Honours Board (5 wickets, 70 runs/100 runs from 2014)
2009 Bowling Batting
T. Montfort Bebb 5-12 v. The Grannies F. Greenish 86 v. The Invalids
T. Davy 5-16 v. Sussex Martlets
2010 Bowling Batting
T. Hely-Hutchinson 90* v. The HAC
2011 Bowling Batting
N. Hely-Hutchinson 6-32 v. The Grannies M. Nash 115*, A.J. Scott-Gall 113* v. Brook House
2012 Bowling Batting
T. Kittoe 75 v. A Few Good Men
2013 Bowling Batting
N. Hely-Hutchinson 6-57 v. The Grannies N. Hely-Hutchinson 70 v. The Grannies
T. Davy 5-23 v. I Zingari H.Scott-Gall 93* v. The Butterflies
G.Briggs 5-7 v. Chelsea Arts Club
T. Davy 5-38 v. Sussex Martlets M.Symonds 79 v. Sussex Martlets
2014 Bowling Batting
B. Langman 5-22 v. Refreshers H.Fry 122* v. Hornets
J. Kemmis-Betty 5-25 v. Hornets E Turner 118 v. Sussex Martlets
2015 Bowling Batting
G Davison 5-6 v. Dotties
J. Kemmis-Betty 5-8 v. Chelsea Arts Club
S. Roundell 5-16 v. Butterflies
D. Nelson 5-45 v. Kenya Kongonis
2016 Bowling Batting
. F. Greenish 101 v Stoats
2017 Bowling Batting
. A Bone 102* v Griffin
2017 Season Match Reports
17/09/2017 – Armadillos v. Sussex Martlets – 35 over Match – Lost by 39 runs
Martlets 173 for 6 (Jack Bebb 2-18, Nick Ratcliffe 56*, Hector Loughton 55); Armadillos 134 (Alex Kerr 66, Derrick Asham 4-29)
As you read the scoreline I hear you mutter “a traditional end to the season for Dills”, and you would be right. However, despite the keen, if rather ham-fisted fielding effort and the very earnest, if paltry contribution that is typical from a late season Armadillos top order, there was more to this game than can be inferred from a humble scoreline. Regrettably your first instinct about the cricket is spot on, but it was more about what went before, and indeed what went after that shall remain with me.
For those of you who weren’t checking their weather apps at 15-minute intervals in the lead up, I will report that the week leading into our final fixture was pleasantry dry. The pitch was prepared and our merry band of grounds-folk had mown the outfield more than once through the week, with Robin taking the top off “one more time” on what was a sunny Saturday afternoon. As ever, thank you. The forecast was good, covers were on as a precaution, and I lit the afternoon braai with some optimism. Stupid really, as about 18.30 on Saturday evening every cat and dog – some of their droppings quite icy too – fell from the sky and kept falling through the night.
As I waded up to the ground mid-morning to remove the covers, the squelchy ground, sopping strip and distinctly damp fauna (they sounded grumpy) suggested that play was but a pipe-dream. Fortunately, the decisive faffing, the purposeful prevarication and indeed the inspirational indecision that followed resulted in almost 70 overs of sun-kissed cricket! How different it could have been. The first to drift his way into the ground was the Martlets umpire and his lovely wife. They were keen for a game but did send back to the car for waders. Langman followed, bringing some experience and perspective to the situation. He was firm. This was daft, we should call it off and go back to bed. With the pendulum hovering on “DECIDE” he sloppily owned up to having come second the night before to a rugby side of large gin and tonics. With that admission, the pendulum swung immediately back to “FAFF”. By now the ground was filling up. Martlets (what is a Martlet by the way?) were quietly flocking (birds perhaps?) to the ground and hovering around the pitch the way a flock of gulls will; when it’s covered in standing water. They wanted to play. Unequivocally. Considerations of bodily harm were scorned, and considerations of pitch damage were roundly rebutted with “last game of the season” type retorts. Pendulum now back at “DECIDE”. We were playing. A couple more Armadillos had emerged from their damp burrows and with now almost 22 players at the ground, all of which were keen for a game, a “no” decision was looking distinctly unpopular. Of course, both captains were still trying desperately not to make a decision and so, a final gathering of umpires and captains was convened to watch the dance of ball of pitch and opine. The ball was flung (Langman of course, still channelling G&T), it struck, it stuck, the turf flew and a muddy missile slapped into the captures palm. Pendulum back at “FAFF”. Umpire view at this point was categorically that is was not fit to play. Pitch not fit, drying conditions (the weather was still English. Almost Welsh in fact. If not Irish) not present and well, no matter how long we waited, it was never going to be fit, so we should abandon. Ben had found a friend in Howard.
So what did we do? Well we faffed of course, just long enough to feel the rising mutiny from all present (there were even wives, kids and complete strangers offering opinions by this stage – and some of them strikingly direct) with the prospect of mutiny ultimately tipping the scales. Pendulum back to “DECIDE”, a coin was tossed, a later start agreed and the Dills took to the field shortly after 13.00! As is of course typically, within 10 minutes of taking the field, the clouds parted and a somewhat bashful sun poked his head out to play. He even lingered more or less throughout the afternoon – truly luck rather than judgment…
As for the cricket, well much as you might expect. We bowled OK, but caught poorly with a few names recorded in the fines master’s book. In fact, we sometimes lost our way entirely out there but enjoyed it thoroughly. Mention must to Guy Pasley-Tyler for a fine debut with the ball. Some inspired darts. Jack Bebb – always good, and so too Field Marshall Langman who would have profited more in the wickets column had he and the skipper been able to agree on field settings. Well, the skipper being able to catch would have helped too. Well not only the skipper to be fair. A nod also to Ed Turner for raising the keeping standards. We all thought he was doing a marvellous job only to hear him groan in frustration increasingly loudly as legside wides tested his resolve and dexterity. What he confessed however was that it wasn’t the wides that were the problem, but rather that each groan in fact reflected a missed stumping opportunity to which the rest of us were notably oblivious. Good to see that self-imposed Armadillo standards remain higher than those of one’s teammates.
Anyway, a profitable, if chancy, partnership between Nick Ratcliffe and Hector Loughton took the Martlets to a respectable 173 off their 35, which looked daunting on a sticky wicket. And even though we went easy on the Harveys, the Dills made suitably heavy weather of it. A recognisable case of insufficient patience on a slow wicket with numerous leading edges putting paid to dreams of “one more score” before the season end. The only honourable mention of the Dills innings must go to Alex Kerr, another debutant, who scored a creditable – and very good to watch – 66 and although we fell 39 runs short, just one more p-ship might have done it. And so the Martlets won, again and left happy, again.
The early-ish close was not unwelcome though and the Griffin did well from it. So did the Harveys keg.
Importantly, we found time to thank Howard Cohen – and must thank him again now – for his support and contribution to the Armadillos both on and off the field. The Martlets game is to be his final game of umpiring and after 41 years he will be “sheathing his finger”. Thank you Howard, your support and banter will be missed.
And so the season closed, the pavilion darkened, the generator quietly slipped into silence and all that remained in the gloaming were an Armadillo, a Martlet, a keg of Harveys and a random fellow who appeared from the bushes looking like a cross between Albert Einstein and full moon. He literally “materialised” out of the dusk saying he had been “locked in the gardens” and was unsure how to get out. When it was suggested that not only could we help but that he should join us on the pavilion stairs and help finish the Harveys, he truly beamed like the full moon and all was well with the world.
Thank you to you all for your mighty contributions, to Mrs Pickering for tea, and to the Lords of Luck and Wonders of Weather for actually giving us a game.
Until next year…
10/09/2017 – President’s XI v. Captain of Cricket’s XI – 25 over Match – Captain’s XI defeated the President’s XI by 30 runs
On Sunday 10th the inaugural President’s Day was held at Sheffield Park. A day a long-time in the planning with its purpose to celebrate all that it is to be an Armadillo. Our hope and plan was to gather as many Armadillos and their extended cricketing families as we could to the ground for a fun day of eating, drinking and sun-filled cricket. We succeeded, well except for the sun-filled bit. In fact the last 10 overs of the match were played in a monsoon, but that failed to dampen the spirits of the redoubtable Dill and see it through we did. Another goal of the day was to gather new faces to our clan and in this too we were successful. Particular thanks must go to Olly Shuttleworth, captain of the President’s XI for selecting a team of largely new faces, all of whom enjoyed their day and expressed a strong desire to return. Embrace them we must and will!
We gathered in the grey at midday for some boerewors and burgers with the southern hemisphere duo of Pickering and Derrick leading the charge on their “braai” and “barbie” respectively. It really was an impressive turnout from Dills young and old and indeed wives and children on what wasn’t a warm and welcoming day. Thank you so much to all for making the effort to come. Delicious salads and other accompaniment from some very lovely and generous Lady Armadillos – thank you – kept the players and onlookers fed and a 25 over match was embarked upon with some haste considering the forecast. The Captain’s XI batted first with the Atkin brothers (did I say brothers? I meant father & son) getting us off to a good start. In fact, most batters chipped in happily but the notable performance came from the Armadillos’ very own “prodigal son”. Yes, Hugo Scott-Gall, in his first game in years, impressed with a fine cameo of 50 not out, striking 5 fours in one over and finishing the innings with a fine six over long-on. You wouldn’t have picked it having watched the first few he faced but how quickly he found his way.
Tea was marvellous and a sincere thank you to all those who provided. In fact the pavilion was buzzing at tea time. It will when there are 50 of you in there. We lingered over tea initially – there was much to eat and drink – but quickly regained our purpose as the sky continued to bruise.
The President’s XI chase started promisingly despite some tight bowling. The challenge for the chasers was however not only from the bowling or ninja-like fielding, but from the gathering gloom. By over 10 the players were enveloped in grizzly mizzle and by over 15 the monsoon was truly upon us. No one was ready to leave the field however – mad dogs and all that – but for the batters it was a case of 1) can you see it, 2) if you can see it, can you hit and 3) if you can hit it, how far can you hit it as the ball was more like a waterlogged brick than a firm leather sports accessory. But on we played, with the laughter and the banter even more impressive than the downpour and so it was that the game concluded with the Captain’s XI enjoying the better of the conditions and so too the scoreboard.
Unsurprisingly, we repaired to the pavilion with some haste although for many it would be days before we would dry. The merriment continued in the warm and cosy confines of the pavilion and the occasion was marked with a fine speech from our President. He also awarded the inaugural President’s Cup to the winning team’s captain, so beginning what we all hope will become an annual celebration of Armadillos cricket and the Armadillos family.
Thank you to everyone involved in the day and we look forward to seeing you all again next year. Imagine what fun we will have when the sun shines…
Captain’s XI: Jack Bebb, Louis Bebb, Rob Atkin, Tom Atkin, Jack De Montaignac, Hugo Scott-Gall, Adrian Calvert, Carlyle Jenkins, Alex Derrick, Anthony Pickering, Ben Langman, Torquill Bebb
President:s XI: Olly Shuttleworth, Bobby Skelton, Hugh Griffin, Tom Ashby, Ashvin Bhatia, Bruce McCrea, Dave Castle, Ally Crutchley, Jason Oates, Martin Davenport, Tom Bourne
03/09/2017 – Armadillos Over 50s v Dotties – Twenty20 Match – Lost by 1 run
‘Win the toss, bat’ was on the mind of both skippers as they walked out for the toss in murky conditions. David Hollings called correctly and the Dills were in the field.
Damian Greenish was given an early show of his variable leg spin as he and Andrew Murdoch tied down the opposition. One of these two claimed to be exhausted after a couple of overs; the other continued for one more and was rewarded with a tidy stumping by Colin H-H. David Roberts and Robin Pritchard took a turn with their military-precision medium pace. The latter claims not to have played for more than 20 years. No one believed him as every ball landed on a length, he elected to try and catch a half-chance rather than use his feet and his whites still fitted him. Two wickets brought Giles Wilkinson and Ben Burford together and immediately the Dills looked their age as sharp singles and relayed throws from the boundary kept the Dotties’ scoreboard ticking along. Even the champagne drinks interval after 10 overs failed to distract the Dotties. Guy Davison’s two wickets stemmed the flow somewhat, helped by Patrick Bullen-Smith, but the extras continued to add to the Dotties’ total. Their innings closed on 122.
Time for a splendid tea organised by Shawn Ohlson washed, down by a variety of beverages.
We thought 6 an over was achievable as Bullen-Smith and Peter Scaramanga got their eyes in, despite the increasingly dark cloud. The pavilion was becoming restless as the run rate climbed but our openers were not perturbed until Bullen-Smith was bowled for a solid 19. Tom Bourne immediately pushed the scoreboard along until he holed out off Kilmartin. It was the ever youthful Pritchard who gave the Dills the upper hand with his highest (and lowest) score for many years. Sadly as the rain fell harder the outfield slowed up and boundaries became hard to come by. We ended up one run short with ‘rookie’ Dave Roberts bowled off the last ball of the game.
Despite the conditions, we all had a terrific day against a very generous and gregarious opposition. A large dent was made in the barrel of Harvey’s kindly provided by David Hollings before we all went home to soak aching limbs in a hot bath.
29/07/17 – Armadillos v. Missing Bail – 35 over Match – Abandoned as draw
The 8.30am pitch inspection could not have gone better. The ground was a picture, the sun was shining and the covers had done their job.
However, with the threat of biblical rain looming large on the horizon, the decision was taken to move the fixture forward by an hour to 12pm. Having been rained off once before and having left Rotterdam at 4am that morning, our Dutch touring side opponents, were keen to get cracking and would have been happy for play to start at 10am.
Cue a frantic round of phone calls to drag London-based Dills out of bed, to get hold of umpire and scorer and to Robin Pritchard who did a valiant job in trying to mow the extremely damp outfield. Unfortunately, the Toro was unable to pick up the clumps of wet grass, so we ended up with a rather fetching 3 lap circle of shorter grass around the square. Could this be the first time that Sheffield Park has had a PowerPlay zone so clearly marked out?
Founded in 1981, appropriately attired in blue & white blazers, The Missing Bail set out for a cricket tour to Brighton to find their eponymous wooden treasure. Having failed to find it, they have been returning every year with a view to playing as many different south coast cricket clubs as they can, with no repeat fixtures. Indeed, on one tour, a none-too-generous B&B landlord ended up reporting them to the Dutch Embassy on account of their late night noisy sing-song. Now comprising a mix of fathers and sons, the Armadillos fixture was their 100th opponent, so expectations were high.
Given the forecast, we opted for a 35 over fixture, with only limited expectation that we would get past 2pm, which was when the heavens were forecast to open.
The assembled Armadillos squad comprised a healthy combination of stalwarts and debutants, with a decent balance across bat and ball. With only 8 present at kick-off and with half an eye on the weather, the opposition kindly allowed us to bat.
Breaths were held and the speed gun was pointed, as some long-limbed youths warmed up and marked out their run. However, the fire and pace did not materialise, the eyes of Rob Atkin and Alex Derrick ignited and the scoreboard soon started to tick over nicely against an innocuous looking attack. Despite some elegant stroke-play, the damp grass limited the flow of runs, many of which would have hurtled to the boundary on another day. Two smart catches later, both found themselves back in the hutch and 18 for 2 off 5 overs felt light.
Pausing only to extinguish his John Player Special, Tim Brocklehurst strode purposefully to the crease, his white flannels billowing and looking positively Dexter-esque. Between him and the uninjured Ant Pickering, they settled any nerves and were soon dispatching the ball to all corners of the ground, including off the left-arm orthodox grenades of one of the original 1981 tourists.
The score was looking much more respectable when the Brock holed out 3 short of a classy half-century and Pickering fell to a sharp caught & bowled, both having worked out that the ball was much more likely to get to the boundary via an airborne route, rather than along the ground.
This brought debutant Omar Faruqui to the crease. Having first located and second blown the cobwebs off his gear, he looked eminently comfortable knocking 20 singles both sides of the square in an accomplished looking 30, before being bowled to a ball that just shaved off stump while trying to up the run rate.
He was joined by Jack Brocklehurst, emerging blinking from a year in the labs of Oxford, who looked good for a quickfire 6 before also falling to a catch in the covers.
With overs running out, Johnny Colville, and debutants Jason McCaldin and James Chataway delivered some short-lived but lusty contributions to take the score to a defendable 166-9.
With the drizzle strengthening and the damp-ometer swinging ever closer to the red, we turned around quickly, opening up with the exam-fuelled pace of Jack Brock from Lord Sheffield’s pavilion end, offset by the accuracy and probing length of Pickering up the hill. After 4 overs, the tourists were well and truly pegged back, the slips were spread and hopes were high.
However, the batsmen grew in confidence, despite an excellent spell from Jack Brock, who bowled through his 7 overs, returning 0-23 with any number of balls beating the bat, prompting an equal number of oohs and aahs from the ever-tidy Rob Atkin behind the stumps.
As the drizzle upgraded itself from strong to intense, the ball became damper and the bowling more generous, with the openers punishing anything short-pitched. With a century up on the board for no loss of wickets, things were not going according to plan.
As ever, a change of bowling brought a change in fortune, with Faruqui rolling back the years and delivering some sharp deliveries, with yet more playing and missing. With conditions deteriorating further, Tim Brock held a regulation catch at mid-on, followed 5 balls later by a swirling skier pouched expertly by Pickering at mid-off, much to the relief of both bowler and skipper. A lovely spell – 3 overs, no maidens, 2 for 10.
Aggressive drizzle was by now turning to meaningful rain.
The introduction of some leg-spin from Chataway, rapidly reacclimatising to UK weather after a decade in the humidity of the Far East, produced some startling turn, a great delivery taking out the number 4 bat without troubling the scorers and the opposition had crumbled from 104 for 0 to 106 for 3 and the Dills were firmly in the hunt.
However, the lure of tea and by now what can only be described as fully paid-up stair-rods, meant that hands were shaken and the game was abandoned as a draw after 55 overs out of a possible 70. It was a good job that Messrs Duckworth and Lewis were not present.
And so to possibly the main event.
Following a trip to Sainsbury’s to empty the shelves of clotted cream and the excellent decision of Hugh Colville, who correctly formed the view that nipping down the road to collect match tea was much more important than taking the crease with 6 balls remaining, match tea was served.
Home-made scones, carrot cake, lemon drizzle cake, sandwiches of every combination, brownies, flap-jacks, lashings of Yorkshire tea – you get the picture. Rarely has Sheffield Park witnessed such a veritable Who’s Who of cricket match tea. A very special thank you to Lizzie Colville who single-handedly produced such a phenomenal spread, aided and abetted by the lovely Atkin girls.
And so to the speech-making from our visitors, which was positively Churchillian in its range and use of rhetoric, including some mildly baffling references to one ‘WC Grace’ and his death having been struck by lightning underneath the oak that bears his name on the boundary edge.
On behalf of the hosts, the skipper received a Missing Bail which was attached to his forehead via a beer-drenched sucker, a pennant and a couple of Feyenoord football scarves and in return, was able to offload the pair of Dills socks that have been hanging around the Pavilion door for several years.
Finally, a special mention to warhorse Bill Swanson who batted without facing a ball, didn’t bowl and whose most notable contribution was wearing a damp ball in the chest at deep long-on.
A memorable day for some great opposition, some decent cricket, a spectacular tea and some best of British, despite the mild precipitation.
23/07/17 – Armadillos v, Grannies – Declaration Match – Lost by 119 runs
Having stepped in as match manager, I now realise that I failed to delegate match reporting duties, so there follows a brief report concocted from memory.
In summary, we lost comprehensively to a 9 man Grannies side which included a clutch of good players who put us to the sword. It was a very damp day and frankly not a day for the Armadillos to remember fondly.
Torquil Bebb, standing in as captain, lost the toss and we were asked to field in already wet conditions. An early wicket by Louis Bebb moving the ball nicely gave us false hope as Ed Gross (65) and Jay Stockham (63) then put us to the sword as conditions deteriorated. Torquil manfully kept the players in the field despite steady rain but bowling and fielding was none too easy. Arthur Pickard with 3 for 41 off 8 overs was the best of our bowlers, Jack, Josh and Louis Bebb each picking up 1 wicket apiece. Unfortunately their old man, Torquil, could only pick up a torn hamstring, otherwise I’m sure he would have bowled and added to the family tally.
Having seen the Dills field in the rain, and with the umpires exonerating themselves from any responsibility for playing in dangerous conditions, the Grannies willingly took to the field after tea. Dills hopes were high with four debutants in Tom Ashby, Hugh Griffin, Bobby Skelton and Ben Pullen and a batting line up facing only 9 men in the field. However that man Gross again (3 for 32 off 6 overs) and Peter Weissmann (3 for 30 off 5 overs) tore the heart out of our batting with accurate medium-fast bowling and we were skittled out for 81 in just 17.5 overs. Ben Pullen with 21 and Hugh Griffin, run out for 28, were the only two to show some resistance with 6 ducks and a not out 0 featuring on our scorecard; perhaps some kind of a record?
Thanks must go to all for soldiering on in the dismal conditions, especially to the umpires including our own Howard Cohen who will have seen many better days at Sheffield Park. A few drinks and a hot shower later, recovery for all was complete.
09/07/2017 – Armadillos v. Lucky Stars CC – 30 over Match – Won by 4 wickets
It is always a particular pleasure to welcome touring sides to Sheffield Park, particularly from Australia. But there was something rather special about the Luck Stars XI and their supporters. Their mission as a club is, through cricket, to promote awareness of organ and tissue donation. Most of the team were either transplant recipients, donors, those receiving dialysis or on a waiting list for a transplant.
