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Calendars – Flogs

Calendars – Flogs.

The current 2013 fixture list for Caythorpe CC

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Some bad, mostly good

The three weeks following the home loss to Plumtree have seen a collection of largely positive results.

First up was a trip to Costa del Papplewick Hall, where having won the toss, skipper Hunt elected to bat first. Steve Allcoat starred with the bat, hitting an unbeaten 73. With backup from Mierkalns (35) and Bicknell (33) a total of 223 for 9 was posted. This felt maybe 20 or so runs short of par.

That assessment seemed bang on as Dowman (32), Vines (51), Nel (68) and Nelson (29) set about the chase. However, with Hindson and Muzaffar chipping away things began to slow down. Haines then struck twice in an over and it was nerves all round. Needing six off the final over, Papplewick were unable to get much, and requiring 2 from the final ball for a win, could get nothing and had to settle for the losing draw. A “burglary” indeed.

No matter the weather leading up to, or just after a game a Papplewick Hall, I always end up lobstered to thermidore proportions when we go there.

Just a week later, and what felt like a 20degree down shift in temperatures, the star-studded WI Cavaliers come to Caythorpe.

This lot are ridiculously loaded, Alex Tudor and Usman Afzaal both played test cricket for England. Bilal Shafayat has been around the county scene fro some time. A number of others have star performers at various clubs, and of course there is the legend that is Saqlain Mushtaq (208 test wickets, almost 1000 runs). Only weather can stop them winning the league. Toss lost and the hosts were inserted. The innings never really got going, Alex Tudor shaking things up with 4 wickets and a bruiser to the arm of Hunt. (Hunty hasn’t played since). Thanks to the lower order digging in, marshalled well by an unbeaten 30 from Usman, the homeboys made it to 172 for 9.

Jim Hemmings struck first ball of the Cavs innings, but this only seemed to rile Bilal Shafayat, or he had an early dinner date, as he wasn’t for hanging about. His 96not out coming from 91 balls and seeing Cavs home for the loss of 3 wickets in the 31st over. A chastening result, but not the first, or indeed last the Cavs will hand out.

Two days later and league leaders Cuckney came calling for a Holiday Monday fixture. With the start delayed by rain, the umpires elected to reduce the match to 48 overs per side. On winning the toss, the visitors chose to bat. A decision that looked suspect after a fine spell from Hemmings (3-27) reduced them to 46 for 4. Butler and Parkin righted the ship a little with a stand of 80, but this was the cue for Kafeel to enter and blow away the tail. His figures of 5 for 46 ending the innings on 155. Strangely that’s pretty much a par score at Caythorpe first up this year.

The reply started slowly. Mierkalns out early and a painstaking 50 stand between Hawley and Bicknell saw the scoring rate hovering around 2 an over for long periods. The plan for later acceleration coming unstuck as both fell in quick succession along with Landa and stand-in skipper Allcoat. Hindson and Oldham added 50 together, and as Jimmy O reached 50 it was looking good. Entering the final over with 8 wanted, Oldham was run out off the second ball. 5 needed off 3, single to Muzaffar. Kafeel, new to the crease got 2 from his first ball, leaving 2 needed from the last ball. Boot on the other foot from the Papplewick game, but no worries. A cut for 4 delivered the win.

The most recent fixture was a visit to the Notts Sports Ground to take on the Academy, now top of the league after Monday’s results. Acadamy captain, Parkin-Coates won the toss and invited Caythorpe to bat. Webster and Gamble then reduced the side to 66 for 6. Only Mierkalns causing any problems with 33. From this point there was more tail wagging than at Crufts, as Hindson (23) and Hemmings (37) added 61. Usman chipped in with 22 and Kafeel hit 17 from just 6 balls to close the innings on 185 for 8.

Overlooked by a legend

The Academy reply followed a similar pattern. Wickets falling regularly as batsmen got starts but couldn’t go on. Aided by Usman taking 4for 38, the Academy were reduced to 90 for 8 and with 15 overs left outright victory looked there for the taking. Hutton (34*) and 16 year old Ben Kitt (28*) had other ideas, steering the home side in for a losing draw, as the closed 40 runs short.

