Match Report CCC v Broadclyst
Whisper it quietly chaps and do nothing to spook the weather gods; we might be experiencing summer. Cricket is a game that should be played with the sun on your back and on a hard light-coloured wicket surrounded by a short fast outfield. Tea should be taken lying on the grass and sunburn should be of a greater concern than frostbite or trench foot. The box marked ‘All of the above’ was ticked for our game on Sunday.
Our opponents were Broadclyst, a village named from Clyst, the Anglo-Saxon word for settlement and Broad, the Roman word for fast bowler who used to have a girly haircut and whose batting has recently gone to pieces. Our record against Broadclyst is considerably better at Southcombes than at Killerton, maybe perhaps because traditionally Broadclyst away has been our first game of the season, played in mid-April when most of us are still struggling to come out of hibernation. Not so this year when we will be visiting them in September, hopefully when the Indian Summer is in full swing.
Danny P informed us we had been inserted on a pitch on which I would have had no hesitation in choosing to bat, so Gidders the elder and I padded up and took guard. Broadclyst are known for their bowling parsimony, but an attack that looked like it might lack the depth of attacks of the past gave a hint that if we could see off the new ball and the new ball bowlers, runs might come in the last hour before tea. Ewan, as always, was a bit of a handful with respectable pace and consistent swing but Dave played him well, and Lee dropped the odd one short which on a hard pitch meant I could play off the back foot to cut and pull. Batting, particularly opening, is about partnerships and helping your mate when you can, and to help Dave I persistently used the C word to him. No, I didn’t call him that, I was urging him to concentrate. We got past 50 and were going well until I under-hit a full toss after a boundary-laden 23, resulting in Family Gidney being responsible for all CCC activity both at the wicket and in the kitchen. However Tom, suffering from a morning game injury which make blokes simultaneously laugh (as long as it’s someone else suffering) and wince, fell victim to Ewan’s swing, as did Scotty, and when Dave succumbed for a classy 35 we had slipped from 50-something for 0 to 70-something for 4. We needed Andrew and Rodders to come to the rescue, and they didn’t let us down. By now Ewan was warmed up and consistently bowling the perfect ball to right-handers with late away swing and movement off the seam. Batting was not easy with as many balls being missed as hit but our middle-order battled through, picking up boundaries from the few poorer balls, sneaking singles and generally demoralising the fielding side. Eventually, the bowling changes came and although both Rodders and Andrew departed for 15 and 54 respectively their job had been done and the stage was set for our remaining batsmen to give it the charge and score quick runs. Martin (20), AJ and Danny P obliged (Danny P despite becoming victim to an umpiring mistake, the penance for which was writing the match report) and with young Sam scoring a stylish 3 not out, a score of 186 for 9 was more than satisfactory.
It was great that Arthur arrived and watched a portion of our innings. I first played cricket with Arthur forty years ago, and first opened the batting with him over thirty years ago. He is a man with whom I have spent countless hours at the crease and in the pub and goodness knows how many circumnavigations of the ground we have carried out after both of us had been dismissed. I’ve never played with a better slip fielder and we even used to share a room on tour. A faded eighties team photo hanging in the pavilion shows the pair of us padded up and I would class him as a dear friend, and a legend of CCC. Come again soon AVW.
A magnificent tea awaited us, and we munched away in the sunshine. Dave’s proclamation of just how attractive some of the sheep were looking was a tad worrying and I thought it was a bit cruel when he took the label from the chocolate brownie plate which read ‘No nuts’ and stuck it to his son’s forehead as poor Tom was trying to forget the morning incident and didn’t need any reminding. Fed and watered we took to the field and commenced our efforts to get ten wickets.
So, first ball; would it be a regulation length ball outside off stump, left by the batsman, taken by the keeper and returned to the bowler via the slips and cover fielders? No. As Tim delivered it he lost his footing and fell, and as his chest hit the ground he emitted a grunt not dissimilar to the noise old-fashioned teddy bears made when squeezed by children. He was still prostrate on the pitch when he saw the feet of Hoops, the opening batsman walk past him on the way to the pavilion. Looking up, Tim saw the umpire replacing the bails. 0 for 1 from one ball and we were on our way. A second wicket fell early, this time for Danny P and Broadclyst were never to recover. Ewan and Don resisted with contrasting styles, Ewan more defensive and Don hitting over mid-on, but Don’s mistake was to carry on hitting over mid-on even when we had stationed Rodders at long-on. A poorly AJ, suffering from a hot back and a cold nose replaced Danny P, bowling a miserly 7 overs and getting 2 wickets. Tim kept going and had a third wicket courtesy of a high catch to Sam, who later threw in well for a run-out. To change the pace Danny P gave both Tom Gidney and young Sam a trundle, and they both rewarded him with a wicket, Sam’s via a catch executed by Scotty coming in from deep square leg doing a slalom around the sheep shit. Lee was making the Broadclyst tail wag but it was too little too late. He got his fifty but a returning Danny P brought proceedings to an end with a handful of overs to spare and with CCC 70 runs to the good.
Man of the match? No contest – with runs, a wicket, a catch and a run-out Sam had his name on the scorecard nearly as many times as Clare Balding has been on the telly in the last week, plus he collected the tea money without moaning or whinging.
If it rains now for the rest of the summer I’ll be really ticked off.
CCC 186-9, Andrew 54, Gidders 35
Broadclyst 116, Lee Bridger 50, Tim 3-34, Danny P 2-27, AJ 2-17, Sam 1-26, Tom G 1-8.