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Archive: 2010 News & Reports

Take a stroll down memory lane with club news and match reports from the Jesters CC 2010 season.

Updates appear in reverse chronological order...

13th November - Simon Cleobury is new Hon Sec

At the 2010 AGM Andrew Short stood down as Hon Sec and was succeeded by Simon Cleobury. Jonny Bridcut becomes Fixture Secretary. All other committee members were re-elected.

13th November - Annual Awards

The annual awards were presented at a very enjoyable annual dinner at Chez Gerard Southbank. This year’s winners are:

Arnold Woods Trophy (best individual performance) to Adnan Mohammed for taking 7-48 from 17 overs against a very strong Jesus College Cambridge side and comprehensively outbowling their Blues spinner. He narrowly pipped Louis Harris who scored an astonishing 144* off 82 balls against Barnes Common.

Most Jester-like performance - Ned Morrell for a scoring hiccup in the Lord Gnome game that might have denied us victory. The scores finished level but an extra run was discovered in the scorebook after the game. The committee also presented Ned with a print of Worcester County Cricket Ground, a ground dear to his heart, in appreciation of all the scoring he has done for us over the years.

Michael Meyer Trophy for big hitting to Louis Harris for blasting seven sixes in his Barnes Common innings.

23rd September - Streatham & Marlborough off

Streatham & Marlborough have cancelled our game with them on Saturday. Disappointing to miss the last game of the season - but 9 wins outof the last 10 games isn’t a bad record to take into the winter!

21st September - Barnes Common centurians

Jesters 306/2 (35 overs) (Harris 144*, Butler 101)

Barnes Common 202/8 (35 overs) (Smith 4/17)

Match manager Jonny Bridcut describes the action:

“Upon arriving at the ground for a customary pre-match pitch inspection, it was only the stumps that gave away where the wicket lay as the entire square blended seamlessly into the yellowy-green late summer outfield. It was therefore with some trepidation that the Jesters accepted the opposition's skipper's kind pre-toss 'suggestion' to bat first, no doubt the result of him recalling our opening salvo last season that had reduced his top order to 8/4.

“Two hours later, after we had ruthlessly compiled a stunning 306/2 from our 35 overs, it was clear that we would not be receiving such a generous offer next year.

“The innings began steadily with the two Simons, Cleobury and Butler, reproducing their fine form from last summer's encounter to ensure that the new tangerine soon lost its shine. When Simon Cleobury was unfortunately defeated by one that jagged back and kept low, Louis Harris strolled purposively to the middle, eager to distance himself from Liverpool's impending struggle against their rivals from Manchester.

“Louis and Simon set about dismantling our opponents' attack with relish, and were soon breezing along at around 8 or 9 an over. The fact that Louis did not register a single until he was in his forties showed the brutal nature of his onslaught. Simon was the first to a very impressive three figures, in only his second Jesters innings, though fell shortly afterwards for 101 (in an almost coincidental fashion to last year), thereby ending a dominant 182 run stand between the pair.

“After a slightly nervous nineties, Louis went through to his first ever hundred, off just 67 balls. However, that did not signal the end to his fun as, in partnership with the commanding Alex Smith, he walloped a further 44 off his last 15 deliveries to finish with a lofty 144* from just 82 balls, with 7 sixes. This was surely an effort that would threaten Adnan Mohammed's bid for performance of the season.

“It would have been easy for Barnes to have crumbled when faced with such a total, but to their credit they played out all their allocated overs for a respectable 202/8. However, the required run rate was always beyond them, and given that we had the all-conquering Adnan in our ranks, victory had never appeared beyond doubt.

“Some expansive blows from the Barnes middle order ensured they both entered and exited the Coach & Horses in good spirits, although Alex Smith rekindled the all-round credentials of his heyday with a useful 4 wicket burst towards the end. It was a shame that we could not quite bowl them out, though a 104 run victory meant that the contests over the years were now level at 2 apiece.”

14th September - Excellent victory at Ashtead

We beat a good Ashtead side by 70-odd runs with one of our best performances of the season. Jesters who have played at Ashtead over the years may be interested to know the club is flourishing, now in the premier division of the Surrey Championship (finishing 5th this year) and with an attractive new pavilion just opened.

We played a 40 over game and arranged to bat first as several Jesters were caught in traffic. Simon Cleobury and Robbie Hudson batted with great composure against a good new ball attack who found plenty of late movement. Robbie went on to make 45, a vital innings that gave us a platform and protected our middle order stroke-players from the moving ball.

The stroke-players duly went to work. Chief among them was Louis Harris whose 72 was a well constructed innings, careful defence and good running between the wickets mixed with his usual scintillating shots. Ollie Doward and Matt Williamson lent good support against a bowling attack that never let us cut loose. Matt and James Douse finally did well to take us beyond 200.

We thought our 210 was defendable, but were mindful the Frogs had lost by 9 wickets to Ashtead the previous weekend with a similar total.

