Rioteers CC v Racqueteers CC, 19 May 2019

In contrast to the bucolic locations typically visited by the Rioteers, this Sunday’s game took place beneath the apathetic, metropolitan glower of downtown Winchester’s skyscrapers, graffiti, ennui, and menace (just down the road from the nihilistic, metropolitan sneer, lassitude, menace, etc. of the home of the Rioteers’ match manager for this fixture – Ed.).

We had an unfamiliar environment—less P.G. Wodehouse idyll, more J.G. Ballard dystopia—in which to face a new opponent – Winchester’s splendid Racqueteers.

In spite of the Rioteers’ team bus having been bombarded with flares and copies of the Hampshire Chronicle as it navigated the one-way system en route to the ground, the scene on arrival at River Park was none the less pleasant in its own, urban-chic sort of way. One advantage of playing in the centre of a booming metropolis is that the game attracts a crowd, providing the opportunity to advertise the beautiful game to the various extras from Blade Runner that regularly venture past the field of play. The Rioteers and their hosts were for the afternoon ambassadors – of élan, skill, composure, and sportsmanship.

Captain Marty won the toss (I think) and elected for us to bat first, in a T35 game.

To see out their thirty-five-over innings the Rioteers only needed six batsmen (and could have done without their number four Damian Stafford who was bowled for nought). The other five did extremely well. Openers Colonel Bickers and Captain Marty scored 67 and 70 before being out LBW and caught respectively. Sam Cook (without an E) scored a rapid 55 before being caught. Damian came and went. Chris Folley and Jim Shea then took us home with a composed 16* and a lively 33* respectively.

While this was happening the beautiful game was providing its usual opportunities for multi-tasking including an interesting discussion among non-batting and non-umpiring Rioteers about tectonic and volcanic and other earthquake-related conditions in New Zealand, during which John Hall provided an explanation, of the phenomenon of liquefaction, that at the very least matched the élan, skill and composure shown on the field by five of our six batsmen. While your reporter feels he now has under his belt a rudimentary understanding of the process, it is recommended that those fellow Rioteers not lucky enough to have been present at this discussion wishing to be edified by someone with both erudition and gravitas seek out John for a recap.

In the meantime, the Rioteers had accrued a very competitive score of 251/4.

Given the match was being held in the metropolis—“the world’s behind”, as Lemmy famously dubbed it—a gentil, between-innings tea was deferred in favour of a post-match bender in the nearest Wetherspoons.

The Racqueteers’ batting was good, with several impressive performances including Corbett and Gulliford scoring 71 and 66 before being bowled out. All seven Racqueteers batsmen that lost their wicket did so by being bowled by an in-form Rioteers attack. The Racqueteers’ openers were removed by John and Matt, following which Sam beat the batsman three times, Bertie twice. The Racqeteers ended their innings on 221/7, at which juncture we headed to the pub to be treated by our splendid hosts to sausages, chips and beer, not necessarily in that order.

Thank you to our wonderful hosts, the Racqueteers, who I trust will forgive the poetic licence (gross disinformation – Ed.) taken in this report in describing the River Park ground and King Alfred pub. We look forward to teaming up with you in September of this season to welcome French touring side Catus to the metrop., and to sharing the beautiful game with you again next season.

Rioteers CC v Hambledon CC, 5 May 2019

Today’s match report comes to you courtesy of the Stafford Cricket Article Template (SCAT®). It is open-source and therefore available for use by any match managers that might be struggling with writer’s block, as I am at the moment. A copy of the template may be acquired here.

After the previous week’s draw with St Mary Bourne, an optimistic Rioteers team today enjoyed the splendid hospitality of Hambledon in beautiful surroundings, under a cloudy sky.

We were captained by the inimitable Colonel Bickers, who was generous enough to share with his team-mates his key, possibly only, tactic: it’s all about where you put your fielders – a concern that would be especially important today as the grandmaster only had ten pieces at his disposal to move around the board.

