Chulmleigh (North Devon Tour) v Erratics Cricket Club Erratics on Thu 16 Jun 2022 at 6.00pm
Match was Tied

Match report Match report by Martin W and Martin W

A joint report – is this a first? And just why, apart from nominative determinism, did Tour Manager Hailwood give the task to the Two Martins? Had he perhaps had a Mystic Meg moment, and somehow divined that we would be together at the denouement?

Questions, always questions. Let us stick to the facts, such as they are.

Erratics assembled for the curtain raiser of our North Devon tour in conditions described by the UK Health Security Agency as a ‘Level 2 Heat Alert’, one in which those of a delicate disposition were advised to stay out of the sun.

They might have added that cricketers of a delicate disposition might have been advised to stay in the pavilion rather than face the onslaught of Chulmleigh’s top order batters. But we were made of sterner stuff, as was our skipper for the evening, Sivaraman Subramanian. This was Siva’s first captaincy cap in his last but one game, before he decamps, temporarily we hope, to DerryLondonDerryLondonDerryDerry…

With characteristic generosity, Siva declined Chulmleigh’s offer that we bat first, and led his men out into the brutal mid-Devon desert heat. Brutal batting duly ensued. Chulmleigh had laboured mightily to erect a flexible fence on the top of the bank which borders the short boundary on one side of the ground. This proved something of a futile gesture: openers Campling and Bushell proved more than capable of launching Erratics’ finest well over the top of it and into the cow pasture beyond.

Ben Youngman and Anuj Tiwari opened and were uncharacteristically expensive early on. While Anuj eventually tightened up, Ben was the unfortunate recipient of some superb clean hitting from Fenton Davies in particular, who repeatedly despatched thoroughly blameless balls clean out of the park.

Seven or eight overs in, it looked as though we might be chasing something north of 200. But thanks to a combination of compulsory retirement at 50, and some impressive rallying from the Erratattack, the tide began to turn.

Fraser Chave accounted for Bushell, well caught by Lee Grant on the boundary. Then Mark Hailwood, after taking some initial savagery, responded with a couple of superb slower deliveries. When, sometime later, these made their way to the far end of the pitch, they gently plopped into the stumps of Butler and Dallyn, the batters having launched themselves at the ball about half an hour earlier.

Matt Crawford, making a rare venture behind the stumps, was impressively tidy, and showed something of his fielding athleticism with a leaping catch to give Hailwood his third scalp.

Towards the death, Siva turned to Curtis, who, betraying a maturity commensurate with his years, tied down Chulmleigh’s late middle order, and picked up a well-deserved wicket from another impressive Matt catch. While his presence behind the stumps deprived us of our finest cover fielder, there was ample compensation in the form of Lee, Siva, Fraser and Anuj, scampering and sliding to turn 4s into 1s, sending in searing returns.

The fact we only shipped three extras (1 wide and 2 byes) in a total of 151 was surely testament to the way we’d stuck to the task in the face of the ferocity of the enemy, rather than the fact that Chulmleigh’s batters were so adept at connecting with the ball that there wasn’t much chance of it going past the stumps…

And so to the reply….

Skipper Siva sent Crawford and Wright out to open. Seven and a half an over might seem a daunting task, but with Chulmleigh having repeatedly demonstrated the ideal scoring shot – a lofted hoick over the redundant fence into the cowpats – this surely wasn’t beyond us. Even us… As, indeed, Matt demonstrated early on, with a fine struck slog sweep into the cow meadow.

Your co-correspondent tried, flailed, and failed to copy his partner’s example. But he redeemed himself by a willingness to at least attempting to match Matt’s sprints between the stumps. Squirts through the offside to a distant boundary regularly yielded two runs: one for the shot, one for the throw.

And when runs from the bat faltered, extras stepped up and showed some flair – and, indeed, variety - with a smorgasbord of wides, no-balls and byes, diligently keeping the scoreboard ticking.

Eventually Matt departed, cleaned up by a beauty of a delivery while trying to force the rate.
Fraser stepped in and stepped up, launching a fine six before perishing in the cause and (as memory serves) in the deep. This brought Mark Philips to the crease, who was sadly soon to be the victim of your co-correspondent’s optimistic call for a single. (I claimed, somewhat dubiously, to have mistaken extra cover for the square leg umpire, as a heat-induced mirage kicked in.) Mark, ever the gentleman, sacrificed himself with grace.

