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I just made that up
A FINE END TO THE 125th SEASON
TWCC v Brighton Beamers
September 30th 2018
Match Report Jim Simon
A last sunny Sunday to see the season out, TWCC and the Beamers gathered once more to share the spoils of another encounter. This final fixture is often particularly enjoyable as the two sides are well matched in terms of ability and share an understanding of what cricket is about.
Beamers won the toss and chose to field first. Sadly, Siddo, a regular Beamers stalwart, pulled a calf muscle before the game even began, leaving him short of fun and the visitors short of a fielder not to mention a serious performer with bat and ball.
Skipper Brock, who, in the interests of giving as many players as possible a turn at something generally puts those who are less bowly in at the top of the batting order and vice versa, took the opportunity to mix things up. In TWCC’s case this policy makes less difference to the overall batting performance than many pundits might expect as we can all bat even if we can’t all bowl, so there was little risk and much to be gained by asking Tom Rydon and Joe to strap on the protectives and head out to the middle.
And, to coin one of those awful cross-pollinated knee-jerk phrases from elsewhere, what’s not to like? We know the yoof have good eyes and hand/eye co-ordination from somewhere north of 1990, so there was little to be surprised at in Tom and Joe’s flurry of boundaries and sporty runs. These are the sort of performances it’s easier to produce when there’s time to spend (if not to waste - Ed) in the middle, and it was a joy to see. A certain amount of comfortable lounging began to occur in the pavilion, and conversation began to range freely from not mentioning the Ryder Cup to definitely not mentioning the Ryder Cup, as Jonathan prepared his spread and steeled himself to wrestle with the cling film. A Wodehousian mellow peace and Indian Summer contentment reigned as Capt. Brock, no doubt subject to some sort of Pavlovian response to the comforting sound of rattling crockery, rang for Rowland and suggested an unscheduled tea all round from the comfort of his executive recliner.
Then Joe was out for a strong 21 comprising four 4’s and a lot of productive dashing about - good to see Joe given license with the bat and to have seen him scoring freely - a great start for TWCC; 35 for the first wicket. Ripping off the apron and revealing that he was fully padded up and probably had been since he got up, Jonathan strode to the middle and showed what he was about. He deftly defended using the middle of his bat, watchfully assessed each ball as it came down, was demonstrably completely solid in defence - and then missed one on its way to the stumps. 2018, for a man of Jonathan’s ability, has not, after a good start, been a vintage year for him with the bat. Never mind – at least he’s one of the young ones with plenty of time to shine in seasons to come. And he’s a great glove man.
Matt, as ever, showed he can bat, though Rigby’s slow leggy tennis-ball bounce was his early undoing as he contrived to play a shot to a wide ball down the leg side, take his bat away, then put it back, then take it away again, then turn it round in his hands and lift a dolly catch up from the back of the bat into the keeper’s gloves. One of those strange dismissals...
Tom R, meanwhile, was continuing to demonstrate that he's not just about bowling and fielding. Classic stroke play rose to the surface, the MCC coaching manual had clearly been his bedtime reading for much of his life. Cultured fours, quick singles, all fine stuff, ultimately undone by a catch somewhere, 27 runs his contribution to the TWCC total.
Honse, with a bit of time to bat, and then Graham wearing his new TWCC badges with pride, occupied the middle with clear intent, both producing boundaries and scampering through for singles, but Graham was out (5) caught and Honse was run out (8) with the score needing a bit of pepping up as maidens had too often begun to reward the Beamers’ bowlers.
Enter pepperer Ed – ever a star in the nets – who brought his swinging ways to the fore and upped the general air of intent. A quick-fire 25 was just what TWCC needed as the home side had become a bit bogged down, and then he mistimed (not sure about this; I just made that up – Ed) (but it might be true?) a ball to somewhere and someone caught it somewhere it says here.
Jim, then, quickly, Rob ambled and hobbled respectively to the middle with only one Captain’s instruction ringing in their ears; “Don’t faff about we need 175.” This was quite a tall order as there was not much time to go with just over 100 on the board. Needless to say this target was missed by some margin as one of the two batters in was Rob. Beamers, in the interests of helping their hosts up to something reasonable, had been generously providing balls to keep the TWCC middle order happy, and here was a number 9 with an injured leg – so they left the bowling alone; what could possibly go wrong?
