Archive for the ‘Match Report’ Category

Heroics at Jevington

Saturday, May 28th, 2016

It’s all about communication. And the skipper was mightily relieved to carry out a head count at 12.47 on Sunday afternoon and reach the magic 11, despite never having actually confirmed the final line up, not to mention the added bonus of Frank filling the combined scorer/treasurer role and Jan maintaining her uncontested position as legendary supporter.
With the team dispatched Jevington-bound thoughts turned to tactics. The usual confused, uninformed chatter regarding our strengths as a chasing team, our weaknesses as a penetrating bowling force and possible game formats danced back and forth between the skipper’s travelling companions. The conclusion was that we should bat second on the basis that the bowlers could enjoy a large tea!
We arrived in glorious sunshine simultaneously with the opposition and as tall, sinewy youths peeled themselves out of back seats we realised that we were not facing a team that even approached the average age of the beamers (only kept below 50 by the very welcome presence of Jack Renshaw).
The opposing skipper, one of the sinewy youths, completely misread the toss and called a hugely optimistic “heads”. It was tails and the Beamers skipper instantly inserted Jevington to their fate. Buoyed by the knowledge of an extensive tea the Beamers bowlers were pawing at the ground in anticipation.
The pre-match huddle was really an excuse to wish a very happy 65th birthday to Jonners “the cat” Jonners with the morale boosting “Win it for Jonners” being the game plan.
Opening with Greg “Blackadder” Blackadder and Renshaw senior against the opening batters of Youth and Sinew it wasn’t long before the first breakthrough. Glen, using a devious change of length and width drew the batsman into playing early. The ball looped high into the air towards a slightly pensive looking mid-off Jack Edwards. It has to be said that in pre-match warm up Jack had dropped just about everything that came his way. The total silence that followed the ball through its trajectory towards Jack reflected the possibly dented confidence in the catch being taken. There should have been no doubt as the ball was safely pouched.
There followed a period of excellent bowling from Bladder and Renshaw, Glen picking up another very useful wicket of the skipper and Mark being just too good to actually claim a wicket. Reference to the economy will describe the quality of the spell. A change was required and on came Renshaw junior (another Jack) and Chafey (another Lord). Niall managed a marvellous spell producing three lovely wickets including a hat-trick ball while Jack R was cruelly denied his first Beamer wicket for a second time (his father had fled to long leg claiming he could not take the pressure of dropping another off his son’s bowling) as a rocket from the eventual top scorer with a 50 was spilled. “no one would have caught that!”
It was time for spin. A mesmerising spell of left arm orthodox (actually I don’t have a clue what it is described as) coming down the hill and right arm leg spin coming down the other hill kept batter, fielders and audience royally entertained. The A&E master class in “using the loop” was parsimonious if a bit wicketless. The leg spin was expensive for the first three overs as the nine months of rust were shaken off and the spell nearly came to an end right there. However in a moment of captaining brilliance Riggers was kept in place to magically haul in three wickets in two overs of an unplayable mix of leg breaks an googlies. Genius!
The spin binding spell bowling spell came to an end and we continued with the never ending supply of bowling talent as on came safe hands Jack and the legend Rob Nicholls. We were into the tail and runs had dried up but the final wicket (they only had 10) was elusive. Rob Nicholls solved the problem with a bizarre piece of self-pressurising reverse psychology. He stated to the skipper “I’ll have one more then you should come on”. No sooner had the skip started creaking into a semblance of a warm up than Rob produced an in-swinger of sublime quality to remove middle stump. Jevington all out for 116 with 34 minutes of batting time remaining. Well bowled, well fielded!
Tea. Nothing more need be said other than it has been voted tea of the season already. The successful tactic of batting second allowing the bowlers to gorge themselves was slightly misunderstood by Maf (batting 3) who reached the end of the table with his plate groaning under the strain of beautifully prepared goodies. The bowlers (all eight of them) naturally did gorge themselves during a tea which took at least 15 minutes longer than usual.
We eventually arrived at a batting order largely selected on the basis of who could still move and Riggers and Lord Chafey made their way to the centre. Under instruction to “have a look” for the first 30 minutes and then accelerate through to victory the score book began to tick. Bowlers Sinew and Youth opened the attack with a mixture of pace and accuracy. Both batsmen strolled into double figures when Chafey suffered the merest brush of an outside (maybe inside, I was only umpiring after all!) edge. So mere was the brush that the aforementioned umpire was not inclined to raise the finger having heard nothing untoward. Standards were properly maintained however when Chafey quite correctly walked. Fair play! Sinew was replaced at the pavilion end by taller, faster, leaner, south African Sinew who bowled 8 overs of impressive, fast, outswinging, off-breaking deliveries. Obviously this was way too good for any Beamers to get anywhere near so he only managed one wicket. Glen Blackadder Blackadder shone with the bat overcoming the pace and guile of the attack to amass 41 and with some support from the skipper we came within 10 of victory. Then came the second Chafey LBW issued to a work colleague that afternoon and Black could adder no more to his score (hmm). It was about this time that the umpire was handed the bowler’s right boot with the sole hanging off and the right arm off spin continued with one stockinged foot.
So Beamers 106 for 6 and into the fray enters Jack Renshaw looking, if we are honest, slightly pale and nervous. In a very non pale and un-nervous three balls Jack clipped a legside delivery to square leg for two, drove a straight ball to long off for another two and nonchalantly nudged a quick single to steel the strike. 5 to win. Jevington, in a desperate last throw of the die reverted back to the fast, accurate opener. The skipper wondered momentarily on the likelihood of Renshaw junior being given LBW by Renshaw senior. The next ball tested this conundrum for the father. A fast ball flashed between bat and pad, a noise, a huge shout, a nervous look up from the son, and implacable father quietly and sagely shaking his head muttering words like “pad”. The bowler, clearly furious, stormed in to deliver the next ball intent on taking off young Jack’s head. The chest high beamer was clipped (possibly edged) between keeper and slip for four. Game tied. Another fast ball on leg stump simply clipped to square leg and the game is in the bag. Well played and welcome to the team Jack Renshaw.

