The Old Contemptibles Cricket Club

Nos venit, nos egit, et nos erant fractis

Match reports - 2017

Madingley Match Report (guest reporter: Kevin Hutchby)

17th September 2017

Destination Waterbeach - via Burger King - for our almost annual, almost season finale, against an always fun, always gracious and always superior Madingley.

Finally: a ground where losing a ball was a real challenge but, unfortunately, facing a ball was an even more realer challangerer. Add some recently large and inclement weather on an uncovered pitch, throw in a shed-load of lugworms (who'd casted [shat] massively all over the strip) and the scene is set.

Waterbeach … a quick trip to Google, Wikipedia and/or Key to English Place-names confirms the village's name has evolved from "Water-pitch" (c.1745) and, later "Watterbitch" (c.1802). Renamed in mid-September 2017 to "What a bitch of a beach of a pitch"

What to do? Throw the ball to MMJ (he'll get 'em out) is what was decided. A decision repaid in a tight four overs with little given away and a top three seen off. Catching chances were always going to be on offer, with the pitch causing many a miscue due to its sticky toffee softness. What made a difference was some quality pouching from New Iain, Bertie Wookster, borrowed Owen, and, later on in innings two, Adrian, who took a belter of a steepler after a 10-minute wait for it to come down.

Early bowling was far from profligate, and contest #1 looked to be heading our way. What to do? Throw the ball to Brigg (he'll get the game going) was what was decided. And suddenly it was on - Madingley setting 113.

Wickets were generally shared around, with very tight bowling from Scampi who produced an absolute, and  almost literal, wizard of a delivery to clean bowl a mesmerised victim. A ball that stopped halfway down the pitch before gaining a second, bouncing and looping wind before finally dying … on the batsman's stumps. Double-takes and, batsman included (I think), merriment all round. If that had been the Perth wicket, the ball would have probably cleared batsman and keeper.

Wardale Junior-Middle kept wicket in both innings and did what can only be described as a 'bloody fine job indeed'. As did the ever-lively Archie , who seemed to chase and throw absolutely everything, whether required or not. Enviable amounts of energy both, labradorial genes in the latter.

Out to bat following a decent all-round effort in the field and with a chase-able target.

Ok, not chase-able then. Not by us. Stodgy batting on a sticky pitch with large boundaries ensured the scoreboard ticked slower than a stopped watch. New Iain stuck around for ages, and for what surely must've been his maiden 50 … the scorebook showing seasonally adjusted figures of a lot, lot less.

MMJ and Bertie tried to thrash and, to some degree, succeeded. Just not long enough to make enough of a difference - MMJ providing a masterclass in how to pick out the only fielder in that particular 10-acre zone of the field. Running for threes was certainly on, were it not for some excessively lazy batsman.

First game: fun but lost. We scored 63.

Second game: reduced to a 16-overs-a-side thrash because of the encroaching storm. Winds increased, temperatures dropped … result probably wouldn't change.

A more challenging and even more chase-able target of 85 posted by Madingley as tired and tea-full bowling met not-so-tired batting. Some bowling success for Fred, Pingu and MMJ but, ultimately and predictably, too many to chase. At least those who got to bat had a chance of staying warm by running about a bit. Pingu the standout - he flippered it around and hung about for almost all of the innings. Others went out and seemed to be back very shortly after. Boundaries always at a premium on such a large pitch - about 75 acres I reckon. A pitch so big that Chalky was reduced to having to text his fellow fielders to roll out his usual and persistent multitude of micro-adjustments in the field.

We scored 62 second time around.

In short: lost and lost. But much fun against a great bunch.

Hats off also to the umpires … who must've been fucking freezing. New Iain is probably still in a hot bath even now.

Short and sweetish - Wanderers Match Report

3rd September 2017

Apologies, but I have too much to do and receding amounts of time in which to do it, so I'm going for a Tesco Value report today.

We won and then we lost.

There you go. Have a nice day.

Oh go on then…

First match ingredients: Opposition capitulation to 58-run total (50%), winning Contemptible reply for the loss of five wickets (35%), excellent bowling from Chalky, Fred, Kev and Jim (5%), excellent batting to secure victory from Ian and John (5%), unbeaten batters at point of victory Den and Fred (2%), Pappa Pikey inflicting caught and bowled on Wardale Junior Junior Junior (1%), nicely hit four and then dismissal to a snorter for new man Jason (1%), nicely hit four by opposition batsman Wardale Junior Junior (1%), obvious maths gag to end list of ingredients (16%).

