Camden 3rd XI 2013 Match reports

3rd XI Vs BUNTINGFORD: July 13th 2013 - BY STEVE ROBINSON

MAGNIFICENT MIDGLEY MASHES BUNTINGFORD
Bowlers clean up after fireworks display

Camden’s very own muscular Christian Tom Midgley put the game, and often the ball, beyond the reach of Buntingford II, with a magnificent 89 from just 59 balls, in which he unfurled eight fours and seven huge sixes. The ‘no mercy’ display came on a baking hot summer’s day and a belting King’s and Selwyn track, which, inexplicably, the Buntingford captain had failed to have first use of upon winning the toss. Duncan Gibson, with a brisk 20, and Ramesh Bulusu made a solid start, posting 40 before Kiwi Gibson was bowled in the ninth over. Skipper Steve Robinson joined Addenbrooke’s consultant Bulusu and after some initial consolidation, the two began to accelerate in a 49-run partnership before Bulusu (29) was also bowled, with the score on 89. Vice-captain Andrew Redfern, having pronounced his broken finger healed, sauntered to the wicket and crashed an early boundary, helping the Thirds’ to an encouraging 99-2 at the 20-over drinks interval. Redfern was then out unluckily as the drinks break claimed its victim – caught at a very straight mid-off, via a deflection from the bowler’s hand after a fierce aerial straight drive. Enter Midgley; leaving his admiring girlfriend beside the boundary (safe in the knowledge that David Warren was once again unavailable), he warmed up with a couple of well-struck fours, before getting properly into his stride with series of magnificent, ferocious blows, mostly over mid-on and midwicket. Robinson, who had repeatedly found the ropes on his way to a half century, was happy to rotate the strike and watch the violence from the other end. The pair put on 130 before Midgley, hitting out for the cause, fell eleven short of a maiden ton. Robinson (77 not out) was joined by Lee (8 from five balls) and Savige (3 not out from one ball), for the last two overs, as the Thirds’ finished on a strong 256-5. The last ten overs had yielded 105 runs (by coincidence the visitor’s total score), thanks largely to Midgley’s adventurous strokeplay.

Buntingford seemed a little shell-shocked by Camden’s late-innings broadside, and wickets fell at regular intervals. The visitors achieved a little early momentum with the harsh treatment of Camden debutant Tom Duesbury (0-35), but otherwise runs were hard to come by. Opening bowler Savige bowled through, claiming a well-deserved 2-24 from his ten. There were wickets for the spinners, Armstrong ending with 2-13 and Baker 2-9. Man of the match Midgley claimed two athletic catches, wicket keeper Lee two catches and a stumping, and Redfern a brave catch, inevitably landing flush on his recently-fractured finger; another, later opportunity to test the deformed digit was spurned, fag ejected from hand at high speed as the ball approached. The star of the bowling attack, however, was sixteen-year old Luke Fowles, who narrowly and skilfully avoided a hat-trick on his way to figures of 4-21, and pulled off an excellent caught and bowled - spilling blood for the team in the process. Buntingford had succumbed for 105 all out in just 27.4 overs.

Under protest, but with the permission of his proud father, Fowles was kidnapped and taken to The Red Bull by his middle-aged teammates - the other young athlete in the team, Midgley, having whisked away his besotted lady to a romantic meal for two at MacDonalds on Newmarket Road. Poor Fowles, soon to travel to Italy, had earlier endured advice on the pursuit of the opposite sex from the more depraved members of the Thirds. ‘No more than five at once’ advised Flashman fan Redfern to a confident-looking Fowles. ‘Try using the half Flashman grip’ added fellow George MacDonald Fraser enthusiast, Robinson, from mid-on. American pop singer and Geoffrey Boycott enthusiast, Katy Perry later commented from her luxury LA pad, ‘Geoffrey is one of the best things about Yorkshire but I’ll always think of Midgely’s stunning blows when I perform my hit song, “Firework”.’ Pressed for a reaction to the reported pep talk gifted to Fowles by Redfern and Robinson, she added, ‘Yeah, like they’d know!’

Man of the Match: Tom Midgley

3rd XI Vs STEEPLE MORDEN: July 6th 2013 - BY STEVE ROBINSON

STEEP LEARNING CURVE
Robinson just misses ton again in hard-fought win over Morden

The Thirds finally shook off the shackles that hindered home performances and learnt how to win at King’s and Selwyn - mainly by putting a decent total on the board and accepting the catches that came their way. On a sunny July day, Skipper Steve Robinson chose to have first use of a dry track, devoid of the sometimes tennis-court bounce of damper weekends, and so match day nine was underway.

