James Heywood's playing diary for the 2006 season
James played for Cambridge University between 2002 and 2008 and won Blues between 2003 and 2008. He was finally told to get a job and let someone else have a go behind the stumps. He is now the Secretary of the Quidnuncs and continues to live and play cricket in Cambridge. In 2006, he wrote this diary of his exploits as a CUCC and MCCU cricketer.
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Returning to Blues colours against a typically strong Midlands CCC saw a miserable day, all bar for the fact a half day is gained. We are well and truly stuffed, and only Tom Savill arrived with any intent of spending some time at the crease. We are dismissed for 144, of which the skipper made 77. I was horribly stumped, having played 5 sweeps, and having none come off, I decided to step down the wicket and look to punch it down the ground for 1. I am horrible deceived in the flight, and present my opposite number with a regulation chance.
As if things couldn't get any worse, we are blasted around the park and are beaten in 20 overs, the Midlands opener getting 100 out of the required 145. Sadly, we were not able to profit from the somewhat inconsistent umpiring that marred our innings – 4 of our dismissals coming in somewhat clouded circumstances. However, dodgy decisions or not, we will need to lift our game before the Lashings arrival, particularly if the Little Master Tendulkar plays!
A somewhat unnecessary 4 overs are taken by L/B, as they make 433 all out, and gift us the further bowling point. A magnificent effort by all the batsmen allowed us to get to 418-8 in our allotment of 98 overs. Chris Huntingdon played as well as any of us have seen for 93, and Kunal Jogia played brilliantly for 149. Nick Lee steered the middle lower order close to the target, before a flurry of wickets rendered the task too stiff for Myself and Mohammad Amin to cope with (well, that was my thinking anyway, I dare say Mo might have had other ideas).
The first of 10 out of 11th day of cricket starts. It is going to be a fairly long haul, and the closest I will ever come to experiencing the life of a professional cricketer, as I am certainly deficient in the ability department. We lose the toss against Leeds/Bradford and bowl. Although this sounds like a dreadful scenario, it is probably best, as It gives me a day off all being well tomorrow. Sadly, it is a belter, and L/B rack up 412 in a day, which for the most part is spent frantically racing through overs from the spinners as the seamers spend on average 5 minutes an over. Obsession with ball shining is wasted, as we are unable to take the later advantage because of the spin dominated final two sessions. Vikram Banerjee however deservedly picks up 5-122, in 31 overs. His lack of luck this year has not gone unnoticed, and he certainly deserved his rewards.
As anticipated, a stinking hang over has been accrued. Crosswords are tackled, though my self-inflicted lack of mental sharpness prevents any progression on this front. Robin and I decide that a trip to Huntingdon is needed, as we both need a new bat. After much driving around we eventually locate it, and discover that it did in fact close at noon: it was 15:30!
Hangovers are nursed for the rest of the day, and a steady feed is consumed.
Looking forward to the Hawks’ event tonight. Spend the morning faffing about at work, and then meet Ben and the rest of the lads at the Hawks’ club to collect posters and fliers to distribute that afternoon. Enjoy a Hawks’ burger, and then go out with Robin to Jesus, John’s and Caius to distribute fliers. We are out of fliers by this time, but have millions of posters. I may be using these for note taking for sometime to come!
Hawks’ event is top drawer. Absolute value for money is obtained – cold beer, Nandos and ice cream, and nothing else that you don't know. See the return of former skipper R.Mann, and off spinner from 2004 A.Newman. A large group of the cricketers are there, and a good time was had.
After being dismissed for pittance by one man, it was time to spend an entire day away from the game. Instead, I engrossed myself with details of adaptations of early Cenozoic ungulate taxa to improving enamel strength under the new pressures of tough fibrous plant tissue. Some articles go into what appear to be highly complex mathematical models, and I am suitably lost. I return home to get away from the growing world cup atmosphere in the centre of town. I go home, I eat, and do the washing up. Great.
A day to remember, not because of the tight pre lunch session, with Bannerjee picking up just rewards of 3-43, but because of the extraordinary nature of some of the cricket that occurred.
Two C.U.A.F.C. recruits were acquired to aid the absence of Massey and Jacklin with exams. No quicker than they had take the field, but will Stevenson gave himself a nosebleed and a sore knee, all in the saving of two runs. At the other end of the scale, CUCC insisted on keeping in Jamie Noble, brother of CUCC half man-half scar tissue David, as Keeper Heywood dropped a real sitter, and then Chervak rounded off a fine fielding display by putting his third and easiest catch of the match down at mid wicket, denying Bannerjee 4 wickets.
