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August 2006

August 25, 2006

Dashing Davis Derring-Do Delivers Defeat to Hainault & Clayhall

After cocking up the team selection for the season's penultimate home fixture I was hoping for an easy ride against Hainault and Clayhall, and thanks to an outstanding team performance this is exactly what transpired.

On a dry day in the midst of many wet ones the toss looked a
good one to win; the pitch was almost certain to be flatter
and better behaved later in the day, once some of the
moisture had disappeared from the juicy surface. At the
appointed start time we were short of two players however,
one of whom was an opening bowler, so losing the toss and
being put in to bat was not the disappointment it may have
been. Harvey and Rob A were well underway by the time the
late-arrivals arrived. It would have been possible to note
exactly how many overs had gone when they arrived, because as
scorer I had decided to alert the batsmen to exactly how our
run rate was progressing by displaying both the score and the
number of overs bowled. This information was not regarded as
necessary by Rob, who like his brother is always at full

Rob and Harvey did what they had to do, batting through the
very tricky first 10 overs, taking the sting out of the
attack and the aqueous venom out of the pitch. Each survived
a chance, but Hainault and Clayhall were unable to complete
the dismissals and a very valuable stand of 78 had been
realised before the first wicket fell, Harvey gone for 29.
John joined Rob just in time to see the slow pitch induce a
false shot from the Chigwell number two and Rob departed for

James and John then put on 44 for the third wicket, James
wielding his Uzi like the terminator at a Sarah Connor
convention until one stuck in the chamber and he was bowled
for 34. Paul, or Newman Senior, tried to maintain the fast
scoring, but was caught having acquired 7 runs. Nick was
next up and his partnership with John was progressing well
until a crazy mix up - John yelling "Yes" and Nick
yelling "No" - ended with John suffering the supreme
irritation that is being the victim of a run out.
Nigel, myself Brad and Zarghum came and went, the only
highlights between us being Brad's two scoring shots, for 3
and 4 together with his final dismissal, LBW, where he seemed
to walk around the stumps half a dozen times before seeing
James' raised digit. Hannah held up one end well allowing
Nick and extras to add a useful 13 runs from the final over,
inducing a declaration at 196 for 9. This was a good score
for the conditions we had batted in, but things had begun to
get easier, and we feared it might not be enough.
Tea was okay, a ripple of excitement ran through the room
when some mustard was detected in a ham sandwich, but
otherwise it was uneventful.
The Hainault and Clayhall innings was torn to shreds by a
scintillating team display from Chigwell in the field.
Zarghum set the ball rolling, sending the H&C captain on his
way LBW. His next wicket came courtesy of a simply breath-
taking catch by Brad, one handed and completely airborne, at
square-leg. It was the finest catch I have ever seen him
take, and definitely the best catch of the season so far.
Words fail to capture the sheer brilliance of it, and it
further inspired the whole side, so it was no surprise when
James, having a day off from wicket-keeping, executed another
great catch at extra-cover to give Zarghum his third wicket.
I had granted myself the other opening bowling slot,
and "joined the party" with a wicket of my own. Hannah
replaced me and bowled her best spell under my captaincy,
claiming two wickets, one bowled and one well caught by
Zarghum. I had a feeling that what with "The Catch" it might
well be Brad's day and he certainly did not let the team down
with his excellent spell of 5.5 overs 4 wickets for 17 runs.
3 of these wickets came courtesy of slip catches by Rob A,
one in particular standing out as another high class catch -
a low swooping dive to a dying ball to the right and in front
of him. The last wicket fell as a top edge flew high towards
a number of potential catchers in "the cordon", Harvey
realising that if Rob took it he would be "on a jug" for
three catches, wisely left it for him.
Sadly the scorebook does not reveal the final score for H&C,
but I think it was about 78, the value of our opening stand.
What a pleasure the whole event was, and a very easy game to
captain. Our mettle may be more tested next Monday by WG,
but with Strength Honour and Davis we will surely prevail.
Man of the Match - Cheesely Bratwurst

August 14, 2006

Rudkin heroics fail to stop Chigwell clinching an ignominious defeat from the jaws of victory

(Sunday 06/08/06 at Old Chigs)


Having spent considerable time over the previous few days attempting to get eleven fit bodies onto the field, it was, once this was achieved, with trepidation that I walked out to toss up with the opposition skipper. It was a warm day and it was tempting to bat first on a typical dry, flat Chigs wicket, but, looking at the players at my disposal, I made, on winning the toss (tails never fails), what I felt to be the sensible option: to put them in and then chase whatever they set us.

Looking around, my new ball options were none the less limited. Due to an evening engagement, Rob A had to leave sharpish so was going to be opening the batting later on, but he was also our best bet with the new ball, and he opened up at the Pavilion End, with Zarghum his partner from the other end. Neither managed to get the breakthrough and after six inconsistent overs, Zarghum was replaced by Pete, a new recruit reined in by the Wandering Fox. By this time, Ingatestone were already past 50 but neither batsman looked totally secure. Pete ran in at a fair lick, swinging the ball up the Old Chigs slope at will. The change seemed to work and the next over, Rob induced a top edge from their opener Kirby, well watched and safely gathered by John just behind point. After another couple of tight overs, their number three Myers followed suit, chipping a dolly to Brad in close on the leg side. Upon competion of this over I replaced Rob with Ross, who'd stipulated his desire to have a bowl in his e-mail earlier in the week. Ross bowled with a nice shape but couldn't seem to find his line regularly, but at the other end, Pete got a deserved wicket with a plum lbw decision removing Brailey, their other opener.

