his own bowling. Enter Charles Rudkin, promoted to number 4 to show us what he could do. He did. After a calm period both Rob and Charlie began to take the sort of risks commensurate with having 45 minutes to go and 8 wickets in hand. Rob perished on 58 having played the anchor role necessitated by recent Chigwell team batting failures. Nick kept the charge going gamely, losing his wicket for 20 from 11 balls. James took his place and managed 20 off only 7 balls, including a massive 6 off what became the last ball of the innings, the skipper declaring on 219. Charlie remained 25 not out and all watching were very impressed, and maybe a little envious of what the future might hold in store for this very talented lad.

The Falcons innings was a strange affair. The skipper, Mr. Bhatty was dropped by me off a hard chance from the first ball Phil bowled. He went on to finish 87 not out, but from the point of losing their first wicket (a gloved bouncer from Dom's hostile bowling) the Falcons gave up trying to win the game and dug in for the draw with more than 20 overs remaining. They must have had very little faith in the batting at their disposal, and it did not make for much of a spectacle. One positive point was being able to try out a few lesser used bowling arms, with Olly showing great promise taking 2 wickets with his relatively pacy off-spin. The game fizzled out, Loxford finishing on 163 for 6, and special party rate jugs were purchased from the tiny backroom section of bar we are permitted when such events as a children's party are in full swing in the normal Old Chigs bar.

The Falcons proved to be a very friendly bunch, and both the game and the post-match drinking were carried out in the right spirit.

Man of the match this week: Oliver Diggins, 53 runs and 2 wickets.

June 08, 2006

Newers is Warned

'Naughty boy' nets for Newers after a barren tour...

June 07, 2006

Beamers unearth diamond, retain silverware, but fall short of crock of gold

Chigwell vs Brighton Beamers, Sunday 28th May 2006

There must have been a smile of satisfaction on Caveheart's face as he stepped into the East Brighton Park showers on Sunday afternoon, writes Niall Chafey, Beamers skipper. Perhaps he even started humming a jaunty little Bacharach number to himself as he lathered up and reflected on a job well done. True, he'd failed to heed the skipper's exhortation to stay there to the end, but he'd compiled a patient 31 to complement Randy's classy 67 and they'd combined for the third wicket to put the Beamers within twenty runs of a rare victory against the Chiggers. Shower over, as he towelled his hair and sauntered back down to the huddle of onlookers, Caveheart must have felt that he'd somehow been transported to a parallel universe. This looked like the same game of cricket, the same familiar faces, the same early summer sunshine, but rather than reading 122-2 the scoreboard now read 136-9.

Half an hour earlier the skipper had had to dampen down triumphalist talk from the waiting Beamers middle order as Randy treated us to a masterclass in controlled brutality and raced to a glorious half-century on his debut. The Dominator had made short work of Chafey and Smith, but when he went for three boundaries in an over he must have wished that he was already serving Earl Grey and crumpets in Miss Tiggywinkle's Norfolk Teashop. Indeed, the once-feared Dominator was renamed the Percolator as Beamer runs flowed from his bowling like so much Costa Rican Arabica. But games between these two great teams are seldom one-sided and when Randy and Caveheart fell in successive overs Chigwell realised they were still in with a shout. When the Beast and Siddens fell three runs later, the biggest Wobble since the Weebles had begun.

By the time the skipper had found a "6" to update the wickets column after Siddo's departure he had to turn it upside down as Marlena, Waynage and Musso all fell in the meantime. And so the Beamers found themselves still seven runs from victory with the Dominator back on in all his terrifying pomp, Allum N dealing up deadly dob, and just Jonners and Arthur at number 11, nursing a strained meta-arsal, the folorn hope left to deny them. But deny them they did for ball after ball. Then a couple of singles were gleaned and, praise be, a full toss allowed Arthur to punt a boundary down to fine leg and the scores were tied. Now the pendulum was swinging back towards the Beamers, but as it reached Jonners he gloved it to short leg and the scores were left tied on 142.

So, ultimately, we snatched a tie from the jaws of victory from the jaws of defeat from the jaws of victory. Much credit must go to Chigwell for coming back from the dead like that. Well bowled Dom (career average v. Beamers, 6.57!) and well batted Rob Allum (51 in the face of good bowling and even better sledging). Inevitably there was much beer-fuelled post-match analysis as individuals searched their souls as to where a run or two might have been saved when we'd fielded. For some individuals the search was quick and fruitful, but a tied match is a thing of rare beauty and should be cherished as such.

Chigwell CC 142-5 (Allum R 51, Lowe 3-42, Musset 2-18)
Beamers CC 142 all out (Ebert 67, Cave 31, Addison 6-49, Allum N 4-29)

Match tied, Beamers retain the Ashes