Teign Valley v Erratics Cricket Club Erratics on Sat 30 May 2009 at Unknown
Erratics Cricket Club Lost by 3 wickets

Match report In 'Dispatches', Michael Herr’s unorthodox account of the Vietnam War, there’s a memorable passage describing how American soldiers arriving at a newly-created base near Hue felt that they had stumbled into paradise.

The war was still miles away, and they were surrounded by nothing more threatening than soaring slopes covered in emerald green forest. “All anyone ever talked about was the six shades of green in the surrounding hills”… And so the soldiers relaxed in a haze of marijuana and Hendrix riffs, blissfully unaware of what was to follow.

There weren’t six shades of green on the slopes above Lower Ashton – more like sixty, sparkling and shimmering in the fantastic blue air. No herbal or musical enhancement required, this was just a jewel of a day in God’s own country. Like GIs in paradise, the Erratics were lulled into a sense of chilled-out contentment.

Which may explain a little of what followed.

Thomson won the toss and batted, a canny move, it seemed at the time, condemning the opposition to fielding in the heat of the afternoon. Carpenter and Ferro opened, and were watchfully cautious against tight, disciplined new-ball bowling from Teign Valley’s opening pair.

The fielders were sharp, the outfield slow and enormous, and after 10 overs we’d amassed 20 runs. Bees buzzed drowsily in the heat beneath the oaks.

After the most solid of starts, Carpenter sent a soft leading edge back to the bowler, and came out rueing the bitter fate of the opener: to do the hard work and then miss out on the riches to follow.

Pearson joined Ferro, and with Teign’s attack resolutely tight, progress remained stately. He picked up where Carpenter had left off, solid in defence but finding it hard to push past the field. Even Ferro found it tough to move up through the gears, a few rare mis-hits blemishing his customary silky precision.

The first boundary came in the 14th over – a rare short ball despatched with relief by Ferro. Fifteen overs gone, 30 on the board.

Something had to give, and mercifully it was Teign Valley’s discipline. The bowlers began to wilt a touch in the sun, which fortunately coincided with Ferro discovering that his bat did, after all, have a middle. Loose balls began to find their way across the vast acres of outfield to the boundary.

Pearson struck a couple of couples, spooned a catch, and was replaced by Wright, hobbling heroically, not to say exaggeratedly, on an injured Achilles tendon.

Compassion to one’s fellows, said the Buddhist thinker Sogyal Rinpoche, is demonstrated best not in words, but deeds. Ferro promptly called Wright through for several sharp singles and scampered twos. Cue more theatrical hobbles.

The scoring rate was soon scampering, too, as Ferro eased his way into attack mode, using his feet to unsettle the bowlers, sending the field back to allow more scampered / hobbled ones and twos, and then, out of nowhere, a glorious soaring straight six into the oaks.

Wright smeared and steered his way to 17, and then received an email from bowler Foxworthy, graciously informing him that the delivery he’d just released would be his slower one. He followed it up with a text and a phone call, to make entirely that the batsman had received the message safe and sound. Wright acknowledged receipt with a hideous heave. 103-3 off 27.

Kirby joined Ferro, and hit the ground running: the opposition packed the leg-side field; Kirby responded with a searing cover drive. With two genuine sprinters at the wicket, the fielding grew ragged. Singles were stolen at will, catches spilled; the bowlers tried too hard, dropped short.

In his first over, Humphries had the misfortune to come across Ferro, making up for lost time. There is a clinical precision to Ferro’s batting which at times verges on the cruel. Three slightly short balls in succession – three withering pulls behind square into the buttercups.

With a century in sight, Ferro skied a pull to square leg. 145-4. Molins joined Kirby (en route to an accomplished 25*), and the two finished in fine skittering, scampering style, lifting Erratics to what was widely seen as a healthy par score of 165 by tea.

This was taken at the unusually early hour of 3.30, as the Teign team were all off to an evening reception for one of their number who had, unaccountably, chosen to get married that afternoon rather than play cricket. (“There’s a tea interval. Why couldn’t they get married then? Or in a drinks break? The umpire could officiate”, commented one Erratic, who shall remain nameless in case by chance his wife of many years reads this over his shoulder.)

