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Archive: 2011 News & Reports

Take a stroll down memory lane with club news and match reports from the Jesters CC 2011 season.

Updates appear in reverse chronological order...

30th November - AGM, Dinner and Annual Awards

The annual dinner was a great success with 41 Jesters and guests - the best turnout for a few years - convening at Chez Gerard Southbank.

The AGM produced no surprises. The club’s finances have returned to reasonable health after a recent blip - and all committee members were re-elected with the office holders unchanged.

The annual awards were presented at the dinner to:

Arnold Woods Trophy (best performance of the season) to Robbie Hudson for his century at Rickling Green. Despite numerous centuries for other clubs this was Robbie’s first for the Jesters.

Commended were Simon Butler’s 164* at Hurlingham, a new club record, and Adnan Mohammed and John Murphy’s match winning, 150+ partnership at Chobham when the game looked lost.

Jester of the Year: the award for “most Jester-like” performance went to James Douse for his uncharacteristic fit of temper - and subsequent effusive apologies - after his dismissal at Maidenhead & Bray. A bat, table and chairs were all involved.

Michael Meyer Award for big-hitting went to John Murphy for a particularly meaty six, also at Maidenhead & Bray, which traveled many a country mile.

The committee also presented Simon Butler with a framed copy of the scorecard from Hurlingham as a memento of this great innings there.

8th November - David Le Shirley

The sad news has just filtered through that David Le Shirley died on 27th September, aged 90.

As older Jesters will remember, David umpired for us for many years. First via David Smith’s umpiring bureau and then for a decade or so in a direct relationship that often saw him standing in as many as 14 or 15 games a season. He retired after the 2001 season but could still be seen spectating at the occasional Jesters game as recently as last year.

A rock solid umpire on the field of play and a genial character in the bar afterwards, he was a great servant of the club and leaves behind many fond memories.

10th October - AGM and Dinner

The 2011 AGM and Annual Dinner will take place at Chez Gerard Southbank - the same place as last year - on Friday 11 November. Full details and how to book your place are here. See you there.

18th September - Barnes Common

We lost this final game of the season by 26 runs. A match report will follow. The scores were:

Barnes Common: 162 all out (29 overs)

Gregori 7-1-27-3, Mohammed 7-2-25-2

Jesters: 136 all out (33.3 overs)

Murphy 55*, Harris 21

Our total was something of a recovery after being 79-8.

11th September - Ashtead

We were unable to raise a side for this long-standing fixture so the game was cancelled. Embarrassing.

1st September - Sawbridgeworth cancelled

Unfortunately Sawbridgeworth are unable to raise a side for the game on Sunday 4th September so the game has been cancelled.

31st August - Good win at Bray

We beat Maidenhead & Bray by 4 wickets in a close and exciting game. Scores and John Murphy’s match report are below.

Maidenhead and Bray: 158-8 (40 overs)

Berman 3 for 25, Chak 2 for 19, Murphy 1 for 21, Bridcut 1 for 25, Mumby 1 for 29

Jesters: 162-6 (38.2 overs)

Mohammed 36*, Harris 24, Hudson 23, Murphy 21

“With the track partially soaked by the heavy morning rain, the Jesters were pleased to take the field first at Bray. Maidenhead and Bray started confidently, but with a damp outfield boundaries were hard to come by initially. Jonny Bridcut and surprise opening bowler Nick Mumby bowled tightly, with each taking a wicket in the later parts of their spells. DJ Chak and John Murphy put the squeeze on the middle order, with DJ finishing with 2 for 19.

“Phil Berman entered the attack and then were a few worried faces when he conceded 16 runs in his first two overs. Something then clicked and Phil bowled the perfect line and length. His fourth over began with two wickets in two balls with the opposition batsman bamboozled by late swing. He finished with figures of 3 for 25 from his eight overs, leaving the opposition with a competitive 158-8 from their 40 overs.

“The Jesters batman knew it would not be easy chasing such a score on a slow track. Openers Robbie Hudson and George Shepherd batted well against the new ball, but George fell unluckily in the ninth over. Louis Harris “ returning from holiday“ entertained the crowd with some classy strokeplay, but was caught for a run-a-ball 24 ambitiously driving on-the-up. Hudson meanwhile was setting himself up to see the innings through, nurdling his way to 23 off 70 balls.

