Cockington v Erratics Cricket Club Erratics on Sun 19 Aug 2018 at 2.00pm
Erratics Cricket Club Won by 10 runs

Match report Match report by Nick Walding…

There are a number of unconventional grounds known to the Erratics. Whether it be the Cheriton Fitzpaine postage stamp (pre-rotation), the NASCAR track of Marldon, or the undulating outfield of Lustleigh (which feels like falling down a flight of stairs if you misjudge a running attempt to save a boundary).

Cockington is another to add to the list and perhaps the top of said list. This was your correspondent’s first time at the ground and I quickly ascertained that this was less of a ‘flat as a pancake’ ground and more of one that resembled a taco who’s sides are struggling to stay upright and contain an over generous helping of refried beans and guacamole. The eccentric nature of the playing surface was however situated in the lovely Cockington estate with ancient English trees and a smattering of spectators (thanks to a well-attended dog show that very morning).

With this being my first time playing at Cockington, one was not familiar with the location of the ground or the means by which to find its clubhouse. This was compounded by driver of the day, Georgio ‘Armani’ Greaves, having also never played there. This resulted in enjoying an elongated route through the housing developments in the vicinity of the ground (we did pass Nut Bush Lane which was rather entertaining given the opposition for the day and sparked a much needed discussion of the required tone for the match report). Thanks to google maps we found ourselves driving up the middle of the Cockington estate via a ‘no vehicular access’ road with both dog and dog walker unamused by our plight. We had however spotted the ‘square’ and now only needed to get there. After finally finding a suitable car park and a small hike up the hill past the Drum Inn we arrived with barely 10 minutes before the start of play. In my eagerness I found myself hastily volunteering to umpire once it was established that our Skipper for the day, Danny, was neither a good or bad tosser but was instead able to choose to bat first.

Now if you would like to get straight into the action, I would advise a quick circumvention of the current paragraph and swiftly move on to the following one. However, if you would like to be taken down a slightly longer meander then stay put and enjoy a small perspective piece on some of the struggles faced by umpires. As is my preference when umpiring I was looking for the club’s clicker in the kit bag. But unfortunately this was in vain as our clickers seem to have remained in host team umpires’ coats through the season. Now as some of you may be aware I struggle to count to six at times, not due to a lack of awareness of the numbers required in the endeavour but more due to a lack of awareness in general (whilst umpiring…). This lack of awareness or focus usually results in the never-used-but-frequently-practiced leg glance shot and the criminally under-utilised leg spin bowling action being demonstrated as a means of entertainment when at square leg in between deliveries. Upon not being able to find the aforementioned and desired clicker, I instead had to settle for football world cup coins, generously provided by the opposition. This was a decent substitute for the clicker in the aiding of counting to six. There were in fact six of them and the coins sat very well in the hands owing to their uniform morphology and their larger size when compared to the regular shrapnel or stones that can otherwise be used by fellow umpires. The coins however did pose one particular problem, the same problem which led to my insistence on the use of a clicker in the first place. The coins require two hands with which to count to six, and this leaves no hands available for the delivery of potassium to the system via a banana or the consumption of much needed carbohydrates in the form of a bag of frazzles. To any reader concerned about how one would be able to manage the feat of consuming such food products whilst also successfully counting to six and practicing certain cricketing shots, the temporary solution in the absence of a clicker is now clear (thank goodness I hear you say!). One must scoff the banana as quickly as possible before getting to the middle and the bag of frazzles are to be opened and then rammed in the pocket for ease of one handed delivery. But as far as counting to six is concerned, alas one must hope for the best. And just to settle any worries you may have, whilst adjudicating the opening overs and discussing this clicker-food-dilemma with the unfortunate Cockington fielder at square leg, the frazzles where seamlessly consumed, deliveries were successfully counted, and the leg glance shot still remains forever in the locker. Anyway, indulgences aside let’s get to the action.

The stage was set and the spectators gave the ground a sort of Edgbaston-esque buzz about it, with the Hollies stand looking to erupt whenever a boundary were to be hit or wicket taken!

