News & Events 2017

 

team photo 2017

 

tmw

Summer had one more gasp on Sunday September 24, as we turned out for our final match of the season. Our guests, Trinity Mid-Whitgiftian CC have to come up from Croydon, so the unusually warm afternoon was even more welcome than it might have been.
The pitch was in a similar state to last Sunday: slow and damp, and one where boundaries felt like a bonus. Batting first, TMW made a poor start and slumped to 52 for 6 in the first hour. The most respectable score came from J. Paramalingam who made 34 before he was stumped by Clive Lindsay off Alec Goldsworthy.
S. Shankar looked good, and was unfortunate to get out caught Ranger bowled Grant when he’d hit 19. Julian Ranger is still nursing a thigh injury, no doubt exacerbated by his marathon running between the wickets last Sunday. He pulled off an amazing slip catch. I was fielding at fine leg and couldn’t see it clearly; suddenly Julian was lying on the ground with a hand in the air. Then everyone was rushing up to congratulate him and I realised he had dived about three metres to his right and caught the ball just as it should have landed.
N. Mustaghfar and J. Somasegaram made good scores, getting 16 and 21 not out respectively. George Osborne is another Crondall casualty, having picked up an injury playing rugby the day before, and was bowling without a run-up. Mustaghfar was bowled by George, who finished with 1 for 7 off 3 with two maidens.
The bowling was shared amongst nine of Crondall’s fielders: Alec Goldsworthy led with 2 for 5 off 4 and we welcomed his father David back into the side. Goldsworthy Senior bowled 6 overs, taking 2 for 23 – an impressive come-back. Dan Jones was equally impressive, strangling TMW’s top order with 1 for 11 off 4. Our guests finished with 128 for 9.
After tea it clouded over but remained a warm, pleasant afternoon. The problems that TMW had faced were mirrored by Crondall’s own batting, and intensified by some superb fielding. There were plenty of great shots, but nearly all of them amounted to 1 run. Just one 2 is recorded in the scorebook, which must be a record of some sort.
However, boundaries were hit, mainly off the chunky willow of Julian Ranger. He batted with great determination and kept Crondall in the game up until the last few overs. He was unbeaten at the close with 69, indisputably man of the match.
Julian cut a lonely figure; apart from Dan Jones who hit 15, no one could accompany him for long. At the close of play, Crondall had made 103 for 9, drawing the game.
This was a closely-fought match which our guests managed to wrest in their favour, very nearly beating us. We’ve had a lot of unsettled weather lately and there was a chance this late end to the season would be cancelled. Fortunately, we can prepare for hibernation with the memory of a lovely day and great company.

David Twibill

 

binsted

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been sneering at people who walk around in shorts and flip-flops, as if they can’t get over the fact that summer has gone. Then on Sunday September 17, a grey wintery morning, I set off for Hook Meadow to play cricket.
Amazingly, the clouds lifted and we were treated to a glorious afternoon – only the smoke from someone’s massive bonfire reminded us it was mid-September. Our guests, Binsted CC, would normally have finished their season by now so it was good that they enjoyed a bonus summer’s day.
Crondall won the toss and decided to bat second; the pitch was very damp and could only get drier throughout the day. The Binsted openers soon found the outfield favoured the fielders – ball after ball that should have gone all the way stopped short, helping some of our less agile members. Binsted weren’t helped by some excellent bowling from Ollie Godden and Scott Shepherd, only 50 runs coming from their 14 overs and each taking an early wicket. Dan Jones then compounded Binsted’s troubles with a couple of quick wickets, taking 2 for 24 off 7.
Despite a dearth of early runs and the loss of four wickets, Binsted managed to turn the game on its head and accelerate. Ben Hinshelwood exploited our bowling changes and made 67 before falling in the final over to a catch off David Rook. Ben was joined by left-hander Paul Knight, who made 48 not out.
Crondall were joined by spin bowler Pete Short, who kept things under control by going for just 19 off 7 overs. This was a 35 over game and looking at these figures, it’s surprising that Binsted made 171 for 5 – I guess one or two of our bowlers are still smarting!
However, with the sun drying the pitch after tea, the 4.9 per over that Crondall needed was not daunting. Openers Ollie Godden and Dan Steele soon made it look pretty easy although fours were still hard to come by, not least because Binsted were very sharp in the field. When Ollie was eventually LBW to Will Butler, he had made 64 in an opening stand of 78. Dan made 25 before being caught off Ben Hinshelwood.
Contributions of 16 from Dan Jones and 25 from Julian Ranger kept Crondall in the hunt, but Binsted’s bowlers and fielders never offered any freebies and the score slowed down. Julian hit a six, but had to run a good half-kilometre in twos and singles.
Ben Hinshelwood took 1 for 18 off 6 and J. Mitchell made a great effort with 0 for 16 off 6. At the close Crondall were 154 for 3.
Congratulations to Binsted, and in particular to Ben Hinshelwood. His great score and bowling were closely matched by Ollie Godden, who’s been a huge asset to Crondall this year; not only by the way he’s played, but also for recruiting his mates Jake and Dan.
Sorry this is a bit late – my phone line was cut off even though I pay my bills religiously.

