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Grumpy's Blog

Weekend 14/05/2016 V Cropredy

Sir, in the Cherwell league scorecard from the 14th of this month, it gives the man of the match as Cropredy’s Jacob Heath. Whilst he performed admirably (in a lost cause it must be said) hitting 44 from 26 balls batting at number ten. Then taking 4 wickets for 44 runs, good reason to give him man of the match some might think. But he only took his first wicket when Challow’s first wicket fell with the score on 170 for 1 needing a mere 19 more for victory. What I’m saying is that I’m wall-eyed biased and Ryan Gordon and a one-legged Justin Penrose put 150 runs for the 2nd wicket, with Ryan scoring 92. So who should get this M.O.M award? Answers on a postcard to the editor please.
Cropredy chose to bat first, a brave call given the fact that the square was underwater on Wednesday. At 120 for 8 with 8 overs left it looked a bad decision. But 55 runs in seven overs took it up to a competitive 189. Perhaps the wicket had dried and become a touch easier? Maybe not, 170 for 1 became 175 for 5 and some of us became a touch edgy. Anyway, all worked out fine and with 9 overs to spare.
M.O.M Ryan Gordon
A long day, from breakfast in Cote Brasserie at 09.00 to eating in Bistro 14 at 20.00 with a game of cricket, sun damage, liver damage and nervous tension in between. A normal Saturday? When I say normal, perhaps that should read routine, there’s nothing normal about that sort of a day.

Weekend 07/05/2016 V Abingdon

Abingdon’s picture postcard ground looked… well like a picture postcard. Apart from the arse end of the football stand at one end that is. Four debutants (including Ross P in this, his first game back after missing most of last season). Mark Foster kept tidily and offered captain sound advice throughout. He was last seen late into the night, swigging strong cider and wearing my wife’s scarf. I hope you haven’t lost it matey, it was an Xmas present from our Philipino houseboy.
George Trewby bowled (despite a wet ball) well without getting a wicket. One of the highlights was George sweeping a four of their left arm spinner whose name eludes me. Luke Cheshire looked superb, going outside the bat at least three times an over, wicket-less though.
Mungo Mathews, a handful in all of his eleven overs, took six wickets for nineteen runs. A bit expensive one of our harshest critics pronounced. We have a tough traveling band of them! Olly Dimbelow took three and was his usual steady self.
The openers put on over eighty, Justin Penrose given a working over for a couple of overs and then came some imperious cover drives. John Pechey – a promising beginning, compact, not beaten on the outside and strong off his legs. We have high hopes for John this year.
Laughably he was given a ferocious send off when we were only fifteen short of a ten wicket victory. Skipper got the same when we were eight short. The two batsmen won’t agree, but you had to laugh (I did – and loudly). I offer the words of John Keats, to bowlers everywhere. “Praise or blame has but a momentary effect on the man whose love of beauty in the abstract makes him a severe critic on his own works.”
So there!
Pete & Jim demolishing crates of chilled lager was another highlight. And it was cold, unlike what was on offer from the bar!
Finally, in answer to Warbler’s question about taking 8 bowlers to Abingdon, if we’d have taken one less and played an extra batsman. It would have been you Chris, the 2nd team would have been down 60 runs and you wouldn’t have got a bat at Abingdon!

Weekend 29/08/2015 V Oxford & Bletchingdon Nondescripts

Greener than a Welsh valley after a downpour, a wicket that the pundits saw as a bowl first, win the game toss. (the pundits were in the Rock of Gibraltar eating, talking & drinking at the actual time of the toss) However, when we actually arrived, the score was 50 odd for 3 from 22 overs and the with the toss lost, the game in danger of slipping away. Cometh the hour… the world is full of people who never achieve their potential because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time. But we found someone in the right place at the right time. Rhino’s innings was masterful, on the greenest of green wickets, decent bowling, it was a chanceless effort. Shot selection, foot work
(see attached picture) placement, concentration, 100 in these conditions deserve more accolades than my limited vocabulary can offer up. A sixth wicket stand with Luke Jones had us heading up towards a competitive score (150 we felt) ending up with 191 was decent and all we needed was a controlled effort from the bowlers.
Humid, lush outfield – the ball was going to boomerang for ace swing bowler Conor Jones and it certainly did, swinging so much a fine leg was soon posted as the ball kept whistling passed Warblers who began to take on the appearance of a goalkeeper playing behind an inept back four. 12 wides in the first over and of course, in amongst that, a pearler, one that started two foot outside the off stump, swung in and yorked a bemused opener. But that was as good as it got as their two best batsmen spanked it around so that 75 for 1 after 12 overs left us in some disarray.
But the man of the hour bowled their best batsman with the slow, full length ball that he managed to turn into a yorker and the domino effect began. Ollie Dimbylow 6 wickets in 10 overs battered their batsmen into an undignified submission. Conor Jones came back and finished with 3 for 50
MOM under normal circumstances, Ollie. But the day was set up by an exemplary captain’s innings, and Ryan G gets the unanimous nod.
After both innings started in the most unpromising of circumstances – a win and a big thanks to our hosts for not opening getting the bar. Not that pundits were desperate of course.

