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 Mick and Wayne had been replaced by Gav and Grant with Grant removing both the opener and number 3, followed by a third later.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?
Camden II Vs Fen Ditton II
We arrived at Comberton to play Camden II to find that they had 7 players plus the skippers wife and as it was such a hot day, Fowler had decided the decent thing to do was dispense with a toss and let them bat.
It was very hot so short spells, attacking fields and as little running around were called for. It was a good exercise in giving 8 bowlers a go, restricting runs but, ultimately, failing to take the final wicket. Wayne bowled a superb spell of 8-4-5-2 and another to impress was MVS with 3-0-9-1. Despite the heat it felt like a fun 40 overs. We'd bowled and fielded very well but equally the Camden batters had dug in and fought hard. 145 runs for us to win.
During tea one of the Camden players began to feel unwell and rapidly deteriated to the point where an ambulance took him to Papworth where we are now able to report he was recovering well. The cricket was obviously done for the day. It's something you never want to happen but the actions of players from both clubs were spot on. This continued later when Camden needed to report the outcome of the fixture to the CCA and very graciously forfeited the win to Ditton as they felt they wouldn't have defended the total with 7 or 8 players. We hope that Nick will continue to make progress in his recovery.
Bluntisham II Vs Fen Ditton II
How can I put this politely?
Fen Ditton 2nd team was not at its strongest, on paper, for Saturdays match at Bluntisham. The main positive was that we had eleven, some of whom might loosely be described as cricketers. A fixture we might have looked at as a chance for 20 points evolved into more of a development opportunity with the club having no fewer than 26 players unavailable to play. Coupled with the 1st teams appalling recent run which meant they needed the strongest possible eleven to put a stop to their rot, the 2nds had to take one for the good of the Club.
Whilst we had many bowling options, the batting line up was paper thin and the toss took on unusual importance. If H could call correctly and field, we might have a sniff as Bluntisham have not shown themselves to be a high scoring unit either. Mathemeticians may have proven that the toss of a coin is not actually a 50/50 event and certainly, when you're desperate it feels like the God of Heads or Tails is 80% against you. Without hesitation H called Heads and as soon as the pound coin came to rest the Bluntisham skipper gleefully replied "You can have a bat".
A meticulously planned batting order with instructions to see off the accurate opener we'd researched came apart second ball of the innings. 0-1. Himesha, usually an opener for the Under 13's was in at three so no call for panic. Gav played and missed which is excusable for an opener but also put away some loose balls and we had the foundation of a partnership. On 17 Gavin slapped one to the cover fielder who made no mistake, bringing H to the wicket. On 2017 form Himesha was very much the senior partner now and H lived up/down to current expectations when inside edging onto the stumps for just 5. Himesha was batting as though this were just another U13 match rather than just his second appearance in adult league cricket, keeping out the good balls and playing some textbook attacking shots when the chance was there. Leo, playing his first adult league game soon demonstrated his usual self-confidence with some decent blows and the pair took us to drinks in reasonable shape. It's very hard to make the adjustment from 20 to 40 over cricket and maybe the drinks break came at a bad time for Himesha who was bowled for an excellent 25 a couple of overs later. Leo then ran himelf out with a very ambitious attempt at a single, having made an impressive 20. Alan smashing a boundary with his Mongoose was the only other moment worth documenting as we slumped from 80-3 to 101 all out.
We didn't get the very early breakthrough but Mick did get his man, and first wicket of the season with a very good LBW shout. Good in that he appealed while nobody else did. As with all bowlers, he said it was plumb. Grant and Gavin bowled tidily but failed to really trouble the gritty opener who seemed hell bent on guiding his side to their target. Time to turn again then to the under 18's. Himesha bowled Yorker length and was rewarded with his first senior wicket. George came back from a trying first over to create two chances in two balls, the second one having the bucket hands of Mani under it. A very good catch given the workout Mani had been given as the ball was repeatedly hit to him at mid wicket. He'd suffered a 'Bambi On Ice' moment landing heavily on his back, but after some Yoga/Pilates a full recovery was made. A flurry of boundaries brought the match to a close as Bluntisham cruised to a seven wicket win. Not the finest afternoon for Ditton but more than a glimpse of a bright future for our youngsters.
Cam Kerala II Vs Fen Ditton II
Wayne bowled with exceptional control (8-2-16-1), George and Himesha took very good catches and Gav got a five-for (7-0-46-5).
Craig made a patient half-century (59) and we fell short by just twelve runs in a game many of us will want to put behind us for varying reasons. There are different ways of playing the game and I think, I'm sure, I prefer the way we go about it.
Fen Ditton II Vs Burwell IV
Another very warm day on which we had a long batting order ready to do some damage. Unfortunately, H lost the toss and Burwell batted.