Celliers proceeded to bowl the longest pre lunch over in recorded history, before 24 men in white destroyed bangers and mash. The MCC were not content with a lead of 283, and so continued to bat to acquire the 300 hundred lead. To avoid too much time being taken in the donation of these runs, the bowling duties were given to the two missed chance culprits, Chervak, and I, with Jacklin donning the gloves.
What was to follow shall go down surely in CUCC folklore, at least as long Messrs Heywood, Jacklin and French have any involvement with the club. After an innocuous over from Chervak of 9, I bowled a mixture of Carl Hooper and Pat Symcox imitation off breaks snaffled former test all-rounder Friend with a superb piece of flight and guile, inducing the finest of edges which was superbly caught by Wally Grout impersonator Jacklin, who took his one and only delivery of the post lunch session. It was the fact that the ball was bowled with a mixture of Hooper and Symcox actions that had Friend in all sort of trouble – he had clearly seen nothing like it in his entire life.
After the ridicule of those two overs, parity was restored with Massey and Bartholomew got CUCC off to a steady start. A collapse followed, with MCC left arm spinner taking 9 for I'm guessing not many, with too many missing straight ones. Jacklin and Kemp however played with real determination, and deserved to pull off the unthinkable, getting within ten minutes of the close.
A heavy fine session was followed by the dispersion of players to various parts of town for the night, With Kemp, Jacklin and myself rather caddishly going to The Eagles garden party. A day to remember.
A recovery is made, as Bartholomew reaches 55, and Celliers progresses to 24. However, neither could go any further, and we reach 121-6, with Heywood and Savill batting, as they seem to have done with some regularity over the years. Once again, a good partnership resulted, most coming from the bat of the captain, as he tucked into the spinners hitting straight down the ground. He was eventually to make a well crafted 72, and a declaration of 251-9 saved an otherwise embarrassing situation. The MCC started their second innings, and were immediately 0-1, as once again Akram was to fall to Savill. However the joy was to end their, as the opposition end on 62-1 off 10 overs, most of which were bowled in apocalyptic gloom, and all of which were bowled before torrential rain ended proceedings. Hawks’ club feeds were enjoyed by players from both sides, and Brazil won, apparently.
The MCC arrive, including Travis Friend, formerly of Zimbabwe test quality. If ever there is a day to bat, this was it. Sadly, we were in the field, and the MCC led the charge with Friend and co hitting freely, against a fairly friendly bowling attack on a flat deck. Only Arfan Akram, of UCCE fame fell before lunch. More carnage ensued, with friend eventually going for 138, perhaps unlucky to be given caught behind by former test and self-legend umpire Don Oslear. More runs flowed, before Bannerjee, who bowled beautifully all day was denied a wicket by the useless mug behind the stumps who missed a stumping that squeezed between bat and pad down the leg side. Some lusty hitting and catcher-evading later, the opener leaves the field on 166, stumped of Robin Kemp, Bannerjee uttering words of disgust from long on, with the innings ending on 358-3.
A steady start was made, but 37-0 went to 37-3 at the close, putting CUCC right behind the 8 ball,
A team meal at the Maypole was perhaps the highlight of a fairly miserable day in the dirt.
First game back for a while, and the start of 4 days on the bounce. The Free Foresters, a sort of poor man’s MCC are the opposition, and in their 150th year, we are keen to put in a thumping win.
Winning the toss, was a big bonus on a scorcher, and yes, for those of you who have been following the J.J.N.Heywood breakfast saga, I did have my oats for breakfast! Unfortunately, my sponsorship deal with Quakers fell through when I learnt that I would have to be kitted out by them when playing – I didn't fancy wearing the black hat, coat and white stockings featured on the front of their packets.
A good day’s batting saw us to 285, with excellent work from the top order, especially Bartholomew with 85, allowed us wickets in hand. Savill blazed 40-odd, including a 6 over the pavilion, and some cheeky high strike rate mid-teen red inkers from Bannerjee and Heywood followed steady performances from Celliers and Austin also.
Bowling started well, before Quidnuncs Garri Jones and John Carroll batted superbly to give the FFs a very good chance. Poor bowling in the middle overs, particularly in the finishing off of overs were the main culprit. Fortunately, Jones and Carroll were dismissed in quick succession during the last ten, and it was game over, with Grant Celliers grabbing a 4-fer at the end to earn him another jug-avoidance fine.
Decided not to go to the barbecue that I said I'd go to two days before. Feel very lethargic, and am slightly concerned that this shall extend into tomorrow’s big game. Read the paper, and solve half of the cryptic crossword before turning my attention as far away from the television as possible. England play Paraguay, and I for one have no intention of getting caught up in the ensuing rigmarole.
A very pleasant cycle to Histon, and then back to Girton via Cottenham and Oakington, complete with ice cream rounds off a decent day.