Weekend 15/8/2015

Not having seen a ball bowled, the M.O.M is given to Conor Jones, 5 wickets taken and all from the top six. Anyone disagreeing can appeal to the Chairman of the Appeals Committee (Pete Nugent) and he will tell you politely that you have no right of appeal. Apologies to Conor, that photo was taken with my granddaughter’s Fisher Price camera which gives the poor old boy a fuzzy around the edges look. Probably how he’s feeling right now after a night celebrating. Well done to Rhino (50) and Tim Linnane & Tom Pill for getting us up to a competitive, if below par score.
It then becomes a game of who copes better with pressure, some can and others bottle. But coping with pressure is all relative, as the greatest Australian cricketing all-rounder Keith Miller said, (he flew Spitfires for the RAF in WW2), “cricket, pressure? You’re joking, pressures when you’ve got a Messerschmitt up yer arse.”
The 3rds were well beaten by the best team in the league, no disgrace but the usual questions that come with hindsight, should we have batted first? The answer is a definite, it would have made no difference. Mark Roche 4 wickets and Nigel Bint with 3, the two noteworthy performances. Commiserations and at the same time, congratulations, a disappointing finish to an otherwise fantastic season, well done Phil C and all who contributed throughout what was a competitive campaign.
The 2nds lost to Didcot, but still hang on to second place, it’s going down to the wire. Martin Turnbull and Joe (no knees) Harris shred six wickets and boy wonder James Coombs scored 44. Good effort from them, but to lose by 3 runs is the bitterest of pills to get stuck in the craw. Still second though and all to play for.

Weekend 8/8/2015

Last weekend’s highlights demonstrated the 1st X1 just coming up short again, small margins define their season, win some tight games, come second in others. I suppose it evens out, but both times against the best team in the league we had chances to beat them. Some would say that champion teams dig in and win in these situations, which is often the case. What it does demonstrate to me is that we’re not far off. Justin Penrose & Alex Lynch put on nearly one hundred and Rhino took 5 wickets.
The thirds despite winning, slipped back to third, with a game in hand though, Neil Phillips & Freddie Robson scoring runs. Adam Farmer and Nigel Bint took four wickets apiece.
The seconds Oliver Hill taking over from his injured dad scored runs, but the performance of the week went to James Smith with the highest score in any of the teams thus far. 169 runs in one innings confirms my theory that some people are just natural sportsmen. Any sport they decide to play, they will excel. Head down Smudger, forget the rubbish golf and you’ll score big runs for us!

Talking of naturals, there can be no doubt that cricketers are the most natural of sportsmen. Everyone knows that footballers couldn’t count at school and rugby players turn out to be city traders or lawyers who were bullies at school and weren’t good enough to get into a cricket team. Cricket is a skilful game to be sure, but some would say that much of the skill is honed by years of repetition. But we can all dance, the reason for this is some of us spend so much time in nightclubs on away trips that we become accomplished dancers as well, repetition again. Despite the modern mantra concerning peak physical fitness, many are shambolic physical specimens. I remember edging one to first slip (it happened a lot) it cannoned into the man’s shin with a sound resembling the Lutine Bell. I’m a bit slow and it didn’t connect for me, even when he never flinched, of course he told me later, had an artificial leg. Which made my earlier comment to him when I noticed him limping, “All this walking, you’ll make that leg worse mate. Take up chess or flower arranging.”
I can sledge with the best of them.