Second match in numbers:

  • 123 - the amount of runs smashed by their opening batsman
  • 12 - around the number of runs said batsman had scored when dropped by Fred off my bowling
  • 4 - the number of drops Fred has now managed off my bowling this season
  • 10 - the mark (out of 10) that accurately conveys what a bitter old twat I am
  • 4 - the number of drops-within-a-drop that Fred managed later in the innings
  • 0 - the mark (out of 10) that accurately reflects Fred's confidence levels while fielding at present
  • 10 - the mark (out of 10) that accurately conveys what a shit parent I am for continung to mention all of this
  • 28 - the number of runs scored by Field Junor Senior in a fine knock for them
  • 194 - Wanderers' final total
  • 136 - the total (for 6) that we managed in reply
  • 33 - my (not out) high score of the innings
  • 32 - Kev's (not out) would have been high score of the innings if he'd faced another ball
  • 25 - a typically jaunty Chalky innings
  • 15 - a fine debut innings from Angus/Johnald 2.0
  • 0 - the wides bowled by Wardale Junior Junior Junior
  • 8 - the mark (out of 10) I'll give the match for entertainment
  • 0 - the mark (out of 10) I'll give the drizzly, chilly, bollocky weather
  • 6 - days until the next match at Madingley
  • 0 - the number of additional minutes this report will continue to trouble your eyes

Dulce et decorum est - Test Match Report

27th/28th August 2017

They came from all corners and of all persuasions: good and bad; right and wrong, fat and sweaty. But all came to fight the fight until it was won, or until they could fight no more.

Here were Chewy and Scampi, Pingu, the Johnald, Cpl Pennykid and Sgt White (who the men would insist on calling Chalky, such fun!), young brother Wardales, Dearsons sundry, multiple Ians of many spellings, a short chap called Dennis and singular Kevins.

As the campaign wore on, reinforcements arrived: bugler Brigg and a new chaplain who'd once bagged one in the face, but had lived to pray another day. The Captain – a leader, of sorts, although we could never quite fathom how he came about his commission - brought sad news of Brother Louis; felled in the prime of mid-life before he could even make it to the front.

These happy few, this band of brothers and a short chap called Dennis, they came to a corner of some foreign Greenfield that is for ever England and fought and fell for what they knew to be right, but had much trouble putting into practice on a consistent or convincing basis.

FIRST PUSH

Field J and Janitor MM – men of spunk and fortitude – led our advance, only to be mowed down by the enemy gunners. Dimmick J soon followed, three bodies strewn across the hot summer ground, a mere 13 yards into our attack.

Cpl Pennykid and The Captain – men of experience and, in one case, dubious heritage – were called to action and rallied the troops; the corporal calm, the officer becalmed until a weakness in the enemy lines was breached and he rushed through at a thunderous pace.

The Is then had it – Ian and Iain – as ground was made at a giddy chat. Men fell, but the advance was solid – a hundred yards, then two hundred! Sergeant White and Wardale Junior Senior in the vanguard, the enemy buckling but not quite breaking.

And then, amidst all the courage and carnage, a strange truce sprang up; one of food and drink and Sky Sports Super Sunday on the wireless. Men, and a short chap called Dennis, who had fought and killed and died on the sun-baked fields of August now united, however briefly, by fresh-cut sandwiches and Shaz's custard-drenched pie.

Tales were told of Dennis's mishap in the deep involving a ball and a sudden loss of balance, of Ian's mighty blows and New Iain's unbroken defiance. And scores were tallied – 11 men down, 209 yards gained.

HQ deemed our efforts A Success.

THE COUNTER-ATTACK

The response was ferocious; big men and big guns scattering our defences.

Sgt White made the breakthrough, but still the enemy came, although slower now, more cautious.

Chewy and Pingu were sent for. Fine men, slow but devious. The enemy was stalled and then repulsed. Bodies piled up while ground was held.

Concessions had to be made – 132 yards lost – but the counter could not reclaim all that we had made.

Only Wardale Junior Senior failed to bag himself a Bosch, but Pingu, Chewy, Scampi and the Sergeant all killed for their club.

And New Iain earned his own mention in dispatches from the front when he took out the enemy's leader in no man's land. News soon came through of Iain's decoration as a result – a medal for valour and the ability to halt enemy advances through an athleticism and skill not always to be seen from our limited lumberers.

