Match Reports  

Season 2018

Birdlip & Brimpsfield 1st X1 vs Corse and Staunton 2nd XI – Saturday 30th June
The biggest match of the year so far saw both teams go into this game undefeated, with 8 games and 8 wins. Somebody’s 0 had to go!
Birdlip won an important toss and chose to bat in what felt like sauna conditions with 30 degree heat & wall to wall sunshine. Skipper Prakash returned from batting exile, due to a broken finger, to replace Nitin Shetty (unavailable) as Andy Downes’ opening partner.

The opening pair soon starting making the C&S fielders chase the leather as Birdlip cruised to 100-0. Birdlip were off to a flier in this crunch match. Prakash fell shortly after reaching a crucial 50 but Birdlip were already on 152 off just 24 overs. Jitesh soon followed cheaply and C&S felt they had a way back in. Unfortunately for them B&B are a changed team this year. The middle order all chipped in around Downes who eventually fell for a match winning 118, his second century of the season. Unbeaten pair Dan Gadsden and Kevin Blackburn ensured no more crucial bowling points for C&S with B&B ending on 286 for 5 off their 45 overs.

C&S believed they could chase this down on a lightning fast outfield with one relatively small boundary. However they had not accounted for B&B bowling attack bowling out of their skin. George James was moving the ball everywhere and Prakash was bowling a beautiful line and length. When top run scorer Tyrer was stumped off the bowling of Andy Heiron for 41, B&B were turning the screw although they knew C&S bat very low down. Little did anyone know that Ankur Nautiyal, promoted from the seconds, would have the game of his life. Ankur’s off spin was too good for C&S and 5 Ankur wickets later and Birdlip were celebrating a huge victory. C&S bowled out for 212.

Some great batting, exceptional bowling and vastly improved fielding (special mention to Andy Hussey with a storming catch) means Birdlip sit pretty on top of the division at the half way stage.
After such a huge win it seems appropriate to reflect on a brilliant season for B&B. Both teams are top of their leagues. This has come about through a lot of people working hard off the pitch. Birdlip is a fantastic, positive place to play cricket at the moment, long may it continue
Birdlip and Brimpsfield CC 1st XI vs Lechlade 2XI Sat 16th June
BBCC 1stXI looked to continue their unbeaten start to the season against a young but talented Lechlade team. Prakash won the toss and correctly chose to bowl on a very green looking pitch. Early wickets tumbled thanks to Prakash and G James, including, crucially, Freddie Merrett, Lechlade’s big scoring young county star.
Unfortunately "the dropped catch curse" returned to the team and as many as 10 dropped catches allowed Lechalde to build a big partnership. Once this 80 run partnership was broken by Jitesh, George Smith came on to skittle the tail. Lechlade finished their 45 overs on 188-8.
189 on this pitch with gloomy conditions wasn’t going to be an easy chase which was made harder when star batsmen Nitin and Jitesh were out cheaply to Lechlade’s left arm opener. Andy Downes was still there however moving swiftly to 50 albeit with a few dropped catches on the way!
When G Smith fell at 76-3, there was a growing worry among BBCC players that this could be our first loss of the season. BBCC need not have worried however as Dan Gadsden was the man for the job. A superb 39 not out alongside Downes’ maiden Birdlip century (104*) saw the team cruise home to win by 7 wickets. An unbeaten 116 partnership fit to win any game. The unbeaten start to the season continues…
Congratulation to Andy Downes on his maiden century for the club. We wish him many more.

BBCC 2nd XI v Cheltenham Civil Service 3rd XI
Skipper Ian Green won the toss and was soon out on the square hitting the ball to all parts of the ground. He was ably assisted by Andy Ward (45) and the hundred mark soon came and past. Birdlip made the most of a poor bowling attack, with Green scoring a big hundred (129) as the runs kept coming, Steve Williams (18) played a cameo role when replacing Ward who just fell short of deserved half century. With the departure of Green and Williams the home side hoped the onslaught was over. But once Ken Griffith (71no) got his eye in the boundaries flowed and his half century soon arrived. His partnership with Anker Nautiyal (20) saw a hundred runs added in the last 10 overs and the 314 total achieved.
Civil Service started well as any ball past the infield generally rocketed to the boundary for 4. Birdlip then reined the scoring back and both openers had to work for their runs. Gerald Baker (37) and Dominic Green (38) the later the mainstay of the innings both fell in their thirties and little else followed. It was only a spirited 28no from number 11 Harry West, Birdlip bemused by his position as he offered more than most that preceded him, gave the home side albeit well short, a reasonable score of 155. Anker Nautiyal, Llewelyn Hancox and Ken Griffith shared bulk of the wickets. Rest of the bowlers all did well, Pierre Lombard hardly concede a run an over and Charlie Simmonds grabbing a popular wicket. Piers Barton almost denied Birdlip the last bowling point with what can only be described as insomnia cricket, scoring 0 of 20-30 balls. Thankfully the last wicket fell with 3 balls left of the 40 overs, Griffith picked up his 3rd wicket and keeper Andy Ward his 2nd victim.

Season 2017

Birdlip & Brimpsfield CC 1st XI Vs Cheltenham Civil Service 2nd XI
- 20th May
BBCC made another solid start with BBCC reaching 56 for the first wicket. Nitin Shetty was first to go this week after a solid 24. A Hussey joined Prakash at the wicket and made a steady start, playing the supporting role. At drinks, Birdlip were on 78-1. Prakash finally making 52 before being caught and bowled - cementing his role at the top of the order. The middle order chipped away but were very much frustrated by some controlled and disciplined bowling and field positioning, giving very little away. Birdlip failed to find the boundary. Cometh the hour, cometh the man, and it was G James who once again kick-started the scoring with a quick 18, supported by the returning G Smith (25) and D Gadsden (23). There was a short 'break' in proceedings due to an injury (a dropped catch at long on resulting in a nasty broken finger) before Birdlip looked to accelerate the scoring in the final few overs. This they failed to do with the last 4 wickets falling in just 6 balls - the returning opening bowlers really did the damage. Birdlip made 192 from 42 overs, all out, knowing they left 20-30 runs out on the field.
That said, they returned to the field, after a solid tea, courtesy of the Golden Heart, buoyant knowing that they had enough in the locker to win this game. It was always going to be close and it was certainly that. As always, the senior pair of Knock and G James frustrated the opening batsmen who knew that to give up their wickets early would be detrimental with one player in casualty and one nursing a knee injury. At drinks Chelt CC were only 2 runs down on the run rate and things were looking close. Birdlip continued to rally and frustrate with the bowling of CU Bale, Prakash, Ankur, K Partridge and Brad Jacques. With the game on knife-edge, it was Prakash who made the breakthrough, shortly followed by Bale and Jacques. Two quick wickets by Brad Jacques looked to seal the game for Birdlip in the 40th over as the pendulum shifted but Chelt CC held on well, knowing 5 runs an over would seal victory. As the light began to fail and with a strong crowd cheering from the balcony, the game went to the last over with Chelt CC needing 5 to win. They did this with 4 balls to spare. BBCC experiencing their first narrow loss of the season.
Special mention must go to B Jacques for his bowling spell at the death that so nearer put BBCC in a winning position. Sadly it was not to be. As a team we march on.

Lechlade CC 2nd XI Vs Birdlip & Brimpsfield CC 1st XI - 13th May
On a fine day Birdlip 1st XI visited Lechlade, a picturesque Cotswold cricket club with a great deck.
On this rare occasion our captain fantastic won the toss and Birdlip were to bowl first.
The Birdlip stalwarts of Knock and James started well and made early breakthroughs (both taking 2 wickets for a good economical rate) and Birdlip were soon on top.
Sadly missed opportunities and dropped catches gave the opposition hope and VAAS showed some flair and freestyle hitting to reach an impressive 76. Birdlip however stuck to the task and stayed positive. Chetan Ubale and returning player Ankur Nautiyal steadied the ship, taking late wickets, frustrating the opposition to 190. Birdlip were frustrated not to take the final wickets and obtain the final points, however this total was extremely gettable on a good wicket, with a strong batting line up from 1 to 11.
Birdlip started with last weeks winning combination of Prakash and Nitin and they once again they formed a great partnership, quickly going to 49 for no loss. It was Prakash who was to fall this week to a great Yorker, however a solid foundation was set. The BBCC middle order chipped away once again, however it was once again, the fluent Shetty who made the difference, with an unbeaten 78. Birdlip winning comfortably with 12 overs to spare. 191-6.
Special mention must go to a young Lechlade player by the name of D Sampson. A very promising young player indeed who played with a straight bat, not giving his wicket away and frustrating the Birdlip bowlers, only to return, ball in hand, spinning it beautifully to take 2-40 from 9 overs. Even the aggressive hitting of G James (sending two balls over the pavilion in a row) didn’t seem to fluster this very confident and talented young man.
Birdlip are now 2 from 2 and march on at the top of the table. Join us on Saturday at Sinclair Field from 8pm for our first quiz night of the season! Cheap drinks, BBQ and lots of fun for all ages and general knowledge abilities!

2nd team report v Ullenwood Bharat...
After losing the toss again..Birdlip were asked to bat. What followed was a run fest. A partnership of 168 between Andy Ward and Green ended when Ward found deep mid off.. the fielder realised the ball had stuck in his hands and Ward departed with a great 80 to his name. In came Cookes and the runs kept flowing. After Darren holed out to the same fielder in the same position, Moore (31no) and Green continued to take the total to an impressive 293 for 2 off 40 overs. Green finished on a career best 154 not out. Yorkshire have made enquiries to his availability but he has let them down gently and feels he will probably continue at Birdlip for the rest of this season.
Unfortunately, Birdlip started defending their total with 10 men. Their young wicketkeeper Jake Bidmead (tipped for great things) was ill after eating chicken satay at tea (he was later taken to A&E but is now on the mend which is good news). At one point Birdlip went down to 9 men as veteran Alec Edge stood on a nail in the school field retrieving a ball that had been dispatched for 6. Old veterans Tom Parsons and David Partridge (combined age 175) sat on the balcony looking on. Tom was pissed so David went and found his whites which were hung neatly pressed in the wardrobe and came out as an extra fielder. Alec Edge came back on after surgery in the pavilion and a team that had some struggling with mobility (a bit like Leeds United at the end of the season), looked to defend their big score.
Ullenwood had already started brightly and some notable parterships had Birdlip a little nervous at times. Andy Hieron stood up to the challenge of the 2nd team and was very economical (including a catch in the deep) A great catch by Charlie Simmonds, wickets from Andy Williams, Steve Williams and Alec Edge disrupted the run chase. Ullenwood's opener stayed at the crease until the penultimate over scoring 125, when he was stumped by Andy Ward (yes...Andy quick) off the bowling of Charlie Simmonds. Ward also took two catches behind the stumps after relieving Darren Cookes of the wicket keeping duties.
Ullenwood finished 45 runs short....Birdlip just could not get rid of the last two wickets...but a good win with over 540 runs scored. Eye witnesses later reported that Green had to be lifted out of his car by a crane after he drove to the fatherland (Yorkshire). He hopes to be able to walk by Wednesday evening when he will make the trip to Hillsborough to hopefully see his team beat Huddersfield in the playoff semi-final.....Cumon Wensdy!!

Birdlip & Brimpsfield CC 1st XI Vs Gloucester A.I.W. Sports CC 2nd XI - 6th May
A youthful Birdlip & Brimpsfield CC 1st XI started the 2017 season against Gloucester AIW 2nd XI on a somewhat chilly day at Sinclair Field. The newly appointed captain, George James, managed to retain a tradition of losing the toss and BBCC were asked to bat.
BBCC made a solid start with Prakash Sathya and Nitin Shetty dispatching the openers with ease; BBCC promptly raced to the 100 mark for no loss. Again, in true cricketing fashion, Shetty's consumption of squash at the drinks break was enough to cause a lapse of concentration and he fell shortly after for 52, a solid start to the season for Birdlip’s premier batsman.
Prakash continued to enjoy his rise up the order and eventual fell for 60 runs. This left the middle order of Andy Downes, Andrew Hussey, Dan Gadsen and Kent Partridge to steady the ship and ensure maximum batting points were achieved. They, supported by a wagging tail of Barney Harris, Chetan Ubale , Dan Knock and Brad Jacques (again a rising star of the club), continued a steady run rate and collectively BBCC reached a respectful 245 from 45 overs. Mark Anthony ever present in the match bagged 2 wickets and Vasif Muzavar 9 over and 32-3 easily the pick of the bowlers
Now it was the turn of the bowlers… it was great to see fresh faces in the team and a youthful Barney Harris opening the bowling. BBCC restricted the AIW batsmen and the breakthrough was achieved in the 5th over with Harris taking the first wicket of game. At times BBCC struggled with the revised bowling rules, and extras soon became a top scorer for the opposition. That said, fielding was tight and the ship was steadied, with consistent spells, as always, from the veteran combination of George James and Dan Knock. Then came a period of frustration and as the light was fading it soon became apparent that AIW were playing for points and not prizes. Mark Anthony and Sadiq Veshmia batting 7 and 10 respectfully top scored and dug in to ensure wickets were not lost. BBCC and the adventurous captaincy of George James tried many different approaches (some outrageous) to achieve the final few wickets but ultimately it needed the man of the moment, Prakash, to step up and deliver the killer blow, taking 2 wickets in the 45th over to ensure the win.

Gloucester City Winget CC 3rd XI Vs Birdlip & Brimpsfield CC 2nd XI - 6th May
Despite posting a reasonable total Birdlip’s league campaign started with an away defeat to Glos City Winget 3rds, on a batsmen friendly wicket.
Asked to bat Birdlip had a solid start with openers Ken Griffiths and Trevor Holder posting 47 in reasonable time before Griffiths fell for 17, deceived by the flight and guile of Ken Whitmore. Holder (64) went on to well constructed half century including 8 fours and was ably assisted by skipper Ian Green for the second wicket. With plenty still to do Andy Moore (47) and new player Kevin Blackburn (28) shared a valuable partnership of 74, which enabled Birdlip to push their score to 221 for 7 off 40 overs. M Safraz was pick of the bowlers, only 1 wicket but very economical compared to the rest. Also good to see a much improved youngster Jake Bidmead bat well during the run scramble in the last few overs.
Glos Winget reply was positive and quick to score. Experienced openers Alec Robinson and Tony Fadden both reach the thirties and Birdlip soon found themselves chasing the game. Trevor Holder removed Fadden and Andy Moore Robinson, as both where introduced into the bowling attack. Both caught by Jake Bidmead who capped of off a good days performance with 3 catches behind the stumps. Mohamed Safraz struggled early on against Holder’s tight overs (8-1-24-2) and Moore before injury curtailed his spell, but accelerated once the bowling changes were made. He was finally deceived by the spin of Steve Williams but not before a knock of 85 and 106 run 4th wicket partnership to leave his side on the brink of victory.
Birdlip felt their total was inadequate for the wicket and fast outfield and so it panned out when the home side wrapped up the win in the 34th over.

