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Archive: 2006 News & Reports

Take a stroll down memory lane with club news and match reports from the Jesters CC 2006 season.

Updates appear in reverse chronological order...

1st December - News from the AGM & dinner

Forty four Jesters and guests gathered at the Lord’s Tavern for a very enjoyable evening. This was one of the largest turnouts in living memory and a good barometer of the club’s health.

At the AGM all committee member were re-elected while Nick Mumby joined the committee. The club’s finances are in good shape, with new Hon Treasurer John Murphy making excellent progress collecting unpaid subscriptions. We are looking fill several holes in the fixture list for the first half of the season - all suggestions to Simon Cleobury.

The three end of season awards were presented:

Performance of the season to Nick Mumby for scoring 83 and taking 4-17 at Maidenhead & Bray. Nick’s peformance just pipped Ponniah Vijendran’s 98 against Amersham and the combined efforts of Sandy Ross and Allan Dodd in taking the last eight Chobham wickets for no runs in 20 deliveries.

Most Jester-like performance to Simon Cleobury for muddling the dates of fixtures so we turned up to play Broadhalfpenny Brigands on the wrong day.

The Michael Meyer Trophy for big hitting to Ponniah Vijendran for his straight drive at Amersham that clipped the top branch of an enromous oak tree across the road from the ground.

4th October - 2006 annual dinner

The AGM and annual dinner will take place on Friday 17th November at the Lord’s Tavern Bar & Brasserie next to Lord’s cricket ground.

10th September - Amersham ambushed (almost)

Needing six to win off the very last ball isn’t a bad way to end the season. Especially after chasing down the intimidating target of 260 in a 45 over game - and with Ollie Doward ready to face it, wielding the magnificent bat given to him by Marcus Trescothick that had already launched one huge six over extra cover.

Five hours earlier it had all started somewhat differently as our rather thin bowling attack took on Amersham’s New Zealand opener. Or rather he took us on. Sportingly, after 22 overs he decided to give someone else a turn and retired on 102. Sighs of relief all round.

This proved to be a turning point. Galvanised by his absence, our bowling attack began scrapping for every run, perky fielding produced two run-outs, and 260 was somewhat less than it might have been.

But it was still a formidable target. That we mounted any sort of challenge was entirely thanks to Adam Long and Ponniah (“Bob”) Vijendran who put on over a hundred for the third wicket. They began slowly, building a solid platform, and then cut loose. Adam went for 53 but Bob continued with as dashing a display of strokeplay as we’ve seen all season. One towering six that hit the top of a huge tree beyond the long-on boundary will linger long in the memory. He eventually fell on 98, the New Zealander making a tricky boundary catch look easy.

That was 196-4. It became 256-7 with one ball remaining after several exciting overs of bashing and scurrying in fading light. The Trescothick blade was unsheathed and several savage blows followed. The flat six over extra cover to the longest part of the ground was still rocketing as it passed the pavilion.

Sadly, a good piece of bowling denied us the winning (or tieing) boundary and we lost by 3 runs (Ollie Doward 31*). But a great way to finish the game and the season.

3rd September - Mumby’s Maidenhead Magic

Nick Mumby turned in a star performance as we beat Maidenhead & Bray by 31 runs in a 40 over game.

Opening the batting, Nick stroked a dashing 83 from just 78 balls. Our middle order was then checked by tight Maidenhead bowling - before Charlie Wilson and Andrew Short hit 50 off the last six overs to take us to 204.

Maidenhead got off to a flyer, their no.3 racing to a quick fifty. But the introduction of Allan Dodd and John Murphy into the attack turned the match. John dismissed the no.3 on the way to taking 4-35 while Allan was unlucky to suffer from several dropped catches in a miserly spell. That man Mumby then cleaned up the tail with 4-17 from 4.5 overs.

Nick has Paul Durban to thank for one of these wickets. Fielding at backward square leg, he flung himself full-length to his left, clinging on with both hands to a ball going like a tracer bullet. One of the most spectacular catches you are ever likely to see.

