North Molton v Erratics Cricket Club Erratics on Fri 28 Jun 2019 at 6.15pm
Erratics Cricket Club Won by 23 runs

Match report Mark Hailwood reports...

As day one of #NDT19 finally wound down in the early hours of the morning, and the weary tourists bedded down in their dorms, Tour Tsar Danny Williamson suggested we end on a wholesome note with a brief Our Father. But the Erratics are an inclusive club, open to those of all faiths and none, so we thought it might be appropriate to develop a customised, secularised alternative for future occasions. This was duly added to the responsibilities of the following day’s reporter, so here it is. All together now:

Our Erratics, who art in Devon,
Hailwood be thy bowler’s name;
thy Danny Williamson;
his will be done;
on tour when in North Devon.
Give us this day Rithvik’s eggy bread.
And forgive us our dropped catches,
as we forgive those who drop catches off our bowling.
And lead us not into temptation outside off stump;
but deliver us a long-hop.
For thine is Ben Youngman,
Phil Power and Jon Kirby,
for Fraser and Siva.

Day two of the tour is my favourite, I think. It culminates with a T20 in the evening close to the bunkhouse (well, to the extent that anything is) at North Molton, which leaves the day free for some rare Erratics off-field bonding. This involved the ancient and venerable tradition – now in its second year – of a ramble (or drive for the injured) across Exmoor to the beautiful Tarr Steps, and a hearty pub lunch. That typically Erratic blend of erudite conversation and top bantz characterised the afternoon, much of it focused around the incident of a bullish chaffinch shitting on my cheese roll, and whether I should reciprocate in kind. Well, I guess that was more bantz than erudition, but I’m sure there was some of the former at some point.

Anyway, we arrived at the North Molton Sports and Community Centre in good spirits, and with our hosts a few bodies light we were able to get all the members of the touring squad into the game. It was, as they all are, a game of two halves, only on this occasion the first half lasted into roughly the middle of the second innings, up to which point this was a nip-and-tuck close contest, but a flurry of wickets turned the end game into more of a festival as the Erratics cruised home.

The Erratics had batted first at the behest of debutant skipper Ben Pullan – new to the role for our club, but no stranger to the burden of cricketing command and he led with surety here. Duncan (30*) and Matt (15), fresh off the A361, opened up, and motored through the early overs – Matt relying on his trusted sort-of sweep. The brains trust on the boundary decided this could be fairly described as a ‘scythe’. This is not a derogatory term. The effective use of the scythe requires no small degree of strength, skill and timing, and is a highly productive task. The labelling of certain cricket shots as ‘agricultural’ or ‘mows’ as a way of denigrating them is a hangover of aristocratic snobbery, and should not be tolerated here.

Still, you live by the scythe you die by the scythe, and Matt did eventually play across a straight one – but not before earning a new nickname to add to his collection: The Happy Reaper, or ‘Reaps’ for short. So, to recap, when bowling it is Matt ‘Trebuchet’ Crawford [Trebs], when fielding Matt Clawford [Claws], and when batting Matt ‘The Happy Reaper’ Crawford [Reaps]. Now he just needs a wicket-keeping nickname, which he also did to good effect here.
Reaps’ departure opened the door for the hotly anticipated return of David Shackleton, a man whose reputation for quiet class on and off the pitch had reached legendary status since his brief spell with us last summer. Indeed, one half expected all present to bow reverentially as he jogged effortlessly out to take guard, and even his rehearsals of the cover drive on the way to the middle were a pleasure to watch. Could he realistically live up to those halcyon memories of 2018? In all honesty he looked like his timing was a little off – never re-meet your heroes, as they might say – but he nonetheless eased to another 30* in front of his admiring audience.

It was hard for this Shackleton superfan to maintain concentration on events in the middle with the great man now back in the pavilion, but hard-hitting cameos from Wright, Rithvik and Pullan ensured a strong finish, and we had set our hosts a challenging 7-an-over chase. Their top order looked well organised, and after 10 overs they were up with the rate and looking dangerous enough. But there followed one of those frantic passages of play in which wickets tumbled in quick succession – a couple to impressive boundary catches by Ben Youngman – and in the blink of an eye the game was effectively won.

There was, however, a rather fun final act, as most of the North Molton tail were in fact borrowed Erratics, and we enjoyed a few overs of bowling at old friends. Mark P played Fraser rather better than most batsmen do for a few overs, before being run out by Waldo – whose running between the wickets is even more hilarious to observe when it isn’t your own side being placed in jeopardy. It was also a rare treat to see the lesser spotted Batsman Curtis, who played Rithvik well with a straight bat to keep Nick company. But the latter was oddly becalmed, unable to find those lusty blows that could have re-ignited the chase, and he fell on the final ball of the match to a Hailwood slower ball that he really should have been expecting.

Still, it was a nice way to end my playing relationship with Nick, as he now heads off to the Big City to earn some Money, and I will miss his puppyish enthusiasm and warmth. But as he himself pointed out as we retired to the club house for a Guinness, there is a new Erratics puppy on the block – Rithvik was irrepressible in the field, appealing for all sorts from all over the place, and was first to the bar ordering his unorthodox post-match tipple of choice, a Jaeger-Bomb. Sadly I had to make my excuses and leave – a weekend of baseball watching in London beckoned – but I left the tour with a heavy heart, as it seemed that an enjoyable few days of Booze, Bants and Beers was sure to ensue...

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Batting
Player Name RunsMB4s6sSRCtStRo
10nb 1w 7b 1lb 
for 3 wickets

(20.0 overs)
Duncan Chave Retired Not Out  30 3 1
Matt Crawford Bowled  15 2
David Shackleton Retired Not Out  30 4
Martin Wright Caught  10
Rithvik Gutha Not Out  17
Fraser Chave Caught  0
Ben Pullan Not Out  17 1 1 1
Sivaraman Subramanian   1
Ben Youngman   2
Mark Hailwood  
Jim Thomson  

North Molton Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
No records to display.

North Molton Batting
Player name RMB4s6sSR
5nb 1b 1lb 
for 9 wickets
115 (20.0 overs)

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Ben Youngman4.002900.007.25
Mark Hailwood4.0023211.505.75
Rithvik Gutha4.0116116.004.00
Sivaraman Subramanian0.10100.006.00
Fraser Chave3.511125.502.87
Jim Thomson4.0032310.678.00