Stokeinteignhead v Erratics Cricket Club Erratics on Sat 17 Apr 2021 at 1:00pm
Erratics Cricket Club Lost by 1 Run

Match report Match report by Martin Wright.

A sparkling spring day, a sun-washed Stokeinteignhead, and a surplus of Erratics. A more promising start to the season would be hard to imagine. Spare a thought, though, for Selector Kirby, with the unenviable task of choosing just who would go to the Ball (not to mention the Bat.)

On this occasion, S-in-T’s lack was our gain, as it meant there was space available for four Erratics in the ranks of the opposition: so it was that Messrs Beverley, Crawford, Power and Wright turned out for the hosts.

Skipper Hailwood won the toss and opted for the courageous decision (as in “Minister, that might turn out to be rather courageous”) of asking S-in-T to bat. He and Ben Youngman opened the bowling, and despite hitting their straps – and more-or-less decent lines and lengths – early on, struggled to contain openers Wills and Clarke. They started briskly, aided by an unseasonably fast outfield and some ring-rusty fielding. Chris Cook, no less, fluffed three stops in the first six overs, which may have had something to do with his confession that he’d been at “an end-of-lockdown party last night, so I’m a bit dehydrated”. (Cook himself, though, blamed the rabbit holes. Of course.)

Stoke progressed at a brisk six-an-over until Cook made amends by bowling Wills, which brought the first turncoat of the day, your correspondent, to the crease. Cook continued to bowl tightly, but the rest of the Erratic attack, doubtless moved by pity at my lack of pre-season practice, were kind enough to give me something of a net in the middle, feeding my Single Scoring Shot, the Straight-ish Tonk, with generous regularity. Clarke at the other end, possessed of a wider range of strokes, was particularly brutal on anything short, until Cook rattled his timbers.

Lang took over, punching the ball into the gaps for a brisk 28, before being well caught by Chris off Oscar Cammack - a deserved reward for some promising bowling. He was followed by Matt Crawford, who unleashed a couple of his trademark legside pulls before being cleaned up by Chave Pere as he tried to force the pace in the closing overs. Nigel Rutherford, together with a returning Ben Youngman, reined in the rate somewhat, and in the final over, Duncan let slip his crafty full toss, which I obligingly spooned straight to Richard Lindsay. He tried it again with his final ball, but Phil Power wasn’t so easily deceived, hammering it to the fence and so walking off with a strike rate of a cool 400.

Erratics’ fielding had tightened up after the flaky start, with Fraser Chave sharp in the covers, Daniel Sved lively in the outfield, and Siva Subramanian, refreshed after spending last summer with his head down in sustained endeavour on his PhD thesis (which he freely confessed was student-speak for "watching a bunch of YouTube videos), was a study in speed and athleticism.

We took tea (those of us who’d brought any) with Erratics needing 217 to win off 40 overs.

Like Stoke, our openers were brisk, Duncan and Richard solid in defence against some testing, lively bowling from Wills in particular, but quick to put away anything loose. Matt Crawford, perhaps briefly forgetting which side he was on, was a touch generous to begin with, but soon tightened up, and was rewarded when Richard flicked straight to Stoke’s Skipper, Roger Puttnam, who grasped the ball firmly ‘amidships’, as the commentators like to euphemise. Rather too firmly for comfort, perhaps, but the ball stayed off the ground, and a promising opening stance was ended. Siva looked the part, striking the ball well (perhaps those YouTube videos were all Virender Sehwag compilations?). Bowler Lang induced a couple of edges in my direction at slip, where I was stationed – or to be more precise, stationary – before realising he had to do it all himself, and promptly bowled Siva, Fraser Chave and Daniel Sved. Chris resisted briefly, but was then undone by a ball of perfect length, flicking the top of the bails, and Erratics were wobbling.

That we didn’t collapse in a heap was down mainly to Duncan, who was, as they say, playing on a different pitch. He read length beautifully, taking a pace down the track to drive crisply through the covers or past the bowler, and stepping back to pull or cut when the ball was short. Watching statically from slip, I particularly enjoyed his duel with Phil Power, who wheeled away for eight testing overs, with just the wicket of Oscar Cammack for his pains, bowled by a beauty.

That brought Nigel Rutherford to the crease, just the man for the job with the required rate creeping towards eight per over, and he wasted no time in unleashing some of his patented crunching drives, scattering the field to the boundary in their effort to stem the flow. Together, he and Duncan kept us in touch with the target, and for a while, it looked as though an Erratic win, along with an impressive opening ton for the season by Duncan, was a formality.

Enter Jonathan Beverley with his teasing, deceptive loops. A few wayward ones were punished, but then he lured Duncan forward with one that was perfectly pitched: he missed, the keeper didn’t, and Chave Senior was out for an excellent 84. (I’d like to take some credit for this, having just mischievously mis-informed a tiring Duncan that Jonathan had asked me to tell him he was playing in tomorrow’s game, and could he open the bowling as well?)

The very next ball, Jonathan himself, mind perhaps scrambled by the diplomatic juggling act of team selection, attempted a shot which surely reflected the extent of such scrambulation - and JB was on a hat trick. Ben kept the ball out, and kept Nigel on strike, and we were still set for victory, until Wills pulled off an impressive catch off a Rutherford Rocket at deep mid-wicket. Nine down, 30-odd to get, but it wasn’t over yet. Skipper Hailwood joined Ben, and together they kept us in the hunt, with Ben cracking a few powerful drives, and turning ambled ones into scampered twos. It came down to the last over, and finally, to the last ball. Six needed: Skipper drove hard, and the ball raced to the long-on boundary, but all along the ground. A textbook shot. Sadly…

So we had lost by the merest margin of a single run. But then four Erratics had won. So we could have hardly asked for a better start to the season, under sunny skies throughout, with a warm spirited opposition. That spirit extended to generously providing the post-match beers, sunk as the sun did so towards the moor, and the evening chill reminded us that this was still only April, and there was so much to play for in the months to come.

Stokeinteignhead Batting
Player name RunsMB4s6sSR
5w 3b  
for 5 wickets
216 (4.0 overs)
T Wills b  Cook 40
AF Clarke b  Cook 51
M Wright ct  Chave, D 69
M Lang ct  Cammack 28
M Crawford b  Chave, F 14
R Putnam Not Out  2
P Power Not Out  4
J Beverley  
J Peck  
T Treeby  
C Mercer  

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Ben Youngman7.004600.006.57
Mark Hailwood5.002600.005.20
Fraser Chave8.004700.005.88
Chris Cook8.021929.502.37
Oscar Cammack5.0039139.007.80
Nigel Rutherford4.001300.003.25
Duncan Chave3.0023211.507.67

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Batting
Player Name RMB4s6sSRCatchesStumpingsRun outs
3nb 9w 1b  
for 9 wickets

(40.0 overs)
Duncan Chave st  J Beverley 84 13
Richard Lindsay ct  M Crawford 16 4 1
Sivaraman Subramanian b  M Lang 20 3
Fraser Chave b  M Lang 0
Daniel Sved b  M Lang 0
Chris Cook b  M Lang 7 1
Oscar Cammack b  P Power 1
Nigel Rutherford ct  T Treeby 31 4 1
Jonathan Kirby b  J Beverley 0
Ben Youngman Not Out  28
Mark Hailwood Not Out  15 1

Stokeinteignhead Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
T Wills8.002700.003.38
M Crawford4.0032132.008.00
M Lang8.031744.252.13
P Power8.0044144.005.50
J Beverley4.0023211.505.75
T Treeby4.0035135.008.75
R Putnam4.002600.006.50