“Sadly the traditional Jesters middle-order collapse followed and, from a solid start, we were left needing six an over for the last ten overs against good bowling on a difficult pitch in the fading light.

“Adnan Mohammed was joined at the crease by John Murphy. Spurred on by their 150+ partnership at Chobham the previous week, Adnan dug in and top-scored with a gritty 36 not out. Adnan’s determination to see it through gave John licence to play some big shots, hitting the opening bowler way out of the ground. He was spectacularly bowled next ball, leaving Nick Mumby and Adnan to knock off the final runs with just ten balls to spare.

“It was a classic game of Jesters cricket, with everyone contributing to a really good team victory”.

22nd August - The Magnificent Nine beat Chobham

Those who’ve played at Chobham in recent years won’t appreciate what a good victory this was. Chobham turned out a much stronger side than usual and, at the peak of the holiday season, we only had nine players.

The skipper’s masterplan was to bat first, get runs on the board and hope scoreboard pressure worked in our favour. Losing the toss did for that bright idea and we contemplated a long afternoon in the field in the 40 over game traditional in this fixture.

Jonny Bridcut took two early wickets but then two good young batsmen settled into a mature partnership. Our bowling and fielding held up well, but on a slow wicket we weren’t able to make a breakthrough and there were always gaps in the field for runs.

Sean Oliver bowled a fiery spell, at one point uprooting their best batsman’s middle stump in spectacular fashion - but off a no ball. Adnan Mohammed was economical. And both Phil Berman - bowling his eight overs straight through - and Nick Gregori varied their bowling cleverly, preventing the Chobham batsmen from really cutting loose. But the total continued to mount.

Nick and Adnan made crucial breakthoughs, dismissing the two best bats, but it was only with the return of Jonny, bowling the last three of his allotted eight overs, that wickets tumbled. Four in total - and it was probably only Jonny’s humanity that denied him a hat-trick, bowling a loopy off-break at the youngster batting 11. He finished with splendid figures of 6-35.

Chobham were all out for 211 in the 40th over, a good effort by the Jesters in the circumstances. But, frankly, too many the skipper thought. Especially as our nine players included only one specialist batsman.

At 35 for 3 things didn’t look any better. But then John Murphy and Adnan Mohammed embarked on what turned out to be the match winning partnership.

Those who’ve only played with John in recent seasons may not be aware what a good batsman he is. He won the Arnold Woods trophy in, I think, 2002 for a masterly innings against a rapid attack on tour. And this innings was surely its equal. If not for shear physical courage - the Chobham bowling was useful but not life-threatening - then for temperament and technique. Somewhat riled by the fielders’ “league comments”, he was well and truly “in the zone”.

Adnan did much more than simply keep John company, matching him shot for shot as the partnership passed the 50, 100 and 150 milestones. He played some beautiful off-side strokes - cuts and drives - to complement the brutal crash through mid-wicket. John was particularly strong through mid-on and mid-wicket, with a truly crunching weight of shot, and was always alive to the deft deflection to third man.

What Chobham didn’t realise was how little batting we had after this pair - another wicket and the game could have been over very quickly. But of course John and Adnan did appreciate this point which made their partnership all the more special. Measured batting of the highest order.

At 199-3 we had the game in the bag. Or so we thought. Then John fell for 86 to a steepling boundary catch, Sean Oliver came and went, and Jonny Manners was dropped at slip first ball. Gulp! Could we possibly lose it from here?

There followed a couple of nail-biting overs - including a nervous maiden at Jonny - before Adnan took us home in style with a couple of boundaries, finishing on 85 not out.

A great win. Thank you the Magnificent Nine!

16th August - Middleton Stoney

Jesters 222 for 4

Middleton Stoney 130 for 7

Match drawn

Jesters just fell short on another lovely day at Middleton Stoney

“The combination of great hospitality, beautiful surroundings, a traditional timed game and a lovely summer's afternoon makes the visit to Middleton Stoney, Oxfordshire one of the most pleasant fixtures of the year. It did not disappoint again this year.

