2nd XI v Underriver

7th May, 2011

For the second season in a row our first fixture was against league debutantes: last year Luddesdowne, this year Underriver.

Of course, one has to be welcoming and so winning would have seemed discourteous.

Losing the toss, we were invited to bat. Our batting order was flexible to allow Montie, who was being crowned Queen Of The May elsewhere, to slot in when he arrived.

Ring rustiness, or possibly the wrong optical prescription, seemed to affect most of the top order. Paul Styles struck a couple of confident boundaries before playing down the wrong line and diverting the ball onto his stumps. Nick (Captain Hologram) Walker, lasted for just a few, eventful balls. Bob Shapter hung around for a while but also perished cheaply. Wyn attempted to play a steady role but was comprehensively beaten by a good yorker before managing more than a single boundary.

The only man to stand tall was Will Westacott – although let it be said that he is no longer taller than son Josh, who has either been standing in a growbag or was wearing stilts under his whites. First in and fifth out, Will was the only one of the top order to offer us a gleam of hope. Just as he began to flex his muscles and attack the bowling, he was caught on the boundary. Had he survived the story of the game might have been different.

Now came the Sims.

There had been discussion in the close season about whether to play Brad as an all rounder or as an out-and-out paramedic. He proved his worth in the all rounders role: top scoring – only interrupting his innings to save the life of the elderly mother of Underriver’s president, who collapsed on the boundary – and, later, bowling nine economical overs. Meanwhile Bob lent good support, keeping out the bowling at the other end.

By the time that Bob was out the May Queen had arrived, and strode out to bat, long locks flowing in the breeze. Everyone danced round him for a while, but - after a promising start – he too fell cheaply. After that, the enthusiastic and promising, but fatally inexperienced, tail of Josh Westacott, Jack Webster, and Zac Beresford contributed only a handful of runs, and Shoreham were all out for 93.

When the opposition were 39 – 4, with Bob Shapter and Brad bowling well, all things seemed possible, but despite our best efforts Underriver lost no more wickets, and overtook us in the 20th over of their innings.

So, welcome to Underriver and better luck to us next time.

- Wyn


24th April, 2011

A beautiful Easter Sunday greeted a youthful but strong Shoreham side in the age old derby against ACME. The temperature hit a mighty 27ºC, perfect fielding weather you might say? Captain Pat thought so and we were thrust out in the unrelenting sunshine, but with a twist: Both captains agreed that both sides would have to use 9 bowlers to make the match a bit more exciting.

Both opening bowlers toiled away with Sean Bromfield (9 – 2 – 41 – 0) and Ed Walker (8 – 1 – 50 – 1) coming close on a number of occasions but the openers stood strong through to the first change. Rivett J (4 – 0 – 13 – 0) and Haysler (1 – 0 – 21 – 0) continued the bowling attack but alas, no breakthrough could be found there, although they seemed to take a liking to Alex’s legspin and he was dispatched for an expensive 21 run over. The first wicket came finally when Lynch was decieved by a corker from players’ player Danny Setterfield (6 – 0 – 37 – 1) which went down a treat until from the huddle, Pat realised who the next batsman was. Fresh off a casual 160 the week before, Siva (75 n.o) took to the crease. The run rate picked up from there on until Shoreham released their secret weapon. Rivett G (4 – 2 – 7 – 2) dented the ACME plans a tad by first of all dismissing Marshall, but then proceeding to trap Williamson LBW for nothing less than a golden duck. The hat-trick ball was bowled with every fielder as close as they could get but unfortunately was defended expertly, leaving George with nothing less than a double wicket maiden. Siva very nearly fell by looping one to George on the boundary but it was not to be; he confessed to be sitting on the line as he made the catch and Siva was awarded another six. Brownie (1 – 0 – 11 – 0) and G. Stacey (1 – 0 – 14 – 0) also joined the party but couldn’t make a breakthrough in the strong batting line-up. The innings ended on 249 – 4 setting Shoreham a nice round 250 for the win.

After a wonderful ACME tea it was Shoreham’s turn to bat with Haysler (46) and Nick Walker (11). The Boakes Meadow Massive pair put on 34 before the first wicket fell when Siva was brought on to bowl and Nick was trapped LBW. This brought Bromfield to the crease for his first batting display of the season. He didn’t disappoint either with a tidy 42, unfazed by a few roaring appeals from ‘the Growler’ Prest, until he set off for a run that never was and was well fielded by Masterson S. Mazzon came in just in time to see Haysler lose his offstump to another Siva corker and a 62 run partnership for the High Street Massive then formed between Brownie (13) and Mazzon (31) (including a handy 6 and 18 extras). But it was not enough and the overs ran out with just 192 on the board. A special mention should go to Mr Extras who gave us a helping hand with an innings high 46 runs and George for throwing himself around in the field to try and slow the run rate. So the cricket was over for another week and the Sunday XI were back into the swing of things with a losing draw.


