standard of cricketing websites!" And this time someone
actually said it, though it was some time ago to be fair... If someone
could say it again it would help. Please?
Match report Jim SimonThe end of another cricketing Sunday. It’s mid-September. Two lamps lazily flick on to illuminate a corner of the “Royal Oak” sign and the autumn sun chooses to spend its last efforts on a shallow wooden table, picking out a hunched row of TWCC figures interspersed with unwarranted jugs of Harvey’s. The beer glows a sulphurous deep red in the low rays; suddenly not so much high summer as Halloween.
There is the occasional word, sometimes followed by a laugh, cut short, for the threat of the Gazette promising to be “brutally honest” hangs over the gathering.
“We field well” I say.
A brief, slight murmur. I take this as agreement, and, emboldened, continue;
“And we bowl ok.”
Nothing. Just the rattle of the rising wind in the walnut tree.
“And...” but no words come out. There are no words to say.
Batting is its own examination. Less coursework, more Oxbridge. It demands drilled responses to tough questions that have to be answered without recourse to Google in front of the telly with supper on the go and a drink to hand. Bowlers have second and third chances and can be helped by others along the way, achieving, perhaps, higher marks than they might actually deserve. But the questions on a batting paper need answering in a split-second and to be answered correctly each and every time with no help from well-wishers, and this is why batters are rare. You can tell a batter – there is a test; if you find an unexposed section of a batter and rub gently with a soft cloth, after no more than a few minutes an old gold glow will begin to show through. Try a bit of Silvo, and, soon enough, you will see that beneath the surface all good batters are shiny. They catch the light just so and their quick-wittedness spirals off their tight assured quiffs as they progress through the establishment. Not so with bowlers, who, even with wire wool and Swarfega, show no promise of anything much below the surface. Not for bowlers a quiet word with the Dean who might mention he knows someone in the Foreign Office – “How would it be if you came to dinner and met my friend Askwith? I’ve been keeping an eye on you for him and he feels there’s much to discuss about what you might do after Cambridge?” Take the Editor of the Gazette, for example; yes, he was taken to one side for a quiet word at school, but there was no mention of Oxbridge. “Jim. May I ask you something? Why are you doing English?” And who asked this? The English teacher! Clearly no batter there or dreaming spires on the horizon, but there’s nothing wrong with Colchester Tech. Or Colne University as it probably is now. I doubt it even has a cricket team.
So, good batters are rare, and nowhere is this more obvious than in the ranks of TWCC. We have many who can “hold a bat” as the saying goes, but not many of them seem to hold them for very long, and such was the case in this, the latest match between TWCC and Bolney.
Skipper Brock won the toss and elected for the 10 men of TWCC to field first. Here at the Gazette we’re a little tired of describing how bad the pitch is; many letters have been sent to the Council but no improvement in mowing or de-moling has occurred. It’s almost as if the Council pay little attention to the might that is the TWCC Gazette! Suffice to say the grass was long and the molehills high – more pasture than playing field - and it was into the long grass that we waded out to bowl. What would be a good score? Well, 54, as it turned out, though as the Bolney opening batsmen set about not being out enough, neither side knew how many runs were par. Ed’s bowling, with 13 excellent overs, deserves a special mention and he ended his long spell having taken 3 good wickets from the Downs End. Jonathan, as always right on his game behind the timbers, held on to 2 fine edges, and Ed decided to clean bowl his last victim. Jim, generally unremarkable though happy, trundled off his 7 overs well enough from the Pavilion End before Tom Firth, his last game before academia gathers him in once more, took over, and, after him, Tom Rydon. These last three all wicketless on the day. The Bolney openers were still present and correct for much of this time as Ed's spell continued at the other end, one slightly more correct than the other, and a fine 50 was duly knocked off by Elliott before Honse beguiled him with his quirky line and length and simply bowled him. His partner, left-hander Kingsley Morris, incidentally passed a club record for the number of runs scored in a season on his way to 41. Brocky, following Honse's fine example, decided that bowling better was the way forward, and he, too, took a late wicket. Bolney, at tea, 147 for 6. A good fielding performance, aided by the long grass, so probably a better batting one, with the aforementioned Elliott and Morris doing prolonged damage to the scoreboard up front. A late entrant, down the order, complete with that tell-tale gilt edge; Gilchrist, looked like he would have taken the score by the scruff of its neck and stretched it out further, had tea not go in the way, thank goodness.
And Jonathan’s tea deserves a special mention, for the yielding succulence of the Rowland sandwiches and the lovely carrot cake (for which the credit, apparently, has to go to Tilly H). Once again Coronation Chicken features in a cricket tea – let’s hope it becomes as prevalent as egg and egg.
