Sunday 30/07/2017, The Outlaws were playing another favourite, Great Gaddesden, the antithesis of big club cricket (in a good way). Players making the teas, players rolling the wicket, players setting up the clubhouse, much like Chesham Bois, it’s village cricket at its absolute best. Saturday day and night saw rainfall worthy of building an Ark so we were shocked to find out we would actually be playing, let alone starting on time.
The wicket was very soggy but excellent given the amount of rainless hours available to prepare it, as you would expect it was definitely a bowl first game. Unsurprisingly, our valiant leader, R Beck, lost the toss and we were batting. We were back to our usual opening pair this week, S Brennan and D Gilson. The first 10 overs proved very difficult, only 31 runs were scored, most of which came from the edge of the bat.
Around the same time D Gilson was forced to retire hurt on 34*, get well soon.
R Sharma was in at no.3, now I’m not saying that the two factors are somehow related but once Gilly retired, we scored 15 off the very next over. The opening bowlers came off and ‘The Doc’ showed he was in no mood for messing around. The run rate was increasing over by over and we reached 93 by drinks. Both batsmen ticked over the half century mark at similar times but it was clear who the in form man was.
The wicket became steadily easier to bat on and Raj continued to cash in, most of the next 16 overs saw S Brennan happily propping up his bat at the non-strikers end and another 145 runs added to the score. Shortly after the 30 over mark the Doc was celebrating his century and had no plans to slow down, he finally succumbed in the 37th over with 124 runs to his name. S Brennan followed a few balls later when he tried to sweep a straight one, the shot was excellent, all with the exception of hitting the ball!
A flurry of wickets fell at the end of the innings as the middle order tried to hit big shots with no time to get their eye in. We closed on 271 for 4 from our 40 overs.
For the second time in two games we had a lot of runs to bowl at which proved a bit of a curse for our opening bowlers. The batsmen had to score at such a rate that the only option was all out attack, in hindsight; pace off of the ball would have been the better option to start. They started with a maiden each, then M Brennan and S Rogers got dispatched around the park without really bowling many bad balls. The change to spin was very necessary so R Beck and R Day came on and bowled 16 overs between them taking 6 wickets for a total 36 runs. At 97 for 6 from 24 overs the game was all but over. One Gaddesden middle order batsmen showed admirable defiance by making a classy 55* despite T Calder’s mystery right arm bowling (8-0-28-3). They closed on 174 – 9 from their 40 overs.
Thanks to Gaddesden for hosting us, an enjoyable day as always, followed up with a few beers over the road to soothe some tired bodies.
I do have a few moments worthy of mention:
G Saffery, not only was he late for the third time in three weeks but having sat for at least an hour and a half on the side-lines, he was almost timed out by the opposition when he wasn’t padded up in time to bat at number 5 in the 38th over.
R Beck’s innings is worthy of note, he hit an imperious straight drive from the first ball he faced, unfortunately it was and knee height and was caught by the bowler.
S Brennan, who dropped a straight forward catch off of S Rogers, the man who can’t buy a wicket at the moment, sorry chap.
Last but not least, R Day who critiqued my batting as Boycott esq. before playing the leave to a ball in the final over, then blocking the next one, there’s nothing quite like smashing the last over around the park.
My choice for man of the match, predictably, goes to Rajesh ‘The Doc’ Sharma for a match winning display with the bat, very well played.
This Sunday we take on Berkhamsted with a 14:00 start.
See you then
Hello Dear Readers,
It brings me great delight to tell you that despite my car park pessimism, we did played 60 overs on Wednesday albeit with a slightly delayed start.
The pitch was moist with a tinge of green, definitely a track to bowl first. R Beck tossed up so we were batting. Unfortunately, a rather busy playing schedule and an injury or two meant that we were only at 5. Fortunately, Harpenden’s availability was substantially better, they lent us 6 men, a few of whom were no strangers to playing under Outlaws colours.
With the classic cars purring in the background we got off to a flying start, 78 runs from the first 10 overs. Then came the slow bowlers to try and stem the flow of runs. They struggled to do so and both opening batsmen retired with 50’s*, and the rest of the order were left to press on with the pace. 6 of the top 7 were Harpenden men who dispatched their club-mates’ bowling with glee. With some fast paced cameos in the middle order, especially in a nice partnership from the McNeil twins, we closed on 215 for 5 from the 30 overs.
Then onto the tea, Harpenden had generously rolled out the red carpet with freshly baked bread, a cheese board and all of the other goodies that we know and love. This was easily tea of the season, and quite probably my favourite in memory.