Beer followed in the 8 Bells and then the Good Companions. What a great day!!

Thank you Beamers.

Midhurst in Ruins After Operation Siddo

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

A fixture bedeviled by the usual lead-up nonsense (opposition dropping out, players dropping out, cyclists everywhere, lack of access to the emergency fixture bureau, etc, etc) ended up being rather pleasant.

Midhust is miles away, of course, so the team arrived in dribs and drabs, most cheerful and looking forward to a game of cricket at last, some, sadly, less so.

But enough of my spat with Jonners. “What happened in the game, skip?”, I can hear you cry.

I was coming to that.

On a sloping pitch in front of the splendid Cowdray Ruins, the toss was duly won and the opposition duly inserted, mainly on the premise that we can never bowl sides out.

After tight bowling early on from Mark and Musso (yes indeed, the old team back in harness – and carthorses would be one description, although not one I would ever use, naturally) they crawled to around 35-1 off 12 or 13 overs, with Musso having taken the solitary wicket to fall. A double change, with debutante Glen replacing Renshaw and Siddo the Magnificent replacing Musso. And, my word, didn’t that work out well?

While Glen hurtled in from one end – inducing a series of false strokes and a couple of missed chances, one very tricky, the other, well… – Siddo was – as I may have said already – simply magnificent. When he’d taken 3 wickets, I was going to take him off, but wise words were whispered in my ear by Niall about the possibility of a jug, so I kept him on. So he picked up a fourth. I then asked him when he last took 5 wickets, and was told 1993, so I gave him another over. You can guess the rest.

So they’re 6 down. Niall makes it 7 in his solitary over and they really haven’t got any runs at all. Beast then God from one end to deliver statesman-like off spin; myself from the other end to feed them some juicy leg-side long-hops which certainly helped with their scoring rate!

An over apiece from Riggers and Ben to round things off. (10 bowlers used – count ’em!) Midhurst 123-7, 5 of which were gobbled up by Siddo.

Decent tea, with a particularly good coffee cake and accompanied by live cricket from Lords in the bar with England’s innings interestingly poised and Balance and Jordan leading the fightback.

3 people had each bowled a solitary over, so they they had the honour of leading us out. Ben and Riggers first. After Ben’s brief stay (which, as he pointed out, was both longer and higher scoring than his previous effort at T&W), Riggers was joined by Niall and together they set about their task.

Highlights were a trademark back-foot force just in front of Point from Riggers and a series of mightily punched shots from Niall all round the wicket, but particularly through the leg-side. The chase was unhurried and without much in the way of alarm, although Niall carved one through cover’s hands, Riggers got tied in knots by a couple of young leg-spinners (poetic justice, surely?) and Musso had to field for about half their innings as one of their team had to go home for his dinner (or something).

A 9 wicket win with more than 10 overs to spare. We normally like ’em a bit closer, but I think we’d take anything at the moment. Can anyone remember our last victory? T&W in September 2012, perhaps? Was that Ben’s previous outing? Is that the secret? Beamers win when Ben fails…?


In a brief footnote, I have had an apology for the lack of proper beer in the bar. I am assured that it won’t happen again!

In another brief footnote on the subject of beer, jugs are owed.  Siddo (one), Riggers (half).  Just thought I’d mention it…

Another Cracker at Crawley Down

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011
Take it easy Dom – plenty of time…
Maf Moors

What is it about Crawley Down?  For the third year in a row The Beamers’ visit was accompanied by runs galore, wickets aplenty and a tight finish, all played in good spirit in a lovely location either side of a splendid tea.


From The Pavilion

Having lost the toss and been inserted, The Beamers progressed along fairly steadily, with the entire top 8 – bar Riggers (nicely taken at 2nd slip early on) – getting into double figures.  Early highlights included some nice offside strokes from Rich III, a couple of high and handsome lofted straight drives from Maf and some – eventually fatal  – swiping and flirting with lbw from Dom, before, at 69-4, Frank joined Ben in the middle.

By this time, Ben’s bat was making sweet sounds and Rigby and Nephew were progressing very nicely thank you, at least until Frank became another victim of the slip cordon.  Next to join Ben in the battle to post a decent total was Billy, who, having last week demonstrated that he’d located the middle of his bat, continued in the same entertaining vein before falling lbw.  147-6 with batting to come and nicely poised for the final push in the remaining 40 minutes.