Kiwi Duncan Gibson was bowled for 5 in the third over, allowing Robinson to join Camden’s number two Steve Hodsdon at the crease. The two Camden stalwarts revived memories of partnerships at Latham Road in the early part of the century when both were thinner around the waist and thicker (fuller) on top. An early straight six from Robinson signalled the start of an acceleration towards the halfway drinks interval after the visitors had kept the Thirds relatively quiet in the first ten overs. Camden had reached 89-1 at the 20 over point, and Robinson and a watchful Hodsdon pushed on, puffing hard (especially the former) in the summer heat as they scurried to and fro and secured occasional respite by depositing the ball beyond the boundary and into the vast green hinterland that is King’s and Selwyn sports ground. At the end of the thirty-third over Robinson, on 92, miscued an attempted pull and provided the bowler with a comfortable return catch, leaving the Thirds 164-2 after a partnership of 158 with Hodsdon. A flurry of late boundaries in front of his adoring family saw Hodsdon to his half century soon after; late cameos from Jaya Savige (4), Justin Lee (8) and Ramesh Bulusu (3) followed, and together at the end with Martin Baker (0 not out), Hodsdon (71 not out) carried his bat in guiding the Thirds to 206-5, which represented a great improvement on recent totals.

In the absence of Head of Bowling David Warren (rumoured to be on a Berlin ‘business trip’), Jaya Savige and Dan Hoole opened proceedings for the Thirds and Savige struck after four balls, Ali Austin bagging a confident catch. At the other end Dan Hoole recovered from an expensive first over to remove the other Steeple Morden opener via a Steve Hodsdon grab, and the visitors were 40-2 after 6 overs. Hoole (1-41) was replaced by spinner Austin, who started well, bowling the Steeple Morden number four to leave the visitors on 69-3 after 14 overs. Camden were then made to wait some time for the next breakthrough as Morden’s fourth wicket pair began to accumulate. Savige, who had kept it tight during his eight overs, was replaced by Baker, and Morden were poised on 95-3 after 20 overs. The traditional Thirds ‘strangle’ took hold as only 35 runs came from the next ten overs. Baker exacted a good degree of control and Luke Fowles, replacing Austin (1-32), settled into an excellent line and length. With Morden needing more than seven an over in the last ten, something had to give, and Fowles (1-28) received due reward for his efforts by bowling Morden’s punchy number three, D Warner, for 47. Soon after that, with the rate rising as the sun set, all effective resistance was ended when Robinson took a calm catch at long off to dismiss the opposition captain for 59, induced by the lob of death-bowling specialist Gibson. In the same over, Gibson claimed another victim via a catch in the covers by Baker. Having completed his full allocation shortly before this, Baker (0-37) had been replaced by the returning Savige (1-28), who also completed his impressive ten. Before the end the Thirds claimed two further wickets, one from a Hoole/Gibson run out and the other a third wicket for Gibson (caught by wicketkeeper Lee), who finished with a remarkable 3-9 from his two overs.

Steeple Morden finished on 180-8 and the Thirds had won by a relatively comfortable 26 runs but this belied what had been, for the most part, a tense encounter, no doubt raising the blood pressures of many of the Thirds’ participating veterans. One such missing veteran, Club President David Mitchell, 43 - who had been away on one of his many Duke of Edinburgh Award school trips, commented from a Derbyshire peat bog, ‘It’s good to see that the future is so bright – what with teenagers Hoole, Austin and Fowles bowling nearly half the overs, this dispels the heartless rumour that the Thirds is a haven for the elderly and infirm.’ The remainder of the team, already safely at their respective warden-patrolled homes and no doubt enjoying a few cheeky mugs of horlicks, were too tired to comment.

Man of the Match: Steve Robinson

3rd XI Vs DULLINGHAM/MILTON: June 22nd/29th 2013 - BY STEVE ROBINSON

TWO DEFEATS AND A DEFAULT
Runs for Gibson and Hodsdon but Thirds knocked off perch

