OWCC v Old Cranleighans, away, Sunday 10 May 2015
Old Cranleighans, 272-5 decl.; OWCC 213 all out. Match lost by 59 runs.
This was a match partly lost before a ball was bowled, because of poor match management; partly when OWCC were in the field, because of poor captaincy; and partly when OWCC were chasing the target, because the middle-order batsman who could have won the game got a golden duck.
Sadly, blame for all three rests at the door of one man, the inexperienced and unimaginative captain Tim Moore. The rest of the ten-strong team all performed admirably.
Rob Shipster and Ed Craig took the new ball and launched a spitting opening salvo, with Shipster pitching it up and moving the ball away shiveringly late, and Craig taking a shorter line into the body and then moving it away off the pitch. Twenty minutes of edges, ball crunchers, and Chinese cuts later, and Cranleigh were at 15-2.
Spectators around the ground noticed that few of the fielding commands appeared to be coming from the captain, who chose instead wanly to confirm the clear calls given by McArthur at first slip. When the chirruping ex-Cricketer cup captain was banished to the square-leg boundary, in the first of Moore’s embarrassing attempts to wrest back some semblance of authority, the game immediately began to slide out of OWCC’s grasp.
Cranleigh put on 211 for the third wicket. The OWCC seam and spin attack of Blackett, Marsh, Cheetham, Guest and Hanson were all excellent, keeping the ball largely up to the bat and refusing to give up on a pitch that had dried out and lost its sparkle. They would have enjoyed a great deal more success had they not been bowling with a soft, heavy, misshapen ball – again, the fault of the bungling match manager Moore, who had failed to collect an OWCC ball before the game and had been forced to accept the charity of the Cranleighans. In his only success of the day, he managed to get the peeling ball from them for free.
McArthur was left to heckle the captaincy decisions from a distance, labelling the field placings as “prep school standard”. He was rather caught out, though, when midway through chatting to the opposition on the boundary rope about his new maxi-size cricket bag, the ball was hooked to him in the air. Caught by surprise, he was left to hurl himself horizontally through the air, at twice his body height, only missing out on what would have been the season’s stand-out catch by the narrowest of margins.
Old Cranleighans declared on 272-5 after 50 overs, with Hanson and Cheetham taking the other three wickets.
Despite the commanding total, Cheetham set about the chase with a dead-eyed certainty. Few men are brave enough to risk the straight drive on an early-season wicket, but Cheetham repeatedly crunched the ball past the bowlers’ despairing boots. All in the pavilion remarked on his enviable shape, and high elbow. Younger club members should make sure to watch and mimic, and photographs are copied below for them to print out and hang from their bedroom walls.
McArthur having chipped to point for nothing, it was left to gnarled old pro Hanson to partner Cheetham to a second-wicket partnership of 113. With 20 overs called at 530pm, OWs needed a difficult but distinctly achievable 145 more. Sadly, it was not to be. In his last, forgettable act of the game, Moore was immediately caught off the glove, first ball. He was later heard to claim that the off spinner had bowled him a bouncer, which was widely ridiculed.
Despite the valiant attempts of Blackett (24), Shipster (23) and honorary OW Harte (9), the game was never going to be recovered. With five overs still available, the last OW wicket fell for 213 in the soft sunlight of a beautiful early summer’s evening.
McArthur demonstrating the accepted MCC level of glove fondling / head hanging after a duck
Cheetham poise and power
Another Cheetham-Hanson boundary, but Blackett business can't wait
Nothing more beautiful. Weight over the ball, soft hands, tree with bench in background.
Hanson flair past point
MCC-approved congratulatory bum pat