17th June 2006
8th July 2006
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V&A v. London Erratics

A GLORIOUS JUNE DAY. And some glorious V&A batting.

Sarah was away so catering was shared by Debs, Lucinda and your correspondent. All fine and dandy except that the opposition’s leading batsman was nobbled by Lucinda’s excellent tea-time trifle. The rich melange did for the poor man’s irritable bowel, his sorry condition was audible from the boundary.

Roger was captain and was, as always, a decisive commander, but tactful and selfless too, dropping himself to number 11. One player (R. Smith) described his captaincy as ‘brilliant’. We played a 20-overs from 6.00 p.m. game. They won the toss but put us in to bat, being perhaps somewhat weaker in this department. Adam and Rob opened, soundly, Rob hitting a fine 4 before being caught – frustrating, as he rightly saw nothing fearsome in either bowling or pitch. N. Bird joined a free scoring Adam and the pair put on 50 odd before Bird was out rather pointlessly trying to force the pace. Enter Fraser. He started guilefully as is his wont, with late cuts and classical drives along the ground, but pulling the loose ones venomously to leg. Adam (48) continued to punish the bowling, with one memorable six, until misjudging a ball on the wicket. His innings took all the pressure off our batting.

Fraser and Bowden continued the run-fest until Bowden (20) was called for an unexpected run and was run out, just after lunch (a gentleman like Martin does not whinge or call Fraser names, not in public). But the free scoring continued with Robbie Hayley and Andy smacking the ball all over the ground. When Robbie was out for 21, we had already amassed 203 runs and were clearly safe from defeat but then some rather tired bowling was punished by a devastating innings by Dennis de Caires. Rarely have we seen such destruction, not since Vib’s stunning centuries, although Adam in his pomp is a match. Dennis (59*), and a now totally dominant Andy (84*), put on 87 in perhaps 8 overs, steering us to 290. We may have scored more in the past, but never so quickly. There were, incidently, 40 extras; our own performance in the field resulted in only 6, a telling difference.

The London Erratics were short of a couple of key players, and it showed. Roger trapped their opener caught behind, Linthwaite bowled their number 3, their number 4 was run out after fine work by Peter behind the stumps, catching a wayward throw from Robbie and hurling the ball downwards to shatter the wicket. When Linthwaite (3 for 28 off 9) had their number 2 batsman also caught behind, the Erratics were tottering on 56 for 5. Quick wickets from Dennis (1 for 17 off 7) and Bowden (3 for 29 off 5) wrapped up the game and they were all out for 119. It was our biggest winning margin. Mention should be made of Sean’s aggressive, excellent bowling, no wickets but his 4 overs netted only 2 runs, which forced their batsmen to risk runs the other end.

The London Erratics are perfect opposition. Although they had no chance of even nearing our total, the tailenders did not frig about and try lamely to defend the last 15 overs – they enjoyed themselves and whacked a few boundaries. The Erratics are like us, a mixture of yoof (one boy was 10) and experience (one man played good club cricket before Compton was a drunkard), but missed their spine of athletic 20 somethings. They coughed the inflated match fee without demur, and offered only a mild rebuke to Fraser and Noble for yabbering in the slips while the bowler ran in. One man sported his old prep school cap, to remind him perhaps of the consequence of failure at the crease – debagging behind the pav. I fear he lost his trousers.

Mention must also be made of Jacot’s cameo of an over. The first ball went for two, the next was a dot ball, the third went for 4. But on its way it travelled at catchable height towards Adam who, it grieves me to relate, let out a queeny squeak and ducked, covering his face with his hands. Some older stalwarts recalled Bruno and his bottle problem. Yet Adam recovered his composure and had their last batsman caught by Martin at point.

There is a mistake in the Fixtures List. Our next game against the The Thebetons is on Saturday July 9, not the next day as printed. Sarah apologises. Please contact me or Sarah if you can play.

By the way, the reason I can offer bowling averages etc. is that The Erratics brought with them their official scorer who did so impeccably, for which we are indeed grateful. We could use such a chap. If you know of someone who would enjoy sitting in the heat all day and watching Rob Noble bat, listening to Andy’s filthy chatter, and being molested by Sarah’s yapping dogs for a reward of a glass of warm Pinot Grigio, let us know. The job might appeal to some old cricketer no longer able to scamper between the wickets, so if you bump into Patrick Cobb, do mention the vacancy.