Weekend 25/7/2015

After the corresponding fixture back in May, I described Sandford, who batted shockingly that afternoon, as my prime pick to be relegated. Yesterday, at 18 for 5 their batting had, if possible, gone into a deeper decline. But a decent partnership of over one hundred, dragged them back from the cusp of another sub half-century score. The excellent burst from the new ball bowlers, Dimbylow and Conor Jones, 4 wickets each, left the decision to bat first looking akin to steadfastly sticking to a strategy that ignored the fact that the wicket being under covers for 36 hours. For 10 overs it was tough, before levelling out into its customary mild mannered flatness. One incident made me smile, their bulky opener given out LBW to a straight ball, came back with an expression of shock and disappointment similar to a mild-mannered vicar finding his wife in bed with the local crack dealer. What made this image even more joyous was the fact that he left the field on the 23rd of May with the self-same countenance, life can be a disappointment at times.
178 was just about competitive, although a below par score and one any side batting second would have taken. A delightful innings from Hamish, although the quaint Edwardian approach of walking after an edge to the keeper confuses me somewhat. A typical gritty effort from Tim Linnane and after a couple of minor alarms, victory with 4 overs to spare.
Other brief highlights from the weekend, Dan Alderson & Luke Cheshire sharing 8 wickets, James Smith & Nigel Hill batting seeing the seconds home. One anomaly, Nigel Hill scoring his runs with only 88% of them in boundaries, c’mon Nigel, try a bit harder. The thirds winning at a canter, James Coombs & Alex Kay with 80 of the runs between them and one M Roche taking 4 wickets helping to drive Stokenchurch into the metaphorical dust.

Weekend 11/7/2015

Well this was a short lived (34 overs) game and the most interesting fact from the weekend is that a thirteen year old boy (well done James Coombs) pretty much scored as many runs as Bledlow’s 1st team’s eleven put together! This was so brief a game that when I went home before my curfew hour, my present wife thought I was seriously ill.
Ollie Dimbylow with 6-17 got the man of the match, just beating Conor Jones to this prestigious award. The committee felt that Conor going for 1.6 runs an over was just too expensive.
The seconds chased down 232, so Bledlow’s Saturday well and truly stuffed up by our good selves. Dan Alderson 65, James Coombes 40, Nigel Hill 31, T Folley 3-56 doing very nicely thank you.
The thirds however spent their Saturday being bored witless. C’mon Abingdon stir yourselves out of this negative frame of mind. A few words that bring your attitude to mind – contradictory, contrarariant, contumacious, converse and I’ve only got to the letter C. Well done anyway to Neil Phillips (again) Clive Robson (coasting in the 3rds) and Harry Robson who’s going to be a better bowler than his dad.

Half Term Report

Having just resigned my commission with facebook, citing the following reason, having my own boring little life doesn’t mean I want to hear about other people’s haemorrhoid issues, missed trains, STD’s, or indeed any other mundane dross that seems to dominate. Mostly though, from racist rubbish that people seem to think funny or apposite.
The mid-season sees the 1st X1well in the mix, 2nds mid-table safety and 3rds pushing hard at the top of their division. A thank you to Karl H for accepting demands from the 1sts, without a murmer of dissent, that often leave him unbalanced (the team not Karl, he’s always been a little bit off kilter) It’s been an heroic effort from the old sweats keeping things going. No need to name the three, suffice to say they haven’t got a good knee between them. The 3rds have been the real success story thus far, ably led by Phil C – we’re all hoping form can be maintained.
Saturday’s 1st team game, one of the last to be played under looming shadow of cooling towers, the permanent plume of sulphur dioxide and a changing room that looks like a hillbilly homestead. Hoorah some might say, but we wish them well on their new venture next season. A close game won in the end by a 50 run, frenetic partnership between Warblers and Alex (I’ve got a groin strain) Lynch, who despite this psychosomatic induced injury, was easily our best outfielder and managed to run quickly enough between the wickets. All this confirming my entrenched view that 8 pretty much front line batsmen are needed to make maintain the push onwards and upwards.

MOM’s so far…

Bledlow Luke Jones
Great Tew Conor Jones
Sandford Tim Linnane
Aston Rowant Ryan Gordon
Horspath Hamish Mathews
Oxford Downs Ryan Gordon
Abingdon Martin Turnbull
Oxford & Bletch Ollie Dimbylow
Didcot Chris Warboys

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