Chippenham CC vs Weekenders CC at Chippenham
Chippenham CC 226-7 Weekenders CC 203 – 8
Chippenham and Weekenders served up another run-soaked crowd-pleaser as the sun shone over Cambridgeshire.
Dodging marathon runners and motorway closures, the Weekenders turned up unprecedentedly early in order to sample the local pub fayre at the Tharp Arms. The XI stout yeoman finally staggered down to the bucolic paradise of Chippenham CC for the traditional late start. After a coin toss so dodgy it would have warmed the heart of an Indian bookmaker, Weekenders took to the field and gazed upon the magnificence of the Chippenham track on which they had taken precisely no wickets last season. However, a bit of early cloud cover produced some movement and Douglas trapped the opener LBW with an off-cutter, cueing a level of confused bemusement amongst the fielding side only previously witnessed on the bus trip in “One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest”.
Following the break-though, Douglas and (Mike, George, Eric, Tony, Bambi) Orwell both bowled tight, testing spells but with no further success. Never one to let a game drift, the skipper made a double change and Weekenders’ answer to Graeme Swann did the rest, Husaini drawing an excellent front-foot LBW decision from the oppo umpire. With Hudson bowling some tight wobblers from the other end, Husaini tormented the Chippenham middle-order with “A bag so mixed, you’ll need another bag” (© Douglas 2010). Twice they were presented with first ball gifts to get off the mark, only to be cleaned up two balls later.
At 4 down, the Weekenders could smell blood but a strong partnership from Desborough and Thuillez put Chippenham back on top. Late wickets from Douglas, Orwell and Still slowed the scoring down. 226 looked a good effort but at the same time, gettable for the away team.
The usual superb tea was munched thoughtfully by both sides before battle was resumed. Lee and Mcdonald laid their usual solid foundation before the latter was unlucky to pick out a fielder with a leg glance for 11. King looked briefly solid before he was callously run out by Lee, whose statuesque lack of movement when confronted by the call “Yes” was reminiscent of a latter day Inzy. Patel justified the hype by looking classy before he played a loose shot and was caught for 19. 82-3 looked precarious but Lee and Hudson batted steadily to the twenty overs, Lee bringing up his 50 with a solid thump over midwicket. With 20 left, the target was a very achievable six an over.
The partnership continued as Chippenham began to wilt but on 186-3, Patel made a critical intervention when he suggested that “there was no way we can lose from here”. Weekenders are incapable of shirking such a challenge and promptly collapsed. Hudson was brilliantly caught by Fishpool off Peer (Jnr) for 48 before Lee finally departed, bowled Peer (Jnr) for 95. Lee had played his shots all around the ground, or at least those parts of the ground between wide midwicket and fine leg, but couldn’t quite see it through. Douglas, Orwell and D’Inverno all departed in a blaze of shots and 8 down with four overs left looked terminal. However, Husaini showed what he’d been doing all winter by blocking well, pleasing the crowd with occasional wild swishes. Still re-opened the scientific debate about nature and nurture by defending solidly and No.11 Crump showed his support by nervously chewing his bat-handle. Husaini hit the last ball for four and a deserved draw was secured, roundly welcomed by all concerned.
So an excellent game, played in fine spirit and mainly bright sunshine. Weekenders were left to consider what might have been (especially if Sparkles had not pulled out with a christening-related niggle) and to regret it would be a full 365 days before they could again enjoy the wonders of the Chippenham pitch. Rumours that Lee is considering a move to Cambridgeshire have yet to be confirmed.
Man of the match award as usual went to the Chippenham tea-ladies for another fabulous spread. Next year, I’m bringing my 12 inch plate.
Time Game, 20 overs after 6:30
Toss: Weekenders (possibly) won and elected to field
Result : Chippenham CC 226-7 Weekenders CC 203 – 8
Partnership of 104 between Lee and Hudson
Innings of Chippenham
Heather lbw Husaini 35
Wright lbw Douglas 2
Desborough lbw Douglas 83
Peer (Snr) b Husaini 5
Fishpool b Husaini 4
Thuillez ct Douglas b Still 52
Hughes b Orwell 4
Bryant not out 20
Garget not out 0
DNB Hedger, Peer (jnr)
Innings of Weekenders
Lee b Peer (jnr) 95
McDonald ct Thuillez b Hughes 11
King run out 2
Patel ct Bryant b Thuillez 19
Hudson ct Fishpool b Peer (jnr) 48
Douglas ct Wright b Hughes 6
Orwell ct Garget b Peer (jnr) 0
Husaini not out 11
D’Inverno b Hughes 0 (first ball cow)
Still not out 1
Peer (jnr) 5-0-18-3
Peer (snr) 2-0-16-0
This match report is dedicated to our brave boys overseas – Dunne and Dibley.