Bamville v Cockfosters II
Saturday 2/09/23 (and almost Sunday 03/09/23 as well)
A moment in Cockfosters CC history to be savoured.
Some might say Cockfosters versus Bamville on Saturday 2nd September 2023, whatever division it was, was the most important game for Cockfosters in a generation. Well, it's true, as the last time the Clubs 2nd XI had a chance of promotion, our opening bowler (Sachin 'Little Master' Chamberlain) hadn't been born!
A very green wicket greeted both teams, next to the imposing vision of an x-mental asylum (which Rollo recounted very accurate knowledge of - just saying!). In fact, the pitch was so green, the oppo were busying themselves by removing daisies growing on a good length. So, skip Adam did what was asked of him, won the toss and decided to throw us in the field.
The impressive duo of Nathan and Sachin opened the bowling, although 2 overs in the use of 'impressive' was under serious question - as the oppo were off to a frantic start, 32-0 off 2 overs. Particular mention must go to Sachin's first 6 balls - well may be just the fifth one as that was the only one that didn’t cross the boundary!
In good opening bowler style, Sachin went off to have a strop on the boundary, kicking any blade of grass he could find with all his might! Fortunately, Ben came on immediately to steady the ship, but it was recognised that a real team effort would be needed to rebuild things!
Well, that is what happened. Of sorts. In spite of some shocking fielding, Bamville were bowled out for 188. Notable highlights though, included:
· Adam stood behind the stumps, but no-one knows why.
· As a team we tried our best not to catch anything.
· Saying that, Sarath showed everyone how it should be done, by catching three - without the gloves, Adam!
· (Removed due to breach of ethics 😊)
· And then, the most 'village' thing seen on a village cricket field. The ball knocked down by the batsman's ankle, an impossible single was attempted, but with 2 overthrows this turned into an easy 5. 'I give up', one spectator was heard to say from the boundary!
Ultimately, however, after a difficult start and some comedy gold moments, the bowlers stuck well to their task - with the wickets shared about Nathan 3; Prakash 3; Sachin 2; Ben 1; and Rollo 1. And it should be noted that according to Rollo, he rounded off this impressive bowling display by removing Bamville's destructive number 11 to ultimately 'guarantee our promotion’.
Now onto the batting...I'll be quick. Which is more than can be said for Bamville's bowling effort. It seemed to take ages. And it did - with darkness drawing in. But the assured Cockfosters batting did what they had to do.
Sarath and Nathan both batted well scoring classy 40s; Guy, Rollo and Adam all threatened to get going; but ultimately left it to Ben to finish the game off in some style, with the support of Gary the other end.
However, one particular moment needs to be recorded - an umpiring masterclass, from our very own Neil, inventing new rules for the ICC to consider. He gave Sarath out GBW - yes, Glove Before Wicket. I'm not sure if our diminutive friend has calmed down yet - as he was last seen nursing a large brandy at the clubhouse! I thought he didn't drink....
The game finished in the dark - I think, it was hard to tell as our innings just kept on going!
Ultimately, cricket is a simple game. And this fixture proved it - we got more runs than them; we’re up; they’re down.
Sachin Chamberlain (Aged 14, so writing this report is child labour)
Captains MOTM – Nathan Edwards/Sarath Santosh (though Dan will claim it for “Getting us up”)
Cockfosters II v Harpenden VI
Match report required ........
Cockfosters II v Boxmoor II
In a thrilling encounter between Cockfosters CC and Boxmoor CC, Cockfosters emerged victorious in convincing fashion. Winning the toss and electing to field, Boxmoor CC struggled against Cockfosters' well-coordinated bowling attack. Cockfosters CC displayed exceptional teamwork both with the bat and in the field, ultimately sealing a comprehensive win.
Cockfosters CC's batting was highlighted by the splendid performances of Daniel Rollo and Sarath Santhosh. Rollo contributed 53 runs from 67 balls, while Santhosh notched up an impressive 54 runs from 68 balls. These performances laid the foundation for Cockfosters' competitive total. Craig Hutchins also chipped in with a valuable 19 runs off 23 balls. On the other hand, Boxmoor CC struggled to establish a strong batting presence, with none of their players managing to stabilize the innings.
Cockfosters CC's bowling unit delivered an outstanding performance, putting immense pressure on the Boxmoor batsmen. Sachin Chamberlain was a standout performer, bowling 5 overs with 1 maiden, conceding just 21 runs, and taking 2 crucial wickets. Darren Medforth was equally impressive, bowling 8 overs with 2 maidens and securing 3 wickets. Gavin Bain, with 6 overs including 1 maiden, managed to take 3 wickets as well. Prakash Bhagwati played a vital role, securing 2 wickets in his 2 overs. The collective effort of the Cockfosters bowlers was instrumental in restricting Boxmoor CC to a modest total.
Cockfosters CC not only excelled with bat and ball but also showcased exceptional fielding skills and team spirit. Their sharp fielding and agile movements on the field added significant pressure on Boxmoor CC's batting lineup. This camaraderie and cohesion were integral to Cockfosters' success on the day.
In conclusion, Cockfosters CC demonstrated their cricketing prowess in this encounter, securing a well-deserved victory. Their strong batting performances, complemented by exceptional bowling and fielding, made the difference. However, it is crucial to remember that cricket is not just about winning but also about upholding the spirit of the game. Both teams can take valuable lessons from this match as they continue their cricketing journeys.
Captains MOTM - Sachin Chamberlain
Dunstable III v Cockfosters II
Won, despite the weather's best efforts
Captains MOTM - Darren Medforth
Cockfosters II v Totteridge Millhillians III
Southgate Compton v Cockfosters II
Lost - Sarath got some runs though.