In the space of three humbling weeks, Camden III dropped from first to ninth in CCA Division 4 South. The defaulted game against Saffron Walden IV at King’s and Selwyn, eventually abandoned due to rain, started the rot. The following week saw the Thirds suffer a narrow defeat, also at King’s and Selwyn, to Dullingham. Camden were inserted on a pitch which had endured rain during the week and although Duncan Gibson (with an excellent 61) and Steve Robinson (11) added 51 for the second wicket, and Jaya Savige made a combative 21, a total of 125 all out in 31.5 overs (in a game reduced to 32 overs due to rain) always looked a little light. Students of the game will be interested to hear that Alec Armstrong, in an incident involving Thirds debutant James Fincham, was dismissed - run out, without facing (answers on a postcard). At 77-7, however, the Thirds had the visitors on the rack. Unfortunately, all subsequent torture was applied by the Dullingham numbers eight and nine who, unlike the top - order hitters, sensibly nudged and stroked their side to victory. David Warren (3-20) and Priyan Davda (3-39) provided some hope; spin wizard Alec Armstrong chipped in with 1-23, Savige (0-13) kept it tight, and there were catches for Steve Hodsdon, Duncan Gibson and Robinson. Poor Ali Austin (0-16) was introduced with Dullingham well on the way to their victory target. Earlier, his father Nick had caused the main amusement of the day by being the first person to ever accuse Robinson of being Welsh – apparently because of his ‘accent’, rather than a rumoured affinity for sheep in his long-lost single days (known by aficionados as the ‘mint sauce period’). Whatever the murky truth of it, the Thirds found themselves fourth in the seventeen-strong league.

One week later, it was a further case of paradise lost, with a home defeat to Milton III, who were one from bottom of the league table. Malburian Steve Hodsdon put a run of low scores behind him with a well-paced 57. There were notable partnerships of 52 and 63 respectively with Steve Robinson (18), and the returning David Mitchell (26 not out) as Camden closed on a battling 165-7, having been put in a slightly damp King’s and Selwyn track. The other highlights of the innings had been a jug-avoidance contribution from extras (49 including 26 wides) and a Justin Lee three-ball cameo: off the mark with a huge six over square leg, followed by a four and then out caught, perishing for the cause. Milton had fielded well and pouched six catches – something the Thirds failed to achieve, their solitary wicket being a bowled from Alec Armstrong, who was the pick of the bowlers with 1-36 from his ten overs. Milton’s opener Peck benefited from some Camden generosity in the field as he was dropped, en route to his unbeaten century, several times. David Warren, Jaya Savige, Ramesh Bulusu, Duncan Gibson and debutant Alex Howarth all toiled without reward as Milton eased to a nine-wicket win with nearly five overs to spare. Thirds statistician and vice-captain Andrew Redfern, still nursing his deformed digit, commented, ‘Milton’s centurion had a most unusual wagon wheel. Even he didn’t seem to know where he was hitting it to; either the ball fell between fielders or, in, some cases, on them.’ Club President David Mitchell said, ‘It’s been fully two hours since tea. Did someone mention wagon wheels?’

Men of the matches: Duncan Gibson (Dullingham match), Steve Hodsdon (Milton match)

3rd XI Vs ELSWORTH: June 8th 2013 - BY STEVE ROBINSON

HIGH FIVES
Five in a row Thirds win again at Elsworth

In an alarming and frankly horrible scene, high fives were exchanged in the away team shower as the Thirds shed inhibitions and celebrated a win that kept them at the top of Junior League Division 4 South. Having won the toss, and with club president David Mitchell not due to arrive until the sandwiches had been unveiled, Thirds’ Skipper Steve Robinson elected to bat on the perennially slow, low but picturesque ground at the heart of quintessentially English Elsworth.

Duncan Gibson and Ramesh Bulusu put on 19 before the latter was caught for 3 in the fifth over. Gibson followed soon after for 9 and when Jaya Savige was bowled for 5, the Thirds’ teetered to 40-3 after 14 arduous overs, the homeside’s attack blending youthful enthusiasm and accuracy to stem the flow of runs. Thirds’ number three Robinson, dealing mainly in fours and forward defensives, had booked in for bed, breakfast and evening meal, and together with wicket keeper Justin Lee, began to settle in. Still, 55-3 after 20 overs signified famine, rather than feast. After the break Lee (6) departed unluckily, his thunderous straight drive clutched inches from the turf by the fully extended - and suspended (in mid-air), McGrath (no relation). 63-4 became 63-6 in the space of two balls as Camborne ladies’ man David Warren was trapped in line without scoring and teenager Dan Hoole caught at slip first ball, giving McGrath figures of 3-0 from two overs. Martin Baker (4) was run out by an excellent direct hit soon after and Camden had slumped to 76-7. Enter Essex’s finest, Tim Little. The free-swinging blonde builder clubbed 18, including four boundaries, and with Robinson also finding the ropes more regularly, the score advanced to 112 in the thirty-fourth over, a vital 36 having been added. Last man in Alec Armstrong (2 not out) was easily up to the task of keeping the opposition attack at bay, allowing Camden, to audible cheers, to pass 120 and therefore earn a provisional three batting points, and Robinson to reach his second half century of the season. The experienced pair, who first played cricket together at Netherhall Sixth Form, batted on and nearly saw out the overs before Robinson was caught at mid-wicket for a gritty 56, and the Thirds closed on 126-9.

