Stokeinteignhead v Erratics Cricket Club Erratics on Sat 03 May 2014 at 2.00pm
Erratics Cricket Club Won by 5 wickets, with 5 balls remaining

Match report BY MARK PHILLIPS...

At the end of my report, Peter’s splendid description of our involvement with Stokenteignhead takes us from 40 years ago with a broad sweep of history right up to the present day. The “history” part also actually includes the geography of the ground and the local villages, which for me answers some questions I was curious about and it includes a good deal of biography as well! The present day part tells you most of what happened in our latest encounter with this friendly team on their beautiful ground, including some very presidential observations on the performance of certain individuals.

What is left for your humble match reporter to add? How to follow such a treatise? Well, I’ll have to give it a try.

As a result of weather and ground conditions and player shortages, this was our first completed match of the season and what a great match to start on. Idyllic cricket weather, sunny but not too hot, no wind, beautiful views and a game that Erratics won with 5 balls to spare.

I omitted to establish who won the toss. However, Stokenteignhead batted first, in this timed game. It looked like it might be all over far too quickly. Mark Hailwood and Varun opened the bowling and before too long Stokenteignhead were 4 for 3. Varun especially was bowling some balls that looked from where I was fielding at second slip almost unplayable. (After the game I overheard one of their players congratulating him on his “boomerang” deliveries.) After one of these early wickets had fallen and Erratics were gathered round in the middle of the pitch celebrating, which seems to have become the custom nowadays, someone said this might become a short game. The captain quite rightly responded to this by quoting such and such a score (which I will not put in print, in order to preserve the secrecy of such tactical knowledge) would have to be reached before we could assume such an outcome. Until then, it was implied, but not said, that we would do well to remember a well known saying that includes the words “chickens and “hatched”.

Roger Putnam came in at number 5 and seemingly escaped an early chance, with a ball that flew off Varun’s bowling to between first and second slip – it actually came off his foot. Soon after this our captain started to swap the bowling around and after Putnam surviving what was a chance, a catch at deep square leg, went on steadily to build a very significant innings, finishing on 76 not out. His previous best had apparently been in the twenties. About three-quarters of the way through their innings, Stoke….. looked as though they might be lucky to get to 100, as despite the scoring rate from Putnam, his partners were coming and going at frequent intervals. However, Erratics struggled to press through their advantage and take the final two wickets and Stoke…. finished on 144 for 8 after 43 overs.

After tea, we resumed at 5.00pm with it having been agreed that we would get 20 overs after 6.00pm. As the timing turned out, our last over was, in fact, the 37th., so quite a significant difference in the numbers of overs in each innings.
The innings was opened by the two Marks, Phillips and Hailwood, one of whom was at the crease for an hour and a half and the other for a few overs only. Phillips enjoys being asked to open and always hopes he can make a good impression, but this doesn’t always work out. On this occasion his only contribution was to wear the bowlers out a little by sustained defence before getting himself caught without having got the ball far away. The first loose ball he received was a low full toss and he foolishly clobbered (the shot was not worthy of a more graceful verb) it to point for an easy catch.

This brought Lucky to the crease for an immaculate innings that was the backbone of our eventual success and which I will say more of later. Mark Hailwood and he had a long-lasting partnership that began to look as though we might get the required total without losing any more wickets. Mark built up a very creditable innings with a score of 25 and was somewhat unlucky to hit his wicket whilst reaching out to play a wideish ball. Jonathan Kirby then came in and moved things along briskly. Once again, things looked all set for a win with no more loss of wickets and sufficient overs left to make the run rate required manageable. In fact, it looked so comfortable as we were motoring along that Martin Wright waiting to bat next said “You can cut the tension with a jellyfish”. (I hope I’ve not misinterpreted the significance of that statement.) But this is cricket and so anything can happen and it did and the jellyfish would no longer be adequate for the dramatically increased tension at the end of the game. Only a few runs short of the target Jonathan was out for 16 – played on.

The last two or three overs then seemed like a mad rush of wickets, with little progress on the score. Martin came in and was soon out to another unlucky played on - from a wide legside ball diverted via his foot. Simon Willmot then entered the fray, only to be run out, no doubt due to the hectic ambience that was developing. Then Fraser came in and kept calm whilst Lucky got the winning shot down to Third Man with 5 balls remaining.

Now to return to Lucky and his magnificent innings. With around 10 overs remaining, it looked unlikely that there would be enough runs in the needed total for him to get to a century, but I have little doubt that he would have reached it, had there been the opportunity – and had we had enough overs, of course! As it was, I understand that his 92 not out was his personal best for Erratics. It was a lovely innings to watch, with stroke play all over the field, but especially in front of the wicket. His timing of several straight drives for 6 or 4 was seemingly effortless. Of his other shots, I would mention one that especially appealed to me. A perfectly timed and placed cover drive for 2 runs had four fielders - point, cover, extra cover and mid-off - chasing it, all equidistant from the ball as it raced away from them. I don’t know which one of them picked it up!