Your correspondent doesn’t remember who won the toss, but the Rioteers fielded first, bringing in to play immediately our only tactic, I mean strategy …

Hambledon batted well, with five of their eleven scoring in to double figures, most notably Seb Duggan, who was run out for 61. Four of the opposition were caught. Yes, you read that correctly. After the previous week’s drop-fest, in which even several sandwiches at tea were fumbled over the sides of plates, it was hard to recognise this sharp, responsive Rioteers fielding unit. Perhaps it was all owing to the Colonel’s placement; we stopped and caught everything that was to be stopped and caught. After Simon made a majestic dive to dismiss Hambledon’s number 8 on four runs, catching him twice–first time spilling the ball upwards, only for gravity to plonk it back in to his still upturned, grateful glove–our great leader rightfully took a moment to congratulate himself aloud on having had the foresight to place a wicket keeper behind the stumps – an important lesson for all budding captains on the subtler arts of the game. The quality of the Rioteers’ bowling matched that of its fielding (and placement decisions), with Brazier R 1/11, Palmer 1/22, Lowden 3/57, and Cook 4/25.

Hambledon ended their innings on 175/10, thereby setting their opponents a total that was competitive yet chaseable.

Tea was absolutley marvellous, with Hambledon’s hospitality providing lovely food almost as good as the company of those providing it.

Sam Cook and Simon Brazier opened for the Rioteers, with each showing contrasting approaches to the task at hand, such that speculation mounted that Sam might reach his fifty before Simon got off the mark, an event that might well have occurred had Sam not been bowled on 33 when he looked settled for a longer stint where Captain Bickers had placed him. Simon batted on well, being stumped quite some time later on 21. Other batting performances to note include Robert Rinaldo’s 8 made up of two boundaries, and a characteristically zesty 10 from Richard Brazier who came in at number ten. Our number six batsman Ralph Palmer scored very quickly an impressive 32, including 4 fours and a wonderfully struck, flat maximum over cow (and car) corner which cleared the vehicles, and the fence, easily. As we were only ten players Hambledon, in typically sporting fashion, suggested that Matt Lowden bat at number eleven once his stint at number nine had come to its close (the scorer said, “Lucky chap”).

The Rioteers ended their innings on 122/10 to leave Hambledon celebrating a deserved win and our Colonel musing on the placement of his battalion (sorry to all readers for this – Ed.). Thank you Hambledon for a great afternoon of cricket.

Stafford Cricket Article Template (SCAT®)

SCAT is an open-source (MIT licence) resource, available for use by any match managers that might be struggling with writer’s block.

A [youthful|hopeful|superb|battle-hardened|burly|ugly|cheerful|forlorn|seemingly randomly cobbled-together] Rioteers team today enjoyed the hospitality of [host team’s name here] in beautiful surroundings and in [insert weather conditions here] weather.

[Insert philosophical or other musings here – if you have any. Avoid religion.]

[Political observations: this section is best avoided, only to be used if match day coincides with a General Election, even in which case please don’t share for whom you voted as it might be the end of several beautiful friendships.]

[Team name] won the toss and elected to [bat|(what?)].

[First innings cricket. Highlight skilful performances actually related to cricket.]

[First innings whimsy. Highlight amusing incidents possibly only tangentially related to cricket – the more surreal the better.]

[Team name] ended their innings on [runs] / [wickets], thereby setting their opponents a total that was [competitive|eminently chaseable|seemingly insuperable|laughable|woeful].

Tea was [competitive|eminently chaseable|seemingly insuperable|laughable|woeful]. [Expand a bit at this juncture.]

[Second innings cricket. Highlight skilful performances actually related to cricket.]

[Second innings whimsy. Highlight amusing incidents possibly only tangentially related to cricket – the more surreal the better.]

[Team name] ended their innings on [runs] / [wickets] to earn a [glorious victory|tight win|equitable draw|undeserved draw|unlucky defeat].

Rioteers CC v St Mary Bourne CC, 28 April 2019

The afternoon got off to a fair start with as many as 10 of the 11-man squad present for duty at the allotted time.  The 11th man having to rest after an over strenuous warm-up the evening before.  There was an important introduction to be made as the team was introduced to Sam Cook who was making his debut after a lifelong ambition to represent the Rioteers – he had travelled 12,000 miles to ensure his dream could be realised.  A fine effort by anyone’s standard. 

