Newton Poppleford v Erratics Cricket Club Erratics on Sun 17 Apr 2011 at Unknown
Erratics Cricket Club Lost 5 Wickets

Match report Match Report by Jim Thomson:

The start of a new season has a special excitement, and the anxious minutes before the toss quiver with unanswered questions. Were the winter nets worth it? Will the doosra I'm trying out turn at all? Can I still bend down far enough to stop the ball in the field? Does my new bat have a good middle? How will the dog behave at his first cricket match? Would the host of Thomsons and extended Thomsons contribute anything worthwhile to the team? Are red socks ever acceptable on a cricket field? Who is Varun Kothamachu?

A glance at the team sheet suggested that we had more bowling than batting; though Ferro, Chave and Sid Thomson promised a quality that many Erratics sides of the past would have envied.

On a glorious April afternoon, the home side won the toss and decided to bowl first, realising that the harder new ball might be a tricky prospect on an uncertain early-season track. Duncan Chave and Chris Ferro started cautiously against the all-teenage attack of Thomas and House. Chave played out a maiden, telling himself to "wait, wait" before playing, and then Ferro hit four through the leg side. In the third over disaster struck: Duncan started his drive part way through his second "wait", the ball screwed out to square point and Alex Raistrick made a catch above his head look easy. It was the first example of what was an excellent fielding display by Newton Poppleford.

Sid played himself into form with a couple of well-timed pushes for singles, and then played himself back out of form. Thomas got one to climb via the outside edge of Sid's bat and we were rocking at eight for two in the seventh over of a 40-over innings. If Tom Clay at gully had held on to the sharp-but-catchable chance that Ferro offered in the next over, then our fate would probably have been sealed in the first half hour of play. Fortunately, however, the catch was dropped, and a swashbuckling stand of 45 between Ferro - mixing correct defence with fluent attack - and Kirby - clearing the front leg to bulldoze the ball to the extra-cover boundary - was the foundation of our innings.

Jonathan's brave 26 came to an end when he played around a full delivery from Matthew Raistrick. Chris Squire laboured out to the crease, looking as if his bat was too heavy to carry. He batted in much the same way, perishing quickly when he hit Alex Raistrick high in the air to Rich Coombes at mid off. Veran Kothamachu was next in, hitting a belligerent four and an edgy two before falling LBW to Alex Raistrick, hit full and low on the front pad as he played around a straight one. Enter Gareth Oughton, who batted with his usual total commitment to the team, the game of cricket and the workers' struggle for a fairer distribution of the wealth that they alone create. He didn't last long, falling to a smart gully catch off Alex Raistrick, and returned to the Erratics crowd smiling and proud that he'd "middled that one". We were in trouble at 81 for six in the 23rd over.

A partnership of 25 between the captain and Mark Phillips restored some semblance of order, before Mark, shortly after a pair of well-struck pulls for four, played all around a decent ball from Rich Coombes and was bowled. John Nagle was smartly stumped by Kenny Clay as he over-balanced trying to play a leg-side delivery and then James Burrows was well taken low down at cover, both wickets falling to Rich Coombes in the 35th over. At 120 for nine with five overs to go, our chances of reaching a defendable total lay with Ferro and with my ability to stay with him. Chris did his bit, but I'm ashamed to admit that I let him down. After aiming only the vaguest of wafts at my first three or four wide-down-the-leg deliveries, I actually tried to hit one and the aggressive intent pulled me around and out of my crease. My yell of frustration as Kenny Clay whipped off the bails wasn't so much at the fact that I was out but rather at being dismissed in such a predictable and stupid way.

All out for 137 with two and a half overs unbowled was a disappointing return, and of the Erratics only Ferro (unbeaten on 82), Kirby, Phillips (second- and third-highest scorers respectively) and Oughton ("I middled that one") ate tea with any sort of satisfaction. Newton Poppleford tucked into sandwiches, apple cake and clotted-cream scones with a relaxed sense of a job well done.

The helmeted Alex Raistrick opened their innings with Rich Coombes against the hardest working seam attack in Devon friendly cricket: James Burrows and Gareth Oughton. Oughton had Coombes in trouble outside off stump, and a few edges flew to the third-man boundary. At the other end, Raistrick was being more circumspect, only attacking the shortest and widest of deliveries; and the partnership prospered. Coombes started to find his range and to hit fours in front of square. James's fifth over went for 12 and he was removed from the attack, replaced by John Nagle. In the 12th over, Coombes passed fifty with the score on just 67. He was out LBW next ball, playing around an Oughton delivery with a leg-side tendency.

James House was next in and he and Raistrick consolidated, taking the score to 92 off Nagle and Kothamachu. Nagle has a lot of John Rudlin about him, gathering himself into a final leap that turns his head back towards mid on and then bowling aggressive inswing at the sort of pace that leaves a 'keeper uncertain whether to stand up or back. Kothamachu has a smoother approach and delivery, but seemed to have trouble holding on to the ball and was removed from the attack after a couple of high full tosses had threatened to ruffle the almost-unruffleable Raistrick.

It was time for spin, and my first ball pitched on a length on off stump. To my surprise, House played defensively forward down the line of middle and the ball hit off stump. Tom Clay was in next: a young man in a hurry. He was dropped second ball and caught fifth ball, and I had started with a double-wicket maiden. Kevin Clay was out in a carbon copy of House's dismissal, and at 100 for four Newton Poppleford might have been about to collapse. Unfortunately for us, Alsford played very sensibly, and Raistrick took control, leading them to a comfortable five-wicket victory with almost ten overs to spare.

Not all of our pre-match questions had been answered, but at least we now know who Varun Kothamachu is, and we know which one of the Thomsons and extended Thomsons had contributed positively to the team.

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Batting
Player Name RunsMB4s6sSRCtStRo
2w 4b  
for 10 wickets
Duncan Chave Caught  1
Chris Ferro Not Out  82 14
Sid Thomson Caught  2
Jonathan Kirby Bowled  26 5
Chris Squire Caught  0
Varun Kothamachu Lbw  6 1
Gareth Oughton Caught  0
Mark Phillips Bowled  9 2
John Nagle Caught  1
James Burrows Caught  0
Jim Thomson Caught  4 1

Newton Poppleford Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
No records to display.

Newton Poppleford Batting
Player name RMB4s6sSR
4nb 1b  
for 5 wickets
138 (30.1 overs)

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
James Burrows7.1039139.005.44
Gareth Oughton7.0227127.003.86
John Nagle8.003900.004.88
Varun Kothamachu2.001500.007.50
Jim Thomson6.021735.672.83
Photos and video of Newton Poppleford v Erratics Cricket Club Erratics on Sun 17 Apr 2011 at Unknown


'A swashbuckling stand of 45 between Ferro (left) and Kirby' in the first match of the 2011 season at Newton Poppleford. Kenny Clay is the NP wicket keeper.


Gareth Oughton (7-2-27-1) bowls in the opening fixture of the 2011 season at Newton Poppleford. John Nagle crouches at gulley and Alex Raistrick backs up.


James Burrows breaks through at Newton Poppleford in 2011. John Nagle (gulley), Duncan Chave (slip) and Sid Thomson (wk) are the fielders.


Gareth Oughton's pre-match routine at Newton Poppleford in 2011.