With a rain swept week ending, the Rioteers were pleased to get a game v Hinton Admiral at Bashley and were able to play, albeit on their artificial wicket.
Captain Hawthorne lost the toss, but accepted the invitation to bat, and sent the heavyweight pairing of Shea and Bicknell to the fore, and settled down to watch with the gathering Rioteers faithful.
85 runs later, they were still going, an admirable selection of shots from both, kept the score going, and the field was in disarray.
Shea was eventually dismissed, was joined by Hawthorne, who briefly flourished before falling to a caught and bowled, and then Culmer (S) came to the wicket and put on a large partnership with Bicknell. Culmer (S) displayed the full panoply of shots, peppering the field and fielders from every angle, soon both had reached their fifties, perhaps Bicknells more chanceless than Culmers, and even when both had gone, Walder, Williams, and Culmer added a few more quick runs, before Hawthorne declared before tea on 243 for 7.
With grumblings from the lower order batsmen, the team came off, with the very least a draw in the bag, and tucked into a hearty tea displaying the usual variety of egg, tuna, and cheese, but with additional doughnuts, Cleary still holiday season in the forest.
Hill and Hall opened in reply, and after some good tight bowling, but no wickets, Williams came on and took the first wicket with one of his trademark unplayable balls, caught well in the slips by Culmer (S), Brazier, replacing Hall got another , but the momentum and run rate was rising and the declaration was looking hasty.
Williams however then snaffled their opener, and main man with a rare playable ball, that was expertly caught from very high, running backwards, diving, and over his head by Brazier (Brazier? Ed.)
Brazier is often the game changer, but not usually in this way, and the run rate slowed, up to 10 an over needed, and Hawthorne brought on Culmer ( S) and Walder, both of whom went for 14 for their two over spells, suddenly there were 50 needed with 10 over left and lots of batting.
We were now in trouble.
Mac had slowed the rate down slightly with some cultured spin, and took his first wicket, a fine catch from Walder on the far cow boundary, but the highlight was a flying save and catch from Culmer at long off, saving a six and dismissing their top scorer, with Hall taking none of the credit.
Hall then snaffled another, and the road to Victory was opened, but Hall couldn’t quite bag the final wickets, which we stoutly defended by the remaining Admiral batsmen, and the draw was played out, in excellent spirits when all three options were still possible 4 overs earlier .
We move to the bar to discuss Brazier qualities and the upcoming tour….
In the dog days of August a cadre of Rioteers descended on the Braish?eld ground early enough to see an energetic display of match preparation; mowers, rollers, scari?ers, line marking, you name it.
It appears however that we were not the ?rst to arrive. Vice skipper, Hawthorne, had very sensibly arrived seven days previously with a plate of “prawn surprise” sandwiches. He’d very prudently listened to the advice about parking problems on match day and thought he’d get ahead of the curve. To be fair, and I’m not a chef, the sandwiches didn’t seem to have suffered from 7 days on the parcel shelf.
We either lost or won the toss and ended up in the ?eld. Hall and Lowden opened the bowling and very soon had the hosts at 18 for 4. Things were looking up! The next thing we knew it was 229 for 9!!!!!!!!!
Our skippers week long scouting trip did pay some dividends. He’d clearly seen the rub of the green and made ?elding changes that us mere mortals would not have suspected possible. Twice he moved ?elders mid over for them to snaf?e catches on the subsequent ball. Uncanny!
Some Rioteer debutants took wickets; Will Craddock harnessed enough raw pace to have a catch pouched at mid on and Jago Lowden chalked up 2 to his name. Matt Lowden took a 5for and John Hall claimed the last wicket.
Tea, I am very pleased to report, was a feast. The Rioteers surpassed themselves and brought cakes and sandwiches to amaze the senses and delight the growing crowd, who were enjoying the afternoon sunshine, if not the cricket. Little was left as our openers waddled out to reply to the 229!
Dave Bickford and Matt Culmer got off to a very positive start before Culmer was caught at square leg. This was swiftly followed by 3 more back in the hutch in rapid succession. The ?ghtback was launched by Martin Hillier and Will Craddock who spanked the ball around and made us feel as if we could win, what power!
This clearly couldn’t last and after both had hurled their wickets away for respectable totals (Hillier 53 and Craddock 30) we came to crunch time. With overs and light dwindling the smart money had shifted from a win to a possible draw. Two gritty, Boycottesque, old school grafters (Tim Ponsford and John Hall) met at the crease and in the gloom set about seeing out the remaining overs for a much needed draw. Nail biting ?nishes need you to be able to see where your nails are. We couldn’t!
