The Old Contemptibles Cricket Club

Nos venit, nos egit, et nos erant fractis

Match reports - 2016

Progressively regressive - Cropwell match report

18th September 2016

They used to hand out progress prizes at school - deeply patronising gongs for those students who were clearly not good enough but had managed to be just that little bit less not good enough to be given the academic equivalent of a hair-tousle and a declaraton that 'you've done really fairly well…for you'.

I got one once, so I know what I'm talking about.

And it is with immense pride that I can now reveal that at Cropwell yesterday we did really well…for us.

Cropwell, for keen followers of the Old Contemptibles, has become our end-of-season re-tox; a place where any of the good work we might have contrived to do over the year sinks faster than a boat load of Syrians off the Italian coast.

Faced with an idiosyncratic pitch of variable pace and bounce and a group of bowlers who bowl straight and with a degree of movement through swing, seam and spin, we invariably swap cricket for origami and just fold.

So yesterday's performance really was a mark of progress.

We made 65-7 in the first innings and a massive 66-7 in the second. Both of these totals broke our previous Cropwell 'high' score of 50. It was the first (and then second) time that we had not been bowled out - and all done with just nine players in the first innings and ten after tea.

But did we win either of those games?

Of course we didn't.

First time around, we managed to hold off defeat until the 16th over, thanks to a great opening spell from Chalky (4 overs, 1 maiden 0 for 6) and 1-13 from Wrighty. Kev's four went for 17 and Jim took a wicket but rather lost his way as the ball started getting blatted over the ropes and a previously tight game lost its elasticity and sagged paunchily over its waist band at the crucial moment.

Some of that fleshy spillage was down to fielding of the lowest calibre, with the young 'uns Stanley and Laurie particularly guilty when it came to shelling catches. Stanley at least had the good grace to execute the drop of the day - ball in hands, out of hands, falls over, attempts to kick ball back to hands, runs out of available limbs, fails - and Fred got in on the act later when the sun completely blinded him as he tried to pouch a skied effort at long on.

It was a mini-miracle that the game got even that far, with our batting the wrong side of unacceptable. Only Kev (13) and Fred (10) made it into double figures. JD, Chalky and Laurie (with the shot of the day) hit boundaries but couldn't stick around and Jim and I, were…oh what's the word?..shit.

Wrighty (9) and Stanley (0) at least played out the overs - no mean feat on a pitch so wickety.

Tea was taken, a champagne-fuelled Brigg appeared for the second match and Cropwell batted.

An interesting sub-plot was at play throughout the match, with Jim, Wrighty and Kev all vying to take the most wickets this season.

Before the start of play, the Wookie had 22, the other two 21. By the end of the day, Wrighty and Jim were tied on 23, wth Kev just one behind.

Exciting stuff. eh?

Everyone bowled two overs in the second innings, with quite a wide variety of outcomes forthcoming.

I took 2-9, including a stumping executed by Chalky (who, along with Fred kept excellently) which involved him rugby tackling all three stumps into submission. Laurie, who together with Stanley got an extra over, took 1-6 and both Pingu and The Janitor also took wickets.

Fred and Jim were a tad unlucky and a tadder more expensiver, Stanley's three went for 22 and JD's two for a couple more than that.

And Champagne Brigg fizzed down two overs of pure Lambrusco that cost 28 sobering runs.

Cropwell sagely considered their final score of 128 to be 'competitive'. Have they fucking learned nothing?

Our 62-run defeat was notable for more shit from me and Jim, a golden duck for Chalky and a three-ball zero for Stanley.

But Wrighty, who opened, was the glue that binded us like, erm, glue. He faced 64 balls and kept them all out. Along the way, he hit enough of them to make 31 runs. I believe this is the first time anyone has carried his bat through an entire 20-over innings.

And what did he get for his heroics? Increasingly shrill and hateful barracking from a group of cricketing jackals grown snide and shouty by the hot sun and a growing realisation of their own inadequacies.

Able support in the middle came from Laurie (7), Brigg (8) and JD (9), with the former heroically run out off the last ball trying to get Wrighty unheroically run out off the last ball. His father, I can tell you, was very proud indeed.

And that was that. Another year, another Cropwell savaging.

I have precious few Contemptible ambitions - why go through the trauma of trying when giving up is so much easier? But one day I would dearly love to win both games at that place.

That would truly be progress.

A quick note: We might have a game this Sunday, at Greenfields, versus Madingley. Neither the pitch nor the opposition are confirmed yet, and I'm not entirely sure we can raise a team either.

If you are available, could you let me know so we can decide early whether this is in any way feasible?



Back where we belong - Outlaws match report

4th September 2016

There was a strong sense of normal service being resumed at the weekend.

England, under a new manager, performed much like they did under the old one, but with a deep sea fish rather than a bewildered owl watching on from the sidelines.

Keith Vaz was shown to be a committed back bencher working hands-on, and often long into the night, to personally oversee a fluid exchange of pan-European stimulus and growth.

And we got all shit again.

Like many an opponent, Outlaws give much and expect little in return.

Yesterday followed that pattern - they gave us two big scores to chase and then bowled us out cheaply.

Playing again so soon after our epic Test match experience was always going to be a challenge and we met it with a breathtaking lack of competence in, arguably, the three key areas: batting; bowling and fielding.

For the sake of pain management, I'll detail the two results briefly here.

First up, they made 120-4 and we responded with 70 all out.

After 40 minutes spent gorging on Shaz's ample platters, we were then taken for 165 (with only three wickets lost) and we managed 71 all out in reply.

In mitigation, we played with only 10 in the second game, but we were consitently awful in both.

Jim hit a fine 20 comprised entirely of boundaries and bowled tidily, only to blot his copybook by dropping two chances. To be fair, the second one was a team effort, with Chalky effectively running over, pushing him out of the way and then, when realising it was Jim's catch from the start, helping out by jumping up and down in front of him while shouting 'yours, you useless pseudo-ginger fuck nut'.

That was a low in an otherwise solid Chalky display in which he took a catch, bowled well but without luck and hit a defiant and unbeaten 30 in the second innings.

Only three others managed double figures all day - Fred (12), Kev (11) and one James Dearson.

Like many a 70s TV personality, any number of Chinese clothing manufacturers and ISIS, we have always been a progressive force when it comes to providing opportunities for young talent.