So the Erratics took the field in scarcely-diminished heat, and Burrows and Davey (Ms.) opened tidily. Teign’s batsmen all looked competent, but not overpowering, and the game seemed nicely balanced for the first 20 or so overs. Burrows hit his straps around his sixth over, finding lift and movement as he cranked up his pace, won one well-deserved LBW, and sent another sharp in-ducker crashing into the stumps off an inside edge.

Davey (7-0-31-0) settled into a nice rythym too, sending the ball in a teasing arc which allowed the batsmen little room for error, and was unfortunate not to earn some reward. Pearson (8-0-45-1) replaced her in not dissimilar style: the odd loose ball crunched to the boundary, but enough probing deliveries to keep the batsmen honest and the Erratics in the game.

Kirby and Ferro were reliably sharp in crucial positions either side of the wicket, regularly turning fours into nones and firing in returns to prevent so much as a sniff of a single. Thomson behind the stumps was quick and tidy, sprawling on several occasions to take one down the leg side that would have evaded a more average keeper half his age. (That’s 24, yes, Peter? I think I mean half…).

The required rate rose, and Burrows kept on coming. Fourteen overs on the trot – or rather, the hurtle, as he picked up speed – is no mean feat on the hottest day of the year. He extracted lift from a sun-drying pitch which had eluded all the Teign bowlers, and was unlucky not to pick up more than four scalps. 14-4-32-4 is a heroic effort, which deserved to have been in a winning, or at least, hard-fought drawn, cause.

That is wasn’t was due to a mixture of the sturdy Dunn, a Teign batsman who would be generously described by Alexander McCall Smith as ‘traditionally built’, and who put most of his substantial weight into some brutally clunking shots, and Erratics fielding at the death. For some reason, perhaps the heat, perhaps the pressure, we chose the last few overs to display a rather dismal selection of fielding errors. Missed run outs, a spilled chance or two, some bungling on the boundary – enough to let Teign catch up with the rate, leaving them 18 needed off the last three.

This rather let down an impressively disciplined double act of Ferro, whose trademark tidiness earned respectable ‘death’ figures of 6-0-23-0 and Molins, bowling bravely through a shoulder injury to pick up 2-32 off five. It was thanks to them, rather than their supporting cast, that it went down to the last ball. Needing one to win, Dunn shovelled a decent length delivery from Ferro past mid-on, and we’d snatched defeat from the jaws of a draw.

An unusual draw, in these days of limited overs win-or-lose-only cricket, and even more unusual in that Teign Valley faced 40 overs, batting second, to Erratics’ 35 before tea.

In The Manor afterwards, over bowlfuls of restorative chips, John Pearson suggested that it was a moral victory, although he was persuaded to downgrade this to ‘a moral’.

And there were still sixty shades of green in the surrounding hills.

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Batting
Player Name RunsMB4s6sSRCtStRo
for 7 wickets
Brian Carpenter ct Mason 9
Chris Ferro ct Standon 80 12 1
David Pearson ct Foxworthy 5
Martin Wright b Foxworthy 17
Jonathan Kirby Not Out  25 3
Paul Molins Not Out  9
Chris Squire  
James Burrows  
John Pearson  
Philippa Davey  
A.N. Other  

Teign Valley Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy

Teign Valley Batting
Player name RMB4s6sSR
for 7 wickets
166 (0.0 overs)
Humphries lbw Burrows 27
Hussey ct Burrows 14
Mann b Burrows 13
Liley b Burrows 0
Dunn Not Out  60
Mason ct Pearson 26
Hearndon st Molins 3
Stanyon ct Molins 3
Foxworthy Not Out  0

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
James Burrows14.043248.002.29
Philippa Davey7.003100.004.43
John Pearson8.0045145.005.63
Chris Ferro6.002300.003.83
Paul Molins5.0032216.006.40
Photos and video of Teign Valley v Erratics Cricket Club Erratics on Sat 30 May 2009 at Unknown


Chris Ferro gets in a tangle while Martin Wright backs up and Peter Thomson umpires at Teign Valley in 2009.


An attacking field as the Erratics bat at Teign Valley in 2009

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Jonathan Kirby 'hit the ground running' at Teign Valley in 2009

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'Three withering pulls behind square into the buttercups' - Chris Ferro makes 80 at Teign Valley in 2009

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Irving greets Peter Thomson during tea at Teign Valley in 2009

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Paul Molins (left) and Jonathan Kirby 'finished in fine skittering, scampering style' at Teign Valley in 2009


James Burrows umpires before taking four wickets at Teign Valley in 2009