2012 3rd XI Match reports

1 September 2012

Camden (20pts) 167-7, Cherry Hinton (5pts) 89


Victory at Quy underlines what might have been

Yet again it was less than warm as Camden inspected the wicket for the final match of the season: another pudding, plenty of grass, and a hearty slope down towards the pavilion. Perhaps, and with justification, sensing that their best chance was to hope that their useful bowlers would be able to restrict the visitors to a small score, Cherry Hinton won the toss and asked Camden to pad up. They were almost instantly rewarded, as Mitchell poked lazily at his third ball, which came back up the hill and bowled him through (or possibly under) the gate for 0. This got their tails up, and opening bowlers Kashif and Usman continued to bowl very well, getting the ball to move around dangerously, both in the air and off the pitch, both up the slope and down it. Bulusu gave an impression of fighting for his life, but Redfern was into his stride at the other end and unfurling several pleasing drives. Eventually Bulusu was bowled for a 14-ball duck, and the mathematician-philosopher fell foul to the confidence induced by a meaty cut shot, snicking a booming drive immediately after. With the score on 41 for 3, skipper Robinson decided some consolidation was called for: in partnership with the slightly more aggressive Hodsdon, the libidinous syndicate man collected just 1 run from his first 30 balls. By now, numerous wides were making scoring rather tricky, but at least keeping the board ticking over. The momentum was now returning, and, after Hodsdon holed out for a well made 26, Savige picked a good time to find some form and continue the fightback. After Robinson (15) was bowled, Lee (0) was dealt a cruel blow, his frustrating season capped off by being bowled off a long hop that came through so slowly that his eventual heave had little chance of happening upon the same area of time and space that the ball was passing through. Davda (6) had a dash, before Warren once again chose the final match of the season to remember that he could swing a bat, creaming a delightful lofted drive down the ground in his 15*. All the while Savige had been bustling away at the other end, determined not to let his favoured back foot drives be defied by unsuitable pitches, and the Bard of Brisbane finished with the top score, an unbeaten 31*, and credit for restoring respectability to an innings that had wobbled earlier.

Experience of how the pitch was playing, coupled with memories of the Cherries’ batting prowess in the earlier home fixture, meant Camden went to tea in upbeat mood, confident of defending their score and being back in the Bull for tea and cake. 12 balls later, mere confidence had turned into the sense of a foregone conclusion, after Davda (6-1-18-2) had bowled the home side’s no.s 2 and 3 for ducks in his first over. Thereafter, Cherries opener Swann offered some game resistance as he collected a steady 21, and a few other batsmen made contributions – some lusty blows from Ordish kept the crowd and players from falling asleep; but Camden’s score was never remotely under threat, and the home side weren’t kidding themselves either. Little bowled a miserly spell of 10-4-15-0 – although this admirable show didn’t help in the action stakes; Warren (6.1-0-19-1) succeeded him at the White Swan end and finished off the innings in a professional fashion. Meanwhile, Baker collected a nice set of dismissals (bowled, caught and bowled, caught, stumped) at the other end as the opposition slowly fell on their swords one by one, finishing with figures of 10-1-35-4; figures which saw the wildlife supremo pick up the coveted man of the match award from the skipper Robinson. The only moment of near-excitement was when Redfern, hurling himself airborne and at full stretch to his left at cover, just couldn’t wrap his fingers around what would have been the catch of many seasons – but wasn’t. As the players’ minds turned to beer, a welcome surprise arrived when the Cherries ran out of batsmen at 8 wickets down, with their no. 10 absent hurt and their no. 11 apparently gone to visit his mother.

Refreshing themselves after the game in establishments of diminishing locality, the mood was upbeat following the end of season victory (not to mention the appearance, prowling the boundary, of the long absented Armstrong, with all its promise of a return to whites for him in 2013) but also somewhat melancholic, as another season drew to a close with so many unrealistic ambitions once again unfulfilled. Taking a special break from her not-so-busy modelling schedule, former Anglia News presenter Becky Jaco joined the team at the bar and commented, “It was a good win, but once again Camden showed their frailty. If only all the players had even half as much spunk as Robinson then they would have won the league easily.”