The skipper won the toss and elected to bowl, and it was noted that the temperature and dappled sunshine made a far more pleasant experience than the corresponding fixture 12 months prior – which was arctic-like.  That was until the 6th over when one of the opening batsman, who was eager to score from the off, top edged a hook and the ball went skyward.  Not believing his luck and already mentally writing up his skilful feat of wicket-keeping mastery for the match report, yours truly duly called “mine” and then made a royal blunder of epic proportions.  The ball dropped to the ground as the fielders gazed in disbelief.  Bowler Matt, was gracious on the surface at least!

Unfortunately, this set the tone as at least 8 chances were dropped during the rest of the increasingly cool afternoon!  Needless to say, the dropped batsman went on to make plenty of runs and retired hurt to give some of his comrades a bit of middle practice.  Both openers made big fifties before there was a rally of sorts by the tourists after the drinks break.  Skipper (Martin Hillier) had seen enough and brought himself on to bowl.  This change of pace seemed to confuse the batsmen and he trapped one LBW and had another stumped by the keeper – who having seen his comrades spill multiple catches, was feeling part of the gang again!

Skips then put his cousin George on to bowl from the same end and having not played since Ropley five years ago, rolled back the years with some fine bowling, generating both pace and bounce.  He was duly rewarded with a snick to his other cousin behind the stumps who gratefully snaffled the one and only successful catch of the inning!

Matt came back on to bowl the last over before tea and, having bowled so well at the beginning with no reward (thanks to indifferent fielding), succeeded with 2 wickets.  There were other highlights too.  Pace and youth in the form of cousins Bertie and Sam – genuinely hurried the batsmen – and on another day would have both taken a hatful of wickets.  Robert Rinaldo’s continuing guile and agility shone all afternoon.  Damian’s brave fielding putting every part of his body on the line, and invariably in line with the ball.  James Whiting, back by popular demand, delivered a pot pourri of assorted deliveries that fair bamboozled batsmen and keeper alike.  Special mention must also go to Braz, though it pains me to say it, whose set of overs were tidy even against the batsman who was “in”.

Tea came and quickly went.  Then out strode Sam and Matt to launch the Rioteer reposte.  They didn’t disappoint, with double figures appearing on the score board before Matt fell to Brennan Bulpitt who bowled her opposite number in the second over.  This brought the wiley Whiting to the crease to join Sam – by now starting to stroke the ball beautifully around the park.  James also batted with aplomb and the pair put on another 70 runs before he succumbed on a total of 28.  Sam followed in the same over, for 45 runs, to one that “didn’t bounce as much as it would have in New Zealand”!  Sam had given great impetus to the inning and victory was certainly on the cards.  However, with 2 new batsmen at the crease the innings had to build again.  George (20-ish runs) and Bertie (26?) both set about the task diligently, and by the time their 50-run partnership ended were getting the run rate back on track. 

Martin and I were next up, with victory 12 overs away at about 8 an over.  After some lusty blows, however, the skipper departed which brought Damian to the middle.  After looking solid for an over or so, one nipped back and took his off-bail – and with it the hope of victory.  Veteran Richard “Braz” Brazier came chuntering to the crease.  Complaining it was a tactical miscalculation for him to be batting so low in the order, he grimaced through the next few overs against everything the opposition could throw at him like a seasoned war-horse.  Roberto was still back in the hutch as insurance, but in the end was not needed as the draw was played out.

Thank you to our hosts, St Mary Bourne, for a most enjoyable game and allowing us to play this form of declaration cricket.  Also, thanks to the George Inn for the post-match entertainment.  We hope to see you all again next year.

The last word must go to man of the match, Sam (whose mum, Kate née Hillier, erstwhile Rioteer scorer 1990-1992-ish and only female ever to have been officially allowed on tour), for successfully completing his rite of passage and becoming a Rioteer!