However, we had to put all these cosy niceties to one side and stir our stumps. Time for yet another trial opening pair of batsmen – a duo with much promise in the opinion of the Gazette. You can’t go wrong with a Rydon, and Tom it was who presented arms and took the opening delivery, watched by Edward at the non-striker’s end. Edward did strike it eventually, for one, and then was caught trying for another one. Edward, out for 1, and Jonathan strode to the middle where he and Tom (R) looked confident and assured. Tom’s calm late glide to third man for a single particularly caught the eye of this old appreciator of finer things batting; what a lovely shot, a great opener’s way to rotate the strike and not get out. Then he was out.
So – Mikey Pearce. Jonathan and Mikey. To quote TWCC’s skipper “Ah... This pair might well see us through to a hundred.” They might have, but they didn’t. The bowling was tight, particularly from the well-grooved and groovy Chaffey, and soon TWCC were less occupied by keeping the score on the board up to date than by altering the number of wickets to have fallen. The only batsman to actually bat was Jonathan, because he’s a batsman with that gentle understated glow of substance. The rest of us didn't bat like batsmen. Is this because we are not batsmen, or did we just not bat on the day? I know the answer to this in my own case, and leave it to others to, maybe, try a dab of Silvo on a quiet evening by the fireside and see if anything comes up bright. Mikey, I think, would buff up nicely, as might some others, but too many of us are maybe not made for higher things.
Bolney’s bowling was all good, the scorebook shows that. What it doesn’t show is the great pace of Gilchrist, which proved the final undoing of the TWCC innings and which wrapped up the game for Bolney.
Once again a single player's innings scored well over half TWCC’s runs, the problem being that on this occasion Jonathan’s contribution was that innings and he scored 28. The rest of us scored 19. Ed can hold his not-out head up high, and Joe can bask in the glory of a golden duck. Poor Joe, pulled up with a knee injury when fielding and therefore not bowling, batting last presumably, again, because of his knee, getting a golden duck, and, just to add salt to his wound, having Mikey to turn to for sympathy.
Who hasn’t had a mention who deserves one? Honse and Richard bowled well, and Brocky’s skippering was, as usual, inclusive and on the ball. Jonathan’s keeping and batting was, as mentioned, top notch, and Ed’s bowling of 3 for 33 off 13 overs deserved more support from his team-mates. Other performances? It’s hard to pick one from so many.
So what next for TWCC? Will we up our game and show some batting form? With just two games left the Gazette looks forward to being able to report on a game in which TWCC are at least competitive and, hopefully at some point, victorious once more. Harvey’s in any circumstances tastes fine, and winning's not the fundamental reason we like to play, but beer would taste even better if we hadn’t just been thrashed.
TWCC won the toss and chose to field first
Bolney Innings: J Elliott Bld Karvay 55; K Morris Ct Rowland (Wk) Bld Howes 41; A Lake Ct Rowland (Wk) Bld Howes 9; B Clemondson Bld Howes 0; D Bridge Bld Brock 11; M Garside Run Out (Bunn) 11; G Gilchrist Not Out 7; J Moore Not Out 1. Extras unrecorded – a few byes, no balls the odd wide. Total 147 for 6. DNB S Bowles, T Patton, D Chaffey.
Fall: 1/65, 2/83, 3/83, 4/106, 5/137, 6/137.
TWCC Bowling: E Howes 13-1-33-3; J Simon 7-1-23-0; T Firth 4-0-31-0; T Rydon 6-0-25-0; R Brock 6-2-15-1; H Karvay 3-0-15-1.
TWCC Innings: T Rydon Ct Garside Bld Patton 7; E Bunn Ct Clemondson Bld Patton 1; J Rowland Ct Patton Bld Bowles 28; M Pearce Ct Gilchrist Bld Patton 1; R Brock LBW Bowles 4; J Simon LBW Bowles 2; T Firth Bld G Gilchrist 0; E Howes Not Out 2; H Karvay Ct Wk Bld G Gilchrist 2; J Panther Ct (Slip) Bld G Gilchrist 0. Extras 6 (B2, LB1, W2, NB1) Total 53 for 9 (all out).
Fall: 1/9, 2/17, 3/20, 4/41, 5/46, 6/46, 7/47, 8/53, 9/53.
Bolney Bowling: T Patton 9-1-28-2;D Chaffey 9-4-8-1; G Gilchrist 4.3-1-5-3; S Bowles 4-1-9-3.
Bolney win by ... it’s confusing this... 3 or 4 wickets? 94 runs? Er... I should know this – perhaps someone could have a quiet word with the Gazette and set me right.
Readers can contact the Editor via email as long it's complimentary about the Gazette