News & Events 2018

 

team photo


David & Julian shine in Rams rout

On Sunday September 9 we welcomed our old rivals Whiteditch Rams to Hook Meadow. Autumn is creeping in and any good weather we get at the moment feels very special as the end of our season draws near. It was bright and breezy; a perfect day for cricket.
Jon Grant won the toss and put our guests in to bat. This was a brave decision as we were short of most of our strike bowlers, but it turned out to be the right one as the Rams got into trouble almost straight away.
I somehow managed not to get a photo of their page in the scorebook, so this part of the report will be a little fuzzy. The first half of the game was all about Crondall’s bowling. It was spread amongst no less than seven of us and nearly everybody picked up a wicket. At times, the Rams looked as if they might turn things around and their number 4 proved a thorn in our side as he carried his bat for about 70 runs.
However, an early wicket from Ollie Godden followed by two from Jonny Grant, three from Tim Watson, one from David Rook and Andrew Whitehouse and two from Julian Ranger saw the Rams all out for 155. I think this was the first time any side has been bowled out at Hook Meadow this season. Apart from Tim’s three-for, Julian and Andrew were particularly impressive as Julian very rarely bowls and this was only Andrew’s second game this year. And I must mention Jon’s wicket-maiden which (I’m guessing) is his first this season.
Ollie Godden has had a great summer, rarely missing out on a substantial score. Unfortunately, this day was one of the rare occasions when he didn’t make any kind of score. Opening Crondall’s batting, he edged a ball from pace man Andrew down the leg side. It kept low and had four written all over it, but the wicket-keeper pulled off a superb catch and Ollie was out for nil.
Julian Ranger then came in to join David Rook and the pair of them showed great temperament as they settled down, mindful that we didn’t have many big hitters to follow. The low target meant there was no need for anything rash. Julian likes to open his shoulders, but today we saw how well he plays with his head when the situation calls for it. He had a little luck – a couple of catching chances went begging and once, he nearly dragged the ball onto his stumps. But crucially, Julian hung around and was rewarded with 81 not out – the first time he has passed 50 this season.
David Rook provided rock steady support for Julian, scoring steadily and using solid defence in the face of some pretty decent bowling. David has had a terrific summer and this was certainly one of the highlights as he also refused to be hustled into a risky shot, achieving 67 not out.
The Rams’ bowling was on the whole tidy and occasionally looked like breaking through. Gary Prickett worked up some decent pace – I was umpiring during his spell and I could hear the ball fizz as it swung in around middle and leg. He was unlucky not to take a wicket but he bowled 2 maidens and only went for 23 from 7. Andrew finished up with a respectable 1 for 20 from 7.
Crondall’s victory by 9 wickets was the best result we’ve had since 2017, and although Julian and David steered us home, the groundwork was forged by a team effort in the field. Many thanks to Whiteditch Rams – there are some characters whom it’s good to see returning year on year, so we’ll look forward to welcoming you back in 2019.

David Twibill

 

bat

On Sunday September 2 we paused for a few moments before our game against the Grasshoppers so Jon Grant could deliver a few words about Gary “Bat” Lambert, whose funeral had been held the previous Friday. Gary was an immensely popular figure in Crondall whom I didn’t know, so I won’t attempt any kind of eulogy here. It was a beautiful day – an Indian summer has started which we hope will last for our remaining fixtures, and hearing Jon talk about Gary was a reminder of how lucky we were to be relatively fit and about to enjoy the game we love.
This fixture was a good one to dedicate to Gary because it’s always such a friendly occasion – the Hoppers invariably turn up undermanned and so Crondall lends them a couple of players. With extraordinary largesse, I was loaned and with superhuman generosity, Matt Crew and David Rook were also donated.
Hook Meadow has returned to a lush green but the outfield shows little sign of slowing down. Crondall opener Dan Jones soon got stuck in and made a rapid 40 before he was bowled by young Henry Dorman. Dan hit 8 fours and 2 sixes. Sadly, Keith Knox missed out as his first ball from Matt Crew was defended, but trickled onto the stumps.
Julian Ranger, belligerent as ever, smacked five boundaries on his way to 24 before erstwhile teammate Jamie Jones had him caught, and Clive Lindsay added a brisk 13 before he was also bowled by Henry Dorman.
There then followed a fifth wicket stand of 113 between George Osborne and Ollie Godden, ending in an unlikely way when Ollie tried to hoist me over the long-on boundary. Unfortunately, he didn’t quite get hold of it and Matt Crew was able to pull off a brilliant catch, dismissing Ollie for 56. Jonny Grant fell in this same memorable over, caught by my new skipper and friend Andy for 0.
But George Osborne was unfazed by the comedy of errors and serenely batted on until tea, remaining unbeaten on 74. Toby Elstow accompanied George, making 26 not out as they recorded a stand of 53.
The Hoppers worked hard in the field and bowled pretty tidily in good batting conditions. Jamie Jones only went for 37 in his 8 overs, taking 1 wicket. Your author took 2 for 11 from 2, and Henry Dorman impressed with 2 for 38 from 8. Matt Crew was the other wicket-taker, getting 1 for 14 from 3. Youngster Freddie Bott had a spell of 6 overs and bowled well, going for a respectable 32 as Crondall amassed a total of 254 for 6.
I and the others who had jumped ship assured our teammates that this score wasn’t unusual on Hook Meadow this year and with some graft, could be chased down. Putting his money where his mouth was, David Rook volunteered to open alongside Ciaran Rooney. They made a great start, putting on 43 in the first 5 overs and going on to make a stand of 91. Ciaran achieved 61 before Dan Jones had him caught and David was eventually bowled by Ollie Godden for 41.
Left-hander Lawrence Brugemann played an astonishing innings. The timing and elegance of his strokeplay was an object lesson – there’s something special about lefties when they’re in this sort of form. Supported by David Rook and a cameo of 12 not out by Matt Crew, Lawrence blasted 112 which included 18 fours and 3 sixes. He steered the Hoppers home to victory by 8 wickets.
This day was memorable on so many levels. The little I do know about “Bat” was that he loved life, so I guess he would have appreciated having this game of life dedicated to his memory. Our thoughts are with Gary’s daughters Lillie and Mollie and ex-wife Donna. Come along and watch some cricket some time – you’ll be made very welcome.