David Twibill

 

invalids

On Sunday August 27 we welcomed our old adversaries Invalids CC to Hook Meadow. Summer has returned in all its glory; it seems barely a few days since I turned the heating on, donned a couple of jumpers and slouched down in front of Pointless, convinced winter was here for good.
A cloudless afternoon with hardly a breath of wind and a friendly-looking wicket made the Invalids’ decision to go in first a simple one. These days the mornings carry autumnal dew, and the Invalids’ openers soon found the outfield hadn’t dried out enough and was holding the ball up.
Boundaries were scarce for much of the innings and as the runs dried up, so wickets fell. Opener Richard Charlton managed to reach 28 before he was caught behind by Dan Steele off Ollie Godden. He had little support until latecomer Wall (who should have opened) came in at number 4.
Wall soon began to assert himself and at tea, was 65 not out having enjoyed a late flurry with O. Erskine who made 39 not out. E. Gilmour contributed 25 before he was caught by Jake Hayden off Jonny Grant. Invalids finished with 176 for 6, a lot more than it had looked like being, but attainable considering we’d agreed on 12 batsmen and the pitch was getting drier.
Our frontline bowlers returned excellent figures, led by Ollie Godden’s 2 for 18 off 8. Ollie’s friend Jake Hayden has been a real find – he continued his impressive form with 1 for 19 off 7 including 3 maidens, and George Osborne took 1 for 49 off 10. Jonny Grant had a magical over, taking 2 wickets and finishing with 2 for 26 off 4. I had a great spell, but this wasn’t it.
After tea, Crondall’s batters quickly asserted themselves. Sadly, we lost opener Roger Wiltshire early on but once Ollie Godden came in at number 3, it began to look as if the Invalids would not be able to defend their total. Dan Steele and Ollie batted with great conviction and carved a partnership that put us well ahead of the required run rate. By the time Ollie was bowled by O. Erskine for 42, they had put on 87 runs. Dan also made 42, and was another of Erskine’s victims. At this stage the score was 115 – with 9 wickets in hand and around 4 runs per over needed, Crondall didn’t seem in any trouble.
Unfortunately, none of our remaining batsmen could get into double figures. Paul Lack, Invalids’ senior player, was tireless as he puzzled Crondall’s batters. He had an unbroken stint of 13 overs, taking 3 for 42. O. Erskine finished with 3 for 22 off 5 and Richard Charlton had a brief spell of 3 overs, but terrorised us with 2 for 5.
The Invalids usually beat Crondall, sometimes heavily, but on this occasion had to be content with a draw as we finished with 156 for 10. As Keith and I shook hands with the fielders, I couldn’t detect any disappointment. Our guests had turned the game around and got into a winning position – not to take my wicket is beyond unlucky, so it was good to see they’d enjoyed the game as much as us.
There are photos of the day in the gallery.

David Twibill

 

Odiham sparkle on damp afternoon

I must apologise for not mentioning Julian Ranger’s great catch against Piccadilly CC on Sunday August 13. It was a diving lunge and he got his hands under the ball just as it was about to land; an unforgettable effort that I somehow managed to forget when writing up the game.
That sunny afternoon felt like a different age on Sunday August 20 as the skies closed in on Hook Meadow, threatening to shorten our game against Odiham CC at any moment. Our guests won the toss and elected to bat on what looked like a nice wicket.
Crondall made a good start as Walker was dismissed by Jake Hayden for 2 off a reflex catch by skipper Keith Knox (I so musn’t leave this out!). Taylor and Liam Schooling then turned things around with a rapid 50 partnership before Taylor was bowled by Alex Whittet for 28. Then another Schooling came in – I don’t have his first name but I guess he’s closely related to Liam. Schooling II fell to Jake Hayden for a duck, brilliantly caught down the leg side.
We were joined by Pete Short from Kettering who had a good spell, dismissing Jones and Jack Hine cheaply. James Hine then came in and knocked up a lightning 79, and Liam Schooling went on to make 82.
Crondall’s fielders have engineered a few run-outs this season and we had another one on Sunday. Jake Hayden, always in the thick of it, was responsible for running out Liam Schooling – an unfortunate end to a great knock.
On paper it looks as if Odiham’s innings was full of twists and turns, yet they finished up with a commanding total of 232 for 8. Jake Hayden was a thorn in Odiham’s flesh, taking 3 for 55 off 9, and Pete Short did well to take 2 for 30 off 5. In the context of the innings, James Gunner made a valuable contribution with 0 for 16 off 4.
After tea, Crondall got off to a bad start with Keith Knox, David Rook and Steve Nee Davies going cheaply. Toby Elstow and Jake Hayden steadied things, adding 30 before Toby was caught for 21. There was now a steady drizzle as Ricky Gunner joined Jake and they stuck it out for another 30 runs before the rain became too much and the match was abandoned. Crondall had reached 76 for 4. Jake was unbeaten on 12 and was unquestionably our man of the match.
This was a sad end to an intriguing game that would more than likely have been a win for our guests. But there were many bright moments for Crondall that lit up this dull afternoon and we’ll enjoy the closing stage of the season with some optimism.
Many thanks to Odiham CC for what was largely a good game – we take no satisfaction at being saved by the rain.
There’s a few photos in the gallery, including a couple of Toby’s bowling action.