Our bowlers made an excellent start, Jonny Bridcut - playing his first game of the season after six months in Shanghai - persuading their star opening bat to edge one behind. But their other opener looked in good form, bashing a series of robust boundaries, and seemed quite capable of taking the game away from us.

The vital moment came at the end of Phil Berman’s opening spell, when he drew a big leading edge from the opener which looped up to the vacant mid-on area. We held our breath as James Douse ran round from mid-off to make a tricky catch look easy.

At this point our spinners came on and - as so often this season - kept quiet batsmen looking to accelerate. Adnan Mohammed (2-10), Louis Harris (2-39) and Andrew Short (3-19) all bowled well.

They were supported by good catching. James Douse judged a skyer perfectly on the long-on boundary, while “champagne moment” was Ollie’s catch on the mid-wicket boundary. The ball came to him flat and fast, and needed a sudden late adjustment as it dipped wickedly at the last moment.

We worked steadily through the middle and lower order and Ashtead were finally all out for 137 with half a dozen of their 40 over remaining. A good win.

Thanks especially to the several senior Jesters who made it along to watch. It’s always great to have support. It was particularly good to see former Jesters umpire David Le Shirley who is still going strong at 88 not out.

6th September - The Sawbridgeworth Seven

Our season of poor availability reached an embarrassing low point as we turned up at Sawbridgeworth - a strong club - with only seven players (despite a huge effort from match manager Alex Smith).

Sawbridgeworth kindly lent us two players, including a keeper, and we played nine-a-side. In the end it was a good game, Jesters (+ 2) winning by 22 runs, but it was all most unsatisfactory. Thanks to Sawbridgeworth for their hospitality and understanding.

In the game itself, we batted first with the 15 year old Sawbridgeworth keeper playing for us scoring a good half century. When we bowled, Adnan Mohammed wrapped up the game with another excellent 5 wicket spell (5-41).

1st September - Max’s Maidenhead marvel

Max Harris - Louis’s brother - led us to victory over Maidenhead and Bray with an unbeaten century, scoring exactly 100. Skipper Ponniah Vijendran was 65 not out at the other end as we won convincingly by 8 wickets.

Maidenhead and Bray had earlier been dismissed for 184. In a good all round bowling display, the star of our attack was 12 year old Sachin Rawson with 3-36 from 6 overs. Well done Sachin!

24th August - Chobham run us close

We beat Chobham by four wickets, but only after a dramatic late collapse had threatened to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Chobham won the toss and chose to bat in the traditional 40 over game. Their 124 all out was worth more than it seemed on a pitch used for a league game the day before and which gave a little help to all bowlers.

After tight opening spells from John Murphy and Phil Berman (who took the first two wickets), it was spin triplets Mohammed (3-15), Mumby (3-39) and Louis Harris (2-28) who did the serious damage, all taking wickets against a predominantly young side who would have preferred to knock around the seamers.

Louis in particular will bowl much worse for far better reward, his faster ball prompting several loud shouts for lbw. It was Adnan, though, who took the key wicket - and escaped serious injury - when he clung on to a tracer bullet drilled back at him by their hard-hitting no.3.

The fielding held up throughout, which was good to see after some poor performances this season. Adnan made a catch over his head in the covers look easy; James Douse hurtled round the boundary to good effect; Andrew Short emerged with a mouthful of dirt after a successful diving effort in the gully; and Charlie Wilson - making his only appearance of the season on a rare visit from France - nearly pulled off a spectacular one-handed diving catch, the ball unfortunately dislodging on impact. Matt Williamson did a very tidy job standing up to the spinners, which is never easy.

125 to win seemed well within range, and our openers took the field with the skipper’s pep talk uppermost in their minds (he hoped) - “make sure you win it by ten wickets”. Jesters are not the only side to have a let a low target get the better of them.

Louis Harris mixed his usual exuberant strokeplay with watchful defence and Ollie Doward’s late Saturday night had equipped him perfectly to play the anchor role. Ollie was bowled for a calm 24 with the score on 72 and Louis went for 60 with the total well into the nineties. Job done, we thought.

At 116-6 we thought again. Especially as our number 11 wasn’t on the ground and we would only bat ten. Their skipper’s slow spin - 3 for 16 from 8 overs - had done much of the damage.

At this point the redoubtable John Murphy - clearly bucked by his recent engagement - was joined at the wicket by Adnan. They took stock before Adnan unfurled a couple of delightful boundaries to see us home. Sighs of relief all round.

Many thanks once again to Chobham for their hospitality. Nice place. Nice people. It really is somewhere we look forward to playing each summer.

16th August - Final over thriller at Middleton Stoney

“The local crowd were kept well entertained by a nail-biting run chase and thrilling final over when the Jesters travelled to Middleton Stoney, deep into the Oxfordshire countryside.

“On a pitch that was damp from the previous day's rain, the home side won the toss and chose to bat first. Jesters debutants Andy Harris and Ryan O'Sullivan started proceedings. Left-armer O'Sullivan found some excellent swing back into the right handers and struck in his first over. The hosts then consolidated - Harris and O'Sullivan continued to bowl well but a few chances were missed and soon the hosts were up to 50.