David Twibill

 

Book review – Following On: A Memoir of Teenage Obsession and Terrible Cricket
by Emma John

folowing on

Our game against the Invalids was rained off, so I at last have a chance to write about a cricket book that I enjoyed very much, and which I think would appeal to others who aren’t necessarily interested in sport. Following On: A Memoir of Teenage Obsession & Terrible Cricket by Emma John is great sports writing which crosses over into autobiography and coming-of-age territory.
Emma John is a much respected cricket journalist who has written for The Observer, The Guardian, and The Wisden Cricketer. Following On is set during John’s teenage years in the nineties – teen crushes often verge on the tragic, surely never more so than when the object is the entire England team lurching from one humiliation to another during their worst ever decade?
With the benefit of twenty years and a career in writing, John looks back on her growing pains and asks two questions: why did England never win and why did she love them so much? Armed with this premise, the author seeks out as many of those hapless losers as she can in order to try to understand what went wrong and why England’s popularity if anything, increased. Remember, this was this time that the Barmy Army flourished.
Among the interviewees are John Crawley, Andrew Caddick, Philip Tufnell, Mark Ramprakash and eventually the chief object of John’s infatuation, Michael Atherton. This disparate bunch provide a unique insight into the way England was run at the time. With hindsight, it’s easy to see how a vast pool of talented players never gelled into a coherent national side. John describes the ‘lucky dip’ approach to selection, of how excellent county players like Alan Wells and Mike Smith failed in their first test and were never picked again. A reader could be forgiven for screaming the answer to her first question: Central Contracts!
Like a hologram reflected off the facets of the characters interviewed, the image of Mike Atherton rises over the pages. At times the book feels as much a biography of Athers as an autobiography. This is no accident – Atherton was as much a constant force in England cricket as he is in Following On. The author points out that when Take That split up, the Samaritans had a special helpline to console the huge numbers of distraught teenagers. When Athers gave up the England captaincy, there was nothing. That he clung on for so long was some feat; I can remember watching Athers serenely fending off the press after yet another disaster and asking myself, how much longer can he keep this up?
The tenacity and dogged determination of Atherton partly answers John’s second question: why did she and we love England so much? But the truth is a little more open-ended and we’re not really any wiser by the end.
Does it matter? Love is a kind of madness, particularly when we’re teenagers, so Following On is hardly likely to make sense of it. What it does do is reward the reader with a funny, engaging and poignant account.

Following On: A Memoir of Teenage Obsession and Terrible Cricket by Emma John. Published in paperback by Bloomsbury.
£9.99. Available in Ebook.

David Twibill. Tuesday, August 28, 2018.

