Hewitt 60, Haines 50, Dyson 40
Heaton 7.2-0-24-5, Haines 6-1-18-2, Darling 4-0-14-1
We won the toss and batted in this 40-over match.
Hewitt 60, Haines 50, Dyson 40
Heaton 7.2-0-24-5, Haines 6-1-18-2, Darling 4-0-14-1
We won the toss and batted in this 40-over match.
Heaton 57, Turnbull 25, S Jones 24
McGahan 2-1-4-2, Haines 1-0-4-2, Hewitt 5-2-15-2, Snicker 7-1-22-2
After the brilliant sunshine of the previous weekend the weather gods were not smiling upon the noble game of cricket, specifically the annual clash with the current SJC side at the second home of cricket that is Ian Madden's temple. Photos of a flooded square and outfield littered my facebook news feed, with predictions of a cancellation or delayed start being the most likely outcome. However, thanks to sterling work from the aforementioned Madden, the game would go ahead as advertised, starting at 11am with plenty of time for both sides to construct and mould their innings…
The DJs top/middle order decided not to follow this strategy, having been put into bat by the current college skipper, with one of the collapses in the history of the game. This may have been contributed to by my incessant chopping and changing of the batting order (see calamitous scorebook photo) due to a few late arrivals and the intense desire from approximately eight players to bat in the much coveted lower middle order slots. We actually got off to a decent start with Dyson and D Jones somehow racing to 29 off the first four overs, despite the wicket having more than a few demons in it. But, when Dyson uncharacteristically fell in single figures, things took a turn for the ridiculous with the FoW as follows - 30-1, 41-2, 41-3, 43-4, 47-5, 47-6, 49-7, 55-8.
I missed a lot of the dismissals unfortunately, owing to the need to put my pads on/take them off. However, from my lengthy spell in the middle and general observation from the boundary, I must say that the college side thoroughly deserved to tear through the heart of the DJs batting line up with some excellent, good old-fashioned seam up bowling, taking full advantage of the facilities in order to claim their scalps. Watching from the non-striker's end, the incredulous look on Haines' face as he left a ball pitching well outside off only to see it jag back and clip the bail was worth the admission price alone. To be fair to Ross, he had played and missed at one that seamed away the ball before, however I feel it validates my own philosophy of rarely leaving, always swinging, often missing. Having said that, not to be outdone, yours truly then proceeded to dolly up a leading edge to one Ant Hibbs for an easy caught and bowled… Et tu, Brute?
So, 55-8, Heaton and Turnbull at the crease and the college captain decided, very kindly, to take some pity on us and give a few of his less regular bowlers a chance to loosen their arms, not that this prompted a run scoring frenzy. After some discussions between myself and vc Haines, we thought the best thing to do would be to ask to be put out of our misery and maybe get in a second game later in the day. I'd love to say that this was all part of a tactical masterstroke given what was to follow, with mind games on a par with Warne in his pomp, however I can't claim that in good conscience. After letting Rog and Chris know that I was instructing the college skipper not to run donate for a couple of hours before killing us off anyway, akin to a cat playing with a terrified mouse, they proceeded to put on a masterclass in tenacity on a difficult wicket and despite the college's best efforts to dislodge them. I don't know if Paddy Power would ever consider offering odds on DJs fixtures, but I think the price on an innings total of >200 at this stage may have prompted more die-hard fan wins thousands newspaper articles than Leicester City have in recent months; then again, maybe not, as we were a sorry and pessimistic bunch on the boundary at this point and I doubt anyone would have made the bet!
Apologies for the above spoiler, but essentially yes, Heaton and Turnbull proceeded to put on a record 82 for the 9th wicket. After going from the good, to the ridiculous, to the dismal, to the flicker of hope, S Jones came to the crease and decided it was time for the sublime, with a blistering 69 run partnership for the 10th wicket* with Heaton after lunch. It was during this partnership that I'm delighted to be able to say that Heaton scored his maiden half century - I believe in his cricketing career for any side - and to score it in such trying and difficult circumstances really was fantastic on his part. Due to the fact that we were playing with 12-a-side, Snicker then came in, with the plan having been to declare at the end of the over, our 61st of the innings, and have a few overs at the college side before tea. Never one to protect his average, Heaton then proceeded to be run out on the last planned ball of the innings, finishing on 57 from (I think, may have miscounted this as I'm writing at 5am during a night shift!) 134 balls, Boycott-esque. We finished 207 all out.
