Dunsford v Erratics Cricket Club Erratics on Sat 13 Jun 2015 at 2.30pm
Erratics Cricket Club Won by 78 runs
By Jeff Haynes
It is Thursday 11 June. For most of May and early June each year I find myself invigilating exams for a hundred or more candidates. Hours on end are spent painstakingly watching for a raised hand or anticipating the request for an additional answer book, but today I have the ‘treat’ of a one-to-one session, lasting for two and a half hours, when I can legitimately ‘multi-task’ … doing some other productive work whilst still maintaining the highest standards of invigilation. It is a calculated risk, but guessing that my turn for report-writing must be due to come around again very soon, I thought I would make a start on the report for Saturday’s game:
For me, this was my first return to our beloved former home ground of Dunsford after an absence of nearly two years, and was I amazed by the changes. The clear road signage to the ground was almost rendered unnecessary by the excellent improvement to the visibility splays at the entrance. The new, smooth and graded access drive no longer tested the suspension on my car, and culminates now in an all-weather designated parking area, sufficiently distant from the cricket table to be safe from even a Matt Cook six. The new suite of state-of-the-art composting toilets are in keeping with this delightful location, but the reconstructed pavilion is the real highlight. Here, but for fortune, we might still have been using the home changing, rather than the away changing, but how wonderful is it that there is now a third changing room allocated to the Jans, Pennys and Sophies of this world. I don’t know whether the rusty faded metal tiles which comprised the former scoreboard are now to be found in Dunsford Museum, but the new mechanical scoreboard is a joy to behold. Open to the sunshine, but still providing scorers with shelter from the wind (and rain), the scores can now be updated at the flick of a switch. The roll-out of broadband across Dartmoor now also means that the batting side can remain in touch with cricket scores elsewhere (and football scores at either end of the season).
There is a feel of Wimbledon about the broad area of tented decking upon which tea is now served. Were this still our home ground, how our own famous teas would have benefitted: samosas and bhajis straight from the hot ovens, chilled fruit salads straight from the cool fridges! Personally, I’m pleased that they haven’t spoilt the ground by creating a formal children’s play area, constructed to the highest health and safety standards: surely far better that the next generation of cricketers still learn to make their own fun down on the banks of the River Teign.
It is now Friday 12 June. The team sheet is out, and OMG!, I’m captain. I didn’t see that one coming … especially after picking up the Cook-Up Award last year for attempting to captain us from the wrong ground. With nobody nominated to write the report, and currently only eight players other than myself to choose from, I’ve decided to take on both responsibilities. [Selectors please note: that puts me in credit until well towards the end of this season.]
Saturday 13 June has arrived: after heavy overnight rain the weather is fair and I have been advised to expect a full team with the addition of Duncan Chave and Rob Hayes (which will certainly make field-placing easier for me). Last evening I dusted down my copy of Mike Brearley’s The Art of Captaincy in order to revise my role. He tells us that “Bradman, for one, in The Art of Cricket, maintained that the captain should, ideally, be a batsman; for it is extremely hard for bowlers to be objective about their craft.” On the other hand, Brearley himself argues that “two of the best post-war international captains were Richie Benaud and Illingworth”. With Brearley’s reassurance in mind, I set off for Dunsford:
The ground at Dunsford has not changed quite as much as I had expected, so my introduction written last Thursday must now be discarded. Let us just say that it still retains all its rustic charm ... and ants. As I arrived the pitch was having it’s third rolling and was looking in amazingly good condition considering the previous day’s rainfall, though I suspected it might play slow, with an uneven bounce. Dunsford included three youngsters in their team, and Gary Lenarth pronounced himself only half fit because of a knee injury, and so it was suggested to me that it might make more of a game should I choose to bat first. Accordingly, I lost the toss, allowing Simon Dudbridge to put us in, for something of a rarity these days ... a timed match.
