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Archive: 2016 News & Reports

Take a stroll down memory lane with club news and match reports from the Jesters CC 2016 season.

Updates appear in reverse chronological order...

29th November - Report on AGM and Awards

Brasserie Blanc on Chancery Lane was the venue for the annual dinner. Some 28 or so Jesters turned-out and a good time was had by all.

At the AGM, Jonny Bridcut provided an entertaining summary of the season, and in the absence of Chris Smith John Murphy reported on the Club’s finances which remain in a healthy state.

All committee members were re-elected with the officers unchanged. Noah Hillyard was elected as a new committee member.

The annual awards were presented at the dinner:

Arnold Woods Trophy (best performance of the season) to Alex Smith for his innings of 94 at Sawbridgeworth.

Roger Greenslade Trophy to Louis Harris for unselfishly sacrificing his self-esteem when bowling the 41st over in what was supposed to be a 40 over game at Eversholt.

Michael Meyer Award for big-hitting went to Rowan Clapp for a ginormous blow at Hurlingham into a far distant conifer (his innings of 85 took only 34 balls).

10th October - AGM and Dinner

The 2016 Annual General Meeting and Dinner will take place on Friday 18 November - AGM at 6.45pm, dinner at 7.45pm.

We have managed to secure the Brasserie Blanc on Chancery Lane once again this year, where we will be hosted in the restaurant's private room. The restaurant is at the southern (Fleet Street) end of Chancery Lane, which is a short walk from Chancery Lane tube (Central line), or a ten minute walk from Temple tube (Circle / District line).

The cost is £36 - exclusive of drinks - and all members will receive an invitation by email listing the various menu choices. Please reply to Ollie Doward asap.

19th September - Return to Newdigate

Jesters 173-6 (40 overs) A.Mohammed 43*, N.Hillyard 32*, A.Smith 29, R.Alluri 26, R.Clapp 25

Newdigate 174-5 (33.1 overs) A.Ali 3-21

When the Jesters last played Newdigate some 15 years ago it was one of our more basic, rural fixtures. So it was quite a surprise to be greeted by an attractive modern pavilion that dominated the ground, league sponsors' advertising boards around the boundary, and a team of athletic young cricketers kitted-out in identical club shirts, an Australian "pro" among them. And a 40-overs a side game. How times change.

What hasn't changed is the inaccessibility of parts of rural Surrey on a Sunday morning when Southern Rail is doing its best to prevent all travel by train. When skipper Adnan Mohammed won the toss barely half his side were on the ground and he realised we would have to bat. Which was a shame as it was a bowl-first wicket that promised plenty of movement after recent rain.

Openers Sahil Kher and Andrew Short departed quickly, before Alex Smith and Rupesh Alluri dug in against a challenging seam attack. Runs came slowly but their 52 run stand set up the game and was worth many more in better conditions. When both fell to the Newdigate skipper's offies the score stood at 63-4 - from 22 overs. Quick runs were needed urgently.

Fortunately the skipper's relentless tinkering with the batting order meant the powerhouse of Clapp, Mohammed, Murphy and Hillyard was lined-up in the pavilion. First, Rowan Clapp got us moving with several sumptuous blows. Then the Hon Sec was surprised by a brisk, in-swinging yorker from their 1st XI league opening bowler cunningly hidden at fourth change and coming in off four paces.

This set up an excellent, undefeated seventh wicket partnership between the skipper and Noah Hillyard - 56 runs from the final few overs. Noah was the aggressor - 32 from 27 balls - with Adnan accumulating astutely. At the close Adnan was 43 not out, one of several not out innings in recent weeks - both for the Jesters and beyond Jesterdom - and rumour has it he is currently impossible to dismiss.

Our final total of 173 didn't seem quite enough, especially as we had only ten players - thanks to the alternative attraction of Jonny Bridcut's stag weekend - meaning there would be even more gaps in the field than usual. But we felt they'd need to bat well to win.

Twenty overs later - as we reviewed the match situation during the drinks break - it seemed they weren't batting quite well enough. 67-4.

The "destroyer" had been Adam Ali guesting from Ilford Cricket Club. Bowling his 8-over spell unchanged he worked up a lively pace and with seam and swing was quite a handful. 3-21 were very well deserved figures.

At the other end Phil Berman also bowled his spell unchanged. With late swing and Sahil standing up to the stumps he was just as much of a handful and was unlucky to go wicketless (0-21). Sahil demonstrated his usual prowess down the leg side and it was very generous of Phil to allow him the chance of a little practice.

