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Welcome to the homepage of the Ludlow Nomads Cricket Club. We are a bunch of cricket lovers who mix enthusiasm, fun and talent in not so equal measure. We play like minded sides, preferably in a relaxed but competitive spirit, and preferably in spectacular surroundings.

2019 was our 4th season 

      

Please email phil@middleton-burgess.co.uk if you would like to play in 2020 or hear about nets etc.

Talent optional, enthusiasm obligatory

 

The Nomads (and some Harp Laners), Downton Hall, Summer 2017

The Elysian Downton Hall, near Ludlow

 

 

Our umpire (and generous host) has the right idea

 

Nomad skipper Phil Middleton on the front foot

 

 

a quick single

stump wrecking feats in the indoor nets

 

 

 

over!

Match Reports 

Here follows the match report from the return match against Brampton Bryan and Leintwardine CC played on August 25th and a sobering notice about helmets.



After some trials and tribulations gathering my XI the Nomads fielded its most youthful side to date, with Lucas ‘Kuki’ Bury, Ferdi Newall, Jimmy Daly and Oscar Lywood making up a foursome in their teens and twenties whose presence made me feel a little bit older, and the grey hairs in David Newall's Bank Holiday stubble seem just a little bit whiter. Whilst on the subject of Mr Newall, I would like to thank him for his efforts in helping get the side together – without you Dave, none of this would have been possible. I’d also like to thank the Fresh Faced Four for your various highly valued contributions to the day – well played indeed! While I am doing my thank yous, a big Nomads thanks goes out to Ed Williams, skipper of Brampton Bryan for sharing our love of the game and putting that before anything else; to Jez, also from Brampton Bryan, who kindly put on a Nomads shirt for the day; to Katherine Thompson for her willingness to do so to make up our XI and finally to Christine Saunders from Brampton Bryan for the delicious tea. With no Daniel Baker in the side there was more than enough to go around and it was jolly good as always.

So, to the action.

Bank Holiday lunacy on the M6 meant I was late so I missed the toss and arrived at the ground to discover we were batting. It was a glorious day, meltingly hot, and I would have batted anyway, in the hope it might have cooled down a bit by the time we took the field. Our openers were Lucas Bury and John Thompson and they started beautifully against a decent opening pair of bowlers. JT’s eye was in and he found the middle of the bat for 3 glorious boundaries. At the other end Kuki was less extravagant, but looked very much the opener with great technique, and a sound defence to compliment his stroke play, which included a late cut straight out of the text book. We were accumulating runs very nicely, and then I’m afraid something not very funny AT ALL happened. A ball from a good length hit who knows what on the pitch and reared up and smashed JT on the cheekbone, felling him instantly. I was umpiring at square leg and let me tell you it was unplayable, it was a decent length ball, a right Jofra, there’s no way he could have seen it coming and it caught him square in the face, and it made a horrible noise. I’m afraid there was a lot of blood, some very unsightly swelling, and JT played no further part in the day. He has 2 fractures to the cheekbone and one in the eye socket. Like I said, it was not very funny AT ALL. At this point more thanks go to Kate Thompson for being there and looking after our Fallen Hero – bloody lucky you were there really.

And at that moment my attitude to helmets changed. The bowler (the quintessentially named Alford) had no intention of hitting John. He wasn’t bowling THAT fast and it was a good length ball on a perfectly good strip. In fact it’s exactly the kind of strip and exactly the kind of bowling I want the Nomads to be facing. JT is one of our best batsmen and there’s nothing wrong with his technique or reactions. But that ball dropped him like a sack of spuds and I’m sorry to say this, it made a right mess of his face (sorry JT, sorry Kate, but it did). So from now on I am going to insist that Nomads wear helmets against anything quicker then spinners, Julian Barratt or very gentle medium pace. I am going to buy a team helmet in order that I can enforce this new playing condition and name it after JT. It’s going to be purple.

So, back to the action, which continued in a slightly subdued fashion for the next few overs with a mutual agreement than any further quick bowling would be from the other (pavilion) end.

Dave Newall replaced JT and the scorebook tells the story of a typical Nomads knock: “4.4.6. bowled Chidwell”. Such a shame when you were looking so good! Scott Kemsley, making his Nomads debut was well set with 11 and looking good fro an awful lot more than that when Ed Willaims took a blinder of a catch at mid on. This made way for Stu Perkins who again batted with freedom (and abandon) to add 26 to the total, 12 of those in 2 glorious maximums, and then Oscar Lywood who high scored with a 44 that included six 4s and a 6 and demonstrated that he does indeed have an eye (I know that already) AND a defensive shot (this was new to me). Well played Oscar. Jimmy Daly added a cameo 15 that reads 1.4.6.4 in the scorebook and shows I was completely and utterly wrong to bat him at no. 11.

Ferdi Newall, Matt Pugh and Jez all made single figure contributions to the score, leaving it down to your skipper to plumb the depths of awfulness. I’m afraid I was out for 2 ducks, thereby completing a hat trick of ducks on this ground this season. A Duck Trick FFS. How did I manage that? Easy. Spoon your 3rd ball up for a dolly in the covers, stomp off, remember we have a wicket in hand because of the Fallen Hero, assume the oppo will let one of us back in, make the decision that it should be your skipper, march back out, play all round a straight one and leave an obviously very handy batsman stranded at the other end. Simple. There’s no need for me to live up to the archetype of the talentless enthusiast who skippers a side far more able than he is, but it seems I am in the process of doing so anyway.

So we were all out for 175. And 200 really is a par score on this ground.

I opened our bowling with 2 debutants: Jimmy Daly and Scott Kemsley. They contrasted in a number of ways: youth V experience; raw pace V line & length; boyish good looks V some early signs of aging and a scar that shows bowling can be dangerous too. Jimmy was quick, every bit as quick as Alford (who he later bowled out) and took 3 for 21. Scott was metronomic and took a very impressive 4 for 23, all 8 overs bowled back to back from one end. And while we are on bowling figures, Stu Perkins contributed a very handy 3 for 27 from his 7.3 overs. Thank you gentlemen.

Our opening pair (with help from Mr Perkins) reduced Brampton Bryan to 28 for 4, and when their skipper Ed fell for 23, caught behind by Matt Pugh off Scott’s bowling, we were looking mighty fine.