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Swings and (Falling off the) Roundabouts

Very much a case of rescuing defeat from the evil clutches of victory last Saturday, as Plumtree left Caythorpe with the points.

Having lost the toss and been inserted, Caythorpe made a steady start moving to 70-2 before, Bicknell pulled up lame completing a second run. This meant a runner, though before the fun and games that usually entails, he holed out to cover. There then followed the “comedy” dismissal of Josh Meirkalns. Holding his pose to convince the umpire to turn down the l.b.w. appeal, he was out of his ground. The quick thinking Sam Storey had time to run in from point, whip off the bails and secure a run out.  A dismissal only Josh could conjure up….

This led to a wickets falling in pairs with no one able to provide Hunt with enough support. The skipper last man out for a top scoring 36, with the total 152.

The feeling at tea was that this could be worth a few more than it looked as conditions weren’t exactly summer.

Opening up with Hemmings and Haynes, the home side quickly blew away the top order. Plumtree reduced to 24-5. A patient partnership between captain Finney and keeper Stockdale took the score to 47, before Finney fell. Caythorpe still heavily favoured for the win. Rana joined Stockdale and took the total to 98 before becoming Haines’ 4th victim. At this point the tally of 152 was to work against Caythorpe. With a required run rate of always around 3 there was no pressure on the batsmen to take risks. Picking up the singles, with the odd boundary and looking rarely troubled, with the exception one dropped catch (Hunty again the culprit), Matt Milnes joined Stockdale and saw the visitors home with 2 overs to spare. Stockdale finishing on 59 off 107balls.

Plenty for Caythorpe to think about then, going in to the trip to Papplewick and Linby on what looks set to be the warmest day of the season so far. Not hard, even for someone brought up playing cricket in Scotland, and despite the heater, the score box was bloody Baltic.

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Curtain Up – New Season starts now

Caythorpe Dig Deep in Kimberley
Week four of the Notts Premier League and at long last Caythorpe’s season could begin. Having fallen short at Chesterfield in the National Cup six days previously, it was to the Private Ground at Kimberley attentions were turned.

Skipper Hunt won the toss and on a ground showing no ill effects from all the rain invited the home side to have first dig.

After six overs he may well have been regretting the decision. Birch, employing a “see ball, hit ball” tactic, aided by a generous helping of wides and no-balls, saw the score race to 57. Enter “The Dot Machine”. Tim Haines’ introduction to the attack started to slow things a little. James Hemmings inducing a snick from Birch, snaffled by Steve Allcoat applied a further brake on the scoring.

Darren Bicknell replaced Hemmings at the Pavilion End and together with Haines proceeded to start tying down the batsmen. The scoring rate continued to drop, and Ogrizovic was next to depart, bowled Haines having added 40 with Terry. With the score on 102-2 a big total still looked on the cards. Terry didn’t last much longer, Bicknell picking him up, before Haines got to work. Patel, Sidhu, Riley and Wheatley came and went as the big man finished with 5 for 42 off his 15, reducing the Kimberley lineup to 148 for 7. Importantly for Kimberley, James Mann was still at the crease. He’d had a life, having been dropped when on 17, but with support from first Roberts then Wright, he was able to take the innings into the 50th over, striking three sixes on his way to an unbeaten 59. The run out of Adams ending the innings with 3 balls remaining. The total of 212 all out significantly fewer than had looked on the cards in the early part of the innings. Credit to the Caythorpe bowlers for sticking at it and dragging it back, whilst one or two of the batsmen may want their final strokes back.

Post tea, and Kimberley came out fired up to defend their score. Plenty of noise and chat in the field, backed up good opening spells from Wright and Roberts. Neither bowler giving anything away, as they made early inroads. Both Hawley and Landa making six before each was cleaned up.

