Saturday, 27 August 2016

Taking the chill outta Compton

And so to Farmborough, for the final home match of the season against the gentlemen of Chilcompton. Presently, our good Captain Iggy did wager upon the toss of a coin, but lost the call and was invited by the Captain of Chilcompton to take to the bat beneath an angry sky, though we with some confidence were in hopes of having some fair weather.

Brother Angelo and Prince Raj took armour and walked forth to the wicket, which they found to be much green, with not a little wet hay lying within the boundary's edge. Proceeding with caution, the former was the first to fall when the bowler fiendishly broke his wicket before he had established himself. Hither came Dr Avery to staunch the wound, making good sport with the ball, in the not inconsiderable humidity and forging with Prince Raj a slow but bountiful partnership, broken by the good arm of an opposition man and apparent slumber or weariness of the batmen.

Following Dr Avery's departure for 26, Sir Ahad joined his companion, who was playing most prettily, and proceeded in an exceedingly thrilling manner, smiting the leather into the air, to and indeed over the boundary line, on two occasions for a most gratifying 7 runs. Both men made most merry in acquiring half centuries, running swiftly betwixt the wickets and accelerating the progress, until Prince Raj lost a stump for 62 and Sir Ahad played a ball into the opposition's hands for 58.

Mr Robert was unfortunate, but magnanimous and not overly vexed to be dismissed for a golden duckling, as his valiant attempt to continue the team's progress resulted in the propulsion of his first ball straight up into the sky towards the orbs and down again into safe hands. Professor Adam and Captain Iggy added a few more valuable runs until the culmination of the allotted 40 overs, at which point we were much pleased to have amassed 219-6.

And so to tea, which we had very finely and in great plenty thanks to Mr CBS, who delighted us with both traditional and exotic Mediterranean fayre.

Thence to field, bowl and defend out total: The Landlord and Mr Robert were entrusted with the the new leather and so it was with some dismay that the first ball of the innings was struck firmly above the bowler's outstretched arms for a boundary. Mr Robert bowled admirably well and true with much pace from the bottom end and soon after The Landlord had bowled one opener for a duckling, Mr Oliver displayed much agility in catching an edge from Mr Robert's bowling to remove the other.

The Landlord hit the timbers again to dismiss another duckling, but in so doing dislodged the bail with much force into Master Oliver's chest, whose inky hieroglyphics were revealed in full glory as he disrobed to inspect the damage. It was then a goodly sight when Mr Robert shortly afterwards did also break the wicket, leaving the gentlemen of Chilcompton anguished and deflated at 40-4. Mr Robert then displayed splendid trickery in the propulsion of the ball at a lesser velocity than was expected by another batter, whose stumps were hitherto broken by said deadly cunning.

Master Oliver did execute a second catch when the batter struck a ball delivered by Mr CBS high aloft, whence converged no less than four gentlemen with a mind to taking the ball for his own, yet Master Oliver heartily proclaimed aloud that it was his, hitherto safely pouching the ball. Mr CBS did proceed thence to deliver further deceitful balls, some floated airily, others most directly and was hitherto fruitful with a further two wickets, thanks in part to a collusive catch by Dr Avery. Prince Raj was as deft with ball as with bat and most crucially did prevent the Chilcomptonians from advancing in a threatening manner.

Father Ray, having not been required to yield the willow, was called upon to bowl, whereupon he deigned not to be parted from his hat, which did remain atop his head with much adherence. Before the passing of many grains of sand in the hour glass, did he thereupon trick the batter to tap the ball unwisely into the capable hands of Mr CBS. In the meantime, some of our number did heartily chuckle, calling to mind pots and black kettles, on hearing Professor Adam admonish an umpire for the use of coarse language.

And finally did the Captain himself take the leather in the 28th over and on the 2nd ball thereupon did pierce the waftings of an inadequately yielded willow, to hit the ash and end the proceedings, with the good men of Easton victorious by the margin of 108 runs.

And so all being done did most of us retire to the nearby hostelry at The Butcher's Arms for ale with some of the vanquished Chilcomptonians, where little of good nor evil was exchanged betwixt the two parties. On the departure of the latter, did we heartily thank Dame Erika and peruse her meticulous tally book, casting votes for the Gentleman of the Match and the Apple Cider Moment, which were thereto adjudged to be Sir Ahad, for his might with the willow, and Master Oliver, for his deftness with the gloves.

And on again to The Plough for more ale, where Brother Angelo had kindly provided us with well cooked potatoes and a most pleasing red sauce.


