2011 3rd XI Match reports

13-08-11 - AWAY TO N.C.I

Camden 182 ALL OUT, N.C.I 165 ALL OUT. RESULT - CAMDEN WIN

THE HISTORY BOYS

Fraser and Gibson gang up to sink NCI

A little-known footnote - perhaps more of a grubby toehold in history, the Fraser - Gibson gang terrorised the inhabitants of the Victoria bush land in 1870s Australia, once coming off worse in a gunfight with Ned Kelly and his associates. Facts about the composition of the gang are sparse. The records we possess state that Liverpudlian Fraser arrived in Australia convicted of ‘various felonies and misdemeanours against the populace at large pertaining to robbery and crimes against the good humour of others.’ Gibson had been forced to leave New Zealand after various unspeakable activities involving sheep. Both survived the shoot out at New Chesterton, Victoria, but an injury to Gibson’s left buttock meant that he would never be able to field in the slips again, while Fraser never told an amusing joke again.

How remarkable then, 130 year later, that Nick ‘Scouser’ Fraser and ‘Kiwi’ Duncan Gibson should shoot it out against the New Chesterton Institute (NCI), at Fitzwilliam College Sports Ground, Cambridge, England. As the 2011 season limped to a close, leaving the Thirds with only pride and their place in the mid-table pecking order to play for, the city’s oldest club – a haven for eccentrics and those unable to function in most other avenues of life, was inserted, as so often in 2011. In front of an above average attendance, including rugged ex-Skipper John Sutton, the parents of Tim Little with family greyhound, assorted Hodsdons and Mrs ex-eligible all-rounder Robinson, the Thirds set about the final game with relish, like a man feverishly ordering several pints two minutes before closing time, fearful of the long, dry bus journey home; bereft of cricket in autumn, winter and early spring, save huddling around a radio in winter blankets amidst images of warmer climes, the players tucked in for one last hearty cricketing feast before the annual hibernation. NCI – desperate for a crushing victory and favourable results elsewhere to remain in Division 3B, saw their hopes fade as opening pair Gibson and Ramesh Bulusu compiled a comfortable 70 for the first wicket. When the Addenbrookes man departed for 14, Gibson – in splendid form, driving and slashing to great effect, and Skipper David Mitchell, took the score to a promising 132, before the popular Kiwi was dismissed for a crucial and speedily-made 80. When Mitchell (21) was bowled, Steve Robinson (14) and Andy Collings (11) foraged for a few more pre-winter runs, which, since Gibson’s departure, seemed harder to come by. Robinson was bowled by NCI’s youthful leg spinner, and Collings was run out for the second game in succession. David Warren (6), Fraser (1), Tim Little (2) and Raoul Williams (0 not out) escorted the score along to 182 all out from exactly 40 overs. This represented a competitive, if disappointing total, considering that only one wicket had been lost at the 20 over mark. Extras contributed 19. .

NCI started competently, reaching a threatening 61 before the gold-mopped Essex legend Little (1-30) bowled NCI’s Duby. Little’s opening partner Williams (0-32) took some punishment and was replaced by Scouse school teacher Fraser, who soon hit the stumps to remove the other NCI opener. Fraser, in his first game for several seasons, rolled back the years with his accurate medium pacers which accounted for the next three wickets (two bowled, one caught by keeper Collings). In combination with Bulusu (2-30), who rediscovered the sort of turn last seen at Bassingbourn in May, Fraser and Camden gradually squeezed NCI out of the game – although the pips didn’t quite squeak until the final overs. Like his 1870s namesake (and possible ancestor), Fraser was never far from the action, a smart running catch giving Bulusu his first wicket. Williams then took a testing catch in the deep with nonchalant ease, dismissing the dangerous Bartlett and handing Fraser his well- deserved fifth wicket. The Scouser had purloined 5-53 in a triumphant return. When partner in crime Gibson, competing with Fraser for the man of the match award, ran out Wilson (whose quick- fire 32 had put NCI back into contention), the Thirds were almost home. Bulusu sent the next batsman quacking back to the pavilion, courtesy of a fine catch from the ubiquitous Gibson, and Camden’s seam stalwart Warren (1-7), nursing a delicate shoulder, came on to take the last wicket via another Gibson pouch. Camden conceded a fair few extras (27), but triumphed by 17 runs (and with only ten in the field for the last few overs as Williams departed to attend a bohemian soiree in Romsey Town) in an entertaining final game of the season.

And so another season drew to an end, and as the daylight faded and the players drifted home full of foreboding about the cricketless months ahead, Fraser - characteristically holding court with a stream of fairly amusing anecdotes – was joined by Little, Robinson and Gibson, in giving cricket in 2011 a fond and suitably alcoholic send off. There were toasts to absent friends, such as the injured Andrew Redfern, who had failed to recover from a sore finger and chipped nail, and to stalwart twirler Alec Armstrong, as well as tributes aplenty from those who could not be there. Thespian, star of the film Flash Gordon and recently defeated University of Cambridge Chancellorship candidate Brian Blessed said, ‘Marvellous! My disappointment at losing the Chancellorship has been submerged with feelings of joy – joy, I tell you, about the rumours that the special one is working through the night in the aisles of a local supermarket on a new and fiendish mystery delivery for next season.’ German supremo Angela Merkel commented, ‘It is such a relief that the Thirds managed to stay up this year. Relegation would have sent the markets into freefall and stock prices would have plummeted. Failure was not an option.’ When pressed further she said, ‘If only Nick and Duncan had been available to advise us on the Greek Debt Crisis. I have to say that they are so much sexier than David Cameron and George Osborne.’

Man of the Match: Duncan Gibson and Nick Fraser

Find the match score card here.