Sheffield Park was looking at its very best; warm and sunny with a decent crowd of National Trust spectators lining the boundaries. A 30-over match was agreed and the Armadillos took to the field. On this occasion, we had two Greenishes and three Bebbs in the side (Torquil as captain) and Jack and Adam opened with a steady spell. However, early inroads were made with Adam taking the wicket of Arty M (who looked dangerous despite a rather unusual style of taking one hand off the bat in the cut shot) and Josh (who had replaced Jack) the wickets of Hollingsworth and Arty S (the latter for a duck). However, from 41-4, the Lucky Stars revived and Gorrie (who was dropped early in his innings) and Ross put on 79 for the fifth wicket. We were perhaps fortunate that the Lucky Stars retire their batsmen at 50 so that Gorrie did not go on to score what I suspect would have been an impressive total. After 30 overs, the Lucky Stars closed at 143 for 5. The bowling was generally very tidy with Josh impressing with 22-2 off 6 overs. The other wicket takers were Adam (29-1 off 5) and Freddy with (for him) the rather unusual figures of 3-1 off 2.
The Dills reply suffered the early loss of Ant Pickering but Matt Searle and Hugo Fry (who had not picked up a bat for a year) steadied the ship. Hugo fell just short of what would have been a very well deserved 50. There was the usual swashbuckling innings from Freddy (26 including 3 towering 6s) and a very useful 22 from Josh. A little nervousness arose when the Dills managed to lose 3 wickets for 10 runs when in sight of the finishing line but nerves held and the Dills made it home by 4 wickets with plenty of overs in hand.
Following the game, there were presentations for the batsman and bowler of the day for each side. For the Lucky Stars, J McKinnon had the award for best bowler (23-3 off 3.4 overs, including a double wicket maiden) and Gorrie was best batsman for his 50 not out. For the Dills, Hugo had the batsman’s award and Josh the bowler’s. After speeches, there was much discussion of the finer points of the game over a few beers before the Lucky Stars headed off to their coach with an expectation with we might meet again in 2019. It was a wonderful day with a game played in the very best of spirit.
Many thanks to Howard Cohen for the umpiring duties and to Chris Goddard for scoring. Jo Greenish produced an exceptional tea of which virtually nothing remained at the end of the day.
The full Dills team was: Torquil Bebb, Jack Bebb, Josh Bebb, Adam Greenish, Freddy Greenish, Colin Toovey, Hugo Fry. Logan Vijay, Ant Pickering, Martin Davenport and Matt Searle.
25/06/2017 – Armadillos v. Butterflies – Declaration Match – Lost by 2 wickets
Armadillos 173 all out (Pickering 59*, Thompson 31, Hammond 3-16); Butterflies 174-8 (Bailey 56, N Hely-Hutchinson 3-50)
It was a good toss to win for the Butterflies on an overcast and humid day at Sheffield Park. Even the owls were mopping their brows in the trees and whispering in hushed tones. In fact the birds generally were chuntering at the late and rather hurried nature with which the match manager and his helpers (thanks Chris!!) were preparing the coliseum for battle. However, as is the way with these things, 22 players materialised out of the haze, 6 stumps and some two-tone bails grew out of the turf, a coin flashed in the grey, the players took the field and the first ball was bowled.
It proved a tough opening session for the Dills with the Butterfly bowlers hooping the ball in the haze. Such was the challenge the opening pair posed that scoring was slow and wickets regular. It was not until Freddy G (who fortunately managed to find his trousers just in time for his innings) and Madhur Subhash, on Dills debut, steadied the ship. The most surprising thing for all was watching Freddy apply himself so manfully to his task. Not only had he put away the famous “Freddy Smear” for which he is known and loved, he even dead-batted the entire over before lunch! As you can imagine the birds were now chuntering loudly in the trees at this irregular batting behaviour. A bit like how one might imagine a tea-time Lord’s crowd react to an unattractive streaker.
Lunch was marvellous. And at 68/4 it provided some welcome respite for the Dills. In fact it might arguably have been the highlight of the Dill’s innings.
A few quick wickets after lunch, including the end of Freddy’s watchful innings, found us at 74/6 with work to be done. Fortunately with the ball no longer swinging round corners, Ross Thompson (who had flown all of the way from down-under to play cricket in England for two weeks – well that was what his missus told me it felt like) and Ant Pickering managed – with some Southern hemisphere redoubt, to halt the slide and help the Dills towards a somewhat respectable total. We were going well until one charge down the track too many saw Tommo depart with the score on 157 and Archie Hammond pick up his first of three well-earned wickets. Other than a notably lusty blow from Jack de Montaignac thereafter (I still think it was a six Jack), the innings finished quietly.
With only 173 to defend we were going to need to bowl well and we took to the field with purpose, poise and plenty to say. It wasn’t the most auspicious start however with the first ball of the innings being a wide to first slip, but we pulled it back. Nick H-H bowled 12 overs on the trot (down the hill and with a tea-break in between mind) picking up a well-deserved 3 wickets, with two of those from his trademark cutters. Sandeep Kumar and Madhur Subhash (both on debut) bowled manfully up the hill, beating the bat regularly but with little reward.
Unfortunately the sun was now shining and the breeze brisk so we were working hard for our wickets and finding it hard to build pressure. With two set batsmen and the scoreboard turning over it wasn’t looking very good. However a smart catch off his own bowling from Johnny Colville followed by an LBW from Dr Kumar (now coming down the hill and finding some movement) saw both set batsmen removed and a gentle tremor enter the knees of the Butterfly batsmen. A tremor we see every year in fact and it did cause an awakening in the field.
With little left to defend and wickets required the ball was tossed to golden-arm Greenish. He bowled a tidy first over, with guile, zip and dip flummoxing the batsmen. Unfortunately everyone was flummoxed in the next over, other than Jack de Montaignac (who snaffled a sharp catch running in from the boundary) and the umpire (who was required to use almost every umpiring action available). Jack de Mont was again in the action the following over as he took the ball for what proved the final over of the game. His first few deliveries proved that a) he’s still got it, b) a Proctor-esque delivery stride is still cool and c) that he should have been thrown the ball earlier! The big man charged in and intimidated the ‘Flies skipper into skyng a catch to cover, bringing us that much closer to a win! Unfortunately a neat swat over the top 2 balls later saw the Butterflies win what was another enjoyable and closely contested game.
Thank you to all for another much enjoyed outing and a particular thanks to our debutants, Devon, Madhur, Sandeep and Jack whom we look forward to welcoming back to Sheffield Park before too long.
17/06/2017 – Armadillos v. Stoats – Declaration Match – Drawn
The Stoats fixture this year was another extremely enjoyable affair. With the weather a touch on the sweltering side we agreed to shorten the game to 35 overs apiece. Having won the toss, the general consensus was that fielding first would allow us to escape the worst of the heat, so we took the field, with Olly Shuttleworth to kick things off. His first ball was the usual mix of line, length and fizz, but the second missed the mark and it was clear something was wrong. He hobbled over and said he had to call it a day, the groin had pinged during the first delivery. A terrible end to the day for him, though a huge thanks from all of us for staying on to umpire and kindly collect the match fees. Much appreciated indeed.
Fortunately for the Dills we had a 12th Man waiting in the wings, Simon Meeke, who threw off the umpire’s jacket and donned his whites, whilst JKB took up the bowling duties. The first 8 overs, with Nick Hely-Hutchinson from the other end, applied some pressure to the Stoats, enabling each bowler to pick up a wicket. After a change of bowling at each end, with Adam Greenish and Simon King coming on first change, we continued to exert pressure on their batting. Simon picked up another wicket in his 1st over and we were in control.
That was certainly the talk at lunch at least. And what a lunch it was. Thank you very much to all involved. Delicious.
The only downside of such a good lunch was that we seemed to lose our dominance a touch after the break. Both Stoats batsmen began to up the ante and deal largely in boundaries with one over going for a hefty 6, 4, 4, 4, 4, dot. Thankfully Simon King put the brakes on and claimed both danger men before handing over to Aidan Holloway for a couple of overs of tidy leg break. At the other end Adam Greenish came off for Rupert Greenish, who then nicked 3 important wickets himself and stopped the Stoats scoreboard from ticking on too swiftly. To wrap up the innings, Simon Meeke and Tom Ashby each bowled a couple of efficient overs meaning that we used 9 different bowlers in the innings.
Ultimately we were set a formidable target of 255, which would need some chasing.
The Dills’ innings didn’t get off to the start we had hoped for, with the team swiftly tumbling to an ominous 8 for 4 due to a fiery Stoats opening attack. Their number 2 bowler finished his first spell with figures of 2-2-0-3. With Messrs Greenish A., Holloway, Greenish F. and Davison already back in the pavilion we would need a great deal of graft to recover. Thankfully Simon King came to the rescue again and steadied affairs with Nick Hely-Hutchinson. Nick finally fell for 29, but Simon had a strong lower order to assist him, with Simon Meeke contributing a handy 26 and Tom Ashby 30, before they also succumbed. Unfortunately the run rate required had ramped up significantly by this stage. We needed around 130 off the last 12 overs, which was asking a lot even of Simon King, particularly with the return of the Stoats’ opening attack. With so many runs still left to get and so few overs, we decided to protect our dignity and cling on to our remaining wickets. Sadly Simon was unable to reach the century that would have been fitting and was out for a fine 79. This left JKB and Damian Greenish to survive the last over. To his undying shame, the former turned down a single in the last over and left Damian without facing a ball at the non-strikers’ end. This was particularly shameful given the fact that Damian had generously scored the whole of the Dills innings in a stifling scorebox. Thank you so much for that and apologies again!
In the end Dills finished on 194, not too bad an effort in the end considering the Stoats’ exceptional start. After 2 games against the Stoats we now sit at 1-1. Hopefully we can come back next year and set things right.
Many thanks again to everyone for all their help preparing the pitch, the pavilion and the superb food. It was a splendid day, all things considered.
04/06/2017 – Armadillos v. I Zingari – Declaration Match – Draw
IZ: 228 for 7 declared : Armadillos: 178 for 7
At times like these sporting clichés seem to be used without regard for what actually defines them and I was close to writing that Ant Pickering’s contribution in ensuring the Dills drew the match was heroic but in light of events over the weekend, that word seems out of place. Suffice to say that with a back injury he had sustained before the game (and let the skipper know about after 10 or so overs in the field), he kept wicket admirably and then, to avoid his back seizing up, he gamely took on the request to bat at 3. In early, he very nearly made it through to the end of the innings before his immobility and pain got the better of him and he had to retire hurt when on 75. Even a runner in the shape of the sprinting Justin Bower couldn’t help.
Without Ant and a spirited rear guard action from Charlie Eastwood, Justin Bower, Nick Langman and some nervy moments from Ben Burwood, the Dills would surely have fallen to defeat. In the end, the final three wickets lasted for 16 overs, some of which contained genuinely quick and ‘aggressive’ bowling which is not often seen at Sheffield Park.
A spirited bowling performance from the Dills, especially Charlie Eastwood with a fiery opening and closing spell (including receiving a final warning for two quick balls above waist high) and Justin Bower with three wickets brought the first half of the game to a close. Four dropped catches didn’t help our cause but from 60-0 and 83-1, it was a strong recovery. The highlights of our fielding performance were Freddy Greenish taking a blinding, and very nonchalant one handed catch at midwicket which looked like it would evade him and nestle into the top right hand corner, and Justin Bower, again pushing the Captain to have a bowl at his old prep school mate. He had him caught at Long Off with the first ball he bowled last year. History didn’t quite repeat but it was close. He had him caught Long On fourth ball (and it was a good catch as well by Simon King). The size of smile alone made it worthwhile.
If we were to chase the runs down, a fast and strong start was needed but Freddy couldn’t move freely having injured his knee and so Ant came in in the third over at first drop. He and Will Pritchard lasted to the last ball before tea when Will was done by one which kept low. Ben Langman then played a couple of shots before getting a very good bumper which caused him to lose both his concentration and off stump next ball. A regular flow of wickets ensued until Charlie, Nick, Justin and Ben managed to see us home for the draw as outlined above.
The ground looked a picture as ever in the summer sun and the wicket played beautifully. Pace, bounce, carry and on occasion a little turn. Something for everyone, but particularly Ant who has confirmed, just before writing the report, that his was unable to raise himself from his bed on Monday due to the state of his back; commitment indeed.
My thanks to all who played, and also to Damo and Phil for helping with the administration on the day.
21/05/2017 – Armadillos v. Buccaneers – Declaration Match – Lost by 66 runs
We were pleased and surprised to be asked to bowl on a damp and drying pitch. The ground looked spectacular in bright May sunshine and the anticipation of a team mixing youth and experience was high.
A fine and tight opening spell from Harry Mann ( 9 overs 1 for 7 ) and Tor Bebb, rolling back the years up the hill, finding swing and sharp movement off the pitch kept the Buccaneers under pressure and they made slow progress limping to 30 for 2 at the drinks break. Had we held our chances things might have remained tight but putting down their No 3 eight times (some very difficult, as Tor’s bruised hand will testify), didn’t help the cause. Some fine slower bowling from Alex Bone and Charlie Kingsman, taking a wicket a piece, kept things interesting and there was a wonderful and varied display from debutant Colin Toovey, including the surprise back of the hand googly that not only made a fool of the batsman but also the keeper. Colin brought another false shot from their No 3 and nobody was more surprised than the first slip that the ninth chance given had been taken!
The highlight of the fielding performance has to go to the finest piece of fielding Sheffield Park could have witnessed. A drive to deep extra cover looked a certain two until a swooping Alex Bone collected and released in one flowing movement. The throw, like a bullet never more than 6 feet off the ground, hit the stumps leaving a the batsman still some way short.
But for some streaky late hitting from the opposition’s ex pro we would have been chasing significantly less than the 225 we were set.
Our batting performance was a little less spectacular. A solid start particularly from Tom Randall was marred by a steady trickle of wickets. Their young attack extracted exaggerated movement and turn from the pitch and we failed to build any meaningful partnerships. Our lack of early season net practice showed and we slumped to 83 for 9 before a 10th wicket partnership and a fine display of disciplined striking from Charlie Kingsman brought some respectability to the reply. We were all out for 153 with Charlie scoring 84.
A slightly disappointing result but everybody agreed it was a perfect day. A huge and special thank you also to Sophie Mann and her team of helpers, for providing a wonderful (hot!) lunch and tea. The Buccaneers thoroughly enjoyed their day and we look forward to revenge next year.
14/05/2017 – Armadillos v. Griffin – Declaration Match – Won by 8 wickets
On a beautiful May Spring day and with Sheffield Park resplendent, the Dills lost the toss and were happily asked to bowl on a drying pitch. Our opening pair of Jack and Louis Bebb both bowled a tight line and and the Griffin found the first 10 overs very hard to score from. The Dills were also positively gazelle like in the field to back some good all round bowling, with catches being held and men sprawling across the pitch saving fours. That said the Griff stuck to the task and a solid 65 from Joe Akers-Douglas (erstwhile of this parish) got them up to a reasonable total of 173 – 8. Louis Bebb and Alex Bone took 2 wickets each, with a wicket each for Freddy Greenish, Jim Mann and Jack Bebb.
The skipper’s feeling was that this was a gettable score but one where we would have to bat sensibly and create partnerships. As it turned out one partnership was all that was needed. Alex Bone opened with debutant David Moorat. In what can only be described as one of the most dominant innings seen at SP, Alex had scored 50 when the score was 51, off 25 balls, and his 100 came up I understand in c.50 balls. The history books are being rewritten. Retired by the skipper soon after (always risky), he finished on 102 not out and Jim Mann and Alex Pickering were able to see us home, with the Dills winning comfortably in the 25th over.
This is always a hugely enjoyable match and the chance to catch up with old friends from the Griffin. Special thanks goes to Karen Bebb for her outstanding tea, and to David Strachan for scoring. The wicket played extremely well and was consistent in bounce and pace throughout the day – a testament I feel to all the hard work put in by Phil, Robin and Chris Vacher and his team over the winter. A great start to the season!
2016 Season Match Reports
11/09/2016 – Armadillos v. Sussex Martlets – 40 Over Match – Lost by 81 runs
Martlets scored 221/7 (Pretorius 98*, B Langman 2-19). Armadillos all out for 140 (B Langman 42, P Walker 4–33).
Sunday Sep 11th dawned bright and beautiful, ready for the Armadillos to make some form of history at Sheffield Park. And some form of history we most certainly did make, it was just wasn’t the winning kind as we once again came up short in the run chase.
It all however began so well…
As the players drifted across the field to the pavilion it was noted by both skippers that the hangover count appeared unusually low. Furthermore, both sides had almost achieved their full complement by the scheduled starting time, with both Pritchard and Morgan arriving early. Perhaps I should have known then that our stars were out of alignment…
Joe Akers-Douglas, who had scorned his invitation to play for the Armadillos in order to lead the Martlet effort, invited us to bowl and the Dills took to the field. It was only then that we realised Professor Bourne, who had been in Korea working on his radiation tan, was nowhere to be seen. He was last sighted passing through a departure hall somewhere in China and no one could predict when he might arrive at Sheffield Park, so Joe A-D kindly stepped on to the field thereby getting his chance to briefly represent the Armadillos. With that, Charlie Eastwood took the new ball and delivered a lively and testing opening spell, on a helpful pitch, for rather less reward than he deserved. He did however set the tone and not only were runs proving hard to come by, but wickets were falling. Even more surprisingly, catches seemed to be sticking. We did worry briefly that Morgs was going to overrun his sitter to mid-on, but he was actually treating us to a signature “catch-over-the-shoulder-followed-by-backward-somersault” that he’s apparently been practicing with his son in the garden. Special mention to Justin Bower, our stand-in keeper, for his catch whilst standing up to Ben Langman’s darts too. This catch came as part of another good spell from Ben who was ably supported by Hamish Nolan from the other end. This kept the pressure on and at the 30 over mark we had the Martlets 130/7. We were feeling chipper. Even more happily, the 7th wicket saw the run out of the batsmen who had put us to the sword last year, so we were both chirpy and chipper!
Then it went to custard.
At the toss Joe had hinted that he’d recruited an opening bowler. “You have to pack some heat don’t you…” he said. What he had failed to mention was that his bowler could bat too. Young Marne Pretorius from Potchefstroom (a very polite young man to be sure) quietly stole to the wicket at the fall of the 6th wicket, and after running out their gun batsmen (one of two blemishes), proceeded to smash 98 not out in the last 11 overs. No one was spared. Not even the trees. Cries of “fore”, “look-out” and “duck” echoed around the ground as the hallowed turf of Sheffield Park turned into a weapons testing range. Before we knew it, the total had roared past 200 and the Dills had their work cut out. Worth noting that it was only when we were clapping young Pretorius off the field and complementing him on his innings did we learn that he was actually the aforementioned bowler……
Tea (another fine tea thank you Nicky) offered some respite and mental recovery time for us, and the chase – led by Morgan and Nolan – began briskly. Morgs slapped the very first ball of the innings over extra cover for a few, which felt positive but at the same time hinted that application levels – or perhaps the lack thereof – amongst the undercooked Armadillos might again prove our undoing. Nevertheless, the scoreboard skipped along to 31 before he missed a straight one and was sent to the showers, breaking what was looking a promising opening partnership. Will Pritchard strode to the wicket and just as he looked to be settling, got a good one from the boy from Potch setting the nerves a-jangling in the shed. It wasn’t the last good ball faced by the Dills, but it was probably the first and last one that got a wicket.
Regrettably the pattern thereafter is one we have seen before as the combination of holiday-rust and over-exuberance translated into too many soft dismissals. Ben Langman and Tom Bourne did however show some much needed fight helping our total along. This burgeoning partnership was broken in a slightly unusual manner in that the curried dog Tom had eaten somewhere in the orient had upset the delicate radioactive balance of his stomach and he wasn’t quite himself. In fact, he was positively unwell. Despite that, he put in a spirited display both times he was at the crease (he was seen hiding under a number of wet towels in the pavilion in between efforts). Despite this rear-guard action, and indeed our competitive run rate, the steady fall of wickets meant we were never going to test the total and well short we were when Tom’s second stand came to a pale-faced end.
The result aside it was truly another lovely day of cricket. Well supported, played in a great spirit and the Martlets went away happy with their day and their victory. The last to leave was in fact young Pretorius who glanced wistfully at the honours board as he slipped out of the pavilion. His performance was almost worthy of a place, had he not dropped that catch…
As ever, thank you to all from ground staff to miscellaneous ball fetchers for helping us all enjoy another excellent day at Sheffield Park.
04/09/2016 – Armadillos v. Grannies – Cancelled
Despite everyone’s best efforts, disappointingly we were unable to raise a team due to many different competing priorities.
31/07/2016 – Armadillos v. Kenya Kongonis – Declaration Match – Lost by 4 wickets
Sunday August 1st dawned a fine day for cricket and a fine day of cricket it was. As the score line suggests, it wasn’t a day of victory for the Dills with us having posted too modest a total, but we put in a fine performance, particularly with the ball.
As has been traditional, the Kongonis proved a wonderful side to play and the number of Kongonis Blazers on display as the morning sun warmed the pavilion reflected their intent on putting in a solid performance.
