Cheriton Fitzpaine v Erratics Cricket Club Erratics on Sat 23 Apr 2022 at 1.30pm
Erratics Cricket Club Lost by 70 Runs

Match report Erratics vs Cheriton Fitzpaine, 23rd April 2022
Report by BYB

Legend has it that undead legions of lost Erratics have roamed the pot-holed lanes and cowshit-barnacled fields of mid Devon since Cheriton Fitzpaine's first historically attested cricket match in 1067 AD.* On this blowy, slightly chilly Saturday afternoon in April 2022 AD, it briefly seemed Nigel Rutherford might have joined them. But then he turned up – with a superbly crafted air of craven apology – just in time to take to the field as Ben Youngman opened the bowling for the Erratics.

Youngman bowled with precision and purpose against a classy Cheriton opening pair, and was unlucky not to be rewarded with a wicket. Or, to put it differently, catches were dropped. At the other end Rithvik Gutha bowled an excellent length and an only slightly erratic width, and was also ‘unlucky', in that same sense of the word. Both bowlers would pick up a wicket in their second spell, once they'd understood there was no point relying on the outfielders: Youngman with an absolute jaffa that took middle-and-off, and Gutha benefitting from a smart stumping by Andrew Forrester – who, it should be noted for posterity, kept wicket very tidily indeed throughout.

As Cheriton's score ticked up for no loss, Youngman and Gutha were replaced by Yarde-Buller and F. Chave, the former bowling leg-spin down the hill, the latter off-spin up the hill. Yarde-Buller's first over was uncharacteristically accurate, after which, following an ancient Vandal motto ('if it ain't broke, break it’) he changed his run-up. A cascade of long-hops, short-hops and other insults to the noble game followed, until his very last ball when, having reverted to the old run up, he bowled another vaguely decent one. Will he live and learn? Probably not. Even worse, despite the dross, he didn't get a wicket. F. Chave, on the other hand, did, thereby breaking at last the Cheriton opening partnership.

It's interesting to watch Nigel as he prepares for a spell with the ball. The noises he makes as he squats and (sort of) stretches are similar to those made by a Massey Ferguson, circa 1937, at the annual Thorverton Vintage Tractor Show. Mechanically-minded onlookers tut and shake their heads and mutter about scrap prices being very high at the moment. But it turns out to be all an act. As soon as he runs in for the first ball, Massey morphs into Maserati, alarming creaks become mellifluous purrs, and again and again the ball lands just where it should, on a length on or just outside the off stump. As usual, the run-rate fell precipitously, though not the wickets the Erratics needed. Siva did, however, take a catch in the covers; his sixth of the season, and it's still only April. He seems to have sucked all the Erratic fielding competence within his own mass, like some cross between Jonty Rhodes and a black hole.

Anuj Tiwari, despite bowling up the hill, was quick and looked dangerous from the start. He did for the Erratics best batsman, E. Carter, caught (caught!) by skipper Jonathan Kirby at – if memory serves – mid off.

Cheriton finished on 207 for 5 after 40 overs. It looked a formidable target.

Fortified with crisps, sandwiches and the fact that no expectation or even hope rested on their shoulders, Hailwood and Yarde-Buller strode into the middle to open for the Erratics. Batting at no. 1, Hailwood survived a very nasty first ball from N. Guscot, a yorker only just wide of the leg stump that would have found a way through many defences. Perhaps the emotion of that experience went to his head, because a few overs later, after playing a sweet on-drive that, however, rolled directly towards Cheriton's best fielder, he ran himself out. It is a flaw of cricket that good shots don't always get runs, just as good words don't always get high scores in Scrabble. (Which, incidentally, is the only reason my sister, who is barely literate but knows by heart all the two-letter so-called words with 'x's' and 'j's' and 'q's' in them, always beats me at Scrabble.)