I think I will take credit for this particular tactical decision, as Haines and Hewitt opened up with ruthless efficiency and devastating outcome, managing to claim three wickets in three overs before tea. Our earlier tormentor Rob Hortle from the college side was particularly unlucky in his dismissal as the ball ricocheted from pad to pad to foot to leg stump, however I'm sure Haines was delighted that, on this occasion, Hortle didn't have the last chortle. After tea the DJs continued to bowl well, with regular changes to the attack to keep things fresh; no-one came in for any particular punishment and I thought the general standard of fielding was pretty good, despite Hewitt's best impressions of a man in his mid-20s pushing 85 with an astounding lack of flexibility/willingness to bend over and stop the ball! After the early collapse there was a good deal of resistance from the college side, with some hefty and defiant blows from their number four batsman, as well as some patient run scoring from a few batsman in the middle and lower order. However, the wickets continued to fall and were shared around pretty evenly with 2 apiece for Haines, Hewitt, Snicker and McGahan. Having earlier been dismissed by Hibbs, both Darling and I had a measure of revenge by combining to see Hibbs caught at short extra cover.
It was fitting that Heaton would then come back at the end of the game for a trundle, having been thoroughly worn out by his batting exploits, to claim the final wicket of the day, dismissing the college side for a total of 145, giving the DJs an - at one stage incredibly unlikely - 62 run victory! We then proceeded to have a delicious curry courtesy of Tara, and once again we have to say thanks to both her and Ian for all of their tireless work that make coming back to play at the SJC ground the absolute pleasure and joy that it is. The festivities up at the ground proceeded long into the night, with Ian ladling out punishing doses of very spicy Phall/Fahl/Faal (there's much disagreement on the internet with regards to the spelling of this) for various arbitrary fines conjured up by the devilish minds of myself, Hibbs and Madden himself.
* It wasn't just the ninth - we broke the record for the tenth wicket too. The 69 partnership between Rog Heaton and Sam Jones beat the 52* scored in 1970 by Newbould and our esteemed Club President against a College side skippered by myself. N.B. The President maintains that, since both sides batted 12 in this match, he still holds the record for the last wicket!
Snicker 7-0-19-3, Cross 6.3-0-21-3, Heaton 7-2-10-2, S Jones 7-0-23-2
Bell 50*, D Jones 15
White 49, Hewitt 26, Bachelor 22
Pitura 7-0-34-3, Heaton 7.4-1-38-1, McGahan 8-1-41-1
This year's fixture against the Further Friars coincided with the stag weekend of Alex Page, which meant that there were extra players on hand to plug a disappointing shortfall in the DJs XI. The venue was the walled garden at Erlestoke, complete with masonry bees in one portion of the boundary. Put into bat, DJs didn't so much get off to a slow start as slow start, middle and end. None of us batsmen converted, although opener White on 49 got as close as any. Afterwards Alan said that he had been aware that there were many batsmen waiting to come in and thus had thrown the bat a bit. You can tell that he hasn't been playing for the DJs for long... Although the Friars bowling was estimable and the pitch a slight help to their cause, it was the quality of their fielding that really suppressed the run-rate. As well as plenty of young bodies on the pitch as befitted the occasion, the competitiveness that comes to the fore when males assemble to celebrate what is essentially the marking of territory kicked in. Six wickets through catches plus one run out is not to be sniffed at, and I shall spare our blushes by not looking up when our own club was last able to perform such a feat. The last thing that did for us was (now occasional) captain Bachelor getting the declaration wrong - AGAIN. It would still have been a good game had we paced ourselves for an extra 10 minutes, instead of which we hastily threw ourselves on our swords at 187 for 11 (it was a big stag party).
