Monday, August 30, 2010

Up Up and Away

With a chance of promotion to Division 3 at stake in their home match against Lansdown's Sunday 2nd XI this week, it was a bit of a thrill to be embedded with the Sunday 1st XI at Frenchay.

Having eleven bowlers in the side seemed like an advantage and could perhaps have swayed the decision about what to do with a winning toss on a seaming, drying wicket. As it was, the opposition sent the Cowboys out to bat and goodness me, my dear old thing, it turned out that they had eleven batsmen too.

Justin and Bolts opened up, making steady progress with the slow bowlers of dubious action as some spectators reached for their 15° protractors and theodolites. Both made a score before succumbing to catches, Wilko hit a boundary then fell to another catch before Duncan and Hidayat steadied things and pushed on. Not that the Lansdown fielders took all their catches, but what they lacked in catching ability they made up for with good throwing arms, making the Cowboys' running between the wickets all the more commendable, yet at times a smidgen fraught.

Stereophonic sound is a wonderful thing, often not appreciated until your world goes mono. Rather alarmingly, one of the disadvantages of batting with temporary hearing loss in one ear, seems to be that calls of YES! NO! and WAIT! all sound like ARGH! No matter, there were no mid-pitch mix-ups as the middle order progressed.

Hidayat having fallen to the fourth catch of the innings, it would have been dull to have departed in the same manner and so with plenty of batting to come, the writer in residence drove at a straight yet bendy one and was bowled, making way for first Dave L and then Sadat to join Duncan and force the score on. Duncan fell to a catch on 38, Sadat smashed a couple of colossal sixes, pushing the run rate to more than four an over before he was bowled for 21 and then the tail mustered a supporting wag.

In the confusion following a run taken from a wide, Dean lost sight of the ball and ended up the wrong side of the crease when the ball eventually arrived. When Martin strode purposefully to the wicket to face the last ball of the innings the bowler obliged by putting it in the ideal position for Stratto's deft sweep to the leg side boundary for four. Not a duck in sight, the Cowboys had eeked out a good par score of 181 for 9.

TEA thanks to Wilko.

The aforementioned eleven bowlers gave rise to the question of who was going to keep wicket and after initial interest was shown by Duncan, the role was taken by Justin. Under clearing skies and sunshine Dave L and Sayed opened the bowling, the former being particularly tight and economical, the latter displaying customary hostility but unable to make the breakthrough.

Sadat restricted then bowled one of the openers, Duncan took a catch off Dave's bowling to remove the other but then a stubborn young left-hander came to the crease, building a partnership to keep Lansdown in contention. Martin bustled in for his first few overs without success and at the 20 overs drinks break, the opposition were still only two wickets down and in sight of the run rate.

Soon after, despite, or because of the tartrazine possibly present in the mid-innings tipple, long-on clung on to a well-judged catch off Martin, who soon had the new batsman bowled for a duck. For a long time afterwards, Lansdown remained only four wickets down.

A catch or two went down, fielding positions became increasingly questionable, hotly debated or ignored. Later, someone would comment on the Cowboys' "capacity for self-destructiveness during the 15-30 overs stage." Hidayat and Duncan were the fifth and sixth bowlers used, the other few not called upon and for a nerve-jangling time, nothing happened.

At some point, monophonic hearing and an uncharacteristic reluctance by Duncan and the audibly impaired close fielder to shout for a catch, somehow failed to result in a mid-air collision, although in taking last-minute evasive action the latter narrowly missed pulling off a smart catch, the former, possibly, a simpler one. Soon after it was all smiles as Duncan hit the stumps and broke a partnership, yet still those blighters came at us. A runner came out with the injured opposition skipper and confused things. Some people expressed their anxiety and there was much shouting about things.

Without the publication of a detailed order of service with regard to the fall of wickets and with worse than usual short-term memory, it's not possible to recall exactly how Lansdown performed from around the 30 over mark. Suffice to say, Duncan continued to bowl his spinners and snared more victims in his web of 4 for 22, Sayed returned for another spell to grab the wickets he'd been missing and the opposition started to make a meal of a meagre last ten over chase.

The much appreciated home side supporters were starting to look like nervous spot-fixers. Everyone was. Panic turned to optimism, Dean clutched a catch to his chest, Sayed bowled a couple of pearlers and Lansdown had capitulated by the 37th over, 23 runs short of their target.

Crikey! That'll be promotion then. Back at the pub someone was overheard saying, "We've just got to make damned sure that the Home Office leave our Afghanis alone."

Duncan was unanimously nominated Man of the Match for his all round contributions, Cider Moment votes were received for Dean's run-out and other events recorded in the scorebook but not in these grey cells drizzled in olive oil.

League Table

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Nu talar jag svenska

Jag har sett alla tre filmer av Stieg Larsons böcker och nu talar jag svenska.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bottom Of The World

POSTMAN: I brought you your exam results. I took the liberty of opening them, I didn't think you'd mind.

RICK: Exam results! Great! Sorry guys, this is my ticket out of the gutter. There's big bucks out there for the right face with a degree in domestic science. That's one thing I'll say for Thatcher, she definitely has put this country back on its feet.