“Finally there was reward too for an excellent spell from Harris to get the much needed breakthrough. With Harris' accurate pace bowling from one end and Nick Mumby's off spin at the other the home side's innings was checked for a while. They lifted the tempo again, though, and it needed the introduction of Adnan Mohammed to break the partnership, when he got one to turn and bite to give a sharp chance to skipper Cleobury at slip.

“Middleton Stoney's opener was compiling an excellent innings with some very big hits into the surrounding trees. He was eventually cleaned up by Mohammed 16 short of his century. The scoreboard continued to tick over, but Mohammed also continued to take wickets, including one with a brilliant catch by keeper Matt Williamson. Mumby was unlucky not to take a wicket at the other end as he found some turn and was flighting it nicely. His replacement Louis Harris got some turn as well and chipped in with a couple of late wickets. At tea the hosts had reached 171, leaving the Jesters an hour plus 20 overs to chase the runs down.

“The Jesters got off to a solid start through Cleobury and Harris, with Harris in particular playing some excellent attacking shots through mid wicket. He couldn't keep it going though and was out to a shot he would rather forget. Russell Ewings was up next but played round a straight one that kept low. Cleobury and Mohammed then started to build a platform, but always found the going tough. Acceleration was difficult due to some accurate bowling from Middleton's skipper at one end and good off spin at the other.

“Skipper Cleobury was out trying to force the off spinner for 41. Mohammed and Williamson then built a good partnership and were going well, albeit slightly behind the rate. The pressure told though, and they were both out soon after, Williamson for 20 and Mohammed for 38. Andy Harris and James Douse continued to go for it and through some aggressive running from Harris the Jesters were just about staying in touch.

“When Douse was out O'Sullivan continued the good running until he was run out going for a third. Harris struck some lusty blows and an excellent reverse sweep to keep the Jesters in the chase.

“The final over arrived with 13 still needed by Harris and Nick Gregori. A dot and a scrambled bye was not the start they wanted. However, Harris struck the next ball for four and then hit two twos off the next two deliveries. So it was 4 required off the last ball. There was no fairytale finish as Harris was unable to get the ball away so the game ended as a draw.

“As always, Middleton Stoney fired up the BBQ and we all enjoyed the beautiful early evening sunshine. We even participated in Middleton Stoney's fines court - Louis Harris continuing his earlier generosity by stumping up a fine for his dismissal!”

Many thanks to match manager Simon Cleobury for this report.

8th August - Rickling Ramblers

Another victory! We notched up 194 on a tricky, slow surface at Rickling Green. Louis Harris, Simon Cleobury, Matt Williamson and Mike Palmer all made good contributions (Mike smashing a tile on the pavilion roof). Tim Harty did the damage with the ball in a superb five wicket spell (5-28), ending the game - and claiming his fifth wicket - in the most satisfying fashion, knocking out middle stump. They were all out 120-odd.

7th August - Two wins in a day at Cuckfield

It’s not often you wake up on the morning of a match to hear the place you’re playing singled out on the Radio 4 weather forecast for its record rainfall the day before. Haywards Heath, next door to Cuckfield, had had 48 millimeters of rain in just one hour!

Yet there was no call to say the game was off. So we made the long drive to Sussex wondering what we would find.

Fortunately Cuckfield is on chalk and the ground dries quickly. We arrived to find groundsman John Mole working on a very damp wicket but one that was just playable. The storm had hit at lunch the day before, a river of water running in front of the pavilion from the direction of the car park and flowing out through the nets. It was the worst deluge any of the Cuckfield members could remember at the ground.

The wicket may have been just playable but it would be a nightmare for the side batting first, and mean almost certain defeat. So to salvage better entertainment from a Cricket Week fixture the captains took the unusual decision to play two, back-to-back twenty-five over a side games under T20 rules. As it turned out this worked really well with both sides full of younger players.

To cut a long story short, we won both games! We chased 120-odd in the first game and set 150 or so in the second (which was reduced to a 20 over game). First up the strip really was a pig to bat on, fully justifying the novel arrangements.

Match details have already faded into the mists of time, especially as there were very few regular Jesters on display. But Louis Harris was the star of the first game, bowling his five over spell for just 15 runs and striking a calm 43 not out to see us home. Those who think Louis is a slow bowler should have seen the bouncer he bowled at Cuckfield’s Sri Lankan pro!

Another novel feature was the first example (I think) of the Dilshan scoop in a Jesters game, played by the pro (he was caught at fine leg). This provoked memories of the first time a Jester scored a boundary with a reverse sweep - Brian Pote-Hunt at Cuckfield almost 20 years ago. Brian won a bottle of champagne that day - put up as a prize for precisely this feat by Richard Johnson. This made us wonder if any modern-day Jester would be prepared to sponsor a similar prize for a boundary from the Dil-scoop?

Many thanks, once again, to Cuckfield for their splendid hospitality - and especial thanks to John Mole for getting the square playable. A really heroic effort.