David Twibill

 

picadilly

Every now and again we have a match that sticks in the memory, that we look back on during the leaden cricketless days of winter, and which warms our hearts like a 12 year-old single malt. Our game with Piccadilly CC on Sunday August 13 was one such occasion. I’m choosing “with” instead of “against” for good reasons: this day saw twenty-two blokes playing cricket together. Competition was fierce, but it never got in the way of companionship.
The setting was a lovely ground at Merchant Taylors’ School in Northwood, adjacent to another ground that Middlesex CC use occasionally. The weather was as good as our home fixture last year, just a few clouds with hardly any breeze. We won the toss and decided to have a bat.
Openers Ollie Godden and new boy Mike Gandy found the wicket slow and the outfield even slower; runs were going to need some hard graft. Ollie made 3 before he was caught off Bharat Rughani, bringing Tom Millward to the crease.
Tom and Mike set about steadying the innings and they made a good stand, Tom eventually being caught off the bowling of Anru Calitz for 19. However, the run-rate was mired by some tidy bowling and sharp fielding, and boundaries were rare. Toby Elstow did well to reach 23, but Mike was the glue that held the innings together. He eventually retired on 55 – the highest score of the match by a considerable margin.
However, even with Mike’s great effort the score looked as if we would be way too short. When 5 of our 35 overs remained, we were not much past 100 and our much-revised target of 150 seemed like the stuff of dreams.
Our skipper Jonny Grant then stepped up and he was joined by Jake Hayden. We saw some nice leg-spin from Vernon Senanayake but they dealt with him superbly, pushing the score along to something we might be able to defend. At the close, Jon and Jake were unbeaten on 17 and 15 respectively, and Crondall had reached 146 for 5.
Of Piccadilly’s bowlers, young Hemal did very well to take 3 for 20 off 5. Bharat kept things tight with 1 for 12 off 4, and Arun also took a wicket. As we enjoyed an excellent tea, we felt these efforts had put them in control.
It was never going to be easy to defend 146 and when Piccadilly’s openers Yogi and Vernon got going, it began to look woefully inadequate. They had put on 40 or so when Alex Whittet began a terrific spell, taking two successive wickets in his first over. Yogi was removed for 27 and was immediately followed by Kaushik.
Vernon and captain Hitesh continued to keep the score up to the required rate despite the wicket and outfield doggedly refusing to quicken up. Then we witnessed a miracle. When on 31, Vernon attempted to work a bouncy delivery from Toby Elstow to the third man boundary and it would have got there if David Rook, fielding at first slip, hadn’t soared into the air and somehow got a hand to it. The catch was as magical as Harry Potter plucking the snitch from the air – if I’d seen it on TV I’d have sworn it was done with CGI!
The game remained delicately poised; Piccadilly began to get behind, but a couple of sixes could have put them on track. Hitesh batted bravely, sticking around for 27 before he was run out. Anru Calitz looked dangerous, sending his first two balls to the boundary and making a quick 12 before he was bowled by Ollie Godden, and wicket-keeper Simon contributed a valuable 17 runs.
Nerves were jangling on both sides throughout the closing overs and perhaps got the better of our hosts as they glimpsed the summit and resorted to tip-and-run. Two run-outs followed. Ollie Godden took the last over, but only needed one delivery to bowl Piccadilly’s last man, sealing Crondall’s victory by just 8 runs.
This was such a close call that it feels wrong to trumpet our victory – but well done Crondall! As we enjoyed our curry and beer after the game, Jonny Grant addressed our hosts, thanking them for their great hospitality and sportsmanship. Thank you, Piccadilly CC – we’ll do all we can to give you an equally enjoyable day when you come down next year.
Some nice are shots in the gallery, including one of our post-match party.