From Tendulkar to Trick

3rd November, 2010

At this year’s Presentation Dinner, 1st XI skipper James Trick scooped awards for the Outstanding Batsman, 1st XI players’ player and for the season’s outstanding 1st XI performance. The picture shows James receiving the Outstanding Batsman award from Club Chairman Martin Wells. Uniquely the award is a bat which was endorsed by Indian Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar when Sachin visited the office of Martin’s son Simon, who works in Mumbai. Gary Hukins won the top bowler award and Pat Barrett was Clubman of the year. Nick Walker, Will Stanyard, Dan Setterfield, Alex Mazzon and Tom Palmer also were awarded trophies.

Raid stopped play during rivals’ clash

20th September, 2010

‘Salute to the few’ by Geoff Nutkins

Shoreham boasts one of the loveliest cricket grounds in the district.

Set among trees in the Darenth Valley, on the edge of the golf course and about a mile from the village centre, it has seen many stirring games against fellow members of the village cricket league.

One stand-out fixture is against neighbouring Farningham when members of both teams pray that this annual and long-standing clash will not be affected by rain.

It wasn’t rain that worried the cricketers on August 24, 1940.

The Battle of Britain was in full swing and this area of Kent with its proximity to the ‘dummy’ airfield at Lullingstone and Biggin Hill airfield was already getting a reputation as the most targeted area in the country; in fact Shoreham was later to be known as ‘bomb alley’.

John Drew, the son of one of those 1940 cricketers, has been looking closely into the extraordinary circumstances behind this 1940 cricket match – how Shoreham were thirsting for revenge from the unexpected defeat three weeks earlier by Farningham, and how the weather was bright and clear.

He writes: “The distinctive memorial cross incised in chalk on the hill had been blacked out with bracken but the players wore white so they would have been clearly seen by any raider that came this way.

“There was a full fixture list for 1940 though some old rivals were unable to field teams and special permits were required both for petrol, presumably to mow their sloping hillside ground on the Mildmay estate, to transport them to away games, and for margarine and sugar for the cricket teas.

“Farningham was less lucky. Its ground was rented from the farm and shared with cows.

“With the outbreak of war, the farm land was needed and the wicket was dug up to be used as an emplacement for a barrage balloon.

“Both teams had their own cricketing families.

“Farningham had the Mills brothers. Shoreham could call on four Dinnis brothers at any one time and Jack Summerfield, fast bowler and big hitter, was one of four generations to play for the village as well as keep the George, the ancient inn that commands the entrance to the village.

“The match on August 3 had provided a memorable victory for Farningham, and Shoreham were determined not to allow a home win slip through their fingers a second time.

“In the interval between the two matches, the war had become more of a reality. German aircraft were beginning to make daylight raids, not just on coastal towns but further inland.

“Only the previous Sunday, a Hurricane from the fighter base at Biggin Hill had been forced to make a crash landing near Sepham Farm.

“Farningham had only just recovered from its own nasty war scare: the church bells had rung late one afternoon to announce the German invasion had begun.

“It was a false alarm, what were thought to be German paratroops landing turned out to be ack-ack smoke over the Medway, and the vicar, Freddie Wiltshire, was severely reprimanded for ordering the bells to be rung.

“This was not before several residents had shut themselves up in their houses.”

John Drew tells me that he was on the boundary as a baby in a pram on August 24 when the second match between Shoreham and Farningham took place.

He doesn’t remember any of the details but the old scorebook tells him that Farningham, one short, batted first.

He writes: “In its sports columns, the local paper reported laconically that “owing to circumstances” Farningham were forced to declare at 80 for six (Gordon Wood, retired 11, Bruce Couchman 20, Bill Mills 23, my father Bernard Drew left not out on 5).

“Shoreham, with Harry Saker’s 39 proving decisive, passed the Farningham total with just three wickets down. Carrying on to give everyone who wanted a chance to bat (the custom in those days), they scored 106 for 9.

“My father took the last Shoreham wicket (one of two, one caught and bowled, plus another catch, all too late to be of use but still a good day for him).

What were the untold ‘circumstances’ that led Farningham to make such a reckless declaration?

The answer is provided by an (anonymous) news piece in the local paper that was clearly written by my father (in spite of all names, including those of the villages, being censored).

It is published under the heading: “Raid Stopped Play”.

“The Farningham batsmen had just settled in to their innings when one of the umpires became restive, looking at the hilltop horizon rather than down the wicket.