Having won the toss, the Dills skipper decided they should have a bat, expecting the batting riches at the top of the order to allow for the rest of the team to quietly take in the papers, re-don their slippers and puff on their pipes. A tradition that perhaps might have slipped over the last 100 years. It was not however to be as the Kongonis opening bowling pair, with some assistance from the wicket, bowled probably the tidiest opening spell seen at Sheffield Park in many a moon. Both bowling to 9:1 fields (yes, I did write 9:1 and it should be noted the “1” on the leg side was comfortably their worst fielder and was effectively being “hidden” at short mid wicket!!) not only did they restrict the score to 50-odd after their collective 18 over spell, but they had extracted the top 4! Well not quite the top 4 as our number 4 was MIA at this point – ostensibly lost in London traffic.
With the bowling changes being rung and indeed the Kongonis being weighed down with excellent lunchtime pie and pavlova, some run scoring opportunities began to arrive allowing the scoreboard to slowly begin to move. Wickets however kept falling at regular intervals and it was only until Messrs Ryder-Smith and Kemmis-Betty combined that we put up any real resistance. Ben proved our top scorer with 39 and whilst a number of other batsmen got starts, no one managed to anchor the innings, or partner with Ryder and K-B sufficiently for us to challenge the 200 mark, which would have been a par score. The result, a too modest 176 all out.
A determined Dills took the field and the high quality bowling continued. Ryder – on his way to a well deserved “Dillo of the Day” award – picked up where the Kongoni opening bowling pair left off, beating the bat repeatedly but for little reward. Jack Bebb, bowling up the hill did exactly the same delivering a fine opening spell, and despite a crawling scoreboard and the “play and miss” proving the most popular shot, we couldn’t buy a wicket. Credit must be given to the opening pair for the Kongonis, particularly Nick Taylor 82*, who showed impressive patience and were prepared to stick around rather than go after it and perhaps that proved the difference in the two batting line ups. That said, it was probably just their day.
The pattern continued after a double bowling change with K-B and Josh Bebb continuing where Ryder and Jack B had left off. It finally took a snorter of a delivery from K-B, which reared off a full length, took the gloves and floated into the slips, to remove Chris Childs, the more aggressive of a very watchful opening pair, giving the Dills a much needed sniff. With 82 already on the board though it was going to be hard work. Batsmen 3 and 4 took them steadily to 144 and it was probably during this period that we slightly let it slip, before Symmo snaffled a sneaky slider in the slips thereby exposing the middle order. Just reward for Josh’s bowling and just reward for Symmo’s careful, consistent and conscientious concentration In the cordon.
Thereafter the bowlers, with Ryder taking the lead, started to make some real progress with wickets now falling regularly. Sadly however, with too few runs to defend we just didn’t have the room we needed to really push for victory. A fantastic bowling performance it must be said though and it’s been some time since I for one have seen so many balls beat the bat and shave the stumps for so little reward.
A big thank you to all for a fine day’s cricket. Despite coming second, it was very much a day that reminds one why we still play and was thoroughly enjoyed by all!
Dill of the Day: Ben Ryder-Smith
Drop of the Day: Harry Neale (could we have got there Hazza?)
Disappearance of the Day: Will Pritchard
24/07/2016 – Armadillos v. Brighton Brunswick – Declaration Match – Lost by 91 runs
Not a very satisfactory day’s cricket on a very pleasant day at Sheffield Park. Brunswick draw their players from Sussex League clubs and by covering match fees, are able to select very strong sides – too strong for the Armadillos. Keen to retain the fixture after last year’s one-sided affair, Brunswick had agreed to bring a more balanced team reflective of Dills cricket, but sadly they proved far too strong again with the on-field behaviour of their players degenerating into misplaced arrogance and a lack of respect for their umpire, hosts and surroundings. The last chance saloon has run dry.
On to the cricket. Brunswick decided they should bat first and a good batting wicket and fast outfield gave our bowlers little room for error and unfortunately they were not, in modern parlance, at their best as a unit allowing the Brunswick batsmen to score freely. Ben Ryder-Smith was thrown by being no balled twice in his first over and struggled to find his rhythm in his first spell but came back well later on when he bowled 6 overs 2 for 23. Nick Hely-Hutchinson bowling up the hill was the pick of the bunch early on and Jack Bebb down the hill was a mite unlucky despite receiving some rough treatment from Brunswick’s opening batsman. Harry Neal’s 13 overs of off-spin resulted in a respectable 3-64, but overall there were too many loose deliveries and Brunswick scored 285 for 7 in 47 overs with all of their batsmen contributing.
Given the bowling resources at their command, this score was always going to be too much of a challenge for the Dills. However opening with a septuagenarian lobbying down balls out of the heavens and with 4 men on the boundary was a novel tactic if it was meant to get us into the game. Hitting a ball delivered at zero pace and with no bounce is not an easy task and our batsmen quite rightly refused to try and clear the boundary ropes. At the other end brisk medium was replaced by an overseas Kiwi professional bowling Twenty/20 style and varying his pace between very rapid and not so rapid! Luckily for us Mark Symonds had determined to play a disciplined innings befitting his talent but when he was out for 60 the writing was on the wall, spinners took over, as did the silly behaviour and we declined to 194 all out, whereupon everyone was just happy to head home. What a shame.
17/07/2016 – Armadillos v. Cricketers Club of London – 40 Over Match – Won by 11 runs
Sunday morning was warm, dry and sunny (shurely shome mishtake – Ed) as the Dills welcomed a new side to the delights of Sheffield Park – the Cricketers Club of London. An 11.30 start proved to be something of a challenge to them though and it was not until midday that the game finally got under way and even then the visitors were still several short.
The Dills side was unusual in that it comprised four Greenishes and four Bebbs, the remaining three in the side being Jonathan Kemmis-Betty, Hugo Fry and Martin Davenport. The Dills lost the toss and were asked to bat on what was a pretty good Sheffield Park wicket; runs were there for the patient and good bowling would be rewarded. The early batsmen struggled and although Freddy Greenish played his customary aggressive innings, when he was out to a very sharp caught and bowled for 37, the Dills were looking far from comfortable at 80 for 5. Fortunately, the Dills middle and late order knuckled down to the task. Held together by Jonathan Kemmis-Betty (55) and ably supported by Adam and Rupert Greenish (21 and 23 respectively), the Dills crept up to respectability and reached 202 after their 40 overs, thanks particularly to two wonderful straight lofted drives by Louie Bebb in the final over.
The pick of the bowlers for the visitors was Ben Ladd Gibbon with his 2 for 11 off his 8 overs. Having driven down from Loughborough, he was probably as quick as most of the Dills had faced at SP, even off his shortened run. By the end of the innings, the slower bowlers were extracting prodigious turn from an ever drying wicket which never made batting entirely comfortable.
The opening pair for the Cricketers Club, Ben Ladd Gibbon and Brighton Mugochi, set off at an alarming pace, hitting both opening bowlers very effectively and by the third over the Dills were already on the defensive to try to stem the flow of runs. However, there was no panic and both were to fall in successive overs to Jack Bebb and to K-B respectively both of whom bowled extremely well. The innings of the day however undoubtedly belonged to the Cricketers Club captain Oliver Holroyd Pearce who made a magnificent 89 before finally falling to a fine running catch in the deep by Adam Greenish off the bowling of K-B. He scored at such a good pace that the only prospect of a Dills win was to dismiss the visitors and that was achieved largely due to some fine bowling from Torquil Bebb who cleaned up the tail with 3 for 36 off his 6 overs.
It was mighty close with the visitors being dismissed finally for 191. After all the recent disappointments of cancelled games and a flooded ground it was a great joy to be playing cricket again at Sheffield Park; the win was the icing on the cake. The game was played in great spirit and the Cricketers Club of London are a fine addition to the sides who come to visit us.
Thanks as ever are due to John Maher for umpiring and to David Strachan for scoring. Nikki as usual kept us all magnificently fed.
19/06/2016 – Armadillos v. Stoats – 35 Over Match – Won by many runs
As the inaugural game between the Armadillos and the Stoats, in a 35 over format, we could not have asked for a finer day, particularly considering the inclement weather either side. Having been generously asked to fill the Armadillos captaincy role for the first time, it was not without a certain sense of trepidation that our young and very promising-looking team began to assemble. Surely a captain, however inexperienced, would have to be utterly inept to waste such talent. I should have known, though, when Freddy Greenish not only arrived ahead of the official start time, but a full half hour early, that fortune (and Freddy) might just smile on us.
After discussions with a few members of the team we decided that fielding first would suit us best. Sadly I swiflty lost the toss and was told that the Stoats were keen to field too. Despite a distinct lack of knowledge of the team’s individual merits a batting line-up was quickly cobbled together, largely based upon the tried and tested routine of asking where each player felt most at home. Charlie Horlick and Edmund Davison’s names were thrown into the hat as openers, a “decision” that immediately looked to be a winner as it turned out, during the practice throw downs, that we had a fine left-hand right-hand combination. The early Stoats’ overs were negotiated with a calm finesse, only the odd ball stopping up in the morning pitch and causing any worry. Those of us down the order had high hopes that we were going to be blessed with a morning sitting in the sun discussing the quality of a straight drive here or a late cut there. Unfortunately our early confidence was shattered as Charlie Horlick came trudging back to the pavilion with a handful of runs to his name. Thankfully our numbers 3 and 4 were already padded up and eager to step into the breach. Freddy Greenish sauntered to the middle, confidence personified as ever. His brothers immediately predicted he would give himself three balls to have a look at the lay of the land before cutting loose. They could not have been more accurate. Three very exuberant leaves later and any fetters were obliterated. A wagon wheel of Freddy’s innings would show an array of fours and sixes scattered all over the ground. He swiftly passed Edmund’s total, which was not insignificant itself, and gave the opposition attack a torrid time. So swift, in fact, was the accumulation of runs that we were embarrassed to learn he had crept into the 60s without there being any acknowledgement of his half century. We made amends with his next scoring shot, which the laws of probability would suggest was a 4 or a 6. By this time Edmund had also joined in with the devastation and both batsmen were making considerable amounts of hay in the late-June sun.
When lunch finally arrived, to the relief of a rather bewildered looking Stoats side, the Armadillos total had pushed beyond 190 for the loss of one wicket, Edmund was on a fine 70 and Freddy was teetering on 95. Both batsman had unfurled some entirely justified reverse sweeps and all was well. Upon their return to the crease Freddy needed 5 to complete the century. He was not to be denied and marched to 101 with a few fine shots. The Stoats were in no mood to see this fine batting display continue, however, and swiftly sent him back to the dressing room with no more added. The Stoats began to turn the screws slowly but surely from then on, picking up regular wickets and keeping us relatively honest as we attempted to turn a fine start into a mighty finish. John Dent, generously loaned by the Stoats, put on a very commendable display considering it was his first game in over twenty years. Adam Greenish and Alex Ohlson were then both undone early on, caught out by a touch of variable bounce. In the meantime, those Armadillos still back at the pavilion were preparing themselves, ahead of time for once, to cheer another huge milestone but to the dismay of all Edmund ran himself out for 93. Such a shame not to have another man on the honours’ board with a second superb innings. Joe Ohlson fell in the twenties having formed a very handy partnership with Will Davison in the middle order, scampering for quick runs whenever possible. Which left Will and I to see out the last two balls and post a notable 278 – 7.
This formidable total looked eminently defensible, so I decided to open with our lower order batsman, which meant Rollo and me, selfishly, opening proceedings. From the off we looked to stem any chance of runs and seemed to do just that. Rollo steaming in from the non-car park end looked especially threatening from ball one and was unlucky on a number of occasions not to pick up an edge. I managed to get the rub of the green in my first over and knock over an early wicket, but their numbers 1 and 3 then proved extremely stubborn and unwilling to give any more ground to either of us. A change was needed, so on came Messrs Rupert and Adam Greenish to tempt them with their special brand of medium pacers. The batsmen were a little too wiley to be tempted by any of the former’s straight balls, so he threw in his special change up ball, the full toss. Perfectly placed millimetres below a no-ball height, the dangerous-looking opener’s eyes lit up at the chance, only to sky it directly towards a calm Joe Ohlson at cover. We had what we hoped to be the key wicket and so it proved to be. In a rotation policy slightly reminiscent of Roy Hodgson’s England, everyone got a chance to bowl and the majority snaffled a wicket here or there. The fire in the opposition’s eyes was soon extinguished as they realised that the task of maintaining a run rate of more than 10 an over, set against such a ruthless and varied attack, was going to be Herculean. Rupert’s tactic of lobbing up the occasional full toss was not one to be sniffed at either as it yielded a further two wickets to leave him with three for the day. At this point I should mention that Edmund Davison, clearly a touch miffed at running himself out and not content to sit on his laurels, decided that three wickets would suit him very well too. Having picked up a couple in his first spell, we needed something special to accompany Alex Ohlson’s wiley bowling from the car park end. This meant a change of end for Edmund, but it felt right. With only two overs to spare Edmund delivered and picked up the penultimate wicket, leaving a very tense couple of overs at the death.
Their final batsman, however, was determined to see out the day in fine style and advanced down the wicket on a number of occasions only to deftly play the ball back to the bowler. He was toying with us cruelly. It needed something special in the final over. Cometh the hour etc. I had been trying to coax Joe Ohlson into turning the arm over since half way through the innings, but to no avail. Undoubtedly he had been saving himself for this one moment of glory. Left-arm-round-the-wicket-tweakers were inevitably just the sort of medicine to cure this final wicket malaise. The leather was right on the money from ball one, with deliveries constantly jumping off the edge of the bat only to land tantalisingly out of reach of the field. Surely it was only a question of when, not if. But it was not to be. The last two batsmen held out for some sort of honourable draw, though I believe it will officially be marked down as a resounding victory by over 100 runs, simply without the cherry on the icing to top it off. All in all, a fine result from a great team that really needed no captain whatsoever. Gentlemen and fine cricketers one and all.
A special mention should, I feel, go to Adam Greenish for passing on the following description of his accomplishments: “Bowled first ball. No wickets. No catches”. Needless to say, that does not tell the whole story. It was a very valiant effort all round considering the inferior state of his back and he deserved much more.
Many thanks to both teams for a great day.
18/06/2016 – Armadillos v HAC – 40 Over Match – lost by 17 runs
The HAC won the toss and elected to bat on what has to be said looked a very decent track considering the extraordinary amount of rain over the three days prior, but especially overnight on Friday. A 40 over game was agreed.
Linton open the bowling with his usual left-arm over probing seamers. The pitch seamed about and it was quickly apparent we were in for a low scoring game. Linton with his mixture of seam and swing both ways was quite a handful. Waterson opened the other end with right-arm over lovely pitched up in swingers. The HAC batted very correctly and a game of chess developed as the new ball played out. It took until the 10th over to get the breakthrough, Waterson finally trapping his man in front.
Maclehose replaced Waterson and bowled well. The HAC were though beginning to look well set and change was needed into the attack. After 23 overs 100 was up with only 2 wickets down..So after 12 overs of toil, Linton was finally given a breather and replaced by Huxtable. Line and length with a field in tight supportive role was now the order of the day. The pressure built. The slower pace on a sticky pitch was working. Coleman came on to replace Maclehose, again the slowing up of ball onto bat yielded 2 quick wickets and a drought of runs and suddenly the Dills were back on the front foot.
With 10 overs remaining the slower ball strategy was further developed with the introduction of Wilkinson with his chinamen. Maclean brought himself on and again with excellent support in the field wickets fell as the HAC tried to combat the slow tight strategy with some gusty blows. Willkinson and Maclean held there nerve and came away with five wickets between them as the HAC were bowled out for 150 which
represented an excellent display in the field, especially after being 100-2 at the half way mark
The Dills opted for a youth policy all out batting attack to put the sword to the military unit. Maclehose (20), Waterson (0) and Streeter (16) top three. The score did indeed rattle along, an enormous six by Maclehose the highlight in the second over, but unfortunately the rattle of stumps was all to frequent as well.
Brockelhurst (4) was in and looked to settle things until he too was making his way back. Spot of bother at 40-4. Reynolds (0) departed thanks to a generous LBW, but plenty of batting down the order. Coleman kept the score ticking on, Wilkinson nudged it about. A good partnership got us into the 90’s with Huxtable, Linton and Maclean ready and waiting.
Huxtable fell for seven shortly after Coleman was bowled for 23.
At 133 for 9 when Linton went for 13, it suddenly looked a bit of a long shot. Time was not an issue. Maclean (0 no) saw off the last two balls of that over and over to Wilkinson (21) to finish it off. Playing on the first ball of the 36th over saw an end to a tight game which really should have gone the way of the home team.
05/06/2016 – Armadillos v. I Zingari – Declaration Match – Lost by 7 wickets
As is ever the case when agreeing to match manage a game of cricket, the feeling of trepidation and fear that all of the organisation will go as planned does not dissipate until the moment that all players have arrived, the opposition have found the ground, umpires are in place and the caterers (most importantly of all) are going their good work. So before we get to the cricket, I must thanks Peter Morgan for managing to extend this nervous state of mind as he sent a message 10 minutes before the game to say that he was near Tunbridge Wells; no mean feat when you consider the fact that he lives in Weybridge! That he was my opening batsman in no way decided my decision on winning the toss…..
So, to the cricket. Finally it seemed as though summer had arrived as a hot and sunny day provided the perfect setting for the Dill’s game against IZ. We had won handsomely last year and this year IZ had brought a strong team with them. We had a team packed with bowling, a receptive pitch and a ball that decided to swing. Things were looking good and so it proved with early inroads being made by some excellent bowling from Dills debutant Charlie Huntingdon and from Jack Bebb especially. Jack produced what may be ball of the season as it swung in from left arm over, pitched middle and clipped the top of off stump. He was unlucky to get only one more wicket. IZ lost regular wickets and had a couple changes gone to hand, we may well have kept them below 160. Mention must be made of Justin Bower, who having suggested he bowl to the hard hitting IZ number 4 (who got the majority of their runs), a friend of his as he would undoubtedly get him out, then proceed to induce a miss hit to deep mid-off first ball. I am sure he would supply lottery numbers if asked.
IZ eventually declared at 213 for 9, which on a pitch that was now turning and occasionally providing variable bounce was going to be a tough chase. That our run chase started off with Ant Pickering running himself out for 1 did not help but Ben Chapman and Pete Morgan (who had finally arrived just before lunch) steadied the before Dave Nelson and Ben took us to 118 for 2, riches indeed and a quiet confidence took hold. Surely we could muster under a hundred with 8 wickets left? Sadly that was not to be and once Dave (28) and Ben, for an excellent 66, were out for the 3rd and 4th wickets respectively, the remaining wickets fell at regular intervals to leave us 22 runs short of victory. However, the game was great fun, played in a great spirit and as the weather was glorious and the setting beautiful, we had little to complain about. We look forward to next year and the chance to make it 2:1 in a best of three.
My thanks to the players, umpires and especially to the group who mow, roll and prepare the pitch and outfield. It is no small task and without them, we would have no cricket.
04/06/2016 – Armadillos v. Dotties – Twenty/20 Match – Won by 7 runs
It was all a bit slow as the Dills Over 55’s sneaked a win against the Dotties.
Heavy rain during the week ensured the wicket was a bit slow and low. The outfield was rather slow for the same reason. The running between the wickets, the chasing down of balls that found gaps in the field and the pace of the bowling from both sides were certainly not rapid either. That said, the players from both sides had a terrific day in the sunshine.
Nigel Gourlay and Peter Scaramanga opened the batting; the former taking a full over to get his eye in before unleashing the shot of the day: a sumptuous on-drive that rattled to the boundary. Sadly that was it as he perished shortly thereafter. Philip Lough discovered what a leveller cricket is, after his success last year, and missed a full toss early on. With Scaramanga and Damian Greenish also departing cheaply the ship was steadied by the more regular cricketers: Rolly Crawford (45), Colin Hely-Hutchinson (32*) and the new cap Algy Williams. Algy fell to a steepler pouched by the opposition captain, David Hollings, which was an appropriate time to take drinks (champagne!) that he had kindly provided, along with a barrel of Harvey’s. Wickets and runs came in equal measure thereafter and the Dills completed their 20 overs with 119 runs thanks to some energetic running at the death.
After ‘tea’, the Dotties early innings followed a similar pattern to the Dills: a flurry of runs and some wickets. Andrew Murdoch took one thanks to a fine stumping from Colin H-H. The batsmen generously walked as Umpire Cossens’ vision was blocked by an enthusiastic Damo (who also took a wicket!); an unusual dismissal but the Spirit of Cricket was intact. Sadly Andrew departed shortly thereafter with a strained knee when body and brain were not quite in synch. (No permanent damage we gather. The lengths people go to avoid paying a match fee!).
With the Dotties still on track the wily bowling combination of Crawford (2-21), Williams (2-12) and Guy Davison (1-19) kept the Dotties in check helped by the scampering Scaramanga, some fine catching from Gourlay, another stumping for Colin H-H, a neat run out by Lough and fancy footwork from an injured Robin Scott (a pulled muscle performing yoga, we understand!). The Dotties ended up on 112 so the Dills won by 7 runs. It was a great day thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Huge thanks to all participants from both sides , particularly Umpires Cossens and Jenkins and scorer Chris Goddard.
