Hello my little idioms
Undaunted by the recent rain showers and the weather warning for my forthcoming day off I have hauled my ageing bones into my battered leather writing chair to summarise the weekend’s action. And as I sit here, naked as nature intended, gazing out through the French doors to an array of aghast guests at next door’s barbecue I am cogitating on another topsy-turvy week in the life of Normandy Cricket Club.
Before we pick the bones out of the weekend, I feel a melancholy hanging over me that I can only attribute to the news this week that Jimmy Cox has decided it is time to hang up his cricket boots and to retire gracefully from the game. Jimmy has been a massive contributor to Normandy’s cricket for over 40 years and his on-field presence will not be easily replaced. As a batsman of the old school he has always been a pleasure to watch, using his feet to the spinners, glancing and driving the seamers with the occasional heave over mid-wicket when the situation required, he has been one of the club’s greatest batsmen. In his time Jimmy has captained the 1st XI and was one of the pioneers of the 4th XI dropping down to captain that side to ensure the youngsters were being introduced to senior cricket the right way. Jimmy retires with just under 25,000 runs to his name but more important than that in itself incredible achievement, he will be remembered as a player we could all admire for the way he went about his cricket, the spirit in which he played and the support he gave his team mates young and old. A very fine batsman, an uncomplicated but extremely capable captain and an exceptionally fine man – Normandy’s 3rd team will be much the poorer without him. Jimmy can look back with huge pride on a great career and it says much of the man that his retirement was a low key affair – a quiet conversation in my kitchen “I think I’m going to pack it in…”.
Now, as I wipe away a tear from my ageing eyes, it is on to the more mundane matter of Saturday’s action and we start with the 1st team who (for many) made the short journey to Wandsworth to take on Spencer in the first of the long format matches. Suffice to say it was a game Tennyson’s boys won to maintain their 100% record and to stand proudly at the top of the Division 1 table.
Spencer were restricted to 181 all out largely due to little Viggy whose wily left arm spin accounted for 6 of the blighters at the cost of just 30 of the Queen’s runs. He gained support form Grimmers (2-28) and Nathan Sowter (a welcome sight back in NCC colours for the first time this year and enjoying a great season with Middlesex) who took 1 for 35 from 13 overs.
After an early hic-cup in reply, it was CJ who led the advance to victory with a fine 82 while the ever so cool Ian Prowse anchored the innings with an unhurried 68. They were some nerves at the end after a flurry of wickets but Sowts was on hand to steer the ship safely into the winning harbour.
A different story back at HQ saw the 2s up against it playing an Esher side showing form significantly better than their league placing suggested. Sairaj Raghavan was the pick of the bowlers with 2 for 58 as the visitors posted an impressive 253 for 6 in 49 overs but made the cardinal error of delaying the declaration too long. The 2s batting still hasn’t fired into life and so it proved again with the top order slipping to 97 for 4 and falling behind the run rate so that by the time Scrappy Wellfare was bowled at 144 for 6 there was little option but to batten down the hatches - a task which fell to Richard Burton and Ross Skidmore who did the job admirably. In particular Burts impressed with a gutsy display of defence coupled with deft shots behind the wicket and the pair made the game safe at 200 for 6 and it was ill reward for Burts to be LBW off the final ball of the game 1 short of what would have been an excellent half century. The game was drawn though and the visitors denied a victory with Sairaj making 42, Frosty 23 and Derek Robinson 23.
The 2s have dipped into the relegation zone and while its not time to panic, with a 1st team riding high and eying up premier league cricket it will be a huge jump in standard from 2s to 1s should the seconds drop to Division 2. Hopefully availability will ensure enough quality in the side to avoid that possibility.
Also struggling are the third team whose lack of runs four weeks out of five is cause for concern and who slid to defeat again this week. Batting first on a tricky deck at Hampton Wick a total of 113 all out was still a huge disappointment. Adam Jones was again the beacon of hope with a well struck 42 but only Benji the Bear (20) and Torquil (15) made double figures and the ease with which the tail was again blown away is troubling.
The home side were made to fight for it though as Arya Khedekar caused early problems with 3 for 18 while Lee Smallbone bagged a brace before the baddies got home with 4 wickets to spare.
The 3s drop to 9th but still have plenty of time and ability to accumulate enough points to ease them back into the mid-table.
The 4s too went down by 48 runs against high flying Kingstonians but captain Medlock took many positives from the game in particular the batting of Owen Carr (15), the leg-spin bowling of Jay Hudson and the return to all round form of Aaron Hunt (31 & 2- 27). Chasing 203 Mikey Scott anchored the innings with 67 but once Aaron departed there was not quite enough fire power in the tank to seriously threaten the league leaders. The 4s currently lie 5th in a league which is much more their level than the harsh world of the old 4th XI Premier league.
On Sunday the 1s eased through to the Group final of the National Knockout Cup after beating Basingstoke by 9 wickets. The visitors were bowled out for 140 with little Viggy showing off again with 3 for 19 backed up by Dan Miles (2-33), CJ (2-29) and Neal Prowse and Matt Cook who took one apiece.
In reply Tennyson Prowse raced to 33 before Charlie Young (53*) and CJ (49*) ensured there were no alarms as the total was hauled in with 13 overs to spare. The reward for victory is a trip to Havant on 30 June.
There was a change at the top in the Fantasy League as Julie Robinson’s second team were knocked off the perch by wily Chris Hampton who now sits atop the pile ahead of Mama Ju’s boy, Michael Collins, Smiling Jonny Nolan and creeping into 5th is the debonair cricket manager. Aaron Hunt took the plaudits as manager of the week with 699 points while Charlie Young struggled most amassing just 140 thanks to a five of his choices contributing minus 37 between them.
Please check on Slate that you have paid all your outstanding match fees and check MyClubhouse to ensure you have marked up your availability for next Saturday (ideally by close of play on Monday, please). Those that failed last week do not want to be flagged up again this week as I have a new detention book.
Sunday 23 June
Is a date for your diary. It is when we will be celebrating 70 years of colt cricket at Normandy and full details will be released shortly. All members are invited along from 1.30pm on Sunday 23 June to help celebrate 70 great years of colt cricket – the life blood of NCC. There will be cricket to watch, food available, commemorative photos, a brief presentation and the bar will be open. Please come along and spread the word to all ex-colts and managers of your acquaintance.
Right, I’m off to try and switch hit next door’s cat over the fence.
Follow that JR!