Broadclyst v Erratics Cricket Club Erratics on Sun 23 Jul 2017 at 2.00pm
Erratics Cricket Club Won by 7 wickets
Martin Wright reports…
This was a special game in a special place.
In a county packed with picturesque grounds (think Lynton, think Mt Edgcumbe), Killerton must rank among the finest - a smooth green sward surrounded by ancient parkland, graced with ancient oaks and youthful cows.
It was special, too, because the afternoon was also graced by, well, not ancient, but eminent Erratics of yore, come to see their successors take on ancient rivals Broadclyst.
Even the weather was kind; rain threatened, and sent us scurrying for shelter after the first couple of overs, but it relented just early enough to allow play to resume, and by evening the ground was luxuriating in photogenic sunshine, as evidenced by at least some of the 400 (approx) shots* fired off by our House Papparazo, Signor Thistlethwaiti.
To the game: Skipper Mark Hailwood won the toss and, with a skipperly eye on the weather, elected to bowl. His instincts proved right. Ben Youngman found his line and length from the start (must have been buried deep in a corner of his kitbag), and soon had his first scalp, thanks to a sharp catch by Fraser at square leg. After a break for rain, during which most Erratics took shelter in the pavilion (with the exception of Your Correspondent who, water gushing off the peak of his cap, stood outside declaring repeatedly that “I think it’s brightening up”), play resumed.
The combination of a soggy outfield and a tricky wicket, keeping low at times and sporadically leaping off a good length at others, made scoring sluggish. Ben and Fraser bowled cunningly, keeping Broadclyst in check and repeatedly beating the bat, as did Hailwood and Phil Power, and after 12 overs our Oppo were looking decidedly stodgy at 36-3.
The bowlers were backed up by some strong fielding. Apart from the odd occasion when feet (or in Your Correspondent’s case, butterfingers) were erroneously preferred to hands, we acquitted ourselves well. Special mention here to Fraser for some athletic, not to say balletic (4.9 from the Norwegian judges), dives on the boundary, to Skipper Hailwood for a reliable mid-off barrier to some clunking drives, and to George Cockcroft for some effective enthusiasm at long-on.
Broadclyst resistance flourished in the form of J Withers, who adopted an uncomplicatedly withering approach, looking to score, and score big, whenever opportunity presented itself. While his teammates came and went around him, he was ruthless on anything loose, despatching the occasional full toss clean to, and sometimes clean over, the fence.
His was largely a lone fight, however. At the other end, persistent bowling and reliable catching kept chipping away at the Broadclyst cause. Frustrated at being unable to get the ball away, batsman after batsman tried to break out, and were either bowled, caught or (finally) stumped.
Ben’s second wicket came care of a skier calmly called for (and pouched) by Keeper Krups. Chris Cook exuded equal calm in snaffling two chances off Phil – possibly the pick of Erratics’ bowlers, whose ten overs of testing spin brought him a well-deserved 4 for 33. The first of these was a fine, if rare, example, of Erratintelligence in the field, as Fraser leapt (4.7 from the Norwegian judges) aside to avoid queering Cook’s pitch, as it were. (It’s only fair to point out that Fraser made up for this later, by yelling ‘Mine!’ in the ear of Your Correspondent, a second or so before the ball landed safely, not to say miraculously, in my palms, to give Phil another well-deserved scalp.)
The Erratattack was completed by Jeff Haynes and Chris Cook. Jeff picked up a neat caught and bowled, and Chris accounted for the withering Withers, who finally fell for a fine, fighting 79, thanks to another exercise in calm catching, this time by Ben Youngman on the square leg boundary, Admittedly he didn’t have to move his feet, merely his hands, but they took the ball in textbook style, fingers pointing upwards (MCC Coaching Manual, p 94). A thoroughly professional performance, undermined only by Duncan Chave announcing to anyone within earshot that “it’s the first catch he’s held for a year and a half!”
Broadclyst finished all out on the stroke of tea for 156, a total pronounced by Skipper Hailwood to be “just about par”, adding gnomically that “we wouldn’t have wanted them to get many more, but we wouldn’t have wanted them to get many less…. Many fewer. You’re not going to quote me verbatim, are you?”
