The Old Contemptibles Cricket Club

Nos venit, nos egit, et nos erant fractis

Match reports - 2018

Tri-Wizards and The Dark, Dark Arts - Knossington/Cropwell Match Report

16th September 2018

So that's another season come and gone quicker than a Victorian gentleman at a shapely piano leg convention.

It has, in truth, been a bit of a struggle this year. In fact, I might write a book about it. I'll call it 'My Struggle'.

What could possibly go wrong?

Put simply, we have had rather too many fixtures, and an unfew enough surfeit of insufficient players of which to fulfil them with and, indeed, for.

Throw in the fact that we've struggled to get a team up, and that's only twice the story.

Next year will be a considerably more streamlined affair, which is more than we'll be able to say about the players.

We'll keep the 'crown jewel' fixtures; a protected list which, for some strange reason, the terrestrial TV channels have shown little interest in broadcasting.

They will include Greenfields, Derby Quad, Loughborough Geography, Madingley and, probably, the Tri-Wizard Tournament involving Knossington and Cropwell.

Talking of which...

I think it's fair to say we finished off the season in a pleasingly Contemptible style.

We lost the first game, against Knossington, with some ease. And we would have lost the second one as well had the light not been reduced to an appearance so cameo that it kept shouting 'word up' while strutting around in an enormous codpiece.

The whole day was a triumph for the captaincy skills of Jim, who kindly volunteered to take the reins so I could piss about ineffectually, as per, but without the strokes of tactical genius that you have all come to know and love by their total absence.

Knossington batted first, and batted hard. Kev H and Fred bore the brunt of that, before Scampi and Chalky took six wickets between them, Adrian's fabled guile took another, and our opponents had to settle for just the 146 from 20 overs.

In reply, New Iain and Kev pointed us in the right direction, with the latter unblotting his copybook with a biffy 34.

An increasingly broken Chalky then chipped in with 21 and myself, Fed and Jim also managed double figures as we batted out our 20 overs a mere 39 short of victory.

A particular highlight involved Wrighty wandering out to bat and telling Fred he didn't want to face a ball. Fred duly obliged by running him out one ball later.

The true beauty of the Tri-Wizard format then revealed itself – a whole hour of watching proper cricketers playing proper cricket followed by another hour doing the self-same thing while digesting tea in a contended heap of wobbly and swollen bibbling.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that we are better watchers than players, and we proved this once again in the 10 eight-ball over anti-climax to our season against Cropwell.

Jim extracted maximum revenge on my dereliction of leadership duties by making me bowl two overs of filth to their opening batsmen while affording me the protection that only an entire team fielding in the slips can truly offer.

Many, many runs later, Jim took the only wicket we managed in 80 balls of righteous slaughter and we set about 'chasing' 126 in light more gloomy than a Brexit forecast.

We managed just over five overs before it finally dawned that dusk had departed and play was abandoned.

New New Dave still managed to hit a boundary in that blacker-than-black gloom, Fred chipped in with 18, Adrian also troubled the boundary rope and Archie, in defiance of the laws of light, somehow blatted the ball right over that rope with a six of epically dark provenance.

But we didn't lose. We would have done. But we didn't. So that is a victory, quite frankly.

And so we're done.

It's been a pleasure, if at times a rather fraught one, and I'd like to thank you all for continuing to ensure our cricket comes nowhere near close enough to acceptable.

I'll sort the averages out at some point and please reply to John regarding the Glittering Awards/Christmas dinner that will take place on December 15.

It takes a lot of organising and he deserves prompt replies from us all.

Do It Yourselves - Test Match Report

26th/27th August 2018

I'm going off piste, as they say at Alcoholics Anonymous, with this one.

There's a reason behind it, and the reason is this.

I found yesterday's truncated Test Match with the ever-lovely Quad boys to be a singularly stressful affair.

This had nothing to do with the opposition, my team-mates or even the occasion as such.

Instead, it had everything to do with cramming two days worth of cricket into one.

The beauty of our annual foray into unlimited overs cricket is the time and space it gives us to allow the narrative of the contest to develop.

