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Cramer vs Venturers, Wednesday May 7th

Cramer 114-9, Venturers 105-3

Cramer usually have a few competent Indians playing for them. Sometimes there are only two, in which case we usually beat them, but sometimes there are more, or there are competent non-Indians as well. This time there were more than two competent Indians and competent non-Indians as well, so we were up against it. Their game plan was to beat us in a gentlemanly way by as few runs as possible As Fluffy pointed out, this makes them different from Hinton Charterhouse, who beat us in a gentlemanly way by as many runs as possible. And they executed the plan perfectly.

The pitch was bright green, and contrasted with the outfield, which had parallel lines scored across it and clods of earth on the surface, as well as two large sandy patches, probably bunkers, at mid-on and mid-off. Kevin's first ball was biffed confidently for four, and it took him a couple of overs to get things right. At the other end, exactly the same happened to Rob, and it wasn't until Rob's third over that we regained some sort of control. Thereafter, apart from a couple of overs from Chris, the bowling was left to the slow men: Simon Shaw and Fluffy down the slope, Gregory and, for one over, Matt up it. They proved very difficult to hit, and the first three all got two wickets in an over, which further slowed the scoring rate. Ian collected a third wicket. One of the competent Indians reached fifty and then walked off, by an agreement between the captains that hadn't been mentioned to the rest of us. Another gave himself out, stumped by Alex off Gregory. The umpire was convinced he had got back in time. None of us could tell for sure: we assume that he happened to be looking at the stumps when Alex broke them and knew there was a fatal instant before he felt his bat hit the ground.

We fielded well, despite the furrows: a couple of catches went down but they were inexpensive. Fluffy and Simon Shaw caught return catches and Simon Turner a sharpish one at square leg, and the innings concluded with an absurd run-out. Matt tried to persuade us in the bar afterwards that it was a stumping and therefore his wicket, but the batsman was a third of the way down the pitch, going forward and shouting "Yes, come on, run!" to his motionless partner, when he perished.

Any idea that this batsman might have been an incompetent Indian (such people do exist and have played for Cramer) was destroyed by his opening over, in which Roger scrambled one single. He hit the second ball of the next over confidently for four and edged the third from far outside off into his leg stump. The next ball also started wide, swung sharply into Ian, passed an inch or two to off of the stumps and to leg of the wicketkeeper's left boot, and went for four byes to long leg. It was thirty balls before we scored another run. Mostly the ball just shot past, but anything straight was either stylishly blocked by Simon or angrily shoved to a fieldsman by Ian. Simon broke the drought with two pulled fours in three balls, and Ian produced a splendid straight drive for four as soon as a non-Indian bowler appeared. He followed it immediately with an edge to slip. We were far behind the run rate, but we did have wickets in hand; much of our subsequent acceleration, though, came from the many wides sent down by a
(non-Indian) leg spinner who did turn it, but not always off the correct strip. Simon and Matt did what they could, but the bowling from the lower end was still good and the leggie was not easy to hit when he did bowl straight. They didn't look like getting out, though, even though the bowlers tried hard. At one stage we needed fifteen from eleven balls with eight wickets left and were theoretical favourites; but competent Indians had taken over again and apart from a spectacular biff over mid-off by Matt, who missed a straight one next ball, there were almost no scoring opportunities. Simon was given out caught behind early in the last over but recalled by the fielding side when they realised that the ball had hit hip, not glove: he remained to the end, but Kevin would have had to score ten off his first two balls to have won us the match.

Fixtures & Results 2008

Cricket bat and ball