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Archive: 2014 News & Reports

Take a stroll down memory lane with club news and match reports from the Jesters CC 2014 season.

Updates appear in reverse chronological order...

20th November - John Murphy takes charge

At the recent club AGM Nick Mumby stood down as Hon Secretary and was replaced by John Murphy. Thanks for all your hard work Nick - and good luck John. You can read about other committee changes and the annual awards below.

19th November - Report on AGM and Awards

Brasserie Blanc on Chancery Lane was the venue for the annual dinner. 28 Jesters turned-out and a good time was had by all. Ollie Doward should be thanked for putting together an excellent quiz, the result of which is still the matter of dispute.

At the AGM, Nick Mumby stood down as a Hon. Secretary. He was thanked by all for his service. He was replaced by John Murphy, whose previous position of Hon. Treasurer was filled by Chris Smith.

Jonny Bridcut was re-elected as Hon. Match Secretary, as were all other Committee members (Ollie Doward, Louis Harris, Robbie Hudson, Simon Rawson and Andrew Short).

Jonny provided an entertaining summary of the season, and John reported on the Club’s finances which remain in a healthy state.

The highlight of the award ceremony at the dinner was the unveiling of the new Roger Greenslade Trophy for the “most Jester-like” performance of the season. The annual awards were presented at the dinner:

Arnold Woods Trophy (best performance of the season) to Nick Gregori for his match-winning 86 against Carnegie

Roger Greenslade Trophy to Adnan Mohammad for the distinction of being dismissed caught and bowled from a delivery that bounced twice.

Michael Meyer Award for big-hitting went to Jackson Locke for his enormous six at the Hurlingham Club

10th October - AGM & Dinner

The 2014 AGM and Dinner will take place on Friday 14th November at Brasserie Bl;anc in Chancery Lane. See here for full details and how to book your place.

14th September - Perfect ending at Barnes Common

A stone’s throw from the heart of sophisticated Barnes Village lies Barnes Common cricket ground, a delightful throwback to the rustic origins of the game. No changing rooms, no sightscreens, a rough looking square and a ground surrounded completely by trees.

The Jesters’ end of season pilgrimage to these sylvan groves traditionally involves a hard fought game against Barnes Common CC, and 2014 was no exception. 35 overs a side – and a bright orange ball for visibility against the trees.

In truth the square plays much better than it looks. But a shooter or snorter is rarely far away – at least in the batsman’s mind – which produces exciting cricket as the runs need to be scored quickly before the unplayable delivery arrives.

So with Jackson Locke striding to the crease expectations were high. But sadly it was not to be as he quickly became the day’s first lbw victim. He was soon followed by skipper Louis Harris, bowled by something shooterish. Then Ollie Doward, for the second game running, was pinned lbw when well down the track. 21-3.

Chris Smith had been batting serenely at the other end and was now joined by Alex Smith for what we hoped would be the innings-rebuilding partnership. Both stylish batsmen – and left-handed, which seemed to infuriate the opposition – they put together an attractive half century partnership before Alex fell for 30.

A third left-hander, the veteran Short, then appeared. Annoyed by what he considered – probably wrongly – the opposition’s excessive appealing he was in an especially grumpy mood and took limpet-like residence at the crease. They shall not pass.

The following passage of play was a batting masterclass from Chris. He appeared to be playing on a different surface from the rest of us. But it was actually a triumph of technique over the conditions. Watch the ball. Play late. Wait for the right ball and hit it hard into the gaps.

The score had more than doubled when Chris was out for a superb 80. We were now 154-5 in the 29th over – a strong position but with late impetus needed to give us a defendable total.

This duly came from Noah Hillyard (a run-a-ball 14) and Nick Gregori (13 from 5 balls). Even Short remembered a few shots he once used to play. 203 for 7 was definitely competitive.

When we took the field it was Ollie Doward who gamely strapped on the pads as we had no regular keeper in the side. Thanks Ollie. He was faced with an opening attack of Noah Hillyard and Phil Berman.

One of the great pleasures of playing for the Jesters this summer has been watching Phil’s bowling. Week-in week-out he glides in and at no great pace baffles batsmen with cunning variations of late swing. And so he did again today, bowling his seven over allocation straight through for only 17 runs and taking two wickets, both lbw. At the other end Noah also took two, one clean bowled plus another lbw.

Barnes Common were soon five wickets down for 30-odd but with their Australian skipper still at the crease we couldn’t take victory for granted. He looked a fine batsman and struck several powerful boundaries. Our change bowlers would need to maintain the pressure.

This they did, both Nick Gregori and Nick Mumby bowling tight spells. Finding sharp turn the Hon Sec was particularly unlucky to take only two wickets. Sonia Twigg also bowled a useful spell. With one extremely flighted delivery she nearly reproduced Spedegue’s Dropper, bowling the batsman on the full toss. Sadly, in these more restrictive times, it was called no-ball.

