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Winners of the Middlesex and Essex Invitation League 2009 - 2012

April 28, 2008

First League Win!

April 18, 2008

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud (South Loughton 13/4/2008)

Chigwell and South Loughton's pitch were the losers as twenty-two determined men ignored all good sense and saw through a bizarre game of cricket.

"Oh boy!" we thought as the morning showers made way for a brightish start to the season opener. South Loughton won the toss and wisely decided to bat first, the odds being that the game might not go the distance. The openers hung around for quite a while, but scored at a modest pace, the slow pitch and outfield seemingly not conducive to an aggressive approach.

Although it had started bright enough one of the heavy showers promised soon arrived, and the teams left the field as heavy hail began to sting their faces. No one seemed keen to call the match off, so shortly after the rain stopped the still intact opening pair took to the field, followed by the umpires clutching a decidedly small looking bag of sawdust.

Brad and Nick bowled extremely well in their spells which spanned the hail-break. Nick bowled through his eight overs for a mere 15 runs, and saw his brother drop a tricky running chance into the bargain [It was a dolly - Ed.]. Brad went for just ten in his first five overs and took a wicket, our first of the season when Mr. Farthing misjudged a full toss, skying it to Nigel, whose safe hands held a fine catch, which was the icing on the cake of his dedicated fielding.

Brad's sixth over cost as many as his previous five, and it was clear that having preserved wickets in hand South Loughton were now poised to attack. I continued the wicket taking trend in inducing a top edge from a full toss, James holding on well at square leg.

The South African middle order, and in particular Mr. Obendaal drove the score upwards. He hit five 6's and no 4's, which showed how hard it was to score with ground shots, the wetness compounded by the lush outfield, mysteriously longer than the grass beyond the boundary.
Frank eventually dismissed the doughty Mr. Henman for 56 with, yes, a full toss - this one dipping just enough to clip the top of leg stump as Frank stifled an apology. In the last over I broke the trend by bowling the number 5 with one that pitched! The innings finished on 184, a fine total given the conditions.

Tea was well timed as the heavens re-opened and it looked extremely unlikely that play would resume. Sadly for Chigwell's dignity the sky became less grey, while the pitch was becoming Les Gray, plus all the other members of Mud.

We batted poorly, for sure, but the conditions were ludicrous. The area around the crease was awash, and foot movement, usually such a vital component of a batsman's skill, became unwise, it serving only to cause skidding and destabilisation. We probably needed tiger feet rather than spikes to bat properly on that.

Suffice to say we were all out for 63, extras top scoring with 17, me next with 16.

Was it worth it? Just about in that it was good practice in the field, and great to see some of the non-netting faces again.

So; onward and upward to league cricket. We will need a lot of strength and honour for that!

September 11, 2007

Borrowed Seamer Stitches up West Essex 9/9/2007

West Essex 9/9/2007

It was a shame for the batsmen that I failed to win the toss, as I would have batted first. Colin the West Essex skipper elected to instead and I envisaged a difficult few hours chasing the ball over the sizable outfield. I had reckoned without Roger Braithwaite, a guest from F&H, who wiped out 4 of the top 6 in an aggressive spell yielding only 12 runs in 6 overs. Rob pinned the aggressive opener, A. Ali, LBW just when it looked like he might smash a very quick and large score. After that things were always under our control and I was happy to spread the bowling around as West Essex recovered to 119 all out from being 68 for 8. John's impressive double growl appeal secured a positive LBW decision against 80 year old Stan to close the innings.

After another tea that put Old Chigs to shame, we addressed the task of scoring 120 in a maximum of 38 overs to win. No need for rushing, but Daree is a pinch-hitter and so is Richard, and both found the pitch unsuitable for such methods, particularly Richard who got a straight on that didn't bounce much. Enter James who played a great knock, his partnership with Rob realising 100 runs to win the game. The Uzi was certainly firing and James used it sublimely to score 60, even having the nous to pick out 80 year old Stan for the one chance he offered. We won by 7 wickets with 13.3 overs to spare. Rob finished on 37 not out, a well judged anchor role given the low total required.

After the game Rob Allum was presented with the president's cup, which he won last season. The absence of a club dinner robbed him of a more formal presentation, but his sheer weight of runs and excellence at catching, not to mention his parsimony with the ball made him a deserving winner.