Man of the Match: Martin Baker

Match report - Andrew Redfern

25 August 2012


Storms not enough to save feeble Camden

With thunderstorms raging all around the ground, it was miraculously dry in the centre of Lower Cambourne. The captains made the long trudge across the road from the pavilion and up onto the hill to toss the coin, and Redfern, deputising again for the dutiful Robinson, called correctly again and chose to take first use of the pitch. Camden made a cautious start, a little surprised by the first pitch of the season with any signs of life in it. There was bounce and seam, but the ball was coming on nicely, and it looked as though once in there were runs to be had. Regrettably, that qualification was never reached, and after some early hopes a fairly dismal procession took hold. Hodsdon grafted for his 2, but was caught wafting. Gibson (17) was showing keen intent, with some optimistic running, but mistimed a pull which looped gently into the hands of square leg. Redfern had struck a few sweet boundaries and was beginning to threaten, when he casually left a wide one and, horrified by the tinkle of bails on grass, trudged back to the pavilion with 20. The gates opened wide: Savige, Lee, Little and Warren all made ducks, with the latter’s taking 15 balls. Meanwhile Bulusu (13) was scrapping away, underlining his determination with an astonishing slog-sweep for four. He and Baker restored some humanity, if not pride, to the innings, the local wildlife supremo fighting back with his customary energy and fortitude. Dann (0*) hung on with him valuably after Bulusu had disappointingly girled one to cover, but failed to score off any of the 12 balls he faced. When Baker was bowled trying gamely to add to his 12, Camden had to settle for an early tea and some earnest sky-watching. Skittled in less than 28 overs, the visitors were left wondering quite how a seemingly ordinary spell had left opening bowler Hard celebrating a haul of 6-23

Still the climatic situation persisted, with lightning striking all around but no rain falling on the field of play. Nevertheless, despite the small target Cambourne could not afford to take all day over it. Local ladies man Warren rose to the occasion, his superbly miserly spell of 7-4-8-0 ratcheting up the pressure on the home side with each length delivery in the corridor. Debutant Dann was more than doing his bit at the other end, making good use of his height and the bounce in the pitch to pose some serious threats to the batsmen – it must be a long time since Camden III last utilised a short leg fielder, let alone two. Aided by some inspired field-placement from the skipper, Dann took the first wicket, caught by Gibson. However, runs came from some near misses, and Cambourne’s remaining opener Hankins was not afraid of smashing anything short of a length to the boundary. Redfern brought himself on in hope of being able to break the partnership. Having carefully positioned Dann at a precise point in the leg-side field, the batsman immediately obliged: Dann did not have to move a muscle – except for a few small ones in his hands, which he seemingly forgot to do, and the chance was duly grassed. Cambourne were closing in on their target – but so were the storms. An almighty torrent reached us at last, and a hasty retreat was beaten.

The rain poured down; there was a brief pause before another downpour, and the wrangling began. The pitch was utterly sodden. The home side were just 20-odd runs from their target, now 2 wickets down since Hankins had gone to visit his mother during the rain. It was clear that they deserved to win the game, but Camden for their part still hoped to obtain salvation by the weather. Cambourne proposed finishing the game on an adjacent artificial strip, but Redfern declined, stating that this would not be cricket. Keen not to deny the deserved victors if at all possible, brooms were called for, and sufficient water was brushed off the puddles at the creases for the game to reach its conclusion on a mud pie, with Baker collecting an expensive wicket as the last rites were administered.

Camden fans were thin on the ground, with few electing to spend the morning strolling the boulevards and partaking of the local couture; but one little girl took time out of playing on the swings to comment on how lively Little had looked during his short spell after the refreshment of the rain.

Man of the Match: No Award

Match report - Andrew Redfern

28th July 2012

Camden III (161-4) lost to Bassingbourn (162-6)


Rusty Thirds nailed by Bassingbourn

After three weeks of rain washed away encounters with St Giles, Elsworth and Fulbourn, the Thirds returned to dry land at Pembroke, hoping that collective muscle memory would enable them to overcome a Bassingbourn side they had shared the spoils with over two enjoyable games in 2011.

Camden won the toss and batted on the ‘hard on top, soft underneath’ surface. Skipper Steve Robinson and leading run scorer Duncan Gibson needed patience against accurate Bassingbourn bowling and the score reached 32 before Robinson was caught for 11 in the thirteenth over. Vice-captain Andrew Redfern departed soon afterwards for 4 and Camden were 46-2. Ex-captain David Mitchell, impaired by creaking knees, joined Gibson and the two considerable units took the Thirds to 55-2 at the 20 over drinks interval. Over the next 13 overs the run rate began to rise, Gibson (by now a beneficiary of three dropped caught behind chances) finding his range as the effects of the previous evening at the Cambridge Folk Festival wore off, and Mitchell unleashing a series of meaty straight drives. A partnership of 77 came to an end when Gibson was bowled for a vital 64. Savige (5) struck out nobly for the cause in the remaining time, as did Bulusu in a cameo run-a-ball, 15 not out. With Mitchell unbeaten on 41, The Thirds’ had reached 161-4 after 40 overs. It didn’t feel like quite enough.

