Cherry Hinton II Vs Fen Ditton II
Saturday 6th May
Cherry Hinton II Vs Fen Ditton II
Pre-season hopes for a really successful 2nd XI campaign were sky high. Surely division 5N wouldn’t be much different, following league re-organisation, than the Minor League last year when we finished with four wins. A bigger pool of players to choose from this season, but some unknown quantities, it might have been preferable for a slightly easier fixture first up to see who can do what. There was a suspicion that Cherry Hinton II would be a decent side and so it transpired.
Four debutants were presented with caps in a short ceremony before we started, which we’ll need to do again as they weren’t actually Ditton caps which are on order. H was making his debut as Skipper and called incorrectly to lose his first toss. We would have batted on a firm wicket but Cherries took the opportunity to put a total on the board.
We opened with Wayne and Mick who beat the outside edge repeatedly but couldn’t find an early breakthrough. The more aggressive opener hit Wayne for successive sixes but revenge was sweet as the third swing missed and the stumps were splayed. Batsman 3 was notable for wearing a cravat to begin his innings and then removing pads and gloves for the drinks break during which he started a cigar. He didn’t finish his cigar and tellingly left it alight on the ground about six feet from the crease. Two balls later he was out and could finish it at leisure. Marshall at number four was looking very solid although never fluent. Mick and Wayne had been replaced by Gav and Grant with Grant removing both the opener and number 3, followed by a third later. Gave took one wicket, as did Jamie during his spell. There was also an excellent run out when the batsmen misjudged the power of the Butler arm and Dom completed the job. Whilst it felt as though we always had a degree of control over what was going on, the score crept up, aided by 32 extras. Marshall finished with 54 not out and a quick 20 from batsman 7 saw Cherries to a total of 184-7. Probably thirty more than we’d have liked to be chasing.
Dom in the 2nd over, H in the 5th, Tom in the 9th and Craig in the 12th meant we’d seen a much vaunted top four muster 29 runs between them and give us a mountain to climb. Dom and H both edged decent balls but Tom and Craig may not wish to recount their dismissals. We knew Josh meant business – who goes to Northampton on the morning of the match to collect four sets of gear from his supplier (cricket gear). In partnerships with Sameer, Gavin and Jamie, who made a promising 20, Josh played a sparkling knock, spurred on by the blow early on to his, ahem, midriff.
On the scorebook, the ever optimistic Butler started to dream of an improbable victory until Josh fell for 38. We’d made our way to the third batting bonus point at 120. Grant and Mick, our final pair, carried our best wishes but not huge expectation. They confounded us and caused a few furrowed brows as Cherries saw that one big over could swing the outcome. Grant was last man out for 15 with Mick undefeated on 17 but the big over hadn’t happened and we closed on 157. A terrific effort by the second half of the order and something to build on.
There already feels like we have a good team spirit and will enjoy ourselves this season whatever the outcome but now we know the standard and will find out soon if we have the ability to challenge in this division.
Fen Ditton II Vs Wisbech Town IV
If you thought Duckworth/Lewis was a touch confusing you should try reading the run rate rule in the CCA Handbook! The official results show we won this game and have 20 points but I still have a nagging doubt as last season this would have been a frustratingly abandoned game. Yesterday also proved you should never trust weather forecasts. Having escaped two stoppages with the help of our reliable, but now damaged tarpaulin, it should have been easy to complete the match in evening sunshine. Then Armageddon arrived, creepily slowly, like an eclipse of dark clouds which finally opened at about 6:30.
There was slight dismay when H lost the toss and it took little thought for the Wisbech skipper to invite us to bat on a damp, soft wicket. But they failed to bowl well enough to take advantage and Dom showed what he can do with a very quick 59 consisting of 10 boundaries and a maximum as he dismissed anything off line or length. Butler was playing responsibly, knowing that a big innings would set us up and he was the most likely candidate. Despite running H out, albeit a direct hit from some good fielding, Tom mainly restrained himself and just waited for bad balls to put away. At the other end MVS was playing a little cameo innings of 36 which kept the run rate going nicely. The two stoppages mentioned earlier made no difference as the runs kept coming. Eventually both MVS and Butler (88) departed with the ball just stopping in the pitch a bit more but Jamie made a solid 16* with some good running with Grant in the final over particularly. We closed on 221-6. Now we needed the weather to hold.