And so we led, despite a ferocious rearguard action from Wardale Junior Junior and a short chap called Dennis.

We would have this thing won by Christmas, or Bank Holiday Monday at a push.

THE SECOND PUSH

The sun beat mercilessly down once more as we sought to finish the enemy off for good.

Our advance was slow, but measured. No casualties, little yardage, attritional stuff.

Our chaplain and the bugler stood tall, repelling wave upon wave of Bosch while inching ever forward. They fell, of course they fell, but the enemy grew tired and Chewy and The Janitor pounced like slightly over-fed cats on an equally chubby mouse.

The attack was on! We flew forwards in a blizzard of blows, the enemy reeling.

A pincer movement of corporals, sergeants and Original Ian brought more joy before the Bosch regrouped and our attack petered out.

Did we have enough? Our Captain thought so, deeming 251 yards plenty enough territory to defend to secure victory.

But the enemy had kept back a big gun like no other we had been subjected to before; a weapon of such force and range as to reduce Chewy to a wibbling husk of shell-shock and the Sergeant to a chuntery rage, as per.

The Captain threw all that he had at the weapon – Wardale Junior Senior, the Sergeant, Pingu and Chewy – to no avail. Ground was lost at such a rate as to leave us bewildered and afraid.

Until The Janitor, mild of manner but steely of resolve, defused the weapon in a moment straight and true, and the enemy were confounded.

The Sergeant mowed down the second wave until a truce of chips and miniature Cornish pasties was called, the Bosch still 60-some yards short of victory, just four brave men left for the job at hand.

We regrouped and steeled ourselves for a final hour of frustration and toil.

But we were to be surprised and delighted by a ginger triangle of wonder.

Up stepped Gunner Bogie to toss his strawberry blond grenades. One brushed the enemy and was snagged by the russet Corporal standing close by in helmet and body armour. Another fell but moments later, no yards gained or lost. And then another, swallowed up by the auburn-flecked Sergeant crouched close enough to prevail, or die trying.

Three men retired in a single, glorious burst of Bogie. One more to go…

In strode Scampi, the enemy countered and the Chaplain swooped in the near-deep to bag the Bosch and win the war! What we had hoped to have done by Christmas, we'd finished off by autumn's eve as quick and clean as we are neither.

A tally taken – 67 yards gained for the loss of 47 lives in total. A necessary sacrifice by all sides done for the glory of battle and the men, and a short chap called Dennis, embroiled therein.

Oh, what a wonderful war! And all for just ten pounds a head and a Sunday night squabble over curry house starters.

IN LOVING MEMORY OF STASH 'TONY' FIELD

HUSBAND, FATHER, PATRON NUMBER ONE

REST IN PEACE - THIS MATCH WAS FOR YOU

Children - Our Youngers And Our Betters. Greenfields Match Report

30th July 2017

Ex-football pundit and Captain Scarlet stunt double Alan Hansen once infamously declared that 'you'll win nothing with kids'.

He was wrong then, and he remains wrong to this day, although I don't think supremacy over a congealing puddle of over-aged and under-skilled shambletwats was ever the sporting context he had in mind when he delivered his ill-chosen words.

But a youthful Greenfields side supplemented by two Fields and a proto-Brigg was more than a match for our sorry asses yesterday, despite a couple of particularly heroic performances with the bat from Kev and Wrighty.

Both hit their best ever Contemptible scores.

The Mild Mannered Janitor turned superhero with a superb 72 in the first innings as we compiled a very presentable 143-5 but still lost by about 20 runs.

And Wrighty battled old age and a stuffed shirt so voluminous that it resembled a nappy when tucked into his trousers to finish unbeaten on 47 in the second match as we set Greenfields 117 to win.

They cruised to victory, with the winning run hit by Tom, the youngest and most terrifically trying of the tremendous trio of talented tyros whose youth and vigour seem to have cast me adrift in the imaginatively bankrupt world of alliteration.

Archie also shone, hitting his old man for a couple of boundaries and bowling with increasing guile once he'd worked out that falling over during delivery of the ball does little for accuracy, while Laurie also bowled well before his body let him down and he retired from the action - that one is a Contemptible waaaaay before his time.

Wrighty capped an excellent match by taking some wickets and Ian, who made himself available for the match nice and early and then promptly forgot all about it, dragged himself to the ground and played a mini-blinder, racking up 51 runs from two innings and bowling well throughout.