Match report - Steve Robinson


13-08-11 - AWAY TO FEN DITTON

Camden 145 FOR 8, Fen Ditton 146 FOR 6. RESULT - FEN DITTON WIN

GRINDING, WITH OCCASIONAL VIOLENCE

Selmes overwhelms ten-man Camden despite Lee’s six appeal

In 2008 Camden III made only 85 runs at Fen Ditton, and having improved slightly to 93 all out in the Camden home game this season, the Thirds’ could be forgiven for approaching this fixture – against the league leaders, with a little trepidation. A harrowing week for Skipper David Mitchell, in which he was forced to trawl the colts’ team, old people’s homes and the streets of Cambridgeshire in his latest recruitment drive, resulted in the relative triumph of ten reasonably able-bodied men arriving at the recreation ground, in defiance the draining effects of the August holiday season.

On winning the toss the home team knowingly inserted the Thirds, and the ‘tennis ball’ bounce remembered fondly from 2008 loomed into view once again. After a couple of characteristically powerful boundaries, Duncan Gibson fell caught and bowled for 10, and the Thirds were 14-1. Mitchell - just short of 3000 Thirds’ league career runs, soon joined him in the pavilion after a rare duck, and when Ramesh Bulusu (11) was caught, Camden reeled at 25-3. Worse followed as new-father (one of many at the club this year) Andy Collings, playing his first game of the season, called for a quick single and was not quick enough, the broken stumps signalling Camden’s demise to 28-4. Thirds’ ‘veterans’ Steve Robinson and Justin Lee evoked happy memories of the 2003 season in a stand of 77 which involved much grinding, with occasional violence. The rebuilding job saw a watchful Robinson (who fended his first few deliveries from in front of his nose), fresh from Cook and Morgan’s record trudge at Edgbaston, strike some trademark fours - mostly aerial, and in a narrow arc between five to twelve and two o’clock. Lee smashed four sixes in a better than a run a ball and reinvigorating 46, before falling leg before wicket. Hugo Batley (1) was soon stumped, and Robinson’s creaky right calf necessitated the early appearance at the wicket of Dave Warren, who was delighted to act as a runner. With potential confusion largely avoided via sensible running, Robinson and Baker added another 29 before the ex-eligible all rounder departed, having reached 2000 league runs, bowled for a hard-fought 42. Martin Baker (8), Warren (9 not out including two stylish boundaries) and Nick Austin (2 not out) took the score to what seemed a competitive 145-8 from 40 overs, and a good recovery from their earlier parlous position. .

Batley’s (2-31) promising season continued, as the young all rounder took a wicket with the last ball of the first over of the home side’s reply – Collings’ smart catch at the wicket leaving Fen Ditton on 0-1. A Batley caught and bowled four overs later, and Warren’s (1-38) disturbance of the stumps saw Fen Ditton wobble to 25-3 after 6. This became 41-4 after 13 when Warren, to the delight of cricket lovers everywhere, took a confident catch during Baker’s (2-34) first over. Camden’s senior twirler struck with the score on 50, and the hosts reached 64-5 at the halfway drinks interval. With 82 just needed from the last 20, wickets for the visitors would be paramount and sadly, the Thirds’ didn’t see another one for another 57 of the required runs, as the Fen Ditton pair of Selmes and Dobson settled in for an important partnership. A few catches remained uncaught, and by the time the partnership was broken, when Gibson(1-34) bowled Dobson, the writing looked to be on the wall. Bulusu (0-9) was called upon to spin some magic before the end, but to no avail. Selmes (67 not out) and Fowler were unbeaten and Fen Ditton cruised home with nearly two overs to spare. All rounder Selmes had added a half century and two wickets to the four wickets claimed in the earlier fixture between the sides. Ten-man Camden (or nine and a half if a hobbling Robinson is taken into account) had acquitted themselves well, and ensured what may be some vital points in the struggle to stay in Division 3B.

After the game, the teams pondered the day’s events during a good-natured drink at The King’s Head. The television screen at this fine establishment emitted images of a game involving a big round ball, lots of falling over, and some effeminate slapping – yes, the football season was well and truly under way again. Mitchell made clear to everyone within a five-mile radius his feelings on the ‘beautiful game’ and its protagonists. Lee, having played his last game of cricket of the season, basked in the glory of his Camden Man of the Match award. BBC local news presenter Janine Machin said, ‘It is remarkable to think that there has been a different Man of the Match in nearly every game played this season. Andrew Redfern - who reached 1000 league runs in the last game, has won the accolade twice, but his disgusting new facial hair may put him out of the running for player of the season’. She continued, ‘Despite the great team effort signified by the season-long sharing of the award, I just love to watch Justin Lee whacking sixes. He’s such an animal.’ Ex-skipper and Thirds’ legend John Sutton, who had watched some of the game and provided generous support during the tea break, added, ‘Clearly, the Friday night training sessions in The Free Press are paying off for Justin!’

We wish Fen Ditton all the best for the rest of the season

Man of the Match: Justin Lee

Find the match score card here.

Match report - Steve Robinson


06-08-11 - HOME TO ROMSEY

Camden 192 FOR 6, Romsey 193 FOR 6. RESULT - ROMSEY WIN

OUTFOXED

Romsey resurgent in see-saw battle despite Redders’ hospital heroics

Future Camden III statisticians, leafing through the musty scorebooks of yesteryear, may wonder how the Thirds contrived to lose this game. With 80 runs required from the last ten overs, David Mitchell’s men appeared to be in control, but were undone by a combination of injury, ineptitude and some adept Romsey batting.

Asked to bat first once again this season, Mitchell and Duncan Gibson (15) put on 39 before the big kiwi unit was run out by broken – fingered groundsman Darren Wood (who also took a catch later on), here appearing for Romsey. Andrew Redfern continued his fine 2011 form, and together with Mitchell, a further 83 runs accrued, before the skipper was bowled for a steady 48. Steve Robinson departed to a sharp gully catch for 1, and after 30 overs Camden had reached 129-3. Redfern, his eyes adjusting to the tree-lined Trinity perimeter, began to play more expansively, repeatedly driving aerially down the ground to good effect. He and ex-Malburian Steve Hodsdon (23) took the score to 164 before Hodsdon was bowled. In an effort to squeeze as many runs as possible from the final overs, Savige (1) was out pulling, Lee was caught for 4 and Bulusu finished on 5 not out, as Redfern continued to swing the bat and finished on 73 not out - out of a total of 192-6 from 40 overs. Extras had contributed a useful 22.