Season 2016

Birdlip & Brimpsfield Sunday XI Vs Asian Sports XI   15-8-16
A youthful side took on an Asian Sports XI at Sinclair field this Sunday, having lost the toss and being as to field Birdlip set about trying to take early wickets and put pressure on early, this worked to some degree with opener Sybesh being removed by A.Williams for 14 – there was little other early success with the bowlers not able to make further in roads until Bobby Joiner (5-0-23-2) removed the othe
r Asian Sports opener Pappu for 93 with an excellent catch of the bottom edge of the back being taken by Jake. After that wickets fell at regular intervals with Asian Sports posting 216 for 9 of 40 overs. Special mention to Dan Gadsden, Charlie Simmonds and Bobby Joiner who all took 2 wickets. All of the bowlers bowled well and stuck to the task at hand. Bowling figures: Pravan (8-2-36-0), Adam Fielding (5-0-31-1), A. Williams (4-0-10-1), Jacques (3-0-19-0), Ali (6-0-36-0), Tom Poole (5-0-35-1), Bob Joiner (5-0-35-2), K Partridge (1-0-9-0), D Gadsden (2-0-5-2), C Simmonds (1-0-7-2). 
Looking to chase down a target of 217 on a hot Sunday afternoon, Birdlip started well with Jacques and Gadsden putting on 22 from the first 6 overs before Brad chipped an easy chance to Pappu (out for 1). This brought Jake Bidemead out to the wicket, Dan and Jake then set about the run chase – both batted extremely well putting on a partnership of 119 runs in 22 overs, Bidemead fell for 48, Gadsden fell shortly afterwards for 83. Needing 50 of the last 5 overs, Birdlip hit out with knocks of 22 from K.Partridge and 19 (Not Out) from A.Williams but fell 10 runs short closing on 207 – 7 for 40 overs.
Excellent game enjoyed by all, future for Birdlip looks good with the team featuring 7 players under 20 involved in the game. Asian Sports looking for a fixture next year.
Special thanks to Ian and Trevor for organizing the team and teas.
Andy Williams (Capt)

Hawkesbury Upton CC - 1st XI Vs Birdlip & Brimpsfield CC - 1st XI
Once Hawkesbury's openers saw off the new ball they powered the home side to an unassailable total of 342 for 3. After winning the toss and electing to bat, Birdlip’s opening pair of Dan Knock, who maintained a good economy rate throughout his 9 overs and skipper Sathya Prakash kept early innings quite. But once the halfway point of the innings neared, Jeremy Westwood (131) and George Baily (131no) justified the option to bat and accelerated the run rate with no bowler escaping the onslaught. Both batsmen scored centuries with Bailey remaining unbeaten.
Opener George Smith (34) was Birdlip’s only resistance in reply, as 3 of the top order fell to the bowling of Adrian Fishley (57-3). Nitish Shetty (41) at No.5 helped his side to gain some respect to the score but after a poor start Hawkesbury’s total was never in danger. All the lower order contributed, Chetan Ubale and Andy Moore both made it into the twenties, then Dan Knock and Brad Jacques put on 52 run for the last wicket. With the rear guard pushing the final score to 234 all out, maximum batting points was earned, some consolation in falling well short of their hosts score.

Birdlip & Brimpsfield CC - 2nd XI Vs Gloucester City Winget CC - 4th XI
A day bowlers toiled and batsman made the most of a good batting track, albeit the side batting first failed to go on and post a challenging total.
Glos City experienced opening pair batting sensibly offering no chances and kept the scoreboard ticking over. Paul Carter (77) then accelerated past his half century and looked to score big until caught off the bowling of Alec Edge. Fellow opener Bill Dawe also reach his fifty but bowled by Charlie Harris whilst trying push on with the run rate. Edge along with Andy Williams and Harris all put in tidy spells and thwarted the final push, restricting the visitors to 168 for 3 in their 40 overs.
Kieren Smart and Ken Whitmore kept Birdlip’s reply in check and runs were slow coming. Opening pair Andy Ward and Trevor Holder didn’t panic and once fully settled in they gradually increased the momentum. The pair had put on a solid 102 together when Holder was bowled for 63 by Alec Robinson. This brought Ian Green to the wicket and he showed no signs of missing the last few weekends. The second wicket pair brought home the win, Green a quick fire 40 and Ward (52no) carrying his bat for a well deserved half century. A comfortable victory in the 34th over and mini run of 3 wins on the trot has moved Birdlip up to second in the table.

Not the hardest weekend of cricket as both XI's won easily.
Birdlip's 1st XI wrapped up a win against Sheepscombe after dismissing there opponents with ease. Opening attack of George James (16-4) and Sathya Prakash (9-3) made short work and saw most of batsmen back the pavilion with only 15 overs bowled between them. Brad Jacques and Andy Hieron took the last two wickets with only 41 on the board.
Nitin Shetty and Andy Downes made light work of knocking of the runs, and despite the lost of Downes Birdlip won in the 9th over.
Seconds had more of a challenge against Cheltenham Civil Service 3rds as their hosts posted a low but testing 110. Asked to bat Civil Service soon lost early wickets against Barney Harris (18-3) and Pavan Gollapudi (24-2) Up and coming youngster Robin Clarke joined in with the wicket of skipper Matthew Edwards who batted doggily whilst wickets fell around him. Reeling on 41-6 the home rallied thanks to Dave Softley (42) and Tony Pope (25) whose partnership of 69 ensured they passed the 100 mark and something to defend. With skipper Andrew Williams removing Pope amongst his 2 wickets, the innings then collapsed to 110 all out.
Birdlip's reply suffered an early loss of a wicket but opener Barney Harris and Trevor Holder held firm, scoring steadily and nearly saw off the opening bowlers who gave little away. After the loss of Harris and the promising Jake Bidmead, Holder was joined by Alec Edge and when the second change bowlers were introduced, they upped the run rate and closed down the winning total. Holder reached his 50 in a flurry of boundaries and with it the win, with 15 overs to spare.

Charlton Kings CC Vs BBCC -Midweek XI  Wednesday 13th
Charlton’s Tom Radley’s (36no) push at No.6 gave the home side sometime to bowl at after slow progress. Dan Knock and Andy Moore were both amongst the wickets as a below par 113 was set for Birdlip the chase down.
After losing 3 early wickets cheaply, the partnership between Kent Partridge (39) and Dan Gadsden (24) set Birdlip well on their way to victory. Despite 2 wickets apiece for Callum Hills, who removed both Partridge and Gadsden, and Ben Hunt, they couldn’t stop a Birdlip win. Chetan Ubale (19no) finished the job off in the 19th over with a couple of fours.

LEAGUE REPORT  (Saturday 16th July)
Birdlip 1st achieved back to back wins after a poor run when visiting Ashton Ingham, chasing down a 200 plus target.
Ashton went off at a tremendous rate as skipper Andrew Bevan scored freely. 78 came of the first 10 overs and Birdlip regretting putting their host in on what seemed an ideal batting track. As Bevan rode his luck he smacked 18 fours and 10 sixes giving Birdlip's bowlers a hard time. With 300 plus looming, Birdlip plugged away picking up cheap wickets at the other end and with little support from rest of the team run rate came down. The introduction of Kent Partridge for a short spell induced an error from Bevan and he was caught superbly by Andy Hieron running in from the boundary. With Bevan gone for an explosive 148, the innings collapsed with only 10 runs added after his departure. Skipper Prakash Sathya held himself back for the tail of the innings, conceding only 14 off 8.2 overs, his 5th wicket ended the innings on 203 with 7 overs still to go.
Birdlip’s reply was led by an entertaining 40 by Nitin Shetty and Andy Hieron (37) whose promotion to number 3 paid off as he guided the team past the 100 mark. With contributions in the twenties from Dan Gadsden, Andy Hussey, Chetan Ubale and 2 big sixes off consecutive balls by George James, Birdlip moved ever closer to victory. Ubale then hit 2 fours in the penultimate over to achieve what seemed an unlikely victory earlier in the day. 

Birdlip 2nd XI outplayed their opponents with a comfortable win on home territory.
Birdlip were asked to bat and reached 143 with no batsmen making use of good starts. Phil Dickenson showed his younger team mates the way top scoring at No.8 with 24. Charlie Harris. Alec Edge and skipper Andy Williams all passed the 20 mark as well. Jack Wakeley grabbed 3 wickets but Robert Bath although wicketless was pick of the bowlers conceding only 12 off his 8 overs.
The visitor’s innings was soon knocked back with Barney Harris removing both openers with only 4 on the board. Tom Tunnicliff and Mike Green offered some resistance, both reaching their twenties, unfortunately the rest of the team out for single figures. Harris ended with 3 wickets, Phil Dickenson, brothers Andy and Steve Williams all with 2 wickets ensured an easy win in the 25th over by 71 runs

LEAGUE REPORT (Saturday 2nd July)   2-7-16
Put into bat Birdlip had to contend with constant interruptions as showers past by all afternoon. Despite the adverse conditions opener George Smith and Andrew Hussey both reached their forties. Smith who was ably assisted by Andy Downes (28) to put on 69 for the 2nd wicket to give Birdlip a solid start. Hussey then carried the baton as wickets fell the other end, eventually last man out with a challenging 190 on the board. Adrian Newport, Guy Bailey and Willian Bowers shared the wickets between them.
With tea interval taken the weather closed in and prospects of a good run chase ended

LEAGUE REPORT (Saturday 28th May)   29-5-16
Contrasting results this week, 1st XI battled hard for a win with a first encounter with Hawkesbury Upton, 2nd XI had little trouble in a mismatched fixture against a Glos Winget 4th XI.

1st team Skipper George Smith had to dig in against some tight bowling as Hawkesbury Upton made most of the humid conditions. Only 25 runs come of the first 16 overs as Ben Cullen and Adrian Fishley gave very few chances to score. Smith held on to make a stubborn 35 allowing Birdlip to push late on with wickets in hand. Only Andy Downes however with a gutsy half century along with Sathya Prakash (24) made inroads into the visitors bowling. Eventually Birdlip limped to 149 and just missed out on an extra batting point. Joss Beeley made the most of Birdlip slow finish and grabbed 4 wickets.
Hawkesbury had the worst start as George James grabbed a wicket off the first ball window 10 rded with 2 wickets including the prize wicket of Bailey. With the game in the balance Hawkesbury lower order then pushed for the win and 23 from Josh Vaughan put the visitors in strong position. The game then turn back in to Birdlip's favour thanks to a spell of maidens, Kent Partidge and Cheten Ubale literally bowled the game away from Hawkesbury. The steady lost of wickets throughout the innings also hampered their cause. Last wicket fell in the 43rd over, 19 runs short.

2nd team opener Andy Ward smashed 8 fours on his way to 62 and aided by fellow opener Ken Griffith (43), Birdlip eased to 3 figures. Darren Cookes, Andy Moore and Andy Heiron continued to pile on the runs after the openers had gone. With 40 overs gone 207 was on the board with 4 wickets down. Ken Whitmore was the picked of the bowlers, only one wicket but good economy amongst the Birdlip onslaught.
Glos Winget 4th XI survived 20.2 overs and could only muster 42 runs. Andy Moore was far to good for them, claiming 7 wickets for only 4 runs

LEAGUE REPORT (Saturday 14th May)
Change of fortunes after last weekend as both sides won their respective fixtures.
1st team was asked to bat by visiting Ashton Ingham who struck early to remove skipper George Smith for 9. Trevor Holder joined Nitin Shetty at the crease and gradually the pair gained the advantage adding 134 for the 2nd wicket. When opening bowler Andrew Bevan returned for a second spell he quickly broke the partnership claiming Shetty, who fell agonising short of a well deserved century on 97, shortly followed by Holder (47). Sathya Prakash added 19 as others failed as the innings ended, 216 reached but more looked likely earlier on. Andrew Bevan's was the pick of the bowlers with a 5 wicket haul.
The economic George James struck an early blow as Ashton went about chasing the win. Andrew Williams debuting for the 1st team deserves a mention, opening with James with a controlled spell of bowling. Opener Jack Carpenter (72) held fast and scored freely when opportunities arised. Andrew Bevan coming in at No5 added impudious just as Birdlip looked to have the upper hand, a quick fire 35 put the game in the balance again. Probably with the best spell of bowling we have seen from Brad Jacques (3-35), he clean bowled both Bevan and Carpenter to swing the game back in the home sides favour. David Lacey and David Skyrme added late runs but in vain and with Sathya Prakash (3-45) grabbing 2 late wickets, Birdlip edged this encounter by 16 runs.
2nd team saw off Ullenwood Bharat 3rds comfortably. Andy Moore and Alec Edge opened the bowling for Birdlip and conceded just under 3 an over as runs came slowly for the first 16 overs. Jack Wakely (51no), Adrian Webb (47) and Zaed Iqbel (28) scored pretty much all the runs as the rest failed to score more than 1. Wickets taken by Pierre Lombard (2-31) and Chetan Ubale (3-26) ensured Birdlip had a modest 150 to chase.
Skipper Ian Green (63no) with an unbeaten half century, carried his bat and guided he team to victory. Aided by Darren Cookes (20) and Alec Edge (18) the win was achieved with 8 overs to spare and 5 wickets in hand.

Andy Hussey captained well for the season's opening game against Bharat. We chased down 184 on a slow pitch with Trevor Holder rolling back the years with 112no, putting on 94 with Andy for the second wicket. Good bowling performances from George James 7 overs for 9 runs and youngster Robin Clarke who held up well as Bharat's centurion B Salli went on the offensive. Scorecard

Season 2013

Stone 164-9 Birdlip & Brimpsfield 165-4.
BIRDLIP maintained their lead at the head of the county league table with a six-wicket victory at one of their promotion rivals, Stone.
Stone opted to bat and George James soon struck a huge body blow as he had the hosts’ main run-maker Pete Lavis caught behind by keeper Nitin Shetty for just seven.
Adam and Miles Palmer, along with Dave Jones, all added useful runs but James, aided by Prakash Sathya and Will Von Behr, kept the run rate in check.
Guy Partridge bagged three wickets as the innings petered out, with Stone reaching just 164-9.
Birdlip's reply started with a quick 25 from Ben Symcox, who was welcomed back after a blow to the head last week.
He and fellow opener Partridge fell to the all-rounder skills of Lavis but this didn't hold back Birdlip's drive for victory.
Toby Harris (68*), whose batting has gone to a higher level this season, guided his side home with a well-constructed half century.
Good support came from Von Behr (33) and George Smith (20*).
Ian Hall’s frugal bowling (nine overs for 21 runs) kept Stone interested, but Birdlip got to the target in the 41st over.

