Match reports - 2019
School's Out 2 - Tri-Wizard Report ↓
15th September 2019
Please find below a report regarding yesterday's Annual Brouhaha with the neighbouring schools of Knossington Old Shaggers and Cropwell College for the Agriculturally Conceived.
This, as you know, marks the end of both Bublemas Term and the entire school year.
As we are now officially on Long Hols, all queries should be addressed to anyone but us, as we will give precisely no hoots and fewer figs.
The pupils, sad to say, continue to display a wanton disregard for the basic principles required to enact proper cricketage to even the most cretinous of standards.
It is all well and good pursuing such flippant aims as 'enjoyment', 'consistent, heavy defeats' and 'falling over', but these paths lead only to the sort of second rate life in a third rate Midlands town that our school was set up precisely to avoid.
ALL must do better.
Attendance, again, has been poor, with any number of field trips having to be cancelled due to chronic absenteeism and a lack of sufficiently functioning limbs.
Matron is now refusing to divulge the exact circumstances of the many and varied ailments she continues to treat, citing 'data protection issues'. This smacks of Bolshevism, and she will be shot during the early chaos of a No Deal Brexit.
Any glimmers of progress are now so faint as to be virtually imperceptible, although some of the younger pupils' strivings have served to remind us all of how fleeting our halcyon days truly are - in most cases, little more than ten to fifteen minutes in our dribbly teens.
Power, in most cases, corrupts. In Wardale's case, it corrodes. If leadership is an error-strewn descent into mediocrity, then Wardale is palpably over-qualified. But it isn't, and neither is he. Will have to repeat the entire year. Again.
For the second week running, Wardale Minor had to curtail his day in order to 'go to work'. This sort of ghastly arriviste behaviour cannot - and will not - be tolerated. After previous heroics, yesterday's performance was a corrective of the most brutal kind. One of his overs went for 33 runs at the hands of the man who made a hundred and lost five of our balls in gardens and footpaths far and wide. He was then run out without facing a ball, and a wicket and a well-judged catch were offset by an ill-judged drop of Cropwell's second most productive batsmen.
Could do better? Assuredly. Will do better? Not if he insists on earning money as an alternative to frittering one's life away at cricket.
Matron's special tinctures, no doubt procured from a doctor in East Germany's now sadly defunct Bundesdopingprogram, have miraculously reversed Hutchby's long limp to crippledom. They can, alas, only do so much for his talent. He did manage a brisk 16 yesterday and also took a wicket. He also managed to fob off the kit bag to McCafferty, S - scant reward for our most dedicated of players-turned-watchers.
Field's return to Edwardian trouserage was welcome, but his performance was, surprisingly, not nearly as wretchedly bygone. A jaunty six proved once again that he cannot stand with bat in hand for more than an over or so. His bowling, however, was made of sterner stuff, although he was fortunate to avoid having to fling his pies at the man who made a hundred and lost five of our balls in gardens and footpaths far and wide.
And talking of that man, Dearson contrived to drop him when he had scored just four and no balls had yet been disappeared. For this, our spunky wicketkeeper received a throbbingly purple thumb and the occasional half-hearted opprobrium of his peers. Dearson also batted with no little style in our first game humiliation, scoring 13 well-worked runs.
A rare appearance from the messiah himself, Saviour (or 'Gareth' as he likes to be known when assuming human form) batted with his usual style and efficiency on the way to a first game top score of 19. The fact that he got out to the opposition's worst bowler should in no way have diminished this achievement. But it did.
Another who graces a cricket field with infrequency, Field Minor Major continues to bat with even less patience than his father. His bowling was considerably more laudable and his fielding remains exhaustingly enthusiastic, particularly for one so well-acquainted with a certain strand of herbal mellowness.
Dave, N N
A first full Contemptible season under his belt, and New New is without doubt made of precisly the stuff this school is founded upon, which is mostly shifting sand and bird droppings. As if to prove this point, an innings of one not out in the second game was his personal highlight yesterday.
Alex, Nickname TBC
Young Alex bowls with pace and passion and his batting is coming on in leaps and bounds. A fine knock of ten in our first game thrapping was testament to the latter, a wicket and bewildered discontent at the wides policy of a certain umpire proving the former. He also has the happy knack of running out many of our slower batters (ie nearly all of us), which is the sort of sporting Darwinism we can all get behind in the few seconds before it kills us.