This column has long been supportive of the sterling efforts of television weather presenters, and the innings of Everton Fox is no exception. After the loss of two early wickets with the score at 12, and another one at 35, Camden appeared to be on top. Warren (2-25) and Little (1-49) did the early damage, Little profiting from a smooth Redfern pouch, and Warren inducing both a sharp catch to wicketkeeper Lee, and a juggling diving spectacular from the aforementioned Redfern. At the 20 over mark, Romsey were 67-3 and some way from victory. However, ex-BBC and now-Al Jazeera weatherman Everton Fox turned the tide and the sun began to shine on Romsey. As wickets fell around him, and catches eluded Camden, Fox (64 not out) began to grind out a stubborn half century. A good low catch from Mitchell off Redfern (2-21), and a finger tip - shattering diving catch from the ubiquitous Mathematician-Philosopher off spinner Martin Baker (1-48), swung the match back in Camden’s favour, as Romsey reached 113-5 at 30 overs. Redfern retired to the pavilion for a few overs (and returned heroically later to bowl again) and some ice, and in combination with the judicious hitting of Fox’s new partner at the crease, Olly Rex, the game began to slide, gently at first, and then with more momentum, back towards Romsey, who managed to make decent runs from most of the next few overs, but still required 36 from the last four. Bulusu and Mitchell also chanced their arms in an effort to stem the flow, but Rex’s later imperious striking brought them 18 from the thirty-seventh over, and 11 of the 12 needed were scored in the thirty-ninth, leaving just enough time for Rex (70) to be dismissed (caught Hodsdon, bowled Redfern), and the winning runs struck with four balls to spare. Romsey stalwart Fox had seen his side home to a deserved win, and left the Thirds rueing the twin demons of missed chances and misfortune.

‘I knew we were doomed when ex-skipper John Sutton cycled out of the ground. He had clearly seen enough by the second ball of the thirty-seventh over, which, incidentally, reached the pavilion at a rate of knots’, said BBC Look East’s Susie Fowler-Watt. ‘I expect that he was also intending to get home early start an intense exercise programme in preparation for the Sunday Casuals’ game with Wicken.’ Sadly, there was no Sunday cricket for Andrew Redfern. The Examination Board executive turned up to his plush office suite on Monday, to the amusement of colleague Steve Robinson, wearing a sling and some disturbing facial hair. Camden devotee and Redfern-fan A.C Grayling commented. ‘I have heard worrying reports of Redders’ hairy face. Nevertheless, I should like to point out that many great philosophers, not to mention cricketers, have sported such bristly facial attire. I for one would be delighted if Redders’ paid to enrol at my new university.’

Man of the Match: Andrew Redfern

Find the match score card here.

Match report - Steve Robinson


30-07-11 - HOME TO HARLTON

Harlton 232 for 5, Camden 152 for 8. RESULT - HARLTON WIN

SCRAPE OF GOOD HOPE

The thirds re-match against Harlton was a triumph for optimism all ‘round, as the whole team followed the skippers’ cheery lead into another defeat…. As we assembled, we were optimistic that we might avenge the “ambush in the meadow” that we’d walked into at Harlton. With this in mind the skipper, having won the toss, decided to field first. Despite this early blow to the hopeful outlook Dave Warren took a wicket with the first ball……….It was, however, another 220 balls before the next breakthrough came. In the meantime the thirds fielded well, and bowled tightly enough that on a narrow ground, with an outfield acting as if it had been greased by the most experienced greasing-hands in the Eastern world, that the score wasn’t running away (even if former a skipper and umpire, lurking at long leg had predicted the score to within a run by half time). The last four overs saw a flurry of wickets (suggestions on an e-mail for what the collective noun for wickets actually should be), with Tim Little bagging two and Hugo Batley one. Warren’s figures of 1 for 39 off 9.4 were the meanest, meaning a total of 232 (for5) was ours for the taking.

Still optimism reigned as the skipper (whose saturnine calm at tea belied his inner joy) and Steve Hodsdon started confidently. However, rash shots and good work by Harlton saw the top five swept aside, with Andrew (don’t call me Andy) Redfern’s 22 a highlight in a otherwise dowdy bob cut of a first twenty overs. Martin Baker hit back with 43, Batley showed admirable spunk backing him up with obdurate resistance (and earning himself the man-of the matchness, according to the committee), while Warren carved 15 and Raoul Williams clubbed two entertaining blows prompting calls for his elevation in future batting orders. 152 for 9 was our total and with a couple of our batsmen missing may have been all we could hope for (there’s that word again!).

So, in a Star Wars (IV) new hopey (apologies to Love and Rockets) way we move on to Romsey next week and we will look forward to our clash; girding up our loins, donning our armour and bracing to face the enemy with one thought: “We are Camden!!!!!” (although you’ll be glad to hear I won’t be wandering around in a leather jock-strap).

Man of the Match: Hugo Batley

Find the match score card here.

Match report - David Mitchell


23-07-11 - HOME TO BASSINGBOURN

Camden 168 for 9, Bassingbourn 172 for 3, . RESULT - BASSINGBOURN WIN

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARLY

Robinson 68 and record number of bowlers used, but Bassingbourn reap the benefits of batting second

With just nine of the side present at the toss, stand in Camden III Skipper Steve Robinson elected to bat on a green-looking, rain – affected Trinity track. Shorn of regulars David Mitchell (Lords), Andrew Redfern (Seconds), Duncan Gibson (Seconds), and Steve Hodsdon (wedding), a distinctly youthful – looking Thirds’ took on a Bassingbourn side which had been comfortably beaten in the away fixture back in May.