After a couple of fruitless overs against the new batsmen, a change was needed. Charlie came on to spin the ball down the slope and immediately struck, with Rob A snaffling another dolly after the batsman was drawn into a false shot. Brad came on at the other end and kept things tight for the prodigy to weave his magic at the other end. Charlie's third over producing two wickets, firstly bowling their key stroke maker Batchelor with a beauty then removing the new batsman two balls later, again knocking over the off bail. A double-wicket maiden for our youngest member, the first for the club since the author opening up against F&H last season.

After a couple of non-eventful overs, Charlie tossed one up a bit more, tempting the batsman to come forward to him, who never got to the pitch. A clear stumping for Laycock despite the umpire's apparent reticence in making the obvious decision.

Brad got the eighth wicket with one that moved late and at 164-8 we were on top. After a brief tail-end slog, the ninth wicket fell as had the seventh, Charlie beating the batsman in the air and James finishing things off. A first 'Michelle' for the young whippersnapper and thoroughly deserved. Brad was removed from the attack for no reason other than to bring Flacky Panesar on, and the wily old pro was soon bamboozling us all with such incredible variances in flight all seemingly landing on or near a length. After a few lucky swings took the Ingatestone total over the 200 mark, their number 11 hit a shortish one from Paul straight to long on, which was taken with Jagger-esque nonchalance by Rob to finish things off.

All things considered, considering the perceived weakness of our bowling attack, I would definitely have settled for chasing 208 at Old Chigs.

After the usual limp, poor value tea, we set about our target. Rob A, as stated earlier, had to leave early-ish so he opened up with Harvey. We scored steadily from their opening pair but then Harv skied one down the fielder's throat and were 24-1 after six overs. John, fresh from his debut half-centrury joined the BGC at the middle and both looked comfortable until Rob lauched a kamikaze effort straight to mid-off to hole out for 22. Next up for the legal eagle was the wandering fox, who played himself in patiently by smashing the first three balls he faced to the long off boundary. At 76-2 things were looking promising, then John very uncharacteristically played around a straight one and was bowled, bringing his average back down to a meagre 52.5. At 5 came the Legend, batting in the middle order to facilitate Rallum's early departure. A partnership was developing until James seemed to take his eye off it and was out bowled for 31, unbelievably our top score of the day, to be followed in by our new recruit Pete. After a few nice shots and a couple of lovely fours, the Boss Man holed out to what he himself described as 'the worst shot I've ever played', and Pete, getting his eye in and obeying my instructions to 'Swing, Lowe', was joined by Brad. We were five down and still 76 runs short, but, with some 12 overs to go, our minds were focused on chasing down that total.

Shortly after Brad's waddle to the middle, Rob A returned from a fruitless visit to his other engagement and unable to do anything to change our predicament, apart from maybe retiring hurt instead of getting out in the first place.

Pete holed out for 17 trying to hit the ball too hard and Brad was joined by the mannish boy of the moment, Chas. After getting off the mark with a boundary, Charlie succumbed for six, bringing Zarghum to the wicket. A few festival shots here and there hadn't prevented the target creeping up towards the 10-an-over mark. With only four overs left, however, and three wickets in hand, I felt it was still worth a punt. Brad holed out chasing the impossible dream and the skipper walked to the crease purposefully in his intent to score freely, as an attacking batsman of some renown. Having got off to the mark with a mis-hit slog that landed over the infield, I perished wafting Chris(tal) Gayle-style at a wide one, offering a thick outside edge to the keeper.

This brought in our talisman, Mr Paul Flack, who, under instruction to in no way attack the ball, carried out his duties manfully, despite a couple of idiosyncratic run out attempts between Zarghum and himself, out-sledging the fielders (now all nine around the bat), and even dancing down the wicket as the bowler was running in. Unfortunately, having survived until the last ball, Flacky fell unluckily to a ball that was bottom edged onto his foot then ricocheted onto the off stump. A horrible way to lose a game, but in all fairness our batting did not justify victory.

All of the top six got starts, but only two scored over 20, and no one close to a fifty. On a flat Old Chigs wicket, if you can't chase 200 then you don't deserve to win. I was happy with my bowling changes, and although I was a bit quieter than usual in the field, we fielded much better than we have been in past weeks.

Thanks to John especially for his vocality in the field whilst I was silently plotting, thanks to Paul for turning up at short notice and likewise thanks to Pete for playing and I hope we'll see more of you on the pitch in the future.