2nds against Shurdington.
In only his second game after several years away from the game, the returning Andy Hussey (107) scored a match winning maiden century. With Birdlip batting first, Hussey started with fine straight drives for 4 with the score racing along at 5 an over. Big partnerships with Tom Parsons (26) and Trevor Holder (42) moved Birdlip to an unassailable 247.
With key batsman Clive Thornton injured whilst fielding Shurdington were never in the hunt. With youngsters James Gatter 5 overs for 7, Dougie Fair and Brad Jacques all bowling tidily the game was taken away from the visitors. The older brigade of Tom Parsons and Phil James mopped up the tail with 5 wickets between them

Season 2012

Saturday 2nd June 2nds XI v Leckhampton CC
The mighty 2's rocked up Leckhampton off the back of a food victory last week with an altered side, with overcast conditions and a wrist rested for a week Andy Moore was able to call correctly and insert Leckhampton and what looked like a spicy green track...
Gittens & Stephens opened proceedings bowling tight lines beating the bat on many occasions, Stephens bowling 5 overs for 3 runs before being hauled off, Gittens providing the break through in his final over... The back up bowling was as economical Chaminda Vas wasn't his usual self and was clearly carrying a few niggles which affected his mobility!
Assad wasn't to fair much better after what looked like a promising opening over, a procession of leg side wides left Kent wondering if he'd paid his mortgage this month and if he'd sky+ babe station apprentice as we could be here till half 10...
Alex Campbell and Ross Moore showed what they were all about in the field, mobility and enthusiasm setting some good standards... Andy Moore looking to bowl himself back into the 1st XI proceeded to destroy the Lecky lower order with a treble wicket maiden over restricting them to 184 all out! It's was a top spell that not even Voldamort would have fancied...
Pasta at tea, gave that a miss!
Parsons jumped ship and ducked tail deciding to give the run shy Stephens the chance to face the first ball, after the first few overs the pair become more comfortable playing balls on merit, Stephens dropped anchor and out parson'd Tom Parsons forcing him to become the aggressor against the slower bowlers while seeing off the quicks, a stand of 74 was the ideal opportunity for KP (Kent Partridge) to come in and quite frankly clean house dispatching the opposition bowling to all parts of the ground with some lusty blows... Speaking of lusty Jackie Moore made an appearance, to which KP responded from the crease "who's that bit of skirt Pierre?" with 20 runs needed Kent hauled out in sluty fashion leaving man of the match Andy Moore to dispatch 3 successive boundaries to seal an assured quality win!
Honourable mentions to Ken, first baller, Pierre Lombard, tireless effort in the field and a tidy spell with the ball...
Saturday 26th  May 2nds XI v Highnam CC
Top win for BBCC 2nd XI yesterday, really good all round performance from the full 11 with Chris Heiron standing out, excellent performance with the bat to push the team past 200, set the standards with fielding and got in the wickets, Parsons and Green setting the platform for the misfiring middle order with another 50 opening stand! Shrewd captaincy from Moore who showed some surprising agility in the field taking a difficult if not controversial catch
Saturday 19th  May 1st XI v Poulton CC
In swinging conditions DP won his first toss of the season and after much deliberation decide to have a bowl, with no Knockers in the side it was left to Prakash to start up the hill and the pressure was on the openers straight away With J.Lawrence being dropped at slip in the second over. Always start as you mean to go on and Birdlip did in the field shelling catches left right and centre (6 in total) The bowling however, was good. Tight spells from George 15-2 and Prakash 28-3 ensured that the Poulton top order did not score quickly. Guy 2-38 And David 1-20 took care of the other wickets whilst Trevor conceded just 9 runs from his 7 over’s leaving Poulton with a very gettable 159-8.
With Gibbo unavailable this week Nitin moved up to open with Guy and runs where coming quickly in a good partnership of 50, before Nitin (23) was bowled in comical fashion by leg spinner Musty. Greener (5) came and went before Guy (25) became Musty’s second victim bringing Toby and Ken the crease. They both went about their business in typically brutal fashion hitting 13 boundaries between them in a partnership of 59. Ken (25) fell LBW to the accurate Khan, which left Toby (40*) and Anil(23*) to see Birdlip home comfortably in 32 over’s.
Saturday 12th  May 1st XI v Cheltenham Civil Service
After a damp few days, most were surprised that the game was still on at CCS, as we turned up and inspected the pitch (pretending to know what we were doing) it looked pretty Damp! Skip for the day DP discussed with senior players that it might be a good idea to bowl first as the sun was out and the pitch would definitely improve! However all this was thrown out the window as the toss was lost and we were put in to bat!
A new opening partnership with a new season, Guy had the pleasure of batting with newcomer Gibbo for the first time and they got off to a steady start in interesting conditions. Gibbo played some good strokes through the covers before eventually falling for 25. Nitin arrived at his new found position of 3 and made an attacking start before a mix up between the wickets gave CCS an easy run out! Toby, George and Anil (on debut) came and went very briefly, leaving Trev(19*) and Prakash(4*) to see us to the end making a respectable 167-6 on a sticky wicket.
By the time CCS came to bat the wicket had dried out a fair amount and certainly played better. But they were put on the back foot straight from the off as George took a wicket with the first ball of his spell removing the much talked about opening Batsman. Knocker was tight at the far end conceding just 18 runs off his 9 overs and deserved a wicket. Wickets fell at regular intervals throughout the CCS innings with Trevor, George, Guy and Dave sharing the wickets. DP being the pick of the bowlers finishing with figures of 3-30 off 7, and making sure everyone knew he took a wicket with his quicker ball! (Debatable!) Great credit has to go to Anil conceding just 1 Bye on a tough wicket for the keepers!
A great first outing for the 1st XI, beating a side that narrowly missed out on promotion last year. With plenty of positives to take into next week’s clash with Poulton.

Season 2011

Sunday vs Kingsholm 1st May 2011 We were put into bat and struggled with the varying bounce from the offset. A lot of playing and missing from came from both sides off a slightly short delivery, which tennis balled bounced, anything up though was coming on quite nicely. Prakash weathered the early overs where the runs came only in boundaries, his resistance was essential as wickets steadily fell around him. Only when Andy Moore joined him at the crease did the innings progress. Prakash on 37 became spinner T. House’s 4th wicket at the cost of only 3 runs. Facing spin practice needed by a few of us, including yours truly, as Mr Moore avidly pointed out. Unfortunately Andy (48) misread the change of angle and lost his middle stump when agonizing short of 50, again (45 last week and still bragging about it).  This brought an end to proceedings and tea was taken with the score on 125.
Jamie Gittins boosted our moral with sending opener McGhee back to the pavilion without scoring, but this was short lived. L. Barnard (54) and S. Moore (40) was brought together and they guided the home side to near victory. Andy Moore made the most of conditions and was unlucky not to take a wicket, beating the bat with bounce on many occasions. Prakash and Tom Parsons accounted for Barnard and Moore’s wickets but this just delayed the inevitable as Kingsholm ran out comfortable winners.

Season 2010

1st XI vs Cirencester 5th June 2010  With Greener away sunning himself in Spain and Nitin, Trev and Ken unavailable it was a somewhat unfamiliar Birdlip 1stXI that took the field against Cirencester. David Partridge had been dragged out of retirement and the rest of the team were looking forward to “winning the next ball”!!
Stand in captain Andy Moore continued Greener’s them of losing the toss and the Ciren skipper chose to bat first. Andy was happy with this as he would have bowled first anyway on a wicket that looked to have been recently watered and is always low and slow.
Knockers and George opened the bowling and in the second over Knockers struck, having Rich Hudson easily caught at square leg. With lots of cloud cover and a slow wicket Knockers was in his element and proceeded to give an excellent demonstration of swing bowling. George toiled manfully at the other end for 6 overs without any luck but his athleticism enabled him to dive full length in his follow through and deflect a staright drive onto the stumps at the bowlers end with Dan Hudson well out of his ground. No batsman likes to be run out in that fashion but Birdlip were happy to accept the slice of fortune handed to them by lady luck.
George was replaced by Coops who took 2 wickets at the cost of 21 runs in his 6 overs. Meanwhile Knockers continued to bowl very well at the other end and in the last ball of his 12 over spell he had Tom Waters LBW to give him figures of 5 for 31 from 12 overs.
Jayten and Andy (Polo) Hieron replaced Coops and Dan respectively and Polo took the last 2 wickets for 11 runs off 4 overs. Jayten’s 4 overs cost 24 runs and birdlip had bowled Ciren out for 121in 32 overs. An excellent effort against a side who would have been one of the favourites for promotion at the start of the season.
Guy (Banger) Partridge and Prakash opened the Birdlip reply. Banger was his usual composed and stylish self while Prakash mixed sound defence with some rather lofty attacking shots. With the winning post in sight Prakash tried one too many big shots and was caught of the bowling of Wood for 46.
Banger (57 not out) continued in his own serene way and finished the game with a sumptuous extra cover drive for 4. Birdlip finished on 125 for the loss of one wicket off 32 overs.
The 21 points picked up in this game lifted Birdlip to 3rd in the table but more importantly we showed that we can win games even when we are missing key players. We will take a lot of confidence from this game and look forward to the rest of the season.
1st XI vs Poulton 22nd May 2010 The hottest day of the year so far saw Greener maintain his renowned ability to lose the toss and Birdlip were asked to bowl first.
George and Dan took the new ball and proceeded to bowl tightly but with no luck. Coops dropped two sitters off Dan’s bowling but despite this Birdlip were on top and runs were proving hard to come by for the Poulton openers.
Andy Moore came on as first change and snapped up the wicket of Mark Higginson LBW for 14 and Psycho and Knockers continued to tie down the Poulton batsmen.
Knockers spell came to an end and his 12 overs conceded just 40 runs. An admirable effort in the heat. Coops came on to replace him and began moaning that there was little point as he couldn’t bowl more than 6 overs in a spell !! He was soon to find out that he would have to bowl eleven despite his wingeing !!
Andy Moore picked up 2 more wickets and finished with 3 for 51 from his 12 overs. After 35 overs Poulton were 125 for 3 and Birdlip appeared to be on course to restrict them to around 200. A score that was easily gettable on an excellent batting track with a fast outfield.
What happened next was surreal and Greener still can’t work out how it happened. Through a mixture of good hitting, excellent running and poor bowling and fielding the Poulton batsmen managed to add another 120 runs, for the loss of one wicket, in the last 10 overs. Effectively doubling their score and leaving Birdlip chasing 246 to win at tea.
A somewhat shell shocked Birdlip team knew that they had opened the door for a Poulton win but if they batted well they would be in with a chance.
Nitin and Prakash opened the innings with positive intent but Nitin’s poor run of form continued when he gave a regulation catch to point and he departed for just 3 runs with a total of 4 on the board.
Greener strode to the wicket full of intent and purpose and proceeded to smash the ball to all parts of the ground. He reached his 50 off about 35 balls and the momentum was swinging in Birdlip’s favour. Sadly he again lost concentration with a ton in sight and he departed for 52 immediately after the drinks break. Birdlip were now 75 for 2 after 16 overs. Trev came to the wicket but departed soon after, LBW for a duck.
Andy Moore and Prakash then combined to produce a stand of 90 through good running and the occasional boundary. The run rate was maintained at 5 an over and after 35 overs the score was 175 for 3. With the likes of Ken. George, Knockers and Kent still to bat Birdlip were confident of knocking off the last 70 runs in the final 10 overs.
However it wasn’t to be as Prakash (69) chopped a ball onto his stumps and Psycho(44) mistimed a pull shot and was caught at midwicket. Ken (23) provided some lusty blows but the bowling of Siddiq Khan was too good for the rest of the Birdlip batsmen and despite George James managing a further 14 runs the last 5 wickets fell for just 45 runs in 9 overs.
This was a game that Birdlip should have won and contrived to lose. We shouldn’t have been chasing more than 200 but having got to 175 with 10 overs left and 7 wickets in hand we should still have knocked the runs off. Credit to Poulton for the way they batted and bowled in the last 10 overs of each innings.
1sts v Oldlands 15th May 2010 What a win!! Oldlands put up a good fight last year and looked to be the major competition this year too but were comprehensively outplayed in almost every department.
Greener lost the toss AGAIN, but as he pointed out Birdlip's outstanding home record shows that it doesn't hold too much significance.
Birdlip batted, Nitin and Prakash opening. Oldlands' opening bowlers showed why they had such an impact in the league last year by removing Nitin (0) and making life difficult for Prakash (8). Enter the Green Machine. Ian continued his imperious form by smashing 87, narrowly avoiding a century for the second time this year. He was ably supported by Andy Moore (30), promoted to number 5, who provided a useful acceleration with some excellent running. Not bad for an old boy.
Once again, with such a platform laid the tail end swingers could have some fun, Knockers (22) once again showing he can find the middle, and the neighbouring fields. Birdlip finished on a par score of 212/9.
Birdlip's bowlers showed what a complete unit they are in dismantling the Oldlands line up. George used accurate seam bowling to undo the top order, while Dan pinned them down, picking up important wickets in the process. Mad Dave then knocked the wind out of them with a good few overs, leaving Oldlands at around 60/7. Birdlip then proceeded to lose concentration a little, allowing Oldlands to grab a point, at the same time losing a bonus point themselves.
2nds v Glos Harlequins 15th May 2010 What a lovely sight on a beautiful sunny Saturday morning – Big Paul Harris with his purple t-shirt on and bee gees glasses. Stunner.
Now for some cricket news.
We travelled to Glos Quins with what seemed to be a fairly strong team. A good selection of bowling and a batting line up as long as my .............
Having seen the wicket and won the toss, I promptly inserted the opposition. This proved to be a very good move as they were soon struggling on 17-3 thanks to some tidy bowling by Big Paul and Jamie Gittins.
Unfortunately the change bowlers were not so consistent and Glos Quins started to get away from us a little. However they didn’t realise we had Ross Moore waiting in the wings and when called upon, he promptly removed their 2 big hitters in the final few overs – therefore bagging us an extra bowling point.
However they had managed to reached 227 – 8 after their 45 overs.
So we all trudge away to eat some controversial sandwiches, whilst watching the cup final, trying to organise how we will chase this total.
20 minutes later we emerge from their club house with a master batting line up.
Wardy batted well for his 70ish, cracking the ball about and looking very spicy indeed. Either side of him the Parsons, Tom and James, added 16 runs each, but in truth we were always struggling to keep up with the rate. A late flourish from Allan and myself gave some hope, but Birdlip eventually ended up on 196 – 7 after 45 overs.
So not ideal to start with a loss, but some big positives to take away. Mainly, not many sides take 8 points from a losing game.
Truth be told, this team needs to grow together, there will be mistakes along the way, but I’m confident we will grow into a very competitive side over the season.
So next up we look forward to playing Down Hatherley at home.
At least we won’t have to put up with seeing some rough chav getting married and a couple of pikeys riding a quad bike past the bowlers arm every 5 minutes like last weekend – it’s just not cricket!!
Love you all, Your loyal Skip, Symo. xx
1sts v Frampton 8th May 2010 Terrible day to be playing cricket. With rain always a threat, the only way a team was going to win today was to bowl a team out and chase a small total. Unfortunately for Birdlip, their chief tosser, Ian Green, was on form with last year's record and promptly lost the flip. Frampton shrewdly decided to bowl.
Opening with their two stalwarts, Huxtep and Barnfield, Frampton looked like they could pose a threat to a marginally depleted Birdlip side. That was until champion batsmen Guy (24) and makeshift opener Greener (77) decided to get busy. Greener played the new ball superbly and then started taking apart the change bowlers before a canny fielding change had him caught at short fine leg. Having laid the foundations for a big score, there was license for the middle order to throw the bat and set an imposing total. Kenty (19) got off the mark with a six, contributing a brisk score. All batsmen plaid with aggressive intent, being selfless to the cause. Knockers (25no) had a little jolly at the end, destroying some poor chap's bowling figures. A very good total, particularly given the weather conditions, of 227 was set.
George and Dan opened the bowling in typical economical fashion, George taking 2 wickets in his 9 overs. As conditions worsened, Andy Moore and Mad Dave came on to bowl. Andy looked at home on the wet wicket, despite having to bowl up hill. Mad Dave, typically ambitious, tried running in like Usain bolt, before going derrière over bust and getting carted into the neighbouring field. After a few words from the captain he slowed the bowling down, picking up one wicket in his only over.
A fixture Birdlip should be confident of winning in the future.

Season 2009

1st v Charlton Kings 29 08 09 Not for the first time this season the two team either win together or lose together, thankfully this season the wins have been more prevalent. Today was good day after last week's loss to Apperley, who were always a sleeping giant capable of beating all before them this year but rarely did. Ian did his finest to produce another high scoring track and lightning outfield, only complaint were from the fielders chasing the disappearing ball.
Yet again George's opening spell was missed but Knockers and Moore continued to perform well with Moore actually getting amongst wickets for his toil.
CK started strongly with Chris Burrow (80) leading the way again along with fellow opener Chris Day (50). CK gradually gained the ascendency as the second change bowlers struggled to contain the runs . Thankfully Moore came back on for a second spell and grabbed 3 wickets to knock the wind out the tail end with a less than expected 204 total posted.
At last the team on paper batted as we would have liked all year, albeit the bowling wasn't the strongest we have faced this season. Nitin, Guy and Andy Moore all reached the 30's but everybody contributed in the run chase. Run rate was maintained throughout with a steady flow of boundaries, only 42 runs were scored in 1 and 2s. With overs in hand we did our best to make a hash of it losing 2 wickets with the scored tied. Dan entered the arena at No10 and he Chinesed cut the first ball straight to a fielder. His second ball swish somehow spiraled over the head of the same fielded behind square to win the game and it's rewards.
Calculators at the ready!!!!! After confirmed results and some button pushing meant the poor form of long time leaders Cirencester and our run of results ensured we overtook Cirencester and into 3rd spot, by 0.01 of an average. THAT'S CLOSE!