Robinson and Ramesh Bulusu started steadily against some accurate bowling, Robinson cutting loose in the fourth over with a couple of trademark square cut boundaries. Progress - like the pitch, was slow thereafter – the only frisson of danger being the painful blow to the elbow of leg slip administered via Dr. Bulusu’s pull shot. Needless to say, the good doctor attended to the patient who retired to the pavilion to hug an ice pack for a few overs, while Hugo Batley scampered about nobly in the ‘spirit of cricket’ as the substitute fielder. At the 20 over mark the score stood at a sedate 55-0, at which point the openers looked to up the rate. With the score on 78, Bulusu was run out for a watchful 29 in the twenty-fifth over. A succession of quick wickets followed as Nish Dabhi (0), Justin Lee (4), Shaneil Davda (3) and Dave Warren (0) fell faster than the Eastern European ‘dominoes’ after 1989, and Camden teetered precariously on 107-5 after 30 overs. Martin Baker joined Robinson at the crease, and the latter, now also employing the lofted straight drive from time to time, was clapped shortly afterwards on reaching his annual half century. On 68 Robinson was bowled by another (Bassingbourn) Robinson, leaving Baker ( 32 not out at virtually a run a ball) to pull (literally) the score along to an understandable (given the conditions), if below par (on a drying pitch), 168-9 from 40 overs. Tim Little (0), Luke Fowles (2), Pryam Davda (6) and Hugo Batley (0*) all briefly kept the admirable Baker company up to the end of the innings.

Despite their best efforts, wickets proved hard to come by for the Camden attack as the changes were wrung in an attempt to alter the game. All of those named above bowled, with the exception of wicket keeper Lee. Bassingbourn, always comfortable with an asking rate of only just over four an over, were never in trouble, sailing through relatively untroubled waters to dock at a comfortable 95-1 after 20 overs, and 150-2 after 30. Camden highlights included wickets for Baker (1-36), Batley (1-11) and Bulusu (1-14), and two catches for Robinson. Warren (0-20 from 9), as so often, gave nothing away. However, Bassingbourn eased to their target with wickets in hand and more than seven overs to spare and suddenly it was all over. There is, of course, no guarantee that the result would have been different if Camden had batted second, but the drying pitch would probably have made life a little easier, and it would have been nice to have the option! Thanks to Essex bricklayer Tim Little for the ‘mercy dash’ to Cambridge’s YMCA to pick up one of Camden’s itinerant ‘stars’!

After the game Robinson and Baker joined the Bassingbourn players for a drink at the Trinity pavilion steps. Nine members of the Bassingbourn team claimed to have been taught by Thirds’ regular Skipper and portly-run machine, Mitchell, and a surprisingly high proportion of them claimed to have been unscathed by the experience. As the sun set on Old Field, they fell into a momentary reverie - recalling a lesson in which ‘Scary Mitchell’ paraded about the classroom smashing the desks at random, whilst wearing a tie on his head and informing them that life was, in general, futile. ‘It was terrifying’, said the youthful Bassingbourn skipper. ‘We learned a lot, but not very much about history.’ Philosopher and lifelong Camden fan Alain de Botton broke his 2011 silence to comment, ‘Scary Mitchell’s history lesson was clearly inspired by Schopenhauer’s ‘’Studies in Pessimism’’, in which the relative values of pain and pleasure are measured – in this case, to prepare the lads for a life of disappointment.’

Man of the Match: Steve Robinson

Find the match score card here.

Match report - Steve Robinson


02-07-11 - AWAY TO ST GILES

St Giles 253 for 7, Camden 205 for 6. RESULT - ST GILES WIN

CLUBBING

“Astounding” says (insert your favourite local newsreader here. Have I got that the right way around? ) in response to a Camden Thirds report with no made up sound-bites from minor celebs.

Solway has become a far more reliable wicket and the work that St Giles have put into the ground is obvious in the fences, new paint and the scores. The one thing that can’t be changed is the breadth (or girth, if you prefer, a word not seen outside a certain context usually, is it time for a revival? Perhaps not) and so as the strip in the middle improves, so will the batsmen’s’ averages, while bowlers…..well, who cares about them anyway?

Actually they did pretty well, but no-one managed less than five an over except for the admirable Andrew Redfern. Tim Little took 3 wickets, but generally, for their own good, I’ll draw a veil over the opposition innings except to mention that the first four all passed 30 in a limited number of balls, number 3 (dropped twice, I’m told by stand-in keeper Duncan Gibson), more accustomed to playing for Giles firsts made 74 and number 4, some relative of former test softie Angry Nel of South Africa whacked 48 in a fashion his shy, retiring relative would have greatly appreciated.

Our reply was commenced in similar robust form by Gibson and when Redfern (58) and then the skipper (37) were walloping along at five or six an over all looked hopeful. Unfortunately it couldn’t last and opposition super-fielder Johar took a deep catch to do for Redders, then a running catch in from the boundary to finish Mitchell next over before sending our number 5 back by running him out in the next. It was left to a point scoring rear-guard of Martin Baker (26*) and Dave Warren (17*) to see us to 205. We were left to rue the skippers’ decision to turn to spin just after half way and stick with it for three overs that cost 37 runs, and look forward with hope to the return match, which we had high hopes for, but eventually sank beneath the waves of the rain a fortnight later.

Man of the Match: Andrew Redfern

Find the match score card here.

Match report - David Mitchell


25-06-11 - HOME TO NCI

NCI 112 ALL OUT, Camden 116 for 4. RESULT - CAMDEN WIN

RAMESH REVELS IN LEAD ROLE BUT EXTRAS STEAL THE SHOW

Thirds triumph over NCI wideboys as Hodsdon approaches precipice

Last week’s washout at Elsworth saw Camden III move up a league place, and a comfortable win over NCI IV enabled the Thirds to reach fourth spot in the table. On winning the toss, Skipper David Mitchell sensibly granted the visitors first use of a greenish King’s and Selwyn track which promised to be unpredictable after overnight rain.

