THE BLOG

21
May

BPCC v I Zingari – Sunday 14th May 2017

Martin Cox won the toss and, with  the complete and total agreement of his team-mates, opted to bat first. I repeat, the wholehearted and unquestioning acquiescence of every single one of his team-mates.

I Zingari brought a testing attack to Oxfordshire, two decent and pacy openers, a ‘quicker-than-he-looks’ first change, and a young fizzing leggie (10-1-19-3) who turned the ball square (Cricinfo tells me that he has a first-class bowling average of 11.83).

Most of the Blenheim top order came and went in short order, with only Stoddart looking comfortable. Once he departed for 39, caution became the watchword with Cox (M) and (a never-before-seen defensive) Walker attempting to repair the innings by batting out overs (without scoring any runs). When they went with the mighty ‘heim still in double figures, thoughts turned understandably to an early tea, to be closely followed by early nibbles at the Woodstock Arms. The visitors presumably hoped for the same, as they brought back their opening bowlers to polish off the tail.

But, as the old saying goes, there’s many a slip ‘tween fried scampi and tartare sauce. (Note to Ed: check exact saying). First a buccaneering Angol (10) and then, wonder of wonders, Spearman (26) [that’s TWENTY-SIX for those of you reading the teleprinter] edged, guided and finally flayed the jazz-hatted toffs to take the palace players to a somewhat less depressing 132 all out, right on the stroke of (the Smartie-less and therefore sub-standard) tea. [Note to Scorer: please check if a batsman, run out after thinking the umpire has signalled ‘four’ when in fact the umpire is waving at him to stop running down the centre of the wicket, and is then ludicrously reprieved by an embarrassed opposition, is entitled to consider his TWENTY-SIX runs a ‘personal best’.]

Nigel Walker has seen it all. Born during the depths of the Boer War, growing up during the Depression in 1920’s coal country, being forced to watch Yorkshire CCC batting at 0.38 runs per over during the sixties and seventies. So playing against painted public-school popinjays holds no terrors for the wily wizard of Woodstock. He reeled off eight sterling overs, taking three top wickets for only 22. Young George then produced a fine but unlucky spell; his one wicket could easily have been three or four. But we’d scored too few runs, and the young fizzing bastard leggie of earlier (who Cricinfo tells me has a first-class batting average of 80.50)  anchored their innings with 46*, and saw them home to a four wicket win.

El Treasurino

21
May

BPCC v Warwick University Staff – 7th May 2017

Sunday’s season opener against Warwick Uni Staff saw us just failing to get over the line falling 7 runs short in a low scoring game with some standout bowling performances on an early season green top. The Oppo won the toss and chose to bat and our lead bowlers Walker, Cox Jr and Gokani (4 wickets) did a great job taking regular wickets and keeping the score down. Although they did get away a little after that, eventually they were all out for 148 in around 35 overs.

Tea was taken in good mood and we all enjoyed Mike’s birthday celebration although no bumps. Our reply faltered from ball one when we realised that their average batting was counterbalanced by an excellent bowling attack, we were always behind the chase losing steady wickets with nobody fluent with the bat and finally slipped to defeat with four balls left and 7 runs required when Walker holed out trying to clear the infield after Kerr’s lusty blows (yes you are reading that correctly) gave a glimmer of hope.

A tense but good game against well matched opposition. Man of the match goes to Will Cox for his top score with the bat and excellent opening spell.

Malcolm

12
Aug

BPCC v Great Tew 2pm 7th August 2016 2pm

 

Great Tew Ground

 

Courtesy of Allan Engel

 

With the Palace playing host to the country-folk of Countryfile, the Club headed west to the bucolic surroundings of Great Tew to take on a youthful opposition more Little than Great.