Rioteers CC v. Wield CC, 16 September, 2018

The third man

The route from Sheffield to Lower Wield is not regularly travelled, however our number three batsman left at 7am, and after a hearty northern breakfast of roast whippet and two slices of gravy, arrived at the Yew Tree at midday in the aforementioned suburb of Alresford, and in singular glory ordered the chicken jambalaya, and a pint of the landlords most refreshing tonic.

Basking in the late autumnal sunshine, and with only the quiet meanderings of Hampshire’s finest pub to occupy his thoughts, the third of the Rioteers strokesmen, relaxed and allowed his mind to drift.

Eventually, and before the minds travels were completed, the team arrived, and sausages were quickly ordered and dispatched, the Jambalaya retired undefeated, the merits of GPS, sat nav, and following your nose were discussed, Brazier turned up, injured, with only 13 functioning ribs, and then refreshments drained the mighty XI, walked the long eight yards to the pitch.

A strong XI with returns from Walder and Green, and a youth policy bordering on the sensible, our numero trois watched the skipper trudge up the long hill from toss success, and announce a batting foray, and himself and Walder in, over 100 years of experience, and things progressed smoothly on the rock hard bowl, until Walder submitted to a well taken caught and bowled.

Our batting ménage a trois became two as they crossed halfway down the slope, and our eponymous hero solidly repelled the first couple of deliveries with ease under the watchful eye of the young Hillier ( A) officiating into the sun.

Into the final third however and this delivery pitched, slowed and clipped a high trailing thigh, leading to the slow lifting of the first digit by the young official, and the long trudge uphill of our tertiary willower commenced, for a duck.

The rest of the innings was passed by our protagonist in glorious sunshine just over the high boundary, watching the Rioteers solidly batt until reaching tea on 168 for 8, with Brazier not out 11, having been restored to his rightful position of 7.

As ever with the Wield, the tea was an absolute winner, the tea of the year trophy being retained once more, and the Rioteers went back for seconds and indeed, date I say, thirds, but the gargantuan feast remained barely troubled even with the trenchermen Walder Green and Williams, well supported by the second smallest of Braziers future Rioteers who displayed an admirable enjoyment of the lemon drizzle.

Then in the still resplendent sunshine our northern emissary, re-took his position, but this time just inside the boundary, at, well, Third man, and there he remained, about 20 yards from his original hostelry pew, until with about 10 overs remaining and the Wield oppo on 78 for 5, it was realised that it would be more sensible to bring him in.

Greeting his colleagues for the first time, he proceeded to watch the Wield block out the remaining 10 overs with the Rioteers unable to make any impression upon the remaining batsmen, and the match ended in a slow draw, despite the best (and worst) endeavours of three Hillier bowlers.

Retiring to whence he came, and a further refreshing tonic, our third man, reflected on a day well spent, if you’re going to travel 5 hours, on a stomach lined only with roast whippet, get a three ball duck and field at third man all day, then there are very few better places to do it.

Rioteers CC v. Chute CC, 9 September, 2018

The quintessential Rioteers match report traditionally carries an excess of metaphor, simile, allegory, and symbolism, exemplified below.

‘Brazier’s left arm carried the threat of a cold sponge pudding.’

‘nestled within the idyllic surroundings, the pedigree Herefords stood warily at long leg as Williams approached the crease’

‘We may define liberty, then, in Leonard Read’s felicitous phrase, as the absence of man-concocted restraints upon creative human action. At the ideal, each man should be entitled to manage his own life and to seek his own destiny as he sees fit, so long as he observes the equal and reciprocal freedom deserved by every other man. Such a concept limits the role of the state—the official restraining force imposed upon society—to preven­tion of aggression and coercive set­tlement of disputes by rules of common justice.

‘Hillier moved the field.’

However, this would be to simplify the occasion of our visit to Lower Chute.

A glorious sunny late autumn afternoon at a new and delightful venue, and the Rioteers, gathered promptly at 1.55 for the 1.30 start, and proceedings began at 2.20, with the opposition electing to bat. With Hall and Hillier (A) opening the bowling on a pitch of sometimes variable bounce (Halls tended to bounce), and with Hillier (j) sterling behind the stumps, the tight Rioteers fielding stopped many firmly struck balls.

Others may have taken catches but it kept the run rate low, but wickets were not falling.