Spend the day in the Earth Sciences library, reading the work of John Rensberger, an expert in mammalian herbivore functional morphology. I learn of the evolution and development of enamel deposition as a response to abrasion by tougher food plants in Rhinocerotids during the Eocene. By this point, I am sure there are many thousands of you wishing that you were me; my only request is to keep your fan mail down to just one side of A4, otherwise I shall have to start tipping the postman.
A middle practice in the afternoon ensures that I am totally incapable of concentrating in the morning, and thus spend the first part of the day messing about at home, fixing my gear and clothing ready for Sunday.
The middle practice was excellent, and I nice long bat was had. I feel much better about my game than was the case on Monday.
Absolutely nothing to say for today – apologies.
More excitement on the tooth casting front. Not only have I learned of a new way of measuring wear, but there is a whole literature telling you how to do it also! I have my first supervisors meeting for 3 months, and the dentist gave me the all clear. That is after she was resuscitated having been out cold for 3 minutes after I opened my mouth for the first time. I am advised to use the heavy duty Listerine.
Have a net with Ben, and both of leave it feeling more rusty than before we began. I also learn that my bat is beginning its last throws of life, with suspicious cracks appearing in the handle/splice area.
I spend the evening sulking – the world appears to have turned all those little things in life against my favour, none of them particularly important in the general scheme of things, but just sufficient to give one the hump. For example, on top of the poor net and willow breakage, Big Brother is on, and the World Cup looms is like a mouldy orange buried at the bottom of a fruit bowl; it can't be seen, but its affect is all too obvious.
Alice returns from her holiday in Wales, looking decidedly sun burnt, and incurs my wrath for being so. Was expecting a reasonable present, but instead receive a plastic pterosaur skeleton toy, which I later learnt had been washed up on the beach, and that wasn't even found by her. I know I like fossils and that sort of thing, but I need to draw the line somewhere.
No club cricket today, so cut the grass, did some laundry and sat in the sun, listening to England cock-up the 3rd test. Everyone else is busying themselves with examinations, so decide to keep myself to myself.
Absolutely nothing to report, unless you are all interested as I am in the Evolution of Herbivory in Terrestrial Vertebrates, which provided the bulk of my entertainment.
Cambridge UCCE luncheon club convene once again for their weekly meal at Fenner’s. This time, not even a warm up, just straight from the dressing room sudoku and crossword to an excellent ploughman’s, which included doorstop shaped hunks of cheddar and marvellous ham.
A Hawks’ burger with Banners rounds of another damp day.
The first 3 days of this week were very pleasant, a very nice change to the duke of prior times. Got very excited at work, as I learnt of a new method to analyse microwear by using photomicrographs. Start getting a bit giddy, and look into the acquisition of lots of new equipment to fit the microscopes downstairs, and find an excuse to buy a new all singing, all dancing, megazoom, ultramacro camera. My spirited internet search quickly loses momentum when it becomes clear early on that 4 figure sums are involved!
Another day in the office, this time searching for the appropriate polyester casting material to make my tooth casts with. I have no success, and give up. In the afternoon, I turn my attention to beginning a draft of my first year report – lets hope the degree committee like to look at batting averages and dismissal aggregates!
May I apologise to all readers for not maintaining a consistent run in these diaries.
I'm afraid, not much to report for the next few days. There is a bit of a spell in the cricket, with only one game on 1st June against Cardiff UCCE, and then 10 days off. My time is spent reacquainting myself with my office mates, and arriving in the department to see that against all expectations, my books etc are not packed roughly in a box in the corner, and no one is sitting at my desk with their feet up. In fact, things are pretty much as I had left them 2 weeks ago. Enjoyed listening to England win the second test, though one thinks that having to chase any more than 150 would have been tricky.
‘The apocalypse endeth’. This may have been the headline for this day had it been 1606. Finally we were able to get on the field, and not just for our warm-up. Loughborough are a formidable side but like us, they were short of cricket, and so anything could have happened. Sharif continued his good run of form with the coin, and elected to bowl on what seemed a very low and flat wicket.
Alas, with a scoreline of 117-6 it was a tremendous effort from the Cambridge attack, supported by some sharp fielding. From lunch, Loughborough progressed to 179 all out, the final two wickets falling in succession. It was then left initially to Gareth James and Kunal Jogia, and latterly Zoheb Sharif and Nick Lee to knock of the majority of the runs to allow us to sail to a 6 wicket victory. With two wins and an abandonment, this must surely put us in a good position, and who knows, if good performances can be made against Leeds/Bradford and Cardiff, we may be in with a shout of chalking another Chris Scott first ever!