 

Tom and Jake step up in Hatters nail-biter

I was unavailable for Crondall’s match against the Mad Hatters on Sunday August 19. I wasn’t malingering – I was busy cutting my mother’s lawn with a mower that conked out unless the choke was engaged the whole time. It was slow, arduous toil and by the end of it I was in a far worse state than I would have been after trundling a few overs for Crondall.
Fortunately, I have Ed Richardson’s figures for the game so I should be able to put something together; a work of creativity and imagination based around a lot of numbers, like my VAT return.
The Hatters batted first and looking at the score sheet, it appears they were soon in trouble. Opener James Richardson did good work but had little support before he was bowled by Dan Steele for 38. Then Tom Richardson came in at number 6 and took a firm hold of the game and the strike, hitting an unbeaten 93 off 61 balls. There were some heart-stopping moments; balls that didn’t quite carry, LBW chances that might have shaved leg stump and skyers that landed in no-man’s land. Actually, Tom probably gave nothing away and I’m just making this up.
Crondall’s bowlers returned some good figures. Jake Thacker took 2 for 13 off 6 overs and shared wickets with George Osborne’s 1 for 41 off 8, Srini Jay’s 1 for 23 off 4, and Dan Steele’s 2 for 35 off 6. At tea The Hatters finished with 189 for 7 – a score which was certainly attainable given how many runs have been made on Hook Meadow this season.
Crondall’s reply looks to have been very similar to the Hatters’ in that opener Dan Jones hit 31 but was surrounded by tumbling wickets. Things only steadied when David Rook came in at number 5. From then on Crondall’s bungee jump of an innings rebounded rather than ending in a bloody heap of shattered limbs and broken elastic. David finished unbeaten on 43.
Crondall’s hero today was Jake Hayden, making what must be his highest score for the side; 72 not out. Towards the end, I’m sure you could have cut the tension in the air with a knife as Jake and David pushed the score ever closer to the target.
However, the Hatters kept their cool and there were few bowling mishaps. Alex Whittet towered over the Hatters’ bowlers, literally and metaphorically, having a marathon spell of 18 overs and taking 2 for just 68 with 3 maidens. Kasper Welling also knocked over 2 wickets for 18 off 7 with 2 maidens. Only Henry Wright was expensive, going for 47 from 4.
At the close Crondall had reached 179 for 4, drawing a game we came pretty damned close to winning. We’ve now had four draws in a row with the Hatters – a surprising statistic given how competitive this fixture is. But competition has never been at the expense of friendliness and sportsmanship. Many thanks to Alex and his friends for your great spirit, and I must thank Ed Richardson for his skill with recording the stats.

David Twibill

 

Fathers and sons star in T20 drama

Crondall’s T20 match against Wadham and Isherwood on Wednesday August 15 proved that 12 year-old kids aren’t only useful if you can’t work your computer. Our team welcomed father and son pairings of Tim and Angus Watson, and Paul and Kieron Derrett.
Angus impressed everyone with his work behind the stumps; he looked very much at home and not much got past him – Ollie Godden and Jake Hayden were able to bowl at full tilt with confidence. Kieron has joined us before and he too looks a bright prospect for the future, and of course the present. He made a useful stand with dad Paul at the death and was an enthusiastic bowler.
It was quite a game! And it was quite a feat to get through all 20 overs as the nights are drawing in these days. Jon Grant won the toss and decided to put W&I in. Ollie and Jake opened the bowling and didn’t give much away but on the changeover, our guests started to pile on the runs. I think four batsmen retired having made 25, some sooner than others – some unbelievably quickly.
Crondall took the remaining wickets but W&I still finished up with 162. By now the light was failing fast – we’d had a brief period of sunshine in the first innings but it had been overcast for most of the day. We hoped the poor light would make life harder for the fielders than the batters.
Ben Ungaretti and Ollie Godden didn’t seem to have any trouble spotting the ball as they got hold of the game and pushed our run rate up to around 10 per over. Both Ben and Ollie retired on 25, as did Tim Watson and Jonny Grant. There was some terrific bowling from W&I and we got a bit becalmed at times, but were never out of touch.
When Paul and Keiron were batting it got very tense – a couple of fours from Paul kept our hopes alive and on the penultimate ball, the scores were level. The final ball went through to the keeper and there was no run.
Ties don’t happen very often and they’re a special result – probably more so for the side batting first, and in particular for the steely-nerved bowler who takes the last over. Well done to both W&I and Crondall – this was better drama than anything on the TV, if that’s not understating it.