Captains MOTM - Sarath Santosh
Cockfosters II v Old Albanian III
The Pitch was firm, the outfield a little cosy but the light was good and conditions were favourable for short pitch bowling and favourable movement.
Runs however were not of the essence and mere survival was the key, sadly for many it was harder to stay in than was first predicted.
No one knows what the final score was, though the Bar Chairman was not amused by the Antics of Mr Smallbone’s high backlift, or Mr Santosh’s lack of respect for the wicket.
Play lasted for around 45 minutes along to the depressing tones of The CoC’s meteorological playlist, unfortunately the scorebook was forgotten so no stats of the fixture are able to be recorded, though thankfully for todays reporter, no injuries needed to be reported on Play Cricket this week.
Sadly, no actual play was possible on the second most important fixture of the day, against Old Albanian and whilst play finally resumed at Old Trafford with a session of cricket that can only be described as banal, I am left pondering the fact that maybe the Ashes would not have been lost if Mr Stokes had int ingenuity to have offered “Pavilion Cricket” (CCC Copyright -Pending) as the best way to determine a result.
10 Points each, as was the ruling of the day, and the afternoon was enjoyed drinking away and tucking into the delights of Papa Gary’s delivery (Haggis on Pizza, who knew?)
The only concern would be whether to report the merits of the dressing room game undertaken by the 1st XI at the remote farmland of Gravely, but after their hike to the ground for 14 overs of play we will glaze over that one #letsrefertoitas21
So, we roll onto next week, and the Chalk Lane Derby reverse. Now who wants to write the match report for that game?
Captains MoTM - Gary Corken (although not in the starting XI deserves it for the Pizza)
Preston III v Cockfosters II
Going into this game as 3rd in the league the 2s this week had ambitions of pushing up the table for that promotion chance. Arriving at Preston with a scorer and umpire was a privilege which this side rarely seems to see, and for a long time was felt as it would remain a myth, until Adam finally arrived after a daytrip via Harpenden (we played there 2 weeks ago Skip!).
Nevertheless, with Scorer and XI-man Ethan, still taking in the sights of Hertfordshire, the team did an unlikely warmup before putting the home team in to bat on a deck which had taken 24 hours of non-stop rain as there was no covers! Thanks to the field being on top of the local mountain however and with the help of a local gale, the water appeared to have dried reasonably well.
Nathan opened the bowling with Sachin, it was safe to say that Nathan had to blow the cobwebs off after his first two overs but did manage to find some form as Sachin blocked up an end of great accuracy. Unfortunately, just as Cockfosters were looking to apply some early pressure the heavens proceeded to open and put a pause to play.
After an hour or so play did resume. With the overs now reduced to 27 a-side, the opening pair had bowled out which led to the introduction of Prakash, who simply became prime Jimmy Anderson and managed to grab 5 wickets for 5 runs in his first five overs. At the other end Darren also grabbed a couple of wickets which were much needed, the last wicket fell to Craig after a handy 24 run Partnership and saw Preston end on 85.
Cockfosters then went out, led by Tom Slevin and Andy Stokes. Tom fell for a five-ball duck, and out came Rohit who with his first ball hit a huge 6 to deep midwicket followed by another downtown, but unfortunately fell going for a repeat and unfortunately his (Prakash’s) bat broke and he only managed to offer a simple chance to Mid-off.
Nik then went out and got some much-needed runs whilst settling the nerves. Andy after some great flicks was dismissed which meant that Nathan had to go out with 35 to chase down! Nik fell shortly after, nicking behind as did Sarath who found Point 3 balls later, leaving Ethan to come out when the game was at a tipping point. After sticking around and showing great composure Nathan and Ethan managed to chase down the total with a nice straight 6 from Nathan to finish the game. Great result for the boys as they cement their 3rd place in the league #upthetwos
Captains MOTM - Prakash Bhagwati
Cockfosters II v Kings Langley II
Match Report might appear here if someone writes one. The synopsis he is that we were playing the Team top of the table who had only lost once all season, and the Week before had soundly beaten the previous league Leaders Dunstable III.
The game was shortened to 25 overs aside because of Rain and our opening Bowler was injured in the warm up so what happened after the Toss was won by the Home Team Skipper............
Cockfosters II vs Bamville
Today’s game saw the mighty Cockfosters 2s clash with the third place Bamville. With Cockfosters currently in 4th place, a win would move us up to 3rd in the table so all to play for.
This reporter's day started with a tactical detour to pick up our wicket keeper, resulting in an arrival that was fashionably late, but not tardy enough to escape the renowned warm-up game of A-Ball. A little change this week saw teams roll the ball along to ground to each other which was rumoured to enhance our ground fielding, but it suspiciously seemed designed to save poor Guy from breaking a sweat.
Adam confidently went to toss and after a grilling from the opposition Captain about pitch and ground conditions he called correctly and in a move that surprised absolutely no one, he elected to put Cockfosters in the field. With a seemingly well-balanced team boasting (ahem) 5 bowlers and a strong batting lineup, there was a every chance of a Cockfosters victory.
Sachin decided to take a well-deserved holiday this week, leaving a void that the "highly experienced?" (Question mark intended) Darren attempted to fill. Alongside him, the seeming ever-unlucky Stanley prepared to defy the cricketing gods with his undying spirit.
Darren started well and almost had a caught and bowled early in his spell but couldn’t quite get back far enough to complete the catch with the ball landing just the other side of the non-strikers stumps (And about a metre from where he was standing when he realised the ball was coming his way.) Stanley at the other end bowled with good control and was very unfortunate not to pick up a few early wickets with numerous chances falling in between fielders. He finally found some luck and had one nicked behind for Sarath to snaffle standing up.
