Erratics Cricket Club Erratics v Bridford on Sun 05 Jun 2016 at 2.00pm
Erratics Cricket Club Lost by 2 wickets

Match report Mark Hailwood reports…

At least Krupakar had his trousers on. That in itself represented a better start to his Erratics captaincy career than I had managed. That was also in a game against Bridford, when the opposition skipper called into our changing room for me to go out and toss up and a desperate rummage through my kit bag revealed that I'd forgotten to pack my trousers. Thankfully JK produced a spare pair so I was saved from the indignity of captaining my first game in my Calvin Kleins. Krups was much bettered prepared, arriving with his batting and bowling plans written up on post-it notes and efficiently overseeing the setting up of the ground (this was that rare occurrence, an Erratics home game).

He even went so far as to win the toss, and duly elected to bat. Krups was confident he had the bowling attack to defend a total; the sun was shining; the artificial pitch wasn't going to offer any special assistance to the side bowling first: it seemed like a no-brainer. Rack 'em up and knock 'em down. Simple. Of course, what ensued was a valuable first lesson in Erratics captaincy: as Rabbie Burns famously put it (no doubt reflecting on captaining his local village cricket team) “The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, / Gang aft agley”.

It started well enough. An experimental opening partnership of Hailwood and Williamson made steady progress, with the former working the singles and the latter adopting a more aggressive approach, including a useful early six. Williamson's aggression also extended to his calling between the wickets, and after a nice pull over mid-wicket and the completion of a first run he politely enquired to Hailwood about the prospect of completing a second: 'It's your call… but YES'.

Unfortunately, Danny fell shortly afterwards looking to up the scoring rate when he got underneath a short ball that took a tennis-ball bounce – and their rookie keeper made the first of several excellent running and diving catches of towering fly-balls (some baseball parlance for all you baseball fans – or is that just me?). What unfolded next was a dance as old as time (well, as old as cricket): Bridford introduced a spinner of the extreme flight variety and invited us to over-indulge. We duly obliged. Dan T was out caught trying to pull said spinner to the short boundary; Hailwood was bowled trying to slog-sweep said spinner to the short boundary; Peter Cox was stumped trying to… you get the idea. Krups also fell for the ploy, and before long we had managed an Errati-collapse to 64-5 and their spinner Tom Edwards had a 4-for.

Mercifully Edwards was withdrawn from the attack and we mustered a bit of a rally, with Sam Cox playing nicely for a 28 that included some big sixes before he middled a pull straight at square leg who took a sharp catch. Paul Molins also performed a useful cameo (13) with some aggressive hitting - in defiance of Krupakar's orders to 'take it steady'. The captain's message of caution was understandable, for at the other end Chris Ferro was – as ever – going about the business of crafting an innings of substance with calm, skill and surety. So often has Ferro steered the Erratics ship through stormy waters that it felt as though we were still in with a chance of a good total if our lower order could keep him company for the remaining 15 overs. But it wasn't to be – Bridford brought their opening bowler back on and his pace and swing proved to be too much to handle, and the wickets of Youngman and Oughton in consecutive balls took us to the brink. Jeff survived the hat-trick ball but once again was left stranded without a partner as Ferro was caught at mid-on for 47. By that stage we had recovered to 139 but had only managed to bat for 30 overs.

If we had let our captain down somewhat with the bat we did salvage some pride by laying on an excellent tea: Gareth's 'Northern doorstop' ham & cheese sandwiches were a highlight, and although I felt my home-baked vanilla and cocoa swirl cake was a little dry some players were still polite enough to compliment me on its flavour (well, Chris Ferro was polite enough…). Conversation at tea turned to the subject of 'favourite Erratics ducks', prompted by Peter Cox complimenting Gareth on the elegance of his first-ball dismissal, whereby he had offered a Gower-esque straight drive to the ball that bowled him through the gate. Ben Youngman being bowled out at Tedburn last year whilst shouldering arms also featured, as did my being run out on the first ball of a game without facing at Newton St Cyres.

Buoyed by all this talk of past Erratics glories, we took to the field knowing we would realistically need to bowl Bridford out to win the game. By the drinks break things were in the balance, with our visitors about half way there in terms of runs but 4 wickets down (as they only had 10 men we only needed 9 wickets). Youngman, Oughton, Hailwood and Haynes had all bowled with good economy, and had spread the wickets between them, supported by a fine keeping display from Paul behind the stumps. But after a cup of unusually zesty squash the Bridford batsmen started to unlock the key to batting success on Tedburn's idiosyncratic pitch: at the bottom end they played with extreme caution, and from the top end they went hard at anything remotely short. To make matters worse the setting sun dropped into the eye-line of the uphill bowlers, and within the space of a few brutal overs Bridford's onslaught looked to have taken the game away from us.

It looked as though the plot would take another twist when Oughton returned to the attack, knocking over 3 in quick succession, but when his quota of overs ran out so too did our chances, and Bridford resumed their hard hitting from the top end to get over the line with 2 wickets to spare. It might have been a very different story if Sam Cox's direct hit of the base of the stumps in a run out attempt had dislodged the bails, but like Bridford's lower order said bails refused to budge and all was lost.

Still, we had made a game of it in glorious sunshine against fun opposition, and were able to claim that ever welcome consolation prize of an early retreat to the pub beer garden. And Krups was able to reflect over a light ale on a job well done: it might have been a losing start, but more importantly he martialled his bowling attack well to make a close contest of what could have been a trouncing, and above all everyone had a decent opportunity to bat or bowl in a game played in the right spirit. He'll be back.

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Batting
Player Name RunsMB4s6sSRCtStRo
for 10 wickets

(30.0 overs)
Mark Hailwood Bowled  8
Danny Williamson Caught  16 1 1
Daniel Thistlethwaite Caught  4
Peter Cox Stumped  11 1
Jayakrupakar Nallala Caught  2
Sam Cox Caught  28 2 2
Chris Ferro Caught  47 8 1
Paul Molins Caught  13 2
Ben Youngman Bowled  0
Gareth Oughton Bowled  0
Jeff Haynes Not Out  0

Bridford Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
No records to display.

Bridford Batting
Player name RMB4s6sSR
for 7 wickets
141 (32.0 overs)

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Ben Youngman7.0032132.004.57
Gareth Oughton8.002538.333.12
Mark Hailwood7.0020120.002.86
Jeff Haynes4.0124212.006.00
Danny Williamson2.003600.0018.00
Peter Cox4.00600.001.50