2nds v Cam 29 08 09 So, farewell then Division 6, at least for one year anyway not that I wish to sound defeatist about next season but it pays not to tempt fate in this, or most games. How many times have we said to ourselves or others, ‘I haven’t been bowled for ages ‘and the next minute all the timber is uprooted, me and my big mouth etc etc. This point brings me neatly to Saturday 29th August and to Cam CC’s ground whose name is Everglades. Any comparisons between Florida and down town Cam lived solely in the mind presumably of the Disney struck Dursley Councillor who named it so. Fat people in shorts may find a home here perhaps: figuratively speaking my season could have sunk into the swamps if we had lost. Having done my research I found that no team batting first had won here all season and Cam had won every toss, bar one, and elected to bowl each time. Their firsts needed to win, the football season was upon them thus I could be quietly confident with my team of a result here despite its fortress reputation.
I win the toss and elect to bowl. ’Oh good’ says their captain, Guy, who has been a decent man to play against in all other meetings between us. That rattled me completely; I was expecting a rather downcast reaction, anything but that. Nonetheless I tell the boy’s history is with us now, we are favourites; they look slightly puzzled by my erudition but drag themselves out to field with the same enthusiasm as dental patients. Two and half hours and 226 runs later they return, the bowlers having had the equivalent of tooth extraction, the rest mentally querying firstly their status as favourites in this game and secondly my fragile state of mind. We bowled pretty well I thought on a flat slow wicket. Paul was very solid, Coops bashed it in trying all the time, and Symie was great; the rest of us struggled a bit, more of my one over later. We lost Charlie Buse with 6 overs to go just to give this game that authentic Second’s feel of ten crips dotted about in the last stages of human decay all wishing they were on Duncan’s couch, if they could actually summon up the strength to get on it anyway.
 Two and half hours and 230 runs later we are the winners and Division champs. Never in any doubt was it really, in cricket statistics don’t lie: do they? Charlie Harris is a prince of batsmen, in this company at any rate. In the early stages he had great support from Toby and from a man who should have been batting higher for much of the season in Ben. Our openers, the previously solid, now off form George and a promoted Dave Green did not start us off too well though the run rate never dropped. The great ark royal of our batting sailed on again, striking the ball when and where he chose, his bad back now amazingly healed. Ben’s aggression was perfectly timed and then, glory hallelujah, Duncan, to use the famous Colemanball’s, opened his legs and showed us his class. We all knew he had it in him but it was great to watch as ball after ball was slapped over the boundary; game over as even Charlie was forced to watch and applaud.
Cam’s captain was very generous after concerning a disputed stumping not given by the somnolent Pars. Guy had been a good captain throughout, beating himself up as I would about being unable to defend the 226, though privately I thought he made a crucial error late in our innings when he bowled himself. (I was fined by George for the one over I had bowled but he failed to note its experimental quality or that it took a key wicket OR that I had the sense to take myself off… kids huh!!!)Back to the Shire and to lots of Doombar and a frisky curry, silly photos of a great bunch of lads, champagne from Green, hugs and kisses (that Symcox boy is a health hazard); next year it will be very different but lets enjoy our today’s, they are very rare; for old captains especially so.

1sts v Apperley 23rd August 2009  Apperley are a team to be wary of despite their lowly league position. We have been bowling well all season but with useful Leekes and others against us and no George firing down his 10 or so overs we had to hit the ground running.
Apperley innings ebbed and flowed with Rowan Leeke top scoring with 56, the rest all chipped in with double figures apart from a couple who failed to the wizardry of David's (44-3) spin bowling. Unlike previous weeks the economy of the bowling wasn't there. Dan and Andy Moore (33-3) did well with there opening spells but on a per usual quality batting track, the remaining overs went at a rate of around 5 an over. Matters weren't helped with 5 dropped catches of varying difficulty and strange calling, Ian called for one from his keeping position, it just drifted closer and closer to Guy and despite a last gasp dive he was left sprawled out still 15 foot short of where the ball landed. As records proved the 197 wasn't too bad of job done by us as scores here regularly pass the 200 mark.
The challenge of chasing 197 total, higher than our bowling attack usually allows, should still be within our reach. Guy (36) and Trev aded 52 for the first wicket when the full toss epidemic struct. Both of them and Ian all succumbed to the pie ball, or rather humble pie for us. Ken and Prakash (26) dug in with a 69 run partnership and stopped the rot but the innings lost the early advantage we had built up. Despite Ken (48) returning to hitting boundaries for fun like we used to see him do every week, the mountain to climb got steeper and steeper. Andy Moore (28) was the last role of the dice and boundaries did come but tight bowling be the returning Rowan Leeke dashed our hopes. 8 runs short seems so close but yet so far away as the innings closed. 
2nds v Apperley 23rd August 2009  The penultimate game of the season, a must win 20 pointer at least, against the second from bottom club, what could go wrong? I win the toss, they have ten men, boys mostly and old fellas, it’s a no brainer, we bat first. However such is the paranoia of captains that you ask yourself, as I did, how can they win, they can’t bowl us out cheaply and score what it takes with that team against our quality bowlers and batting that goes all the way down? Nah! On Friday, sat in the wing of the OCS, I wondered how a batting line up that seemed to be playing so strongly, could suddenly fall apart to Broad and Swann in such a short space of time. Later it was clear that Broad got very late movement and Swann was in his element; but the image of processional failure leaves any captain with cold fingers around his heart when he sends his team out to bat.
Sure enough the in form George clipped a first over ball to square leg and Pars survived only for a short time, momentarily breathing became a little difficult. This lack of oxygen eased quickly when Andy and Charlie depressurized the situation with calm hitting into lots of gaps sparsely populated by aged unfit cricketers. Andy should have got a fifty but lost faith; Charlie sailed on easing his way to a pretty chanceless ton before letting a septuagenarian get his wicket. A rattle from the late middle order with Al getting in his full ration of leg side swats and Duncan batting well but not quite getting the measure of the situation, got us to a target perhaps 20 or so less than we should have achieved.
Coops was not the man he has been up to now. Overextending, trying too hard, it was the quicks equivalent of the yips. He did not bowl too badly, he simply became subject to his own demons. To be fair they played him well, Apperley players are used to good batting tracks; all his and everybody else’s bad balls went for four. At the other end Charlie was consistent apart from a rash of no balls at head height. Nonetheless they were up with the run rate and the previously fanciful notion of them overtaking our score was taking on a new menace. We had only two wickets in the bag, they were 140 odd with a run rate that was viable when a decision to bring back Charlie and put George on from the top, sealed the game. The end came very quickly thanks to these two and slow bowling to kids who generally self destruct against it though that is not always the case as many of you know.
This was probably the last time I will ever captain a game against Apperley and Brian Leeke in particular and that is rather sad, bringing to an end an association going back over 25 years. As I watched my son Joe keep wicket to Shane Warne during the lunch interval on Sunday at the Oval, the day before his brother Tom told me about bowling to Jonathan Trott and Graeme Smith when they were both 18 and Tom 21 in SA , I realised I have a lot to be grateful for in this game and how much I owe to Brian. That particular old fella was a major contributor in my early days when we were all pretty clueless, not much has changed I hear you say. I am not sure I want to be playing at 72 but then he was always a very good player and a fit man; I doubt that would apply to me now, in 15 years time or, for that matter, ever.  
1st v Poulton 15th August 2009 First visit for some and long time for others we went to Poulton hopeful of a another win against the Div 1 new boys. The omen was good as Ian yet again lost the toss but this normally meant we ended up winning. The returning Steady had the big boots of Guy to fill and partnered Trev in the opening spot. Poulton's young opening bowlers looked sharp and caused a few problems with sideways movement. Steady (17) went just before we notched up 40 which brought Ian to the crease. The partnership with Trev blossomed with the momentum of the game going our way until Trev (32) missed a straight one. Nitin was left wondering how the not so agile Will Bathurst caught him after he smacked a full toss and departed for 0. Ian passed 50 and played a....crap shot best describes it, he was caught whilst wailing " Oh Nooooooooooooo". Andy James and Higgy were then brought into the attack with their occasional spin, to turn (excuse the pun) the game around with wickets regularly falling. With a potential 200 on the cards we eventually did well to use up all the overs and reach 144 all out.
Yet again the wizardry of Knockers (and with no swing-amazingly) and the charging George bagged early wickets to decimate the top order, looked like Oldlands all over again. Dan conceded only 9 runs in his 12 overs, he and the team did have their No.3 to somewhat thank, despite showing good defensive technique for a youngster he batted out like the 5th day at Cardiff. Surprisingly the tail ended seemed to show more urgency and scored more freely and ran really well. Enter the Andy's. Hieron bagged 2 wickets, one ball was so slow the batsmen played at it 2 or 3 times and still missed it. Moore (22-4) fired up from Prakash running him out (Usain Bolt wouldn't have made it) mopped up the remaining wickets and thwart any Poulton fight back. Emphasizing our bowling prowess this season another win was achieved with the opposition all out for 92. Oh Oh...not to forget, Green took a catch and not so surprisingly Nitin had 2 and a stumping.
2nds v Kings Stanley 15th August 2009 Two games to go, one big hurdle out of the way though Kings Stanley was something of an anti climax. We have not beaten them in the league ever so this result had a certain piquant flavour. Winning the toss and having learned that Rob had struggled to get a side out I assumed that they were weak and so put them in. Greener and I had decided to use last weeks first team wicket as it had played well, was lightly used and was in the middle of the square, I hate the pressure of strips close to the top boundary and I am not alone.
So the Cold Slad Express, bristling with aggression and a very severe scrape of his barnett , all he needed was a swastika tattooed on his forehead to complete the image, elected to pound down the hill. A rather more genteel but equally effective Paul Harris put down ball after accurate ball at the other end. Last weeks heroes duly did it again, Coops hissing and spitting though his first spell, Paul grinding them down in his 12 exemplary overs. Aided by some good fielding and Allen’s dirty tricks behind the stumps we were almost through their top order for very little but then came one of those little shocks I like to spring on others. The late middle order batters were two guys who had not played for a while but were very good players not that long ago. A resistance movement began to appear and needed eliminating PDQ. Credit where it’s due some very nice shots were played mainly off the perspiring Symmy. Bringing back Coops and a run out effectively ended any hopes of a revival. Ben’s closing spell was excellent and wrapped them up for 126 and maximum bowling points.
Chasing low totals with a stellar line up like mine always brings to the fore other issues like how does everyone get in the game. I thought I would try Kent and George opening again to see if some magic would rub off on Kent; alas all that rubbed off was his name from the score book, a first baller sent him back and off on a grumpy pilgrimage around the boundary, he was not to return until the end. Andy started brightly and then was out playing a shot only a man in form should play, that ain’t Andy. Ken, along with a serene George who plays with so much composure on good tracks, scored at a decent clip until Ken confused himself, his bat and his pads and was out LBW. The denouement swiftly followed as that bully Al P came out and clattered his way to the win with George on an unbeaten fifty which included a really sweet 6 off the division’s top bowler.
The best part about Kings Stanley was Dave King coming up to me after and saying well done, that’s respect from a very good player I have known for a long time. They were rueful in defeat but also philosophical, they knew that in all likelihood their best side out would not have won. It will be, assuming the weather and that we beat Apperley next week, a shoot out at Cam, perhaps depending on the number of losing bonus points they get should we beat them. If I only I knew what team I will have at Cam but I live in hope and for me personally prayer that Bristol Royal Infirmary don’t intercede between now and then.
Cranham Feast Tournament 9-08-09 An early start to Sunday's Cranham Feast, with Birdlip 13 expecting an early finish as well. Stroud's Paul Frape won the toss as put Birdlip in (good job too as Nitin was still to arrive). James Buse edged a couple of 4s before getting cheap, meanwhile Kent clipped Stroud's strike bowler for 6 over square leg (suprise suprise). Toby chipped back to the bowler for a 3 ball duck. Ben Symcox started off scratching around, then got his eye getting 74. He was supported by Lloyd, Tom Mahendran, Nitin and Jamie Gittins. Birdlip scored 133. Stroud started well before Tom M got a couple of wickets to start the panic amongst the batsmen. Knockers got a couple as well. Toby Harris did his impression of A Hieron to get a wicket. 13 required off last 2 overs: Knockers took 1-4 and there was a run out too. 9 needed off Toby to win, it came down to 4 needed off the last ball with all fielders back. 'Mad' Dave was the most economical bowler (4-0-18-0). BIRDLIP WON!!!
Cranham cruised their afternoon game against a touring team from Camberley, chasing 62 to win.
The Final:
Knockers won the toss and elected to bat, much to the disgust of his team. Tom M had gone to London so George came into the team for him. Buse and Kent opened again, but again did not build a platform. Toby went in @ 3 and looked to make amends for the morning's game. He got support from Ben, then Nitin, Lloyd, Dave Green. Toby damaged 2 cars behind the pavillion with a couple of his 6s, also endangering the children's race. Toby scored 86 (later picking up the batting award of £25). Birdlip scored 158 against B & C Overs, J Pockett, J & C Job!!!
Cranham were looking comfortable with Keith Daniels & J Job, after 10 overs they were 70-0. 'Mad' Dave bowled several no-balls and Jamie several wide, before Knockers had a go for 2 overs. Toby's first ball bowled Mr Daniels, bringing J Pockett to the wicket. From there on wickets were thrown away. 32 needed off the last 2 overs, Knockers bowled the penultimate over, conceding 9, but dismissing the dangerous A Pockett. Toby again bowled the final over. It came to 19 required off the last ball. Birdlip - 158, Cranham 140!!
It has been noted that Cranham are down for our 6s, so I guess they will be out for revenge.
1st v Oldlands 8-08-09  Oldlands arrived to our hollow turf as the form side after a string of good result that propelled them to the upper echelons of the table. Skipper Greener wandered out for the toss and good to form lost again!!! Wot a tosser or not. The coin was probably still settling when they decided to put us in on damp track. Ian's should have had more faith in his wicket specially after DP had seen more of the roller then the other half over the last 24 hours.
Dave Walton again proved a thorn in our side removing both Trev and Ian with caught behinds fairly early on, but both had played some good shots proving the wicket was playing OK, just needed a little bit of patience. After a few, or rather a lot in James Parsons' case, snippets of good fortune, Guy and James gradually built a substantial partnership (93) . With second change bowlers and a spread field they both scored freely till Guy went on 58 with James going on to 67 adding another 59 with Nitin (26). We certainly didn't expect to get 214 before play and this season we have proved anything over 200 is well within our capability of defending.
What followed after tea compared to England's middle order competence with the bat. George (4wkts) and Dan (2wkts) ripped through some inept batting by a normally competent Oldlands side. Ron (3wkts) joined in the fun, Andy Moore was unusually hardly required and DP wrapped up their innings with only 58 scored.
With Cirencester winning and maintaining top spot, Cinderford Oldlands and us are separated by less than 1 point average below them. 
2nds v Nine Elms 8-08-09 Yet another variant of BBCC 2’s turned up for this game, each one has been a bit more exotic than the last. For the first time we had Charlie and Paul Harris, the Chemical Brothers as that is what it takes to keep them out there and on top of their respective ailments. There are times when I swear I can hear a rattle of pills as we go out on the pitch. As it turned out the game was basically about these two; that would come as no surprise to those who know them. How in God’s name a club like Nine Elms functions in this era beats me but it does serve as a timely reminder of the huge benefits we all get from playing at a club like Birdlip. I remember a very long time ago when my first club was just like this, some enthusiasts, ropy teas in sheds ,cold or no showers and very questionable pitches. It is hard to be tough on marking them when you know the game needs the Nine Elms of this world.
I lost the toss and they duly put us in on a wicket which looked like top soil rolled out, producing a curious spongy crust effect. A senior player of theirs, half apologetically told me that big scores have been put on out there (and so have very low ones as my research told me). My watch word to the batters was patience, take your time and see how the pitch behaves. Against reasonable bowling on a helpful wicket we did not get a lot of runs but we did score at three an over and we did not give wickets away with one or two glaring exceptions. Kent is in no form at all, you have to feel for him, George as always kept the book moving on with shots clipped away here and there until unluckily out. Prakash, our three bat, was positive though, along with Al, perished to a slow bowler playing big shots when smaller ones, as Duncan and Charlie showed, may have been a smarter way to play him. The rock of our innings was Charlie, aided by Duncan and later Ben. As all long time BBCC boys know Charlie is a class act, on a difficult pitch he made batting look a simple business, just playing each ball on its’ merits. Duncan also revved up, perhaps harried a little by a resurgent Charlie, but played an intelligent innings, one he likes to play on this sort of pitch. Thanks to Ben’s big hitting at the end we got an unlikely 181.
What followed was a series of executions, some a little prolonged but all inevitable, each victim duly dispatched and bundled into their respective grave. Each new batter might as well have had a blindfold and a last request to make instead of the futile bats they did carry out. Needless to say neither Paul nor Coops would let go of the ball until they had either 5 victims apiece or were bowled out. Apart from one catch, all the rest were bowled or LBW, none of our other bowlers got a look in. On a good track these two would have been hard to keep out, it was by far the best spell of sustained accurate bowling we have seen this year. Our chances of promotion rest on the quality of the teams we can put out for the remaining games, it is that simple. As the Ruardean and Newent games showed it doesn’t take much to lose a game and it is damn hard to win them, having players who can make that vital difference is the key.
Sunday XI Vs. North Cerney 2-8-09 The opposition won the toss & did exact what Birdlip wanted, put us in! We got off to a shocker.. Kent departed for a 4 ball duck. Greener got 20-odd before skying one for a regulation catch by the keeper (he admitted later he should have put a 1 in front of his score). J. Buse got another 20-odd as did 'The Rector' and Toby. Knockers promoted himself to 6 for a 3 ball swish before hitting a wide to point (0 runs). Tom Mahendran & Jamie Gittins got a good stand going (49 & 38 respectively). Josh Roberts batted well to get his top Shire score. Ben Symcox looked good for 2 balls before chipping back to the bowler before Rory Roberts helped his brother to a total of 226.
Birdlip started off badly with the ball. Josh & Knockers got a bit of biff before a pie from Knockers removed one opener then Jamie got the other to hit the ball to Skippy (Knockers). His heart was in his throat after dropping 3 @ Frocester. Knockers dismissed Cerney's overseas player for 3 and then gave up the ghost. Knockers brought on the charity bowling after a direct hit from Toby made it 5 down. Greener's figures flattered the fact that it contained so many no-balls (5-3-3-2). Rory 'The Lion' Roberts collected 2 wickets to make it 9 down. Ben 'The Beast' Symcox bowled a pile of s***e for a maiden and Kent bowled several balls to mop it up for less than 80.
If only every game was this easy!!!!!!!!
1st v Cirencester 25-7-09 What has become top of the the must win games for Greener Saturday's clash turned out to be classic with one team left very disappointed. With a damp track Greener was keen to insert them but yet again the Queen failed to face the right way for him. After a couple of weeks of stout resistance, Trev went early this time which brought Ian to the wicket, full of determination and that northern grit. Always a successful hunting ground, vie Ciren, Ian (38) showed the wicket was not an iffy damp one, but one of his best batting strips of the year as he bludgeoned 8 quick fire fours. Then "what was that" echoed from the pavilion as he brought his own downfall for 38 with an abysmal shot. Toby chipped in with 17 before his long legs failed to beat the infamous Partridge run out. Nitin (31) who seems happier and more effective at No.5 this year helped to up the tempo as we looked to post our best total of the year. At the other end, carrying his bat, opener Guy produced his best innings so far, and boy did we need it. By the end he was dancing down the track, hitting sixes, taking our total to 238 and his tally to 109no.
In reply Cirencester showed why they had been front runners for most of the season with a composed run chase with solid display throughout the top order. rich Hudson showed class till Moore had him caught behind. Fellow G Williams (64) opener never looked dangerous but just stayed there and compiled runs. Trev caught him at the second attempt off his own bowling , with the ball threatening to smack the umpire between the eyes at a rate of knots, another partnership was crucially broken. Nick Rutter, Price and Dan Hudson kept the momentum going and all but Knockers went for above the required run rate, some more than others and they were well reminded afterwards. Despite Moore bagging 2 more wickets, Andy Heiron 2 as well, Cirencester showed their batting depth to the full and marched on towards their target. The reached it's climax, the rain swamped the ground ,22 needed of two overs. Ron kept his head and went for only 5 so Moore despite suffering the Cotterell crick in the neck in previous overs was given the final over, 17 needed. Bang 4 straight back past him not a good start. Nerve was held and a failed attempt to hit 6 off the last ball gave us a nail biting win. Performances of the day was Guy's unbeaten century and Dan's 12 over spell with an economy rate of just 2.58, less than half the next best.
2nds v Ruardean Hill 25-07-09 Shorn of a few regulars, I still had a team I thought capable of beating Ruardean, a team hovering in the relegation zone, and as it turned out I was right. Fresh out of hospital but now able to breathe, we left with my medical support crew of Jenny and Rose, whose concern for my welfare was touching but misplaced. I really looked forward to this game. In the past I have loved the ground, the atmosphere and the players but the reality was not quite a match for my rather naïve expectations. I hit planet Earth with a heavy crash some six hours later.
Winning the toss on what looked like a good if soft damp pitch suggested we bowl first. Alas what followed was a captain’s nightmare. My best medium pacers could not control the swing; in Prakash’s case he was a month off his last game and was just plain rusty. Charlie, Gawd bless him, tried but just was not happy. They both went for a collective 29 wides. So I put Steady on who, on last weeks showing, bowled good lines at a decent pace. He went for almost 8 an over, the score board by now had gone into overdrive. I was desperate and wanted to get Jack Evans in as soon as possible. For three overs he was my best bowler and then, out of nowhere, the poor boy had a total mental collapse. Eventually I had to get his father on to the field to take him home. Jaysus, ten men for three quarters of the game now beckoned. Darren stopped me from bowling because Jenny had told him about my chest drain; he actually threatened me so I was forced to have him bowl my overs of spin until Prakash came back. At the other end Jamer bowled some very odd but successful stuff. It was at times so slow that batsmen got out through lack of patience. Despite recovering somewhat we still wound up facing a mountain of 251; oh bloody hell!!!
A score of about 230 was par on that track and we set about getting the total with some gusto. Steads and Kent got us up to the run rate but then Kent played a really silly shot and was bowled, Andy slapped one to gully and so to the crease came our Dar. While he was there our chances were always alive. Steady, having played so well, just ran himself out easing up; why, why, why? Al, as always, put it about but was subject to an incident I did not really see which left him cold with anger and had a big effect on the game later. Dunc played some nice stuff: in the circumstances he knew what he had to do but nicked one. Prakash tried to make up for past misdemeanours and kept us there with Dar for a while. I got out after having got into a bust up with their captain, their very silly bowler and a still very mad Al P umpiring at one end. Al was right but I lost concentration and was bowled. The very brave innings of Darren came to an end so Jamer and Charlie had a bit of fun at the end but we were 15 runs short. To say that we had no right to get that close was, in some respects, true; they dropped so many chances Dar used up a whole season of luck. I felt Ruardean did play a bit of a high fast game with us but Norm was out there and saw nothing amiss so maybe I am wrong; it has to be said that their captain was very good with Jack. Could we have won and did we deserve to lose? Yes we could and yes we did. On the other hand with ten men who, with some exceptions had not played that well, we got 9 points against a team somewhat beefed up to avoid the drop. There are always positives if you want to see them and Jack will be back, a wiser boy than he was on Saturday.
2nds v Newent 18-07-09 It’s been an odd week in the life of a cricket captain who has always had a rather cavalier attitude to personal health until he realised he couldn’t breathe very well. At Bharat I wondered whether I had lung cancer, as was suggested by those who should know these things and therefore probably I was playing my last game. Now a week later playing against Newent I knew that I had pneumonia and had to go into hospital urgently: how happy can a man be with that news? I was ecstatic!! And we won a really good game, what a great send off to the thoracic ward at Gloucester Royal.
As expected they put us in on a dampish wicket but I some confidence in my team which I felt had balance and could do it all. James Parsons and George got us off to a good start until James’s idea of a quick run suggested this genetic weakness that exists in father and son was likely to shed tears. Sure enough George is run out prompting me to tell James to calm down before he goes through the whole team but he top scored on 70. What followed was a steady progress, a 100 by 25 overs leaving us to wonder what a good total might be. Thanks largely to John Partridge, supported by Andy Ward, Alan P and a laboring Pars, we got to 200; but was it enough?
Ominously the wicket dried out to a good even pace, the sideways movement had reduced, 200 was not likely to hold up. Nonetheless Charlie, Ben and Paul bowled really well, keeping them pegged back. However we could not get out the opener and young Jack Cowles, who batted superbly and to my mind made one of the best innings I have seen this year. It seemed as though we were ebbing away, the game was going away from us, they still had every chance of winning with lots of wickets in hand and less than 100 to get. Deciding that taking the pace off was the answer, I had spin at both ends and this got rid of both troublesome batters, James P again, and also put them under run rate pressure. Timing the return of Charlie and Ben was also critical and, thanks to these two, plus defensive field settings, we won a thriller, notably getting two run outs in the process.
I had to go early but not before thanking their captain for a really good game and having to apologize for my lack of attention when umpiring. I let George off the hook as he was probably run out but I was so busy thanking my good fortune for being on the pitch I didn’t see their keeper run him out; mercifully James barbequed him moments later. Afterwards I did hear mutterings of us cheating, as in batsmen not walking. A very celebrated test match player has just brought out a book and the big moment in the book is when he gave himself out in a match against Sri Lanka. He says a voice in his head said ‘Go’; his team struggled to speak to him and after always treated him as mad and dangerous to know. In test match cricket it’s a different and almost unique kind of courage. All I can say is I am very glad I am still in a position to be able to make that choice and go, after all it’s only a game; isn’t it?
1st v Cinderford 11th July 2009 The batsmen made REALLY hard work of it. Chris H failed to bother the scorer and his array of pens & pencils. Other 'batsmen' walked to the middle and soon walked back (Uncle Tea-bag excluded as he got a respectable 35). It was left to the tail to wag. Fez got some runs!!! Though not enough. Knockers lost his usual spot of 11 as Buse Junior was playing and responded by upsetting the cousins/brothers/sons/fathers of Cinderford. 103-8 off about 39 overs. He took a wild swipe at his first ball which threatened to put him on his fat arse. 2nd ball disappeared to extra cover. This forced their skipper to drop fielders back to the boundary. Knockers somehow top-scored through route a) - slogging; then route b) inside edging the ball from outside off to fine leg. Georgie was encouraged to join the fun, then Buse Jnr further put the bat in. Final score was 169-9. Birdlip's bowlers started with mixed success but the rain intervened to annul the game.
Comment of the game was again from Knockers. Opposition's opener got an inside edge for 4 to fine leg which he applauded and told anyone listening that it was a genuine shot as he had played the same one earlier