James first played for us as a gauche and lanky teen in the kinder times of the mid-2000s - an innocent era when people still paid for music, Polish people weren't chased down the streets and Britain had a Labour Party.

His return, now 24, was triumphant.

He hit a fine 25 and took a wicket in the first match to prove what a thoroughly pleasant, talented and well-balanced young man he is.

He then dropped a catch off my bowling after tea, the useless bastard.

I did take a catch, which helped Kev to two wickets in the second game, and managed one victim myself. But yet another ridiculous run-out and some generally wretched batting more than off-set that good work.

Stanley continues to impress and his first two wickets for the club were well deserved, while John, Paul and Den regressed from Test match heroics with an easy nonchalance.

And New Iain endured a torrid spell behind the stumps involving a dropped catch and a botched run-out attempt that left him hurling, and then kicking, his treacherous gloves around the ground in a display of personal anguish that provoked general amusement.

Filling in for Stew, however, is a decidedly tough gig, the Ginger Bradman keeping superbly and looking in good touch with the bat before being caught at slip.

Losing is never that hard to take, but it was still pretty painful yesterday, such was the gulf between the two sides. But Outlaws are a great bunch, captained by the ever-lovely (and surprisingly aged) Derek.

And personally, I'll lose to them all day if we can finally get round to beating Cropwell in what looks like being our final match of the year in a fortnight's time.

See you then.


The Test - The Report

28th/29th August 2016

It was two days. So much to pack in. The report was always going to be long.

Here it is.


The Toss

There is no other global sport where so much rests on the flip of a coin.

A good toss won in cricket is the equivalent of a football side earning the right to play downhill, with the wind, for both halves; a water polo team getting to stand pool-side and lob toasters at their jerky and increasingly charred opponents; an entire nation of athletes enjoying the benefits of a co-ordinated state-sponsored doping programme.

And can any of you seriously conceive of a world where such situations are ever likely to arise?

Our toss, however, turned out to be entirely unnecessary: Quad skip Adam won it and decided to bowl. If I'd won it, we would have batted.

It was, in short, a major waste of a couple of minutes, and many more metres, spent trudging out to the middle to perform a ritual the result of which could have been determined via the simple medium of 'just asking each other'.

In hindsight, the resultant two days of effort, sun cream, medicines (both prescription and over the counter), fluid of many flavours and hues, late-night curry, pain, feeble 'banter' and emotional effluent could have been saved by a similarly mutually-acceptable result agreed early doors, before indeed said doors had even been ripped untimley from mother tree and sliced, planed, treated and packaged ahead of shipment to sundry retail parks there to be ogled, assessed and bought by fleshily entitled oppressors intent on knobbing, hanging and banging.

Ten Years A Hand-Forged Suffolk Latch Slave - it's going to win Oscars, I tell you.

But it is the journey, not the destination, apparently.

And so our journey began.

Morning Session

The pitch was slightly damp, the outfield moister than a Gareth drizzle cake, but the overhead conditions warm and sunny as our little and large opening pair of Den and The Drizzler made their way to the middle.

Their mission parameters were almost laughably easy - see off the new ball while the pitch settled down, bat for three or four hours, put on a couple of hundred. We all could have done it, but the honour was afforded to D&D.

And if they were to fail, the mitigation would have to feature some major event possibly involving a ball from Quad bowler Sam that spat up and smacked Den in the face, leaving her crumpled on the ground, her glasses off and her fate, for a few horrendous seconds at least, verging on the disagreeable side of brain damaged or even slightly dead.

How lucky for Den then that a ball from Quad bowler Sam spat up and smacked her in the face, leaving her crumpled on the ground, her glasses off and her fate, for a few horrendous seconds at least, verging on the disagreeable side of brain damaged or even slightly dead?

If not for that, their opening 'partnership' would have been deemed a bit shit.

Once Den had been diagnosed as merely battered and not nearly as bruised around the eye as she would have liked for all that shock and pain, Scampi joined Gareth and the runs began to flow.

Gareth made 11 before being brilliantly caught by Adam's brother (from here on in to be known as Nemesis) off the bowling of Nikhil (another, only slightly less nemesisy figure) while Scampi tucked into some occasional pies to hit a fine 31 involving three sixes.

But this was meant to be a Test match, after all, so a lot more leaving and surviving needed doing before lunch, and this was provided by JD and myself.

The bowling grew tight and the tension, erm, tense, as the clock ticked round to 1pm. It all started to feel like the real thing -good deliveries well watched, techniques examined, runs hard won and the session survived - until it turned out lunch was actually to be taken 15 minutes later so I switched from Test Setting to Fuck It Mode and ran myself out two balls before the interval finally arrived.

Afternoon Session

JD and I had put on around 50 to leave us 103-3 before we lapped up Shaz's savoury offerings.

The post-nosh pair of John and Paul then put on 50-ish more with speed, skill and many boundaries.

They both recorded personal bests. JD's 56 was his first ever half century and Paul's 26 involving four fours - more boundaries than he'd managed in his entire 'career' previously.

The freedom of Test match batting, with considerably less pressure to score quickly compared to the formats we have grown so accustomed to losing at, was genuinely liberating for most.

But woe betide anyone who failed to enjoy that freedom by getting out cheaply. Or, to put it another way, Kev and Jim got ducks, the latter a golden one.

Adrian also failed to trouble the scorers beyond a couple of dot balls, although he was unbeaten at the close, while Den returned, now with added lid, like the brave bugger she is to be bowled cheaply like the Contemptible cricketer she also is.

On a medical note, it's proving tricky to discern if she is suffering any long term brain damage as she's still just bibbling on about the same old shite anyway. More news when I get it. Love you Den xxxx

Chalky hit 18 but was thunderously displeased anyway (a recurring theme, as it transpired) and Fred a chanceless 19 (if you ignore the four times he was dropped) as we closed on 211 all out a few overs before tea.

Wrighty was last out, for seven, denying me the chance to fulfill my Test fantasy of declaring, which would have occured just three balls later.

No matter. Quad then so nearly survived a tricky pre-tea examination from Chalky and Fred.

Indeed, Chalky's Chuntometer went into the red as Sam, Den's personal face masseur, smacked our Cambridgeshire all-star for two enormous sixes, only to be clean bowled by a brilliant Fred delivery just before we trooped off for more Shazzamatazz and hubristic talk of follow-on enforcement.

Evening Session

The Test cricket experience would not be complete without a rain delay, and it duly arrived just after we'd bimbled back out.