There followed a bit of chicanery with the bowling when I put Ferdi Newall on from The Other End where Mr Alford had delivered the Knockout Blow without realising he was every bit as quick as either Jimmy or B Alford. This lead to me bowling one over (which went for 14 runs of course) in order to swap Ferdi with Lucas Bury who was bowling a more accurately described medium pace from the other end. Ferdi’s bowling was quick, accurate and miserly – only 5 runs from his 3 overs, and Lucas held the other end very well despite being a victim of B Alford’s more brutal batting.

Wickest continued to fall until a partnership developed between the afore mentioned B Alford and Mike ‘Lofty’ Saunders, which actually bore some resemblance to the mighty Stokes – Leach partnership which was unfolding more or less simultaneously at Headingley. Alford’s Stokesian 47 included seven 4s and a 6, all from the middle, and when the returning Jimmy Daly bowled him it was a mighty relief, let me tell you. And when he fell, any hopes of a Brampton Bryan victory went with him. Jimmy and Stu mopped up the tail and they were done, all out for 122 and we were victorious. We had over revenge for the defeat earlier this season, and our overall record against Brampton Bryan is now played 3, won 2, lost 1. Trust me, they will be keen to redress that balance next season.

Along with the weather and events at Headingley this was a pretty glorious day of cricket. The only flies in the ointment were my atrocious performance and JT’s horrible injury. A big Nomads shout out for a swift recovery for JT and a nod and a thought for the bowler Bryn Alford – it’s a horrible thing to happen when you have no intention of hurting anyone, and he was obviously both shaken and very concerned for JT. As for my performance, the less said about that the better.

Over and out until next season. If anyone knows where I can get a purple helmet, please let me know.

Match Report: Ludlow Nomads V Brampton Bryan CC,                              July 21st 2019

I lost the toss and was invited to bowl. I would have batted. It was an interesting tufty looking sort of a strip and some of the Nomads felt it was a bit too long, but I’m pretty sure the other end just looked a long way away on a hot day when I suspect some of them had not abstained from alcohol the night before a Big Match.

The big story of the 1st innings was a century from the Brampton Bryan skipper Ed Williams. 104 not out. The first century against the Nomads - and it hurt. He belted us around the park, let me tell you, including one six which hit an oil tank next to a barn which was 20 yards the other side of the road which runs along the other side of the hedge on the longer boundary. I hereby declare that any Nomad who matches this feat will be rewarded with a bottle of champagne. A real one, not a metaphorical one.
Our valiant bowling attack chipped away at the batsmen at the other end, with JT, Kev Willis, Stu Perkins and Joe Miller all taking 2 wickets for under 25 runs. JT managed 2 for 17 off 8 overs, impressive economy in a high scoring innings. There was a stumping for Mr Newall, in addition to the one he took against the Harp Lane Invitation XI, which inexplicably I have attributed to Charlie Minogue in my preceding match report. Apologies to all concerned. Onwards.                                     

Dave also took 2 catches to help hollow out the middle order of LBBCC, but Mr Williams kept picking the bad ball, and indeed lost the match ball on multiple occasions, as he steadily accrued runs. We tried everything. We tried to buy a wicket with Mark Willis’s leg spin and the Nomad debutant Jake Norman’s beguiling variation of pace, line and length. We threw ourselves around in the field. I tried to buy a wicket with various parts of my right hand. But all to no avail. He just kept going, and then some broad shouldered big hitting chaps came in and made matters worse. We toiled, my Nomads, we toiled. Our fielding was overall pretty tight, with I must say the Willis brothers particularly agile. No one dropped any dollies, I missed a couple of finger skinning fliers (as I imagine everyone did), and it has to be said I feel luck was against us just a wee bit on occasion. They scored 237. We slowed them down towards the end, we bowled them all out. But it was still 237 and 200 looked like a par score. Last year we scored 193 to win, and I remember saying it was the best track we’d ever played on.

Tea was served. It was good and I would like to say a big thank you to what I suspect are the Brampton Bryan WAGs. Like I say, this is a traditional English village cricket club. Which means it was a proper tea with cake and SCONES and those chocolate rice crispie things from Tesco even though everything else was homemade. It was a fine tea. Dan really enjoyed it.

And so to the Nomads innings.

It went something like this.

Nomad debutant Kevin Boulton and Matt Pugh took to the crease. Kevin nobly faced the first ball, and indeed the entire first over, and immediately showed his Utter Ringer status by creaming 2 fours off that first over, blocking 2 straight ones and letting 2 go that were very much in the corridor of uncertainty. First ball of the next over, and Matt Pugh showed Kevin how the Nomads do it by cutting a high full toss straight into the hands of a well-built but perhaps not that agile cover point. Unlucky mate. Trust me, I feel your pain. But more of that later…
Coming in at number 3, Joe Miller smote a glorious 4, without sledging the centurian oppo skipper, and was then given out LBW by….Dave Newall. And he took his merry time about it, let me tell you. There was a hushed silence on the away bench. Glances were exchanged. Joe didn’t look tremendously chuffed.
We were 18 for 2.
I was also umpiring at this point and very much looking at Kevin Boulton and thinking “My Saviour”. He looked the part alright, and the scorebook says 4,4,2,4,4. Sadly it also says “bowled Corfield 18”.
We were 22 for 3 after 5 overs. And kind of in need of saving.
And that (I think) brought Dan Baker to the crease and guess what? HE was our Saviour - Part 1! He picked the gaps in the field, he blocked diligently and rode the rough with the smooth (another story). He battled on despite taking a full toss on the thumb, he ran ONLY ONE TWO in a 57 that contained 8 fours and 2 sixes and as little running between the wickets as humanly possible. But my goodness me has he got an eye! And that I believe was our second half century of all time! YES! This was confirmed champagne moment no 1. And then of course he skied it, and they caught, it and my word they were pleased when they did.
Dan oversaw cameos from Kev Willis (who having been our most dangerous bowler was caught and bowled athletically by their most dangerous bowler) and his brother Mark (who will be furious to have matched his siblings total of ONE) and Jake Norman, who showed considerable natural talent with 2 muscular fours and needs a few sessions in the nets, which The Insurance Network will gladly sponsor. Jules Barratt can do some work with him on achieving a consistent line and length. Which brings me to a technical point. Several deliveries were called no balls that pitched more than twice before reaching the batting crease.
I digress.