After a pleasant tea in the Elsworth long room, the Thirds, replete with heartburn and renewed hope after the late - order batting revival and still devoid of President Mitchell, waddled out to the middle with intent. Mitchell soon arrived, and a fired-up David Warren removed the first two home batsmen leg before and bowled, and when Robinson threw down the stumps to run out Elsworth’s experienced number three, the hosts were 21-3 after nine overs. At the other end, unsung hero Tim Little plugged away with skill, like Warren piling up the maidens and giving very little away. Warren (3-18) collected another bowled and, in just reward for his endeavours, Little (1-24), who had overcome an intense debate with the umpire (still disgruntled about being adjudged run out) about the no-ball rule, claimed a scalp in his last over, via a suave Justin Lee catch, and Elsworth were swaying on a seasick 42-5 at the 20-over drinks interval. Robinson sprang a surprise after drinks with the introduction of young Hoole, who bowled with such spirit and gusto that he conjured the ghost of pace from the hitherto dead surface. In his second over he hit the stumps and with wildlife supremo Martin Baker delivering a brace of bowleds at the other end, Elsworth limped to 82-8 with ten overs remaining. Hoole’s statutory five overs had yielded a promising 1-19 and Armstrong was yet to be unleashed. The wily spinner did not disappoint, bowling Elsworth’s number five and clear top scorer (29) with his second ball on the way to figures of 1-4. When Baker (3-23) then removed the number ten-also bowled, it was all over, Elsworth being bundled out for just 88, and Camden’s steamy celebrations declared officially open.

The victors supped celebratory ale in the garden of The Poachers, which is situated pleasingly adjacent to ground. The one Elsworth player who stayed for a drink spoke of his frustration that the homeside had been unable to overcome the Thirds’ paltry total, as he stared disbelievingly into the half-pint ale jug provided by Robinson. Cambridge academic turned TV star Mary Beard commented, ‘It was crucial that Mitchell was able to leave his young son’s birthday party and give the Thirds a full compliment, as well as to block a massive hole in the field. Besides, the children at the party had suffered long enough.’ BBC gardening guru Monty Don later tweeted, ‘The composition of the soil combined with the low-lying nature of the wicket here at Elsworth, left me in no doubt that the boys would triumph, even without the services of vice-captain Andrew Redfern.’ Recently engaged examinations executive Redfern, who had cried off with a girly broken finger sustained in the act of dropping a catch in an evening game, was unavailable for comment. Unconfirmed reports suggest that Redfern, 34, is being helped in his recovery by staff at the Baker’s Arms in Fulbourn.

Man of the Match: Steve Robinson

3rd XI Vs MILL GREEN: June 1st 2013 - BY STEVE ROBINSON

ARMSTRONG AVERTS MILL GREEN BLUES
Spinning in a seamer’s paradise: Alec baffles villagers

In a welcome return to the pen, Kjell Kvarnstron, Speedway correspondent of Vasterviks Tidningen, reprises the role he undertook with such poise (‘Skipper Takes Root in Field’), in reporting on the adventures of John Sutton’s men in June 2005:

Kjell: Several of those playing in the previous trip to the borders of Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Essex were present (Mitchell, Robinson, Warren, Baker, Armstrong), albeit slower, fatter, mainly married and none the wiser – all the major vices. The inspection of the wicket in this magnificently bucolic setting- surrounded by ploughed fields, woodland and friendly locals addressing the visitors invariably as ‘good old buoy’ revealed much unidentified matter – some of it alive, even after the application of the heavy roller. On discovering what appeared to be the remnants of John Sutton’s left sideburn from 2005 (John had first noticed its absence on Christmas day 2007 and immediately blamed Hilary), and in realisation that only nine Camden stars were present at the toss, Skipper Steve Robinson elected, with some trepidation, to bat first. As predicted by his ever-supportive wife, Robinson followed up the previous week’s career best 97 runs with a comprehensive duck. Duncan Gibson and Andrew Redfern battled the slow wicket and slower outfield to take the score to 44 in the fourteenth over before Gibson (18) was bowled. With Redfern also bowled shortly after, ex-Skipper David Mitchell and all-rounder David Warren knuckled down to take the score to a creditable (in the face of some excellent seam bowling and fielding by a knowing home side) 59-3 by the 20 over point. After the drinks break the two veterans continued the good work, with frenzied scampering punctuated by occasional boundaries on the unresponsive outfield. When Warren departed caught for a well-made 20 in the thirty-eighth over, the pair had put on a vital 62. Mitchell soon followed, run out for a valiant 32. Thirteen year- old debutant Dan Hoole showed some confident invention before perishing in the cause, caught in the deep grass for 3. Jaya Savige, undefeated on a quick 7, and Martin Baker (0 not out), saw the Thirds’ to 129-6 off their spin-less 40 overs, accurate medium pace having restricted the visitors to a modest yet perhaps competitive total.