For today’s diary entry, read ‘26/05/06’, replacing the second word ‘first’, with ‘second’.
The first day of what was supposed to be 3 straight ones against the formidable Loughborough, ended in, yes, you’ve guessed it – rain. Fortunately, I was armed in anticipation with the Telegraph and a pencil.
Today also marked the initiation of the Cambridge UCCE luncheon club. Membership can only go to Cambridge UCCE cricketers, and must also involve a warm up at 10:00, followed by rain watching from 11:00, before lunch is served at 13:00. Applicants should write to Chris Scott.
A day off from playing cricket (well, actually doing crosswords and sudokus in the face of rain) was appropriately spent watching it. The only dry and bright day in what was to prove and otherwise damp week was superbly spent at Edgbaston to see the Sri Lankans win the toss and get rolled.
It seems that opposition captains, having gone to Lord’s for the first Test, like to give England a break in Birmingham for the second. It’s as if their saying “I say, that was awfully nice of you to let us play at such a lovely ground last week, tell you what, I'll win the toss and do exactly what I shouldn't. Last year, Ponting bowled and allowed us to reach 400+ in the first day, this time Jayawardene bats first on a pitch offering seam movement early, and then sees his top order give it away. Mind you, Myself, Ian, Ben and Ed were not complaining. The only thing was complaining about was my feeble effort at a packed lunch, especially given the veritable feast that Master Jacklin had prepared.
A quite simply masterful way to spend the day, and at a reasonable price – £25 for a student ticket was a bargain in my view.
For fear of sounding repetitive, I shall curtail this entry to it’s bare minimum.
It Duked, we didn’t play, we had our free lunch, we left.
In 3 days, only 16 overs were bowled, 60 runs were scored, only 2 wickets taken, one catch dropped, and 2 free lunches were exploited. 60 to the power of 2 was the number of times the word ‘Duke’ was uttered by all men present, and 250 miles the distance driven for 0 points.
Let’s hope that Edgbaston can maintain a small zone of aridity around it’s vivinity for tomorrow. As cheap as £25 is to see a the first day of a test, I would not like to spend that much to watch grounsdmen wheeling on covers – particularly as I did just that for free for 3 days.
The heavy Duke from the day before, plus the rather puzzling absence of covers from the run-ups meant a delayed start. I appreciate that Cambridge are far superior in the academic department compared to Oxford, but I didn’t believe that this apparent brainlessness would extend to the groundsmen. Not only did they not have any extra covering for the run-ups, but it transpired that they had sold what covers they had to us at Fenners; mindless.
A 13:00 start ensued, only to be curtailed within 10 minutes. After a bit more of a break, play resumed, and Oxford UCCE made their way to 60-2, both wickets c Heywood b Smith. It should have been 3, but yours truly put down a sky-er from Parker, their best player. Had any more rotations been made whilst underneath it, I may have corkscrewed myself into the ground. Given the dampness underfoot, this would not have been a surprise.
The day ended after a large bank of cloud appeared from out yonder, and a game of football ended proceedings. Heated, it became, with tempers in all camps beginning to fray, not least myself, who had been inserted in his usual place in goal, thus preventing any form of warm down, and a twisted knee for my troubles. A couple of decent saves made things a bit more manageable.
A small 20 minute jog around the beautiful University Parks with room-mate and chauffeur Matthew Friedlander made up for any lack of exercise in the game. Return to Abbers, shower, and then pub food across the way was the order of the evening. Once again, the quartet from the previous night was reunited, and more war stories were recounted. What was interesting was the pub’s failure to feed though Matthew’s steak pie. After being alerted, they kindly offered Matt the meal for free, as well as a free pint. The former he accepted with glee, the latter he declined, only seconds later asking for one from the Coach.
The misery of the day was rounded off by the presence of David Beckham on the television – not the choice of yours truly I should point out.
We were aware that ‘The Duke of Spain’ (Rain for my uniformed reader), was set to make an appearance at some point in the next three days, but nowhere near as pervasive was he as he was in Oxford for the three days.
The BUSA game was a wash out, neither side even made it into the pavilion. It was the premier travelodge in Abingdon that was to be our home for the next two nights. The afternoon was spent eating, reading the paper, the odd article on new methods of dental microwear analysis in mammalian ungluate herbivores, and more food, the second time, a 5 o’clock MacDonalds. A shower, more SuDoku, and then ‘The Plough’ in Abingdon for three, followed by a curry. War stories, largely from the unending bank of C.W.Scott, rounded off a wet, and fairly miserable day.
Uneventful day, other than the viewing of the Da Vinci Code, which was entertaining, and most interesting also. On occasions it had a bit more of the’ Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ about it, but a good £4.50 well spent. A pair of trousers was also purchased. The rest of the day was spent nursing my mangled fingers in ice packs, preparing for the early start, and watching Top Gear.