Saturday, 13 August 2016

Bolts Bats

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Saturday, 23 July 2016


Sat XI v Grendel (H)

"Grendel is one of three antagonists in the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf (AD 700–1000) usually depicted as a monster or a giant. Grendel is feared by all but Beowulf." (Wikipedia)

Late July and the hogweed is high around the lanes of Farmborough where the Cowboys take on the monster. RT1 wins the toss and opens the bowling with Iggy on a flat, sun-baked track offering little help to the bowler. The opening batsmen are solid and hard hitting and manage to accumulate at about four an over, aided by a fast outfield and some inflexible Cowboy spines. RT1's unlucky not to cling on to a sharp return catch but eventually breaks the partnership in his penultimate over. Iggy sends down a couple of maidens and has a few fruitless shouts but remains wicketless.

Michael replaces RT1 from the top end with his parabolic run up and your correspondent shuffles in from the other. Having knocked last week's scab off his knee, he's now bleeding from a shaving related injury and there's more blood around than at the BRI Haematology department. Happily, he bowls 'a dirty grubber' in his first over to remove the other opener and gets his trumpet out to announce his 100th league wicket, then puts it away quickly when demands for a jug are voiced.

Pokemons are becoming easier to catch than a ball off Michael's bowling and the big man is unlucky and disheartened not to claim a scalp during his tidy spell, although later earns a Cider nomination for his 'Oscar-worthy strop'. Iggy gets in on the Cider too, with his should-have-gone-to-Specsavers moment, adjusting his sunglasses while the ball plopped to ground nearby. Ollie also sips from the Cider cup, with some stumping-related aggro after the umpire was too slow to notice the batsman's raised foot.

The monster's getting away a bit, cruising past 150 for the loss of two wickets, but then Westy gets his darts throw out to execute a run out and Ollie takes a stumping, the first of three, in Ev's first over. The monster has several heads however and keeps thrashing about until the final over, knocking the usually economical Raj for a few and despite Ev taking four wickets from his first three overs with some floaty, flighted guile. Still, the Cowboys do well to restrict Grendel to 192 and take all ten wickets, with another couple of run outs and the aforementioned stumpings.

With a wholesome tea, Iggy shows everyone how to feed the five thousand with a trip to Lidl and still turn a profit.

Adam and Raj pad up and go out to bat while everyone else ponders the scariness of the monster's seven foot opening bowler. Fortunately, his height is more impressive than his speed and the batsmen negotiate the first few overs while keeping up with the run rate until Adam goes, caught behind. Westy joins Raj and looks solid and comfortable until he's bowled in the 12th over with the total approaching 50.

AJ, playing his first innings at Farmborough, helps Raj add 81 for the next wicket as the pair seem unruffled by the Grendel attack, which is leaking some helpful extras. Ev meanwhile shows that he's no Beowulf, cowering with his pads on and bleating about the fiery monster as the scorer unwisely tries to multitask and join in with Westy's now obligatory Torygraph quiz. When AJ departs LBW in the 27th over, the Cowboys have reached 128-3 and Raj has accumulated another assured, elegant half-century. Happy takes a different approach, flailing his sword at the monster and occasionally connecting, smiting three boundaries until he loses his stumps: 150-4 in the 30th. Ev has by now conquered his demons and even Michael is smiling, fortified by some red stripes.

It now seems entirely likely that the Cowboys will overhaul their target and it's even possible that Raj will reach his ton, but selfishly Ev scores 9 runs and leaves his partner on 93 not out. The monster is dead and Grendel is feared by none, especially Man of the Match Raj.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

View From The Grand Stand

                      1st Test Day 4, before the wheels came off: Yasir Shah to Alex Hales.


Saturday, 25 June 2016

The numbers game

E.C.C.C. Sat XI v Chilcompton 2nd XI

Right, turn over your papers. If a= the angle of rain, b= Gareth Bale c= a cheese bap and d=the distance to Glastonbury, when's the correct time to come off the pitch for rain?

Arriving at Chilcompton to find the opposition engaged in some kind of weird rope twisting ritual, which Ev had been watching with fascination for half an hour, instead of unblocking the toilet like any good Polish plumber would have done, it was decided that what with the recent drizzle and forecast for worse, the match would comprise 30 overs a side.

RT1 and Ev opened the bowling and supported by some tidy fielding, gave away little to trouble the krypton factor scoreboard as the match trundled along at a 0-0 draw. Conceding a miserly five runs from his five overs, RT1's mathematics were binary and easily understood, while Ev fared almost as well in a great spell, with the runs, if not the pitch, drying up. The opposition skipper had said that the pitch was 'dry as a bone', although it appeared to some that the bone might have belonged to a prehistoric bog man buried in peat for several millennia.

