If you missed the CPL Final, where were you Claire, there's nowhere to go...
On paper the Semi Final had all the signs of being a tasty match, with big names on either side (we were most worried about all the trouble the Main-Ballerino double act were going to cause us though - they hadn't met each other before), but the Armada lost key wickets early, Matt Main trying to run out at least three of his team-mates, successing with two of them falling victim to being short of the crease, and from this early hit they were just never able to recover properly. Arthur Walmsley, on loan from the Meads Enforcers and keeping for the Knights with Snake finally succumbing to keeping with his knackered fingers, claimed our first piece of history of the day by taking his first CPL stumping, ensuring the record of the first Colt involved with a wicket in CPL history. The Knights were just too strong with their bowling though, Joe Clarke removing the big hitters, and the Knights found themselves needing just 70 to win to get through to the Final. The Knights, with depth in batting, knocked off the score with ease within 12 overs, setting themselves up to meet Meads Enforcers for the final showdown.
Going into the Final 70% of the Insta tribe predicted a Meads win, stat fans. Gogmore Knights bowled first. Enforcers needed to set a big score on a deck with not many runs in it, but Dave Risk did what Dave Risk does and went elegantly big, ending his innings on 71 and earning himself the title of batsman of the series, occupying the wicket with our (now) first favourite Kempton player Big Al shining with a strong 56, and between the pair of them hoiking up some pretty hefty sixes into the neighbour's gardens and Gogmore Park, Big Al looked like he was going to go bigger than he did but departed epicly with Kempton stablemate Joel Miah splitting his stumps, a word in the car on the way home had probably. No sooner had Cap'n Hanger made it to the crease he'd started to run out of partners, the Knights bowlers having to dig deep after such a good performance in the semi. 150+ was deemed out of the Knights' reach by the crowd, and they were set 167 to win.
By the time it came for the Enforcers to bat the crowd (& Comms to be fair) were well "primed" thanks to the filth coming out of Caribbean Socially Distanced Corner, and Matt Main had a microphone in his hand which always leads to trouble. And after a tournament of dirty scoring, whoever scored the last bit of the innings had spent a while getting their eye in at said Corner (we're looking in your direction JJ) so it was a strange kind of "fun" trying to dechiper the hieroglyphics in the book, so details here on in are slightly sketchy. Back to the game - the Enforcer's bowlers knew they had a job to do to protect their total - Lloydy was persistent (and getting a lot of love from the pirate ship), John Bailey proving why he has posession of the bowler of the series cap, with consecutive maiden and wicket overs and ending on 2-1 (think we've got it right this time John?), and Ravi Patel and Boasty helped hoover up the wickets, the Knights dismissed without anyone really able to build, all out for 79.
So there was the second piece of history, the first time since the CPL began the Meads Enforcers' name will be printed on the pink bat after being the bridesmaid for three years. Upon receiving the bat from President Pullo there were fireworks, there was "champagne" that wouldn't open, it was a lovely moment, a moment well earnt.
We won't go into detail about the evening (what happens after dark stays after dark natch) but we can tell you we witnessed possibly the most beautiful moment we've ever seen, when Ryan Ballerino (The original Chertsey Prince) and Matt Main (possibly a real Prince) finally came together and realised they were brothers from another mother.
So that's our big event of the "season" done and dusted, quite a feat considering what we've been up against, so well done to all involved for giving us such an entertaining time of it. But don't pack the coolbox away - we're not done just yet. It's the final round of the Challenge Cup league this weekend, with all teams taking on Kempton, but from next week we'll start the usual end of season friendlies where the coveted Saturday afternoon spot opens up - we hear next Saturday the Strollers may be getting a dust off, so we'll still be here until the bitter, bitter end.
Saturday was the kind of day you'd rather didn't happen, scratch it off, consign it to history. The reasons will become apparent as we go but a definite agreed factor/excuse was that Chertsey was chillier than usual, but bearable with a cup of tea (blue milk obvs), Old Hamptonians however was a completely different kettle of fish, tea wasn't going to help you over there.
We figure OH must be acclimatised to their ground's conditions better than most, but the pitch the 4s were on must have been two or three degrees colder than the 2s over near the Clubhouse and experienced frequent windy rainy drizzles, so traipsing backwards and forwards between the two was interesting, bit like an arctic trek (got the steps in though, 2.5 miles walked that afternoon), especially when the 2s scoreboard was at just the wrong angle to be able to read it properly, even squinting with specs on. One of those days you realised there were probably better things you could be doing in the warm, but we've got to get all the moaning out of our system now. It's our job to find the positives somewhere, so here goes...
The 1st XI version of Old Hamptonians v the 1s bowled tight, and the 1s' top order worked hard for their runs, Jonathan Thompson making his first 1s appearance, moving on up after Jake Taylor's knackered fingers ruled him out, ending on 135-8. When it came to OH's turn they kept steady, and their win was secured with 9 balls to go.