Hall took the first and then with an early bowling change, Williams came on, Hall went off, Mills came on, and in tandem with Mills, and then Hillier, rattled through the middle order. With Boundaries on the big outfield hard to come by, we reached tea with the Oppo on 130 for 5, with the pick of the batting being Gairdiner dispatching Mills way over the aforementioned Herefords and Anya (3) sensibly playing a solid 33.

A chaseable target with the Rioteers batting all the way down to the tail, the thoughts at tea were not about the variety of cakes and sandwiches on offer, but about the oportunity of a late season win.

However thoughts turned and the bowlers exhausted after a long effort in the afternoon sunshine, tucked in, and then went back for a delicious second, maybe with another refreshing cup of tea.

After the third outing to the now depleted table, an aghast wicket keeper noted the oppo batsmen had not taken their pads off, and so after tea, the heavily laden pace attack trundled back out, not quite so quickly.

But the Rioteers are nothing if not resilient, and pressed on, whittling the remaining batsmen out, before the Chute batsmen declared with Ahl (E) not out 1 on his debut.

A quick change around, and Shea and Williams, with a previous best partnership of 99 set about a quick assault on the 156 target.

Well, Williams set about a quick assault, notably on the offside, with Shea Cook-like at the other end.

Williams eventually drilled a quick full toss straight and hard into midwickets waiting hands, followed by Hilliers (J), (B) and (M) making little impact on the scorers before departing, courtesy of some tight Chute bowling, and good wicket keeping from the skipper.

Shea however was still limpet like moving towards his half century, but the overs were coming down. Solid partnerships with Stafford, and Nandy saw the team score creeping up, but with shadows lengthening and the large crowd growing increasingly vociferous, grew confident of a home win with Nandy run out leaving Hillier (A) to come to wicket with Shea with 20 needed off the last 3 overs.

A previously unseen part of Shea game soon came to the fore with pacy singles and twos at every opportunity, and his fifty was reached to great applause from the side. The target was creeping down but so were the overs, 5 still needed off the last and with Archie (H) facing, the field came in, the ball went out, for four, and the game was level, with the winning shot coming with three balls left, and Mills, Hall and Brazier still in the hutch.

An excellent game, a trademark Rioteers win, great keeping from Hillier (J) and a terrific unbeaten 50 for Shea.

The Rioteers, led by half centurion Jim, attacked with gusto, like a fox in a henhouse, the various beers on offer at the post match hostelry, but the pub was the Fox, and a fox in a Fox is quite a messy metaphor, and these should be avoided like the plague.

All this tees us up nicely for next week at the Wield.

Rioteers CC v Crawley Crows CC, 5 August, 2018

The sunshine was turned up to full volume, as might’ve been Edward Elgar’s second symphony, as the Rioteers converged upon the pastoral, sun-dappled, English idyll of the Crawley Crows’ cricket ground. The quintessentially English music was replaced by The Ride of the Valkyries as those Rioteers arriving by bike rode over the horizon to join their comrades, the excitement and anticipation rising as players and families gathered and the start of the match approached.

Captain Hillier won the toss. The Rioteers were batting first. The deep reassurance and Scandinavian élan of Sibelius sounded out as Dave Bickford opened the batting with a Nordic calm that was to anchor our innings. The sweet music was briefly and rudely interrupted by the crass, flatulent thoughtlessness of Perez “Prez” Prado as our number two batsman Damian Stafford neither defended nor properly attacked his first and only ball, guiding it in to the grateful hands of the bowler. Dave was subsequently joined in the middle by James Hillier, the first movement of whose bat sounded the opening notes of Rachmaninov’s first piano concerto. James went on to make 105 before retiring – his innings providing, perhaps even exceeding, the majesty of Rachmaninov, by first impressing the crowd with a subtle, quiet beauty before building up to the confident allegro and fortissimo of the third and fourth piano concertos. Congratulations to James, whose innings included eighteen 4s and three 6s. After James retired, Dave was joined by the tuneful Robert Rinaldo (6), Bertie Hillier (20), Joe Stafford (who hit the ball well but was unluckily stumped at the end of his first over), Martin Hillier (4, retired), Jim Shea (a melodic 7 not out), and Wilf Hillier (0 not out). During this time Dave’s masterful performance was eventually ended on 71 in the dark, brooding, Nordic winter of an LBW decision. We’d scored 244 / 5, thereby setting Crawley a total that was [ competitive / eminently chaseable / seemingly insuperable * delete as appropriate ].