Great Tew and Spearmans

Batting first, the opposition openers weathered the opening spell from Nigel and George, with the help of the odd let-off behind the stumps, before Nigel swung a yorker through the gate. Runs accrued slowly but steadily, Phil held a steepling caught-and-bowled, Stan finally held on to one for a rare Gokani wicket, more catches were dropped, perhaps the youngest (and certainly the smallest) BPCC  player took the field as eleventh man in the shape of Finn Spearman; his fielding put his elders and tallers to shame. The opposition finally totalled 187 from their 40 overs. Curiously, all but one of the opposition batsmen were left-handed; either there is something odd in the water round there, or it’s just standard Oxfordshire inbreeding.

A depleted batting lineup meant that regular opener Stan was paired with makeshift filler-in Malcolm. Stan didn’t stay long enough (at the crease or the ground) and Malcolm padded up to a straight one – plumb LBW. James (45) was then joined by Jayden (54) and the two of them batted with fine timing and placement, looking comfortable against the relatively unthreatening bowling. The inevitable Blenheim clatter of wickets returned the initiative to Tew, Raj misguidedly attempted to turn a rare Gokani run into an impossible two, and it was left to George (27*) to try and shepherd the tail home. Eight runs were needed off the last three balls when George launched one over the bowler’s head for what neutral umpire James confidently signalled a six, the next ball was a dot, and a scrambled single off the last ensured a tie.

02
Aug

BPCC v Cricketers’ Club 31st July 2016

Courtesy of Rob Kerr

Things didn’t look great at the outset, we were easily outgunned on the sartorial stakes  as “Cricketers Club” turned up in fancy  striped jackets and matching caps. Hardly a match for stand in captain George Talbot in shorts and flowery shirt as they went to the wicket for the Toss..

 Blenheim elected to bat and Sameer and Leakies opened – It wasn’t long before Sameer fell to an excellent slip catch for  single figure score.(3) Leakies swung the bat in his usual belligerent self and  was second to fall (26) with the score on 45 after 8overs. This brought together our two ‘replacements’ . Ross Morgan and Dom Baker.

Dom looked out of sorts to start with and played and missed several times Ross was soon into his stride and midway through his innings struck three consecutive fours taking 15 off the over.

Dom encouraged by this was soon employing his favourite cut shot that reaped several boundaries.

Ross went passed 50 with an on drive for  four, and three overs later Dom raised his bat to the small but enthusiastic crowd.

The opposition used 7 different bowlers to try and break the partnership, which finally happened with the score on 168 when Ross was caught (65) and a handful of overs remaining. Gokani (R) doubled his length of time at the crease from last week, was  caught second ball ! Dom was run out(62) and R Hambledon (5) was soon back in the pavilion.

Jayden (Oz) produced a cameo knock 19 (n.o) and G Talbot swished and missed a few

Tea was taken 219/6 – a decent score on the board.

 

Haircut Sir !!

 G Talbot coming off his curling run saw his first ball clattered to the boundary for 4, after that,redemption he took two wickets in his second over and another two in his fourth taking himself off with opposition wondering what had happened (4 overs 4wkts for 5 runs) – To be fair Gokani was playing the generous host  bowling some juicy full tosses that their opener J Tozer helped himself to he finished his allotted(7) overs and was replaced by J Kennedy

At the other end Leakies was introduced to try and even the game up a little , he gave the ball plenty of air (in fact some would say he is good Tosser !) –his first over was a maiden and his third contained three full tosses and a long hop all missed by the batsmen who duely let the next ball through to be clean bowled- wicket maiden unbelievable!

His third wicket was a superb juggling catch from Jay Gokani in the deep , so just as on Wednesday when the as yet unheard cry went up “well caught Spearman” again it was  a first on the South lawn with a  “well caught Gokani”  – Jay was rewarded with this good work replacing Leakies who had gone off for the inevitable Embassy to celebrate his good fortune.  Then a farcical run out the ball went straight to square leg the opener called their captain for a single then realised there was fielder as well as the umpire at square leg and sent him back – he was stranded half way down the wicket –pretty much summing up their day

Jayden snapped a wicket at the far end and it was left for Jay to claim the last victim (to get the first Gokani wicket in the scorebook) The Cricketers Club were  bowled out for a disappointing 74 .(their worst score of the season)

Some excellent fielding  (Morgan 3 catches behind the stumps) Joe West running faster and further in one game than his dad has all season  coupled with  some pretty average batting made for a handsome victory in spite of some regulars sunning themselves around the globe.

