Newton Poppleford v Erratics Cricket Club Erratics on Thu 03 Jul 2014 at 6.15pm
Erratics Cricket Club Lost by 36 runs
Newton Poppleford and the rise of the Destroyer
There is a view amongst certain academics and scholars that asking a mathematician to write witty prose is like asking a Vogon to read poetry. Though, with Chris Ferro a key contributor to the Erratics back catalogue I can only hope that this first offering is met charitably. This, the event of being asked to provide my first match report did not occur, as it might normally, with the selector picking on the people who have dropped catches off of their bowling in the past or who owe them money, but was perhaps rather the result of a complex combination of two happenings during the course of the evening. The events of the final over of the Newton Poppleford innings being the second of these two happenings, may, in the context of the match, appear to be the most relevant (see the details below). However, the first involved the sort of mistake that only a relative noobie arriving 3 minutes before the game and learning we were fielding might make. I asked skipper Kirby, who would be writing this evening’s report…
Like Pompei, the sinking of the Titanic, the moon landings and many others (according to Dr Who), I wonder if my typing this report at this time in this location is one of space-time’s so called “fixed points” (that which, no matter what happened in the game, was unavoidable).
It was a baking evening in Newton Poppleford, the sun having converted the damp Devon green top we played on earlier in the season to something one might expect in Perth. Diving on this surface would hurt, and so it was that I took up position in the covers ready to add to my growing bruise collection. A possible chance flew to me off the 3rd ball as Chave senior, opening against some ferocious leg side clubbing drew a club straight over my head. A possibly mistimed jump meant I could only deflect it, but this wouldn’t be the only catch to go down tonight…
The opening batsman were in violent mood and pulverised both opening bowlers. Chave for 11 first, Wilmott for 13 then 10, even Sophie for 11 in her first over. Fortunately, with a 25 retirement rule in place, Erratics soon “saw off” the onslaught of the top 3 (all retired), and got around to taming the score.
The next three overs of Sophie's spell of medium pace went for 3, 2, then 1, including a caught behind (masterfully taken 1 handed. By Forrester behind the stumps, though the umpire took an age to give it, wondering if it had carried). A similar chance 2 balls later was dropped and Forrester, perhaps unduly hard on himself, cut the figure of a Dementor and caused a shiver from Chave senior fielding at gully. This was miserly bowling and I wondered if the Newton Poppleford scorer, seeing only S. Florides in his book, was entertaining the notion that the parents of this female fast bowler had cruelly named their daughter Scrooge. This thought, barely had time to gather momentum though, when yours truly was unexpectedly asked to warm up to replace the excellent Flores at the other end. Having not bowled a 4 over spell since a disastrous yip ridden outing at Cheriton Fitzpaine, my thoughts drifted from witty rhyming couples with Ebeneezer (I was trying to work in Bacardi Breezer) to the practice I had put in on my action.
I offer this as an excuse for not recalling whether any of the 5 dots in Hailwood's final over represented wicket taking chances. I think one must have, as the Dementor in chief behind the stumps kicked angrily at a ball thrown back to him from 3rd man. Surely 1 trade mark leg side wide for 4 byes in my first over would be grounds for a kiss in the changing rooms between innings *shudder*.
Perhaps driven by practice and an urge to improve, or perhaps concerned by my inability to summon a corporeal petronas, my spell started well, going for just 3. Fraser was in at the other end and we were tying the batsmen down nicely. Then shoulders started to open. Our next 2 overs going for a total 20, Fraser unlucky to be dropped as the batsmen skied a ball to a Sophie staring straight into the setting sun at a white ball, who did well to get hands anywhere near it.
Captain Kirby kept the faith, and what followed would be the highlight of my short Erratics career so far. Having bowled 3 dots and 2 singles, the batsmen lost patience and launched the ball hard straight at my right shoulder, knocking me to the ground holding the ball! 2 singles and a ct and bowled earned me the final over of the innings.