Crawley provided a tea that was [ competitive / eminently chaseable / seemingly insuperable * delete as appropriate ], during which the sun continued to shine, and the players and families were once more accompanied by Edward Elgar.

As the Rioteers took to the field the mood music switched from classical to rock ‘n’ roll. The Rioteers turned their bowling up to eleven, and strummed away at Crawley’s batting line up which finished on 177 / 8. The Crows’ opening batsman Martin White carried his bat with 65*. We can only wonder how many G Cummings might have made had he not had to retire owing to what the scorer unsympathetically noted as “ball on balls!”. Other than these performances, run-scoring was very limited owing to the following, impressive bowling figures: Matthew Lowden (1/23); Archie Hillier (0/23); Bertie Hillier (1/23); John Hall (2/36); Martin Hillier (1/27); Robert Rinaldo (3/12). The following bands were playing during each bowler’s spell, respectively: Nick Cave; Jake Bugg; alt-j; The Beatles; The Velvet Underground; Jimi Hendrix (turned up beyond eleven!). The only interruption to these glorious sounds came when our captain decided to change the music, inexplicably selected Perez “Prez” Prado once again, and pressed play. “Prez” built on his lamentable batting performance both by once again offending everyone’s eardrums and by breaking the Crawley record for the longest over ever bowled (previous record – eighteen balls) with a horrible nineteen-ball rendition. Joe Stafford and Wilf Hillier were both very busy in the field, chasing, stopping and returning everything in an inspirational manner. They were the electric Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding providing the verve and tempo for Brinaldo’s Jimi Hendrix and the other bowlers.

Thank you to our splendid hosts and friends at Crawley. And finally – congratulations once more to James Hillier on his century. Here he is in action …

Rioteers CC v Newport Inn CC at Braishfield on Sunday, 22nd July 2018

In the bucolic setting of Braishfield, bathed in the unaccustomed warmth of this unusual summer, the Rioteers put in a performance as rare as the weather and one which befitted the glorious tea provided by our opponents. However, not all omens were auspicious at the start: the opposing captain was obliged to point out some ominous cracks in the outfield which aroused concern for the unwary fieldsman, but also speculation as to their origin. Fanciful thoughts of tectonic activity were ruled out by your correspondent in favour of the more prosaic explanation that Tertiary sedimentary rocks such as clay are prone to contraction when dried out.

A further problem soon became apparent: for a match designated as 12 a side, the Rioteers turned up with 13 players! Your correspondent, now less certain of his ground, (please excuse the geological pun) acknowledged responsibility and was rescued by Dessie’s generous offer to umpire.

Thus, with the nonsense resolved, the game began with the Rioteers put in to bat. Another unusual aspect of this far from ordinary game was that Simon Brazier, although present, was not to open the visitors’ innings; rather, Martin Hawthorne, (30 runs) and Dave Bickford (23) did so and provided all the impetus of a fine opening stand. When the former was bowled by a Yorker, James Hillier strode to the crease with all the confident authority of a batsman intent upon a major innings. So it proved: with one 6 and eight fours, James played the dominant role in a fine partnership with Simon, (demoted to?) number four in the batting order. After reaching his fifty, James trudged off to the bewilderment of most players on the field. Was he retiring to give others a chance? Was he simply knackered? Apparently he had injured his Achilles but knowledge of the reason appeared to engender little sympathy from his colleagues. Simon went on to make an elegant 36 but only one other Rioteer managed to exceed the total number of extras, 12, namely Bertie Hillier who made 14 and appeared to be cutting loose when he was bowled. (Your correspondent hesitates to offer the advice to Bertie that moving one’s feet might enhance the chance of batting survival, on the grounds that he himself achieved a first ball duck.) One other item typified what “friendly cricket” is all about when young Charlie Light came in to bat and was bowled at for several overs by the even younger Wilf Hillier. Hopefully both will go on to enjoy the game and play often for these long established rival teams. Rioteers declared at tea with 185 for 10. (Declared with 10 wickets down? Yet more Sunday nonsense! And so much the better for it.)