Enough about food and more about cricket, some rather sleepy fielders had to lethargically return to the field and try to defend a generous total. N Nichols and T Basley (the 6”5 keeper-bat) opened the bowling with good control and complimented each other nicely. After 8 overs Harpenden were on 43 for 1. From there, the batsmen wrestled their way back into the game and reached 138 for 3 from 20 overs. 8 an over needed from the last 10 was very achievable on that ground……game on. An inspired change saw P Cramer come on to bowl 4 overs for 23 runs and put the pressure back on the batsmen. Two difficult and vital catches taken by N Nichols really tipped the balance in our favour and Harpenden fell 28 runs shy in the 29th over but never gave up hope.
With only 5 Outlaws in the side, I don’t have many options for man of the match. Therefore, I have chosen the tea ladies, thank you very much. Thanks for having us Harpenden, the Wednesday game is one of the season highlights, we look forward to seeing you next year. Next time we will schedule our fixtures a little more wisely and make sure we can field a full side.
Those of you who are interested, we are playing at Great Gaddesden tomorrow 2pm start, a few are meeting for Lunch at 12 mid-day in The Crown & Sceptre on Red Lion Lane.
This Sunday 23/07 saw The Outlaws visiting Langleybury CC. The pitch was excellent given the amount of rain that had fallen. Ricky lost the toss so we were bowling. S Rogers and S Brennan opened up but only managed the one wicket between them and the run rate ticked along at 5/over. M Brennan and N Nicholls replaced them but neither managed to go for less than 10 per over, time to give the spinners a go. Unfortunately, they didn’t spin it and they did go, none of them managed to keep the rate below 7.5 an over.
The batting from our opposition was excellent (one man scored a near chanceless 158) unfortunately, we fielded like a side who had just spent a week on tour. We were left to chase 286 from our 40 overs with a side who to put it politely were slightly short of batsmen.
We got off to a promising start, 70 from 10 with no loss. R Sharma was leading the way with a flashing blade whilst S Brennan tried his best to keep up before giving his wicket away on 21. The wickets continued to tumble whilst we tried to chase a high run rate. The only other notable contribution came from D Gilson with 21 before we succumbed to 124 all out.
We were outplayed by a much stronger side who were gracious and generous hosts, thank you for having us. Noticeable performances came from R Beck who kept well for 20 overs then bowled a calm spell of spin under a batting onslaught and G Saffery who didn’t put a foot wrong throughout the entire game. Man of the match goes to R Sharma for his defiant 60 run innings.
Some of you eagle eyed readers may notice that I have not mentioned the tour matches. As we all know, what happens on tour, stays on tour!!! I will reveal that we had an excellent time, won two, lost one.
We hope to play some cricket this afternoon at Harpenden (the weather is slowly improving as I write) but failing that, we are at Great Gaddesden on Sunday, it would be lovely to see you.
Go well in all your endeavours
Sunday 18th June, this week saw us playing a conference fixture against London Colney CC playing at Sandridge CC. The humidity was through the roof, the ground was hard baked and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. In short, it was hot!
A surprising toss negotiation saw the Outlaws batting first on what looked to be a dry, crumbling wicket. A new opening pairing of S Brennan and S Haslam would face the new ball, Brennan got off to a confident start but was soon sent packing by a very good caught and bowled. Sam was later foiled by a devious medium paced straight ball. R Day and R Beck made good contributions but the stars of the innings were G Saffrey with a dominating 71 and J Harris with an organised 47. We finished on 200 runs for seven wickets.
First up to bowl were the familiar pairing of S Rogers and N Nicholls and after 8 overs the opposition were 20 for 3. Given the good spirit of Sunday cricket, we decided to toss the ball up and give the opposition of hitting their way out of trouble. R Beck struck again immediately, whilst S Brennan fed both batsmen without them ever needing to take a risk. By 20 overs they had reached 102 for 5 and things were looking close. G Saffery and S Haslam wrestled the game back and S Rogers came in to mop up the last wicket. We won in the 29th over with the opposition on 139.
A result that was not reflective of London Colney’s effort, merely the slight mismatches that conference fixtures can sometimes create, thank you for your hospitality.
Last but not least, man of the match, for his bowling which decided the course of the innings before it had the chance to get going, S Rogers, well done sir.
Until next time
Sunday 4th June, this week we were at Reed CC in the far North Eastern reaches of Hertfordshire the weather was overcast and the rain was set to come and go throughout the afternoon. The pitch was good and offered a little seam movement for the bowlers, Ricky won the toss and chose to bowl.
