Cheriton Fitzpaine v Erratics Cricket Club Erratics on Sat 24 Apr 2021 at 1.30pm
Erratics Cricket Club Won by 35 Runs

Match report Fortune favours the Chave.

I've always been someone who's happiest when expectations are low. I was relieved, therefore, to learn that my selection for the hotly contested starting eleven at Cheriton Fitzpaine was based not on my cricket but on my writing of match reports: relieved that I wasn't expected to overachieve on the field, but still a bit anxious that I'd have to produce a good report in order to justify that selection. Imagine how pleased, then, I was to learn that it was the rapidity and reliability of my reporting and not its quality that led to my inclusion. No stress, no pressure: I could just enjoy an afternoon in the thin April sunshine and biting east wind. And what was there not to enjoy. The Cheriton ground is a bit of a Brigadoon of a place, only appearing every now and then to lucky cricketers ... and never appearing to others. On this early-season Saturday, the trees around the ground were still trying to decide if the sun meant it really was spring or the wind that seemed to have blown straight in from Siberia meant it was still winter after all. My dad, wrapped up in blankets and coats, decided it was the latter and headed off before frostbite set in.

He'd had time to see his grandson's delightful 32-ball 41. Opening with Tom B-H, Fraser had faced a steady diet of leg-side long hops and had dealt with them unerringly, hitting eight fours including five in Greg Cole's first two overs of intense but inconsistent off spin. It was a debt that would be repaid. Bennett-Hughes perished in the fifth over, popping up a catch to Nick Guscott at midwicket off Sean Carter. TB-H was one of only two failures (neither abject) in an Erratics innings that progressed with a surprising smoothness. Nigel joined Fraser and took a liking to the second string of bowlers, Oscar Lightfoot and Ash Wreford. The latter dismissed Fraser, well caught low down at square leg by Sean Carter, when he failed for once to nail a pull shot.

Martin Wright joined Nigel and soon joined the party. As it says in Proverbs 21:26, the Wrighteous gives and does not hold back. A couple of Ranji-esque leg glances kept the scoring rate high. Andy Dale's left-arm orthodox was introduced, and Nigel greeted his first ball aggressively, using his feet to get nowhere near the ball and being stumped by about a furlong. Jonathan quickly (but not abjectly) followed Nigel to the same bowler, and Siva and Martin joined forces for the biggest partnership of the innings. Martin's fifty (off 70 balls) was a innings of backbone and the backbone of the innings. At the other end, Siva just had fun. Watching him line up, Sean Carter commented to Fraser, the square-leg umpire, that Siva looked too correct and wouldn't be able to hit the ball off the square. Hmmm. Has anyone else ever noticed that Subramanian almost contains Bradman? On this day, scoring 26 off his last eight balls, it was more Substokesian than Subbradmanian. By the time he was out, we were 206 for five in the 35th over. Martin, Matt Crawford and Duncan Chave shepherded us to tea at 236 from our allotted 40 overs.

For the record, I'd like to note three things:

1. That Colin White, the Cheriton skipper, used eight bowlers;
2. That he never - even during the Subramanian spree - set more boundary riders than you'd see in a T20 power play;
3. The Erratics hit no sixes (36 fours) even though the far square boundary was close enough that a fleet-footed (or ball-shy) fielder would be on the rope saving (or failing to save) the single.

Ben Youngman started off up the hill, with the short leg-side boundary, and Mark Hailwood bowled down. Funny thing, perception, but watching one bowler pony-step in and the other glide to the stumps you'd have thought it the other way round. But this was a day to challenge perception. Duncan and I talked a lot about dimensions. He learned how to place his fielders through Subbuteo cricket, a very two-dimensional game, but struggled through Cheriton's innings with the third dimension: height.

Several times he had fielders positioned perfectly in pure latitude-longitude terms but badly out of position when you take the vertical into account. In general, Cheriton exploited that extra dimension better than we did, hitting sixes and lofted fours, mostly to the short boundary. There was another strange effect reported by several of us on that shorter side: the ball seemed to fade in and out as it headed our way. Siva, Fraser and I attributed that to a wormhole in space-time being partially open at the time (remember the Brigadoon allusion at the start of this promptly delivered report and it all starts to make sense); though it might have been Siva's astigmatism, my having the wrong glasses and Fraser's arms having grown six inches during the close season.