2s v Bharat 11 July 2009 I reminded my team of a game last year at lowly Saracens who came within a whisker of beating us on a day much like this one. Had it not been for a rearguard action by the tail, we would have lost before the rain came in. The reason I reminded them was that we were 102 off 38 overs with 6 wickets down, the sky was blue ,the sun shone down on some very ordinary batting on an admittedly tricky track. The logic was simple when winning the toss. I had been advised to bat first, I would have liked to bat first, my team wanted to bat first and yet ..and yet. I also knew that they had some very decent bowlers, the ball would very likely do things, my batters were not posting big form out there and I trust my bowlers to win me games more than I do my batters.
George is undoubtedly a class act. He plays shots all round, the score board moves on and he is good between the wickets but he plays and misses a lot. What a contrast with Pars at the other end who does not play and miss much but does not have a range of shots and is a bit sketchy between the stumps. The mix of these two produces runs from one end but your heart is in your mouth and no runs from the other end but you wishing your heart was in your mouth. George gets 28 off 12 overs, Pars takes a long time about it all though it was excellent bowling.
Andy Ward’s batting has now become a bizarre creation of his own; he specialises in getting out to embarrassments. This week it was bowled off his appendage which was not suitably packaged in a protective cover. The result was a pained batter leaving the crease who then doubled over creased by the pain. We laughed a lot, he managed a rueful smile; or was it a grimace. From there on it was Dave Green trying to get the run rate up, Roger also tried but failed,  Duncan did as Duncan does, always leaving you wishing for more but not failing either. When the noble Dave perished, Symie kept on bashing effectively as only he can, and so in a late flurry we nearly got 150.
After tea the sky to the west now took on a reassuring shade of dark grey and black; Al P smugly reminded me of his predictions as he did a year ago; he was unconvincingly right then and he was just the same now. After a spell of really good bowling, particularly by Paul Harris, it rained .Paul was well supported by Ben, who also hit some very good length and line at times, bowling to a 7-2 which I like to use. What have we learned from this? Quite a lot but we need to keep in focus the league as it develops and adapt teams accordingly; it may well come down to a horses for courses approach, players who cannot play that sort of game will struggle.

