2011 2nd XI Match reports

09-07-11 - HOME TO HISTON

Camden 168 ALL OUT, Histon 169 for 6. RESULT - HISTON WIN

It was a good job that the po-leece were otherwise engaged with the racist idiots at the EDL march because Camden II's criminally threw away promising positions with both bat and ball to lose by 4 wickets to Histon at Churchill College.

Will Sutton (26) and Guy Skinner (22) swiftly took the score to 51 before ex-Camden leg end Alfie Dixon (4-38) mysteriously found a yard of pace (somewhere in the elbow region?) to remove Sutton and Dip Basu in quick succession. Skinner and Bearfield-Smith soon followed, and the home side were teetering at 64-4. Captain Critoph (27) and Alex Raha rescued things somewhat – Critoph confounding all expectations by not getting out to the leg-spin of Vik Dixon, and Raha unfurling a cover-drive for the cameras. That Raha's 28 was the top score tells its own story, and the feeling over a Critoph tea was that 168 all out was an unsatisfactory effort on a decent pitch and lightning outfield.

And so it proved, even after Matt Merry (undeserving of being on the losing side with figures of 12-4-34-4) had reduced Histon to 43-4. Not for the first time against Camden, Ian Lawrence provided stubborn resistance. His unbeaten 39 took several weeks and may just have been the most tedious innings this reporter has seen in a long Camden career that has occasionally involved watching his father bat. It was, however, just the ticket for Histon, and the left-hander added 97 with Dave Poskitt (51) for the fifth wicket. Dave Coutts (12-3-38-2) returned to take two quick wickets and briefly rekindle the hopes of the home side, but Ben Sawyer's fluent 23 not out saw Histon home with four overs - and wickets - in hand.

Match report - Will Sutton

Find the match score card here.

02-07-11 - HOME TO BALSHAM

Camden 197 for 6, Balsham 202 for 3. RESULT - BALSHAM WIN

Reading these match reports the casual fan could be forgiven for thinking that Camden II's are enjoying a season to rival last year's all-conquering First XI. The truth, however, is that, like a bunch of glory-hunting southern-based Man Utd fans, the Second XI could be accused of Only Singing (or at least writing match reports) When They're Winning.

Certainly, there was not much to sing about at Caius as Balsham – and in particular Evan Gard (126 not out) – put Camden to the sword. The visitor's opener batted supremely and was ably assisted by Luke Stanley (23) and Jack Squire (38). An inexperienced bowling attack and an epidemic of injuries to the fielding side also smoothed Balsham's passage to victory. Already down to ten due to a lack of availabilities, Steve Robinson pulled a calf and Browny aggravated his bionic shoulder to join hamstring-victim Will Sutton in having to be hidden in the field.

Earlier, a second-wicket partnership of 81 between Sutton (89) and Captain Critoph (34) had formed the backbone of what on another day might have been a competitive 197-6.

Match report - Will Sutton

Find the match score card here.

18-06-11 - HOME TO ST GILES

Camden 193 ALL OUT, St Giles 139 ALL OUT. RESULT - CAMDEN WIN

When Dave Coutts' third wicket sealed Camden II's 54-run win over local rivals St Giles, the margin of victory and the nonchalant manner in which 'keeper Ed Bearfield-Smith pouched the one-handed catch disguised the fact that a lot of hard work had gone into this victory.

Captain Critoph's decision to bat first on a Caius pitch exposed to heavy overnight rain was based on local knowledge, from one groundsman to another, which had it that the pitch would not get any easier. It was difficult to believe it would get much harder, as the opening pair grafted early on against some largely accurate bowling. Will Sutton (23) was dropped (not for the first time that day) before scoring, but went on to add a valuable 67 with Andy Haines, easily the highest partnership of the match. Haines, with blond mullet, white(ish) helmet and cavalier batting style brought to mind a mid-1980s Ian Botham. Alex Raha found the going slow, but when the heavens opened to necessitate an early tea the home side were well placed at 100-2. Haines greeted the first ball after tea with a six, and went on to record an entertaining 85 that on a quicker outfield would surely have been a ton. His dismissal to Shahzad (4-42) was appropriately entertaining, stumped while lying on the (and out of his) ground – a position he was later to assume every time the ball came anywhere near him in the field. Certainly, nobody else truly got in and it appeared that getting to double-figures was, like entry to the Jockey Club, height-dependent: Bearfield-Smith, Brown and Kahn the only home batsmen to meet the criteria. Still, everyone chipped in and 193 all out was 20 more than the skipper would have settled for at the start and, eerily, exactly as Sutton had predicted.