 

Away at Great Tew next week look out for Allans’ email (He was playing in above match but DNB and wasn’t offered a bowl- none the less his athletic dive for that catch was worth the entrance money (free) )  

02
Aug

BPCC v Islip 2pm 24th July 2016

Courtesy of Rob Kerr

Blenheim Sweep Aside Islip

 

BPCC bounced back from last week’s defeat to winning ways after an emphatic victory over local rivals Islip.

Islip won the toss and elected to bat, their No2 batsmen could not cope with a useful inswinger from Will Cox and went for a golden duck and it wasn’t long before the No 3 swung at a straight one from Spearman (who later claimed ‘it did a bit’) and was bowled. This brought their Inzamanesk   No4 to the wicket who made his intentions clear, his first four scoring shots 4,4,4,4 and soon the opposition were on 64/2 off 10 overs. Once the bowlers realised that full tosses and leg side bowling were his forte his scoring rate dropped dramatically with Will eventually removing him for 38-

A change of bowling saw Canham open with two maidens and James Talbot bowling their No6 for a (Golden) duck. Then Canham took three wickets in the next over reducing the score to 80/7. Eventually all out (96) with Canham mopping up the tail with impressive figures 5/8. Notable in the field was Malcolm attempting to stop a four and tripping over the rope twisting his ankle and then feinting and so had to leave the field of play, James Talbot turning a one into a four by kicking the ball over the rope and L Keyes missing a clear chance, debutant Jayden was reluctant to talk about International sports such as Rugby/Ashes/Tennis but performed well enough behind the stumps (Kerresque?)

  96 runs was never seemingly enough runs to defend and so confident was skipper MC that he  ‘ reversed’ the batting order- well Stan opened !!!  Unlike Compton, Angol took his chance to shine and with a V Richards type stroke play soon was on 4. Nick Talbot protected him from their opener fending off three maidens on the bounce. Stan was soon stroking another boundary through the covers and an exquisite cover drive brought him a single and into double figures, the 10th over was his undoing but he had done his job. Raj Gokani who had only touched the ball three times in the field (twice from the far side of the rope) failed to get anything on his first ball and his walk back to the pavilion was the opposite gait to that of Angol’s jaunty stride.

Where was Allan Engel to finish the job off ?– surely a missed opportunity from the Londoner. Keyes like a coiled spring hit his first ball for 4 but picked out their 6’6’’ opening bowler positioned at deep mid on who plucked the ball out of the air he was soon back on the benches dragging on  another Embassy and contining his barracking of any one in earshot (PS –Anyone seen his jumper ?)

N Talbot finally dismissed for a dogged 8 and so Spearman joined Cox senior who with his eye on his diary (away three weeks) never looked in trouble and was turning certain two’s in to easy one’s- The over’s ticked by and after 25 we crept passed 70, with Spearman gone Talbot J went to the crease  grabbed a single to keep  the strike smash 4, smash 4, miss out! Our Aussie Jayden debutant finished off the game with two fours leaving Coxy undefeated and Canham padded up waiting to go in at No 9!

We all retired to the pub where Canham bought a jug, Stan sat in reflected glory Lee dropped a glass (to go with his drop in the field) and Mike from where I sat looked Poles apart!

02
Jul

BPCC v Barton Abbey 6pm July 28th 2016

Courtesy of Malcolm West

Barton Abbey duly defeated, the Blenheim juggernaut ploughs on…..