With the arrival of the next batsman, the scoring tempo started to rise, accompanied by a flurry of big hits predominantly aimed at the leg side. Boundaries flowed freely. Darren, with his dibbly-dobbolies, enticed the remaining opener into one shot too many, which was fantastically caught by Nikhil low down, sprinting in from the boundary.
Tom on his debut for the 2s (this year) had replace Stanley who finished with 1 wicket in his 6 over spell. Tom bowled lively but erratic with one maiden and unfortunately no wickets. Darren then finished his full 8 over spell with one wicket and not many runs conceded and still somehow managed to slow walk back to his fielding position. Gavin took over from Darren, starting his first spell of 5(?) overs and kept things tight, albeit expressing his frustration as sky balls managed to find the gaps between fielders. Speaking of fielders, Cockfosters' ground fielding was superb! Did that warm-up game of a-ball have a use after all?
Special mention goes to Ben, who made fantastic saves in the covers, using any part of his body to prevent boundary BALLS from escaping his grasp. Your manly limp will be remembered forever, Benina. We salute you!
At the drinks break, the game was evenly balanced, with both sides seeking to seize the initiative. Adam delivered his usual uplifting talk and encouraged consistent bowling but also variations. Fielders returned to their positions, pondering the wonders of this newfound wisdom. Genius comes in many forms; this was not one of them.
It was at this stage that Adam desperately searched for a fifth bowler, only to realize that counting to five was not a strong suit for this team. The desperation in his eyes was palpable as he contemplated the least worst fifth bowling option among Dan, Guy, Andy, and himself.
The honour fell upon Andy to keep things tight, and this turned out to be a good decision. He chipped away at the middle order, dismissing three bemused batsmen and coming close to grabbing a few more had catches been taken in the outfield. Ben, at the other end had seemingly recovered from his earlier heroics and bowled a miserly spell, restricting the scoring but failing to claim any wickets (that’s why he’s a part time bowler, skip).
To finish off the innings, Adam decided it was time to bring back Gavin for his remaining 3 overs. It turned out to be a wise decision as Gav continued his earlier form, bowling consistently (going against captain's orders) and clean bowling the two set batsmen in his first 2 overs. His final over could have sealed the fate of the remaining batsmen and hurled him into the 2nd XI record books, but math came back to haunt the team as the scorers shouted from the boundary that he had already bowled his 8 overs. Gav, never one to miss an opportunity, pleaded his case and almost managed to sneak in his ninth over until Neil conceded the mistake, and the over was restarted with a different bowler. Reluctantly, Andy returned to finish the innings with the final over, even attempting a yorker on the second bounce but still managing to pick up his fourth wicket.
That brought the end to the first inning with a below par score of 193 on this excellent batting wicket. Cockfosters 2nd XI are not known for their consistent batting, so it was crucial for us to start the chase sensibly.
After the break, the innings began cautiously with our new opening pair of Dan Stead and Adam playing out the first few overs with relative ease, pouncing on the occasions when the opposition bowlers forgot how to bowl and ensuring we were always above the rate.
Things were ticking along nicely at close to 6 runs per over, and it seemed like we would reach the drinks break without losing a wicket. However, Adam, in true fosters fashion, decided that wasn't the way to go and attempted to launch a ball down the ground, only to mistime it and hand a simple catch to the long-off fielder. Nonetheless, his well-played 31 in an 85-run partnership laid a solid foundation.
Nikhil joined Dan at the crease, providing him with company as he continued playing shots all around the ground. Dan played superbly, reaching his half-century in just 18 overs. Bamville decided it was time to unleash their secret weapon and bring on their best bowler, a very handy off-spinner who eventually had Dan caught behind for 54.
Andy joined Nikhil to try keep the momentum going and ensure we didn’t fall behind the required rate. Both batsmen scored freely but there was a constant whisper in their minds, sounding suspiciously like Guy, urging them to "hit the ball harder!" Nikhil eventually fell to a dipping yorker from the off spinner for 19 which brought “Hit the ball Harder” Guy to the crease. The usual chat about what the bowler is doing, how to play him, take it easy until you get your eye in bla bla bla was completely wasted on Guy as he proceeded to use his beastly power and hit the ball as hard as he could, finding the boundary regularly and ensuring the total was always in reach. After a 50ish run partnership (and a rather humorous bit of football resulting in an extra 2 runs) Bamville decided to throw in their last Hail Mary by bringing back their opening bowler, hoping he would perform a miracle. It almost worked when Andy decided to gift wrap a catch to the fielder at cow, falling for 33. Benina then came in to secure the win with 2 boundaries leaving Guy unbeaten on 30 and himself on 9.
Cockfosters win by 6 wickets with 5 overs to spare. A very good effort all round but still 50 points behind second placed Kings Langley who we take on next week.
* No balls were lost during this match.
Captains MOTM - Andy Stokes
Harpenden IV vs Cockfosters II
A trip to St George’s school and Harpenden 4s who were sitting above us in the table, awaited the 2s this week….
The day started off well by skipper Adam driving to Harpenden via Hemel with numerous kitbags and players and only realising once he got to the magic roundabout. Thankfully, the non-driving Medders was on hand to steer him in the right direction – what a lovely CoC.
Finally once Adam had arrived, he managed to prove he could call a coin toss correctly and inserted Harpenden into bat. Harpenden had won 2 out of their 3 fixtures at home so far this season where they had amounted close to 200 runs in both of their win’s batting first, whereas we had only made it past 150 twice this season – we all at this point had complete faith in Adam’s decision!