But what gave us most pleasure in the field was our ground fielding. Or, to be more specific, our ability to throw down the stumps with direct hits (as unlikely as that might sound to seasoned Jesters-watchers). We ran out two batsmen this way and should have had a third!

Skipper Louis Harris was the first Jonty, running round from slip as the batsmen tried to sneak a single with the ball dribbling towards fine leg. Nick Gregori was the second, swooping from the covers. Phil Berman also scored a direct hit with the batsman short of his ground, but it was ruled not out as Ollie had accidentally knocked off the bails with his pads moments before. Otherwise Ollie put in a fantastic performance behind the stumps, with several terrific leg-side takes.

By now we were so totally in control – 145-8 after 32 overs – that the skipper felt able to slip himself on for a bowl at the tail. His first delivery disappeared over cow corner for four; the second cleaned bowled the batsman; while the third had the number 11 plumb lbw. Fitting reward for having led the troops so well.

So a 54 run victory. Well done everyone. A lovely game, Jester-like performances all round, and the first signs of autumn gold spreading through the sylvan groves of Barnes Common.

As one Jester put it in a post-match email, “Perfect Ending”.

1st September - Last over drama at Bray

On a beautiful late summer afternoon at Maidenhead & Bray the Jesters fielded first in a 40 over game after skipper Adnan Mohammed lost the toss.

Late season games at Bray are rarely high scoring affairs, generally played on rather tired surfaces that have been used for the previous day’s league match. Even as few as 150 can be a tricky chase. So we knew early wickets would be important in keeping down the runs.

Phil Berman duly obliged taking three quick wickets to reduce them to 20-3. His opening partner, Jonny Bridcut, was battling the effects of a very late night and his bowling did not perhaps have its usual zip. But when Jonny clean bowled the Maidenhead number three we were in the driving seat at 40-4.

There followed a battling 50-run partnership that swung the game back towards our opponents. Skipper Mohammed set interesting fields in an attempt to finesse a wicket (or, as some claimed, to confound his bowlers) and the Jesters laid their bodies on the line in the field.

John Murphy was particularly in the wars. A massive blow on the thumb while fielding at short extra cover was soon followed by another when bowling, a tracer bullet coming straight back at him in his follow through and leaving a deep impression on his thigh.

Three quick wickets from DJ Chak turned the game yet again before an annoying 30-run partnership for the eighth wicket. Then the final three wickets tumbled in an instant and Maidenhead had been bowled out for 148. Certainly a chaseable total but far from straightforward on the slow surface. DJ finished with the splendid figures of 6-2-11-5.

Ollie Doward was playing his first Jesters game for twelve months and in the field we realised just how much we had missed him. He clung on to two tremendous catches – plus an easier third – a howitzer shell in the covers and an immense steepler on the long-on boundary made all the trickier by the ball disappearing into the sun as it returned from orbit.

In pursuit of 149 for victory, the veteran Short was dismissed for a sketchy 20 before the real batters went to work. But at 46-3 in the 15th over it seemed there was still much work to be done, especially with John Murphy perhaps unable to bat because of his damaged thumb.

Louis Harris and Ollie then chiselled out a crucial 48 run partnership, largely against a very promising young leggie who flighted the ball beautifully and a cunning slow-medium pacer who bowled his eight overs for only nine runs. Both batsmen fell around the 100 mark, Ollie amusingly adjudged LBW when yards down the pitch (the keeper later apologised for appealing). Louis scored 33 and Ollie 24.

The score was now 105-5, but such had been the difficulty of run-making that only 7 overs remained to score the remaining 44 runs. In other words we needed to double our scoring rate to win the game.

Fortunately the new batsman was DJ, batting down the order because of his earlier bowling achievements. He proceeded to stroke the ball around with calm authority and – with help from Rufus Frere-Smith and then the skipper – the total mounted. Eight from the 37th over, seven from the 38th, six from the 39th. Just four to win from the final over - and DJ on strike.

Veteran Maidenhead skipper Matt Armstrong brought up the field to cut out the easy single and DJ took up the challenge going over mid-off for the winning boundary. Unfortunately he didn’t quite get the elevation and mid-off took a comfortable catch. Five balls remaining. Still four to win. A crucial 23 from DJ.

Cue mild panic in the pavilion and rapid reassessment of the batting order. John Murphy decided he could just about hold a bat after all, and with his striking ability was sent in next. He biffed his first ball wide of mid-on for two and his second in the same direction for a single. Three balls remaining. Scores level. Skipper Mohammed on strike.

The fielders crept ever so slightly closer. A man came in to stop the easy leg-bye off the pads. Dot ball. Two balls remaining. Scores level. Skipper Mohammed on strike.

The fifth ball was slightly straighter and slightly shorter, and Adnan managed to turn it behind square on the leg side. In fact he’d struck it really sweetly and it sped away for four. We’d won! By 3 wickets. A nervy run chase in best Jesters tradition.