“It was he who first sensed that ‘Jerry’ was about, although so intent was their concentration on the game that no-one could recall hearing any warning air-raid siren. After an over in which a series of increasingly loud thumps, bumps and bangs were heard, play was suspended while everyone stopped to watch a terrific aerial battle going on some way to the north.

“The players did eventually drift back towards the pavilion but at least one elderly spectator, when it was suggested he join them, refused to leave his shady spot on the boundary.

“Though Shoreham and Farningham weren’t to know it when they arranged their fixture, August 24, being fine and clear, was a perfect day for the German air force to step up their efforts to win the Battle of Britain.

“At 15.00 hours, just after Farningham had gone in to bat, the Luftwaffe began a massive raid on East London.

“The RAF were stretched to capacity, squadrons of Hurricanes and Spitfires from the nearby Biggin Hill base being scrambled all day to engage the enemy.

“Although the centre of the action in the afternoon was some miles away on the Essex side of the Thames, looking north towards Farningham from the Shoreham ground, it might have seemed that all hell was breaking loose over Farningham itself.”

John goes on to say that when the match resumed Farningham had to declare because they were now four short.

The men hadn’t run away because of the action overhead but had reported for duty in the Home Guard.

“During the stoppage caused by the raid there may well have been some discussion about the wisdom of continuing at all while battles went on overhead.

“Fighters scrambling hill-top high out of Biggin Hill must have been unnerving enough.

“Dog-fights, anti-aircraft and machine-gun fire, shell-bursts, shrapnel, even though further away, rather more so.

“The scorebook shows several changes of handwriting and betrays in its gaps and slippages some degree of uncertainty.

“Unusually, four of the Shoreham regulars who had been selected did not actually play and it may be that they had wisely taken evasive action in advance – though two of the Dinnis brothers almost certainly had to give priority to war-related work on the farm, the bumper harvest and the hop-picking.

“Other Shoreham players were ready to hand. Farningham, away from home, were quite literally caught at sixes and sevens and were simply outnumbered.

“My father had no doubt that the German raid had robbed Farningham of a fair chance of completing what would have been a unique ‘away’ double over Shoreham.

“At the end of an extraordinary day of cricket, my father commented that, from Farningham’s point of view, Hitler had a lot to answer for.”

I thank John Drew for the story of this last village wartime cricket match to be played on Lord Mildmay’s lovely ground, until one week before VE Day.

John says that Farningham’s ground was in such a state that it could not be restored until 1947, largely due to Gordon Wood.

He writes: “When play resumed after the war both teams were men short, among them Edwin Bowen who, bowling for Shoreham as a 17-year-old took the crucial wicket of big hitter Bruce Couchman on August 24. Edwin had been killed flying in a bombing raid over Germany.”

Written by John Drew
Edited by Bob Ogley


19th September, 2010

The inevitability of the Sunday side fielding first was met by groans from Ed and Jackson in particular. However, for Shoreham’s last game of the season, the mood among their (mainly) youthful ranks was high - with Captain Pat urging his faithful to finish on a win.

E Walker (9-2-21-3) and A Mazzon (9-4-24-2) responded by bowling their 9 overs straight off and ripping through Shipbourne’s top order. Mazzon made the breakthrough after confounding the batsman with what I can only describe as the blistering variety of his repertoire. Wardo took a while to warm up (standard), and eventually joined the party with 3 wickets, including a double wicket maiden I might add, all thanks to a catch and a lightning fast stumping by Mr Chairman.

Every wicket was celebrated by the obligatory group hug/bundle, and Shoreham’s energy was apparent in their sprightly fielding efforts. Team cellist, Dan James, safely held a high catch off the bowling of Dan Setterfield (5-1-34-2) for Shoreham’s 6th wicket.

R Trick (5-1-29-0), A Haysler (3-0-17-1) and J Rivett (3.7-0-14-1) kept up the pressure on Shipbourne’s lower order, with Mazzon expertly catching Cork for 50 off one of Boozy’s more aerial attempts. Shoreham’s inspired performance with the ball left 10-man Shipbourne all out for 143. Everyone was glad to be welcomed back to the pavilion with the sight of Dan James lifting the foil off an extensive array of sandwiches and cakes. Oh, and a mountain of cool lagers…

M Wells and A Haysler took to the crease after tea, but Marty was soon trudging back for a duck after being caught playing a double bouncer which he had thought was a no-ball - but as most of the supporters were still finishing off their brownies no one could really verify this. S Trick made his presence known after only his first ball - dispatching it for 6. Sam continued in this vein, supported by Alex, before Boozy was bowled for 2 - although only after sharing a rather one-sided 52 run partnership with Sam. G Rivett then entered the game after a long walk to the crease, only to retrace his steps disconsolately one ball later. Replacing Norge to face the hat-trick ball was Ray the reliable Trick - who saw it off confidently. Then father and son rapidly developed a partnership based on boundaries and suspiciously little else. Sam stormed to his 50 with a four, and then, in case of scorer error, hit the next ball for 6 just to make sure.