A weekend off before the rather busy week ahead – 6 days out of 7, with a day in Edgbaston to watch the first morning of the second test to break things up.
The morning was spent nursing a hangover, and cursing the uselessness of my night on the floor; a straight back I did not have. Jobs were in the meantime completed, a touch of laundry, washing up, mowing the grass, and polishing my boots. It seems that in this current social climate whereby men are supposed to become more in touch with are feminine side and no longer expect house work to be done that once again we are in a no win situation. Not only are we now expected to do all these things, but we must still continue the more traditional roles of garden and car maintenance, shelf installation etc. What are we, superhumans? Just call me ‘The Incredible Skulk’!
Listened in distress from the other side of the living room as 5 very strange looking and sounding Scandinavians won the Eurovision song contest – what is the world coming to? Not only is it a completely ridiculous competition anyway, but your score seems to correlate positively with the number of countries that share borders with you, and/or are very close to you. No wonder we got so few! Perhaps instead we paid other nations not to vote for us so we wouldn’t have to host it the following year. Or perhaps we were just crap!
Heavy showers rendered our warm-up to two games of hand hockey, before a rather abrupt declaration of the start of play left the bowlers with five minutes to complete stretching and get loose.
Alas, a continuation of the previous bowling performances was in the offing. In the (albeit brief) post lunch session, only 5 deliveries passed the bat, all due their lag side nature. All 5 were to find themselves evade the centre of my gloves, and thus round off what was a poor game behind the stumps. Still struggling to cope with the post bat swing and movement, I shall have to improve considerably against Oxford and Loughborough if I am to hold my place.
The game ended up fizzling out into a draw, with perhaps the interesting twist of Niall O’Brien, the Kent keeper (freed of duties behind the stumps for this game by the very impressive Paul Dixey) claiming his maiden first class wicket, Friedlander clean bowled for 1. Immediately, umpires and captains shook hands, thus wrapping up what was a similarly disappointing game for Matthew.
The sorrows of the last three days were duly drowned at Magdelene College BA dinner, and a night on the floor in an attempt to straighten my back out; not, as has sometimes been the case, as a result of a night in the dog house!
Whereas Wednesday was far and away not our day, Thursday would be very much honours to Cambridge UCCE. Although no porridge, we bowled with much more gusto, and picked up 5 for 50, to leave Kent on 360 – 7 declared. Captain Sharif once again played magnificently for his second first class hundred of the season, ably supported by Celliers (43) and Lee (44). Massey also, on his first class debut showed good technique for 22. Declaring ‘darlingly’ 84 runs allowed a brief 25 minute session at the Kent openers, with normal service being resumed as Denly and Dexter added 32 of 5 overs.
The quality of the day was marred however by the discovery of a break in to the Cambridge dressing room - a laptop and a watch the damage.
The evening was spent eating pasta and doing sudoku puzzles before tiredness caught up and the sack was hit.
The usual pre-match nerves and a hyper early rise of 07:00. Porridge was consumed, and I should point out to readers of generations previous, my references to the consumption of oats/porridge for the first meal of the day is a genuine one, and not what my learned sources from the South-West have suggested!!
The expected bowl first was followed by some initially probing bowling by Friedlander and Mohammad Amin saw the first chance of the morning, a regulation chance to first slip. It was then that it became obvious that the outbreak of ‘Putem- downs syndrome’ had spread North-East, presumably carried up the M11 corridor. Dexter, dropped once on 0, twice on 24, would go onto to make a 100, before falling to a hoik off Banerjee. The unfortunate first slip fielder shall not be mentioned, though Gareth James can take some consolation in not passing on the disease to his team mates. At the other end, Denly would hit a more assured 100 and enough, caught on the long on boundary by a horizontal Celliers.
Rain would announce it self on the scene, and put a halt on a rollocking Kent run rate of 5.6 and over, and still no genuine wickets, only post century hand outs.
The evening would be spent at the Bun Shop, engaging in a pub quiz with CUCC stalwarts Bartholomew, Jacklin and Tufft. Sadly, the first place would elude us, as our respective girlfriends would rinse the winnings, courtesy of some highly nerdy extra team-mates, and some very active mobile phones.
Another day in the office, only this time I would actually do something. Having secured a deal on my chosen tooth impression product (‘Coltene President’s regular body’ if you must know), I needed a suitable epoxy resin casting material. Today would see the securing of the ‘Tomps’ epoxy resin ultra low viscosity – now you know why I haven’t spent much time describing my days off cricket!!
