Hello my little ground sheets.
Welcome to another action-packed round up from the weekend, and this week in a change to the usual process, I thought I’d start with the customary reminder to update your availability on MyClubhouse by 6pm on Tuesday please, and having done that please then check you have fully paid your match fees via the very handy Slate app.
With that bit of business done I can move on to more pleasant matters and the naming of this week’s Unsung Hero. Even the most politically unsound players who played at home on either pitch this Saturday could not fail to notice that despite the inclement weather on Friday night and much of Saturday morning, play was possible on both grounds (and on the top deck even started on time). Much of this was due to the fact both outfields had been shorn late in the week and therefore the water was able to drain away and not sit on the grass dampening grounds and spirits. For this we need to thank Mark Beardall who took 5 hours out of his day to cut both pitches last week – and his son wasn’t even playing at home! Many, many thanks Mark on behalf of all that played.
Sadly the 4th and 5th XIs were not so lucky with both games being called off on Saturday morning. Thanks are due to Mark Rosser for arranging a 5th XI fixture at short notice and though the weather conspired against us it was a shame we were unable to get 22 of you a game this Saturday.
One side that did play, and win was our high flying adored 1st team who served up a convincing win over third place Camberley. Despite losing the toss and being inserted, Tennyson would have been relieved to see the fantastic Freddy Austin (42) and Sam Holland (26) put on 89 for the first wicket in the face of a hostile opening attack. After CJ paid the price for the schoolboy error of not running his bat in, we were 100 for 3 and despite 21 from Tennyson and 30 from Charlie Young at 174 for 7 the skipper will have felt we were undercooked. Thankfully Will Pereira (20) and Danny Miles (16) ensured the tail wagged (the latter clattering 3 consecutive 4s off the fiery opening bowler) to allow us to post a score of 217 which was always going to take some chasing.
Who needs seamers when you have the mercurial talents of little Viggy Venkat? What a fine sight it was to see a green pitch and new ball, little Viggy bowing unchanged through the Camberley innings to finish with 7 for 38 and bowl out the baddies for 107. CJ provided significant support with 2 for 29 and Dan chipped in with a vital run out.
The 1s remain top, with Cranleigh in hot pursuit but crucially now have opened a 36 point gap over 3rd place.
On the road, Robert Robinson did his 2nd team no good by again losing the toss on a wet one at Chertsey, looking on as the worst of the conditions were inflicted on his early order batters so that once again our number 6 was walking in at number 4 with only 15 on the board. Often this year there has been sufficient lower order resistance to still post a challenging score but sadly not this time. GMac and Burts each made 18 and Michael Walter (surely batting too low at number 9) was left high and dry on 13 not out as the 2s were bundled out for just 105.
The home side were made to toil for the points though, taking 31 overs to overhaul the target with 4 wickets down. A wicket apiece to AK, Scrappy, Chris Heane and Michael Walter. The 2s are now 5th and while Dulwich are running away at the top and there is a 28 point gap between 7th and 8th the league is still too close to call.
It was business not quite as usual for the 3s as they did show some resistance against the best 3rd team in their division, finally going down by 71 runs to East Molesey. The visitors rattled up 241 for 3 in 46 overs to ensure they had 54 back at Michael Collins beleaguered forces. While Mikey Scott was standing firm at the top of the order there was always a chance we could have a go at the total – Mark Rosser and Brad Richards both making 21. But when Mikey’s stoic 59 was ended by an unnecessary run out the best that could be hoped for was a draw. Mark Muffett was doing his best immovable object impression and found a very competent ally in Lee Smallbone. The pair took the score 170 before Lee was 8th out but any hopes we could survive the last 8 overs were dashed as Jonny “The Limpet” Hodgson was castled second ball and skipper Collins lasted half as long to leave East
Molesey worthy victors. The 3s remain rooted at the foot of the table but with games against the teams in 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th to come enter a crucial stage of the season.
On Sunday the Academy continued their successful campaign with a comfortable win over Epsom. Normandy’s impressive 336 for 4 was thanks to 93 from skipper Cal Job (off 67 balls), 76 from Sam Holland, and maiden half century from Michael Walter (72* from 48) and an undefeated 36 from Aaron Hunt.
A young Epsom side were always going to struggle and once AK had the number 3 caught behind by Matt Cook (yes, you did read that correctly) for 70 to make it 106 for 3, Disco Stu sensed blood in the water and hoovered up a cheeky little 5-fer. The Academy team remain undefeated in this campaign and are building a formidable side, capping off their day with an (entirely innocent) encounter with Tammy Beaumont at a service station on the way home.
A more modest man would gloss over the Fantasy league this week, but after making Little Viggy his captain it is the Cricket Manager who now sits proud and erect at the top of the leader board just 5 points ahead of the stinker Hampton with genial Jonny in 3rd. Best scorer of the week was Phil Hodgson with an impressive 602 while Charlie Young took the wooden spoon with 180.
“But what of Brad?” I hear you all below until your lungs bleed. The cheerful chappy amassed 251 this week, sticking with Dan Miles as captain and has now narrowed the gap on his nearest rival to a trifling 150 points.
Under 15 success
While here, we should note our under 15s who, by beating Valley End on Friday, have secured top spot in Junior Division 3 North West. A tremendous achievement with only 1 loss in 12 games. Almost all of these guys have now also started playing senior cricket and if they can continue to build on their success the future is beginning to look a whole lot rosier.
Saturday 3 August – Shocking Shirt Quadrathlon
A reminder that its back to NCC after cricket this week folks, with each team competing to be crowned champion of the newly initiated Quadrathlon. You will need your most shockingly awful shirts and then nominate champions for each of the 4 events. Those of you who bother to read this far normally will already know that there will be dry cracker eating and wrong handed throwing and I can now exclusively reveal the third test will come in the form of the blindfold sightscreen to sightscreen challenge.
Its not restricted to the 4 senior XIs though and anybody else wishing to enter a team on the night will be welcomed with open arms.
President’s Day Big Bash
And a further revelation now comes in the form of the naming of the much anticipated team for the President’s Day Big Bash, as I can confirm the Normandy side for the epic encounter on Sunday 18 August is as follows:
Ross Skidmore (Capt)
Richard Burton (wkts)
12th man – Sairaj Raghavan
More details to follow nearer the time
Right, I’m off to scrutinise the play cricket website to see why Michael Walter has not been credited with his runs this week!
Please, don’t have nightmares