NCI struggled with the sluggish surface and some accurate Camden bowling, and ‘Belly’ Mitchell soon had a catch at short leg, courtesy of the crabby prod offered by NCI’s experienced opener to Priam Davda’s searching delivery. NCI were 7-1 and catching caught on as Camden pouched another five in a row. Dave Warren (1-23) delighted onlookers with a neat catch off his own bowling, and Tim Little’s spell (3-38) produced catches for Steve Hodsdon, Ramesh Bulusu and Davda – Bulusu’s running effort being particularly pleasing. After 22 overs, NCI had stuttered to 52-4 before two more catches (James Freeman and a second for the Skipper) off the bowling of Martin Baker (2-28) left the visitors deeper in trouble. However, in default schizophrenic mode, Camden proceeded to drop the next six or so offerings. It did not seem to matter. A run out, another wicket for the returning Davda (2-18) via Mitchell’s second catch of the game, and an LBW for new homeowner Andrew Redfern (1-2), left them 112 all out from 38 overs. As in the Romsey game earlier in the season, the opposition’s top scorer was Extras - the NCI umpires’ stringent interpretation of the laws of the game contributing 24 runs here – including 21 wides.

Despite some attempts to run themselves out, a solid partnership of 42 between Mitchell (21) and Bulusu set up the Thirds’ run chase, the Skipper thumping some square drives before wafting to point. Redfern’s second consecutive duck saw him caught at slip, which brought the Thirds’ most capped player, Steve Robinson to the crease. He and Bulusu, who was cutting and occasionally pasting the visitors’ attack with some well-timed drives, added a further 27 before Robinson (12) skied one (off the bowling of former Camden star Matt Voutt) to cover. Steve Hodsdon’s unlucky run continued as he played on for 0, but James Freeman (12 not out) joined the immovable Bulusu (40 not out) in knocking off the remaining runs. When Bulusu clipped NCI’s Bartlett down to the fine leg boundary for four, Camden were safely home with eight overs to spare. In an odd denouement, the final over of the game yielded 15 runs, 11 of which were extras. In all, NCI donated 31 extras to Camden, including 23 wides, making a staggering total of 55 extras during the game. Statisticians will also be interested to note that 11 of the 14 wickets to fall were in the form of catches – perhaps a reflection of the perils of batsmen playing too early on a slow, damp wicket, as experienced by both sides.

Regular readers may be glad to know that Thirds’ shy, unassuming opener Duncan Gibson will return for the clash with his former team St Giles on Saturday, having contributed to the day’s duck count in action for the Seconds. This news seemed to cheer everyone at The Red Bull after the game. Anticipation also hangs heavily over ‘duck central’ Solway, in that Thirds’ stalwart Hodsdon may set a new club record. The Malburian redhead (which is also a well known variety of duck, native to Wiltshire) has now equalled the record for most ducks in a season (3 – Robinson and Warren in 2005), and for most consecutive ducks – Robinson in 2005). With over half of the season remaining, the first of these magnificent achievements looks to be in danger. ‘Thank goodness Hodders didn’t play at Harlton’ said giggly BBC East Breakfast News presenter and John Sutton fan, Felicity Simper. ‘Otherwise’, she continued, ‘He might already hold the record. However, I doubt whether anyone will ever surpass Robbo’s masterful 45-ball duck. Every time one of the boys - usually the Skipper, gets to twenty or so balls without scoring, I get my hopes up – then someone goes and knicks one through the slips, and I’m disappointed again. That’s Camden for you.

Man of the Match: Ramesh Bulusu

Find the match score card here.

Match report - Steve Robinson


11-06-11 - HOME TO FEN DITTON

Camden 93 ALL OUT, Fen Ditton 95 for 6. RESULT - HARLTON WIN

SOS

Camden fight back not enough to counter league leaders’ blitz on Fitz

The Thirds’ erratic start to the season continued at Fitzwilliam’s Oxford Road ground. The early morning downpour – much needed in the drought – ridden East, may have loomed large in the thoughts of Fen Ditton’s skipper, as Camden were, for the fourth time in five games in 2011, asked to bat first.

As Thirds’ skipper David Mitchell and opening partner Duncan Gibson strode to the wicket past the youthful Fen Ditton huddle, the sun shone and the afternoon glimmered with hope. Before the end of the first over, however, Gibson had returned, bowled for 0. The same fate befell Andrew Redfern (0), as the impressive Selmes (4-19) claimed his second wicket and a troubled Camden tottered at 5-2 after 3 overs. Mitchell and Steve Robinson fended off Fen Ditton’s pacey, accurate attack for a little while, with survival the priority as the ball leapt alarmingly off a length with some regularity. Robinson took three on the gloves, one on the bat handle, as batting became almost as hazardous as sticking one’s head above the parapet in Northern France in 1916. The ex-eligible all rounder then stroked a nice four to the cover boundary before tickling the next ball behind to keeper, having made 9. Camden’s best partnership followed, as Mitchell and Nish Dabhi saw off the pacemen and began to attack the spinners. The little and large pair saw Camden to 51-3 at the 20 over-drinks interval, and added 45 in total before Mitchell was run out for a hard-fought 12. Dabhi continued his good recent form and began to entertain, hitting a six over the pavilion roof. Shortly after, he top edged to square leg for a well-made and valuable 38, from 61 balls. Justin Lee added to the six tally with a well-struck maximum of his own, but he was caught for 11. Steve Hodsdon followed for a duck and after 30 overs Camden had reached 82-6. Fen Ditton’s pacemen reappeared in an attempt to finish the job. Bowling a fuller length than that seen earlier in the innings, Martin Baker and Dave Warren became ducks number four and five of the afternoon, the latter going first ball. Tim Little ‘kept out’ Fen Ditton skipper Wilson’s hat-trick ball, but he was soon bowled for 5, leaving a resolute Bulusu unbeaten on 5. Camden totalled 93 from 36.1 overs. Extras contributed 13- the second highest score. Robinson sustained a haematoma and resulting sore finger, which he mentioned to hardly anyone.