“The home side won the toss and invited the Jesters to bat first. Skipper Cleobury renewed his partnership with Nick Mumby. The two got the Jesters innings off to a good start before Cleobury was out caught off a leading edge for 20. Mumby and Russell Ewings continued the good start, Mumby in particular looking to take the attack to the bowlers. Mumby ended up with another 35 (see Pink Elephants). Ewings made a stylish 21 before being undone by one that kept a little low. Then James Douse, showing good form with an early clip off his legs for four, sadly misdirected the next one back to the bowler.

“This brought Pooniah Vijendran and Jonny Bridcut together. Vijendran looked in top form as started tucking into the visitors attack (in particular some generous full tosses). They both settled into their innings well and the scoreboard rattled along - the most likely mode of dismissal being a run out given some interesting calling! The pair put on over a hundred for the fifth wicket and the Jesters reached tea at 222 for 4. Vijendran finished on 79* from 79 balls, Bridcut 49* off 53 balls.

“After the usual excellent tea, the Jesters took the field knowing that they would need to bowl well to take 10 wickets. They got the start they wanted with Bridcut striking in the first over. Sadly John Murphy was not at full fitness at the other end and had to leave proceedings early. This did allow for the long awaited come back of Matthew Berry, who after a few looseners soon found that nagging line that the Jesters have missed over the last season and a half.

“The home side consolidated after the early loss and the scoreboard was ticking over for them nicely, until their skipper blasted on to Berry in the covers off Bridcut. Mumby then replaced Bridcut and took a wicket immediately, by removing their in-form opener, caught by Bridcut at mid-on. The hosts were still going for it though and their keeper was unleashing some lusty blows. It was Berry who made the decisive blow inducing a top edged pull which was pouched by keeper Cleobury. With Mumby picking up two LBWs at the other end, the Jesters had reduced Middleton Stoney to 6 down.

“There then followed an exhibition by the seventh wicket pair, sporting a number of cricketing decades between them, who played every ball on its merit. Cleobury shuffled his bowlers introducing Phil Berman, Nick Gregori and Vijendran into the attack, but the partnership would not be broken. It was only at the end that the return of Bridcut brought the final wicket that the Jesters would take. Middleton Stoney ended up on 130 for 7, with Bridcut ending with 3 for 31, Mumby 3 for 8 and Berry 1 for 20.

“As is traditional, our hosts treated us to an excellent BBQ after the game. All in all a lovely day out.”

Many thanks to match manager Simon Cleobury for this account.

9th August - Hudson batters Rickling

Robbie Hudson scored a magnificent century as we won easily against Rickling Ramblers.

Jesters: 201-1 declared (35 overs)

Hudson 102*, Chak 82, Willliamson 7*

Rickling Ramblers: 74 all out (28.1 overs)

Murphy 9-3-17-5, Bridcut 8.1-0-26-3, Mohammed 6-1-20-2, B. Sareen 5-3-10-0

Match manager Ollie Doward explains:

“All good things come to those who wait. The big story of our thumping 127 run victory at Rickling Green was a first competitive Jesters ton for Robbie Hudson. By his own admission, Robbie's three figures at the Shenley Club Day last season didn't really count, so as his hundredth run was cut backward of point in trademark Hudson style, a hugely popular century was greeted with unbridled joy by team-mates.

“Batting first, Hudson (102*, 13 fours, 3 sixes) and DJ Chak (82) made light of a sporting wicket to post a brilliant first wicket partnership of 185. DJ mixed textbook defence with some pugnacious drives on both sides of the wicket while Hudson was all cuts, flicks and pulls, including three big sixes over square leg. After DJ holed out when seemingly set for a century of his own, Williamson, looking to atone for some wayward driving at nearby Great Hadham Golf Club in the morning, guided his partner through the nervous nineties before the declaration came at 201-1 off 35 overs.

“A one-sided affair was quickly concluded in just 28.1 overs as the home side subsided to 74 all out. John Murphy rolled back the years, ripping through the Rickling top order to take 5-17 off 9 overs. There was a period of alarm as storm clouds gathered and the last two men dug in to post the highest partnership of the innings (23) to delay our retreat to The Cricketers Arms, but the first ball of Jonny Bridcut's second spell duly ended proceedings before the heavens opened. Jonny finished with figures of 3-26 and Adnan Mohammed 2-20.”

4th August - Cuckfield rained-off

With standing water on the square and heavy rain forecast all day, we called off the game at 9.30, at least avoiding a wasted drive all the way to Sussex.