Unfortunately, while J and Ben continued along nicely, they also continued along all too briefly before Ben was well caught on the boundary one short of his fifty.  163-7 then became 164-9 in a further 7 balls as The Beamers’ traditional tactic of providing at least one collapse per innings – just to keep things interesting – was presented to the crowd for their delectation and amusement once again.

This flurry of wickets meant that your correspondent’s normal dignified saunter to the wicket was replaced by a more shambolic stumble, with no time for the usual calm visualisation, careful bat selection or a few throw-downs.  Or tying my boot-laces.  This may be the approach I adopt in future, for what followed was the highest stand of the innings – a logic-defying 49 dominated by J who had really got his eye in by now and who enjoyed the short boundary rather more than he did my running between the wickets.  Eventually, with a couple of balls of the innings left, one agricultural swipe too many inevitably resulted in me being caught at Maf Corner, leaving J undefeated on 43 and with the target set at 214.

The Last Pair

From the first ball of Crawley Down’s innings – bowled by J and returned with interest past mid-off – to the last ball – again bowled by J and this time smacking the wristband of the number 10 before looping up and into the grateful gloves of the skipper – the chase was on and the game swung back and forth.

The fiery opening combination of J and Marlon soon messed up the top-order – the highlight being Frank’s God-like ability not to be distracted by both keeper and 2nd slip moving in front of him as a catch off J flew his way – before the fourth wicket pair began moving the scoreboard along at a decent rate, with a few lbw not-outs just to keep it spicy.  After 17 overs of this, the skipper decided to change things around, with me replacing J at the pavilion end and debutant Louis on for Marlon at the other.

This double change initially had the desired effect, and soon Crawley Down were 83-5, with the rate required starting to rise.  However, apart from a smart stumping by Ben, my Dob proved ineffective, and smacking me over the aforementioned short boundary seemed a little too straightforward so I was soon relieved by Billy, turning the screw as only he can, while Louis – showing good pace – continued his recovery from a first ball duck by picking up a second wicket before crippling a teenager.

Riggers – on for Louis – then benefited from a catch by Maf*and Billy castled their top scorer – bowler of a long and productive opening spell earlier in the afternoon and whose fine fifty was ended by a tired stroke.  Yet catches continued to not quite go to hand and the score continued to mount…

So here’s the situation: Crawley Down need around 15 off 3 overs with 2 wickets in hand and Riggers has just been spanked for a couple of big ones.  But what’s that I see down at Fine Leg?  Yes indeed, it’s Marlon the Magnificent adjusting his knee support and flexing his aching elbow.  And at mid-off, J has just indicated to the skipper that he’s got another over in him if required.   This is cranking it up on a huge scale!

First over back, Marlon clings on to an absolute screamer of a c&b from the Riggers-roaster, and, with J wrapping it up in the next over, The Beamers claim victory by 13 runs with 10 balls to spare.

Ben 49, J 43*.  J 3-32, Louis 2-42, Marlon 2-45.

A Nice Pair

A top day and a top game – in which everyone contributed to a fine victory – was celebrated in appropriate fashion, with London Pride in their club house followed by Hepworth’s in the Good Companions.  Which, for this day at least, we were.

In case anyone’s interested, I’m a “Yes” for this fixture next year…


*Maf was so pleased with his catch that he was even nice to me in the pub after the game.  Once everyone else had left, obviously…

Strange Goings On at Hove Rec

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

It was odd really.  Considering our woeful start to the season, The Beamers’ 8 wickets victory at Palmers was strangely under-whelming.  Perhaps, after the thrashing we administered last season, it was difficult to win more crushingly; perhaps, our response – after our typical early incision was followed by a Palmers recovery in the form of an 80 run third wicket partnership – of a two over spell during which we took 4 wickets gave us much-needed confidence; perhaps, the cruising calmness of Riggers and Richard III’s opening partnership in the chase set us up in a way we had lacked in previous weeks; perhaps it was Ben’s sophisticated captaincy (probably too much use of “perhaps” so delete the last one, eh? – Ed). Whatever it was, this felt like a thoroughly capable performance.  Apart from the catching, on which more anon…

Astonishingly, more attention was paid by the hundreds of occupants of the lovely Hove Rec to some Gay Dog Show nonsense (I may have got that slightly wrong) than to the early annual flowerings of the fluffy delight which is PCC vs BBCC.  Propelled downwind by Start Me Up blaring out of the loudspeakers from the club house, Rob Nic provided some typically bouncy, seamy stuff, typically un-rewarded and typically accompanied by his own particular brand of self-disgust whenever one strayed even slightly down the leg-side.  From the other, slightly quieter end, Billy bowled his best spell of the season so far.

He may be late, and it may have been painful to watch in previous weeks, but he’s so back.  Bounce; venom; spit. And that’s just before he released the ball.  Once he’d bowled the thing, we had the pleasure of watching our South African Elephant-Trophy-holder unleash the dervish which is a screw-turning spell from The Demon.  As ever, when the ball wasn’t crashing into the stumps or flying into the air at droppable height, it was smacking Jonners painfully in the knee or shoulder.  Service – magnificently – restored.