Fielding was a bit of an issue.

A number of players seemed content to let the ball do the work in the field. This led to boundaries aplenty, and Jim's especially idle attempt to make a routine stop, which helped turn a single into a four in the arthritic blink of an eye, stood out as a particular lowlight.

JD, still troubled by a wonky collarbone, was considerably more committed and was unlucky not to take a fine diving/crashing to the floor catch from his standard position at forward short meat shield, while Stew kept wicket superbly except when his ever-harsh father was watching, when he instead expressed himself through the medium of four byes.

Others had days they'd probably rather forget.

Scampi failed to trouble the scorers over-much with the bat, but kept them very busy when he bowled, while Chalky retired early after buggering up his finger and then receiving a call from his other half irate at the state of the house theyd' finally bought in the fashionable village of Sileby, renowned for its proud history of incest, its sweeping views of the area's stunning Soar Valley flood plain and its bleeding edge transport infrastructure of roads, kerbs and directional signage.

Brigg was another who might have fancied donning a body stocking and sitting astride a naval gun in a bid to turn back time as he batted his way to two ducks - one of which involved getting out to his son again - and took a bit of a beating when he bowled. Then again, after the debacle of his previous attempt at turning his arm over, getting hit for the odd boundary, or five, counts as an unqualified success.

I was not out, again, while Den's loose interpretation of cricket's laws continued as she claimed a second innings score of two which involved her facing one wide and a bye.

A huge thank you must go to Greenfields, who played the game in a tremendous spirit of sportsmanship and gave all three of our young interlopers as much action as they could handle. On reflection, that sounds a bit off, but I can't seem to locate the Delete button on my keyboard so it's going to have to stay for now.

I, however, am going.

A great day out yesterday, despite the double defeat, but now the long countdown begins to our next fixture - The Test Match - at the end of August.

We won. Both games. Fact. Whatton Report

9th July 2017

Long Whatton - two words that chill the bones of Old Contemptibles like no other.

Well, maybe 'lifetime averages' might make Wrighty shudder more, while 'straight delivery' accounts for many of us, 'rival female' brings Den out in a hot flush and 'last orders' will forever be Paul's personal 'Nam.

But Whatton has traditionally been our cricketing graveyard; a place of huge losses, major collapses and the most balls lost in neighbouring fields since scrotal hide and seek was taken off the Olympic schedule back in 1904.

This year was no different, even though our hosts selected a side mostly comprised of teens the wrong side of being able to vote, drive or die for their country - and one particularly shrill little 12-year-old gitbundle would have thoroughly deserved a harrowingly fraught tour of Helmand Province given his hugely irritating propensity for inane and incessant chirp.

A brief summary of the two games makes clear the void between the two sides.

Game 1 - They hit 160 or thereabouts. We were 94-8 in reply.

Game 2 - They very nearly made 200. We were 106-7 in reply.

But in the grand scheme of things that have made us so bad when playing Whatton, actually making it through both games without being bowled out is as close as we are ever going to get to a triumph.

So we won. In an entirely inaccurate manner of speaking, reporting and, indeed, playing.

Highlights in our first victory included John's exceptionally special throwing which, it transpired, was entirely down to the fact that he was playing with a dislocated shoulder. The Johnald has previous for this kind of thing - he once popped a dislocated finger back in and carried on playing, while the small matter of half a tooth falling out was easily solved by a nip home, the generous application of superglue and a prompt return to the action.

Kev H was the pick of the first innings bowlers, while Chalky top scored with a belligerent 38 that included a monster six straight back over the bowler's head. He was well supported by Gareth (16), before I continued to lovingly tend to my average by finishing unbeaten on 14 in a pleasing stand with Scampi (10 not out) that kept the Whatton wolves from banging in our doors both front and back.

Tea was taken, and very nice it was too. Johnald retired to continue self-atrophying at home and Den also stood down, allowing Ian B and Fred to enter the fray.

Both bowled well, with the former taking two wickets. But we all suffered at the hands of Whatton batsmen intent on taking on any delivery that wasn't entirely excellent and swatting it to, and often well over, the boundary.

In amongst the ten-an-over carnage, Jim's four overs for just 31 included the inducement of some rare play and misses, while Wrighty (1-15) and Scampi (1-16) got through two overs each of death-ball bowling that were truly excellent in the otherwise brutal context.