Thirty minutes of cover lugging and intense cloud observation ensued before play resumed and I unleashed Jim and Wrighty, aka The Spin Sisters, to save any of our other bowlers from falling over and enfeebling themselves on such slippery ground.

Two wickets fell quickly, Fred taking a smart catch off Wrighty and Jim pulling off an excellent caught and bowled to dismiss Adam. It was fair to say that my counterpart took his demise with a super-sized portion of fury - at himself, I hasten to add - but his genial default setting was soon restored after much changing room venting.

His personal anguish was also mollified by the fine batting of Nemesis and Only Slightly Less Nemesisy, who were decidedly untroubled by the collective efforts of the Sisters, Adrian and Scampi as Quad ended day one 91-3.

The match was more poised than a fifties debutante, the narrative more compelling than an Ira Levin thriller and the competitors more mingingly sweaty than an Olympic wrestler's ball sack.

Showers, new clothes, beer, chat, curry and rest.

A great, great day.

Morning Session

Fresh troops arrived, Tim returned from a long stint as a Quad fielder to become Contemptible again, Big Al set off for a long drive back to Scotland and we set about trying to win that vital first hour of the second day.

We did just that, and the next hour and a quarter as well.

To say that we have never performed better as a bowling unit or as a team is not actually to say a great deal at all. Because we so rarely, if ever, perform as either.

But we were brilliant. Chalky and Kev opened up and were beautifully accurate. Both took deserved wickets before the Sisters returned and wreaked havoc.

In between, Nemesis made a fine fifty, but Jim and Wrighty were not to be denied.

Their figures said it all: fat and unappealing. Their bowling figures said even more: 14.1 overs, 5 maidens, 4-19 (Jim); 13 overs, 2 maidens, 2-22 (Wrighty).

Brigg took two catches and Ian pulled off a great run out and then took a wicket as Quad were bowled out for 140, Stanley 0 not out as their last man standing.

In one magical session, we'd taken eight wickets for just 49 runs in two-plus hours of intense and seriously proper cricket.

Ian and Brigg then survived three overs and lunch was taken.

We had made this Test cricket thing our own. We were on the cusp of something great. We were Cricketing Gods.

Afternoon Session

Forty minutes of cream and custard dribbled all over Shaz's fresh and fruity pie did not exactly galvanise our batting.

In truth, it returned it to a darker, shitter age involving some runs for many wickets.

Only John and Jim made it into double figures, Extras top scored, I was out first ball, Wrighty tried out a new shot involving the ball and his nose in treacherous interplay and Chalky again failed to live up to his own high expectations and walked off refusing eye contact, his face totally rocking the thunderous look.

After a morning reaching for the stars, we were back in the cricketing abattoir where we belong.

There were high points.

Tim finally got a bat, got himself in, got runs and got run out by a brilliant piece of Stanley fielding. Kev fashioned himself an innings, Wrighty hit the ball to the boundary twice as many times as he did to his face and Paul and Tom remained not out just long enough for me to declare our innings on 93.

This left Quad to score 160+ to win and for us to bowl them out in two hours.

We really could have done with a couple of wickets before tea.

We took a mere two fewer than a couple, despite a fine six-over examination from Chalky and Ian.

A draw was looming.

Evening Session

Shaz's final offering involved well-greased baps. Some placed chips and sauce within. I am not one to judge.

The day had been sunny and hot throughout and yet we all seemed generally still not that dead, enough to push for victory/stave off defeat as the long dance drew to its close.

An obdurate opening stand was finally ended by Wrighty. Chalky, having bowled tirelessly and with pace, a touch of venom but absolutely no luck, at least had the honour of completing a well-judged catch in the deep to set the ball rolling and a quick wicket for Jim and another for Wrighty had us thinking that maybe, just maybe, we could pull off the win.

Nemesis and one J Hey had other ideas, however, and when the former took a tiring Jim for 20 from his final over, Quad must have been thinking that maybe, just maybe, they could pull off the win.

Another fine boundary catch from Chalky, off me, and Brigg bowling Stanley put an end to that, the more unlikely of the two scenarios, and even a late snorter from Chalky (a clean bowled, not a cocaine break) was not going to alter the fact that the match had been heading for a draw for the last hour of two wonderful days of cricket.

It was the right result.

On balance, I think we had the better of much of the match, but then Quad endured the tougher conditions, fielding for four long day-one hours in the hottest weather whereas we got cooler temperatures and an overnight rest to ease the fielding slog.

And talking of fielding slogs, Paul was, to my mind, our man of the Test. Dimmick made the most runs, but Paul kept wicket throughout, allowing just ten byes in more than six hours of seriously committed glove work.

He also batted as well as he ever has and all of this done on considerably less lager than usual.

A special mention for Tim, too, who fielded more than anyone else - four hours for Quad and much the same for us. He drew the shortest of crickety straws and then had to survive a drive back to Plymouth in the company of a pukey teenage daughter and five hours of Ariana Grande on the stereo.

I do not know if he made it. No flowers, please, just donations to a local cattery should do.

Saving the best until last, Nikki was the ultimate star. Two solid days of hot sun on sandyish flesh, scoring, scoring, scoring and so much more scoring, endless conversations with Caffers and so many other first world hardships all endured with a cheerfulness and dedication that we really don't deserve.

There was a lot of pre-Test excitement, as well as an understandable amount of doubt that it could ever live up to the hope and hype or that we would all even make it past an hour or so of the second day.

That we were all still standing at the sweet, sweet end and a real game of proper cricket was played against an opposition of such a lovely and generous disposition should be treasured for years to come.

It was a great event, surely the greatest in our ten-year history of good times through shit cricket.

Thanks to all who made it possible and played it so well.

And apologies for anything I've left out. It was a long two days for us all and my mind is not what it was.


Having A Monster Time - Kegworth Match Report

31st August 2016


Late on Saturday night, Jim was sitting in his car, in the dark, beside a park.

Jim was not alone. Many others were there too, their intent and urgent faces bathed in artificial light as they indulged their shared passion; a passion that many would find highly inappropriate.

Who are we to mock? Who are we to judge? And should the fact that he had brought his underage son along for the evening's entertainment add even an ounce to the scales of morality in which we so carelessly weigh and counter-weigh our prejudices?

But enough about Pokemon Go.