David Twibill

 

piccadilly

It had to happen. The glorious weather Britain has enjoyed all summer had to end some time so with perfect timing, the rain clouds descended just in time for one of Crondall’s favourite fixtures – our away match against Piccadilly CC at Merchant Taylors’ School.
So on the morning of Sunday August 12, we eagerly looked at the weather forecasts hoping for encouraging news. There was none. However, despite the doom-mongery that was lurching around the ether like a wounded grouse (and I confess reader, I was an offender) we set off hopefully.
In the event we were lucky and the rain held off sufficiently for us to enjoy the entire 35 over game without interruption. The luck rubbed off on Crondall skipper Jonny Grant who won the toss and having clocked the humid conditions and lush green wicket, put our hosts in to bat.
Anru Calitz is a death-or-glory batsman and at the start, it was the latter that was the more evident as he blasted 5 fours from the first two overs. Four of these came off Jake Hayden but this was only a blip in Jake’s spell as he went on to record just 23 off 5 overs. Anru’s fellow opener Kaushik looked to be in similar mood, hitting a four off his first delivery but fell to a catch off Ollie Godden the next ball. Then Yogi demonstrated Zen-like self control, only being tempted into running 3 from 28 balls before he was caught off Pete Short.
Skipper Nishil Tanna made hay when Piccadilly visited us in June, and he did the same in this match. Nish hit 91 not out which included 14 fours. He was supported by wicket-keeper Simon, the pair putting on 67 runs before I bowled Simon for 29.
It was a good day for your author, as I also had Bharat Rughani caught for 6 thanks to Ollie Godden and returned figures of 2 for 15 from 3 overs. Crondall’s bowling was shared amongst seven; Ollie leading with 3 for 31 from 6 and Pete Short claiming 1 for 20 from 6. Dan Steele was economical with 0 for 26 from 6. After 35 overs the match was nicely poised as Piccadilly finished with 183 for 7.
Crondall’s opening pair, Ollie Godden and Dan Steele, took a few overs to settle in and then looked as if they’d knock the runs off themselves, putting on 84 for the first wicket. Dan fell on 27 to a catch off Nishil Tanna and Ollie hung around and made 62 before being bowled by a great ball from Nish. Ricky Gunner looked assured, hitting 18 which included 3 fours and was also bowled by the ever-present Captain Nish. Jon Grant’s 13 not out was the only other double-figure score as Crondall struggled to get on top of Piccadilly’s accurate bowling and fielding.
Nishil was the pick of Piccadilly’s bowlers, getting 3 for 21 from 7 and was easily man of the match. Hemal got 2 for 25 from 5, and Bharat Rughani claimed 2 for 19 from 8. They were joined by Shanta’s (I may have got this name wrong) 1 for 25 from 6. As Crondall’s innings wore on, the required rate kept rising and at the close we were 144 for 9, giving our hosts victory by 39 runs.
The threatened rain began to fall in earnest as soon as the stumps were pulled, showing to any non-believer how much the gods of cricket must favour this fixture. Our friends had arranged dinner at the Red Klove in Northwood and we celebrated the day in great fashion, with wonderful North Indian fare and a few firkins of Tusker and Cobra to wash it down.
We must thank Bharat and Prakash Rughani, along with the rest of Piccadilly CC for organising such a fun day and for your great company. We’ll see you in 2019 and if we get another horrible winter, the memory of Sunday will help keep us warm!

David Twibill

 

rowledge

On Sunday August 5 Crondall CC travelled out to the picturesque ground at Binsted for our game against Rowledge Casuals. This summer has been such a scorcher that at times we’ve caught ourselves complaining about the heat. Wickets have been baked and parched, great for getting in – anyone coming in after number 7 has been lucky to get a bat.
Binsted’s pitch showed an unusual amount of green and this made for a wicket that had enough to keep bowlers interested. Throughout the day the bounce was unpredictable, sometimes low and skidding and other times rearing up chest-high.
This was a 35 over game with retirement at 30 and a maximum of 6 overs per bowler. Rowledge won the toss and batted first. This looked like being a bad decision as openers King and Hartless fell in the first two overs, Hartless bowled for 0 by Jamie Jones and then King caught by Jamie off Dan Steele for 3. But then Ben Krempel and Ben Hinchelwood quickly settled in and both retired after making rapid thirties. There was then a brief wobble as J. Doland was caught off Dan Steele for 2 and D. Barnett was trapped LBW by me for 0.
From then on, Rowledge were unstoppable. N. Wakefield, D. Shrubb and D. Williams all added thirties and retired, available to come in again if Crondall removed the remaining batsmen. This we achieved, but the sight of Ben Hinchelwood coming back in made our celebrations muted. Fortunately, Ben only added 1 before falling to a great one-handed catch by Julian Ranger off Dan Jones. Fellow revenant Ben Krempel also fell quickly, brilliantly caught on the boundary by Dan Jones off David Rook.
Dan Steele led Crondall’s bowling figures taking 2 for 26 off 6 overs, and other wicket-takers not already mentioned were Jonny Grant and Paul Derrett. Crondall did well to knock over 8 wickets and there was a lot of great fielding. It was therefore all the more impressive that Rowledge finished with 211.
Crondall’s reply struggled to get going, although Jamie Jones made a solid 24 and Julian Ranger retired on 30. Dan Steele added 27 and should have joined Julian to enjoy another life but was caught by Ben Hinchelwood off Ben Krempel. This was the catch of the day – Ben had to sprint around the boundary; it looked certain that the ball would land harmlessly a foot or so inside the rope, but he somehow made the ground and hung onto it.
David Rook was also unlucky not to reach 30 as he was bowled by D. Shrubb for 25. These missed opportunities gradually stifled Crondall’s run-chase. The runs came, but they just didn’t come quickly enough so the return of Julian Ranger in the final two overs was unlikely to turn the game around. Julian’s first shot was played on to his leg stump and Crondall were all out for 166, giving Rowledge victory by 45 runs.
Congratulations to Rowledge for a great win brought about by a team effort in every department. A lovely ground, fantastic weather, a lively pitch and great company. What was there not to like?

