THE BLOG

25
Jun

Blenheim Park CC vs Bayshill CC – 24th June 2018

Malcolm won the toss on a sun-dappled South Lawn, and wisely chose to take first dig. Phil Boardman and Martin Cox set off at a blistering pace (yes, you read that correctly) before Phil ran past a straight ball allowing the keeper the simplest of stumpings. The skipper promoted himself to number three to feast on the less-than-stellar opposition attack, and, having dispatched his partner via the sharpest of non-singles, duly and predictably padded his stats. With debutant Saleem – a replacement for Lee who both scored runs and conducted himself with dignity (bye Lee) – he added 119 in 23 overs before the newcomer missed a straight one and was bowled for 66. Malc trudged on, and finally departed for 73 on what might have been the final ball before tea, the declaration coming at 216-4. While all this was going on, Nigel was quietly scoring with a visiting Aussie.

The target always looked to be beyond the reach of Bayshill; the only doubt being whether Blenheim could take ten wickets to force the victory. But there was little Bayshill backbone, and wickets fell with monotonous regularity. Nigel bagged a pair, the Spearmans shared five, the Gokanis three, catches were held, and the repair to the Woodstock Arms was mercifully swift.

Blenheim Park CC 216-4d, Bayshill CC 83. BPCC won by 133 runs.

Season to date: W3 D2 L2

Shylock

19
Jun

Blenheim Park CC vs Iffley Village CC – 17th June 2018

  • They batted first in the 35 over a side game
  • Stan was the man of the moment – 3-17, plus contributed to a sharp run out
  • Yes, you read that right, I know those words do not normally appear in the same sentence in that order!
  • Spearman’s decided not to catch – off their own, or, each other’s bowling – except for one lapse by Spearman the elder for S’man the younger
  • Nigel, a quick learner, opted to take matters in his own hands (seems such a waste of a great pun …) and rearranged the woodwork a couple of times
  • One apiece from Spearman (E & Y) & Gokani and another run-out completing the wicket tally
  • New boy Nick had a great debut – excellent (and busy) in the field, including 2 catches (also see below)
  • Innings closed on 163 All Out in the penultimate ball

Tea ‘service as usual’ with the Return of the Mike – welcome back!

  • BPCC innings started off positively with Rob Kerr settling into his openers’ role (37ish and 7 or 8th wicket)
  • But little other support except – New boy Nick with a quick fire 22
  • Other key events:

o   Coxy turning the other cheek to a beamer – the ball did the slapping on this occasion. And an opportunity for a public service broadcast …. Please (re-)consider wearing a helmet guys.

o   Last 7 wickets tumbled for a handful of runs

  • BPCC 136 All Out in the 30th Over – could and should have been a win.

 

Raj

12
Jun

Blenheim Park CC vs Juveniles CC – 10th June 2018

Once again Blenheim hosted the Juveniles and an early start as the J’s needed to getaway early, and getaway early they did until the introduction of the perennial jug avoider, Rhino (4-36), with Stan (a well-judged catch by the young Nathan), Nigel (and Raj contributing with one-a-piece and the latter two combining to earn a run out. The J’s learnt a lesson – Nigel can throw as accurately as he bowls! All said, the J’s innings ended on 131-8 off 38 overs.

BPCC innings started slowly and slowed further. The rumours of spectators preferring to watch paint dry may be justified with the score limping to 46 in the 18thover, with the initial RR of 4.3 having risen to 6.6 RPO. Even though short lived, It took our U15 import, Nathan, to inject a sense of urgency to the innings. Wickets started tumbling as BPCC set about chasing down the modest total with Liam (22), Charlie (17) and Malcolm (17) hitting some lusty blows. It came down to the last over and 10 needed to win, and then 6 off the last ball – and I didn’t make it. BPCC closed on Stan (1 N.O.), Raj (4 N.O.) …. to regret the afternoon’s proceedings – 126-7 off 31 overs.

Match DRAWN

Highlights of the day were:

  1. Mrs Keyes’ teas – scrumptious! Superbly supported by Caroline Kerr’s cake (and cucumber sandwiches) – all thoroughly enjoyed by everyone (and looking at our performance maybe too much by some)!
  2. Robert dropping (almost) everything – the ball (hardly a surprise), his beer (criminal) and even his trousers (yes, really!), the photographing tourist didn’t know where to look! Maybe Rob’s behaviour is weirdly linked to the opposition we are playing, so I look forward to next week – and so glad I’ll miss the return game against Sheepscombe – the mind boggles!!!