1st August - Deutsche Bank debacle?

Rumours reach Jesters HQ of a 110 run defeat (approximately). More when we know it.

28th July - Horsham cancelled

Sadly we were unable to raise a side for what is our oldest fixture. Next year is the 80th anniversary so it would be good if we could put out a decent XI.

25th July - Extraordinary scenes at Roehampton

Match manager Robbie Hudson reveals all:

“2.30, on a pitch offering something to the bowlers, the Jesters were 9-4, with DJ back in the trees after leaving a ball which knocked back his leg stump, Alex Smith and Adnan Mohammed lbw and Christian Judd clean bowled by one which jagged back. At this point, one of Roehampton's opening bowlers got a side-strain, thank God.

“Three careful partnerships took the Jesters to 98-7, and some lusty hitting off the last few overs brought us to a defensible 145. The scoring was pretty evenly spread around, with everyone getting between 0 and 12, and Matt Williamson scoring 73 before being out to a loopy full-toss.

“Bridcut and Mohammed tore through the top of the enemy order, there was a recovery which saw things look pretty even for a while, but then a couple of wickets fell to the twirling Mohammed and persistent Chak (or One Chak Mind as I have taken to calling him) and Roehampton shut up shop with 13 overs to go.

“In the end, they scored 18 off the last 20, or vice versa, with Mohammed, Chak, Bridcut and Hayes chipping away manfully. But their numbers nine (looked very decent, was not out at the end) and ten looked like they were seeing the home side home for a battling draw.

“Cometh the hour, cometh the Frenchman. King Louis came to bowl the eighteenth over and immediately drew number ten out of his ground. Allez, allez. After Bridcut was dead-batted for the nineteenth, Louis was replaced for the twentieth by Adnan, who speared a startler into the young batsman's ribs, which he gloved fizzingly to Williamson in the slips.”

Roehampton were all all for 81 giving us a 64 run victory.

18th July - Gemini rained off

A deluge during the morning meant the game was called off after lunch. Thanks to Gemini for their hospitality at lunch and looking forward to next year already.

13th July - More news from tour

The final two days provided a great conclusion to the tour. We beat Canford Cygnets by 5 wickets after bowling them out for 171 (they were 120-1 not long before lunch). And won by the same margin against Hampshire Hogs, chasing 202. Full match reports to follow.

11th July - Early news from tour

We managed a good start to the annual Dorset tour beating Milton Abbey Hornets by 4 wickets on the magnificent school ground. Milton Abbey were 125 all out not long after lunch (Craig Gourlay 4-7) but against tight bowling on a slow pitch our batsmen were never able to cut loose and we were grateful to crawl across the finishing line. A full report will follow after the tour.

News is just in of a draw against Bryanston Butterflies who scored 243. Ollie Doward blocked out the last over with us on 222-9 after 6 wickets had fallen for 29 runs in the chase. Jonny Bridcut scored 61.

27th June - Pink Elephants thriller

Pink Elephants 102 All Out

Jesters 105 for 7

There was great excitement amongst the 11 lucky Jesters who played in our first ever fixture against the Pink Elephants at the magnificent Westminster School ground in Vincent Square.

Not many get to play at this beautiful ground, an amazing 13 acres hidden away between Vauxhall Bridge Road and Wilton Road, so we were very honoured to be invited. We also could not have picked a nicer day for the game - warm, sunny and not a cloud in the sky.

The Pink Elephants batted first. The Pinks' skipper Joe Ireland eased Jonny Bridcut's first delivery through backward point and it raced away for 4. Fears of a long afternoon of chasing leather in high temperatures were soon allayed though as Bridcut, later in the same over, nipped one back to have Ireland plumb in front.

Soon after Bridcut struck again with two beautiful outswingers, both to left handers, the first taken smartly by Nick Mumby at first slip and the second a fantastic diving catch low to his left by Ollie Doward at second slip (made even better by the fact that he only had two hours sleep).

Bridcut ended with excellent figures of 6-0-23-3. He was ably supported at the other end by John Murphy, who bowled a very tight spell of 8-3-14-0, an excellent effort in such hot weather.

