The Sun hosted a good evening’s beering, dining and reminiscing for players and Wags plus international superstar to present awards on 4th November. Skipper Nick led the presentations and all agreed that inspite of the results, many of which were pretty close but unfortunately went the wrong way for the BCC lads, it was a hugely enjoyable season from a playing perspective.
Massive thanks went out to Max and Pete in particular for all their hard work in keeping the pitch and facilities in great shape.
The BCC Oscar awards were made as follows:
Player’s player of the season: Doc
Captain’s player of the season: Benny the Fish (graciously accepted in absentitia by Ali)
Clubman of the year: Pete
Bowler of the season: Kenny McGrath
Batter of the season: Mr President
Honorable mentions in dispatches for New Ben, El Trev, Hazza and Old Jez.
Photos to follow.
21/1/18 10am lane 1
11/2/18 10am lane 1
25/2/18 10am lane 1
11/3/18 9am lane 1
25/3/18 9am lane 3
8/4/18 9am lane 1
22/4/18 9am lane 1
|BENTWORTH CRICKET CLUB AVERAGES 2017|
|BOWLING / FIELDING|
|143||Andy and Rich H||2nd||vs Donnington|
|97||Andy and Rich H||2nd||vs Odiham|
|81||James and Rich||2nd||vs Ashford Hill|
|74||Tim and Jezza||2nd||vs Rotherwick|
|70||Nick and Ken||10th||vs Rotherwick|
|69||Dave and Nick||6th||vs East Woodhay|
|64||Andy and Rich H||2nd||vs Overton|
|57||Andy and Ben S||1st||vs Odiham|
|56||Andy and Ben M||3rd||vs Overton|
|48||James and Andy||1st||vs Ashford Hill|
|46||Trevor and Ali||4th||vs Sherfield on Loddon|
|44||Ben M and Trevor||5th||vs Overton|
|41||Ali and Dave||5th||vs Easton & MW|
|41||Nick and George||5th||vs Ashford Hill|
|39||Ben S and Tim||1st||vs Easton & MW|
|38||Dave and Ben M||9th||vs East Woodhay|
|34||Trevor and Colin||6th||vs Old Basing|
|31||Rich H and Ken||10th||vs Holybourne|
Bentworth 182/6, Overton II 183/7
And so, the End is Near as the opening line goes from one of the many joyous odes from the late, great Sex Pistols (amongst others). However BCC decided this was the time to try and change the tune with an urgently needed late win, which, if the planets aligned and a few results went our way, could yet stave off relegation.
The ides were good. Bentworth’s ground looked magnificent, the sun at last remembering its role in an English summer, a decent XI assembled to complete a full house for the season and even a fan. Yes, hats off to our magnificent supporter who had travelled from Hereford to watch us play at a ground he had once graced with his skills. A sprightly 75 year old, he even said he’d be up for a game if he was still a local. To cap it all skip won the toss and chose to bat on the basis that we needed to wring every last point out of the game.
James H and Doc strode to the wicket to face some steady and accurate swing bowling on a good but perhaps slightly helpful surface. Sadly having just got himself in James got a leading edge to be well caught leaving us c 10/1. Chairman Hill joined Doc and steadily the score rose through the first batting point and as the next one approached Hill senior was found in two minds and no mans land to be beaten by a very straight delivery which continued to rattle his poles for 34. At this stage some inspired captaincy decided to give “scrapper” Old Ben a chance up the order having shown great promise in previous knocks. Whilst no-one really knows what guard OB takes as he asks for so many, the lad did not disappoint and between them he and Doc added 56 runs before Doc fell having at last passed a well deserved half century. Skipper Nick chipped a leading edge second ball, leaving Trevor to partner OB in the middle order. After a well crafted and on occasions beefy innings, including one lost ball smite, OB eventually fell for 47. Still the base was there for the target 200 and maximum batting points. Some good hits from Trev and Dave however, and judicious use of the newly invented T20 glove to nose shot from Jezza, were sadly not enough for us to ascend this Everest in the face of continued accurate bowling, with the B’s eventually closing our account on 182/6.
Defendable as long as we didn’t overdo the teas which again were in fine order courtesy of New Jezza and the crew from the Sun.