Fen Ditton had bowled undeniably well, yet batting had not proved easy, as the league leaders were about to demonstrate. They started calmly against Warren’s seam and Bulusu’s mystery spin, and Warren induced an edge which was smartly held at slip by Mitchell, leaving Fen Ditton on 9-1 after 5 overs. Little replaced Bulusu (0-12), and the Essex medium pacer soon hit the stumps. Juggling his attack enterprisingly, Mitchell replaced Warren with Baker, and the Cherry Hinton man quickly convinced a mesmerised batsman to slap a friendly looking full toss to Redfern at cover. A score of 30-3 after 11 overs became 31-4 next over, as Little bowled another member of the Fen Ditton top order (Little has eschewed all other modes of dismissal this season, although he did contribute, with Hodsdon, to a run out against Romsey last week which was accidentally omitted from the match report!). Camden’s fine body of men began to wander – could a shock victory be on the cards? Next over, Baker bowled a man attempting a curious version of the ‘Dilscoop’ first ball, and then tempted another innocent victim to deposit another jovial full toss into the hands of the reliable Redfern. Three quick wickets saw Fen Ditton wobbling like an alcoholic jelly on an arthritic trampoline at 31-6, and the impossible suddenly seemed within reach. Sadly for Camden, Fen Ditton’s Everett and Brown could not, despite some alarms, be dislodged, and the 64 runs they added took the game away from Camden. Baker finished with 3-19, Warren, who returned for a second spell, took 1-26 from 9 overs, and Little 2-32 from 9.3. Camden’s fightback had been stirring, but Fen Ditton had shown their class, as well as their calmness, in getting home after 25.3 overs..

All the players enjoyed a good natured drink at the ground, as they reflected on the day’s events. Another early finish and disappointing result sees Camden now sixth in the table. Whilst not exactly SOS time at the moment, improvement is required. Camden’s very own Super Trouper, Ramesh Bulusu, to the amusement of both teams, did his best to lift the home side’s mood. Stopping to say his goodbyes on driving out of the ground, Ramesh wound down his car windows to reveal that he was wearing what appeared to be an elegant pair of ladies’ black leather driving gloves. Worse was to follow, as the sound of Abba blared with relentless melody from his loudspeakers. SOS was, in the circumstances, understandable (Where are those happy days/They seem so hard to find). Dancing Queen, however, was a step too far. Don’t worry about all of those who made fun, Ramesh – I’ve heard that the rest of the boys enjoy a little bit of Benny, Bjorn, Agnetha and Frida; of course, I had to Google those names!

Man of the Match: Nish Dabhi

Find the match score card here.

Match report - Steve Robinson


04-06-11 - AWAY TO ROMSEY

Camden 203 for 6, Romsey 147 ALL OUT. RESULT - HARLTON WIN

HOLY TRINITY

Coutts shoots and leaves Romsey reeling on hallowed turf

Despite a slightly disorientating arrival in the opposition dressing room, the Thirds returned to winning ways at Trinity Old Field – a ground regarded as ‘home’ for many years. Skipper Dave Mitchell’s men pulled on shirts still adorned with Trinity’s Great Court fountain, and soon the picturesque and sun-drenched college ground was awash with runs.

Eighty-one of them, in fact. Mitchell’s decision to bat first, often a ‘no brainer’ at Trinity, appeared vindicated as he and free flowing Duncan Gibson spent a largely untroubled 18 overs erasing the stain left by last week’s record defeat at Harlton. The pair, who no longer endorse Slimming World’s Get Fit for Summer campaign, reached a steady 29 from the first ten overs, before accelerating towards the mid-point of the innings. Gibson (53) slapped ten fours en route to his second fifty of the season, in particular decorating the long on boundary with his highly effective strokes. The kiwi also enlivened proceedings – and perhaps further shredded the skipper’s nerves after last week’s run out, with an entertaining call of ‘No, yes, no, no, no, no, no, yes, no’ before his departure, having been thoroughly bowled. Andrew Redfern joined the portly-run machine and the machine was promptly caught for a patient 27. After 20 overs, Camden were on 90-2 and this quickly became 91-3 as wicket-keeper Steve Hodsdon fell, caught behind for a duck to Romsey’s impressive seamer Agrawal. Nish Dabhi, accompanied to the game by adoring short-sighted girlfriend Rhiannon, joined Redfern and the two dashers put on 39 stylish runs before the blonde philosopher-mathematician, who had cut and driven confidently, was bowled by Agrawal for 35, including seven fours. Dabhi, mixing a newly-found responsible approach with withering stroke play, together with ex-eligible all rounder Steve Robinson, added a further 45 runs in a perky partnership which featured some good running between wickets aided by an uncanny understanding between the two ex-Netherhall schoolboys. After some violent blows over long off and long leg, Robinson departed for 23 - the latest in a series of cameo knocks this season. Fowles was run out before scoring , leaving Dabhi (41 not out) and returning kiwi pace ace Dave Coutts (17 not out from 12 balls) to plunder the closing bowling, the latter raising cheers with a rocket-launched last ball maximum which took Camden to 203-6 from 40 – probably a par score, but nothing more on the Trinity batting haven

Despite a slightly disorientating tea on the opposition table, Camden stumbled out onto the field and soon set about the Romsey batsmen, one of whom employed an unusual mode of personal protection. The imposing Coutts steamed in and ripped out Romsey’s top three - all bowled, troubling them (not to mention the close fielders behind the wicket) with his bounce and pace on the way to figures of 4-41. At the other end, Warren also upped his pace and bowled a terrific spell of 7-2-15-1, and was unlucky not to claim more victims. Although Romsey’s runs arrived at a good rate, so did wickets - the score reaching 53-4 after 10 overs and 120 -7 after 21 - and despite some brief pockets of resistance, for the most part Camden remained in control. The afternoon was further enlivened by a frank and prolonged exchange of views on the no ball rule between the rival skippers, and the appearance a little later of Hannibal Lecter – on closer inspection, Romsey’s leader in some eccentric protective headgear, which may have been worn for the dual purpose of keeping out both the assertive Mitchell and Camden’s lively attack. Essex bricklayer Tim Little joined the fun, hitting the stumps three times on his way to 3-31. Senior twirler and new-father Martin Baker (0-31) enjoyed a few useful overs and Fowles backed up his impressively enthusiastic fielding with a promising spell of 1-13. There were fine catches for Dabhi (2), and Baker, while Extras top scored with 30, and in winning at Trinity, it felt as if Camden had finally come home, like an ageing student returning from an extended and only partially successful gap year – untidily bearded and still hung-over with dry-mouthed disappointment at the continuing search for his raison d’être.