22/05/2016 – Armadillos v. Buccaneers – Declaration Match – Lost by 7 wickets
Our first match of the season took place in mild and slightly humid conditions. It was a good toss to win and the Dills were inserted and we soon found it sticky going. The Buccaneers quickly realised that pace was not going to win the day, and a steady flow of slow bowling became our undoing. Ben Langman struck a good 37 runs but with little long term support, the Dills limped somewhat to 117 all out.
So it was always going to be a tall order to defend such a low total, especially on a drying pitch. We perhaps lacked the same control as the Buccs in our bowling with only Ben Langman and Omkar Khot being able to apply any sort of consistent pressure. James Willacy, opening the bowling took 2 wickets, including a superb return catch and Louis Bebb took a wicket towards the end, a reward for some admirably consistent seam bowling.
So not the start to the season we would have hoped for but it was of course terrific to be back playing, especially given where we were only a few weeks ago. The wicket played pretty well throughout the day which is really a remarkable outcome and our thanks should go to those that have put so much of their time and effort in over the month under Phil’s expert guidance.
Particular thanks to scorer David Strachan for giving us his time and to umpires Alan and Ray. Ray was unfortunately taken ill during the match and we wish him a speedy recovery.
2015 Season Match Reports
13/09/2015 – Armadillos v. Sussex Martlets – 40 Over Match – Lost by 50 runs
The season closer against the Martlets saw the ‘Dills unfortunately come up short when chasing down a total of 213 in our 40 allotted overs.
Having bravely lost the toss and taken to the field, we started well under gloomy skies and on a helpful track. Nick Hely-Hutchinson and Ant Pickering took the new ball and fared relatively well with runs not flowing too rapidly and the nibbling out of the 1st Martlet wicket. The bowling changes saw an increase in the action with Charlie Eastwood running in and hitting the deck hard from one end whilst Jason Oates spun it sneakily up the hill. Charlie deserved more profit from his endeavour, beating the bat – and indeed the paintwork – frequently, and the rising snorter that dispensed with their second bat will long be remembered. Oatesy – who rolled back the years with his looping fizzers – picked up a few (amazing what happens when you bowl straight) and all of a sudden we were half way through their batting line up, more than half way through the overs, and with the score still very manageable! And this despite some evidence of an “over-summered” Armadillos team that would have been pressed to catch even a cold, let alone a hard red ball. Unfortunately though this steady wicket-taking brought “the incredible hulk” (as named by our Captain of Cricket – who had crossed the Atlantic to put in an appearance on the hallowed turf) to the wicket. Some extremely muscular, and at times angry, walloping took the Hulk to a speedy fifty and the Martlets to 213, with 80+ coming in the last 10 overs despite some manful toiling with the ball from Johnny Colville, Will Pritchard and Hely-Hutchinson. Interestingly the Hulk also seemed to have some form of inbuilt ability to target certain fielders, uncannily chasing Nick Orgill wherever he went and showing zero respect for a man clearly jaded by his dance floor capering of the night before.
A fine tea gave the Dills a chance to regroup and ready themselves for the chase, which although well started was regrettably slightly less well finished! Will Pritchard and Jason Oates strode to the wicket and despite some tight bowling were making reasonable headway, before an expansive drive from Oates found the hand of a scurrying Martlet. After a brief cameo from Orgill, Joe Akers-Douglas and Hugo Scott-Gall lent “both their barrels” to the cause, ably supporting Will to take us within range of the target. In fact, the Dills were looking very comfortable at the half-way mark and well set for a late push, and special mention must go to Will for a well-constructed 50. Unfortunately, just as the scoreboard was really starting to shift, some moments of indecision from our set batsmen saw the Dillo tail exposed. Disappointingly, the Dillo tail was not quite as ready to wag as it is often wont to do. In fact, it failed to wag in any fashion at all. Instead, the rowdy gathering of kids on the boundary were treated to a very gentlemen like procession through the final wickets – a few lusty blows notwithstanding – bringing us to a slightly less rousing season close than we might have wished. We’ll just have to beat them next year…
A thoroughly enjoyable match nonetheless, with both visitors and hosts working hard to empty the drinks fridge and tell the biggest lie as the shadows lengthened. Sincere thanks to all for a great closing fixture, especially the Chairman and his merry men for serving up another fantastic track.
Until next year…
06/09/2015 – Armadillos v. Refreshers – 40 Over Match – Won by 8 wickets
With all the rain we’d had over the last few weeks, the outcome of the toss on a gloriously sunny day with the prospect of a drying wicket was crucial; fortunately for us the opposing skipper called it wrong and we put them in to bat. Unsurprisingly they found it difficult to score, both because of the wicket and also because of some very accurate opening bowling from Messrs. Ryder-Smith and Davy. After ten overs they were 26-1; the run-rate gathered momentum as their innings progressed but it was only in the last ten overs, during which they scored 76 runs, that they really got going taking their total to 197-5. Generally tidy bowling all around, though both Hugo Rawlinson (8 overs) and Tim Davy (7 overs) stood out with 2-19 and 1-24 respectively. Ben Ryder-Smith ended on 1-31 (8 overs) and Archie Hill, making his debut for the Dills, bowled a teasing length and line of off-spin. There was some smart fielding on show as well, with both Nick and Teddy H-H making life easy for their Dad behind the stumps to get a couple of run-outs; this was the second game for Teddy this season and on both occasions the opposition has underestimated the strength and accuracy of his arm from the boundary. Sam Burrell of the Refreshers deserves special mention for scoring a very solid 114, opening the batting and surviving through the 38th over. The Refreshers ended on 197 for 5.
In reply the Dills went about their task with alacrity. Batting conditions had clearly improved and Teddy H-H and Ed Turner didn’t need much encouragement. Some stylish and aggressive batting from both of them meant that we’d scored 82 off our first ten overs; the two of them went on to put on an opening stand of 103. Teddy then mis-timed one and was out for 66. Unfortunately Freddy Greenish succumbed to temptation on his third delivery, bringing Hugo Rawlinson to the crease. He clearly had a train to catch as he also scored 66 not out, in 41 deliveries, including five 6’s. Ed continued a fine run of form and ended up 63 not out and we surpassed their total in only 25 overs with 2 wickets down.
Thanks as ever to Phil for getting the wicket into playable condition, to Ray King for umpiring, David Strachan for scoring and Nikki Todd for weighing down the opposition with a delicious lunch and tea.
02/08/2015 – Armadillos v. Kenya Kongonis – Declaration Match – Won by 9 runs
On a beautiful sunny day at Sheffield Park, with the gardens in full bloom and the pitch in phenomenal condition, the Armadillos faced the Kenya Kongonis in a fascinating day of cricket. In what proved to be a close contest, the Dills produced some excellent individual performances and some fighting spirit to come out on top.
Having won the toss, the Dills elected to take full advantage of the good pitch prepared and bat. Despite the early loss of Bone to a good ball in the first over, an early partnership was formed between Turner and Rawlinson. Turner looked in the mood to do some real damage, until he unwisely called a second run on the arm of the Kongonis’ overseas scholar. The throw was good and the bails were off with Turner (29) well short of his ground. With Pritchard now at the crease, the Dills continued to bat solidly, building a score against the extended spell from the Kongonis’ openers. However, shortly before lunch the Kongonis introduced leg spin into the attack. As often happens, it was the full toss that got the breakthrough, with Rawlinson caught and bowled for 54 and the Dills making it to lunch with a respectable 122-4 on the board.
Following the break, the Dills continued to work diligently through Pritchard (20) and F. Greenish (18) against some miserly medium pace bowling. It wasn’t until Nelson reached the crease that things started to accelerate. After a few sighters, some lusty blows (including 4 sixes, 7 fours) from the Bath man’s long handle saw him move swiftly to 65 not out and the Dills declare on a competitive 231 with an hour to bowl before tea.
It was this short session that was to be the decisive section of the game. Despite the efforts of Nelson and Kemmis-Betty, the Kongonis formidable opening pair (one of whom was Seren Waters who had played for Kenya in the 2011 World Cup) quickly moved the scoreboard to 70-0 from 9 overs. At this point, a lesser group would perhaps have resigned themselves to the inevitable, but Nelson had other ideas. In his fifth over he produced two beautiful deliveries to dismiss both the openers, before continuing with an inspired spell of fast bowling that sparked a fight back in the Dills. It wasn’t long before the third wicket fell to Neal, now whirling away like a windmill at the other end. Again, it was the ever-deceptive full toss that did the business, although this time the catch came to mid-off. Somehow, the score at tea was 77-4.
The final session of the day began with some resistance from the Kongonis middle order, who batted well and slowly chipped away at the Dills lead. Turner held down one end with his flat off-spin/medium pace, finishing with respectable figures of 3-34 from 9 overs, while the seamers slogged in up the hill. It was starting to get uncomfortably close with the Kongonis edging their way to 211-9, when Nelson came back to the party. Following extended stretching session, he re-entered the attack and cleaned up the tail on 222 to finish with match-winning figure of 5-45 from 11.2 overs.
26/07/2015 – Armadillos v. Missing Bail – Match cancelled – rain
12/07/2015 – Armadillos v. Band of Brothers – Declaration Match – Won by 113 runs
The BB returned to Sheffield Park to face an Armadillos side packed with youth and some First Class ability.
Rain over night and throughout the morning saw the 11.30am start delayed and the game shortened to a 35 over match after an early lunch. The toss was won by Armadillos’ skipper Jim Mann and he elected to bat first, hoping the wet conditions would prove difficult for the BB to bowl and field in. He was right; the opening partnership between Will Jones and Ed Turner raced along to 38 off the first 7 overs. The ball striking was hard and clean on what was a difficult batting pitch with movement and swing, and it wasn’t long before the BB had men out on the boundary, and in the woods! After Ed holed out on the boundary, Will Jones was joined at the crease by Freddy Greenish who picked up where Ed had left off and smashed a brilliant, if slightly agricultural, 51. Once both Will (68) and Ed departed, the middle order struggled with the conditions making the earlier free scoring all the more impressive. A final flurry of clean hitting from Tim Davy (23*) on a fleeting visit back from Dubai saw the Dills reach their total of 219.
The Dills opened up their defence in BB’s innings with Ben Ryder-Smith and Tim Davy. Ben bowled superbly and with real skiddy pace, picking up 2 wickets in his 6 permitted overs. At one point Ben was bowling with an expectant slip cordon of 4 slips and a gully. Ben was backed up reliably by Tim, who also picked up 2 wickets, Harry Mann taking a sharp catch in the gulley for one of Tim’s scalps. Ollie Mann and Nick Hely-Hutchinson were 1st and 2nd change and kept the pressure on the BB batsmen who were unable ever to break free, continuing to lose wickets in a steady flow. 2 overs of Johnny Colville’s spin yielded 2 wickets and Jim Mann finished things off with the 10th wicket seeing the Dills win by the more than comfortable margin of 113 runs. Special mentions go to Will Jones for an attractive innings on his debut, Freddy Greenish for his explosive knock in the middle order and Ben Ryder-Smith for his hostile opening burst.
05/07/2105 Armadillos v. The Bradman Foundation XI – 35-over match – lost by nine runs.
The match manager, not wanting to make a similar mistake to last year by calling a game based upon miserable weather conditions only to find the sky clearing and perfect conditions abounding, resorted to accessing the aviation weather channel at Gatwick airport courtesy of The Bradman Foundation’s match manager who is in the airline industry. Result? Glorious conditions from 1 p.m. onwards resulting in over 400 runs being scored in a 35-over match though unfortunately with the Dillos coming up a little short.
The Aussie posted a challenging score of 210-5, with three batsmen doing most of the damage. Messrs. Harry and Oliver Mann opened from either end in a young, brisk attack, to be followed up by Nick H-H and Alex Ohlson who kept the pressure on to then be followed by two sultans of spin, Rolly Crawford and Johnny Colville. Returning to pace at the end of the innings might have played in to the Aussies hands a little as in hindsight it was probably a little easier to score off the pace rather than the spin bowlers.
A spirited reply from Teddy H-H and Ed Turner had us on 80-odd after ten overs, seemingly cruising along. Then a rush of blood to the head by Teddy and Ed holing out to a leg-side full toss and we started to lose our way. Rolly kept things going but the run-rate slowed as we were pegged down by some tight bowling in the middle of the innings. Some lusty blows from Johnny Colville and Tom Bourne enabled us to catch up somewhat but wickets fell at regular intervals and with them any rhythm that we’d had. We came up nine runs short.
Thanks to John Mayer for umpiring, Nikki Todd for tea and Phil for preparing the wicket and scoring. And thanks to the Bradman Foundation XI who fielded a side that came to enjoy themselves and appreciate the splendour that is Sheffield Park.
28/06/2015 – Armadillos v. Butterflies – Declaration Match – Won by 10 runs
On a warm, cold, wet, dry day in June we witnessed a sensational victory for the Dills against a young, upbeat Butterflies eleven. Olly Shuttleworth won the toss and batted on what seemed to be a flat, straw-coloured pitch. We were soon in the mire losing Colin Hely-Hutchinson and Mark Rowlands in quick succession. After a fight back from Harry Shuttleworth and Nic H-H (including some strong lofted drives for a Stokes-like 19) further wickets fell until Tim Kittoe came to the crease and made a stoic 36, the equal highest score of the day. Simon King stuck around but it was a last wicket partnership of 50 between Colin H-H (who returned to the wicket at the generous invitation of the Butterflies as we were fielding 10) and Max Hobson which gave us a chance. With 142 we had a workable total that had been hard-fought against some very strong bowling.
Their reply was quickly in trouble. The opening duo of a rampant Simon Roundell and Nic H-H (aka Mr Full and Straight) had them 2 down quickly. Roundell was unplayable with both new ball and old taking 5-16. Max Hobson came on first change and struck soon cleaning up the number 2 with a good length jaffa. Then a couple of good players got to the crease including a capped number 6 who went walking up the wicket to both pace and spin – suddenly 142 looked in danger until Mark Rowlands’ slower ball bouncer had Nicholson plum LBW. After Taylor had them pinned back with fast wrist spin, Roundell returned to the fray. He struck immediately with a snorter that had their best bat Maxwell caught behind for 36. After a few simple catches from good length balls the Butterflies were all out for 134. It was a great win for the Dills and Colin H-H did a sterling job behind the stumps in very tricky conditions, with variable bounce an issue for both keepers.
Many thanks are due to the lunch and tea guru Nikki Todd and to The Butterflies who were competitive but fair throughout.
20/06/2015 – Armadillos v. Hornets and 21/06/2015 Armadillos v. Chelsea Arts Club
The Armadillos’ weekend against the Hornets (the old boys of Milton Abbey School) and the Chelsea Arts Club is always keenly anticipated, as much for the joy of the “craic” as the quality of the cricket. The weekend had been brought forward this year to avoid a clash with The Open and the Lords Test Match although we did run into the London/Brighton bicycle race on Sunday. The weather stayed fine despite the dire predictions of the Dills grumpy sage Ben Langman that we would be hit by the storm of the century on Saturday afternoon. We had an impressive audience of National Trust members to watch the matches – they were well rewarded.
Armadillos v Hornets Saturday 20th June 2015 – Overs Game – Won by 141 runs
The Hornets won the toss and asked the Dills to bat. With four Greenishes in the side it was not surprising to find an opening pair from the family. Damian and Rupert put on 17 for the first wicket before Damian was bowled by Miln – the pick of the Hornets’ bowling. That brought Hugo Fry to the crease who had made 122 not out in this fixture last year. He and Rupert put on just short of 100 for the second wicket before Rupert was replaced by Freddy Greenish. It was a measure of Hugo’s dominance that Freddy very much played the supporting role whilst Hugo was at the crease. However, following his rather surprising dismissal for 73, Freddy took the leading part with an impressive display of shots, including the usual selection of straight drives. Ant Pickering produced a swash-buckling 41 not out before the Dills declared at 289 for eight off 42 overs. Miln ended with four wickets and was ably supported by Underwood (no, not Derek) and the captain Marcus Williams who each took two wickets. It was a fine aggressive batting performance from the Dills against some perfectly respectable bowling.
It was a stiff target and the Hornets struggled to build partnerships against some fine tight bowling. They reached 50 for the loss of only one wicket but thereafter wickets fell steadily. As usual John Kemmis-Betty was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets and there were two wickets each for Rupert and Freddy and one wicket for the Dills debutant Alex Kemmis-Betty (John’s younger brother). John also took three fine catches to round off an impressive day. Marcus Williams was the Hornets’ top scorer with a fine 31 but his side were dismissed for 148 to give the Dills an impressive win.
As expected the match was played in the best spirit and there was much to discuss over a glass or two in the evening. Freddy captained the side with great skill and thanks are due to Nikki Todd for the usual excellent lunch and tea and to Chris Goddard for scoring.
The full Dills team was Freddy Greenish (capt), Damian Greenish (wkt), Hugo Fry, Rupert Greenish, Aidan Holloway, Alex Kemmis-Betty, Tom Bourne, Ant Pickering, John Kemmis-Betty, Ben Langman and Adam Greenish.
Armadillos v Chelsea Arts Club Sunday 21st June 2015-Overs game – Won by 8 wickets
Once again the Dills lost the toss but on this occasion the Chelsea Arts Club elected to bat. The London/Brighton bicycle race had rather taken its toll on the Arts Club side and so it was 12.15pm before all were assembled and we were able to take to the field.
The Arts Club batsmen never really got going. They found themselves at 0-2 and only one batsman, Greaney, reached double figures. The opening attack of Jack Bebb and John Kemmis-Betty was devastating; the batsman had no answer to the excellent display of left arm swing bowling from each end. Jack had two wickets as did his father Tor Bebb and there was also a wicket for Michael Hole. However, it was John who once again claimed a place on the Honours Board with figures of 5 for 8 (the runs coming off too streaky fours through the slip cordon) off five overs. The Chelsea Arts Club were dismissed for a disappointing 66.
It was never going to be enough. Adam Greenish and Alex Bone put on 30 for the first wicket before Adam went for an aggressive 18. Simon King batted well but fell just before the end. However the Dills reached their target off 10 overs with only 2 wickets down with Alex Bone on 31 not out.
It was a fine all-round display from the Dills against a side that more than made up for any deficiencies in their cricketing skills with charm, humour and enthusiasm.
Armadillos v Chelsea Arts Club Sunday 21st June 2015 – Twenty20 match – Won by 141 runs
The early finish of the game resulted in the captains agreeing that we should stage an additional 20/20 fixture. The Dills in effect carried on batting; Alex Bone and Aidan Holloway being the not out batsmen from the first game. Alex scored 38 and Aidan very much provided the supporting role whilst he was there. However, after Alex’s departure, Aidan asserted his dominance as his confidence grew. He played a selection of particularly fine and delicate late cuts to anything that even whispered of being short. He was ably supported by the team. With a couple of overs remaining, he was in sight of his century. Freddy Greenish came to the crease with strict orders to give him as much of the strike as possible but the mist descended, the inviting boundaries beckoned and in a flurry of 4s and 6s, Aidan’s opportunity to face a bowler diminished. He finished on 89 not out; a fine innings. The Dills had scored 199 off their 20 overs, leaving the Arts Club an improbable target to win of 200.
The left arm openers were rested for the second game but it made little difference to the result. Seven wickets fell to an extraordinary combination of leg spin bowling provided by Aidan Holloway and Freddy and Damian Greenish. It sometimes gave the impression of being a competition to find the bowler who could produce the slowest and/or the highest delivery. Damian probably just about took the prize for the latter whilst Freddy competed strongly for the former; he had one particular LBW where the only real issue was whether the ball would actually reach the stumps with enough pace to dislodge a bail. Aidan took four wickets with an extremely accurate spell – there was no doubt who was man-of-the-match. The Arts Club were dismissed for 58 bringing an end to a delightful weekend of good cricket and great company.
Thanks are due to John Maher for standing as our umpire, to David Strachan for scoring and once again to Nikki Todd for her excellent food.
The full Armadillos team for both matches was Damian Greenish (capt) Alex Bone (wtk) Aidan Holloway, Michael Hole, John Kemmis-Betty, Tor Bebb, Jack Bebb, Rupert Greenish, Freddy Greenish, Adam Greenish, and Simon King.
14/06/2015 – Armadillos v. Brighton Brunswick – Declaration Match – Lost by 7 wickets
On the weekend that Jurassic Park was released in cinemas, the Dills lost for the first time this season in a manner reminiscent of the goat scene from the original film. Waves rippled through the spectators glasses of rosé and at one point you could almost make out the noise of velociraptors marauding Lord Sheffield’s lawns. This was a day that the Armadillos’ armour couldn’t quite stand the test.
At times it looked as if we might be ok, Freddy Greenish scored an entertaining 38 at well over a run a ball, flailing the Brunswick opening bowlers to all parts whilst his opening partner Alex Bone looked composed and elegant before getting an unplayable delivery. Bilal Ashbach hit his first ball faced at Sheffield Park over deep mid wicket for six and didn’t stop there in depositing a few more deliveries into the trees.
But wickets fell regularly and mostly to poor shots. Whilst we may have been rattling along at 6 an over the revolving door of incoming/outgoing batsman finally caught up with us and without a determined 27* from Will Pritchard we would have fallen way short of the 140 we eventually managed.
Bowling at such a low total is a massive challenge and Ben Ryder-Smith set about the task manfully, producing an excellent spell of pace and accuracy. But whilst the captain rotated bowlers and tinkered with fielders to try and force a break through the Brunswick openers were able to bat with the freedom of knowing there were plenty of men still to come and the prospect of being home for Country File.