September 03, 2007

GPR Settle for Draw after BGC Ton 2/9/2007

Gidea Park & Romford 2/9/2007

A decent batting line up, so I decided, on winning the toss to bat first (for once). John and Rob faced a decent opening attack, and with John's favourite spot at backward point astutely blocked after one crashing boundary a slow but steady start was made. After 19 overs John fell for 28 with the score on 60 and Rob was joined by DaRee, our Caribbean guest. After a period of trying to swing Nigel's railway sleeper DaRee called for a lighter bat, and reluctantly I had to proffer my own underused blade. So mixed feelings for me as the scoring rate suddenly exploded. From 73 for 1 off 25 overs we eventually reached 245 for 3 in 42 overs, taking 2 hours 50 mins. Rob finished on 122 not out, Daree smashed a brutal 58, with a short break mid-innings when he felt unwell. It was a superb century by Rob, who more than made up for a careful start by smashing 4 sixes and numerous fours towards the end of his knock. Some GPR players felt we had gone on too long, but I was keen to exceed last years total which brought us a draw with the scores level in a game we had looked like losing.

With Rob having batted through our innings I couldn't really open with him, and with Adam carrying an injury and Zarghum fresh back from a 2 month holiday, our opening attack lacked penetration. Zarg did take a wicket eventually, but only 3 wickets were to fall in total as GPR initially raced away, then inexplicably stopped trying to win, ending up only 20 or so short of our total. Their opener scored a century too, 121 not out, but refused numerous singles and went through a long period of not attempting any aggressive shots. We bowled 42 overs, which was the same number as we had received; an asking rate of 5.88 per over, which is not excessive on that flat track. Still, at least we didn't offer them the draw...

August 29, 2007

Wanstead Haven't the Heart to See it Through 26/8/2007

Wanstead 26/8/2007

Won the toss and inserted Wanstead on the grounds that they were likely to be a stronger team than us. This proved to be an unpopular choice with some. I'm not sure if their score of 271 for 8 after 2 and three-quarters hours made it a wise call or not. I took 4 wickets, which ameliorated my boredom if no one else's.

In reply we faltered badly at the start of the innings, which soon left us with no chance whatsoever of winning the game, so we had a bit of fun - Harv scoring 31 not out - until Wanstead grew bored and offered us the draw with 4 overs to go and 6 wickets down! I've never seen that before, but a very Wanstead move. It caused dismay and dis-harmony in our dressing room, Nick upset that Harvey had accepted the offer. I don't think Harvey was at fault excepting that he should really have consulted Nick as his batting partner, however if repeated in any future game, I think the offer should be rejected as a matter of principle.

So Bore draw...

August 22, 2007

Chigwell dazzle in the drizzle (Hainault & Clayhall at Home 19/8/07)

The prospects were not good. Heavy rain overnight showed no sign of relenting, although the forecast had been for showers, albeit prolonged and heavy. After a typically late Sunday breakfast I toddled down to Old Chigs to survey the damage. The rain grudgingly stopped as I arrived and with the possibility of Jim cutting a strip near the higher and drier end of the square, I took the decision to "give it a go".

The unlikeliness of any play had had its effect on the team. Owen had completed a monopoly board pub-crawl - 26 pints from Mayfair to Whitechapel (he missed Old Kent Road). This led him to text James on Saturday night saying he would be in no fit state for Sunday, and that he was "on a promise". Sadly for Owen his excessive consumption of alcohol made whoever it was withdraw this promise; no doubt Owen would have asked if he should stop touching her at that point.

Meanwhile Dom, the ex-bun butterer, having completed the sale of his and Tilly's café, led the normally retiring Tim M wildly astray, until they eventually crashed at 6.00am, confident that the rain had ensured Sunday would be cricket free. How they must have enjoyed my text at 11.30 advising them that we were still going to play! At least they made it, albeit on the cusp of lateness, a feat not attempted by the Hairy Love Monster.

I won the toss and after wide consultation decided to bowl. The pitch was damp, but actually held up pretty well considering; the bounce was generally consistent and there was no extravagant lateral movement. A rather ashen Dom opened the attack, Adam firing the bullets at the other end. A brave but mis-timed pull by the H&C opener, E. Alexander, soon brought the first wicket, Charlie comfortably catching him at mid on. This was Dom's first wicket, but despite his usual classy bowling no more came for him in this spell. M. Shinn, the number three bat, showed attacking intent, but picked out Tim with a slap to extra-cover, to give Adam a wicket.

