There are few things that can distract a bowler of real quality and genuine pace steaming up the hill into the wind, with 8 down and 6 overs to go, but if there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to reduce the focus of even the most hardened purveyor of this fine old art, it’s the sound of the electric mixer whipping the cream for a delicious tea coming from the pavilion.
And this is the situation your author found himself in, on Sunday against the Longparish XI, with their youthful batsmen in real trouble, and with Hall Lowden, and Culmer (S) having taken a few wickets each.
Osman quickly realised that this distraction was proving too much, and took him off, and the impact was immediate. Lowden snaffled another wicket, and they were nine down, and Brazier was brought back on for a previously unthinkable second spell, and with his guile and turn snaffled their remaining batsman, with what on close inspection of the scorebook appears to be a stumping.
Hawthorn increased his tally of diving catches up to 6 for the season, Brazier took a lofted drive on the boundary, Sub took a sharp catch, and with Masters looking particularly untroubled at 1st slip, the Rioteers fielding had been sharp, and relieved to have bowled out a really promising Longparish XI for just over 200, they headed for the packed refreshment table with vigour.
Another exceptional tea from Longparish pushed the season’s standard even higher, and the award for tea of the season is now hung in the balance. – freshly whipped cream, scones and jam, sausage rolls, the full range of sandwiches, and some delicious home made cakes, meant that even the most hardened Rioteer went back for thirds.
In attempt to stem his increasing average, Hillier was sent out to open with Hawthorn, and faced some really good bowling from the youthful Longparish XI thanks to their excellent junior system. Hawthorn was quickly back in the Pavilion, and Culmer (S) headed out for his second innings, to resume his partnership with Hillier, against some really good bowling.
And then he hit the ball all around the field, until he won the game not out on a chanceless 101, whilst the crowd purred it appreciation at the full range of shots on offer. Bit of help from another Hillier 50, Sub with a couple, and Osman on 30 odd, but against some really good bowling he looked in not the slightest trouble.
On reflection he probably didn’t have thirds for tea.
Whilst those watching, Masters, Brazier, Williams etc could have played this innings, and would probably have done so, had they been higher up the order skipper, it’s good to give youth its chance.
We then retired to the Cricketers to test the 6X, and check if with a Rioteers average of 162 after 2 games Culmer (S) was (a) available next week*, and (b)was his dad able to buy his jug**.
Ah.. the home of cricket, the thwack of leather on Willow, the taste of a scone with cream and jam, what could be more evocative of England, except perhaps chasing down a large Brigands total for the second win of the season.
All had started well, with Hall steaming downhill and with the wind behind, whilst williams trundled up the hill in the wind, however bowling in pairs worked, and soon the hosts were 9-1, however they then got stuck in and with bowling up the hill proving tricky, the Brigands batted purposefully, until Brazier ( for it was he) bowled their top man, to the suprise of all, espcially their top man. However the runs kept coming, a fifty came, Hall and Williams came back on at the end, and Williams usefully wasted some time before tea and kept the score from mounting by making the team search long and hard for the ball, somewhere deep in the wood over cow. Another Rioteers debutant, brother of Matt Culmer, Simon bowled a few overs of useful off spin mid way through the innings. He could be a useful addition, and im sure he wont mention his brothers 13 ball over, and so neither will we.
Dave bickford behind the stumps incidentally was top player in the field, stopping everything, and using all parts of body to do so, especially with the Walder quicker ball, not easy to trap on a bouncy pitch with the wind behind, when standing up.
Then thinking through the batting order, Captain Hawthorne who to his credit had rotated the bowling well ( i.e. taken Williams off early, and brought him back on downhill, whlist hall used all his experience in the wind), sent his troops out into battle against the mightiest of foes, 2 tables laden with goodies, warm sausage rolls, cheese puffs, and particularly delightful chocolate tiffin.
This defeated all but the indefatigable Craddock and Yates who were sent out into the late afternoon sunshine to chase the 185. Things were going all so well, and then quite quickly they wernt with Craddock missing a straight one, Hawthorne reaching double figures, and then falling, and bickford also succumbing, but yates was still there. Matt Culmer soon fell for 4, and in came young Simon Culmer, and played innings of the season so far, whilst the gathering crowd watched in appreciation as an excellent classical bat, showed us all how to do it. By this time Yates had fallen, Hillier was in and the run rate was about 10 an over, but Culmer attacking classically and effortlessly and Hillier attacking, the runs kept coming. Eventually with 16 runs neeed of the last 2 overs Culmer fell, to an excellent catch on the boundary.