Out we strode to see if we could defend the total and Ken (3/25 off 10) and Amin opened up with a nice line and length to keep O2’s behind the run rate. Cruel fate, you play with us. Nick (1/43) came on and bowled with good pace to continue to restrict the run rate and Doc (2/41) bowled a tidy spell of cutters as the run rate continued to climb and O2 wickets fell reasonably regularly. HB bowled a nice spell but as has happened so often spilled chances came back to haunt us as a couple of their batters got going and launched long and hard. So it came down to 2 overs to go and 12 runs needed for O2ers or 3 wickets for the B’s. Chair was asked to bowl the first of these and the very gentlemanly O2ers only managed 4 but as our excellent keeper Mr Harding mentioned, he got away with some filth. Scrapper was elected to bowl the last over and started with a friendly offie that was so friendly it went offie the fieldy to join the horses in the adjacent meadow. 2 needed and 5 balls to go. Beserker Mackrell decided enough was enough so resorted to the full run up and bowled 3 dot balls, all deserving a wicket. A scrambled leg bye and a straight drive for a leisurely single saw O2 home off the last ball.
And so the season ended. Another great and exciting game, cricket the winner and B’s off to NE II to regroup and no doubt bounce back.
As the sun set on us we headed off for beers, BBQ and Fire in Babylon on the outdoor screen to build our resolve and waste-lines for the winter months.
So, congratulations to skipper Nick who has been a fantastic leader in his first season in charge, ably supported by the Doc, and who have the making of a pair not unlike Brearley and Botham. You can chose which one is which of course!
And finally thanks must go to Angie for keeping both the books, and the scorebook so beautifully, and also to Pete and Max, without whom, none of this would be possible. We are indebted to you all!
Match Report – Apologies to Jane Austen
It is a truth universally acknowledged that two teams near the bottom of any league table will, when encountering each other, play a crunch match. This, dear reader, is the tale of one such match played out beneath cloud studded skies near the fair town of Winchester in the late summer of 2017.
Bentworth’s merry band of brothers arrived at the Easton bowl to find rich lush grass underfoot and evidence of fresh mowing still visible. The wicket was duly inspected with traditional prods and murmurings before the now ritual loss of the toss. Easton’s skipper, a renowned local publican with an air of menace, opted to bat and the white clad men of Bentworth took to the field to begin that peculiar act of sporting worship known worldwide as cricket.
Nick ‘skipper’ Gay opened proceedings and was soon rewarded with a wicket as number two bat gently played on and made rather a mess of his stumps. Evergreen Andy ‘doc’ Cole was twirling from the other end but pulled up lame early on and had to resort to spinning rather than his customary pace.
The opener and incoming number three both set about the Bentworth bowling with many a lusty blow betraying the fact that they’d rather ungentlemanly been practicing. A sharp slip chance was dropped by the author who was pleased to retain his teeth and not amend his physigog courtesy of Dr Ball. Both batters went on to make 50 and the B’s morale was just starting to drop when Dave ‘safe hands’ Mitten took an excellent catch in the deep off to remove their number one bat.
The pendulum swung dear readers and wickets started to tumble. Number four drilled one at the author and this time he held it. Doc took an excellent chance above his head making it look very easy. Ben ‘you looking at my pint’ Mackrel similarly clung on, there was an obligatory comedy run out, some excellent bowling from Harry ‘macho matelot’ Blackman including a caught and bowled saw him scoop 4 portions of fox and rabbit pie. The innings was completed by the chair and the Worthy Martys were all out for 194.
A fine tea was taken after which the solo performances begun. Up first New Ben and Tim ‘gentleman’ Blockley. Serene progress to 60 followed before the introduction of Ms Carrick. A young lady of the neighborhood sadly lacking in manners and decency. After a volley of injective which caused even the author to blush Tim reminded her of her manners and the expletives lessened even if the venom and accuracy of the bowling did not. Richard ‘never slogging’ Hill looked good for his 20 but like his peers succumbed to her charms. In all she accounted for the first four batsmen though I suspect some were just being polite.