The established partnership of S Rogers and N Nichols took the new ball but it soon became clear the opposition had no intentions of accumulating their way into the early 200’s. The ball went to all parts, which was mainly down to the quality of the ball striking as opposed to a lack of skill in the bowling. Both bowlers finished with one wicket each but went for somewhere in the region of seven runs per over. Both of the Brennan brothers bowled with little success, some good balls went for four, some bad ones went for more. D Gilson and T Calder stepped in and stemmed the runs as best they could whilst managing a few wickets between them.
A bedraggled Outlaws eleven went to tea needing 323 runs from 40 overs to win the game.
S Brennan and G Saffery strapped on their protective bits of equipment and marched out knowing the gravity of the task ahead of them. The shower that had come at the end of the preceding innings had passed but the moisture remained on the outfield. Reed CC opted to start with minimal pace on the ball making it difficult to hit boundaries but lots of quick ones and twos took the opening partnership past 100 runs. Eventually Glen fell victim of the scoreboard pressure and played an aggressive airborne shot that was intercepted by a fielder before landing on the grass.
S Haslam came in to kick on with his aggressive batting style. Aggressive he was, kick on he did not. D Gilson was soon out there, and built the beginning of a promising partnership before Simon rather typically, missed a straight one. Duncan made an impressive 50 whilst R Beck and T Calder made useful contributions towards the end. All in all, the intent remained but the score proved 40 runs too many, we finished on 282 for 6.
We certainly didn’t disgrace ourselves but were outplayed by a slightly stronger opposition. Although one of the furthest fixtures from home for many, it is still an enjoyable one, so thank you to Reed CC for hosting us and well done all.
Notable performances came from S Rogers with and impressive bat smash after a golden duck and S Haslam who bowled two overs for 31 runs, apparently he wasn’t quick enough to bounce out two established batsmen.
Man of the match goes to T Calder with a three-wicket haul accumulated amidst a batting onslaught followed by scoring 24* with his own willow (not to mention he gave me a lift to and from the ground).
This Sunday we are playing Bamville CC, 2pm start.
Be good to each other and if you cant be good, don’t get caught!!!!
Sunday 28th May, we returned after couple of weeks off, well rested and raring to go. We were without our glorious leader for this instalment, afternoon tea called and Ricky had answered. For lack of better options, I took the figurative wheel and we drifted through the day like a rudderless ship.
The weather was hot and humid, the pitch had a tinge of green which suggested a bit in it for the bowlers early on. A different person to call the toss this week, so obviously we won and chose to bowl, I don’t know why Ricky finds it so difficult, there’s only one wrong option at a coin toss.
A slight change this time, S Rogers to open the bowling with M Brennan. Both set the tone well with frugal spells and I am pleased to say that Sammy finally managed to break his drought in wickets (not for a lack of some very good bowling spells). An early change from one end, M Brennan’s 4 overs with the 6 pace run up had proved too much, so S Haslam replaced him with a tidy 5 over stint without a breakthrough. All the bowlers made excellent contributions and only two batsmen got into double figures both made 50’s. Boxmoor struggled to gain any edge over us and a flurry of wickets fell at the end to leave the home side on 164 for 7, extras were the third top scorer with 37 most of which were wides.
Tea, as always, was exquisite and we donned our pads ready to chase down 165. S Brennan got away to a solid start before playing a straight ball with his left knee roll and going back to the hutch with 19 to his name. This opened the way for R Day to join G Saffery at the crease, contrasting styles but both extremely effective. Russ bludgeoned his way to 65 with gay abandon whilst Glen accumulated to an eventual 51*. Russ finally missed a ball destined for the stumps but the end was already looking nigh. S Haslam strode out and smudged the ball around the field to reach 17 not out before the match was won. Cruelly, we were unable to see the heroics three weeks prior from G Nichols.
An enjoyable day was had by all, but we really hit our stride once the cricket was finished and the socialising began. Thanks to our hosts Boxmoor CC, generous and hospitable as ever.
Man of the match this week went to S Rogers for his bowling performance which set the tone for the whole game 6-O, 2-M, 10-R, 2-W, well bowled.
Sunday 07th May, as we know from last week’s instalment, we were unable to take on Harpenden as planned. This created the opportunity to continue the trend of re-kindling old flames. Potton End were our hosts, a fixture we had not played for half a decade.
The pitch looked to have something in it for both bat and ball, another fair contest, the weather was unseasonably hot, and we were at 10 men including one who had sustained an injury the previous day. Naturally, Ricky decided to lose the toss (3 from 4) so we were fielding. A nice change of pace this week, we were playing 35 overs per side instead of the usual 40, a welcome change given the heat.