Although the Thirds’ early bowlers ensured a sedate start from Bassingbourn (60-1 after 20), the visitors’ retention of wickets later proved crucial. Warren and Batley (1-10) kept it tight and this continued as Derek Pringle lookalike Raoul Williams and local wildlife supremo Martin Baker took over, the latter bowling Bassingbourn’s number one for 14. However, the drinks break appeared to galvanize the visitors as 28 runs flowed from the next three overs, Bassingbourn’s number three cutting loose with some ferocity. Williams (0-32) was replaced by Bulusu and for a while the all-spin combination kept the run rate comfortable. Opportunities in the field were spilled but eventually the big-hitting number three holed out, Robinson taking his sixth catch in six games by pouching a rocket at long on, off the bowling of Baker, who finished with 2-28. Still, the post-drinks burst had done the damage and at 132-3, with only 30 runs from seven overs required (and seven wickets in hand), Bassingbourn were always in the driving seat. The bowling had been reshuffled in an effort to take the wickets now necessary for the home side to be victorious, containment having been taken out of the equation. Fowles (0-20) was replaced by the returning Warren, and Baker by Redfern. Three quick wickets reduced Bassingbourn to 150-6, but skipper Ben Allen played a steadying hand with 15 not out to guide his team home. Warren finished with 2-28 (second spell 2-5), including a catch for Gibson, and Redfern’s 2-22 featured a comfortable return catch. Bassingbourn won, deservedly, with seven balls to spare.

It had been a tense finish - Camden dragging themselves back into a game that had appeared to be drifting away for some time. The tension got to Skipper Robinson who, after the game, enjoyed a brief drink with teammates at The Red Bull, before taking himself off, away from the post-match analysis and soul searching to find solace in the drinking dens of Mill Road and the company of ex-President and first team skipper Kevin O’Grady. ‘There’s a good selection of songs on the duke box at the Sally Arms’, said professional pub-goer O’Grady. ‘Heaven knows I’m miserable now seems most appropriate tonight.’ Morrissey himself was unavailable for comment, but Camden fan and ex-England seamer Angus Fraser, star of the club’s 125th anniversary dinner in 2006, was, for once, less glum. ‘I think the skipper made the right decision in escaping to another pub. You can analyse close games over and over again, but if you haven’t made enough runs, life is always going to be difficult. My advice is drink heavily’.

Man of the Match: Duncan Gibson

Find the match score card here.

Match report - Steve Robinson

30th June 2012


Gibson and Little star in efficient victory

Cherry Hinton won the toss and batted at King’s and Selwyn. A rapid start saw them hurtle along at more than six an over for the first hour or so. Despite proficiency in many languages the visitors proved unable to keep two books going simultaneously, so precise details do not exist. However, a reconstruction of the figures reveals that Cherry Hinton reached a frenetic 69-2 after 11 overs. The opening bowlers, David Warren (0-32) and Tom Midgley (2-37) couldn’t stem the early flow of runs, but Midgley’s brace slowed the Cherries down. Camden’s very own muscular Christian - impressive in his brief and pacey spell during the Cambourne defeat, charged in, and, although there were some wayward deliveries, the experiment bore fruit. Firstly, Camden spin king Martin Baker, who, from square leg, had been advising Midgley about the length of his bowling, surprised and delighted everyone by clinging onto a skier as the Cherry Hinton opener attempted to pull a slightly short delivery. Jaya Savige took a competent catch off Midgley at extra cover and then Midgely, not long removed from the attack, ran out the other Cherry Hinton opener, initially causing confusion by appearing to dive over the ball. With two batsmen at the same end, the throw was accurate enough to leave the visitors three-down. Martin Baker and Tim Little took over bowling duties, the former removing another Cherry Hinton batsman courtesy of a comfortable catch by Madu, and by the twenty-over drinks break, the opposition had brought up their ton for the loss of four wickets. Remarkably, the second half of their innings yielded just 30 runs for the loss of six wickets. Battling against the breeze, the after-effects of his Turkish resort holiday and some extremely keen wide calls from the opposition (prompting skipper Steve Robinson to have a Sutton-esque word with their skipper – ‘we don’t give ‘’seen it on the telly 20-20 wides’’ ’), Little’s persistence paid off as he took 4-32 including an LBW, a bowled, another catch for the reliable Madu and a stumping by Lee to finish things off. At the other end, Martin Baker hypnotised two more victims into a false sense of security to finish with 3-27, including the bowling of the top scorer, Abdullah (40). Extras had contributed 31, with an astounding 27 wides called.