The Jesters continued to take wickets on a pitch that was offering plenty of assistance to the bowlers. Ben Sareen (6-0-19-1) bowled an excellent spell and deserved more than his one wicket. Tim Harty found some lift in the pitch inducing the batsman to glove one to keeper Simon Cleobury, then with one pitched right up squared another Pink's batsman right up offering a chance to Doward at short cover, which again he took magnificently. Harty took a third wicket to end with magnificent figures of 7-2-18-3.

The Jesters' spin twins Nick Mumby (2-0-6-0) and Adnan Mohammed came to finish things off, with Mohammed equalling Bridcut's tally of 3 wickets, ending with figures of 3.4-1-6-3. The Pinks were bowled out for 102 and the team when to enjoy hot scones for tea!

Skipper Cleobury promoted Mumby to open the batting with him. It was the skipper that fell first to one that popped and presented a simple catch to the waiting silly mid off. Mumby was joined by Harrison and they began to build a good partnership, Mumby in particular latching onto anything short.

However, both Harrison (10) and Mumby (35) then departed, and they were soon followed by Douse, Doward and Mohammed, who both fell to the excellent spell from the young Pinks fast bowler and Bridcut fell trying to sweep the left arm spin of Ireland. The Jesters were in danger of throwing away another run chase with a most Jester-like collapse!

However, it was Louis Harris (28*) who steered the Jesters to victory, courtesy of some typically lusty strikes. The Jesters won by 3 wickets and the teams retired to the Barley Mow to rehydrate.

We would like to say a huge thank you to Joe Ireland and the Pink Elephants for the opportunity to play on such a lovely ground. We very much hope we will be invited to play again.

20th June - Radley & the Dilscoop

Radley Rangers 247/5 dec (60 overs)

Jesters 166/8 (46 overs) (Harris 55)

Match drawn

A strong Jesters XI took on a young Rangers XI at the idyllic ground at Radley only to emerge with a frustrating draw.

After winning the toss on a rare rain-free morning, the Jesters invited the hosts to bat first. Despite the opening bowlers beating the bat regularly, wickets proved hard to come by as the Radley top order made the most of a flat surface to lay the foundations for a decent score. However, the Jesters' attack showed great discipline and ensured that the scoring rate remained around 3 an over for most of the innings, despite attacking fields and Nick Mumby's moon balls.

Perhaps aware of a certain old boy in the Jesters' ranks, the hosts batted on towards 4 o'clock with little sign of an acceleration in the scoring, though the game opened up slightly when the visiting captain called on the wiles of two underrated leg spinners; Louis Harris dusted off his right arm and claimed 2 wickets with his bamboozling combination of high yorkers, short good length balls and the occasional googly.

Andy Harris was the pick of the seamers with his probing outswing and deserved more than the one wicket. The Rangers eventually declared on an imposing 247/5 from 60 overs.

The Jesters' opening pair of Tony Crockert and Ponniah Vijendran built a solid platform before tea, though after the resumption the required rate soon reached more than 7 an over, and the much hyped Jesters' top 6 struggled to penetrate the defensive fields set.

An unfortunate run out brought Ponniah's stay at the crease to an end, and from there the loss of regular wickets meant that scaling 250 became impossible. Louis Harris carried his fine bowling form into the second half of the game with a commanding 55, though received little significant support.

Nevertheless, the Jesters continued to play their shots, with the pick of the bunch being a perfect "dilscoop" to the fine leg boundary by Andy Harris off the Rangers opening bowler; a leading contender for shot of the season!

After a couple of late wickets, Nick Mumby was called on to survive the last few balls to ensure that defeat was avoided, though our first victory in this fixture will have to wait until another year.

As ever, we would like to thank the Radley Rangers for their hospitality in what has become one of the stand-out fixtures in the Jesters diary.

12th June - Narrow defeat at Jesus

“Play got underway earlier than usual on a sunny Cambridge day to allow the Jesus students extra revision time ahead of their impending finals. Having been inserted, the Jesus top order faced a stern examination in the form of Jonny Bridcut (3-51), who found some fearsome swing with the new ball, which included the prize wicket of Jesus skipper (and Jester) Sam Grimshaw. Sadly, Matt Berry suffered a recurrence of his shoulder injury after bowling just one over. It did yield a wicket though, a stumping off a wide!