POSTMAN: You have come bottom in the whole world.

(Young Ones, Summer Holiday)

If all that matters are points, prizes and league table positions, then what follows is no more than a match report mitigating the final performance of the season by the worst team in the league, who have finished bottom of Division 5 in the Sunday Conference.

But it's not quite like that, is it?

Although losing to Brislington Sunday 2nd XI in a home game played away (?) the Cowboys resisted until the final over, not out batsman Andy Chester winning a couple of cider moment nominations for some stylish shots to the leg side boundary after the battle was lost.

It was said that the Brislington ground had been under water the night before and so the Cowboys waited at home for the result of a late pitch inspection before embarking upon a 30 over match at 3 pm. Later, it transpired that there had been a free bar at the ground the previous evening, which may or may not have had any bearing on the delayed start.

DC2 inserted the opposition on a stodgy wicket with a lot of cloud cover and Iggy and Dave L reaped rewards with some excellently targeted deliveries, reducing Brislington to 30 for 3. The change bowlers continued to take wickets, albeit a little less economically, ably supported by all in the field. It's still a bit of a mystery as to how Brislington ended up on 190 for 9, not only because at the time of writing the NSCL website currently shows no detailed stats.

After a hastily thrown together tea, not approved by the Vegan Society and constructed on a roundabout somewhere en-route, Iggy and DC1 began to climb the mountain. Together they gave the Cowboys a very solid base, Iggy scoring runs a plenty over the top and DC1 accumulating well along the ground. There was a faint whiff of jug avoidance as Iggy holed out before his 50, having previously smashed the opposition skipper for four boundaries in one over, but no matter, he justly deserved the Man Of The Match award later and is rumoured to be taking a day off to construct shelves at home to accommodate autumnal trophies.

Grant was very unfortunate to be out to one of the best catches of the season, plucked from the sky by the smallest person on the field. Others in the middle order fell to tamer opportunities while trying to catch up with an increasingly large run rate before the tail chilled and batted out the final overs.

Rather surprisingly, given that victory and promotion were in the Brislington kit bag, the opposition youth displayed more than a tad of petulance, their keeper advancing down the wicket at one stage informing the umpire 'that's out that is!' Apologies were immediately forthcoming from the older generation who expressed exasperation at the difficulties they have had all season in keeping their pups at heel.

Photographic evidence would suggest that the Cowboys reached 118 in the final over although the NSCL website begs to differ. It's true to say that there had been a few umpiring mishaps with regards to extras - for which apologies are proffered - although those alone don't account for the disparity.


League Table

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bob The Polluter

Bob The Builder #1: 'Ere, what shall I do wiv all this spare plaster?

Bob The Builder #2: Just bung it down the drain there.

Bob The Builder #1: Won't the council mind?

Bob The Builder #2: Nah - they don't care, besides it'll probably plug some holes in the pipes.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bountiful Harvests

Incoming Arrows

There may be no such thing as full employment in the world of economics and job markets, but in the Easton Cowboys Sunday 1st XI's match against Backwell Flax Bourton, everyone bent their back in one direction or another to help pull off a convincing 59 run victory.

After the previous day's deluge there wasn't much doubt as to what to do with a winning toss on a damp, spongy, green wicket and so it was that the opposition inserted the Cowboys when the coin fell on their side. Not only did skipper Bolts lose the toss but before there was a run on the board he'd lost his wicket to a well taken catch too. Wilki steadied the ship against the young guns who were proving difficult to tonk away, a task not aided by the long boundary and damp, lush outfield.

When Justin departed having just reached double figures, it was clear that it was going to be a relatively low scoring game and despite positive intent, Harry struggled to overtake that mark and returned to the pavilion with the score on 48 for 3. Hidayat and Wilki then punched and deftly dabbled a partnership of thirty until the latter went to the fourth catch of the innings.

Meanwhile, across the other side of the country at RAF Scampton, some rather powerful BAE Systems engines were warming up and sat navs being set for our vicinity. Yes, Europe's largest arms exporter was headed our way and things were about to get a bit dicey.

On the pitch, or more accurately, behind the stumps, the gamesmanship had been cranking up since the start. Admittedly your own correspondent was very lucky to survive several balls that gated him and missed the stumps by a whisker and was having trouble pulling off any confident scoring shots. Being constantly reminded of this from behind the stumps didn't help and the intensity of the chatter threatened to drown out the sound of the approaching Red Arrows after surviving a confident appeal for an edge behind that wasn't.

Hidayat on the other hand was now well warmed up and threatening to score the first boundary of the innings with each missile he launched into the outfield. The score was beginning to get some colour in its cheeks and the fielding side were getting increasingly frustrated. And then a misfire went vertical high above the pitch, the keeper advanced a few paces, quite capable of catching the ball in his mouth and Hidayat called his partner for a pointless run.