Cockfosters young bloods, Sachin and Stanley opened the bowling, where they had the task of bowling to former Pakistani first-class cricketer Hussain and their other aggressive opener Arnold. The bowlers started off well, with a few chances created but not much let up from the Harpenden openers. Stanley bowled 4 overs in his opening spell which when he got right was brilliant but on occasion lacked the consistency, he had shown the previous week. Sachin on the other hand who had a couple of chances dropped off his bowling still persevered and got the wicket of Hussain for 8 caught by Stokesy at cover. Stanley finished off with figures of 5-1-24-0 and Sachin’s were 6-0-19-1…. good going from the 2 youngsters! This brought Gav and Medders on, to help keep the control and scoring low. Gav coming off a shorter run up struggled for consistency early doors, whereas Medders bowled with great control. Gav then got the other opener Arnold LBW when deciding to come off his normal run up and bowled possibly two of the best balls you’ll see to the new bat.
Harpenden duo of Hughes and Voight then started to put a good partnership together (even though Voight may have nicked one off Medders early doors and left the decision in the none moving hands of the umpire) and punished Gav in his first over after drinks. Gav was taken off after this with figures of 6-1-32-1, which brought Craig on to bowl his new off spin which had worked last week. This spell was short lived, and Craig was removed after one over going for 14 – let’s hope to see him back bowling the seam up we all know and love very soon. Rav then joined Medders and both brought real control back to the side. Medders then got the wicket of Hughes who had batted patiently for 28. Medders bowled his full 8 straight through with fine figures of 8-1-19-1. Loaf and Rav then continued the job we needed by taking wickets on regular occurrences and not going for many runs. Rav who bowled probably the best he had done all season finished with 7-1-14-4 and Loaf who also bowled brilliantly, chipped in with 4.5-0-18-3. The 2s had managed to bowl Harpenden out for 146, which looked a gettable target even though we were probably a batter short. Great job bowlers and fielders!
After tea Cockfosters set upon their task of chasing, skipper A Pigden and A Callan walked to the crease. The first over was an inconsistent one at best, which with a few extras and a boundary Adam had managed to rotate the strike with us on 13 after 0.4 overs. Loaf then decided first ball that he would follow (without moving his feet) the first good ball Blissert had bowled and nicked one behind. This brought N Patel to the crease at number 3 who then got hit on the pads first ball but luckily it was going down. Adam and Nik then set about their job, with Adam pulling well for a few boundaries. This didn’t last too long before Nik edged one behind for 5, leaving us 35-2. A Stokes joined Adam and put on a 20-run partnership before Adam gloved one to a stunning low catch at slip off Card for 16. This left the 2s on 55-3 with only 12 overs gone – was the old Cockfosters collapse about to happen with only a couple of recognised batsmen left?
D Rollo then joined Stokesy and with a quick chat about how the ball bounces down one end and not the other. Rollo then played and missed at 2 at the end that did bounce. Stokesy then went about his business and continued to chip away at the score hitting some 4s and a lovely 6 over cow. D Rollo then decided to go on the attack and as Harpenden left their fielders up, he hit boundaries over the top, including a leading edge for 6 over long on. The two of them now scoring freely (58 run partnership off 7 overs) and trying to get it over and done with before drinks but the Harpenden skipper had other ideas and decided to move all infielders from the offside onto the boundary and Rollo tamely edged one to slip for 31 off 21 balls to leave Fosters on 115 and only needing 37 off 21 overs for 30 points. “There’s no way we can f### it from here!” were the conversations on the sideline. C Hutchins departed shortly after for 6 and G Bain then failed to trouble the scorers. This left Fosters on 130 with 17 still needed to win and 4 bowlers left to bat. With all this drama going on, Stokesy was playing magnificently, hitting the ball all round the pitch and brought up a well-made 50 by edging between keeper and first slip.
With news of the 1s game nearing an end, the 3s already winning and Harpenden 5s finishing at 3, it seemed like this game was a late game for this weekend.
R Solanki now joined A Stokes. Obviously, Harpenden never seeing Ravi bat before and judging him as a big hitter (no idea why!) as they assumed he would come in and try play an explosive innings like they’d already seen today. Ravi did the right thing and played conservatively getting Stokesy on strike to try win the game. The two of them got it so the scores were tied and with Ravi on strike for the start of a new over. The field was brought up so all fielders were in on the one, we all assumed Rav would just block the over out and let the guy on 65 score the winning runs. Ravi had different ideas, he swiped across the line, inside edged it through for the winning runs – Ravi has commented on how he meant that shot! Stokesy finished on a well-made 65 not out and Ravi “Chinese Cut” Solanki was 2 not out.
A good 30 points for the boys taking us above Harpenden to 4th in the league and a good team effort with everyone contributing. Interesting two weeks ahead as Fosters face 3rd and 2nd in the league……
Captains MOTM – R Solanki (just "edging" A Stokes)
The Pyramids of Giza. The Hanging Baskets of Babylon. A 108-run partnership to tie a Hertfordshire Cricket League Division 8 B game: the 8th wonder of the world.
Arriving at Boxmoor CC there was only one question on the traveling fans’ lips: "Was this the day the Gazball approach would finally come undone?". Winning the toss and deciding to bowl, the eponymous Gary Corken had already made a good start. With a last-minute drop out, Andrew Williams made an unlikely debut and the ‘fosters were raring to go.
S. Chamberlain and S. Thomas bowled a superb ten over opening spell, Chamberlain taking 4 wickets and Thomas being very unfortunate to go wicketless. At 30-4 Boxmoor were in trouble.
Some strong middle order batting saw the home team counter attack despite losing regular wickets, ending up with a respectable 201 all out from 36 overs. Cockfosters’ newest offspinner C. Hutchins took 3 wickets with G. Bain, K. Smallbone, M. Mundela and A. Callan contributing one a piece. A strong fielding performance backed up the bowlers and debutant Williams showed why he was awarded “St Andrews University 5th XI Fielder of the Year” for three years in a row.
