This Sunday sees the mother of all finals, CPL Finals Day, the culmination of three Sundays of pure CCC pyjama cricket. Neighbours dig out your 4 and 6 cards (and the bubbly), stock up the cool box, Old Gits sharpen those opinions, here it is.
There are many questions on everyone's lips - most importantly, who will get their name on the hallowed pink bat. Who will get a new fancy coloured hat in the way of top batsman and bowler. Just how toxic will the drinks coming out of Bourne Stars' Caribbean Socially Distanced Corner be. We just can't answer these questions, you'll just have to be there.
Note there's a slight time change in proceedings from the norm - matches are being pushed back half an hour, with the semi final of Gogmore Knights v Grove Armada starting at 12.30pm and the winners of that match v automatic finalists Meads Enforcers from 3.30pm respectively, but with the Bank Holiday the next day, who cares eh. Let's just make sure we keep adhering to the social distancing.
As well as some high-end cricket on show, Suetheburgerlady will be churning out her delicious wares and we've heard the health & safety nightmare that is the catching competition may be making a reappearance (if you know, you know why - it's the most socially distanced game out there), and keep your eyes on social media where we'll be having some japes and build up throughout the week as well as live comm-ing the day as it happens. Don't forget Monday we'll be asking you for your performance of the Final (probably the toughest decision you'll have to make all season).
Way back last Thursday evening saw the 1s in a post-work hop over to Faulkners for a 5.45pm start to play Staines & Laleham in their rearranged Challenge Cup match. Staines put themselves into bat first in the T20 format match, and we had an oddity in bowling from just one end Surrey Slam style to get the overs in, there's always something curious to confuse our doddery Comms brain. The Staines & Lalehamites didn't quite get the T20 memo though, falling like dominoes run over with a bulldozer, and at one point they didn't want to update the scoreboard, Jamie Anthony whipping through the order like a dose of smelling salts, but it was Will Cooper with figures of 4-8 who had the keys to the bulldozer. Wickie Jake Taylor was also kept busy, nothing was getting past those gloves, coming out of the innings with three stumpings. A lot of people had places to be by 8pm, Snake had football for example (terrible sport, pack that up), so we needed to wrap things up quickly - and we did, by 7.45pm we were on our way back over Chertsey Bridge, Chertsey knocking the runs off with ease and a win in the Challenge Cup bank.
Roll onto Saturday though and the 1s were the feature match at the Edward Stern, and started positively against Egham, bowling first and at one point holding the visitors to 44-4. Egham fell to 139-9 after their 40 overs, but the 1s found themselves staring down 12-3 and things suddenly ground to an abrupt halt. The middle order did their best to dig in but it was to no avail and the 1s faced their first loss of the season, by 30 runs. The crowd feeling they all deserved an extra five or so runs each.
The 3s on home turf at the Rec had 7 bowlers nibbling away at Egham, and were eventually set 170 to win. The opening partnership of Dickie Ley and Lee Houghton had an imposing start, and perhaps if the partnership hadn't have been broken we would be writing about a slightly different result. Joe Blanks & Charlie Eagles in the middle order tried to build, Joe in particular chipping in with some lovely shots to reach 20, but around the ominous 66-6 mark we realised the writing was the wall and the 3s were certainly in cricket hell and travelling out of the Rec with a loss.
The 4s were right at home over on the Carlisle Park astro, with openers James Pearson and Ethan Austin lightning quick, James promisingly departing the Hampton Hill opener second ball, and Boasty nearly accruing a hat trick along the way. The pitch was one of those who treated the batsman to either a 4 or a single, you know the kind, and Hampton Hill went on to set their visitors a chunky 222 to win, the double Nelson. Arthur & Boasty dug in with 49 and 30 a-piece, but they fell just 35 runs short.
The 2s made a tentative venture into deer country, visiting the site of the 1s invasion last week, Hampton Hill in Bushey Park (still having the nightmares thanks for asking). Jonathan "JT" Thompson (in his third league match for the club) and James Baldwin underpinned the innings with a mammoth 180-odd run partnership, both massively unlucky not to reach three figures. The 2s set Hampton Hill the highest Chertsey score so far this season, 241, making victory virtually unassailable. What was the secret of JT's success? Forgoing the local nightlife Friday and staying in for some cheese & wine. Matt Main would certainly approve of that regime.