The non-striker had already done much running of late and what with the large figure of the approaching keeper and the other incoming fielders, the road through was looking congested. Besides, why deprive the new batsman of the opportunity of being on strike? He loudly declined the futile offer, sending Hidayat in search of the crease he'd just left. Unfortunately the keeper now occupied the space directly behind the batsman, who turned hastily and immediately collided with him, breaking his box in the process and staggering injured to the turf within his ground. In the melee, the keeper dropped the ball and the opposition were understandably a bit peeved. It was all rather unfortunate but clearly not intentional.

Hidayat now required a runner (Wilki) to continue and if that didn't make it chaotic enough, the Red Arrows were by now looping the loop and farting coloured smoke above our heads.

The fifth wicket and catch were taken with the score on 144 with a strong tail still to come in support of Hidayat, now well past his fifty and having finally penetrated the boundary, to the audible delight of one of the visiting umpires. Perhaps inevitably with a runner on the field, Hidayat was finally run out for 78 and the Cowboys eventually finished on 169 for 7, whatever the scoreboard might have said.

Given the depth of the bowling attack, the Cowboys took to the field after tea with confidence, Harry and Sayed tying down the openers with fine spells and Martin and Sadat following up with tight inroads into the opposition's early order who, thanks to some snappy and highly commendable keeping from Reg and attention to duty in the field, found themselves behind the run rate at 33 for 3.

There followed a mid order partnership of over fifty which though never threatening proved hard to shift, the ball always somehow being batted just out of reach of the fielders. It was shortly after the batsmen were heard to say that they were cruising it that Hidayat made the breakthrough, Dave L following with a great spot of bowling to reduce BFB to 91 for 5 with a long way to go.

The Cowboys had sniffed blood. Sayed returned for another spell and Hidayat's safe hands at long off made it 95 for 6, then Bolts shrieked and juggled in the deep off Dave L to make it 96 for 7. Sayed dispensed with the need for fielders by spearing in a couple of exocets to hit the base of the stumps, ending with figures of 4 for 11 as the opposition limped to close on nelson for nine with a tad of last wicket resistance.

Hidayat was voted Man Of The Match for his great all-round performance and the cider moment was shared between Bolt's startled, juggled catch and the mid pitch melee.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bristol Shitty Council

Ever been woken at seven by a call from a council workman who can't find the shitty pieces of toilet paper you reported blowing around two weeks ago?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Monday, August 09, 2010

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Spun Out

At the time of writing, the NSCL website shows that the first time that the Sunday 2nd XI played Bristol Bangladeshis 2nd XI this season, none of the Cowboys' bowlers went for any runs at all. A stunning feat, surely hard to better, or perhaps a computer / human error.

With several of those unbelievably economical bowlers absent, it was certainly going to be a hard task, especially if the Bangladeshis played their demon off spinner Chirag Agarwal, who had taken a brilliant, if relatively expensive 7 for 4 in that previous encounter. But hold up, here comes the cavalry in the form of four Sunday 1st XI imports looking for a game, including DCPunk to replace DC2 at the helm for the day and with Aran, Justin and Bolts in the side too, confidence was quite buoyant. Reg even went so far as to park his motorbike in line with a straight six. Much debate was had over the perennial bat / bowl question, complicated by playing on the unfamiliar other wicket at Frenchay.

By 2.15 the Cowboys had taken to the field and were limiting the Bangladeshis' openers to only a few runs an over and following a couple of well taken catches and great bowling from Aran, the opposition were 16 for 2. The chance to press home the advantage unfortunately went to ground a couple of times and the middle order partnerships upped the run rate against the part time bowlers, despite some tidy stuff from Bolts. A potential centurion was halted by a stunning caught and bowled from Aran and Reg and Justin conspired to prevent another reaching his fifty with a stumping. DCPunk considered himself unfortunate that none of the skyward balls launched from his bowling landed near any fielders, except one that Dave H claimed for his second. It is a big field. Your own correspondent bowled the last over and kindly donated three wides to help the Bangladeshis to a final 246 for 9.

'Anger is an energy' wailed John Lydon with PiL. Justin might have been humming this ditty to Bolts as they went out to bat, such was his apparent ire at having had to spend more time than usual running, walking, to retrieve the ball in the field and a fraught negotiation over ice cubes at tea. At least a dog didn't step in his humous and wolf his muffin. Thanks Jack.

Through kindness, guile or stupidity the opposition opened with their tamest bowler and contrary to fears he was smitten and seen off without incident. All was fine and dandy, even after the introduction of the demon off spinner with infinite variety, who was handled with care until Bolts lost his leg stump and it was 33 for 1. Dave H and Ben S came and went quickly, followed by Justin, leaving Aran to provide some resistance and solidity. Alas and alack, nobody else made it to double figures, although the resilient acting skipper might have done had he not run out of partners in the 21st over with the total on 81, a minimal 3 run improvement on the season's previous encounter. Chirag Agarwal took 6 for 9 for the Bangladeshis.

(Unfortunately with apparently accurate bowling figures)

808 State

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Hop Off

A couple of froglets have already hopped off, leaving just a couple from the original batch of frogspawn to complete their metamorphosis.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Unnatural Selection

Didn't play this weekend: Overlooked, dropped, forgotten.