First day off of two, assuming of course that I would be selected for the Kent game on Wednesday. The decision was taken to show my face at the office, and get some much needed work done. Alas, this was not to be, as I spent the day listening in disbelief as England shelled umpteen catches to prevent what seemed two days prior to be a regulation victory. The catching disease was to prove to be pandemic in proportions, rather than just the localised outbreak initially predicted.
The evening was spent in The Eagle, saying farewell to a work colleague, which was to prove a most relaxing way to spend the evening, and fortunately in the absence of my supervisor – thus avoiding any awkward questioning regarding my lack of appearance at work.
A return to UCCE colours after a small break was to be today’s activity. An away game in Nottingham saw an unnecessarily early start, to be followed by a period of hanging around outside the University farm, complete with manure-esque odours. A trip with Freidlander in his magnificent ‘Oliver’ (his car), was to see the impatient over taking of the Coach on the A14, only to be followed by the highly predictable mayday phone call upon reaching Nottingham. Perhaps he just expected a large arrow to appear from the sky upon arrival to the city.
Eventually, the arrival at a very dank, wet and generally wintery looking ground was followed by an old school warm up, squat thrusts, jogging on the spot, and a cigarette, with play underway 10 minutes late. With no 50s from any Cambridge batsmen, a handy total of 253 was nonetheless obtained, with solid batting from Massey, making his UCCE debut, making 40, along with a hard hitting 40 odd from G.James, and middle order striking by Lee & Friedlander.
A series of leg side, off side and middle side wides got Nottingham off to a much better start than the batting itself deserved. Some dropped catches, and ordinary fielding prompted the panic to set in, perhaps unnecessarily. Fortunately, G.James came to the bowling crease, and snaffled two for, with Bannerjee bowling tightly and with venom at the other end. Eventually, a collapse was prompted by skipper Zoheb, and in the end the UCCE marched home to a 71 run win.
The morning greeted us in fine form; a beautiful Sussex day was to bless a high quality cricket match at a high quality ground.
Before however, was breakfast, and with it, a successful cleaning out of CUCC wallets by Little Chef. 10 of us spent in excess of £3 for a slice of toast, a bowl of cereal and a cup of tea. For those feeling more adventurous, and needing an extra slice of toast (ie Jacklin), they paid a further £1.50 for the privilege.
Moving onto the cricket, to say we dominated the warm up would be all but the most ridiculous of understatements. Arriving two & quarter hours before the due start of play, we ventured out for our first game of touch rugby. Some ropey passing from yours truly, plus several incidences of Jacklin playing up the jumper rugby made for a fun, but low quality fixture.
One shining light however, was Burhan coming with in inches of scoring his maiden try on English soil, only to drop the ball before the line.
Our domination of warm up was completed when the opposition didn’t have one, not just because they were jazz hatters, but because they turned up at 11:20.
Such was the hurried nature of the start, that we saw the first fine of the day, though this time it was for the Duke's Captain, former CUCC skipper Ben Collins. In his eagerness, BC clearly spent more time concentrating on his make shift opener role, than the precise orientation of his trousers.
A tidy opening spell from Kempy, removing the son of Mike Gatting with another chop on, was coupled with the ususal screaming and shouting Burhan Javaid. Some long-hops from Jaymo, and 49 runs for Collins later saw Jacko snaffle his first of the day, a little nick to the keeper.
At the other end, the oppositions West Indian number 3 progressed in distinctly unCarribean style, reaching 7 in over an hour.
After Lunch, which was a little disappointing, given the quantity of food that disappeared behind the scenes in full view of 11 hungry students, the Duke's 3rd wicket progressed nicely, without becoming too threatening. Some dots later, and some tight bowling from Kemp and Bannerjee saw the precipitation of a collapse, prompted by a smart legside stumping of Kemp, and three sharp grabs at slip by captain Savill.
138-odd for 2 went to 176 all out, Kemp ending up with a joint man-of-the-match performance of 3-43, and Jacko too on 3 for 34.
Massey and Bartholomew got us off to a good start, then followed by some very impolite stroke-play by Owen saw us needing not many off quite a few overs. Swinging arms, followed by a hoik by Fred brought Aussie to the crease, who proceeded to bring the match to 4 of 12 balls. Massey dispatched the first of those 12 to wrap up the game.
Some poor adherence to the script by the opposition number 7, and the world’s best umpire, plus some very good fielding and bowling saw an emphatic win for the University Blues. Barring the grumbling at Owen playing on the cheap side, those present will go away with a good impression of the Cambridge outfit.
The away trip to Arundel would prove to be the make or break fixture for CUCC. With no main fixtures for the club for a little while, to perform in the fixture against the Duke of Norfolk’s XI was nothing short of imperative.