Jacko was making his second XI debut due to the 1st team having so many bowlers this week and found 5N a bit of a shock as one of the Wisbech openers showed no respect and hit long and hard to long-off and mid-wicket. We closed off those options and the game slowed. Wayne bowled a miserly spell from the pavilion end for figures of 4-3-1-1. Gav took over and was almost as difficult to play but the building cloud meant we needed wickets quickly. We required something exceptional and luckily we had a national media sensation in the team to provide it. Step forward Grant Gilmour (Daily Mirror), or Mail Online to chase after wickets today, rather than his car. He got one and, but for a height No Ball might/should have had another. Amelia was making her first appearance of the season and made a real impact with a caught and bowled wicket and a catch at extra cover that many of us would not have held on to. By now we had everyone in catching positions as runs were not important, only wickets to attain a 'real' win rather than a convoluted run rate win. The storm halted everything but it had been a cracking game with Wisbech providing opposition proving a really decent bunch who were a pleasure to host.
St Ives IV away next week and most of our main batters and bowlers now have some confidence, so let's see what we can do to push up the table.
**The CCA decided on Monday morning that their own rules regarding unfinished matches are too complicated and our win is now an abandonment. We get 12 points instead of 20. I feel like Bumble after that England-Zimbabwe test**
St Ives Town IV Vs Fen Ditton II
A phone call on Friday morning from the St Ives IV skipper left our plans for Saturday in ruins. 20 points but no cricket. Or so we thought.
By 7pm on Saturday Craig and Mani, having joined the CCA 'Additional Players' list had both got themselves games for Milton III and with 95 not out Craig had single-handedly (he said) won 'their' match with Wisbech Town IV. Mani made a classy 10 not out. By Monday morning there would be further news. . .
St Ives Town IV have now withdrawn completely from 5N so we lose the 20 points (as does anyone else who played them or benefited from a default). Is it a matter of time before both Granta IV and Burwell IV make similar decisions? How much league cricket will we get to play this summer?
Fen Ditton II Vs Milton III
Sorry, no match report for this game.
Fen Ditton II Vs Wimblington II
Conundrums flew around in the days before this fixture. Low availability led to both first and second teams taking the field with ten men. This after the game had been in doubt due to Wimblington appealing for recuits from the APL, recruiting a player but then not needing him as they scraped 11 together. Skipper H doesn't like the APL concept so we didn't take the player Wimbo were going to use. The firsts couldn't play their away game against Littleport at Littleport, who had rented Wimblington for the day. This led to discussion about whether the seconds should play Wimblington II at Wimblington and the firsts play Littleport at Ditton. Transportation of teas decided that fixtures would remain as designated. Are you still with me?
Wimbo won the toss and batted, saying they might put a score on the board but probably wouldn't have the bowling to defend it. OK, let's see. The skipper and opening bat would also need a runner but not pads as he's a double leg amputee. There would also be the chattiest squre-leg umpire I've ever heard. An impression proven when she batted, during tea and when in the field. Things happen in division 5 that you'd be hard pressed to find elsewhere. All this padding is leading up to the fact that although Wimbo reached drinks at 80-2, there was a feeling that a collapse could be one or two wickets away. Having made 51, the opener was bowled by Marc, making his only appearance of the season (and leaving early at that). The number four slogged a quick 30-odd but Fowler with 3-30 and Marc with 6-29 (some top bowling and some dross) soon turned our weak position into what we thought would be a straightforward chase to get 155. George deserved better than the single wicket he took and Craig merits mention for getting the ball rolling with a very good slip catch.
We know we're capable of turning any run chase into a calamity, but not today. Branwell was asked to open with Craig and showed an excellent defensive technique which meant no early loss. It also meant that when the array of change bowling arrived, like Bertie Bassett, Craig began to fill his boots. Butler (batting at 3) went for a long wander round the boundary without bothering to take bat or gloves. It had become evident that Craig would be the dominant player in the pairing and completed a chance free half-century. He then milked the bowling and stole the strike to such effect that a century loomed into view. He should have been caught at extra cover, a missed chance that saw Butler sink to his knees as DNB loomed for him. With about a dozen needed for the win Craig completed just the second ever 2nd team century, finishing on 105*. Branwell kept up the support role for 27* and we celebrated a ten wicket win, albeit in a rather muted manner.
Wimbo predict they won't win this season but our charge towards the top is moving into full swing. Will we be able to keep Craig from the clutches of the first team though?