Wrighty also did something bad to his knee, making his final over even more heroic and his running even more amusing than usual.

Our second innings belonged to New Iain. He'd already got through two wicket-keeping shifts, the second of which was a considerable improvement on the first. And so it was with his batting.

He'd had a good pre-match net session with Coach Chalky and promptly took what he'd learned at the feet of the master and shoved it up his sensai's backpipe by getting out for a blink-and-you'll-miss-it duck.

But second time around was an entirely different affair. He played straight and watchfully, pouncing on the bad balls and smacking some sweetly-timed boundaries on the way to a personal best 33 that was the innings' top score.

Gareth (32 not out) did his best to take that crown, while Scampi (13) was also in the runs and Adrian hit a genuine boundary as we got no nearer to our hosts' total than Archie does to exposing the top of his head to the elements.

And talking of Archie, he put in a tremendous shift in the field filling in for Chalky, whose request to spend the first five overs of the second innings 'stretching' then extended to the full 20 spent idling on a bench chatting to his friends. This, I wager, was the moment he became truly Contemptible, and I salute him for it.

Two huge defeats could have felt chastening, particularly coming after our amazing win-win at Greenfields. But the weather was so clement and the day so generally agreeable that it was one of our better times spent on the killing fields of Whatton.

Either that or I've just become completely desensitised to a colossal dicking, which seems an appropriately unpleasant image on which to take my leave.

Next up: Greenfields - The Revenge (that's their revenge) on July 30.

Monkey Business - Greenfields Match Report

11th June 2017

'Hackneyed', 'derivative', 'cliched' - these are overused words in the English language.

And, by pleasing coincidence, they are the foundations upon which these reports are so shoddily constructed; there to crack and crumble at first inspection from expert eye.

'Historic' - another mainstay of the trite and careworn chronicler - is rather less prevalent in these postcards from the very edge of cricket.

History, after all, it written by the winners, whereas we're still chewing the crayons.

Put enough monkeys and typewriters in the same room, however, and Shakespeare will eventually be produced…

You can count the number of times we've won both matches against any of our opponents on the fingers of one hand which, in Fred's case, is not very many fingers at all these days.

But that is precisely what happened yesterday - our troupe of monkeys clickety-crickety-clacking at the keys to produce not the usual Comedy of Errors, but two drafts of All's Well That Ends Well.

First up was a highly convincing 38-run win set up by an opening stand of 109 from Kev H and Gareth. To put that into context, that's well over four times the amount of runs our entire team once made at Whatton.

And even a second-match run chase that started with confidence, descended sharply into farce and staggered over the line with its dignity just about intact still produced a win.

That seems to echo an event that happened very recently, but I can't quite think what it might be. Never mind, I'm sure it will come to me. In the meantime, I can now annouce that the club are in advanced talks to form an alliance with a group that considers shooting Catholics considerably more acceptable than gay marriage, abortions for rape victims or the patently ridiculous suggestion that the world wasn't 'spoken into existence in six days by His power'.

Not subtle enough for you?

Theresa May - what an inept wanker.

Back to the cricket.

Kev and Gareth's magnificence meant we posted 135-3, the total boosted by a very speedy 14 not out from Brigg at the end.

We then kept Greenfields to 97-7 in reply thanks to excellent bowling from Chalky, Wrighty and Fred, who took all the wickets between them, with able support coming from Adrian and myself.

Fred finished that first match in the company of the NHS when an attempted catch dislocated his little finger. I'd like to ask for your indulgence here because, as a parent, seeing any of my children injured fills me with a gut-wrenching sadness and despair over the chance that went begging off my bowling.

After the usual frenzied slurpage on Shaz's tea-time tucker, we were invited to chase second time around.

A glorious selection of bowlers new and old was wheeled out to keep Greenfields down to just 94-3 as a result.

Jim, on for the digitally-challenged Fred, bowled four overs and took one for eight, while Kev 'Man of the Match Even If He'd Contrived To Bowl One Over Involving 13 Balls And 19 Runs Conceded Which, It Must Be Stressed, He Very Much Didn't Because Brigg Did That Instead' Hutchby went for just eight from his four.

Stew bowled equally tidily, and Wrighty and Chalky again took wickets.

Our reply began jauntily, with Jim and Brigg plundering 20 from the first three overs to put us above the rate and in a position of real strength and stability.

But a hat-trick involving Jim, Chalky and New Iain as the victims and it was Mayday all over again.