After tea was taken Redfern and Little immediately exerted a large measure of control, Mill Green shuffling along to 16-2 after the first ten, and then to 25-3 two overs later, both bowlers claiming lbws and Little a bowled. After 15 overs Warren replaced Little, and then Savige took over from the especially parsimonious Redfern (1-12). Warren received some unusual early tap but Savige, generating more wobble then a faulty Ikea bedside table, bowled the homeside’s dangerous all-rounder Davis around his legs, and Mill Green reached the halfway interval on 64-4. Progressing to 82-4 over the next four overs, Mill Green looked increasingly comfortable and on course to cruise home. Savige (2-24) slowed the chase with another bowled and the hosts were 90-5. Skipper Robinson decided that the time for spin, in the form of Martin Baker and Alec Armstrong, had at last come, and, although their introduction initially muted Mill Green, the hosts were still clear favourites at 114-5, with one ball of the twenty-seventh over to be bowled. Having been despatched for two sixes earlier in the over by the big-hitting Marchant, Baker had potential match winner Argent- top scorer in the game with 41, caught at the wicket by keeper Gibson, providing the Thirds with some slim hope; the hosts were still very well placed with 16 needed from 12 overs and four wickets in hand. Enter the inscrutable Armstrong. In his second over he induced a false stroke from Marchant who lobbed the ball high to mid off where Robinson clung on for a nerve-jangling catch. Next ball, Armstrong’s prodigiously turning delivery invoked, amazingly, the same stroke from the home side’s number eight and Robinson held on again; after 29 overs Mill Green were 115-8 and suddenly the game was in the balance again. Baker (1-20) was replaced by Little (2-28) who conceded just a run from his over, and after Armstrong had been despatched to the boundary halfway through his next over, he kept his nerve to deliver the final two wickets – one courtesy of Little’s first ever Camden catch (at gully), and the over bowling a bemused and number 11 who offered no stroke. In a match that was a little too close for comfort, Camden had bowled out the hosts for 120 in 31 overs to win a game that seemed to be drifting away from them for most of the afternoon. The victory margin was nine runs and Armstrong finished with 4-9 from three overs.

Several relieved members of the victorious and disbelieving top of the league team (four games, four wins) joined their gracious Mill Green counterparts for post-match drinks at The Old Red Horse in nearby cricketing mecca, Horseheath. ‘This was a great win for the boys’, said softly-spoken Anglia television weather presenter Amanda Houston. ‘It was a real team effort, exemplified by Nick Austin, who rushed back from his family holiday in the Lakes to make the game, didn’t get a bat or bowl but fielded like a colossus.’ Commenting on other weighty issues, former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl commented, ‘Although Mitchell was pipped to the best man award by Armstrong, his 32 was worth fifty under the circumstances. If someone had put sausages - rather than bails, on the stumps, I am sure he would not have been run out.’

Man of the Match: Alec Armstrong

3rd XI Vs RAMSEY: May 25th 2013 - BY STEVE ROBINSON

THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY
Thirds win high scoring encounter.

On the same afternoon that cherubic-featured 22 year old Joe Root, cheered on from the Western Terrace by a sozzled David Mitchell, recorded his first Test hundred, Thirds Skipper Steve Robinson, 42 and arthritic, just missed out on his own maiden ton. However, the agony of his dismissal soon gave way to the ecstasy of victory, as the Thirds eventually triumphed in an exciting, high-scoring contest.