You may have noticed I referred to Saviour Part 1 above. Oh Nomads let me introduce Saviour Part 2, it is the off-spinning, consecutive-wicket-taking Stu Perkins - who scored an absolutely majestic 73, which it has to be said also only contains one two (!!) but also contains 14 fours and a glorious 6. Champagne moment number 2, Mr Perkins, and thank you.
We were fighting back.
When Stu edged behind we were 152 for 7 after a paltry 18 overs. Get that for a run rate. Hell yeah.
John Thompson joined Dave Newall at the crease.
Dave Newall. Wily. Experienced. A notorious sledger. A man in his element.
JT. Dashing. Determined. Annoyingly good at everything. Ready for the battle.
This was nail biting stuff. They did exactly the right thing. They blocked the straight ones, they let the wide ones go, and they put the rubbish in the bin (thanks Cricinfo).
Dave was once again just getting going, the scorebook reading 4, 4, 1, 6, when snick…OUT! GIVEN!!! Trigger finger. Was that an edge?? According to all of the LBBCC players in the Lion afterwards it was as loud as a thunderclap and splinters flew off his bat. It has to be said they all went up, and the umpire had no hesitation. Mr Newall stood his ground. This is what you get when you throw your bat... Luckily noble sportsmanship and those years of experience held sway and back came David for a valuable 15. By the time he reached the boundary, however, he knew why he was out: “J Miller LBW Saunders 4”. That’s why.
This left JT on 12, two boundaries to his name, his eye in and a look of defiance on his chiselled face. We were 198 for 9. The stage was set. This was it. The captain’s innings. 39 to get. 15 overs to get them. Their best bowlers on 7 and 8 overs each, with the hope of easier scoring ahead. The air was laden with expectation.
I survived 2 balls of at one end, including an unnerving appeal on my first. JT, trusting his skipper, took a single off the first ball of the next over and I took my guard. And down it came. And up it sat. And I am a Nomad if nothing else. I spooned it straight into the hands of a well-built but perhaps not that agile and not that silly mid-wicket. For a duck. And we were all out and we had lost.

But guess what, I didn’t mind. Too much. They were really pretty good and they played pretty well and they played like they absolutely wanted to win, which I guess you would if some upstart scratch team beat you on your home ground the year before. And they were fun to play against and banter with and drink beer with in the pub afterwards - I think we all had a great day. 40 overs each is (obviously) a different thing to T20. No first ball grace. Just one for a wide. And an oppo with a bit more fire in their bellies than the eminently cuddleable Harp Lane Invitation XI or the laid back and jolly sporting really Laetificators.

This oppo will REALLY not like it if we win on August 25th. A certain M Saunders will definitely not like it.

I would really like the Nomads to level the score for this season and go into 2020 as champions.

So come on Nomads, who’s up for revenge on August 25th?? Who thinks they have what it takes to put out that fire in the belly of LBBCC? Who doesn’t have any plans for the Bank Holiday weekend* and still wears the trousers and can say “now we do”???

Match Report: Ludlow Nomads V The Harp Lane Invitation XI, Downton Hall, July 7th 2019

Sunday July 7th 2019, and the fixture where the result really doesn’t matter finally ended in the result that really does matter – a win for the Nomads, and it was a convincing one, let me tell you without too much concern for the fact that Harp Laners are reading this.

Tradition dictates that I stop right there and thank our hosts Philippa and Mark Wiggin for one again letting us play this wonderful match in their front garden. It is a glorious and quintessentially English setting for the game, I constantly have to pinch myself that we are actually playing on it. And it played very well indeed this year, better than ever before I would say – Mark tells me this is down to some diligent rolling – rolling the Nomads are very grateful for. Roll on!

Here’s why…

Robbie won the toss and put is in, and another Nomads tradition dictates that this means I open the batting and face the first ball. I wasn’t around for long. A couple off one edge, a few sneaky singles and then caught behind off the other. And there started a woeful days batting for me personally, and the beginning of a run of 3 very nicely taken keeper’s catches for R Hunt – and that Lady and Gentlemen, is our first champagne moment! After a brief cameo from Matt Pugh at No3 my fellow opener Charlie Minogue was joined by Jack Davenport, and the wise heads of a Governor-Headmaster partnership steadied the Nomads’ ship, and runs were steadily  accumulated. The untimely departure of Charlie to an absolute blinder of a catch on the boundary from Kuki Bury (champagne moment no 2!) for a well-crafted 23 brought Kevin Willis to the crease - and oh my goodness gracious me the accumulation continued. I fear Jack was another Hunt scalp (for 26 runs featuring just one boundary, indicative of the consolidating innings that this was), taken from Willis Junior’s bowling – not the wicket he really wanted. But that wicket was not to be taken, oh no, because Willis Senior went on to retire at 32, finishing (of course) with a glorious six over midwicket. Champagne moment no 4 goes to you sir! An elegant 13 from Nomads debutant Stuart Perkins, and some nurdling from JT notwithstanding, that was pretty much us – a total of 125. A par score. I wanted 140.

Champagne moment no 5, by the way, goes to Charlie Richards for NOT catching a dolly c&b, and then injuring himself the following over not catching an Exocet. Many thanks for your help in getting us to a decent total, Charlie! And a Krug Clos D’Ambonnay moment has to go to Kuki Bury for claiming the inaugural hat trick in this fixture, such a shame it wasn’t in a Nomads shirt, not that we can’t put that righty easily enough. Along with that catch and another piece of run saving athleticism on the boundary you did yourself (and your father) proud, Master Bury.