Duncan Chave and Mark Phillips were slowly settling in, with 6 off 4 overs, when Gary struck by bowling Mark. I heard two accounts of his dismissal – the first that he was playing back when he should have been playing forward, and the second that he was playing forward when he should have been playing back: it was obviously a confusing ball. Rob Hayes joined Duncan and started to push the score along with a series of boundaries and twos. Duncan hit a lofted straight drive just over the umpire’s head, sending his father-in-law tumbling to the ground in evasive action. By drinks, at 20 overs, the score was 62 for 1 with Duncan on 19 and Rob on 38. Gary had by this time bowled 10 overs, and would bowl one more before remembering that he was carrying an injury!
Eventually Duncan offered up a catch having contributed 30 useful runs and shared in a partnership of 80 in 20 overs. Dan Thistlethwaite was the one to suffer from being padded up for so long, affording Rupert Williams a double-wicket-maiden. Mark Wright offered staunch support for Rob as he continued to stroke the ball to all quarters of the ground. On 96 Rob hoisted a towering six towards the pavilion to bring up his first century of the season, at which point I invited him to retire with about half-an-hour still to go to tea. Sid Thomson fell in the next over, but Martin, Fraser Chave and Dominic Prosser all chipped in to bring up a respectable total of 183 for 6.
Our hosts had prepared a splendid tea, remembering that the Erratics liked lots of veggie options and rich cakes, which was very much appreciated (not only by the players but also the gathered supporters who seemed to be many in number). Suitably weighed down the Erratics took the field. Prakash Kripakaran struck with a second over wicket-maiden, bowling Cole without score. This brought Williams in to join Martin Sharland and they slowly started to build a partnership. Prakash, Dominic and Ben Youngman all bowled tightly, and were unlucky not to make a further breakthrough. Dunsford were not scoring particularly fast, but at 65 for 1 with two batsmen well set, in a timed match, they were well placed either to accelerate, or to close things down. I brought myself and then Fraser on, in order to vary the attack, and the breakthrough came: I had Williams caught behind for 23, and in the first of the final 20 overs Fraser had Sharland, also caught behind, for 37 ... this was Sid’s first match of the season but it hadn’t taken him long to get his wicket-keeping eye in! With runs to play with I decided to force home the advantage we had created, and to do so before the threat of returning rain materialised. I first brought on Duncan, who contributed a couple of wicket-maidens, and then brought back Prakash who picked up another wicket; Fraser meanwhile took wickets in consecutive balls, then Dominic returned to take a deserved wicket. I had asked Ben to come back for the penultimate over so he could also get in the wickets, but then denied him the chance with the first ball of the 17th over when Dunsford’s final wicket fell. I had already set an attacking field, but Martin asked me if he could go in to silly-mid on as he could see the ball popping up there: I bowed to his superior captaincy skills and intuition and let him select his exact position. I then tossed up the first ball and Mark Warman obliged by spooning it straight into Martin’s waiting hands. Dunsford were 105 all out and the Erratics had won by 78 runs, and with just 17 balls remaining.
It was an excellent all-round fielding performance. The Chaves combined bowling analysis was 12-5-24-5; Sid took three catches, five other clean catches went to hand and hardly any runs were given away by misfields. The two players stepping in to make up the team both made excellent batting contributions, (without which our total would have been much less impressive, and less defensible). Thanks must go to all the team, for bearing with my captaincy, to Peter for umpiring, to Annie for scoring, and to Dunsford for welcoming us and making it such a very pleasant afternoon.
We retired to the Royal Oak, where Rob (in absentia) provided a jug which lubricated our planning of the 2016 France tour … a couple of matches in Normandy and the Pays de la Loire, on our way down to further matches in the Midi-Pyrenees and Languedoc-Roussillon. Watch this space …
Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Batting
1nb 15w 3b 2lb
for 6 wickets
ct b. Williams
Retired Not Out
ct and b. Tony
No records to display.
for 10 wickets
105 (37.1 overs)
ct Thomson b Chave F
ct Thomson b Haynes
ct Chave D b Kripakaran
ct Hayes b Chave D
ct Prosser b Chave D
ct Kripakaran b Chave F
ct Wright b Haynes
ct Thomson b Chave F
Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Bowling
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