THE BLOG

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

15
Aug

Blenheim Park CC vs South Wales Hunts CC – 13th August 2017

BPCC vs.South Wales Hunts …
· Them 128 all out – Gorgeous George lived up to this name and took 4-38 with useful contributions from Charlie 2-8 (ish), Spearman snr 2-26 (ish), me 2-38.
· BPCC saw their chance to beat SWH at last! … sadly no one told our batsman and before long the home team was reduced to 22 (ish) for 5 (yes, you read that right) before the captain steadied the ship and played, well, a captain’s innings (43) flamboyantly aided by Charlie B and a boundary strewn 50+.
· Sadly both departed in quick succession to leave the home side requiring around 18 off 10 overs and 2 wickets standing … yours truly came to the crease and promptly hit the last boundary of the game.
· We were still in the hunt (!) but George soon departed to be replaced by Phil the rhino and instructions to play for a draw. A few no-balls and wides followed and the overs continued to dwindle.
· SWH brought back their opening bowler (and ex-Harlequins flanker) who was largely responsible for the early destruction bagging 4 wickets
· Phew! survived his first over.
· 3 overs to go and 7 needed to win.
· Quick single declined. Maiden.
· Penultimate over, star bowler, Rhino facing, peach. Bowled. Lost
· On the upside, great tea from the Spearman family
· Usual standard cake from Mrs Kerr – I think she needs more practice though! Pl send our thanks!

Rajendrakrishna

09
Aug

Great and Little Tew CC vs Blenheim Park CC – 6th August 2017

Match Report by Dropert Kerr

BPCC Undone by SAFFA semi-pro (again)
BPCC-194/9 Great Tew 196/6 (40over match)

Blenheim batted first Openers Keyes and Kerr faced with some hostile bowling got the side off to a solid start 62 off 13 overs with Keyes crashing fours to both sides of the wicket and Kerr holding up the other end Keyes (42) was caught at first slip by the same fielder who dropped him 3rd ball. Rupert Kelly soon got the pace of the wicket and looked assured as he scored runs freely. Kerr departed bowled by their Overseas Professional Adams. Phil Boardman(2) putting on the whites for the first time in a decade also perished in similar fashion (Adams 8o/1m/2w/15) – West and Kelly ran well between the wickets keeping the scoreboard ticking West was bowled (15), John Blunt(2) came and went bringing Alan Engel to wicket , unused to finding a partner running twos found the going tough but got his bat on enough ball to accumulate 12 runs before being forced to retire (surely a first) due “being unable to breath” …or poss a way of preserving his batting average. Kelly perished for a well earned 60 – Spearman father and son had a brief partnership until Father called for a little over optimistic single and was run out (3) Angol struck a fine four and both he and Jake Spearman remained not out.

Tea (8/10)was taken in their smart clubhouse (Sky TV + Wifi FFS !)

Great Tew started slowly and were soon under the spell of birthday boy Angol , for the first time in recent memory he bowled his 8 overs on the bounce, and proceeded to remove the top three batsmen (8/0/3/24)- Spearman Snr kept things tight at the other end. West came on and after giving them 3 long hops on leg side that were despatched to the boundary managed to beguile them with one on the stumps and Phil Boardman took an good catch with the approach of the Semi Pro Adams to the wicket Capt West promptly took himself off! Keyes bowled a couple of overs but injured his back and had to leave the field – Spearman came back to finish his spell with the highlight being his “Warny” delivery that ex captain now defector Canham played all around and it hit top of middle peg! Rupert K produced our only non spin spell with a one wicket reward and John Blunt was on the end of Adams in full flow. Gokani’s magic turned to cannon fodder .Fast forward and hour as Adams hit a chanceless 115 not out Phil B became quite familiar with the contours of the field over midwicket boundary !– Quite what a player of this standard was bludgeoning our (depleted) bowling attack for on a Sunday afternoon only he will know –
Special mention of Jake Spearman (banned from bowling by his Pa) in the field who was exemplary
And thanks to the supporters Alan /Matt /David/Caroline and Sarah who outnumbered their’s by 5/1
P.S.
Even though we lost thank to Malcolm for calming the team down before walking off the pitch
And boys it was all worth it after we bowled (collective pressure ) middle stump !!!!
PPS
…AND I SEE WE JUST BEAT THE SAFFAS IN THE TEST TO CLINCH FIRST SERIES WIN SINCE 1998 !