125 was perhaps a par score, but it was enough, my Nomads, and more of that later…

The Harp Lane innings opened with Hugh Fitzwilliam-Lay and Joe Miller looking like they meant business. They were certainly going for their singles, and much to his dismay Joe was run out by some sharp fielding, only to be followed back to the pavilion by Guy Beasley who went for a truly suicidal quickie… This bought Mark Willis to the wicket and he and Hugh started to accumulate runs. This was attritional cricket, brought to an end by just rewards for George Once a Nomad Always a Nomad Piper (Hugh FL out lbw for 17) and champagne moment no 6 - Charlie Minogue stumping Willis Jnr off the spin bowling of Stu Perkins. This was high quality cricket, more market town than village, I’d say. George Once a Nomad Always a Nomad Piper claimed the scalps of James Duffield and Kuki Bury for 12 and 4 respectively, before Charlie Richards came to the crease and delivered Champagne moment no 7 – two HUGE sixes over cow corner followed by a 4 - followed by Charlie Minogue removing his middle stump. Clearly Charlie R feels we should be keeping it village…

FINALLY this brought the Harp Lane skipper to the crease, along with his Big Gun, Rupert Hunt. With the “2nd innings batting order in reverse order of 1st innings score” in mind, this really was O level cricket strategy, but both of them go down in cricketing history as “not out 2 runs”. The overs were up. 91 on the board. A miserly bowling attack consisting of Minogue, Pugh, Willis, Piper (always a Nomad), Thompson, Perkins and Davenport had done us proud. The batting lion that was Harp Lane 2018 had been tamed…but would the injured  beast bite back?? We would find out after lunch…

And at this point I would like to thank ASDA for providing such a delicious repast.

The second Nomads innings started steadily with single figure contributions from Msrs Newall, Once a Nomad Always a Nomad Piper and Bicker-Caarten, with yet another Champagne moment (no 8) going to Charlie for pulling off a blinder of a catch to dismiss David Newall despite his right hand looking like something you might see on display at DW Wall & Son. A brief Master V Old Boy duel ended in victory for the former when Duffield J removed Lywood O for a duck, giving him a pair, and therefore the first Warm Lager moment of the day. More time in the nets young man.

We were 29 for 4. I was umpiring and feeling the heat, I must say.

Fortunately Matt Pugh (13) and JT (22) were on hand, and with a generous spattering of extras 50 runs were added before both fell LBW in a double wicket maiden over delivered by Guy Beazley who thereby earned himself Champagne moment no 9, and has now officially passed the application process and is welcome to play for the Nomads at any time, but perhaps not in this fixture because I think that might REALLY annoy Robbie. This brought me to the crease, but I wasn’t around for long, and dear Nomads it was a horrible dismissal, it was Warm Lager moment no 2, I was out LBW to a (no)ball that dribbled under my bat, delivered by none other than Julian Barratt whose balls usually suffer from not pitching on the wicket at all rather than pitching so many times they are actually rolling…ANYWAY none of that justifies the shameful bat throwing incident that was to follow, although this makes me feel marginally better about it. To make up for the shameful antics of their captain, Charlie Minogue, Stu Perkins and Jack Davenport then cool headedly took another 50 runs off the tiring Harp Lane attack, including a glorious 6 from Charlie as part of the 22 that made him the top scoring batsman of the day. The fact that the 6 landed near a group of Moor Park children, thereby jeopardising the income of the school, didn’t seem to put him off as he sought to repeat the shot the very next ball. Shameless, but Champagne moment no 10 nonetheless. We were out of overs. And we had 134 on the board, setting Harp Labe the gargantuan task of scoring 168 in their second innings. But a task they were capable of achieving – something I reminded the Nomads in our somewhat beery pre-fielding team huddle

As it happens they were all out for 78. Only Frank Bury with 17 and Joe Miller with 16 achieved double figures, with Champagne moment no 11 going to Joe for his six followed by “have some of that Middleton” (or words to that effect). They went down snarling, let me tell you…and didn’t fill in the scorebbok properly, so the precise details of their collapse and demise are lost to posterity (and my perforated memory)

Other Champagne moments I do recall included consecutive wickets falling “caught Middleton bowled Lywood” (well I would remember that bit, wouldn’t I?), David Newall emulating Joss Buttler’s dismissal of Steve Smith by running out Henry Mackley with a direct hit from 5 yards behind the stumps at the other end of the wicket, and me exacting my revenge on Jules by getting him out LBW with an equally horrible delivery – ironically a full toss which declined to pitch anywhere on the track. Lady Justice comes to the party in some funny clothes…

They were all out in under 13 overs and hysterical jubilation and celebrations were to follow, and at this point is it is only right that I return to the theme of gratitude:

THANK YOU to Andy Hackney at Pulse for providing the trophy and the bubbles to celebrate with. It was hugely appreciated and Andy is highly recommended to any of you who want to maintain a good level of fitness. Just look at Robbie.

THANK YOU to all the wives and significant others and family and friends and everyone else who came to watch. There was really quite a crowd, and quite a buzz and lots of lovely children being angelic and everyone seemed to have a lovely time and I don’t mind telling you it made me proud and happy to behold

THANK YOU to Harp Lane for being such good losers, especially when you haven’t had the practice that we have, and thank you of course to both Robbie Underhill and Henry Mackley for your help in organising it. I hope you feel as happy and proud as I do about what our beer game has become

THANK YOU to my victorious Nomads XI, that I increasingly feel is carrying me.

Finally, of course, another THANK YOU to Philippa and Mark Wiggin for letting us play at Downton and providing all the facilities, a stunning backdrop and inspiring views and a warm and happy welcome. It’s a joy to share our passion for the game with you.

Over and Out

 

Match Report: Nomads CC v The Harp Lane Invitation XI. Downton Hall, July 2nd 2018

 

Once again this iconic fixture ended in defeat for the Nomads. Which really was the only thing wrong with what was otherwise pretty much a perfect day.

Before I go any further a big thank you must go to our hosts for allowing us to use their wonderful pitch – we are, as ever, as lucky as we are grateful.

We went for the Test20 format – 2 innings of 20 overs each with lunch in between. Thanks you to the WAGs and Henry at Harp Lane for providing such a delicious repast, and thanks to Robbie for the BEER.

I lost the toss and Robbie put us into bat. As tradition dictates I opened the batting, joined by Jack Davenport. The opening pair of Rob Windsor-Clive bowling thunderbolts from a short run up and George Clearly-a-Nomad bowling at a blistering pace from a long run up. We nearly saw them off, but Jack jinxed himself by mentioning the fact and duly had his stumps splayed by George the following ball.

I battled on for a 31 retired which at the time felt like it was exactly what was needed (it certainly was for me) but in hindsight might have been a bit pedestrian. Compared to some of the batting later in the day it certainly was. Once I was out of way Matt Pugh and Dan Baker took up the mantle with some feistier batting (one 6 and five 4’s in Dan’s 27), and our tail very much wagged with a blistering 23 including two 6s from Marco Walker and a cameo from David Newall featuring a sweetly timed maximum. 135 for 7. A par score in the face of an excellent Harp Lane bowling attack with Robbie’s figures of 2 wickets for 2 runs from 3 overs (2 of which were wicket maidens) standing out. Nice work skipper.