Man of the match: Charles Rudkin (5-47)

August 02, 2006

Chigs waltz to easy victory over weakened Woodford Green

(Chigwell vs Woodford Green, 30/7/06)

Chigs 251 for 6
Woodford Green 120
View scorebook

I arrived at Old Chigs on another glorious summer's day, writes Brad Davis. There was no sign that the threatened overnight and early morning showers had materialised to dampen the wicket and put something in it for the seamers.

This was a new fixture for us so I had no idea of the likely strength of the opposition. Our batting looked pretty good but we were a tad short of seam bowlers. The Woodford Green skipper told me that both of his opening batsmen were away as well as one of his opening bowlers and described his side as medium, weak. He called heads, the coin landed on tails and I opted to bat.

Harv and Rob A opened the batting and the Woodford Green opening bowlers struggled badly to find their length and line. We found ourselves at 30 for 0 after 2 overs, most of the runs coming in extras including 2 consecutive deliveries which resulted in 5 wides! The 100 came up after around 15 overs but by now the opening bowlers were off and the spinners were on. The spinner who was bowling from the pavilion end was bowling particularly well, extracting both turn and bounce. He took the 1st wicket of Rob as he beat him in the flight and bowled him. Harvey followed shortly afterwards for 38.

This brought Joe and James to the crease and potential fireworks as both have been in very good form recently. Unfortunately, it was not to be. Joe received one that stopped on him a bit giving an easy catch and James could not find his timing today perishing shortly afterwards.

This brought John to the wicket. John played an excellent innings, mixing solid defence and sound technique with some dashing stroke play to finish on 50 not out. Nick looked good before edging one and there was a very entertaining partnership between John and Imran. Imran somehow managing to regain his ground after running down the wicket and missing! However, he escaped making a cameo 16 and giving John good support as we accelerated towards 250 and a declaration. Imran was eventually out allowing Charlie to come in and see John home to his 50 which he just achieved in time! It was a good of effort by the Chigs batsmen with contributions from all of the top 5 against a painfully slow over rate, especially considering that they had the spinners on for 2/3rds of the innings.

John now has an average of 91! Joe had told me that his Sunday average is now over 700 having been out only once all season before today although not many of those knocks have been for us, it was a shame that he was unable to improve on that today!

As we munched on another poor value and dry Old Chigs tea I considered my tactics. It was tempting to open with a spinner but I resisted this and decided to go with Zarghum who has been bowling well and took 5 wickets last week, paired with Owen. Despite the view of some of my team I was FULLY AWARE that it was not a seamer's wicket but I was wary of keeping them in the game and not ending up with a bore draw. If this happens it is always the skipper's fault!

Zarghum was not able to produce the form of the previous week and went unrewarded. However, Owen bowling seam up took 2 Wickets! The 1st crucial blow was not a great delivery, but Imran took an excellent catch as he ran round for the ball having to make up a lot of ground. Owen then surprised the batsman bowling him with a quicker, straighter one, albeit it may not have been the greatest shot in the world!

By this time I was receiving a constant ear bashing that the spinners must be on now, it was now all of 10 minutes past 6! Although I would not expect anyone to admit this there was clearly paranoia at this very early stage that we would fail to win the game, as the previous week the opposition had been 29 for 6 and out of the game when we had taken our foot off the pedal and they had held on for a draw. With 2 quality spinners at my disposal in Nick and Joe I never felt this was a danger. I was intending to hold them back but brought Nick on to replace Zarg, but I stuck to my guns deciding to have a look at Imran's bowling from the other end although not expecting him to be able to extract much from the lifeless seamer's wicket!

Imran bowled perfectly well but after just 1 over the whinging started again. In my view it should have been obvious to the experienced player concerned that just looking at the way that numbers 4 and 5 were batting there was never a problem, we were still not into the last hour! I took Imran off after 2 overs and replaced him with Joe.

What happened next was exactly was what I expected as Joe and Nick took the remaining 7 wickets between them in virtually as many overs, finishing the game at around 6.45 with 15 overs still left! If the Woodford Green batsmen had been a bit more disciplined and determined then I am sure that they could have made life much more difficult but this never looked very likely to be case The result was that I sacrificed my own game and was unable to bowl Charlie as Nick bagged 3 wickets in 1 over just as I was about to bring Charlie on!

If I was Steve Waugh and we were Australia I am sure I would have been delighted with a professional job well done, but it just felt that we were perhaps a bit too ruthless and efficient as this was meant to be a Sunday friendly.

I am confident that Charlie and I could have taken most of the wickets with Nick and Joe available to finish the job if needs be, c'est la vie.

The catching and fielding was very good today and John and Imran were both excellent. I hope we will be seeing a lot more of them and that they will both become members next season. John also tells me he can bowl a bit!

The highlight of the day for me was a magnificent piece of fielding by Charlie who chased the bowl down to a longish boundary just stopping it on the line. He picked up the ball as the batsmen turned for what they thought would be a straightforward 3rd run. Charlie then put in an inch perfect and very powerful throw to Joe right over the bails to run out the batsman by a good 2 yards. For me these are the moments why we play cricket and what Chigwell Cricket Club is all about.

Be assured that next time I am skipper I will go with all of my 1st instincts and the whingers will be ignored!

Owen, it's over to you.