With Kimberley seemingly back on top, Bicknell and Mierkalns came together. Bicknell using his experience to rotate the strike, both cashing in on the rare bad ball, and slowly a partnership began to develop. None of the change bowlers were given a chance to get into any rhythm as two and three over spells became the order of the day. Bicknell was first to his 50, followed shortly after by Mierkalns, who appeared to be in the mood and having hit back to back fours to go past 50 was promptly out, adjudged lbw to the returning Roberts. None the less the partnership of 118 looked to have laid the platform for victory. Allcoat joined Bicknell, taking the score to 174. Dominic Wheatley entered the fray for the hosts and struck with two wickets in his first over. Bicknell his first victim, offering a tame catch to Patel, James Oldham the second, lbw for 6.

Having been very quiet for several overs, the Kimberley fielders began to find their voices once more, Hunt as captain been encouraged to feel the nerves of the situation. He and Allcoat remained calm however slowly chipping away at the runs required until a pair of boundaries from Allcoat sealed the win with 15 balls remaining.

A great win to get the season underway, with both sides enjoying periods of the game where they looked favourites to win. Next up, the first home match of the campaign as Plumtree come to Caythorpe.

Scorecard is here.

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What hiatus?

As some of readers may remember, amongst the many sports I follow, cricket sits large amongst them.  In the main because it’s one of the few (perhaps only) sports I was even passably good at.  After around 17 years devotion to the cause of Corstorphine in one guise or another, I found myself in the unusual position of having to attach myself to a new club.  A circumstance brought about after I moved from Livingston into the wilds of Nottinghamshire.

This has meant coming to terms with a few differences.  As a country, Scotland is not exactly open about it’s cricketing heritage.  We’re a dirty little secret, best kept under the rug.  Indeed, at times it felt it would be easier to come out as gay, than to come out as a cricketer.  When petty and ill-informed MSP’s are questioning whether matches should be shown on TV in Scotland you start to feel a little unwelcome.

So after a work and family induced move to the “dark lands” south of the wall, it’s a novel feeling to be involved somewhere where people other than the players know about their local club.

I’ve brought my scorebook keeping talents to Caythorpe, a small village in central Nottinghamshire who’ve had a club off and on for over 100 years.  The first XI play in the Notts Premier League, whilst the second XI (for whom I score) are in Division 1 of the Bassetlaw & District League.  The B&D is one of two feeder leagues for the NPL, covering the northern part of the county.

The first big difference I noticed was that there are always more people around on a game day than just the 22 players on the park.  Every match has two independent umpires, and each club has a scorer, yes, even at second XI level.  Not only that, but people actually come and watch.  OK, not huge crowds, but a couple of weeks ago we played at Edwinstowe, and there were never less than 30 or 40 people sat around the boundary.   Having a bar that’s open does marvellous things in terms of supporters, and funds!  The vast majority of clubs are village sides, with picture postcard settings, but even here there are professional players brought in.  The West Indian Cavaliers side visited Caythorpe for a cup match last weekend, bringing with them, ex Notts and England player Usman Afzaal and the Saqlain Mushtaq!!

There are quirks too.  The draw exists in league matches here, it’s 46 overs maximum for the side batting first, but the side batting second gets the balance of the 92 overs if any are unused.  Points are shared in the event of rain/cancellation, so no need for percentages.  Most strange of all is the fact that matches start at 2pm.  Most of the villages in the area were built up around the coal mines, with matches timed to start to allow men to finish off a shift in the morning before playing in the afternoon.  So, despite the fact that Mrs T finished off the mining industry round these parts in the early 80’s there are still enough traditionalists around to prevent the start time from changing.

So, instead of sitting in a green metal container squeezed in beside kit and a stale old bloke from the opposition, I sit in a large comfortable, electronic scorebox where there’s a better than average chance my counterpart will be female (women are heavily involved around the clubs down here) and whisper it quietly so none of the presidents of Scottish clubs hear I even get a bit of beer money thrown my way for the pleasure of doing it.  Cricket, god love it.

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There are some things not to love about cricket.  Match fixing, the length of a World Cup tournament, the ICC (the one body to make FIFA appear competent) to name but a few, but the chief irritant has to be Charles Colville.  The smug twat’s smug twat.

