Thursday, 18 July 2013

Tetherdown Trundlers CC vs Eltham CC, Sunday 14 July 2013

Eltham:  Eltham CC 183/9 dec. vs. Tetherdown CC, 129/7: Match Drawn.

Sunday 14 July 2013 might go down as the day the Tetherdown Trundlers franchise came of age. 

Both in the field and at the crease we found an inner resolve in the face of environmental conditions, a want of numbers and canny opposition. In the contribution from the first graduate of Trundlers’ Academy we saw vindication of our long term strategy. In our bowlers’ trailing hands, we discovered an unexpected and age-appropriate dimension to our wicket taking.

But let’s first set expectations: we didn’t win, or really even come close. But, courtesy of a different match format, we discovered an outcome that suits the Trundlers perfectly: the stubbornly eked-out draw.

Limited overs cricket is binary: you win or you lose, in the Trundlers’ experience with a stout preponderance for the latter. Thus have we overlooked the excellently English psychology of our sport, delivered by the gap - the same one by which all Englishmen commemorate Dunkerque - between victory and defeat. On Sunday there was to be no limit to either side’s overs; to win, a team needed to outscore the opposition and dismiss its innings entirely. A third outcome, in which neither side wins or loses, was on the table.

And how we Trundlers had forgotten the different complexion that third way casts! How agreeable we found it is to wallow in the tepid purgatorial waters of no particular result! The broad smile on Skipper Frais’ face at stumps, as he tucked his bat under his arm and stalked grandiloquently from the field, said it all.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves: a conclusion is nothing without its premises.

The premises in this case belonged to the Eltham Cricket Club, not far from the Sidcup bypass, some miles the far (or, as it is known in N10, “wrong”) side of the Dartford Tunnel.

Our opponents boast a century and a half of proud history. This is their sesquicentennial year. They point also to auspicious forebears: Eltham is where the 66 year-old W. G. Grace played out his cricketing dotage, his last match concluding as the Great War erupted around him.

So, rarely has a day been so generously filled with auguries. Cricket was in the air at every level of abstraction. We left our sons and wives contesting the pride of Tetherdown Primary as North Middlesex Under 10s (stewarded by Honourable Trundler Hayward) took on their Highgate counterparts (stewarded by Honourable Trundler Ball). As we navigated the sweltering traffic of Hackney Wick, Agnew and Blofeld jacked the temperature further with reports from Nottingham. Messrs Pattinson and Haddon of the formal penal colony were making easier work of their tenth wicket partnership than expectation predicted they should.

Amidst the heat shimmer of Sidcup, the spirit of Grace himself awaited. It is a handsome and generously-proportioned oval, well concealed from the road. It promised a fast outfield and a dry but well-matted playing surface. Skipper Frais took an executive decision to field (he now equivocates about whose decision it was, but no one else of the playing 22 has made any claim to it). He resorted immediately to his New Zealanders, and given the option, Buxton at once took the uphill, upwind end intending to let gravity do its work.

Eltham’s innings

Eltham’s openers had a resolute look about them. They were not especially troubled by our opening armoury. Buxton was relieved to see his first few looseners allowed to glide harmlessly down the leg side. Gordon’s first ball was not treated quite so magnanimously, Bulpitt getting quickly into position and lofting it mightily for six behind square. As the mercury touched thirty it looked like it might be a long day.

Skipper Frais, still adorned with the Duck, kept his horses fresh by frequent rotation. While Master Bonfield’s line and length was enough to have Buxton openly pondering his shelf-life as an opener, still it couldn’t crack the Eltham starting pair. That task fell to the crafty Mr Morris, a label I hope he will not be affronted to hear gives him the benefit of some considerable doubt.

To a ball well flighted and of good length Eltham’s Fisher drove full-bloodedly and straight. It wasn’t with malice aforethought that Morris laid fingers on it, nor even reflex, but the simple inability to get out of the way. This was nonetheless enough to do for the non-striker Bulpitt who, backing up correctly, could only watch in horror as the ball cannoned from Morris’ annular and clipped his bails. As his team arose incredulously, Morris composed himself, assembled a nonchalant air and, while not in so many words saying so, evoked the idea that this turn of events might have been part of his plan. His watering eyes, bitten lip and swelling fingers told a different story.