Unfortunately for the Erratics supporters, who featured the same lovely couple from the Lynton and Lynmouth match this year, we had to wait a while for that first boundary (courtesy of Skipper Danny in the sixth over). We didn’t, however, have to wait long for the first of our wickets to tumble. Newly-converted Erratic Ian Hooper was unfortunate to have lifted a good delivery back to the bowler after facing some good bowling on a pitch that was just doing enough to prove troublesome. Mark Phillips was also found wanting after some nice shots and solid defences but whose innings was brought to an end after also being caught. This brought Danny and Martin Weiler to the crease but the latter was unfortunate to have played a little straight to a ball that deviated off the seam and took a feather of an inside edge onto the stumps. At this stage we were struggling to get bat on ball and the ball off the ‘square’ but eventually with Danny settling at the crease the ship started to stabilise and a captain’s innings was to unfold. A birdy on the boundary informed your correspondent that Danny has been endeavouring to improve his batting – playing straight to good balls and not getting out to his one of two shots. And after a frustrating 2017 campaign, one must say it all seems to be clicking (post-collarbone injury) and in the process Danny has cemented his position in the top order at number 3. This innings certainly featured much more batting prowess than his Errati-profile would suggest with strong straight drives, an imperious defensive stance, and flicks behind square proving very profitable.

The only besmirch against him was the unfortunate runout of part time 100m dasher, Jonathan Kirby. On returning to the hutch there was a recount of the event which featured Danny giving the option of two to JK, JK obliged with ‘yes yes’, turned for the second only to hear ‘no no’ in reply and ending up finding his stumps broken on his forlorn return. On hearing this my mind drifted to consider what was going through Danny’s head, brainstorm perhaps? Or maybe something more in line with R.Kelly’s ‘Bump N Grind’ – ‘my mind is telling me no, but my body, my body, is telling me yesssssss’. But on this occasion, mind prevailed over matter, and this was ultimately to JK’s demise after an emphatic start with his positive batting style and classic-highlight reel worthy boundaries off the hip.

With this latest victim to Cockington, Chris Cook came to the crease. Chris’ batting style is very much authoritative in nature with him appearing as cool as a cucumber when facing both the dobbers and genuine pace bowlers. There were a few Dartington players in the Cockington ranks, all of whom wanted Chris’ scalp but were certainly unsuccessful in their attempts. I think they have to settle for maybe three miss-hits during his 67 N.O. I have been told through many a tale of the Cook family’s ability to destroy the world of men (and bowlers) through their attacking play style and hard striking of the ball. However it should be noted that in this game, a Cook was not the first person to hit the bowler for 6. Nor was it batsmen Number 7 who replaced Danny with six overs remaining. It was instead Georgio Armani who entered the fray, still with six overs remaining. Following this though, and a sense of ‘whatever you can do, I can do better’ floating around, Chris replied in turn with his own maximum. George had a spirited cameo at the end showing the bowlers little respect following an initial high elbow forward defence but was caught in his search for more boundaries. This brought Siva to the middle and with a strike rate of 200 he hit a 4 and was then bowled. Harkers then came out to see out the end of the innings with Chris but was runout on the last ball in the attempt of a cheeky single. It was noted by some in the crowd that perhaps the Erratail may be contenders for the Wobbler this year given the lack of other current contenders and its overall fragility displayed in this innings. Anyway, despite this, thanks to a Captain’s innings by Danny, and a steadfast display by Chris, the Erratics’ total came to 168 off the agreed 30 overs.

The tea, provided by match sponsors: Weavers Tea Shop, was well enjoyed by all with numerous cakes accompanying a smorgasbord of savoury delights.

With 168 to defend, the Erratics took to the field.

Harkers opened the bowling down the slope with his to be expected combination of swing, dip, and eccentricity in delivery. But when wondering where to field for the second over your correspondent turned to Danny, ‘Where do you want me skip?’ Danny replied, ‘Nick you’re bowling’, ‘Oh right, okay, thanks for the heads up’, ‘I told you earlier you were opening with Mark’, ‘Right okay…cool’. Perhaps that lack of awareness isn’t limited to umpiring....