The classiest looking batsman was undoubtedly the number 4, F. Alexander. He played some lovely shots and looked good enough to take the game way from us, but thankfully on 25 he decided to advance down the wicket to Mitz, yorked himself, and was bowled. Rob A replaced Dom at the plum end, but for once went unrewarded for his efforts. The day before he had claimed 6 wickets for a single run (which he claims was actually an unsignalled leg bye) when playing for the F&H thirds, so his wicketlessness came as a bit of a surprise. Even more surprising was the fact that Nick wasn't given a bowl, instead Brad and Charlie in tandem claimed 2 wickets apiece. Brad broke a blossoming relationship between the remaining opener, B. Hoskins, and P. Shinn, the latter caught by me at mid off when I dived forwards and just got my fingers under the ball. Two steps forward when the ball was in flight might have made it easier! Brad's other wicket was B. Hoskins, finally departing for 39, caught behind by James. He nobly walked, (it's good to walk), although the umpire was in the throes of turning the appeal down. Lucky he went or there might have been an eruption.

Charlie's first wicket was from his first ball, a wide one outside off. S. Glasse did extremely well to reach it at all, and again prevented a lot of controversy by walking, the umpire mysteriously claiming that he had called a wide before the batsman hit it! A routine stumping for James secured Charlie's second wicket and H&C stood at 103 for 7.

A period of quiet cricket followed as a necessary reconstruction was attempted by our opponents. I replaced Brad, but proved ineffectual and by the standards of the innings, expensive. Fearing they might extend the innings to compensate for the low score I brought back Dom and Mitz, who efficiently polished off the innings . Mitz bowled Mike, their skipper for a hard earned 22, and Dom took the last two wickets, the batsmen by then trying to hit every ball. U. Shafiq tried tracking him, but sent a catch to me at mid off. The innings closed courtesy of a fine catch by Nick at third man off a skied slash outside off stump by D. Austrey, who had also grafted well for 22 runs. Nick's catch rounded off a much improved display in the field; hopefully this improvement will be sustained until the end of the season.

We experienced a really dreadful tea - it has become so embarrassing to have to ask for £35 from the opposition for the dried unimaginative excuse for decent tuck; we will have to raise this issue - again - with our landlords.

An all Allum opening pair were first to reply for Chigwell. Nick having missed out on a bowl was delighted to receive the ball of the day, which uprooted his off stump; at least I think he was, as he thanked me profusely on his return to the gallery. Enter Richard, and the entertainment commenced. An innings which combined swish and swashbuckle, interesting buttock swaying (avoiding the leg side deliveries) and exquisite hand eye co-ordination, produced six fours and a glorious 6 before he was caught at deep mid on. He had scored 35 by then, and had entertained us all royally. James was unable to match this feat and perished caught & bowled attempting a back foot force. Rob had assumed the anchor role and was happy to see Tim arrive at the crease. Despite Rob taking the majority of the strike for the early part of his innings Tim went through the gears and chalked up an imperious 50 before Rob made an unfortunate call and ran him out. By this time however the game was up, and Adam and Rob finished things off without further drama - except a slight confusion as to the point at which the H&C score had been exceeded, which resulted in us facing one more delivery than was strictly necessary. Rob finished on 39 not out. The innings closed with some 14 or 15 overs to spare in a persistent drizzle, which rather dampened the victory celebrations.

A fine team performance by ten man Chigwell, and a victory by 6 wickets.

Richard's innings was superb, but man of the match goes to Tim for his 2 wickets, his catch and his excellent half century.

August 15, 2007

Chigwell Crawl, Three Caps Soar (Home 12/8/2007)

Paul asked me how we did against Three Caps on Sunday 12th August. This was my reply...

Terribly! I think our performances are steadily declining, and there was a definite defeatist feel to the aftermath. We need to bounce back and quickly from this mire, and I hope to begin that process next Sunday.

We did score 190, but it took 3 hours – albeit only 42 overs were bowled in that time. Three Caps won by 9 wickets and no catches were taken. A series of what transpired to be duff decisions by me as captain didn’t help either – especially not bowling Adam enough, which will be corrected next time…

That will have to serve as the match report - It's always great to play cricket, but some games are best forgotten.

July 31, 2007

Hey-Ho Me Cricket! Woodford Green is the Place....29/7/2007

After all our years of local cricketing endeavour we finally got to play on the oldest cricket ground still being used when Woodford Green CC welcomed us to their historic home. A cricket field since 1735 the venue will have seen few more comprehensive victories than our 9 wicket win, and not many more frustrated batsmen than Richard, the Chigwell number 4 who never got to build on his swashbuckling effort of the previous week.

