Cheriton Fitzpaine (mini-league) v Erratics Cricket Club Erratics on Wed 12 Aug 2020 at 6.00pm
Erratics Cricket Club Won by 1 Run

Match report Mark Hailwood reports...

It was steering-wheel-meltingly hot. Or at least, it was in Exeter. But you can always depend on it being a layer of clothing cooler up in the hills of Cheriton Fitzpaine. There, the lightest of breezes made for the perfect summer’s evening, and a welcome refuge from the oppressive heat of the city. Still, the hundred or so sheep in attendance would have been glad of their recent shearing.

‘This is Ben Youngman’s 200th game for the Erratics’, we were informed by walking Erraticlopedia Fraser Chave.

‘What, this season?’, quipped Dunc.

Ben is rightly known for topping the appearances list year-on-year, but his contribution to the club goes well beyond his commitment to turning out more than anyone else. In recent weeks he has passed two other milestones – his 200th wicket and his 500th run. His bowling this year has been particularly impressive, with 15 wickets already bagged at an average of under 15, improved control the result of thoughtful application in off-season nets. Less often praised for his batting (despite having a 50 to his name) and fielding, tonight he showed he is more than capable at both, bagging a 6 and a brace of sharp catches. And he was captain.

Add to this his off-field contributions – selector, kit manager, nets organiser, subs collector, lift giver and moral compass – and it is fair to say Ben is one of the greatest of Erratics all-rounders, in the fullest sense of that label. If you can be knighted for services to cricket, then I say: Arise, Sir Ben.

Above all, he does all of this without fuss or fanfare. Take tonight’s captaincy. It was a challenging game to skipper: a temporary traffic light on the Crediton road meant several of his top order were still missing when the game started, which it did so closer to 6.30 due to the hold up. This meant the light was fading rapidly when we were bowling, which combined with some quibbling about the new no-ball rule created a little bit of tetchiness out in the middle. We were also light on regular bowlers, but needed to use at least 7 given the 3-overs-per-bowler rule in the League of Friends.

Did the captain’s body language show any signs of feeling the strain? Google ‘unflappable’, and it brings up an image of Ben Youngman. Calm and decisive, he steered us to the start of the final over of the game with all 3 results possible – the gold standard of friendly cricket captaincy.

It was quite remarkable that we ended up with such a close contest. The Erratics made a dismal start, and at one stage were about 20 for 6. Mike Foan chose this moment to reassure us with news that Rackenford had been bolwed out for under 40 the night before. But then, like Gandalf and the Rohirrim at first light on the fifth day, the reinforcements arrived just in time, as Ben Pullan came charging over the hill and out of the sun in a Vauxhall Corsa.

In Exeter just for the day to clear out his flat ahead of a move to a new job teaching Classics at a school in Dorset, he couldn’t resist a final fling with the Erratics. He refused to accept that this would be his swansong, but if it is, he reminded us of what we would miss, as his characteristic blend of control, confidence and power notched up a quick 30 not out to resurrect our innings. Krups chipped in too, as he always does on this ground, and Lee Grant – already winning admirers with his probing left arm swingers – showed he can swing the bat too. The highlight of his 26 was a lofted drive over point from a chest high full toss. If you can’t quite picture that, you could be forgiven. Bounce, bowling and batting had all ceased to be orthodox by this point.

Somehow then we ended up posting a very competitive 128. Lee continued his phenomenal start to his Erratics bowling career with 2 early wickets down the hill, but the pick of the bowler’s was, well, me. A 3 over spell produced 4 for 13. I’m not one to labour the retelling of my own bowling exploits, of course, but Nigel was suitably impressed with the 7 for 22 I have taken in my last 6 overs at Cheriton that he was calling for the top end to be renamed ‘Hailwood Hill’. Less generous teammates were eager to point out that this blistering spell started with a leg stump full toss that was tamely chipped to short fine leg – but who is to say that wasn’t part of the plan?

So, Cheriton were also 6 wickets down quite early in their innings, but they too mustered the Rohirrim and rallied to good effect, thanks in large part to a skipper Nick Guscott. He not so much waited patiently for the bad balls, as waited patiently for the balls that he could actually reach, and duly dispatched them despite the failing light.

As I remember it, Cheriton still needed about 16 from the final over, to be bowled by Lee, which soon became 10 from the last 2 balls. The penultimate ball was kept within the ropes, which sealed the win with a ball to spare. That final ball did, I think, get hit for 6, but it felt a bit more comfortable than the ‘won by 1 run’ of the scorebook suggests. That said, I wouldn’t have been surprised if a last-minute recount threw the whole result into confusion – it would have been in keeping with what was an endearingly chaotic evening of village cricket.

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Batting
Player Name RunsMB4s6sSRCtStRo
6nb 15w 2b 1lb 
for 9 wickets
Richard Lindsay Bowled  1
Danny Williamson Caught  0
Martin Weiler Caught  1
William Kay Lbw  5
Nigel Rutherford Bowled  5 1
Jayakrupakar Nallala Bowled  21 2 1
Jonathan Kirby Caught  2
Ben Pullan Not Out  31 4 1
Mark Hailwood Bowled  1
Lee Grant Caught  26 4 1
Ben Youngman Not Out  12 1 1

Cheriton Fitzpaine (mini-league) Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
No records to display.

Cheriton Fitzpaine (mini-league) Batting
Player name RMB4s6sSR
3nb 6w 1b 1lb 
for 9 wickets
127 (20.0 overs)

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Lee Grant3.011728.505.67
Ben Youngman3.001900.006.33
Mark Hailwood3.001343.254.33
Jayakrupakar Nallala3.002100.007.00
William Kay3.002500.008.33
Danny Williamson2.002300.0011.50
Ben Pullan3.00824.002.67