Wed XI v Glos Winget 8th July 2009 Drama at the Spa ground. We pegged them back to a low target, then gave Glos City hope by losing 3 key wickets in 2 overs. Farmer Pars was talked into charging the bowler, poor Kent went 1st ball and "I am" Green also gifted them his wicket! All hail the Heirons, Malfoy Harris, Ent Griffith and Georgie Porgy!!!
How can Kent take 2 hard catches then drop the easiest? Why leave it so late to win?
2s v Frampton 4th July 2009  You hear a lot about ‘having a plan and sticking to it’ in sports like tennis and golf. These plans are designed to beat an opponent, viz Roddick v Murray or defeat a golf course, Woods being sans pareil. I had a plan, as I do most weeks, depending on the toss, my team strengths and the opposition. The plan, with my excellent bowling side, was to win the toss, bowl them out cheaply and get maximum points. I had doubts about our batting; an out of form Pars, loss of my in form three and four bats and Darren Cookes first appearance this year, made me think we could not set a big enough target. It is also a sporting truth that you always need a plan B, more of that later.
And so we bowled on a good pitch with an ersatz wicket keeper who had persuaded me that he was a very good choice. The thing about Coops is that although he has bags of confidence he also has an excess of it. He dropped their opener when he was on 0, slapped away at the ball and left me with bowlers who were fretting about my poor decision. Changing to Lloyd was a good move but a tad too late. Plan A began to unravel as they made runs and we took few wickets despite very tidy bowling. We grafted away, slowly getting through them despite some truly appalling fielding by me. What has happened that has turned me into a circus act? Norm muttered ‘lack of practice’ at me, he is right as always. Charlie bowled really well, Symmie ran in for 12 overs despite blisters and the cost of the effort; he was, apart from 9 wides, damn good. I admit I flogged him but I wanted the last 6 overs from Charlie at that end. Jack Evans had a different game to play this time but was unlucky with a missed stumping. If his stock ball was a bit quicker he will always trouble batters in this league. Paul was back to his best, praise be.180 was not enough, or was it?
George Smith was my ace in the hole. Parsy duly got out for a duck and so George became the pivot of the innings, a part he played very well. But Dave Green began to hit it and stayed on hitting it. He did not get 50, leg byes robbing him but he was just what we needed, really a top effort. Meanwhile George kept on doing the right thing at the right pace at the right time. In comes arguably the best left hander in the club, Darren Cookes. I have always been a fan since he was a kid and still am. George was bowled, more by fatigue than anything else but he got his 50.Dar just smashed them out of the game, playing big shots and some real classy drives. Coops, irrepressible as ever, assisted and so we got the winning runs in some style.
What was Plan B? It went like this. Please God, can you let someone score the runs, anyone I don’t care. I promise to be good and not get hissy with her indoors and etc etc. I know what you are thinking but the supernatural still has a big part to play in any game, especially one involving a lapse catholic as captain. Just be grateful that I am willing to use every means to win a game, even appealing to that great umpire in the sky, who is more likely to give you a fairer shout than an LBW to Parsola.
1st v Frampton 27 06 09 Dan and George carried on from last week and ruined the opposition's start, again, both openers gone for ducks. D Huxstep rallied with 28 until Guy caught and bowled him, Guy eventually picked up 4 middle order wickets. Dan added to his early tally with 3 wickets in his second spell to end Frampton's innings, his figures were spoilt though with a late onslaught from numbers 8 and 9. K Palmer who Ian had no knowledge of, strolls in wearing a white t-shirt and looked like a 'make the numbers up guy from the pub', Trev knew what coming, he'd seen him dispatch Knockers to neighboring fields before. Thankfully the boy's from The Shire held seven catches, including Palmer on 26 (and counting up in sixes and fours) off Dan, with minimum failures.
Frampton's opening bowlers offer a stern test as league statistics clearly show, so caution was needed by Guy and Trev. Solid start was achieved but with 45 on the board Trev went and Guy followed after he moved onto 35. Ian showed us some of his top drawer batting, his 39 cemented the innings and would have pushed home the result if he stayed in for a little longer. Form was proven by opening pair C Barnfield and D Huxstep with economical figures to keep Frampton partly in the game combined with the middle order wobbles, Toby H (great catch), David P (hit everything on the way though before hitting the stumps) and James P (least said the better) all failed to trouble the scorers. What was a solid start and boost by Ian turned to nervous finish, wickets falling and full pot of 48 overs to do necessary running out. Who could keep a cool head? Step forward Nitin, a patient 31 done the job and it was fitting that his straight drive for four secured the win.
2nds v Frampton 27 06 09 Just when you thought it was all over, after last week’s crumbling of the physiques of star players amid the hubris of defeat, we lurch forward to Ken Griffith’s starring role as the 7th Cavalry. Will they come in time to save the wagon train from the Indians who are whooping and a hollering around and around the beleaguered pilgrims? At 11am the relief column informed me that it was stuck in traffic on the M25.So I elect to play with 10 men and see what comes over the hill; after all it’s only lowly Frampton, how can they win?
A rain affected wicket gives a team that can bowl more than a bit a punchers chance if they can put you in; they did just that. None of our top four batters passed 13, all perishing to the effects of a wicket which allowed extravagant movement off the pitch and thus preyed on the judgment of the batters. What lessons each might have learnt from the ordeal none can say, except that Andy Ward thought he was at Edgbaston and was made to look as silly as Strauss when he left one alone to Warne in 2005. You need either to play forward and hit down the ground or cut wide balls to the sides, you don’t play across the line against variable bounce and pace.
General Custer got 64, the next best score was Duncan who did play down the ground. That he was not out 28 was a testament to his organization and shot selection. His innings with Ken , aided by Kent and that fine no risks player Mr Extras ,who made a half century, got us to 208.
And so we have yet another reprise of the opening spells of last week, this time Matt Peplow was the stricken bowler. In future I am going to demand a doctor’s note from my opening bowlers confirming they are fit to play! But all the while at the other end Charlie Buse was the terminator. An easing pitch still offered some sideways movement and Charlie was so good, apart from wides and no balls. His six wickets were decisive and he was well supported by Kent and Andy Hieron. I chose to bowl after the never wozzers got out, leaving myself the real batters; a luckless choice as usual. No rhythm again and so capped a poor day for me on the whole.
Our extras count still continues to hurt us and must be halted if we are to win this league, which we can. All the right bits are out there it’s just a question of putting it all together when it matters. The second half starts next week against this rather demoralized outfit, the real test starts then when we must put them down with a thump not an apologetic
1st v Charlton Kings 20th June 2009 Opener Guy Partridge (57) shared a valuable stand with Toby Harris (57) enabling Birdlip to post a reasonable total. They scored wisely and battled through a few tight overs when Charlton Kings came back into the match. Chris Hieron (21no) held firm to end as wickets fell around him and with a lusty blow for 6 by George James in the last over, 200 was reached
Charlton Kings top order who have enjoyed reasonable success since their promotion were soon sent packing as George James hit top form with the ball. George along Dan Knock made better use of a lively wicket than their hosts and after 14 overs the score was 13 for 3. Both George (33-4) and Dan, who bowled up the slope without reward (he felt it on Sunday), shut Charlton Kings out of the game. Andy Moore and James Parsons bagged three wickets apiece to put end to the innings on 131. N Mitchell (52) always posed a threat, dispatching 6 sixes and C Day batted well for his 45.
2s v Cam 2s 20th June 2009 If you have to suffer in such a game in such a manner, then it’s best to suffer it all in one big go. Three of this team were at the Ball the night (and morning before); didn’t it show!! Two members, in fact our opening bowlers, had back and side injuries within minutes of each other. That leaves 6 others of whom two were carrying long term injuries, leaving four fit players, one of whom had not played any serious cricket for weeks and another had to leave to go to work at 6.45pm!!. With this I still expected to beat Cam, actually that was at the start of the game but it was still possible until the last three overs.
There is an apocryphal story of Denis Compton turning up at Lords in his DJ still pissed. He lay down, put a paper over his face and asked to be woken up when he had to bat ; he scored 74. I turned up in my DJ ,still a bit pissed and tried to get the match organized, sort out Ball issues and sober up fast. I dropped the key catch, bowled without luck and was not out zero needing two sixes off the last two balls. Denis ,where the f**k were you?
Jaysus! what a start. I wanted to bowl because I had the Cold Slad Express, who promptly pulled a muscle in his side and bowled most of his spell off three paces. He still took four, should have had five and won us the game. Paul, my most reliable and economical bowler, was drain like and went for a shed load before pulling up with back spasms. Thank God for Charlie Buse and Andy Hieron who gave us some stability, My spell concluded with their umpire advising me not to buy a lottery ticket. Andy Ward, also luckless with dropped catches , added a new legend to himself, and will forever be remembered for being admonished for his remark to a short mouthy batter who belted his high toss no ball for four ; to whit ‘you jammy little c**t’
That they only got 200 with a very short boundary on one side on a fast outfield was a tribute to Coops, Ron and Charlie and still meant we could do it.
Alas the curse of the Ball struck again; Pars couldn’t hit himself with the bat let alone the ball. Andy H perished to a snorter but Andy W played very well and kept us in the fight. After Charlie went, run out on his way to the pub, Al P played yet another great innings in a losing cause. Roger stuttered, John P looked great but also very short of practice and spooned one up. In comes Dunc, also light in practice and form. He and Al did all they could but key overs went by without a significant move to up the run rate. Our early slow start was hurting us now. Yet we still were in it, needing 21 off three overs and four wickets left. Dunc is run out, Coops and Paul bowled first up, game over.
Our two losses have come about in games we should have won. As bad as that is I know that this team, when it sorts itself out, can win this division and will not throw away games again. No-one has beaten us yet, we have simply lost matches through our own fault and we have beaten the top two teams already .So, reasons to be cheerful, one ,two, three………
2s v Apperley 13th June 2009 Yet another scramble for players produced a team that contained only one player who has played all matches so far, myself. Oh for something resembling a settled order, maybe soon I hope. I had a decent bowling side out but one of indeterminate batting form, excluding Andy Heiron so ,winning the toss I elected to field. This was on the assumption that their strength lay, if anywhere ,in their batting .Cancelling that out on a good if slowish track, was the objective .Also I knew they had men capable of grinding out a win if we in turn did not get a good target on the board.
Paul Harris produced his best spell to date,11 overs ,3 for 7,match winning stuff. He was ably supported by Ben Symcox and an improving match by match, Matt Peplow. For some reason I could not get any rhythm and bowled the first 7 run ball in my life, a no ball 6.We then had an experimental period giving the returning Duncan C-Mitchell a chance to see if his injury forced him to mince into the crease but, to use that old gag, he opened his legs and showed his class before being forced to retire with a twinge. This allowed me to switch ends and I had a better game there. In the meantime Apperley fought on but then gave away three run outs with suicidal intent This was also the result of the pressure of sometimes brilliant fielding by all, notably Andy H ,Ben S and the boundary bullet arm of Tommy O. On that point it is unnerving to have the stumps suddenly explode beside you when the batter is safely home. I am going to give that boy a siren when intends to throw.
Plan A duly worked and so we chased 122; I could not see how they could field or bowl as well as us but they tried to. This was not a day when Andy H should have got out for 3, Plan A suddenly looked shaky. We never needed to look at Parsy’s score we just looked at the overs, the two hardly differed. He had a rush of blood and nearly got himself out but his 44 was the axis on which we won, take nothing away from that. Dave MG (might dub him Sprite one of these days) came and went, as did Dunc,38 – 3 off 15 overs. The irrepressible Tommy O became repressible, running himself out, something he was to do twice over the weekend: the score moved on 19 runs in 11 overs, mmm!!! Much pacing up and down by me, irritating everyone around, they kept telling me to sit down or bugger off. Why worry, the game was all over in the next nine overs as Rog and sprog one burst through the tape. Lloyd had a good day behind the stumps and played some really nice shots, one to watch for the future I think though he bungled my instruction to get us the batting point. Seems churlish in the circumstances I know but not many guys get the winning runs and clutch their heads in dismay over what they have done. Ah well!!
It was sad in a way to see Apperley so poor, a club I have known for 25 years. Brian Leeke, at 72 ,still displayed the cricketing qualities I have admired for such a long time , a lesson for anyone who wants to learn it. He was generous to me as usual and, as usual, tried to blag me £50 for the teas on the principle that history dictates that I leave Apperley in some way poorer that I found it. Whilst I did not have 7 stitches in my face, a busted ham string or a run out short of a maiden 50 ,there was also no time for 3 card brag , next time maybe: win or lose I hope so.
1st v Oldlands 30th May 2009 With a good start thanks to Andy Moore and George James we made our host struggle to score freely. George caught and bowled their opener with the score on 10 but after that, luck on the wicket front was on their side, we had to wait till Andy's last over to pick up a couple more wickets. Several unsuccessful calls for LBW's and airbourne shot landing just out of reach didn't bode well. Despite a row of Partridges on the on-side for much of the remaining overs, albiet two fine catches from John, our hosts rallied and quick runs in the last six overs boosted their score to 185. We went in feeling we had missed our chances of restricting them to a low score.
Out batting line up for task ahead was totally unrecognizable to any game that preceded
this one. With bodies away Trev and Ian put time an thought into creating an order that with some success we were in with a chance. Messieurs' Walton and Colburn soon put that to the sword with removing trump card David, the lynchpin of the innings, George soon followed with our score only consisting of extras at this point. The names on paper could still do the job, but as we all know it doesn't always work in practice. Trev hung around but unlike Oldlands the ball went to hand as he was caught by a stretching one handed grab. James Parsons went to an even better catch, 20 yard run along the boundary, a dive and one handed, merely inches off the ground. Yet again the tail put the middle order to shame with Andy Moore top scoring, he should of had more if he hadn't had a rush of blood. He, James and John P, who James sent him on a run that Linford Christie would have struggled (a direct hit at one stump!!!), looked to give us hope, but it was a false dawn with lady luck squarely in their court.

2nds v Nine Elms 30th May 2009 Extraordinary day, statistically the most odd I have ever seen, but what performances from individuals , each in their own way taking the game to Nine Elms. Turning to the stats: if you concede 46 runs in the first four overs and you give away 41 extras including 25 wides and 4 no balls i.e five extra overs, you should lose and the loss should be humiliating. Not only that but electing to field first was, in hindsight, an error that I got away from. But a team of relative strangers always creates a doubt and we did not seem to have a batting line up that could post a 200 plus score. A hasty consultation with the senior players suggested we should find out what we had to get, taking the punchers chance, given that we had Dave Cooper as a strike weapon with a new ball.
Shock and awe followed as the opening batter showed no fear, each delivery to him seemed to have four or six written on it. He was fed some dreadful deliveries despite Coop‘s thunderbolts. The score board took on a life of its own, jumping up the tens, my team, those that could bear to face me, took on the resigned look of men about be sent over the top to certain death. But then the gods smiled and Matt Peplow got a dolly wicket. Coops ran in on fire; sure we gave away wides , leg byes, no balls but he was bloody quick. My exhortation to him ,’ Coops , get the fat c**t or we will lose’ was not out of the Mike Brearley Art of Captaincy but  a leg stump Yorker saw the end of our potential nemesis. Dave’s 12 overs ripped out their heart, taking four top order batters. He was ably supported by George Smith , some excellent fielding , especially Dave Green, and a tidy spell from me before that other revelation came on to bowl.
Jack Evans is a very talented 13 year old off spinner with bags of confidence, shunting my fielders around before I had a chance to remind that him that I was captain, albeit an inferior spinner as it turned out. He bowled with control, turn and changes of pace plus a wrong un to take three wickets all bowled, no spinner wants more; sickening personally but great to watch and manage. With George and Matt cleaning up behind him, despite a late flurry, we were left to chase a mere 168.
Now the gods smiled again as George Smith, opening with Andy H, produced a superb display, playing shots all round the field. Andy just dogged away knowing he might have to play another game, the mark of an intelligent cricketer. That he was 66 not out, scoring big runs at the end against a weakening attack, is testament to him. George tired and was out on 47, LBW, one of three out of our four wickets. Andy Ward came back quickly, despatched the same way, muttered something about Norm being our top wicket taker but it was a good call, Al also but he was very unlucky with his decision from their umpire. Roger still does not know here his stumps are, and so he left Dave Green and Andy to see us home.
Their captain, Rob, suggested that his team did not bat on that wicket but we did. Maybe, though in my mind it was a win forged by sheer determination, which itself arose from a growing belief inspired by great bowling, a modicum of luck and the ability of key players at key times. Whatever team I have next week doesn’t matter, the feel of winning is infectious and will be there as a reservoir for us all to dip into when we need it.
Judgy was hard but fair, a bit like Norm really who mercifully was not there to be fined, the prejudicial temptation for Andy W to depart from his otherwise generous nature might have been too much for him.

Rudwick 29th May 2009 Fine weather and the afternoon off work to play cricket under the guidance of Tom then after a tidy win our skipper then cooked the burgers, what could be better.
Rudwick started quickly then slowed then raced to 202 somehow, at one stage we thought we needed to ease off the the bowling, a lesson to be learned there. Trev bagged 3 quick wickets to quell the middle order while Chris and Andy Moore bowled tidily
Tom P and Kent looked like proper batmen as the farmed runs of the openers building up a solid start. As bowling changes come so did the top order depart. With still more the half the runs required Trev found form and ably assisted by Roger, Lloyd and Keith Broadstock to us to the brink of victory. Keith (his own admission) ran out Trev for 83 but redeemed himself by hitting the winning runs.