Hillier scored the unlikliest of things an off side 6, including 4 handy overthrows ( to leg, so not sure how to do the wagon wheel for that one), whilst williams wrapped up the win with two expertly struck off side 4s off the first two balls of the final over.
We then retired to the Bat and Ball to enquire politely if Culmer (S) was available next week, and was he old enough to buy a jug?
Special thanks to The Halfpenny tea ladies for putting on an excellent tea, and the Hosts, for being such an excellent team to play, but especially to Hillier (J) for umpiring all game, in the sunshine, and swapping sides almmost every ball for the left hander. he even remembered sometimes.
A full match report can barely do justics to the majesty of the tea on offer at Ropley, but we’ll come to the cream horns later.
The Rioteers batted first, and in full view of thier magnificent pavillion, the newly married Brazier (S) was first to notch a big score, gaining a cultured 75. Yoghurt is also cultured, so don’t read too much into this. Craddock, 53, and Bickford 28 kept their ends up, and the Rioteers reached tea on 207-5 declared.
Again there was a lot of batting still in the hutch, and if those at the top order could hurry up a bit, the quality at the lower end could add some useful runs.
But then to tea. As ever at Ropley there was a full range of excellence, topped off by the magnificent cream horns, the biggest on the circuit, and worthy a paragraph to themselves, but by now John Hall was itching to get the new ball in his hands, and we must get back to the cricket, where with John getting 2-46, the game getting close.
Last ball, 3 runs needed, field come in, ball goes out, Ropley cross once twice and three time, and the game is lost.
So we return to the club house, Brazier buys his jug, i think we may still be waiting on Craddock….
Rumours about also of a loss here, but also a Debut Rioteers fifty for Walder. Rumours have been confirmed by a detailed match report sent in by Brazier.
On the small hard Bramshaw field, with ponies cantering, and golfers golfing, the Rioteers were first into the fray, with Hillier stoking the ball to all corners. Well, one corner at least. He got a well deserved 70, to send the average even higher, but Walder got a typically robust few thwacks in, and was rewarded with his Rioteers debut 50, reaching 53, with dave bickford also scoring a classy 50.
The Batting order was lacking in accuracy, and our real class man was in reserve as the Rioteers reached tea at 246-5.
And what a tea. Braziers report has focussed mainly on his own performance for reasons which are obvious, but he didnt stint with descriptions of a tea laden with home made cakes, sandwiches, and a particular favourite of his, the french fancy.
Anyway the Rioteers were soon back into the Fray, and post tea, with the sun nestling amongst the trees, Brazier was indeed the star man, whipping through the order to take an immaculate 2-39, but not able to stem the flow of runs as the Branshaw XI reached 247-5, and Walder did the honourable thing, by celebrating his first Rioteers 50 in the appropriate fashion.
For the second week running the Rioteers caressed the Braishfield oval with their style and grace. Newport were quickly into the runs, with a brace from a brace of Hilliers ( M 2-32) (B 2-22) things were going well, but on a tricky surface the Newport Inn reached 180-8.
Reports of Brazier wickets are sketchy, so he may not have been playing, but onto the main business, the tea, which as ever at Newport, let no one down, and with Yates in the side, tea can be magnificent motivator for the Rioteers.
And so it proved, Hillier again scoring 40 odd, and Yates picking up a classy 37, but even this was not enough to prevent the score slipping away, and wickets tumbling, and eventually the Rioteers fell short on 160-9.
Following a scrumptious pre match warm up
led by the energetic Brazier, at chez braz, the Alderney tourists strolled to
the Braishfield oval, fresh faced, and full of cheer, the previous two days,
ahem, sightseeing, around southampton, had put a keen bouce in their step, and
in no way were they tired, or emotional.
For the first time Rioteers fielding 3
generations from one Family – The Brazier Family.
Rioteers batted first and Simon scored a classy 71 whilst all around him failed.
Harrison joined him when the 7th wicket fell.
9 year old Harrison batted with confidence and
some luck whilst Simon was bowled.
This brought Pa Brazier* to join Harrison. He
did not last long being caught for a misly single.
Hally and Harrison then proceeded to put on
over 30 for the last wicket before Hally ran out
Harrison who made 15 on his debut.
In reply Alderney lost their first wicket in
the 6th over. The skipper then turned to Harrison
and he delivered, taking his first Rioteers wicket – stumped by Bickford – a
Harrison’s next over saw his second wicket – bowled and just one run. His third over maintaining his line a full length – just one run.