South Cambridgeshire had endured a week of rain, and so Skipper Robinson felt reassured to have completed, twenty-four years earlier, an A Level Geography project on flooding in Linton. In contrast to the catastrophes of 1947 and 1953, the flood waters receded quickly at the pretty Recreation Ground in Meadow Lane, and Robinson won a good toss to lose, choosing to bat on a muddy-looking track which would surely dry – but possibly also churn up, as the game progressed. The opening partnership of the Skipper and Duncan Gibson took a couple of overs to adjust to the lack of pace in the track but soon picked up the pace, Robinson surprising onlookers with an early six, slapped over extra cover. The pair reached 46 after ten overs, Gibson beginning to open his manly shoulders, before the big Kiwi unit was caught for 22, with the score on 56 in the twelfth. This brought Vice-captain Andrew Redfern to the crease, and, as ever, he was quickly into his stride with a series of blows, one of which crossed the short pavilion side boundary, entered the players’ lounge and casually arrived at the bar (not so much a ‘champagne’ but more of a vodka red ball moment’-apologies, Skip). Another mighty stroke hit, rather high up, the tree that stood proud and unapologetic within the boundary – a four, rather than a six, according to local rules. There was just time for Robinson to deposit a high, straight six over a garden wall, and 86 runs had been added in the ten overs up to the halfway point, leaving the Thirds on a very promising 132-1. Shortly after the interval Redfern, and then Robinson, each went to his tenth Thirds fifties, the Vice-captain celebrating a few balls later with a huge six into another local garden. After more carnage he was surprisingly bowled by a Linton spinner, after bludgeoning 69 from just 50 balls, and having shared in a partnership of 112 with the Skipper. Redfern’s demise slowed the scoring rate for a while, although extras were a constant contributor. Steve Hodsdon was bowled for 2 and with 10 overs to go, the Thirds were 187-3. Robinson and David Warren then added a busy 45 runs, the Skipper forcing Warren into several pulse-raising twos, and pulling a maximum onto the nearby pavilion roof during a destructive late over. With just under three overs to go, Robinson, unwisely refusing to be told his score, top-edged a Linton twirler to the keeper, who clung on to dismiss the Thirds Skipper for a career-best 97. Justin Lee departed without scoring in the end of innings run chase, leaving Warren (9 not out) and Jaya Savige (10 not out) to guide the Thirds to an impressive 250-6, extras providing a useful 36, including 25 wides.

Savige (0-25) and Tim Little opened the bowling and kept it tight, the hosts reaching 33-1 after ten, with Little (1-25), making his first appearance of the season, trapping one of the Linton openers leg before wicket. Armstrong replaced Savige and classy opener Munday, assisted by a promising young number three, started to accelerate in the five overs before the halfway drinks interval, Linton reaching a promising 103-1. The hosts, still needing seven an over for most of the last 20 overs, continued to rack up the runs, with spinners Alec Armstrong (0-33) and Martin Baker (0-31) receiving some harsh treatment; although the required rate remained challenging, the lack of wickets taken by the visitors was a worry. Redfern (0-29) asserted some measure of control before he too received some ‘tap’. Ramesh Bulusu (1-31) took the second, crucial wicket, of Linton’s number three, before he too was battered out of the attack. Operating a rapid rotation policy to give the hosts, and Munday in particular, new problems to solve, the Skipper turned to batsman’s nightmare and part time seamer Gibson, and the injured Warren, who selflessly offered to ignore doctors’ advice and risk his delicate girly shoulder. It proved a good decision. Gibson registered a wicket with his fourth ball, bowling centurion Munday. The floodgates opened. Robinson, who, uncharacteristically, had put down a couple of reasonable chances, now threw uncharacteristically calmly to Keeper Lee for a run out. Gibson, inspired, took 4-15 in five excellent overs (three bowled, one balletic caught and bowled), and a fired up Warren claimed a crucial 3-10, all bowled. Linton had fallen 34 short in the last over, but the game had been in the balance for a considerable time.

Well-earned beers were consumed at The Dog and Duck after this pulsating, nail-biting game. The Thirds’ third league win in a row had been rather too close for comfort at times but Essex socialite Tim Little, coolly entertaining with his stories, provided the stress relief needed by his teammates. The opening bowler, in searching for one of the balls lost by Robinson and Redfern during the Camden innings, was invited in to a nearby property by, according to reports, a scantily-clad young woman who enquired as to whether said bowler would ‘like a drink’. Suffice to say he emerged shaken but not stirred. In unrelated news, David Warren is said to be considering a move to the area. BBC East’s alluring breakfast news presenter Katherine Nash commented, ‘What a great win for the boys. Robbo may be disappointed to fall just short of a ton, but in all fairness he was dropped three times, and should have been stumped. I suspect that he would have taken 97 at the start of the day, rather than his usual turgid 15 from 70 balls. That’s what Susie Fowler-Watt told me, anyway.’

