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Badshot Lea – Away Another solid win with good catching, a run-out and tidy bowling

We’re off to Badshot Lea.  Full team this week including the return of Ben Green (Pro).  Lovely to see him back as well as Mrs Green and children. 

Cold and wet all morning.  Turned phone on to see 42 messages on WhatsApp.  Disappointing number of people seemed less than keen to play.  The start is delayed meaning I have a chance to arrive before the start.  Lovely drive to the ground and nice chat with Mrs Green on the way in (she is off to the car for more clothing, blankets, heaters etc – it is cold). 

Win the toss (I think) and field.  Gout was first recognised in 2640BC by the Egyptians and is associated with rich food and excessive alcohol consumption.  Will opens the bowling with James trundling the other end.  The Skipper keeps wicket and we applaud when he takes one cleanly (in over 6). 

The run-out.  Opener pushes the ball to mid-wicket, Harry moves swiftly to his left, picks up left- handed (he is left-handed) and with one stump to aim at, scores a direct hit.  Even better, the stumps have lights in and light up.  V cool. 

Wickets fall.  Good catches from Ross and Ben Greene (the other one).  I take a stunning one handed one high to my right.  One of their batsmen comes out with sunglasses on his hat.  A little odd and even better when the umpire tried to put them on him.  Ben Green(e) and JT take over the bowling and we get them out for 104.  Four wickets for Will, 3 for JT and 1 each for James and Ben.

Tea was excellent.  Mr and Mrs F arrive as does Ally.  Thank you!

Skipper and Pro open.  Fast start and 50 is on the board before the skipper is bowled.  Gordon gives the Pro out LBW (must have been plumb) and we make 105 for 2 in 20 overs.  A good win and another match played in a good spirit.

Home next week – yes!  Hopefully the sun will be out, and a few post-match beers can be had before it sets. 

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Great turnout for the first boot fair of the summer!

A highlight of the cricket season – the first boot fair. Sun was shining, which always brings a crowd. Up early for a Sunday morning and head to the ground just after 7. Arrive to see James (head of boots), Mike (chairman) and Andrew (king of car parking) already getting the preparations underway. Need to set-up the new car parking process to reduce wear on the football pitch. Looks good and much discussion about whether it will work.
Sellers are gathering on the road (first one was in place before 7am). Andrew provides walkie-talkies for the core crew – highly recommend them. We swap some jokes across them – chairman had the best one.
Ready to go just before 8, high viz jackets are on, the queue is nearly on the main road. In they come!
James on the gate, Andrew parking up, Mike parking sellers, with me in the way. Goutman arrives with child. They both high viz up and get to the gate.
For a first boot fair, we are on our game. New car park processes works well. Mrs Head of Boots arrives, along with Craig’s mum. Refreshments start – usual high demand for the home-made delights. Chairman’s family arrive to help and Mrs F arrives (no sign of Ross). Am wilting under the sun and the poor quality of the jokes. The relief squad pitch-up (Paul on gate, Gordon on exit and Craig providing advice). My children arrive to grab some home made delights, but have got up too late and all have gone.
Few issues with the departing cars, who are unaware of where the exit is. I miss one car and it goes out the entrance. Having collected the signs, Goutman departs with a promise of being fit for next week. With no Ross, the king of car parking collects the money and we start to work out profits etc. About 1130 now and the main flow is over. By the time, everyone has left it will be 1ish.
Overall, a successful event raising significant funds for the club. Thanks to all involved (apologies if I have missed out somone).smart

Witley – Away Fourth win in a row!

Was looking forward to this one.  Forecast was good and only a short trip down the road.  Managed to get 11, with Dan kindly agreeing to play.  Was running a little late but no need to panic – was still in the first four to arrive.  Pitch looked ok – Witley 1st scored over 300 on it last week.

Team news: Darren, Callum, Gordon, Jason, James, Ally, Ross, Dan, Paul, Will, me.  Quick piece of analysis suggests we’ll be good at two of the three key skills.  Regular followers will have no difficulty in guessing our weakness. 

Sun is shining, pitch looks ok to bat on, still playing straight win / loss, on a winning streak, playing a team who have only 10 and are struggling – win toss and field. 

Strange innings – Witley scored 153, with their opener scoring a wonderful 100.  Ally and James opened and bowled great lines.  Will and Jason replaced them.  Ross completed our bowling attack.  Gordon was the pick of our fielders; Darren took a couple of catches. 

Tea – excellent.

Supporters: Mr and Mrs F, Craig, Jacob.  Cheers.

Started fast, with Callum striking a couple of fantastic fours, then he fell.  Gordon didn’t last long.  The skipper kept the run rate going (before a bit of hug avoidance) and a third wicket partnership took us close to victory.  Three wickets fell in short succession to create a little panic before Will and Jason saw us home.  A 5 wicket victory with 15 overs to spare.

A beer at the White Hart to finish in the sunshine.  Frimley away next week.