On a very different kind of diet was Hugh Aish-Lyons. Breakfast on Sunday morning was a breakfast of champions: a mint Magnum and some danish pastries before taking on Phoenix. Hugh, coming in at 4, was on a mission and treated Phoenix to a "Stuart Broad" (six sixes) in one particular over, but it took forever for him to get from mid-nineties to his century, even a short but torrential rain shower tried to halt things but he got there, and partner Dan Perks joined him in the 100 club soon after, with Hugh striding off to the Edward Stern's applause with 128* and the highest individual score of the season. Mint magnum every match, ok, April through to September. Phoenix were set 275 to win off 40, tough ask you'd think, but Phoenix gave as good as they got (one fella in particular soaking up a 8p (they never quite got the hang of the scoreboard), sorry century, maybe he'd had a Magnum too) and after losing three wickets in the last couple of overs things got right down to the last ball, 9 down, needing a 4 to win. Ravi Patel ended Phoenix's match with seeing off the last wicket and just short of the total, but with an absolute gem of a match for the spectators.
The lesser Comms-mentioned species of The Wicketkeeper had an excellent week, we've mentioned Jake Taylor of the 1s' exploits, Arthur Walmsley had a whale of it for the 4s - just shy of a maiden 50 on Saturday, 26 for the U13s on Sunday morning, and very impressive for the Sunday XI in the afternoon. The workload of an U13 has been immense this "season", and he looks more and more confident every match he plays, a joy to watch, and who can forget Neil "Lazer" Latham, always a joy in Comms' book, we noted he ran a lot over the weekend.
Thursday 20th August
Challenge Cup Group 2 - Staines & Laleham 57 a/o v 1st XI 58-3
James Richards 20, Will Cooper 4-8
Saturday 22nd August
Challenge Cup Group 2 - 1st XI 109 a/o v Egham 139-9 (H)
Jack Ogle 28, Cade Skelton 4-26
Challenge Cup Group 15 - Hampton Hill 178 a/o v 2nd XI 240-5 (A - Bushey Park)
Jonathan Thompson 96, James Baldwin 94, Ravi Patel 3-33, Troy Bolger 3-46
Challenge Cup Group 28 - 3rd XI 85 a/o v Egham 170 a/o (HRec)
Lee Houghton 23, Jack Perks 3-21
Challenge Cup Group 41 - Hampton Hill v 4th XI 188-8 (A - Carlisle Park)
Arthur Walmsley 49, James Pearson 3-37, Phil Boast 3-24
Sunday 23rd August
Sunday XI 274-4 v Phoenix 270 a/o
Hugh Aish Lyons 128*, Dan Perks 108, Dan Perks 2-34
The Ladies took on their Twickenham counterparts on Sunday morning, and we had a couple of firsts - Kate Barnes in her first competitive match, part of the first mother and daughter partnership with Rosie, and Carli Weston keeping wicket. The Ladies looked alert in the field, but Twickenham just got on the end of e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. Bonnie Edwards was making inroads, dismissing two, and she would have got a third but the ball was deemed a no ball. Chertsey were set the target of 148 to win and despite a solid stand of 45 from Mae Pender-Grieb and Rosie Barnes it just wasn't to be.
Sunday 23rd August
Chertsey Challengers 83-9 v Twickenham Tornadoes 147-3
Rosie Barnes 20, Bonnie Edwards 2-26
The U13s were involved in a mental match on Sunday over at Camberley, winning by 43 runs and featuring some incredible batting and bowling stats, Ethan Austin 32, Arthur Walmsley 26, Alex Ozer 3-9, Ethan 2-0, Thijs Wjingaarden 2-2, check out the scorecard here with a cuppa and a biscuit. The U12 dev team headed over to Teddington Town and were faced with the prospect of deer poo and batting first, and were pipped by just 4 runs.
Dates For Your Diary
Going into the penultimate league weekend, this one will be an easy one to remember (if anyone says they're at Ashford THEY'RE WRONG), with everyone playing Old Hamptonians, who by the look of Google Maps seem to have about 8 pitches, so we'll go hunting for the 2s & 4s in the undergrowth.
In terms of league placings, at the time of writing the 1s are 3rd in group 2, 2s are 6th in group 15, 3s are 4th in group 28, and the 4s 6th in Group 41.
Saturday 29th August
Challenge Cup Group 2 - 1st XI v Old Hamptonians (H) - 1pm start
Challenge Cup Group 15 - Old Hamptonians v 2nd XI (A - Dean Park) - 1pm start
Challenge Cup Group 28 - 3rd XI v Old Hamptonians (HRec) - 1pm start
Challenge Cup Group 41 - Old Hamptonians v 4th XI (A - Dean Park) - 1pm start
Sunday 30th August
CPL - Semi Final - Gogmore Knights v Grove Armada - 12.30pm start
CPL - Final - Semi Final Winners v Meads Enforcers - 3.30pm start
Sunday 30th August
U12s v Laleham (A)
U13s v Thames Ditton (A)
Monday 31st August
U10s v Esher (A)
U13s v Farnham Common (A)
We're off to puff up some flamingoes, see you Sunday...
Subject song: "The Final Countdown" by Europe