Man of the Match: Steve Robinson

3rd XI Vs COMBERTON: May 18th 2013 - BY STEVE ROBINSON

THE POWER OF TEN
Adler sees Thirds home in clinical win.

At 90-3 after 20 overs at the picturesque Recreation ground, our hosts looked well-if not perfectly placed, to post an imposing total. Inserting Comberton, who, like the Thirds, comprised a ten-man outfit, initially looked a sound decision on Skipper Steve Robinson’s part; the wicket appeared greener than Farrow and Ball’s new mushy pea gloss, was unused in 2013, and the early lateral movement generated from the Pavilion End by Vice-captain Andrew Redfern in particular, helped to keep the scoring (37-1) moderate in the first ten. At the troublesome Playground End, massage specialist and ‘impact bowler’ Tom Midgely (1-22) forced a wicket in his first over, surprising his victim with the dual demons of pace and bounce. He then excited statisticians of the cricketing world by conceding 16 of his 22 runs in wides, before being replaced by Thirds regular, Jaya Savige. In his fourth over, the Aussie PhD student, like Midgely, playing his first game of the summer, followed up four wides of his own by bowling a confused Comberton opener. Spinner Martin Baker then replaced the impressive Redfern, and Comberton picked up the pace to reach the aforementioned halfway score, Savige having added a second scalp, also bowled. Somehow, over the next 20 overs, Comberton managed just 28 runs, for the loss of five wickets. Baker began the transformation, with the timely removal of two key home batsmen (caught Justin Lee and Ramesh Bulusu), in his second over after the drinks break, with the reliable Savige chipping in with a leg before to finish with 3-40 from his ten. Bulusu succeeded Savige and immediately bamboozled the remaining batsmen; after two runs from his first over, the Addenbrooke’s man reeled off five consecutive maidens to end with 1-2 from six, the wicket courtesy of a typical Robinson pouch at mid off – failure to catch the missile may have resulted in decapitation. Robinson added another catch to his collection at the other end, this time a running effort from mid off, via the bowling of Baker, who claimed 3-27 from his ten. Redfern (0-23 from ten) returned to bowl two maidens, thus making it six in a row at the end of the innings, and a virtually strokeless home side closed on a slightly curious 118-8.

The run chase proved straightforward. Club president David Mitchell, and Thirds debutant Jon Adler, put on an untroubled 61 before Mitchell, possibly bored, was caught - blasting one to cover for 17. Redfern, now recovered from the hangover which threatened to destroy the Comberton pavilion’s drainage system, applied bat to ball with gusto, and with Adler finding the boundary with effortless ease at regular intervals, Camden romped home for the loss of a solitary wicket. Adler, from Australia’s Gold Coast, ended with a better than a run a ball 63 not out, and Redfern was undefeated on 31 from 30 deliveries. David Warren, unable to bowl due to a shoulder injury, had been padded up for all 22 overs of the Thirds’ innings. The Cambourne ladies’ man, 46, remained philosophical when asked about the game at the post-match press conference, held at The Hoops, Barton. When pressed for a reaction, he responded, somewhat mysteriously, ‘It’s all a load of Burwash Manor.’

Man of the Match: Jon Adler

3rd XI Vs RAMSEY: May 11th 2013 - BY STEVE ROBINSON

GIBSON ELECTRIC AS CAMDEN STORM TO VICTORY
Kiwi axeman heroics followed by spin twin reunion to finish off Cambourne and beat the elements.

There are many who say romance in sport is dead, buried under the suffocating weight of commercialism, greed and grasping agents. The days of Botham’s Ashes, Aldaniti in the National and the Tractor Boys’ 1978 FA cup triumph are long gone, according to these nameless, numberless cynics. Not so in Cambourne, South Cambridgeshire, in May 2013. On the day that lowly Wigan, in the FA cup final, went some way to restoring belief in the underdog, 46 year old Kiwi Duncan Gibson - half aging-rock god, half-hippy surfer, in a surprising turn of events, put a little of the lost love back into sport with a maiden Camden ton, completed from the very last ball of the Thirds’ innings.