Upton St Leonards 23rd May 2009 What a toss to lose, neither me nor Upton’s Captain will ever know whether if he had put himself in the result would have been different ; part of me suspects that we would have lost. As it is we reluctantly batted on a pitch that boded ill in terms of bounce and carry and that it would not turn much if at all. My ersastz opener( and hapless stand in keeper), Andy Hieron started brightly but played over a straight one and a care worn Parsons allowed himself to be fired in front by Jamer. I liked the way Andy Ward batted , composed and with discipline, he it was who held up the middle. Al showed the beginnings of a return to form, Painless ran himself out before we could write his name down in the book, all this in front of his adoring family and Tommy O couldn’t find the gaps, (maybe there weren’t any so a lesson to be learned there I think.) After Wardy went we were treated to the Chris and Ben show consisting of solid fours down the ground by Chris and three sixes by the honky tonk cowboy in the pick up truck. This bravura innings from Ben ,plus Chris’s solid whacking , startled the Upton team who looked rather desperate and must have wondered what a Birdlip tail was; it was Jamer and me who didn’t bat. So 172 to get on a deteriorating wicket looked to have turned the odds in our favour. 
Upton did not think so having a first team player coming in down the order to ensure the win should they have had need of him. At 102 for 2 we were looking less likely but still the bounce got lower and slower : we kept at them making scoring difficult , putting them under pressure all the time. And we eroded their batting taking steady wickets at crucial times. The temperature out on the pitch went up in proportion to the heat in the game (here I apologise to all, I even incurred the wrath of Norm, a victim of a fired up captain, and Norm wasn’t the only one to get the laser death ray stare. Mind you I had just been told that our keeper was leaving us at 6.45, much to my horror so we played with ten men for the last 11 overs or so) Hats off to the bowlers, Paul was very tidy, as I was on the whole but it was the Chris and Ben show again. Backed up by improving fielding, as two run outs bear witness, a great throw from Tommy O in particular, they with Paul in the closing overs, brought the game to us. They broke the heart of the Upton team , sinking their battleship in the process. Apart from an unfortunate case of poor sportsmanship, this was a tough competitive game, but we held our nerve and won deservedly.
By the way, future budding Moles had better get their dark glasses off when they report our games or they just might find their pencils planted somewhere to remind them of where their comments should not come from.

BBCC v Newent Twos 9th May 09 That we won was a testament to very good bowling and excellent fielding but we still made hard work of scoring 115; it rather suggests we are not the best chasers or that we do not have the right batters in the right place or that we do not yet have in form batters or that ….read on.
The difference between last week and this is that the Newent wicket was true with good bounce and so they put themselves in expecting to take this advantage. They were denied by Knockers who bowled maiden after maiden interspersed with the odd wicket and Paul Harris who bowled with pace and carry, just back of a length to make cutting and pulling difficult.The change bowlers Ben Symcox ,Kent and myself kept the pressure on. If it had not been for the inevitable sprog batter ,who incidentally had the by now accustomed cheek to twat me back over my head, and a stand and deliver bully, they would never have got past 85.Knockers suffered the indignity of a six ,big enough to match his disbelief, Kent was mowed to the ropes in successive balls, we were not used to such abuse, unless the you count the squawking from square leg. But they never made 120 so a big result was on.
Our very own Boycott ,sadly out of and touch and practice, went to a great catch for 1 and so last weeks first wicket down pairing resumed normal service. The Duntisbourne Baseball team carried on where they left off, hitting homers until struck out by the umpire and that sprog who was untested by a catch we all knew was coming to him, that is everyone but Yogi Berra Buse. A pity because Toby and James are both better than that. Andy Ward, fresh off his ton last week, belted their bully for a huge straight six. Hello, we all thought , do we have Busey’s older smarter shorter tubbier brother here? For a while we did, he played very nicely until overcome by the idea that he was scratching around and then played one too many shots. Four wickets down and 90 up, visions of last week appeared. Al started well ,trying to avoid losing that other wicket but then played on to that obnoxious  little oik. Bugger ! !Roger and Kent duly saw us home, everyone got in the game so that’s all right then.
In two games we have failed to bowl out a side though the advantage lay with us. Standards have been good where pretty well all the catches have been taken and the bowling has been there or thereabouts. It all suggests that future games will be decided by the team which has the most nerve, determination and depth when they come under pressure; our failure when we lost. If we are to win tough games then we have a bit to find as they say in horse racing circles.

Sunday V Bristol Travellers  May 2009 Good to see friendly cricket return to Sinclair Field on Sunday against Bristol Travellers, who asked to bowl first. Knockers asked John Jessop and Andy Ward to open the batting. They started off well until a Travellers' youngster the vicar running for the pavilion with his score on 7. Kent's innings was cut short by a brilliant one-handed catch at slip. Ian Green joined Andy Ward at the wicket and with Andy's growing confidence with each boundary the score picked up rapidly. Ian eventually departed for 100 and Andy carried his bat for 124no
Matt Roberts picked up 3 wickets and despite some indifferent fielding Birdlip bagged the win.

2nds V Bharat 2 2nd May 2009  If there is one thing every Captain hates it is to lose game where his team did everything to win and should have done so. Bharat were resigned to defeat at 70 or 1 but all the cricket demons await those who let complacency creep in. We were the better team, more of our players would have got into their team than theirs into mine. However the virtue of bowling on a length with movement yielded 5 wickets for a gentle away swing bowler. They gave away 4 extras in their fielding we gave away 2 byes,2 leg and 18 extra balls. That was probably the key factor in the field. Their batting was disciplined but was as much as they could do in the face of a good performance in ground fielding and some excellent bowling in the middle and later stages.141 for 6  was a good effort on our part and they knew it was not enough. Charlie was manful in his work and will come on, Matt showed early nerves but he also will be a good player in this team. A rusty Tom Roobottom has promise but the old stagers of Timmy Wright and me had the best of it.  However that old adage of ten good balls came true.
Despite my warnings to our younger top batters about the fragility of the later order they played with reckless ebullience and some style it has to be said; very difficult to be critical of given the circumstances. Much as you want to dominate bowlers at the same time you also have to respect them.  Umpiring was a nervy business watching wild mows miss or edge away over the slips. Andy Ward got a beaut and was very well caught leaving the irrepressible Buse and Toby to belt the bowlers with abandon. Abandon they did , they left themselves open to the idea that someone else would get the winning runs where experienced players might have played a little more circumspectly when either one of them was out. I know Parsy would not have thrown his wicket away but also that he would not have scored the runs they did in the same way .Somewhere a balance has to be struck. If you get in on a pitch like that against bowling like that, you have done the hard work. And so the tragedy I knew was latent became fact as we crumbled to bowlers who started to believe. Only Dave Green and Matt Peplow had anything to offer after the demise of the 5 Mile wunderkinder. 
So long as we learn from this I will take this defeat on the chin. But when, as the fielding side, you have bowled your heart out and fielded really well, when your team has done all that was asked of it, played as well as it could, these are bitter pills to swallow.
Finally my thanks to Norm for deciding that I hadn’t hit the ball when perhaps it caught a bit of stray plastic off the edge, but I am still not sure and for firing me LBW thus relieving my guilt anyway.

Season 2008

1st v Tewkesbury 30th August 2008  Tewkesbury batted first and started strongly but Birdlip found a good line and length to bring the run rate to below 3 an over. Birdlip found wickets were hard to come by with George James (12-4-21-0) bowling well without just reward. Opener Simon Vincent (84) batted through to the last ball when yorked by Dave Cooper. He was ably supported by Stuart Tame (38) and John Allcoat (21no). S Prakash and Andy Hieron both picked a wicket a piece with good economy as Tewkesbury reach a modest 189 total.
Birdlip lost a early wicket in reply but David Partridge and Ian Green soon made headway and the run chase was on. Unfortunately both perished in the twenties and little support followed and the innings petered out. Steve Bowers the main thorn in Birdlip's side with 5 for 20.

2nds v Corse and Staunton 30th August 2008   ‘O frabjous day, callooh callay’ as Lewis Carroll so uniquely put it in the Jabberwocky, my beamish boys and I won a game we could so easily have lost. The ramifications are that we avoid Gloucester Pakistanis next year, we are back in a league which has teams I like but I will miss playing against my brother, one of the first to ring on Saturday night to see how we got on.
Nice to win a key toss and with Al’s agreement for a change, we put them in. My second team talk of the season, so carefully rehearsed while mowing the outfield, didn’t come out quite the way I intended. If anyone was guilty of not doing what I asked of them all it was me. That we got off to a dream start was due to combination of good bowling and some undisciplined batting. Corse seemed slightly spooked by the wicket and in no time at all Charlie had got three wickets and George one. These two are a very complimentary pair, opening bowlers should hunt as a unit and I very much hope to see them together again as often as possible. However Corse did go at us, partly because after Charlie and George the change bowling did not maintain the pressure apart from one magic ball from Toby. Kent and I restored the game back to us though a young batsman, Ben Morton, who was not out at the end, showed his olders but not betters how to put a foot down on an innings. Wayward bowling and some pretty ordinary fielding, certainly by one senior individual, allowed them to get a score I would have regarded as useful, given the start but not too challenging had I been their captain. We did not get the full points being denied by that young man and some very stern umpiring. The game was still on.
For the technically minded a reply of ‘win the game’, brightly stated by an unshaven uncomplicated son of the soil, to the question of ‘what is your plan?’ leaves a captain with mixed feelings. But Parsola is not technical about batting, his plan is to stay there to the end and that should be a winning formula. Duncan muttered something about having a plan. Uneasy as I was, I trust the guys who do the job I picked them for and so another carefully worked speech had been binned. It was a stuttering start to our innings against goodish but not really threatening bowling. If I am guilty of anything in what followed it is the desire to be seen as excessively fair to the opposition, irked by their inability to give LBWs. This is inspired by Corinthian rugby heroes of my youth who would shake hands with the bully who had put in a cheap shot on the blind side to make them feel a cad for doing so.
I fired Duncan. The ball did everything right but in hindsight, may have been too high. He had survived quite a few appeals before, including one to me that may have been outside the line, maybe not, moments before. Off he went in a cloud of invective all aimed at his recalcitrant captain; can’t blame him really. Busey came in and did what he does, bang ,bang and gone, Al just bang and so to Ben Symcox, on debut. I have known Ben since he was 14, he was a strong player then and still is, hit good shots but got too bullish. Out comes our Flintoff derivative, Toby Harris, same blond hair, no earring yet and no pedalo to play in but it will happen. If Ben Morton, who had batted so well, bowled equally well (he was the Corse top batter and bowler by the way), had caught Toby early it might have been different. He dropped the only catch he has dropped all season, badly splitting the web of his hand in the process. That moment turned the game irrevocably to us. Tired bowlers gave way to poor bowlers, allowing Pars and Toby to bash it to all parts to win the game.
It has been a great season, one of the best in all my time at Birdlip if not best ever. The reason it has been so good is that I have enjoyed the company of pretty well everyone I have had the privilege of captaining and also of the teams we have played. I would like to think that quite few will be back with a real desire to do well next year, to improve over the close season to being better players than they were this year. However for some of us, for all the practice merely puts the inevitable decay in remission but, what the hell, you kids will have take the prizes from our cold dead hands: if you can!

2nds v Hatherley & Reddings 3rds 23rd August 2008  At last a game and one that but for a slight error of judgment would gave been a maximum 22 pointer. I have done the maths and if we beat Corse, getting more than 18 and they do not score 10 points we are second providing Chalford do not get 22 points. Its going to be some game next Saturday, not for the faint hearted or those of a timorous disposition, but a test of character and nerve; can’t wait.
And so to North Park and Richard Stewart’s depleted 11 where once again a lost toss could have been decisive. That they put us in came as no surprise, their best chance lay in bowling us out cheaply but we batted almost to 11.To be fair to the home side they did bowl very well and my too ambitious target was swiftly revised downward. Pars and Duncan could not get on top of the bowlers, the track held all sorts of little surprises, something you don’t expect there. It was a very steady start, too steady for me; both openers would probably admit that they were happy to see me go off as umpire in the first session. I hear Duncan used the expression ‘avoiding the evil eye’, next week he could well be watching a pitch side voodoo convention if things don’t go according to plan.
Hatherley’s strategy started to work as we lost five wickets for not much on the board, Busey ,Kent ,Chris H and Al not posting much between them .However once more the faith in a long batting order paid off as Toby and George put on 70. When Toby went George and Tommy Overbury got us so close to the maximum points, George perishing in the attempt off the penultimate ball. Parsola was hoping I would be run out off the last ball so that my average would drop below his: was he serious, of course he wasn’t…mmmm?
Charlie and George bowled an exemplary line and length, with the junior partner in the attack perhaps outshining his illustrious first teamer, great to watch and easy to captain. Toby and Chris H came in as first change, Chris being niggling without any luck and Toby being exactly the opposite. In a low scoring game his three wickets went for almost 6 an over, Chris went wicketless for less than 2 an over. Toby’s real ability will show more when he achieves greater control, for the time being it is a combination of magic and dross. Kent was a good change for Toby, getting something out of the pitch to splatter the stumps when the batsman had shouldered arms believing the ball to pass harmlessly by. Big seam movement was always there for him and his two wickets were a just return.
Just when a return to form is needed, and boy did I need it, a stubborn batter was removed first ball by a classic off break (Al, don’t!!), the irony being that he had removed Chris with an identical delivery. Georgie took a fine catch to complete a great day for him and I wrapped up the game by bowling the hapless number 11, the umpire’s comment being ‘if he had lasted the over I would have been amazed’ .A long chat and gossip in the bar afterwards with Richard , who is also Hatherley and Redding’s chairman revealed that big clubs have the same problems as we do. Back to the Shire for a chilly, damp party, drink and dancing till late, ideal preparation for a six a side don’t you think? Anyway at least the Mole didn’t see me so , naff off O furry one.

Birdlip v Cinderford 17th August 2008 This match was poised for a tight contest when the umpires drew a close to proceedings with 2 overs bowled of Cinderford's innings.
Opener Guy Partridge continued his good spell with the bat with 73no which enabled Birdlip to reach a challenging 200 for 4 off their 39 revised overs. Ian Green (33), Ken Griffith (40) and Andy Hamilton (24) all made useful partnerships with Partridge. Cinderford's ever accurate M.House was the pick of the bowlers with figures of  9-2-31-2.