David Twibill

 

vagabonds

Who would be bowler at the moment? The heatwave shows no sign of cooling down and Hook Meadow still has as many runs in it as it has over the last few weeks.
Crondall played host to the Vagabonds on Sunday July 8 – always tough opposition, yet their bowlers looked to be struggling as we batted first. Ollie Godden and Roger Wiltshire made a good start, Ollie plundering the conditions with a rapid 36 that included 8 fours before he was caught behind in the 11th over. Roger held firm but he and Julian Ranger found it hard to get on top of spinners Harding and Noakes, Roger eventually being caught for 16 and Julian out for 1.
The arrival of Alec Goldsworthy started a good period for Crondall as he hit 4 fours adding a breezy 12, before he was plumb LBW to Noakes. Adam Elstow and James Somerville then took charge and added 90 before Adam was out LBW to Davidson for 40. James remained unbeaten on 60 and David Rook supported him until the last ball when he was run out for 9. Crondall reached 207 for 5; a good total which in days gone by would have virtually guaranteed a win.
Victory for Crondall seemed very likely as the Vagabonds started their reply. Alec Goldsworthy stifled the runs with a suberb 1 for 6 from 6 overs (check out David’s photos here. They give an idea of why Alec achieves such good consistency). Adam Elstow also caused trouble, bowling 5 overs for 22. Most of these runs came from slashed shots that were nearly slip catches. Jon Grant and Ollie Godden then took over, both doing well, with Jonny taking 2 for 52 from 8 (one of these being a great catch on the boundary by James Somerville). Ollie took 2 for 30 in his 7 overs, thanks to catches by Alec Goldsworthy, one an absolute screamer at short extra.
But somehow the steady fall of wickets could not halt the runs that flowed from some great batting by the Vagabonds, and they managed to push the run rate. Davidson and Noakes steered their side to victory after a rapid 57 by Harding, who was caught off Adam Elstow.
Congratulations to the Vagabonds who finished with 208 for 6, winning by 4 wickets. It was disappointing to have victory snatched away when things were going so well, but we’re all still buzzing after England’s victory in the World Cup quarter-final on Saturday, so we’ve got over it!

Keith Knox


Crondall turn up the heat in Binsted T20

In ten years of playing at Hook Meadow, I cannot remember the pitch and outfield looking so true and fast as it does at the moment. The heatwave we’re experiencing reminds those of us who are old enough of the summer of 1976. On this balmy evening on Thursday July 5 it was easy to imagine I was Michael Holding, with affro and flared whites terrorising a helmetless Brian Close, while the chimes of the church clock became No Woman No Cry, and a bloke walking his dog a throng of whooping rastas baying for blood. I’ve got a great imagination. 
After the game I left in a hurry without taking any stats, so I’m relying on my not-so-great memory. Crondall Captain Jonny Grant won the toss and elected to bat: a no-brainer these days. From the start it was clearly going to be a batter’s evening and if memory serves, Matt Crew, Ben Ungaretti, Alec Goldsworthy, Dan Jones and (I think) Julian Ranger all retired on 25. Jonny Grant looked like doing the same but got out for about 15, and Crondall finished with a decent 167 for 1.
Our guests Binsted also found batting easy-going and looked like knocking off the 8.35 runs per over without trauma. However, we were fortunate in having a strong bowling attack and after the initial onslaught, wickets fell steadily. This was a benign pitch, yet Matt Crew surprised us with a nasty bouncer that was gloved to Alec Goldsworthy and very nearly caught. James Gunner had an excellent spell, getting a couple relatively cheaply. Dan Jones also caused trouble and Ben Ungaretti pulled off  two acrobatic caught-and-bowleds, while Alec Goldsworthy was as accurate and economical as ever.
Binsted were around 30 runs short at the end of their 20 overs; just a couple of bowling disasters would have seen them home and dry. This was a good victory from both a batting and bowling viewpoint, and it felt much closer than the figures suggest.