It was good to see long-serving ex-captain and Netherhall Head of English John Sutton patrolling the boundary at the home of cricket, even if he is partly responsible for how Robinson and Dabhi have turned out. Having done battle with Romsey that day, the Thirds’ failed to make it to the city’s controversial Strawberry Fair but this was of little consequence as the team, reclining in the outdoor splendour of the Red Bull on Barton Road, found adequate stimulation in hearing about Little’s impending date with Jo from Essex, and in seeing Rhiannon’s expert control of would be wide-boy Dabhi, which was achieved mainly by regular sharp blows to his groin region. This activity could prove popular with teammates.

Man of the Match: Dave Coutts

Find the match score card here.

Match report - Steve Robinson


28-05-11 - AWAY TO HARLTON

Camden 54 ALL OUT, Harlton 55 for 0. RESULT - HARLTON WIN

NICE CAKE, SHAME ABOUT THE GAME

Sri Lanka’s Cardiff collapse eclipsed by Camden cow-field debacle

I like a nice slice of Victoria sponge on a Saturday afternoon – perhaps washed down by a flagon of real ale in a country pub a little later in the evening. However, the good man of Harlton and Camden were supping ale before 4.30pm, both innings and tea having been vanquished in a game briefer than Tuffer’s application to Mensa.

‘Delightfully ramshackle’ doesn’t quite do justice to the facilities on offer at Harlton C.C. The creaking pavilion had seen better days and a psychopathic hand had apparently painted the sign advertising the open-air chamber which doubled for the ‘Gents’, which itself looked more like a warning from history than a useful indication of the location of the toiletry facilities. However, surrounded by green fields full of brown cows and panoramic views of the Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire countryside, not even the continual faint drone of Saturday afternoon buy racers on the just visible A603 could detract from the bucolic majesty of the setting. And when the home side removed the electronic cow fence from the boundary arrangements, we were ready to start.

Following the pattern of the previous two weeks, Camden lost the toss and were inserted. This time it proved painful. Gibson and Mitchell strode out through the gullies and ravines of the outfield en route to the grassy slope that comprised the wicket. The bounce varied from head to ankle height between deliveries, a little early morning rain having ‘freshened’ up conditions considerably. Gibson spanked some boundaries before being the first to depart, having contributed all of the opening partnership of 17. Redfern also found the boundary early on, only to fall victim to a grass cutter for 6. Thirds’ skipper Mitchell was run out by a direct hit for one, Robinson gloved to the keeper for a duck, Bulusu was caught for 2 and Camden were 26 – 5, with barely ten overs gone. Baker (3), Davda (0) and Fowles (0) each clung on for a few game-prolonging balls, but after 17 overs Camden lurched perilously on 31-8. A further five runs were added during the Kattamera - Warren partnership; a true sign that it was not to be the Camborne ladies’ man ‘s or the Thirds’ day, however, came in the manner of Warren’s dismissal. Presented with a reasonable amount of time in which to build an innings, a powerful, middled, slightly elevated straight drive was superbly caught by the Harlton bowler, one-handed and at full stretch, as Warren, who had suffered a minor back spasm a few balls earlier, added to the day’s duck count. Camden new boy Tim Little (18 not out) gave the innings a good send off, with a six and three fours, quite literally to cow corner. When Little was bowled, Kattamera was on 5 not out and Camden had reached 54 after exactly 22 overs, the last wicket stand of 18 having contributed more than a third of the runs.

In reply, Harlton demonstrated the value of local knowledge, batting considerably better on the erratic surface then their shell-shocked opponents. Warren (0-21) and Little (0-10) extracted some bounce and movement, but to no avail. Davda bowled a maiden and Baker’s (0-18) received some fearful treatment. For a while it looked as if the rain might have come to Camden’s rescue - undeserving though the visitors’ were, but in the end Harlton accomplished a comfortable ten wicket victory with plenty of overs to spare..

After two thumping wins in CCA Junior 3B, Camden crashed back to earth via a combination of the pitch, the damp, incompetence and probably the better lengths bowled by Harlton’s bowlers. The ‘good news’ for Camden is that the ‘return fixture’ in August is also at Harlton! Reeling with shock from the news of Camden’s cow - field demise, bubbly Anglia News weather girl and recent Camden covert Amanda Houston said, ‘If I’d known Wazza’s back spasm was troubling him again, I’d have rushed to the scene with some soothing balm.’ Cheer up Dave, the outlook is sunny!

Man of the Match: Tim Little

Find the match score card here.

Match report - Steve Robinson


BAKER AND BULUSU PUT BASSINGBOURN IN A SPIN

Twirlers triumph after Raha and Hodsdon lay solid foundations

Even before Martin Baker took his sixth wicket of the day - the one hundred and sixth of his Thirds League career, the game was already over as a contest. At the halfway point in Bassingbourn’s reply, however, it was evenly poised, the hosts having reached a promising 109 for 3. Cue a devastating eight and a half over burst after drinks, during which the cricketing gods conspired to make the ball (and the game) turn, as the Bassingbourn green top that greeted the teams on arrival later ushered them away with more than a glint of the Karachi dustbowl about it.

Encouraged by the appearance of the patchy wicket, and having suffered on it during their last home game, Bassingbourn, like Fenstanton the previous week, invited Camden to bat. Second team reject Alex Raha was immediately into his stride, unleashing a series of lofted and grounded straight drives which, more often than not, found the boundary privet hedges, weeds and assorted general foliage. After brief contributions from Duncan Gibson (8) and the square-driving Andrew Redfern (12), new father Steve Hodsdon joined Raha and the two rounded individuals enjoyed an excellent partnership of 114, Hodsdon joining Raha in peppering the boundary with some trademark pulls and cuts. Raha, looking to raise an already healthy run-rate, was yorked for an excellent 79 from just 81 balls (containing 14 fours). This brought the second Second team reject, Nish Dabhi, to the crease. A further 44 runs ensued, as a wristy Dabhi scored freely and the flame–haired Malburian continued the attack, whereupon the latter departed for an important 66 (76 balls, with 9 fours). Dabhi followed, leg before wicket for 34 (from 31 balls), leaving just enough time for skipper Dave Mitchell to be caught for 5, and for ex-allrounder Steve Robinson (11 not out) to swipe the penultimate ball of the innings for a big six into the trees decorating the leg -side boundary, prompting a chorus of mooing from Farmer Warren and others. Ramesh Bulusu made it to the crease, bat in surgically trained hands, with three balls to go, but did not face. He would make his incisions with the ball.