Finally, I was alerted to the phrase “Flourishing defenders” whilst we were batting. It was suggested that I make use of it in the report. Unfortunately, though I noted this down, the meaning and context of it are lost on me now, so I am recording it here for others to use as and when appropriate.
I believe it has no bearing on our successful result.


Erratics v Stoke-in-Teignhead: a history with unavoidable digressions

Report by Peter Thomson

I can’t remember the exact year when we first played against Stoke-in-Teignhead. For those sagacious Erratics who wonder why the team isn’t called Combe-in-Teignhead (what with the wonderful Wild Goose pub being there, and Stoke connected by nothing other than the River Teign), here’s the answer. The first match would have been in the late 1970s, 1977 say. By the next year (1978, say), they’d lost their ground in Stoke, but been saved by the school. So we played our second match on the school ground. I remember that match because some evil-minded journalist (I’d take odds that it was Martin Weiler) published a report of it in the Teign Valley Gazette (I’ve made up that name). Evidently Steve Berry and I had saved the Erratics with a ‘heroic’ last-ditch stand, and the heading was something like GREYBEARDS RESCUE THE CHILDREN. I was 38 at the time, and Steve scarcely out of his twenties! By the 1980s, the school ground was no longer available. Given Maggie the Ogre Thatcher’s record on rural schools, my guess is that the school was no longer available either. So that’s the reason for Combe-in-Teignhead.
Playing away at Combe has been my favourite Erratics event since the fixture was resumed in the 1980s. Better not tell any of the clubs which have kindly made their grounds available to us for ‘home’ fixtures this year. ‘Tell it not in Gath, proclaim it not in Clyst St. George’ (easier to Google ‘Tell it not in Gath’ than to stumble your way through the whole of the Old Testament – or the Koran if you happen to be a recently married Muslim. The Old Testament and the Koran are nearly identical). I mention Clyst in particular, because of its close connections with the Erratics. I played my first game for the Erratics there in 1974, when the current club secretary was less than 5 years old. By all means gloat about anything you can think of to the traitorous Chris Ferro, but say a silent Estonian prayer for the exiled Matt Cook, and do what you like to Paul Laverick, who was almost certainly playing in that same 1974 game (along with the brothers Oliver), and who hadn’t ever scored a 50 against us until a week ago on Saturday. (Hurrah for Nigel Rutherford. What’s wrong with your eyesight Laverick!) One of the things I relished most at Combe was umpiring when Jim Maher was bowling his wily leg-breaks. (I don’t think Jim had a googly, and I wasn’t sure that Lucky has one when I saw him bowling slow last Saturday. Impossible, surely – an Indian legspinner without a googly. Eat your hearts out Mishra and Chawla! I’d have been a brilliant legspinner, rather than a run-of the-mill medium-pace trundler with an eccentric action if I could have pitched my legbreak as consistently as I could pitch my googly. I once took 6 for 7 against the boys of the Friends’ School, Saffron Walden. That was with a half-pint ball, and I was only there because my sister was the gym-teacher. It was back in 1957, when I was in my prime and not yet 20. I was being force-trained in Cambridge as an interpreter on the off-chance that Macmillan declared war on the Soviet Union.) One extraordinary morning, Jim Maher turned up at the door of our present house – gobstruck ‘on a peak in Pennsylvania’ [Keats, ‘On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer]. He was delivering a complementary copy of one of my books and couldn’t believe I was a Professor.) Jim’s wiliness included bowling the occasional ball with his back leg so wide of the return crease that you could have rolled a small baby through the gap. He used to grin at me every time I spotted it. Alas, Jim died untimely. I wrote one of my doggerel commemorative poems (the others are to do with family marriages – my children or my sister’s), and I’ve half an idea that Steve Berry read it aloud at Jim’s funeral. Looking on the bright side, I take comfort in the realization that Jim’s in no position to return the compliment at mine. By the time I die, anyway, all the Erratics will be too immobile to get to the crematorium. As we all know, some of them already are.
That brings me to the end of the ‘history’, and I know the magnificent Mark Phillips (what need of Chris Ferro or Matt Cook when we have Mark!) is writing the ‘real’ match report. Even so, I can’t resist commenting on the hour of play (3.30 to 4.30) that Sid and I saw – mostly in the company of the would-have-been-scorer if Jonathan Kirby had been able to explain his cutting-edge gadget in time. I suppose it’s difficult to explain things when you’re wearing wicket-keeping gear. I don’t know. I’ve never tried. Firstly, it was as glorious a day as it was last year. Secondly, Sid was there (the difference being that last year, in his only game for us, Sid scored a fifty). Thirdly, Scooby was there again. This time, though, he went into one of his trances, gazing at a big yellow-ball with the concentration of a fortune-teller in front of a crystal-ball. We couldn’t even persuade him to join us in the car when we left at the tea-break. Most significantly, though, Stoke were (strictly speaking, that should be ‘was’, but you’d all exclaim ‘what a b---- pedant that twat Thomson is’ if I were to write ‘was’, not ‘was to write were’) batting and the scoreboard read 73 for 7. Blimey, we said to each other. This isn’t going to be much of a game. The bowler at the time was someone I’d never seen. (Annie told me that there were two ‘new’ Erratics playing). Then Lucky tossing up his enticing lobs. And eventually the evergreen Penny Price. Was it in the 1980s that Penny took her first (and, begging her pardon for mentioning it, I think ‘only’) five-wicket haul on this very ground? We didn’t see her at her best, but Annie told me she’d taken a wicket at the start of the Stoke innings. The (comparatively) old ones are, as they say, the best: and it wasn’t until the next day that the incomparable Jan Heaton was down to turn out against the dreaded Chulmleigh, for whom the dreaded left-hander, ‘Buzz’, bats and talks without intervention from the Erratics. Annie texted me on Sunday to say that Jan scored 26. And Jonathan Kirby emailed me today to say that he hadn’t let a bye through against Stoke until I arrived. It was kind of him to think of me. To be sure, I saw two or three balls trickle under him, but not nearly as many as came from the bats of Roger and a couple of boys who looked almost young enough, and certainly small enough, to be Fraser Chave’s sons. Roger started playing against us when Tony Blair was in his teens and Gordon Brown had both his eyes (Gordon’s fellow-Brown, George, was still in his permanent alcoholic phase even though he was Foreign Secretary at the time), and I’ve seen him scratch around for ninety minutes whilst compiling a painstaking 17, but only this season’s Erratics team is capable of nursing him up to 70 – not out, to boot! So a score of 73 for 7 when Sid and I arrived had been transformed to 143 for 8 when we left an hour later. As if what was done by Roger and the two Stoke sprogs wasn’t memorable enough, Martin Wright fell over on the edge of the boundary at the car-park end. They ran two while he was getting back onto his jet-lagged foot (it was the right foot, judging from the angle of his fall). Only last week, Martin had sent an email to all us Erratics to report that it was 46 degrees where he was – somewhere in India. He’d flown back on Friday specially so that he could play on Saturday. Madness, of course! But, adding insult to injury, the Erratics had forced him to be captain for the day. I promise you that I’m not going to fly from Exeter to Tamil Nadu tomorrow in order to replace M. S. Dhoni as captain of the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL. When the game was over, Annie phoned to report that Lucky had won the game for us by scoring 92 not out. Seeing how badly the Mumbai Indians are doing in this year’s IPL, Martin would do well to donate his return ticket to Lucky, but they probably wouldn’t have the nous to pick him. And that in spite of the fact that they’re paying millions of rupees to a New Zealand all-rounder called Neesmith who dropped a sitter in the first game and has done nothing so notable since.
Family pride (not mine but my daughter Annie’s) forces me to mention that Fraser Chave was Lucky’s partner when the winning run was scored. There are several other things that I’m reluctant to mention at this late stage. The first is that ‘Skipper’ Wright got out somehow – nobody’s had the courage to tell me just how – when all we needed to win was one run. It was, as I said, Annie who forced me to reveal her son’s significant part in the victory (0*), but she concealed from me the rather more salient truth that Fraser was one of the few Erratics bowlers who failed to take a wicket in the Stoke innings. His figures make interesting reading: 5 overs, 2 maidens, 8 runs, no wickets (who does Fraser think he is? Nigel Rutherford?)