It was getting gloomy; the quicks had packed up,and the ring had tightened (!?&@). Many appeals were heard from the scorers table (we literally couldn’t see why) but both umpires were unmoved. Hall and Ponsford saw us over the line for a good old fashioned draw, something our test teams seem to have forgotten how to do.
Over and out.
The sermon will begin shortly
Letter from the Hilliers (9:23)
has not arrived yet….
With many of the opposition, and venue on loan from the Navy, the crowd gathered quayside to see the good ship Rioteer, off on another day cruise.
Sitting on the dockside the weather was set fair, drinks were finished, anchors were hauled, and we were off under the command of captain Hawthorne.
The sea was calm, the sky blue, and the good ship progressed calmly, with second officer Brazier (s) at the helm, the miles were ticking along nicely. Able seaman Saunders on loan from the imperial Chinese navy, was providing good support, and we rounded the Isle of Wight without incident.
Once we moved out into the choppier waters of the channel however the going got a bit tougher. Saunders went overboard, and the good captain Hawthorne was piped onto the deck, more sails were unfurled, the wind turned, and we tacked serenely west.
There were now a good number of Rioteer crew relaxing in the glorious weather, enjoying the cruise, but then the tide began to turn.
The good captain was taken below too early with sea sickness, and second officer Brazier (S) was joined by Midshipman Prince, then just south of his 50th meridan, Brazier (S) could take no more of the increasingly rough waters and was taken below.
With the waters getting choppier by the minute the sea sickness was spreading, and not so able Seamen Prince, Culmer, and Williams, were sent quickly below decks, and the good ship was floundering.
In situations like this, however, what is needed is a salty old sea dog, and the good ship Rioteer had plenty of those left below decks.
Cheetham, Lowden and Hall slowly steadied the ship, unfurled a few emergency sails, and made for port, leaving the saltiest of sea dogs, Brazier, undefeated, and standing alone at the helm, as we entered the harbour.
Whilst we may have entered port earlier than expected, and not having travelled as far as we would like, the harbour was delightful.
Importantly the serving girls were attractive and the provisions were outstanding, and plentiful. The scones, delicious. The water, iced. The sandwiches, delicate. And the brownies impeccable.
The sailors from the good ship, re-provisioned heartily, and hopes rose for the journey home, and it was with a sorry heart those on the sunny quayside left the outstanding harbour, waved off by the visiting rear admiral Osman, and set sail for home.
The weather was calm and set fair, the sails unfurled, and with Hall, and the pressganged Mac sharing duties at the helm, we hauled anchor and were off home.
As is often the way however, menace lies unseen in calm water, and to the cry of ‘iceberg- dead ahead’, we struck something white, solid and immoveable.
We threw everything at it, but it was immovable, and we began taking on water, and were in trouble, possibly holed below the waterline.
Williams, Brazier, Lowden all had a go at staunching the flow but the ship was now listing, and the water was up to the lower decks.
However you’ve seen the film, you know what happens next, a doughty engineer fights back, in this case 3rd mechanic Cheetham, grizzled, with spanner in hand, manages to fix two of the leaks with some crafty welding, and ably assisted by cabin boy culmer, there’s now a chance that the ship may survive.
But there are too many holes, and the calm water slowly seeps in to take the ship to the deeps, with loss of all hands, and the good ship Rioteer is sunk.
Whilst the venue, opposition, teas, umpiring and batting of Turner-Lovett, or possibly Lovett-Turner (77 no out) and bowling of Beardall (5 for not many) were first class, the Rioteers were steerage.
Hold on, cant start the report yet, we’ve got a problem.
Somewhere between his self built car/yacht and the pitch Dessie has lost his keys, he’s now been looking ten minutes, its hot, the grass is very long, and its proving a fruitless search. We know he had them when he turned up, and he realised something was amiss when he reached the pitch.
By now a hard core of three searchers have been joined by 4 or 5 others, some walking in line, tramping down the grass, some stood still and used an eagle eye to view a large area, Gav, as an experienced mechanic was on hands and knees looking under the car.
But wait, what’s this?
Brazier enters the fray, and using his years of experience points out the set of keys in the car door. ‘Are these them?’
And we’re off.
And that pretty much summed up the game, there was a lot of searching in the long grass, and then Brazier did the simple thing well.
Newport Inn entered the fray first, and started well, against an attack averaging 40 years, Hill and over the hill. As the senior partner, Hall was unusually getting a bit of treatment, and the first lonely searches in the long grass began, but then one was miscued high into the wide blue sky, and who should safely pouch the tumbling cherry but the aforementioned Brazier, taking it safely and simply.