A rather chastening end to the year for the school penguin. A rare wicketless day was further marred by a rogering from the man who made a hundred and lost five of our balls in gardens and footpaths far and wide. An unbeaten eight in the second game will have offered him some succour, and I'm sure he will spend the Long Hols working tirelessly on the all-time averages he has promised us for so long. No, really.
Another to receive a working over from the man etc etc, Field bowled well in between boundaries and his unbeaten five in the first game was, in context, a personal triumph. Completed the entire school year without major skeletal calumny which is, in context, another personal triumph.
The School Scorer remains our most consistent performer, despite occasional mathematical issues. Dearson appeared yesterday without the means to record our continued cricketing inability; a magician without a wand, a song in search of a tune, a sandwich short of a picnic. Without her we are nothing. With her, alas, we are little improved.
Cook finished the season in barnstorming form, producing pink Angel Delight and a skewered array of sticky meats of doubtful provenance, but undoubted flavour. Without her we are nothing. With her, alas, we are all the fatter.
A welcome debut from a Greenfields ringer, Harry's 41 in the second game made us competitive for an alarmingly long time. That the opposition's winning runs came from his boundary edge mishap was a deliciously Contemptible end to his day, and our season.
A message from the statistics department
First match - Cropwell 208-3 (20 overs), Old Conts 63 all out. DEFEAT (and then some).
Second match - Old Conts 74-2 (10 overs), Knossington 76-1. DEFEAT (but slightly less some).
The school wishes to thank all that have passed through our doors this year. With all the talent we have at our disposal, there really is no depth we cannot plumb.
And, please, enjoy Long Hols responsibly.
That is all. School dismissed.
Feck This - Wanderers Match Report ↓
8th September 2019
The Indian legend and inventor of multiple sclerosis, MS Dhoni, once observed that "Nobody wants to really play bad cricket".
That's all well and good, but some of us don't really have much say in the matter.
Yesterday's game against Wanderers was a case in point.
As a team, we've always erred on the side of the feckless, and the wrong side at that. We are the feckleast. No fecks given, even fewer received.
What we do receive, with relentless frequency, are beatings.
Wanderers, a rag-tag bunch of veteran operators and decent club cricketers, were more than happy to tune into that particular frequency.
They set us 141 to win the first game - a target more distant than Jacob Rees-Mogg is to humility.
Despite the daunting total, our bowling wasn't so bad.
Fred struggled early on, but returned, slower and wiser, to take a wicket. Scampi bowled four fine overs and took two scalps, Alex was unlucky to only claim one victim and Jim's spell was three quarters excellent and one quarter twatted-everywhere-including-gardens-and-shit.
The pick of the bunch, however, was Wrighty, our King of Spin, Prince of Mince, Earl of...Hurl? Yep, that'll have to do.
Wrighty's figures of four overs, one maiden, two for ten kept Wanderers honest, and we then set about chasing down their total with all the guile of a motorway pile-up.
Stew went for a golden duck. New New Dave survived just the one ball longer. Batsmen were dismissed more regularly than a moderate Tory as we lurched to 31 for 5 after 14 overs.
Alex and our ever-reliable old chum Extras hit nine apiece, but the fact that we finished on 92 for 6 was almost entirely down to Fred.
He shared a sixth-wicket partnership of 59 with Alex that saved face, if not the match, on his way to a personal best 57 not out that started slowly and watchfully and ended with a barrage of fours and sixes.
It was a rare ray of quality shining through, like sunlight on landfill. A touch of the feckmore, if you will. Which you won't. And who can blame you?
Then again, 'Feckmore' would make a good name for a sprawling country estate, or perhaps the butler who resides therein.
"More sherry, Feckmore, I think."
"Terribly sorry sir, but the sherry is gone. Brexit, you see. I can do you a Diesel Colada and Tizer chaser."
"Very well, Feckmore, very well."