Ali ‘stretch it out’ Jones and Dave put on a healthy partnership until, tiring of Mr Mitten’s company, Ali called him through for a second that never was. For a while all looked rather desperate until Old Ben strode in, boxless and brave as ever. A quick fire partnership with the skipper including some rather orbital sixes took the B’s towards their target but Easton once again gained the upper hand as they caught and bowled their way to victory. In the end, alas, the B’s fell 31 runs short. Their prayers had not been answered and, as the opposition skipper rearranged his stumps in celebration much to the bemusement of his fellows we took our leave happy that for us, at least, the manner of losing was far finer than that of our victors. Dear reader we shall meet again for one last show, until then adieu.
Scribe: Old Jezza.
Donnington 263 all out, BCC 217-8
It’s been 5 weeks since we last had a match, courtesy of one blank weekend and three wet ones. So what has happened since we were all last here? Significantly, Tom has had a baby, (well, technically his wife has) making the good Doctor a grandfather for a second time in as many weeks. We understand the little tyke already has the look of a decent number 7, and the ability to produce some dramatic late swing so we can all look forward to three generations of the same family turning out for Bentworth in about 15 years’ time. The football season has started again, which still seems wrong in August, the Dutch have contaminated the worlds omelettes, and Usain Bolt can’t run as fast as he used to.
Oh, and the world is on the verge of nuclear annihilation due to the inane rantings of two swiveled-eyed, narcissists with stupid hair – but that isn’t important right now because we have a cricket match to play!
Speaking of Dear Leaders, only without hair in this case, the toss was won by Bentworth with the skipper choosing to insert the opposition on a damp looking strip after biblical rains earlier in the week. The mathematicians of the side had determined that 2 wins from the remaining 3 fixtures should save us from the drop and there was no reason at all why this week should not be the start of the revival.
Ken and old Ben opened proceedings, and served up a veritable smorgasbord of half volleys and long hops which the Donnington batsmen feasted on with relish. The only glimmer of a chance falling to Ken who on reflection should probably have tried to get out of the way of a return catch rather than trying (and failing) to pouch it. At 62 for no wicket after 8 overs a long afternoon in the field seemed on the cards and decisive action was needed. The Dear Leader hastily dispatched Ben to long off for re-education, and thought leading by example was the best policy.
Now we all know Dear Leaders are capable of wonderful things. Kim Jong Il for instance did not need to use the toilet, could control the weather, and on his one outing on a golf course completed his round in 38 under par – so it should be no surprise that our Dear Leader of the day is similarly blessed.
A wicket with his fourth delivery was merely a teaser for what was to follow. In his second over he skittled Donnington’s no 3; uprooted the middle stump of the no 4 next ball; and as the field closed in for the hat-trick, clipped the top of leg as the batsman tried to leave one by walking across his stumps. Hat-trick completed he took his sweater and watched as Ken spilled another, slightly easier return catch in the following over, only to take the ball again and be denied four in a row after an lbw shout was harshly declined. Historians have since discovered this is the first time a Bentworth bowler has bowled 4 successive straight deliveries since May 1947, which coincidentally was the game in which Max made his debut.
So, from 62-0 to 67-4 in the blink of an eye and Bentworth were in with a sniff. Sadly, having already given one batsman 2 lives, and soon after dropping another difficult chance off the opposition skipper whilst on nought, the Donnington fifth wicket put on a 130 run partnership. At 200-4 with 12 overs still to go, it again looked like we could be chasing 300, until eventually, the Chairman captured one wicket followed closely by Ben getting the second, both splendidly caught by Dave in the deep.
Ben’s sentence to hard labour on the boundary had clearly worked as he returned a new bowler in his second spell. Bowling with great variety and extracting surprising amounts of spin, he eventually polished off the tail in the final over. An innings that had ebbed and flowed throughout, finished with Donnington 263 all out, with the good Doctor and Ben taking four apiece, and Rich and Ken sharing the balance.
After a tea, generous in the iced buns and cupcakes department, Bentworth set about chasing down their target, with the Dear Leader and James first up.
James fell cheaply having chipped one to mid-on, but this brought to the wicket our in-form Chairman, joining the Dear Leader in a partnership that had proved lucrative in the previous game. And so it was to prove again, with the pair putting on a season’s best partnership of 143 and giving us at least half a chance of an unlikely victory. Eventually, Andy fell for 46 in the 32nd over and Rich for 87 two overs later with the score now on 164.