It also proved to be more than enough as Camden's disciplined bowlers made full use of helpful conditions and enjoyed excellent support in the field, Khan taking three catches, Coutts affecting a run out and making full use of his wingspan, and Sutton's sprawling one-handed grab being the highlights. The less said about Browny's efforts the better. Only the visitor's number 3, Ben Cocker (33) looked to threaten a serious challenge, but when his bails were imperceptibly disturbed by Brown (12-4-27-3) it was as good as game over, despite a late onslaught from David Culshaw.

Next week will see the nomadic Second XI entertain second-placed Hardwick & Caldecote at Emmanuel, looking for another “W” and 20 points that would leave them well placed in what is proving to be a particularly intriguing and tightly-fought edition of CCA Senior Division 1.

Match report - Will Sutton

Find the match score card here.


Horseheath 79 ALL OUT, Camden 81 for 3. RESULT - CAMDEN WIN

Critoph wins toss! Griggs grabs Michelle as 2s pillage another village!”

As Camden arrived at Howard’s Lane for their trip to the East Cambridgeshire border village, the only common trait to be found between the two teams before the start was how both captains were yet to win a game in this year’s edition of CCA Senior League 1

With this in mind, the coin toss before a cricket match could have given a much-needed boost or demoralise a team in an instant. Thankfully on this occasion, returning Camden 2nd team Captain Mark Critoph won and promptly inserted basement boys Horseheath on their 22 yard green, sticky grass patch.

It wasn’t long before 2nd team opening bowling superstar Michael Griggs struck as he began a spell that would decide the game beyond all possible comprehension. Horseheath skipper Dan Goldsmith gloved a rearing ball straight to reinstated wicketkeeper Ed Bearfield-Smith, before perplexing the number 3 batsman as to what to do (bowled off inside edge). On what was clearly a difficult deck to score runs on, Griggs ran riot through the top and middle order, eventually ending with Michelle (5 for 22). All the while at the other bowling end, 2nd Team debutant leg spinner Michael Taylor was thrown the new ball and Critoph’s innovative decision soon paid off. Whilst the recently graduated Caius College student proceeded to spin a very large Irish web of deception, it was an ugly long hop which the other Horseheath opener was unable to prevent from rattling his furniture. Indeed the turn was so prodigious at times, it lead to a number of comments from all on the field about a recently retired leggie (Shane who?!). Turn, bounce and an Afridi-esque quicker ball even had everyone mystified! Ed had time for sharp stumping to give Taylor a second wicket, by which time he and Griggs had wiped out most of the Horseheath batting to produce scoreboard that read an unimaginable 12 runs for 7 wickets (yes, that was the total score!). Thankfully for Horseheath, ex-captain Gary Ellis proved to be the wily adversary once again, waiting for the sun to dry the track before getting his 3 iron out to give the scoreboard some relative respectability. By the time he’d finally holed out, his 66 runs had pushed the home side up to 79. Returning medium pacer Andy Brown cleaned up the tail and Camden had bowled the home team out before drinks (surely a first?!). And of this mayhem without last week’s hero Ali Khan even getting a bowl?!

Thankfully, Camden’s chase was the fairly uneventful anticlimax that most had hoped for. Critoph’s instructions to reinstated opener Alex Raha were to “bat like a proper opener”. Meanwhile, his new opening batting partner Gavin Ayliffe proceeded to whack the Horseheath bowling to all parts, making a quickfire 30 including a number of attempts to hide the new ball in the local nettles and foliage. Ayliffe’s demise came whilst attempting to bludgeon a long hop over square only to feed mid on. Charlie Flather played across a straightening ball and with Gary Ellis finding some banana outswing, Raha proceeded to dig an unimaginably deep trench on his front foot somewhere in line with off stump. To say the locals all but fell asleep during his monumental 73 minute vigil would be accurate, but all attempts to avoid another horrible Camden collapse (as witnessed last year at St. Catherine’s) were all but successful, as he finally departed for a very turgid 12 runs attempting to clear extra cover. Recently unretired ex-president Kevin O’Grady found time to boost his average and promptly saw Camden home with a bit of help from Ed, all in time for a 5pm tea.

The 7 wicket victory meant it’s 20 well earned points and 2 wins on the bounce for seconds, which can only help everyone’s confidence ahead of a crucial month that will surely shape our season, with tougher tests to come in the shape of St. Giles followed by Hardwick.

