Rioteers CC v Broadhalfpenny Brigands, 2nd July, 2017

On a glorious afternoon at the legendary cradle of cricket the might of the Rioteers took on the Brigands.   VC Bickford was again in charge and successfully called the coin toss and elected to field, no doubt in the hope that the Rioteers could follow the successful run chase of the week before at Bramshaw.

Rioteers opening bowlers were the seasoned Williams and the extremely seasoned Hall.  Both started right on the money and the Brigands openers were beaten on numerous occasions.  Hall then produced a beauty that nipped back and made of mess of the opener’s stumps.  Brigands then progressed steadily until Williams produced a rare half volley then was dispatched back past Bickford at short mid off…. or was it?  Like an aged Salmon desperately straining up river to reach the spawning grounds one last time Bickford flew to his right and plucked the ball  out of thin air.

Brigands then progressed steadily with the openers being replaced by Wood and Harrison “one boot” Hill.  With Hill bowling a tight line the Brigands looked to get after Wood.  But that was their mistake as their No.3 blasted a ball (“going like a tracer bullet” to quote Wood) through midwicket where Hawthorne stuck his right hand out and snared a catch to rival Bickford’s early effort.   Brigands then continued to accumulate steadily.  Other highlights for the Rioteers included a sharp stumping by Brazier S and by his own assessment three tidy and unlucky overs by Brazier R.  Needham also bowled a tidy spell and Harrison Hill despite the borrowed shoes again bowled very well snaring one wicket and being unlucky with other shouts.  Brigands declared with their total at 201-5.

Tea was again excellent with the homemade Strawberry cake being a particular highlight.

Rioteers opened with skipper Bickford and Brazier S.  Bickford departed relatively early and was replaced by Needham.  An excellent partnership then developed with both players passing 50 and the 100 partnership.  Needham then departed for 51, an excellent maiden Rioteers fifty.  He was replaced by Stafford who unfortunately got a good one first up.  He was replaced by Hawthorne who calmly stroked the hat trick ball to the cover boundary.  Another good partnership developed until with about 30 required Hawthorne managed to miss a straight one and was bowled for 27.  Wood then strode to the wicket and progressed at a run rate of 2 per ball (out second ball for 4).  He was then replaced  by Williams who played a beautifully paced cameo of 20 not out and in conjunction with Simon Brazier’s excellent 81 not out saw Rioteers to another fantastic victory on the first ball of the final over.

The team then repaired to the Bat and Ball pub to celebrate another Rioteers victory.

Rioteers CC v Bramshaw CC, 25 June, 2017

Our visit to Bramshaw for a match played in a wonderful spirit against splendid hosts provided a much needed shot of adrenalin to the heart and morale of anyone that had read the match report from the previous week.

Captain Bickers won the toss and elected to field first, based on the encouraging and not-at-all paranoia-inducing argument that “we only have two batsmen”.

Some fine bowling from our young and not-so-young attack, combined with some decent fielding, together with the sporting retirement of the opposition’s county-level batsman at 52 not out, kept Bramshaw’s total to 237 for eight. Archie H., Richard B. and Harry H. each took two wickets, the latter for an impressively economical 16. Matthew L. and Campbell W. took one apiece.

There was a moment of Dadaism when our hosts’ number 10 batsman was caught. The catch took place both in slow motion and in two, alternate worlds. Somewhere, in a dimension less apparent, Jim Shea celebrated his catch, relieved he hadn’t dropped it; in the dimension overseen by the bureaucrats, he experienced a similar mixture of emotions, but with the glory going to Archie, who had ghosted in to snatch the ball. Had these two triumphs happened in the same dimension things might’ve got very messy.

We had been set a chase-able target on a ground with some short boundaries. From the crease at the top of the hill cow corner was more like calf corner.

Our hosts provided a splendid tea, although Jim Shea’s pork-pie imperialism prevented everyone from sampling everything that was on offer.

Our opening three batsmen made a strong start—Jim Shea (21), Simon B. (57), and Captain Bickers (28) setting us up nicely. The contributions of the middle-aged order—Damian S. (10), Campbell W. (8), Robert R. (6)—were perfectly calibrated to cede the crease at just the right moment to the younger and wiser members of the team. Archie H. and Bertie H. were both in confident form and went on to make, respectively and in short order, 27 and 66 not out. This was Bertie’s first ever half century for the Rioteers.

The whole team was grateful for the assiduous umpiring of our injured club captain. A noteworthy moment came when Robert R. scored a rare five, running one and brilliantly obtaining four more from an overthrow courtesy of the absence of a coat of varnish that Bramshaw had omitted to add to the stumps.

