Erratics Cricket Club Erratics v Chulmleigh on Sat 03 Jun 2023 at 2.00pm
Erratics Cricket Club Won by 7 Wickets

Match report The past is another country, they do things divergently there

Martin Weiler said that this game had an old-time-Erratics feel about it, and I can see what he meant. Even though we only started playing Chulmleigh in 1999, this afternoon was redolent of those 1980s games where the typical village opposition was a rag-tag bunch in ill-fitting whites. No sponsors logos on the shirts back then, no nicknames on the back, and accents as thick as clotted cream. At least, that's how I remember it. There was another way that this game resembled those half-forgotten, half-mythical and two-thirds-just-plain-made-up ones: the Erratics were a little bit too good. The most important bowling spells of their innings, after visiting skipper Dave Pannett had won the toss and chosen to bat first in a declaration game, were mine and Duncan's. Without our combined 7-0-59-0, there was a genuine threat that the game would have been finished before the Manor Inn had opened. Beer match, anyone?

We started a little bit late -- this wasn't an afternoon for hurrying -- and it was Lee Grant, the American Civil War internalised, who opened proceedings from the pavilion end. The ball was swinging, and Duncan hurriedly shifted his field around a few degrees anti-clockwise. Pannett, the captain who opened both batting and bowling (again, shades of those lost days of my Erratic boyhood), played out the over. Ben Yarde-Buller, bowled his legspin from the other end. His second delivery turned a mile, pitching a bit outside the off stump and ending up being called a wide. The umpire, Chris (not Chuck) Norris, perhaps to make amends, started to call Ben "Shane". It's an odd comparison. Indeed, if ChatGPT were given access to a gene-sequencing machine and challenged to produce a leg spinner different in as many ways as possible from Warne, the sixth Baron Churston is almost certainly what it would produce.

The third legitimate delivery of this second over was short and Alex Bushell hurriedly hid his light by belting the long hop straight at Matt Crawford. One for one.

Generals Lee and Grant then bowled another accurate maiden. He was less of a threat now as the ball had stopped swinging. In fact, after just two overs and with one run on the board, it had gone soft and out of shape ("just like the Erratics," our president pointed out wrily). The second-wicket partnership was just beginning to take shape when, after hitting the game's first four, Chulmleigh's number three, Josh, rather tamely hit Lee to Martin Wright at mid off. Nine for two.

Oly Brown was next in and next out. In common with three of the other top-five batsmen, Brown perished a ball or two after hitting a four. In his case, he hit Yarde-Buller to the leg-side boundary, let one go and then appeared (to me at mid off) to play and miss at the next before turning on his heel and heading towards the pavilion. Jonathan Kirby's appeal for a caught behind would certainly have been turned down by the umpire who was as surprised as I and the bowler were to discover that Brown was out. 21 for three in the 12th over.

Alex Cox, a tall youth of that teenage build that seems to require the adjective "gangling", was the next man in. He was, he confessed, "bored" by Chulmleigh's slow progress, and set about trying to change things. His slightly manic approach brought him two fours, at least one of which was richly deserved, before he edged Lee Grant somewhere near Duncan and departed. It was one of those sharp slip catches that we expect Duncan to take. He's not the only Erratic ever who would have pouched it, but he's one of about five that would have done it so comfortably and unfussily. 32 for four in the 15th over.

Ben Youngman replaced Lee and I replaced other Ben. Batting became an easier proposition from my end; but Ben was, if anything, even harder to play than Lee had been, his off-cutters getting extravagant purchase. John Dallyn was the new man at the crease, and he too made it to ten with two fours of varying quality. In Ben's second over, though, an off-cutter took a bail and, like the soldier bold who lost his legs, Dallyn laid down his arms. Matt Brown followed in the same over, playing too early and driving aerially back to Ben who took the catch with Chave-like unfuss. At this point, with the score 51 for six, Dave Pannett had moved cautiously to 14. He was to finish on 79, scoring 65 more out of the 78 runs that the visitors added for the last four wickets.

Joe Evans, the Chulmleigh 'keeper, joined his skipper in a partnership of 23. Ben bowled a string of maidens, finishing with three for eleven off his six overs, while Pannett looked to tuck into anything loose that I bowled. Fortunately for him, and for the game as a spectacle, there was plenty to tuck into. Another unfussy slip catch did for Evans, and left-handed Chris Norris was the new man. He had an unusual batting style, clearing his front leg like a T20 batterer getting ready to launch one over midwicket, and then jabbing the bat out at right angles to his cleared-leg stand, rather in the manner that you might poke a dead animal with a stick just to make sure that there were no signs of life. Norris contributed three runs to a partnership of 52. Pannett at the other end struck 11 boundaries, three of them sixes, in 34 balls, racing from 15 to 79, before perishing to Fraser and to Duncan's third slip catch. The three Chulmleigh left-handers at nine, ten, jack couldn't really lay a bat on Fraser, and the innings subsided for 129 in the 36th over. Matt Crawford had picked up the wicket of Norris in what my dad described as "one of the fastest overs I've ever seen in an Erratics match". The speed here was of completion rather than of the speed-gun type: think Ravindra Jadeja, not Michael Holding.

