Mandarins v Erratics Cricket Club Erratics on Sat 05 Sep 2020 at 2.00pm
Erratics Cricket Club Lost

Match report Jim Thomson writes:

This was a fixture that had been talked about and planned for a long time, between two clubs with a strikingly similar approach to an afternoon of cricket and whose rosters of players have several names in common. Given that background of long-unfulfilled planning, it felt fitting that the game itself took forever to start. The original aim was to start at one o'clock and most of both teams were here in time for that; but then old BBC colleagues Duncan Chave and Chris Healey took an age over the toss - Duncan won and chose to bat - there were extended negotiations over how many players there would be per side and which of the (at least) four Manderratics would be a Manadrin for the afternoon. A revised start time of 1:30 was agreed, which gave opening bowler Rob Eastaway time to pop to the shop for some tea. The Erratics opening pair, Cook and Searle, representing "the glory decade" ((c) Stephen Fisher, 1994) were out in the middle by about quarter past, as were the umpires, and the game actually started at the numerologically significant time of 1:23. Rob, of course, was still in the shop. So Chris Healey put the seam up and charged in off his long run. At the other end, Sam Cook the chosen Manderratic Mandarin, bowled off-breaking darts.

Runs didn't flow. Warborough's ground is glorious: a proper village green, fringed by trees and a pleasingly eclectic range of dwellings (Chris Cook was worried by the lack of a coherent architectural theme, and it may be that worry that caused his golden-duck downfall the next day) (either that or the fact that he played back to a carbon copy of the good length ball that had scuttled several feet under Penny's bat the ball before). There's a church behind one corner of the generous pavilion and a featured-in-Midsummer-Murders pub behind the other. As a setting, it's idyllic. As a batting track, it's less than perfect. Some kept low, and some popped. Nothing really came on, and it was full tosses that accounted for, I'd guess, about two thirds of the 29 fours (no sixes) hit during the game's 83 overs. The secret to batting, it felt to me from the safe vantage point of number 12 in the Erratics order, was to make sure that the full tosses got the treatment. Trying to hit anything else would always carry a significant element of risk.

A Healey pop did for Cook. It was a slow slower ball, but Chris read that and played cautiously forward. But, perhaps because of some fierce top spin or maybe it was just the track, the ball leapt off a length and nestled, via the upper part of the bat into silly mid off's hands. Graeme Tunbridge took an easy catch with ease. Two balls later, Martin Wright was out to the same bowler, bowled by one that moved enough and kept low enough to fox the new bat. 31 for two at the end of the ninth over.

Rakesh Ramani replaced Healey, bowling challenging offspin off a seam bowler's run up. An early full toss was dispatched by Weiler, but that boundary was to be the only scoring shot in an excellent four-over spell. From the other end, Adam Eastaway wheeled through three tight overs. Three no balls were called by Jon Beverley, our qualified umpire, for contravention of law 21.7, "ball bouncing more than once". At least five separate people told me about Jon's elevated umpiring status, such was the excitement. The last time I remember seeing anything like that level of start-struck celebrity worship at an Erratics game was when Mumford (or was it Son?) turned up at Dunsford.

Rakesh bowled Weiler, bringing Youngman to the crease. Eastaway replaced Eastaway, father for son, and started with a wicket maiden. His sixth ball was up in Ben's arc and a solid swing was delivered. The perils of the Warborough track led to it meeting a point an inch or two from the middle of the bat, but it was still a pretty good contact, and a very impressive catch by Tim Baxter at short midwicket, diving across to his left and throwing the ball high in triumph.

Searle followed in the next over, bowled by a Baxter leg break, and we were 47 for five at the start of the 19th over. Jonathan joined Duncan, wicketkeeper and captain, and they built a partnership of 61 in 20 overs. There were lots of dots (JK's 25 not out took an uncharacteristic 55 balls) and the occasional four. Duncan hit five of those boundaries before perishing to Dan Forman for 45 off 70 balls. This was the 39th over, time to be thinking about declaring really, but 108 doesn't really feel like a score you can settle for. Ed Williams, Fraser and the qualified umpire perished in search of quick runs, the last two off successive deliveries, and Duncan declared at 128 for nine. Cynical observers suggested that this was done with malice to prevent a Healey hat-trick; but the seasoned Erratic watcher would have noticed neither Hailwood nor me making any effort to pad up. Batting, we reason, is for the batsmen, and we don't like to dirty or roughen our soft bowling hands with it.

A typical report on a game at Warborough would now celebrate tea under the spreading oak tree. In these straightened times, however, with rules so tight that only the most exalted Downing Street advisors can flaunt them, I can only report on my own quick snaffling of a couple of unexciting energy bars. Aware that the abortive hat trick had happened in the 45th over of our innings, Duncan was keen to get us into the field. He did a pretty good job, though once again the opening batsmen (David Williams and Tim Baxter) plus the umpires were ready some time before the fielders were all in position.

