Marlborough Cricket Club XI (134-3) beat Marlborough Mayor's XI (79-10) by 55 runs.
Marlborough Cricket Club XI (134-3) beat Marlborough Mayor's XI (79-10) by 55 runs.
The rain held off, the evening sun shone, the Marlborough Cricket Club ground was looking its very best and...
But this is not a detailed report of play during the Wednesday evening (August 3) fixture between a Marlborough Cricket Club eleven and the Town Mayor's team - which from time to time seemed to exceed eleven players.
It can be reported that in this match of 15 eight-ball overs a-side, the Mayor's team reached the creditable score of 80 - only to be overhauled after eight overs and the loss of just two wickets by the Marlborough Cricket Club team. A very comfortable win for the home team!
It was said that the Marlborough Cricket Club's team had just two members who had found a berth in their first eleven. The Club obviously has, as I think sports writers say, talent in depth. What can be said for sure is that the match was played in the best of cricketing spirits.
The fixture had a clear charitable aim: to raise money to help refugees settled in Berlin - mainly from the cricketing nation of Afghanistan - to get the cricket equipment and facilities they need. A cause that had come to the attention of St Mary's Curate the Rev Dr Janneke Blokland.
The match raised £615. That is enough to buy a bag of kit for a team of the budding Afghan cricketers of Berlin - and with a bit of money to spare.
Town Mayor Noel Barrett-Morton's team should not, your reporter was told, be described as a scratch team.
It included four members of 4MI Battalion from Bulford - the Battalion with close links to Marlborough. They were Alex Hadcock (who took over the captaincy from Councillor Justin Cook who was not sure of enough of the rules), Reza Greaves, Michael Phillips, and Craig Dudgeon.
The Rev Canon Andrew Studdert-Kennedy (who should have been at the Test Match, and impressed the crowd with his batting), Jim Patterson (Councillor Fogg's son-in-law), Jason Hull and Scott Light (Councillor Alec Light's grandsons), Jamie Lloyd (whose parents live in Minal and got drafted while visiting the Outside Chance - where Scot is the manager), Sean Watts (who took a brilliant catch) and Mark Oliver and his son Oscar - father impressed at the crease and his son's bowling and fielding were most impressive.
The umpires were Henry Pearson (Andrew Studdert-Kennedy's predecessor at St Mary's who agreed to umpire so long as he could carry on listening to the Test Match through his earpieces!) He was joined by a variety of ad hoc substitutes and then by Derek Fuller-Webster.
Neville Cardus this is not: but some cheeky running and some good strokes (especially from the Rector, Michael Phillips and Mark Oliver) had the lights on the scoreboard showing a steady increase in the Mayor's team's score. (I doubt Mr Cardus would ever have committed to paper two apostrophes in succession.)
When the Mayor's team took to the field they seemed, after a quick conference between rival captains Alex Hadcock and Ed Puddick, to have been allowed twelve fielders. Some quick changes in the field - in a sort of running conveyor belt of substitutions - managed to keep the number of fielders in the plus-or-minus twelve range.
Justin Cook took to the field - and bowled an over. But despite an over from Oscar Oliver (which I think produced a six from the Club team) and some very diligent fielding, the Marlborough Cricket Team made it comfortably to the total set by the Mayor's team.
The teams were applauded off the field by a good crowd and the Club's quick total left plenty of time for the beer and for raising money through a raffle and a spot-the-cricket-ball competition.
The latter was said to be an easy challenge for anyone with a fair knowledge of cricket. Your reporter thought the batsman - one of the Club's top scorers - might have edged the ball back over his head...surely not a very good call.
The weather was warm but somewhat steamy as a freak storm on Friday night had swept across the ground obliterating the boundary line the skipper had carefully prepared earlier and in a couple of places encroaching on to the wicket under the covers.
With the boundary line restored and the wicket re-rolled, it still looked as though Peter Williams had prepared another excellent strip likely to produce plenty of runs, but it remained to be seen if the drying pitch would cause problems, a view shared by Ramsbury's captain who chose to bowl when he won the toss.
Wilson Saraj and Ed Mardon were chosen to open the batting. Wilson seemed in good form and had made 13 of the 16 runs scored before meeting his nemesis - an LBW decision once again adjudged by Luke Flippance - although on this occasion no one threatened the umpire.
Steve Sadler arrived at the wicket and played some lovely shots that unfortunately mostly went directly to fielders as did the catch he offered to cover, 37 for 2 and a moment for a slight tremor of unease.
Ed Mardon however was finding his form and the Stowell sheep would be pleased that they were not in the adjacent field as it would have been the ovine equivalent of the blitz as Ed hit no less than seven sixes.
