Whalers – Sunday Sep 11 2011

Beggars Blown Away Again

Winchmore Hill CC  Sunday 11 Sept 2011

WEST X1 120 all out lost to The Whalers 221-4 by 101 runs

On a windy afternoon at Winchmore Hill West X1 confirmed their status as the Birmingham City of social cricket teams, going down to another heavy defeat to the ten-man Whalers after another enervated batting display. Hurricane Katia had little effect on the outcome, despite the tenebrous weather forecasts, and for the most part the game was played out in warm sunshine despite a stiff breeze.

Batting first on the usual good wicket, The Whalers rattled up 221-4, their opener Dickenson carrying out his bat for 121, the highest score by a Whaler for ten years and the second successive game one of their batsman has hit a ton against the West X1 attack. He gave a couple of chances early on as some loose bowling allowed 50 from the first 8 overs: they weren’t taken and a heavy cost was paid. However, Chris Dane and Chris Wright recovered well to both post identical figures of 1-30 from their 7 overs. Stewart Taylor (2-28) and Wright induced a mini-collapse after the openers had put up 67, but Dickenson and Ahmed had little trouble adding 104 for the fourth wicket. With Steve Bignell ineffective and no recognised fifth bowler, 118 runs came from the remaining 14 overs of assorted trundlers.

The target of 222 was ‘gettable’ according to the skipper, but such is the lack of resolve in the side at the moment that the reply barely made it half way and succumbed in 25 overs on what was still a good wicket. Captain Dane at least went down with his ship, stroking a classy 51 in 15 overs – his second successive half-century in a losing cause – but Ahmed’s spell of 3-12 mid-innings ended any chance of victory. Steves Rennie and Bignell offered some mild resistance either side of a rain break, but the innings ended in a whimper with both Rob Aylott and Damien Zachlod injured and unable to bat. Had the batsmen held out another five minutes under glowering skies the subsequent downpour might have saved the Westies from their 14th defeat of a miserable summer, but it was not to be.

‘Another Sunday, another defeat. Some positives, like nobody died’, tweeted the skipper. For West X1, outed by Chelsea flop Torres as ‘old and slow’ the end of the season can’t come soon enough.

Crown Taverners CC – Sunday 4 Sept 2011

No country for old men

Gentlemen of West London 279-3 beat WEST X1 199-7 by 80 runs

Gent2 scard

There were some unwanted new records for the club in this contest, reduced to 30 overs due to rain: West X1’s concession of 279 runs (at 9.3 an over) in a match has only been beaten by Red Star Pandemonium’s 320-6 from 40 overs back in 2000, and Chris Dane’s analysis of 6-0-67-0 is a new all-time low for the club (see below).

There were extenuating circumstances. The visiting players arrived to be told the match was off, so indulged themselves at the adjacent Crown and Cushion pub. Conspiracy theorists, claiming this was a ploy by a tee-total opposition to weaken their opponents, by allowing them to be overfed and well watered  before suddenly announcing the match was back on, was later rubbished by a GWLCC spokesperson as ‘absolute nonsense!’

Nevertheless, with the artificial pitch close to the pavilion being utilised in what was already a small ground, it was always going to be a high-scoring game. A total of 478 runs were notched in 60 overs at a rate of 7.96 for the loss of ten wickets. Captain Gilkes’s brisk 45 got the Gents off to a flying start, but more than half their runs came in the last ten overs, thanks to an onslaught from Lall (102) and Cloette (97*), assisted by much limp fielding and buffet bowling, not to mention exceptional batting. Only Chris Wright (0-23 from 6 overs) and Phil Hill (2-45) emerged with much credit, Hill curiously trapping the rampant Lall leg before whilst appealing from a horizontal position after tumbling over delivering the ball.

The Beggars at least managed some runs of their own, though unsurprisingly were never up with the run rate at any point. Daney recovered most of his deficit with a classy 59 – his first half-century of the season – and was backed-up by Stewart Taylor (31), Chris Wright (34) and the lame Rowan Allerton (32), who, along with runner Mike Delanian, produced some more entertaining ‘dancing bear’ confusion amongst the various running batsmen. But there were too many singles and not enough boundaries and the Gents’ redeployment of their opening bowler with 94 needed from 12 balls ensured no miracle finale.