In the last over, with six needed to win, Matthew L. had the strike, but fell gallantly on his sword on the third ball, making sure that he not Bertie H. got run out, and that Bertie got to face the final three balls of the match from Bramshaw’s Dorsetshire Death Bowler. On the fourth ball of the over, with six runs needed to secure a Rioteers win, Bertie smote farewell to the match ball in no uncertain terms, with a lovely, straight shot that cleared the fence by a long way. The ball, not retrieved, is still out there somewhere, its head spinning.

Bertie Hillier – 66 not out

The match was an occasion on which all rioteers were able to take pride in the cheerful manner in which we set about our endeavours. But special mention must go the match-winning performance of Bertie. Congratulations to him on the first of many half centuries.

Why do we play cricket? This game answered that question with poetic eloquence and in a beautiful setting.

Rioteers CC v Bryanston Butterflies, 18th June, 2017

Rioteers arrived with on paper and in all other respects a weak side.

Not something we planned but due to several availabilities the batting looked particularly fragile.

On the bowling front against a youngish BB side this looked weak too with Harrison aged 12 and 3 teenagers complimented by Lowden and our veteran Hampshire bowler Hall (72). Trying to post a reasonable score was our first challenge and much relied on Simon B posting a big score and others supporting him. Neither happened and we struggled to a paltry 84 all out by lunch.

Clearly we were never in the game. The skipper opened with Harrison and Archie H who tried their best as did Bertie H and Lowden but BB overtook our score in just 10.2 overs.

We believe this is our 51st year we have been invited by the BB’s having first played them in 1966 on the way home from the Yetminster tour.

It is a privilege to be offered a full day game and we hope they continue to invite us but we need to turn up with at least a side on paper that can give them a game.

Looking back this is probably our worst performance ever although many of you can remember them posting big scores and our struggling to reach them.

So the moral to the story is we must select a team to try and match them next year and no doubt we can.

Thank you BB’s for a splendid and expansive Lunch and Tea which we could not do justice to but fortunately Doc appeared to hoover up what was left.

Rioteers CC v Cadnam CC, June 11th, 2017

On Sunday, the world’s number 1 ranked team (South Africa) played arguably the world’s most accomplished all round side (India) at the same time as the Rioteers swaggered down to Cadnam.   Thousands of fans brought noise, colour and exuberance to one match, whereas the other had a legendary bread and butter pudding.

In both matches, the side batting first scored rather fewer than they would have hoped, which the other side knocked off to win by quite a few wickets, thanks to an innings from their star players, almost playing within themselves.

However, the Rioteers broke the recent pattern of fielding first at Cadnam and spending hours in the forest looking for a lost ball; of being bludgeoned physically and cricketing wise, and of hanging on for a draw almost from the first, and took the game to Cadnam, with noteworthy knocks from Cap’n Bix and Archie getting us to 176/9.

Whereas the only spark from SA was their (Theresa, not Peter) May-esque self-immolation of 3 comical run outs (one more than the Rioteers managed), as yet again, they limped out of a major tournament rather joylessly.

So as SA look to rediscover their true houding ;  their inner Jonty Rhodes – reincarnated as Hillier (B) this season it seems – their Lance Klusener grunt and their Peter/Shaun Pollock vim (delete according to vintage), they could do worse than observe the Rioteers’ renaissance and at least go down with some style.

Big shout out to debutants Tom (‘bowled well without luck’ – Bix) and Tim (‘a real find behind the stumps’) and a welcome back to Jim Slape (3 wickets for not very many) – we look forward to seeing you Rioteering again soon.

Next Sunday sees the Champions Trophy final and Rioteers v Bryanston – one a rather arriviste fixture of only passing interest and little quality or pedigree, the other (that’s enough of that – ed.)

(Braz has taken the scorebook to France for some light holiday reading, hence detail-lite match report).

Rioteers CC v Cheriton CC, June 4 2017

Cheriton (73 all out) v Rioteers, (159/9) June 4.  Rioteers win by 86 runs

The Rioteers bandwagon breezed into Cheriton on Sunday with Cap’n Bix at the helm for the second weekend running.  But even with Marty as assiduous scorer (and muttering about a trip to Warrens to get the full suite of coloured pens to take his scoring to the next level), it was the remaining range of Hilliers (J, A and B) who were to scribble their names over the game.

On a merkin-like pitch, the stolid, constipated, watchful Shea (4) / Bickford (13) opening partnership was broken only by a catch of breath-taking athleticism and brilliance from Bertie H,  guest-fielding for the oppo.  Not to be outdone, Archie H then went native by triggering the skipper on one that looked high and wide, even from the lounge bar of the Flower Pots.  At 2 down for not quite 30, the Rioteers were flirting with ignominy, with young Hilliers behind both wickets.

