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 188.8.131.52 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.