After tea in the first floor pavilion dining area (with picturesque views over the fields of Cambridgeshire), the Camden chase (for which details are more readily forthcoming) started with a bang. Former Camden II seamer Paul Williams felt the full force of Duncan Gibson’s bludgeoning blade as the Kiwi’s thunderous boundaries helped to take 12 from the first over. The fun continued immediately, Gibson and opening partner Steve Hodsdon reaching 26-0 at the end of over number two. Inevitably the scoring rate evened out, but the two still amassed 59 before Hodsdon was caught behind for 10, four balls into the eleventh over. Gibson continued to make hay in a partnership of 20 with Andrew Redfern, but the ‘Boris Johnson on slimfast’ lookalike was unusually out of sorts, departing for 2 (like Hodsdon, caught behind off Khashish, Cherry Hinton’s captain and best bowler) in the fifteenth over. Skipper Robinson strode to the wicket through a hail of inept ‘sledging’. After a trademark square cut from his third delivery, he settled in alongside the big Kiwi - the two of them content to knock the ball around now, and another 42 runs were added amidst increasingly chaotic scenes and voluble turbulence in the field, when Gibson, on 81, was caught; he had scored his runs from just 73 balls, and banished any thoughts the visitors may have entertained of applying early pressure. With just 13 needed for victory Midgley came to the wicket and did not face – a combination of Robinson (20 not out) and extras taking Camden home to a very comfortable seven–wicket win, with more than 13 overs remaining. .

After a difficult afternoon in the field for the opposition skipper, worse was to follow. As Thirds’ skipper Robinson shuffled arthritically out of the changing rooms and down the steps to the car park, his Cherry Hinton counterpart appeared to be engaged in an intense, near death debriefing session with several of his leading players. Later, during the Thirds’ victory beer and pizza at The Red Bull on Barton Road, Robinson was phoned by the aforementioned skipper who’d managed to return to his South Cambs pad without the aid of car keys. Perhaps he’d forgotten where his teammates had inserted them. ‘When the Thirds were batting, it was difficult to tell what was going on around them in the field’, said fresh-faced BBC East Breakfast newsreader Kate Riley. ‘One thing is certain, however’, she continued, ‘Only one side was playing cricket out there.’

Man of the Match: Duncan Gibson

Find the match score card here.

Match report - Steve Robinson

23rd June 2012

Camden III (117 all out) lost to Cambourne II(120-3) by 7 wickets.


Thirds fail to profit despite Savige cuts

On a rain-affected day at King’s and Selwyn, Cambourne asked the Thirds to bat - setting in motion nearly 40 overs of slow torture, relieved only by the soothing strokeplay of Australian poet and writer Jaya Savige, Camden’s resident Gates scholar. Savige joined skipper Steve Robinson at the crease after Madu - electing his favoured mode of dismissal, was run out for a duck and the score lurched to 34-4 in the twelfth over. The Thirds’ top three didn’t stay long; Duncan Gibson (9), David Warren in a rare opening cameo (5), and the returning Tom Midgley all perished, bowled by Cambourne’s Miller, who went on to claim 5-23. Robinson – crease occupation his main concern, and Savige, who survived some early appeals, cobbled together a partnership of 52, to steady the ship. Savige drove and cut with aplomb, and the elegant leg-side chips over midwicket delighted spectators and passing tramps alike. With the score on 101, Robinson departed for a gritty 13, having misjudged a sharply-spinning ball which bowled him en route to rearranging the Cambourne keeper’s eyebrows. Savige went on to make a Thirds’ best 37 before becoming the redoubtable Miller’s fourth victim, and the Thirds narrowly missed a likely third batting point, being three runs adrift at 117 all out (which was for nine wickets, in the absence of several regulars and call ups to the Seconds). Martin Baker (9), Olly Hastings (7), and father and son combination Ali and Nick Austin (5 and 2 not out respectively) edged the score upwards before leg-spinner Austin junior was out in the thirty-ninth over. Cambourne had bowled well in difficult batting conditions, and 117 seemed a little short.