Colin White's generosity in the field got scant reward as Ben bowled him with the second ball of the innings. A maiden from Mark and we were on top. Neil Feltham came in at three, a recent returner to the game who had a very good afternoon. Another bowled - this time Hailwood removing Milton - and Greg Cole, victim of the Fraser pull, was in at four. He looked a well-organised player and hit two of his first three balls for four, both to the short boundary. The second of those was my wormhole moment as the ball passed me - or possibly through me - at short extra before I was able to translate its initial motion into a point of intersection with my hand.

There followed the biggest partnership of the match: 93 in 12 overs, with Cole to the fore. He greeted Fraser's introduction to the attack with a four and two sixes, though I'm not sure he really got hold of all of them. The six off Mark Hailwood that landed between Ben's and Matt's cars he did get hold of. Fraser mostly kept things quiet (one way to calculate an average is the mode - the most frequently occurring value - and by that measure Fraser averaged one an over), but there were brutal interludes. Cole had some revenge in mind and took 29 (off nine balls) of his 70 runs from Fraser's bowling. Almost symmetrically, Fraser had taken 30 off Cole's bowling an hour or two before.

Just when it looked as if Cole was going to win the game at a canter, Nigel bowled a beauty to take the edge and Duncan pulled off a grass-kissing slip catch that few Erratics would have got near, let alone caught. Based on my time watching and playing, I'd say the only fielder who would also have got there and held on was Chris Caseldine. And a few Cooks, of course. This was one that the slow-motions would have been drooling over.

The game had changed and runs had dried up. There was only one solution: to bring me on. I obliged by bowling Ash Wreford into form with a bunch of long hops followed by a string of no balls and one of the worst overs I've ever bowled. By then, Fraser had removed Neil Feltham for an excellent 41 - another good catch this one, with Tom B-H having to contend with the sun and the short-boundary wormhole to pouch a mishit.

Wreford eventually got too ambitious and holed out to Matt Crawford (juggled but held) and Nick Guscott was bowled playing too many different shots at my slower slower slower ball. I did for Oscar Lightfoot in much the same way. It's funny. You see a batsman and just know that he'll fall for it. There's no skill, just experience at play here. The best argument in my favour is, after James Whistler at the Ruskin trial, to claim, instead of skill or any real value, "the knowledge I have gained in the work of a lifetime."

The rest of the innings faded fast, and I was even able to finish it off with a slow-motion run out. So I was responsible for the last four wickets and an on-time report. That'll do for now.

Jim Thomson

"Thank you, Jim, for the promptness of your report." Ed.

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Batting
Player Name RunsMB4s6sSRCtStRo
1nb 17w 13b 3lb 
for 7 wickets

(40.0 overs)
Fraser Chave Caught  41 8
Tom Bennett-Hughes Caught  3 1
Nigel Rutherford Stumped  28 6
Martin Wright Bowled  58 9
Jonathan Kirby Caught  3
Sivaraman Subramanian Caught  45 9
Matt Crawford Bowled  12 2 1
Duncan Chave Not Out  12 2 1
Ben Youngman Not Out  0
Mark Hailwood  
Jim Thomson   1

Cheriton Fitzpaine Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
No records to display.

Cheriton Fitzpaine Batting
Player name RMB4s6sSR
5nb 3w 4b 2lb 
for 9 wickets
201 (37.0 overs)

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Ben Youngman8.0139139.004.88
Mark Hailwood8.0134134.004.25
Fraser Chave8.0153153.006.63
Nigel Rutherford4.02824.002.00
Jim Thomson6.0046315.337.67
Matt Crawford3.001500.005.00
Photos and video of Cheriton Fitzpaine v Erratics Cricket Club Erratics on Sat 24 Apr 2021 at 1.30pm

Martin Wright

Martin Wright leaves the ball outside off stump during a sturdy innings at Cheriton Fitzpaine, 2021

Siva Attacks

Siva on his way to his high score at Cheriton Fitzpaine in 2021