Sat 29 September - Pinewood

September 30, 2020 on 3:02 pm | In Friendly Match Reports | 1 Comment

Many epics have been made at Pinewood. This was the one about the brave band of heroes, assembled at short notice from an unlikely cast of characters, that goes out and, against all the odds, gets slaughtered pointlessly.

It was 11 a.m. and a day of fluffy white clouds was forecast for Kent. Pat sat in his driveway idly raising and lowering the roof of his Porsche, admiring the precision engineering and waiting for the pubs to open. In his den Robert the Developer lovingly spread out the plans of the elegant Georgian residence that, in his mind’s eye, was already a block of bijou flatlets. Ageing Hack lolled with his feet on his desk whittling his keyboard, lazily trying out adjectives that might come in useful for the next day’s contest with Halstead.

Suddenly the phone rang. ‘Control, Hazardous Activities On Saturday’ came the voice. ‘Scramble, scramble!’

‘Why’

‘Well I left a message for Jerry saying that we couldn’t raise a sortie today but they didn’t pick it up til just now so it would be dashed bad form not to fight them’.

‘******** **** *** **** Fockers at 12 o clock’.

‘Sorry chaps. Plumstead wing is already airborne so we’re committed’.

‘***@@! Who’s my wing man?’

‘Great little chap. Never been in a plane before. Can’t really see out of the cockpit, but you’ll love him. If he turns up. Not quite sure. Tally Ho!’

The trailer for this film is played to the music from the great escape. It shows Sree dancing down the wicket to strike a mighty six then smiling shyly at what he’s done; next there’s Dave, the grizzled veteran, turning his arm over with the ease borne of experience and – in contrast – the new recruit, Alex Haysler, leaping in youthful delight as his leg break defeats a batsman twice his size and three times his age. Pat gives a gunslinger’s look as, with bewildering speed, he traps the ball under his foot, flicks it up to his hand and spears it in, leaving the enemy troops floundering comically in mid wicket. Thud! Thud! Thud! Behind the stumps Psycho Bob’s gloves account for victim after victim whilst he wears a sinister smile and then, in a change of mood, looks on tenderly as son George picks up a ball for the first time in Shoreham’s cause. And who’s this writing it all down in his notebook? Why it’s Miles Walker. Panning even further down we see the tops of two little helmets as Vineet and Harry (infant sons of Sree and Bob) capture our hearts capering around in equipment that’s far too big for them.

All this is unbearably poignant as, somehow, you know that they’re all going to perish except one.

When the feature starts our fears are grimly realised as the flawed heroes who have somehow won our hearts are eliminated one by one, sometimes in bizarre ways, as their objective slips agonisingly out of reach. In the final scene just the two little boys bravely stand against the might of the remorseless war machine. A crowd of Kentish peasants that was at first hostile has been won over by this plucky display and boos as one of the lads is struck and realises for the first time that this game is played with a hard ball. An end to innocence. Even now it seems that they’re going to make it as our diminutive heroes play out over after over until we’re down to the very last. Can there possibly be a happy ending?

But out of the gathering gloom a James Trick–like figure looms. The horror!

- Wyn

Match Facts:

Number of Shoreham players:
Number of Shoreham players aged 8:
Average age of five youngest Shoreham players:
Condition of pitch:
Catches taken by Bob the Wicketkeeper:
Number of bowlers used by Shoreham:
Best bowling figures:
 
 
 
Top score:
Number of overs seen out by Harry and Vineet:
Number of balls by which we failed to draw the match:
Heroes of the day:

10
2
10.4 years
Pudding
3
10
Sree
Dave
Bob
Alex H
Sree
6
4
Harry and Vineet

 
 
 
 
 
 
7 - 2 - 8 - 1
7 - 2 - 11 - 1
2 - 0 - 17 - 1
5 - 1 - 16 - 1
28

Sat 22 September - Knockholt

September 23, 2020 on 10:17 pm | In Friendly Match Reports | 4 Comments

One, two, Sree. That’s how elementary it got to be. Our late season visitor made it almost a one-man show: topping the batting, fielding sharply, bowling tidily and taking two outstanding catches, the first dismissing Knockholt’s top scorer at a point where they were threatening to mount a real challenge and the second sealing victory by snapping up the wicket of their No. 11.