Opening the batting, Corken lost his wicket without troubling the scorers, with Callan following him back to the pavilion shortly after for 11.
An E. Martyr cameo (19 off 18) had the run rate ticking along but Cockfosters continued to lose wickets at regular intervals, despite Bain holding up an end in a mature innings.
At 60-6 and a combined score of five between batters 5 6 and 7, Cockfosters were in trouble. After Bain's dogged innings (25 of 63) came to an end in the 26th over at 89-7, the away team would require something of epic - no, biblical - proportions to get near the required 202 to win.
Both Hutchins at no. 7 and Smallbone at no.8 started off watchfully, playing sensibly and taking singles when possible. Hutchins increasingly showed intent, taking his score from 9 to 30 in just 10 balls - a sign of things to come. Smallbone was growing in confidence, initially taking 29 balls to hit his first boundary which then opened the floodgates.
At 107-7 requiring 95 to win off the final 10 overs, anything beyond a few bonus points was looking unlikely. Hutchins and Smallbone, however, had other ideas. Increasingly upping their intent, they kept within touch of the required run rate. A massive 38th over saw Boxmoor conceding 22 runs including consecutive sixes from Hutchins.
All of a sudden, the chase was on.
Going into the final over, Cockfosters’ equation was simple - 13 runs to win or 12 to draw. The home team bought on a player for the final six balls who was yet to bowl and decided to keep his cap on for the over. After starting off with two dot balls, the away team was starting to regret judging a book by its cover. However, a one run no-ball, a two, a one run wide and single saw Cockfosters needing 6 off the final two.
More drama was to come.
Smallbone was run out, scampering back for an unselfish second for a very well earned 43, with specialist no.10 Thomas coming in to face the final delivery with five required for the win. After a consultation with the unbeaten Hutchins, Thomas took guard and coolly smashed the bowler through mid-wicket for four, earning Cockfosters an unlikely tie. Thomas’ knee slide celebration that followed was every bit earned and capped off an incredible day’s cricket.
(click on the match heading to relive the full 7 hours)
Captains MOTM - C Hutchins
Cockfosters II v Dunstable III
Another spectacular day for cricket saw top of the table Dunstable 3’s arriving at the lane with a young bowling attack looking for blood.
With the toss won, two’s skip Adam Pigden bravely elected the bat first, hoping a freshly cut strip and the blazing heat would aid the Cockfosters gunslingers to an out of reach total. Unfortunately, the blazing heat powering down on helmets and some irregular bounce on a very dry pitch would only add to the already Goliathan task ahead.
Dunstable’s accurate attack did not let up for one second, the change only replacing accurate strike bowling with even more consistent line and length, pegging the fosters opening batters down for 6 or 7 overs before they attempted to fight fire with fire… and unfortunately got burnt. Pigden toed a rare loose ball into the covers while Callen was bowled going for the big shot over the top. Their hearts in the right places but not their bats.
Neil Hale attempted to throw the young bowling attack off with his left-handed late dabs, huge inspiration to fans of the late dab, was caught uncharacteristically attempting to go over the top of mid-on making it 26 for 3. Some sensible umpiring kept Andy Stokes at the crease long enough to be caught impressively at mid-off sending him back to the club house to enjoy his very own self-made Biltong. “Don’t worry Stokesie you’ll get them with the ball,” thought nobody.
With things looking about as bleak as a Wuhan meat market, at 26 for 4, Nikhil Patel, a man in recent form, stepped to the crease be it slightly overdressed for the hottest day of the year. Joined by Guy Bowden, the two’s regular batting savant and clubs legal counsel, the pair set about rectifying the problem. Patel seems to have the bit between his teeth while Bowden has the nuts between his legs to go after Dunstable’s merciless attack. For a moment, a very short moment, it feels like Cockfosters are back in the game. Until that is, when Bowden attempts to show the young opener Haroon Khalid who’s more guts than nuts by going big, instead toes one up in the air and exits for a respectable 22 from 37 balls.
It’s 68 for 5 after second drinks with overs disappearing faster than you can say “who the hell left the chiller off” when Bennie Howell, a man seeking form with the bat, steps to the crease on a mission to boost the run rate. He succeeds but only for short while scoring 18 runs from only 23 balls before he’s plucked out of the air acrobatically by the oldest player on the pitch. Nikhil followed soon after when the heat finally got the better of him. His hard-fought innings of 33 runs in 77 balls along with his partnerships with Bowden & Howell helped to at least bring the ton up and give the bowlers something to defend. Ethan Pigden defended his wicket gallantly after being turned inside out by Dunstable’s leg spinner and with Stan ‘the man’ Thomas, boasting a strike rate of 75% scoring 3 from 4 balls, the two saw out the overs bringing the total to 116 after 40.
Had them right where we wanted them.
Ten past 4 and it hadn’t gotten any milder out there. Cockfosters took to the field in 32-degree heat and with such a small target, the Dunstable openers could afford to wait for the bad balls and go after them with success. Two’s whiz kid Sachin Chamberlain learned a valuable lesson that you can’t always be incredible, he’s human after all it seems. The youngster was backed up at the other end by wily veteran opener Darren Medforth whose swing bowling managed to get the edges he was looking for. Unfortunately, the first edge flew right in-between two slip fielders who both believed it was a perfect catch for the other, and the second, a top edge that dropped in-between long on and long off who both believed it was a perfect catch for the other.