David Twibill


Valley End youth impress on scorched afternoon

The temperature touched the high twenties as Crondall turned up at Valley End’s parched ground on Sunday July 1. The heatwave we’re enjoying is producing some great batting strips and when we won the toss, the decision to bat was a simple one.
Crondall got off to a steady start before I was yorked on 16. Then some accurate bowling, particularly from leg-spinner Godwin, slowed things down. Clive Lindsay did well to get 18 before being bowled by Reedman, who bowled Julian Ranger for 3 soon afterwards.
When Ed Hellings came in, the scoring rate rose considerably and he was unlucky to get out on 43 to an excellent catch. A 13 year-old bowler called Whelan (I’m afraid I don’t have his first name) destroyed our hopes of a decent score as he took 4 for 19. Crondall finished their 35 overs with 142 for 8.
Valley End didn’t need to blaze at the start of their innings, and Scott Shepherd and Pete Short kept things nicely in check until Scott bowled opener Baker when the score was on 33. This brought in Valley End’s overseas player who dominated the bowling and retired after scoring a rapid 51. This more or less sealed the game’s outcome but another youngster called Wonderly had time to score 18. Young Whelan then finished things off with 9 not out (which included a couple of fours) and Valley End won by 8 wickets.
Thanks to everyone for toiling on this sub-tropical afternoon, and thanks to Valley End for their hospitality.

Keith Knox

 

bbq

Sunday June 17 was the third time Crondall and Piccadilly CC have met and unlike the previous occasions, the weather was cold and windy – the first double jumper day we’ve had this season. But the unseasonable weather at Crondall didn’t dampen our spirits; these guys are starting to feel like old friends (actually, I’ve known Bharat and Prakash for nearly 25 years).
Piccadilly skipper Nishil Tanna won the toss and although I’d advised him in strong terms to bat first, he put Crondall in to bat. The pitch has been great for batting lately and Roger Wiltshire showed tremendous form in the last match, getting 138 not out. The bowling was tight and accurate but despite losing fellow opener Clive Lindsay for 2 bowled Shai, Roger never struggled and was soon scoring at a healthy rate.
Julian Ranger has also found some form lately and today he looked in belligerent mood. He and Roger made a useful stand and Julian looked certain to make 50, but was unfortunately run out on 34. Coming in at number 4, Ricky Gunner offered steady support for Roger and hit a terrific boundary before eventually falling LBW to Nishil for 9.
George Osborne then dashed off 20 runs from 14 balls; many shots looked and sounded like certain fours but some sharp fielding reduced most of these to singles. Like the summer, George’s knock was over too soon when he was bowled by Darshan.
Another century looked certain for Roger Wiltshire and when he was at last stumped off Nishil, there was some confusion about whether or not he’d reached his ton. But my photos of both scorebooks confirm he made 97. So what? This was a wonderful achievement that put Crondall firmly in the game as they finished up on 199 for 4.
Hook Meadow isn’t doing bowlers any favours at the moment, so Nishil did well to take 2 for 34 from 9. He had good support from Prakash Rughani’s parsimonious 0 for 32 from 10 and Shai’s 1 for 32 from 10.
My other bit of advice to Nishil was not to worry about the run rate, but just stick around as runs would certainly come. This time he must have believed me, because that’s exactly how Piccadilly’s opener Yogi went about it. Fellow opener Kaushik was out quickly, falling LBW to David Rook for 8, but Dave the Geordie made sure he played himself in. David and George Osborne did fine work on this batsman’s wicket, strangling the run rate so that for the first few overs, our guests looked to be struggling.
But Yogi and Dave stuck at it, their stand eventually broken when Yogi was stumped off Jonny Grant for 36. Yogi’s patience had made a solid platform which Nishil was able to exploit from the start. Nishil scored freely, showing us a range of dashing shots and he and Dave were building a big stand when Dave was brilliantly, and (let’s not deny it) surprisingly caught and bowled by Jonny Grant for 60.
This brought Rikhil Rughani (junior) to the crease. His accomplished left-hand strokeplay made light work of the remains of our bowling and was only stopped by the return of George Osborne, who bowled him for 19. Rikhil had faced 8 balls.
Crondall relied on George’s broad shoulders and he worked hard, bowling 10 overs of real pace and claiming 1 for 28. Jonny Grant had a good spell and took 2 for 37 from 7, and David Rook got 1 for 37 from 8.
Piccadilly knocked off the 200 required with a few overs to spare, winning by 6 wickets. Nishil was unbeaten on 64, a captain’s innings adding to a fine bowling spell. Congratulations to Nish and his men for chasing down a pretty decent total. We’re already looking forward to the return fixture which we know will be played in the same spirit of friendly competition. By then Piccadilly, some of our young bowlers will have their arduous university commitments behind them. Watch out!