We took the field looking very 'village'. The ideal of everyone wearing club shirts nowhere in sight with George and Tom not even in white shirts, looking like models for TM Lewin. Maybe it's the way forward? Why white? Whilst Burwell had cobbled a team together with seven under 18's, we had three good ones of our own in Simon, Amelia and Himesha. Simon took the new ball and found prodigious swing but needed to start it a bit wider of off stump. Still, a tidy spell of 4 overs for 12 runs. Mick started from the other end and took two quick wickets to get us going. 8-2 and it was already looking like it could be a short afternoon. Himesha and Amelia replaced Simon and Mick and both showed why they're the future of the club. Himesha didn't bowl a single bad ball and his figures of 4-1-14-2 would have been 2-7 had he not had an overstepping no-ball problem. Amelia bowled a consistently good line and length for figures of 4-0-25-2. The bowlers were aided by some good catching from George, Josh and Mani, but less so by H (less said the better). Mani didn't quite get it right in his two overs but Josh did with three very tidy overs for 9 runs. George was persuded to bowl two overs of spin, and it really did spin. An LBW was followed by bowling the batsman behind his legs. 2-2 isn't too shabby. Mick returned to take the last two wickets and return figures of 6-4-5-4. A really good team effort with the exception of the vice captain whose biggest contribution was to go off and mix the drinks instead of fielding at the 14 over mark. Cheers Tom. 90 runs to 'chase'.
With an easy looking 'red-inker' there for the taking Butler was dropping bomb like hints that he fancied opening and H agreed provided he talk Himesha through at the other end. Whilst Tom waited for full tosses and very short balls to hit, Himesha made even decent balls look within his compass to attack with a particularly memorable straight drive through mid on with a late flick of the wrists. He'd reached 27 and victory in sight when not hitting a full toss out of the middle to be caught. Another very promising knock. Browny joined Tom and at least two of the Burwell youngster enquired of the umpires if he might, perhaps, be a big hitter? In the Hagrid mould maybe? They didn't find out as he faced only one ball and scored a single. Tom, whose idea of hitting out had consisted of edging two boundaries between 'keeper and slip, finally middled a couple to end the match on 43 not out.
A comprensive win against weak opposition which we need to follow up next week.
Fen Ditton II Vs Granta IV
The game we thought wouldn't happen. Granta IV have defaulted 6 times this season but on Saturday we discovered that when they put a team out, they can probably beat anyone in 5N. This makes the league a bit of a mockery - some teams have had a 'free' 20 points whilst others will be picking up the odd bonus point.
H won the toss and elected to bat on a greenish pitch. Himesha was out almost before we realised the game had started with a ball that rose to chest height and could only be fended up into the air. Butler had begged for the other opening spot despite the usual "I've got a hangover" and made steady progress with Craig. Anything short could be put away but deliveries pitch up might seam. Sedate but solid batting was putting us in a decent position until the Fowler/Asplen umpiring partnership ended. Craig and Dom then questioned the LBW decisions against them which from the pavilion looked charitable. H and Butler kept their bats in front of their pads and built a 79 run partnership with a view to start hitting out after 30 overs in search of a 200+ total. The reintroduction of the 13 year old county opening bowler proved too much for H and Tom then stroked about a dozen consecutive singles to bring up his century. Fowler was with him at the end as we just fell short of the full 5 bonus points, finishing 191-6. Enough?
The 13 year old was back to open the batting and his partner was a very fully grown 19 year old. Both played very well but were given too many freebies to hit. We lacked intensity in the field and execution with our bowling length, far often too short. Granta were off to a flyer. We got the older opener out when he misshit a full toss in the air shortly before drinks. With Butlers advice we found that Craig and Fowler could consistently hit a good, full length and reigned things in a bit. Messages were re-inforced at drinks and we held on for another few overs until Craig was bowled out and Fowler given a rest as we now really needed wickets. The youngster was now hitting good balls to the boundary and brought up the second century of the match. He was out a few balls later, Fowler taking a very good, low catch from Grants bowling but it was all a bit too late. Granta reached their target with four overs remaining and only two wickets down.
A good match but one which highlighted our shortcomings. We have bowled well this season but need to find a bit more consistency and try to keep battling when things look bleak.
Fen Ditton II Vs March Town IV
It's going to start raining sometime between 5 and 6pm and it probably won't stop. Everyone seemed to know this so before the toss a shortened 30 over per innings match was agreed by the captains. March won the toss and invited Ditton to bat.