In fielding news, it is good to report that Alex Smith's one-man crusade for a 7-Day NHS has been at least temporarily suspended. Not only did Alex execute a calm run out to separate the opening pair; he also took a nice catch in the covers without the slightest trace of injury.

Perhaps Newdigate slipped something into our orange squash. Or perhaps our drinks interval analysis hadn't paid sufficient attention to the 19th over of the innings when Adnan had been dispatched for fourteen, including a huge wallop for six into the trees beyond the long mid-wicket boundary.

Whatever the explanation, the match changed dramatically once the action resumed. A pair of young batsmen launched a clinical assault, finding the gaps and hitting powerfully. The 100 came up in the 24th over and the 150 in the 31st. We did drop a couple of chances - John Murphy was once again the unlucky bowler - but it was essentially good batting. Noah picked up the fifth wicket and a Short "pie" nearly located a boundary fielder but that was the extent of any success. They romped home in the 34th over winning by 5 wickets.

Disappointing to end the season with another defeat but we fought hard all the way. And a really good effort just getting there and back with so few cars and a dysfunctional rail network. Thanks to all those who persevered through lengthy journeys.

Many thanks too to Newdigate for their hospitality. It was great to return after so many years and find a cricket club most definitely on the up.

12th September - Lovely day at Eversholt

The annual Roger Greenslade Memorial Match with Eversholt at their picture-perfect ground in Bedfordshire ended in a close three wicket victory for the Jesters.

Eversholt - 185-6 (42 overs) J.Bridcut 3-22

Jesters - 189-7 (40 overs) R.Dancey 32, L.Harris 31, O.Doward 29, R.Clapp 27

It wasn’t until the 41st over of their allotted 40 overs that the Eversholt innings really came alive. Unhappy with a below par 153-6, the home team made the unusual request to extend proceedings by an extra two overs. Up stepped Louis Harris, who sacrificed his self-esteem and birdlife in locals’ front gardens to generously propel Eversholt to 185-6.

Up until the declaration bowling, the away attack had kept a miserly watch on the Eversholt middle order. Birthday boy Jonny Bridcut, who turned up an hour late without trousers, rolled back the years in borrowed whites. His 3-22 off eight overs was full of the zip and late in-swing that characterised his early Jesters performances.

Opener Adam Henchy, who had carved 63 of the first 91 runs, was all at sea against the 32-year-old veteran before edging low to first slip where Nick Mumby stooped to take a fine catch. Earlier Jonny had knocked back the middle stump of former Jester Roger Lewis.

At the other end Mumby was in the middle of a mean spell that yielded just 26 runs from nine overs. Andrew Short was just as parsimonious, taking 1-11 off his five overs, the juggling Mumby snaffling another sharp offering at slip. Just 34 runs were scored between the 16th and 34th overs.

But the undoubted highlight of the day came in the 39th over. Stuck on 499 ‘career’ wickets for the last few weeks, John Murphy’s big breakthrough finally arrived in what we initially assumed was the penultimate over. John had begun the day with 20 dot balls and bowled an impressive but unlucky first spell of 7-4-17-0, so it was a moment of great delight for all when Josh Macmillan became an unwitting victim of Murphy history.

Would the Jesters pay for their generosity? It seemed entirely possible at 13-2. Some lusty hitting from Rowan Clapp (27) briefly got the reply back on track but the leg spin partnership of Khan and Henchy exerted something of a stranglehold. Louis Harris (31) and debutant Tom Garvey (18) played skilful, disciplined roles seeing off the talented duo.

When Rob Dancey (32) and Ollie Doward (29) came together with the score on 109-5, the game was very much in the balance. A glut of sharp singles and burgled twos whittled down the target before an explosive 39th over changed the complexion of the chase. Two Doward boundaries were followed by a mighty blow into the woods over the road at mid-wicket.

The sixth wicket partnership of 57 was ended shortly afterwards, paving the way for yet another John Murphy cameo. Not to be outdone in the "cathartic" hitting stakes, John finished the game with a flourish, launching a towering six into a bush over extra cover off their quick and hooking four more next ball to wrap up an exhilarating three wicket win with exactly two overs to spare.

Thanks to Eversholt CC for another special occasion and for the sterling effort clearing an outfield that had been underwater the previous day. It’s a delight to have this fixture back on the card and to once again remember their and our Roger Greenslade, gone but never forgotten.

7th September - Victory at Wargrave

With only three wins under their belt all season, the Jesters rode into the pretty village of Wargrave (at varying times) hoping to recapture form with bat, ball and in the field. By 7pm that evening all three objectives had been met and the feel good factor had returned.

The afternoon began in typical fashion…we would be fielding after another disappointing outing for “Tails for Wales never fails!” The pitch seemed flat and the outfield fast. We looked set for a long afternoon chasing leather.