After the tea interval, fifteen-year old Thirds’ debutant Olly Hastings (1-26) supplied hope by bowling one of the opposition openers to reduce Cambourne to 6-1 after 4 overs. At the other end, Thirds’ stalwart Dave Warren - himself an eligible bachelor of Cambourne parish, operated with customary tenacity and guile during a spell of 9-4-16-1, and was unlucky not to add to the one wicket he claimed, courtesy of a good catch by Savige. From 37-2 in the eleventh over Cambourne never really looked back; wickets were hard to come by, Martin Baker (1-27) bagging the last, as he competently caught and bowled the opposition number four. Four other bowlers toiled in pursuit of wickets, but no amount of Savige wobble, Austin spin, Midgley pace or Gibson grunting could conjure another break through, as Cambourne eased home for the loss of three wickets, with a shade over 10 overs to spare. .

After the game, Thirds’ sorrows were dowsed liberally in beer and chips at the Red Bull. Fortunately, the mood Camden intelligentsia (a small group) soared in an excitable debate on Jaya Savige’s recent article (‘James Joyce. Artist. Banker.’) in CAM, the Cambridge University Alumni magazine, on the reflection of the language of risk and risk analysis in early- twentieth century literature. When pressed on his inspiration for the article, Savige commented, ‘I only wrote it to impress BBC local news presenter Janine Machin, herself a graduate in English from Cambridge.’ He also revealed that ‘Like Steffi Graf before her, Janine has not responded to any of my calls, emails or poems.’ Later reports of a revival of the Camden book group, prompted by ex-president Kevin O’Grady’s ‘proofreading’ of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey, proved unfounded.

Man of the Match: Jaya Savige

Find the match score card here.

Match report - Steve Robinson

16th June 2012

Camden (20pts) 179-9, NCI IV (8pts) 175-8


Demons and Elements conquered at Kings

High winds prevailed again at Kings & Selwyn, but the sun was inclined to make periodic appearances and the pitch was drier than the previous week; and, as then, appeared relatively true. Although skipper Robinson’s mystery virus was apparently cured, the massage enthusiast’s knee was still badly swollen, and so Redfern again stood in his stead and was grateful to win the toss.

Hodsdon, having regained his confidence last week, opened this time with Mitchell, and quickly tapped into that momentum, playing his shots from the off. The wind was making life awkward for all the players, and with the ball behaving erratically, Mitchell (6) was eventually caught on the crease and struck in front. While Hodsdon took time to reset himself, Redfern began to look for shots all around the wicket, and a pleasing on drive in particular began to put doubt in the fielders’ minds. Hodsdon crashed a couple of boundaries either side of the leg-side sweeper, in what turned out to be the off spinner’s solitary over, and the two put on 53 before Redfern (28) was bowled by Clarkson. Hodsdon departed a few balls later for 35, an innings that promised there was much more to come from him. Freeman (10) and Bulusu (12) started a period of consolidation, but the visiting side slowly pinned them down and both were eventually caught trying to force the pace. Bassum and Baker looked to regain the initiative, but, while both struck welcome boundaries, by the time Bassum (8) was out LBW Camden had slumped to 129-6 with just 7 overs remaining. The home side needed a boost, and Davda provided it: he smote 5 fours from his first 6 balls, and followed them soon after with a massive six down the ground. Baker (10) and Little (0) both fell during his onslaught, but, after Davda was bowled for a refreshing 36, and Warren (4*) and Batley (1*) had seen out the innings, Camden closed on 179-9. .

After tea, Warren and Batley made an excellent start, and when the Cambourne ladies man had Wilson caught sharply by Hodsdon at point in the 5th over for a turgid duck, the home side’s spirits rose. The pitch was better than the previous week, yet the target was 21 runs fewer. However, the new batsman showed aggressive intent, and Batley, bravely struggling into the increasing winds, was finding it difficult to maintain his line. He was replaced by Little, who, not having a run-up, was able to spite the wind and maintain his customary wicket-to-wicket fare. In his third over, the construction specialist struck, bowling NCI’s no.3, and Warren removed the stubborn opener soon after. Davda (0-20) replaced Warren (2-32) after a fine spell at the Cornfield end, but by now the wind was reaching gale force, and he struggled to adjust. Bulusu, nursing a hand injury from a caught-and-bowled chance last week, had been being followed by the ball and was struck repeatedly; he now found it necessary to take himself off to A&E, with what has subsequently been confirmed by our health correspondent as a metacarpal fracture. Camden were down to 10 men. However, Baker (2-42) took over from Little (2-33) at the Barton Road end, and the wildlife supremo’s upwind floaters were causing all sorts of problems for the batsmen. Davda took a superb catch, running round from fine leg to claim a top edge that went sailing high over the wicket-keeper. With the skies now leaden, and vicious spots manifesting within the icy gale, Camden kept their spirits up and steadily crushed those of the opposition. Batley (2-21) returned with the wind at his back, and produced an excellent comeback spell of 6 overs for 19 runs. With 24 required off the final over, NCI’s no.10 Gould finally took up the challenge, smiting consecutive sixes down the ground (and trashing Baker’s hitherto fine figures) to leave the hideous prospect of a third off the last ball to secure a tie. Freeman fielded the mow at deep mid wicket, and Camden had won seemingly comfortably, yet by only 4 runs.