David Twibill

 

hatters

I’ve just been studying Ed Richardson’s data of our game against the Mad Hatters on Sunday July 30. This was done using the nxCricket app and is very interesting reading. If you click here you’ll see it in all its glory. I was intrigued by the “wagon wheel” summarising my innings. A more accurate description would be “Citroën steering wheel”, whose one spoke is magically unattached to the rim.
The rainy weather we’ve had subsided just in time for Hook Meadow to dry out for our annual game against the Hatters, which is always keenly anticipated. The wicket showed a healthy green bloom – this would be a good toss to win and have a bowl, which is exactly what Crondall skipper Keith Knox did.
The Hatters’ opening pair of Harry Jones and Will Fry dealt very well with some difficult bowling from Dan Jones and Toby Elstow. They gave the Hatters a solid start with a stand of 61 before Will was caught by Jonny Grant off Adam Elstow for 26. Toby and Dan kept the run rate to just over 4 during the first dozen overs.
When the swashbuckling Tom Hughes came in, the Hatters were able to accelerate and he and Josh Miers put on 53 for the 4th wicket. Josh was their top scorer with 54 not out. Tom Mills made a rapid and very useful 16 not out, pushing the tea-time score to 187 for 7.
Jonny Grant was our leading wicket-taker, with 3 for 45 off 11. Adam Elstow bowled with fine pace and accuracy, taking 2 for 16 off 7, and two more wickets fell to Jake Hayden and myself. I must thank Dan Jones for his fantastic catch in the deep, diving and hanging onto the ball just a few centimetres off the ground.
Crondall were very much in the game, but we needed a solid start to the innings to consolidate the good work we did in the field. However, after 12 overs we had lost 3 wickets and the innings looked like it was in disarray. Opener Clive Lindsay made a creditable 12 runs until he was caught behind by Will Fry off Tom Hughes, and Adam Elstow struggled, making 8 runs before he was bowled by Tom Richardson.
Dan Jones and Ricky Gunner made a stand of 58, Dan top-scoring with 47 before he was bowled by Alex Whittet. Ricky grafted 13 runs, providing steady support for nearly an hour and keeping Crondall in touch. When he was eventually caught by Tom Hughes off Tom Mills, we knew we’d have to drop anchor and bat for survival.
At the close Crondall had made 145 for 9, drawing the match and denying the Hatters what should have been a well-deserved victory. Tom Hughes was the most impressive bowler, taking 3 for 23 off 7, and Tom supported him with 2 for 19 off 8.
This was a good game on many levels, honours definitely going to our guests – as always, it was great fun and we must thank the Hatters for their company.
I’ve put some photos in the gallery section.

David Twibill

 

vagabonds

The above picture is of my daughter Jane looking out over Fungus Rock, which is a spot in the Maltese islands just around the corner from the Azure Window. Fans of Game of Thrones would recognise this iconic landmark, which sadly collapsed into the sea earlier this year.
At this point I’m dying to link my writing seamlessly with an account of how Crondall’s batting on Sunday July 16 met a similar fate as the Azure Window. But I can’t, largely because of some fantastic efforts by Toby Elstow and Ricky Gunner.
Our guests Not the MCC batted first and immediately found runs hard to come by due to some accurate bowling by Jake Hayden and Ollie Godden. But they settled in and began to score at a decent rate before Bal D fell to a terrific catch by James Somerville off Ollie. Jake Hayden then had opener Mirza caught behind for 60, a tremendous catch by Clive Lindsay who was standing up.
Hopkinson then took the attack to Crondall and finished up with 61 not out. James Gunner must be mentioned – he had a great spell of 6 overs in which he slowed the run rate and took a wicket. This season James has developed markedly, and I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t feature in the club’s honours in November. But despite our bowlers’ and fielders’ efforts, the Nots achieved a commanding score of 232 for 5.
At first Crondall’s reply crumbled precariously and at 29 for 4, looked like it would meet the same fate as Malta’s erstwhile beauty spot. But then Toby Elstow and David Rook held fast and we began to recover, David eventually getting out when on 15. Ricky Gunner then came in and immediately played positively. When Toby was caught for 66 it must have felt as if any further resistance would be futile, but Jon Grant and Jake Hayden managed to stay with Ricky, who finished with 44 not out. It was a masterly innings which included three sixes, a lovely flourish under tough circumstances. Thanks to Ricky’s and Toby’s defiance, Crondall drew the match on 187 for 7.
Our fixture with Not the MCC is always hotly contested – I cannot remember a dull game against this side, who are perhaps our most evenly-matched opposition. 232 runs deserved a win, but the result was justified considering how Crondall clung on in a really tight situation. Many thanks to the Nots for coming here again, and thank you Keith Knox for sending me an account of the game, which I’ve ripped-off shamelessly.