Put in on a damp day and muddy (yet covered overnight) track, Gibson and sausage-appreciating President David Mitchell produced a well-judged opening partnership of 51 in difficult circumstances. When Mitchell, who had scored the bulk of the runs, pulled up early in proceedings with a thigh strain, onlookers feared the worse – that someone, probably the team’s junior player (Redfern in this case, despite vice-captain status and being 34 years old), would have to go and rub down the beefy Malburian. Nobody wanted to see that and luckily all offers of help were rebuffed before, a few overs later, Mitchell tickled one to the Cambourne keeper and promptly departed for a nicely-constructed 30. Bulusu(4) and Hodsdon (0) followed in short order, the former brutally run out by his Kiwi team-mate. There was just time for Andrew Redfern to smash a boundary before the rain arrived at the 20 over mark. Camden were 70-3, Gibson undefeated on 22, and an early tea was consumed. Redern (4) and skipper Steve Robinson (2) departed soon after the break, clearing the way for the innings’ pivotal partnership. Whereas Gibson’s mighty drives and heaves have simply dribbled to nearby fielders during the first 20 overs, normal service was resumed as he connected with increased effectiveness in the later stages, and also ran very well. Accompanied by Camborne resident David Warren, and featuring much excellent scampering, the pair put on 93 before Warren, who had unleashed a startling array of new shots on an unsuspecting public – cutting and driving well, was bowled for 23. Lee departed for a duck and it was left to Martin Baker to help Gibson to his landmark score. On 96 at the beginning of the last over, Gibson plundered three from the first delivery. Thirds players then looked on nervously as Baker (on what had been a difficult, soggy track all innings), unable to get the ball away, presided over three dot balls before taking a single off the fifth delivery. With team-mates holding aloft scoreboard tiles to display the 99 Gibson had accumulated, the Kiwi and his partner scrambled a run from the final ball, bringing up Gibsons’s hundred and inducing rapturous applause from the pavilion; a heart-warming moment and, on the Cambourne mud track, Camden had a very promising total of 187-7.

Between innings the rain intervened again - seriously threatening to end the game, despite the protection afforded by the covers and copious quantities of sawdust later on. After multiple discussions and inspections, and the very positive attitude of the home side in allowing the match to progress, the Cambourne innings began under skies both foreboding and punctuated with impish shafts of blue. Scorebook details are a little sparse, suffice to say that the hosts, who seemed undecided about whether to stick (and be saved by the rain) or twist, wilted for a total of 80 as the Thirds played through the dire drizzle with great urgency. With six overs apiece, Warren (0-20) and Redfern (1-15) kept it tight, the latter’s wicket courtesy of a catch confidently poached from the skipper by veteran Nick Austin, who had done sterling work on the scorebook during Camden’s innings. Baker had already run out the other opener, and so with two down and menacing skies above, the skipper turned to Baker and Armstrong, thus uniting the spin twins kept apart by Armstrong’s two-year absence, and making use of the short run ups of each, in the battle against time and the elements. Fifteen tense, damp overs later, the end came. Armstrong, as if he had never been away, turned the ball both ways, and then another, en route to 3-14, which included another catch for Austin, one for Hodsdon and a bowled. At the other end, Baker, who took a wicket with his first delivery and at one stage had three wickets in three overs, mesmerised the home batsmen with typical loopiness - lobbing his flighted, drifting, deceptively danger-filled missiles into the murk and watching the confusion on Cambourne faces. The wildlife supremo ended with 5-32, the last two wickets comprising consecutive stumpings by the ever-alert Lee. Camden had defeated both the hosts and the weather, to claim victory in 27 frantic second innings overs.

Steve Hodsdon, now a proud father of two, had earlier rushed from the field with the game in the balance, in order to perform his parenting duties. On arriving home at his plush Cambridge residence and discovering that the lovely Laura had ensured a safe passage bedwards for the young Hodsdons, he rushed back to the scene of the action in his luxury VW Passat, only to find the field of play empty and the dressing room celebrations already underway. One of two Camden players to be sporting new vehicles, since Robinson had finally replaced the decrepit but much loved Laguna with a stylish Citroen, Hodsdon said, ‘I’m only sorry I didn’t hear more of the bloodcurdling Armstong wicket-taking yelp –we’ve really missed that in recent times.’ Celebrations continued back at The Panton Arms in Cambridge where an emotional Gibson discussed with teammates the significance of Treaty of Waitangi (1840), and its impact on his excellent performance earlier that day. New Zealand cricketing legend Sir Richard Hadlee tweeted, ‘#I’m made up for Gibbo- he and Warren batted very sensibly and, with hindsight, put the game beyond Cambourne, which is where we prefer it.’ Angela Merkel declined to add further comment.

Man of the Match: Duncan Gibson.