I spent the morning and afternoon surrounding myself in an atmosphere of minor excitement, the prospect, autograph signing, a tidy lunch, another fixture alongside the greatest umpire the world has ever seen, all on the backdrop of the most pleasant grounds in England was too enticing to maintain any form of calm. Little happened during this period, so I shalln't bother writing anything down.
As for the drive down, once again, non-eventful would be fair. A brief sojourn to the suburbs of Horsham in the search of food, followed by a trip to the next service station were the only interruptions to a steady drive. I should point out that domination of Burger King was once again complete. From a personal point of view, it was a particularly pleasing destruction, as not only was the supersize triple cheese and bacon burger meal consumed, but so was a round of sandwiches, two packets of crisps, a kitkat, a snickers duo and three plums, the latter being my non-eaten lunch from earlier.
The day was to end in a rather intimate fashion. The Travelodge staff clearly didn’t appreciate that the ordering of 6 twin rooms meant 6 rooms, each with 2 beds in, not 6 rooms with double beds! As a result, sharing a bed with Kempy was to prove the final act of the day.
‘Despite easy wins against the London sides, it was the men of the town who were to provide somewhat stiffer opposition to the students of Cambridge University.’ (R.A.Kemp, 1921).
It would certainly seem that way from the scorecard. In attempting to chase 300, CUCC were 14-1 off 12 overs – a super start if ever there was one. At one stage we were looking to be 50-0 at the end of the game, with Brearley and Boycott at the top of the innings.
The problem started with the ball. For 40 overs, we executed our plans poorly and fielded abysmally. Only Kempy could take any real consolation on the bowling front, with a magnificent opening spell of 8 overs, including what can only be described as a rapid off break that removed the off pole. Thereafter, it was like the blue ribband event in the winter Olympics – downhill. With bowlers containing with dots early in theier overs, it was invariably let down by one bad ball, or sloppy fielding.
The run chase was nothing short of a disaster. With only Grant Celliers continuing his good form from the Brookes game providing some positives, there was nothing of any consolation to take from this performance with the bat.
A long and hefty fines meeting rounded the day off, with many being hit hard, although yours truly got off rather lightly. Mind you, considering we went around the park, not a great deal of deliveries were coming my way for a mistake to be made.
vs Oxford BUSA
With my recent sponsorship deal with Quaker’s Oats signed and sealed, it was never going to be the breakfast that would provide the answer to today’s debacle - and boy oh boy was it a debacle.
Winning the toss was perhaps one of the few things to go right. With a weakening of the batting (I was due in at 5), I decided that a bit of a bowl was required, at least giving us some idea as to what score to chase. From memory, The Marston sports ground was a slow dog, and a good wicket to bowl spin and full and straight medium pace – last time I had played a game there, I was gifted 4 stumpings by opposition batsmen – I was hoping for more of the same.
A tight opening spell from Burhan and Jaymo could have lead to a wicket in the 9th over. However, Jacko wasn’t going to miss the opportunity of grabbing his own haul, and grassed the catch off Javers. Next over, without any due surprise, Jacklin snaffles the wicket of the very same man he had put down.
30-0 then proceeded to 79-6, and then 108-8, including another chop on by Jacklin, the victim the infamous C.P Stearn. Things couldn’t go much better. Then the wheels fell off, and we, or should perhaps I let numbers 9 and 10 get them up to 175. In addition, Jacklin puts down yet another catch from Javers, this time for Burhan, or Bird Man as the opposition were to name him, to claim the wicket with a caught and bowled. Cries from 3rd man of ‘Do it yourself Burhan’ were highly appropriate.
In reply, things were slow, but steady, and a 56 run partnership for the third wicket took us to 104. However, and collapse was instigated, and C.P.Stearn was to have his revenge.
In the end, 14 off the last over was too much, though Andy Jones played well for 65 red.
With a drink in Vinnies (with was tidy) and some motorway and MacDonalds domination thereafter, it was a late end to a poor day. Those playing against the County the following day would very much hope things would get better.
May Day, May Day. That was the call that Jacklin would have been giving to Miles when he discovered that the rain that was promised for Monday didn’t really show. On my day off after 4 days on the bounce, I decided that winding Ben up would be a good thing to do early doors. Sadly, it didn’t work, because the overnight rain, presumably the stuff that no-one saw, made life too difficult. In truth, I reckon Trevor just fancied a day off.
The day off is one not to be wasted. So with this in mind, I still end up doing the square root of 0, for example watching snooker, painting a door and polishing shoes. I then discover that my captaincy nightmare is going to continue after Chervak pulls out of Wednesday’s fixture in Oxford – thanks mate.