David Twibill

 

vagabonds

Before Sunday July 9 I had never played against the Vagabonds, so their lovely ground at Bentworth was new to me. Apart from the surrounding farmland and generous covering of trees, the most noticeable features were short boundaries, a well-manicured outfield, and a sloping pitch where the ball would run away like a convent girl menaced by a tramp. Added to the perfect weather we’ve had recently, these made for ideal batting conditions.
We won the toss and put our hosts in to bat. Although the Vagabonds didn’t get off to a flyer, they never looked in any trouble. Openers Harding and Hutchins (that has a great ring to it, don’t you think?) offered very little encouragement and grafted 55 and 95 respectively. Harding was bowled during an excellent spell by Alex Whittet, who strangled our hosts with 1 for 42 off 11. Alex hasn’t played much lately, so we hope he’ll be able to join us more often. Ollie Godden didn’t take a wicket but bowled very tidily for 21 off 7, and Jake Hayden kept things under wraps with 0 for 40 off 7.
It was always going to be a struggle to keep the run rate under control, and the Vagabonds were able to exploit our remaining bowlers. After Harding’s departure, skipper Stuart Boote joined the party and made a rapid 44 not out. Hutchins also carried his bat and was unlucky to miss out on a century. If Crondall hadn’t had to spend so much time looking for the ball, it is almost certain he would have got his ton. Our hosts finished with 221 for 1 and treated us to an excellent tea. We needed it – it was hard work out there!
Ollie Godden and Clive Lindsay were very positive as they set about the imposing target and for most of Crondall’s innings, it looked as if we would knock the runs off without too much drama. Ollie looked indomitable as he amassed 74 runs which included 13 fours. I had the unenviable job of giving him out LBW on my very first ball of umpiring duties. Thankfully, it was a no-brainer – a great ball from leg-spinner Paul Hibbert.
Clive hung around and notched up 65 before being bowled by Stuart Boote. Boote finished up with 3 for 30 off 10 and Hibbert took 3 for 66 off 12. There was a clatter of wickets in the late stages of Crondall’s innings, but David Rook held fast and finished on 16 not out. At the close we were 203 for 6, drawing the match.
This was a good draw in a close game, out of which both sides earned a lot of credit. Many thanks to the Vagabonds for their hospitality, and also to Bentworth CC for the great work they’ve done on the ground.
There are some pictures in the gallery, mainly of Ollie and Clive.

David Twibill

 

Valley End’s boy wonder canes Crondall

I remember a game many years ago against Badshot Lea, when a small twelve year-old called Ben came to the crease with a lolly stick for a bat. We oldies smiled benignly down on him and without words, it was more or less agreed that we shouldn’t be too diligent about hanging on to a catch, should it come our way. A few overs later, after Ben had creamed 35 runs off us, it was very definitely agreed that if he offered a catch we should ‘for f***’s sake hang on to it!’
On Sunday July 2, history repeated itself as Valley End’s twelve year-old Ollie Barrow carved his way to 49. I wasn’t there, but my source talks of ‘some truly superb shots’. This feat is all the more remarkable given that most of Crondall’s bowlers caused trouble. George Osborne bowled 7 overs and took 1 for just 13. He was joined by Ollie Godden who went for 21 off 7, and Jake Hayden did a good job, taking 1 for 19 off 8. David Rook also contributed, taking 2 for 36 from 6.
Once again our opponents reaped the benefits of hanging around until a bowling change. I’m just doing the sums. George, Ollie, Jake and David bowled 28 overs between them. They took 4 wickets and went for 89. Valley End finished up with 187 for 5. So, in the remaining 10 or so overs our guests made 98 – even without me bowling at them!
In reply, Crondall’s innings seems to have been a steady procession of batsmen passing each other in the outfield. Only Ollie Godden’s 16 and George Osborne’s 10 joined top-scorer E. Xtra’s 25 in the double-figure honours. Crondall were all out for 100, giving Valley End victory by 87 runs.
Valley End’s bowlers must have been superb; I don’t have the figures, so I cannot mention anyone in particular. 187 was a good score but not colossal, so to have defended it with 87 to spare is a fantastic achievement. Congratulations, Valley End and in particular to Ollie Barrow. Remember that name, reader.

David Twibill

 