Medforth persisted, and thanks to some incredibly balanced umpiring, took an undeniable plum LBW sending Dunstable’s elder statesman back to the clubhouse to throw his pads around and complain about the decision. Perhaps he could learn some humility from Medforth who despite looking like he’d just run a marathon in high heels, completed 7 overs taking 2 for 28 and hadn’t even had a heart murmur yet, top stuff indeed. Pigden sought council from legal hotshot Bowden on whether to give the Big Yorkshireman his final over but was advised against it for fear of being culpable of attempted murder.
Herculean bowling displays from Ben Howell, who continues to parade as a groundsman pretending to be a bowler when it’s clearly the other way round, and Alex Callen whose Harry Kane ankles held out for 5 economic overs, just enough to make a match of it, thus taking the innings past the first drinks break.
Stokesie finally got his chance to wreak his revenge for his earlier dismissal but looked a shade of the bowler he was in previous weeks, perhaps all that dry meat slicing has him suffering from 'the Biltong elbow'.
Howell, not a bowler despite incredible bowling form, was unfortunate not to walk away with more wickets but thanks to some more hawk-like vision from the umpire, he found an extremely thin edge removing the Duns 3rd batsmen, a wicket he well deserved. Moments later he would even get his Skip back for dropping him behind, by pitching one right in the spot that only the groundsman could know would get the most irregular bounce causing Pigden to bravely head butt the ball with his lips to safety.
So, with lips bigger than Katie Price, you know the ones I mean, The Skip decided to put everyone out of their misery and get this innings over with… he turned to his secret weapon and handed his second in command ‘Bowie’ the ball. The innings was finished in two balls. Off to Wim Hoff themselves in the freezing cold showers they went, beaten but not defeated.
So, in the end, Dunstable knocked off the total in 26.2 overs and won by 7 wickets. They may have won the battle but not the war as these spirited cock boys will be back to fight another day and next time, well... next time they’ll mean business.
G Bain (legally binding version)
Captains MOTM - B Howell
Totteridge Millhillians III v Cockfosters II
It was a warm summers day; morale was down and a trip to Belmont School to face Totteridge Millhillians III’s awaited us. Captain Adam Pidgen lost the toss and we were duly asked to bat first, as a team that has decided our identity is to bowl first, restrict the opposition and knock down the total - rather than let our heads drop, after an open conversation in the changing room approximately 3 miles away from the ground we all agreed to draw a line in the sand from the week before and paly with pride and positivity. The mood was good.
Openers Adam and Alex Callan went out and faced the onslaught from the opposition new ball bowlers. Adam duly departed for 5 after getting ‘the best ball bowled all innings’ This statement was highly debated by everyone else in the vicinity. This brought Dan Rollo to the crease, back at his preferred position of 3. The 2 of them grafted with the pitch showing signs of indifferent bounce from one end and some tight bowling from the other. Alex looked in good touch hitting regular boundaries while the usually expressive Dan batting within himself grafting his way to 19 hitting a few boundaries before being controversially being caught out on the boundary when the fielder originally signalled 6 runs. Take this as you may. Alex eventually departed for a well-made 45 and this brought Andy Stokes and Guy Bowden to the crease. Andy looked good in making his 27 before offering up a caught and bowled opportunity to the opposition bowler which he duly took. Guy, making it look easy out in the middle batted with restrained aggression before going for one shot too many, departing for a very well made 57. The returning Ben Howell and Maulik Bundela came and went bringing Gavin and Stanley Thomas to the crease, they batted out the overs and we ended up posting 189 off our 40 overs - a very defendable score.
After the standard tea eaten in the changing room, we went out to defend this total. Sachin Chamberlain and Stanley Thomas took the new ball and faced an opposition opening pair prepared to free their arms at any given opportunity. One opener ran himself out for 8 which gave us hope. Skipper, Adam then decided to change things up and after 10 overs we found ourselves staring down the barrel of another defeat with the score 64-1. Maulik came on at the 7th over and bowled 3 expensive overs for 33. At the other end (after moaning to the skipper that he was being brought on too late) Ravi Solanki was given the ball and for the first time this season, actually bowled with some sort of control. Gavin came on and bowled his 1 over for 1 wicket before claiming injury and the ball was given to Ben Howell who bowled in tandem with Ravi and they both provided control and regular wickets bringing the game back into our favour. They ended up with combined figures of 16-1-53-5, with Ben taking 3 wickets and Ravi 2. After his 3 wicket haul the week prior Andy Stokes was given the ball and reminded everyone why he was a part time bowler, while Sachin came on at the other end and bowled a much better spell including picking up a key wicket, finishing with figures of 7-1-34-1 - well done to the young man for coming back strong. At the other end, Alex Callan was given the ball and bowled with accuracy to take the final 2 wickets giving Cockfosters II the win by 24 runs.
Although not a perfect victory, we can take great pride in how we firstly batted on a trying wicket and how we came back as a team to bowl with great control and accuracy, especially in the middle overs where wickets fell regularly, and few runs were scored. Special mention must go to my MOTM Guy Bowden with his first innings contribution of 57 runs being backed up with 3 catches. On to next week where top of the table Dunstable visit Chalk Lane
Captains MOTM - Guy Bowden
Broxbourne V v Cockfosters III
“We’ve given them too many” went the chat at the change of innings.
“We let that get away from us and I doubt we’ll chase it now” went one past captain.
It was true, of course. From a position of relevant strength, we had somehow let the young Broxbourne 5’s tail end take them from 165-7 to 221. It had gotten away from us.
Corken & Patel strode from the side lines to begin the chase and could be heard saying “if they can score these runs, why can’t we? Why not us, Nik? Why not us?”
The first ball was short and pulled to the short boundary for 4. That over - and the next would go for 10 runs. The tone was set.
Caught off a no ball on 19 - a scary moment - Corken would bring up his maiden 50 in the 19th over with Patel following suit in the 20th. 119-0 at drinks and things were going rather well.