Next in was Siva. After nodding with an air of immense seriousness – he may even have stroked his chin – as BYB advised him to play sensibly, defend the good balls, wait for the bad balls, plenty of time, etc. ('do as I say, not as I do'), he took an almighty swing at the first (good) ball he received. Finding that he wasn't out, he repeated same eight more times until the laws of probability woke up from their afternoon siesta and he was bowled by the annoyingly accurate Guscot.

That brought F. Chave to the crease, and for a few overs he and Yarde-Buller kept the dream of a famous Erratic victory alive, thanks to the odd short ball and a very fast outfield. When Cheriton brought on A. Dale, a left-arm round-the-wicket spinner whose pace of delivery can only be measured in geological time, Yarde-Buller completely lost the plot. He heaved at three balls in a row, missed all three (being approximately three eras too early with his heave), and at one point fell painfully backwards into the crease. 'At least it was elegant,' commented the Cheritonian fielder at silly-mid-off, with what must pass for wit in that part of the world. From that over on, the writing was on the wall for Yardie, and he was soon bowled by a delivery that rolled under his bat. To qualify as a No Ball it would have had to bounce twice, but since it didn't even bounce once it was apparently legal. (This account may be biased.)

After tea Chave looked as though he might just do a Ben Stokes (Aug. 2019, Headingley), until he was quite miraculously caught on the boundary. It was an extraordinary catch: one-handed and taken well behind the head of the fielder. For the spectators (never mind Chave himself) it was a strange experience, full of cognitive dissonance. We all looked at each other to check it had really happened. Imagine someone picking up a size 10 Dunlop at some village fete welly-throwing competition and hurling it through the East window of the local church three-quarters a mile away. It was just like that.

The remaining Erratics battled valiantly on, with some notably fine strokes from Anuj and Rithvik, but were all out 70 runs short of the Cheriton total. The alcoholics in the team consoled themselves with a pint of cider cadged from a sympathetic member of the opposing team, while the teetotallers looked pityingly on. It was a fine end to a very enjoyable, if not successful, cricket match.

*Losers de Devon vs William's Crack Onze: the Normans conquered by 10 wickets and a colony.

Cheriton Fitzpaine Batting
Player name RunsMB4s6sSR
19w 7b 1lb 
for 5 wickets
207 (40.0 overs)
D Ferguson ct  Siva B. Rutherford 17
J Tricks b  Chave 28
E Carter ct  Kirby B. Tiwari 76
J McLauren st  Forrester B. Gutha 22
A Wreford b  Youngman 25
R Milton Not Out  11
N Guscot Not Out  1
D Saunders  
A Dale  
S Carter  
C White  

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Ben Youngman8.0037137.004.62
Rithvik Gutha8.0049149.006.12
Nigel Rutherford8.0116116.002.00
Ben Yarde-Buller4.002100.005.25
Fraser Chave4.0030130.007.50
Matt Crawford2.001200.006.00
Anuj Tiwari6.0029129.004.83

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Batting
Player Name RMB4s6sSRCatchesStumpingsRun outs
7nb 6w 3b 1lb 
for 10 wickets
Mark Hailwood Run out  3 13 23.08
Ben Yarde-Buller b  Dale 41 64 8 1 64.06
Sivaraman Subramanian b  Guscot 3 10 30.0 1
Fraser Chave ct  Carter 27 42 4 64.29
Matt Crawford ct  Dale 0 7 0
Nigel Rutherford ct  White 9 25 1 36.00
Anuj Tiwari ct  Dale 12 12 1 1 100
Rithvik Gutha b  White 12 19 1 63.16
Ben Youngman Not Out  8 19 2 42.11
Jonathan Kirby ct  White 0 2 0 1
Andrew Forrester b  White 4 14 1 28.57 1

Cheriton Fitzpaine Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
N Guscot8.0018118.002.25
D Ferguson6.003400.005.67
A Dale8.0040313.335.00
S Carter8.0025125.003.12
C White5.01641.501.20
D Saunders3.00900.003.00