After a lengthy nosh on Shaz's groaning buffet (Bailey's chocolate cake and Cornish pasties so small they had to be called mini-Cornish pasties because they were totally like really little versions of bigger Cornish pasties, but not nearly as large), we played a 15-over second game that neatly coincided with England finally losing The Ashes.
Fred left to go to work, only to be replaced by Brigg, who arrived from work.
It was good to see him back in action and he proved he'd not lost it by bowling the final over, which only went for eight - two better than my paltry effort.
New New Dave, Alex and Jim took a wicket each and Wrighty made a shock bid for Fielder of the Year by actually taking a catch and managing a run out as well.
The upshot of all that was Wanderers being restricted to a mere 80 - a total that even we had a shot at.
Our aim, however, was wildly untrue.
The (dubious) honour of Clan Wardale continued to be upheld as I became the second, and last, player to make double figures with the bat.
My inglorious 12 was the pick of a desperately unfecky effort that included six ducks (two golden), with vague support coming from only Stew (six) and Wrighty (not out five).
We spent much of the second game flirting long and hard with the notion of making our worst ever score - the chastening 26 all out at Cropwell from Back In The Day - before Extras (five) helped us to a pleasingly pathetic 30 all out.
And so, honours even. If 'honours even' actually means 'two massive dickings'.
Not that it matters. The sun shone and Wanderers were by turns funny and gracious.
The magnificent Laurie spent three deliveries blending in with the sight screen and the next three sitting on a bench in a textbook display of teenaged couldn't-give-a-flying-fuckedness, while Den hit a single before running herself out to take it for a team that barely deserves her.
So stick that in your pipe, Mr Dhoni. Our cricket IS bad, and yet it still feels so good.
And that's the truth - without much fecking at all.
The Ginger Stokes - Quad Match Report ↓
25th August 2019
Ben Stokes blah blah blah Ashes hero blah historic wibble wibble redemptive power of sport afwaffle afwaffle...
It's all well and good turning up at a packed Headingley and taming a world class Aussie attack in one of the most astonishing sporting performances of this, or any other, age, but can he do it on a hot Sunday afternoon in Loughborough?
Sure, we could all make a few supposedly vital runs with a knock-off Nando's and a Yorkie bar for sustenance, but try doing it after a full Shaz tea which included promising culinary debutant Bubble and Squeak Circle Thingies.
Try that and then come back to me, Ben, you sandy-bollocked show pony.
Not that we need you. We've got Stew. He can do EVERYTHING.
He bats – a match-winning 57 not out in the first game versus Quad yesterday.
He fields – an athletic pouch in the covers to dismiss one of Quad's most dangerous hitters.
He bowls – five balls, one hat-trick, end of story.
But cricket is a team game and we all contributed on a sticky little day at Greenfields.
Denied the chance to die slowly over two days of Test cricket, we instead played one 20/20, ate too much and then came out for a crack at the new format that is failing to capture the imagination of anyone but the most on-message ECB chinbiscuit: The Hundred.
With a twist.
An idle, far-too-hot-for-too-much-effort twist.
If The Hundred is considered a half-arsed format by most everyone, does our adoption of The Fifty qualify it for quarter-arsedness, or Arse 0.25 to give it its Science Name?
That debate is unlikely to rage on for days, or even rage at all. What matters is that we found a new format to be shit at.
Not that all of us were entirely shit.
Stew wasn't, obviously. And neither were openers New New Dave and Jonesey, who scored 16 and 8 respectively to give us a good shot at making the 51 we needed from 50 balls to win the inaugural meh-fest.
That we fell 14 runs short was down to the rest of us failing to do anything of any real note, apart from being run out by Alex, who was on a personal mission to remind his team-mates that he is young and quick and capable and they are none of those things anymore.
So we lost The Fifty and I, for one, was glad. Quad deserved that win for being the sporting, generous and all-round lovely bunch that they always are. A bunch that were on the end of a serious beating in the first match.
Having won the toss, involving a flipped box of Swan Vesta matches, I decided we should bat first – a decision greeted with ill-concealed disgust by a Jim who couldn't have been grumpier had someone superglued one of the seven dwarves onto his back.
Jim wanted to bowl, you see. And he was certainly not going to bat.
So we made him open with Kev.
A quick fire Jim 11 ensued, while Kev made an excellent 32, and the tone was set.
