Crediton Inn v Erratics Cricket Club Erratics on Thu 21 Aug 2014 at 6.00pm
Erratics Cricket Club Lost by 49 runs
“Is it too early to start celebrating an improbable Erratics victory?” I asked.
“It’s in the f***ing bag”, expostulated our captain, Mark Hailwood.
Sadly, I have to confess that Mark’s retort is taken completely out of context and refers to his finding of the scorebook in the kit bag rather than to the state of the game. Mark had made lengthy and judicious enquiries about the scorebook after our game at Newton Poppleford last Sunday. It had apparently gone missing but was actually where it should have been all along.
My question had come as the second Crediton Inn wicket had fallen, leaving them reeling at 20 for 2 after 4 overs. My use of the word “reeling” is ironic, of course. The answer to the question was “yes”, though it had seemed worth celebrating the fact that their openers had been dismissed for personal scores of just 4 and 9. We continued to do relatively well in the field, for a time. At the end of the 16th over, Crediton had been restricted to just 102, but they had wickets in hand and reached 153 for 6 by the end of the 20th.
We were, as someone observed “probably just one Oughton short of bowling quorum”. Gareth Oughton had been available for this game until he belatedly remembered that it was his wedding anniversary. Thanks for your loyalty, Gareth!
That said, there was some good Erratic bowling. Bringing on a spinner when the opposition have started slogging always feels risky, but after an initial over costing 8 runs, Jeff Haynes bowled beautifully with flight and guile, finishing with 2 wickets for just 21 off his 4 overs, including a slip catch taken by Dan Thistlethwaite. Will Kay began both his first 2 overs with a wicket before taking his obligation to be Erratic a little too literally, and Fraser Chave bowled our only maiden, a wicket maiden, in spell costing just 18 runs. The last 4 overs cost us dear, but it would be churlish to blame this on our bowlers because it seemed more likely that Crediton Inn had played a bit with their batting order when their number 8 announced himself with a beautifully-struck first-ball boundary that was only a few inches short of clearing the rope. Let’s say no more about that. 154 to win would be a tall order.
How would we respond? The first ball of our innings was not promising and could be seen as symbolic – classic forward defence. In contrast, Crediton Inn had started with a firm push to mid-on and a calmly-run single. They were always looking for singles, and taking them. We just don’t seem able to do that. Nonetheless, our openers, Will Kay and Rick Lindsay did take the fight to the opposition and after 5 overs we were 28 without loss compared with 26 for 2. Glory be – the Erratics ahead of the run-rate, and with wickets in hand.
It couldn’t last. It didn’t last. After Will and Rick had both fallen to the bowling of Fran and Stu, the batsmen who had provided the spectacular finale to the Crediton Inn innings, we became somewhat moribund and in 3 overs scored just 4 runs, 1 of which was a bye. By the end of the 12th over, we were 51 for 3, now needing an improbable 103 from 8 overs – that’s more than 12 runs an over for the mathematically challenged among the readers of this report, should there be any.
So, this is where the debate starts: were Crediton Inn relentlessly competitive in not releasing the pressure (they could have given us some part-time bowlers to feed off and allowed us some fun in our inevitable defeat), or are we basically a bit crap when it comes to playing these limited overs games? Or (the third way) are we just unlucky sometimes?
The case of lack of good fortune could be made in this game by Martin Weiler who, immediately looking for runs carved his first ball hard into the covers where the only fielder for miles around not only had the indecency to prevent the boundary but caught the ball cleanly. A yard or two either way and we might have had another sparking and rapid Weiler contribution which might have changed things. Ditto Greg MacQueen who had started powerfully and promisingly but was cut off in his prime. If these two had had just a little more time, could things have been different? After all, we had been ahead of the rate at one stage…
Part-time bowling from the Crediton Inn did come into play, but only in the 19th over when we were presented with what Peter Thomson in “chapter 8” calls a “pie-chucker”. 13 runs off that over took us to 3 figures, but we were still well short of the required total. In any case, why would an opposing team release the pressure earlier than that in a game like this? I recall us doing it and regretting it.
Or are we just a bit crap? Certainly, when fielding we applaud someone who runs to retrieve a ball from just inside the boundary and who then throws it in to reach the wicket-keeper on the fourth or fifth bounce, or maybe by relay throwing. That’s a bit different to diving to save the runs in the first place, but it is supportive and encouraging and, after all, everyone is doing their best. What more can you ask? Mostly though, when batting we do seem to struggle with the basic run-a-ball requirement of a 20-over game. Should we have a policy of being brutal with the batting order, or should we restrict our choice of 20-over fixtures to teams more similar in composition and ethos to us? It would be nice to think we’d just had an unfortunate run, but Mark Hailwood informs me that we have not won a single game at Newton St Cyres this season, having also played the Heads & Tails, and the Beer Engine there.
Personally speaking, however, this is a fixture I would want to keep, and not just because of the excellent food provided at the Crediton Inn after the game and the convivial company there. Turns out that some of the Crediton Inn team also play for Sandford and also play indoors at Exeter. Some even remember the days of indoor cricket at Tiverton (including the time when an indoor game there was rained off), though even then, they were in a different division to us.
PS A.N.Other in our batting is Tom Martin-Wells. Tried entering his name but "computer said no"
PPS Martin Weiler and I did a pre-match, warm-up run round the boundary. Who says this practice is dying out?!
Crediton Inn Batting
for 6 wickets
153 (20.0 overs)
Retired Not Out
Retired Not Out
Retired Not Out
Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Bowling
Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Batting
for 6 wickets
Crediton Inn Bowling
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