Season’s stats:

Played 5, Lost-1, Drawn-2, Won-2

Raj

12
Jun

Medmenham CC vs Blenheim Park CC – 3rd June 2018

We Came, We Saw, They … Capitulated

Blenheim started with a devastating spell from new boy Charlie B … well, it would have been if all the catches that went to hand stay in said hand(s)! CB still ended with fine figures of 1-18. James the Barber had a similarly successful spell and figures, plus a direct hit run-out from the boundary. Other notable bowling heroics came from the Spearman boys – with the son (2-16, including a spectacular B&C) once again outshining the dad (2-24) and Keyes 2-0 from 5 balls. 125 All Out.

BPCC started in usual fashion – all guns blazing. Only for the guns to be silenced too soon, followed by a steady accumulation of runs on a very unpredictable pitch. In the end, Keyes (20), Cox (39), Broadman (14), West (28 n.o.) and Gokani (10 n.o.) saw BPCC home to a comfortable victory

Played 4, Lost-1, Drawn-1, Won-2

Raj

12
Jun

Blenheim Park CC vs Sheepscombe – 27th May 2018

They Came, They Saw, They … Capitulated (poet’s licence and all that!)

Blenheim started with a 1st over wicket – bowled Walker, caught Angol (yes, you read that right … both times!). Considering BPCC has only managed one wicket in each of the first two matches this was a big improvement. Spearman 4-27(ish) continued the fine start unsettling the woodwork multiple time.  First change at the Walker End saw the introduction of Angol ‘to mix things up’ -promptly giving away a flurry of boundaries before taking a C&B (yep, believe your eyes!). Gokani followed Angol, and the flurry of boundaries continued – including an attempted catch at ankle height whilst straddling the boundary… in the process converting an easier catch at chest height into a certain maximum – no names mentioned, but the skipper was not happy! Wickets continued to tumble at the other end with Stoddart 4-15(ish) the pick of the bowlers. In taking a catch, Spearman claimed an assist – and technically, 5-wickets, theoretically, a jug … but, practically, just gratitude from his team-mates. Thus, ended the Sheepscombe innings – 139 All Out.

The Blenheim openers started brightly– well, one of them did, the other, more commonly seen flipping birdies settling for a Duck. However, before the end of the day, Keyes made a telling contribution …. wheeling in the side-screen.

West (26) and Phil ’The Trellis’ Boardman steadied the ship – with the sharp and agile fieldsmen’s curious propensity to drop catches aiding the cause. Cox’s arrival, and a couple of lives, steadied the innings further (42*). Stoddart tried in vain to light some fire-works; with George Kerr (28) delivering on this promise and a much needed run-rate acceleration. Gokani (20) arrived with the score into triple digits and the steady march towards the target continued … until the penultimate over and 3 runs from victory. Gokani skied a catch to mid-off, ran ¾ of the length of the pitch …. and back … run out. R Kerr (0 N.O.) next in, participated in the winning stand and 300% strike rate which saw BPCC claim the first victory of the season!

 Played 3, Lost-1, Drawn-1, Won-1

 Upwards and onwards!

Raj

12
Jun

Blenheim Park CC vs Bodleian Library – 20th May 2018

Well gents, those Librarians certainly silenced us and gave us a little something to go and file under 796.358.

We lost the toss and were put into bat which looked initially to be an odd decision as openers Keys and West reached 55 without loss in the 9th over but with the loss of West and a few overs later Keys our batting lost its way a bit as the pitch served up some variable bounce.  Most people getting in with steady accumulation but nobody really going on.  We finished on 157 from our 40 overs with a feeling we may not have enough.

After a brief (but excellent) tea we started our defence with a George at each end some good bowling and average fielding saw us unable to make a breakthrough and the runs start to flow. Spearman and Gokani brought some economy and control and Raj final took our first non LBW wicket of the year in the 20th over.  But at 85-1 they were looking ominously placed.  Indeed they continued to take few risks and when it became time to resort to the part time bowlers after the forced injury departure of JVF they accelerated to a win in the 35th over.

We were left to rue our insufficient runs tally and poor fielding performance against a side we felt probably didn’t bat deep.  Chalked up as a missed opportunity.

Malc

12
Jun

Blenheim Park CC vs I Zingari – 13th May 2018

IZ started slow and finished in tremendous style with 207 for 1 from 34 overs.  Their opener scoring the original classy completely chanceless 107no including several effortless pick up flick 6’s over square leg .  Nigel’s 1-26 from 11 overs being by far the pick of the bowling.  I’m unable to give figures for any other bowlers due to Injunctions in place, all you need to know is that it wasn’t pretty and we now know that IZ is definitely a 5 rope fixture.