Anyway, with Danny having taken the award for the least heads up afforded to an opening bowler (previous holder JK, Newton St. Cyres, 2016), the opening overs unfolded with good lines and lengths from both bowlers with some away movement owing to the overhead conditions. Anything that strayed a little short however was punished dearly. For example, your correspondent experienced a ‘decent’ ball being picked and dispatched over his head far enough to order a pint at the Drum Inn.

This set the tone for the innings. There was a sense that anything not on the money would be punished. The Cockington batting line-up featured a number of very capable hard-hitters and we certainly needed to be on our toes in order to defend this now ever-so-slightly light looking total.

However the bowling and fielding display witnessed by the numerous spectators was one more in line with the heroics of Lynton and Lynmouth and the Magnificent 8, rather than the follies at Bridford earlier in the season. All bowlers contributed to the endeavour with George looking more and more like Nigel Rutherford bowling off of potentially only 2 paces before banging it into the pitch and Cockington batsmen on occasion (more ball-to-ball bowling rather than stump-to-stump). Siva too proved very useful with the ball coming up the slope taking key wickets at key moments and Chris Cook again showed his cricket nous by staying extremely economical given the nature of the ground.

The fantastic fielding effort was set in the face of great adversity given the conditions with the navigation of the outfield and subsequent ball trajectories requiring trigonometry and Pythagoras’ theorem in order to cut off the boundaries (thank you Mark P for that one!). Regardless of these difficulties, we held on to our catches (all of them!) and effected 2 runouts through the quick thinking from Mark ‘Precipitation-Timber’ (PT). Harkers was also in the thick of it whilst fielding at point (slightly elevated above the pitch) where he took quite an amazing catch which was falling in front of him despite coming hard off the bat.

But as far as our catches are concerned, there can only be one to rule them all. This was late in the game, Cockington were on 155 with 5 overs left, with the current batsmen on 37 and swinging hard to great effect. At this point, heads started to go down, and you felt this batsmen would hammer it home quite comfortably for the opposition. Harkers PT was now bowling up the slope and got served a nasty 6 off the first ball of the over. Next ball, the batsmen wound up again and released a thunder bolt of a shot through the covers in the air, low and fast. Here we go again, that’s 10 off the over already. That was surely it? Nope. Not one bit. Enter Skipper Danny. Said thunderbolt was driven straight into our skipper who, as the brick wall we all know he is, stood firm grasping the ball with both arms and chest. The speed and momentum of the ball however took Danny with it, and Danny started to tumble. All in slow motion he’s heading for the floor. Oh no, this can’t be good. Then suddenly as if possessed, Danny violently wrenches his body round – crocodile death-roll style – and crashes to the ground on his back with the ball (and his collarbone) preserved. There was a notable gasp from spectator and fielder alike following what had just unfolded. And with that catch the game had turned on its head. Requiring 14 to win from the remaining 4 overs, the remnants of the Cockington tail were mopped up by Harkers and Chris for only 3 more runs. The Erratics pulled the game out of the fire and won by 10 runs.

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Batting
Player Name RunsMB4s6sSRCtStRo
2nb 7w 6b 1lb 
for 9 wickets
Ian Hooper Caught  1
Mark Phillips Caught  6
Danny Williamson Bowled  45 6 1
Martin Weiler Bowled  0
Jonathan Kirby Run out  15 3 1 1
Chris Cook Not Out  67 7 1 1
Nick Walding Bowled  0
George Greaves Caught  13 1 1
Sivaraman Subramanian Bowled  4 1 1
Mark Hailwood Run out  1 2 1
John Curtis  

Cockington Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
No records to display.

Cockington Batting
Player name RMB4s6sSR
4w 4b  
for 10 wickets
158 (27.4 overs)

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Mark Hailwood5.4033311.005.82
Nick Walding6.0231131.005.17
George Greaves6.0035135.005.83
Sivaraman Subramanian6.0041220.506.83
Chris Cook4.0014114.003.50