Cue masterful, uninhibited middle order batting from the Wood-ster (23), the serene James H (46) on a favoured ground of his, and an urgent Archie H (30), anxious to avoid his skipper’s wrath.  Bertie was then on the wrong end of an Old Testament decision from Bix (wrong Hillier, Dave), and Brazier walked after gloving a catch to the keeper (not the first one off his wrist that day, he confided loudly in the bar later) giving Cheriton some hope of keeping us below 150.  However, late hitting from Lowden and urgent running from Dessie got us to 159/9 – respectable on a (s)low pitch.

The highlights of the splendid tea were mini pork pies (jelly-free and no gap between meat and pastry) and wonderfully light scones.

Archie spent tea contemplating the yakuza ritual of yubitsome, the ritual cutting off of a finger to atone for a misdeed. But the need to offer Bix the iki yubi (the ‘living finger’ sacrificed by a transgressor to show atonement, often in the hope of escaping a heavier punishment) clearly motivated Archie, as first he took a stunning reaction catch at silly mid-on (‘just a bit closer, Archie’ – Bix) off a Lowden loosener, then clean bowled two (albeit one a with grubber) with the first two balls of his opening over, steaming down the hill.  Rioteer joy was compounded by another Lowden wicket, leaving Cheriton 5/4.

A mini-revival followed as they milked the left armers of Mills and Brazier, and Shea and Wood vied to drop the dolliest catch of the day.  Robert then catalysed a second wind by taking his debut Rioteers catch (technique, technique), Bertie showed off his wonderful arm with a runout from the deep, Brazier surprised a batsman by landing one on the stumps, and Woody opened up the lower order for Lowden (6.2 overs/4 maidens/3 wicket for 2 runs) and Archie (3 overs, 3 wickets for 5 runs) to wrap up the game with Cheriton on 76.

In late evening sunshine, the teams toasted the Rioteers first win of the season with some refreshing, chilled Vedett IPA (light, quaffable but not too hoppy – a beer with a somewhat different attitude) and a josh-filled banter-session in the Pots (with Marty rubbing his gammy knee, Archie counting his fingers and Dessie reminding us of his impressive strike rate as a bowler).

Hearty thanks to Cheriton for returning texts from NZ; getting a full complement (having been a team of 8 at 10am on matchday), but most of all for a wonderful game of cricket played the right way by all.

Quintessential village cricket indeed.

Rioteers CC v Alderney CC, 26 and 28 May 2017

Friday 20/20

6 Rioteers joined up with 5 from the Newport Inn CC at Braishfield to take on Alderney CC for a 20/20.

Alderney batted first and started slowly reaching 60 at the half way stage due to accurate bowling by Lowden and in particular Harrison Hill (aged 12) who bowled his allocated 4 overs with great accuracy picking up the wickets of Chadney and Ryan both with unplayable balls taking their off stump. Alderney moved on to post a decent score of 145 – 8.

Rioteers started slowly with Stafford going early before Simon Brazier and Brown steadied the ship and Ben was run out.

Simon remained and supported by Hardy then Light the score moved on to 141 after 19 overs. So 5 to win from the last over, Light struck a four to see Rioteers across the line with a ball to spare. Simon ending on 84 no.

A competitive match played in good spirit and on a beautiful evening at an idilic venue.

Sunday 35 overs (12 a side)

Rain was promised at 3pm as we arrived at the ground for an early BBQ . However apart from a few drops the rain stayed away for the duration of both the BBQ and the game.

Captain Bickford decided to bat first and we struggled to score at an acceptable rate getting to only 36 after 15 overs.

Only Slape (first game for Rioteers for 15 years!!) showed any authority over the Alderney bowlers. Even so we only posted 119 for our allocated 35 overs. Surely an easy target.

An excellent tea then followed prepared by the Rioteer ladies. Thanks go to them.

Alderney started their innings slowly too posting just 50 after 15 overs but well up with the run rate chasing such a small total. Wickets fell regularly with Archie Hillier and Lowden the pick of the bowlers early on. But Ryan was still at the crease and apart from Brazier snr picking up 2 late wickets inevitably our meagre total was looking likely to be over taken if their batsmen stayed put. However at we started the 30 th over Alderney was down to their last pair of batsmen so any result was possible. Malloy stayed strong and hit the winning 4 giving Alderney a well deserved victory by 1 wicket.

The Rioteers are always pleased to welcome Alderney on tour having been hosted by them in Alderney for so many years. We look forward to returning to the “Rock” next year for revenge.

