Beddington 5th XI vs Addiscombe, 2022-08-06

40/40 game, Beddington won the toss and chose to field. Addiscombe 255/7, Beddington 201/6 – scorecard

Addiscombe provided an umpire for this game, who was also keeping score on a fancy computer-machine so the scorecard (linked above) has ball-by-ball stats. Very posh, and also meant that I could alternate standing behind the wicket and out at square leg as is right and proper. It was a hot sunny day, mitigated by a breeze throughout the game. The out field was scorched dry and brown, but the square had been watered and was green, although the wicket we were using was brown, firm and dry, becoming dusty as the game progressed. It didn’t break up as much as I expected. The bone dry out field was fast, with a short boundary on one side and while the other side was much longer it was also substantially down hill, so we were in for a quite high scoring game.

Beddington’s first over with the ball went for 12, as the bowler struggled to find his length and release point. Of those 12, 6 were off no-balls and 1 a wide. Those warm-up flubs aside, he bowled well, going for an average of 4.2 an over which is respectable especially given the fast out field. Beddington’s problem wasn’t the bowling (even if, as you would expect at this level, there were bad balls a-plenty), but the fielding. Too many balls went past the fielders and once past were hopeless chases on the fast field which went to the boundary. Two of Addiscombe’s batsmen made well-deserved half-centuries, and another was one run short at the end of the innings.

With the bat, Beddington got off to an excellent start, with ten off the first over, but they couldn’t keep up with the required run rate mostly due to Addiscombe’s more effective fielding. It became clear that the game wasn’t realistically winnable but the league rules still incentivise teams to play positive cricket by offering bonus points. In particular there are bonus points for reaching 200 runs, which was achieved with two balls to go.

I’m afraid that I think I made a serious mistake in this game, giving one of Beddington’s batsmen out LBW incorrectly. The ball pitched outside off, hit him in line, I thought it was going to go on to just hit leg stump, so I gave him out. He wasn’t happy, but then, batsmen never are. After some muttering and grumbling he went off. However, discussing it afterwards it seems he had come further forward than I thought, and so after hitting him the ball would have missed the stumps.


Beddington 5th XI vs Croydon, 2022-05-07

40/40 game. Beddington chose to field. Croydon 167 from 39 overs, Beddington 150/6 – scorecard

Instead of my normal league fixture of the Beddington 4th XI I was given the choice of the 3rds or the 5ths, and took the 5ths match because it wasn’t so far to drive and so more convenient for my evening beerage plans. Many of Croydon’s players were late turning up so they forfeited the toss. Beddington chose to field, which I think was the right decision. It was the sporting decision, not batting against half a team of fielders, but the conditions favoured bowling first as well. It was overcast and humid, and there had been a little rain overnight. The pitch had scattered green patches. The captains agreed that Croydon would provide someone to umpire at the bowler’s end throughout their innings, and that I would stand at the bowler’s end throughout Beddington’s innings. A bit odd, but I’m OK with it. Aside from player safety – stopping play when it’s too wet for example – the umpires’ role is mainly to assist the teams in having their game, and if that’s how they’d like us to assist, that’s how I’ll assist.

And most importantly, cricket teas are back! We’ve had two seasons without, but now that life is pretty much back to normal after the Plague Times the league has decreed that the home team must provide tea again.

Spending a whole innings at square leg meant that I mostly just had to assist my colleague with a few no-ball calls for height, and adjudicate run outs. One I didn’t give because, while I thought it might have been out it was too close for me to be sure – I’d have sent it upstairs to the TV umpire if we had such luxuries. One I gave out. One of Croydon’s openers was dismissed quickly, in the third over with the score on 15, and his replacement was off quickly just two overs later. But their remaining opener and the number 4 batsman steadied the ship and put on almost 50 between them, scoring a steady almost-4 an over. While wickets fell steadily from that point on, I always felt that Croydon were scoring well, and their final score of 167 looked like it would be tough to beat.

During Beddington’s innings the clouds overhead started to clear and by the end it was a lovely sunny evening. Beddington also lost an opener early, and while the other opener didn’t hang around for as long as Croydon’s, Beddington defended their wickets better and at least to start with were keeping up with the required run rate, so it looked as if a win might be on the cards. But where Croydon had started to accelerate a few overs before the drinks break Beddington did not. With five overs left to play they were 20 behind where Croydon had been at the same stage of their innings, and with a couple of overs to go it was obvious that the win wasn’t achievable. However, in the league there are bonus points for scoring 150 runs, and that was achieved on the last ball of the day. Two of Beddington’s young players really stood out for me with the bat. One, a reluctant opener, scored a respectable 20. The other didn’t score much, but he stayed at the crease for a long time and kept his cool with no flailing at the ball. A good cricket temperament!

I was mostly pleased with my performance. The only error I’m aware of is that I didn’t pay enough attention to fielders’ positions, and allowed too many outside the inner ring on a few occasions. Unfortunately I’m told that one of those was for the ball on which a batsman was dismissed, out caught, which wouldn’t have happened if I’d called a no-ball like I should have. I shall try to remember to pay attention to this in the future, although it’s a bugger to enforce, as the inner circle is often either not marked or very hard to see. But it is at least enforceable for fielders positioned right out on the boundary.

Finally, something unusual happened in this game – an all-run four! It should have been two at most, but slow fielding and an inaccurate throw allowed the batsmen to run two more.