As we all know, there is no Magic Talent Tree where the Contemptibles are concerned, but its alleged leader does at least have age and a beard in common with Saint Jeremy. We're both lefties as well, albeit in differing areas.

Anyway, I stuck around for the rest of the innings for a stubbornly resistant 17, with just about enough support coming from Stew (18), Gareth (9) and Wrighty (7) to keep us up with the rate despite the wickets continuing to tumble like the Gnarling Crud of May.

It was left to Paul, who was flirting with death after an heroic 40 overs of wicket-keeping, to hit the winning runs off the second ball of the final over as we completed a slightly grubby clean sweep of our typically marvellous Greenfield hosts.

So there it was. History. Victory. Glory, dislocation and the second-worst over bowled by a Contemptible ever.

It was, undeniably, one of our greatest days. And if that's partly because we have had so few of them in the past, let us not dwell on such awkward truths.

We'll be playing Greenfields again at the end of July, though, so there will be a reckoning…

And before that, we have a trip to Long Whatton on July 9.

That's almost certain to be downhill from here, but it does mean we once scaled the heights and, quite frankly, the view is rather lovely.

A Mildewed Manifesto - Kegworth match report

14th May 2017

It's the first match report since a snap election was called, so with a quick nod to the club's weak and wobbly leadership, we'll move on.

No more politics in this match report, just FACTS.

  • FACT ONE: We played Kegworth. They are always too good for us, and were again.
  • FACT TWO: They beat us, easily, twice.
  • FACT THREE: We were 85 all out first time round and 88 for 4 the second - a real-terms improvement, when weighed against a basket of currencies, in excess of a seasonally-adjusted like-for-like 167% following quantitative easing.

Our team has always been a typically non-partisan group dedicated to improving the lives of hard-working cricketing families who, in a very real sense, wish to take back control going forward.

Those boarding the bollock bus this week were:

Me - the leader with a tiny velveteen fist in 70% acrylic Poundshop glove, his policies oblique, his hold on power ever flimsier

Wrighty - a leftist firebrand wrapped in tweedy incontinence, with an instinctive feel for what is right but few of the tools to deliver

JD - the injured man's Marine Le Pen, with the stomach for Hard Brexit but none of the knees

Scampi - Facts over opinions. Data over conjecture. Endeavour over ability

Chalky - the cricketing Corbyn. Idealist, purist, mentalist. Hard left, soft rock, body broken, spirit unbowed

New Iain - the engineering backbone of our once Great Nation, a doer who does and, from time to time, doesn't at all

Brigg - the jewel in the crown and the chaff in the wheat, often simultaneously

Den - behind every great cricketer stands a great woman, and behind her stands Den

Ian B - has the tools but delivers only sporadically, like a low-rent Postman Pat

Stew - Michael Gove might believe that Britons have 'grown tired of experts', but we'd be lost without ours. If he has one fault, it is a palpable lack of cricketing ambition. And a shifty father-in-law

Also appearing:

Fred - I have seen the future, and it generally works

Frankie - I have seen the future, and it has the potential to work

Archie - I have seen the future, and it only ever works in a hat

Unlike in real politics, we actually stick to our manifesto. It is a mildewed scrap of paper blank but for coffee and ketchup dribbles (at least I think that's what the brown and red stains are) and the assertion that to win at all costs is simply not possible on a budget as tiny as ours.

And so back to our landslide defeat, as vast swathes of us were excised from the cricketing map.

There were occasional pockets of resistance.

Chalky bowled superbly thoughout, taking two wickets and conceding fewer runs (23) in eight overs than Brigg (27) managed in two.

Scampi made 19 second innings runs and also bowled well, but without luck, while Fred came in for the second match and was on a hat-trick; the decisive third ball promptly flayed to the boundary for four.

Stew hit a studied 41 in the first match and kept wicket excellently throughout, while Fred, as you know, came in for the second match and made a very nice 24, as you now know.

JD made a very JD 16 (ie 4x4) while Chalky was also in the first innings runs, with 21.

There were, however, five ducks in that first match and Den finished unbeaten on 0 as well. In fact, our fourth-best score was extras, with 5.

Spare a thought for Wrighty. It was his birthday and various bits of his family came along to watch him bowl tightly but without reward in the first innings, make a three-ball duck and then get thrapped absofuckinglutely everywhere second-time around at an average of  10.5 an over.