Ryder-Smith eventually got the break through and Harry Neal then snared a classical off-spinner’s wicket full of guile and craft to get the other opener stumped. Luke Speight bowled a very tight couple of overs but was unable to stem the flow of boundaries, and the opposition cruised home with six wickets in hand.
Days like this happen, and had we scored 200 the added score board pressure may have added to the game. But despite the beating, the prehistoric theme of this report urges us to remember… it’s better to be an Armadillo than that goat!
07/06/2015 – Armadillos v. I Zingari – Declaration Match – Won by 60 runs
As we near the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, the words of the Iron Duke seem to be apposite in light of the desire to reverse the hefty defeat last year in the IZ fixture. When a friend asked the Duke “If you had your life over again, is there any way in which you could have done better?”, the now aged Duke replied: “Yes, I should have given more praise”; and I have the same views as to the team which the Armadillos fielded on Sunday. It was an excellent team effort making captaincy initiation a pleasure.
On the first cricketing day when both temperature was hot and sun out, and bearing in mind the number of hangovers being fielded by the Dills, the decision was taken to bat on what looked a good pitch (and so it proved).
Despite Messrs Greenish (F) and Turner only taking up the opening duties reluctantly, the scoreboard had more of a Kiwi hue to it after the initial exchanges with a score of 60 in the first 11 overs. Decent first and second wicket partnerships left us with over 100 runs, for the loss of one wicket with 20 minutes to go before lunch. However, that preceded a mini collapse including Freddy being none too pleased with the decision to send him on his way – one which he took in good humour and in no way kept chuntering about for the rest of the afternoon….
Lunch was taken at 123 for 4. Particular highlights included Freddy’s shot a ball half century (50) and excellent support from both Ed Turner and Tim Stack. Post lunch, the innings progressed in much the same hectic manner with good hands played by Justin Bower and Joe Akers-Douglas (39) but the fall of regular wickets left the Dills on 194 for 9, probably 30 shy of a defendable total. However, a last wicket stand of 60, based on the premise of “if it’s up it goes” saw the Bens (Burwood on debut and Langman) allow the innings to be declared on 252 for 9 providing slightly worrying symmetry to last year’s defeat.
However, I am pleased to be able to report that in taking five IZ wickets before tea, the stuffing was taken out of the chase early on. Worthy of note were three excellent catches; Ben Ryder-Smith off his own bowling, Freddy Greenish very low to his right and Mark Rowlands who took a nonchalant one-hander at short cover from a well struck drive. Indeed, the Dills took every catch offered to outfielders. The skipper chipped in with three wickets from non-spinning darts/offies, Ben Burwood took two well timed wickets off his disturbingly short run and Justin Bower one prior to his hamstring deciding that it had done enough for the day. This left Ben Ryder-Smith to book-end the innings, as all opening bowlers should, when he clinically cleared up the tail.
So, revenge was sweet and rounded off, from my perspective, the perfect day as the win was a true team performance. My thanks as ever to Howard Cohen for umpiring, David Strachan for scoring and the Chairman for his ‘Ground Management’ duties.
06/06/2015 – Armadillos v. Dotties – Twenty/20 Match – Won by 40 runs
There was so much experience on display at this new fixture that the combined ages on both teams was more than 1,000. That was because no player was selected unless he was aged less than 55! With the odd exception, players found it difficult to roll back the years: throwing, catching and bowling proved particularly difficult.
Sheffield Park looked magnificent as the crowd gathered in anticipation as the Dills were inserted having lost the toss. Opener Robin Scott, without doubt the best-dressed player from either side, departed after hitting a couple of boundaries. Philip Lough was joined by Nigel Phillips and both took a while to get their eye in. There were murmurings from the pavilion but we needn’t have worried as the bowling and the fielders got increasingly slower. The shot of the day came from Phillips as he dispatched a delivery, that bounced at least three times before reaching him, over the bowler’s head for 6. After Phillips (52) and Lough (42) gracefully retired, there was a late charge from Messrs Howe, Crawford and Hely-Hutchinson and the Dills innings finished on 165.
Shaun Stewart and Andrew Murdoch, playing their first games at SP, quickly went about their business tying down the opposition but it was the introduction of Guy Davison that put the Dotties well behind the clock. He finished with figures of 5-6 off his four overs so his name will be the latest addition to the Honours Board. He was supported by James Butcher who had wickets from his first two deliveries, both bowled. Damian Greenish bowled his leg breaks out of the back of his hand but couldn’t buy a wicket. Captain Ohlson wisely bowled himself at the end when the victory was secure.
The Dotties ended 40 short but old men’s cricket was the real winner.
31/05/2015 – Armadillos v. Buccaneers – Cancelled, rain
10/05/2015 – Armadillos v. The Griffin – 35 Over Match – Won by 4 wickets
The Dills began their campaign in almost perfect cricket conditions, with the ground looking resplendent against a cloudless blue sky. A firm track with just a touch of green in it allowed me to insert The Griffin for the 35 over per side match. However, having seen off some uncomfortable bowling from Kemmis-Betty, and an accurate opening spell from Baty, at 123 for no wicket the decision to let the oppo bat first was perhaps looking a dubious one. However it was then that the skipper turned to youth and Josh Bebb on debut managed to extract both openers in successive overs and this instigated something of a middle order collapse. Wickets tumbled regularly. A couple of wickets each for T. Bebb and Rowlands, one for Louis Bebb, also on debut, two run outs and suddenly the score was 142 – 8. A few lusty blows at the end saw The Griff ending on 171 – 9.
So some work to do and following the uncharacteristically early departure of Damo Greenish, bowled by a pearler from Lynton Neill, Colin Baty and Freddie Greenish scored quickly to add 46 for the second wicket. Thereafter we were always up with the run rate and the only concern was batsmen getting out just when they were set. However any lingering doubts on this front were laid to rest by a super knock from KB coming in at 5 and scoring 74no. He was ably assisted by Mark Rowlands (23) in a 5th wicket stand of 67, and aptly it was left to KB with Josh Bebb to see us home by 5 wickets in just 26.1 overs.
So a great start to the season. The pitch played well providing pretty consistent bounce and pace, although one or two did keep low at the top end, and there was certainly enough there to keep both batters and bowlers interested. My thanks as ever to David Strachan for scoring and to Mrs B for providing such a fantastic tea.
07/09/2014 – Armadillos v. Primrose Hill Elephants – 35 Over Match – Won by 110 runs
The Armadillos rounded off their season in emphatic style with a 110 run victory against the Primrose Hill Elephants.
Sheffield Park looked tremendous in the early autumn sunshine as the dew took a while to burn off. In a true Dills democracy, there was a debate about who should skipper the side and, once that was sorted, there was a wider debate about the format of the game: declaration or limited overs? We settled on Hugo Scott-Gall presiding over a 35 over game with the Dills batting first.
Damian Greenish and Colin Hely-Hutchinson built a solid foundation. When asked to bat at 3 Rolly Crawford responded in his usual positive manner and rolled back the years. One towering 6 was a contender for shot of the day. The innings was well set when Colin was out for a considered 36 with Rolly following shortly thereafter for 59. There was a semblance of a middle-order collapse before Ant Pickering and Nick Hely-Hutchinson battered the youthful PHE bowlers to all parts of the ground, scoring 100 off the last ten overs. Ant reached his 50 off the penultimate ball of the innings as the Dills posted an imposing 220.
After a spectacular tea with contributions coming from players and wives alike, the Dills waddled into the field. Nick H-H and Ant Pickering, obviously still loose from their batting exploits, soon asserted themselves. They were supported by intuitive field placing from the skipper and instinctive catching by the Match Manager. Tor Bebb was given some treatment by the opening batsman who wasn’t perturbed by Tor’s howls as he bowled the occasional wide one. There was little respite for the Ellies as Alex Derrick tied up one end before Justin Bower and Johnny Colville vied with each other with six wickets in eight overs. Justin finished with 3-4 and Johnny 3-18 as the opposition were bowled out for 110 in the 30th over.
This was a conclusive victory for the Dills and there was a contribution from everyone – exactly what is expected in Dills cricket. Thanks must go too to two recently retired Dills, Paul Jenkins and Nigel Gourlay, who helped with the umpiring, to our excellent scorer David Strachan and to the President and his wife Caroline for opening and closing the ground and their support throughout the day. We all wished this was not the end of another successful season.
31/08/2014 – Armadillos v. Sussex Martlets – 40 Over Match – Won by 1 wicket
When the Martlets gather at Sheffield Park then autumn is on its way. But instead of the cold autumnal weather that blighted most of August we were greeted on the last day of the month by warm sunshine and the first opportunity in four weeks for the Armadillos to take to the field. Unlike the Martlets, our captain Hugo Scott-Gall had already taken flight (west to New York) and had handed on the mantle to Tim Davy. Along with two late injuries to our original XI, unexpected opportunities were offered to father and son Leefe and Damian Greenish (plucked from his honey gathering duties) – heroes all as you will find out.
A 40 over match, with leg-side wides cleverly negotiated by our captain, Davy duly lost the toss and informed his team that they would be chasing. And chase they did! Ben Ryder-Smith and Oli Mann opened up and kept things tightish on a wicket offering nothing to the seamers, but a dropped catch allowed Liam Davidson to get going and at 169 for 1 after 29 overs with six bowlers tried the Dills were becoming sick of chasing.
Enough was enough, and Davy called up 15 year old Charlie Leefe to bowl his leggies. The first range finder was dispatched by Davidson for 4, the second delivery pitched and turned and the third dipped, drew Davidson out of his crease, turned, beat the outside edge and Hugo Rawlinson completed the stumping. The perfect leg break and the danger man was on his way for 109. Thereafter the Dills responded well, particularly father (Simon) Leefe with 3 for 48 off 8 overs of left-arm spin, and in the end the Martlets were restricted to 232 for 7. On a turning wicket this was a challenging target and would take some getting. Would an Armadillo batsman step up with a big score?
Tea was taken and enjoyed by players and a pleasing number of both Armadillos’ and Martlets’ supporters. Then the real chase began.
At 26 for 3 after 4 overs our backs were up against the wall and a partnership was desperately needed. In came Davy to join Ed Turner who was already striking the ball powerfully and the pair of them raised our hopes. Aided and abetted by some inaccurate bowling (there were 34 wides, the leg-side ruling proving crucial!!), they took the score to 140 when Davy was out for 29. No panic; in came Omkar Khot to keep Turner company who by now was seemingly unstoppable, goaded on by the thought of his name on the Hons Board at last, having previously only scored a century at Sheffield Park for the Kenya Kongonis. Then calamity, Turner starting to feel his hamstring and Khot fell LBW (one of five in our innings which caused some discussion!). At 184 for 5 after 27 overs the run rate wasn’t so much of an issue as Turner’s pulled hamstring. As he became more and more incapacitated, his shot selection became more and more belligerent as he struck some fine sixes, until he finally succumbed for a fine 118, hobbling off to much applause. Meanwhile numbers 7,9 and 10 came and went for ducks (more muted applause) leaving the last pair of Ryder-Smith and Greenish to score 20 runs off 6 overs.
At this point there was much nervous giggling and nail biting around the pavilion, but in the middle all was calm. Ryder-Smith was composed and determined, picking off singles and taking no risks. At the other end Greenish discovered his long forgotten sweep and running shoes, turning safe singles into daring twos which certainly had the spectators hopping around! Gradually the Martlets, who had thought they might have had the game won, began to realise it’s never over until the bee-keeper’s gone; their fielding became more frenetic, the score crept up until, in the 39th over, Ryder-Smith finally put the result to bed to much glee from his team mates. Both Greenish and Ryder-Smith ended 10*.
What a game! Congratulations must go to the Martlets for their part in a thriller and the wonderful spirit in which the match was played; thanks too to the umpires, scorers and spectators – winners all on a fine day at Sheffield Park.
03/08/2014 – Armadillos v. Kenya Kongonis – Declaration Match – Lost by 99 runs
This match followed a very similar pattern to that against Brighton Brunswick. Lost the toss, fielded in batting friendly conditions, had a big total to chase down, none of our batsmen went on to play a major innings and we went down by 99 runs. However, before we get there, some history.
For the last 5 years the Kenya Kongonis, as one of our original donor clubs, had played an August fixture at Sheffield Park against the Stragglers of Asia in the midst of the Kongonis’ annual UK tour to Sussex and Surrey. When it became the turn of the Stragglers to host the fixture, they declined to do so at Sheffield Park leaving a gap in the Kongoni tour; so the Armadillos offered to play the Kongonis instead, not only filling the gap but retaining a game at our lovely and much appreciated venue for the Kongonis.
As it happens, several Armadillo players, and indeed your Chairman, double as Kongonis (an unlikely combination in the animal kingdom) and, after some bartering between respective match managers and some leniency on my part, it was decided that Messrs Tim Davy, Mark Symonds and Ed Turner would be selected for the Kongonis with Davy as captain. Having already led I Zingari to victory against us this year, this might have been considered foolhardy by the Chairman and so it was to prove.
So back to the cricket……..
Kongonis batted first and, despite the early loss of Mark Symonds caught at square leg (perhaps showing split allegiance?) and some venomous medium pace deliveries from Simon King capturing three vital middle order wickets, Kongonis went on to post 285 for 7 in 54 overs. Nick Taylor, making his debut for the Kongonis, impressed with a well crafted 127, supplemented by a belligerent 80 from Ed Turner and some hearty end of order hitting by Andy Rhodes. On debuts, Sanjay Thapan opened up with some tidy medium pace and the father and son combination of Rob and Tom Mason contributed some useful off-spin and leg-spin. Rob in particular bowled well at the end of the Kongoni innings as it gathered pace towards the declaration, taking 2 for 50 off 9.
Chasing down that total in the allotted time would have been a great feat, and Hugo Rawlinson as our captain was determined to inflict defeat on his flat mate, one Tim Davy. However Davy marshalled his bowlers well and once again our batsman got in and got out and we slid to 186 all out, Angus Procter 42 and Omkar Khot 43 top scoring. Perhaps the lesson to learn when the sun is shining and runs are there to be made is WIN THE TOSS and bat.
The Kongonis as ever were well supported and all enjoyed Nikki Todd’s wonderful catering, the beautiful weather and the unique setting that is Sheffield Park.
27/07/2014 – Armadillos v. Brighton Brunswick – Declaration Match – Lost by 82 runs
We knew from our inaugural fixture against Brighton Brunswick last year that we would have to be prepared on two fronts; for perhaps the strongest opposition we face and certainly for the thirstiest supporters. It was not by chance that our sponsors, Bluebell Vineyard Estates, pitched their stall by the pavilion to parade their latest medal winning sparkling wines.
We fielded a strong side despite many Armadillos being on seaside burrowing holidays with their little Dills, and we looked forward to doing battle with a young looking side of select Sussex league players directed by a token elder statesman. However as soon as Olly Shuttleworth, our captain for the day, had lost the toss, we knew by the condition of the pitch and outfield that we would face a hard task containing BB to a manageable score in ideal conditions for batting.
So great credit must go to Ben Ryder-Smith and Nick Hely-Hutchinson for bowling tight opening spells which reduced BB to 28 for 2 and then kept them in check until the introduction of Omar Khot’s off-spin. Gaining purchase from the surface, Khot teased and tested the batsman and he fully deserved his final figures of 13 overs, 2 for 42. With Tim Davy bowling his accurate medium pace (2 for 26 off 10), a run out and debutant Ed Rayfield joining the party, the Chairman was optimistic that the BB innings might end during their committee’s post-lunch siesta. However as we too often discover, beware the Armadillo in foreign colours. Ryan Brown who had played for us earlier in the season against the Griffin came in at No 10 and proceeded to smite 52*, taking BB from 170 for 8 to 245 for 9 declared in 51.4 overs.
This was a demanding target but still fell into the manageable category provided one of our array of batsman took on the responsibility of scoring ‘big’. BB opened with Brown bowling right-arm fast from one end and Strange bowling only slightly less fast left-arm over from the other! Colin Hely-Hutchinson manfully faced the music taking a painful blow or two in the process, but with Ashvin Bhatia falling cheaply and Colin finally succumbing for 14, both to Strange, which perhaps wasn’t so, battle was commenced. Hugo Rawlinson (39) and Ed Turner (23) took the attack to BB, playing some classy shots, as did Freddy Greenish (22) after them, but all fell when we needed them to go on and we found ourselves 129 for 5. With Davy batting securely and scoring freely in the ‘v’, all was not lost if someone could stay with him. However the left-arm spin of Rose which hitherto had been very tidy but not particularly threatening, suddenly began to bemuse our lower order and he took 3 wickets in his twelth and last over to send us crashing to 150 for 9. Davy and Khot kept BB at bay for a while thereafter but with 17 overs of the last 20 left, Davy fell for 45 and we were well beaten. Rose’s match winning figures were 12-1- 53-5.
The BB gathering savoured their win, emptied our drinks cooler and left as the sun went down, all the while being highly complimentary of Armadillo hospitality and our wonderful ground. My sincere thanks go to Damian Greenish for hanging on to help close down the ground!
Saturday 19th & Sunday 20th July 2014
For the second year running, we had a wonderfully youthful cricket weekend with back-to-back fixtures against, first the Hornets and then the Chelsea Arts Club.
The weather forecast for the weekend was dire, with promises of thunder, lightning, torrential rain and gale force winds. However, we refused to bow down to the pessimists and our optimism was well rewarded.
19/07/2014 – Armadillos vs. Hornets – Declaration match – Draw
Armadillos 254-5, Hornets177-9
The Hornets are the old boys of Milton Abbey School and we took quite a beating from them last year. The day was hot, heavy and overcast and it was a surprise that the Dills chose to bat. However, the clouds soon cleared and the sun came out as we set off at great pace with Stewart-Richardson batting freely at one end and Damian Greenish holding up the other. After 10 overs, the Dills were 72 without loss. However, Stuart-Richardson then fell to a fine catch (having already survived a life or two) and, very much reminiscent of last year, there followed something of a middle order collapse; indeed, we found ourselves at 94 for 5 in short order. However coming in at No 3 was the 17 years old Hugo Fry who, as wickets fell around him, quietly went about his business. He finally found a batsman in Rupert Greenish who could stay with him and between them they rebuilt the innings. Indeed, the Hornets were not to take another wicket. Between them, Fry and Rupert Greenish put on 161 with Fry ending on 122 not out (his maiden century and the highest score by an Armadillo at Sheffield Park) with Rupert Greenish on 31. Fry played beautifully with a style and elegance that only ever seems to be given to the left-hander. In particular he hit one straight 6 which will stay in the memory. Rupert Greenish played the perfect supporting innings with some fine strokes of his own, including one particularly impressive back foot drive to the long boundary. The Dills declared at 254 for 5. The pick of the bowlers for the Hornets were Williams who took 2 for 63 from 15 overs and Godwin-Brown who took 3 for 60 off 11. All the bowlers stuck manfully to their task during the final onslaught.
The Hornets had a difficult start, losing their first wicket from the first ball of the innings and it was not long before they found themselves on 25 for 6. At that point, there was much talk on the field about being in the Griffin Public House by 5.30 but the Hornets were having none of that. They found in Dunn a fine batsman who dug in and they began to rebuild their score. With Cattell, the partnership added 121 runs. Cattell contributed only 11 of those but he stayed around a long time to enable Dunn to flourish. Finally, Cattell was bowled and the Dills began to dream of victory. However it was not to be. Needing 2 wickets off the last ball, the Dills could only manage one, finally bringing Dunn’s fine innings to an end as he was caught by Adam Greenish off the bowling of Kemmis-Betty for 85.
The pick of the bowlers was undoubtedly Kemmis-Betty who gave a supreme exhibition of left arm swing bowling, being able to move the ball both ways in the heavy atmosphere. He ended up taking 5 for 25 off 16 overs and fully deserved a place on the honours board. There should also be an honourable mention for Fry who after his long innings, then bowled 13 overs, taking 1 for 40.
The failure to take the last wicket was obviously disappointing but it was a wonderful day’s cricket played in the very best of spirit and there was much to discuss in the Griffin after the game, followed by a BBQ at Frensham House which went on long into the night. Many thanks to Mrs Greenish for that.
Very grateful thanks are also due to John Maher and Jim for their excellent umpiring, to Chris Goddard for scoring and to Nikki Todd for providing the usual excellent lunch and tea. The team was well skippered by Freddy Greenish.
20/07/2014 – Armadillos vs. Chelsea Arts Club – Declaration match – Draw
Armadillos 209-9, Chelsea Arts Club 149-9
Could the weather really hold up again for the Sunday game against the Chelsea Arts Club? It was certainly another steamy, muggy day but, despite the odd rumble of distant thunder, the rain held off.
It was not surprising that, in such conditions the Dills were asked to bat first. In contrast to the previous day, we had a difficult start losing a wicket to the first ball of the game and soon finding ourselves at 2 wickets down for no runs. However, the Dills slowly rebuilt their innings led by Kemmis-Betty (31) Colin Hely-Hutchinson (a fine 59) and Holloway (also 59). Each of them took the time to play himself in and benefitted from that. Eventually, the Dills reached 209 for 9 and felt confident enough in their bowling attack to declare at that score. The Chelsea Arts Club bowling was a significant improvement on previous years; particularly noteworthy was Greaney who took 3 for 40 off 9 overs (bowling with good pace) and Wijay who took 3 for 24 also off 9 wily overs. In true Arts Club tradition, they employed 8 bowlers.