And yet, after Billy’s early incisions (and the retirement of Jonners to gully after a particularly spicy blow to the left knee led to him fielding without gloves for the first time in 20 years), their skipper and his trusty long-levered lieutenant started to make infuriating progress.  So Rob Nic retired to the long grass with his floppy hat, replaced by The Hangman banging it in from the Club Tropicana end, and I came on to replace Billy and to bowl some utter bilge from the other.  Neither of us was successful, although their lanky lefty (he was taller than Nick – the official unit of measurement in Beamers circles) continued to entice our fielders with his tempting, nay alluring invitations to JUST CATCH THE BLOODY THING.  We’re better than that, so we didn’t.  Six times…  All this, while The Salmon’s baleful gaze was cast down upon us, juggling like clowns at the scene of his glorious leap last season.

Before I continue, a word about the pitch; it was an absolute belter.  Quite how Nigel (frequently mentioned in this parish, and deservedly so) has created such a beauty even God doesn’t know, but this was a corker.  Apparently, due to recent storm damage, it’s the worst one on the square, but all the bowlers got something out of it, and none of the batsmen (whinging bastards to a man, as we know) could complain.  Crucially for the next passage of play, it had bounce and turn, both of which our Moon River Andy used to his advantage as he moved inexorably to a bowling PB (jug – missed by Mr Jug Monitor…).  After an 80ish run 3rd wicket partnership and having been dropped twice off me in successive balls in my previous over (bitter?  Yup), Long Tall Lefty succumbed to an absolute beauty from Andy which bounced and turned to clip the off bail.  Another one in the same over left them on 95-4 and The Beamers were progressing, slightly uncertainly, from déjà vu to Voulez Vous.

Their top scorer and skipper then failed to take account of the inevitability of Death by Dob and his replacement made the mistake of assuming that getting home at 08:30 that morning meant that Riggers’ catching was as bad as the rest of ours.  Six down.  A couple more for Andy and two in an over for Riggers resulted in a target of 152, with discussions over tea about the broken tea urn and our recent sad history of failed chases.

Luckily, the aforementioned opening pair of Richards was calmness incarnate.  It wasn’t that they did anything particularly dramatic; they just kept out the good balls and hit the bad ones.  I say “just”, but, let’s face it, this has been a tactic eschewed by most Beamers this season.  Playing sensible cricket, they kept up with the asking rate of around four an over without any alarms, and, with Maf not around to scupper things by suggesting it was in the bag, the feeling grew on the boundary’s edge that this could, finally, be the one.

And so it proved.  With Richard III out for a fine 40, the skipper entertained briefly before Nick joined Riggers at the crease.  While Riggers continued to unfurl more of those lovely trademark shots through the covers off the back foot as he moved into the 60s, Nick plunged his long left leg out to the pitch of the ball and awaited his moment before – encouraged from the side lines by “6” signals from God and shouts of, “You’re better than that, Nick” when he missed a swipe – he did the necessary, smacking the latest Palmers pretender high, handsome and straight back over his head for the six to win the game.

Chigwell; Tangmere; Findon; Portslade; Preston Park.  Where did it all go wrong?


A Different Sunday, But It’s The Same Old Story…

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

For the second successive Sunday, The Beamers found ourselves bowling first and with the opposition’s top-order ruthlessly dispatched.  Alas, followers of our approach this season will not be surprised to learn that, for the second successive Sunday, post-match beers were of the “oh fuck-it” variety.

There were similarities aplenty.  In both cases, The Beamers bowled first, with the early damage inflicted by our pace attack  (the highlight a magnificent 5-fer from Marlon in the second game) being accompanied by much discussion of what to do with the rest of the day after the Palmers-2010-like steamrollering which was surely in the bag.  All followed, naturally enough, by a minor recovery, a small tumble of further wickets, and then tail wagging of painful proportions.

There were differences too.  Driving rain at Portslade; glorious sunshine at East Brighton for the Preston Park game.  Portslade’s crucial stand was for the last wicket; Preston Park’s was for the 8th.  In the West, an early spot of dob hit the off stump of their top scorer without removing the bail (just don’t, ok?); in the East, an early spot of dob missed the off stump of their top scorer by a whisker.  Apart from Ben briefly threatening the drunk on the boundary, nobody really got going in our reply at Portslade; against Preston Park, Maf and Tonguester had an opening stand of more than 70 before the wickets started to tumble.  At Portslade, a splendid tea; from Preston Park, a splendid post-match barbeque at The Bugle.  There were even differences in the shocking lbw decisions: in the first game, Riggers was sawn off by one which would have missed another set; in the second, Billy was sent packing after edging one robustly onto his pad.

So many differences and yet the same result: Beamers lose, massively.


Not so much Hoo Haa as Ho Hum.

A&E (in the absence of anything more substantial, or indeed accurate, from the skippers…)


In Memoriam Marlene

Friday, September 24th, 2010

A very special, a very emotional, and a very jug-filled day … all the pleasures of our eccentric game
Frank Rigby

Marlon - Matchwinner!