But just as the target itself looked like an increasingly distant mirage, Lee injected some much needed urgency, not to mention muscle, into the chase. This was his 25th game for the Erratics: averaging 34 with the bat and a mere 12 with the ball, he has fast become one of our most consistent and powerful all-rounders. He picked up the scoring rate with a couple of well-struck fours and one soaring six.

Meanwhile, Wright eventually succeeded in launching Davies back over his head, and paused mid-pitch to admire the shot’s trajectory and marvel at how it bounced off the gate and back onto the field, wondering all the while why his team mates on the boundary were screaming “Run!”. Far from reaching the fence, the ball had ineffectually plugged a few feet from it…

With the death of both the game and the Erratics looming, Chulmleigh graciously brought on a more generously inclined bowler, enabling Wright at last to remember what a boundary felt like. And so we entered the final furlong: six to win off the last over, and Davies firing down his brisk, bouncy deliveries. It went something like this:

Ball one: Wright flashes and misses.

Ball two: Wright drives straight back to the bowler; Lee advances a few paces, Wright shouts ‘Wait!’, and the bowler takes off the bails as Lee turns round in vain.

Ball three: Your co-correspondent, T’Other Martin W, strides to the middle. Wright flashes, ball strikes edge; Weiler shouts ‘Run!’; Wright, heart thumping disconcertingly, makes it back for two.

Ball four: Wright cuts, ball goes more or less to fielder, who fluffs gratifyingly. Weiler screams “Two!”, and Wright staggers back to the striker’s end. Pauses for melodramatic clasp of heart. Fraser offers water; Keeper suggests oxygen tent.

Ball five: A streaky edge straight to short third. Weiler hurls himself down the pitch; Wright lurches to the far end. Scores level, one to win.

Ball six: The Two Martins meet mid-pitch to discuss tactics, while fielders close in a ring. Mid-wicket calls out, “they’re going to run anyway”. Weiler and Wright agree this is best option. Davies fires in yorker, as Wright attempts arthritic ‘sprint’ down track. Weiler misses, wicket keeper, sadly, doesn’t. Chulmleigh whoop in triumph, then, gentlemen that they are, swiftly move to congratulate batters and Erratics in general on a thrilling tie.

Restorative cider in the Old Court House is followed by curry back at the Blindwell Bunkhouse, where everyone agrees that a well-fought tie is just about the perfect start to the tour.

Chulmleigh (North Devon Tour) Batting
Player name RunsMB4s6sSR
1w 2b  
for 6 wickets
151 (20.0 overs)
M Campling Retired Not Out  51
A Bushell ct  Grant B. Chave 15
F Davies Retired Not Out  52
R Scott ct  Crawford B. Hailwood 8
J Butler b  Hailwood 12
J Dallyn b  Hailwood 7
M Robins ct  Crawford B. Curtis 2
G Spence run out  Crawford 1
P Gordon Not Out  0
C Clark Not Out  2
A Pinkett  

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Ben Youngman3.003500.0011.67
Anuj Tiwari4.021900.004.75
Fraser Chave4.0028128.007.00
Mark Hailwood4.0031310.337.75
Lee Grant3.002200.007.33
John Curtis2.01919.004.50

Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Batting
Player Name RMB4s6sSRCatchesStumpingsRun outs
6nb 17w 19b 3lb 
for 5 wickets
Matt Crawford b  Butler 22 32 1 1 68.75 2 1
Martin Wright Run out  48 59 2 81.36
Fraser Chave ct  Bushell 13 11 1 118.18
Mark Phillips Run out  1 6 16.67
Lee Grant Run out  22 17 2 1 129.41 1
Martin Weiler Not Out  0 1 0
Sivaraman Subramanian  
Anuj Tiwari  
Ben Youngman  
Mark Hailwood  
John Curtis  

Chulmleigh (North Devon Tour) Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Colin Clark4.002000.005.00
John Dallyn4.002600.006.50
James Buttler4.0024124.006.00
Alex Bushell2.0013113.006.50
Fenton Davies3.001200.004.00
Paul Gordan2.0016116.008.00
Matt Robbins1.001800.0018.00