“Well, knock me down with a bloody great stone!”
It’s well known that the great prehistorian, Sir Frederick Flinstone, was a great aficionado of the game of cricket. So much so that he sited his famous stone circle right next to the Avebury Cricket Ground, upon which he reportedly scored more runs and took more wickets than the great WG several thousand years later. And it was to this idyllic corner of Wiltshire that the 2018 unbeaten 3rd XI rocked up to take on the WCCL Division 8 leaders (also unbeaten) in a tasty top-of-the table clash last Saturday.
The 3rd XI this season has been an unusual blend of young and old, with far more of the former, and fewer of the latter, than in recent years. The team had two changes from the previous week’s encouraging win over Calne, with Hendy, Snr. replacing Hodds and Ilo coming in for Woodman (awol for some obscure reason). The increasingly puffed-out-chested Lord James of Creedshire duly lost the toss and we were inserted, with our youngest and oldest players opening the batting on what appeared to be a decent track surrounded by a smooth (but, it turned out, quite slow) outfield.
The start was, to say the least, circumspect, with the score rattling along at about 2-an-over against an attack that featured a more-than-decent offie, who declined to give the ball much in the way of air but extracted some turn and bounce from the wicket with the new ball. Despite a couple of scares, however, the opening bowlers were seen off and (encouraged by a muttering MCC umpire (LJoC)), the scoring rate began to increase.
Having reached 63 for none at the start of the 21st over, Gary Hodder, at least, would have been pleased with the foundation laid until Olly Hendy mishit a very slow long hop straight to cover. Enter, at 14:06, Pa Hendy who, at 14:07, repeated the same shot (but struck less cleanly) to the same fielder with the same outcome. Things did not improve post-drinks when the only Senior Railcard holder in the side missed an inviting full toss (same bowler who had done for Hendy père et fils) and we were wobbling at 69-3. Relief came in a promising partnership between Callum Buckets and Olly Double-Barrel, but the return of the threatening offie turned a “platform-for-a-big-last-10-overs” at 90-3 into a classic 3rd XI batting collapse that saw 5 wickets fall for 10 runs (offie’s figures an impressive 4-17 off 9 overs). LJoC and Dicko threatened respectability until the latter refused a perfectly reasonable second run and then refused to get his bat anywhere near a long hop and was castled. Ditto the Wozzer and the Skip was left ‘asterisked’ and MCC all out 114 in 44 overs. Six of our batters amassed 4 runs between them, the other 5 and extras at least reached double figures but our total appeared, to say the least, a little on the lowish side…
LJoC’s pep-talk to the huddle as we took the field was more suited to Agincourt than Avebury and the troops were inspired. Dicko, down t’hill, and Ollie D-B up, opened the bowling and sent down their respective 9 overs on-the-trot. At the end of two exceptional spells, Avebury’s score was still languishing in the 20’s and their top three were back in the pavilion: ORJ 2-15, Dicko 1-14. Wozzer and Hendy Jnr. took excellent catches, ORJ did not, and Dicko had a couple of lbw shouts that would have had Boycott shouting “that’s out” (even if he’d been batting).
Ilo took over at the top end and reeled off, I believe, 9 of his best overs ever. Figures at the end were: 9-7-3-4 and included 3 wickets in 4 balls, all bowled with essentially unplayable in-swinging yorkers. During this bit of magic, Robbo immobilised the remaining opposition danger-man who, eventually, attempted to loft away LJoC and, instead, sliced to point where Buckets took a fine diving catch. The Skip also snaffled one caught and bowled with about as much nonchalance as 007 orders a dry martini (oh, and missed another – admittedly firmly struck – which, if he hadn’t got hands on it would have smacked into his undigested Friday night lamb madras with consequences that are simply unthinkable). All that remained was Wozzer taking over from Rob down the slope and quickly removing the Avebury number 11, terminating their innings on 97 in the 39th over, and seeing us victorious by 17 runs. Mention should be made of a sterling effort by the oppo no. 6 who was left stranded on 38* and, during his innings, unwittingly played a part in seeing our glorious leader receiving a level 1 warning from the umpire. This had to do with Jim’s initial creakiness in the shoulder producing two very gentle above-the-waist full tosses (that were despatched by the aforementioned oppo batsman for 4 and 6, respectively), a perfectly normal part of 3rd XI cricket that few batsmen of my acquaintance have any problem with, of course. Jim’s displeasure (a) at the crap deliveries, and (b) at the umpire’s reaction, was – shall we say – palpable and on a par with Dicko’s petulant ball-kicking when his second lbw shout fell on deaf ears.