All was not lost, Trev showed his intent by hitting his first ball for four, and a few overs of George’s swashbuckling could still see us home. George duly swashed, sending a ball near into orbit and seemingly destined for the waters of Guam, only for the missile to stall and come crashing down into the hands of a Donnington fielder.
Amin and Ben did their best to keep up the momentum but whilst the runs continued to flow, the run rate was too steep and eventually Bentworth finished at 217-8, at least securing maximum batting and bowling points in defeat.
So, after a 5 week hiatus, a highly enjoyable game against a good and friendly team, rounded off with a visit to their local to sample the delights of the local butcher, including the butchers daughter!
A wonderful sunny day Bentworth ground looking in fine fettle, splendid new caps in a fetching pastel shade of blue (advert: courtesy of Ken’s sister) and a team of 11 good men and true – featuring a few returning heroes and some newer faces – what could be better? Time to play cricket for the mighty Bs !
Stand in skip Doc C won the toss and with the optimism of a school lad on his first date decided to take first use of the wicket. To back words with actions Doc C strode to the wicket with New Ben looking every inch like BCCs answer to Edrich and Compton or Greenwich and Haynes. Past batting misdemeanors forgotten, the BCC openers took to the O&G bowlers with a combination of caution and attack, slaying anything off line and putting on a fine opening stand of 50, maybe more, before New Ben having made a fine 30+ essayed one pull too far. Not unlike his last attempt at something ambitious on the dance floor it proved to be his downfall as the ball rattled his stumps. But a fine start.
Chairman Old Rich strode in at no 3 again revealing what has been a paucity of batting for the home team but denying his true status as a late middle order basher, resisted temptation and together with Doc C settled in and continued to accumulate runs. As the O&G II change bowlers came on the batters were faced with a rare conundrum. Is it gentlemanly to thump a lady out of the ground (in a cricketing sense that is)? Well chairman decided as there were no press around a cheeky swing here and there couldn’t hurt and advanced the score quite rapidly whilst Doc C was more measured but equally effective. The score advanced to the heady heights of 150-1 by the second drinks break and really not familiar with success, skip decided to get out for a well made 37. George came in and with his wonderful lazy swing dispatched a few balls to far parts of the ground before playing a shot too far and having his timbers rattled as well. Chair got himself to 80 odd before deciding it was time to play like a real batsman and see if he could achieve immortality with a home ton and promptly got out to the persevering lady offie and a good grab at slip. A word should be said about the oppo skipper who bowled an incredibly miserly spell of slow stuff and kept BCC from racing away too far. All other batters contributed but a special mention in disptaches to (a) Old Ben for batting without a box and (b) Jezza who flayed vital runs at the end of the innings to boost the BCC score to a credible 227/7.
And now to the main event and time for another sister to shine. This time Old Ben’s sister who pulled out the stops to produce some cakes out of the top draw edging her into top position in the patisserie league for 2017. A perfect compliment to the beef and coronation chicken sandwiches as The Sun also produced the goods.
BCC waddled out into the field suitably sustained to see if a team seemingly brimming with bowlers could defend our total. A steady start from the O&G openers against the metronomic Kenny McGrath and mercurial Amin was broken by that most rare of sights on a cricket field, a catch by the chairman. This was followed by a laser like yorker from Amin to skittle the other opener. Thereafter O&G batsmen all got starts but a combination of the persistent Hazza (who failed to perform the greatly anticipated slug when he got his just rewards), pacey Sam, Old Ben – who having got over a minor strop (ahem!) set about proving what a good little bowler he is – and Chairman with his mixed bag of slow stuff kept the wickets coming. A word here for New Ben behind the sticks who was frequently challenged by some leg theory from his bowlers and who pulled off a quick silver stumping. A great effort after his recent injury…… Also worthy of special mention for their services to fielding were Amin and Sam for keeping it very tight on the singles and Dom. Forget the couple of half chances he shelled (inspite of very helpful suggestions from the rest of BCC’s yoof policy as the balls climbed skywards towards him ), he did a great job chasing down and whistling throws in from the boundary to save vital runs.