Yesterday, we played Kegworth and thus was born Tocemon Gone: a feeble game which we can never seem to win that has a horribly accurate catchphrase: Gotta Catch Fuck All.

In honour of such tripe, you might find a number of these lovable little anti-cricket monsters dotted about the following report.

You will receive precisely nothing for catching them and please, whatever you do, don't even think about trying to incubate them - these wee feckers are beyond evolution and are, if anything, its absolute antithesis and the strongest case for eugenics since the advent of Geordie Shore.


This season has been especially noteworthy for the beautifully pitched teams we have faced, and Kegworth were a case in point yesterday - a perfect mix of ages and abilities coming together in a unit only just the right side of incapable of destroying us.

Like homosexuality, the left-handed and the far right, it seems that we have finally gained a measure of acceptance and understanding in a society previously wary, dismissive and at times outright hostile to our core values of having no values whatsoever.

The result of all that tolerance was two games of closely-fought cricket which we could have won, should have won and, erm, didn't have won.

But who cares when we finally snagged Tocemon #39 - Trigglypuff?

Not to be confused with now well-established pocket botherer #40 Brigglytuff, Trigg has been flirting with the idea of Contemptible cricket for some time now, having grown tired of the more competitive side of the sport and its inevitably joyless macho posturings and (in his own words) 'dead-eyed children'.

There are none more effete and twinkly-eyed than us, and Trigg has now succumbed. We all hope he comes back for more. We all love, cherish and obsess about him.

Not in a needy, stalky, killy way, of course.

But if we can't have him now, NOBODY CAN.

Also in attendance yesterday were #72 Tomtacool (if this Tocemon becomes dehydrated DO NOT give it sugary drinks) and #6 Lauriezard (it never turns it fiery breath on any opponent weaker than itself).

All three contributed much.

Tom bowled two overs, had a bit of a bat and fielded superbly.

Laurie took his first Contemptible wicket and hit one of the shots of the day, a sweetly-timed four through the covers, on his way to an excellent 11 in the second innings.

And Trigg spent the first game fitting right in by failing to get close enough to even drop one chance and illuminated the second innings with a top-scoring 25 of maximum power and minimal running.

Kegworth set us a laughbly enormous 134 to win the first game despite some excellent bowling from Jim (2-23) and Wrighty (3-19), aided by the wicketless opening pair Kev and Fred who generally kept it tidy and a solid two overs from Brigg, who finished with 1-16.

#25 Pikastew was excellent behind the stumps, finishing with a flourish when he executed a stumping, and his batting then took us perilously close to victory.

He was unbeaten on 52, bringing up his half century with a six, as we came within one more maximum of reaching our target.

Stew was brilliantly supported by #104 Cubogie (24) and a fighting 15 from #50 Dimlett. And he was not supported at all by #25 Pikeychu, who lasted two balls, one of which knocked him off his feet as it swung more than Elton John's hubby, although certain injunctions probably forbid me from typing this.

A cracking game then, followed by a cracking tea provided by Jim (huge thanks) with help from Anna (only marginally smaller thanks).

And then off we went again, with Kegworth facing 10 of our bowlers completing two overs each.

Trigg, myself and Stew were particularly parsimonious, but the glory went to Jim and Kev late on as they both bowled hat-trick balls (no joy, alas) and finished with 3-9 and 3-5 respectively.

Fred kept wicket very tidily and Kev's fielding deserves special mention too. He'd previously failed to stop a couple of boundaries, so when a Kegworth batsman launched another especially savage shot his way, Kev was determined to intercept it.

He did so through the medium of taking it on the full.

On his ankle.

It looked unbelievably painful, but Derbyshire men are made of teak and no-nonsense.

And beer, a love of nature, IT skills and enormous kidneys.

So Kev almost nonchalantly continued as if t'was but a brushed kiss from gossamer lips rather than an enormous twatting from a hard leather sphere hit with cruel velocity.

He even claimed that his grazed elbow hurt more.

Set 96 to win, Laurie and Trigg put us in such a strong position that Kegworth were forced to bring on the bigger boys to bowl.

This prompted any number of overs spent simply surviving, particularly by me and Jim, and the run rate started to rise quicker than a Viagra souffle.

It was left to last men in Ian and Stew to win the day and they so nearly did. With seven needed from three balls, Ian launched a drive flat and true and, alas, straight to the tallest player on their team stationed right on the long-on boundary.

Said lanky bastard took a brilliantly lanky bastard catch above his lanky bastard head and we again fell just short.


But winning is not everything, nor indeed anything, to us and yesterday was a great contest played in an excellent spirit and involving any number of fat old Tocemon.

And for the sake of completion, here's the full list of other monsters you could have caught - #109 Koffing, #110 Weezing, #43 Oddish and #56 Mankey. All real Pokemon, I kid you not.

And during my lengthy (ie one-click) research, I came across this little beauty:

#97 "Hypno holds a pendulum in its hand. The arcing movement and glitter of the pendulum lull the foe into a deep state of hypnosis. While this Pokémon searches for prey, it polishes the pendulum."

Polishes the pendulum??!!?? More like Rohypno to me...

Dover Days And Domestic Violence - Greenfields Match Report

24th July 2016

Since last did Dame Cricket and Lord Old Twat engage in unholy cricketing congress, much has occured.

May has become Prime Minister, Hammond is Chancellor and Dearson has gone on holiday.

The latter at least avoided a 16-hour drive through Dover; a temporal slog surpassed only by the batting of Adrian and Stanley during our second innings at Greenfields yesterday.

The torpid two took eight overs to amass 14 runs, Adrian's 10 from 22 deliveries positively slapdash compared to Stanley's 32-ball four.

I record all this tedium merely to highlight how excellent the pair were in the first innings. The old fella hit an unbeaten eight at nearly a run a ball, while his considerably junior partner was 10 not out and hit a superb four to the longest boundary on the ground.

And before all of that, Adrian took 4-28, clean bowling three victims and trapping the other leg-before in a wonderful display of accuracy and guile.

In fact, our first innings bowlers all performed well. Chalky and Wrighty were both wildly unlucky not to take wickets, while Kev H ended with eye-opening figures of four overs, one for nine and Jim three for 15.

Greenfields finished on exactly 100 for eight and New Iain added any number of bruises to his kingsize hangover as he attempted to keep wicket to Chalky on a pitch of wildly variable bounce. How best to describe that particular vignette? Think of Iain as Ulrika to Chalky's Collymore.