Oakley denied win by Crondall rearguard action

We had a heatwave a week ago, with temperatures soaring into the thirties and reminding some of us (most of us, in fact) of 1976. But mercifully, it cooled down on Sunday June 25 for our home game against Oakley. There was plenty of sunshine with a lively breeze making it an ideal afternoon for cricket. The bird life around Hook Meadow enjoyed themselves – we spotted a squadron of swifts, some terns, a kestrel, and a magnificent red kite that swooped down to check the score.
After fifteen or so overs of Oakley’s innings, this score hadn’t advanced much. Openers Dan Jones and Alec Brundle concentrated on seeing off our strike bowlers, George Osborne and Scott Shepherd and their patience was rewarded. In due course, Dan and Alec were able to accelerate and both of them retired on 51 and 52 respectively. George and Scotty were wicketless but both were very economical, Scott going for just 37 off 7 and George oozing a paltry 22 from 8.
There followed a fertile middle period for Oakley, with Tiley hitting 49 and Bennet 21. These two eventually fell to me, with help from a great stumping by Ollie Godden and a nice catch by George Osborne.
Jonny Grant was the star of Crondall’s bowling, taking 3 for 39 off 6 and I also took 3 for something or other. James Gunner took the first wicket, and Ollie Godden lent his gloves and pads to David Rook and bowled a few decent overs. Ollie’s friend Jake Hayden, whom I’ve played alongside for Fleet, also bowled tidily.
Like Coombe Bissett, Oakley demonstrated the importance of hanging on to your wicket and not letting your shoulders droop if the rate is only around 4 in the first 15 overs. With wickets in hand and strike bowlers seen off, they were able to express themselves and ended with 224 for 8.
Crondall’s innings also got off to a slow start with the added stress of losing its openers Keith Knox and Ollie Godden relatively quickly. Jake Hayden hadn’t played for over two years (he said) but made a very assured 45 before falling to a catch off a ball from Brad Compton-Bearne. Julian Ranger stuck around, hitting 17 and George Osborne played patiently until he holed out to deep mid-wicket for a dozen or so.
Jonny Grant dug deep, batting exactly how the circumstances demanded, and hung around until Oakley brought back their left-hand seamer. When Jon was bowled, he’d made 19. Crondall then put up a rearguard action and we avoided losing all 10 wickets, Scott Shepherd managing to survive the final two balls. At the other end, Ricky Gunner had been steadfast as we drew the match on 137 for 9.
Congratulations to Oakley for achieving a great score which never felt within reach. Crondall had plenty of positives – if some difficult catching opportunities had gone to hand, the result could have been different.

David Twibill

 

steep

On Sunday June 11, before the start of Crondall’s match against the Sons of Bacchus, Jonny Grant said a few words to both teams about the loss of David Hoyle. This was followed by a minute’s silence. David was 48 years old and had three children.
Most readers will know that David was killed in a freak accident on June 6th, and many of you would have known him personally because he was very much a part of Crondall life. I did not know David, but it’s likely that I have seen him around Hook Meadow, since he took an interest in the cricket club. He may even have seen me batting, though I’m afraid this is a lot less likely.
Tragedies like this are reported in the news every day but we tend to gloss over them – they never seem to happen to anyone we know. When it is someone close to us, it pulls us up sharply. We think of friends and loved ones with greater care; we look at the day ahead more eagerly; we play as if we’ll never get another chance to clobber a ball or scatter someone’s stumps.
And if we get hammered, so what? We won’t be able to play forever, so one day we’ll look back on it fondly. Sunday was one such day.
I’m neglecting the details of the game, largely at our guests’ expense, because cricket has to take a step backward for the moment. However, there are plenty of photos in the gallery section.
Crondall CC wishes David’s wife Marceline and children Henry, Kate and Emily all the very best at this incredibly hard time – we cannot imagine what you must be going through right now.
What is easier to appreciate are the costs such a tragedy can incur. For this reason, the local community has set up a crowd funding page to help David’s family deal with a plethora of expenses that no one could have foreseen.

If you would like to contribute, the page can be found by clicking here.
Thank you.

David Twibill

 

steep

I wonder if Alastair Cook has ever had a phone call from Ben Stokes the day before a test match: ‘Sorry, Alastair. I can’t make Headingley tomorrow – the garden’s a right mess.’
On Sunday May 21, for various compelling reasons, Crondall was reduced to ten players. Actually, this was nine to begin with. Steep’s very chilled skipper Jhon Cosgrove kindly agreed to forget the toss and allow us to bat first. No doubt Steve Smith would be just as obliging if England ever struggled to put a team together.
Crondall’s innings had a shaky beginning, with openers Roger Wiltshire and Alec Goldsworthy being dismissed cheaply. This was in the face of some very tidy bowling; seamer Tom Pocock treated us to some colourful headgear and bowled with real accuracy and venom. Tom ended up taking 2 for 22 off 6 overs.
A blazing 17 runs from Matt Crew, which included a stratospheric six, accelerated the score and created a nice platform for Adam Elstow and Tom Millward. Crondall has wanted a really good partnership this season, and Adam and Tom made it look like we do this every game. They were assured, positive, and aggressive when the ball was there to be hit. Adam top-scored with 66 before being caught off Matt Bell, and Tom was eventually out for 40, caught off Jhon Cosgrove. I don’t have the fall of wickets, but Adam and Tom probably put on around 80 runs.
James Gunner’s technique is looking great these days, and he showed us some nice strokes. In the latter stages of Crondall’s 36 overs, he was joined by Dan Jones who knocked up a quick 23 not out, and we finished up on 171 for 6.
Skipper Jonny Grant made an interesting decision, opening Crondall’s bowling with two off-spinners: Alec Goldsworthy and (sit down, reader) me. It turned out to be a good decision because we did all right – Alec took 2 for 12 off 6 and I enjoyed 0 for 20 off 5.
The Steep innings never really got going; only Joe Hughes Stanton and Jhon Cosgrove made an impression, Joe achieving 25 and Jhon (my spell-check is in meltdown) enjoying a beautiful evening and making 18 not out. Wickets fell to Jonny Grant who took 2 for 22 off 5, and James Gunner whose leg-spin bamboozled 2 for 8 off 5. And I seem to remember Matt Crew bouncing someone out. At the close of play on this perfect early summer’s day, Steep were 111 for 9, giving Crondall victory by 60 runs.
I should point out that half of Steep’s players’ ages when combined, would struggle to make my own 58 years, but let’s not get too picky. This was a good win, or moral victory if you want to be boring and insist that it was really a draw. Many thanks to Steep for playing with such good spirit and well done Crondall – the fewer men, the greater share of honour!
Some nice pics in the gallery.