1/72 off nine: Eltham’s tail seemed a long way off, especially if that was how we were going to get them out. Wouldham was the next man in, and after some circumspection he too set about accumulating runs with apparent ease. Frais brought Buxton back on to stem the flow which he did, to the accompaniment of the day’s only minor controversy. Having failed in a Leg Before Wicket appeal that might have succeeded on another day, (a day for which your correspondent will also save his treatise “On The Manifold Injustice to Left Armers of the LBW Rule”) and then being carted around the ground for an over, Buxton again trapped Wouldham low, this time with a faster yorker unequivocally bound for the base of the middle stump. The Trundlers went up, as did the umpire’s finger and, to our surprise, the batsman’s dudgeon. Wouldham marched off giving unsubtle indications that he felt we knew he’d hit it. He was the only one of that view. To his credit he was able to concentrate and apply this sense of injustice to an impressive bowling spell later on, and was to have a revenge of sorts on the New Zealander.

Still, Tetherdown’s fortunes began to turn. Gordon switched to the downwind end while Trunders debutant Ritterband commenced a lengthy spell of Left Arm Orthodox - his first in 20 years - into the breeze. Fisher, now well over his half century, was scoring freely until he leathered one firmly but uppishly into the mid-off area. Gordon, mid-way through exit manouevres from that magisterial bowling action of his, conjured a change in momentum to his left which, though deft, went far enough neither to catch the ball nor, fortunately, to impede Buxton at mid-off who managed to catch it with that trusty solar plexus of his.

With Fisher’s admirable knock at an end and three wickets down for 128, Frais felt able to tighten his ring*. Having taken a couple of overs to rediscover his range –no disgrace after a couple of decades’ layoff – Mr Ritterband started to get the better of the new batsmen with generous flight, immaculate length, and unpredictable bounce. James, an enthusiastic cutter of the ball, looked less at home playing off his legs and eventually lobbed a noncommittal stroke straight down Everett’s throat at wide midwicket.

Eltham were still regrouping themselves when the curse of the flailing hand saw for another non-striker, this time Meeson, off Gordon, who celebrated the wicket with a similarly disingenuous look of wisdom after the fact.

Not long after, Seeds failed to make his ground for a cheeky single and Swain, who had been holding up the middle order, chose the wrong ball to have a slash at, and lost his leg stump to Gordon. Morris compounded a fine tight bowling spell with a sharp catch (mostly with his other hand) off Bonfield senior at point. With the run rate slowed to a trickle and the afternoon wearing on, Eltham declared their innings closed. Over quite splendid array of cheese and pickle rolls Tetherdown girded (and girdled) themselves for the run chase. 178 needed, and as many overs as could be fitted in, with a maximum of 20 after 6pm.

After a hard day in the field Tetherdown’s bowling attack, with thirty seven overs between five of them for just thirteen culpable extras, felt as keenly as ever that they’d done their bit and should be allowed to observe the remainder of the match from the shade of the pavilion. It was not to be so.

Trundlers’ Innings

Still, as things started out we were hopeful. Everett and Phillips both looked good in the face of a disciplined opening spell from Tanveer and Swain. Indeed, the first departure from the field of play was not a batsman, but the Elder Bonfield, shaken from his umpiring stupor by the realisation that he was due to bat at number 3, was therefore next in and really ought to have his pads on. In hindsight he may wish he’d stayed put. 

In any case, as is so often the way with the Trundlers, both openers got a start – we were fully eight overs in before Phillips caught a thin edge to the keeper, and Replacement Umpire Grays, with a doleful look, raised his finger. Phillips felt he had cause to regret the absence of a TV replay, but none of the Tetherdown men with a view of the incident shared his misgivings (with the exception of incoming Bonfield: had he known what was coming next he might have sought Phillips’ reprieve from hotspot, a third umpire, an appellate court and might even have thrown himself on the mercy of his maker).

Still flustered from his moment of umpiring panic, Bonfield D played all around his first ball from Swain, and it played all around him, striking his toe, pad, bat and wicket like some sort of pinball before coming to rest in the keeper’s glove. In the confusion, Bonfield stumbled forward and the keeper stumped him for good measure.

Now it is just as well a man can only be out once in a cricket innings, or we might have been four more down on the spot. “I don’t believe it”, Bonfield muttered as he gazed at the parched earth.