Joined by Mark Oliver who played an elegant but less spectacular innings, the pair took the score to 172 before Ed was caught having made his maiden century. Mark was next to go on 52. Their stand of 135 and useful late cameos from Russ Spencer and Ash Elliott meant that Wilcot reached a respectable total of 216 for 6 off the 45 overs.
It was a joy to play in a game where the opposition were not verbose in the field and the fact that Ramsbury's shirts were adorned by the name of their sponsor, that well known hostelry The Bell Inn, showed that they were good sorts and likely to appreciate another of Linda Keepence's excellent teas.
Linda surpassed herself with a copious supply of egg, prawn and cheese sandwiches, the captains favourite malt cake and those little sausages and scotch eggs that particularly attach the attention the prowling Godley dogs when tea is taken outside.
Ash Elliott and Wilcot's vicar were chosen to open the bowling and Ash struck in his first over with Jamie Guerin taking a high spiralling catch. Mark Windsor then struck twice in quick succession and when Ash (10.3-1-38-4) took his second wicket, Ramsbury were suddenly 21 for 4, a score normally associated with Wilcot's finest.
Messrs Williamson and Gilligan steadied Ramsbury's ship before the introduction of Luke Flippance allowed the skipper to finally make a contribution with a catch that took the score to 85 for 5.
Ramsbury did not give up easily and given Wilcot's ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, there were still odd uncomfortable moments to follow, but the removal of the dangerous Williamson, bowled by a fiery J Guerin and luckily better catching than ground fielding, meant that Ramsbury were bowled out for 176 off 42.3 overs.
This writer is pleased to be able to report Wilcot's return to winning ways and hopes that we can maintain our good start to the second half of the season when we travel to Biddestone next weekend.
Wilcot 216 for 6 off 45 overs
W Saraj LBW 13
E Mardon Caught 102
S Sadler Caught 1
M Oliver Caught 52
J Guerin Caught 4
R Spencer Caught 16
A Elliott Not out 8
MFG Not out 0
T Mister DNB
M Windsor DNB
L Flippance DNB
Extras 9 byes, 1 leg bye and 10 wides
Ramsbury 176 All out off 42.3 overs
A Elliott 10.3-1-38-4
M Windsor 12-2-38-2
J Guerin 11-1-43-1
L Flippance 9-0-43-3
Extras 8 byes, 1 leg bye, 15 wides.
She told the assembled junior players - many of their 110 registered juniors - and parents that her son had warned her that on such an important occasion she could not bowl under-arm. And she duly produced a pretty straight over-arm delivery to under-eleven club member Daisy Franklin.
Mrs Perry also cut a blue ribbon and, with some helpers, cut the inaugural cake - and that came complete with an icing picture of the Glebe Ground and its tree. Joining Mrs Perry to congratulate the club was Chris Sheppard, Chairman of Wiltshire Cricket.
It has been a long and costly slog to get to this auspicious opening. Seven years ago, as Chairman Marek Grabowski explained: "The club was going down hill - like many other village clubs. Then we devised a plan of action." It was an ambitious plan.
With only their established Red Lion Ground they could not offer enough cricket for the full range of teams and coach young players. As it was, the third team had to use a pitch eleven miles away at Marden for their 'home' fixtures.
So they started the four-and-a-half-year-long process to make the adjacent field into their second pitch. It is a 'glebe' field belonging to the Diocese of Salisbury. They faced opposition from the parish council - worried about increased traffic - and also from some nearby residents.
But Wiltshire Council planning committee sided unanimously with the cricket club and gave permission for change of use from agricultural land. Then they hit the problem of compensating the farmer who was leasing the field from the Diocese. Those negotiations took so long that the planning permission ran out and they had to start again.
They finally settled with the farmer - paying him £8,000.
Why did the celebratory cake include a miniature tree? Glebe Ground has a unique feature - a beautiful oak tree large enough to hide a king and quite close to the new artificial wicket. It stands at about mid-wicket - if the batsman is facing bowling from the village end. The rules for playing around this feature are simple - if you strike the ball and it hits the tree you get two runs.
It is almost appropriate that there is still a 'boundary dispute' going on at the edge of Glebe Field. But that is not something the Club is involved with and they can carry on without that dispute being solved.
With help from members, volunteers, local builders and ground workers, they have created a new pitch - and spent about £10,000 in the process. With new nets opened in 2013 and costing £30,000 - they do a lot of fund raising.
Their plan and their investment in time and money is paying off. This season the first team has so far won three, tied one, lost two and had one game cancelled. The second eleven are second in their league, the third team top of theirs and the fourth team are...well, they are not fourth in theirs...yet.
Last month their 1st Xl coach Paul (Stoddy) Stoddard won the ECB Wiltshire Award for Coach of the year. He will be going to the Cardiff Ashes Test Match to be presented with his award. As the club website put it: "Great work Stoddy!"