So to that sumptuous tea: prawn cocktail sandwiches, fresh strawberries and a variety of cakes were just some of the delights. Would the Rioteers suffer the consequences of their indulgence when they went into the field?

Apparently not. Hall took a wicket in the first over and here credit must be given to the home umpire who was prepared to raise his finger after just 3 deliveries upon hearing the cry for lbw. At least sportsmanship is still present in Sunday Village Cricket if not in some of the higher levels of the game.

Thereafter, Newport Inn’s wickets fell at regular intervals, not because of problems with the wicket which was less affected by drought than was the outfield, but because of some fine bowling and fielding. Campbell Williams started the rot with 2 wickets for 13 runs, abetted by a fine catch from Simon behind the stumps and by Bertie at mid-off for a peach of a dismissal well above his head as he ran backwards. Both Bertie (1 for 10) and brother Archie (3 for 13) bowled fast so that only Dick Travers managed a substantial innings (22 not out) for Newport. Wilf, Andy Mills, Richard Brazier and skipper, Martin Hillier who also took 2 good catches, all took a wicket so that Newport Inn CC were finally bowled out for the infamous score of 111!
Result: Rioteers won by 74 runs. More importantly, a sunny afternoon in the English countryside was much enjoyed by both sides.

Rioteers CC v Broadhalfpenny Brigands CC, 1 July 2018

So Rioteers again graced the cradle of cricket. Walking in the steps of the founders of the modern game and Victorian greats such as WG Grace, Gilbert Jessop and Richard “9fer” Brazier.

Unusually the Brigands were down to 9 players and Damian honourably offered to play for them to even matters up as 10 a side. I think he just fancied facing our bowlers!

In the absence of the skip and vice, Hawthorne took on role of captain. He went out for the toss with the very clear instructions to win the toss and bat on another sweltering day. As per usual he lost the toss, however the Brigands helpfully decided to bowl first.

The Rioteers innings was opened by the skipper in partnership with Simon Brazier. The innings progressed nicely with an open partnership of circa 70 until Hawthorne went for an expansive drive against the spinner and failed dismally and was bowled for 27.

He was replaced by deputant Josh Hasdell who contributed a brisk and entertaining 14 before being replaced by our South African ringer Neil Winspear. He set about the Brigands bowling with some glee including two huge sixes. In the meantime Simon had secured yet another 50. Unfortunately he soon departed for a very tidy 60. He was replaced by Williams, who had been keen to point out that he was averaging 79 with the bat this season. Suffice to say he kept to the 9 part of the average!

Winspear also fell soon after for a brisk and high quality 35. However, at this point we some 35 runs shy of the desired 200 mark. But no fear an excellent partnership between Harrison Hill and our own baseball convert Rinaldo who both scored excellent 15s in rapid time saw the Rioteers to a challenging 201 for 6.

The team then repaired to the marquee for the usual high quality tea with the strawberry meringues being a particular highlight

The West Indies had the 3 Ws, but they didn’t have the 2 Hs! The bowling was opened by the might of the two Hs with the small matter of some 56 years between their respective ages. Hall gracefully agreed to bowl up the hill (and over!) to allow Hill to bowl down Hill! With both bowlers keeping it tight Brigands struggled to build momentum. Hill then got two quick wickets including one courtesy of a spectacular full length diving catch by Hasdell at first slip.

Both were then replaced by the might of Williams medium pace and the guile and flight of Hasdell. The Brigands opener was still in and was starting to look really threatening. However, he was fooled by Williams complete mastery of the slower bowl and knock one back to the bowler who gleefully celebrated the caught and bowled of their star bat.

Williams continued to make in roads to the Brigands batting including a good catch by Hill in the covers getting rid of our very own Stafford.

Hawthorne then turned to the partnership breaking talents of Rinaldo who dutifully obliged with an excellent first ever LBW in his first over.