The Harp Lane reply was dominated by a well-crafted 30 retired by Rob Windsor-Clive with only Cliff (the scorebook doesn’t tell me if that’s a first name or a surname) and James Duffield making double figures – the latter removed by yours truly, one-upmanship demands that I point out. They made it to 122 and we went into lunch 13 runs ahead.

Beer was drink, and sandwich and pies were consumed. Brows were mopped. It was HOT, baby.

By mutual agreement we batted in ascending order of 1st innings score – with Did Not Bats opening followed by the Ducks and so on. 
This meant James Harris and Guy Bicker Caarten opened for us. Neither scored, but we were still had 12 on the board when the first wicket fell thanks to the Harp Lane openers Charlie Richards and Jules Barratt who put on a beautiful display of camp bowling actions, somehow taking a wicket a piece in the process. Dave BC followed his son back to the pavilion for a well-crafted 5, which brought Nick Tilt and John Thompson to the wicket - and there followed the finest period of our 2nd innings with Nick finally falling to George Clearly-a-Nomad for 22 and JT retiring for a 32 that included seven 4s and a six. Thank you gentlemen. Jack Davenport added a valiant 15 and David Newall and Matt Pugh added a boundary each before we ran out of overs, but the real story here has to be the Harp Lane bowling attack which was both consistent and miserly and restricted us to 128 – giving Harp Lane 142 to chase.

And it was not enough. George “I don’t feel comfortable batting” Clearly-a-Nomad (27) and Henry “anything straight goes to the square leg boundary” Mackley (16) spanked our openers around the park. Hugh Fitzwilliam Lay added a dashing 22 before being gloriously stumped by David Newall off Guy Bicker Caarten’s bowling. Guy also claimed the scalp of the dangerous Jules Barratt (who is far from camp with a bat in his hand) but that brought Charlie Richards and Rupert Hunt to the crease…and I’m afraid they smashed us all over the place, with me, Guy, JT and Matt Pugh suffering the most. Charlie’s 22 featured two huge 6s and 2 fours, while Rupert’s 32 was a showcase of timing and batting power. He even finished with a six that nearly landed in the pavilion that was frankly just bloody annoying.

And that was that.

I am going to leave it to Henry Mackley, a co-founder of this wonderful fixture to put the result into context with these kind words he sent to Robbie and I after the game. Thank you Henry, and thanks again for the pie.

"It really was the perfect game of cricket: glorious weather, delightful company, a magical setting, and a match played a spirit that epitomises everything that is wonderful about the game."

I'm sure you'll both disagree, but I think the result was utterly incidental. In my humble opinion, we all won yesterday!

There were many champagne moments, and I invite you to send in your own, but here are some of my highlights…

The rainbow at the end of the day

David Newell’s stumping and the rejuvenating effect it had on him and anyone else over the age of 40 who saw it

Proof of the existence of BDES (Batsman Deafness to Edges Syndrome) when James ‘The Man Most Likely to Walk’ Shaw was oblivious to and edge that all of us heard the first time and some of us heard a second time as it echoed back from Clee Hill

The Harp Lane bowling attack as a unit. In the second innings especially there was a quality of bowling I frankly never expected to encounter with a Nomad shirt on, and I’m proud of the fact we were (nearly) equal to it.

Guy Bicker Caarten’s second spell of bowling. In the teeth of some brutal batting claiming the key wickets of Hugh Fitzwilliam-Lay and Jules Barratt.

JT’s swashbuckling 32

Finally, the awesome power batting and timing from Charlie ‘Flouncy Run Up’ Richards and Rupert ‘Put Some Weight Into It’ Hunt. Unstoppable.

Finally I’d like to say a huge Nomads and Harp Lane thank you to our umpire for the day, Jamie. I’m afraid I didn’t get a surname but it was a joy to be adjudicated by you. @ James D, do please pass these thanks on.

Until next time, Nomads, thanks for reading, thanks for playing, thanks for loving the game.

Over and out

Match Report: Nomads V Brampton Bryan CC Sunday June 10th 2018

The Nomads’ second fixture of 2018 saw a foray into Proper Cricket with our inaugural 40 over match. I am delighted to tell you we were once again blessed with beautiful weather and a fantastic setting, and this time a victory.

As always with the Nomads, I’d like to start with some thanks. Thanks to Ed Williams and Mike Saunders at Brampton Bryan CC for hosting and organising, and thanks to Jack Davenport for facilitating the fixture, and of course thanks to my glorious victorious XI.

The setting for our first win of the season was new and it was quintessentially English. Brampton Bryan CC is nestled amongst trees (and nettles), overlooked by a spectacular wooden framed barn, and surrounded by rolling countryside (and nettles). The pavilion felt like a Masonic lodge but is in fact the village hall. The hospitality was peerless, including the perfect tea with all the right sandwich flavours and even scones to go with the chocolate cake. This is a club with heritage: a plaque commemorates a tour of Lahore and Peshawar (!!) and several of the more senior BBCC players were sporting caps and jumpers marking a tour of Sooth Africa, which I was to learn included playing at Newlands and Port Elizabeth. Overseas tours, playing on test grounds…Oh Nomads, your skipper was inspired…So thank you Brampton Bryan CC, it was a privilege to grace your turf.

So on to the action.

By mutual agreement we batted first. I’d talked up our batting line up you see.

As this was Proper Cricket I broke with tradition and sent in my 2 best batsmen to open and dropped myself down the order (to a more talent proportionate #6): Barney Smith and Charlie Minogue took to the crease, looking like they meant business. This meant I could umpire, and with typical generosity Robbie Underhill volunteered to join me in the baking sunshine. Charlie started with 2 forward defences straight out of a Geoffrey Boycott wet dream and then took a single from what looked like a decent BBCC opening bowler. There then followed what must be one of the worst things that can happen to you playing this kind of cricket. It was horrible. It was painful to watch. Here it is. It’s the 4th ball of the opening over. You are umpiring. Your mate takes guard for his first ball at the other end. He’s reliably good. The bowler’s arm fizzes past your left ear, your mate goes back to a straight one, the ball stays low, slips under his bat and hits him 6 inches above the ground 6 inches in front of middle stump. The bowler goes up like Shane Warne on crystal meth, all 10 of his team mates join in, the appeal echoes around the ground and all eyes are on you. He is out. You know he is out. The bowler definitely knows he is out. LBW? 1st ball? Sunday cricket? Yep. You have to give it. Sorry Robbie, Sorry Barney, I still don’t know which of you felt more pain, but we were 1 for 1.