He has the world weary air of someone for whom everything came to easily, his condecension of those who fail to meet the standards of his favourites is renowned.  He is the single reason for watching Sky’s domestic cricket coverage with the sound off….well, OK, there’s Nick Knight too.  Even Mark ‘Lawro’ Lawrenson looks professional next to this guy.

Colville is the token non-England player in the Sky team, indeed, he never made it to county level.  He must be a contributory factor in Bob Willis’ biblical level sulk, one which is now entering it’s 10th year.

I can only assume this puffed up, patronising, wouldn’t look out of place at a Tory function with Flashman, Gideon et al, has some pretty good dirt on the head of Sky Sports.

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Out damned spot (bettor) out I say

…apologies to Mr Shakespeare for that one.

So, there I was on Saturday evening enjoying a comprehensive win for the RH Corstorphine first team, hearing of how the thirds had only just scraped the points required to avoid relegation and wishing our OA and his lovely girlfriend a safe journey home to Durban.  Not to mention catching up on what had been an quite incredible day at Lords in the fourth Test, when the rumblings started to emerge on Twitter.

That august organ, the News of The World, had evidence, names and details of a spot betting scam on operation during that very fourth test match.  Whilst there have been mutterings in the past, and fairly recently too of things untoward, indeed the Sydney test between Australia and Pakistan earlier this year had been deemed to whiff a little of Grimsby, never had there been such immediate reportage of an incident of this nature.  It took years for the seeds sown by Hansie Cronje to germinate and take flower.

Cricket is a game I love.  As a friend of mine once said, “life can only be improved by cricket”.  It has a timeless nature, and regardless of how many cold, grey, damp and windswept days I’ve spent playing the game, it always evokes memories of warm sunshine, lush green grass and time passing slowly.  There is no better way to pass a day than sitting watching a match live, be it international, county or East of Scotland league.  Hence my current pastime of sitting in a scorebox, I may have stopped playing, but I still feel the need to be involved.

What angered me most about this ‘event’, is that once again a sport I love is sullied.  I’m a bit of an omnivore when it comes to sport, I don’t believe a person can only be a fan of one sport, and certainly don’t subscribe to the Murdochian view that football is the beginning, middle and end of sport.  I’ve lived and cringed through Ben Johnson, through the Festina affair, Lance Armstrong, “Fraud” Landis and Operation Puerta right up to “bloodgate” and the various troubles that have beset the sport of kings of late.  Each one  a knife to the guts of a sports fan cursed with an interest in “minority sports”, that catch all term used to deride anything that isn’t football and only crosses the radar of non fans when something bad happens.

I’m not naive, I know betting takes place, hell I place a few cricket bets myself via http://www.cricketbetlive.com and, I’m not ashamed to admit, one of my first thoughts was as to whether or not my potential winning bet would be paid out in the light of the events unfolding, it wasn’t on no-balls and it was paid out!  Betting will always happen, it seems to be part of the human psyche that whenever two raindrops run down a pane of glass, someone will bet on which one will reach the bottom first.

All that can be done, is to punish any players involved in draconian fashion, life bans being one option.  In this I mean a life ban, not the Pakistan Cricket Board version of a life ban, which usually extends only as long as the PCB feel the team can go on losing without the banned player….generally a couple of matches.  Heavy fines, and start by confiscating any money paid to them in order to carry out whatever action is being bet on.

At Lords it was only a couple of no-balls, but so amateurishly done that antennae started twitching automatically.  But, this would be only the thin end of the wedge.  Once a player is in someones control, the deeds can be upped, and if the suspicions of throwing the aforementioned Sydney test are correct, that just serves to show how far this can go.  Sadly, the players of the Asian teams appear to be most at risk from these nefarious types, in part because of the financial situation (players in England, India and Australia tend to be well paid at the higher levels and thus somewhat immunised), and in part because Pakistan in particular is an unstable and volatile country where sourcing weapons and men versed in using them is a little easier than elsewhere, thus giving the fraudsters a stick with which to back up the carrot when approaching a player.