On a final note, we were delighted to welcome veteran Jester Dick Nelson who came along to watch proceedings. Dick played his last last game for the Club so long ago that it was even before the Hon Sec’s time. Dick and his wife are flourishing and send their best wishes to all who remember them.

3rd August - Deutsche Bank succumb

Thanks to match manager Patrick Allen for the following match report.

“We agreed to play a 35 over a side game. Deutsche Bank won the toss and batted. But after two wickets in the first ten balls the Jesters were on track for what turned out to be a resounding 7 wicket win.

“With a partnership of 85 for the third wicket by Gold (53) and Fahad (32) the Jesters struggled until the advent of spinners on drying wicket enabled them to re-assert control. After a good opening spell from Adnan Mohammed supported by Manget Singh with his nagging medium pace and Simon Rawson’s bustling swing bowling, the Deutsche Bank side capitulated against some excellent spin bowling from the versatile Adnan who finished with 3-17 in his seven overs, leg spinner Louis Harris with 3-36 and Will Taylor 2-19. They were bowled out for 165 off the final ball of the 35th over.

“Some good catches were held in what was fine team effort. Eleven-year-old Sachin Rawson gave an excellent exhibition of ground fielding having come in as a late replacement.

“On a pitch still moving around, and after a watchful beginning by Tom Bodeker (22) and Ponniah Vijendran (44 not out), a couple of quick wickets were lost before Vijendran was joined by Louis Harris (41 not out). Their unbroken stand of 85 brought the Jesters home in style in only the 24th over - an excellent victory.”

3rd August - Victory at Roehampton

We beat Roehampton by 2 wickets in a thrilling finish after finding ourselves 78-7 chasing their 180 (Adnan Mohammed 4-19). Dave Hancock (48*) and new Jester Alex Brookes (53) rescued us with a century partnership.

Despite this epic ending, the game will go down in history as the first time a lady took the field for the Jesters - John Twigg’s daughter Sonia Twigg. What’s more, she took two wickets! Congratulations, Sonia.

22nd July - More injury woe at Gemini

Our injury hit and poor-availability season reached a new low against Gemini at Sunningdale School. With match manager Ollie Doward out of action with a broken hand, we did well to scrape together eleven players. One was 11 year old Sachin Rawson and another John Murphy, not his normal gazelle-like self after putting his back out the previous weekend.

We won the toss and put them in, only for calamity to strike less than half an hour into their innings. Wicket keeper Simon Cleobury put his back out and we had no one with any keeping experience to replace him.

Our response was innovative - if not a little foolhardy. Our best bowler, Adnan Mohammed, took the gloves and Ollie Doward - complete with two broken bones in his right hand - came on and fielded one handed for the rest of the innings. In the circumstances, their 130-odd for 2 at lunch was not a bad effort on our part. Adnan even pulled off a stumping.

Over lunch, skipper Simon Rawson revealed he had been a wicket-keeping prodigy until the age of 13 and would take over from Adnan. His subsequent performance did nothing to dispel this claim as he put in a very tidy performance.

We fought hard after lunch but Sunningdale School is never the easiest place to bowl with short boundaries and aggressive batsmen keen to rekindle memories of school days by hitting the ball as far as possible. Their 279 was a big score but perhaps not that many more than we would have expected to concede with a full strength side.

Several Jesters batsmen got in but no one went on to play a match winning innings against a good attack. Their secret weapon proved to be a number of full tosses from their unusual 6’ 7” leg spinner. As so often in a really tight spell, it was these balls that took the wickets as we sought to break the shackles. Andrew Short was our top scorer with 48, poking and prodding at first before unleashing a series of front foot drives against their fastest bowler and then holing out to the leggie off a full toss. We were eventually all out for 200 or so, Ollie making a brave, one-handed appearance at number 11.

So another defeat. But an eventful one - and one where we didn’t disgrace ourselves. Many thanks to Gemini for their first class hospitality during and after the game. This really is one of the highlights of the Jesters season.

20th July - Dorset Tour 2010

We nearly made it a clean sweep on tour, winning two games and having the opposition nine down in the third.

There were great deeds all round: we successfully chased Bryanston’s 304, Ollie Doward broke a hand in two places on day one yet played on through all three games, and there was a legendary batting performance from Matt Berry.

Bryanston Butterflies 304-7 dec (49 overs)

Jesters 305-8 (46.4 overs)

Jesters won by 2 wkts

On a beautiful Blandford morning, Richard Rostron (the pro at Salesbury CC) and Joe Rawlinson both struck early, Rostron extracting considerable life from a bone dry Bryanston pitch. Marshall (51) led a mini Butterflies recovery but three quick wickets just before the interval, including the dangerous Jim Denning meant the Butterflies lunched at 115-5. Denning fell to a diving catch in the covers that was later revealed to have broken Ollie's hand.