The theme of the first year was one of uncertainty. Would the idea even work? Would we be both bowled out, twice, by the end of the first day? Could we really survive two whole days of cricket?

Last year's match was overshadowed, and then driven, by the untimely death of Patron No1. Could we give him an appropriate send-off by securing a victory?

But thanks to Sunday's wash-out, our one-day Test this year felt like an altogether more contrived affair.

Or it did to me.

I spent huge swathes of the day trying to work out how long would be right to bat. I became ever-obsessed with time, or the lack of it.

I wanted to ensure Quad had enough of the stuff to be given the opportunity to respond to our first innings total and then, ultimately, to have a sporting chance of winning the game.

As a result, I'm finding it hard to put much of yesterday's match into any kind of context.

I can think of some notable events.

Young Alex's heroic 33-ball duck was the stuff of legend.

Chalky's batting - he top scored for us in both innings - was another highlight.

Jim's eight-over spell of faux leg-spin and New Iain and New New Dave's unbroken 47-run partnership in the first innings also stood out.

But the feel and taste and look of the day were all a bit blurred for me by the constant calculations and re-calculations - involving time and overs and runs - I felt the need to do.

For the record, we lost the toss and were required to bat.

We started strongly, collapsed and then declared on 124-5 at lunch.

Quad responded with 155-3, we collapsed again, rallied and set them 60 to win in 40 minutes and they made it with three balls to spare.

That sounds closer and more tense than it really was.

We took only three wickets in two innings and were, generally, second best.

At least that's my impression of it all.

Yours might be rather different.

So please feel free to reply to this email - including everyone else in it - with your take on how yesterday went.

Please include highlights and lowlights. Be as brief or long-winded as you wish.

And please accept my apologies for not churning out the usual match report guff, complete with vague 'theme' and a plethora of knob gags.

But I'm still mentally recovering from an event spent trying to please any and all across one long and yet painfully short day of cricket.

My fixation on time, and how best to fill it for the good of the game, meant I failed to allocate enough of it to appreciating how it was actually spent.

Over to you to fill in the gaps...

School's Out - Greenfield match report

22nd July 2018

Dear Parents,

Please find below a report regarding yesterday's field trip organised by the Cricket Department.

As we are now officially on our half-term break, any queries will be dealt with in a manner neither timely nor satisfactory.

General comments

The pupils have worked tiresomely this half-term.

Attendance has been poor, and Matron has noticed a sharp increase in general malaise not seen since the days of Shagger Dimmick or, indeed, The Regrettable Incident At Gordon's Knee.

Progress, however, has been made in a few areas, most notably eating, smoking and falling over.

Cricket remains the strangest of bedfellows for many of our pupils. The sort of fellow who seems gay and full of spunk upon first acquaintance, but who, it soon transpires, cannot be trusted around most right-thinking people and all but the largest of farm animals.

Individual reports
Wardale, D

There is a school of thought that considers those who actively do not seek, nor want, leadership to be ideal leadership material. Wardale remains an emphatic exception to this rule. He appears to aspire to little more than sitting on his scrawny posterior making off-colour remarks. Good catcher but, like a well-delivered googly, he is a wrong 'un. Must do better.

Hutchby, K

Continues to impress with the bat – he made a very jaunty 29 yesterday – despite a sharp increase in visits to Matron between field trips. Some of the more excitable members of the department have suggested he would make a fine captain. But they forget he is from lowly stock, perhaps no more than one generation from a life spent as a pit prop in the collieries of the northern Midlands. A worthy half-term's work.

Field, J

This one has been handed captaincy duties on occasion, and one has to wonder why on each and every one of them. Batted with a wanton disregard for both survival and runs yesterday, bowled rather better, albeit with his usual proclivity for purchasing a wicket through a mixture of slurry and ordure. Responded to second innings captaincy by passing much of the responsibility on, like a genital virus. Remains a challenging pupil.