The first over after drinks was a maiden, Patel seeing off an accurate over from the opposing bowler. Chatter along the lines of “that’s the run rate slowing” and “not sure they can get it done boys, not like that” went up and around. Was tension building?
The next over went 6, 6, 2, 4, 1, . and the opposition’s run rate chatter had ceased.
Patel & Corken didn’t hold back and continued to attack. When the 200 partnership came up their conversation reportedly turned to “we must both be close but let’s focus on a 222 partnership and see where that gets us”.
It got Corken to 102* - his maiden ton and a moment most of us believed would never come. He had been caught off the no ball and dropped at deep mid-wicket in the 70s but had accelerated through the 90’s like a man who clearly had no idea how many runs he was on. Hitting a 4 too long on to bring up the ton, only realising what had happened by the rapturous applause of the watching teammates.
Patel then. The message came out that he needed a 6 off the last ball - we were on 220 and needed 2 to win - to reach his own ton.
The bowler served him up a floaty one - not as bad as has since been reported btw and he certainly wasn’t trying to give him the 6 - and Patel took a big stride down the wicket and with a mighty waft of his bat made contact. It soared into the Hertfordshire sky, towards the shortest of short boundaries, all present will attest it took an age before it gloriously dropped there, 5ft short of the boundary without even the decency to plug, trickling as it did over the rope for a match winning 4. This would leave Patel on a fabulous 98*.
The 221 had been chased down in 30.2 overs. We had scored 224 runs for no loss of wicket. Needless to say, the highest partnership either batter had been involved in (at time of writing) at a run rate of 7.42.
A great and joyous innings for the guys with honourable pad rash mentions to our numbers 3 & 4 N Hale and E Pigden respectively.
224-0 we chased. A thing like that.
Captains MOTM ??????
Cockfosters II v Southgate Compton
On the hottest day of the season so far Cockfosters II were ready to undertake the challenge of their local rivals in the Chalk Lane derby. A new track, new players and a new renewed faith in our batting after the desolate lizard incident of the week before (Read previous match report)
Batsmen were netting, A-Ball was being prepared and the talk was that the wicket would do a bit, and Compton had so far struggled to put on a total this season. Toss won; Fosters would be fielding. Simple plan bowl tight bowl straight and get the oppo to set a total we wanted to chase not what they wanted to set. The thought was that this would be about 150.
With about 7 seconds to go till the 1pm start, 6 of the team were outside ready to go, the rest one can only assume were locked in the dressing room, planning an elaborate escape using spoons, and “papier mâché “
Once we finally made it out onto the speech after another rousing pre-match talk, the skipper was alerted to the lack of bails. 2 minutes later we were again ready to unleash our openers Sachin and Craig, on the unsuspecting Compton Openers. Ah, slight problem, the Skipper had forgotten the ball.
So, at 7 minutes after 1pm we finally got under way. Sadly, it was not the start anyone in the field wanted, but probably what those in the clubhouse expected. The Southgate Compton 1 and 2 pouncing on anything short, wide, or too full and sending the nice new ball back to the boundary with interest. Finally, the ball had enough and hid itself in the Church boneyard.
With no available spares, the ridiculous process of a new ball being hurled into concrete to make it look like it was 50 runs old commenced. 2 deliveries later and the first wicket fell, maybe the “ball tampering” worked.
Alas no, more of the same continued, batsman 3 came and went thanks to a straight ball from Alex Callen but this brought in Alex Heaney to join Robbie Wallis and again the boundary feared for its life, and the thought of having to alter another new ball was rearing large in the Cockfosters Captains mind.
Andy Stokes was then introduced to the attack and somehow some form of order was restored his 3 wickets for 37 off 7 overs made him the pick of the bowlers. Sachin Chamberlain and Gavin Bain came back at the end to pick up 3 wickets and Compton ended up on 220 for 9 off of 40 overs. The view being that Fosters may have given them 60 runs more than we should but that par for the wicket was 250 so in the end we were in a good place.
The first over of the Fosters Innings was similar in fashion to the previous week with the the openers taking 10 runs off it and making those in the shed think that this would not be beyond us. Sadly, this was not to be the case, wickets fell at regular intervals, the luck that evaded the fielding side in the first innings was accepted with delight by the visiting side. A combination of poor shots and athletic fielding (along with a bizarre runout) saw Fosters reply end with a whimper at 149.
Another day another, another learning curve, the Lizard of Old Albanians may not have returned and there were some individual performances that show there is a lot of promise in this team.
Captains MOTM - Sarath Santosh
Old Albanian II v Cockfosters II
The Agama Agama Lizard fights by using its tail as a whip against other conspecifics. It can autotomize its tail but this is met with a social cost - tail loss decreases social standing and mating ability.
I know precisely how that lizard feels. Following Saturday’s outing to Old Albanians I have barely been able to show my face in public, and there was no chance of any action after our tail not only failed to wag, but fell off (rather impressively) in the face of gentle resistance. But I’ll come to that.
The day had started beautifully as we cruised around the scenic M25 on our first away day of the season. I’d not been to Old Albanians before. Suffice to say, Adam will have to do more than upgrade the chiller in order to put our facilities in their league. We had the choice of 7 changing rooms, the outfield was slick and the wicket looked very good.
Off trundled the skipper to earn his crust. Toss lost, he trudged back to the boundary to reveal that we had been put in to bat. The good news, though, was that this was a fragile oppo who “had to rely upon a 14-year-old to get them up to 107 last week”.