After lunch, the other Denning brother (53) and Freddie Strange put on 134 for the sixth wicket. Strange launched an astonishing assault on the bowling, smashing 113* off 58 balls (16 fours, 3 sixes). The declaration was greeted with some relief by a bewildered Jesters - wickets were shared round evenly, two apiece for Rostron, off spinner Stephen Brown and tour skipper Simon 'Highlights' Rawson.

Our reply started disastrously. 0-2 became 15-4 and any prospect of chasing down 305 looked dead in the water. However, Ollie Doward and Richard Rostron led the fightback, putting on 165 for the fifth wicket. When Doward was run out for 60, Joe Rawlinson (40) supported Rostron as he powered to a breathtaking century and a scarcely believable victory was suddenly a distinct possibility.

In a frantic finale the final equation was six runs to win off the final over with two wickets in hand. We got there with two balls to spare sparking wild celebrations on the pavilion balcony. A shattered Rostron finished unbeaten on a magnificent 159 (24 fours and a six).

A sensational game of cricket with over 600 runs scored. After we chased down 286 last season, their skipper joked afterwards that he would never declare against us again!

Jesters 133 all out (40 overs)

Canford Cygnets 77 all out (23.1 overs)

Jesters won by 56 runs

Something of a contrast to the previous day's run fest. Blazing sunshine was replaced by dank gloominess and it quickly became apparent that run scoring would be a real challenge. The top order inevitably succumbed to the powers of Canford's pantomime villain Ben 'Ironman' Pearce whose four early wickets helped reduce us to 57-5. Thereafter Rob Long (23), Ian Riley (27) and Rostron (36*) rallied to help us post a less than imposing 133 all out.

There then followed an extraordinary session of cricket. Rostron steamed in for the first over and had an enormous caught behind appeal turned down off his first delivery. Disappointment turned to delight three balls later as the same batsman had his stumps demolished. Wicket maiden. At the other end, in-form Adnan Mohammed pinned the other opener lbw first ball before grabbing a second wicket of the over by beating their number four all ends up with a quicker one to rattle the timbers once again.

With the score at 2-3, Canford's Tom Blackburn then played an extraordinary shot to the first ball of Rostron's second over, launching a fast good length ball into orbit for a mind-boggling garryowen of a six which went as high as it did far. We were later to find out that while we were gorging sandwiches and cakes at tea, gym bunny Blackburn was pumping iron in preparation for his innings!

Adnan followed up his first over with a wicket maiden and Rostron kept his cool to trap the young tyro lbw for 12. 14-5. Canford skipper and occasional Jester George Shepherd steadied the ship along with Marsh (27) but the introduction of Brown nipped any resistance in the bud. His 3-16 included Canford 'teawatchman' and BBC cricket commentator Mark Mitchener for a golden duck, the last of a remarkable eight ducks in the match. Fittingly it was Ironman, having cleared the ropes with his first scoring shot, who holed out to long on to seal a 56 run win and hand Adnan his fifth wicket (5-34).

As usual we enjoyed the Cygnets' generous and at times hilarious hospitality after the game, even managing to hold our own in the various traditional beer challenges.

Jesters 207-8 dec (56 overs)

Hampshire Hogs 168-9 (49 overs)

Match drawn

After a heavy night at Canford and back at base in Bournemouth, it was a ragged looking Jesters who turned up at Warnford on Wednesday morning. Much like last year, overnight rain had turned the wicket into a sticky dog. Not a toss you want to lose, so Simon duly did for the third day in a row.

Once again, we were quickly in a hole at 27-3. It needed someone to drop anchor and that man was Matthew 'Tavare' Berry (28), our injured opening bowler turned opening batsman. Matt's 95 ball epic spanned 35 overs before he was trapped in front attempting to sweep his first ball from wily old fox Chris Bazalgette. Momentum was provided by cameos from Doward and Rawlinson but once again it was left to Rostron to dig us out the mire. His rapid 81 and some classy hitting from Brown enabled us to declare on 207-8.

The Hogs were also in early trouble at 29-3 after early Rostron and Rawson wickets and a brilliant improvised run out by the latter. Relieved at being dropped at second slip, Hogs number three Foot neglected to plant his feet back in the crease and had his wicket thrown down by Simon's bullet throw from first slip. A stand of 84 between Tennant and Aldridge (47) ensured the game was finely poised going into the last hour with 112 needed and seven wickets in hand. However, once the partnership was broken by Rawson (17-2-46-2), wickets tumbled at regular intervals. When Tennant was seventh out, bowled by Brown (4-50) for 84, the Hogs decided to shut up shop. Two more tail-enders were eked out to set up the theatrical ending we'd all hoped for - Hogs legend 'The Jet'' was required to block out the final over to save the game.

He did so with aplomb, thus bringing to an end a fantastic tour on and off the field. All three matches ebbed and flowed and we played some exhilarating backs-against-the-wall cricket. The games were played in great spirit and thanks must go to Bryanston, Canford and the Hogs for once again being perfect hosts. Thanks also to former Jesters stalwart Roger House for his unstinting support on all three days.