N Nichols opened up with his counterpart S Brennan, both of whom moved the ball both ways in the air and threatened all the way through their 14 over partnership. Unfortunately they only managed to claim two wickets between them so the change in personnel was a welcome one. G Saffery and R Sharma took the reins both creating problems for some very attacking batsmen and claiming a wicket each. We were certainly missing our eleventh player as runs came all too easily for the batsmen making it difficult to create any meaningful pressure. The end of the innings loomed and the batsmen were in full flow, two brave souls were required to shepherd the innings to its natural end. R Beck bowled very well but still went for nearly 10 runs an over along with one rather impressive catch from G Saffery at Long On. H Nichols went for slightly more but bowled admirably given his experience.
Tea passed by uneventfully and we retook the field needing to chase down 219 runs in 35 overs, a big task but not unmanageable. Both openers S Brennan and C Scutt struggled to get going soon getting sent back from whence they came, now tasked with keeping the changing room seats warm. The only man who really got going was R Sharma at number three, he amassed half a century before getting out in what was by his standards, a rather disappointing fashion. We must not let that detract from his exhibition of stroke making for the preceding hour. The high required run rate ensured wickets continued to fall and we evetually fell well short of the target.
Without wanting to pin our loss entirely on misfortune, two of the Outlaws most talented batsmen were both unable to make meaningful contributions, one of which was suffering with a back injury and the other with suspected sunstroke, get well soon D Gilson & G Saffery. Our hosts were gracious in victory and acknowledged that we appeared to be a much stronger side than the day’s performance would suggest. We look forward to the rematch and thank you for having us.
Last but not least it is time to award man of the match, or in this case, men of the match. Two new Outlaws who stood out for two very different reasons, the brothers Harry and George Nichols.
George made his debut innings this match and what a remarkable one it was, a total of 10 runs which had the entire team on the edge of their seats with excitement, lets hope those were the first runs of many.
Harry on the other hand stood out for his willingness to put the team first, he will be the first to admit that his is not a natural bowler but when the time came, he stepped up and did his level best in some very difficult circumstances. Sometimes, you have to remember that the end result is not what you are measured by.
Well done both and I can say without doubt that the happiest man on the day was their father.
On a less soppy note, we are playing at Hemel Hempstead this Sunday, 14:00 start and it would be very nice to see you if you can make it along.
Love to all
Sunday 30th April marked what must surely be one of the first times the Outlaws have played three games in April. This week, we were rekindling an old fixture, Chesham Bois. A charming village club tucked off of a busy road in a woodland clearing (cricket as it should be).
Ricky decided to stop the rot by winning his first toss of 2017 and elected to bowl on a green-topped wicket, which hinted towards having something in it for the bowlers. S Rogers and S Brennan opened up, both bowled probing lines and created chances but nothing stuck to hand. Changes were needed so N Nichols and R Sharma came on to work their magic, both did. Doc picked up an almost immediate wicket and Neil created two chances both of which were dropped at first slip, one by yours truly. Only one batsman really got going but the wickets continued to flow despite a total of 8 dropped catches in the field.
D Gilson and R Day closed the innings with very restrictive bowling and both collected scalps along the way. We had limited the Bois (pun intended) to 164 from their 40 overs and couldn’t help but feel we had got away a bit lightly given how well the pitch played and how many catches we had dropped.
After tea, D Gilson and S Brennan set about knocking off the runs. All I can say is it was a pleasure have a front row seat to watch Duncan at his best, the effortless timing of Gower and the flowing hair of Botham. We reached the total within 25 overs and, rather satisfyingly, without a wicket lost.
I would like to draw attention to some special performances from the day, most notably, both Captain and Vice only holding on to 33.33333% of their catches, leading from the front as always. It was also pleasant to see Charlie Scutt back behind the stumps showing us how it should be done. My man of the match however must go to D Gilson for his reliable and effective bowling but more importantly his chanceless 74* with the bat, well played.
We were without doubt a stronger side, I say that whilst intending no disrespect to Chesham Bois, it’s always difficult to gauge playing strength between two friendly teams who have not met in living memory. None the less it was a real pleasure to play against an opposition who appeared to share a similar passion for and attitude towards the game so I would like to extend our gratitude to them for their hospitality and hope we can keep the fixture for next year.
The next game was meant to be at Harpenden this Sunday 07/05/2017, unfortunately, they have had to withdraw but Potten End have kindly stepped in as our hosts. We are one player short if anyone fancies it?