The Arts Club struggled to build partnerships and found themselves 2 wickets down with only 4 runs on the board. Whiting scored a quick-fire 32 runs of 20 balls, employing a magnificent eye with a straightness of bat, hitting powerfully through the line. However, it could not last. There was a brief recovery as Greaney and Mair dug in but Greaney eventually fell to a fine caught and bowled from Adam Greenish. That was soon followed by what must be a contender for catch of the season with Alex White in the gulley holding on to a low one handed catch off Kemmis-Betty. At 67 for 6 the Dills were confident of taking the match but again it was not to be. Wijay with a fine 42 not out successfully shepherded the tail, with the last pair holding out for the last 33 balls without a single run coming from the bat.
Hovey bowled fast and true, never deviating from his line and length, to take 3 for 25 off 7 overs. Kemmis-Betty followed up his 5 wicket haul from Saturday with 2 for 13 off 8 and Rupert Greenish can be proud of his display of medium pace fizzers giving him figures 3 for 4 off 6 overs. A special mention should also go to Freddy Greenish who bowled a very fine spell of 9 overs of leg spin (with 1 ball that looked dangerously like a googly) and was extremely unlucky not to take a wicket.
And so once again the Dills failed to take the last wicket. The relief amongst the Arts Clubs was palpable and the cheering that greeted their last pair was very well merited.
Umpiring duties were performed by Damian Greenish and Tor Bebb and once again Chris Goddard scored immaculately with Nikki and co providing food and refreshment to the highest standard. Colin Hely-Hutchinson was skipper, very much leading from the front.
If you were not there, you might think that two draws in two days was disappointing. Yes, it would have been nice to have had a win but we revelled in two days of magnificent cricket played in the best of spirit, against two competitive and charming sides who each played their part to the full. Those two days displayed everything that is great about the game of cricket in the stunning setting of Sheffield Park (which was looking at its very best). The wicket (we used wicket 2 for both games) was exemplary in providing great batting opportunities for those who were prepared to be patient to play themselves in, whilst at the same time leaving the bowlers with the feeling that, if they bowled well, it would give them something. It says it all that, on both days as the teams parted, it was simply a question of saying: “see you next year”. On top of that we have two worthy additions to the Honours Board in Hugo Fry and John Kemmis-Betty with Hugo, at least for the moment, being the new record holder for the highest score made by an Armadillo at Sheffield Park.
13/07/2014 – Armadillos vs. Band of Brothers – cancelled
29/06/2014 – Armadillos vs. Refreshers – Declaration match won by 2 wickets.
The day got off to an inauspicious start as skipper Hugo Scott-Gall had to bow out with a locked neck upon waking on Sunday morning. A quick call and Colin Hely-Hutchinson was asked to don his whites and perform the skippering duties in his stead (swapping a wise old head for a sore neck–Ed).
Colin cleverly lost the toss and the Refreshers elected to bat on what seemed an all but perfect track. Nick Hely-Hutchinson and Ant Pickering opened the attack and both were as accurate and economic as ever with stats of 1-16 off eight overs and 0-17 off seven respectively. Nick’s one bad ball had the desired effect; their opening bat, who had looked very solid until then, couldn’t believe his luck when a long-hop down the leg side presented itself and he duly holed-out to mid-wicket. Ant had bad luck at the other end with three catches being swatted by the slips and the keeper, all sharp chances but he was unlucky not to have better figures than those recorded.
A double change of bowling brought on the off-spin twins, debutant Omkar Khot and Ben Langman who were equally as economic as the openers but that much more deadly. Omkar ended the day with figures of 1-25 off ten overs but the star of the show was Ben who finished with an honours board performance of 5-22 off eleven. We weren’t quite able to dismiss the Refereshers before lunch; Ben had their penultimate wicket down with the third ball before lunch and then had to wait 40 minutes and three more balls before taking the final wicket.
As if the bowling wasn’t tight enough, there was also some sharp ground fielding and the Refreshers had the wind taken out of their sales with two run-outs in the same over. One, no doubt, will have resulted in a few beers owed as there was an over-throw on a quick single and for some reason a second run was called without the calling batsmen realising that his partner had run half a dozen yards beyond the popping crease in his effort to secure the first run. He didn’t even make it half-way down the pitch on the second. The second one, a couple of balls later, was as a result of the batsman being confused as to which of the Ohlson brothers he’d hit the ball to; one’s a lefty the other not. Hitting a sharp shot low and to the fielder’s left-hand side and calling for a quick single he was surprised to see Joe swooping down, gathering the ball and returning to the keeper, almost in one fluid motion; impressive stuff.
So with a target of 92, you knew that we were either going to win by a very wide margin or make a game (hash?) of it, and being the consummate hosts we proceeded to do the latter. We were two down for 13 runs and then Nick H-H came to the crease to join Joe O and all was well as they moved the score on to 48 before the third wicket fell. Then it all went horribly wrong. Scores for batsmen 4 through 8 went 7,0,2,0,1. To be fair we had an injured ankle and a pulled hammy in the mix (Justin Bower, another debutant, had raced to the extra cover boundary when we were fielding thinking that he was twenty years younger than he is before ‘twang’ went his hammy, but he more than earned his keep after by diving around in the slips as though nothing had happened), but whichever you slice it, it was game-on.
Locked neck skipper sent deputising skipper in to park the bus at one end in the hope that Joe could continue his assault at the other. Both did as requested; deputy skipper faced 25 balls for six runs and Joe almost got us to the finish (an excellent 52 on his part) when he succumbed to a juicy full toss outside the off-stump with four runs left to get. He despatched it down extra cover’s throat bringing Ben Langman in to finish things off, which he duly did, though in so doing he managed to have himself dropped by short mid-off with two runs still to get. Fine margins!
In the end a very exciting game against exactly the sort of competition we delight in welcoming to Sheffield Park. Once again a big thank-you to Chris Goddard for scoring, John Maher for umpiring and to our ever trusty lunch/tea ladies for putting on such a delicious spread.
A final word on the wicket lest the scores lead you to believe otherwise; it was. as it seemed at the outset. an all but perfect track in equal measure for batsmen and bowlers which the bowlers just happened to exploit far better than the batsmen!
21/06/2014 – Armadillos v Grannies – 40 over match – Armadillos won by 223 runs!
After having invited over 120 people to play it was with relief that we were able to field a side in conditions that were almost perfect. We won the toss and decided to bat. Charlie Maclean and first-time Dillo Roopak Radia put on 79 in ten overs for the first wicket when Charlie offered up a loose stroke and was bowled for 49. Three more wickets fell relatively quickly thereafter and we found ourselves four down with 121 on the scoreboard, with one of the wickets the result of a smart catch by Charlie Burchell at mid-on who was subbing as a fielder for the Grannies (they were a man short). Ant Pickering and Angus Proctor then put on 159 for the next wicket with both of them playing some masterful strokes all around the ground. It was a tremendous display of powerful yet controlled batting and Ant was next to go, bowled for 75 by their opening bowler who had come back on for a second stint. Angus then had four balls left to try and reach his hundred but succumbed, caught behind for 92 and the Dills ended up 284 for 6.
Nick H-H and Ben Ryder-Smith opened the bowling; Nick was his usual accurate and economic self and ended with figures of 1-26, his wicket being a spectacular catch by Charlie B, once again at mid-on. Charlie has played a few games of cricket in his time but I’d be surprised if he has ever taken such a good catch. Ben was not to be out-done at the other end and off what has to be the shortest ever run-up for an opening bowler at Sheffield Park (being injured and therefore not able to run in from his customary 20 yards) despatched four of their top order for the miserly total of nine runs in eight overs. Tim Davy and Charlie Maclean came on to finish off the tail end, each of them taking two wickets a piece and the Grannies were all out for 61 in just over 21 overs.
All in all an impressive display with the bat, the ball and in the field. Whichever way you look at it this was a very comprehensive victory with everyone contributing on a wicket variously described as a ‘belter’ and an ‘excellent all round wicket with something in it for everyone’. Thanks to Chris Goddard for scoring and all those involved in the presentation of the ground.
15/06/2014 – Armadillos v Free Foresters – Cancelled by opposition
08/06/2014 – Armadillos v I Zingari – Declaration match lost by 4 wickets
June 2014 is one of the biggest months ever in the history of global sport; the Football World Cup, start of the Test Summer, England Rugby in New Zealand, the US Open, Wimbledon, Armadillos….
On a day when Sussex did a pretty good job of replicating the sun and heat of Rio, Dills took on a youthful IZ team who arrived meaning business. After all they were being skippered by none other than our own Tim Davy! The concern on the face of the IZ captain was visible to all after Phil Davy (in his new position as Australian Chairman of Selectors) requisitioned three Antipodean “gappies” from Cumnor House School to bolster Armadillo ranks.
Turner, in his first (and possibly last) outing as Dills skipper won the toss and chose to bat on a pitch that looked full of runs. IZ bowled tidily for the first 10 overs, keeping the run scoring to a trickle and the game didn’t really come to life until Mark Symonds came in at first wicket down. With his barrel chest to the fore, he drove with characteristic poise and raced to 25. Then, having steered the ball through backward point, he called Matt Searle through for an “easy two”. Unfortunately for Mark it was always going to be a difficult one and a half and he was quickly run out and on his way for an early lunch! Turner then came in and, as the first choice IZ bowlers tired, he tucked into the buffet…. bowling. At lunch the game was evenly poised at 130 for 4, but Turner let the Brie get the better of him and was soon out for 52, leaving it to the Australians to make their mark. IZ couldn’t keep them shackled for long and batting with immense conviction they were soon scoring runs freely; Tim Davy and fellow bowlers getting sore necks as they watched balls disappear back over their heads with some of the cleanest hitting seen for some time. All three made an indelible impression and at 254 for 6 Dills declared knowing it would take a fine batting performance for IZ to win.
Olly Shuttleworth got Dills off to a flyer taking a wicket with his fourth ball but unfortunately from that moment IZ looked in total control. Harry Richardson and George Burrough batted brilliantly for 90 minutes, finding the gaps with ease whilst all the bowlers struggled to find a consistent line or length. It’s testament to how Sheffield Park has developed this year that batsmen are able to play shots with confidence whilst knowing that accurate bowlers can always get something out of the pitch, a truly enjoyable cricket wicket. IZ rattled towards the total and it wasn’t until the introduction of Harry Neal after tea that Dills started to edge back into the game. A few quick wickets pegged IZ back temporarily but even after Richardson had gone for 52 and Burrough for an excellent 94, the run rate remained high and a few lusty blows from the IZ middle order saw them over the line with 4 wickets in hand and 8 overs still to go.
In hindsight the declaration was probably too friendly, but on a day when the sun shone, over 500 runs were scored and a smattering of spectators soaked up a quintessential Sussex summer afternoon it’s hard to dwell on the result.
01/06/2014 – Armadillos v Buccaneers – Declaration match – lost by 3 wickets
Our first loss of the season but a mighty close one. The Buccaneers needed one to win off the final ball and duly achieved it. But for the second year running we had a very close game – if we keep going like this we will eclipse the ’05 Ashes series and other best sellers as a must have box set (easier dialogue than The Wire, less geo-political than Homeland).
The match was almost an exact repeat of last year’s inaugural fixture. We won the toss, started badly and redeemed ourselves to get back close to par. The heavy rain in the week had made the wicket soft and therefore there was a bit of juice around for the Buccaneers opening pair. Andy Rhodes on debut got a good ‘un as did Pete Morgan. In at 4 was Tom Bourne, a debutant and also a Professor. No surprises then that be batted with application, discipline and intelligence. He had a decent partnership with Ant Pickering and then Ben Langman as we began to recover. The innings that got us up close to par and further away from ignominy was that of Alex Ohlson. Striking it well off the slower bowlers he was the only person to pass 50. Perhaps his preparation was the key (an early night); preparation is not a word Greenish F allows into his lexicon – a late arrival in some very noisy red shoes due to a problem with his train down from Manchester. The problem being he missed it. A combination of Alex’s stroke play and a wagging tail got us up to 169 all out.
Not the 200 we were hoping for but certainly enough to have the Buccaneers swishing their scimitars with some anxiety. We needed to bowl well and field tenaciously. And, to be fair, we did both. Good opening spells from Richard Taylor and Ant Pickering saw us peg back them back to 14 for 2 aided by two excellent slip catches in two balls. Ben Langman then bowled a very long, testing spell of off spinners and wickets fell at regular intervals to leave the game fascinatingly poised at 95 for 6. Although we kept the tension up with tight fielding and lots of roaring, particularly in Umpire Cohen’s direction, the wickets dried up and runs started to flow with edges not carrying, chips just clearing fielder’s heads and tight runs inches away from run outs. We were sure that just one more wicket would have us back in it, but no doubt they were sure that a run rate below 6 was in their favour.
Anyway to cut to the chase; the final ball of the match sees Richard Taylor breathing heavily on the fumes of his tea-time Corona beer (his preparation and nutrition strategies are unique) and begin his advance to the wicket knowing that his field is in tight to stop the single but it requires precision and Malinga like accuracy. Alas he was a tad short and the ball whistled away for four over mid wicket. But as with the other bowlers he had bowled manfully and as we sprinted off through the crowds we knew it was the batting where we had lost it.
But a great day and as ever thanks to Chairman Phil and Charlie for the ground, Tor for opening and closing the ground, Howard for umpiring at both ends and staying resolute, David for his scoring, and Nikki and co for tea.
18/05/2014 – Armadillos v VCC – 40 over match – Armadillos won
Here is a fact about an Armadillo; it needs to regulate its body temperature to about 32°C and this is exactly the body temperature of many of the Armadillos CC players who were subjected to play on the hottest day of the year (so far). Their competition was the wandering cricket team from North London called the VCC, or more affectionately known as The Currymen.
The day didn’t start well for the Dills as a late exit saw the team down to 10 players. The VCC were sent in to bat and saw both Harry Wade and Morgan “Freeman” Keith open up the bowling nicely with Harry taking 3 – 22 which set the VCC back on their heels as runs dried up for a few overs. After a fairly conservative stand by the middle order, we saw the VCC get back into a rhythm and the run rate picked up. Something needed to be done, and the Dills skipper, Mark “Rowley” Rowlands, decided to bring on the ever dangerous Freddy Greenish to bowl some unorthodox spin. If we take the word “unorthodox” as meaning unconventional and breaking tradition and then we take out the word spin, that is exactly what we saw from Freddy with his 1st ball wide, then 4 balls not touching the ground until, finally, the 5th ball getting a wicket. The captain’s choice to keep Freddy on for 4 more overs saw benefits as he turned one sharply around the batsman’s legs to hit the stumps. The skipper then put himself on to bowl a few leg spins and saw his first over achieve a 1st ball wicket maiden before getting tonked around the ground in his second over. The ball was then thrown to Luke Speight who, having already taken an excellent catch in the deep, cleaned up the tail with a great spell of bowling to get 3 – 22 . There were some other amazing catches held on the day with Alec “Shep” Sheperd taking one at mid-on, wicket keeper batsman Jacob “Bruce” Lee taking 3 and Freddy taking a ripper at point. The VCC were all out for 143.
At tea we felt that we could chase down the runs easily (only needing 3.6 runs an over) with the skipper cracking open a few tinnies and feeling very relaxed that he wouldn’t need to bat. But, cricket is a funny game ! We saw a great opening start by Nick Hely-Hutchinson and Jezza Blicky before Nick was caught cheaply at point and the Dills were 35 – 1. After Nick’s dismissal, things took a turn for the worse as the VCC brought on their star bowler who proceeded to take 5 quick wickets including the ball (golden duck) that dismissed Freddy Greenish who insist he played with a straight bat but was bowled middle stump. At one stage the Dills were 68-5, however, some great batting from Richard Taylor steadied the ship and increased our score to 100. After Richard was dismissed we then saw batsmen 8 and 9 come to the crease, Harry Wade and Morgan Keith who put on a great partnership of over 40 runs to win the game and left the skipper padded up with less nails than when he started and as sober as a judge.
Thank you to the VCC for making the trip to Sheffield Park and also a special thanks to Damo, Tor and Phil for coming down and lending a supporting hand with the setting and packing up and the ground preparation (the ground was in fantastic condition).
11/05/2014 – Armadillos v Griffin – Declaration match – Draw
Despite weather reports to the contrary the match took place in breezy but comfortable and mostly sunny conditions. The ground looked magnificent. The Griff inserted us into bat after a delayed start and our openers, Damo Greenish and Alex Bone proceeded to lay the foundations for posting a strong total with an opening stand of 78. Alex holed out for 33 and with him gone, and Griff bowlers taking pace off the ball, the run rate dried up somewhat. That did not stop Damo G from pressing on to make a splendid 53. He only needed one life, when recalled by their wicket keeper who managed to knock the bails off before gathering the ball cleanly, in what would have been a clear run out. In the end the Dills posted a total of 148 – 7 off 33 overs.
In response our opening bowlers soon had them 3 down for not very many. Our overseas signing, Ryan Brown, bowled at a distinctly rapid pace and took a fabulous caught and bowled while Jack, the skipper’s son, bowling left arm over became increasingly unplayable. However the Griff weathered the storm and a 4th wicket stand of 80 odd began to change the outlook of the match, with matters only decided in the final over with The Griffin finishing on 145 – 7. Jack and Ryan took 2 wickets each, with the skipper trundling in at the end to bag a couple of tail-enders. Harvey Osler took an excellent catch in the deep.
The draw was probably a fair result, although I suspect it was the Dills who had the greater strength in depth and would have prevailed had we bowled the more usual number of overs. The pitch was firm and played very consistently throughout the day. My thanks to David Strachan for scoring and of course to my wife for organising another splendid tea. All in all it was a great day played in great spirit, with David Pullan’s recalling of Damo being typical of the sportsmanship to which I hope we all remain familiar.
04/05/2014 – Armadillos v Butterflies – Declaration match – Won by 5 wickets
Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel asked Alexander Pope. The answer he would not have expected would have been the potholes on the road to the Griffin that punctured two of the Butterflies skipper’s tyres on Saturday evening. This after two dropouts during the week and a late arrival due to a confirmation meant that, if not broken, he was low on mojo. With this in mind the 2014 Armadillos season began with us bowling at the 8 man Butterflies with the 9th flying in just after lunch.
All is well in the world when the sun is out at Sheffield Park, when spring has sprung, and Tim Davy begins his trot towards the wickets with a red cherry nestled in his right paw. As ever the metronome started well on a wicket that had more carry than the recent weather would have suggested and was better than many we played on last year. As ever thanks to Chairman Phil and team.
So how did events unfold? Would the Butterflies make it to lunch? Well we bowled very pleasingly, with Tim miserly and Richard Taylor providing some useful hustle up the hill. Tim snaffled the first two, caught behind and then caught and bowled. At first change Ant Pickering, the first man ever to successfully defend and retain the Dillo Bowl played just over a week ago at Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Club. Of course there were a few handicap related mutterings, they are inevitable if your winning margin is as wide as Ant’s was, but this is a man who swats away such trifles (worth mentioning here that we did indeed have trifle for lunch, a welcome and popular innovation from Nikki Todd who continues to provide her perennially excellent catering). Ant took two wickets in two balls and as we crowded the incoming batsman surely his fate was sealed? Alas not, he survived and the Butterflies made it through to lunch with 6 down and less than a hundred on the board. Ben Langman had given us great control with some bouncy off spin and Alex Derrick had snaffled a wicket on debut (or daboo given he hails from Queensland) in his second over.
As we charged out for the afternoon session we weren’t sure if we needed one or two more wickets. In the event it was two and after some resistance from their skipper we wrapped the innings up for 119. We’d sent down 46 overs which was a good effort and apart from Alex Derrick’s heavily bruised ankle there were no fielding mishaps – kicking a moving cricket ball is, in tennis parlance, an unforced error.
Messrs Greenish D and Mann J opened up for us and dealt with a mixed bag including beamers. Jim Mann received a good one (not a beamer!) and Greenish F stroked a few before gloving one behind. Adrian Calvert in at 4 (also on daboo, also a Queenslander) had his last cricketing outing on Copacabana beach some years ago. But other than the fact he was more fully attired it looked like he was carrying on where had left off with some deft late cuts and some kamikaze running. He and the skipper had a decent partnership and when the skipper departed both Adrian and Ben, in at 6, opened up to take us within a whisker and then, who else, but Ant Pickering delivered the final blow with a back foot punch through the covers for four. All done and dusted in 21 overs – our commitment to playing positive cricket firmly delivered.
It was good to be back and it was good to have the Butterflies back. That only one of their blazers was on display was a shame, and we look forward to welcoming them back next year – full strength and fully blazered. Sincere thanks from the players goes to Chairman Phil and his grounds team, Tony and Caroline Scott-Gall, David Strachan for scoring, Howard Cohen for his, as ever, even handed umpiring, and Tor Bebb for his vision in buying a splendid glass-fronted drinks cooler which will certainly up our bar takings this summer .
Next up Torquil’s quill to describe the match against the Griffin.
1/09/2013 – Armadillos v Sussex Martlets – 40 over match – Armadillos won by 63 runs
The reason we won this 40 over match can be traced back to a superb opening partnership between Mark Symonds (79) and Hugo Rawlinson (42). We won the toss and chose to bat on the assumption that an already dry and crumbly wicket would deteriorate, making first use advantageous. But theory of course pales next to execution and that was what our openers provided in spades. Mark in particular hit the ball hard on a wicket where timing was difficult with some of his onside play outstanding. We set off at a fair lick and maintained it through the opening partnership of 124. Peter Morgan at number 3 played purposefully and we look forward to more runs from this class act now that his debut season is behind him. Tim Davy (27) and the skipper (31) dealt a few lusty blows that saw us get to 235 off our allotted overs.
At half time we felt we had probably got enough but a quick outfield meant we needed to bowl straight and on a length. Olly Shuttleworth, on his birthday no less, and Ben Ryder-Smith opened up nicely with Ben taking 3 wickets in his third over including two in two balls which set the Martlets back on their heels. Their run rate was always a bit behind ours and they lost wickets at regular intervals as the scoreboard pressure and good bowling slowly but surely suffocated them. Tim Davy’s golden arm has been one of the features of this Armadillo summer and it struck again with 5 wickets including a stunning caught and bowled. Ant Pickering and Ben Langman were the other members of our seam attack and both found a testing length and deserved the wickets that came their way. The Martlets ended up a good way short of our score, all out for 172 in the 36th over. Tim and Ben led us off the field quite deservedly (and it was pleasing to hear Tim in his post match interview acknowledge the role of Ben’s accuracy in his 5-fer) but this was a good tight team effort from one of the best Dills sides to pull on the lime green, raspberry and duck egg blue colours this summer.
18/08/2013 – Armadillos v A Few Good Men – 40 over match – Armadillos won by 70 runs
It was a rainy morning leaving the outfield wet but the weather cleared for 1pm ensuring we started pretty much on time. We decided to have a 40 over match with a maximum 8 overs per bowler. The Dills lost the toss and were sent in to bat against some nagging line and length bowling from A Few Good Men (AFGM). The opening pair were separated early when Tim Kittoe was caught off a brute of a delivery that caught the shoulder of the bat. Ashvin Bhatia at the other end made a Shane Watson-like 24, battering anything too full. Hugo Scott-Gall at 5 controlled the innings, batting with guile and some apt caution for 62. The pitch was distinctly worn, with very little grass to hold the surface together. It would only get better for bowling on later in the day. Ed Davison batted very well with Hugo, scoring 34 which included the shot of the day, a cover drive on the up through extra cover for four. We made a total of 180.
Our bowling was methodical and dangerous. Paul Douglas, opening with Richard Taylor, held a tight line around off stump and bowled one of the openers early on. Richard also took a wicket in a miserly 8 over spell, with Hugo taking the slip-catch of the summer to dismiss their number 3. Nick Hely-Hutchinson replacing Paul bowled beautifully capturing a couple of wickets in a long spell and the skipper chipped in with a wicket at the other end after Richard’s spell had finished. Wickets were coming slowly, but AFGM were always behind the rate. As the skipper spread the bowling around, Joe Ohlson captured a precious wicket with his flighty spin and Tim Kittoe bowled a nagging line and length for a few overs. However it was Ashvin Bhatia that managed to take 4 wickets in just two overs to ensure we cantered to victory by 70 runs. Will Davison kept wicket stoically on a very tricky wicket indeed.
Thanks must go to Torquil Bebb for opening and closing the ground and Nikki from Bluebells Catering for the teas.
11/08/2013 – Armadillos v Refreshers – Declaration match – Armadillos lost by 55 runs
Perhaps a score line that flattered the Dills, I am afraid this time, as we came up against a strong Refreshers team who won the toss and batted first. The wicket was dry and dusty and offered little assistance to our bowlers, who were not helped by the loss of the new ball early in the game to a top edge six over fine leg! We toiled manfully, but once two of their batters were set it was just a matter of when they would declare. This duly came with the score on 246 for 2 with S. Burrett 114 not out. Tea was gratefully taken early!
On what remains a wicket not to play across the line, we lost early wickets in just that fashion but some sensible batting from Messrs Sherwin (30), Pullen (37) and Adam Greenish in particular with 41, gave some respectability to our innings. Unfortunately we succumbed in the final over of the match.
For a variety of reasons, but mainly due to holiday commitments, we struggled to field a team for this new fixture and my thanks go to Pete Langman for ringing round at the last minute to find some players to ensure we didn’t let the Refreshers down. Thanks also to Chris and Ed Brooke for answering the siren call. Hopefully we will see one or two of these players turning out again for us next season. On a personal note I was pleased to help develop our youth policy by blooding my two boys, Louis and Josh, who acquitted themselves very well in the field and Josh with the bat.
28/07/2013 – Armadillos v Brighton Brunswick – Declaration match – Drawn with scores level on 200
The covers had protected the wicket from Saturday’s downpours but not without some seepage onto the pitch which was getting its second outing. The Brighton Brunswick captain won the toss and, notwithstanding the few damp patches, elected to bat on what promised to be a bright sunny day and a pitch that would dry and dust up.
Whether his decision was based on confidence in a team described by their manager as “talented and well balanced” and comprised mostly of young representatives of Sussex league first team cricket, we don’t know. But at 53 for 5 the wisdom of this decision was being questioned by the great and the good of the Brunswick committee, assembled to enjoy this inaugural fixture between the clubs.
Penetrating opening spells from Nick Hely-Hutchinson and captain Tim Davy, combined with a dreadful mix up resulting in the run out of Sri Lankan star Harsha Vithana, had forced Brunswick onto the back foot. However patient batting by their antipodean middle order either side of lunch, respecting the need to play straight on the sluggish, low wicket, enabled Brunswick to recover slowly.
Davy shuffled his bowlers, the Armadillos fielded to a very high standard, as exemplified by Ed Turner’s leg-side stumping standing up to Chris Calvecorresi, and the pressure continued to tell as Brunswick were finally dismissed for 200 after 56.5 overs. One wicket apiece to Calvecorressi, Patrick Wigan and off-spinners Angus Proctor and Hugo Rawlinson reflected the breadth of our attack, but the greatest burdens had fallen on Hely-Hutchinson N and Davy whose respective figures of 17-5-49-2 and 15.5-6-46-3 demonstrated great stamina and skill.
By now the wicket was taking increasing spin, so how would the Armadillos fare in the chase? Vithana (described as Muralitharan with a straight bowling arm) was raring to go after his run out and indeed opened up at the garden end, spinning the ball prodigiously from the outset. But Turner and Rawlinson batted skilfully and watchfully for the 50 minutes until tea when we were 30 without loss.
If some Brunswick players had thought aloud on resumption that the Armadillos would struggle to challenge their total, then they soon realised that they had under-estimated the class of Rawlinson as he stepped up his all round stroke play. The opening stand was eventually broken when Turner was stumped for 33 off the left-arm spin of Johnny Phelps and then, alas, Rawlinson was also stumped for 61 off ‘Murali’ by the Australian Academy wicket keeper Sam Reading, himself likened to a young Adam Gilchrist – quite a combination!
By now the ball was turning square and new batsman coming in against a class left-arm spin and off-spin combination would find it very tough. First Colin Hely-Hutchinson (25) and then Proctor (21) and Peter Morgan (29) showed we had the technique, temperament and shot-making to take us to victory. Critically the latter two both fell LBW to ‘Murali’ as they were seemingly steering us home (where is DRS when you need it?) and suddenly Brunswick had a sniff of victory as Nos 7, 8 and 10 came and went for 4 runs between them.
The scene was now reminiscent of Galle with the sun shining on a dusty, turning wicket, close catchers all around and two spinners wheeling away to constant appealing. Calmly Davy (7) and Wigan (4) dealt with the pressure to take the scores level with one over to go. Davy v ‘Murali’; who would win the face off?
Faster turning ball followed faster turning ball from ‘Murali’, met by Davy’s broad bat. Nails were being bitten in the pavilion. One ball to go, Davy drove, a slight miss-field, a yes/no call, bowler’s stumps broken, Wigan back, scores level – a draw, 200 all out plays 200 for 9 after a matching 56 overs!! ‘Murali’ had ended with figures of 20-8-6-53 and Phelps with figures of 19-4-3-60.
What a game, and the numerous Brunswick supporters were high on their team’s escape, the beautiful surroundings, the sun shining brightly and the Armadillos’ famous hospitality.
Thanks must go to Chris Goddard for scoring, Howard Cohen for umpiring (no need for DRS there!) and Bluebell Catering for once again wowing our visitors with their lunch and tea. Now off to replenish our wine supplies………
21/07/2013 – Armadillos v Chelsea Arts Club – Declaration match – Armadillos won by 108 runs
Sunday was a hot and sunny day for the second match of the Armadillos weekend. On this occasion we welcomed back the Chelsea Arts Club who are without a doubt one of our most favourite teams.
As on the Saturday, the Armadillos were led on the field by Greenish (F) who on this occasion won the toss and elected to bat. Youth opened the innings with Ovens and Davies (E) having little regard for either patience or accumulation. Davies (E) perished soon enough but there was some excellent lusty blows from Ovens who made 25 in short order. Scott Gall (H) (fresh from his holiday in Ibiza) was his usual elegant self with his skill and timing clearly not dependent on sleep. He made an excellent 47. One of the joys of the day was to welcome back Burchell to active Armadillos cricket; he moved effortlessly from the back room of maintaining the outfield to front-of-house batting. He had not picked up a bat for many years but drove his first ball through the covers for a boundary with such effortless ease that we could only stand still and admire. Hole (making his first appearance for the Armadillos) scored an excellent 59 without appearing ever to employ a back-lift. There were some big hits towards the end from Greenish (F) (who hit a particularly fine straight 6) and Briggs who finally steered the Armadillos to finish on 221. The pick of the bowlers for the Arts Club was undoubtedly young Faber who took 5 for 58 off 11.4 overs. Suresh bowled a fine spell of 15 overs and took 2 for 47. There were also 2 wickets for Chamberlin.
The target was a stiff one with a good Armadillos bowling attack but the Chelsea Arts Club set off at great pace with both Chamberlain and Faber showing little respect for the opening attack. Indeed by tea the visitors had reached 79 without loss at not much less than 7 runs an over. However the introduction of first Hole and then Briggs into the attack after tea changed the game. Hole accounted for both openers with a fine spell of line and length medium pace and Briggs provided a magnificent lesson in tight, controlled left arm spin. He took 5 for 7 off 10 overs (with a deserved place on the honours board) with Hole taking 3 for 20 off 7. Without pace on the ball, the Chelsea Arts Club struggled and they were all out for 113.
It was another magnificent day and, although the Armadillos were the worthy winners, our visitors were as ever both competitive and charming.
Once again our thanks go to Nikki and her team for providing a delicious lunch and tea and also to Tony and Caroline and Phil for helping to put the ground to bed after a wonderful weekend of cricket.
20/07/2013 – Armadillos v Hornets – Declaration Match – Armadillos lost by six wickets
This was the first match of a wonderful cricketing weekend with the youth of the Armadillos very much on display. It was the first visit of the Hornets (the old boys of Milton Abbey School) to Sheffield Park and they brought a strong young side.
Greenish (F) (captaining the Armadillos) lost the toss and the Armadillos were asked to bat first on what was a surprisingly overcast day. The opening pair of Hely-Hutchinson (C) and Greenish (D) gave the Armadillos a steady start against some good tight bowling and they reached 68 without loss with lunch in sight. However the loss of Greenish (D) led to a classic Armadillos middle order collapse as batsmen no’s 4, 5 and 6 failed to trouble the scorers. Indeed the Armadillos went from 68 for 0 to 72 for 5 in the time it takes to put on a pair of pads. There was a brief stand between Pullen (D) and Davies (E) (the latter ending on 27 not out) but the Armadillos never really recovered, with six of their batsmen suffering the indignity of a “duck’s egg”. Indeed the highest score of the innings came from “extras” who made 33. The Armadillos finished on 133 all out.
The pick of the bowlers for the Hornets was undoubtedly Taylor who took 5 for 17 off 7 overs with Brown taking 3 for 21 off 7 and Davies (J) taking 2 for 30 off 4.
The target of 134 was never going to be enough if the Hornets’ batsmen were prepared to be patient. Initially they were not, with both Nicholl and Tatham falling to Hooper in short order with the result that the Hornets quickly found themselves at 12 for 2. However, their recovery was led by Brockway and Dunn who played with considerable skill and application and took the Hornets within sight of victory. Dunn was eventually out to Greenish (F) for 51 before Brockway saw the Hornets home – he ended on 46 not out.
The pick of the bowlers was undoubtedly Hooper who bowled magnificently – the batsmen playing and missing on numerous occasions. He took 2 for 38 off 16 overs. There were also two wickets for the leg spin of Greenish (F).
It is fair to say that the Armadillos did not perform to their best but there were some fine individual performances with both bat and ball. Without doubt the Hornets were both worthy winners and charming guests. The wicket was a typical Sheffield Park track offering some assistance to the bowlers but allowing the patient batsman to accumulate runs.
A big thank you goes to Richard Cossens for umpiring and to Chris Goddard for scoring. Nikki and her team once again provided a delicious lunch and tea.
Following the match, there was a BBQ at the ground which was thoroughly enjoyed by the two teams and other club members. A particular thank you to Tony and Caroline and to Jo (with other helpers) for all their hard work in preparing the food and the BBQ. Sheffield Park was at its very best on what turned out to be a beautiful evening.
14/07/13 – Armadillos v. Band of Brothers – Declaration Match, Armadillos lost by five wickets
With the weather having been set fair for more than two weeks we decided to bat intending to post a good score on a track that looked hard and fast. Indeed that’s exactly how it played; unfortunately we were not up to the task and gave away wickets far too quickly when what was required was for a partnership to get stuck in and build a sizeable score. The only hint of one came near the bottom of the order when Jim Mann and Charlie Maclean (recently returned from a four-year stint in Singapore) got a good start; Charlie must have enjoyed his lunch too much as he gave in to temptation soon afterwards and we were scuttled out for 172 with Jim top-scoring on 30 being caught and bowled off a very forcefully hit drive which the bowler could have known very little about.
Nick Hely-Hutchinson opened the bowling in what has now become an accustomed fashion and bowled straight and quick and removed their opening bat in relatively short order. He was more than ably assisted by Charlie’s fourteen year-old son Hector who won his Dillo’s baggy and bowled very consistently for five overs, and whilst he had no reward for his efforts his spell proved sufficiently frustrating to the second opener who decided to lash out at Jim Mann upon the change of bowling and Hector caught a sharp catch at cover. Gregg Briggs, a visiting Aussie then took over from Nick and bowled twelve very economical overs of left-arm spin and finished the day on 2-22. At tea we still had a fighting chance with the score at 72-4 and although we took a further wicket quite soon after tea their skipper Alistair Williams and opening bowler C. Calvecorresi (who had caused most of the damage with 5-31) saw them through to victory with scores of 25 and 31 not out, respectively.
Playing conditions could hardly have been better and the ground and wicket are really coming in to their own. Once again a big thank-you to Howard Cohen for umpiring, David Strachan for scoring and Nikki and her team for providing such an excellent lunch and tea; and last but not least for Damian Greenish who came up to help close the ground and get things prepared for his double-header next weekend.
30/06/13 – Sheffield Park XI v. Bradman Foundation XI – 40 over match – Sheffield Park XI won by 25 runs
With the British & Irish Lions Tour coming to an exciting climax and the Ashes Series fast approaching, it was up to the Sheffield Park XI to put a marker down against the Australians in the form of the touring Bradman Foundation XI.
The Manager of the joint National Trust and Armadillos side had had a tough time leading up to the match as one by one the National Trust players fell by the wayside for varying reasons. On the morning of the match there was only one of their players left, but then even he turned up limping heavily from an overnight twisted ankle on board a yacht! A quick assessment and some urgent phone calls resulted in Sam Shepherd, who had dropped out the previous evening with back pains but had woken feeling slightly better, bravely agreeing to step in. As it transpired, this turned out to be an inspired decision. So we now had 10 Armadillos, 1 National Trust representative and a slight lack of bowling for this limited over match.
However, the Manager’s concerns were not over. At the ground, an hour before start of play, were the Bradman Foundation touring party, smart in their touring blazers and raring to go, umpires and scorer, but only one fit Sheffield Park XI player! In dribs and drabs the Manager counted them in, all the while listening to their tales of woe, so the inevitable happened and start of play had to be delayed by 15 minutes. Happily, being a friendly affair, the opposition and officials were very content just to revel in their surroundings and soak up the atmosphere.
Captain of the Sheffield Park XI, Tim Davy, won the toss and elected to bat in glorious sunshine on what his experience told him had become an increasingly flat Sheffield Park wicket thanks largely to the improving weather and the efforts put in by various groundsmen.
Although there was an early wicket, the new ball soon lost its shine and with two forceful batsman at the crease in the shape of Nick Hely-Hutchinson and Hugo Rawlinson, runs began to flow. Hugo in particular played a number of stunning shots on his way to 60, hopefully setting the tone for the summer by flaying the Aussies all around the park! However a mix-up between the wickets saw him run out, which sparked an Aussie comeback and a remarkable collapse seeing the Sheffield Park XI go from 115-2 to 139-9 in just 10 overs. On a good pitch , that score looked woefully under par and the Sheffield Park XI was in danger of not batting its remaining 14 overs. Luckily captain Tim Davy had other plans and, ably supported by the restricted Sam Shepherd, watchfully at first and then forcefully towards the end, hit 51* and took his side to 203-9 off their 40 overs.
Rejuvenated by their late order revival, the Sheffield Park XI soon made in-roads into the Bradman Foundation’s batting line up and a mix of disciplined bowling and innovative field placings saw the required run rate climb sharply. This led to some loose shots as the home side began to take control. The captain backed up his batting with a tidy bowling spell of 8 overs, 3-19 and was well supported by the medium pace of Ben Ryder-Smith, Nick Hely-Hutchinson and Jim Mann, the latter two chipping in with a couple of wickets at crucial times. A fantastic 86 by wicket-keeper batsman James Crowley (who on this form may well find himself in the Australian squad the way things are going for them!), tested home nerves for a time, but ultimately the Sheffield Park XI were the better side on the day and ran out winners by 25 runs; a win and beers shared over lively conversation between the teams after the game, hopefully setting the tone for the Ashes summer.
23/06/13 – Armadillos v. Invalids – Declaration Match, Armadillos won
The Dills recorded a comprehensive victory against a disappointing Invalids on Sunday.
Having won the toss and elected to bat, the Invalids were quickly in trouble against the probing opening attack of Nick Hely-Hutchinson and Francis ‘Titch’ Wynter. With the visitors reeling at 17-4 the opening attack was rested but Rolly Crawford and Alex Ohlson added further pressure taking two wickets apiece. James Butcher, who had not played for the Dills for ten years, rolled back the years with a couple of overs of medium pace before the opening bowlers returned to polish off the tail. Titch’s final analysis of 9 overs, 4 maidens, 4 for 17 did not flatter. As sometimes happens, the ball seemed to follow Oliver Neal around the field and he responded with enthusiasm. Joe Ohlson took a smart catch in the slips (at the second attempt!) and the opposition were dismissed for a below par 108.
A dangerous precedent was set at tea when it was discovered that the Hely-Hutchinson combination of ‘pere et fils’ had each baked cakes, all of which promptly disappeared. The opposition were reluctant to take the field, not just because of the quality of the tea, but in a vain hope that they may be saved by the rain. They weren’t!! Colin H-H and Charles Wilson quickly asserted themselves. Colin responded to chants from the boundary and ran himself out trying to run 4 before Charles was out for 38 to the catch of the day at point. There were no England style wobbles (but a few air shots) from Hugo Scott-Gall and Rolly Crawford who quickly saw us to victory by 8 wickets.
16/06/13 - Armadillos v. Free Foresters – Declaration Match, draw
A game of two halves and a day of two halves saw us draw with the Free Foresters. It started raining about ten minutes before the scheduled start time of 11.30 (not hard enough though to stop us playing) and didn’t stop until lunch. They won the toss and duly inserted us; an eminently sensible decision given how seam friendly the wicket looked. We found it tough going and lost wickets steadily going into lunch 5 down with just under 100 on the board. However things began to heat up after lunch with the two Nicks, Hely-Hutchinson and Trueman both batting extremely well with the latter in his first innings of the season thumping it to most areas of the ground. His score of 64 won’t unfortunately get him onto the Honours Board before we lose him to a spell in Singapore. Joe Akers-Douglas (36*) and Olly Shuttleworth (21) then scampered nicely and we got ourselves up to 260 for 9 when we declared on the back of a post lunch session that had yielded 162 runs in just over 20 overs.
That the wicket had flattened out and the outfield speeded up played on our minds and we declared, with hindsight, 4 to 5 overs too late. Their openers though played some brisk shots and with the pitch doing very little it felt like it could get close. Then Mark Nash, extracting some turn, snaffled one of their openers on the stroke of tea which set things up for an engrossing final session. As the run rate ticked up and we bowled well it became clear that a draw or win for us were the only likely outcomes. Though there were some close shaves and dropped catches there wasn’t much in the wicket for the seamers and the Foresters closed the game on 170 for 5. We had bowled well as a unit with Mark leading the way with 4 for 68. If we had declared earlier would they have scored faster? Who knows and that is the beauty of sport.