However at drinks we were 50 odd for 1. That’s drinks at 15 overs. Proper Cricket. A partnership between our first Number 3 in a team of Number 3’s, Matt Pugh and the calm and collected Charlie Minogue who was on 36, and well deserving of his luke warm orange squash. We’d seen some steady accumulation from this pair, and some solid defence against some excellent bowling from a youthful L Clarke (Hereford County CC jumper on) and J Corfield who had served Barney his Golden Duck (did I mention it was his first ball?). Charlie’s 36 included a huge 6 into the nettles over Cow Corner, and both Pugh and Minogue looked well set against a first change of bowling that looked amenable and were finding the boundary / nettles with regularity…but sadly drinks did their trick and Matt fell to decent catch as he looked to push the score on – and triggered a bit of a middle order collapse that included brief but colourful contributions from debutant Kev Willis (12) and John T (10) and me holing out the the oppo’s skipper for 1. Yes, another ONE. We were treated to a feast of run scoring from the ever-reliable Robbie Underhill (clearly over the trauma of raising his finger on a buddy’s first ball) and another debutant Mark Willis (yes relation!). Robbie’s 24 featured 5 fours and Mark’s 35 featured 6 before he fell to a quite spectacular catch on the boundary by the afore-mentioned youthful L Clarke with a Hereford County CC jumper on. Minogue remained throughout, and was to fall to the obligatory fireman’s seemingly pedestrian middle pace for a glorious 80. Yes, EIGHTY!! (including 2 sixes and 10 fours. An ovation, please fellow Nomads, for Charlie, even if he is AKA The Oppo. And with Charlie’s fall that really was that. Our tail did not wag and we were all out for 193 in the 33rd over.

The aforementioned perfectly formed tea followed, and then it was our turn to bowl.

It seems there is no equivalent of ‘taking a yard off for the youngsters’ when it comes to batting, because the BBCC openers went after Guy Bicker Caarton with relish, and it has to be said also plundered 20 runs from Rob Skyrme’s opening 3 overs – they were 50 for 0 before you could say “have I been hustled again?”. Fortunately the first change bowlers made the breakthrough with Robbie (I think) breaking the opening partnership and JT sending their number 3 back to the lodge pavilion for a duck. Kev Willis was to remove their equivalent of C Minogue, a L Whitbread, for a worrying 57, but our struggles wre not over. A middle order partnership between The Big Fireman and The Oppo Skipper (worth exactly 50) and a most impressive 21 from Master Clarke meant we went into the last over with 163 on the board –20 runs needed, the last 2 at the crease, and most worryingly for the Nomads’ prospects, the ball was in my hand. And so the final over started with the Nomads on their toes and a hushed silence over the crowd and the nettles. And I bowled him first ball. Not Master Clarke, but Mr Hutschings, a veteran of tours of South Africa and Pakistan, gracer of international rtest grounds (and very much a tail ender). It was over. We had won, and another glorious day of cricket was over.

I am not going to award any Men of the Match or champagne moments – we are all Men of the Match and in my never humble opinion I’d say the whole day was one long champagne moment. I very much hope Brampton Bryan will have us back next year, and that we were as much fun to play against as they were – which is what its all about Thanks again to all of them, but especially Ed Williams, Mike Saunders at Brampton Bryan CC and again to Jack Davenport.

And thanks to all of you that played for playing. 

Over and out

Match Report: Nomads CC v Moor Park Laetificators, May 18th 2018, Moor Park

 

Here follows the first match report of the Nomads’ 2018 season, and I am sad to say we have started with a loss. This year the Moor Park Laetificators were just too strong for us, and they have avenged their defeat of last year. It’s one all.

Before I tell you the sorry tale of our defeat I would like to say a huge thank you to Charlie Minogue and the school for allowing us to play on the pitches lovingly prepared for the children to play on. We are blessed by being able to play in such beautiful settings as Downton Hall and Moor Park, and we should collectively pinch ourselves to remind ourselves how lucky we are.

So, to the action.

I won the toss and elected to bat, and for me personally it went downhill from there. I triggered a top order collapse by calling for a suicidal single and running myself out. In fact I fell over, so I didn’t even manage to run myself out. It was abject.

This clearly ruffled Barnaby Smith, but he outlasted the explosive Rupert Hunt at no 3, but not by much. We were 3 wickets down with less than 20 on the board and Charlie Minogue, the Laetificators’ skipper, hadn’t even arrived yet! A leader with faith in his team, and it was well placed. Will Corbett and Hal Stoney set the tone and opened the bowling in style, with Master Stoney clean bowling R Hunt (who I now know skippered and scored a century for Abberley – Master Stoney will be no doubt pleased to know) swiftly followed by Master Corbett claiming wicket #3, the scalp of the notoriously difficult to remove B Smith. Full Nomads respect goes to you both: the future of English cricket is in your hands.

A diligent stand between Joe Miller and Robbie Underhill steadied the ship, with Robbie eventually top scoring with 34. Joe Miller was forced to call for a helmet after the Laetificators’ skipper had announced his arrival by bowling his 6 foot tall exocet flinging Kiwi ringer Dowle* out of the sinking sun. But Joe is made of tougher stuff, and saw him off. Meanwhile at the other end Robbie accumulated, with some glorious drives and cuts through point, breaching the boundary no less than 7 times. Sadly Joe was to fall to a combination of the wily bowling of David Newell and the safe hands of the (semi-professional) sports master Mr Martin, who I’m afraid to say also bowled our hero (and Man of the Match**) Robbie Underhill.

Some feisty hitting from Charlie Richards and Jules Barratt (FOUR sixes in his 25 runs) boosted our score to an almost respectable level, but a big total still looked some way off as our last recognised batsman James Shaw followed me, Smith, Hunt, Miller and Richards into the scorebook with single figures, and our tail took to the crease with several overs to go. Tim Hughes and George Piper resisted the Laetificators stalwartly, adding 4 precious runs to the score and allowing me a brief return to the crease to triple my first tally…and then run the magnificent Tim Hughes out to bring up the 10th wicket. This is not what the skipper is supposed to do.