Craig and Gavin mixed caution with aggression, putting all the bad balls away to give us the start we were looking for. Gav was bowled by one which George (umpiring) said moved more than the width of the stumps before hitting leg. A well made 18. Himesha played another composed innings showing that batting in the seconds at the top of the order is helping him mature as a cricketer. He's getting more selective about what to attack, defends well and his running between the wickets is improving. Today he made 26 runs in good time and passed 100 for the seconds this season. Craig had stealthily made his way to another half century and was starting to help himself to some of the change bowling. H joined him and cracked a couple of nice leg side boundaries and a six before also getting bowled for 26. By now Craig was plotting his way towards three figures and it was MVS, in his final Ditton match before moving to Belgium who supported him to the landmark. Craig would finish unbeaten on 107 with fourteen boundaries and one six. MVS leaves these shores not out and with our very best wishes. 228-3 would have looked good from 40 overs but today it was very impressive from just 30.
The message at tea was to get through the 30 overs as quickly as possible, with the weather a factor out of our control. Bowling March out earlier than that would be an obvious bonus.
Simon started from the pavilion end and bowled his best spell for the club, consistently attacking the stumps or just outside off. His reward was 6-1-12-4, just missing out on a "Michelle" as Shane Warne calls it. Himesha tried the Jackson end this week and only overstepped once. He bowled a decent line and length and fully deserved his 4-1-9-1. By now we were in a great match position and with no sign of rain (yet), we were able to give four overs each to Mani and Jason. Both took full advantage of the opportunity with Mani taking 1-14 and Jason 2-7. March had played the game with ten so just one wicket to take as the clouds darkened. George came on to bowl some 'weird' spin but couldn't get past the stubborn resistance of a lady who played with real determination, even after George bowled a sly quicker one with thudded into an unprotected thigh. Daniel had an over before George finally got one past the number ten to end the match just as the rain arrived, with March 54 all out in 21.1 overs. Branwell kept wicket very well and we still had the bowling of Gavin and Craig up our sleeve had it been required. As it was, everyone could feel they'd contributed to a comprehensive win.
The rain did settle in just after the Rec was cleared and we headed off to a Belgian beer fuelled farewell for MVS. Good luck for the future to you and Anouk. Hopefully won't be too long before you're back for a visit.
Fen Ditton II Vs Balsham
Lots of rain so no cricket.
Coton Vs Fen Ditton II
Surprisingly, team selection for this week had been very straightforward. The first team, in need of one more win to guarantee Div 1 cricket again next season, took Tom and Craig but still left the seconds with a decent looking batting lineup and plenty of bowling options. The unknown factor would be the use of an artificial pitch following the heavy rain earlier in the week. With this in mind, H decided to have a bowl after winning the toss.
Mick and Wayne opened up and both were tidy with Mick making an early breakthrough in his second over. Wayne was finding the rise in his run up to the artificial a bit tricky so took an early break in order to better use his allocation from the other end. Gavin replaced him and bowled five good overs but the sixth proved one too many as the Coton opener started to hit out. Mick took a break after five overs which had yielded 1-5. Wayne got his change of ends and started with a wicket maiden thanks to a great slip catch by Mick. The wicket took Wayne ahead of his old mate Geoff Housden in the Ditton wicket taking list. Mick found himself a ball magnet all afternoon - slip catch, catch off his own bowling, catch at mid on and run out. Unsurprisingly, when he returned to finish his bowling spell there were two more wickets so that he finished with figures of 3-30. George took a wicket but it's Jamie who grabs the headlines with his off spin taking 4-28 from six overs. It has to be said, the fielders backed him up with good catching (Daniel at square leg, Wayne at extra cover and Jason at slip). He had a big appeal for LBW turned down but the batsman went walkabout and Darren completed a very good stumping. Two chances for a five-for went begging but given how true the pitch played (a good artificial) we were happy to go to tea with Coton 145 all out.
Darren and Himesha to open for us and a very good younster, at decent pace for Coton to be faced. Himesha got one back of a length and didn't fully commit to either attack or defence and popped up a catch back to the bowler. H joined Darren and a decent period followed until Darren got a thin edge to the 'keeper for 19. George is increasingly looking like he has a technique to build from but made just the two runs today, bowled by a pretty straight one. I haven't mentioned that Gavin didn't exactly cover himself in glory whilst fielding (kicking the ball for four being just the start). You can laugh when things are going well though. Now he saw that, with H beginning to hit boundaries, there was an important support job to be done rather than leave it to someone else. The two spoke about small targets between overs and kept each other focussed. They would cause Coton to try seven bowling options by the end and dealt with all on merit - there is a special mindset required for batting in these circumstances as it would be all too easy to think you can hit every ball from every bowler for boundaries. An unbroken 94 run partnership saw Ditton to a 7 wicket win. H had at last found some form with 81* and Gavin had battled to 12*.
Our fifth win of an up and down season means even defeat next week will see us finish 5-5 which will equal the win/loss balance of last season.
Cambourne III Vs Fen Ditton II
No report submitted, I'm afraid.