Having declared unusually before tea (after 34 overs) the brave BPCC openers of West and Keys were required to face 7 overs before any chance of restbite.  In the one bright glimmer of hope that was negotiated safely at 18-0.  After the first excellent Mike tea of the season we resumed hoping that copious flapjack would have taken a toll on their potent bowling attack, but we were soon brought down to ground. West Keys and Boardman were soon back on the benches  with a hopeful 32-0 turned into 38-3, a patient rebuild by Stoddart and Cox saw us limp to 61 before wickets again fell.  Even with the withdrawal of the quicks wickers tumbled at regular intervals until the 9th wicket fell in the 40th over for 103.  Leaving Nigel and Raj to survive 9 balls for a sneaky draw and IZ thinking they should have declared a hell of a lot earlier.

However I am delighted to report that we remain unbeaten and the invincibles season is still most definitely a technical possibility.

Malc

25
Sep

Stonor CC vs Blenheim Park CC – 17th September 2017

After some drop outs had dropped out (some with more apt excuses than others) a ramshackle bunch of debutants, seasoned veterans, Blenheim Old Boys returning to the fold, whippersnappers and, eventually, a couple of hairdressers were assembled to form a team to do battle with the fellow country house cricketers from Stonor. With a rookie captain too and so little time to gel as a team, surely we had no chance?

Well the toss was won and on a more than damp track we bowled. The last time Spearman (P) and Vaughan-Fowler worked closely together was whilst compiling Blenheim’s record 11th wicket partnership* earlier in the season. This time around they were tasked with opening the bowling and performed an equally suitable job as after 12 overs the Stonor openers had mustered only 30 runs.

With the arrival of a couple of dandies and therefore a full fielding complement paradoxically the run rate temporarily increased and it wasn’t until the 21st over that the openers were separated with first change Talbot (G) breaking through their defences. However, with the introduction of debutant Spearman (W) – taking over from the unlucky Spearman (J) – the Stonor top order was again reined in.

Chances and half chances were created throughout the innings but either dropped or jibbed. Spearman’s J & W along with Angol being the unfortunate bowlers. Fellow bowlers were exclusively the culprits and, at his time of the season when the coveted BPCC bowler of the year award is up for grabs, conspiracy theories abounded surrounding the legitimacy of efforts made. Until that is, it was realised that every player could lay claim to being a bowler (of sorts – everything is relative of course) and we were all just being our usual hapless selves.

Spearman (W) bowled his first 10 overs of off-spin for 29 runs (of course he’s related!). He was eventually rewarded when captain Gokani used his hands for the first time in the match (at the 3rd time of asking – 4th if you count the missed toss) to snaffle one of the more difficult chances at backward point.

Stoner’s batsman remained strangely reluctant to cut free though despite the wickets in hand and in this timed game remained at under 3 an over until the final few overs. Their innings closed on 158-2.

In sharp contrast to our hosts, Blenheim’s openers got off to a flier with Keyes – visibly buoyed by an adequate turn behind the stumps – playing the pinch hitter. With fellow opener Talbot (J) playing a supporting role we had raced to 42 off only 6 overs. But, as always with any Blenheim side, nothing is ever simple. First Keyes (bowled, 32) then Talbot (J) (caught behind, 17) perished within 2 overs opening up our often brittle middle order and leading to a flurry of activity in the pavilion.

But the expected collapse didn’t materialise.

With the sun now shining after earlier showers and the antipodean Day picking up the ones and, well ones, really, and Talbot the younger getting into line and defending, we all looked on at the aesthetically pleasing cricket scene in front of us. To be fair, at this stage of the game the herds of deers doing their best impressions of sheeps (or if you’re a pedant: deer doing sheep impressions) were much more appealing to the eye than the cricket fare.

Going into the final 20 overs 97 were still required so it was still very much game on with all results possible.

Day then cut, late cut, and cut again and Talbot (G) himself cut loose finding the boundary with alarming regularity – one of which secured a well-deserved maiden Blenheim 50. He eventually succumbed for a stylists 53 to cap an excellent game for the young(ish) all-rounder. With 30 off 8 required, however, there was still time for Blenheim to make a deer’s ear from the silky start.

Into the valley strode Wes Spearman and after initially playing and missing he calmed the Blenheim nerves somewhat by finding the boundary twice himself.