Our total was a mere 114.

Tea was taken. Thanks to the WAGs for providing the sustenance, and to Charlie Minogue for providing the beer. All was forgiven. Temporarily.

The Laetificators innings started with more guile from the skipper, and those pesky kids again, this time opening the batting. We were politely asked to refrain from bowling our not so secret weapon George ‘The Bomber’ Piper at the younger generation, which I willingly complied with, and asked Robbie to take a yard off. Here’s what it says next to Will Corbett in the scorebook: 4.1.4.4.1. Robbie was having no more of that, so put that yard back on to remove Master Corbett, and Joe Miller did the right thing and sent Master Stoney back to the pavilion before any further humiliation could be meted out. Youth then gave way to experience and we were all treated to some truly sublime batting from David Newell and Jack Davenport. They saw off George on his outdoor debut, who bowled superbly for no wickets; they defended the good balls diligently and punished the bad balls mercilessly; they even ran well (if not that fast) between the wickets. It was really annoying. Fortunately David was superbly bowled by Rupert Hunt for 27, and then Jack retired, a true gentleman not only because he made way for his team mates, but also because he retired one run short of Robbie’s 34, thereby allowing us to at least high score. Well played Jack.

And in came The Sports Teachers, and I could hear Mr Minogue cracking a bottle of Gold from the boundary, confident in the knowledge his services would not be required. And they weren’t. Miss Sewell was cruelly bowled by Charlie Richards for 1, but hey, we needed something to celebrate by this stage. And then the scorebook says it all…

Harry: 1.6.1.4.1  

Martin 6.6.4.

An explosive display of skill, talent, timing and technique. Which is just as well when you think about it…

And that was that.

But my word it was a wonderful evening and if you weren’t there you really should have been. The sun shone and the kids played and the banter flowed. It was cricket as it should be, and as David Newell so rightly called it, Cricket was the Winner. And we raised some money for cricket at the school: £280 from the Nomads, an as yet undisclosed sum from the Laetificators, THANK YOU everyone who sponsored or just put their hands in their pockets. I will let you know the final total and what it will be spent on in due course.

So, well played the Laetificators, thank you to the groundsmen, thank you to Charlie Minogue and the school, and thank you to the Nomads who played, especially Tim Hughes who stepped in at the 11th hour to make us XI.

On to the next one!

*no Christian name in the scorebook

**there is no Laetificators Man of the Match. There are two Boys of the Match. Well done you two, you should be proud of the way you played.

                 Looks better than it was....

 

                        ....this WAS better....

 

                               .....as was this....

 

                                       ....and this. 

                                                                                                                                                 Master Corbett leads the way for                                                            the Laetificators ...

 

                      ...followed by Mr Martin...

 

                         ......it was relentless.....

...but cricket was the winner 

Match report for the 6-a-side tournament at Bishops Castle Cricket Club, June 2017 

 

The Chief Enthusiasm Officer had some challenges with amassing a side so the first thing I am duty bound to do here is a huge Nomads shout out to Kate Thompson who stepped in at the 11th hour (well 9am to be precise) and saved the day. Thank you Kate.

So we were 6. Myself, Kate and John Thompson, Rob Skyme and David and Guy Bicker-Caarten: and we looked resplendent in our Nomads shirts and whites, especially as everybody else was in anything but white…

There were 5 teams in total, and we all played each other once. 5 overs a side, with everyone except the keeper bowling one. 

Our first game was against the fire service who set us a decent total depsite the day’s first Champagne Moment, an unplayable inswinging jaffa from David Bicker-Caarten, that took the off stump of a distinctly agriculural fireman. Sadly our batting didn’t quite get us there…

There followed some (very good) beer and burgers that David managed to describe as ‘great’ (but which I saw arrive in one of those cardboard boxes shrink wrapped in plastic…). There also followed 2 more defeats, I’m afraid, against the rugby club and then the Castle Pub. We batted first in both games and despite some feisty hitting from Guy Bicker-Caarten and John Thompson, both times we failed to put on a decent score, and the opposition chased down our meagre totals with ease.

But the Nomads are not a side to grow accustomed to defeat, and having won the toss we took the field to bowl at the Kings Head with steel in our eyes and fire in our belly. Wickets from Rob Skyme and John Thompson, and miserly bowling from the Bicker-Caarten pair kept them to an achievable target of 48 (I think…). Out strode our opening pair, Rob Skyme and Kate Thompson, and out they stayed.
Let me tell you it was like watching Alistair Cook and Ben Stokes. Kate at one end, resolute in defence, stealing the odd single and refusing to budge, despite dubious appeals for caught behind (nowhere near the glove!). And at the other, there he was: tall, blonde, dashing, his willow slicing the air like a light sabre and that nasty pink ball (yes, pink!) was flying to all corners of the ground. An unbeaten opening stand to take the 4th game, saving us from the wooden spoon and leaving us all on a high. Most definitely another Champagne Moment!

So there you have it – played 4, lost 3 won 1. But as ever, cricket was the winner.

Final and extra special thanks to Kate for saving the day.

Match report, Sunday 4th June 2017: Nomads CC V the Harp Lane Invitation XI at the wonderful Downton Hall cricket pitch.

 

We played 2 innings of 20 overs each - so a hybrid of test cricket and T20...and we lost.

The Harp Lane Invitation XI were just too strong for us again this year, so we are now ‘played two, lost two’ against them, I’m afraid. The victory against the MP Laetificators seems even sweeter now as we are played two, won one, lost one for the season so far…

So that’s the least important bit out of the way.

We arrived and Downton was looking resplendent. Is there a more glorious setting for The Glorious Game? If so I want a fixture. The weather, however, was looking ominous and my RainToday app foretold misery to come. But the Nomads and Harp Lane are optimistic sorts, and with no no-shows (thank you everybody) and some remarkable collective punctuality (more thanks) Robbie and I walked out to do the toss at 11.05 with 2 full sides in the pavilion - and there was no rain. I won and elected to bowl. Not sure why, really…until Rob “That’s Why I Open The Bowling” Skyme smashed Duncan “Unknown Quantity” Wollaston’s wicket for a duck - and we were OFF! Ringers came and went for single figures and from slip everything seemed rosy until a certain Rob Windsor-Clive strode to the wicket with his sleeves rolled up and absolutely smashed us all around the park for an unbeaten 51 (retired) featuring no less than ELEVEN FOURS. ELEVEN! Champagne Moment Number Two! With a little help from the Robbie and Russ show at the death, Harp lane set a slightly above par 117. And the rain stayed away.