Sam ended on 73 n.o. and Ray on 42 n.o. to win the match comfortably for Shoreham, who finished on 147 for 3. A victorious session in the George concluded what has been a season noticeable for the Sunday side’s camaraderie if not necessarily for its number of wins. But hey, who’s counting?



12th September, 2010

The most youthful Sunday side for a generation took to the field to face the might of Ightham. Openers Palmer and Hewett bowled well with Palmer taking two wickets in the first over. At 62-5 Captain Jack “Sparrow” Rivett felt it time to change up the bowling leaving Palmer (8-3-25-4) and Hewett (8-2-38-1) with fantastic figures. They were replaced with George Rivett (4-0-21-1) and Danny Setterfield (5-1-17-1). Rivett managed to pick up the wicket of traitor Mazzon who made up the numbers for Ightham. Sparrow took the catch tidily at short mid-on and also picked up another later in the innings to make up for shelling a sitter off the bowling of Joel. Dan James (4-0-28-0) found his bowling shoes as did George Stacey (3-0-25-0) although his figures don’t reflect how well he bowled at a crucial time in the game. Sparrow (1.5-0-3-2) and Sam Trick (1-0-4-1) protected their averages by clearing up the tail and it was inside for an early Montie tea.

With a target of 168 Shoreham were feeling fairly confident but they were surprised by Ightham’s strong bowling attack especially the opener Benwell who showed stamina whilst bowling his 13.3 overs for 4 wickets. Montie (17) and Sam (6) opened followed by Danny Setterfield (17) and Haysler (14) who hit the biggest six of the game onto the 10th hole. Kumar (4), George Stacey (2) and Dan James (0) gave us the familiar middle order collapse but that brought Joel Hewett to the crease who kept the innings alive with his unbeaten 33. Bros Rivett put on 12 between them - with 8 coming off one of Mazzon’s overs! Palmer propped up the innings with a duck and although Shoreham came 41 runs short of winning the game gave us lots of ammo to throw at Mazzon!

- George


5th September, 2010

So the eagerly awaited fixture between Shoreham and ACME came around yet again and with Captain Pat out of action the captaincy fell to vice-captain Jack Rivett. In true captain’s fashion Jack managed to miss the toss but in his absence Shoreham won the toss and elected to field with foreshadowing from the changing room: “We may manage to get one more losing draw this season!”

Both teams took to the field with ten players and both were concerned as the missing Shoreham player was responsible for the teas: Richard Nash. Luckily Richard turned up a couple of overs in by which point Mazzon had already taken the wicket of Johnson for a duck. He (7-4-10-1) and Joel Hewett (6-0-39-1) opened the bowling well each taking a wicket. Joel’s came in his final over in which he bowled two beamers at the batsman’s head followed by a slower ball which cut down the hill which the batsman wrongly decided to leave. He was replaced by George Rivett (6-0-35-1) who gave Styles his second catch of the game at slip whilst Mazzon was replaced by Setterfield (4-0-34-0) at the pavilion end. Fifth and Sixth change bowlers were Captain Jack (7-0-45-2) and Raymondo (6-0-25-0) who each threatened the batsmen in their own way. The breakthrough came when the two teamed up. Captain Jack forced a mistake from Suua (71) who looped one up behind Raymondo at gully who pirouetted perfectly to pouch the catch. Jack was also supported from a catch by Haysler at keeper. George Stacey (1-0-11-0) took the final over before ACME declared on 213-5. Special mention should go to Nash and Hewett who each ran up and down the boundaries all innings.

After a fantastic tea, it was ACME’s turn to take to the field with Haysler (7) and Styles (13) opening. After the first over, Shoreham were looking good at 7-0 but the run rate slowed due to very tight bowling and when Haysler lost his middle stump, Setterfield was brought to the crease. Danny produced yet another fine innings ending on a tragically close 49 and he was ably assisted by Nash (30), Raymondo (20) and finally George Stacey who spent most of the innings telling anyone who would listen how he couldn’t bat and then produced the second highest score of the innings of 32 in about 25 balls! Joel (4*) and Dan James (4) saw out the final over of the innings to end on 164-8. It was another losing draw to add to the collection and it was immediately celebrated at the pub with many beers but more importantly many bowls of chips…

- George Rivett