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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.

Many thanks to Maidenhead & Bray for their excellent hospitality. It really is a great pleasure to play on such a beautiful ground against a club who still take traditional Sunday cricket seriously.

23rd August - Rikki-Tikki-Middleton Stoney

We lost an enjoyable and hard-fought game at Middleton Stoney by 4 wickets, succumbing to a brutal assault from a Mongoose MMi3.

Match manager John Murphy explains:

“After a wet week in Oxfordshire, we were happy to be able to start on time. Jesters won the toss, and opted to bat first on a surprisingly dry pitch. We got off to a steady start, although the wet outfield meant some good shots were not fully rewarded.

“The star of the Jesters innings was newly-wed Louis Harris who made a very impressive 70. Other valuable contributions were made by Fred Price and Rufus Frere-Smith.

“It became increasingly easy to score as we approached tea, and, whilst at one stage we would have been happy with our 164, it started to look less strong as the game progressed.

“The Middleton Stoney innings could not have started better for the Jesters, with Phil Berman and John Murphy claiming wickets in their first overs leaving the opposition 0 for 2.

“An innings by R. Simpson then turned the game. Batting with a short bladed bat (the aforementioned Mongoose, Ed.), he smashed the Jesters seamers all around the ground (now with a fast outfield), reaching his fifty in just 30 balls. Adnan Mohammad and Louis Harris applied the brakes somewhat, and when Adnan bowled Simpson for 72 thoughts of a Jesters victory returned.

“With the score at 118 for 6 it could have gone either way. However, a very sensible unbeaten partnership between M. Simpson and D. Clark took the opposition to victory.

“Thanks for Middleton Stoney for an excellent game, and their usual great hospitality.”

9th August - Ashtead game cancelled

Unfortunately yet another Sunday game has been cancelled, Ashtead having managed to accidentally double book the 7th September. Always sad not to play at Ashtead as it is our oldest continuous fixture dating back to the 1930s.

9th August - Cuckfield: Rufus returns

We spent another enjoyable day at Cuckfield experiencing their usual excellent Cricket Week hospitality. This year the result went against us, losing by 56 runs after they declared with as many as 302-5.

The day was perhaps most notable for the return of Rufus Frere-Smith, playing his first Jesters game for twelve years after a spell living in the Far East. Welcome back Rufus!

Jesters won the toss and elected to chase as is traditional in this fixture. A very short boundary on the pavilion side made the ground even more fast scoring than usual and we leaked runs from the start.

Freddie Garth bowled a brisk opening spell downhill and was unlucky to take just one wicket. He was well supported by a tight eight overs up hill from Simon Rigby.

But after that the wheels rather fell off. Several bowlers struggled manfully to bowl up hill with the short leg-side boundary and their figures don’t make pretty reading. We dropped the big-hitting number three early in his innings and again before he finally went for 95. And at lunch Cuckfield were more than 150-3.

The assault continued after the break. Finally, when a second batsman was out in the nineties with the score on 282 we assumed the declaration had arrived. Twenty runs later it actually did.

It would be fair to say we set off in pursuit of this substantial target in hope rather than expectation. The scale of our task was reinforced when Cuckfield’s overseas player - Nick Beard a New Zealand “A” slow left-armer - was introduced into the attack with our score barely 30-0.

Sakib Ikram batted beautifully for 64 but once he went we lost wickets at regular intervals without ever being up with the required run rate. Rob Dancey (29), Tom Bell (23), Rufus Frere-Smith (23) and Nick Beck (37) all started promisingly without going on to play the major innings we required.

We were finally all out for 246 when Beard castled the skipper for a golden duck. Perhaps a fitting end to a rather one-sided encounter.

28th July - Rickling Green game cancelled

Sadly Rickling Green are unable to raise a side so the game on Sunday 3rd August has been canceled.

28th July - Good victory at Roehampton

Always one of the most enjoyable games of the season, we had another very pleasant afternoon on Putney Heath against Roehampton CC.

It was one of those days when everything seemed to go right for us while the opposition were rather unlucky. Roehampton won the toss and batted, making 106. We eventually won by 8 wickets. Many thanks to Roehampton for their excellent hospitality.

Skipper Robbie Hudson shares his thoughts on proceedings:

“The clear highlight of this game was Roehampton's number eleven smacking Adnan Mohammed through long on with immense authority. A young woman was lying in the sun reading a book. Everyone shouted out to warn her. She paid no attention. The ball crashed into her bare shoulder. She barely reacted. She watched the ball roll down towards her feet and went back to her book.

“John Twigg or possibly Matt Williamson picked up the ball and chucked it back in. The woman never looked up from her book. The slip cordon couldn't take their eyes off her for about ten minutes. Would she, at least, go for a rub? Nothing. It was a very impressive display.

“Other points of interest, Jackson Locke's first spell in twenty years showed a bustly sort of hooping inswing - the missing link between Bridcut and Twigg, if you will, on the way to Andrew Short.

“Short's mesmeric 'seamers' dealt with two very decent Roehampton batters, and another who might have been good but went to his first legitimate ball after watching a pair of teasing wides. The idea that this could be called a golden duck practically blew Jackson Locke's mind. Their number three also went first ball, this time to Mohammed, caught Short, very sharply to his left side, at slip.

