Newton Poppleford v Erratics Cricket Club Erratics on Sun 27 May 2018 at 2.00pm
Erratics Cricket Club Lost by 62 Runs

Match report Jim Thomson reports...

From an Erratics point of view, this wasn't a match to dwell on. There were individual moments to celebrate: Roshan Singh's third-time-lucky, one-handed, behind-the-head catch at mid off, Jim Myton's return to fizzing form, Fraser's 51, Chris Ferro's bowling and batting; but there was much more to forget. John Curtis, the sage of Wonford, counted eight drops or refusals in the 40 overs of the Newton Poppleford innings. Things might have been different. Fraser might have called heads and we might have batted first. The two batsmen who made the bulk of the home team's runs (in an innings of 270, the second highest partnership was 16) were dropped early and often. I can't claim that the Newton Popp tail started at four, but it did look to me that the only two batsmen likely to score big did score big. Indeed, at one point (admittedly that point came midway through my brief spell at the pavilion end), I wondered if Isaac Thomas, their opener, might be heading for a double century.

With Ben Youngman arriving late (by taxi from the airport after a Paris trip), Fraser decided to open the bowling himself from the far end, with Roshan bowling from the pavilion end. In the third over, Fraser squeezed one through Cox's forward press and the ball rolled on to the stumps with just about enough power to lazily dislodge a bail. In the fourth over, Tom Clay was dropped. Twice. Off successive balls. Neither was a straightforward chance, especially in May, but either could have been taken on another day. In the eighth over, Thomas survived a simpler chance to midwicket, the ball meeting unexpectedly little resistance as it located the orthocentre of the triangle formed by Fraser's head and two hands.

But things didn't start to go really wrong until Fraser threw the ball to me and asked me to bowl the 12th over. At that stage, Newton Popp were 70 for one - comfortably but not dangerously placed. Five overs later, with my spell of 3-0-52-0 complete, they were 131 and motoring. Chris and Duncan managed to slow things down a gear or two, but couldn't completely stop the flow. Chris was particularly frugal, his eight overs costing a paltry 28. In fact, the 20 overs from the far end cost only 91, with the pavilion-end bowlers' contribution 175. We did have the short straight boundary behind us - one Thomas six off Duncan was really badly mishit and still cleared the boundary by five or ten yards - but the bald truth is that Fraser, Chris and Jim bowled much better than Roshan, me, Duncan and Ben.

Eventually, in the 29th over, we took the second wicket: a fine swooping catch by Duncan getting rid of Clay off the bowling of Chris Ferro. This was a richly deserved wicket as Chris was the one bowler to consistently cause problems to Thomas and Clay (at least to cause them problems other than which part of the boundary to hit the next ball over).

Coombes at number three was a meaty player, as happy on the back foot as Clay had been on the front. One slow bouncer from Ben was expertly dispatched to the square-leg boundary from about knee height as it gently descended from its apogee.

Isaac Thomas completed his century and carried on, probably eyeing a new personal best; but Chris had him caught behind - safely pouched by Jonathan Kirby - for 113. And suddenly we were taking catches. Jim Myton bowled four effortful overs, with a hint or two of the old venom, and he picked up three wickets. Ben at the other end also picked up three, including that insouciant one-handed catch from Roshan and a sharp catch at square leg that Duncan was too slow-moving to get out of the way of.

270 for eight. Well, it could have been worse. And there was plenty of tea for spectators and players alike. The sun was out, the wind had dropped and the late afternoon was turning out lovely. We were going to lose, of course we were, but that didn't really matter. Duncan and Jonathan opened the batting against wily old "Macca" Marsh and Chris Davies, the home team's leading wicket taker. The combined spokes of Duncan's and Jonathan's scoring wagon wheels would be worthy of study; but I'm not sure they would support a wheel rim, with both favouring the half of the pitch on the wicketkeeper's right. Jonathan's 26 was full of pulls, sweeps and laps either side of square leg, and the highlight of Duncan's 10 was an elegant extra-cover-driven four. It was in playing that elegant shot that Duncan realised the extent of the bruising that a left-wrist stop off his own bowling had caused. Next ball, he tried to play a similar shot with a lot more bottom hand (Michael Vaughan's cover drive metamorphosing into Kevin Pietersen's) and was only able to scoop an easy catch to first slip.

Enter a half-broken Chris Ferro - all the bowling he's had to do for Clyst Saint George and the Erratics hasn't been doing him any favours. He and Jonathan built a good 30 partnership (the lowest partnership of our innings was almost twice as big as the second highest of theirs... it's amazing what a partnership of almost 200 can do for an innings) before Jonathan chanced his arm once too often and skied one to mid off. Here, it's worth mentioning the gulf in fielding. Newton Popp did drop catches - Duncan was missed at gulley, Fraser at mid off and Siva at slip - but their ground fielding was two divisions of a weekend league better then ours. They ran, gathered and threw, while we mostly just jogged, blocked and lobbed.

Siva made 11, one more than Duncan, and, in the same vein, the ball after his only boundary - in his case a graceful pull to the downhill boundary - was his undoing. The sage of Wonford thought Siva's legs too long for LBW to be feasible, but the semi-pro umpire disagreed, and his was the better view as well as the opinion that counted.

The skipper was in at five, and his 97-run, 18-over partnership with Chris formed the backbone of our innings. Unfortunately, viewed simply from the point of run rates, it was a backbone suffering from severe downward curvature of the spine. When they came together, we needed 179 off 21 (less than nine an over). After Chris's departure for 68 - a muted run out where nobody really seemed to appeal - the required rate was up to about five a ball. And Mark Phillips and Fraser worked together to get us past two important milestones: the team's 200 and Fraser's 50 (the latter coming with a four off the last ball of the game).

This sounds as if I'm blaming the defeat on Chris and Fraser's batting. I'm not. They batted really nicely against decent bowling and super-keen fielding, and they were responsible for lifting our total to respectability. It definitely wasn't their batting that lost us the game. It was their catching: Chris dropped Clay on nought and Fraser dropped Thomas on 20. Really. I don't know how long the Erratics can go on carrying those two.

Of course, there are also the two catches that I was too slow to reach and the fact that in three overs I conceded almost as many runs as we lost by. But I'm writing this report and so I'm exonerated. History isn't written by the victors, after all, it's written by the writers.

Newton Poppleford Batting
Player name RunsMB4s6sSR
for 8 wickets
270 (40.0 overs)

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Fraser Chave8.0043143.005.37
Roshan Kumar Singh5.003500.007.00
Jim Thomson3.005200.0017.33
Chris Ferro8.0128128.003.50
Duncan Chave4.002300.005.75
Ben Youngman8.0065321.678.13
Jim Myton4.002036.675.00

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Batting
Player Name RMB4s6sSRCatchesStumpingsRun outs
for 4 wickets

(40.0 overs)
Duncan Chave Caught  10 1 2
Jonathan Kirby Caught  26 3 2
Chris Ferro Run out  68 8
Sivaraman Subramanian Lbw  11 1
Fraser Chave Not Out  53 6
Mark Phillips Not Out  2
Roshan Kumar Singh   1
John Curtis  
Ben Youngman  
Jim Myton  
Jim Thomson  

Newton Poppleford Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
No records to display.