West X1 can claim no victory over the Gents since 2008 and it’s hard to see how the Beggars can reverse the trend in this fixture. This was their 13th defeat of the season, and when Rowan Allerton left the field injured, after attempting to jump a fence retrieving another six, there was barely anybody left under the age of 45!  No new players were brought in before the transfer deadline and the Committee is now under fire from the fans. It looks like a long winter ahead.

West X1’s balls of shame – see below

MOST RUNS CONCEDED BY A WEST X1 BOWLER IN A SINGLE INNINGS

The surprising thing about the following list is this that, with one possible exception, all the bowlers mentioned have been highly successful for the club and all but 2 have taken at least 200 wickets. Everyone has an off day (sometimes two or three!) particularly when encountering top batsmen from a different level. Chris Dane’s entries were both recorded on artificial pitches, which give little help to swing or spin bowlers.

Overs-maidens-runs-wickets

6-0-67-0   Chris Dane v. Gentlemen of West London 4/9/11

7-0-65-1   Steve Bignell v. Strong Room 11/5/97

7-0-64-1   Chris Dane v. Menorca CC 20/5/06

6-0-64-0   Kevin Allerton v. Red Star Pandemonium 7/5/00

7-0-59-2   Steve Bignell v. Staefa  31/5/98

7-0-59-1   Neepam Bhatt v. Gentlemen of West London 19/7/09

7-0-57-0   Phil Hill v. Gentlemen of Hampstead 13/9/92

7-0-56-2   Steve Bignell v. Urban Associates 17/8/97

7-0-56-1   Chris Wright v. Urban Associates 20/8/00

5-0-56-1   Dave Laing v. St.Anne’s Allstars 7/8/05

Octopus – Sunday 21st August 201

No revolution in octopus’s garden

St. Aloysius Sports Ground, Highgate
WEST X1 165 all out lost to Octopus CC 199-8 by 34 runs

West X1’s brief successful run came to an end in an enjoyable and competitive contest against Octopus at the well appointed St. Aloysius venue. With Tom Hurley, Chris Wright and Chris Boden all unavailable it was always going to be an uphill task, but the Beggars put up a decent show, falling short by 34 runs on a warm afternoon with a pitch that had dried up and deteriorated somewhat from the start of the game.

The captains agreed a 40 over 12-a-side match, and with limited bowling options the Westies did well to hold the talented Octopus batting roster to five an over. Chris Dane, who took his 200th West X1 wicket against St. Anne’s last week, had an early success and both he and Stewart Taylor (1-16 in his 8 overs) kept the batsmen in check early on. Lamplough (43) and Gopi (34) added 82 for the second wicket until Steve Bignell (2-39) and Phil Hill (2-36) fought back for the visitors. But it was lack of a fifth bowler that proved costly, Rowan Allerton and Dave Laing sharing eight overs for 78 runs and no wickets as Smith (47) and Reed (25) gave it the long handle in the last few overs.

West X1 made a positive start to their reply, Mike Delanian and Taylor putting up 34 in 7 overs, but although all the batsmen got in and made a few runs, nobody went on to make a significant impact. Stewart top-scored with an innings of 33, during the course of which he became only the fourth Beggar batsman to accumulate 3000 runs. Some erratic (and occasionally dangerous) bowling from Octopus ensured a big bag of extras (46 in all) and kept the score moving. Steve Rennie hit a rare six between nurdles but no batsman hung around long enough to suggest a victory was in the offing.

Despite being 5 wickets down West X1 were still up with the run rate at the half-way point of their innings. Rowan Allerton (24) played the shot of the season, hooking a Hodge bouncer to the boundary, but when he offered a return catch to Ingram at 116 the game looked up with just a long tail in reserve. Nevertheless, Westies kept fighting, with Kevin Allerton gritting it out for 13 in 12 overs, his best effort for many years, and a final total of 165 was a respectable effort in the circumstances.

St Anne’s All Stars – Sunday 14th August 2011

Top of the rankings – They’re not laughing now!

   LPFF Ground, Greenford

West X1 continued their recent improvement with a narrow win over a depleted St.Anne’s team who fought bravely right until the end, falling away only in the last few overs. Despite the logistical problems; the players needing a route march to get the pitch via the temporary entrance and facilities, then finding a wicket and outfield unprepared, an exciting and competitive game ensued.