David Twibill.

 

jez and dinga

There was a dog show at Hook Meadow on Sunday May14, so Crondall became squatters at Farnham CC’s castle ground for our home game against Coombe Bissett CC.
Our guests had a long journey, so we were relieved that the weather forecast was good and we didn’t have to prevaricate about the bush as to whether or not the game should go ahead.
Coombe Bissett won the toss and batted first. On a bouncy track George Osborne and Ollie Godden frustrated the opening batsmen, and each took 3 maidens. Ollie seems to have recovered completely from his leg operation and is bowling quicker than ever; at least it looked that way as Coombe Bissett struggled to get anything off the square. After 10 overs they had made just 12.
A great catch in the deep by Ollie Godden off Scott Shepherd brought David Webber in at number 3, and “Jesus” soon raised the innings from the dead with a rapid 33. This turn in fortune was consolidated by left-hander James Wallis’s 43 not out and Andy Reeves’s 37, the latter being caught by Julian Ranger off Scott Shepherd. Scott was the star of Crondall’s bowlers, taking 4 for 20 off 8 and also making a superb diving catch.
Coombe Bissett finished with 178 for 6. This was a good lesson in the importance of hanging on to wickets. It might look like a lost cause, but it’s surprising what can be done in 25 overs if you have 8 wickets remaining. 
Crondall’s reply was at first as promising as their start in the field. Keith Knox and George Osborne looked comfortable against the pace of David Webber and leg spin of Will Hewlett. George went on to be top-scorer with 69, falling to a catch by Webber off Hewlett.
I’m claiming my PhD in I Told You So. Two years ago, I predicted that young Will would become a real handful and so it has turned out. He took 4 for 44 off 11, including 2 maidens. We don’t see much leg spin and as I umpired, it was something special to see the ball fizzing towards off, and with some pace. Its amazing to think Will (or “Dinga”) is still only 14.
David Rook added 17 and Ollie Godden 15, with Jonny Grant achieving a worthy 18. Jon batted with great maturity in really difficult circumstances: his defence looked solid but he was quick to spot anything loose, and we saw some nice pulls to the boundary.
David Webber terrorised our batters last year with 5 for 41 and Jesus continued his mission at Farnham, blasting 4 for 27 off 9.5. I would loved to have survived that 0.1 of David’s final over. Sadly I didn’t and Crondall were all out for 159, giving Coombe Bissett a well-wrought victory by 19 runs.
Congratulations and thanks to our long-distance guests. I’ve put a few pictures in the gallery section, including the demise of Jonny’s gallant effort.

David Twibill.

 

Wilkinson's Marcus puts Crondall to the sword!

Swallows tore across a blue sky on Sunday May 7, making the wintery horrors of last Thursday feel like an episode from some Scandinavian melodrama. The glorious weather was matched by our guests, who were the sunniest bunch of blokes I’ve ever played against. Wilkinson Way CC is a club formed from London-based West Indians. Anyone who has sat amongst a crowd of West Indies fans at Lord’s or the Oval will know all about the joy, passion, and sheer fun this community brings to cricket. Yesterday, it was a real privilege to see (and hear!) this Caribbean joie de vivre at Crondall.
After a late start due to traffic problems, Wilkinson Way went in first and soon found George Osborne and Tom Millward harder to negotiate than the M3 closure at Junction 2. George and Tom’s opening spell kept the run rate down to around 3 per over, with George taking 3 for 17 off 8.
A. Bhatti batted sensibly, showing some fine left-hand strokeplay and firm resolve, and after the third wicket fell he was joined by Marcus, who straightaway began to turn the game around. He hit the ball very hard indeed! Eventually Marcus was bowled by Osborne for 47, but his stand with Bhatti put Wilkinson on track for a decent total.
Bhatti was Wilkinson’s top-scorer, making 50 before falling to an excellent stumping by Clive Lindsay off my off-spin, and I had another very unlucky victim trapped LBW. Wilkinson finished their 30 overs on 168 for 6.
Crondall’s reply soon ran into trouble. A good stand has so far eluded us this season and only skipper Keith Knox was able to hang around, making a solid 31 before being bowled by Wayne Pinnock. Keith was really unlucky – the ball hit his left pad, well outside leg, and somehow trickled onto his stumps. Keith and David Rook had looked like developing a good partnership until David was out for 9, falling to a brilliant catch.
Marcus proved to be as competent with the ball as with the bat, taking 3 for 13 off 6 and he was supported by Wayne Pinnock, who finished with 2 for 10 off 5. However, it was the standard of fielding that was most outstanding. None of Wilkinson Way are in the first flush of youth, yet they showed athleticism and commitment that would shame an under 19s side. Some amazing catches and stops proved to be decisive, as Crondall finished up with 106 for 9.
For the records, technically, this match was a draw. But this is hubris. Our guests outplayed us, and they went about it in a joyous, often hilarious fashion. To play against Wilkinson Way CC is to take a big bite of life – we hope they’ll be able to join us again next year.