Amongst the throng of jubilant Camden supporters, one shirtless fan discarded his can of lager and presented his thoughts on the game to our reporter: “It was a great team effort to which everyone contributed. Although Camden began to drift a little in their innings, Davda’s carnage restored the balance, and thereafter they seemed to keep on picking up wickets at all the important moments.” The middle-aged woman beside him, with “I  WAZZA” scrawled messily across her ample chest, did not offer any further comment.

Man of the Match: Priyan Davda

Find the match score card here.

Match report - Andrew Redfern

9th June 2012

Camden (7pts) 196-6, Fulbourn (20pts) 198-7


Runs and wickets, but no cigar

The day was grey and very cold at Kings & Selwyn, with a bitter wind coming across the wide open spaces from Queens; not at all suitable for fielding. Camden won the toss, and opted to take first use of a podgy but flat wicket that, despite the breeze, didn’t look as though it would get much better throughout the day. Hodsdon opened with Gibson, and soon the burly Marlburian had shaken off his potentially-lengthy lean patch and was beginning to move well into some of his favoured shots. Meanwhile, the Gisborne gallumpher was finding the bowlers’ lengths to his liking, smashing many balls down the ground and behind square leg. With the score on a healthy 86 from 17 overs, Hodsdon played a loose drive and was caught for 33. Gibson departed shortly afterwards, after an entertaining 51, but Redfern was into his stride quickly, and by now regularly piercing the packed off-side field to pick up boundaries. He and Mitchell (11) put on a further 47 before the portly run-machine, who had been largely content to play a back-seat role, feathered one that left him and was caught at the wicket. In the subsequent over, Redfern also reached 51, and then the mathematician-philosopher missed a straight full ball after being left indecently prostate by the preceding beamer. At 154-4, with 10 overs remaining, Camden looked set for a big score. Senarathna (2) swung with gusto, but alas did not connect with many – although he did avoid being run-out for a third consecutive time. Kattuman (19*) and Warren (11*) built a solid partnership, but there was much hesitancy both at the crease and between the wickets (encouraged by the reintroduction of the accurate opener Langdale from the Barton Road end) and Camden managed only 31 runs from their final 8 overs, closing the innings at 196-7 – but heading for a satisfied tea nonetheless.

After refreshments, Warren (0-28) bowled two excellent consecutive maidens, but Batley seemed destined to pick up where he left off the previous week, when a wide long hop was slapped straight to Gibson at cover point. Despite the Cambourne ladies man continuing to bowl in his usual tidy fashion, the new batsman was collecting periodic fours – and then four in row off full tosses when the unfortunate Batley briefly lost his length. Although Little cleaned up the aggressive Major (38) with his fourth ball, Fulbourn kept the scoreboard moving and, as the wind began to ease and the sky brighten, moved gradually into a position of strength. Village opener Langdale was beginning to look well-set, and capable of finishing the game, so the chinamen of Bulusu (1-31) were called upon to see if some magic could not be conjured. It duly was, when he ripped a huge turner through the gate – although there was a feeling that perhaps he had got the wrong man, as no.4 Rees (earlier tactically dropped by Senarathna in the covers) had been doing a passable job of seeming ignorant of the scoreboard. Baker (0-22) bowled a tight spell at the other end, and was difficult to get away. The pressure on the visiting team began to build again, and at 112 after 28 overs the asking rate had climbed over 7. The batsmen felt it was time to counter-attack, and Redfern (0-16) and Batley were the victims of a series of scrapes and clubbings into the on side, the ball falling several times just out of reach of the fielders (memorably, over Gibson’s head at deep mid-on). The Butcher of Elsworth soon got his revenge though, swooping at extra cover to throw down the stumps and run out the persistent Langdale, as well as picking up a couple of late wickets. However, by now Fulbourn’s no.6 Morris had settled into his stride, and was persistently evading the many leg-side fieldsmen. Little (2-37) came back and bowled well again, but frustrations mounted after the Gentleman of Romsey’s third painfully close appeal in two overs was turned down, and the visitors gradually wrestled the required rate down to a level of comfort. Despite Hodsdon completing an entertaining stumping off Batley (3-58), they overtook the mark with 10 balls to spare to remain unbeaten in five matches. .

