Erratics Cricket Club Erratics v Denbury on Sun 23 Aug 2009 at 2pm
Match was Drawn

Match report Denbury isn’t the team it was when this fixture was first set up by Peter Colclough (an ex-Erratic whose cricket would never have led anyone to suspect him of being the executive head of a major hospital trust). The Hickeys, father and son, constitute a major threat in themselves, and they have back-up! Mind you, if truth be told, they also have a few people with a tendency to totter in the field, so they weren’t altogether indistinguishable from us. And they had struggled to get ten players.

The wicket was grassy, and spotted with dandelions, and I wasn’t that sorry to lose the toss. But the bounce – particularly when the ball was new – was even more unpredictable than I’d expected. Gareth Oughton’s opening spell deserved a reward, but got none. When the ball squatted, it missed the stumps, and when it leapt it went over them and/or the batsman. And the Denbury openers did a good job. It came as a bit of a surprise when the older one (who reminded me of the lieutenant-colonel in the Black Watch who’d once hooked my stick from behind when I was about to score the winning goal at hockey) clattered a full toss from Duncan Chave at Martin Wright, who pouched it nonchalantly.

The only problem was that he was replaced by the left-handed younger Hickey, who destroyed Duncan’s figures with a display of clean hitting that was almost a pleasure to be standing behind. Alongside him, the younger opener went almost imperceptibly to his fifty, and as the score mounted towards, and then beyond, 100 for 1, I felt forced to employ Chris Ferro earlier than I’d intended. (I used to feel the same about opening the bowling with Chris Cook: when you have a batsman that good, it doesn’t seem right that he should bowl so well.) David Pearson was meanwhile engaged on an impressive, long spell from the village end, and it was he who, having conceded the six that took young Hickey to his fifty, induced a snick from the next ball and a catch to Gareth at mid-off from the new batsman next over. By then, Chris had bowled the opener with an unplayable off-cutter (top of the off-stump – the sort of ball that is drooled over in the TV highlights). And with Denbury 130 for 4 we were, arguably, in the driving seat. Not least because, reluctantly and for the first time ever, Simon Hickey and his 65-year-old partner were wearing helmets. (Note to the Erratics committee: we need to think about the Dunsford square.)

After a while, the older man had to retire from the effects of the helmet on his breathing. There followed a run-out and Penny Price’s clean bowling of a fair-haired youngster who looked like an Enid Blyton caricature of a ploughboy. By then, though, we’d managed to drop Hickey three times, once off his first ball, and he proceeded to hit some enormous sixes on his way to the third Denbury fifty. As things stood, the tea-break was timely.

Chris Mellett and Guy Clarke opened our innings cautiously. Most of the first twenty runs came in wides, delivered by a big, loose-limbed Jamaican called (I think) Kwesi. Kwesi had been run out for nought, and seemed less than all right with the world. He took some of his frustration out on John Pearson, who (as umpire) was calling the wides. But then came what can only be called a treble wobble – the first recorded occurrence in Erratic history. Up runs Kwesi, reaches the wicket and throws (wobble 1) the ball fast in Guy’s direction. John calls it a wide (which, let alone a no-ball, it was), Kwesi says something (your reporter doesn’t know what, but it was clearly received as a last straw) to John, and John responds by chucking Kwesi’s cap to the ground (wobble 2) and walking off, not noticing that Guy (wobble 3) is doing the same in protest at having been the aunt sally for Kwesi’s ball-hurling.

Not surprisingly, a brief cooling-off period ensued, after which Chris and Guy both got themselves caught, and Martin Wright, having just struck a mighty blow over mid-on, contrived to run himself out in slow motion. Now, with Chris Ferro and Duncan Chave beginning to express themselves, the game looked in the balance. We were inside the last twenty overs (five-year-old Greta Squire vociferously keeping the scoreboard up to date), but successive overs went for nine, seven and fourteen, until (alas!) there was another slow-motion moment which saw Chris Ferro cut the slowest of balls slowly towards backward-point, where it was slowly caught by the Enid Blyton ploughboy.

I don’t think Chris Squire would take exception to my suggestion that, where cricket is concerned, one of the two things he has in common with Chris Ferro is ‘Chris’. The other is a (sometimes unfulfilled) eagerness to score runs. Having welted one ball for two in an unexpected direction, he had a go at another, and the ball struck something and lobbed up into the wicket-keeper’s gloves. (As a point of interest, the combined age of the two wicket-keepers in this game was 136.) Speaking as the umpire (which I did), I had no idea what the ball had hit; but it seemed to me within the spirit of friendly cricket to ask Chris. His thumb, he answered (not everyone would have said as much), and he left for the pavilion amid a cloud of Denbury appreciation, to be replaced by David Pearson.

Now David, as the football men might say, is a batsman of two halves. The first half was the immaculate defensive stroke he played to his tricky first ball; the second half was his knockabout dismissal by his second – about as sophisticated as the vicar’s falling trousers in a Whitehall farce. It was David’s father who restored some solemnity to the proceedings. Coming in with thirteen overs to go, he was still there at the end (9*). So it was a draw. An honourable result in the era of ‘overs’ cricket. Duncan Chave confessed in the changing room that he couldn’t remember when he’d last batted out for a draw. As for me, I can’t remember Mark ever before offering up three plates of free chips in the garden of the Royal Oak. A mellow end to a warm evening.

Denbury Batting
Player name RunsMB4s6sSR
5nb 12w 5b 1lb 
for 6 wickets
211 (36.0 overs)

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Gareth Oughton8.011900.002.37
Duncan Chave7.005000.007.14
David Pearson10.0076238.007.60
Chris Ferro5.0016116.003.20
Penny Price4.0014114.003.50
John Pearson2.001700.008.50

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Batting
Player Name RMB4s6sSRCatchesStumpingsRun outs
27w 5b  
for 6 wickets

(40.0 overs)
Chris Mellett  
Guy Clarke  
Martin Wright  
Chris Ferro  
Duncan Chave  
Chris Squire  
David Pearson  
John Pearson Not Out  9
Gareth Oughton  
Penny Price  
Peter Thomson  

Denbury Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
No records to display.