I have often observed that there is great variation in how teams come out of the traps with the bat. The main dichotomy is in a hurry versus no hurry. I can't say that the FF openers looked in a hurry as such, more that they just decided to hit most balls through the line and hard and high. That, plus big modern bats and a bit of decent timing, shrinks a total quickly. Pleased to have got a wicket a few damaging overs in, we soon regretted it as King came to the crease and maintained the party mood. He went on to score 104 not out, with wickets falling around him only occasionally. Ziggy Pitura - a moonlighting Friar - bowled by far the best, mainly because he was much better than he looked and used discipline in his line and length. The Friars' fielding athleticism also transferred to their batting, with any slipshod DJs fielding punished smartly. Although they had plenty of time left to bury us, the Friars managed it in three fewer overs. No great shakes, yes, but they did have six wickets in hand. In sum, though, it was super to be part of Page's last weekend as a free man. He captained with flair and his best men bettered us.
Pres Boys were double booked and gave priority to the established fixture.
The groundsman made an early call - not at all surprising given the amount of rain.
Slevison 138*, Dyson 18, Hibbs 15
McGahan 7-0-38-4, Slevison 4-0-23-1, Madison 5-0-25-1
We won the toss and batted.
We were unable to raise a side.
Hibbs 6.5-0-34-2, S Jones 6-0-26-1, Darling 4-0-26-1
E Wilman 53, Hibbs 43, H Wilman 12
Ovenden 7-4-16-2, Snicker 6-0-36-1, Hewitt 8-0-52-1
Ovenden 61, Clark 35, Madden 30
This was a 40 over match.
Thurston 2-0-6-2, Heaton 5-3-13-2, Hortle 5-0-17-1
Bachelor 71, Hortle 33*, White 30
We were the inaugural winners of the new cup.
A le Clercq 8-0-35-3, Foulds 8-0-33-2, Heaton 4-0-32-1
Foulds 29*, Heaton 27*
This was an inaugural fixture that came about owing to our playing Fleet Street Strollers (another wandering side) at Pinkneys Green. Just before the toss, I remarked to their captain that we had a stronger bowling than batting side. However, this was predicated upon Luke Thomas of the Phené turning up. He didn't, and we still don't know why. Now down to 9, Pinkneys Green graciously helped us out with a subsitute fielder and we all worked hard to cover more ground than usual. This task was made harder by two of our fielders barely being able to run and the fact that PG, as a league side, knew how to take every opportunity for scoring runs. Given this, the bowlers did a marvellous job of containing the run-rate, with Foulds striking early with help from Jones at mid-on. However, the score was at 74 before the next wicket fell. A couple of difficult catches were missed, and we were only helped by being able to manipulate the field in order to keep their only weak higher-order batsman on strike.
It then gave me great pleasure to throw the ball to Tony Ham, a founder of the DJs long since retired. Tony had calculated that, if he played in this fixture, he would have been playing cricket longer than his father had. We were all too happy to oblige; although I had never faced Tony on the pitch, I distinctly recall him giving me some net practice before going in at Crockham Hill and being astonished by the force and accuracy of his deliveries. Taken off only after he had taken a spill on the strip, I'll let Tony's figures speak for themselves: 3-1-11-0.
The second half of the innings saw more wickets fall, but, with plenty in the hutch, PG became more audacious. Le Clercq - a Phené ringer who had brought mum and dad along for support, for which we were grateful - deserves mention for the best bowling of the innings (8-0-35-3), as does Foulds for his outstanding fielding. I don't think that we were flattering ourselves when, at tea, we reflected that the total of 226 off 40 overs could've been much higher had we lost our shape in the field or if the bowlers had not strained every sinew.
Despite it being an overs game, my instructions to openers Heaton and Foulds were (bearing in mind that we were 0-2 before the first ball had been bowled) to build the innings slowly, see off as many of the 8 overs of their openers as possible and wait for any pies to rain down. They did just that, notching up an estimable 57 at the 20-overs drinks break. It then rained and didn't stop. PG were understandably loath to pull the plug on a fixture that they would probably have won, and the Duckworth-Lewis app on their skipper's phone gave him cause for considerable excitement once he had punched in the numbers. However, it being a friendly game, we shook hands on a draw and I expressed my gratitude on behalf of the Demjohns for having us along. In sum, not a great day for the Demijohns given that only 8 of us managed to get out to play: but at least we held our bearing in the face of strong opposition.