Sharing a few thoughtful ales after the game, local philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein commented, “It was a frustrating day for Camden supporters. With many good performances, the outcome of my analysis was that Camden would win the game. I shall have to review my system of predicate calculus.” Asked to comment on whether he felt that Camden’s middle order had perhaps missed the experience of their ailing skipper Robinson, he replied, “Don’t ask me about him – I’m not a weather girl.”

Man of the Match: Duncan Gibson

Find the match score card here.

Match report - Andrew Redfern

2nd June 2012

Camden III (164-7) beat Elsworth (43) by 121 runs


Jubilant Batley batters batsmen of Elsworth

Elsworth in May: country lanes, village pubs and the local store, festooned in jubilee red, white and blue. The pitch may have been a little spongy after an overnight downpour but it mattered not as the Third(s) People’s Camden Republic, propelled by various cars and Tim Little’s A-team style white van, arrived at this scene of semi-bucolic splendour, just happy to do battle once more, having thus far defeated the weather once again.

As so often in recent seasons, The Thirds made a promising start after insertion by the opposition. Mitchell - in knee-flexing overdrive, and Gibson - as ever, prepared to play his shots, reached 45 before the big kiwi was bowled for 17 in the thirteenth over. This brought vice-captain Andrew Redfern to the crease. ‘He’s bound to get runs – he plays much better with a hangover’, opined Skipper Steve Robinson. And the sun-hated and heroically hungover former public school boy did not disappoint, unfurling a series of trademark boundaries, including a maximum over cow corner, as he and Mitchell on 52 en route to a promising 97-1 at the 20 over drinks interval. The resulting dilution of the alcohol demonstrably still in Redfern’s system is generally believed to have been responsible for his downfall, as, first ball after his parched lips welcomed in some weak orange cordial, he spooned a catch to mid off, having reached 31 from 27 balls. Redfern was not seen much before tea, taking refuge in his luxury Toyota in a bid to recover full health. On reflection this decision proved sound, saving him, as it did, from a largely torpid second 20. Elsworth’s bowlers began to find their ranges, bowling very tightly on the low, slow track and runs began to dry up. After his customary early attempt (to the accompaniment of ironic cheers from those at the St Giles game) to run out ex-skipper Mitchell, Robinson and the aforementioned Malburian axeman took the score to 132 whereupon Mitchell departed for a hard-fought and crucial 51 in the thirtieth over. Over the last ten overs, Elsworth’s increasingly impressive attack (especially the accurate Wilkin) turned the screw and a flurry of wickets (Hodsdon 7, Madu 1, Savige 0, Baker 0) left the visitors in danger of collapse as each of the departed tried to up the scoring rate. Robinson scratched away for a steady but valuable 29 not out, and with David Warren (not out 2), edged the score up to 164-7, ten runs and thus an extra batting point (if needed) being procured from the last over. Whilst disappointed not to reach 200, a battling Thirds’ batting performance against a canny home attack did at least leave them with a muddy foothold in the game. .

Over a pleasant tea of sandwiches and scones, a plot was hatched. Hugo Batley would join Warren in opening the bowling, it looking like a Batley-esque surface. Following a short but intense debate over choice of ends and an ominous 14 runs from two overs, Warren and Batley settled in a nice rhythm, and, remarkably, after 10 overs the hosts found themselves in the perilous position of 21-5, all 5 wickets falling to the young master, Batley. Settling into a full length on a slow track, Batley bowled two victims, trapped two plumb in front and had the other caught by Robinson at mid off. Veteran ladies’ man and newly-appointed ‘Head of bowling’ David Warren (0-20) subdued Elsworth at one end, allowing Batley to reap havoc at the other. Hugo finished with 5-10 from his 7 overs, and Little and Baker mopped up the rest under ever-glooming skies. Watched by his adoring parents, Little ran in, bowled straight and narrowly avoided a hat-trick, claiming three wickets in one eventful over (two bowled and another pouch for Robinson at mid-off to take the skipper’s total to five in two games). Baker, a model of miserliness from the other end, claimed 1-1 from 3 overs, catching the Elsworth number 10 off his own bowling. Little finished Elsworth with another bowled to give him an excellent 4-11and the hosts had posted just 43 in a little over 20 overs – four fewer than the Thirds’ sorry effort against St Giles the previous week.