“With wickets falling at regular intervals and Adnan Mohammed (4-60) turning the screw at first change, the students needed something special to drag themselves from the mire. Enter Blues all-rounder Frankie Brown who smeared a rapid 72. Fielders were posted far and wide but to no avail. Ably supported by the dogged Graves (41), he enabled the home side to declare on 191-8.

“In reply, we were cruising at 104-2 after Hudson (29) and Harris (30) put on 62 and debutant Skid Marks hit a breezy 26. There followed a dramatic collapse instigated by left-arm tweaker Brown. Wicketless and out-bowled by Adnan last year, he gained revenge by wiping out our middle and lower order to finish with 16-5-28-5. Sean Oliver (25) offered late resistance with some hearty blows but the death knell sounded when last man Berry was pinned in front playing a shot hereafter known as 'The Curtsey'. All out 170 and defeat by 21 runs, only our second loss at Jesus in a decade. Although disappointed with our feeble demise, it was fantastic to see the relish with which the Jesus players greeted the final wicket.

“Captain Grimshaw missed the last knockings having been whisked off to Addenbrooke's Hospital for three stitches in his mouth after wearing a Hudson top edge at slip, but was happily back in time to toast victory through a straw. And Jesters pride was partially restored when a team of Berry, Harrison, Doward and Marks put the students in their place by romping to victory in the Jesus College Bar general knowledge quiz!”.

Thanks to match manager Ollie Doward for this account.

7th June - Heavy defeat at Amersham

Amersham 261/9 (40 overs)

Jesters 170/8 (40 overs)

The trip to Amersham CC and their wonderful ground is a highlight in every season for the Jesters. Sadly for the second year on the trot the conditions were grey, damp and cold It was decided that the competition would be limited overs with 40 per side The Jesters won the toss and elected to chase.

Tight bowling from the opening pair DJ Chak and Sean Oliver restricted Amersham to a shade under 100 for the first 20 overs. Though sadly a couple of dropped catches meant that the home team had plenty of wickets in hand The introduction of Adnan Mohammed had the desired effect and he set about demolishing their middle order.

As ever, Amersham put out a young and enthusiastic side with plenty of talent, and their batting continued deep into the lower order. Adnan continued to take wickets, but the other bowlers failed to stem the scoring from the other end - not helped by an increasingly wet ball - and the onslaught from the final ten overs brought the total to an imposing 261. Adnan finished with very impressive figures of 5 for 29 from his 8 overs.

The response got off to the worst possible start, with a mix-up between DJ Chak and Tony Crockert resulting in the latter being run out. Louis Harris soon followed, brilliantly caught in the slips by Amersham's South African pro.

DJ kicked on and played aggressively for his 30. James Williams (33) and Matt Williamson (30) rebuilt the innings and both played some terrific strokes on what was now a very sticky pitch. By this point, however, the Jesters were well behind the rate, and needed nearly 10 runs an over from the last 15.

The wickets now began to fall as steadily as the rain as we went in search of those elusive boundaries. Late cameos from Sean Oliver (26*) and James Douse (24) added a degree of respectability to the scoreline, but in the end we were well beaten by 91 runs, finishing on 170 for 8.

Another enjoyable afternoon, nonetheless, though hopefully next year we will get some better weather! That said, there was more play in Amersham than in the test match at Lord's.

13th May - NPL game cancelled

NPL have cancelled the game on Sunday because they are unable to raise a side. Sorry to disappointment everyone, especially as we were aiming for the third successive tie in this fixture.

We reconvene at Amersham on June 5th. See you there.

8th May - Victory at HAC

We beat the Honourable Artillery Company by 6 wickets to record our first win of the season.

The wickets were shared round as HAC were bowled out for just 113. Jonny Bridcut cleaned up the tail after Jesters debutants Sean Oliver and Dan Hayes had both picked up wickets. Louis Harris top scored with 46 as we won with more than ten overs to spare.

One peculiarity was that after two months with barely a drop of rain in London the start was delayed by an hour while we waited for puddles from overnight rain to clear.

Hopefully a fuller match report will appear here soon.