Redemption came late, or at least late enough for his family to have buggered off and completely missed a battling 31 not out after tea involving five fours and many, many dot balls.

He was joined as a partner in boredom crime by Frankie and together they batted for nigh on ten overs for 20-something runs, their stately partnership only ended when the latter was bowled off the last ball of the day.

Other highlights included fine catches from New Iain and Ian Classic, and a couple of pouches from me. If I've forgotten other people's catches, apologies.

Lowlights, as ever, were in abundance, including a number of increasingly rickety New Iain attempts to stop the ball, drops from me (twice), Brigg and Scampi that were, in mitigation, the result of the ball being hit extremely hard, and some 'bowling' from Brigg that threatened to equal JD's legendary worst-ever over - a long and sorry affair of wides, no balls and other, actually legal, filth.

Den also scraped some barrel when she was offered the chance of catching a high and spiralling top edge, moved vaguely into position, was blinded by the sun and promptly moved decisively out of the way.

But we have never gone to Kegworth with expectations above sub-basement level, and a day of sunshine, good tea and mirth made it all very palatable indeed.

And that is a FACT, whatever your political persuasion.

Next up: Some game, next month. Greenfields, I think.

In The Family Way - Madingley Match Report

30th April 2017

Families are wonderful things.

Just ask Fred West…the Borgias…or Brigg.

Oh how he laughed as he mistimed a full toss from his son straight to a Madingley fielder yesterday.

Tom, understandably, was delighted as he watched his father, fast becoming our most stoic of Contemptibles, trudge off to be greeted by his ever-sympathetic team-mates' ribaldry and fruity bon mots.

If you died a little inside, Brigg, you hid it well.

We normally bury our talent even deeper, but we were in an unusually revelatory mood at Greenfields, recording back-to-back triple figure totals and actually making Madingley work for their inevitable victories.

We were set 132 to win the first match, with Wrighty putting in a cracking shift to take three wickets and Scampi, on his birthday, claiming one victim courtesy of a sharp catch behind the stumps by Stew.

And Madingley's total would have been considerably lower if a certain T. White had not decided to jump ship and play for his old side under the pretext of 'needing to make up the numbers'.

'Traitor' is too emotive and ugly a word for Chalky, 'Quisling', perhaps, too obscure a historical reference.

So let's go with 'Judas'.

Chalky exchanged his 30 pieces of silver for 40 unbeaten runs that included a big heave-ho off of (copyright Nikki and Caffers) Stanley's bowling that cleared the extended (upwards) fencing to land on the tennis courts beyond.

He then furthered his treachery by bowling smartly throughout and hitting another brisk and bruising score in the second match.

Nice one, Chalkdas/Julky. Next time, just limit yourself to betraying Our Lord Jesus Christ. Whatever else He is, He was never much of a cricketer – the ball kept going through the holes in His hands and His foot movement was always too mysterious, His flannelled wonders to perform.

Anyway, our reply fell short, but thanks to the efforts of James (22), Ian (11) and an heroic unbeaten stand of some runs or other from Paul (11 not out) and Your Returning Fuhrer (17 not out), we made it to 100 and weren't all out.

My innings included a six. Off Tom.

I would normally have been ashamed to smite such a young 'un, but that one was for Brigg and long-suffering fathers everywhere.

Because if you can't hit 'em, hit 'em for six.

Sixes returned in our second innings, off the bat off of Jim, who hit a superb 44 as we attempted to chase down 125.

He was ably supported by Stanley, who opened the batting with the Wookie and made 11, Fred (13 but probably more than that seeing as the scorecard says our final total was '112 (ish)') and That Man Brigg with 8.

We were well up with the rate throughout the run chase but, as the light began to fade and Stew ran Fred out with an attempt at a single even I would have baulked at, we were left with too much to find from too few deliveries.

Ian hit a six but missed too many others as he realised that a trip to an opticians might be in order and we fell short, again avoiding being bowled out, as we went limping to our crickety grave.

Our second innings bowling, by the way, included two more victims for Scampi, a fine catch from Stew – amazingly, we didn't drop a single chance all day – and Brigg having to endure further indignity.

Father Of The Year 2017 was given three overs to exact his revenge by getting Tom out. Three overs later he was dismissed. The father, not the son.

But Brigg did at least clean bowl a full-grown batsman and he also ran out an opponent in the first match with a brilliant direct hit from halfway to the boundary.