The teams retired to garden of The Poachers for a good – natured drink and analysis of the game. Although no official words of celebration arrived from her majesty on this jubilee weekend, long-standing Camden fan and novelist A.S. Byatt said, ‘Although close finishes make for exciting viewing, I have to say that I prefer the comfort of a 121- run victory any day.’ She later added - when pressed on the proposed sub-headline of this report, ‘At least the “batters” referred to here is in verb, and not common noun form, as beloved by so many Sky sports cricket pundits. I also appreciate the lack of reference to “fieldsmen”, although the origin of this term –beloved by those down under, is less clear. Those Australians, Mr Murdoch chief among them, have a lot to answer for!’

Man of the Match: Hugo Batley

Find the match score card here.

Match report - Steve Robinson

19th May 2012

St Giles II (96 all out) beat Camden III (47 all out) by 49 runs


Pain after the rain at not so ‘dry’ Drayton

After weeks of rain and two cancelled fixtures with Romsey, the season commenced at a soggy Solway. On winning the toss, newly-appointed skipper Steve Robinson had no hesitation in asking the home side to bat, such was the pudding-like consistency of the playing surface – miraculously prepared by heroic St Giles ground staff, and the canopy of cloud cover above.

Our regular reader will be pleased to note that Thirds’ stalwart David Warren started proceedings by dismissing popular ex-NCI skipper John Plattern, who was trapped in front for a duck. Warren and Tim Little (0-28) plugged away for eighteen overs, the former adding two more wickets to his collection (to finish with 3-17), one of them an early season rocket clung onto by Robinson at mid off. Jaya Savige and Martin Baker then took up the mantle - both striking early, and at the 20 overs' drinks break, St Giles had struggled, on a bowler-friendly wicket, to 69-4. Over the next 12 overs, Baker (4-21) and Savige (3-27) tore through the St Giles defences, as the hosts subsided - despite the late intervention of a number ten who arrived in a taxi, having been enjoying pina coladas on the Costa del Sol earlier that day, to 96 all out from 32.1 overs. Along the way there were two more catches for Robinson, and one apiece for vice-skipper Andrew Redfern, and Addenbrooke’s legend Ramesh Bulusu. It had all gone like a dream in the field, but as the Thirds contentedly munched their way through tea, gnarled veterans and old villagers delivered portentous warnings of the struggle to come and a menacing feeling of uneasiness hung stubbornly over the Solway gloom. .

Only brief comments on the ensuing rout are available – like haemorrhoids, it’s too painful to dwell on for very long. Despite the early loss of former St Giles man Duncan Gibson (0) in the first over, the Thirds reached the relative safety of 35-1 after eight overs and appeared to be on course. Redfern then departed caught for a breezy 17 and Hodsdon for 1, after which an incredible eight wickets tumbled for paltry twelve runs. The undoubted highlight – dubbed his ‘champagne moment’ by non-playing St Giles skipper Chris Badger, was the run out of ex-skipper David Mitchell (then well-set on 15) by Robinson, who went on to be caught for a duck, playing a tame and inappropriate scoop to short mid-wicket. Everything after that is a blur. Various theories have been advanced with regard to Mitchell’s unlucky demise – was the new skipper simply asserting his authority, or had Mitchell breakfasted on too many sausages to contemplate any sharp singles that day? We will never know and such ideas will perish on the grassy-knolled graveyard of conspiracy, but on each team, only two players managed double figures with the bat, both St Giles and the Thirds supplying four ducks to the scorecard. The end came swiftly as Lee, Bulusu and the bowlers departed in quick succession, and the Thirds perished to 47 all out, just short of the halfway drinks interval.

It had all started so well – if a little damply. Landmarks came and went – three thousand runs for the unfortunate Mitchell, brought up with a typically meaty boundary smear; one hundred appearances for Warren and fifty for Redfern. However, no one was able to stem the tide, as the Thirds grabbed defeat from the half-open and hoary jaws of a rare Solway victory. No BBC local weather forecasters were available for comment, but former skipper and current Radcliffe Road regular John Sutton is reported to have remarked, ‘Glad I stayed at home re-read Middlemarch again.’

Man of the Match: Martin Baker

Find the match score card here.

Match report - Steve Robinson