Camden’s new ball pairing comprised David Warren (who had managed to maintain the injunction taken out after his Czech Republic business trip) and Jaya Savige. Warren, the pick of the bowlers in 2010, was as accurate and guileful as ever, conceding a grudging 19 runs from six overs. The honour of taking the first wicket, however, fell to the niggling seam of Savige (1 for 36 from 5). A placid but cunningly disguised full toss was sent skywards by the dangerous-looking Bassingbourn opener. To the surprise of players, spectators and passing dog walkers, Raha leapt like a pregnant salmon to swallow an unlikely, and really rather good catch. Before the game ended he would snuffle another unfortunate victim. Dabhi (0 for 34 from 5) and senior spinner Baker were soon introduced, and the Cherry Hinton wildlife supremo, after some bruising early treatment, was soon among the wickets with a bowled and a caught and bowled. After the 20 over drinks interval, Bulusu, replacing Dabhi, extracted some vicious turn and claimed a disbelieving victim with his second ball. Pandemonium ensued, both in the celebrations and in the rest of the innings as Baker and Bulusu spun the Thirds to victory. In the 8.3 overs after drinks, seven wickets fell for just 18 runs as Baker ran amok with 6-27 from nine, and Bulusu ended with Thirds League career best figures of 4-2-8-3. In the midst of the rout there was time for Redfern to cheer his teammates with a comical collapse caused by a ball misdirected (apparently accidental) by a popular teammate onto the ex-public schoolboy’s ankle, and for Robinson to take a sharp, lurching catch to give Baker wicket number six.

Victory drinks at The Hoops in Bassingbourn and The Red Bull in Cambridge followed, and thoughts turned to Camden’s missing twirler Alec Armstong, and the damage that could be done in Division 3B by a wily spin trio. Here’s to you Alec, wherever you are.

Man of the Match: Martin Baker

07-05-11 - HOME TO FENSTANTON

Camden 353 for 4, Fenstanton 128 ALL OUT. RESULT - CAMDEN WIN

RIGHT ROYAL KNOCK FROM SKIPPER BANISHES MEMORY OF THE OTHER MIDDLETON GIRL

Quiet day at the office for skipper as records tumble at Pembroke: Camden beat Fenstanton by 227 runs

Most of David Mitchell’s days are spent ranting at misbehaving students who are struggling with their History, or who have annoyed him in some other way, such as turning up for class. It is helpful that his skills are transferable to the role of Camden Thirds’ captain. However, as the Thirds’ eclectic and eccentric band of historians, mathematicians, surfers, businessmen and assorted general characters once more swept the icy gloom of winter, and the troublesome winds of spring from (in most cases) ageing eyes, few portents of the record-breaking day to come revealed themselves.

That said, bringing only eight to a belting, sweltering Munns-prepared track, and inviting the portly run machine’s men to bat first, may have been a sign. Mitchell in particular made use of the gaps in the field as he and returning Kiwi Duncan Gibson progressed serenely to 134 from 18 overs, Mitchell unfurling a series of trademark meaty cuts (mainly beef) and straight drives, whilst Gibson did what Gibson does best –smashing the ball to the boundary. The surfer–dude’s departure for a quicker- than-a-run-a ball 59 brought Camden swashbuckler and Flashman devotee Andrew Redfern to the wicket. Further carnage ensued as the Camden number three and his skipper added exactly 100 in a little over ten overs. Redfern, reaching the boundary as regularly as ever, raced to 59 from 35 balls before a surprisingly dismissal at the hands of Fenstanton’s experienced spinner. The remaining overs saw Camden’s most prolific batsman dominant, as Mitchell repeatedly breached the porous Fenstanton field with boundaries, and to the surprise of his team mates, did quite a lot of running. Quick fire runs for Steve Robinson (28 off 20) and Justin Lee (28 not out off 15) followed, and Steve Hodsdon was unlucky to be bowled for 2. Mitchell reached an excellent and career best 150 (off 102 balls) in the final over, and there he remained, not out - if a little out of puff, as the innings closed on a formidable (and Thirds league best ) 354-4.

Fenstanton’s opening bowler, Piagessi, was unlucky to concede 84 runs, and his figures would have been improved with a full compliment of fielders. It was he who held together the visitors’ reply, smashing 66 runs out of a final total of 128-7. Camden highlights included effective opening spells from local business guru Dave Warren (2-44) and Priam Davda (2-20), Colin Almond’s wicket (and direct hit run out) on debut, Martin Baker’s one hundredth league wicket, Jaya Savige’s tenacious fielding, and Lee’s three dismissals (two catches and a stumping). The limelight, however, fell upon Mitchell once again, who, at short-midwicket, nonchalantly moved to his right and stuck out a beefy paw to pouch a ball which would have received at least three points for speeding on any UK motorway, having been clipped crisply off his toes by Piagessi. Scowls of disbelief gave way to smiles of celebration, and the skipper, like a bulky (but less cultured) Atlantis, was engulfed.

So, a great start to the season for the Thirds, and a good game, played in an excellent spirit by both sides. As we look ahead to Bassingbourn, certain issues remain. Will stalwart spin twin Armstrong ever emerge from the Tesco night shift to once again grace the grounds of Cambridgeshire with his winning grimace? Will Warren’s ‘business trip’ to the Czech Republic result in new legislation of any kind? Camden celebrity fans Alain de Botton, A.C. Grayling and Janine Machin, tired of talk of Pippa Middleton’s protuberances, are keen to find out.

Man of the Match: David Mitchell

This report is dedicated to the great entertainer of golf, Severiano Ballesteros.

Match report - Steve Robinson