Thanks go to James Light and the Newport Inn CC for allowing us to use their pitch and facilities once again.

Rioteers CC v Wickham CC, 21st May 2017

A new fixture … Wickham, just down the road from last week’s Hambledon.

Off the main road then down a farm track with the grass growing down the middle we gathered buoyantly at having found the ground.

What an idyllic spot overlooking Rookesbury park.

Simon arrived with Hugo making our eleven whilst we awaited the final five members of the opposition.

The toss was won and the skipper thought that it probably wasn’t cordial asking the hosts to field with only six and so opted to field first.

The opposition six however looked like a very competent youthful side and they set about us from the off. I’m not sure how soon the first six came but we didn’t have to wait long. The left handed 17-year-old whom they called Braz! seemed in somewhat of a hurry.

He did offer up a chance on about 20 which, uncharacteristically (although becoming less so), was spilled by the captain, sorry Matt.

Anyway after 8 overs the opening pair had put on 91.

The bowling was shared around at the bottom end, whilst Hally steadied the run rate at the top.

The young “Braz” was eventually caught, quite incredibly, by his senior namesake, one handed at deep mid-off.

Eventually tea came with Wickham having reached around 265 for 5 ish.

Tea was delicious with homemade being the order of the day.

Our two stout openers of Brazier S and Vice Skipper Bickers set about the task showing the youngsters what a “forward defensive in the first over” was. They carried the tutorial on through the following twenty overs. After the eighth we were 11 without loss, a solid start, youngsters take note!

Well their bowling was as intense as their batting … and fielding! To be fair, they had a handful of pretty useful young cricketers. We did manage to survive and Brazier snr and the skipper saw the draw home with grandson Harry unable to get “his man” at the end. Well done Pa.

It was good to have Hugo back and he did heft one mighty blow off the rapid “Braz” over the extra-cover boundary for six .

Next stop an Alderney weekend in Braishfield.

Rioteers CC v Ropley CC, 14 May, 2017

Our second game of the season had only two survivors from the opening game ,  Lowden and the skipper .  So the squad rotation policy had to come in to effect.

With some of the squad away on European duties, others held busy at home or at work, we managed to muster 10 Rioteers strong and true to face the might of Ropley.

Calling tails for the first time I won the toss and elected to bat.

A new opening partnership was tried and Brazier S  was joined by Tim Walder.

Things were going steady and after 40 minutes we had about  30 runs on the  board.

Tim had played himself in nicely and having seen off the opener thought about upping the run rate .

Unfortunately the first ball from the new bowler looked tasty enough but , maybe a lack of self- belief, Tim held back having middled it and picked out mid- off for a tame end to a promising start.

In came the skipper and looking to press on, missed timed an attempted heave to his natural area and was caught well at mid -on. 34-2

He was replaced by his son Bertie who was not happy going in at 4 and he soon joined his father back in the hutch, bowled by a well pitched up straight one.

Up stepped Williams C who left the pitch last year in Black tie. This year’s game being played on the Sunday was the day after the Trojans Dinner ! Slightly worse for wear  Campbell strode confidently to the wicket and together with Simon put on a much needed 100 partneship. Most of the runs however coming from the cultured bat of Brazier S.

Eventually they both succumbed, Simon hitting his first ton of the season and Campbell his first 30ish.

Simon Swales, who manages to injure himself on the majority of occasions he plays for the Rioteers, did it again and retired hurt top edging a classic pull shot splitting the bridge of his nose ! Hall replaced Simon and joined Brazier snr who tried hard not to trouble the scorers in the run in to tea. The final ball of our innings was apparently a complete debacle with Brazier trying everything to lose his wicket but only succeeded in taking the score to 167 for 6 probably 13 short of our target but enough to make a game of it.

Tea was taken and what a tea, Egg sandwiches, hot sausage rolls a variety of cakes and delicious meringues with cream.

Then on to defend our total.

Hall and Lowden opened up and were soon in the groove.

With only 10 of us in the field and trying to tame Ropley’s skipper and their Aussie overseas player it was going to be tricky. After an early run out by Campbell’s direct hit, the Aussie lost the ball  with a powerfully hit short arm punch through mid on off Hally. But after that the batting looked less fluent as John and Matt made it difficult which made the skipper’s job of field placing nice and simple. Dessie snapping at the batsmen from slip or there abouts keeping very much in the game ( watch for the spin though Dessie ! )

The bowling was shared around with Hillier B and his dad swapping at the top end while Williams and Brazier and Bertie with a second spell bowled up the slope.

Then after a couple of overs from Walder, our opening pair were called on again, all a bit late and Ropley passed our total with an over to spare.