In a nice touch at the end, Day (bowled, 35) ensured that Gokani – hitherto performing a fascinating Mike Brearley role (contributing almost nothing except ‘masterminding’ our victory) – got to hit the winning boundary with still 3 overs to spare.

After an afternoon’s cricket then on a sodden wicket where only 6 wickets fell all day, we had triumphed again and retired to the Crown at Pishill. Yes, Pishill.

So, what a way to end the season – a cricket game as honest as Days innings was long, a cracking all-round team effort in glorious sun (in the end) at a magnificent (and hopefully to be revisited) venue. And with Blenheim unbeaten in September surely there will be calls for a manager of month award? Now let me see – who was this month’s manager …

Rhino

16
Sep

Blenheim Park CC v Great and Little Tew CC – 10th September 2017

Tew on that!

Canham’s kids capitulate as inclement weather is king.

Our forward thinking current captain had devised a very cunning plan to beat not only the opposition but the imminent arrival of the forecast rain by deciding to make the game a thirty over thrash. Both innings were to be completed before tea was to be taken. With the game in some doubt beforehand thanks to showers throughout the week and with the outfield already sodden, thoughts of any seasonal slippery dew having much of an impact on proceedings were obviously misguided.

We started with possibly the widest age range an opening bowling partnership has ever mustered* with 60 year old Walker taking his eponymous end (so to speak) and 13 year old Spearman (Jnr) the pavilion end. Both were equally adept at tying the openers down with only 8 recorded* off the first 6 overs of this newly invented middle distance slog-fest (it will never catch on). Wickets were also hard to come by however (Keysey would have loved the tedium) but at least for now the rain had stayed away.

It wasn’t until the appearance of 3rd change bowler Stoddart (after further tidy spells from Angol & Gokani) that things really started to happen. Not only did the rain arrive but both openers succumbed in a similar fashion – each being clawed by a panther-like-rhino at mid-on. A further wicket was snared when the stocky Stoddart trusted no-one with a skier off his own bowling and a 4th taken when Bobby ‘The Bye’ Kerr managed to make one stick down the leg side. However controversy reigned as the bewildered batsman suggested he hadn’t hit it when adjudicated caught behind. The new 30 over format apparently allows for a batsman to review such decisions and in a stand-off that seemed to last longer than an England openers test career, Captain West did the honourable (and very benevolent) thing and withdrew our appeal.

The rain continued as skipper West’s South Lawn compass went awry whilst he completed the okay-cokey to a skier at long off before ensuring it flew well over his head. In a change to recent Blenheim tactics, the field wasn’t changed immediately after this apparent lack of effort.

Meanwhile, our erstwhile captain, Canham who nowadays tends to bat for the other side had come to the crease and was soon troubled by some dibbly-dobbly nonsense. Twice beaten, he somehow survived to face Stoddart now striding in with a full head of steam from the Walker end. As the bowlers union colluded to hatch their own cunning plan it was left to Stoddart to execute it to perfection canon-balling the confounded Canham first up. Only now can it be exclusively revealed that that plan revolved around ‘getting him out’.

Tew’s innings came to an end on about 122* with the loss of just one further wicket courtesy of Jake Spearman bowling his opposite number having returned for a second spell in the difficult dying overs.

As the drizzle abated only to allow even heavier, almost horizontal showers to intervene, Messrs Shaw & Angol were rewarded for years of hard yakka at The Park by being offered the opportunity to open together. Tew were rewarded for a few minutes of line and length with two early wickets. This came though not before Chairman Shaw controversially didn’t walk having missed a wide one by several feet.
Despite the very clear vacancy for England’s no.3 position Engel declined the opportunity to make it his own. As did West who stepped into the breach and at 8-2 attempted to hit his first ball over cow corner. He missed but survived only to be caught shortly thereafter. At 14-3 off 5 we were praying for Hurricane Harvey to force the draw as mere torrential rain clearly wasn’t enough.

With the pitch now saturated and the ground resembling a swimming pool the covers were removed from the boundary edge to avoid any further storm damage whilst Messrs Cox & Stoddart set about first restoring parity then creating some damage of their own.

Throughout the afternoon boundaries had been hard to come by. That is unless you were James’ Stoddart. There was no stopping him as he pulled, drove, hoiked and biffed the Tew trundlers. Not content with 8 fours, he added two maximums as the game slowly started to turn our way. Coxy, as always, supplied stoical support at the other end until he finally succumbed for 20.