Winspear replaced the unlucky Hasdell and outlined his all rounder credentials with an excellent spell including two wickets on his Rioteers debut.

The skipper was then able to turn again to Hill to mop up the tail and he dutifully obliged by getting their last man to pop up a catch to Hawthorne.

Rioteers VICTORY for the first time this year! An excellent team performance with solid batting, bowling and fielding from the whole team.

The victorious team then decanted across the road to The Bat and Ball to celebrate their win inn the usual manner.

Rioteers CC v Cadnam CC, 10 June 2018

On the journey to today’s game at Cadnam three Rioteers discussed, among other things, the fact that the first international cricket match was played between Canada and the United States on 24 and 25 September 1844, and that Great Britain beat the USA to become the first baseball world champions in 1938. We ruminated on the counter-intuitive, mixed-up nature of these facts.

On the journey home from today’s game three Rioteers contemplated several matters including but not limited to: capitalism; the increasing divide between rich and poor; the privatisation of the NHS; Greek philosophy; the (significant) influence of Indian philosophy on early Greek philosophy; that Greek culture is the sine qua non of the culture of the Roman Empire in particular and of Europe more generally; that, possibly, Indian culture is the sine qua non of Greek culture. And so on and so forth. We ruminated on the awe-inspiring nature both of history and what the future may bring.

In between these conversations there had taken place a game of cricket, the effect of which had clearly been to sharpen the wit and expand the intellectual horizons of this surely representative cross-section of Rioteers.

Thank you for reading the match report. Those that wish to delve in to the finer detail of what went on between the above conversations are welcome to read the appendix, below.


Our captain ordered me not to use the word “hubris” in today’s match report, so I shan’t. Martin won the toss and elected for the Rioteers to bat.

Honourable mentions on the batting front should go to Jim Slape and Bertie Hillier, both of whom got in to double figures, and to Simon and Dougal Swales, father and son with the thankless task of trying to score as many as they could in the last few balls. Now, while Rome may not have been built in a day,  openers Campbell Williams (1) and Martin Hillier (2) managed to spend a glorious hour(-ish) building for the Rioteers a partnership and the foundations of an innings of which Romulus and Remus could only have dreamed (had they known about cricket, which they did not, only having had boring Greek Olympic sports from which to draw inspiration). These magnificent gladiators scored 98 and 72 respectively, upon the Doric, Ionic and what-have-you columns of which the Rioteers ended up posting a very respectable score of 216 for 8 off 40 overs.

For completeness of this appendix, batting scores appear below, together with a picture of son and father leaving the field in an emotionally charged moment.

It was a humid, sunny and hot afternoon. Everyone needed refreshment and, as always at Cadnam, a banquet was provided that might have made Caligula blush. Tea was, simply, an Epicurean delight (although it should be noted that referring to Epicurus’ thinking in relation to food in this way is to misunderstand and misrepresent the great man’s meaning, as a representative cross-section of Rioteers may have discussed on the way home). Thank you so much to our splendid hosts for their hospitality.

For completeness of this appendix, here is a picture of Campbell about to enjoy his tea. He batted so peerlessly that none of his teammates felt qualified to join him.

Cadnam batted confidently, with a strong top order that scored 25, 26, 78 and 37 respectively. A not insignificant number of wides and suchlike also contributed an extras score of 36 to what was a deserved victory for the hosts of 219 for 4 off 31 overs. It is worth noting that the Rioteers’ fielding was energetic and committed, which bodes well for the rest of the season.  Although he took no wickets, John Hall was our most parsimonious bowler, giving away only 26 runs off 8 overs (2 maidens). Congratulations to Dougal Swales on taking his first wicket for the Rioteers, beating the bat of Cadnam’s number four batsman Godfrei and hitting middle stump. Richard Brazier bowled Cadnam’s number five. Jim Slape got two wickets, the second of which was during an epic, Russian-novel of an over that began with several wides that had the planned soporific effect on the batsman prior to the (also planned) sucker-delivery straight on to the stumps.

For completeness of this appendix, bowling scores appear below, obviously.