An emotional last game for Marlon* had everything you could ever want from a day trip away with the Beamers – a pleasant if windy ground, a returning warrior, dropped catches, personal bests, epic collapses, a season’s best stand, dubious umpiring, a fine victory and then jugs aplenty both in their clubhouse and at The Battle.

After our comprehensive victory over Angmering at home in our first game of the season, we arrived for the return fixture confident of doing the double – our confidence bolstered by the return to the fold of Tonguester, fresh from 18 months of southern sun.

Having lost the toss, we took to the field. Our attack leant heavily on bowlers of the left arm variety, with only one (extra special) right armer to leaven the mix. First up we had Toungster and Isaac who both, after some initial problems of the radar variety, got into their stride, with Isaac dismissing one of the openers in short order and both bowlers asking appropriate questions. The other opener and their number three proved to be their most prolific pair and, whilst not scoring at too high a rate once two leg-side sweepers had been placed for the opener, they batted calmly and productively through the first 15 overs.

First change was Billy, replacing Isaac at the “I remember when this used to be fields” end and quickly getting into his stride, causing the usual trouble to the batsmen, Jonners and myself at slip. One more over from Tonguester at the “There are still some fields” end and the time came for some game changing action, with Marlon replacing him in his last spell for the Beamers*. Marlon was fiery from the start, throwing in the odd beamer just to remind us of Renshaw’s performance against Ansty and beating the bat on a regular basis.

The Angmering collapse started in Marlon’s second over, when he took three fine wickets. (There was much talk afterwards about whether his leg-side shocker on the hat-trick ball was evidence of jug avoidance or spot-fixing. The jury’s still out…) Within a handful of overs (no, I don’t have the scorebook to hand), Marlon had taken another two, Billy two in two balls, Maf had dropped the third worse howler of the season, John had taken a fine catch at his specialist position of Silly Mid Salmon and their 12 year old number 9 had come in to face the soon-to-depart double-Elephant-winner with their score barely into three figures.

It seemed a little unfair to inflict the mighty Marlene on such a little lad, so he departed to the country (and soon from the country) with best ever figures of 5-18 and I came on to bowl. My plan to help Angmering to a more respectable total worked perfectly and within half a dozen overs they had moved on to 133 before Billy wrapped up their innings with another couple of wickets to finish on 4-37.

Our efficient performance with the ball took us to tea thirty minutes early, the sandwiches, cakes and melon accompanied by the usual banter and bartering over the batting order.

Marlon had the honour of playing his last ever innings for The Beamers* as an opener, partnering Riggers in our initial foray to the crease. Things did not go well. Within a handful of overs, we were 13-4, with both Riggers and John failing to trouble the scorers, Marlon and Sanjiv barely making them raise a sweat and Maf benefiting from two dropped catches, each perhaps marginally more difficult than the one he’d dropped in their innings.

If ever there’s a man for a crisis, it’s Frank. Striding confidently to the crease, he was the picture of serenity as he prepared to join Maf in doing battle with the now jubilant Angmering posse. It is difficult to find words to describe how well these two gentlemen played. With remarkably few alarms (although Frank was dropped off the 12 year old) and each in their own distinctive fashion, they moved the score on at a decent lick. Their stand of 101 (season best) featured some splendid aerial work, particularly square on the leg side, from Maf (59 – PB and maiden 50) and some typically elegant strokes on the off side from Frank (41) before they both departed in rapid succession leaving us on 114.

So here’s the situation…

Beamers 20 to win.

Angmering 4 wickets away and cock-a-hoop at being back in the game.

At this point, the more astute amongst you will have noticed that two redoubtable names from our bowling performance have yet to figure in our batting line-up. Yes indeed, it was time for Tonguester and Billy to steer us home. Greeted by the comment from their keeper, “Here comes the night-watchman”, Richard crunched his first ball past mid-on for four, moved rapidly on to 13 off 5 balls, and together with Billy (beneficiary of a very dubious lbw not-out from Sanjiv, who maybe needs to borrow John’s umpiring book) took us to a 4 wicket win with around 15 overs to spare.

The Salmon boning up on LBW law before giving Sanjiv some coaching

All that was left to round everything off was to celebrate individual and team success both from the day and from earlier in the season with jugs deep into the evening. So we did.


Victorious Beamers

*If Marlon heeds the Word of God, he may return from London in time for the Twineham and Wineham game in which case much of this match report should simply be ignored

The Good Ship Beamer Hits St Michael’s Rock

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Let’s be honest, a Beamers batting line-up with a top five containing three Rigbys, a Hewie and a slightly crocked and seriously dehydrated Moors should have found a target of 198 more within our grasp than proved to be the case. On a pitch which held few demons (although it was a little livelier than their skipper suggested at the toss), a fast outfield and with only one bowler proving a real handful, The Beamers’ response to the challenge was disappointing and deflation was the predominant emotion on the boundary as successive shipwrecked batsmen swum back to shore, dodging sharks and shaking their heads sadly at their fate.

In chasing such a target, what we needed was partnerships. What we got, I’m afraid, was a series of people being suckered by – admittedly well disguised – slower balls, some suicidal running between the wickets and very few glimmers of hope, principally when Billy was briefly biffing away. Before long we were fatally holed beneath the waterline, with a win out of the question and an elongated clinging on for the draw the only remaining straw left to clutch. In such circumstances, The Beamers typically look to the lower order to provide some light relief, and we were not to be disappointed.