Mr Grays adopts a charming air of bafflement when he umpires, and here it was well justified. For a moment, as Eltham’s inner ring carried out their war-dance, hopping excitedly from foot to foot, Mr Grays froze, overwhelmed by the choice for which he was spoiled on what to give Bonfield out for. Finally, having decided a single finger wouldn’t do the occasion justice, he raised two.

Now if ever a team needed a skipper’s knock the Trundlers did, two down and hardly batting down to eleven (by this I mean no slight on our lower order: we only had ten players). And out strode Skipper Frais, having ostentatiously coated himself with suncream, as if to say he had come to stay for a while, but with a large yellow duck on his back, as if to say he hadn’t. It was between him and Mr Everett to salvage the situation.

Mr Everett is a fine strokemaker on his day: put a mullet and a walrus moustache on him and, in the throes of a crashing cover drive, you might mistake him for a young David Boon. Having held “judicious” as his watchword for ten overs the Bristolian thought he’d done enough to start playing expansively. Alas, Eltham’s Swain had other ideas and his containing line and length proved too much: dreaming no doubt of a fine ton at Launceston, Everett chased outside off, intent on one of those blazing Boonian drives; the ball stayed true to the line it was bowled on and accounted for his leg stump.

With 40 odd on the board, three down and a good 30 overs’ worth of play remaining, those making arrangements for an early supper back in N10 would not have been dissuaded by the sight of Mr Grays approaching the wicket. Certainly not if they had heard him remark, as he set off, “well, the main thing is to score a run. As long as I manage that, I’m happy”.

Your correspondent is an experienced lower order batsman, having waited upon all kinds of late wicket stands over his career. There are times where the not-out batsmen are in such apparent control that the next drop can relax, catch a few winks, even pop across the road for a pack of cigs and the latest issue of the Racing Post. Attending on Mr Grays’ batting affords no such tranquillity. You feel more like an anxious relative visiting a trauma ward. But never for long: Grays got his run, cut deftly through the vacant leg slip area, added another the same way, before lofting one gently off the shoulder to midwicket and retreating gratefully to the pavilion, his day’s work done.

With no specialist batsmen to come and just forty two on the board, it once again fell to the workhorses to do something about the situation. Your correspondent was next, and the skipper came out to greet me for some encouraging words. Residual sunblock gave skipper’s face a pale and waxen aspect which I misconstrued as the early signs of heart failure. I feared the heat may be getting the better of his pulmonary system; it was certainly getting to mine. I felt quite light-headed.

Now bowlers are from Mars, batsmen from Venus. They think about the world in contrasting ways. Often they misunderstand each other. My Captain started babbling in ways I had trouble making sense of.

“Occupy the crease,” he said.
I looked about me to check. “But I am occupying the crease,” I replied. I began to fear he was being patronising.
“Only hit the balls that are there to be hit,” he said.
Now I knew he was. “But they’re all there to be hit. That’s what they’re bowling them for.”

The idea of remaining at the crease for longer than the handful of deliveries it usually takes a social cricketer to put one on the sticks seemed oppressive. But as the first over passed I had an epiphany. Swatting wildly at deliveries wide of off stump lost its appeal. I had a go at leaving one. You heard me: I left it, completely alone! I even waved my bat flamboyantly in the air! O, how strange and bracing a sensation!

Then one pitched at a good length on middle stump, given enough air for me to override my fight/flight instinct. I held my bat vertically out in front of me. The ball bounced off it, rolling harmlessly back down the pitch. I wasn’t out! Umpire Phillips looked ready rub his disbelieving eyes with his cravat, but they were not deceiving him. By Jove, this new idea of defence is marvellous! Mr Frais and I started taking gentle singles! We rotated the strike! I PADDED OFF!

I can’t deny there were moments when my natural instinct to wallop the living daylights out of the cherry got the better of me, but generally our partnership was one of caution, taste and elegance. The runs began accumulating. Then Mr Wouldham, with whom you may recall there had been a testy exchange earlier, came into the attack. He was still simmering about my successful Leg Before Wicket, and creditably marshalled his frustration into a parsimonious bowling spell. He finally got his just desserts when, at the Non-Striker’s End, I upheld our club’s venerable tradition of inexplicable running between wickets.

Captain Frais pushed the ball to the fielder at short midwicket, and transparently no run was available. I ran anyway. I believe it was Mr Seeds at Midwicket who heeded Wouldham’s strangulated cry, and so it was that, with me well short of my ground, the bowler set about obliterating my wicket with his bare knuckles. He was still at it as the younger Bonfield, my replacement, arrived at the crease.