The Beggars’ total was built around partnerships for the second wicket – 59 between Tom Hurley (20) and Chris Boden (48) – and an ultimately match-winning 48 for the seventh wicket from Steve Rennie (19) and James Lord (23). St. Anne’s were right in the game at 121-3 in the 29th over but a needless run out sparked a collapse with their last six wickets falling for only 16 runs.

After Mike Delanian had fallen early, Hurley and Boden consolidated to bring the score to 64 by the 15th over until Tom uncharacteristically lost patience. When Boden was caught and bowled at 80 the innings began to unravel in the face of some accurate bowling from Nicol (1-25) and Grant (3-12 in 7 overs with 3 maidens), restricting the Westies to 20 runs in 10 overs as wickets fell regularly. Chris Dane (15) flourished briefly but it was left to Rennie and Lord to rescue the situation. Both were dismissed in the last over but a final total of 161 looked about par.

Marshall and Grant began St. Anne’s reply brightly with 38 from the first 8 overs, but were pegged back by excellent spells from Chris Wright (1-18 with 4 maidens) and Chris Dane (2-10), though Grant (37), Toohey (32) and Adams (34) kept the score moving within touching distance. As last week, Dave Laing made the vital breakthrough, bowling Adams. Two run outs followed as the tension was ratched up on both sides but the innings fell apart against Chris Boden (3-22), his victims including guests Dave Bender and John McGirr.

Our moles inform me that this game, the 541st competitive match in the club’s history, is the first ever to be played with a white ball, offered by the opposition due to lack of proper sightscreens and a background of dark tree lines.  After a while no one really noticed. A ball is a ball is a ball. Personally I think we should use nice pastel colours, a soft green or blue, or perhaps bright pink or yellow. What do our readers think?

Acme – Sunday 7th August 2011

WestX1 run riot amid Hurley burly

Winchmore Hill CC

WEST X1 255-2 beat Acme 239-8 by 16 runs

The West X1 batting renaissance continues. At a shower-swept Winchmore Hill they piled up their best score of the summer thanks to a record second-wicket partnership of 177 in 26 overs between Chris Boden (107) and Thomas Hurley (88*) – the fifth highest in club history and Chris’s second century – his personal best for the team and the 19th ton in the Westies’ 26 years. Acme won the toss and put their opponents in to bat, a decision they must have later regretted.

On a perfect wicket with good bounce that survived surprisingly well in the difficult conditions, Acme recovered from 100-5 to almost snatch victory in an exciting climax, though they were always just that little bit too far behind the run rate. Matches between these sides have always been high scoring affairs and with a quick outfield and a short boundary on one side that was always going to be the case again. For once the Beggars held their catches, though the couple that went to grass late on fortunately did not affect the result.

It is no fluke that the batting improvement has coincided with the introduction of Hurley into the top order. The Charterhouse schoolboy played another immaculate hand following the early loss of Richard Hopkin, when the new ball was still seaming around. He finished undefeated just 12 short of a deserved century and now has a batting average of 103! Chris Wright joined in the fun with a quickfire 34 in the last few overs as Acme wilted. Boden’s innings owed something to luck early on but once into his stride the acting skipper proved unstoppable, at one point having the curious scoring sequence of 6-4-5. Spare a thought for poor Richard, playing only his second game for the club, missing out on the runfest – caught and bowled Williamson for 6 – and later retiring with a suspected broken finger keeping wicket.

Chris Boden was not content with a century, as he quickly reduced Acme to 33-3 with the ball, sub keeper Steve Bignell taking Batra behind the wicket before Bonney-James and Suva miscued into the outfield, Matt Cattee and Mike Delanian safely reeling in the catches, as did Steve Rennie to dismiss Thompson at 96. There was a fine spell from the luckless Stewart Taylor, but it was Acme’s Taylor who carried the fight to West X1, hitting a brisk 92, including two sixes off Dave Laing in one over before being outfoxed by the wily wingco. Dave trebled his wicket haul for the season despite going for 11 an over. There were further catches for Rowan Allerton and John McGirr as Acme refused to give up the chase. John’s came from a slow Rennie wide carved to backward point, a dramatic tumbling effort to rival Phil Hill’s the week before.

Man-mountain Growler Prest (27*) struck some mighty blows late on as Acme briefly threatened an unlikely victory, but Westies held their nerve to win by just 16 runs on a day that saw nearly 500 runs scored in 70 overs for the loss of ten wickets.

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