I also wonder about the News of The World.  Whenever something like this breaks, it’s always the News of The World doing it.  Sven Goran Ericksson, the Fake Sheikh, Laurence Dallaglio…there’s a long list of exposes they have broken, usually involving large sums of money.  In their zeal to get a story, are they inadvertantly, or even advertantly, creating one?  Sometimes, much as when the boy cried “wolf!”, I’m never sure.

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Schadenfreude is my weakness

So there I was at the kids school on Saturday.  The Summer Fun Day providing another excuse for Master C to empty my pockets of change.  In walks a former work colleague of mine.  A guy who I knew pretty well when we worked together, he and his then girlfriend acted as witnesses at my wedding, we went to their wedding.  We lost touch after he moved to London to work, but bumped into one another on the train a while back.   He’d moved back up here to bring his kid up in Scotland.  He and his missus had moved into the same town as us, and his kid is at the same school as ours.  So far so good.  Anyway, to Saturday, and another woman walks in behind him.  She is introduced as his girlfriend and the conents of he pram she pushes, as his son.

I’m no prude, despite the fact that he was one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met and probably would’ve been the last person I’d imagine in this situation, he’s there.  What went on in his marriage, I neither know, nor indeed care about.  What it got me thinking about was whether or not I’m a curse.

I’ve been to a fair number of weddings in my time, particlarly in the period since I got married.  The number of those marriages that are sill marriages is significantly lower.  I counted four that are still existant, and two of those are less than two years old.

Now, my marriage is far from perfect.  We have many issues to overome, and not so long ago, it wouldn’t have been too much of a stretch to see us split up.  We certainly don’t stay together for the tax breaks, but neither do I judge those who can’t make it work.  I just wonder, are we strange that we’ve managed to last almost 17 years?  Do we doom our friends to divorce by accepting their wedding invite?

Life eh?  What a tangled web it is….

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You may have noticed the World Cup is about to start.  I’m already getting world cup fatigue.  It’s a peculiarly British thing, and comes from the strange conflict between nation and union.  I use to be very much of the “Anyone But England” camp, but I like to think I’ve matured over the years, and from a strictly sports point of view, I reckon the whole of the UK could benefit from England winning the Cup and more especially the bid for hosting of 2018. 

Where I still fall down is with all the attendant hoopla, hype and general ill informed forgetful punditry.  Quotes like “The entire nation”, profligate use of “we”, the interminable corporate tie ins…..it goes on and on.  These are the reasons we non-English in Britain like to see it all go breasts skyward.  The shocked faces of the punditry teams, the near tearful voices of the commentators and of course all those hopelessly optimistic but now just funny confectionary wrappers.  It’s just reward for confusing England with Britain.

I’m boycotting Mars, Kellogs, Tesco and especially Carlsberg.  The last of these really should have more self respect, I mean, they’re Danish ffs, and Denmark are actually in the tournament!

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I’m conflicted.  Earlier this year I took the decision to stop playing cricket.  The club needs a scorer, i quite enjoy doing it and thought it would be the ideal means to scratch the cricket itch without putting my aging, overweight frame through the rigours of playing and training..

Due to circumstances I’ve not been anywhere near the club yet this season.  But, I’m home now, so that’s about to change.  The problem I have is that given the number of player losses over the winter, the club finds it’s playing resources stretched.  Our first team has lost 4 in a row, the seconds aren’t doing too well and the thirds, the time I was so recently a part of, have lost all 5 they’ve played so far.  Relegation is not an option, and I find it hard to resist the thought of “riding to the rescue”….until the rational brain kicks in.  I haven’t trained, I feel heavier than I did at seasons end last year, and to be brutally honest.  Bowling doesn’t look like the week link on the team.  They’ve held teams to decent totals and bowled sides out.  Run scoring seems to be the issue, and for me, a bat is for leaning on.  No, I should resist, I want to resist, I must resist…it’s the scorers hutch for me.

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