Alton IVs – HOME Win number 2

First home game.  Sun is shining.  Buoyed by our win last week, there is an extra spring in the step as I head to the ground.  Then a ‘What’s App’ message – our new player has no white top and is late (Milford methods adopted early).  Cross the road to find Will (star bowler) marking the boundary line with a paint thingy.  He needs help so I help, but there is only so much I can do and such little time.  Our WK is running late (I instantly recall his disparaging comment to me last week). 

Team: Darren, Callum, Gordon, Matt D, Ross, Harry, Ally, James, Ben, Will and me.

Pitch looks excellent, thanks to the efforts of our grounds team.  Lots of runs, me thinks.  Having scored over 200 last week, we win the toss and field. 

Start with 8 and the captain as WK (debutant and WK are late).  Ally is trying to lock the changing rooms and searching for the key to the outside door (which we never lock).  The door we do lock has the key in the lock.  He is wise so must know what he is doing.  8 fielders are fine though – quality over quantity.  Gordon, as usual, exudes serenity (he is the Virgil of this fielding team – nothing will get past him this season). 

Ally (a wise man and outstanding gully fielder) introduces a new tactic to me – the Point.  A ball runs between us and he instantly raise his left hand and points to the ball.  This causes Ross to chase it.  Brilliant.  We continue to work on this with success throughout the match. 

Fans – Mrs Ferguson (where was Mr F), Craig + 2, Dave, JM’s niece, 2 people I can’t remember the names of, Paul, Mr Wood, Will’s 2 children and Bob.

Tea – continued the run of outstanding teas, with this one the best. 

Forgot about the match.  James trundles heroically up the hill bowling great lines and in great areas, getting amongst the wickets.  Will delivers one of the best appeals for some time, with the finger wagging in the air.  He also continues to move fielders to places the ball has just been hit – I reflect on this and think we should put them where they are going to be hit.  Will mention this to Will in two weeks.  Will gets four wickets with his methods.  Matt D bowls well and takes wickets.  Our debutant, Ben Greene, bowls well and gets a wicket.  Darren adds a fantastic diving catch to his strong fielding performance.

Kebab man is back and still turning around in the car park, which was impressive today given the lack of room.  Why doesn’t he simply come in the other way?

We chase 79.  Callum leads the way with 39 not out.  Darren gets twentysomething and Virgil sees us home.  Two wins in a row for the first time in several years.  Yes!!!!!  Team beers outside in the sunshine complete the day.

Wood Street Village 2s – AWAY Ferguson’s fireworks lead Milford to victory

Another week of checking the weather forecast – lots of rain about raising expectations of an afternoon off.  Match reports shouldn’t start like this.  Extremely cold in the morning, but no rain so game on.

Wood Street Village have a lovely ground tucked away surrounded by trees, where you can hear cuckoos.  Maypole dancing on the village green as I drove through the village, with a plant sale.  Nice clubhouse and good changing rooms, plus an excellent tea (with scones).  Pitch was a little soft, so unlikely to come onto the bat and variable bounces.

Arrive a little late and am criticised, immediately, by Callum (wearing the t shirt).  Really.  Gordon is back and we have a hug.  He has been to India for some pre-season training, where the warm-up routine must involve sitting and smoking.  Team news: Darren, Will, Paul, Gordon, Harry W, Jamie, Ross, Callum, James, Shaun, Matt J.  I will skip details of our warm-up because followers will know that most of our side are so good, they don’t need to.

We bat first.  Darren and Callum lead the charge.  Solid start, couple of sixes from the skipper, some good running then a run-out.  Gordon to the wicket.  Runs continue to accumulate, then Callum falls.  About 76 off 20 overs.   A 77-run partnership for the third wicket during which the number 3 gets all the easy full tosses, then Gordon makes way for Ross.  His first bat for 8 months or so (no winter nets – he is adopting Milford methods).  Fours a plenty, the field drops back, another 77-run partnership and we go past 200.  There is rain about and we have been off for a bit.  A small flurry of wickets before 18 runs off the final over sees Ross 82 not out (including one six that was really a 12) and 236 posted.  Surely this is enough.

Tea: excellent.  Much excitement at the scones and cream.  Plus, discussion about Spurs playing with 9 players.  Lack of support for Liverpool winning the title.

Followers: Mr and Mrs Ferguson, Craig.  Thank you!

6 an over needed and 20 overs to get a match.  It had been a lovely game.  We decide to help them keep up with the run rate.  A healthy diet of full tosses, extras and a dropped catch that hit our wicketkeeper’s cap on the way down means that they get off to good start.  Given the conditions (cold, wet and damp), bowling is not easy and slowly we get some control back.  James trundles heroically up the hill for 9 overs, whilst Harry eases himself back into bowling.  Shaun and Ross replace them, then Will at the top end (he is injured so adopts a shorter run).  [Will, Callum and I try the ‘how long can you stand on one leg’ game – Callum proves too good for us].  Wickets fall and we are ahead.  One opener makes an excellent 77 not out.  After rain, a revised target off 36 overs is agreed.  They finish about 40 short.  Special mention to Paul, who got attacked by the brambles and had bloodied hands and an ear, and Jamie, who was our best fielder. 

An excellent victory building on our good start last week.  Our first home game next week, so hopefully the sun will be out.