Three overs into our reply we had 30 on the board as Kev H took a liking to the very short garden-side boundary and Jim hit two fours of exquisite timing.

Their opening partnership was only halted by a run-out that Jim was more than happy to remind Kev of for the rest of the match, trying the patience of even that most mild-mannered of janitors.

Chalky then kept our run rate the right side of 'can't fail to win' with a big six over long on in a top-scoring knock of 24.

And yet we did fail to win. By 17 runs.

Den and I didn't trouble the scorers at all and John, Iain and Archie were only nominally more troubling as our victory dash went from imperious to improbable in the blinking of a rheumy eye.

Only Wrighty (11) and the dynamic duo mentioned above kept things respectable before we retired to the clubhouse to nosh on Shaz's bush tucker.

Roles were then reversed upon resumption, so we were expected to set a total.

Eight overs in, that total was threatening to be around the 30-mark.

That we ended on 54-6 was down to a top-scoring 18 from me - although I did run out Den so deserve little praise - and a fine knock of 13 from Extras.

New Iain and Jim finished unbeaten on three apiece as we set about trying to keep Greenfields from winning inside about four overs.

That we did just that - they took a massive nine overs to reach our 'score' - was down to some excellent bowling from Archie and Stanley.

The young 'uns also fielded brilliantly - unlike the rest of us, who dropped catches and seemed intent on offering up the chance of overthrows off pretty much every delivery.

We weren't helped by the fact that Chalky had to leave early after his knee became more inflamed than a Remain voter's mis-placed sense of moral indignation, either.

But there was still time for another chunk of Contemptible history as Den took her first ever wicket thanks to a well-judged catch by Jim in the deep.

And a special mention must go to John for nearly killing Kev when he threw the ball back to him without a) checking to see if he was looking and b) not bothering to tell him he'd better start looking straight away - a beautiful example of in-house incompetence for which we are rightly renowned.

But the weather stayed the dry side of agreeable and Greenfields were, as ever, charming hosts, which always sweetens the pill of inevitable and crushing defeat.

Talking of which, we play Kegworth on Sunday - places for that humilifest are still up for grabs...


What Lies 'Neath Archie's Hat - Whatton match report

10th July 2016

So much has changed over the last few tumultuous weeks.

The weather of a British summer is no longer reliable…England have suddenly and inexplicably become shit at tournament football… America appears to have developed a problem with mass shootings.

Hell, they've even let leathery wraith Cliff Richard back into the Royal Box at Wimbledon, the entirely innocent sexual monstrosity.

But an Old Contemptible trip to Long Whatton remains as predictable as chips with fish, gin with tonic, casual with racism.

We turn up, they bat. We start well, they counter with pain. We fish the ball out of various bushes and fields, they put it back there pronto.

We bat, they take wickets. We fall well short of the target, they give us tea and then the whole sorry business is played out for a second time.

This year's 'contest' fitted the template in every respect.

Kev H and Fred took the new ball and took a wicket each as they had Whatton 27-2 after eight excellent overs.

Four overs later our hosts were 79-2. By the end of the innings, they were 154-5. Jim took two wickets, Wrighty one and Archie none. All received the sort of treatment usually reserved for black American men during a routine traffic stop.

Our bowlers' lives matter, Whatton.




Our reply started amazingly well. Thirteen was plundered from the first over as Kev H took a liking to full tosses and a painfully short leg side boundary.

He hit two sixes and a four in a brisk 20 which, alas, was four more than his opening partner (Jim out for 1) and the next three batsmen - Spike (10), Fred (5) and John (0) - managed between them.

I dragged myself to the wicket to witness two more dismissals - New Iain (0 second ball) and Paul (golden duck) - that left us very handily placed at 38-7 after six overs.

The fact that we managed to see out the innings for the loss of just one more wicket is about as good as it gets for us at Whatton.

Wrighty stuck around for a very Wrighty seven, I was undefeated on 16 and Brigg hit a personal best 30 not out which involved some sweetly-timed boundaries and an admirable refusal to get out to his son.

Tom bowled very tidily and has the makings of a fine cricketer, but he will never be allowed to read these kind and encouraging words as I have just inserted the words 'fuck' and 'pissflaps' into this sentence.

Such is the power I yield.

After a most excellent tea, we all bowled two overs each as Whatton scaled back the destruction to finish on 122, their innings curtailed by a vigorous rain shower.

Highlights were many - Paul getting the wonderful Tom out (arseburgering cockfunnels), Wrighty completing an attempted stop on the boundary by kicking the ball for four and Archie's hat coming off.

This latter occurence finally resolved the burning question - what's actually underneath his omnipresent beanie?

I've always liked to imagine that it hides the horrific results of his father's many painkiller-crazed attempts to secure a trepanning scout badge, his eldest son's cranium a seeping hell of tufty yellow lumps, gaping holes, weeping pus and maggots.

But that might just be me.

The reality is more hair and, well, that's it. But that hat is attached to a fine fielder who executed another run-out yesterday, so that's tremendously rad, as I believe the totally trendy young people like to say these days.

Moving on.

Our second innings mirrored our first, only without Kev's boundary-soaked start.

Only three managed to make it into double figures - Fred (32 not out) who hit the last ball for a mighty six, Extras (23 not out) and me (15 not out) - as we dawdled to 96-7 by the close.

But it was still a lovely day, with a pleasing amount of sunshine and a very well pitched Whatton side who dumbed themselves down so well that both defeats felt more humbling than humiliating.

That, for us, is real progress.

And finally - good luck to Chalky for his job interview on Wednesday. He deemed this more important than cricket, apparently. What a diva. Not like Tom, who is not, and will never be, such a fisty mingetrumpet.

Cleopatra, Farage and Gareth's head - Birthday Match Report

25th June 2016

Brexit, like an event that happened seven days ago, is soooooo last week.

Yesterday was where it was at, and that was our continuing struggle to implement Crexit while simultaneously celebrating my impending half century.

Who needs stability, harmony and an established order where talent is rewarded and lauded, when you can have a bunch of cretards just making shit up - and not very good shit at that - as they wobble blithely along?

It served us so well 10 years ago when we started this sorry excuse for a club and the ensuing decade has done much to blunt our 'skills', deadening limbs, reactions and reproductive capabilities in equal and enormous measure.

The Warwickshire opener William Shakespeare once wrote - about chart topper Cleopatra (Comin' Atcha) - that 'age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety'.