Bogie, I

A very promising day with both bat and ball. Scored 27, which included a rare single or two nestled between his usual lusty insertions into unprotected rear gardens. Took three wickets for just seven runs and even had time to dive out of the way of a particularly well-hit chance in the covers. One can only wonder at what he might have achieved in the game had he not devoted the majority of his waking hours to drinking beer. Well done!

White, T

White's inability to allow other pupils to sit still suggests he is suffering from ADHD by proxy. His glove work continues to impress, however, as did his batting yesterday. An undefeated 41 won us the first game; a rare feat indeed. Can justifiably enjoy his half-term break, in which he will, no doubt, harangue, on the subject of Brexit, any and all who have the misfortune to catch his eye. Members are asked not encourage his growing interest in C-list celebrities of the 1980s. Good work, White.

Field, R

Decrepitude continues to circle Field, R like a particularly mottled vulture. He was too feeble to bowl yesterday, and made up for this by producing precisely no runs from a five-ball innings of no little ignominy. An unbeaten 13 after tea will, no doubt, be seen as some kind of redemption. But he is fooling no-one. Perhaps beyond improvement now, although a visit to Matron might help. Keep at it, Field, R.

Iain, N

New makes up for in enthusiasm what he clearly lacks in talent. If the same could be said for the rest of the team, we would be a rather more testing proposition for opponents than we are, and never will be. Scored runs in both innings and also produced a very creditable attempt at a catch in which he communed with the floor a mere ten feet short of the ball. Excellent endeavour, New.

Field, A

Coming from such wretched stock, Field Minor But Major of the Minors continues to punch well above his genetic weight. Batted with his now customary disregard for technique, preferring instead to attempt to heave any and all to the leg-side boundary. He did this just the once and then no more. Bowled exceedingly well and kept his hat on throughout, like the gentleman he is destined never to become. Good show, Major Minor!

Wright, D

A second innings top score of 17 helped to ameliorate a rare off day with the cherry. Went wicketless in the first and snagged just the one in the second. That said, he continues to pass muster as the team's one proper bowler, which is an impressive feat indeed when one considers that, in reality, he is a fictional penguin. Noot noot, as his kind might say.

Reidy, D

A rare outing for the enfeebled Reidy. Much of her fabled Girl Power leached from her some decade or so ago, but she still possesses the ability to get out of the way of any number of well-hit shots in the field. Batted stoutly, as ever, and has now learned the new trick of hitting her own wicket when even she has grown tired of her batting. Sterling work as ever, Reidy.

Brigg, Old

Arrived for the second game and made three runs during a somewhat brief visit to the middle. No doubt made excuses for this based on a surfeit of cheese and wine which, I'm sure we can all agree, are excellent excuses indeed. A welcome return. More of the same, please.

Brigg, Young

The fag-end of a birthday spent in the company of the sweaty middle-aged is no place for one so young. But he endured, with added captaincy duties thrown in. Young scored three runs at a pace considerably less funereal than on his last outing for the club. Bowled one tidy over to boot. One for the future which, for his own good, needs to be spent as far away as possible from us. Enjoy the cricket while it lasts, Young. Girls and existential angst are now just around the corner.

A message from the statistics department

First match – Greenfields 112-6 (20 overs). Old Contemptibles 114-6 (18.1 overs). VICTORY!

Second match – Old Contemptibles 46-5 (10 overs). Greenfields 49-2 (6.5 overs). DEFEAT.

Woke AF - Kegworth match report

1st July 2018

Not long into yesterday's game, my mind was already wandering.

It normally ends up resurfacing, dazed and blood-caked, in a skip on an abandoned industrial estate amid broken bottles and the septic tang of an involuntary bladder evacuation, an unexplained bite mark on its upper thigh.

But this time it was keeping to the now, or, perhaps more accurately, the oft-remembered present.

Just two weeks after our bowlers were getting smashed to, but mainly over, the sun-baked boundaries of Hathern, here we were at Kegworth receiving precisely the same treatment.

It was New, Completely Unimproved, Deja Vu 2.0. Or, as my brain was having it: it never rains, but it bores.

Because there are only so many thrappings you can take from cricketers who are not only younger and better, but also much younger and much better than you before you start to question the point of it all.