However O&G wouldn’t lie down and BCC having glimpsed victory so many times started to fear another second place. Cometh the hour, cometh the man . With Kenny back on to tie up one end Doc C limbered up, measured his run and after minimal stretching set off to see what magic he could perform. Immediately hitting a good line and length like the true Senior Pro he is, he got their key batter out plumb in front of his sticks. Still BCC couldn’t close the game out and palms started to get sticky as the good lady player of O&G was joined by their no 11 and she hit some lovely boundaries. With 8 needed off the last over, Bothamesque Doc C grabbed the ball and set about the task in hand. A couple of top deliveries shifted the pressure and sure enough O&G blinked first. Trying a cheeky second to Jezza was never a good move and his bullet of a throw was caught by New Ben who whipped off the bails and at last a win for The Bs . by a mere 7 runs.
Top team effort and maximum points for the boys!
Bentworth vs Crown Taverners, Saturday 1st July
BCC 124 all out; Silchester 128 – 0
It would be fair to say that over recent seasons, Bentworth Cricket Club and winning cricket matches have been distant cousins, only rarely on speaking terms. So a trip to top of the table and as yet unbeaten Silchester was akin to an invite to a family wedding where you were asked to share the top table with your handsome, successful, witty and predominantly irritating relative.
To make things worse, the in-form patriarch of your side of the family was missing the wedding, preferring to wear his top hat and tails, whilst throwing good money after bad in the company of the Queen.
So, with a pitch that looked like a belter, an article on the clubhouse wall describing a previous 400 run victory, and an opposition leg spinner turning it square in the warm up, the old sages of Bentworth concluded that winning the toss and batting was the order of the day – and the captain duly obliged.
Trevor was first down the aisle, with his partner, the good Doctor Cole. It looked like it would not be long before all those years of medicine would be needed as Trevor was roughed up with some hostile opening bowling that had him hopping around, as if practicing his dance moves for the reception later. He also had the watching crowd scrambling for the rule book as he literally threw his bat in defence of one rising delivery, from which he took a crafty single.
Not looking entirely comfortable, Trevor succumbed after trying to take the attack to the bowlers and lobbing one to point. His demise brought debutant Dom to the wicket, donning borrowed whites for his first game since school. Naturally he was asked to bat at 3 to test his mettle, which he duly proved; but rather like a drunk who keeps dancing when the music has stopped, had the habit of wandering from his crease after each delivery. Everyone was aware except Dom himself, and the inevitable stumping followed whilst in his mind he was only completing the final moves of his trademark rumba.
After showing promise in mid-week nets, Ali was promoted to 4 and his straight bat duly repaid the skippers confidence. He stuck around for a considerable time while wickets fell around him, and even remained unruffled when Dave was adjudged LBW to one that came out of the middle of the bat.
Ultimately, Trevor, Andy, Ali, Nick, Dave Xander, Ken and Ben all made it into double figures, but none made it into the twenties, and on what we had been led to believe was a 300 wicket, Bentworth had piled on 124.
But still, we had the reception to look forward to, and Silchester did not disappoint, setting a standard that Pippa Middleton would have been proud of, only with fewer pert buttocks and chinless wonders. What the tea lacked in Egg Sandwiches, was more than made up for in Rocky Road, Eton Mess, and Cheesecake and were it not for Bentworth’s dedication we could have spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying Ms Middleton’s magnificent spread.
Regrettably tea had to end, and we had to take to the dance floor again. With Nick becoming the 8th wicketkeeper in 7 matches, Ken and Ben were charged with the initial overs, but the Silchester openers set about them like they were in a hurry to get to the honeymoon suite. Xander and Harry provided some variation, but nothing that we tried could cool the batsmen’s ardour and they progressed serenely to their target.
As the innings neared its conclusion, dark clouds built up overhead and explained the batsmen’s eagerness to finish the game. Having completed their task, and hands having been shaken, within minutes the heavens opened, and Bentworth were left wondering what might have been had we all had some extra cheesecake.
So a family rapprochement will have to wait another week. On the positive side, there were no dropped catches, and although he was of course missed, mad Uncle Colin was at least not there to take his clothes off in front of the bridesmaids.