Hello my little Doubting Thomas’s
And an especially delicious and moist welcome to CJ who has become the latest addition to my loyal readership.
If the events at Headingly were not enough to re-assure you that ours remains the greatest sport in the world, then you should check you are not just a little bit dead inside. While many of you watched the impossible made possible on your televisual devices, there were a significant number at NCC enjoying the moment of triumph the old-fashioned way – hanging on to every sound from the BBC Radio commentary and erupting with joy as Ben Stokes smashed the winning run. A finale that reminds us all that for all the heroics of Ben Stokes none would have been possible without the stoicism of Jack Leech and that is why cricket is such a glorious game. Bespectacled tail enders across the country can hold their heads high and while few of us can ever hope to match the magnificence of Ben Stokes ,we can all take heart from the fact that one day we could do our part in attaining glory. Be it a catch, a run out, a scrambled leg bye or successfully seeing out a single delivery, this wonderful game will always give even the unlikeliest of heroes that chance. One day, maybe one day in a thousand days, when the wind stands fair, and the cricket gods come to call, even the most unlikely of us can become a hero.
A belated report this week as I have been waiting on events from Reigate where our Under 19 T20 team have been involved in an amazing county finals day. An early start saw them at Reigate before 9am in preparation for their semi-final against Banstead which I am delighted to say they won without too many concerns chasing down 109 for 8 for the loss of just 1 wicket. Our boys then had to wait around stifling giggles while Wimbledon put Guildford to the sword to set up a final in which we were definitely underdogs.
Set a target of 140 in 20 overs, a fifty from Sam Holland got us well under way and when he retired, brother Max (Sam’s actual brother – not a monk) kept up the chase but as wickets fell it was left to Under 12 Harry Bowen (a late call up due to the under 15s having their finals the same day) and Sam Holland, returning to the crease, to try to get over the line. I wish dearly that I could report fairy tales can come true and a little of the Headingly magic dust had been left over to caress the fields of Reigate but it was sadly not to be and despite their best efforts a desperate run chase finished just 3 short.
A fantastic effort though from our team who did Normandy proud, and to lose to a strong Wimbledon side was no disgrace at all and to run them so close was an incredible achievement – every one of the team played their part and deserves to hold their heads high.
Our team was – Aaron Hunt, Matt Cook, Sam Holland, Adam jones, Callum Job, Michael Walter, Bradley Richards, Arya Khedekar, Max Holland, Harry Bowen and Sam Wellfare and I am proud of each and every one.
It was particularly harsh on this squad as many of them had played the previous day in the Tier 2 play off final at HQ and had narrowly lost to a much more experienced Trinity Mid-Whitgiftians side and to lose big games twice in two days is extremely harsh on a team that has worked so hard this year and the improvement from last season and what they have achieved is fantastic.
Better news came today from HQ where our under 15s were involved in their league play offs and I am delighted to say they won both their games to take the league title. They beat Albury by 68 runs this morning (Jack Lenton and Alexander Wilson both making 30 and retiring – and Alfie Beardall, Oli Rathmell and Jack Lenton all picking up 2 wickets each) and then went on to beat Leatherhead by 16 runs this afternoon (Alfie Hewitt making 33 and Jack Lenton again grabbing 2 wickets).
This is another talented squad of players who have come together this season to form a tight knit unit and all of them have shown they are already capable of playing senor cricket and if they keep working hard can provide a strong base for Normandy for the next few years. Congratulations to the under 15’s :
George Allom, Joseph Simms, Alexander Wilson, Alfie Hewitt, Alfie Beardall, Jack Lenton, Jonny Hodgson, Lev Davies, Joseph Sampson, James Spink, Felix Broughton and Oli Rathmell
All of which leads me on to my Heroes of the Week. Not just for managing, coaching, encouraging and supporting all of the above 3 teams but for helping to plan how we went about 2019 season for these sides to progress the cricket for these guys and to get as many of them involved in senior cricket as possible I gratefully acknowledge the work of Sara Job and Phil Hodgson who have done a fantastic job in turning round the fortunes of all these sides in the last 12 months and are being rewarded with some terrific performances and hopefully are bringing through a whole generation of Normandy cricketers for years to come.
After such wistful musings on the silly stuff.