These minor irritations, however, could not spoil the air of euphoria accompanying this excellent win. The performance in the field was second-to-none in my 3rd XI experience – bowling on the spot or better, fielding sharp and urgent with plenty of encouragement (give or take the occasional double teapot from you-know-who), and led by Kev H who, of course, was weeping pathetically inside… Kudos to young Ollie H whose performance behind the stumps was on the money throughout the Avebury innings. Man of the match, naturally, goes to Rob Iles for his spell of the century – simply the best – and honourable mentions to Dicko and Ollie D-B who set it up.
Played 5 (well, 3, actually), won 5. What’s not to like?
|Type :||League: Wiltshire County Cricket League - Division 8 2018||Date :||Saturday 2nd June 2018|
|Toss:||Marshfield CC - 3rd XI won the toss and elected to bat||Start Time:||13:00|
|Ground:||Avebury Sportsfield||Rules Type:||Standard|
Result: Marshfield CC - 3rd XI - Won by 17 runs
|Avebury CC - 2nd XI||Marshfield CC - 3rd XI|
|Score||97 all out (38.3 overs)||114 all out (43.0 overs) 'b' 't'|
|1||Richard Guy||st Phil Tonks||b Kev Crookes||46||5||0||85|
|2||Oliver Hendy†||ct Jeremy Richards||b Kev Crookes||10||0||0||58|
|3||Kevin Hendy||ct Jeremy Richards||b Kev Crookes||0||0||0||2|
|4||Callum Duckett||ct Graeme Mattocks||b Harry Harrison||14||2||0||34|
|5||Oliver Rogers-Jones||b Harry Harrison||14||2||0||21|
|6||Chris Ruddell||lbw||b Kev Crookes||1||0||0||25|
|7||Rob Iles||b Harry Harrison||0||0||0||4|
|8||Will Christie||ct Chris Bogg||b Harry Harrison||0||0||0||3|
|9||Jim Creed*||not out||11||1||0||16|
|10||Mark Dixon||b Graeme Mattocks||3||0||0||12|
|11||Warren Shipp||b Graeme Mattocks||0||0||0||1|
|Extras b (3), lb (5), w (4), nb (3)||15|
* = Captain, † = Wicket Keeper
Fall of Wickets
63-1 Oliver Hendy (Richard Guy-42*); 64-2 Kevin Hendy (Richard Guy-42*); 69-3 Richard Guy (Callum Duckett-1*); 90-4 Oliver Rogers-Jones (Callum Duckett-7*); 98-5 Callum Duckett (Chris Ruddell-0*); 99-6 Rob Iles (Chris Ruddell-1*); 99-7 Will Christie (Chris Ruddell-1*); 100-8 Chris Ruddell (Jim Creed-1*); 114-9 Mark Dixon (Jim Creed-11*); 114-10 Warren Shipp (Jim Creed-11*);
* = not out batsman
|Fielding Extras/Non-bowler wickets||8||0|
|1||Ross Haines||b Mark Dixon||7||0||0||23|
|2||Chris Bogg*||ct Warren Shipp||b Oliver Rogers-Jones||1||0||0||7|
|3||Graeme Mattocks||ct Oliver Hendy||b Oliver Rogers-Jones||7||0||0||43|
|4||Jeremy Richards||ct Callum Duckett||b Jim Creed||23||3||0||64|
|5||Tongayi Tendayi||b Rob Iles||4||1||0||15|
|6||Bruce Crook||not out||38||3||1||63|
|7||Harry Harrison||b Rob Iles||5||0||0||9|
|8||Phil Redmond||b Rob Iles||0||0||0||1|
|9||Carl Godwin||b Rob Iles||0||0||0||2|
|10||Phil Tonks†||ct & b Jim Creed||0||0||0||1|
|11||Kev Crookes||b Warren Shipp||0||0||0||9|
|Extras lb (1), w (6), nb (5)||12|
* = Captain, † = Wicket Keeper
Fall of Wickets
2-1 Chris Bogg (Unsure-0*); 15-2 Ross Haines (Graeme Mattocks-2*); 23-3 Graeme Mattocks (Jeremy Richards-3*); 39-4 Tongayi Tendayi (Jeremy Richards-12*); 75-5 Jeremy Richards (Bruce Crook-23*); 84-6 Harry Harrison (Bruce Crook-26*); 84-7 Phil Redmond (Bruce Crook-26*); 84-8 Carl Godwin (Bruce Crook-26*); 85-9 Phil Tonks (Bruce Crook-27*); 97-10 Kev Crookes (Bruce Crook-38*);
* = not out batsman
|Fielding Extras/Non-bowler wickets||1||0|