Where once we were underdogs, now we are untermensch; a cricketing mongrel to be taken for 15 an over on village tracks scorched brown by the sun.

But then Wrighty came on and we kept them to 187.

There's a serious point to be made somewhere in the middle of all this nonsense.

There used to be some level of fun to be found in the inevitable wreckage that results from the old and incapable picking fights with the cricketing equivalent of Mike Tyson in his prime.

Occasionally, very occasionally, we would even connect with a sneaky kick to Iron Mike's bollocks and run away before he could work out what the hell had just happened.

These days, we're on the canvas within the first ten seconds and the referee's waving it all off as the short-changed crowd hurl their chairs into the ring.

It's time, therefore, to bin off these kind of 'contests' and stick to opposition more in keeping with our age, incompetence and growing injury list.

Don't get me wrong, Kegworth were very pleasant hosts yesterday. But they're just too good.

Then again, we did manage a close second game with them, although it took some extreme dumbing down of their bowling attack to achieve it.

For the record, the first game was horrible.

Scampi bowled a fine second over as part of his opening spell, conceding just one run. The other three went for 55.

Fred conceded 11 an over.

No wickets were taken.

The next four bowlers, Wrighty, Adrian, Archie and New Iain, took one apiece and were rather less expensive.

But 187 is too rich for our thinning blood, and it always has been.

On the plus side, Chalky kept wicket with skill and about 75 halts in play while he put his inners back on again, and Fred contrived to drop one catch four times, concluding this mini-farce with a vague attempt to snag the ball with his foot.

Our reply was a standard 'too many wickets, not enough runs' affair.

Extras, on 13, top scored for a long while, until the excellent New Iain (35 not out) and Wrighty (17 not out) saw out the 20 overs with us a breathtakingly close 97 runs adrift.

Chalky (12) was the only other batsman to make double figures, although Jack – one of two Contemptible debutants on the day – did manage eight agricultural runs.

Kev, struggling at just 80% fitness, managed precisely 0% of the total, as did a 100% Fred, while Archie and I scored five runs between us.

We went to tea, ate it and then shuffled out for a 10-over second game.

More of the same ensued as Kegworth piled on the runs, with Kev, Archie and Jack all taken for 20+ from their two overs.

I managed a more parsimonious spell, while Fred and Wrighty came back for one over apiece and took a wicket each.

Jack was unlucky not to join that illustrious pair when New Iain dropped a chance in the deep and then paid for it by buggering his knee as he lurched, in vain, to make good his mistake.

He spent the rest of the afternoon on his arse, in pain. That's a metaphor for our current situation if ever I wrote it.

We needed 98 to win. From 10 overs.

We might as well have walked off then and there and watched Russia knock Spain out of the World Cup with beer in hand. That would have been us with the beer, by the way. Russia are almost certainly on a rather more illicit concoction...

Anyway, Kegworth's extremely occasional bowlers were wheeled out and they proved far more to our taste/level.

Scampi hit a fine 26 which only concluded, with a run out, from the final ball.

He was supported by Adrian, who made 10 brisk runs including a (sort of) cover drive that raced to the boundary...once the fielder had helped it over the ropes.

And Debutant #2, Charlie, proved once and for all that The Old Contemptibles Cricket Club is woke af.

Yes, we continued to smash The Patriarchy – a sort of Illuminati for the bewilderingly progressive – by fielding quite literally our second Token Woman in 12 long years of feckless cricketing whimsy.

Charlie responded by immediately getting out, only to be saved by a heady combination of Kegworth gallantry and Archie, as umpire, refusing to acknowledge that being comprehensively bowled in any way requires a return to the pavilion.

As a result, she survived to hit a single which magically became a five when the throw flew past all and sundry to the boundary.

She ended up scoring six all in, before Fred actually gave us hope that we might even win the second game by smashing an unbeaten 30, made up entirely of boundaries, as we fell 10 runs short.

It was a close and enjoyable second game.

But the fact remains that we are not getting any younger, fitter or better, and the club sides we face do not have an inexhaustible supply of plucky pre-teens and moth-eaten veterans with which to give us a close contest.