Knockholt were, as ever, worthy and welcome opposition. Probably the most notable feature of their performance was that they were by far the best team that we have played all season at finding the ball. We gave them a reasonable amount of practice but they were up to every challenge and their mean retrieval time of 27.8 seconds plus the fact that they didn’t lose a single ball speaks highly of how well honed an outfit they are.

Shoreham batted first. Paul of course is a shoo in to open. I don’t know if it was just me but this week the steely grey of his hair and the close cut made him look very Germanic. So Von Styles took his place at the head of the order. Ve developed a cunnink plen to confuse der opposition. Sri played von, Von played two, Nicholas Valker played sri und four und there var anuzzer Valker efter zat. Knockholt countered with three Reemans, two Harpers, a Finn and a Fenn scattered through their line-up but it proved insufficient!

The opening partnership between Von and Sree (Or should it be two? You see now how cunning our strategy vos?) was broken on 65 by an lbw decision that was regarded as generous to our visitors by the boundary commentators. Paul returned to the pavilion with 20 to his name and Nick Walker senior replaced him. Sree was by now scoring heavily off a respectable bowling attack and put together a good looking 70. Next, Nick Walker junior joined his namesake but the burdens of captaincy obviously detracted from his personal performance and he lobbed up an easy catch. Ed then maintained the Walker quotient at the crease until his Dad eventually heard the sticks rattle behind him after a rapid 51. Ageing Hack joined Ed and managed to stay until the end. Ed announced that it was time to hit out and achieved the ‘out’ bit next ball. Graham then arrived at the crease, took up his familiar baseball stance and despatched the next ball for four but he too perished in the chase for late runs.

Robert the Developer, apparently unflattered by his new sobriquet, strode to the crease, forearms bulging and determined to redeem his reputation. He had only one ball to do it and failed to reach the boundary but improved his average with an unbeaten 2.

Shoreham finished on 204 for 6.

Ed had a very productive opening spell, ripping out Knockholt’s numbers two and three; then Deadly Dave accounted for their number four to leave our visitors on 25 for 3. Fenn and one of the Reemans (Reemen?) took the score on to 89 before Sree took a stunning catch to dismiss Fenn. Sree and Ageing Hack, the first change bowlers, then accounted for a Reeman each. This brought Neil Hardstone to the middle and he and the remaining Reeman looked capable of chasing our total until a Robert special bowled him.

There were now two wickets to take and six overs remaining. Meanwhile Chris had replaced Robert behind the stumps (actually he had played more like a Bob in this role) but Chris in turn had to be replaced by Nick Walker junior when he injured his back. Knockholt sportingly allowed us a substitute and the (improperly attired) first team captain came on and immediately took advantage of this sporting gesture by assuming an intimidating position, looming over the terrified small boy now occupying the crease. Perhaps it’s this ruthless streak that the seconds have missed this year?

Anyway, the small victim at the crease tentatively lobbed a ball straight to James who then took a couple of paces forward and began to salivate as an even smaller victim appeared. It was however Sree who sprang to his right and took a very smart catch to have the last word as he had had the first.

Batting:
 
Sree
Von Styles
N Walker Snr
N Walker Jnr
E Walker
W M-Jones
Peck
Stacey

 
 
70
20
51
1
11
28 no
5
2 no

Bowling:
 
Fletcher
E Walker
G Rivett
W M-Jones
Sree
Brown
Stacey

 
 
9-1-15-1
8-2-27-2
6-0-25-2
6-0-31-1
5-0-17-1
1-0-15-0
3.4-0-11-3

- Photos by Sam, George and Ed

Friday 14 September - England v South Africa

September 17, 2020 on 5:54 pm | In Announcements | 4 Comments

The author gratefully acknowledges the superior talents of he who is named “Wyn” and apologises in advance for the blatant abuse of copyright.

Waste paper basket full, ash tray overflowing, scotch gone, sun slowly rising. Must find the positives in this performance soon.

There were several positives to take from this RWC game:

• The weather in France was better than it has been in Shoreham.
• Nevertheless those who forgot to put on sun screen did not suffer prolonged exposure to UV radiation – as it was a night game.
• The catering at Shoreham puts the Stade de France to shame.

The moment the ball went into play England were in trouble. A side without any reasonable flyhalf has always looked a bit thin this season and on Friday none of these were available to us.