The suggested early arrival for fielding practice never quite materialised, leaving Frank and I to make the most of the opportunity to fling the practice ball about, and bruise each other's hands.

Unsure of the standard of the opposition and the reliability of the pitch, I won the toss and chose to field. We were rather short of batting, and were down to ten men as Imran had called at one o'clock to report a hamstring injury, suffered that morning playing football (vile game!). I planned to give Rob a fairly short spell as opener, supported by Frank at the other end, but Rob bowled well and justified his 10 overs. Frank was unlucky in that he continually bowled to the more aggressive batsman, who swiped a couple of sixes over the short offside boundary. He might have holed out had I placed myself right on the boundary rather than 10 yards in, or if I were a few inches taller.

Alan the Woodford Green skipper perished to a catch at slip by me, a real rarity, and the result of canny planning by Rob. With the ball and the conditions right for swing bowling, Ritchie replaced Frank, and caused problems straight away. It took a while for the second wicket to fall however, and the score had progressed fairly rapidly into the eighties before the BGC finally got to bowl to the aggressor, who almost immediately fell to a well taken return catch. This wicket seemed to break open the floodgates and Chigwell began to claim regular victims. Rob finished his 10 over spell with 3 wickets for 27 runs. Ritchie claimed two victims, the second a superb piece of work by James to stump an overbalancing batsman. Brad bowled an economic 5 overs for 16 runs, his one wicket (a smart slip catch by Rob) prompting Monty Panesar like celebrations. He was unfortunate to be taken out of the attack, but I figured the pitch looked good for spin, and the slope meant that Nick had to have that end. Nick probably didn't bowl at his best, a few short ones being dispatched to the square leg boundary, but he did claim the important wicket of the Woodford Green number three, who through the carnage, had racked up a respectable 77. He was bowled, beaten in the fight by a floated delivery. Having seen each of my previous two overs - one bowled to Joe Rudkin and one to Graham Hancock - dispatched for 20 runs each, I was delighted to find a responsive pitch and less talented batsmen when I started my spell. The innings ended with me taking successive wickets, one with a long-hop (LBW) and one with a ball that was so wide the umpire still signalled it despite the batsman somehow managing to hit it back to me for a caught and bowled. The umpire changed his signal and the innings closed on 161 - a good recovery by the Chigs, and a distinctly gettable total.

In the end it was a very comfortable Chigwell innings, Rob and Adam putting on a stand of 133 for the first wicket. Adam true to form was the more cautious of the pair, but eventually was out for 46. Rob progressed to 87 not out at the close, with James, the only other Chigwellian given the chance to bat, making a comfortable 14, including the winning hit for four.

Woodford Green were amiable hosts, and a few beers were sunk in very good company. A good performance from the ten man Chigwell team; most catches were held and the bowlers exploited the conditions well.

Man of the match: Rob Allum - 87 not out, 3 wickets for 27 and 2 catches...

July 24, 2007

Adam the Rock as Chigwell Stodge a Draw (Coopersale Away 22/7/2007)

A nice day, but the game was rather poor due mainly to the "village rules" that removed 30 minutes from the game and discouraged a sensible declaration from Coopersale. Village rules mean that the first side bats for 2 hours 30 mins, the second side gets an hour and then "the last hour" - almost invariably 20 overs - to bat. I suppose it is possible for the first side to declare, but that doesn't usually happen, so whereas a side getting to 250 by, say, 4.30 in a normal timed game would declare early and have longer to get the wickets, Coopersale had only 36 overs to get us out, and were unable to open up the game sufficiently to keep us interested…

We were set 246 to win, and once we had made a slow start we clearly had no chance of winning, and stodged it out. Graham Hancock wasn’t best pleased with our game plan, but what can you do when it's impossible to win? It was a bit like the good old days of Coopersale, when the team seemed to be totally dependant on GH - just as well he isn't quite fit to bowl or he might have added a few wickets to his 91 off not many balls, including 20 off the only over I bowled. He did have support from Coopersale's number three, who had set the ball rolling earlier with a meaty slogging session, surviving at least two presentable chances which were shelled by Richard and myself. Indeed our fielding was generally poor, and we really are capable of much better. Perhaps we should arrive early for the Woodford Green game and practice.

Notable Chigwell performances came from Richard, who was given free rein, and used it to smash 36 runs, and Adam, who despite cat-calls from the boundary urging a more aggressive approach, followed the captain's preferred route and left the wide ones, of which there were many. Adam was finally out seeking 9 runs from the last over to get to 50. Nick and I consolidated our averages and we finished on 179 for 7.