Martin Wright and Fraser had time to face a few overs before tea, with Martin very LBW to the first ball of the sixth, a Pannett delivery that kept unpleasantly low. Philosophically accepting the fate of the village-wicket opening bat, Martin consoled himself that he would at least have the opportunity to gorge himself at tea. It was a great spread -- though Peggy Bird, of blessed Gras Lawn memory, wouldn't have been sure about all that fruit and the surprise sticks of celery, cucumber and carrot that one of the Bens had provided -- served to the sound of alpine cow bells. Martin Weiler's mood of nostalgia was heightened when we had a low fly-over from a WW2 Lancaster bomber, presumably on its way to drop bouncing bombs on Fernworthy Reservoir.

Baron Churston, joined Fraser after tea and they fashioned a century partnership that sealed the game. Fraser was dropped at least once by Evans behind the stumps and by Brown and midwicket, and he had a few awkward moments with bouncing bombs from John Dallyn. When the bad balls came, though, Fraser seized on them and found gaps down to long leg and midwicket off Dallyn.

Weiler's nostalgia took an unexpected turn as he began reminiscing about the good-old days of scoreboards that even neurodivergent people could put the number 4 on. The main Teign Valley scoreboard is one of those that has seven reversible lozenges, three horizontal and four vertical, to make up a digit, creating the number in the same way as an old calculator. When all seven are turned to the white side, you have a figure 8. Other digits require some of the lozenges to be flipped to the black. 0 Martin could do, and 1. 2 took a bit of effort, as did 3 and 5. 6 and 7 he also got, and 9, though it sparked a bit of a debate about the ideal orientation of the bottom lozenge, was mastered. 4, though, was beyond the president. He started with a lower-case t: it's difficult to show in a text-only file, but an impressively bad effort. Of the seven lozenges, only three were correctly placed, and so Martin's 4 was worse than the average that would be achieved if the seven lozenges were randomly set. People worry about artificial intelligence taking over all human activity and rendering us pointless. Trust me on this one, though: no AI is ever going to match Martin's efforts on that scoreboard.

To make the president feel better about himself -- especially after the scorn of of the scorer -- other Erratics started sharing their neurodivergent oddities, the oddest of which was that Duncan struggles to differentiate conceptually between orange and purple. This isn't a colour-blindness thing, as he can tell one colour from the other, it's more of internal thing.

Meanwhile, Ben went to fifty (off 56 balls) with a couple of fours. He hit a six and then holed out to a good catch by the gangling Cox. Martin Weiler joined Fraser and hit his fourth ball for a leg-side 4 (though it may, of course, have been a lower-case t in Martin's mind). Fraser's 80-ball 45 came to a tame end as a stoppy-popper from Matt Brown was popped back to the bowler; and it was left to Matt Crawford to deliver the coup de grace.

And so to the Manor Inn for a languid hour or two of very heaven.

Reporter: Jim Thomson

Chulmleigh Batting
Player name RunsMB4s6sSR
2nb 3w 4b  
for 10 wickets
129 (35.4 overs)
D Pannett ct  F Chave 79
A Bushell ct  B Yarde-Buller 0
Josh ct  L Grant 7
O Brown ct  B Yarde-Buller 5
Al Cox ct  L Grant 10
J Dallyn b  B Youngman 10
M Brown ct  B Youngman 2
J Evans ct  B Youngman 5
C Norris ct  M Crawford 3
P Gordon ct  F Chave 0
An Cox Not Out  0

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Lee Grant8.031226.001.50
Ben Yarde-Buller8.0124212.003.00
Ben Youngman6.041133.671.83
Jim Thomson6.003800.006.33
Matt Crawford4.0115115.003.75
Duncan Chave1.002100.0021.00
Fraser Chave2.41422.001.50

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Batting
Player Name RMB4s6sSRCatchesStumpingsRun outs
2nb 3w 1b 1lb 
for 3 wickets
Fraser Chave ct  M Brown 45 80 5 56.25
Martin Wright lbw  D Pannett 3 14 21.43 1
Ben Yarde-Buller ct  Josh 60 63 9 1 95.24
Martin Weiler Not Out  5 13 1 38.46
Matt Crawford Not Out  13 14 2 92.86 2
Duncan Chave   3
Jonathan Kirby   1
Lee Grant   1
Sean Webb  
Ben Youngman   1
Jim Thomson  

Chulmleigh Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
J Dallyn6.002400.004.00
D Pannett7.0210110.001.43
P Gordon4.003500.008.75
A Bushell5.003400.006.80
O Brown5.4213113.002.29