4,6,4,4,4,1,1,6,4,6,3,1,2,4,1,3,6,6,4, 3 that’s what could go wrong. Now, although I had to retake my maths O-level all those years ago and that was when I could count, after several goes at the sum I make this 73 – not 67 as it says in the scorebook. Another instance of a poor batsman getting diddled by the scorers if you can call them scorers. I have altered this in the book, along with the total up by 6 to balance the books. Then I noticed that 23 extras had been summed up to 31... What’s going on? What was TWCC’s actual total? 206? 204? 212? We’ll never know without taking a look at Beamers’ book. Let’s hope the total they were chasing was correct.
In any case, Rob’s innings set the game alight. He played with the confines of the ground, endeavouring with each shot to gauge the drag of the grass or, in five cases, the height of the trees in order to get the boundaries without losing the ball. One six, a towering pull off his legs, was a perfect example of his miserly approach to ball-consumption as, instead of finding a field somewhere near Billingshurst, he contrived to catch the midriff of the poplar tree so that the ball benignly dropped back into the field of play so it could quickly be recycled in his blistering and chanceless innings. I truly believe this shot pleased him more than any other, and there were plenty to choose from.
Jim contributed in a small way by running about like Usain Bolt’s grandfather when he was told and giving Rob the strike when he could, and the 8th wicket partnership either approached or passed the century depending on whether you can add up or not. I can and I make it 103. Beamers could do little to stem the flow, even after they realised they had to deal with a proper batsman in the middle and chose bowlers to match. Brocky’s disappointment was clear to see as his No. 9 ignored his demands for 175 and helped the total over 200 and then some. Not sure how much by, but something like a few runs here or there. Or extras. Or, well, wha’ever.
For me, carrot cake wins the day. Yes, there were coronation chicken sandwiches which normally secure the coveted tea-time No 1 slot, to say nothing of the asstd. ham, cheese, and egg usual suspects, but when cake’s that good all else matters little. However I’m not sure I saw anyone go for a coprolite? But thanks to Jonathan for all the work.
So – something over 200 in the bag, the Beamers bat a bit like TWCC so it was certainly within reach, but TWCC do have a 3-fold youthful blistering pace attack. Matt and Ed lined up their respective off stumps and prepared to open fire, Jonathan changed gloves and hunkered down behind the timbers and the arc of incompetence settled down in the hope that it wouldn’t come to any of them. And for a while it didn’t, but pass the bat it did, pass the stumps it did, pass the boundary not so much, unless you count Matt’s opening loosener which was cut powerfully for 4 by the impressive Rigby. Ed also bowled really well from the Downs End, and both men were noticeably making a full effort, charging in hard and generating a lot of pace. The TWCC home wicket is, really, too bouncy for pace bowling as good length balls often lift over stump height, and deliveries that would catch the top of the stumps need to arrive at the batsman at half-volley length. However, notwithstanding this caveat/excuse, it was Ed’s fourth over, a wicket maiden, that brought about the second demise of Briggs, the first having ended in a high reprieve. Brocky’s redemption came in the shape of a much more difficult low, hard chance at mid-off. The fast-travelling ball dipped to shin height to Richard’s left, he stuck out a couple of hands, and when the dust settled there it was, stuck fast. One of the best catches of the season so far, and the smile, morphing over the next two hours into a smirk, never left Brocky’s face for the rest of the day and it’s probably still there.
Matt, fruitless on the day, bowled really well as he always does, but as for wickets, that one for Ed was it for the Tornado Twosome. But TWCC have Typhoon Tom!
There’s something about Tom that strikes us here in the Gazette; he’s completely driven by the need to burn calories. He sprints about the place, he chases balls in the field like a collie getting round behind the sheep, he walks by running slowly as if in a dressage competition, and when all this energy finally gets focussed into bowling he charges in hard and truly winds up the pace. Which increases the shame felt by the more unreliable slip fielders... By Jim. He gets his hand to the ball, but, these days, that’s as far as it gets as the ball suddenly seems to have more of Newton’s apple about it than for other fielders. Surprisingly, given how gazelle-like he is in the outfield, Jim seems to find himself in the slip area quite often, but really he shouldn’t be there as Honse, Ed, Matt, Tom and many others will testify. Mid-wicket/mid-on, somewhere deep, that’s his natural position as long as the ball doesn’t come his way in the air. In his defence, and we often see things from his point of view here at the Gazette, he does say that he used to be a good catcher, but we can't deny that his faculties are no longer his strong point.
One wicket for Ed, none for Matt, none for Tom... all this pace and near-misses/drops... Time for (here comes another inexplicable American nonsense) a change up! Change up? Why up?