Oh yes Braz got a wicket with a flying catch from Campbell ! I thought I wouldn’t be able to take him off as his second over looked like going on for ever and the wides were getting wider  See Brazier’s memoirs.

All in all a fair result –  Next week Wickham

Brazier’s Memoirs :

Just in case you need reminding. A helpful extract to include in your report:

” Ropley chasing a relatively small target were well on track and it was time ( somewhat belatedly some might say) to bring on  guile and experience. The ball was thrown to Braz snr and after a tidy (ish) first over he struck with his first ball of his second over thanks to a diving catch by Williams. As it was clear if he remained on the game would be over, so the captain replaced him with his son (nepotism !!!) and another opportunity of a Braz snr Ninefer was gone.”

Rioteers CC v Hambledon CC, 7th May 2017

A new season and a team packed full of Brazierless cricketing talent set sail with determination of mind and hope in their hearts. Could the new Captain get off to a good start? It didn’t look too promising when he promptly lost the toss and we were in the field. How wrong could we be …

First ball, a diving catch from Culmer and a wicket for Matt Lowden. The youthful Hambledon team were 1 for 0. What a start and against a team which recently took on England … well in 1790. What then followed can only be described as most un-Riotorious, as a series of catches were held, each more spectacular than the last. With three Hilliar’s in the team they were inevitably to the fore. Archie clean bowling batman No 2, James taking a regulation slip catch before a magnificent boundary catch which if I hadn’t seen with my own eyes I wouldn’t have believed it to be true and Captain M taking a screaming C&B to remove “their Aussie”. The stunned look on the shackle draggers face a joy to behold.

All of the bowlers kept manfully to their task and each chipped in with wickets. Matt and Martin taking 3 fors, Rioting debutant No1, John “Woody” Wood bowling a tight line (1 for 22), Jim Shea bowling the sort of spin that even he doesn’t know which way it’s turning (1 for 30) and Rioting Debutant No 2 and cricketing debutant No 1, Robert Rinaldo (yes Ladies and Gentlemen, we have signed Rinaldo) bowling two tight overs towards the back end of the innings.

This onslaught had Hambledon reeling at 100 – 9, even allowing for the inevitable sportsmanship of Shea chucking one of their best bats 3 leg-side full tosses in a row which were dispatched for 18 ! Hambledon threw everything at us, including a swarm of bees and interrupting the Captain’s hat trick ball with a drinks break. However, with the scent of victory in our nostrils, the team (and it was truly a team effort) pushed for that final wicket. A mixture of luck and good batting lead to a significant last stand before it finally fell with the oppo’ at 190 all out.

Whilst the game is about wickets, it would be remiss of me not to remark on the fielding of the whole team, which truly matched the catching. Again, magnificent has to be the word. A hitherto unknown athleticism seemed to infect the side, with diving stop’s and strong arms propelling the ball with laser accuracy over the top of the stumps so that wicketkeeper Hawthorne hardly had to move all day. The highlight being an actual run out. Matt Culmer prowling the boundary like a tiger stalking its prey, making a diving stop and arrowing his throw to the bowlers end, where Woody, who had time for a proverbial cup of tea, gentle removed the bails to confirm the demise of the batsman who had foolishly attempted a second run.

Tea was taken and it matched the fielding performance – magnificent. Cold meats, cheeses, pork pies, etc. etc. etc. right down to the doughnuts, all enthusiastically consumed by some more than others, isn’t that right James ?

The question on everyone’s lips over the millionaire shortbread was could this level of performance be transferred successfully to the batting. With a spring in their step the two openers carefully selected by the Captain, Bickers and Shea, marched purposefully towards the crease and took guard. Unfortunately, Shea was soon marching purposefully back again followed in reasonably quick order by Stafford and Hawthorne. 30 – 3 didn’t look promising but a decent stand by James H and Bickers took the total up to nearer 100 before Bickers fell for 37. James went on to complete an expansive but composed 50, ultimately falling for 56. Others to be mentioned in dispatches were the Captain (29) and Matt Culmer on 23 not out at the end.

Rinaldo came in for the final two overs (sadly he didn’t bat at 7). Concern was expressed after our now resident Canadian shouted strike 1 after his first ever ball, but he survived to complete his own unique hat trick – two overs bowled and 1 not out in his first ever game. Well done Sir.

A hard fought and very sporting draw with Rioteers finishing on 166 for 9, but ultimately, as always, cricket was the winner !

Finally, thanks to a very warm welcome from Mark and all at Hambledon CC and congratulations to whoever secured this fixture for the Rioteers. One I hope we play for many a year.