To see the advantages of looking after junior training and junior teams, look no further than first team captain Tom Wallbridge. He played for the club as a junior and is now in his fourth season as captain.
The Club's overseas player for the season is Luke Woodcock - a New Zealand international player who plays regular first class cricket with Wellington.
They have now achieved at least one of their ambitions: they have young players playing under the various levels of starter rules and a full complement of adult teams. They would dearly love to have a ladies team - if they could find enough local players...perhaps when these juniors are old enough...
Their inclusive training policy brought them great success last season: their first team were champions of the West of England Premier League's Wiltshire Division. Their third eleven were champions of the Wiltshire County Division Six. Their Under-15s were champions of Wiltshire Youth County Division Two. And the Under-11s were champions of Wiltshire Youth County Division Two South.
Burbage and Easton Royal is accredited by Sport England's Clubmark scheme - which shows that a club is properly run and provides the right environment and ensures the welfare of members. And to prove the point we meet Sue Milne the club's welfare officer.
They are especially keen to bring on young players - giving all abilities the chance to play. In the past six years they have gone from 30 to 110 registered junior players. Certainly on the two evenings this reporter has been there, the two grounds and the nets are abuzz with different levels of keen young hopefuls and half a dozen and more volunteer coaches.
And as club chairman Marek Grabowski told Marlborough News Online, it is not just about the sport: "There's real evidence that young cricketers are least likely to become young offenders."
Click on photos to enlarge them
On a cloudy but mostly dry afternoon (June 13), Wilcot travelled to Royal Wootton Bassett. On arrival, the opposition were extremely friendly - unlike the last time we met. Apparently the main protagonist on that occasion has since had the draconian punishment of being banned from the club and the league.
After heavy overnight rain, there was sawdust on areas of the square and the outfield was still wet and as a result the start was delayed until 1.30pm. Given the overcast conditions and wet outfield Wilcot's skipper chose to field having called correctly, proving once again he is probably more of a tosser than a cricketer these days.
The pitch had been covered and looked likely to play well and this proved the case with Wootton Bassett's batsmen playing attacking shots from the outset, but thanks to tidy bowling from Ash Elliott (12-2-41-3), Billy Flippance and Wilcot's vicar, a score of 101 for 4 after 21 overs seemed a reasonable effort.
Unfortunately at this juncture, Wilcot's fielding frailties kicked in and the free scoring A Ali was dropped three times when on low scores before going on to make 107 not out. Mark Windsor took one further wicket to end up with the respectable figures of 12-0-66-2 but amidst the stroke making and sometimes creative, but often ineffective fielding, Wootton Bassett were able to reach 257 for 5 off their 45 overs.
After a good tea with a good variety of rolls, including the (personally) overrated cold pizza slices, Shane Bryant and Wilson Saraj were chosen to lead the assault. Wilson's version of attempted assault was to wave his bat at the unfortunate Luke Flippance who unfortunately gave him out LBW when he was adamant he had hit the ball. 18 for 1. Enter Steve Sadler, fresh from touring East Anglia with the temperance society touring side that also included the teetotaller Ninian MacGregor.
Clearly the touring had taken its toll as he promptly got a leading edge and was caught. 27 for 2. Readers at this point are looking for a predictable conclusion, but Mark Oliver strode confidently to the wicket and soon he and Shane were scoring elegantly and freely taking the score to 151 off 33 overs before Mark fell for a well constructed and speedy 63.
From this point on and in spite of useful cameos from Tim Mister, Ash Elliott and Mark Windsor we were always struggling to meet the required run rate. Shane Bryant did his best with some lusty blows and ended undefeated with an excellent 103 but our total of 222 was 35 runs short.
A loss but a much improved performance and the mood afterwards was much more positive. Lets hope we can build on this improved batting performance when we welcome the league leaders Beehive to Wilcot next weekend.
I would also finally like to thank Wilson's friend Ashref who was expecting to watch, but after the late defection of Graham Newland was drafted in to play. The bemused expression on his face at the antics of Wilcot and Wiltshire League Cricket was a source of great amusement.
Wootton Bassett 257 for 5 off 45 Overs
A Elliott 12-2-41-3
B Flippance 10-0-63-0
M Windsor 12-0-66-2
L Flippance 6-0-39-0
S Bryant 5-0-39-0
Extras 5 byes, 4 leg byes, 2 wides and 2 no balls.
Wilcot 222 for 5 off 45 overs:
S Bryant 103 not out
W Saraj LBW 2
S Sadler Caught 0
M Oliver Caught 63
T Mister Bowled 8
A Elliott Bowled 17
M Windsor Not Out 13
A Mall DNB
L Flippance DNB
B Flippance DNB
Extras 2 leg byes, 12 wides and 2 no balls