25
Jul

Blenheim Park CC vs Islip – 23rd July 2017

NO SLIP UP VS ISLIP
BPCC beat Islip(122) by 3 wickets
Captain Cox’s slow march to victory transformed by Charlie Bethell’s unbeaten 50

Local rivals Islip elected to bat and their opener bamboozled by James Talbot’s opening ball (wide to gully) took a liking to the next ball a full toss hit it straight to Keyes at square leg ….out!
There then followed a pretty dull 50 partnership over 18 overs – until Captain Cox surprisingly brought himself on and it wasn’t long before he had their No2 Batsmen(31) LBW and then Keyes produced a good opening over bowling the No4 with his 4th ball. Cox then had the next batmen smartly caught by back in form Keeper Kerr.(2 catches no byes) Soon Islip were reeling at 74/8 with Keyes(8/3/8/3) picking up two more and Cox (8/1/23/4 )- Gokani was brought back into the attack(7/1/36/0) and Charlie Bethell at the other end dishing up some short balls that were dispatched to the boundary . Chairman Shaw fielding in close took several blows to the body adding to last week’s bruises. Bethell eventually finished the innings off (5/1/20/2) with Keyes just holding onto a dolly at fly slip.
In the absence of Mike (otherwise detained)– Walker produced an excellent tea.
Cox and Gokani opened the batting- Suffice to say the opening stand lacked much vigour! After 10 overs the score had lurched to 7 runs Eventually Gokani (2) played his first aggressive stroke and was caught at mid on in the 12th over with the score on a heady 15. Leakies(2) felt he should show intent and missed a straight one and David Atcherley-S uncharacteristically scratched around and was bowled off the best ball of the day (0)
James Talbot strode to the wicket and a quick fire 18 including a six moved the score along to 48 before he was clean bowled – Kerr contributed 8 before holing out to mid on- leaving the score on 65/5 off 29 overs – The rate had gone from 3.05/over to 5.25 !!
In strode Bethell making light work of the bowling , and in spite of losing Coxy eventually being caught behind (31 runs of 33 overs!) Samples(2) and Travi (0 n.o) he chased down the runs with 2 overs to spare with 4 needed to win and Charlie on 45 he duly hit a six to bring up his fifty and a win for BPCC leaving the bemused/relieved Hughes No 10 and Shaw (no 11) to unbuckle their pads and head for the pub.
Smart new caps were distributed bringing up the dress standard and negating the need for the usual plethora of unsavoury headgear Thank you to our kit sponsors (Woodstock Arms)

Dropert Kerr – 24/07/17

25
Jul

Blenheim Park CC vs Medmenham – 16th July 2017

BPCC drew with Medmenham. Match report to follow, if Rob Kerr hasn’t dropped his computer.

25
Jul

Blenheim Park CC vs Ewelme – 2nd July 2017

BPCC vs Ewelme

A sunny day, a pitch made for batting and a pliant opposition made for a pleasant afternoon/evening on the South Lawn.

Keyes opened the innings with returning ex-Captain Canham, and they set about the Ewelme bowling with verve. Runs were coming at ten an over until Lee plonked a long-hop into the grateful hands of deep square leg for a blistering 46. Canham was then well caught low down at cover, and left the wicket some minutes later.

David A-S and the self-promoted Martin Cox then got their heads down against some none-too-demanding bowling, and it looked like they were both destined to reach three figures, but DAS waltzed past a straight ball to be stumped for 90 after a partnership of 157. Martin biffed his way into the nineties, and at the start of the 40th and final over, was facing with his score on 95.

The first ball was launched to midwicket for four. The next four deliveries were dots. The last ball saw his greyhound of a partner run out by a couple of feet, leaving the Vice Captain unbeaten on 99, as Blenheim notched a creditable 290-6.

After another excellent tea from the West family (topped up with some Vaughan-Fowler sandwiches), an exhausted Ewelme didn’t provide much resistance with the bat. Chasing the ball in the heat for three hours was bad enough, but then having to endure inane stream-of-consciousness babble from behind the stumps wilted whatever resolve they had left. The noise only abated when a hatful of catches and stumpings were missed. All seven bowlers took wickets as the mighty ‘Blen cantered to a one hundred and forty-seven run victory.

NotRobKerr

25
Jul

Blenheim Park CC vs Bayshill – 25th June 2017

A hard-fought victory over Bayshill yesterday featured a century from Lee Keyes, some excellent bowling and fielding from a Spearman, and some well-held catches. Match report to follow (when somebody writes one).

25
Jul

Blenheim Park CC vs Captain Scott’s XI – 9th July 2017

Captain Scott XVI beat BPCC by six wickets.

Scorecard here