Be lovely to one another
Sunday 23rd April 2017, two weeks, two games, we’re off to a good start. A favourite fixture for all, Redbourn CC, always reliable for a good wicket, competitive cricket and excellent hospitality.
Much like Southill Park, the wicket was more like what you would expect to see in July. After a bit of pitch prodding, we decided it would probably be best to bowl first so the outfield could get even drier and faster. Ricky lost the toss (that’s 2 from 2 if anyone’s counting) so we were batting.
D Gilson and S Brennan were facing the new ball from yet another very good opening attack, both batsmen were back in the pavilion within 10 overs. The innings proceeded on in a similar fashion, the runs flowed but so did the wickets. The final wicket fell for 184 runs in the 38th over and we went to tea knowing we had underachieved. Notable contributions from the middle order R Day (38), R Beck (31) and our last minute eleventh man saviour Dinesh (27).
We set to bowling with our usual youthful exuberance, S Rogers and Dinesh bowled very nicely for little reward but the scoreboard was ticking over at a consistent rate so changes needed to be made. On came M Brennan and R Sharma. M Brennan only bowled the one over before G Saffery replaced him well by bowling a tidy 8 over spell for 27 runs. R Sharma spun his way through 8 overs 2 maidens (one double wicket) conceding a meagre 26 runs and taking 4 wickets to win man of the match. Alas, it was not enough to save the game, the score was reached in 33 overs with 4 wickets to spare.
Special mentions to the Outlaws star batsman G Saffery for a startling strike rate of 200 runs per 100 balls (only 2 balls faced this time) and to M Brennan, the one man in the side capable of making S Brennan’s bowling from the previous week look useful, with figures of 1 over, no maidens, 26 runs and 1 wicket.
Thanks to all of the Outlaws supporting contingent at the game, it’s always nice to see some real cricket fans present but when you can’t watch real cricket, then you have to make do with what we can offer. That leaves me with little more to say than thanks to our generous hosts, it’s always a good day out at Redbourn CC.
The next fixture is this Sunday 30th April at Chesham Bois, 2pm start…….can Ricky make it 3 from 3 toss losses?
See you next time
Easter Sunday 16th April 2017 an important day for literally tens of people across the Home Counties, it is the start of the Outlaws Cricket Season. Predictably, the weather was comparable to an especially cold Icelandic afternoon, amidst a cold spell, half way through their coldest month of the year. We were greeted by the opposition(Southill Park), practising their catching skills on the outfield. Our captain, Ricky Beck, got us off to a rather ominous start by losing the toss so we were bowling. To make matters worse, we were one sandwich short of an eleven-sandwich picnic thanks to an unavoidable cancellation.
To Southill’s credit, the pitch was the best April wicket in living memory, firm, dry, a bit of green on top, what could possibly go wrong? S. Rogers and N. Nichols to open the bowling, 12 tidy overs between them 37 runs conceded and one wicket to Neil. A promising start. Russ ‘Rips it’ Day and Duncan ‘Doesn’t turn it’ Gilson as their replacements. All was going well with one wicket a-piece when the rain began, not heavy but not light. A few off drives through the outfield later and the ball had become much akin to a grease-ridden bar of soap. It was evident that the ‘spinners’ could no longer grip the ball so Ricky wisely gave the seam bowlers a chance. Yours truly and G Saffery took the stage, 13 overs between us, one wicket and significantly more than one hundred runs conceded, left the opposition on 258 for 4 from their allotted 40 overs.
A sublime tea later, the rain had passed and S. Brennan along with D. Gilson strode out to the middle with an air of defiant optimism. 12 overs of some truly impressive swing bowling left us on 23 for no wicket with some very well knocked in edges. From that point, wickets fell at regular intervals whilst an ever increasing required run rate got the better of us. The opposition bowling and fielding proved too good and we only managed four boundaries in the innings, finishing on 104 all out in 37 overs.
Notable performances came from both opening bowlers S. Rogers and N. Nichols. D. Gilson should also be mentioned for contributing with both bat and ball but man of the match goes to R. Day for his cheerleading and endless optimism throughout. The only conclusion being that S. Brennan, the newly appointed vice captain, lost the game with bowling figures of seven overs, no wickets, no maidens and 73 runs conceded, humble apologies to all involved.
Not an overly inspiring start but sometimes it’s just nice to be outdoors. Thanks as always to our hosts Southill Park C.C.
Next fixture is Redbourn C.C. Sunday 23rd April, it would be great to see you.
One Humble Outlaw