We scored 121 for 8 they were 62 for 9 at the end of their 20 overs.  Very unusual game when Stan taking three wickets and bowling two wides in an over (incredibly wide when basically the umpires were not giving wides) isn’t the highlight.  Instead this must go to 12 year old debutant Jake Spearman.  Batting at 7 ahead of his dad and scoring 10 not out including a lofted on drive for four he then opened the bowling and again showed up his dad with 2-20 from four overs and wrapping up his man of the match performance with a confidently taken catch three quarters of the way back at deep mid-on (the sort of catch that most people in our side drop every week).  Phil left chuntering and was advised to phone Martin to ask for advice on coping with a prodigal son out performing him.  Therapy may be required.

Thanks to our new batting additions from Phil (Ross and Dom) who scoring 70odd between them saved our blushes in the first innings. And Further justifying Phil’s place in the team by bringing them to the game.

24
May

BPCC v Bodleian 2pm 22nd May 2016

Courtesy of Malcolm West

Lee Century

An unusually close result against Bodleian.  They won the toss and put us in and our strange innings got to 192 with a 112 from Lee Keys in about 20 overs and not much from everybody else.

 

The reply came in two parts the BPCC opening partnership of Phil Spearman from the newly named Spearman end (that’s what happens when you catch out your usual team mates Nigel…) and Cox Jr from the pavilion end kept the opposition pinned down and took some top order wickets.  The introduction of the spin twins of Gokani and Angol unfortunately coincided with the introduction of a quality left handed bat hiding mid  order and the runs began to flow all too quickly.  Canham replaced Angol and started to stem the flow of runs and eventually to pick up wickets but the 7 per over rate was being kept up with.  Unusually light on bowling with the end of the Gokani spell it was time to turn to Keys to see if he could do the same with the ball as the bat… turns out he could the runs flowed even quicker.  Luckily Canham was tight and nicking wickets at the other end.  After some tactical reappraisals Keys was withdrawn leaving Cox Senior to bowl the last two overs and proving to be much harder to get away.  1o required for the win from the last over and it all seemed very reminiscent of the previous week.  The field was spread and four were scored from the first five balls leaving a 6 to win from the last ball.  Batsman missed so did Kerr the batsmen ran a quick two as Kerr gloves thrown down raced out to pick up the ball turned and threw …nearly hitting his gloves (which would have gifted 5 runs and the game) luckily missed.

 

We must not make a habit of these nerve jangling close run games…it is reducing our time spent in the Kings Arms.

 

So again we carry out unbeaten record proudly in front of us could we get to the end of May unbeaten?

 

18
May

BPCC V I Zingari 2pm 15th May 2016

Courtesy of Malcolm West

For those in a hurry scroll down to the in brief version in bold.

IZ

In fuller form: IZ won the toss and elected to bat then raced to 60-0 in the first third of their innings and it looked like we might be looking down the barrel, in fact both barrels again as Walker and Talbot G were tortured with the new ball.  Canham started to slow up the rate and a dose of Stoddart (as is usually the case) settled the nerves with a Wicket almost immediately.  After some typical Blenheim fielding gave the IZ opener and top scorer a life off Canham in the deep amends were made with a great run out by Walker and the tables began to turn. Wickets fell steadily and runs dried up as the bowlers now including Gokani were skilfully rotated. Fielding was unusually sharp with confident catches taken the deep by Walker and Henman and a sharp catch on the drive by West.  IZ finished their 35 overs with 142-8 (Walker 1 – 37, Talbot 1-23, Canham 1-23, Stoddart 2-9, Gokani 2-44)

An excellent tea prepared by Talbot G with additional Victoria Sponges provided by the ladies of Woodstock was enjoyed by all. The general consensus being that the total should be possible to get with the batting line up we had available.

 

In reply an electric start from Keys supported by Cox M saw us race to 45 in the first 8 overs.  As Keys fell the rest of the upper and middle order came and went in regular order, all contributing a few but the rate slowed except for a brief injection of fireworks by Henman. By the 25th over we had crept to 90 leaving 50 runs to get in the last ten with only 4 wickets down and still looking likely to do it. With five overs to go 25 were required with five down and still it looked likely with Cox M still at the crease anchoring the innings having been joined by Stoddart.  Then the unthinkable happened and a diving one handed catch at midwicket snaffled Cox for 40.  An unseasonal flurry of wickets fell while Stoddart found the boundaries at the other end and as we started the 35th over 7 were required for the win Gokani facing with Stoddart at the other end, for IZ the bowling was slow and expensive from the luckiest/richest and portliest member of their team.  Let me go into ball by ball mode.