And we begin with news that Tennyson Prowse’s 1st team have secured promotion back to the Premier league with a resounding victory over Malden Wanderers. On a beautifully sun kissed day at HQ Malden threatened to spoil the party in the first hour reaching 81 for 1 at drinks before going into free fall against CJ and Little Viggy. Aided by a couple of foolish run outs they subsided to 114 for 6 before Russel Withey followed up a wicketless opening spell by stepping up to the plate to roll out the last 4 in the blink of an eye. All 4 nicked off in a devastating spell of bowling to come away with his season best figures of 4 for 24. CJ finished with 3 for 26 and Little Viggy just 1 for 24 (and a sensuous run out to boot).
126 all out was a disappointing total for the visitors and Batch was in no mood to mess about. He raced to 73 in 54 balls, while Ian Prowse (a fully grown man) barely raised a sweat in making 32 at the other end, before CJ came in and hoofed a quickfire 18 from 8 balls to seal a 9 wicket win. The aim now is another win next week to set up a title decider at Cranleigh in the final game of the year.
On the road news was less good, as Lemmy Robinson’s 2s enjoyed a great breakfast but little else at Dulwich, losing by 6 wickets. Sam Holland and Torquil Deacon gave a solid base making 47 for the first wicket but after that 3 run outs and some poor shot selection saw Normandy rolled out all too easily for just 124. AK was left stranded on 17 not out and was the one player down the order prepared to get stuck in.
The Normandy bowlers at least took 4 Dulwich scalps with them, Chris Heane taking half of those and the side remain 4th and with no chance of relegation or promotion have two games left to play for their pride and my Fantasy League points.
The 3s were in a relegation battle with Old Whitgiftians in a game that we desperately needed to win but sadly once again the batsmen monumentally failed to come to the party being far too easily bowled out for just 86. Joseph Simms stood head and shoulders above the rest making 16 at number 8 while Tim Jones’s dogged 11 from 65 balls (in two parts - after being hit in the face first time round) at least showed some fight.
You win very few games with 86 as this was not one of them, Whits reaching their target 5 down despite a brace of wickets each for Lee Teeny-Peeny and Jack Lenton. I am reliably informed that no recap of this match would be complete without mention of two stunning catches, the first from Alexander Wilson and the other (far less likely) from the Skipper whose nonchalance at plucking a one handed effort was matched only by the surprise of his ten team mates. The 3s are now bottom, and not only need to win their last 2 games but also need at least the two teams above them to lose both – not out of the question but currently in the “unlikely” pile, and desperately need the batsmen to show up for the showdown with St Reatham this week.
We finish on better news, with a 4th XI victory over Weybridge Vandals that can best be described as “comfortable”. Normandy’s 215 for 7 owed much to a maiden club half century from Richard Spink and another fifty from the Great Fordo, who broke his own record as the oldest man to score fifty for NCC reaching 67. In addition, he was probably the only player in the championship to get fifty while wearing a sweater this week.
Although receiving applause from their team mates for surpassing 8 this time round, the visitors never looked in the hunt and were eventually despatched for 56. Rev George took 3 for 6 while there were two wickets each for Richard Spink and Adam Carr. The calm serenity that only mid-table obscurity can bring has now descended on the 4s.
The Annual Golf Day is on Sunday so please make sure you have paid Naitch ahead of playing. If you have not signed up and would like to play let me know and I can see if there are any places left.
We have 2 weeks of the league season to go and much to play for so please make every effort to play the last couple of games. As is traditional we plan to see off the season in style after the final games on 7 September so all players back to NCC that evening please where we hope to have something to celebrate and f so Derek Morgan may be persuaded to burst forth with a song….
And finally, to the Fantasy League where it looks like being a two horse race between Lemmy Robinson and Rossi Skidmore who are just 25 points apart and have a hundred point gap over The Founder in 3rd place. The big scorer this week was genial Jonny Nolan with 533 points while Charlie Young’s team scrabbled together just 13. News for Brad fans is that his team came in 15th this week and he is now well clear of the wooden spoon and having sped past Alfie Beardall is fast closing in on Bowen.
Right I’m off to wipe the steam from my glasses.
Tatty-bye everybody, tatty-bye