In the meantime Pa Brazier from the other end bowled averagely picking up one wicket.
The skipper returned to Harrison with 5 overs to go and Alderney 7 wickets down.
He did not disappoint bowling a maiden. He returned for another over and – a double wicket maiden. A bowled and an LBW !!! ending with figures of
5 overs, 3 maidens 2 runs 4 wickets
Compare this with Pa Brazier 5 – 0 -19 – 1
Pa Brazier was heard to say after play ” Clearly all my talent is now finally transfered through the generations and perhaps its time to retire”.
WATCH THIS SPACE !!
Tim Slade also made his Rioteers debut, also bowled a few
quick balls, hit a few big shots, and brought an excellent chocolate cake, to go alongside the vast plethora of rioteers tea goodies, which vastly overcatered for the the less than ravenous crowd.
However frankly by the end of the game we all realised that in all honestly, the best player on the pitch was nine, and
we were better off going to the wheatsheaf, when he’d been taken home by mum.
And so we went to the wheatsheaf to discuss the first Rioters win of the season. Alderney by this stage were flagging, however they kept at it with commendable enthusiam in the late evening sunshine.
( * he should be higher up the order)
Under the scorching new forest sun, and with a side packed with young talent, the Rioteers searched for their first win of the season. Captain osman won the toss, and inserted the Cadnam openers, an early wicket fell, and at 9-1 ( hall )things were looking good, at 150 -1 things were looking less good.
The shiny new cherry had long since departed to a wooded new forest grave, and Williams, Hall, Crichton, a pair of Colmers were left to face two marauding batsmen with the replacement ball, and the boundaries and the score mounted quickly.
Eventually the tall number three batsman was lured into a rash stroke by Hall, and Hawthorne pouched a simple slip catch, and from then the scoring rate slowed, and at tea the oppo were 230 in their 40 overs.
However the rioteers are not daunted by such a large score, and headed for the clubhouse full of hope, not for a win, but for an excellent tea, and we were not disappointed.
Scone and cream – Y
Cakes – Y
Pork Pies -Y
Sausages rolls – Y
Cheese – Y
Sandiwches – Y
The list was endless, and in the glorious summer sunshine, the rioteers attacked the tea with relish ( also provided) and agreed this was clearly tea of the year so far.
Yates and Hawthorne were sent out to lead a strong battting line up, and the score ticked along, hawthorne came and went, bowled quitely, if such a thing is possible, osman ran out yates, carrington was stumped off a wide, and slowly the wickets fell, and the runs mounted.
Jack colmer, put on a few, but then fell on the boundary rope chsing runs, Osman flashing a new willow, flashed once to often, Crichton, failed to up the rate, and things were looking increasingly tricky. Mat colmer and Chris Green and williams came in as 8, 9 and 10, and the score mounted, largely due to green and colmer, whose running was quick, if not stylish. Eventually it came down to John Hall needing 26 of the last 3 balls, and the Rioteers fell sadly short.
However not only was it tea of the season, but with the departing sun, the barbie was lit for the large crowd, and Yates, for it was he, led the way into the sausages.
The ropley fixture it is rumoured, was very close, and reports have reached this seasoned ear, that it came down to the last ball, with hall bowling and three being needed by the opp for the win.
Surely a seasons first win was in the bag?
Details are sketchy, and facts are few, but importantly not of tea, which was again excellent, especially the cream horns, a regular staple at Ropley, and an early front runner for tea of the season, whilst much beer was consumed after the game as the Rioteers faithful examined the unlikley events that transpired, as indeed a defeat was snatched from the jaws of a draw, as three were indeed smote off the final ball.
The first game of the season, and undefeated well into May, and a strongish Rioteers line up set out to the field, and with lowden and williams bowling in tandem all was good. Hall then came on, a few wickets fell, and the score mounted very slowly, and a couple of middle order partnerships hit some big strokes, and with south african Crichton making his rioteers debut, and in tandem with Brazier the score progressed increasingly slowly, but at tea the assembled Rioteers agreed 220 was very chaseable.
Not much to report on the tea front, but this also was very chaseable
Osman, Bickford, Yates, Hawthorne, Williams, Crichton, Brazier, Lowden, was not a bad batting line up.
However 5 of the top 6 got less than 3, with Bickford the only exception, who played the innings defining partnership with Mr X Tra, the regular Rioteer top scorer. We were all out for about 60, and retired to the Walnut Tree to nurse ourselves back to health.