By the end the sun was out, the ground looked sumptuous, and we had had our first draw of the season. Many thanks as ever to Howard Cohen for his umpiring, Nikki Todd for lunch and tea and to Phil Davy and Damian Greenish for their hard work in opening up and closing the ground. We very much look forward to seeing the Free Foresters back again next year.
09/06/13 - Armadillos v. I Zingari – Declaration Match, Armadillos won
Skipper Tim Davy no doubt formulated his game plan as he tucked into his bacon roll breakfast and contemplated his array of bowling talent. The Armadillos youth policy had paid dividends in the form of a number of fast, accurate young bowlers. So Davy decided to bat first, post a total and then deploy his bowling attack.
The skipper succeeded in his first task by winning the toss. And 10 minutes before lunch, with Armadillos on 132 for 3 , things were going nicely to plan. Hugo Rawlinson (31) had displayed his usual attacking intent with an array of strokes on both sides of the wicket and had been joined by Freddie Greenish who, in a welcome return to form, hit some glorious shots and powerful blows, reaching 60 in no time. On Rawlinson’s dismissal, Mark Symonds (35) had taken over in partnership with Greenish, hitting the ball very cleanly, and the rest of the side were looking forward in very relaxed mood to the customary excellent lunch provided by Bluebells Catering.
But things rarely go entirely according to plan for even the best cricket captains and Davy’s master plan was rocking as both Greenish and Symonds, tempted no doubt by the thought of a good feed, perished before lunch and then 4 more wickets tumbled in quick succession after lunch. Only a sensible 19* from Ben Ryder-Smith enabled the Armadillos to reach 161 all out. For the I Zingari, guest E. Hooper starred with 6-42 off his 14.1 overs.
The talk in between innings was would it be enough? But the skipper was confident, reassuring his players as they took the field that provided we bowled and fielded well, we should win the game.
That’s precisely what the Armadillos did. On a dry pitch with a healthy amount of good bounce, openers Francis Wynter and Ben Ryder-Smith consistently challenged the opposition batsmen with their pace and accuracy. For the I Zingari only W. Poole-Wilson (26) put up any real resistance. Once again the youth policy paid dividends as three stunning catches tightened the stranglehold; Alex Ohlson snatched a very sharp one at slip; Rawlinson dived full-length at cover and Wynter running back at long-off took a remarkable catch high over his shoulder. Skipper Davy was the grateful beneficiary of the efforts of his team-mates, taking the last 5 wickets for 23 in 8.3 overs. The visitors had been dismissed for 120 and a well-deserved victory recorded. However, as the teams repaired to the evening sunshine at The Griffin, all reflected on a game well played and much enjoyed.
02/06/13 - Armadillos v. Buccaneers – Declaration Match, Armadillos won
Do not adjust your sets, the following is true: at the fourth time of asking we have finally recorded a victory. Our first ever game against the Buccaneers was played under almost perfect conditions, and what a game it was too.
We won the toss and decided to bat. Why did we do this on a softish track with some moisture in it, that was bound to dry out and become easier to bat on, which, when combined with an outfield that would get quicker through the day, would make bowling first the obvious option? Well the captain had a hunch and sometimes you have to play your hunches. So bat we did and got off to a fairly typical start i.e. a bad one. There were moments of excitement that saw the run rate hurtle towards the 2 an over watermark, but the run rate was a secondary woe when you consider we were 31 for 3. But we got our heads down and some patient, sensible innings from Jonathan Kemmis-Betty 30, Joe Akers-Douglas 37 and the skipper Hugo Scott-Gall 51, confirmed that having a double barrelled surname can be of some use. All out for 184 felt a bit low and as we came together for a motivational group hug there were some furrowed brows.
We needed to come out of the traps hard, and lead by Ben Ryder-Smith with an excellent spell of zippy pace we did just that. He bowled particularly well at moonlighting Armadillo Jim Mann who received some of the best deliveries of the match. Jonathan K-B and Luke Speight making his debut provided good support, each chipping in with a wicket. Simon Scales then snaffled two and with Tim Davy bowling his customary miserly line we were in good shape at 107 for 6. Their number 8 Rob Rydon then came in and played some superb shots and took them to 171. However his dismissal to a Davy slower ball that perhaps has only been bettered by Harmison to Clarke in the ‘05 Ashes, saw things swing our way. The Buccaneers lost their last 3 wickets for 5 runs out with just 8 balls left. It was fitting that Tim and Ben took the final wickets as they had bowled magnificently but it was overall a very good team effort.
It’s not just the fact that we won that made this a highly enjoyable game but it was more the ebbs and flows of an exciting match, the enjoyment of a new like-minded club to play against and doing it all at our ground which was at its refulgent best.
Big thanks go to Howard Cohen for his, as ever, excellent umpiring, to David Strachan for scoring and to Nikki and Debbie for the splendid lunch and tea. Next up IZ.
19/05/13 – Armadillos v. The Grannies – Declaration match, Armadillos lost by 1 wicket
As the week unfolded the weather forecast seemed to go from bad to worse and yet on Saturday there was a glimmer of hope that the worst of the rain that had been forecast would miss us to the south. Nevertheless, just to be safe we covered the strip overnight on Saturday, and arrived up at the ground early on Sunday to find that it had remained dry; unfortunately humidity had been held under the covers and the strip was quite spongy. First decision therefore was to play on the wicket that had been used the day before which was still in good shape and certainly much firmer and quicker than the prepared strip.
For a whole host of reasons, no doubt similar to the Butterflies’ match a couple of weeks back, we weren’t quite as strong as we had hoped since we knew that the Grannies would be out to avenge the defeat visited upon them the last time they played against us two years ago (last year’s match having been rained off). We lost the toss and were put in to bat. The sun broke through and for most of our innings conditions were almost perfect. We kept a pretty good tempo throughout and even though five batsmen got good starts it was only Nick Hely-Hutchinson who was able to convert and score a convincing 70. He was well supported by Teddy Hely-Hutchinson and Hugo Scott-Gall, though no question that heave of the day went to Adam Greenish who managed to clear the deer fencing over deep mid-on. We declared at tea with a score of 222-9.
No rest for the wicked and Nick H-H was asked to open the bowling. We got two quick wickets and then their number three and four put on 73 before the partnership was broken with a well-taken catch right on the boundary in front of the sight-screen off Mark Nash’s left-arm spin bowling. Wickets fell at a steady pace with one a piece going to Alex White and Hugo Scott-Gall, but as with the batting it was Nick H-H who did the damage with some deceptively quick bowling, which both moved in the air and off the wicket resulting in figures of 6-57 (his second six-wicket haul against the Grannies). Unfortunately though their number four remained steadfast and scored 95 not-out (Simon King had him ‘caught’ at deep mid-on though acknowledged sportingly, to genuine applause from the pavilion, that he’d stepped over the boundary), and notwithstanding a game of cat and mouse for the last wicket (their ninth wicket fell with 187 on the scoreboard) he managed to steer the Grannies to victory with slightly more than two overs left to play before stumps.
Disappointing result but a great game of cricket. Thanks to both Jo Greenish and Pipi H-H for a delicious tea.
05/05/13 – Armadillos v. The Butterflies – Declaration match, Armadillos lost by 4 wickets
Losing can be a funny thing. While it is not something we want to make a habit of, our loss to the Butterflies was an enjoyable one. It was the first time we had hosted them and we very much look forward to doing so for many years to come. It’s not often we are outblazered but their anniversary linen numbers have taken things up a notch. Our President, a dedicated follower of fashion if ever there was one, has taken note, so expect some surprises on that front, and, specifically, his front.
Anyway to the cricket. Recruitment had, unusually for us, proved a little tricky so we weren’t as strong as we could, or indeed, should be. We were only 10 in number at the start, so there was a collective sigh of relief when the captain broke the happy news that he had won the toss and decided to bat. Though this decision was popular it didn’t look particularly clever as we limped to 28 for 6. A mixture of some straight bowling, excellent catching and some average shot selection had left us in something of a pickle. A succession of good partnerships between the skipper [Ed – the skipper scored a quite magnificent 93 not out and took batting onto a different plain to anyone else all day] and Ant Pickering, Jim Mann and Damian Greenish meant we edged our way towards respectability. When Damian fell to a straight one Oli Mann, on exeat from school, very manfully strode in at 11 to help us up to 156 all out.
This put us in with a shout. We needed a strong start and that’s what we got with the Butterflies 30 for 4 at tea. When Ant Pickering, aided by one of the best catches we’ll see this season by Colin Hely-Hutchinson (think Flintoff to Gilchrist to Strauss Ashes ’05) snaffled their number 7 after tea we were in good shape. Ant and Jim Mann continued to exert pressure but their 7th wicket pair got their heads down and were patient and from 44 for 6 they took the Butterflies home. If we could have knocked over number 8 earlier who knows. But we didn’t and, though we lost, consensus was that it had a been very good game, played in glorious weather against an opposition we very much look forward to seeing again. Thanks to Richard Cossens for his fair and judicious umpiring, to Nikki Todd for top notch Lunch and Tea, to Oli Mann for answering a midday SOS, and to Phil Davy for his last minute groundwork, scoring and all the other things he does behind the scenes.
28/04/13 – Armadillos v. The Griffin – Declaration match, Armadillos lost by 48 runs
We played on a typical Spring wicket, soft and slow, but drying out through the day. The Dills won the toss and inserted The Griffin, who were pegged back in the early overs by some tidy bowling from our openers, Jonathan Kemmis-Betty and debutant Simon Scales. Patience was definitely a virtue both for batting and fielding and wickets tended to fall in clusters. Rupert Greenish bowled a good spell of off spin to take 3- 46. However it needed a couple of batters to dig in and steady batting from David Pullan and Tim Brocklehurst brought The Griffin’s score up to a respectable but not unobtainable 169 – 8 by tea when the declaration came after 38 overs.
Unfortunately The Dills were unable to apply the necessary application to their batting and quickly found themselves in trouble . Only Sam Nurse, with good shot selection (33) and Harvey Osler showed what was required to stick around, with Harvey (51 not out), ably backed up by another debutant Jack Montfort Bebb, almost steering the side home for probably what would have been a slightly less than deserved draw. As it was Jack’s father, the skipper, fell on the fourth ball of the last over – game over but a tight finish and an enjoyable start to the season!
9/09/12 – Armadillos v. Primrose Hill Elephants – Armadillos won by 58 runs
A hot end to a soggy summer saw our ground looking nothing short of glorious and a pack of Armadillos despatch a herd of Elephants. The Elephants in question came from salubrious NW1 in London and were unlucky in their annual migration being interrupted by some heavy traffic on the M25. This delay reduced the game to 30 overs a side but did mean that there was longer to enjoy the superb pre-match barbecue provided by Tony and Caroline Scott-Gall with great support from Cuppages, Davys et al. With tea produced by another five families this was Armadillos team work at its best. Mention must also go to Michael Johnstone of Ashcourt Rowan Asset Management for kindly sponsoring drinks and canapés that made lunch such a success.
Back to the cricket. We lost the toss and were inserted by the Elephants. Colin Hely-Hutchinson and Simon King strode out in their new Armadillos shirts (designed, developed and procured by Simon and available from the club) and negotiated the first few overs with some ease. However Colin was snaffled by what Richie Benaud would call a rozzler. Simon snicked one bringing the other Simon, Roundell, and the captain to the crease. A productive partnership ensued with Simon going on to a very pleasing 61 including a thunderous six over long on. We lost wickets steadily but some good lower order hitting from Rupert Greenish and Nick Hely-Hutchinson in particular propelled us to our final total of 176 which seemed a tad but not a long way over par.
We did however have a decent attack and Ben Ryder-Smith and Nick Hely-Hutchinson hustled nicely. Tim Davy on at first change bowled the spell that changed the game. A tight line outside off accounted for both numbers 3 and 4 and choked the run rate very well. Simon Roundell rolled back the years off his longer run and half way through the Elephants innings we were in the ascendancy. Ben and Nick both came back for productive second spells and the Elephants were all out for 118. As a fielding unit we had performed well and Joe Akers-Douglas kept extremely tidily.
It was very satisfactory to end the season with a win, particularly when it came from a good all round team effort and against long standing friends. Particular thanks must go to Phil Davy for serious hard yards on the ground and for his scoring, to Tony Scott-Gall and Damian Greenish for umpiring and to team Hely-Hutchinson, Alix Pickering, Louise Hayward, Simon King and Anna Scott-Gall for tea. Lunch had set the bar high but tea was pretty good too!
Armadillos 176 for 9 off 30 overs
Elephants 118 all out off 26.3 overs
Simon Roundell 61
Hugo Scott-Gall 31
Rupert Greenish 20
Nick Hely-Hutchinson 3 for 16
Ben Ryder–Smith 2 for 24
Tim Davy 2 for 22
Hugo Scott-Gall (cpt)
Joe Akers-Douglas (w/k)
02/09/12 – Armadillos v. Sussex Martlets – Sussex Martlets won by 44 runs
Our first loss of the season was not an undeserved one unfortunately. On a slow and soft wicket we applied ourselves less well than the Martlets did. Painful though it is to say the margin of victory was fair. The Martlets put out a decent side, one that had collectively played a lot more cricket than us this year, and chose to bat. We bowled well with a lively opening spell from Olly Shuttleworth reaching its peak with two wickets in two balls. George Shaw operated up the hill with vigour and Ant Pickering followed in his stead with some challenging and accurate medium pace. The Martlets recovered from 44 for 4 with a good stand between Henry Cope and Mike Murray. David Goddard and Mark Rowland both bowled well too and our fielding was generally robust with two spectacular catches by David Goddard and Alex Scott-Gall. By the end of their 40 overs the Martlets were 153 for 8 which felt like a better than par score.
And so it proved. Amidst the steady flow of wickets to some decent well grooved bowling one man stood tall and defiant. Matt Searle who came through a tough mid week fitness test batted in a fashion that sadly his team mates didn’t emulate. He carried his bat for a score of 44 not out and deserved the hearty applause that accompanied him from the field. As ever the Martlets were very welcome guests and we look forward to next year’s game eagerly; the Armadillo has the scent of revenge in his nostrils.
Finally a special thanks must go to two members, Howard Cohen for umpiring and David Strachan for scoring, which makes such a huge difference to a good day’s play.
Martlets 153 for 8 off 40 overs
Armadillos 109 all out off 35.1 overs
Matt Searle 44*
Olly Shuttleworth 2 for 30
David Goddard 3 for 35
Hugo Scott-Gall (cpt)
Nathan Lilley (w/k)
19/08/12 – Armadillos v. A Few Good Men – Armadillos CC won by 65 runs
The clouds and a few spots of rain had disappeared before the 1pm start, making the wicket better for bowling first and the initially cool conditions better for fielding first. The late afternoon was, apparently, to see the hottest temperatures in the South East in 6 years. Our captain was disappointed therefore to lose the toss and be inserted.
The Dills went about batting in a cautious but disciplined manner, at least to start with. Olly Shuttleworth as skipper took on the responsibility of opening with Colin Hely-Hutchinson and the going was tough with FGM bowling tightly from both ends. The skipper played on in the 4th over to a rare defensive prod bringing Ashvin Bhatia to the wicket ready to carry on a solid start. Ashvin’s batting looked good and he smote the bowling to all parts before playing back to a good length ball, being LBW for 34. After Colin’s dutiful innings was ended, Tim Kittoe strode to the wicket and proceeded to destroy anything over-pitched with natural ease producing the best innings of the game – a fine 75. The lower middle order struggled with the notable exception of Rupert Greenish whose play for 43*was solid and fluent – a perfect combination to drag the Dills to a mighty 195 in 40 overs. With the Dills attack boasting a terrifying mixture of swing, pace and spin such a total was always going to be a hard chase.
The FGM innings faced a dangerous opening attack with Paul Douglas and Nick Hely-Hutchinson producing a devastating spell of swing and seam bowling that reduced FGM to not many for 4 in little time. A mixture of Nick’s boomerang away swing and Paul’s rigorous off stump line was a lethal combination. Mark Rowlands then bowled a steady medium down the hill which further piled on the pressure. FGM had nowhere to go despite some strong resistance from Sandy, the oppo skipper. Adam Greenish’s sustained spell of pace delivered from a great height was near impossible to play and he took the prized wicket of FGM’s no. 5 Duncan – a very organised batsman that could have caused us more trouble than his eventual 36. By the time Olly bowled from the top end the game was as good as won with FGM also struggling with the wily leg-spin of Freddie Greenish. Paul and Mark came on for a second spell and cleaned up the tail, Paul ending with 4 wickets. Overall the fielding was high class, there were a few dropped catches but the simple chances were gobbled up and James Willison marshalled the covers expertly. Freddie ‘s exceptional work at cover should be credited too. The Armadillos’ took an unbeaten season forward and won by 65 runs.
Special thanks to Caroline Scott-Gall and Maryam Shuttleworth for the delicious tea and to FGM who were indeed, good men.
Armadillos 195 for 7
A Few Good Men 130 All Out
Tim Kittoe 75
Rupert Greenish 43*
Ashvin Bahtia 34
Paul Douglas 4 wickets
Nick Hely-Hutchinson 2 wickets
Adam Greenish 2 wickets
Olly Shuttleworth (cpt)
01/07/12 – Armadillos CC v. Chelsea Arts Club CC – Armadillos CC won by 8 wickets
A completed cricket match for the Dills in 2012 has been about as rare as a Greek taxpayer but for the second time we completed a comfortable win over the artists of the Chelsea Arts Club. For once, the rain held off. With one or two notable exceptions, the Dills side emphasised youth – and the next generation gave us a delicious appetizer of what the future holds for us.
After winning the toss, the Arts Club chose to bat. It was an interesting decision when after two overs they were 0 for 2 (as they were after 4 overs) with Ronnie Persaud from the dimple end and young George Shaw from the stump gate end providing a real lesson as to how to bowl effectively on the Sheffield Park wicket. Quite simply the Arts Club were never allowed to get going. They were 16 for 4 and although there was a brief revival, the bowling was simply too good. George in particular with 2 for 7 off 7 overs was both fast and accurate, Alex Ohlson had figures of 2 for 8 off 4 overs and Alex White 2 for 10 off 5 overs; it all bodes well for the future of the Dills. We held our catches (Freddy Greenish taking a fine skyer in the deep) and David Goddard kept very tidily. Henry Cope’s left arm spin was very effective and although he took only 1 wicket, he had little luck with the ball passing the bat and the stumps on numerous occasions. In the end, the Arts Club fell for 80 all out, leaving the Dills needing 81 to win.
Damien Hughes and Freddy Greenish opened for the Dills and set off well; Freddy all aggression and swinging bat and Damien watchful and orthodox. They put on 52 for the first wicket and we had high hopes that they would see us home without losing a wicket. However, it was not to be and Freddy swung the bat once too often and was bowled by a fine yorker for 33. Damien then took over the aggression and we comfortably passed the Arts Club score with only two wickets down, to win by 8 wickets, Damien finishing on 33 not out.
After tea, we had a 10-over thrash which was thoroughly enjoyed by all. It was yet another win for the Dills. All in all a great day. What the Arts Club lacked in cricketing skills, they more than made up for in charm and humour. It was a true pleasure to entertain them.
Big thanks to Chris Goddard and to TP Moore for their impeccable umpiring and even bigger thanks to Caroline Scott-Gall and Jo Greenish for producing a magnificent lunch and spectacular tea.
Well played the young Dills.
Damian Greenish (cpt)
David Goddard (wkt)
17/06/12 – Armadillos v. Free Foresters – Armadillos CC won by 10 wickets
This was a notable game in many ways. Firstly we were delighted to host the Free Foresters who are a very welcome addition to our fixture list and we hope they shall remain there for many years. Secondly we achieved what can only be described as an emphatic victory. More of that in a moment, but we must also note that for many of us in this most extraordinarily miserable of summers it was the first game we had played; an unusual sensation for mid June. And lastly we had a sizeable crowd on what was one of the best days of the year so far with the ground looking verdantly magnificent.
That the wicket was not a facsimile of Perth in December was no surprise and made the decision to bowl post winning the toss an easy one. So bowl we did on a track that was slow, sticky and not conducive to free flowing stroke play. It demanded discipline though and this is what we achieved with excellent opening spells from Nick Trueman whose quickish off cutters were nicely complemented by the tight lines of David Nelson. Harry Clark took a wicket with his second ball and Ant Pickering, on debut, worked hard up the hill giving little away. With the strong shouldered Nick Hely-Hutchinson as our fifth bowler we were well stocked for pace and Forester wickets fell at regular intervals with Matt Searle in particular catching everything that came his way.
A total of 79 to win felt gettable given the wicket was drying out and had begun to ease towards the end of the FF innings. Harry Clark’s recent rich vein of form continued and he batted superbly peppering most parts of the ground. He was ably and doggedly supported by Luke Selway and we were home and dry before tea, posting a ten wicket victory. It’s nearly July and we have yet to lose a wicket ! This was a good day in many ways and we look forward to hosting the Foresters next year when we suspect we will be very unlikely to repeat this year’s margin of victory.
Many thanks to Richard Cossens for umpiring and David Strachan for scoring and of course to our excellent ground team under the direction of Chris Goddard.
Free Foresters – 78 All Out
Armadillos – 79-0
Bowlers: Nick Trueman 4 – 18, David Nelson 3 – 17, Harry Clark 3 – 13
Batting: Harry Clark – 59*, Luke Selway – 19*
Hugo Scott-Gall (cpt)
Ed Turner (w/k)