20th April - Close finish at Hurlingham

Jesters 329/5 declared (Butler 168*, C Smith 83)

Hurlingham 219/9 (Mohammed 4/42, Mumby 3/31)

Match manager Jonny Bridcut reveals all:

“The traditional season's curtain-raiser saw the Hurlingham Club left dangling by a thread to secure a draw against a Jesters XI seeking their first victory for many years in this leafy London oasis.

“After losing the toss, the Jesters were invited to bat first on a belter of a wicket more akin to mid-August than pre-Easter. It was not long before the two Simons, Butler and Cleobury, started piercing the field with abandon and the score quickly raced past 50. When Cleobury edged one behind and the feline Louis Harris ran out of his nine lives, the Jesters were tottering at 78/2, a middle-order wobble away from a grim lunch.

“However, Chris Smith, in his first innings for the club, joined his former university captain and the pair proceeded to plunder an astonishing 195 runs. Both took heavy toll on a weakened Hurlingham attack and made use of the shorter boundary towards the endangered iconic clubhouse. One of Simon's searing cover drives over the nearby fountain and onto the croquet lawns will live long in the memory and was one of the biggest hits since the Beatles.

“While the two were together, the only concern the visitors' captain had was that a monumental total of 400 appeared on the cards. Simon powered past his hundred with a six over the sightscreen and continued to crunch the ball to every part of the idyllic ground on his way to a majestic 168 not out (which had Ned scurrying around to check whether it was a club record). His hundred came off 114 balls, with the remaining 68 off only 34 balls! (Ed: Simon’s 168 is indeed the highest ever individual score by a Jester - congratulations Simon!)

“Chris's unfortunate dismissal for a fine 83, when a century seemed certain, meant that the middle order had an opportunity to wield the willow and help push the score past 300. The Jesters declared before 3pm, with a total of 329/5 off just 49 overs.

“Although the scoreboard cannot lie, the visitors knew that the job was under half done, as taking 10 wickets on this benign surface was sure to prove a stern challenge. Hurlingham got off to a solid start, picking off a few boundaries where possible, and eased through the opening overs.

“However, a customary inswinger soon nipped back through the gate to expose the middle order to the Arnold Woods-trophy-holder before tea. Unsurprisingly, Adnan immediately found his rhythm and started to chip away at the Hurlingham line up, helped by some magnificent aggression from Max Harris at the other end. Max was extraordinarily unlucky to only finish with one wicket, which was fended off the batsman's throat to a leaping Vijendran.

“However, as the final twenty overs approached, the easy-paced surface seemed to be getting the better of the strong Jesters' attack and Hurlingham were drifting towards an aimless draw.

“Nicholas Mumby had different ideas, as his wizardry sparked a final hour flourish. First, through cunning flight he lured their star batsman to lash one down the throat of long on; then, in one remarkable over in his second spell, he span one two feet past the textbook leave of the Club's young minister of defence before surprising the next man with a quicker one that knocked out all three. This meant that one wicket was needed with three overs remaining.

“Adnan, who had already snared 4 wickets, found the outside edge in the very next over, and the victory dance was one slip catch away! However, the statesman stood next to the wicketkeeper was reminiscing over his triumphs of the last 5 minutes and could not quite cling on to the chance. The captain rotated his bowlers to maximise the batsmen's discomfort, though the hosts' last pair dug in to ensure that another year would pass without defeat.

“As ever, the Jesters would like to thank the Hurlingham Club for being such fine hosts on what was a super day for good old-fashioned declaration cricket; the art of taking all 10 wickets to win a game will have to wait until later in 2011.”

1st February - New fixtures announced

We’re pleased two announce two new fixtures for the 2011 season. The first being against the Westminster School staff side The Pink Elephants at the school's ground in Vincent Square on Sunday 26 June. The other being against Milton Abbey in Dorset on Sunday 10 July, which will mark the start of the annual tour.

Both are wonderful grounds in lovely settings. You may well know Vincent Square, but if you’re unfamiliar with Milton Abbey it’s probably enough to say that many think it an even prettier place than Canford.

31st January - Nets at Lord’s 2011

Club nets begin at Lord’s on Tuesday 15th February and continue on the following dates: 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 March; 5 & 12 April. All are Tuesdays and all sessions are 7-8pm.

To book places please contact Andrew Short. The cost is £8.00 per person per session. And the usual rule applies: if you book and subsequently cancel and we’re unable to find a replacement you will be charged. See you there!

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