Pads on – team warm-up cancelled – Captain Pigden and the freshly-promoted Stokes trekked out to the crease. Dayne, with the bitterness of a man eager for 3 and given 7, wandered out to umpire. What followed was 10 overs of carnage. Adam scored 16 off the first over before being dropped. At one stage the projected score was 680 (- granted that may have been after 2 overs, but you get the idea). After 10 overs the score was 74-0. Most remarkably, the batsmen had accumulated all of the runs. It would later transpire that Dayne had ‘forgotten about byes’, however, Adam wasn’t complaining as he bye-d his way to a princely 43. Unfortunately for him, Dayne’s generosity swiftly vanished as he failed to notice the edge into Adam’s pads and sent him on the long walk back to the changing room.
Stokesy hung on in there though – like a barnacle or a limpet or something else aquatic that you wouldn’t want to stub your toe on. It wasn’t pretty, but somehow he remained out there.
Rollo came and went, using little of the lead from Ravi’s pencil as he mustered 6. Bowden managed a paltry 14 before spooning one to point. That brought Howell to the crease. He played a beautiful cover drive before performing the manoeuvre again – this time majestically off the back foot – for what would have been an easy 3 to the long boundary had he not missed it and been clean bowled.
At the other end Stokesy stood firm as his dance partners departed one by one. He was definitely going to bat through. He was the glue holding us together. He was the ballast keeping us on an even keel! He was going to be the hero! …and then he missed a straight one with a slog across the line and found himself back in the hutch for 39.
Not to worry though: here comes the tail! Plenty of overs, a little ‘wagging’ and we will have something we can bowl at. Whatever the skipper whispered in the shell-like ears of the next 6 batsmen as they set out for the middle, it clearly had a profound effect. One by one they returned to the clubhouse, energy conserved, but scorers untroubled. Not only did our tail not wag – it fell off – and we ended up 120 all out.
It’s a long way back from five consecutive ducks. However, the bowlers stuck to the task manfully. Dayne steamed in from the top end making things awkward for the batsmen. However, after 3 good overs something happened to him. Now, I didn’t see it, but I can only assume that he must’ve had a run-in with a Grizzly Bear somewhere on the outfield as he spent the remainder of the game dragging himself from end to end doing a remarkable impression of Leonardo Di Caprio after he’d been violated by a bear in The Revenant.
The score book is almost illegible, so I’m having a bit of a guess here. It looks like Sachin ended on 2-22, Ravi 1-21, Rollo 1-20, Gav 27-1 and Nikhil got spanked about a little bit. The Oppo limped over the finish line 5 down thanks to one batsman who managed 55. Another 20-30 runs on the board and we might’ve had enough!
So, work for the skipper to do this week in picking the lads up. Failing that he can just drop most of them and bring in some actual cricketers for the derby battle next Saturday! To quote Yazz & The Plastic Population: The only way is up!
GB (BSc (hons) PgDL BVC DipFMS Barrister)
Captains MOTM - Andy Stokes
Cockfosters II v Preston III
And so it came to pass that on the 13th of May 2023, Cockfosters II finally began life in Div. 8b.
Following a pre season filled with false starts, heavy rain and equipment failure, a decidedly undercooked eleven was selected to take the field against Preston III side who had been promoted the previous season.
After yet another wet week the decision was taken on Friday that despite an outfield, generously described as “soft underfoot” by one (or more) home player, the game would go ahead. The square is in great shape and we have to get on with it eventually.
New skipper for the season, Adam managed to win the toss (100% win ratio ytd) and decided to insert the opposition - we’d be in the field. Which was grand because the 1pm sun was due shortly? The ground would dry out. Great start.
Will Herbert, playing his first game of the season opened from the Cockfosters Road end (the dry end)and bowled his usual spell ending with figures of 6-1-11-2. A fine start to the year.
Young Sachin Chamberlain took the Pavilion End - a comparable bog - for his first spell. A tight spell that ended 5-1-12-0 bowling really well.
Gavin Bain - was first change, again keeping it really tight throughout and bowling a great spell that would eventually see him finish with figures of 6-1-11-0
Nikhil bowled a couple of overs (2-0-9-0) and Maulik - making his league debut - bowled a spell of 5-1-11-1 for a good start to life at Chalk Lane, also claiming a run out. Top work.
The oppo got after Ravi as they battled to put a defendable score on the board and he finished his spell with figures of 8-0-50-1. After a two over spell of the batter scoring the bulk of his runs, Ravi dialled it in and locked his end down - a great show of character.
This brought Sachin back on for the remaining 3 of his allotted overs, to say this was game changing is an understatement as he bowled (from the dry end this time) his remaining overs 3-2-6-1 giving over all figures of 8-2-16-1. Top performance from the young man.
Enter Rollo who was told “if you go for Ryan we’ve got Herby to come back on but let’s give it a go”. Fast forward and he’s gone 5.1-1-5-4 - a game changing spell.
This all meant that Preston were 120 all out and we’d been set a target of 121 for the win.
Really worth mentioning how well the bowlers performed and tight fielding for the first game of the season was pleasant indeed. Couple of questionable drops but sufficient shame (good natured I assure you) was doled out on the day meaning there is no need to mention Will by name here.
Pigden & Corken headed out to open up proceedings. Respective scores of 11 & 1 saw them back in the shed - covered more so in mud than in glory - both falling to Preston’s opener, Patel.
Gary caught trying to go over mid off and Adam trapped lbw - better days ahead I’m sure for the pairing.
This brought Rollo (batting 3) and Guy Bowden (4) to the crease and that’s all she wrote. When Adam’s wicket went, we required 80 for the win and Rollo (41) and Guy (45) made light work of the task.
The game finished in the 22nd over, Ethan having garnered some serious pad rash.
The season starts victorious for the 2s positive vibes and an upward trajectory on the cards? Watch this space…..
The 1pm sun we still await.
Captains MOTM - Dan Rollo