Such a display of animal spirits might have unnerved another lad of that age, but young Bonfield displays worldliness beyond his years. He was quickly into his stroke-play, which is handsome indeed, and promptly cracked his first to the boundary and snuck a single from his second. It was only courtesy of an extraordinary snatch low down in the gully (from Wouldham, I believe, mostly with his other hand) that Bonfield was dismissed following what looked from the boundary like a gracefully carried-out late cut.

Only Gordon, the untried Ritterband and Morris remained. Your correspondent has voiced  concerns before about Morris’ excessively low place in the order, but today there looked to be no doubt that he’d get a fair old go, especially once Mr Gordon had completed his customary round trip to the crease and back. But this was to reckon without the ministrations of Mr Ritterband, the debutant. Ritterband’s casual references earlier in the day to “not having played since the first XI at school” were presumed by all to be unfalsifiable braggadocio. They were now clothed in hopeful plausibility.

There were eight or nine overs remaining of the 20 after six, perhaps more. Mr Ritterband took a conventional guard on middle stump, left his bat there, but then stationed his feet six inches outside leg, affecting a curious stance resembling nothing so much as a gothic arch. Anxious looks were exchanged between Frais at the non-striker’s end and your correspondent, out for another spell of umpiring. We wondered wordlessly what kind of first XI encouraged this sort of display. So did Eltham: the ring came in, far tighter than anything Frais could imagine, all ten of them stationing themselves around the bat at a radius of about six feet, like jackals at a poisoned watering hole.

Yet as Mr Tanveer’s arm rolled over, Ritterband snapped into an orthodox position and batted correctly, smartly across the square. This was to be the unvarying sequence for the remainder of the game: Frais at one end, Ritterband at the other, a scrum of fielders intruding from all sides, but masterful and resolute defence rolling across the block from each ball, as the sun lowered in the sky. Not a run was scored in the last seven overs. It was magnificent to watch, though it might pall on a ball-by-ball description. Skipper Frais was magnificent in concentration, Ritterband a revelation as his foil, and as they walked from the field at stumps, the men of Tetherdown felt the joy of Dunkerque, made real in South London. W.G. Grace, the spirit of cricket himself, would have been smiling.

*It is, as Trundler Oral History records, a thing of rare complexity in any weather, and its tightening only adds to the sense of marvel.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Tetherdown Trunders vs Cuxham CC, Sunday 23 June 2013

It was under heavy skies but borne upon hopeful hearts that a small flotilla of Tetherdown men set out on the three and a half hour* voyage to Wattlington, a pretty Oxfordshire town abutting Lake Windermere‡.

There was much to discuss: not only prospects of play but the matters expected to arise from the scheduled extraordinary general meeting: chiefly, who should wear the duck shirt and under what circumstances, and who should occupy the camp stretcher. These matters turned out to be of lengthy debate but little eventual moment.

‪An air of apprehension therefore, and not just because Binns was to skipper, led to unusual circumspection at lunch: much tomato juice and soda water was consumed – more on this later – and many a jealous eye turned to Duncan’s exotic Scotch egg, the like of which no one recalled having seen previously.

‪The meal dispatched, it was quickly on to Cuxham, where in the shadow of the Chilterns and under scudding skies the locals awaited. As we pulled in a processional of reverent Oxonians, sitting pretty on 2 from 2 in recent fixtures, brought the scorer’s chair to the pavilion.

‪Captain Binns lost the toss and was asked to field. Skipper’s remorse saw him agree to trot up the slope, tacking into the teeth of the nor’wester from the Leeward End. Buxton wasted no opportunity to let out the sheet and come honking down from the Windward.

Wattlington Oxfordshire,  abutting Lake Windermere
‪For all the New Zealander’s theatrics it was the skipper who made the first breakthrough, bowling opener Atkins as cheaply as he did comprehensively. Thereafter his bowlers were able to restrict the locals’ rate of stroke in a most satisfying fashion.

‪After eight overs Bonfield relieved Binns at the Leeward End, Colley relieved Buxton at the Windward and Frais relieved himself at the midwicket boundary.