And as every parent knows, you can't complain about your kids because if you hadn't taken your bat to the crease in the first place, none of them would have ever happened.

And so with a quick mention for John, who finished the game with a knee more swollen than Trump's ego, it's time for me to go.

Next up: Kegworth (away) May 14.

Your Chance To Shine - Knossington Match Report Template

23rd April 2017

Dear All,

I was otherwise engaged yesterday, so could not attend the first slaughter of the season at Knossington.

The sharper among you might have already guessed the result of the encounter, a clue to which lay hidden in the sentence above.

We lost.

Badly.

Although not nearly as badly the second time as the first, which is slightly unusual as, following any amount of food and rest, we normally come out of the traps post-tea like a bloated greyhound on a malfunctioning shopping trolley yet to be fished out of the canal.

I have been given details about the Knossington debacle (which sounds uncannily like one of the less savoury incidents from this country's long and proud colonial past), but have decided not to share any of them.

Instead, I will provide you with a match report template in which you can fill your own blanks.

Those that were there might wish to share their template attempts. Those that weren't are welcome to have a go as well…

Old Contemptibles match report template
The Intro

Choose from three types: short and pithy; long and deliberately verbose; a mix of the two aforementioned types but lacking in any of the wit or warmth that either might have managed to produce - entirely by accident, it must be said.

The Flannel

To fool the reader into thinking length of report in some way signifies both veracity and quality, a liberal application of flannel should be provided here.

This can often take the form of topical 'humour'.

For instance: 'that Anthony Eden has made a bit of a mess of the Suez situation, the spastic'. Then there's the ever reliable: 'Xenophobia! LOL'. Or the tried and trusted: 'Well-known paedophiles are funny'.

Flannel, applied well, can wash away a reader's ability to think critically while simultaneously fooling them into believing that what they are reading is actually 'fun' and 'worth continuing with'.

NB: Over-application of flannel can cause confusion, drowsiness and general irritability. Try to avoid this, although readers are typically prone to all three.

Also, avoid cross-flannel contamination. Eg: 'That Anthony Eden is a coloured pederast, the Suez mongbungle!'

The Facts

What little credibility the report still retains by this point can be bolstered by the inclusion of incidents, usually supported by numbers, that took place during the match.

These often involve, but are not restricted to: runs scored by 'batsmen' and overs completed by 'bowlers'. Sometimes, the latter group take 'wickets', and these can be mentioned also. It should be noted, however, that both runs and wickets are generally rare commodities.

Other notable incidents can include 'catches', 'run-outs' and 'sundry examples of good play'. These are exceptionally rare – it might be best not to rely upon such things in a standard match report, perhaps saving them for a season review or a one-off special preserved for such unlikely occurrences as a good-natured Brexit debate or a Jeremy Corbyn election victory.

Injuries are, in truth, the main staple of the factual section of a match report. These are generally legion and both wholly reliable and predictable.

As the mantra has it – 'write about what you know'. We know injuries.

More confident correspondents might also consider mentioning factors such as weather conditions, the state of the pitch and the standard of the opposition. While such displays of supposed expertise fool few, they do lend a report an air of gravitas, however unlikely.

The Singularity

Less a scientific hypothesis, more an excuse to pick on an individual's particular incompetence, be it cricket-based or of a wider physical, emotional or social bent.

It must be stressed that mocking the disabled is morally reprehensible.

This, much like the tears of child, is why it tastes so good.

The Call To Arms

Like any good piece of marketing material – and there are very few of those – the report should end with a call to arms.

This could involve a request for the reader to contact the author's preferred speciality masseur or hunting crossbow dealership, but is probably best kept to more club-specific matters such as the date of the next fixture or a gentle reminder that a certain member has yet to compile the all-time averages that the feckless fuck-nut promised to sort two years ago.

Epilogue

Using the above template, here is a brief run-down of events at Knossington yesterday.

Intro: Knossington big cock, Contemptible gimp suit.

Flannel: Rolf Harris sang about Two Little Boys – what are the odds!

Facts: All out for 34. New Iain top scored with 9. Then 68-6 second time around, still lost though.

Chalky and Kev H injured, two Dearsons managed zero runs across four attempts.

Singularity: Jim F had new trousers. He looked like an old school twat, apparently. Stew (I believe) memorably dubbed the rickety wookie 'WG 40'.

Call to arms: Next up – Madingley at Greenfields this Sunday. Email re availability etc later today.