Now, it's been a common theme this season that the 3s find themselves going down a dark, dark tunnel most matches, sometimes they find sunshine on the other side, sometimes they don't quite make it out. Over at the Rec it looked like a repeat of the week before, utter carnage, but this time we had a lot of distractions, what with a Matthew Hoggard circa 2005 lookalike who despite not looking particularly threatening, managed to get three key wickets leaving us open mouthed, and the police parked up outside just about the time Kevin O'Flynn was spectacularyily bowled, so we thought they might have been called by 2005 due to crimes against cricket, or wanting their Hoggy back. There were some positives on the journey though. Joe Blanks, with his attacking mentality, played some "dank" (is that right?) shots, and the partnership of Stratton-Lloydy looked promising. OH were set 89, still mildly achieveable, but unfortuantely one chap managed nearly two thirds of the total on his own and that was the end of that car journey for another week.
The 2s set OH a nice 145 via opener Dan Perks with 30, Cap'n Wiggins with 39, and Cade Skelton with 20 chipping in, game on, but they were frustrated by the OH openers, and they desperately needed a breakthrough, it finally came at 70 runs with a John Bailey wicket. Just as OH passed the 100 mark things started to get a bit interesting and we thought we could have had an exciting mini-collapse on our hands, brought on by a spectacular run out for the third wicket, but the fourth wicket partnership dug in to see OH home and into the warm.
The 4s over on the ice rink, used 9 bowlers, 9! We feel a bit sorry for the fella left out (and the scorer), and possibly realising victory was out of reach with the score set, needed to dig in, and there was plenty of promise, Boasty & Arthur Walmsley making headway, then Josh Fyfe, who provided us with an epic (not out) sliding run out. Charlie Eagles, dropping down from the 3s, brought his new-found experience with him and played some lovely shots but was denied the opportunity to push on. The 4s took their time about it, finishing just a couple of minutes before the 2s. Having just come from the Rec another low score wasn't quite so alarming.
What's interesting about the rarity of all sides playing the same Club on the same day was that in every match we went to, we noticed the same obvious things about the teams we were playing - OH were loud, each side had the same mentality, but were overall just the better side. For all the post-match psychological beating ups, that's all it really boiled down to.
Saturday 29th August
Challenge Cup Group 2 - 1st XI 135-8 v Old Hamptonians 136-6 (H)
Jack Ogle 31, Luke Westcott 2-21
Challenge Cup Group 15 - Old Hamptonians 146-4 v 2nd XI 145 a/o (A - Dean Park)
Matt Wiggins 39, Dan Perks 1-0, Ravi Patel 1-28, John Bailey 1-29
Challenge Cup Group 28 - 3rd XI 88 a/o v Old Hamptonians 90-1 (HRec)
Joe Blanks 27, Sam Stratton 1-18
Challenge Cup Group 41 - Old Hamptonians 260-6 v 4th XI 66 a/o (A - Dean Park)
Arthur Walmsley 13, Phil Boast 13, Nick Barnes 1-30, Josh Fyfe 1-30, Phil Boast 1-31, Charle Eagles 1-36, Mark Pulling 1-40
Sunday 20th August
CPL Semi Final - Grove Armada 69 a/o v Gogmore Knights 74-5
Matt Main 33, Dan Shepherd 6-2 ~ Zeeshan Mehtab 21, Joe Clarke 4-8
CPL Final - Meads Enforcers 166-6 v Gogmore Knights 77 a/o
Dave Risk 71, Inwood (Big Al) 56, John Bailey 2-1, Ravi Patel 2-11, Jack Lloyd 2-20 ~ Ward 2-34, Joe Clarke 14
Bank Holiday Monday afternoon/evening saw a double header, the U14s taking on Walton as the sun set at 7.47pm, this is significant because the match finished at 8.20pm, so well done to them for perservering, scoring by torchlight, and getting the win (by 1 run!). The Bluebirds also made an appearance, details are sketchy, but a "Stuartina Chenery" retired on 25 v the U14s, impressed with her efforts we hear. Can't find her on PlayCricket though. The U13s, coming from a win at Thames Ditton on Sunday morning, were over at Farnham Common, and batted first, the top order of Ed Marsh, Mickey Grigg, Ethan Austin, and James Pearson scoring 100 of the 202 runs set, making the bowler's lives easier and a nice win by 68 runs.
Dates For Your Diary
A nice easy journey over to Kempton for the final week of the league season for the 1s and 3s while the 2s and 4s see out the season on home soil. The Sunday XI then take on the returning Authors, a side of cricket writers and much more intellectual musings that you'll find here.
Saturday 5th September
Challenge Cup Group 2 - Kempton v 1st XI (A - Main Square) - 1pm start
Challenge Cup Group 15 - 2nd XI v Kempton (H) - 1pm start
Challenge Cup Group 28 - Kempton v 3rd XI (A - Avenue Square) - 1pm start
Challenge Cup Group 41 - 4th XI v Kempton (HRec) - 1pm start
Sunday 6th September
Sunday XI v Authors (2pm)
The Chertsey Challengers conclude their Surrey Slam campaign over at Ashley Park v Walton on Sunday afternoon.
Sunday 6th September
Surrey Slam - Walton Pens v Chertsey Challengers (A) - 2pm start
School's in session but the Colts are still going...
Sunday 6th September
U13s v Woking & Horsell (A)