TWCC’s change, up, down and sideways came from Phil and Joe.
How good it is to have Phil back in the side, plying his wily trade along his own spartan corridor of uncertainty. He did for Rigby, still there on 60 and helping the Beamers towards their target of whatever it was, with a rising ball off a good length just outside the off stump finding the thinnest of edges that Jonathan, standing up, took cleanly in chest-high gloves. Beamers looked as if they might have needed Rigby to stay, but they still had the obvious prowess of Chaffey (another Chaffey?) on their side of the equation, and they only needed around 70 or 80 runs with plenty of time and wickets in hand.
But TWCC had the mercurial Panther – elevated into skipperdom as Skipper Brock had left for an early bath. Some days Joe seems to not easily find his line and length, but on this occasion the true JP showed up. Teasing length, tempting pace; that’s what undoes many batters, and it’s what did for the Beamers, starting with a truly outstanding catch by Matt in the covers. Fielding quite tight in order to pounce on anything like a single, Matt dived full length to his left to cling on to the lowest of catches in one hand. The ball had been struck hard and was heading to the turf, but Matt’s tall frame helped him to go forward and low and there it was, another one of the great catches of the season – two in one game; roughly equal to the number of great drops.
Not content with just one wicket, Joe took another in the next over by clean bowling Blackadder and then again in the next by having Esson caught behind by Jonathan. This brought Rob Nicholls out to the middle, a fine batter down the order, and with Chaffey still there on 53 the visitors’ ambitions still veered towards victory.
Honse replaced Phil for a few overs but at this point Beamers were really going for the runs and, through no fault of his own, the visitors’ total was beginning to rise too fast and so Phil returned as Joe’s partner to see if TWCC could guarantee a draw and maybe snatch a victory.
Six overs to go, Chaffey and Nicholls in the middle, about ten-per-over the required rate for the Beamers, and they were scoring at that rate as, by now TWCC only had 10 fielders to play with (as, indeed, it has to be said, the Beamers had had for the entire match). (Good point – Ed.)
TWCC needed to see the end of Chaffey’s innings as he powered along into the 70’s. And, lo, the scorebook says “Chaffey, Bld Panther, 72.” Bowled Panther; his fourth, a fine match-drawing performance. Phil took a last wicket as the Beamers’ inclination to reach 200-plus fell away and the match ended in a happy draw. Happy because it was a fair result, both teams had had fun unless your name is Siddens, we had seen a fine performance from TWCC’s No 9 (on this evidence he could possibly bat a little higher up the order?), Joe took 4 wickets, others all bowled/batted well, we’d seen some excellent examples of how to catch and all three results had been possible right up until near the end of the game.
The end of play has come in this TWCC’s 125th anniversary year. Now it’s time for Brocky to come up with some play-on-numbers that gives him top spot in something or other at the AGM, so see you all at the Oak.
Beamers won the toss and chose to field first.
TWCC Innings: T Rydon Ct Chaffery Bld Rigby 27; J Panther Ct Briggs Bld Renshaw 21; J Rowland Bld Chaffey 2; M Edwards Ct Wk Bld Rigby 5; H Karvay Run Out 8; G Cuthbert Ct Briggs Bld Eaton 5; E Howes Ct x Bld Eaton 25; J Simon Not Out 15; R Rydon Not Out 73. DNB P Steinke, R Brock. Extras 23 (or 31 depending on many imponderables) (B12, LB1, W6, NB4) Total 204, or 206 or 212 for 7.
Beamers' Bowling: M Renshaw 8-1-32-1; Chaffey 8-3-16-1;S Esson 5-3-5-0; R Rigby 6-3-8-2; Eaton 5-0-45-2; Blackadder 6-0-69-0; Briggs 2-0-18-0.
Beamers' Innings: Rigby Ct Rowland (Wk) Bld P Steinke 60; Briggs Ct Brock Bld Howes 15; Chaffey Bld Panther 72; Riches Ct Edwards Bld Panther 1; Blackadder Bld Panther 4; Esson Ct Rowland (Wk) Bld Panther 7; R Nicholls Bld Steinke 14; Richards Not OUt 0; Renshaw Not Out 0. DNB Eaton. Siddons. Extras 18 (B7, LB3, W5, NB3) Total 191 for 7.
TWCC Bowling: M Edwards 10-0-40-0; E Howes 8-0-20-1; T Rydon 6-0-40-0; P Steinke 8-1-21-2; J Panther 7-1-34-4; H Karvay 3-0-28-0.
Match drawn in the dark.
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