London Saints V Coldharbour July 3rd
Coldharbour, the highest cricket ground in the South of England, was the scene of some cricketing peaks and troughs during the first weekend of July. Among the highs was the average age of the London Saints team as well as some of the shots fired over the boundary by the home team’s batsmen. Some of the lows merely added to the list of stories at the annual cricket dinner. Just four years ago this wonderfully pretty ground hosted arguably London Saints CC’s finest performance when John Griffiths and Trevor Mayhew both hit centuries in a record-breaking partnership on the way to a glorious victory. But time passes and Trevor, now retired due to old age despite being 40 years younger than most of his teammates, was happy to watch his colleagues from the pavilion – occasionally shouting encouragement, such as “Good chase, John” when Mr Griffiths had finally caught up with a, by then, stationary ball in the outfield. Under sunny skies, London Saints took to the field. The home side only had 10 players and since London Saints had 12 we gave them the Mayhew brothers’ mate Brian – a sneaky move by DT as Brian was the only non-cricket playing Australian in the Northern Hemisphere. (However, more about “non-cricket-playing” Brian later) Coldharbour soon established a comfortable start despite some tidy bowling and several dropped catches, two of which by the skipper – one, by his own admission a relatively easy skier off Mike McIntyre’s bowling and another which nearly took his hand off. DT wasn’t the only one to take a battering in the field – despite Wath’s great efforts he was unable to leap the 15ft to catch a lusty leg side blow which was stopped on its way to the forest by the boot lid of Wath’s own car. Saints plugged away, though, and with the home side on 208 for 7 with just four overs to go it was felt that the match was still within their grasp. However, a brutal battering saw the home side’s total rise to 278, leaving our merry band of brothers chasing eight an over. It was a somewhat shell-shocked London Saints that trooped off the field but the mood immediately picked up when the legendary (in London Saints circles) Coldharbour tea was laid out – a wonderful array of sandwiches and pastries and some delicious homemade cakes. Spookily, no sooner had the plate of scones hit the table than non-playing Steve Grant appeared out of nowhere with a cheery “Hello, chaps”. He had driven to the ground in his brand new red 5-litre Ford Mustang (with just 250 miles on the clock and a special top-of-the-range Scone Sensor in the sat nav). After the marvellous tea, record-breaking Mr Griffiths (still feared in these parts) and White Viv Jones strode out to the middle, but immediately found the going tough. The incredibly slow pitch and what was effectively their second net of the season soon showed and the boundary, despite being relatively short, seemed a million miles away. JG fell early to an edge to gully which brought Andy Mayhew to the crease. Some trademark comical running between the Andys then ensued – with one suicidal attempt to run two ending with a missed shy at the stumps that then went for an overthrow. The score edged up, but well below the required run rate, until WV was next to fall – an attempted cover drive caught by a diving slip catch. Wath, just 12 runs short of 2,000 runs for the club, strode out – his shiny new bat in hand. Minutes later, he was striding back to the pavilion, still 12 runs short of the 2,000 and his bat still unblemished by any contact with a cricket ball. Mr Scones was drafted in to choose the batting order by picking the names out of a hat. Though it was arguably more democratic than a Brexit referendum, the result was just as disastrous (oops, bit of politics) as arguably our best player Mike McIntyre was drawn out as 12th man. Hilda Berkeley entered the fray and landed the first six of the innings before being caught.
DT then joined Andy M who was slowly but surely raising his score. The skipper continued where Hilda had finished, hitting two sixes, but their partnership came to an abrupt end when Andy, on 35, suddenly started walking as though he had had an embarrassing accident in his cricket whites.
He was carried off in a fairly undignified manner, complaining that his “hamstring had gone”, to hoots of derision from his team Andy’s “hamstring” had now migrated to his calf. He was unceremoniously unstrapped from his pads and Dave Nanton then strode out to join the skipper. DT’s spirited knock ended when Brian, the only non-cricket playing Australian, had him caught and bowled in his first over – a maiden, which was then followed by a second maiden and Brian joining the long list of players lent to the opposition who then wreak havoc with London Saints batting.
DT’s dismissal brought Tony Grimes to the crease. But his partnership with Oneliner Nanton was short-lived, not surprisingly when Tony called for a quick single. The surprising thing was that it was Dave who was run out, and not the cricketing Clive Dunn.
John Smith then joined Tony at the crease and, with the overs running out, the pair with a combined age of 137 set about defying Father Time with some great hits and cheeky singles (see below).
Sadly, the ref blew the final whistle with the Saints 163 runs short of glory.
CHAMPAGNE MOMENT: We had to wait for almost the end of the match, but the gloriously comical but effective “running” between the wickets by Tony Grimes and John Smith (combined age 137) – with shouts of “yes”, “no”, “yes, I mean no”, “why are we here?”, “have the visitors been?”. MAN OF THE MATCH: Definitely not for his knowledge of anatomy, Andy “Hamstring” Mayhew for his gutsy unbeaten knock of 35. At least the pain of what turned out to be a torn calf muscle will be compensated for him ending the season at the top of the batting averages – barring an unbeaten double century from one of his teammates.
Coldharbour v London Saints at Coldharbour CC, Dorking, July 3, 2016 35-over match. Coldharbour won by 163 runs.
Coldharbour Jefferies not out (retired)…53
Hopkins c Mayhew b Thomas …22
Marcel c & b Berkeley …45
M Weaver b Sheriff …5
Beer b Nanton …21
Woolley not out …90
Foster run out …0
Hunt c & b Pearce …5
Acres st Jones b Smith …3
Waller not out …29
Mason did not bat
Extras…15 TOTAL…288 for 7 wickets (35 overs)
Bowling: Nanton …7-0-41-1
Jones …c ??? b Beer 21
Griffiths …c ??? b Acres 4
Mayhew …retired hurt 35
Wathan …b Beer 0
Berkeley …c ??? b Beer 12
Thomas …c & b Jefferies 27
Grimes …not out 12
Nanton …run out 0
Smith …not out 0
Sheriff …did not bat
Pearce …did not bat
McIntyre …did not bat (12th man)
Extras …14 TOTAL …125 for 6 wickets (35 overs)
Bowling: Mason …6-0-26-0
M van Dijk …3-0-13-0
A Jefferies …2-2-0-1