Ah well, Ichabod*

*If you don’t know what Ichabod means, either:
1) read the Old Testament for a second time, or
2) google it, or
3) google Ichabod and Mr. Toad. (The clue is that this is a very early Walt Disney Cartoon.)

Peter Thomson, Erratics 1974-2013 (and you never know…..)

Stokeinteignhead Batting
Player name RunsMB4s6sSR
1nb 10w 7b  
for 8 wickets
144 (43.0 overs)
G.Hooker b  Price 12 2
C.Prestt ct  Hailwood 0
A.Thornton b  Kothamachu 2
T.Trance b  Kothamachu 0
R.Putnam Not Out  76 11 3
A.Heywood b  MacQueen 5 1
T.Heywood b  MacQueen 3
T.Treeby b  Williamson 0
E.Trower ct  Bandhu 8
M.Furnell Not Out  8

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Mark Hailwood4.02515.001.25
Varun Kothamachu6.001125.501.83
Penny Price9.0141141.004.56
Fraser Chave5.02900.001.80
Greg MacQueen4.001628.004.00
Danny Williamson5.0021121.004.20
Simon Willmot5.011800.003.60
Lucky Bandhu5.0116116.003.20

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Batting
Player Name RMB4s6sSRCatchesStumpingsRun outs
3nb 5w 1b 1lb 
for 5 wickets
Mark Phillips ct  Clinkett 1
Mark Hailwood b  T.Heywood 25
Lucky Bandhu Not Out  92 7 2
Jonathan Kirby b  Priest 16 1 1
Martin Wright b  Clinkett 1
Simon Willmot Run out  0
Fraser Chave Not Out  0 1
Varun Kothamachu  
Danny Williamson  
Greg MacQueen  
Penny Price  

Stokeinteignhead Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy