Newton Poppleford v Erratics Cricket Club Erratics on Sun 18 Aug 2013 at 2pm
Erratics Cricket Club Won by 3 wickets

Match report Mark Hailwood reports

Channel 5's Mark Nicholas, with his penchant for hyperbole, likes to refer to any innings of 50 runs or above as 'one of the great knocks'. He would have struggled to find a superlative grand enough to describe Matt Cook's efforts in this game. Perhaps 'one of the great Erratics knocks' will do. I'm sure we've all witnessed a fecund and destructive Matt Cook innings at some stage (last week at Harberton, for example) but this was a deeply impressive match-winning contribution made against long odds. But I'm getting ahead of myself…

Captain and Keeper Forrester won the toss and put Newton Poppleford in on a warm, dry, typical late summer afternoon (well, typical in the sense of what they should be like, rather than what they have recently been like). It was anything but a typical Devon wicket, with real bounce and carry from back of a length. And that is where our bowlers consistently put it, in what was another tight – if not quite Hailwoodesque – bowling performance (come on, I've got to milk my figures of 8 overs for 2 runs from the previous week, figures I'm unlikely to repeat however long I play for the Erratics. Except perhaps with my batting…) There was a fair bit of ducking, weaving and leaving from their batsmen – but they managed to find a cuttable delivery on an overly basis to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Indeed, there was an air of inevitability about their total in the 160s, for it seemed like they scored consistently at four an over throughout the afternoon.

We couldn't quite find the necessary wickets to disrupt their steady progress. Ground fielding was excellent, but with most of their runs coming via the aerial route it was disappointing not to hold on to a few more catching chances. The only ones that seemed to stick were the ridiculously difficult ones: Prakash leapt like a salmon to clutch a top-edged cut that looked destined to fizz high over the slips; Ferro dived at full stretch to his right from a specially requested 'one-and-a-half' slip position to pinch between the tips of thumb and forefingers a marvellous Straussian catch. But with young George House making a measured, patient and unbeaten half century—'worth a hundred on this pitch', opined Ferro—and with only 4 wickets falling, 'The Pop' reached what looked like a very competitive 166.

The reply started well enough, with Mark Phillips in particular looking in good touch, but it was hard to keep the ball down. Their bowlers took some of the pace off, and offered us few of the cutting and pulling opportunities that had proved their main outlet, just popping it up gently off a miserly length. And popping it up gently was what the Erratics proceeded to do in return. I'll spare the gory details of the ensuing collapse, but after 14 overs we were 21-6, and perilously close to undercutting the 23 all out that we had dismissed Newton Poppleford for at Dunsford earlier in the season. The odds on an Erratics win at this stage? 500-1 perhaps?

Enter Martin Weiler and Matt Cook. The former reined in his natural flowing game to grind out a crucial 22 runs in a partnership of 70, before being dismissed by a very sharp stumping – undoubtedly cursed by the conversation on the boundary, where admiring onlookers had declared Martin one of the best Erratics to watch just one ball previously. Nonetheless, the score by this stage had moved into the 90s, and a target of a further 70 odd off 10 now looked improbable rather than impossible. Until Matt Cook, now with Chris Ferro in place as his able wingman, began to hit his straps. On a pitch that offered few easy pickings Cook attacked judiciously, and made use of his full armoury of shots. Highlights included a six struck comfortably over the top of all of four – yes four – leg side boundary fielders, and two straight sixes back over the head of E Thomas, ruining his otherwise frugal bowling figures, and nearly smashing Chris Squire's car window in the process. It was not all fireworks – there was a lot of hard graft, watchfulness, quick running, and a regal cover drive or two.

The onlooking Erratics began to dream, then to hope, then to expect – then to panic when with 11 needed off 3 overs Captain Forrester assessed the remaining task as 'a piece of cake'. This time, however, it was no curse, and Cook bagged them all in one over – leaving him, agonisingly, with a final score of 97 not out. Worth a hundred, under the circumstances.

Team: M Cook, P Cox, C Ferro, A Forrester (wk) (capt), M Hailwood, P Kripakaran, K Nallala, M Phillips, C Squire, D Thistlethwaite, M Weiler

Newton Poppleford Batting
Player name RunsMB4s6sSR
for 4 wickets
166 (40.0 overs)

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Matt Cook8.0229214.503.63
Prakash Kripakaran4.011500.003.75
Mark Hailwood4.0111111.002.75
Peter Cox8.003400.004.25
Chris Ferro8.002300.002.88
Jayakrupakar Nallala4.0027127.006.75
Martin Weiler4.0016116.004.00

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Batting
Player Name RMB4s6sSRCatchesStumpingsRun outs
for 7 wickets
Jayakrupakar Nallala Caught  7
Mark Phillips ct  & b. 5
Mark Hailwood Bowled  3
Chris Squire Caught  0
Daniel Thistlethwaite Caught  1
Martin Weiler Stumped  22
Peter Cox Caught  0
Matt Cook Not Out  97
Chris Ferro Not Out  15
Andrew Forrester  
Prakash Kripakaran  

Newton Poppleford Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
No records to display.