The drizzle had become a bit of a pain by the time Iggy and your correspondent took over, liberally mulching the bowling crease with sawdust in an effort to stay upright in the delivery stride. RT1, whose whites had failed the Daz challenge before the match, further tested the efficacy of Proctor & Gamble's formula while executing some brilliantly spirited chases and stops on the mid-off boundary, while fearless Phil blocked some mighty thwacks at extra cover. 

Iggy mixed it up and made the breakthrough, hitting the top of off stump with a pearler. Chancing a back of the hand slower ball, your correspondent duped the new batsmen into a lofted drive to mid on, where Bolts hared in, aquaplaned and gobbled a fine catch. (Another slower delivery on the last ball of his spell duped nobody and the batsman gleefully launched it over mid wicket for six) From the other end, a fine mess ensued when the batsman hoiked a ball from Iggy high into the covers, where three converging fielders each waited for someone else to call for the ball, which eventually plopped to earth between them. How Iggy chuckled.

Spav had a couple of overs from the pavilion end, the best balls of which beat or tied the batsmen up, the remainder blasted towards the boundary as the opposition attempted to bolster their meagre total. Michael passed the edge a few times, inducing a couple of snicks behind, one of which was expertly snaffled by Ollie to great jubilation and relief (the other, flying at an uncomfortable height to Iggy at slip was not). The next ball he trapped the incoming batsman with a dubious LBW and on his hat trick ball "only missed the stumps by that much", as he reminded the batsman later. Bolts nearly took another great catch near the deep mid-on boundary, but having done almost all the work, clocked off early before the ball was safely in his hands. Happy did very well to keep the runs down in the final overs of the innings as the opposition accelerated to 118-4 after 30 overs.

Tea was taken in the swanky new pavilion, if swanky is having four flat screen tellys but no working toilet in the changing room and tea is a noun encompassing grated cheese in a white bap, interchangeable with a bag of sawdust. Nice cake though.

Phil and Bolts opened the Cowboys' innings and set about chasing what in ordinary circumstances would have been a straight four an over, but with rain around it was looking unlikely that all the overs would be completed and some sought clarification of the revised target. Bolts was looking good until tickling one down leg which the keeper was as surprised as anyone to snaffle as it came back down the slope into his glove.

Ev batted with determination - determination not to miss any of Wales' progress in the footy against Northern Ireland. He succeeded, heading off to put his feet up infront of the telly with the score on 0-0. Iggy was bowled for not many, Phil fell after a patient innings for quite a few more but after 19 overs the intensity of the rain forced the players from the field, the covers were fetched and wheeled into place and most eyes turned to the footy. Eventually it stopped, the rain too, with a promising patch of clear sky to the south-west, conjured up by the mystics of Glastonbury, who weren't about to let it drift away towards us. Play resumed under leaden skies and in no time the drizzle started again, becoming heavier, vibes cyclonic. Happy played straight, but down the wrong line of a ball he was attempting to wallop into the pavilion.

It was by now vaguely decreed and generally understood that having passed the 20 overs mark, all that the Cowboys had to do, should the game not reach its full conclusion, was to keep ahead of the opposition's run rate in the corresponding over of their innings. We'd been handed the wrong examination paper. Adam and Spav carried things along, looking like they had things covered, knocking off four or five an over with some thumping shots off the bad balls and correct, unpenetrable defence to the better ones. So much of the match had been played in the rain and both batsmen were apparently coping so well that it seemed quite possible that the opposition's total would be overhauled, After 24 overs, in heavy drizzle, as the scorebook began to liquify to a pulp and the scoreboard attempted to read 91-5, RT1 called the players from the field, albeit under the impression that the Cowboys were ahead of the required run rate and victorious, but also because it was just too wet to play cricket.

The atmosphere in the fetid, heated, windowless changing room worsened and aside from the gurgling of a malfunctioning toilet, an uncomfortable silence descended as the Cowboys discovered that although they'd got their sums right, they were doing the wrong sums. It turned out that they had left the field three runs short of the required total at 24 overs, which was not the same as the opposition's score at the same point. Several opposition players had known this all along and although hardly racing through their overs they were surprised by the off field call to abandon the match. At least this will NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN ever, now that we're all aware of the rules, have access to a digital abacus and are de-evolving into amphibious creatures.

Adam was nominated Man of the Match for an assured knock of 30 in testing conditions and Bolts may have won the Cider Moment for the catch which he caught.

Hi mate,

Iggy opened the Cowboys innings with Phil. Apart from that, wicked mate.



Saturday, 11 June 2016