It was an exciting game with fortunes fluctuating throughout. Many thanks to Maidenhead & Bray for turning out a good Sunday side.

28th August - Eight wickets for no runs!

Our game at Chobham produced the most extraordinary and scarcely believable statistic. We took the last eight Chobham wickets for no runs in 20 deliveries. They were 99-2 and then, less than four overs later, 99 all out. We won by 62 runs.

Heroes of the hour were Sandy Ross (5-32, including a hat-trick in a four wicket over) and Allan Dodd (5-33, and on a hat-trick himself at one point).

Sandy’s miraculous over began with a single - their last as it turned out - followed by a smart Robbie Hudson stumping and a dot ball played by the Australian pro. Then Fred Allen took a catch at cover to dismiss the pro. Sandy had the next man plumb lbw first ball and then, with everyone round the bat, had the satisfaction of demolishing the stumps to complete his hat-trick.

Allan wound up the innings by taking the last four wickets, clean bowling two, Fred Allen taking a good catch out of the sun, and finally luring the no.11 into a return catch. We were stunned. They were stunned.

It has to be said that until that point we hadn’t played well. Our batsmen had found curious ways to get out against a succession of slow spinners. And 161 was a disappointing total. In the field we had been lacklustre. But then, in a moment, everything changed.

Our commiserations to Chobham. We have suffered so many collapses over the years that we know these things happen. Their hospitality was excellent and we look forward to returning next year.

15th August - Courageous chase at Cuckfield

We were dismissed just 15 runs short of Cuckfield’s 275.

In the usual fast scoring conditions we managed to bowl the home side out. Alistair Evans starred with the figures of 9.3/5/23/5. But the “champagne moment” was definitely Mark Hepple’s catch at long-on, plucking nonchalantly out of the air the missile launched in that direction by Chris Mole, Cuckfield star batsman and Devon player.

In reply we had to face Cuckfield’s Pakistani off-spinning pro - complete with doosra - who sent down a challenging 20 over spell. Our openers rose to the occasion magnificently, putting on over a hundred. Farouk Mirza eventually fell for 56 followed by Matt Hepple for a very good 80. At 172/2 we were well placed. But wickets tumbled as we tried to maintain the scoring rate and were eventually all out for 260 in the penultimate over.

9th August - New match manager for Maidenhead & Bray game

John Murphy has taken over as match manager for this game on Sunday 3rd September (2pm). You really should play - it’s a pretty ground and Maidenhead always turn out a decent side.

8th August - Headley

Match drawn. Jesters 264-7 declared (Ansbro 128, Drake 41*, Mehdi 26, Murphy 22*) Headley 188-8 (Ross 3-38, Murphy 2-34, Orr 2-38)

One of our side sent in this match report:

“A combination of short boundaries and a wicket giving plenty of assistance to the bowlers, meant that it was extremely difficult to know how many to set the opposition. 264 proved to be about right. Guest-player Matthew Ansbro batted extremely well, before he holed out for 128. Captain Will Drake scored an unbeaten 41 and held the innings together after a mini-collapse.

“The Jesters bowled well early on and were unlucky not to take more than one early wicket. All the seam bowlers managed to extract variable bounce and sideways movement from the pitch. Sandy Ross bowled an accurate 13 over spell, taking 3 for 38. William Orr bowled well to take 2-38. The Headley captain batted well for an unbeaten fifty, although good line-and-length Jesters' bowling meant that the opposition required over 160 to win in the last 20 overs.”

Match manager Will Drake has written a longer account... An arid fast scoring outfield, difficult to defend. A straw coloured pitch, rewarding length rather than velocity, patience rather than testosterone; one on which even high class spinners find it difficult to prosper. A sizeable, knowledgable crowd, appreciative of good cricket and the mini-contests within it. The Sky Sports cameras were at Headingley on Sunday 6th August, but they could just as easily have truncated the venue and been at Headley; the viewing public would have lost little.