David Twibill





Bacchanalin orgy of runs

Our home game with Sons of Bacchus on Sunday June 10 was an extraordinary day in what is turning into a great season.
Bacchus won the toss and decided to bat – an easy decision given the excellent state of the pitch. Although Crondall was missing one or two bowlers, we got off to a good start when Lazenby fell to a good catch by David Rook for 1. There followed a very good partnership between Patten and Walton which was eventually broken when Patten was caught by Tim Furnell off David Rook for 53. Tim ran at full tilt around the boundary, dived full length and caught the ball one-handed just before it landed. If this isn’t the catch of the season, we’re in for quite a treat!
However, Bacchus weren’t cowed by this feat and continued piling on runs with Walton scoring 76, Gibson 45, Booth 42 and Shepard 58 not out. Our guests reached a staggering 313 for 7 in 34 overs – testament to the quality of the pitch! David Rook was Crondall’s star bowler, taking 4 for 79 off 10.
Our innings got off to a steady start, interrupted by myself playing on for 5. We were pleased to welcome back Roger Wiltshire into the side, and even more pleased as he and Julian Ranger added 90 runs. Julian made 22 before being bowled by Lars. He was quickly followed by David Rook falling on 9 and Gary Holmes on 2. Then Tim Furnell joined Roger and they added 72 before Tim was caught behind for 22. Roger had one last stand for 23, supported by another player we’d like to see more of, Andrew Whitehouse. At stumps Crondall had made 257 for 5 with Roger not out for 138.
We think 570 runs in one afternoon must be a Crondall record, and to have tons scored in consecutive games is very encouraging. Let’s make it a hat-trick!
As usual, Bacchus were great company and the game was played in a terrific spirit. Congratulations to both teams for posting such impressive scores.

Keith Knox

 

Crew's missile

The free hit we allow for the batsman’s first delivery in our T20 games doesn’t always get the treatment he’d like. But at Farnham during Crondall’s innings against Wadham & Isherwood on Wednesday June 6, two of our men took full advantage. Dan Jones was first; the first ball of Crondall’s innings disappearing over the rope and setting the pace for the remainder of our batting. Then coming in at number 7, Matt Crew got hold of his freebie and hoisted the ball about twenty metres over the sight screen. It landed in Basingstoke. We decided they could keep it.
Dan and Julian Ranger blazed an opening stand of 41 from 5 overs and Crondall never looked back. Dan Jones, Toby Elstow, Matt Crew and Scott Shepherd all retired having reached 25. David Rook, still recovering from an operation, contributed 14 before he was bowled by Mike Barrett. Mike took 3 wickets for 41 and in the circumstances, Alan Butt’s 1 for 21 off 3 was impressive.
W&I’s openers needed a great start if they were to get the required rate of 8.1 per over under control. However, opening the bowling, Ben Ungaretti and I kept the runs down and Ben’s searing pace proved too much for our hosts. Ben bowled 2 men for just 1 run in 2 overs.
From then on W&I never really got going although Tom Evans retired on 25 from 28 balls, and Jon Hollis hit 19 before falling to a catch off Gary Holmes. Neal Hockley and Tim Alden both made 12 but other than these achievements, W&I lost wickets too frequently to settle into a decent partnership and finished up with 90 for 8, giving Crondall victory by 71 runs. Off-spinner Gary Holmes did a great job on his debut for Crondall, taking 3 for 17 from 2. All our bowlers impressed, either taking wickets, keeping the rate down, or both.
It was a lovely warm evening and as always, a great pleasure to play cricket with these blokes whom we’ve known for many years. A win added even more pleasure – the second in succession against Wadham & Isherwood. But we’ll see what happens on the return fixture in August before we get carried away.

David Twibill

 