Well for us, age has merely confirmed that we are increasingly withered and have decidedly limited variety. Limited, in fact, to three guaranteed occurrences per match:


The comedy misfield.

It was lovely to see Gary come out of retirement to thrill on the field once more.

One of Gary's nicknames used to be 'The Orient Express'.

Yesterday, he was more 'The East Midlands Train Service To Lincoln Central, calling At Beeston, Nottingham, Carlton, Burton Joyce, Lowdham, Thurgarton, Bleasby, Fiskerton, Rolleston, Newark Castle, Newark North Gate, Collingham, Swinderby and Hykeham, has been cancelled and you can fucking sing for a bus replacement service.'

Gary was never particularly fond of stopping a cricket shot that was anything other than very badly mis-timed, so when he bounded in from backward square leg, only to be confronted by an especially well-cleaved rocket from Ian, he performed what is known in baseball circles as 'the double play' which, for Gary, involves totally missing the ball while also falling over.

Beautiful. Just beautiful.


The dropped catch.

In yesterday's first match, us Old Conts beat the Slightly Less Old Conts because we held our catches.

And because they were shit.

Second time around, the roles were reversed, massively helped by my inability to realise that Spike gave me a chance for a caught and bowled that I spurned with the minimum of effort and maximum amount of befuddled incompetence.

But that wasn't so much a drop as an absence of attempt.

It was left to Gareth to pull off the most spectacular drop, again involving Spike, on the long-on boundary.

The ball flew through his hands, briefly embedded itself in his forehead and then ambled into the fence for four. Gareth was, by then, uncaring and disturbingly lifeless on the floor. He recovered quickly and was soon to be heard saying 'I should have fucking caught it', so all was well, although Gareth took no further part in the match and went home not long afterwards.

I know a lot of you were keen to know that Gareth got back safely after his moment, so you'll be delighted to discover that he did just that and sent me a text confirming no lasting physical or mental effects.

But don't just take my word for it, here's that text in full:

"Dougal! Doooogster! Doogie Howser MD. LOL!!!! Howyadoing? Sorry couldn't make it today but am sipping on some straw-coloured liquid that's been gushing from my ears for some reason. Tastes like fusty mind wax, ya know?
"And the Illuminati RSFuckingPB. Bird Wankers!! BIRD WANKERS!!!!
"cold so cold hot now Oooh Jancis Robinson's Mango Travellator hahahahahahaha!!! dizzy sick trousers oh OH Finger sss lik sosssser sausag oh MUsT NEED goin to the light"

So. Yes. No need to worry about Gareth.


The opposition batsman who destroys us.

Spike. 50 not out. Sixes hit. Gareth hit. That is all.

I normally try and mention everyone in a match report, but seeing as how that tends to involve just the 11 of us, whereas this game featured more than double that, I'm going to pick out a few worthy of mention and thank the rest of you just for turning up and being as brilliant/crap/disinterested as ever.


John 'Johnny Brexit' Dimmick swivelling on Grade-C knees to smack a shot dangerously close to wicketkeeper Stew on his way to a first innings top score of 25 that won us the match.

Simon 'BoJo' Nash coming out of semi-retirement to open said innings with some style, runs and a surprising lack of top edges.

Laurie compiling an excellent second innings 26 as he and Spike put us to the sword.

Archie for running me out with a brilliant throw. Beanie-hat bastard.

Stanley for bowling four very tidy overs that, crucially, didn't involve getting his old man out.

Jim's heroic one-handed batmanship.

And Johnny 'Ian's Girlfriend's Step-Dad Johnny' Ward for turning up, taking wickets, dropping a catch or two and making a few runs - you fitted our peculiar brand of cricket like a six-fingered glove on a Norfolk farmer and are most welcome to come again if you so desire.

I read a quote today:

"It keeps its own, archaic kind of time. Test cricket, in particular, defies the appetite for instant gratification, offering instead something that matures and acquires depth along the way."

It is a matter of some personal pride that we have gone in completely the other direction, becoming more juvenile and shallow with every passing match.

I have no idea whether I will still be able to play cricket on my 60th birthday, or indeed whether I even reach that landmark, but if it happens, I fervently wish to spend it with as many of you as possible, still doing the same stupid stuff to an even lower standard.

It was, for me, a great and moving day for which I thank you all from the bottom of what passes for a heart. I feel blessed to know you all and can only apologise that this state of affairs, by the power of logic, has to be reciprocated by you.

Thank you for the gifts, your time and your good humour. And a special thank you to John and Jim - and anyone else who went above and beyond to make my birthday game so utterly lovely.


Sycamore, Sycaless - Match Report

19th June 2016

It was bizarre.

They cheated a bit.

It was wet.

Rees was an excellent guest although Paul was a bit like a dog chasing a ball.

Archie took an excellent catch and nearly took two more the same and dived around a lot.

Everyone was 'in the game' and we finished early and grumbled off.

Scuba Cricket - Conts v Hathern (guest reporter: Kevin Hutchby)

11th June 2016

On a day when there should have been no cricket… zero… zilch… none at all, on a day where even the cricket Gods declared "You lot are fucking mental" before getting on with their … whatever it is they do, we played.

Why? Most teams don't have a 'Jim Field'. We do and therefore we played.

Some highlights:

  • Batting first in an 8-ball 14 over format J Field set the standard before Chalky smashed a few before being erroneously informed that he had another fifty to his name - when he actually had a mere 43. He then, of course, got out.
  • Most scored a few (although Gareth and Stew went reasonably cheaply, along with yours truly) and a target of 105 was set for our opposition
  • Kev H opened the bowling and carried on with his season-long exemplary line and length - two excellent catches from Dearson ensuring deserving figures of 5 runs and 2 wickets off 16 balls. The second catch was all set to be taken by a well-set, screaming MMJ, before Flash lived up to his name and steamed on through with ball safely bucketed. Kev H bowled as well as his figures suggested, despite the obvious bias of the writer, the guy's got something.
  • Den was lively in the field - diving this way and that.
  • Brigg also bowled well, and ran out Brigg Junior. Cries of "That's for Belton!" quickly followed.
  • Catching got better and better with Brigg and G Fisher pouching beauties!
  • Jim F bowled some excellent stuff and deserved better figures.
  • Stew was Stew: typically excellent behind the stumps and playing some lovely stuff before being made out with an excellent one-handed catch … at a stretch as well
  • There was a polar bear and a dog called Colin
  • 2nd match - it pissed down - we played on. The kids got a good go and we all got a good soaking.
  • Chalky sat it out with a smashed groin (correct medical term required)
  • Kev H showed his petulance once again when sliding in to bowl. A player who always prefers the drier version of the game.
  • Opposition were excellent. They turned up for starters and played in the right spirit … and an awful lot of H2O
  • They did as we did in mixing up the shit players with the shitter players.
  • They got 68 … we fell annoyingly yet typically short - although the efforts of Fred W and Dave W, who put on an excellent 50 partnership, was noteworthy, I suppose.
  • Did I mention the polar bear and Jonathan the greyhound?
  • In summary then: wet
  • 10 minutes after stumps - it absolutely fucked it down.