‪Tightness in the field continued, in bowling and bladder. Bonfield’s generous flight had the batsmen at sixes and sevens, as if sharing the rest of the field’s awareness of a Glowering Presence in the covers. Indeed, Colley had snapped up Gavin’s mistimed push on the off side before anyone in the fielding side had summoned the nerve to so much as encourage him. Two down for thirty odd: the visitors sniffed opportunity.

‪Not long afterward, Bonfield was persuaded to abandon a creditable experiment with a leg slip and was immediately rewarded with a wicket, this time a ball pulled firmly to short midwicket which Buxton gratefully retrieved from where it had become lodged in his solar plexus.

‪Bonfield could be convinced to eschew slips; Colley couldn’t get enough of them. Leg slips, fly slips, all sorts of exotic concoctions: he even took to inventing new varieties of slip to ensure every angle was covered. But when he eventually drew the false shot he was looking for, it steepled high and wide into the deep extra cover. As the ball prescribed its arc, its bowler threw back his head and issued his customary howl, apparently unconcerned that he himself had directed Binns to station seven men, not counting the keeper, behind square. It was Mr Kohler who showed great fleetness of foot in making ground from third leg fly slip to catch it.

‪There was a certain poignancy to that effort. It was to prove Kohler’s last significant display of athletic prowess for some months, for shortly he was to give the phrase “leg slip” a whole new, ghastly, meaning.

‪The Ducksman, Frais, came into the attack for Bonfield, and plied a containing line and length. ‪This allowed the Trundlers’ ace out of his hole.

“Gordon’s alive”, as the saying goes, and the man from Karori Heights, well used to a stiff breeze, hoisted not just full sail but jib, genoa and spinnaker and as he thundered in was fair blowing into the blighters too. What a marvellous, colourful sight; and yet the gathering storm over Drayton St. Leonard had nothing on the one behind the New Zealander’s eyes. Before long Colley’s ululations were but a distant memory: growls of existential ardour were emanating from somewhere deep inside the Wellingtonian as ball rapped pads and beat edges with regularity.

 The luckless reintroduction of his countryman confirmed that it just wasn’t to be the New Zealanders’ day with the ball – how often do we hear cricket fans saying that? – and the latter overs wore on punctuated only by further trips to the boundary from various Trundlers, occasioned as often by the lunchtime soda as the home side’s strokeplay.

‪Messrs Morris and Freeman briefly graced the attack before Binns and Gordon brought matters to conclusion without further fall of wickets, but without undue inflammation of the run rate either.

Cuxham's bowling (courtesy Buxton's Gizmo)
‪Fewer catches were held in the second half of the innings, Messrs Kohler, Frais, Colley and Buxton all putting down chances they might have held on other days, but none egregiously enough to trouble the camp-bed judges. As the men of Muswell returned to the pavilion they reflected on a good session’s work: 123 in 35 overs felt an achievable target with wickets in hand.

‪Phillips and Colley strode out confidently. Umpire Buxton carried a scoring gizmo that promised all kinds of intra-game analysis. Cuxham’s openers bowled intelligently and with knowledge aforethought of the conditions. It quickly became clear it was not the sort of track on which one could compile a quick fifty. Of Tetherdown’s opening pair Philips looked the more likely to do it, elegantly pushing the ball around until he was deceived for seven. Colley batted patiently and correctly, rarely looking in trouble, accumulating the odd single and providing a foundation which allowed the incoming Frais to assume the senior hand in the partnership.

‪The Ducksman also looked comfortable steering the ball around, at least until Cuxham introduced their youth squad. Angus Parker, screaming in like a Hobie Cat to Buxton’s earlier schooner, sent a succession of lively balls short of a good length past Frais and Colley’s outside edges before having one each nip back and collect an off stump. Yet, with Frais out for 12, Colley for 13, and in Aylott LJ and Bonfield two new men at the crease, the run rate began slowly to tick up.

‪The arrival of Luke Styles, the other prong in Cuxham’s youth attack, did for Lord Justice Aylott. “He bowled me,” he confided to the incoming Buxton, “I seem to have missed it”. Thus informed, Buxton strode out, and did enough to last the over, eventually scampering to the other end when a ball squirted into the covers.