howzat

In my last article I suggested with Cassandra-like gloom that we might not get our first game until the middle of May. It turned out that this prediction was wildly optimistic as due to foul weather and lack of numbers, Crondall posted a record five-for of cancelled matches and we didn’t get going until Sunday May 27.
We had warnings of catastrophic thunderstorms and at first the weather was humid and overcast, but this soon cleared and Hook Meadow was lit up in all its early-summer glory. And the ground does look glorious; Matt Crew and his helpers have done an amazing job in getting it to this state, and everyone would like to pass on their thanks.
We played a new side called Howzat CC. I say “new”, but they’ve been around for a long time and some of their men had played against us in the past. They won the toss and decided to have a bowl.
Crondall openers Ollie Godden and Dan Steele settled in quickly and didn’t look troubled by Howzat’s pace men, although Dan got out when he’d made 8, caught off Liam Larby. This brought Julian Ranger to the crease, armed with a new bat and an extra month of anticipating how it might perform.
The frustrations of our forced absence didn’t seem to have affected Ollie or Julian. They played with patience, determined to spend time at the crease and forge a partnership. Howzat’s fielding was sharp and many shots that looked like certain fours went for singles. However, they could not find another wicket for about an hour and some 70 runs later.
Julian eventually fell on 32, bowled by leg-spinner Aaron Smallbone. It had been an innings of graft and determination; defence when necessary and full-hearted cover drives when the ball was in the right place. Meanwhile, Ollie and James Somerville continued to exploit the fine strip.
Ollie retired on 110. It was an exhibition of dashing shots; we saw him repeatedly charge down the wicket and drive off his legs as if chasing a hockey ball. At the other end James joined the runfest, making an excellent 32 not out and George Osborne, coming in near the close, hit 8 from five balls.
Whilst Crondall dominated, it might have been a lot worse for Howzat. They bowled and fielded pretty efficiently, with a mere 2 extras out of Crondall’s total of 194 for 2.
Opening Howzat’s batting, Tom Silver and Richard Lamport found the wicket had not deteriorated nor was the outfield any slower than earlier. Runs came thick and fast, until Tom fell to a catch by Ollie Godden off Scott Shepherd when on 20.
But the flow was only stemmed temporarily. Richard continued to thrive with new partner Aaron Smallbone, carrying his bat for 60 runs. Richard was the rock underpinning Howzat’s resistance and under his steadying influence, Aaron was able to express himself, making a superb 103 not out which included 11 fours.
A draw became Crondall’s only realistic goal but we could not hold things up with any more wickets and Howzat romped home with 197 for 1, winning by 9 wickets. Bearing in mind that nearly 400 runs were scored this day, George Osborne’s bowling figures of 0 for 35 off 9 were quite an achievement.
Congratulations to Howzat CC for chasing down such an imposing target. And many thanks to Ollie, Dan and James for stepping up and organising the tea.

David Twibill

 

Book review – Cricket: The Game of Life by Scyld Berry

Game of Life

Last night I dreamed I went to Hook Meadow again. It seemed to me I was trying to bat it out and force a draw, then I woke up and realised the radio was on and that New Zealand were trying to bat it out and force a draw. They did.
Listening to cricket, watching cricket and reading about cricket keep us going during the leaden months between playing cricket. Looking outside my window, it seems strange that our first game is less than four weeks away; everything looks so sodden it’s hard to imagine Hook Meadow can dry out in time. So, maybe we’ll need to keep reading for another week or two into May.
Cricket: The Game of Life by Scyld Berry is a great way to get through a prolonged spell of rain or if you’re a slow reader, the entire winter. Berry is the cricket correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph and has been an editor of Wisden. A plain-speaking Yorkshireman, his style is instantly engaging although Game of Life’s wide range of ideas can sometimes feel a bit superfluous. For instance, some might find Berry’s comparing Harold Larwood’s bowling action to Andrea Castagno’s 15th century painting David with the Head of Goliath somewhat overblown. However, this comes during Berry’s section on the aesthetics of cricket and is not irrelevant since he is connecting the game’s visual appeal to humankind’s love of all things beautiful.
This connection of cricket to the human condition is at the heart of Game of Life. I doubt if anyone has written such a comprehensive essay explaining how and why cricket has become so entrenched in people’s consciousness all over the world. Berry covers a vast gamut of themes and ideas. Here you’ll discover how cricket evolved in Britain’s colonies; that for example, the Indian Maharajahs only cared about batting, whereas the Parsi community was equally happy to bat, bowl and field.
The geographical span is as wide as the range of cricketing characters and attitudes in Game of Life. Here are heroes and villains. Why for instance, have batsmen been traditionally cast as heroes while bowlers always seem to be the bad guys? Infamous episodes such as the Hansie Cronje affair and the Shakoor Rana row are handled deftly and even-handedly. In 1987 most agreed that the umpire Shakoor Rana had acted atrociously, yet Berry explains how in Pakistan umpires were issued with strict orders affecting the results of matches. Ignoring these could have resulted in being fired or worse.
That cricket took so much longer to adopt neutral referees than other games must owe something to that grey area beyond the laws we call the Spirit of Cricket. Berry analyses this in great detail, covering many of cricket’s low points like match-fixing and ball-tampering but also highlighting some of its brighter moments.
Cricket: The Game of Life is written with passion and infectious enthusiasm. You can skip bits of it here and there or dip into it occasionally as it doesn’t follow a continuous narrative. But whether or not you read it all in one go, you’ll end up with a greater understanding of why we spend so much of our lives playing this game.

Cricket: The Game of Life by Scyld Berry. Published in paperback by Hodder & Stoughton. £10.99. Available in Ebook.

David Twibill. Tuesday, April 3, 2018.