Big-up to Jim F., for an optimism and determination that, it has to be said, is quite simply off the fucking map!

What The Papers Say - Mountsorrel Match Report

15th May 2016

The Old Contemptibles' decision to change captain ahead of their clash with Mountsorrel on Sunday dominates the press today, with a number of papers very happy with the performance of stand-in skipper Tim 'Chalky' White.


WHITE POWER!!!! parped The Sun


While the Daily Mail chose to focus on another story completely, declaring:


The Guardian speculated as to the reason behind White's promotion, concluding 'Captain Wardale's upcoming work schedule, which will mean him missing future matches, could have had a bearing on the decision, but most agreed that actually the move was based, as ever, on sheer fucking idleness.'

White's tactical nous, enthusiasm and his individual performance garnered universal praise, with The Times calling him 'a latter day giant of the game, with the technique and temperament to go far, perhaps all the way to club level in and around the Cambridge area'.

Unfortunately, he could not rally his troops to actually win either of their games, held at Long Whatton, against a most agreeable Mountsorrel side.

On a slow, low and damp pitch, the visitors were indebted to a six-strewn innings from a man known only as 'Derek'. He plundered 44 quick-fire runs in an otherwise sedate 20-over jog to 118-5.

Pick of the bowlers were Kev H (4 overs, 2 for 20), Cap'n Chalk (3-1-11), Jim (4-1-15) and newcomer Phil D (aka one of two Chalky mates drafted in to make us quorate) who took 1 for 27 from three overs.

Support bowling was provided by idle ex-skip Wardale (3 overs for 23) and Laurie (3 overs for 22).

The Contemptibles' reply, alas, rarely resembled a run-chase.

Opener Jim was the only player untroubled by the lack of pace and bounce in the pitch, hitting a superb 45 at around about a run-a-ball.

He received precious little support, however, with both Kevs going for ducks (the returning Sheffield arm of the Kev operation needing just the one delivery for his) and New Iain using 11 balls to make a single.

Chalky's other mate, Zee, hit 13 and the captain himself launched one beautiful straight six but was otherwise becalmed on his way to 16.

Stand-down skipper Wardale also hit 16, unbeaten, and stuck around long enough with Jim to suggest, for a couple of overs at least, that The Conts might chase down the target.

But such high hopes were soon dashed and 92-6 was how it finished.

Tea was taken and the sun stuck around for an agreeably long time, drying out the pitch.

Unfortunately, this didn't make the wicket any easier to bat on. Quite the opposite, indeed, with the bounce and pace becoming wildly variable – some deliveries skidded through, others reared up off a length.

Mountsorrel duly struggled in the second innings, labouring their way to 94 all out from the last ball of their allotted 20 overs.

Contemptible highlights were many.

Both Archie and Kev H were on hat-tricks, the latter denied an attempt at glory by the annoying reality of there being no more players to bowl at.

Phil took 3-17 and both Chalky and Jim kept things tight, aided by some excellent fielding. Both Jim and The Pikey Refusenik pulled off run-outs and The Glorious New Leader took the catch of the day, a diving effort of some brilliance.

Another attempted catch promised similarly spectacular returns.

JD looked to have pouched a superb low chance, only for the ball to start bobbling from his meaty grasp. It was fine, though, as he juggled the cherry upwards, giving himself a second go at securing it. But still it would not settle, so John went for broke, attempting to complete the catch by throwing it away.

This, as you can imagine, did not end well.

And neither did The Conts' reply. Nor did it start well or middle-bit any better.

After three innings of wear and tear, the pitch was now in full-on beast mode, delivering consistently inconsistent pace and bounce pretty much every ball.

Openers Wardale and Dimmick struggled, much to the scorn of their ever-loving teammates. By the time every one of them had had a go themselves, they realised just how horrible batting had become.

Only two players made it into double figures.

A run-a-ball 16 from Your Gypsy Correspondent took 16 overs to complete as he spent most of the time at the non-striker's end watching swishes, misses and wickets, while New Iain hit 14, including two of the three fours managed all innings.

The rest was…yeah.

Lowlights included Kev R retiring hurt on one as his knee suggested a year out from cricket might not quite be long enough and JD taking 20-plus balls to make two runs.

Phil, Zee, Archie and Jim all failed to trouble the scorers (massive thanks to Nicky and Trigg), Kev H managed three and Cap'n Fantastic was unbeaten at the close on five as we spasticated our way to 48 all out.

Still, seeing as we didn't actually have a game to play following not one, but two cancellations – brilliant fixture work by Jim to find both a ground and opposition – we had a cracking day's cricket played in beautiful conditions against fabulous opponents.

We're not in action again until June, so enjoy the averages (as compiled by Jim) and rest up.

Me Me Me - Kegworth Match Report

8th May 2016

As I know you'll all agree, perhaps the greatest of my many, many qualities is my humility.

So it is with a certain reluctance that I begin this match report by turning the spotlight on my wonderful, wonderful self.

However, my performance in the match against Kegworth was of such a quintessentially Contemptible nature, it just has to be done.

On the plus side, I took a catch, and my bowling figures were very tidy indeed, which only a churl would point out was due to the fact that I didn't bowl at all.

As for the batting, shit got…well, shitter.

A run-a-ball seven not out in the first innings was okay, if rather marred by me running out a flowing and in-form Gareth simply because he's capable of running a three and I'm very much not.

But my second innings zero, involving a painfully awful 10 balls and yet another run out, this time of myself, had absolutely nothing going for it whatsoever except a certain sweaty wretchedness.

