Stone CC vs. Chelsfield CC 3rd XI, 8th June 2024

This week saw us entertain Chelsfield 3rds at the Oakfield Wok. This is a game that will live long in the memory for those that were there – not necessarily for the quality of bowling/strokeplay on show, but more for the general disregard of rules/regulations/laws of the game. Before we crack on, despite the unjust and the wrongs that we felt had gone on, we generally managed to keep our nerve in the face of some extreme levels of shithousery, the like of which hasn’t been seen by any of us since we last played league cricket. The win-at-all-costs attitude is fine, as long as you don’t cross the line and make up the rules as you go along… more of this in a while!

After winning the toss, Chelsfield elected to bat. The returning Slates and I opened the bowling. As per numerous games, we kept things quite tight to begin with. Nick shortly removed the opener thanks to a catch from Skipper Garratt.  Shortly afterwards, I got hit for a huge 6, then the batsmen tried the same thing next ball, but top edged it straight up in the air for Stumpy to grab. Unfortunately Stumpy could quite get ’round the batsmen and the ball dropped to the floor after bouncing off his glove as he tried to make a last-minute grab for it.  Paul K then replaced Nick and, as per usual, struck early on to remove the opening batsmen lbw for 23.  This was followed another quick double as Paul struck again (bowled) and again (good catch by Muttley), to leave Chelsfield at 66-4.

Shortly afterwards, Ryan was introduced to the attack and bowled with great pace. However this leads to the first problem (of several), with the umpire telling Ryan he wasn’t waiting for the batsmen to be ready (when he clearly was), so what happens next => Ryan gets a deserved wicket! This leaves them five down. Shortly afterwards (second problem), the batsmen tried to take a quick single but swerved towards the incoming ball to block the run-out attempt. The umpire this time appeared to think that was perfectly fine! Skipper kindly pointed out to the batsmen that perhaps he should run in a straight line next time. Two close LBW appeals were then dismissed by said umpire (third problem) and, while hard to see from where I was, they were both very full deliveries… Benty came on to replace Paul, who took 3-22 in his seven overs, and struck almost immediately as Tom Purton held on to a fine running catch at deep midwicket. The next ball was almost the same, as the new batsman swung wildly at it but the chance was flatter and harder, so it burst through Tom’s fingertips to go for 4. All this time, the senior statesman of Chelsfield who was umpiring was getting quite animated (fourth problem) at how long we were taking to return the ball to the bowler, which is a bit difficult if the bowler is not looking and no one else is within 30 yards. Harry came on to replace the luckless Benty and claimed a wicket as the batsman drove to cover to be caught by Blainy. Harry then claimed a run out, damaging his hand in the process, before being cruelly denied two wickets. Firstly (fifth problem), he had their skipper caught for 51, only for it to be called a (very late) no-ball, to the extent that the batsman was almost off the pitch. Whether it was a no-ball or not, I don’t know [the reason given was not a reasonable interpretation of Law 21.5.2 – ed. ] but the batsman decided to retire out anyway! The last and most blatant act of favouritism (sixth problem) came when Harry clean-bowled the Number 11, only for the same umpire to call no-ball on advice from the non-striking batsmen!!!

So, with literally a couple of overs to go, everyone was ticking and was determined to not let this side win, despite their attempts to make up the rules!  To be fair and surprisingly it wasn’t any of the youngsters who were trying it on, it seemed to come from a couple of senior players who either didn’t apply the laws, or just winged it to suit. Plus we did put a good half a dozen chances down, which didn’t help. Anyway they finish 204-9.

Much talk of the approach at tea, including boring them into submission, but the best solution was to not throw our wickets away and grind it out in this timed game affair.

As usual thing wouldn’t be as comfortable as we hoped. Muttley and Tom Purton opened our reply, but both were back in the pavilion after only a few overs, leaving us 8-2, but not before the oppo had decided to have a laugh (inexplicably) at Tom getting struck on the head.  An lbw appeal was turned down by Umpire Ryan Garratt, not out of spite, but because it was going to miss leg by some distance.  This prompted an immense strop and a heated exchange of words between the bowler and the non-striking batsman (our fearless leader) at the time. Unfortunately, Skip joined the queue for the showers soon after as he was caught for 2 leaving us in a spot of bother.  

But if ever there was a man made for the occasion, it was Stumpy, who joined Blainey at the crease> These two pulled, nudged, and nurdled their way up to 36, before Blainy succumbed to the Oakfield low bounce and was bowled for 14. Benty came, then went for a single, before Harry joined Stumpy. These two brought the score up to some respectability, before Harry was caught for a brisk 22. Ryan joined the obdurate Stumpy to see out the game as he finished on 17 and Stumpy finished on a steady 26, thus enabling us to reach 127-6 in the time available.

No Big Pat that I can recall from this game, but Shitbag for the collective (all nine of them) for shelling catches – some hard, some not so hard, but they all count… Especially if you’re a disgruntled bowler who didn’t pick up any wickets, but enough of my moaning. 

On to next week….. I’m out.

– Rich