Runs kept coming but wickets too, none of the Newport combatants getting into the big figures, Hall got 2 more, Williams 1, Gav 1, and then the Newport main man came in, and we were in trouble.
Light hit a few classy shots into the long grass, and spells looking for ball in the unmown hay got longer and longer. Hawthorne turned to Brazier, who bowled simply and soundly, and Light was in trouble, one pitched and turned, and driving uppishly, Williams took a simple catch at mid off, Brazier then got another, and then the excellent Hill wrapped it up, and Braishfield were all out for a chaseable 177.
Sadly there was not an egg sandwich too be seen, nor pork pie, tuna and cucumber was missing, what was happening?
But then all eyes turned to the Hawaiian shirted Fahay, and an able assistant, who were stoking an enormous barbie, and five minutes later, with Brazier heading the queue, we were into a delicious round of sausages and burgers, washed down with a couple of cakes (chocolate and lemon drizzle, if you’re interested).
Mark Saunders, fresh from China, and Bickford, holding back from a fourth sausage, took the fight to the oppo and knocked off the first fifty quickly, with some excellent running. The grass was still long, but this time it was Newport doing the searching.
Saunders flourishing blade, in particular was a joy to watch until Hall, life member of the bowlers union, raised the lbw trigger on the final ball of a seven ball over.
But this brought Gav to the wicket, Bickford reached fifty, and things were ticking along nicely, but then both fell in quick succession, leaving Hawthorne and Williams to take the fight on. The ball continued to be flayed into the long grass, Hawthorne notching 3 glorious 4s through the off side in one over, and Williams thumping one into the very long grass the next, requiring a long spell of searching.
We were by now only 40 runs short of the target, and only 3 wickets down, with plenty more left.
However one failed to bounce, and Hawthorne’s stumps were gone, Walder was then plumb 2 balls later, and we were into the tail of Hill, and the over the hills of Brazier, Hall and Masters.
Williams was still there of course, and with him hope of a win rested, a glorious straight drive onto the road, and the long grass behind that kept the rate up , as did a pull from Hill to the square leg boundary, and some quick running, but Hill was then caught behind, and 20 more were needed, but this brought Brazier into the fray, and with him at the helm, batting simply, things progressed, until Williams notched the winning runs ending on 41 not out, and Brazier owner of the by now traditional 1 (n.o.).
Retiring to the Wheatsheaf, the talk, of course, was mainly of Braziers excellence.
After a swift refresher in the Fox and Hounds, those of us not at the Rose Bowl watching England, foregathered at the recreation ground for fixture against Crawley. With the new strip now facing the ECB recommended north south alignment, and looking much improved, Captain Hawthorn won a good toss and had no hesitation in sending two solid openers to the front, confidently leaving an array of talent in the hutch.
Yates and Bicknell struck a solid partnership and saw off the new ball with Yates reaching a classy fifty and Bicknell falling just short, before Yates also fell attempting a slow single, but the innings was underway, and we were into three figures and with Hawthorne at 3, and Hillier (A) rashly promoted up the order, with Hillier J and M still to come.
Hawthorne played a few sturdy blows, but the bowling was tight, and he soon returned for 17 to his captains spot on the balcony., leaving Hillier J to guide nephew (A) through the fast improving bowling.
Realising he had no advice to contribute Hillier (J) made his excuses and left for a duck, bringing Gibbons to the fore ( 6 actually). We were now not so much in trouble, but becalmed, and with an array of talent to come, even without Brazier, things needed to hurry up, as we were only on a 130, and the clock was ticking .
Gibbons (high score 8) and Hillier (A) high score 14, needed to get out quickly so the quality could get in. That much was clear.
And then a funny thing happened. Hillier (A) got past 14, and a polite ripple spread around the crowd, Gibbons at the other end, playing with a textbook straight bat was steadily accumulating, and the ball was suddenly going all over the ground.
Hillier (A) then started dancing down the ground, and in an afront to the family name even hit the ball on the off side!
By now the crowd were awake. More Hillier’s had been phoned, would he get his debut fifty? would even more Hillier’s get there to see it? Do you think ther’ll be egg and cress for tea?
Another dance down the ground, and the fifty came up, Hillier checked his wallet, the helmet didn’t come off, and then 2 overs later, Gibbons and Hillier (A) strode back to the clubhouse for tea unbeaten on 45 and 65 respectively, with the Rioteers on an unheard of 242 for 4.