- resist cheap joke about Andy Farrell not being able to look thin and find somewhere to add ‘Martin Corry will feel that his captaincy was an important factor in the team’s performance when he sees this result’ in the final version -

South Africa’s wings were quick and followed up the accurate kicking. The amount of rubbish from England’s 9 and 10 meant that any half reasonable ball was totally wasted in some of the most abject half-back displays seen for many a day.

- add ‘Jason Robinson was on form’ to list of positives

The ball tended to cross the English advantage line with monotonous regularity as the South African’s gained a solid upper hand in the match with the half-time score 20-0.

- add ‘only conceded 20 points in first half’ to positives

The second half followed much the same pattern as the first with South Africa having the upper hand in pretty much all departments, despite never really seeming to get out of 2nd gear. The final score of 36-0 was flattering to England (who were awarded the 0 before the game started), and if SA had not bungled a handful of scoring opportunities it would have been a truly unforgettable evening. As it was England have become the 5th nation to score a zero in the World Cup, and the first defending champions to do so as well as being the first team to have scored 100 and zero in world cups. The one large up side was that they only allowed SA to score 3 tries and thus denied them the bonus point.

- actually that is pretty good. Rewrite report finding a way to focus on this aspect of the game.

- Pete

Sat 15 September - Underriver

September 16, 2020 on 6:40 pm | In Friendly Match Reports | No Comments

Senior Citizen Styles, our captain for the day, won the toss, elected to bat and set out to open Shoreham’s innings accompanied by Ageing Hack. The skies were blue, the wicket was true and all was set for another great afternoon.

Underriver proved to have a lively and varied attack but the opening partnership was worth 41 before Ageing Hack lobbed a slow ball to a fielder and trudged off to watch the rugby. Sree, once again guesting for us in the late season, struck three crisp fours before admiring a fast inswinging delivery as it flashed past him to extract his off stump. Citizen Styles had meanwhile collected a cool 27 but soon after Sree’s dismissal elected to walk as a debatable decision reached the committee stage. Martin had replaced Sree but he too was soon returning to the pavilion and a side that looked good on paper was now struggling a little on 79 – 4.

JD and Bob brought some stability with contrasting innings: JD put together an increasingly aggressive 39 of which all but 7 came in boundaries whilst Bob’s 22 contained 16 singles and just one four – it seems that Robert the Developer doesn’t have quite the muscle tone of Bob the Builder. The score was on 139 before John departed. Robert was still there until it was 162. Brad enlivened things with an undefeated 18 that contained some lusty blows and there were supporting contributions from Dave and Alex before the innings closed on 180 for 7.

After tea, Dave and JD opened the bowling. Deceptive Dave proved as difficult to put away as ever, conceding only 24 off his 8 overs. After Brad had had a little catching practice he eventually held on to one and gave Dave his only wicket. Meanwhile at the other end JD had to be taken off after some shameless showboating. Two early wickets rather unhinged him and when presented with the simplest of return catches for his third he declined to take it, opting instead to fingertip the ball backwards over his head so that it looped down onto the stumps and ran out the distinctly aggrieved non-striker. JD himself claimed that he took a split second decision as to which was the more dangerous batsman but another school of thought held that having bought a jug last week he reckoned a run out would be cheaper. JD was allowed to have a couple more overs to calm down during which he picked up another victim (the second to be very well held by Martin) before being sent off to the boundary where he ran through his full complement of RTFA* routines for the rest of the afternoon.

Despite losing early wickets Underriver’s later batsmen fought their way back into the match and with 18 overs to go they were scoring at above the required rate of six with five wickets in hand. Things could have become tense but Captain Calm quietly adjusted the field and encouraged his bowlers, exuding a sense that all would be well in good time.

Sree struck, bowling the number 5 batsman with a peach (all the cricket balls having been lost in the undergrowth by now), then Brad, who was getting the hang of the catching thing, confidently held on to one that the number 7 batsman skied off George’s bowling.
Underriver’s number 8 began to strike the ball well and he obviously represented the last real danger. It was Robert’s turn to decide that he wanted some catching practice and he spilt one towering shot over the boundary. Next over though he employed the juggling skills that management develops, even using his head (with as much success as an Arsenal striker), before gratefully clasping the ball to him.

There were now just four overs to go and two wickets to take. The field closed in but the batsmen played very cautiously, offering no chances until a defensive shot lobbed out onto the offside. From a crouching position at short leg Plumstead Pensioner took off, accelerating as if the Post Office had just opened, and took a fingertip catch that will probably require a visit to the osteopath.