Unless we field our strongest team – and we haven't done that all season – we are never going to be able to compete with the better clubs.

It's time, therefore, to start thinking ahead and cutting our cloth accordingly.

It's a nasty, stained cloth that should really only be donned when the opposition are as casual as we are.

But that's an argument for another day.

We've got Long Whatton to come in two weeks' time. The forecast is for even more sunshine.

Deja Vu 3.0 beckons.

Timeless, winless, clueless - Greenfields match report

27th May 2018

They said that T20 would be the death of the Test match, that limited overs would produce only ever more limited cricket.

They were wrong.

Until yesterday, that is.

Even for a club that has always prided itself on its decidedly loose affiliation to the game it purports to play, our first innings against Greenfields made little effort to disguise our anti-cricket agenda.

It was the sporting equivalent of attempting a Welsh accent and coming out Pakistani.

We love the game right enough, but we like to treat it mean.

As in average.

As in shit.

Our first outing of the summer followed the usual niceties: I eschewed the need for a toss by informing the opposing captain that he'd already won it and would be batting. They then piled on the runs.

Although, to be fair, they didn't really.

Scampi, Fred, Kev and Wrighty all bowled very nicely, with the latter taking three wickets in a fine spell, before myself and New Dave – a very welcome guest of his namesake New Iain – rounded off the innings with four parsimonious overs.

Greenfields only managed to stagger past 100 as a result and it was Game On.

Ten overs, 13 runs and no wickets later, it was Game Off. As in drag that game off, take it round the back and put a bolt in its head.

It, and we, had suffered enough.

Complicity needs to be addressed here, however.

Whoever decided that sending Den and Tom out to open was a good idea needs to be exposed for the tactical fraud that I am.

In my defence, who could have foreseen that our dynamic duo would revel in the double negativity of not scoring runs while not getting out? Hmm. Like Oscar Pistorius (both in and outside court), I haven't got a leg to stand on.

At least I got to do the scoring while our opening pair weren't.

A brief glance at the book reveals Den and Tom's innings to be a singular epic of all dots and no dash; a remorse code firing more blanks than a post-op Pennykid.

I was the lucky one, busy blunting my pencil and thrilling at the panache of our most exciting run-getter, Wides.

When I finally glanced up from my duties, I found a line of team-mates reduced to dessicated husks of tedium slumped broken in fold-out chairs of despair.

But you know what? Fuck it. We've scored fewer first innings runs (at Whatton and Cropwell), and were bowled out in doing so.

Den and Tom were heroic, following from the front with a plucky, never-say-score attitude that has seen this country through countless Eurovision Song Contests and a fair few rounds of Brexit negotiations still to come.

And New Iain and Brigg didn't exactly hurry things along when Den finally persuaded the wicketkeeper to stump her (Tom joined her back in the hutch not long afterwards) to end an opening partnership short on inches, but long on inaction.

For the record, Den scored three, Tom two and Wides 13.

It was left to Archie to provide a bit of crash, bang, wallop with a run-out so suicidal even ISIS would have been loathe to claim responsibility, before we ended on 45-3 and retired for the season's first munch on Shaz's ample tucker.

Suitably swollen, we then returned to bat again, with Brigg (7) and New Iain (24) learning from past indiscretions and scoring at a jaunty chat, before the excellent pair of Fred (37) and Kev (24) took us to a respectable 100 for 3 from our second dollop of 20 overs.

Seven bowlers then flung pies at Greenfields, with Tom, Brigg and New Dave among the wickets, Wides making a second bid for stardom as we went.

For a time, we were actually in with a chance of winning, until a Bigger Boy came in and twatted everyone everywhere, dispatching the unfortunate Wrighty for two particularly enormous (but effortless) sixes.

So we lost. Twice. As per.

But we managed to turn one T20 game into a passable impression of a timeless Test along the way which, to us, is a form of victory.

Special thanks to New Dave for making us quorate, and Archie for enduring any amount of bus wankery to make it to the match at all.