Fourth day out of four. Interestingly, stiffness didn’t play a major part. However, the absence of porridge from the breakfast table would prove to play a major influence on proceedings. To boot, the absence of Sav and Chervs meant that the leadership duties fell with me. Remind me in future that captaincy is not something I should do too often. Plenty of brain melts from yours truly, plus some distinctly average ground fielding and the absence of any Yorkers in the last 15 overs left Oxford Brookes, our first BUSA opponents, get 279, assisted by a very well made 116 by their opener. Sav did play, but for the oppo, this time being the CUCC skipper’s little bro.
We needed a decent tea to sort us out. With Trevor Munns’ industrial feed, there was never any danger of that being a problem. Bartholomew and Celliers got us of to a great start, after Massey left a straight full toss, with Celliers showing his class for 67 in his first innings for the club. A collapse from 90-1 to 100-4 made life very difficult. However, enough bad bowling was around for us to remain in the picture, and Barters was in and going well. I came in and got off to 17 in 15 balls, and then made the cardinal sin of trying for one too many boundaries in the over - lbw sweeping. Seething would be an under statement. Bartholomew then upped his strike rate, and with 19 to win in the last over, we very nearly snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Sadly, Barters couldn’t repeat the treatment from the previous over, and ended up caught at long on for his highest score for CUCC of 124 - a tremendous effort. With a total of 264, we ended 15 short. A commendable effort, but much to improve on, particularly in the field and the death bowling
The 12:30 starts are all very well, but I didn’t return home for dinner until 21:00! I didn’t have porridge, but I think in future, every pre-match breakfast shall have to include some oats.
No porridge today, just toast and lime marmalde. Perhaps that would explain why days one and two saw the UCCE competing well, but not today. Northants motored to 300 plus, and then the collapse began - 2 for 3! Without the grand efforts of Sav and again Mo, a sub 100 total was on the cards. I was again bowled, this time leaving it. As I trudged off, Rob White chuntered that there were two types of leave - a good, and a bad - I would do well to take his advice on board.
Despite a thumping victory, most of us can take a lot of positives from the 3 days, not least Zoheb, and the tail end batting, plus the first day bowling. We must take some of our experiences to the inter UCCE competition. In the meantime, for me it is a few days off from the UCCE, and a small run of fixtures for CUCC. I fancy a change of banter, and probably a few more text books at the ground
After settling into the game, my porridge went down a little bit easier this morning. Was even excited at the prospect of receiving some throw downs from the TD master himself Friedlander. He didn’t show up until 10:05 however, and it was left to me and Mo to sort ourselves out - cheers Matt! The fourth ball of the day brought the death rattle after a yorker from Wigley beat my nervous prod. It was a shame, as I would much rather have watched the master class from Zoheb from the other end than from the pavilion. With a 140 red, he has got to be in with a great shout of winning the new Walter Lawrence award for UCCE batsmen. Banners and Mo must be commended for their great support too - must have my throw downs for Mo!
Having established a lead, another first for Scotty, it was game on. Freedo got amongst the wickets again. Rogers, Northants overseas pro, and demolisher of an Australian attack at Grace Road last year must have been fuming, out again at the hands of Friedlander - in the back pocket! Thereafter, Rob White hit some big sixes, including one over the flats and into Gresham Road! Finishing with them 5 down was a reasonable effort.
For every player, to ply your trade against the county sides in the first class games is always one to savour, and make a name for yourself. Northants, 2003 was the scene for the first ever victory for any UCCE since it’s inception in 2000. It was no surprise then that Northants turned up with a slightly better outfit - 2 players with test experience and a strong line up. That didn’t stop us racking up some more cv points for Scotty. Bowling the opposition out for 245 was a monumental achievement. It could have gone pear shaped. Having dropped Usman Afzaal when on single figures, and the ball wobbling everywhere, it was a blood rushing from the face job - I just needed a couple of dead simple regulation jobs to steady myself - fortunately that was provided, and we wrapped them up before tea on the first day.
What wasn’t bargained for was to be 107-7 at the close. Without a steady 52 not out from skipper Zoheb Sharif, an unfortunate chalk for the coach of the first dismissal for under 100 may have been on the cards.
Saturday 22nd April 2006
A great start for CUCC, with a clinical dispatching of Middlesex Premier League side Hampstead providing the best platform possible for the season. The seamers shared the wickets, with 3 from Savill and Jacklin, 2 from James, and one each for Celliers, and spinner Banerjee. Despite the fall of one wicket relatively early, Ian Massey and James Chervak saw Cambridge to their target of 120 with plenty to spare, both unbeaten on 60 odd, and 49 respectivley. A great start, and just the ticket for the first home fixture in the town vs gown clash against Cambridgeshire on 4th May.