Man of the Match: Michael Griggs

Match report - Alex Raha


Bluntisham 207 ALL OUT, Camden 208 for 5. RESULT - CAMDEN WIN

Camden II's once again poured scorn on all this modern talk of bowling units as one-man wolf pack Ali Khan equalled Griggsy's efforts at Kimbolton in hunting down 7 wickets. It wasn't looking great when the diminutive Manx off-spinner was thrown the ball by stand-in skipper Ben Barton. (I say stand-in, but “stoop-in” might be more accurate – the stresses of captaining a bowler-light side that was leaking runs having done for the Leys man's back). Bluntisham had raced to 124 without loss and few could have predicted the dramatic collapse that was to follow. Both openers were removed in Khan's first over to set a trend that saw a procession of home batsmen fall in familiar fashion. Seduced by some beguiling flight, the temptation to hit down the ground proved too much - even into a strong headwind and grateful hands. Khan's figures of 10.2-1-39-7 were backed up by “Lucky” Dip Basu (2-33, including the wicket of ex-Camden LegEnd Jamie Fear) and Griggsy (1-39 from 10 overs), and Bluntisham slumped to 207 all out in the 42nd over.

With the Camden top four comprising of first-team hopefuls and batting all the way down to 11, it was a score that looked way under-par. Despite the early loss of Will Sutton, this proved to be very much the case as Guy Skinner and Basu (58 mainly backward of square on the off-side) rattled up 110 for the second wicket. With victory and a maiden Camden century in sight, Skinner unexpectedly knicked off to depart for a classy 95, leaving Andy Bell and Ed Misfield-Smith to see the visitors home to a comprehensive five wicket win with 8.2 overs remaining.

Find the match score card here.
...and a cheeky little report in the Cambridge Evening News here. note the imaginative use of the same headline as the Griggs 7 for at Kimbolton.

Match report - William Sutton


A wise cricket pundit once told this reporter “cricket is the game of uncertainty...”

On Saturday, Camden's 2nd team ventured out west to picturesque Kimbolton to begin a new campaign in CCA Senior League Division 1. With Captain Critoph away on footballing engagements, stand in skipper Kevin O'Grady promptly won the toss and elected to bat first on a green but dry deck.

The young opening partnership of James Freeman and Nish Dabhi began solidly against some tidy opening bowling, with Nish making the most of the notoriously short 30 metre straight boundary. When James perished only 20 runs were on the board, but Nish continued to run hard with Charlie Flather before the latter gloriously drove past the bowler, only to miss a low straight full toss next ball! In came Camden debutant keeper-batsman Ed Bearfield-Smith, who ably supported Nish to take the score past 50 before the latter was caught for 31 going for one too many a big shot. The first half of last season's demoted opening partnership and sole Kiwi in the 2s line up (Andy Haines) then joined Ed and started the pair took the score past 100 as Haines stroked his way to a quickfire 50, with shots all round the small ground including a massive straight 6. The second half of last season's opening partnership (yours truly) then came in at the unfamiliar position of 6 and after taking 15 balls to get off the mark, top edged for four before chopping onto his off stump. The skipper came in adding to the growing number of partnerships between 15 and 25 runs. Brown nudged 13, Khan flicked 9 (6 of which went straight into the changing room) and Barton nurdled 16 as Camden closed their 45 overs on an under par 174.

The Kimbolton tea lady was well known to the senior custodians for producing a cake fest, and didn't fail to disappoint. Unfortunately, Camden's early fielding did as both Raha and Griggs were guilty of dropping some regulation catches. Kimbolton's openers made the most of Raha's drop at mid off before Griggs redeemed himself with a smart return catch off his bowling to dismiss the Kimbolton 'keeper. The Ley's School teacher Ben “Sticks” Barton then came on and began swinging the merlot coloured cherry, taking Biddle Snr's middle stump, but struggled to control the prodigious swing. That said, last season's leading wicket taker, the Bionic Metro-Gnome Brown, continued where he'd left off last season and bowled 11 tidy overs whilst disturbing Holmes' furniture. At drinks, Kimbolton were 85 for 3 and the skipper Biddle Jnr was ably joined by Lambert as the pair went on to add 77.

At 138 for 3, staring another customary 1st game defeat in the face, an inspirational diving catch from Kev at short extra cover to dismiss the Kimbolton skipper proved the turning point. With only 37 runs required for victory from 15 overs, what was about to transpire will probably go down as one of the performances of the season (Yes! In the first game!). Up stepped Man of the Year 2008 Michael Griggs heeding Raha's call to “be a hero Griggsy!”. He returned to bowl with pace, aggression and successfully found the Kimbolton achilles heel, located somewhere near the popping crease blockhole. Five wickets fell in the 18 balls (all bowled by Griggs, all full bungers) and suddenly Kimbolton had collapsed to 153 for 9. In a nail biting finish, Camden managed to drop another catch, Nish the guilty party. However it was Griggs who had the last word as the last wicket fell with only 171 on the board, as Camden somehow completed surely the biggest cricketing daylight robbery ever seen on day 1 in CCA Senior League 1, to win by a bum-squeaking 3 runs.

Find the match score card here.
...and a cheeky little report in the Cambridge Evening News here.

Match report - Alex Raha