Tea was taken in the glorious sunshine, Hillier (A) making most of his new celebrity by attempting the whole menu twice, delicious scones, cakes, sandwiches, and dare we mention it for those counting the occasional calorie, but pork pies as well.
Suitably refreshed the Rioteers headed back out, Bicknell with the gloves on, and Williams and Hillier (B) with the ball.
Williams bowled both openers cheaply, and Hillier (B) bowled surprisingly quickly off a short run, Hillier then got in on the act with a delicate caught and bowled, to take away any chance of a 10 fer Williams.
The new man, was rather less than new, and was almost knocked down by a rasping hillier top spinner first ball, but then proved unbeatable for the rest of the innings. At the other end the solid batting of the vice captain meant that for the 15 over spell runs came, but not wickets, and a draw was on the cards.
However this was without the quick thinking of Hawthorne, who realised that Williams was the answer ( it often is).
First ball back Shea lept salmon like from gulley to 2nd slip to snaffle a monster of a catch, and we were into the tail.
The next two fell quickly in a double wicket maiden, one bowled, one snaffled by Hillier (J) at 1st. Williams had 5, but wanted more.
Another double wicket maiden followed, both bowled, ( this really sounds most unlikely.Ed.), but then Hillier (B) had the temerity to take a wicket, but Williams had the last caught behind by that natural 2nd Slip Hall to finish with figures of 8-21, and ease the Rioteers home with the oppo all out on 101. (check source please. Ed.)
The team rushed to the fox to await the Hillier annual wallet opening, and Dad did not disappoint.
Having been shot out in Hants Div 3 on Sat for fewer than 90 Cadnam included several first XI players. However, the Rioteers were at full strength with the requisite blend of youth, experience, and Brazier.
Cadnam entered the fray first, on their home strip, and stayed there for some time, the
Current capt retired on 100no- his 1st ton, and the ex capt retired on 100 no but Brazier did have him dropped on the boundary (from a ball even slower than the bowler’s usual deceptively modest pace) when in the 30s.
Bowling stats included 1for 49 off 9, 1 for 48 off7 0 for 49 off 7 0 for 43 off 4well, you get the picture.
Having run out Hally in the previous match, Charlie dropped a straightforward catch off his bowling; luckily, the hapless recipient of such charity was bowled before Charlie could complete his hatrick by volunteering to umpire and giving the batsman out lbw!
Cadnam made 283 for 3 by tea- and what a momentous tea it was; hot quiche, sausages and sausage rolls; sandwiches of infinite variety; fresh fruit including strawberries; bread and butter pudding; cakes and biscuits, and no doubt more that your correspondent failed to note adequately. It is however in lead position for the coveted tea of the season award.
In reply Bickford (45) and Yates (27) got Rioteers off to a solid start-49 for 1st wk.
Tim Osman in his first game for R this season hit 55, including 3 sixes and 5 fours before being spectacularly caught by the bowler (one of the centurions) off a drive belted straight back at him.
Culmer (22) and Hillier M (40) kept the score moving but when Hillier was caught, having given the opposition several practice attempts before their eventual success, the Rioteers collapsed. Charlie was caught off a less than classic shot; “Ferg” and Hally succumbed to the extreme pace of Cadnam’s septuagenarian skipper.
However, against all odds, Archie Hillier and Brazier (for it was he..) survived 5 overs with, it has to be said, consummate skill and no alarms, to secure a draw. Rioteers were not disgraced in reaching 213 for 9, and had there been more overs it is likely that Brazier would have knocked off the remaining 70 runs, so can in all honesty be declared a ‘winning’ draw.
The game was played in a wonderful spirit and was a classic of the Sunday kind.
Traditionally the Rioteers arrive at Bryanston about 11.25 on Sunday morning, marvel at the excellence of the facilities, say hello to a few new faces who have made the long trip down, and are put into the expansive outfield, where a succession of tiring bowlers are flayed around the aforementioned outfield, in the baking sun. John Hall usually puts in a long stint due to lack of other options.
After about 35 – 40 overs of this, its time for a break, and the Rioteers traditional approach is to head into the excellent clubhouse, approach the catering with glee, and quietly tuck into a delicious, and some would say healthy lunch, whilst reflecting on the chances of that happening again post the lunch break.
Lunch generally comes and goes, a cold beer may be taken, Braziers performance is dissected, and 2 poor chaps will get a tap on the shoulder, advising them to lay off a third pudding, as we’re back in the field, and they’re bowling.