Stew entered and showed Ben Stokes how cricket is really done, ably supported by Fred (18 not out) and Ian B (9 not out) as we made 137-2 from our 20 overs.
That's one of our best ever knocks or, to put it into its proper context, a total that we would need six innings to reach if playing against Cropwell.
We then extended the excellence to our fielding and bowling.
Scampi and Alex opened up and took three wickets between them. Jim got another victim from two fine overs and with Quad in disarray, I brought on the occasional bowlistic stylings of debutant Jonesey and New New Dave.
The pair responded by indulging in a wicket-taking orgy. Three apiece they took in a blur of play-ons and one smart catch by Paul behind the stumps.
It was carnage of the complete and utter variety as Quad were dismissed for 57 and we won by 80 runs.
Astonishingly, we dropped no catches across two whole games.
Paul bagged another, at about the fourth attempt, while Scampi dived to snaffle Stew's hat-trick victim and both Fred and I also held on to chances that on another day, nearly any other day to be honest, were more likely to end in the despair of digital befuddlement.
We were, in short, surprisingly good all day.
And what a lovely day it was, restoring my faith in a game that has dished out a lot of disappointment over a sorry summer of cancellations and no-shows.
So much happened that I can only apologise for forgetting half of it. I've not even had room for what I thought would be an obligatory Jeffrey Epstein gag (although the word 'gag' next to the man's name probably suffices in itself) and have only just remembered Dave and Jonesey turning an easy two into just the one via the medium of colliding in mid-pitch.
A huge thank you to Quad for being, as ever, the greatest of opponents, and to everyone of us who turned up to play, score or watch, especially Harry, Laurie et al whose presence ensured we actually had full teams for both clubs.
And, yes, well done Ben Stokes.
You did all right, son.
But you're no Stew Pennykid.
Sarawagi 2: Naveengers Assemble - Greenfields Match Report ↓
23rd June 2019
Five years ago, Naveen Sarawagi flew halfway round the world to turn out for a side most would happily travel a good deal further to avoid.
Yesterday, he was back.
Much has changed since his first appearance. Brexit now dominates the nation's notions of identity, while Love Island satisfies its intellectual curiosity.
We, however, remain a beacon of consistency. We lost to Madingley on Naveen's debut and we lost to Greenfields when he returned for more.
He's played just the once in the intervening years, which goes some way to explaining the 30 runs he conceded from three wicketless overs of spin.
But he bowled with real variety - some deliveries were good, others really weren't and not all of them went to the boundary.
And his batting has definitely stood the test of time and jet lag, with an unbeaten five in the first game backed up by a top-scoring 14 in the second, ten-over bash agreed upon to avoid the incoming showers.
So his honour remained intact as ours continues to fall off piece by crumbly piece.
Still, there were some highs to report.
We actually gave Greenfields a bit of a game in the first innings, keeping them to 122 and taking eight whole wickets as we went.
Wrighty stole the show with a hat-trick - his second for the club - and he was ably supported by the increasingly excellent Alex (2-20) and the increasingly almost-broken Chalky (2-15).
Paul took a catch behind the stumps and kept wicket with his usual gangly panache, while Fred produced two fine overs and Scampi bowled far better than his figures, which I won't disclose here, suggested.
I will disclose them here - he went for 33 from four overs.
In reply, Stew and Gareth started in a hurry, plundering 18 off the first two overs.
After that, hurry went for a lie down and in came dot ball, occasional single and general torpor.
By the time Stew was dismissed for 26, we'd slumbered our way to 59 from 14 overs and the game was pretty much up.
Fred hit a big six in a brisk 11 and Naveen supported Gareth as He completed an unbeaten, bat-carrying 53.
The Lord might move in mysterious ways, his/her/xir wonders to perform, but after 20 overs of batting, Our Saviour could barely move at all.
Where once he would (rightly, if politely) chide me for declining a hurried second run, yesterday the declining was all his.
Turning gettable twos into walked ones is a properly Contemptible act and a wonderful confirmation of just what a corrosive influence this club can have on even the most Gareth of people.
That and the fact he was completely knackered.