‪ At the other end Cuxham’s Atkins was mid-way through a lengthy spell of loftily flighted balls, most directed at a dead patch outside off stump. Determined to play correctly, Bonfield was having trouble penetrating Atkins’ ring, which was densely packed on the offside. For the incomer, however, Atkins momentarily drifted onto middle, the ball rose invitingly, and Buxton’s moment of brief dazzlement arrived: an uncultured swipe saw the ball sailing into the brook at Square Leg. This worked less well against the livelier pace of Styles from the far end, however, and presently Buxton found himself repeating Aylott’s wise words to the incoming Kohler and heading back to the shed.

It is a pity that Bonfield wasn’t party to this conversation, conducted midway between the pavilion and the wicket, for it might have fortified him not to do precisely the same thing a couple of overs later. Steam was verily emanating from his ears as he returned to his brothers knowing the team’s interests had lain in his remaining at the crease. Binns strode out, with the look of Custer about him, prepared to mount a last stand. 

At this point the Trundlers weren’t far off in terms of runs, but the supply of recognised batsmen was beginning to dwindle. Mr Kohler, however, was unquestionably one of those, and a gazelle between the stumps to boot. As long as this pair could remain at the crease, it felt quite doable. But disaster was to strike. To a shorter ball Kohler gathered himself erectly and battered it magisterially through the covers. On any but the lushest of outfields that would have been the end of the matter: the umpire would wave, the scorer acknowledge, and the outfielder would trot over the boundary, vault the fence and retrieve the cherry from deep in the neighbouring paddock. But having observed the leaden outfield the Tetherdown men knew better than that and Kohler’s commanding cry brought Binns – on this occasion alert and en garde – bolting from the non-striker’s end.

Trundlers' Wagon Wheel. Strong behind square.
It was then that a rifle-crack reverberated around the shire. Perhaps, we in the pavilion thought, the storm was finally breaking. We were soon disabused of that notion: Kohler crumpled as if felled by a sniper, and from the turf began issuing all sorts of guttural exhortations, none sanctioned by the Wisden Almanack. Binns, raw from his mid-week experience and with ears pinned back, kept running. Kohler, still prone, had moved his conversation on from the prospects of the single, and was reciting extracts from Roger Mellie’s dictionary. In any case it was apparent he would not make his ground, possibly not even by the end of the week.

Our hosts were magnanimous: no run-out was effected; without a word the ball was taken to be dead, and paramedics at once motioned on the field of combat. It did not look good.

With Kohler unfit to continue, the Beast unsheathed his new blade and made his way to the middle. Some four overs remaining and thirty odd required: you could see in his eyes that Mr Freeman knew his moment had come. But he had not accounted for the intervention of Binns who, perhaps upset by the grisly scenes of the previous over, had quite forgotten his mental rehearsals about the importance of running between the wickets.

Having deftly whipped his first ball off his hips for a single, Freeman found himself at the non-striker’s end. Binns steered the next ball into the gully area. The record does not reflect whether Binns played any part of his stroke with open eyes, but if he did he will have noticed that the gully area (which is, of course, behind square) was plainly populated, and by a fielder who had cleanly stopped the ball a mere handful of yards from the wicket. By his actions we can assume that Freeman had noticed all of this, had determined a run was so obviously unavailable that it went without saying, and had returned to his crease without articulating a call (which was his to make) to that effect.

Freeman looked most startled, therefore, to hear Binns’ blood-curdling cry of “YES!”, and quite horrified to see his captain galloping heroically away from the danger end. Nothing if not a pragmatist, and realising that motion in any direction other the pavilion’s was a plainly a waste of energy, Freeman turned and trotted directly back to the changing shed, correctly sliding his bat as he crossed the boundary rope.

This brought Mr Gordon to the crease, once (but only once) upon a time an opening batsman for the Trundlers. With a little over three overs left and still 27 required, the visitors’ optimistic spirits began to wane. As he tends to, Gordon maintained an admirable strike-rate of 50% before joining at least six of his comrades in playing across the line to a straight ball, but his final score of 2 scarcely budged the total, and it was Mr Morris, in your correspondent’s view most unfairly asked to bring up the rear, who showed great style and elegance in amassing a total of 1 not out and looked as likely as anyone to compile a match-winning innings. His intentions were frustrated by his Skipper’s faltering resolve. Mr Binns finally succumbed to the same temptation as so many of his men in swatting across the line to a ball on off stump, to depart and concede the game, on 7.

105 all out, then, but the Trundlers’ most creditable performance versus Cuxham to date, promising much for next year’s fixture.

‪*give or take 
‡ I crave your indulgence.