11th July - Second best against Captain Scott’s XI

Match manager John Murphy produced a near miracle getting eleven players on the pitch in the face of widespread unavailability (it was World Cup final day) and injury.

It wasn’t, however, our strongest ever eleven and we were hammered by a a powerful Captain Scott side. In a 35 over game they smashed 270 - not helped by a uniquely poor fielding performance - and our 180 owed much to late hitting from new Jester Nic Gregori (67 from 45 balls). Definitely a day to forget - although a fuller account may appear here in due course.

4th July - Exciting draw with the Gnomes

We had a cracking finish against Lord Gnome’s XI in Oxford on the lovely Queen’s College ground beside the river. Three were needed from the last ball with our last pair at the crease. But with men back on the boundary we could only manage a single finishing on 200 chasing their 201.

At one stage it looked as though we would be chasing many more as their top order laid into our seam attack. Runs flowed. But skipper Matt Williamson was up to the job, turning the tables with his decision to take pace off the ball. Slow men Adnan Mohammed (5-68) and Andrew Short (3-56) bowled through the rest of the innings.

Louis Harris gave us an electrifying start in response, a dazzling array of shots taking him to 63 off only 52 balls. A pretty much flat six pulled through mid-wicket sticks particularly in the memory. After Louis went the pressure of the chase told. Several Jesters got in but no one went on to play the match winning innings. As wickets tumbled we kept going for the runs, even with last pair John Murphy and Ben Sareen at the crease. But in the end victory lay just tantalisingly out of reach.

28th June - Radley Rangers

Radley Rangers: 232-8 declared (44 overs) F. Moynan 68, J. North 34, J. Stanton 34, M. Harris 3 for 60, Hamad-ul-Hasan 2 for 40

Jesters: 161 all out (39.2 overs) A. Mohammed 37, Hamad-ul-Hasan 32, J. Stanton 4 for 44, C. Stoop 2 for 20, J. North 2 for 20

Radley Rangers won by 71 runs

“On a stunning June day, the Jesters played the Radley Rangers on Smithson’s Field. Although this is effectively the College’s third pitch, it is almost certainly one of the best tracks the Jesters will play on this season. The wicket was a batsman’s paradise, with pace and bounce for the quicker bowlers, and the outfield was well-cropped and fast.

“Winning the toss, the Jesters took to the field. Max Harris and Adnan Mohammed bowled sharp opening spells, with the latter trapping the Rangers’ opener leg before. Jesters guest Hamad-ul-Hasan (who debuted for Peshawar over the winter) then commenced a fine spell of off-break bowling, which included two wickets in two balls. The Rangers’captain, Henry Bailey, had started confidently but he was unlucky to play-on against the bowling of John Murphy. A good early performance with the ball left the opposition struggling on 71 for 4.

“Hamad continued to wheel away (he conceded just 40 runs in his 14 overs), but the Rangers batsmen dug in well and after playing themselves in Messrs J. North and Stanton added 91 for the fifth wicket. Moynan went on to hit 68 and his innings included six straight sixes off our other slow bowlers. Harris claimed three quick wickets at the end of the innings and when the declaration came we thought we were in with a good chance.

“Unfortunately we did not bat to our full potential. Wickets fell at a steady rate and with the exception of Hamad (who made 32) our top order struggled, with the other top six batsman scoring just 29 runs between them. We collapsed to 81 for 7.

“Simon Rawson and Mohammed batted together and both were keen to preserve their wickets. Rawson unfortunately fell for 22 and we another quick wicket fell, leaving us 129 for 9 with 10 overs to go before the close. Last man Murphy and Mohammed then dug in to try to save a draw. Both men looked comfortable and the pitch remained an excellent surface on which to bat. Then, in the penultimate over, Mohammed was trapped plumb in front to the only ball of the day to keep low.

“Credit must go to the Radley Rangers for setting us a tempting target and bowling a side out on such a decent track.”

Thanks to match manager John Murphy for this report. And thanks also to John for his untiring efforts to get eleven players when so many regular Jesters were unavailable.

14th June - Victory at Jesus College, Cambridge

We finally recorded our first win of the season in Cambridge yesterday, beating a strong Jesus College side by 7 wickets. Jesus have recently won Cuppers - the inter-college tournament - so this really was a good result

Thanks to match manager Ollie Doward for this match report:

Jesus College: 191 all out (52.2 overs)

Jesters: 194-3 (37.3 overs)

“On paper, this game was one of our tougher assignments of the season. Jesus, fresh from winning Cuppers the previous day, fielded a full strength side including Blues and Nottinghamshire left arm spinner Frankie Brown. However, we had Adnan Mohammed, more of which later...

“After a heavy deluge overnight, Jesters won the toss and elected to field, hoping to make the most of a drying wicket on a hot Cambridge afternoon.

“Max Harris and Ben Sareen bowled exceptionally tight opening spells without luck but were up against the formidable pair of sometime Jester and Mallard Sam Grimshaw and James Waters, our nemesis from this fixture in 2006.