Up stepped the opening pair of DJ Chak and Phil Berman. Chak bustled in with real intent and caused the opening batsmen problems from as early as ball two. Phil glided to the crease and had the ball shaping beautifully.

It didn’t take long for the wickets to start tumbling. An angled ball from Berman drew a leading edge and Santosh, making his debut as wicketkeeper, sprinted round towards square leg to effortlessly take the catch. That brought Wargrave’s captain and number three to the crease. He looked intent on scoring fast runs, but despite lashing the ball ferociously into the off-side the Jesters ring was impenetrable.

The frustration began to grow. Sensing this Berman sent down a full length swinging ball which proved too much for the batsmen to resist. The ball was sent spinning into the covers and straight into the ever reliable hands of Ollie Doward. The Jesters were on a real roll now and Berman snared his third victim in an identical fashion. This time the fielder was Alex Smith and taking a good catch at extra cover.

The batsmen had clearly been spooked by the swing and guile of Berman and he was to claim his fourth wicket in his last over. The ball clipped firmly to short fine leg, where Rob Dancey took a fine catch. With one ball in his spell remaining, Berman had 4 wickets and the Jesters were cruising. Many bowlers would have been happy with that. Not our Phil. Once again he glided in and delivered a ball which swung away, nipped back off the seam taking the inside edge. From there the ball crashed into the pad and cannoned into the off stump! 5-24 for Phil Berman, a fabulous effort!

At the other end the action was no less dramatic. DJ Chak had bowled an excellent spell, and club legend John Murphy had continued the good work. Desperate for a 500th career wicket he bounded up delivering a ball which spat awkwardly at the batsmen, causing the ball to loop harmlessly into the air straight to our ageing fielding coach. Surely this was the moment…? A gasp of disbelief spread across the field. More fielding drills in Chiswick House seem the only remedy. For John, alas, the hunt for the 500th wicket goes on.

Further wickets fell as Harris and Doward made the most of their respective bowling talents, and DJ returned to throw down the stumps while being politely asked not to by his own teammates. With 8 wickets down Wargrave sent their first XI leading run scorer to the crease. He unleashed a series of brutal drives and cuts and managed to help boost their total to a competitive 185-8 off 40 overs.

The run chase began in unusual manner. Jonathan Bridcut, for years pigeon holed as a fiery in-swinging opening bowler capable of delivering brutal and short spells, was asked to open the batting.

He and Jesters debutant Rupesh Alluri confidently set about chasing down the runs. Balls were played on merit and runs flowed before Rupesh attempted a repeat of a previously excellent pull shot, only to be struck on the pad and given out LBW.

This brought Santosh Verma to the crease who unleashed a steady stream of powerful lofted drives to ensure the Jesters were operating well above the required rate. If Santosh was all power, Bridcut was all finesse. Effortlessly using the pace of the ball to guide cover drives behind square and guide late cuts behind square and to guide backward defensives behind square.

The Jesters assault on their target was briefly interrupted by the unfortunate run-out of Santosh for an entertaining and aggressive 40. Bridcut knew the calling could have been better, and being as honest as the day is long, ‘Honest Jon’ apologised and set about making sure he made amends by leading the team to victory.

Bridcut was joined in the middle by Adnan ‘how are my hands?’ Mohammed. He has been in majestic form all summer and began to time the ball effortlessly. Runs flowed and it looked like the Jesters were going to canter home easily.

As the game neared its conclusion there was to be no collapse, no foolish nicks behind and no more foolish running. Bridcut and Mohammed both passed 50 in stylish fashion and unusually for Bridcut, in front of square!

With the victory guaranteed, the crowd demanded Mohammed finish it in style. He responded, dispatching a full toss way over deep square leg. As the curtain game down, Bridcut was left unbeaten on a fabulous 65 and Mohammed on a delightful 56.

In the end it was to be a very comfortable win, but the day will be remembered for so much more. A huge thank you to our hosts Wargrave CC for their hospitality and the great tea, we will look forward to returning next year.

One last note of thanks to John Murphy for a 30 over stint as umpire, Phil Berman for immaculate scoring and for Rob Dancey for excellent scoreboard operating. (And thanks to Louis Harris for this match report.)

29th August - Narrow defeat by Bedouins

An excellent game at the pretty Chiswick House ground ended in a three wicket defeat by the Bedouins. Jonny Bridcut’s match report follows the stats.

