Beddington 4th XI vs Woodmansterne, 2022-06-18

40/40 game, Beddington won the toss and chose to field. Woodmansterne 162/7, Beddington 131 from 38.5 overs – scorecard

I was accompanied throughout by players standing at square leg. After a brief heat wave during the week the Saturday was blessedly cooler. Still warm, but not sweltering, and with cloud cover and a gusty breeze. There were a few brief showers and at one point I thought “if this keeps getting heavier we might have to go off” mostly because the clouds were so thick it was getting dark, but thankfully we didn’t lose any overs and could play straight through without any breaks.

I thought that choosing to bowl first was the right decision, but the ball didn’t co-operate. For the first few overs the ball didn’t do anything, either in the air or off the pitch. The moment it started to deviate Beddington took their first wicket, and then the second in the next over. Things were looking good for Beddington, as the run rate at that point was kept a hair below 3 per over. Alas, it didn’t last. There was no batting collapse, and the efficient bowling came to an end. A single terribly expensive over took the total run rate up to 4 per over, where it then stayed pretty consistently. Then, within five overs from 21 to 25, three wickets fell, and I wondered if the run rate wouldn’t matter as it wouldn’t last long enough. But the last partnership, consisting of batsmen number 6 and 9, was especially productive. You expect that in that situation number 6 would make most of the runs, with number 9 facing few balls and mostly being careful to avoid run-outs, but they both kept the score ticking along. Coming in to bat just a couple of overs apart, they between them added almost 60 to the score. Beddington would have to bat well to chase down the total of 162.

Beddington’s innings started very well. The opening batsman had started the season in the 2nds and 3rds, although not scoring highly, and was one of the more productive players in his games for Beddington’s T20 side. His batting was decent, but what really impressed me was his running. He was fast, but also read the fielders and called well. None of the runs he called for seemed dangerous or lucky. The only problem was that all the running knackered his opening partner. But an opening partnership of 56 from 16 overs is very respectable and put Beddington on a good course towards victory. Alas, there was a teensy-weensy batting collapse. The first four wickets fell in quick succession with the score only advancing by five runs in seven overs. Beddington’s remaining batsmen could never score fast enough from that point on.

I was pleased with my performance although a couple of the players weren’t. I gave one out LBW even though he had taken guard on leg stump and the ball came off his arse. Somehow he managed to get himself turned round and low enough that his backside prevented him from being bowled at the top of leg stump. Another I decided wasn’t out caught behind despite there being a very loud noise as the ball went past him to the keeper. But the bat wasn’t anywhere near the ball at the time and I saw it clearly come off the batsman’s hip. The keeper reflexively appealed, of course, but was content with my decision. However, one of his colleagues in the field kept going on about the noise we’d all heard, and every time someone got bat on ball would moan about it sounding exactly the same. This went on for a couple of overs and I started to think about asking his captain to make him stop – but before I did so his captain took the initiative and shut him up anyway. The fielder was right in one respect – it did sound rather like bat on ball, and from his position maybe he couldn’t see exactly what happened, but his wicket-keeper agreed with me that the bat had been nowhere near. I can only assume that the batsman has a particularly resonant femur.


Beddington 4th XI vs Purley, 2022-06-04

40/40 game, Beddington won the toss and chose to field. Purley 125/9. Beddington 126/2 from 24 overs – scorecard

I was accompanied throughout by player-umpires, so took the bowler’s end duties for the whole game and had plenty of decisions to make. While I too would have chosen to field if I were captain, I don’t think it actually made much difference in the end. The pitch didn’t do much and while the occasional ball swung nothing went very far, and there was little deviation from the surface, although when it did turn there were wickets to be had.

Purley’s opening batsmen played solidly but scored slowly, so while the first wicket didn’t fall until the tenth over, the score was by then only 32, which I thought was a bit behind par – not, of course, that you can really tell until both teams have had a chance to bat, but I thought it anyway. And by the drinks break on 20 overs, the score had only trickled on to 50 for the loss of another wicket. The scoring was a bit quicker in the second half of Purley’s innings but was never fast, and with wickets falling steadily they left themselves with a lot of work to do.

Beddington’s innings started slowly, and I wondered if it was just going to be one of those slow low-scoring days with a tight finish, but that turned out to just be because Purley had two very good opening bowlers who were efficient even if they only took one wicket between them. One, the captain, only conceded 11 runs from his six overs. Unfortunately at that point the captain had to leave the field, leaving them a man down, and the other opening bowler had to stop at that point due to the limits the ECB imposes on young fast bowlers to prevent their arms falling off. No-one remembered to bring him back into the attack when he was eligible to return. The rest of Purley’s bowling attack was rather more leaky of runs, and even ignoring the one-off which went for 21 runs (that bowler only cost a rather more respectable 5 in his second over, but even so it was also his last) the pace more than doubled. With the score on 113 – so only 13 required to win – and an average of 7 runs per over being scored, I asked the scorer and his lovely assistants to start updating the scoreboard every ball, which surprised some people. I’m not sure why, as the rate the batsmen were going they could easily finish the game within the next over. As it was, they took three overs for those 13 runs. If only those last bowlers had come on a bit earlier in the innings perhaps there would have been more of a fighting chance!

I had no really difficult decisions to make but I did give an unusual no-ball. One of Purley’s bowlers was very slow and eventually one of his balls juuuust hit the ground a second time before the batsman got to it.

One of the gentlemen who stood at square leg pointed out to me during one of our inter-over chats that when I move out from behind the stumps to get square of the wicket ready to judge any run outs, I almost always move to the opposite side from that which the ball has gone. I’m not sure whether this is best practice or not. I started doing that so that I can see where the ball is, meaning that I won’t obstruct a throw towards the stumps, and also when the ball arrives I’m already expecting it and it doesn’t just suddenly appear in my view, which all sounds very reasonable. However, watching TV highlights of the first Test afterwards, I was looking out for it and … the pros do the opposite – they generally move towards the same side that the ball went. I suppose they know best, but I’m not sure why that is best. I shall give it some consideration, but any input from my esteemed readers would be most welcome.