Ball 1 – Gokani, LBW, hearts sink and we look around to see who is due in next…

Ball2 – cometh the moment, cometh the Stan (who was still putting has pads on during the preceding delivery). Swing  Miss.  Groans from the anxious benches.

Ball 3 – Swing…Hit the Stan shot of the century a lofted cover drive over the close ring field for a single.  As the cheers ring in Stan’s ears, he considers coming back for a second but is strongly discouraged from doing so.

Ball 4 – Stoddart crashing drive back over the bowlers head is almost a six one bounce just inside the rope, 4.  Leaving us 1 behind with 2 balls left.

Ball 5 – Stoddard squeezes it through the ring and takes a single.  Scores tied.

Ball 6 – This is the moment.  Stan swings… Stan misses. Scores tied.

 

 

18
May

BPCC V Warwick University Staff 2pm 8th May 2016

Courtesy of Malcolm West

Well the season has got off to a good start with a welcome win against Warwick Uni staff, notable highlights as we dismissed them for 135 were 4 wickets for Matt Rodgers, 2 for George at the top of the chaotic order and  for Stan at the other end of the order with Marc brought on to remove their dangerous quick scoring batsmen and then taking himself off again.  Some good fielding and some not so good.

WUS

 After a delicious tea and bubbly to celebrate Mike’s birthday weekend Canham and Keys set about the chase in rambunctious style with lee displaying his usual splendid array of shots and judgement. Runs came and wickets fell until a partnership by Cox Senior and Gokani Steadied the ship and looked to be cruising to victory until both fell and the jitters arrived again with around 40 to get.  George finished the day as he had started it with some fireworks ably supported by Phil “see I can bat too” Humphries seeing us home with plenty of overs to spare and we retired to the Kings for generous portions of cheesy chips.

22
Sep

BPCC V Steeple Aston 1pm 20th September 2015

Courtesy of Phil Spearman and thanks to the BBC

Q of Sport

One last hurrah was required from the Blenheim blunderbuss as we turned up at Barton Abbey for an away fixture against Steeple Aston.  Early signs were good as we won the toss and elected to bowl on what looked to be a sticky wicket. Previous encounters with the opposition had mostly ended in defeat and our vice-captain summed up the situation neatly when he suggested that we must get their left handed opener early otherwise we were probably *****d. Walker took full advantage of the early conditions and opened with 2 superb wicket maidens (both bowled) to peg the Steeple-ites  back at 4-2. Opening partner Talbot (G) was unlucky in having the left handed opener miscue a pull directly to the aforementioned vice-captain stationed at mid –on. As the ball went straight in and out again (a la the confectionary stand at Headingly, 1981) it felt at that moment like were indeed well on our way to being *****d.  Further chances went begging as Canham saw the ball fly millimetres over the 5’ 6” mid-on and Canham himself shelved a difficult c & b chance larruped back at him. The opener continued to ride his luck as another miscued drive went fractionally over the same 5’ 6” fielder by now stationed at mid-wicket. 

 In another brush with dismissal the same batsman was well out of his ground backing up as his partners straight drive demolished the stumps having fractionally missed the outstretched hand of (you’ve guessed it) the 5’ 6” bowler on the way through. Eventually wickets did start to tumble however, with Walker picking up a third towards the end of his spell (for 20 off 8) and a wicket a piece for Talbot (G), Canham and a caught and bowled for Gokani.  Spearman weighed in with a brace. Despite the near misses Steeple at no point took the game away from us and they finished their 40 overs on 164-8.  Other highlights in the field included a stunning catch by Engel at slip and the moustache raising moment 6’ 5” Coxy had with the electric fence.  We also witnessed the comedy moment of the match/season/decade. In years to come you may come across the following footage on A Question of Sport

Sue Barker: So we move onto the What Happened Next round and Matt, you go first. Here we have a local village cricket match and as the dibbly-dobbly bowler comes in to bowl, the young batsman advances down the track to cart him out the ground. What happened next? 