I've now been responsible for all four run-outs this season, only two of which have led to my own deserved dismissal, and I continue to lead from the very back row of the cheapest seats in the captaincy house.

Now that's out of the way, let's get on with the game.

Kegworth fielded a side containing many yong 'uns and an Australian grade cricketer. The latter treated us to a batting masterclass in the first innings, scoring an unbeaten century of perfect, unhurried timing and execution.

He was, however, dropped on ten by Caffers, who paid for it by having to retire at the end of the innings with a hand still throbbing from the attempt.

His erstwhile replacement, Laurie, was denied the opportunity for second innings glory by a New Iain practice throw that smacked him on the knee.

Iain was then beaten up by a protective Polly, which completed the post-tea entertainment.

By that stage, we'd lost the first game by some margin, having failed to chase down 143.

There were some good performances, though.

Brigg, Wrighty and JD all took a wicket, Stew completed one of two stumpings on the day, and Kev H (32) and Gareth (28) batted us to a respectable 109-5, with Stew (9) and New Iain (8) also among the runs. Ish.

Tea and the continued glorious weather took their toll second time around, as bloated and sun-moistened bodies shuffled around like poundshop zombies.

Another key drop, this time by Kev H, allowed a second batsman to propser long into the innings, taking his reprieve on six to a damaging 55, and we again managed just the three wickets, shared between an excellent Wrighty (four overs, 2 for 12) and a slightly more profilgate Jim (4-1-31).

Kev H and Gareth bowled three tight overs and Brigg managed two good ones and a final over involving the ball in frequent visits to, and often over, the boundary as we were set 133 to win.

My wondrous opening odyssey then played out, while Chalky went back to his old, tried and trusted bat and put it to some seriously good use.

He hit a fine unbeaten 55, including a mighty six, and was the only one of us who got into double figures.

JD and Wrighty came close, with nine apiece, New Iain stuck around for an 18-ball one and second reserve Mini Brigg (aka Tom) hit a defiant three, aided and abetted by some kindly Kegworth fielders.

By the end of 20 overs, we'd crawled to 93 for 6, Extras providing Chalky with the best support in an unbeaten innings of 14.

So what did we learn?

  1. Never, ever play against an Aussie grade cricketer.
  2. Try not to drop him, or anyone else half decent, if you want to have a chance at winning.
  3. I'm very, very sorry.

Nicely done, I think - start with me, end with me.

NEXT UP: NOT GREENFIELDS. Next week's match is off as they're in cup action.

Attached are the averages - many thanks to Jim for those.


Cold, No Comfort, Harm - Knossington Match Report

24th April 2016

First they took Victoria Wood. Then they took Prince. And now they've taken our unbeaten record for the season. Oh 2016 – what did we do to deserve you?

Conditions for our opening game of the year were warm and pleasant. As in 'the reception for the Mexican at the Trump rally was warm and pleasant'.

Yep, it was freezing.

Fielding first against the fine men of Knossington, it quickly became apparent that stopping the ball with your hands was going to hurt. So a number of us elected to use other bits instead – a shin here, a big toe there – which turned out to be just as exquisitely painful.

Even so, we actually bowled and fielded very well. Only one catch went down and only two bowlers went wicketless. They were Wrighty, who pingued down four excellent overs for just nine runs, and Chalky, who went for 12 from two but suffered because he was a little too fast.

That might sound strange, but the wicket was slower than Forrest Gump's idiot brother, so anyone bowling around milk float pace proved incredibly hard to get away.

As a result, Jim (3-17) and Kev (3-10) prospered, ably supported by Brigg (1-19) and Ian B (1-17) as we restricted out visitors to 85 for 8 from their 20 overs.

The fielding highlight was Kev H's excellent running catch at mid-on. His knee might still be in rehab, but his hands remain bucket-tastic.

With such a small total to get, all we really needed was a brisk start and the victory would be ours.

Jim gave us precisely that, hitting three boundaries in a top-scoring 23 which, when allied to Stew's watchful 21, had us cruising to the win.

Once they'd both departed, however, things got a bit shitter. The run rate dried up and the wickets tumbled.

Laurie bowled Chalky with what is now widely regarded as the greatest leg-spin delivery of all-time (Warne to Gatting was always over-rated), Caffers and I made 22 between us but at about a run an hour and we suddenly needed 12 from the final over.

New Iain, who finished 5 not out, watched from the other end as sundry teammates approached the challenge with all the relish of a vegan in an abattoir. Three had a go, three failed and we fell 11 runs short.

At least Paul had the good grace to fail spectacularly, buggering up his foot, falling over and then walking around like a drunken stroke victim on a bouncy castle. Unsurprisingly, he would take no further part in proceedings.

Second time around, Chalky managed four tidy overs and his first two-wicket haul for the club, I took one wicket, bowled three good overs and one wretched one and Wrighty deservedly got among the wickets as well.

But the star of the show was our fielding. We contrived to complete three run-outs, two of which were really rather proper.

New Iain and Stew combined with ruthless efficiency for the first and Jim completed the second from the comfort of the floor, hurling the ball to Stew who whipped off the bails from in front of the stumps like a low-rent Matt Prior.

Despite these unlikely heroics, Knossington hit 103 – an excellent total on such a low-scoring track.

Our reply was spearheaded by Ian and Iain. The former cracked 38, which included two sixes and the demise of the bat his corporate largesse had paid for – a fitting end to a fine piece of willow. And the latter? He was bowled first ball.

Wrighty and Den also failed to trouble the scorers, meaning that after four overs we were 27-3 and Ian had scored every single one of those runs.

Brigg (14) and Chalky (17) corrected that imbalance and with Kev H hitting 16, we were left with a mere 16 needed off the final over.

Five runs came from the first three balls before the final three were played out in properly Contemptible fashion.

Chalky was bowled, so I came in. With two sixes required, I promptly middled the ball with my pad and called Kev through for a preposterous and pointless single that led to his inevitable demise. Caffers then set about knocking off the 11 we needed from the final delivery through the medium of getting clean bowled.

So, two games, two defeats. Wasn't it ever thus?

The opposition, however, were a lovely bunch who thoroughly enjoyed themselves, New Iain's wife baked us a beautiful cake and Stew's beloved Leicester City took an enormous stride towards securing the league title.

And if Leicester can do it, so can…no, some underdog stories are destined to end with a lethal injection and incineration round the back of the vets.

Next up: Kegworth on May 8.