The Williams show - our Ed bowling at their David - was a brief, one-sided affair. Ed was so thrown by the sight of a helmetless batsman, and so fearful of bowling something dangerous, that he served up a succession of gentle full tosses. After three overs, and five boundaries, the Mandarins were 26 for none and surging to an emphatic victory. Ben replaced the chastened Ed, and, with the ever-reliable Hailwood miserly at the other end, settled into a great spell. He got a few to bounce alarmingly - one at Graeme Tunbridge almost leading to a hit wicket along the lines of Roy Fredericks against Lillee in the first World Cup final - and dismissed Williams for a battling 25 in his third over. 44 for one off nine. Jonathan Wilmott came in and would, Graeme said, have been LBW first ball, had anyone bothered to appeal. Baxter hit another four and then punted one that popped out towards Duncan at cover. Duncan had a bit of ground to cover, and he had to manoeuvre a body already broken by one innings and one night of camping into a position where his hands could get down to the ball. He completed the catch, bouncing his head off the ground as he did so, but it was competently rather than gracefully done.

Ben bowled a few off spinners at Adam Eastaway, then settled back into his seam-up stuff and Adam was smartly stumped by Jonathan. Bob Tivey joined Wilmott, but the latter soon perished to a sharp catch by Jon Beverley. He's a qualified umpire, you know. Sam Cook got a good one from Ben (who finished with four for 26 off his 11 overs) that moved in and kept low to beat an early-innings half-forward prod. 70 for five at the start of the last 20. Game on.

Tunbridge was the new man. He hit a four off Fraser before falling LBW to the same bowler. The decision was given by Baxter in Steve Bucknor time, and Graeme's cry of exasperation was a result of having thought himself safe rather than in disagreement with what looked a sound decision. Rob Eastaway was in next and I was bowling. I dropped a straightforward caught and bowled offered up when Tivey tried to pull a short ball and then missed out on an LBW by not appealing properly - umpire Healey told me after the game that an appeal so gentle that the batsman can't even hear it is never going to be answered in the positive. Wilmott scored 12 in nine overs after his non-appeal non-LBW, and Eastaway made 27 after his. On such moments can games turn.

Tivey was LBW - a proper appeal this time - in the 31st over. 99 for seven. 30 needed in nine overs. John Hawkins, former ambassador to Qatar, was in next. He squirted away a couple of singles, but his attempt at the big release shot led to a nicely taken Cook catch out on the leg side. Rakesh was next to the crease, bristling with intent. Chave and Cook, so often the death-overs bowlers, were sharing the attack, and the total climbed slowly. 21 were needed off five. 11 off three. Rakesh holed out to Martin Wright at long on, Cook taking the wicket, and ten were needed as skipper Healey walked out to join his old friend Rob. Two twos and a single off Fraser's last over, and five runs - or two wickets - were needed from the 39th and final over. A dot and a scrambled two set things up, and it was a glorious Eastaway extra-cover drive that won the game for the Mandarins.

The pub was open and the tables booked for food. The sun went down on two teams sharing stories from the day, pints from the bar and promises to do the same thing again next year. Assuming that we do have a reprise in 2021 - and it's my keen hope that we do, because this was a dream afternoon of serious and generous cricket played by excellent people who glory in the game for its own sake - then I might have to find a way to get away from the pub a bit earlier.

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Batting
Player Name RunsMB4s6sSRCtStRo
for 7 wickets
Mark Searle Bowled  11 2
Chris Cook Caught  24 5
Martin Wright Bowled  0
Martin Weiler Bowled  6 1
Ben Youngman Caught  0
Duncan Chave Bowled  45 6
Jonathan Kirby Not Out  25 2 1
A.N. Other Bowled  1
Fraser Chave Bowled  7 1
Jonathan Beverley Bowled  0
Mark Hailwood  
Jim Thomson  

Mandarins Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
No records to display.

Mandarins Batting
Player name RMB4s6sSR
for 9 wickets
130 (39.0 overs)

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
A.N. Other2.001900.009.50
Mark Hailwood8.021700.002.13
Ben Youngman11.032646.502.36
Fraser Chave11.0228214.002.55
Jim Thomson4.021025.002.50
Chris Cook2.3010110.004.00
Photos and video of Mandarins v Erratics Cricket Club Erratics on Sat 05 Sep 2020 at 2.00pm

Mandarins @ Warborough & Shillingford CC (3)

JK digs in for an important knock

Mandarins @ Warborough & Shillingford CC (4)

Duncan at work

Mandarins @ Warborough & Shillingford CC (2)

Duncan Chave takes guard

Mandarins @ Warborough & Shillingford CC (5)

The game is afoot

Mandarins @ Warborough & Shillingford CC (1)

They heard Sam Cook was playing...