“The unusually subdued duo had reached 61-0 when spin twins Mumby and Mohammed were called upon. Mumbers made the crucial breakthrough, bowling Waters before A-Mo took a vice-like grip on the game. He frustrated and bamboozled a series of talented batsmen as Jesus collapsed to 99-6.

“There was late resistance from Brown (46) and skipper Duncan Allen (43) but the final total of 191 all out had spanned a hefty 52.2 overs. Adnan's fantastic final figures were 7-48 off 17 overs.

“With so few overs available to bat after tea, chasing down their total looked like too tall an order. But Robbie Hudson, having finally dispensed with his decrepit blade from university days, thrilled the watching picnickers as he slashed and pulled his way to a swashbuckling 61 off 49 balls.

“He was supported by fluent knocks from Matt Williamson (28), Max Harris (49*) and Adnan (28*, including three sixes). Max finished the game off in some style, flaying a six over extra cover to seal a surprisingly comfortable seven wicket win with six overs of the last hour to spare. Brown finished with figures of 0-32 from 12 overs.”

14th June - Captain Scott’s venue announced

Our game with Captain Scott’s XI on Sunday 11th July will take place at the Christ Church sports ground in Oxford - just over Magdalen Bridge from the city centre. This is an opportunity to play on one of the best grounds in Oxford, one that has regularly hosted minor counties cricket.

John Murphy is our match manager so contact him direct if you’d like to play.

24th May - Carnival in the sun

Our club game at Shenley was played on the hottest day of the year so far. Far too hot for some.

Two Jesters sides faced each other, the “Rawsonites” batting first against the “Cleoburyites”. Highlights included Robbie Hudson’s century for the “Rawsonites”, 50s from Adnan Mohammed and Dave Hancock, tight spells of spin bowling from Adnan and Nick Mumby, and Russell Ewings’ spectacular direct hit from cover to run out Ponniah Vijendran. Simon Rawson’s team talk also deserves special mention - a blood-curdling piece of oratory in this “friendly” game.

The match ended in a draw, so still no Jesters victory this season!

12th May - NPL game cancelled

Unfortunately NPL are unable to raise a side so have called off the game on Sunday 16th. One of their players is getting married “up north” the day before with many of their side attending.

8th May - HAC game rained off

After heavy overnight rain in London our game with HAC was called off in mid-morning.

2nd May - Magdalene College, Cambridge

Rain descended on Cambridge not long after the St John’s game finished, continued all night and into Sunday morning. The game was called off first thing.

1st May - St John’s College, Cambridge

We made it three defeats from three games this season with a tight, one wicket loss to St. John’s. The college put out a slightly stronger side than in recent years while we resembled the Old Crocks XI with several players carrying injuries. Their captain made a point of asking if Jonny Bridcut - our Cambridge destroyer of recent seasons - was playing and was delighted to learn of his absence in Shanghai.

With the bowling attack mostly stuck behind an accident on the M11, we had no option but to bat on winning the toss. Unfortunately our top order then all fell to occasional subterranean bounce at the University Library end - the one that got Louis Harris literally rolling along the ground. Alex Smith led the fightback with a mixture of watchful defence and his usual silky boundaries.

The students bowled very straight and fielded athletically throughout the innings. And with defensive fields scoring was never easy. Nor did a funereal over rate of only 37 overs in more than two and half hours help our cause - and at 168-5 we had little option but to declare to make a game of it. Alex finished on 66 not out and had been well supported by Ollie Doward and Matt Williamson.

Their innings was a curious affair - and probably shows just what you can sometimes achieve if you actually go for the runs. We learned that most of their side were due to attend the Benefactors Dinner in Hall and so were keen to get away early if at all possible, batting much more positively than they might otherwise.

At 105-7 we felt we had the game won. But down the order they had a number of players who clearly weren’t regular cricketers, but were very good sportsmen. They hit cleanly and straight - and under pressure we dropped a number of crucial catches (I think five in all). Their number ten - a hockey player - played a delightful cameo, hitting his first ball over mid on for four, then taking two steps down the wicket and driving through extra cover (possibly the shot of the day), before flicking one off his legs for another four. Number eleven came to the crease with 14 needed - and he looked a genuine cricketer. Under his guidance the approach became a little more conservative, singles and sensible placement taking them to victory with one over remaining.

Our bowling attack held up pretty well under pressure, but we lacked a cutting edge. Ben Sareen was the pick with 3-41 and Adnan Mohammed bowled a long spell of slow left arm, also taking three.

It’s always disappointing to lose. But what more do you want than a really tight game in beautiful Cambridge surroundings? The skipper also realised it was almost exactly 30 years to the day since he first encountered the Jesters, playing for the college. Taking none for plenty and blocking out for a draw - so little change there then.

28th April - Amersham

It can be tricky playing good league sides in April. At that stage of the season they tend to be lean, mean, fighting machines in preparation for the new league campaign. Whereas we, to be frank, aren’t.

And so it proved against Amersham where we came unstuck in a 40 over game, losing by 91 runs. Amersham 202-7. Jesters 111.