In humid conditions, Jesters won the toss, batted and were soon licking their collective lips at the prospect of watching the batsmanship of Taussif Mehdi, now a regular at this fixture. A newly qualified doctor, his recently acquired powers of prescription appeared to extend to the clinical administration of severe punishment to anything short or overpitched. It was as though, like swallowing cough mixture, retrieving a dispatched long hop from the boundary was a necessary, unpalatable exercise en route to salvation. Just as he threatened to cut loose he was caught from a ball that stopped and the germinating partnership with Matthew Ansbro that promised to define the game was extinguished.

Ansbro had a score to settle, having been caught out last year, nearing a hundred, by a fielder reclining languidly (legally, it transpired) like Noel Coward on the boundary rope. Such was his determination to put matters straight that he declared his availability for the 2006 fixture 364 days and 16 hours in advance and at approximately twice weekly intervals thereafter. Not even the gestation and safe birth of his first child could settle his troubled mind as he was to be found roaming Headley Heath, in a state of Lear-like madness, throughout the winter and spring.

Once at the crease, though, Lear became Errol Flynn, scything the bowling apart with a swashbuckling ferocity of which Zorro would have been proud. A splendid hundred was inevitable, but marked by a sleeping daughter and a conversation between wife and mother-in-law that led to a later enquiry as to whether had completed his round in par or over. He has some work to do at home.

For much of this display of fireworks, he was accompanied by William Orr, a cardiologist from Reading, whose annual appearance in flannels commands much attention. From Milan, Anglesey and St David’s his supporters journeyed, with a fanaticism that has not been witnessed, for a physician, since the whiskered one from Gloucester over a century ago. Initially, he did not disappoint, with a series of sumptuous drives leading to a migration of bodies towards the cricket and away from an increasingly agitated ice-cream seller in the Heath car park, concerned about his livelihood.

Sadly for the crowds, Dr Orr was undone by the pitch, but departed with a dignity that, according to legend, did not always attach itself to WG. The hordes returned, muttering, to the ice-cream man, whose mortgage was saved. In modern times, such adulation for a cricketer accompanies only the likes of Flintoff and Pieterson. The good doctor from Reading may need to invest in some tattoos and expensive auricular jewellery if he is to maintain such celebrity status. A clatter of wickets followed and the Jesters declared at 264/7 after 38 overs.

The opening attack took an over or two to find its range; a process facilitated by the fearless, immaculate wicket keeping of David Hancock, standing up to everyone on a pitch with inconsistent bounce. Any one of a series of stumping appeals would have necessitated a third umpire, but the benefit of the doubt was appropriately granted. Murphy made the breakthrough and a run-out followed, allowing the evergreen Sandy Ross and Patrick Orr, brother of William, to pose searching questions of the Headley middle order.

Using Newtonian physics to great effect, much of the substantial F=mv momentum acquired during Orr’s run-up was transduced into a heavy ball, frequently accompanied by inswing. Given that the ball had had a number of visits to the surrounding woods and, on more than one occasion, been retrieved and modified by a variety of dogs, this is unlikely to have been conventional swing. One must therefore conclude that this was the first, and almost certainly the last, exhibition of reverse swing in Jesters colours. He, Ross and a late burst from Murphy nibbled at the Headley batting, but the last two scalps remained elusive. In the end, a swarm of biting flies focused the collective mind of the cricketing protagonists that beer and sausages were long overdue.

30th July - Nail biting finish at Roehampton

We beat Roehampton by 1 wicket off the penultimate ball of the game, calmly stroked to the boundary by no.11 Nick Mumby. Match manager Robbie Hudson describes the hysteria:

“Roehampton prepared a very perky wicket. Adnan Mohammed and new boy Ruchit Patel got all kinds of lift and movements, and were unlucky not to find edges on a number of occasions. Mumbers (Nick Mumby) took wickets with full tosses and long hops, we had them 111-6 after 30-something overs, which was good on such a lightning outfield with one very short boundary. We missed a few chances and got sloppy as they pushed on to 170 at 5.10, leaving us, I think, 29 overs.

“This was a good declaration; we lost wickets regularly, but a dashing 42 from Fred Price