We finished on 100-2 and sought salvation in the retro bosom of Shaz's buffet, a seventies tribute act that included both Frazzles (Shazzles?) and Angel Delight.
Then began the processing of all that disodium phospate and 2-dial esters of fatty acids while setting Greenfields a ten-over target.
We managed 54-9, with New New Dave and Den hitting six and four respectively and Chalky (13) and Alex (2) unbeaten at the end.
Nearly all of us had an over each as Greenfields attempted to chase down our total.
Myself, Alex, NN Dave and Gareth went for very little, Stew, Scampi and Naveen were a lot more generous and Paul, close to complete collapse after all that wicket-keeping and only a measly slurp of shandy, coughed up 11 and what's left of his lungs.
We also took all of exactly zero wickets, allowing Greenfields to reach our total with 11 balls to spare.
Just as well that it's the taking part, not the winning, that defines our pitiful attempts at existence, which makes Naveen's occasional pilgrimages all the more beautifully bonkers.
Here's hoping his next trip is sooner and more victorious, but neither he, nor we, can guarantee any of that.
Next up: Madingley away - probably on July 7 and not the 14th as originally scheduled. More details on that as soon as I get them.
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.
Learning, Growing, But Still Losing - Knossington Match Report ↓
19th May 2019
There are a few things – school shootings, incest, a certain fondness for Mrs Brown's Boys – best put down to youthful exuberance.
Most people grow out of such fripperies. They learn their lessons and move on.
Until yesterday, the same could not be said of us.
Put us anywhere near a slow, low agricultural pitch requiring straight-bat, front-foot technique and we shine like a black cat on a moonless night.
Starting the season with a trip to the pudding that is Knossington's pitch did not augur well, therefore.
Previous 'innings' on similar pitches at, for example, Cropwell, had produced totals in the mid-twenties, with even the usually dependable Extras getting out for a tortuous six-ball duck.
So when Knossington racked up a 160-plus score from their 20 overs yesterday, our chances of getting anywhere close were lower than a pygmy on anti-depressants.
And when your openers are Field. J and my less than good self, the pygmy began running a bath and plugging in the toaster.
Jim was promptly bowled for one and Chalky strode to the wicket.
When Smokey sings, ABC hear violins, apparently.
And when Chalky swings, he gets caught in the deep and we get to hear the crash of angry bat on dressing room floor for the umpteenth time.
But not yesterday.
Yesterday, Chalky made not only his best score for us, but his best score for anyone. Ever.
Chalky blasted his way to a brilliant 77, even throwing in the odd classical cover drive as he went.
He was supported by an unbeaten 13 from me that was so turgid that I retired myself after my strike rate threatened to dip below zero.
New Iain and, later, New Andy played out the rest of the overs for 16 and six not out respectively and, miracle of miracles, we finished on 116-2 – our best performance on such a sluggishly green track in ever.
Tea was considerably more worthy than our first innings bowling, by the way, with the main highlights being some excellent cheese and pickle sarnies, first-rate sausage rolls, a wicket for Laurie and a run out courtesy of the newly-shorn New Iain.
After tea came a 10-over affair in which we were obliged to try and set a total.
That we made it all the way to 58-8 was almost entirely down to Laurie and Archie.
Kegworth's answer to the Krays, or more accurately the Unchuckle Brothers, both batted beautifully.
Laurie hit 32, including his first-ever six, while Archie was his usual brief but ballistic self, smiting two fours and a maximum for a seven-ball 14.
Nobody else made it into double figures, although Adrian stuck around for a jaunty six, while New Iain went first ball and Den for a more resilient three-ball duck.
But Knossington were actually obliged to actually chase down an actual score thanks to Fields L and A.
And, actually, they did.
With an over and a half to spare.
Jim rolled back the years with a fine two overs of seam-up bowling which included our one and only wicket, a caught and bowled.
New Iain kept wicket excellently, Chalky and Wrighty were economical, I wasn't and a six off Archie's third delivery settled matters.
But we just about exorcised our slow-pitch demons yesterday which, for a club of such limited talent and even less ambition, has got be a positive.
Thanks to all who turned out, especially Adrian's mate Andy, who bowled and batted with sufficient skill to suggest that he should be setting his sights considerably higher than us.