Jesters: 184-7 declared (45 overs)

A. Mohammad 56*, J. Murphy 49, Simon Rawson 4-35

Bedouins: 185-7 (34.2 overs)

R. Clapp 85, S. Zaib 39, A. Mohammad 4-67, E. Willis 3-49

“In between winning the toss and the Jesters' opening batsmen taking the field, a heavy shower freshened up an already sporting wicket, allowing any innocuous medium pacer to morph into Malcolm Marshall. The Bedouins' Malcolm Marshall turned out to be none other than Simon Rawson, who defied his ageing limbs and fading highlights with an impressive opening spell of four wickets in ten overs, reducing the Jesters to a precarious 55/5.

“Rawson found just enough sideways movement to rip through our upper order, including the prize scalps of Sarbajeet Nag (the current Arnold Woods trophy holder) and Louis Harris (destined never to win the Arnold Woods trophy).

“The sixth wicket fell with the score on 78, as Ollie Doward succumbed to one that kept dangerously low, though this only served in bringing together the engine room of the team, Dr John Murphy and Adnan Mohammed. These two Jesters stalwarts have thwarted many a fiendish opposition attack in the past, and today was no different. As Mohammed repeatedly crashed the ball to the cover boundary, Murphy unfurled several powerful blows to far-flung corners of the ground.

“The two put on 104 for the seventh wicket and seemingly vindicated the captain's decision to bat first. Mohammed notched up a red ink fifty, a milestone which just eluded Murphy, who fell in typically unselfish fashion as he attempted a heave into the leg side with a few balls to go until the planned declaration.

“After a few brief but calamitous fielding drills led by veteran tin man Doward, the Jesters took the field, safe in the knowledge that the target of 185 was a long way off. After two overs, plan A had been thoroughly destroyed, with the Bedouins going like the clappers on 25/0. The skipper immediately turned to the wise old head of Mohammed to try to stem the flow. Just off the back of his match-rescuing innings of 56*, Adnan reeled off 17 overs unchanged, against all medical advice.

“The introduction of Ed Willis saw the demise of Saj Zaib for a sprightly 39, but Rowan Clapp continued unabashed to bludgeon his way to 85, depositing the Jesters' attack to all parts of Chiswick. Eventually a Mohammed ripper snuck through Clapp's audacious slap and suddenly there was light. The Bedouins proceeded to collapse from 137/1 to 164/7, as Willis (3/49) and Mohammed (4/67) put the desert dwellers all at sea.

“With the field up and the pressure on, the new pairing of Sachin Rawson and Sandy Balfour gradually nudged and biffed their way to the victory target and gave the Bedouins a well-deserved victory with wickets and overs to spare.

“Many thanks to Chiswick House for a fine sporting theatre and to the Bedouins for another thoroughly enjoyable encounter.”

24th August - Rain halts play at Chobham

We were in a strong position at Chobham when rain forced us to abandon the game. In the usual 40 over match we had made 248-5 and Chobham were 81-2 from 19 overs.

DJ Chak continued his fantastic recent form with a superb innings of 124 not out, batting throughout the innings. He was well supported by 43 from Louis Harris.

Adnan Mohammed had begun to work his way through the Chobham batting line up when the rain became too heavy to continue.

17th August - Good win at Middleton Stoney

We recorded a convincing 5 wicket victory at Middleton Stoney. John Murphy’s match report follows the scores:

Middleton Stoney: 177 for 9 declared

J. Moorman 70, R. Simpson 39, D. Chak 5-51

Jesters: 178 for 5

N. Grant 72, S. Verma 43, S. Nag 30, L. Randall 3-18, O. Selway 2-48

“For the first time in several years we arrived at Middleton Park to find a dry ground and track conducive to run scoring. We duly lost the toss and were consigned to the field.

“Middleton Stoney started quickly with Simpson (the then Mongoose wielding destroyer of 2014) scoring at his usual rate. Jonny Bridcut bowled well, getting the ball to swing, but runs came rapidly. Bridcut managed to get the crucial breakthrough removing Simpson for 39 with Robbie Hudson diving forward to catch a looping ball which had deflected off both the thigh pad and back of the bat.

“This year it was the other opener, J Moorman, who did the real damage. He played some elegant and big shots in his innings of 70. We dropped him just after his half century, and feared this would be costly, until he was well caught by debutant Nick Grant off John Murphy's bowling.

“Other than the top three, the Middleton Stoney batsmen found it hard to score and DJ Chak bowled superbly. He claimed five wickets bowling thirteen consecutive overs with an attacking off-stump line at good pace.

“Their final score of 177 was below par in good batting conditions, and Grant and Sarbajeet Nag opened the Jesters innings confidently in reply. They added 52 for the first wicket, when Nag fell for 30.

“Santosh Verma on debut came in at three. He overcame th