One wicket down, one to go. There was some more determined defence. There were just four balls left when Brad’s dead straight delivery struck the number 11 batsman’s pad but he had taken a good stride down the wicket. An enthusiastic appeal was sportingly accepted by the umpire and it was off to The George to celebrate Citizen Styles 25 run winning margin on his captaincy debut.

- Wyn

(* Ray Trick Fielding Award)

Batting:
 
Styles
Melville-Jones
Sree
Wells
Dinnis
Stacey
Fletcher
Simms
Haysler
Rivett
Barrett

 
 
27
24
12
6
39
22
2
18 no
2 no
dnb
dnb

Bowling:
 
Fletcher
Dinnis
Stacey
Sree
Rivett
Haysler
Simms

 
 
8 – 2 – 24 - 1
7 – 2 – 27 - 3
5 – 2 – 19 - 0
3 – 1 – 21 - 1
6 – 1 – 28 - 2
4 – 1 – 25 - 0
2.3 - 0 – 12 - 2

Sat 8 September - St Mary’s

September 9, 2020 on 9:37 am | In Friendly Match Reports | No Comments

The morning’s low cloud had burnt off and a strong sun was moderated by a light breeze, giving us perfect cricketing conditions.

Shoreham batted first and James and John opened for us: one wore a bright pink cap and the other a cap of an equally brilliant blue, as if for easy identification in a training film.

‘Now children, see how Mr. Pink Cap is crouching down as the naughty man without any cap at all runs in and tries to use the ball that he’s holding to knock down the sticks that Mr. Pink Cap is standing in front of. But hooray! Mr. Pink Cap has hit the ball with the piece of wood that he’s got in his hands – that’s what we call a “bat” - and he calls “Yes” and starts to run. Then Mr. Blue Cap shouts “No, no, no!” and Mr. Pink Cap has to run back again. What fun! Oh look: the naughty man has had six goes at knocking over the sticks and that’s the end of his turn so now another naughty man without a cap is going to try and knock down the sticks behind Mr. Blue Cap. Oh goodie! Mr. Blue Cap has hit the ball with his bat and he shouts ‘Yes’ and starts to run. And now Mr. Pink Cap shouts “Nooooo!” and Mr. Blue Cap has to run back again. Oh dear, he doesn’t look very pleased’.

James and John put on exactly 100 for the first wicket, mainly in boundaries. James, on 62, was beaten by a ball that turned prodigiously. Montie made 32 before he was out with the score on 166. John was dismissed next for a joint top-scoring 62. Graham managed 7 before getting the thinnest of edges to the wicket keeper. Finally Wyn and Chris contrived some entertaining shots before finishing respectively 20 not out and 12 not out in a total of 215 for 4.

After tea the afternoon was still enchanting: the sun still shone, the dragon flies zipped here and there across the outfield and the feral children whooped in the branches or set off car alarms at crucial moments.

Brad and Dave were first up for Shoreham. Brad picked up the first St. Mary’s wicket with the score on only two but thereafter the visitors’ numbers one and three put together a stand that began to look threatening. James therefore decided to introduce himself to the attack and after bowling tightly for a few overs finally broke the partnership with the score on 92. The tide seemed to be turning our way but when the final 20 overs commenced the asking rate was still below six an over. Despite the fall of two more wickets to James and one to John the required rate stayed below 6 until there were just 14 overs remaining.

Nine of the side finally bowled but James was our only consistent wicket taker, finishing with 6 for 31 off 11 overs but a special mention must go to Alex Haysler who picked up a wicket in an excellent short spell in which he conceded only 5 runs off 3 overs.

James’ fourth wicket was the dangerous St. Mary’s number three who was out for 70 and after his departure, with the score on 139, there was no real prospect that St. Mary’s could approach our total.

For several seasons now Mrs. Wanastrochi has graced St. Mary’s side. This lady is a good sport and though one feels perfectly secure taking up a catching position six feet from her bat she does not sell her wicket cheaply. She asks for no quarter but the bowling naturally takes on an altogether fluffier aspect when she appears at the crease. St. Mary’s obviously realise that this is a good wheeze because this time they introduced her daughter as their number 11. Although Mrs. W edged a ball from James into the hands of a startled Brad, Miss W. survived. Whilst we failed to dismiss her and therefore drew the game I’m sure that we all feel better about ourselves in consequence.

- Wyn

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