First candidate for the Cat o’ Nine Tails was John, whose huge heave-ho in response to the instruction to play for a draw drew the question, “What were you thinking of?” from God on his return to the beach. For true comedy, however, we had to turn to Isaac and Jonners who, after playing sensibly for a number of overs, contrived what is certainly the most horrific run-out I have ever seen. When you are left asking not whether the batsmen crossed before the stumps were broken, but how many times they passed each other, you know you’ve been witness to something very special…

A couple of overs later, what barely passed for our innings foundered with the SS Beamer some distance from safety and we were heading home to watch what barely passed for a football match.

And yet; oh – and yet, it had all started so promisingly when we launched our vessel 5 hours earlier. After we won the toss and inserted, the honour of breaking the champagne bottle went to Isaac, who after some early radar problems bowled tightly and caused both openers trouble. A spell of 6 overs for 4 runs, only one of which came from the bat, was a worthy follow-up to his fine outing at Palmers. He was partnered by Marlon operating at full steam ahead down the hill, finding lift and movement, beating the bat two or three times an over and seemingly only one point off the starboard beam away from precipitating a collapse. A dozen overs into their innings and, while Lewes had all their wickets intact, they had barely passed 20 and the waters were deceptively calm.

Initially, my decision to make a change at both ends seemed a sound one, with both Andy and John asking questions and the only damage being to Maf’s knee and my finger. Soon, however, there followed a catastrophic navigational error: John dismissing both their openers. Crucially, this let in the Lewes number 3, a chunky gentleman with a straightforward and effective technique; regardless of who was bowling, he hit the ball vast distances. Within a few overs, bowled by John, Andy, Billy and myself, he had passed 50 and looked set for many more before being forced overboard by, if I may say so, a classic piece of Dob.

While it was good to see his broad back disappearing up the steps, the swell was increasing and the ball continued to be dispatched to all points of the compass. With catches being dropped or not going to hand with monotonous regularity and, in spite of a couple more wickets being taken, the Lewes score mounted, what proved to be an insurmountable target was set and optimistic talk at tea of the chase to come was sadly without foundation.


Brighton Beamers – Kings of the Road

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Initial inspection of St John’s Park, Burgess Hill suggested a decent pitch, and this impression was confirmed by their skipper, who told us that 540 runs had been scored in the 2nd team game the previous day and promised, “It’s a road”, before winning the toss and offering us the chance to go for a test drive.

A combination of the smooth-looking pitch and the news that 2 members of the Rigby clan had been shopping – a new bat for God and a new bat and helmet for Riggers – meant that expectations of a run-fest were high. In an effort to prevent the Burgess Hill opening bowlers being put off by the sight of two shiny new Newberys, Rigby and Son were separated, with Maf partnering Riggers at the top of the order; a controversial decision and one which paid off big-style (or should that be Maf-stylee?) with Maf feasting on some slightly wayward bowling and a strange reluctance to place a long-leg (or Maf-corner, as it’s known). In the mean time, Riggers sailed serenely on, his new bat making the sweetest of sounds and his parents purring appreciatively on the side-lines. So far, so unlike Jevington…

Riggers Walks To Crease With Maf But Without New Helmet and Bat

On Maf’s dismissal for a high octane 42, there then followed something of an aberration. No – I don’t mean a mini-collapse (that’s to be expected), but Ben failing for the first time this season – the victim of some particularly outrageous bad luck, run out for a duck while backing up when the bowler deflected Riggers’ straight drive onto the stumps. He was followed shortly after by Marlon whose eyes lit up once too often at the sight of another half-tracker which had “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick” written all over it and which ended up in the hands of mid-wicket. At this point came two excellent partnerships which together raised the score from 59 to 168, the first between Riggers (elegant) and Billy (brutal and showing excellent judgement of which balls to attack) and the second between Billy (still brutal) and God (initially crisp, becoming increasingly sloggy by mid-afternoon). With Billy out and only a few overs left, the incoming batsmen had little choice but to swing mightily, run crazily (debutant Andy managing an excellent “run out without facing a ball” as his first Beamers contribution) and generally make hay while Frank continued to employ the long handle of his new bat to good effect. Fifties apiece for Billy and Frank and a final total somewhere in the 190s (depending upon who you asked) left Burgess Hill to chase 200 in the usual hour plus 20 overs.

There then followed much discussion over a fine tea about the potential quality of their batting, with rumours of a significant number of 1st teamers in their ranks and an odd lack of volunteers to open the bowling.

Sportingly, Burgess Hill had changed their batting order around so we weren’t confronted by a battery of first team talent. Unsportingly, Marlon then proceeded to demolish their re-jigged top-order, taking 3 for 14 in 5 hostile overs. With Riggers asking questions at the other end and bowling their left handed skipper with a big turner (through the gate and via inside edge, foot and Outer Mongolia), they were soon reduced to 44-4. With Siddo replacing Marlon, making excellent use of some occasional variable bounce and bowling tightly and without luck, a partnership started to develop, so the dice needed to be thrown and duely were, in the shape of Andy who was brought on in place of Riggers.