David Twibill.

 

Frozen!

Looking back at last year’s photo gallery, it’s strange to see pictures of us sweltering under a scorching sun at Coombe Bissett on May 8. How different from Thursday May 4 this year, when a stiff north-easterly blasted across Hook Meadow, forcing us to swaddle up in layers of wool and fleece like the Michelin Men’s 11.
Our guests for the T20 match, Binsted, turned up bang on time and won the toss. They put us in to bat, which was generous considering a number of our players were stuck in traffic or hadn’t been able to bunk off work early enough.
Congratulations to Adam Elstow who batted very sensibly and positively, retiring on 25 then coming back later to round things off. David Rook should also have reached 25, but fell just a little short as Crondall finished with 101 for 9.
A great start from Binsted (around 30 off the first 2 overs) made it look like it could be over very quickly. There was some urgency as by now the light was failing – I’ve never noticed so many TV screens in the surrounding houses. Binsted’s batters struggled to see the ball; Venkit and Alec Goldsworthy bowled superbly and made 11 consecutive dot balls, and Dan Jones bowled someone full-toss.
But neither Crondall’s tight bowling nor the surrounding gloom could contain Binsted, who knocked off the runs with an over or two to spare, winning by 5 wickets. Congratulations and thanks, Binsted, for turning up promptly and batting without complaint in difficult conditions.

David Twibill.

 

woking

The fixture against Woking & Horsell CC has often been cancelled due to the fickle weather we get at this time of year, so we were delighted that Sunday April 23 turned out to be a perfect spring afternoon.
Crondall won the toss and put Woking in to bat in an innings limited to 35 overs. The wicket was flat and true, and the Woking openers made a steady start, putting on 20 for the first wicket. An extraordinary catch by David Rook off Scott Shepherd was the undoing of R. Malik when he’d made 8. Malik edged the ball to newcomer Manoj George at first slip, who couldn’t hang on to it. The ball rebounded off Manoj’s hands and David managed to snaffle it just a few inches from the ground.
From then on Woking made good progress with R. Viswarathan top-scoring on 68 before he was trapped LBW by David Rook. Skipper Martin Peters looked as if he would take the game away from Crondall, but was caught by Manoj off Jonny Grant when on 24. Stu Warner grafted hard, pinch-hitting his way to 39 not out.
Of Crondall’s bowlers, David Rook was the most impressive, achieving 3 for 5 off 2 overs. Scott Shepherd and Tom Millward shared the opening 16 overs and bowled with good consistency and accuracy, keeping the run rate to around 4.
However, Woking later managed to push this rate up so that by the end, they had made 195 for 6 – an impressive though achievable total, given the benign state of the wicket.
Crondall needed a positive start to their reply in order to get the required rate of nearly a run a ball under control. Openers Clive Lindsay and Tom Millward found the going tough, and Clive was soon caught by Alex Wicks off Jimmy Anderson lookalike Jonny Ayling for just a single. Newcomer Tim Furnell had an unfortunate debut, also getting caught by Alex Wicks for 1. Meanwhile, Tom Millward stuck at it, working hard and cementing Crondall’s innings. He and Julian Ranger put on 42 for the third wicket and seemed to be dominating the bowling. Tom was eventually out for 39 and Julian made a rapid 18, both falling to the unfathomable spin of the omnipresent Wicksy.
Crondall’s other debutant, Manoj George was in beligerent mood. In less than twenty minutes he had carved his way to 25, including two sixes before being caught by Ramesh Parthasarathy off yes, you’ve guessed it, Alex Wicks. Wicksy finished with 5 for 11 off 8.
Once Manoj had departed, that was the end of any serious Crondall resistance. There were now 11 overs remaining and we needed another 114 runs; a hurdle that grew ever higher due to Woking’s excellent bowling and fielding. No bowler went for more than 4 per over and apart from Wicksy’s feat, Ashan Malik achieved 2 for 10 off 3.
Crondall finished on 100 for 9, drawing the match. You’d be pretty hard-hearted not to acknowledge this was a moral victory for Woking, as they out-played us in every department. Congratulations go in particular to Alex Wicks for his five-for.
Pictures are in the Gallery section.

David Twibill.

 

picture of cap