We enjoyed the warm hospitality of Coopersale, and the cold lager of their fridge, whilst mulling over the rather inadequate nature of the day's cricket. Still, after all the games we have lost to the weather this summer it was a pleasure simply to take to the field.

Man of the match: Adam Peters, our new member!

July 12, 2007

Hadley Wood Grin - Then Groan (10/7/2007)

T'was a happy band of Chigsters who arrived in sunshine at the Hadley Wood Cricketing Arena. Everyone was on time and all were eager to make up for the loss of our previous two fixtures to the June Monsoons.

I won the toss and reverted to type - bowl first. HWG are notoriously difficult to bowl out, so I considered our best chance of winning was to chase a score, not wickets. Considering the weather of the previous 3 weeks the pitch looked pretty good too.

Mike Davey and Jim Wallace opened the batting with Zarghum and Adam Peters having first go with the ball. Both bowled well, with Adam in particular finding a degree of swing and the edge of the bat several times. Jim seemed to be living a charmed life as the ball whistled through the slip/gulley area on several occasions, but never to a fielder. The HWG openers scored at a reasonable rate, a run a minute for the first hour, until eventually Mike's wicket fell, bowled by a corker from Richard "scar face" Hannan in the middle of a decent spell.

Jim, having ridden his luck, made the most of his opportunity and took his score beyond 50. Mike De Villiers, aka (to us) Cruella, batted steadily but never quite got going. Pete claimed his wicket in the end, Nigel pouching the first of two catches which helped to make up for his earlier drop. There followed a productive spell for Chigwell as wickets fell and runs were scored slowly. Brad had Jim caught at gully for 70, while Dan, HWG skipper went for a duck, unable to cope with the drift and turn of his Chigwell counterpart. I finished with 3 for 19 from 9 overs, which was flattering, but I'll take it! The tonk was on for the last few overs; HWG clearly had a target of 200 in mind and declared on that score. Some Chigwellians thought the innings had gone on an over or two too long, but subsequent events made Dan's decision seem justified.

The usual fine tea was scoffed, and we contemplated scoring 201 in about 40 overs.
"Five an over, we can do that..." was the vibe of the eager Chigwell leather-beaters. Before long however victory seemed extremely unlikely; John departed to the first ball of the innings, Mr. Turner doing his stuff as usual. Rob A followed, out to an ugly swipe across the line. A short innings for the BCG, and I'd not asked him to bowl either, so an unusually quiet game for him. Nigel followed for a duck and the score was 14 for 3. We'd been here before! The fourth wicket pair was Adam and James, a lot rested on their shoulders. They bore the weight superbly and gradually but unmistakably the balance of power began to shift. Both posted half centuries in a stand of 108, it taking a marvellous piece of fielding by MDV to end the partnership, Adam run out for 60. 122 for 4 became 122 for 5 when Pete joined John and Nigel in the duck pond.

The run rate was still at 5 an over thanks to Adam and James, and as I joined James we felt positive about our chances. To my relief I found that the ball seemed to be finding the middle of the bat, and that the bowling offered sufficient opportunity to score at the required rate. Dave Turner returned and I did find that he was reasonably quick, and could indeed move the ball, one or two jaffas seaming away from my groping edge. James mixed prudence with bludgeonry, while we both survived the odd chance that, if taken, might have exposed our tail, although I think we had enough talent in that tail to finish the job.

So it came to pass that we needed 3 more runs to win from 3 overs and one ball. I saw that one ball out with a strange nothingy shot, but as the field changed the thought occurred to me for the first time that James might be within reach of his century. He struck the first ball of the antepenultimate over through wide mid-off; we ran hard, wanting to finish the game on that delivery. We thought the excited shouts from the boundary were solely in anticipation of our excellent victory, but no! They were also in celebration of James registering his 3rd Century for the club - 101 not out; a really fine innings, and a matching winning effort. I scored 33 in our unbroken stand of 79 for the sixth wicket, captain and vice-captain bringing home the bacon.

So the mood was jolly as we exposed our pants to the Hadley Wood air, changing back into our civvies on the outfield. Nobody could quite be bothered to shower at the tennis club where we go for drinks after the match, so we were home, but not hosed on this occasion. Hadley Wood were gracious hosts as always. A pleasant bottle of beer or two were quaffed, many as part of James "jug", which must have been expensive. I only hope being awarded man of the match for his dazzling ton helps compensate him.