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April 2007

April 26, 2007

All aboard for Chigwell Village! (Broxbourne 22/4/2007)

It all started so well with the Broxbourne skipper generously agreeing to a timed game, after the now ubiquitous debate. They normally enjoy a 45 overs a side game and it soon became apparent that they were well suited to that, or frankly any other form of cricket.

Rob and Frank opened the bowling, but the openers for Broxbourne weremerciless and Frank in particular suffered a mauling - 4 overs for 50 runs -ouch! To add insult to injury he had had to watch a presentable chance go down at point early on in proceedings. Richard was brought on as first change and was also put to the sword, as the opening stand raced to 134 in the 16th over. At this point Richard claimed his first wicket for the club - a catch in the covers for James - which marked a watershed in the innings. As captain I turned to spin in the form of Allum (N) and myself to hopefully stem the ludicrous flow of runs. I had replaced Allum (R) who under the circumstances had bowled economically (6 overs for 32). Taking the pace off the ball worked well, and several of the supposed better batsmen of Broxbourne perished carelessly, safe in the knowledge that a big score was virtually inevitable. Brad took a routine catch at backward point, and then swooped in a manner reminiscent of Collingwood at his best to execute a direct hit to run out Broxbourne's number 3.

All in all Chigwell performed very well in this period of the game; Imran saved a boundary and ran into a thorn bush, suffering several nasty cuts and scratches for his devotion to the cause. He then took a fantastic catch at mid-on, sprinting from mid-wicket to dismiss the Broxbourne opener who clearly had his eye on a ton. Nick proved the class bowling act, taking 5 wickets including 2 in 2 balls at the end, leaving him on a hat-trick for next week. The penultimate wicket featured a remarkable catch at "cow corner" by James; as the ball was arcing towards him a stray tennis ball from a game of boundary cricket rolled in front of him, followed by an oblivious fielder from beyond the rope. James stood firm and pouched an excellent catch, despite the distractions. One ball and one wicket laterBroxbourne made a very fair declaration on 236 for 9 in the 40th over.

Tea was taken, it consisting of some delightful hot pizza, bread, cheese and cake - and eventually, when the milk arrived, tea. It is probably best to gloss over the Chigwell innings, but the details were; all out for 74, Rob A scoring 30, next best Charlie on 8. There were many soft dismissals, none softer than my own, batting at number 11, a full-toss gently guided back to the bowler, via a leading edge. A shame we batted so poorly after such a spirited fight-back in the field. I hope that next year we might take a slightly stronger batting line up to this fixture, and show the good people of Broxbourne that we can do a lot better.

Chigwell man of the match: Nick Allum 11.2 overs 2 maidens 36 runs 5wickets (and not out batting) - just enough to make up for the dropped catch!

April 23, 2007

Cruising; Then a Bruising (South Loughton 15/4/2007)

Summer arrived early, the cricket season arrived bang on time; suddenly we weren't talking about cricket related issues anymore, Chigwell CC was playing the first game of the season. The team assembled on time, the captain arriving twice, the second time with his shirt and match ball. Thus having proved myself a tosser, I proceeded to apply my skills further. A difficult discussion followed with the South Loughton coin spinning executive, his side wanting a 40 overs a side game, me having to explain that with Chigwell fielding a weak team, a timed game would suit better. Reluctantly, but magnanimously Andy agreed and bore the brunt of South Loughton disgruntlement. At least they were happy with batting first on a scorching April afternoon, inserted by me in time honoured tradition.

Rob A was entrusted with the first over, and Frank, on debut, with the second. After the first 8 overs the South Loughtonians were 35 for no wicket and I chugged through a few bowling alternatives in my mind. A further 8 balls later the score read 36 for 3. Rob started the party with an LBW, Frank then announced his Chigwell arrival with a wicket, Brad taking a very good catch at mid-off. In case we hadn't heard the first announcement Frank then castled the S.L. number four. It was very soon after this that I denied him a third wicket by failing to even go for a very simple catch at mid-wicket - sorry Frank! Rob claimed a second wicket courtesy of a near wide being somehow deflected onto off-stump by the hapless batter, a deserved reward for some effective bowling.

I changed the bowling at both ends after eight overs a piece, Nick at Rob's end and Alex, also on debut, replacing Frank. Nick repaid me by immediately dismissing the guy I had neglected to catch out earlier, and went on to produce the kind of quality display that sees him atop the "wickets taken" table year after year. He finished with 4 for 35. This included the final wicket to fall, that of the estimable T. Henman out for 58 in a total of 142, top scorer by 45 runs. Alex struggled a little to find the right length, but showed promise. Brad, honed by his single net session 2 months ago, bowled an economical and effective spell; 8 overs for 22 runs and 2 wickets. Assisting in this was the excellent Charles Rudkin, adding wicket-keeping to his impressive cricketing CV. He took two catches, the second, off Brad, a particularly smart piece of work down the leg-side.

The Chigwellians stepped up to the paper plates at tea confident of victory, but wary of the early season nature of the pitch - slow and a little variable in bounce. Rob A and John opened the batting, starting with due caution, eking a run an over for the first eight overs. John played the shot of the day, an exquisite extra-cover drive, but was bowled by a good ball on 15. Alex dug in for a while, but unfortunately was caught going after a full toss. Owen scored a couple before being bowled and things were looking decidedly dodgy. Nigel, showing purpose and maturity, added 60 with Rob to seemingly right the ship, but once Rob had perished for 47, to Mr. Baker, things fell apart dismally. From 102 for 3 Chigwell capsized and sank without trace, ultimately dismissed for a total of 130, losing the game by 12 runs, the aforementioned Mr. Baker claiming 5 wickets for 4 runs in 6 overs.

Thus ended an enthralling game with which to start the season. A great shame for us to lose of course, but there are plenty of positives to focus on: The bowling of Frank, Nick, Rob and Brad; the batting of Rob and Nigel; the keeping of Charlie.

Chigwell man of the match - Rob Allum

April 03, 2007

Winter Ends

The closed season has all but passed. Easter weekend is the perfect time for snorting linseed oil and scraping off the remains of September's St John's Billericay pitch from your boots.

No doubt Sir Tim Rice will be ironing his flannels, but we shall proudly iron that sticky stuff around the hem of those nylon slacks that kept falling down last season and prepare for our 2007 curtain-raiser: South Loughton, away, 2.00pm, Sunday 15th April. Book Early!