So to the other event that influenced the choice of reporter, the final over:
1st ball: wide of off stump slapped to Wilmott in the covers for a well taken catch with the sun in his eyes. :)
Hat trick ball: As Fraser later put it, the batsmen wouldn't normally expect a full toss on his pads for the hat trick ball, so it was a cunning ploy on my behalf. The ball looped high towards Mark Phillips at deep square leg who couldn't quite make it to the catch, and also failed with a flailing foot to stop the boundary. :(
3rd ball. Charging batsman Slapped in the air straight to Chave snr, a normally safe pair of hands... who palmed it over the boundary. :(
4th: charging batsman slapped in the same direction, though bouncing and well stopped by a diving Chave. The batsmen turned down the single. :)
5th: to counter the charging, Williamson bowls a cutter that spins past for a well taken stumping! :)
6th: dot. :)
Erratics had restricted the hosts to 133 for 4, even though the first three batsmen put on 76 between them in rapid fashion. Buoyed by career best figures of 3-22 and my new nickname "Danny the destroyer" (thanks to Mr Kirby for this one, I've certainly been called worse), it was time for a spot of umpiring where I was to have the best seat, figuratively, (or is it "literally" these days) for an Erratics run chase.
Duncan Chave (the Erratics’ answer to Chris Gayle), and Simon Wilmott were to open and, in similar fashion to their batting, Newton Poppleford came out all guns blazing, this time with some fast hostile swing bowling. Duncan, facing a 2nd ball that would have gotten me and many an Erratic out, swinging back in late off a good length, slapped it out to deep mid off for a well run two. This bowler was not to be denied though, moving the ball away this time and taking the edge and well caught at slip.
Enter Guy for a masterful innings. Guy managed to score all around the wicket, despite the quality of the bowling, regularly finding the boundary but also marshalling the run chase with his trade mark, crystal clear calls of “YUS” whenever anything was on. With the leadership of Clarke at one end, Wilmott began to get into his stride. The dab down to third man is a tricky shot when the bowling is fast, often scoring via luck more than judgement. But Wilmott plays this so deliberately, frequently and technically well that one can almost see shades of Ian Bell. This comparison had just come to mind when Wilmott launched one of the on drives of the season for 4, staying in the MCC training manual finishing pose for a full 10 seconds afterwards admiring the shot. A few balls later though, the bowler had his revenge, splattering the stumps through the gate.
Enter Thistlethwaite, who occupied the crease and rotated the strike nicely to make sure the well in Guy could complete his quarter century. This, completed, by hooking a head high full toss no ball for 4, brought in the rear-guard of Azkaban (Forrester). The bowlers were starting to gain control of the scoring now and began taking cheap wickets. Phillips came in and struck a lovely 4 over mid off’s head, but he too succumbed to the bowling.
Captain Kirby was next and he upped the scoring, timing the ball away and getting 2’s and 3’s. He was soon joined by Hailwood and the rate increased tantilisingly. Back on the boundary at this point, experienced erratics mocked your author for his youthful optimism. Hailwood started to find the boundary regularly and Erratics pulses raised. Time was slipping, but the scoreboard was also starting to tick, could we do it? It was at this point that our skipper made a mistake. Calling for a quick single, Jonathan lunged to make his ground just in case the fielder produced a direct hit. The direct hit came and it looked for all the world as if he’d made it, but even the experienced make mistakes and Jonathan’s was, as he’d later explain in the Cannon, to look at the umpire expectantly. In response the umpire raised the finger and the air came out of the chase. We would later learn that simply running on and adjusting one’s box before turning to face the next ball is the done thing in these situations.
A short cameo from Fraser who struck a nice 8 including a boundary straight down past long off and a token final 3 balls for Sophie after Fraser was bowled made up the dying embers of this ultimately doomed Erratics chase. Hailwood finishing not out (his score not recorded on my photo of the card), and Erratics finishing 2 shy of 3 figures with a respectable 98.
The pub was entertaining with 8 Erratics settling down for a customary pint and debrief. We learned of the Chave’s future plans to invest in a cricket taxi service when Fraser is old enough to start lessons, and, as above, learned what to do when it’s tight for a run out. As Erratics drifted homeward, and with only 5 left, the bar staff came to tell us that food was on its way! Phillips had errands to run, so, by the time food for 11 arrived, only 4 were left to valiantly tackle it. With a couple of french bread pizza slices and 3 cold chips left, the conversation turned to the vagaries of slow-medium pace with myself and Mark Hailwood trying to convince Andrew Forrester that we were not, in fact, spinners, we were just extremely slow.
And so another evening, one that could have been frittered and lost, as are so many, was spent in glorious sunshine playing cricket and making memories. It has been a fine summer so far!
Danny “the Destroyer” Williamson
Newton Poppleford Batting
for 4 wickets
134 (0.0 overs)
Retired Not Out
Retired Not Out
Retired Not Out
ct Forrester Bowled Florides
ct & Bowled Williamson
ct Wilmott Bowled Williamson
Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Bowling
Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Batting
for 7 wickets
b E. Thomas
Retired Not Out
Newton Poppleford Bowling
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