We began well with tight opening spells from Tony Duckett and Matt Berry - and after nine overs they were 24 without loss. But after that they eased up smoothly through the gears, culminating in a final over that went for 19. Matt went for only 20 from his eight overs, and Tony took 3-23 from his.

After nine overs we were well placed at 30-1. But we just couldn’t accelerate after that, and although the second wicket didn’t fall until the score had reached 69 we were now in the 20th over. Against a strong bowling attack, our attempts to step up the scoring rate then produced a clatter of wickets, and with one of our players unable to bat with conjunctivitis we fell a long way short.

We’ve had a series of tight, high-scoring games with Amersham in recent years, so perhaps we should look to play the game in September once again.

22nd April - Catchee watchee winee matchee

We began the 2010 season by coming second at Hurlingham. But it could perhaps all have been so very different. Match Manager Simon Cleobury takes up the story:

“It was glorious weather and the magnificent setting of the Hurlingham Club that welcomed in the new Jesters season. The Jesters welcomed back Robbie Hudson from injury and gave debuts to Max Harris and Eddie Binns. Unfortunately the Jesters performance was not as glorious or magnificent as the weather or the setting.

“Hurlingham won the toss and elected to bat. There was still some early morning dew around and the pitch was green although very hard and dry. Tony Duckett bowled beautifully from the top end and was unlucky not to take a couple of early wickets. Hurlingham's left handed opener was dropped off the other opener Max Harris and he gave a very hard chance which was put down behind the wicket off Tony Duckett. Those misses were to prove very costly.

“There was a deserved wicket for Tony Duckett and with the introduction of Eddie Binns some control was exerted. Another chance went begging when a good piece of fielding in the covers from Simon Cleobury should have led to the opener being run out. The two Hurlingham left handers were soon seeing it very well indeed, and began to cash in on the excellent wicket and short leg side boundary, particularly with the introduction of the spinners. Hurlingham's left handed opener marched to a stylish century well before lunch and at lunch the Jesters were on the rack with the score at 181 for 1.

“The skipper switched Adnan Mohammed to the far end following lunch, which bore fruit when he removed both left handers in quick succession. Their opener had scored 50 off 57 balls, 100 off 83 and ended on 140 of 110 balls. There followed a period of consolidation where the run rate was checked. Not for long though as some hefty hitting kept the scoreboard ticking and Hurlingham moving towards the 300 mark. Mention must go to Tony Duckett who bowled for over an hour in the first session and returned for another long spell after lunch - his figures of [1 for 91] did not reflect how well he bowled. Adnan Mohammed also did well to come back after a bad start to end with [4 for 80]. There was also a wicket for Max Harris, who was restricted to only 6 overs due to a dodgy toe, in his second spell. Simon Rawson's five overs were tight in the context of the game. Hurlingham declared their innings on 291 for 6.

“The Jesters' reply was started by Ponniah Vijendran and Louis Harris. Ponniah looked in good touch and it was a big blow when he was run out attempting a second off a misfield. The Jesters were unlucky to lose Eddie Binns soon after. When Paul Durban went soon after that things were not looking good. Louis and Ollie Doward were able to steady things until tea. Hurlingham's opening bowlers were Ben Thompson (ex Warwickshire and Gloucestershire 2nd XI) and George Brooksbank (ex Hertfordshire). They continued after tea as they had done before and scoring was very difficult. Harris and Doward looked to be digging themselves in for a decent partnership before Doward was run out and Harris fell to the off spinner. Simon Cleobury and Robbie Hudson briefly promised a partnership of old, but it was not to be. Adnan Mohammed, Simon Rawson, Max Harris and Tony Duckett had a hit at the end. However, the Jesters ended up on 142 and were well beaten by 149 runs.

“So a lovely day was had, as always, at Hurlingham, but as Confucius would surely have said if he played cricket, "catchee watchee winee matchee". The Jesters were really made to rue those early misses. Early season fielding practice needed next year.”

15th April - Mallards game cancelled

Unfortunately the Mallards have had to cancel their game with us planned for 6th June. We are trying to find an alternative. Please let Simon Cleobury know if you have any ideas.

19th January - Increase in annual subs & match fees

At the 2009 AGM we voted to increase the annual subscription to £20 and match fees to £7.00 per game. Life membership increases to £110. This is the first increase for many years and is necessary to cover the cost of our cricket. We have lost money for the last two seasons.

Would all playing members please alter their standing orders to £20. It would also be a great help if those who haven’t paid by standing order in the past do so now. John Murphy can give you our bank account details.

17th January - Nets at Lord’s

Pre-season nets are booked at Lord’s from early February to mid-April. All sessions are on Tuesdays, 7-8pm, except for the first session on 3rd February, and that on 31st March which are on Wednesdays (again 7-8pm).

Dates are: 3rd & 16th Feb, 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd & 31st March, 6th & 13th April.

Contact Andrew Short to book your place. The cost is £7.00 per person per net. And the usual rule applies: if you drop out too late for us to find a replacement you will be charged.

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