The Nomads first innings response was led by our own alliterative partnership in the middle order, the Jack and Josh show, who, with the exception of a cruelly run out Charlie Minogue and a total boosting  Marco Walker, were the only 2 to hit double figures in the face of a consistent Harp Lane attack. We finished on 102 for 8. Respectable, but not enough. Obviously.

And still the rain stayed away. Lunch followed. Sandwiches and beer were consumed, WAGs and offspring arrived...and the skies opened.

It bucketed. More beer was consumed.

At this point it is apt to pay tribute and offer thanks to whoever prepares that Downton wicket, for within 2 minutes of the rain stopping we were back out – and we did not trash the pitch (I hope…). For an uncovered track I thought it was pretty good, especially the weather we have had. If Mark will have us, we’ll be back!

So out came the Harp Lane openers, and back went the first for another duck and another Skyme scalp! Oh yes. This brought the afore mentioned Duncan “Unknown Quantity” Wollaston to the wicket, and I’m afraid the trouble started in earnest. Here’s what he looks like in the score book: 1.6.6.1.6.1.2.6.4. bowled, Minogue, 33. Thank you, Charlie, we needed that rather badly. Awesome power batting Mr Wollaston. Any chance you could stick to mud runs in the future? We were in the poop. Solid knocks from Underhill, Richards, Barratt and the irrepressible Windsor-Clive (a mere 24 with just 4 fours this time) and Cameron “What me? A Ringer?” Taylor  and the Nomads were facing a daunting 160 in our second innings.

I started the charge with a 6. That’s enough said about my performance, especially as it involved running John Thomson out (sorry JT!). Charlie Minogue set about knocking off the runs but his untimely departure to a juggled catch on the boundary by that Wollaston again triggered a collapse of which our national side would be proud, with only the only score above FIVE in the next 5 wickets a dashing 24 from Marco, which saw us reach the ton… Sadly Marco was to fall to the lethal Jules “Get it Above their Eyeline” Barratt, leaving our last pair, our opening bowlers no less, Steve Burch and Rob Skyme, with a mountain of 50+ to climb…and OMG THEY VERY NEARLY DID IT! And who bowled our Rob? Yep, their Rob. That Windsor-Clive again. Our Rob scored 33, including 3 glorious sixes, but it wasn’t to be. We were done, and I think the final line in the scorebook should read:
Rob Skyme, Nomads Man of the Match, bowled, Rob Windsor-Clive, Harp Lane Man of the Match, 33.

Not that there is a man of the match or anything…

So, Champagne Moments:

John Thomson’s glorious c&b, even though it didn’t count (first baller)
Matt Pugh AND Robbie Underhill’s double wicket maidens – nice work!
Big batting from Wollaston, Windsor-Clive, Skyme and Walker – sublime timing.
Our dogged Last Stand
Dan Baker kissing the strip on his follow through
Joshua claiming a wicket with his first ball in both innings. Nice style (although I am relying on the scorebook for that one rather than memory). Nice dog training too…

Flat Prosseco Moment:
Robbie dropping me, and me returning the complement and continuing my 100% record of putting down the oppo’s skipper in the slips, even though Robbie’s edge was a first baller and a finger tips at full stretch job, it was still a chance…

That’s Bollinger when I thought it was Cava Moment:
The news that Cameron regularly bowls at Joe Root in the nets…divulged only AFTER the match, of course….

And I get the Warm Tin of Spar Lager moment for running out JT…sorry again mate!

Sledge of the Match has to be a 'blue on blue' incident, with Jules Barratt being barracked for the campness of his run up. How Charlie Richards got away without a similar slur is beyond me. Utter hypocrisy.

So there it is. I want to leave it to Robbie Underhill to sum up the day with a quote from one of the very lovely emails I have received since last night (thank you for those):“I genuinely think everyone had an absolute blast and those who hadn’t played for a while fell in love with cricket again!”

Match Report, 24th May 2017, T20 against the Moor Park Laetificators at Moor Park

 

It was a glorious evening with blue skies and a beautifully prepared track – a massive thank you to Charlie Minogue and the school for letting us use the first X! square, and a collective Nomad nod of respect and gratitude to the groundsman and his team. It was a pretty pristine pitch. With the trees, and the sun, and the sound of leather on willow and children playing with Moor Park itself in the background, it was the kind of setting ITV make period dramas in.

We won, I am delighted to report, with 133 for 5 proving too much for the Laetificators, despite a team that was practically semi-professional.

Champagne Moments would be Dan Baker’s athletic catch to remove a member of the fairer sex, Adam Hewlett’s bewitching spin bowling claiming 3 utterly bemused Laetificators’ wickets, Tom Gloster and Barnaby Smith’s unbeaten knocks, Rob Windsor-Clive’s miserly bowling, and Robbie Underhill removing the Laetificators Chief Ringer Glyn Harrhy in a moment of cricketing quality that had me pinching myself.

An extended Prosecco Moment would be the standard of fielding overall…no dropped dollies, and very few misfields. Some of the fielding would have been feline if there’d been less bulk to move around, and both keepers did themselves proud considering the condition they are in. I mean the conditions.

A Hang on that’s Cava Moment would be me failing to pull off a stunning catch in the slips to claim The Ultimate Wicket and remove Charlie Minogue, who remained stubbornly not out at the close. Grudging respect to him for that. Next time Mr Minogue, next time…

The Claret Moment, of course, has to go to James Duffield, who left the field having introduced the ball to his eye socket via his top edge. It was actually quite nasty and I don’t mind telling you I bought a First Aid kit as a result today. Hope you’re alright mate, and THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC! It was inspired and brilliant and hilarious.

The Warm Tin of Spar Lager Moment would probably be Barnaby Smith running Rupert Hunt out for 5. Respect to Rupert for taking it in such good humour. Let’s not dwell on that.

Another massive THANK YOU goes out to the school for treating us all to beer and BBQ after the game.

Thank you Moor Park, and thank you Laetificators. We had a blast.

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