With Blenheim closing in on an unlikely victory and Stoddart on 68, he was given out lbw. He took it like the man he is and walked off muttering about lbw laws and the sheer injustice of it all, like any good batsman defeated by his own umpire should.

So, at 112 -5 and with about* 11 runs required off 6 overs we were almost home (if not dry). Gokani was playing one of those more mature innings of his that we have become accustomed to in recent weeks before being bowled for 10 very valuable runs (and surely worth at least 16 on a decent track). A very strange thing then occurred. The sun made an appearance and thoughts of a second innings were briefly discussed.

At 121-6 we surely couldn’t throw it away could we?

Well, not for the first time in the match Kerr had problems with some slow tosh from the pavilion end – only this time Canham was bowling it rather than missing it (whilst stranded well out of his crease. For goodness sake!).

At 122-7 with 1 run required and 2 overs to go, Jake Spearman joined his dad* at the crease and with a deft flick to fine leg ensured that not only victory was ours but that with his 1 not out and a solitary wicket he had bagged the family bragging rights for at least the forthcoming week.

Make no mistake though, this was Stoddart’s day. Throughout the history of this glorious game there have been matches that have become synonymous with a player’s name – think Laker, Old Trafford, 1956. Botham, Headingly, 1981. To that list we can now add Stoddart, South Lawn, 2017. For years to come this will be referred to as ‘James’s’s game in the rain’.

If Blenheim had an honours board Jame’s Stoddart would have been agonisingly close (but ultimately short) in both batting and bowling departments. So we all retired to the Woody Arms to share Jamess’s’ success only to be disappointed as a. they get their jugs out for no-one there and b. Jame’s didn’t show.

Congratulations anyway to the main man and respect to those who umpired throughout the rain (Raj, Rob, Malc, Allan) and especially to Nigel who maintained an accurate (and dry) scoresheet for the entire innings in the rain. An example to young scorers everywhere.

As was noted after the game, cricket (as well as Blenheim Park Cricket club obviously) was the winner.

* Accurate records appear not to exist

Rhino

22
Aug

Frieth CC vs Blenheim Park CC – 20th August 2017

Our original hosts having pulled out, David Hughes expertly found a pleasant replacement in the bucolic surroundings of Frieth, Bucks. Malcolm won the toss, and was reluctantly persuaded to bat first. This looked a dicey decision when openers Atcherley-Symes and Keyes departed with the score still in single figures, but the skipper and his bestie Martin shored up the innings with a partnership of 64, before Cox snr played for imaginary turn and was bowled. Malcolm, who is finally showing some form just in time for the season to end, biffed and bashed to good effect until he nicked one to the keeper, and seeing the umpires finger about to rise, decided to walk for a robust 48.

This engendered the perennial BPCC middle-order collapse (Will Cox’s first-baller a particular highlight) until the lower order were permitted to feast on some undemanding fodder to pad their season stats. Spearman snr (12), Gokani (20*), Angol (4) and Spearman jnr (13*, which is more than twelve) coaxed the total to a seemingly insufficient 137-9.

Tea was supplemented by the remains of a wedding feat in the next field. Lee disappeared with a couple of bridesmaids and returned with hog-roast in a bap. The bridesmaids are still missing.

Gokani and Will Cox opened the bowling, and by the ten over mark had reduced Frieth to 29 for 6. Three for Will, two for Raj, and one spectacularly misguided attempt to sneak a quick single to a Jonty Rhodes-a-like short third man. When James Talbot won an LBW to leave the hosts reeling at 47-7, it looked all over bar the shouting of Ooh ‘Ello.

But nothing is ever quite so simple in BPCC-land. A couple of canny performers were hiding in the Frieth lower-middle order, and they nudged and nurdled the score upwards until it hit 90, with only 48 runs required from 16 overs. In either inspiration or desperation Malcolm called for his secret weapon, but Matt had pulled out so we had to try Stan instead. The ball was launched in the air towards deep midwicket, and expectant Blenheim faces turned toward their skipper nestling somewhere beneath it.

Memories of his earlier fielding in that position – when an attempted throw from the boundary had risen to remarkable heights but somehow landed no nearer the wicket than the place from where it was despatched – were quickly forgotten, and the skipper and bowler were both soon found congratulating themselves on their skill, with equal justification.

Moments later, we clapped their dangerous biffer on his fifty, and next ball he was bowled by Jake Spearman for 49. Lee then stumped a tiny person and an unlikely 42 run victory was in the books. Many thanks to Frieth for hosting us at short notice.

Jonty-Rhodes-a-like