“Dan Jordan and Mike Palmer, a hockey-heavy opening partnership, looked entirely untroubled until a poor captaincy decision - the skipper reminded Palmer that the Michael Meyer trophy could be in play if he landed a ball on Dan Jordan's car and Mike instantly played a shot which would have cleared the car handily if he had connected, but he didn't and was out (for 30).

“As for the specifics: Roehampton, with a longer batting line-up than they have often had, got out pretty much every time they played a false stroke and fell to 106 in the sultry summer heat. Berman (3-31), Mohammed (3-8), Locke, Short (3-18) and Willis all bowled well, and the Jesters didn't give the very sporting wicket a chance to cause any middle-order wobbles. Dan Jordan scored the first of, hopefully, many Jesters fifties (60*). He had dropped a sitter, so he owed it.”

23rd July - Bedouins bounce back

We put in a lacklustre performance at the lovely Ascott Park ground enabling the Bedouins to gain revenge for defeats in the previous two seasons.

Performance of the day came from Saif Zaib who had bowled us to victory at Bryanston last year. Unfortunately he was playing today for the Bedouins so we weren’t able to appreciate his 88 as we otherwise might. No one else scored more than 18 in their total of 174 so it really was a crucial innings.

In reply a decent Jesters batting line up collapsed to 34-5 and after that there was no way back. Nick Gregori (34) and Adnan Mohammed (30) took us to 99-6 but we then folded to 114 all out. Not one of our better days.

16th July - Close finish with Carnegie

New opponents Carnegie gave us an excellent game on their Wandsworth ground, the Jesters sneaking home by 10 runs.

Your correspondent wasn’t present at the match. But from the scorebook it seems we owe a huge debt to Nick Gregori who smote a swift 86, rescuing our innings from a perilous position.

In a 40 over game the Jesters batted first. Mssrs Chak, Dancey, Harris and Mohammed all made double figures but no one went on to play a major innings. Wickets slipped away and we found ourselves 86-6 in the 18th over.

Cue Nick Gregori who strode to the crease at number eight. 21 overs later we were bowled out for 228, Nick’s being the final wicket to fall. En route he had walloped four sixes and eleven fours. Well done Nick!

In response, Carnegie began well. The first wicket fell at 90 in only the 17th over and the second at 149 in the 26th. After that it was nip and tuck all the way with DJ Chak taking three wickets (for 38) and Rob Dancey two (for 16). Carnegie eventually closed on 218-7 just ten runs short. The crucial over looks to have been the 39th, a wicket maiden from Rob Dancey.

10th July - Dorset Tour 2014

The 2014 tour began with an excellent 52 run victory over a good Hampshire Hogs side.

On a fresh summer’s morning at the pretty Warnford ground skipper Simon Rawson elected to bat after winning the toss. It looked a decent batting surface but with a touch of green to keep the seamers interested.

59 overs later we had amassed 258-7. The innings was built around a superb 147 run partnership for the second wicket between DJ Chak (66), continuing his good mid-season form, and Sajid Zaib who completed a commanding century, finishing on 136.

Jonny Bridcut steamed in down the hill, reducing the Hogs to 35-3 in a penetrating opening spell (8-2-19-3). They recovered to 134-4 before losing three wickets for one run and the game seemed up. But a hard hit 41* from the number nine kept the game in the balance until Will Russell took two key wickets with his leg-breaks. Having faced the first ball of the game, DJ Chak then closed proceedings in style, castling the Hogs’ number eleven.

Many thanks to the Hogs for a great day. We look forward to returning next year.

Against Bryanston Butterflies the skipper again chose to bat, this time rather more controversially on a used wicket with a large damp patch on a length where overnight rain had seeped under the covers.

The Butterflies unleashed the rapid Teddington 1st XI opening bowler who took two early wickets. The damp patch produced another and at 20-3 our rather thin batting line up was exposed. We finally crawled to 137 all out, Sajid again top scoring, this time with 37.

By now the wicket had died and was slow and low. It offered sometimes extravagant turn for Will Russell who bowled throughout the Butterflies’ innings, finishing with 3-54 from 19 overs. But the lack of pace or bounce and patient batting from the Butterflies’ top order meant the result was never in doubt. We finally lost by 6 wickets.

Thanks to the Butterflies for their generous hospitality. It was pointed out to us in the bar afterwards that this was the first time we had lost at Bryanston for a number of years, so perhaps we shouldn’t feel too bad about a disappointing performance. But we will look to play better next year.

Remarkably, the skipper again won the toss next day at Canford. This time his decision met with general approval - to bowl on what was a very green wicket.

The Canford Cygnets were soon 40-5 and all seemed well with the world. Surely it would be no more than 120-odd all out and, with the pitch easing, a straightforward victory. But somehow we contrived to take our foot off the gas and the Cygnets even had the luxury of a declaration at 212-9. Perhaps bodies were flagging after two days (and two nights) on tour. Our bowling hero was John Murphy with splendid figures of 13-5-34-5. Liam Donaldson also bowled a couple of good spells taking three wickets.

In response we were well placed at 95-2, with 40 from Neil Weston and Sajid again going well. But then our own George Shepherd, keeping for the Cygnets, turned the game, brilliantly stumping Saj off a brisk