2 minutes of conflab later 

Matt Dawson: Well Sue, we think he’s gone for a big shot, top edged it, and 3 players have run in and all collided with each other.

 (General guffawing)

 Sue Barker: It’s a good answer but its not right. Over to Tuffer’s team:

 2 mins later:

 Tuffers: Well Sue, I reckon he’s played the shot, made good contact and carted him right over cow corner and straight into a cow-pat.

 (Titters all round)

 Sue Barker Wrong again guys. Lets see what really happened: 

The bowler’s bowled, the batsman has completely missed it and just as it’s about to hit the top of middle stump, the keeper has fumbled the ball in front of the stumps and trashed the wicket.

 Tuffers (somewhat bemused): Come off it Sue, not even a Blenheim keeper would do that.

 Matt Dawson (frowning): Are you pulling my chain Sue – that didn’t really happen did it?

 Sue Barker: It really happened.

 Yes, 24 hours after the event when we all woke up the following morning it dawned on us – it wasn’t just a bad dream – Stan had actually fumbled the ball before it had even reached the stumps.  As a slight sweetener, in the chaos that followed a call of ‘no-ball’ (for that is what this wicket taking delivery had technically become) was overlooked. No one was sure whether this was due to the umpire’s inability to get back on their feet after crying with laughter or out of genuine sympathy to the bowler and the rest of the team but either way it was a nice gesture.  

So, we batted.  

At 39-2 after 10 we were still in the game but to be fair we were a couple of batsman light and with West and Cox back in the shed it was always going to be an uphill struggle. Further chaos was to follow however and in this time of the Rugby World Cup it was somehow appropriate that there should some shilly-shally on the boundary line as first Canham’s helmet and then his bat felt the full force of his frustration at having been run out for 25. There followed a farm yard full of ducks to add to the cows and horses in this most rural of settings and the 39 -2 had quickly become 48-8. It was left to Talbot (J) to play some impressive big shots and a more than useful last wicket stand between Walker (with two cracking pull shots) and Engel for us to retrieve at least some respectability from the jaws of humiliation. Our season had ended with us all out for 75 from 24.3 overs.  

So the last words of the season are probably best described by Steeple Aston’s emotional Norwegian commentator who popped in towards the end of the game (for they know a thing or two about cricket in Norway)… 

‘Blenheim, Blenheim – birthplace of giants (and 5’ 6” midgets) …

 Capability Brown, The Ladds-Gibbon, The Dukes of Marlborough (numbers 1-12), Rob Samples, can you hear me Rob Samples? Sir Winston Churchill, Steve Kemish, 

We have beaten them all. We have beaten them all.  The Mock Mayors (past and present), Sir John Vanbrugh, Mike Henman (and your tennis playing brother) Your boys took one helluva beating today’.  

And so we had. 

This week’s Altruistic Addendum

 … Is given over to one David Hughes who has, throughout the season, selflessly prepared wickets, organised fixtures, and managed the team. All without barely gracing the South Lawn himself. Buy that man a beer.

 I would also like to personally thank: 

  • Andrew Shaw our chairman for being our chairman and sorting out the wicket so that our batsman could contribute a tad more to our games (not before time frankly).
  • Mike Stone for preparing teas.
  • All other volunteers who have helped prepare the pitch (and clear away afterwards).
  • Allan Engel for tirelessly chasing money. And collecting subs and match fees.
  • Anyone who volunteered to umpire …
  • … and to score.
  • All other team managers of the month.
  • I should probably also thank Stan individually for the pure entertainment value in this last game alone. As well as for all maintenance he has undertaken.  

Guys its been a hoot again this season. Looking forward to next year already.