Still smarting from the run out and eager to impress on debut, he proceeded to bowl a leg-side shocker first ball which was belted for six. “Come on Andy, what’s your response?”, was the cry – answer: a c&b next ball, followed a couple of balls later by another catch, this time by John R at long-off immediately after the word of God was heard moving him back ten, “Because this bloke looks like he’s going to hit it over the top” – divine intervention from the Almighty who was having too good a game to be asked to bowl. Another wicket for Andy left Burgess Hill reeling on 72-7, and if it wasn’t in the bag, then that receptacle was certainly bracing itself for some action.

However, dear reader, may I remind you of the fact that earlier in this piece I mentioned that Burgess Hill had re-jigged their order, and joining their second top scorer at the crease was the batsman who would prove to be their top scorer. Both these gentlemen could bat, and this was a worrying time for your captain, especially when this troublesome pair proved immune to Andy and Siddo, took great pleasure in giving me a pasting and, even took an initial liking to Billy. The next 70 runs came depressingly quickly and – in spite of some smart fielding, in particular from Riggers, Sanjiv and Andy who threw themselves around with some abandon – confidence was growing on the boundary and the target started to look very gettable.

Just when troubled glances at the scoreboard were becoming increasingly frequent, Billy got his revenge, dismissing both the trouble-makers, one to an excellent catch by Andy, whose hogging of the match was becoming a little tiresome, and one to a fabulously smart stumping by Ben off a brute of a delivery. With Riggers wrapping up their innings a fluctuating game ended with The Beamers victorious by 49 runs.

What’s left to tell? A couple of drinks in their clubhouse, watching Burgess Hill youngsters trying to knock tiles of its roof with an Incrediball, then a stop off at The Jack and Jill for an argument with the grumpy barmaid before heading home, secure in the knowledge that with season stats of P4-W2-D2-L0, The Beamers go forward with confidence to continue their undefeated progression against Ansty at Preston Park on Sunday.


Beamers Bathe in the Burning Sun and Ben and Billy’s Gold

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

“A fantastically beautiful ground, friendly hosts, great tea and a thrilling match…” 

John Riches.

 The first scorchingly sunny Sunday of the season found an intrepid band of Beamers exploring new territory in the backwoods of Polegate.  After a last minute change of routing when the Word of God suggested that the coast road would be “heaving”, your eager representatives turned up early and ready to sit in the shade, trying to keep cool while we waited for the opposition to finish their lunches and join us for some Village Rules merriment.

After winning the toss, your skipper elected to bat, reckoning that posting a score while getting the Beef and Banoffee Pie-filled opposition running about in the heat of the early afternoon was just the job.  Much shaking of heads by the Jevington team on my return to the pavilion suggested that they would have done the same. Honest.

Rigby (God) and Rigby (Riggers) were sent out as our lead-off hitters, with Rigby (Jug buyer in chief) to follow.  Early indications were less than auspicious and suggested that the following factors would need to be taken into consideration:

  1. When their skipper said, “Low and slow”, he wasn’t lying
  2. The outfield didn’t just look like it needed a cut…
  3. The steep slope at the top end of the ground meant that scoring runs in that direction was going to be tricky
  4. Their ground fielding was very alert and keen
  5. We’d struggle to reach the 200 I was hoping for

 After a couple of Frank’s nicely struck early shots went straight to fielders, He was undone by a cruel shooter, bringing Two-Ton Ben to the crease.  To say that the next passage of play was agony to watch is an understatement, but I’m reliably informed that it was even worse out in the middle – both young Rigbys struggled to get going, with the dullness of the pitch and outfield and the keenness of the fielding all combining to make run-scoring painfully slow.  (At this point, it is customary to console oneself with the thought that, “It’s the same for both teams”.  But, really; keenness in the field?  The Beamers? Exactly…)

After an innings of Tavare-like torpor from Riggers (6 runs from 3 scoring shots in 45 balls according to his, Frankly, rather unsupportive father) was ended to his great relief, Billy strode to the crease.  Unfortunately, not only had he worn himself out walking around and around Prestonville and its environs earlier in the day because he couldn’t to remember the name of the street I live on, and further exerted himself with some comedy Yes-No-Waiting with Ben, but he also failed to take into account the combination of the slope and the long grass at the top end when going for a second run.  Result: ball stopped 10 yards sooner than normal, fielder got to it and threw it in quicker than expected and puffing Billy was well short of his ground.

But fear not, for joining Ben at the crease was John R, eager to make up for his duck in the Angmering game and ready to take the aerial route.  There then followed a short passage which was the highlight of our innings, with both John and Ben thrashing away mightily and the runs starting to flow, at least until Ben – yet again top-scorer – went for one too many big shot and was caught for a fine 54.  At this stage, with about 50 minutes to go until tea, debutant Sanjeev joined John (second top scorer with 22) at the crease, we were still short of 100 and my revised target of 150 was looking ambitious.  In spite of considerable swiping and swishing, some spirited, if erratic, running between the wickets and one mighty 6 from Marlon, a scrambled 134-9 was the best we could do.  And, yes, for those of you not aware, I was run out without facing a ball…

And so to tea.  In spite of the lack of Banoffee Pie (they’re probably sick of it, to be fair), a fine tea was provided (you know the kind of thing – coronation chicken sandwiches, scones with cream and jam, fresh mango and pineapple, tea in real mugs – proper) and a plot was duly hatched to dispatch the Jevers.