So to tea, and a grand one it was, complete with scones, strawberries and cream, enjoyed by an eminence of Erratics (an Erratimence, perhaps), including (and here I apologise for any omitted, or any names misspelled or relations misconstrued): the Clan Thompson in full order (lacking only Sid); David and Sally Salter, Richard Hitchcock and Meg, Bill and Dot Parker, Bill and Liz Hansen, Jeff Fox and Pam, John Somers and last but never least, Brian Carpenter, Star of Wisden. The spectators’ youth squad was made up of Chris Ferro, who selflessly scored throughout, and Nick Walding, who’d cycled all the way from Digby, a feat matched only by the size of the tea he piled on to his plate.
Buoyed by such support, Erratics openers Duncan Chave and Peter Colclough took up their bats. Peter put his down shortly after, plumb in front to a ball which didn’t so much cut the daisies as give them the sort of “smooth, satisfying shave” that only features in TV adverts for Gillette. George and Duncan progressed for a while care and caution before George, too, was Gilletted off the park.
That brought Your Correspondent to the crease, with Skipper Hailwood’s instructions to adopt an “Imperious No. 4, not Stodgy Opener” approach ringing in my ears. (Those of you, err, lucky enough to have been present at the lengthy late night debate between Duncan and Mark on the relative merits of these alternative strategies will realise that Skipper’s words had been pondered over at some considerable length.) On this occasion Your Correspondent’s empire was more Bokassa’s Central Africa than Caesar’s Rome: brief but flashy. A few dollops of stodge broken up by just five scoring shots, of which three were sixes; none, however, as memorable as the five runs which accrued to the team when I was dropped by the keeper and the ball rolled on to the helmet behind him. An Erratics first, perhaps? The sun set on my “mercurial knock”, as Chris Cook rather generously described it, when a flail at a long hop landed safely in the paws of mid-off. Then the altogether more republican Krupakar joined Chave, and the Erratics ship of state resumed a more stately, classical course.
It was a pleasure to behold. Both watchful at first, they gradually opened up, despatching full tosses to the boundary, and in Duncan’s case, playing some of his lovely legside launches, half pick-up, half pull, to send the ball to – and occasionally over – the fence. Krups too grew more expansive, with a couple of his gorgeous cover drives the highlight. With 20 overs to go we needed around five an over, and it stayed that way for most of the innings, with neither batsman taking risks, but both ensuring that we stayed in touch with the rate.
There was drama behind the boundary too, as news came through that England’s women had narrowly beaten India to win the World Cup (although on the downside this probably diminishes still further our chances of recruiting Sarah Taylor for the Erratics, long a cherished ambition of our President). Joy was not universally shared, however, with Krups looking appropriately downcast in loyalty to his homeland. Ferro, meanwhile, was heard to mutter “Poor India….” under his breath, although it was unclear whether this was just an excess of compassion on his part, or a rare glimpse of his Steely Inner Scot, adopting the “Anyone But England” stance.
As the clouds lifted to bathe the ground in gentle evening sunlight, and Krups and Duncan motored serenely on, conversation on the boundary meandered gently, occasionally taking a surreal turn. When a clutch of female supporters made to leave, Annie commented “The women are moving off” – to which Ferro responded, “Ah yes, like the cows.”
“Well, in the sense that they moved off earlier….and they moved at a similar pace… and they both take shelter under trees…”.
Distracting us briefly from such musings, Krups pulled hard to the square leg boundary, and was dropped. Efforts to up the scoring rate were only partially successful, in the face of a slow outfield and some smart fielding. Broadclyst rang the changes, trying nine bowlers in total, with Withers, Bridger and occasional Erratic Sean Webb the pick of the bunch. Eventually, with the overs ticking away, both batsmen started to find the gaps, and when Duncan hit the winning run he and Krups had put on a classy 111 between them. Of these, Krups had made a typically elegant 35, leaving Duncan a tantalising 10 runs short of a century, his 90* the solid bedrock of a seven wicket win.
On paper it looked quite a thumping, but in practice Broadclyst had fought hard to the end, and it was a testament to the cool heads of our centurion partners that Erratics coasted home with such apparent ease.
The evening ended with beer in the sunshine, enjoyed by past and present Erratics alike.
*Dan's photographic record of the day can be viewed at http://photography.danielthistlethwaite.com/reunion
for 10 wickets
156 (40.0 overs)
Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Bowling
Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Batting
for 3 wickets
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