We usually head back out, and continue to chase an increasingly soft cherry around what seems by now to be an even larger ground, as a succession of classy butterfly batsmen cut, drive, and pull, and it gets hotter and hotter. Eventually when all their batsmen have had their fun, we skip light heartedly towards the clubhouse, and a cold beer.
It’s usually about 3 by now, and the skipper takes a long, sad look over the batting arrayed before him, and realises that unless one of the two people who can actually bat gets a hundred, we’re not going to get near to the 260-300 that’s usually on the board.
However a Rioteer never says no to a challenge, so into the affray we head.
What generally happens is that Brazier (S) opens, and after about an hour he hits one off the square, whilst at the other end a few get out, a few get in, and then get out, a few give wickets away cheaply, and generally the usual outcome is that about an hour after a delicious tea, (cakes, sandwiches, cold beer etc) the proverbial dying animal is put out of its misery, with a swift blow on the head, leaving Brazier at the other end, not out, and with his average in tact.
Tradition dictates that about now Doc turns up, to check for any sign of a pulse, and administer thirst aid where required. Usually we’re about 100 short at the end, but exchange handshakes with an excellent opposition and especially the excellent umpire,who’s been stood out there all day. We take a long, cold beer, reflect on our failure and trudge home, having had a pretty good day out.
I’m sorry to have to report to the traditionalists amongst you that things didn’t exactly go to plan this year, as we played on Saturday.
So the season begins.
A swift refresher in the flower pots, before the Rioteers stride out to bat, against the Cheriton xi with Bickford and Williams opening, there was anticipation of a Nelsons column of an opening partnership, long, strong, and monumental, however Williams had other ideas, and swiftly brought Hillier (J) to the wicket. Keep watching those brackets, as with Hillier, Hillier (a), Hillier(b), and Hillier (J) it could get confusing.
With a new strip to bat on Bickford and Hillier (J) got their heads down and batted sensibly against some really quite decent bowling, and slowly grew the score, until Bickfords untimely end for 24. A brace of Hillier now at the wicket, with hillier joining hillier (j). Hillier, with impressive timing broke the Rioteers duck for the season, bringing Hawthorne and after a few strong blows, debutant Gibbons and then quickly (number 7? Surely not ed..) Brazier to the fore.
Things were going slowly, and those in the pavilion were doubting our ability to reach 100, but hoping for 120. Brazier missed a quick one, and our last recognised all rounder was gone and we were into the tail.
However those of you old enough to remember Boycotts classic 1981 post ashes manual, ‘how to bat like me’ would recognise Hillier(J) at the other end of the tail. High elbow, head down, and nothing fancy before tea.
However tea was now approaching, and the tail wagged. Lowden (19) Hillier (A) and (B) held up one end whilst Hillier(J) calmly scattered the field, until with 1 over left, the Rioteers on 182 and on 98 himself, and with Hall completing the tail, Hillier(J) went for the big heave ho to reach his century, only for the stumps to shatter, leaving Hall unbeaten, and sharing the last wicket stand of 40.
Clapped in Hillier (J) only had eyes for the first tea of the season. A classic of its type, hot sausages, burgers, rolls, guacamole, cheese, and a particular favourite of the Rioteer, the victoria sponge . Hillier (J) soon scattered this field as well, washed down with some well earned mugs of tea.
With Masters guesting for the oppo, Gibbons opened the bowling, searching for his debut Rioteers wicket. And bowling fast and straight, it was soon in the bag, and out again, and then in and out again. With Gibbons realising that catches are not the way to win matches in the Rioteers, he was taken off and Captain Hawthorne bravely replaced with Brazier ( 1st change? No? Ed..) at this point we were getting hammered, and not in a good way.
Hall had already gone for 22 in one over, and Gibbons had spent much of his last over searching for the new cherry in the fields, so at 60 without loss, and then 10 off Braziers first two balls, we were in trouble.
But cometh the hour etc etc, and Brazier quickly bagged the top order with some inspired balls, and with Lowden, Hillier, Hillier (A) and Hillier(B) all slowing the rate down, ( except for Hillier) it was left to Williams to bowl a series of unplayable deliveries to wrap up the tail, bowling 5 overs, two maidens, 5 for 4 runs ( really? Ed).
And with Gibbons coming on to wrap up the final wicket, with a smartly taken catch at 1st slip by Hillier, the game was won, Hillier avoided the first Rioters hat-trick of the season ( a duck, no wickets, and no catches), and Masters remained undefeated at the other end.
Williams relived the 5 for in the pub and is available for wedding and bar mitzvahs if required, whilst Hillier (J) and Hawthorne quietly soaked up the praise for their batting and captaincy respectively.