Things did not start well.  Marlon, steaming in down the hill, struggled with his footholds and his temper while Isaac at the other end struggled to locate the devastating form he’s been showing in the nets recently.  After six overs of this, with their openers sailing serenely along, something had to be done, so Marlon swapped ends and Billy came on down the hill.  From the start, Billy proved to be a handful, beating bat, stumps and (occasionally) Jonners with infuriating regularity (and once hitting the leg stump without removing a bail), but the runs continued to come. 

An over or two before the start of the final 20, Marlon came off and the time seemed right to offer a distinctively different kind of Slow Left Arm to complement Billy’s screw-turning at the other end.  Amazingly, it worked.  From being nearly halfway home with all their wickets intact and plenty of time to get the runs, Jevington’s finest contrived to get out with remarkable regularity.  The key to this was undoubtedly Billy’s masterly, miserly spell.  Not only did he take four wickets but by going for only 1.5 runs an over he forced the batsmen to look to score at the other end, much to my benefit. 

In summary, a combination of Billy’s pressure, some (mostly) good catching, my Dobby filth coming out of the setting sun and the afore-mentioned low, slow pitch meant that with five overs left, Jevers were 7 down, still needing around 40 more to win and Billy had just got their top scorer out, caught by Ryan (who swears he was looking!) at Square Leg.  I had, however, just gone for plenty in my previous over so Isaac was brought back on with the instruction to, “Get this bloke out”.  On this pitch, a crooked-bat forcing shot through the off-side was always likely to result in a dragged-on, and so it proved.

4 overs to go.  35 odd needed.  2 Wickets. Interesting…

Another miserly over from Billy. 

I controversially bring myself back on to replace Isaac after 1 over with the aim of befuddling the new batsman. Fail. Miserably.  Very interesting…

Another miserly over from Billy. 

Last over.  Still 8 down. 18 to win.  Marlon back on and bowling those evil fast off-breaks he likes to torment Jonners with.  First ball: four! 14 to win.  Second ball: got ‘im!!! 

Their young number eleven mans the breach in splendid fashion and heroically withstands the pressure of the longest last four balls of an over of all time, the field being tampered with constantly by the five captains we now appear to have on the field.

Result: Jevington finish on 121-9 and the drawn match is followed by beers with our hosts, firstly Harveys at the ground (from a polypin in Jonners’ car boot) then jugs of Young’s Gold at the 8 Bells courtesy of Billy and Ben. 

Still undefeated and all’s well in Beamerland.


Sun fails to shine, Beamers still make hay

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

The promised sun failed to appear (well until the last over) but that didn’t take the shine off a fine Beamers performance in the opening game of the season.

The skipper lost the toss and the Beamers inserted. Openers Ben and John were not troubled by the bowlers (but their running between the wickets…), with Ben continuing his Elephantine form of 2009, eventually top-scoring with 69, and John troubled only by the finger of umpire J, out lbw (a scenario that was to become all too familiar).

Maf strode to the wicket and biffed boundaries Maf-stylee beautifully only to become the next victim to be struck down with a case of umpires-finger. Billy didn’t need any help from the ump but got a shooter instead (in true Preston Park style there was nothing true about the pitch) and trudged off for a duck. Marlon hit a brutal 22 off seven before being caught which brought the skipper to the crease with the Beamers in a spot of bother.

Cool, calm and collected as ever (are you sure? Ed.) he steadied the good ship Beamer with the help of J (no, sorry another lbw victim), Siddo (no, sorry another lbw victim), A&E (no, sorry another… wait he wafted outside off stump instead), yes G!

A beautifully crafted innings of 18, with the skip striking a fifty, meant we were soon sailing towards 200 and in the process Rob and G snatched the long standing ninth wicket partnership with a stand of 60 before G was surprised by one that popped and was out last ball.

A top tea from Ben, A&E and Mark and then just the oppo to sort. Hmm…

When a skipper plans his team, his strategy (no, really) and whether five slips is a bit optimistic, in his wildest dreams he thinks – wouldn’t it be brilliant to get a wicket with the first ball?

Well, sometimes dreams come true and J steaming up the hill (no doubt with Gil Scot Heron’s dulcet tones ringing in his ears) knocked the opener’s middle stump back first up with a corker – HOO and indeed HAAH. And that set the tone for the rest of the day.

Billy at the other end was at his bamboozling best, picking up three quickly (including ‘catch of the season’ from A&E in the slips) with J once more proving just too damn fast and the skip was having to make a change quicker than usual. But, with eight top bowlers at his disposal, who to turn to? Equality, ever his touchstone, meant those who hadn’t had much of a bat got the nod.

So Siddo for Billy. Two for one if you please and Mark bowling a beautiful outswinging line in for J. He was eventually rewarded with three good wickets and A&E taking over from Siddo duly wrapped up proceedings in his inimitable fashion.

Jugs were duly bought and supped at both the Tavern and the Battle with idle talk of an unbeaten season. Well, why not…

Rob N