Birdlip v Stadhampton 18th August 2008 Trevor Holder (94) just fell short of his century as Birdlip piled on the runs against a weak Stadhampton side. Allen Partridge (65) scored quickly as did Max Arthur (46) to reach an unassailable 252 for 4 at tea.
In reply the visitors relied on James Buse, who was loaned from Birdlip, to offer any resistance. His score of 83 held the innings together with K.Miller (22) the only other batsmen to reach double figures. Dan Knock bagged 4 wickets for 20 as Birdlip went onto win by 109 runs. 
Birdlip v Apperley 26th July 2008 A commanding opening partnership by Guy Partridge and Nitin Shetty of 175 helped Birdlip chase down Apperley 208 with 10 overs to spare. Once they coped with Apperley's aggressive opening overs Shetty and Partridge settled in and knocked off the runs in a workman like fashion. When Shetty fell for 74 and Partridge 9 runs short of a deserved century the win was then a formality. Ian Green and Ken Griffith guided their team home to comfortable rare victory on Apperley's ground.
Earlier Rowan Leeke (56) and Alex Jenning (62) looked set post a high score for the hosts on a good batting track. Both reached their half centuries when Dan Knock (33-4) claimed both their wickets amongst his four victims, which took the momentum out of the innings at time when they looked to push on. Sam Wheeler (29) had a late burst but Apperley's total proved well short in the end.
2nds v Churchdown 26th July 2008  May I refer you all to Corse and Staunton and a philosophical question posed there; what is losing and what is being beaten? If I was told before our game this Saturday that we would post 244 batting first and one of our bowlers would get 6 wickets I would have taken that as a win scenario given our perceived abilities before the game. But, lo and behold, as at Corse it was not to be .(It is worth noting ,in the same context ,that Dymock chased 279 and won at South Park by the way).We beat Churchdown , they did not lose, exactly as Corse beat us. We dropped crucial catches and so did Churchdown, thus levelling out the argument as in ‘if only we had caught so and so we would have won’. The look on Geoff Gorman’s face was the same as mine after these comparable defeats though maybe it was worse for me, having to take more personal blame. That other truism, given elsewhere, that bowlers stop batsmen winning was also demonstrated, for neither side, on a true wicket did quite enough with the ball; combine that with poor fielding and so it became a batters game.I have to say that I thought we were done for at tea. George and Charlie had been manful, given their combined age of 29. Lloyd bowled well, very well in fact, but Matt, myself and Ben were somewhat toothless, though the runs were spread between all of us. Easy catches were dropped, chances created and not taken and so 244 was a bigger total than I have ever chased and overhauled. Parsola and I were blessed, me far more so but then I decided I had to take the risks, not your man at the other end. That he got 46 and I 72 rather proves the point where, in a stand of 138, the edge of my bat was a destructive instrument. Of the 72 only half of the runs were proper shots, if that. (Ok Al , I hear you).
`The Churchdown boys hissed and fizzed at me as the ball flew off every plane of my kashmiri willow 1000 rupee (£12) Mumbai street boy throw away bat; eat your heart out Kevin Pietersen, no reverse handed stuff needed at Sinclair. I was laughing half the time, even the keeper chimed in with gentle mockery of my absurd good fortune: that he caught me was only fair. The next five wickets fell for 41 but the rate never left the mark. In to the crease came my unsuspected aces in the hole, Roger and Ben and I still had Charlie and Lloyd just in case. These two extinguished any hopes that Churchdown had with combinations of power and great shots, better than anything else seen that day. They were quick between the wickets and utterly convincing as a winning partnership to see off the total with 4 overs to spare. T’was a famous victory, Churchdown were gracious and a pleasure to have been with on and off the pitch. Parsy burgers and cider seemed a very appropriate way to end a warm game on a hot day, so much so that one or two seemed very reluctant to go home. Their identity I promised to keep safe if they left soon; they finally went in respectively, a Volvo estate and a pick up truck
Birdlip v Oldlands 19th July 2008 Guy Partridge was left stranding on 60 not out as Birdlip's middle order collapsed after being in a match winning position.
J Savage led Oldland's innings when asked to bat. Ably supported by B Thomas (25) and N Grove (32), Savage helped his side to 194. Despite D Walton's run push in the final overs the innings never reached a challenging total for Birdlip to chase on a good wicket and fast outfield.
Partridge and Trevor Holder gave Birdlip the perfect start with a 67 run opening partnership in quick time. Then the wheels came off when B Thomas (29-5) ripped through the middle order leaving Birdlip in trouble 8 wickets down on 109. With help of poor disciplined bowled and a frustrated Partridge Birdlip's innings ended on 137 with 11 overs still to come with Charlie Harris unable to bat from his injury during a frugal spell of bowling earlier.
2nds v Down Hatherley 19th July 2008 Andy Hamilton (120) hit a century on debut for Birdlip and batted Down Hatherley out of the game. Supported by Duncan Cameron-Mitchell (48) Birdlip reach 211 in their allotted overs with the loss of only 4 wickets
Hatherley lost their opener run out without scoring in reply but the 2nd wicket partnership between Ross Imm (21) and Ben Mitchell (57) got the innings back on track. The runs never came fast enough though and 3 wickets from Andy Ward took the sting out of the innings. Kent Partridge and Phil James bagged 2 wickets apiece to back up Ward's efforts reducing the host to 166 all out.
Birdlip Sunday v Bristol Travellers 20th July 2008 D Lockwood (75) fought a lone battle for the Travellers with some fineshots. P Fairman (38) helped him out as the innings closed but the 164 total proved a very inadequate total to defend.
Ian Green (67no) and Max Green (51) made short work in reply and Birdlip won with 16 overs to spare. SHOULD DONE THIS YESTERDAY

2nds v Saracens 5 July 2008 ‘Yeah, let’s do to them what they did us and anyway it’s going to rain so at least we get a bat’: that was Parsola bursting with childlike enthusiasm to crack some more runs on the Sarries as he did last week. So sayeth all my senior players (except one, more of him later) when I won the toss and, as always, consulted them. Somewhere, deep in the vaults of my cricket experience files, under matches labeled ‘These can make you look stupid ‘,  the voice of my sub conscious archivist cried ‘you’ll be sorry’. Anyway Dave Green had a sprog with him that prevented him taking the field for an hour or so if we bowled ,the sky looked like a Spielberg set for an alien invasion movie, they were not the team we played last week, and so, ignoring that mordant warning in my head, bat we did. As I went out to umpire I swear Dave’s little mite gave me a reproving stare.
‘Oh my prophetic soul’ as the great bard had it. TP duly tossed away his wicket, Duncan got a classic away swinger that he feathered and had to walk, Roger defended his stumps with his pads again, Charlie Buse thought every ball had four written on it, the second one had not, Dave Green got an LBW to an inside edge, Harry perished tamely ,the score was 55-6 off 18 overs. As if that was the end of it, mais non. Al and I sensibly agreed to see off the last overs of the openers but then he promptly spooned one to mid off,  cursing himself as he marched away ; it’s a good job he didn’t hear me mouthing away at his retreating back.
Thank god for boys with brains who did as they were told. Lloyd was excellent in defense , played some nice shots and did his bit before going to a disputed catch. Coops never quite falls into the ‘did as he was told’ category but he backs himself and that’s good enough for me. With only Jamer to come after these two , things looked pretty bad. The three of us doubled the score , got the overs down to 39 out of 40 when Phil fell second last ball. Tea and no bloody rain.
Forced into a rare team talk from me, the boys nonetheless showed some mettle in the field. The Cold Slad Express whacked it down, Charlie bowled really nicely with no reward but the rain never quite got to the quality needed. I am ashamed to say I resorted to slow over rates and time wasting. At 75 for 3, the only thing Al got right all day delivered us from evil, rain it really did and so match abandoned. Afterwards all the old lags were saying they told me so but wouldn’t quite look me in the eye. Duncan reminded me that he was the sole dissenting voice in favour of batting; he wasn’t, the other one was saying ‘I have filed this under You Lucky Sod matches because it won’t fit in the Back Your Own Judgement Section but could get into Should Have Known Better, what do you think? ’I didn’t.

Birdlip v Kings Stanley - 28 06 08 Birdlip made the most of a strong batting line up and skipper Ian Green made the most of some woeful fielding. Green dropped on several occasions scored heavily before ironically bowled on 96. Prakash elevated to No.3 added 96 with Green for the 2nd wicket to lay a solid foundation to the innings. King Stanley's Ireland (41-2) and A Jones (55-2) bowled with some success but with little quality to follow Birdlip's batsmen piled on the runs. Toby Harris (38) returned to form, James Buse on 1sts debut and Trevor Holder all helped Green post a 264 total.
In reply Stanley's in form A.Jones was soon removed by George James without scoring aided by a superb catch by Toby Harris. Prakash (2-29) bowled his usual tight spell and first change bowler Charlie Harris (4-37) bagged 4 well deserved wickets. S Wheeler (36) and G Dean (45) batted aggressively to pose Birdlip some problems until Harris claimed both their wickets. Andy Hieron (3-23) clean up the tail with the hosts well short on 149. The win keeps Birdlip in 4th spot in tight division with most the mid-placed teams having 50/50 win/lost ratio.

2nds v Saracens - 28 06 08 Things are taking a sinister turn ,teams are losing to teams who always lose, the hopeless are winning; it’s going to be an interesting run in to the second half of this season. Decisions ,decisions, what to do when you have three or four number 11’s and a bowling set up that is somewhat unknown in quality or form. Should have called heads last week, should have batted first this week, didn’t do either. And so we fed a strengthened Saracens team , whose left handed openers gratefully scooped six after six to the short leg side boundary. Setting a field for bad bowling wasn’t an issue as a lot of it went into the field. We spent so much time looking for the ball that it must have looked from the air like an outbreak of crop circles. If these guys are second from bottom then they must have been sedated for the most part of this season, for this Snow White of a team were awakened by kisses from the princes of long hops and full bungers. Having said that I was pleased with Lloyd Moore whose only fault was far too many wides, Duncan did all he could and Darren did not bowl badly. The rest of us were ranged between woeful to not good enough on the day: to concede 47 extras made their task so much easier, as if they needed it, and the fielding was on a par with the bowling.
Faced with 308 we decided that 200 was the target and then, depending on whenever we got there, only then we would have a go. As it turned out on a great batting track we might have made more of a fight of it but, being nervous of a long tail, made us a bit circumspect. Other than a tyro leggie who went for 10 an over, they bowled very decently. We lost only four wickets, three batsmen getting 50’s, and that with Danny and Darren scoring two between them, to leave me wondering what might have been. Roger got his maiden 50 and well done to him, despite an outbreak of bumptiousness after the game. Duncan, also with a first club 50, truly impressed showing the ability to pace his game and play a range of shots. Parsola was Parsola and hit with some force and at a good rate but still whinged that I cost him a hundred when he could have played for the full innings instead of getting out going for a score, mmm! Nonetheless a cunning plan is being hatched for next week when we play them again, using that well known ploy of bowling straight. As is true of all the games so far, they were a good bunch of men and maybe the fair play award is going to be hard to place this year.

BBCC 2’s v Corse and Staunton 21-06-08 There is an adage, among many other self evident truths about cricket, that bowlers stop batsmen getting the target they need; it takes ten balls to win a game and they could be all in a row, runs aren’t so easy to come by. Another truth is that everyone will tell you where you went wrong but no-one tells what you did right; so very English. Losing the toss was not so bad given our relative strength and to score 194 on a damp seamy wicket was a very good effort, more runs than the Corse captain thought he could get. Our recent stars failed but others stepped up, Duncan hit some great shots as did the imperious Allen when we were in bit of trouble. After the luckless Andy Ward departed Dave Green played his best innings so far and got Toby going; when Dave was out Chris Hieron took over, these two striking it hard and long. Ominously the wicket seemed to get that bit easier to bat on , the finishing bowler at one end, who was a first teamer and who consistently bowled very well,  still went for 43 off his last six overs. On the whole the Corse bowlers did not have a great deal of luck, some poor fielding let them down and they were ,by far, the best all round bowling team we have faced.
What happened next was a simple accumulation of a number of factors that all point to a defeat. And yet we removed the top four batters for 41, a testament to the blameless Knockers and Toby , whose opening spells collectively gave away 39 runs for 3 wickets off 14 overs but all the time the wicket became a better track. It was the first change that , if anything ,cost us the game. Chris and I went for 55 off our 9 overs, my bowling in particular got yippy which happens sometimes with a damp seam .It is also true that we fielded poorly from thereon in and with complacent field settings that were not reduced until too late, we let them back into the game. The plan to strangle them on a high run rate needed good accurate bowling, backed by good catching and throwing and it was not there. All it takes is ten balls and we could only find three more and a run out. Having said that I must give credit to those two boys, they hit good balls as well as the bad ones. The batters coming in after did to us what we did to them in the latter stages of our innings. Despite bringing back Danny and Toby, with Duncan bowling pretty well at the other end , the confidence we had given them in the second quarter allowed them to belt it all over the place and so collect their maiden 50’s and win the game.

Charlie Hulls, who I have known for many years, said it was probably the best game he has played in and seen at the ground ; on balance there wasn’t much in it but the toss was a significant factor. Corse lost to almost the same team we put 363 on, with almost the same team , we in turn have won matches we could easily have lost and that is why this is such a great game.

Birdlip v Frocester 3rd 14 06 08
Skipper Ian Green won the toss and hoped to make use of the humid conditions and asked the hosts to bat. Unfortunately they went off at 5 an over with some textbook driving from A Bray (32) and J Purchase (33). Trevor Holder came on first change and made a much needed breakthrough, removing both openers in his short  4 over spell. This brought veteran John Evans (65) to the crease who worked the ball around the ground for a well deserved half century. Aided by J Niblett (20) he gave the innings a needed boost to post a 212 total. Guy Partridge and Prakash bowled well with little reward picking up a wicket apiece, Charlie Harris bagged 2 but Evans put paid to his economy rate.
Birdlip's start over shadowed their opponents with Nitin Shetty (79) and Guy Partridge (35) adding 99 for the first wicket. But this is where the advantaged stopped. Chris Partridge gave little opportunity to score and went on to take 5 for 42, removing any chance of a Birdlip win as the momentum drained from the innings. Lower order bats, George James, Prakash and David Partridge all reached double figures but were given a huge task after a middle order collapse.

2nds v Hatherley and Reddings 4th 14 06 08
Maybe this should have been billed and the Shire Two’s versus Pete Ferns and 10 other guys who played a bit part here and there, some more than others. To say that his innings should have won them the game would have been a fair assessment; that they lost was because Toby finally produced the ball of the game to bowl him and maybe that Pete got a bit misty eyed getting his well deserved ton. Nonetheless if he had with him some of the players I had they would have won but no-one stuck with him and they all got themselves out or were got out. We did not bowl that well and our fielding under pressure was not as good as it had been though we caught well, with one glaring exception. Putting us in was exactly what we wanted and Richard Stewart’s team went about their task in workmanlike fashion. Maybe their opening bowling was flattered but it was nice to see Parsola getting going much earlier and his 87 n/o was the match winner. James duly injected some pace back into the score, making Hatherley blink and worry as he does and a nice even partnership between Pars and Toby kept us going. The minimum target was always 200, TP and Chris Hieron made sure of that. The other mid order batsmen also responded to the need to get a good total, nice to see the urgency they placed on their role and the intelligence displayed; it’s what all captains want. However Al and I thought 207 was very gettable and so it proved to be.
Chris Hieron bowled very nicely but Toby struggled to find his rhythm, bowling some very useful balls and some not so good. Al was wont to remark later that we bowled only 20% on the stumps, usually a losing formula: any width was put away by Pete Ferns with strong powerful shots square and driven. While the star bat punished us one end at the other end batsmen came and went, mostly getting out very cheaply. The run rate was always with Hatherley but the wickets went to us at an equal rate. Jamer put in a good little spell bagging two , one though with a classic Foxy leg side full bunger straight down Toby’s throat but that was why he was there. Chris took two more in his last spell, a fine reward for a good player, leaving Toby and a perspiring Andy Ward to close the game out. Their last man was in fact their opener, batting with a runner, so the odds swung back to Hatherley until that ball. Richard Stewart was very complimentary after and it was, despite an unsavoury couple of moments on our part, a very well conducted game played like it should be. North Park will be a sterner test.

Birdlip v Cinderford St John 7 06 08
Although Cinderford are one of the top teams in the division, Birdlip would have hoped to make a stab at repeating the win in the forest last year. As the game unfolded in soon become apparent the toss bared a big influence on the game. Asked to bat Birdlip soon lost early wickets and following batsmen all looked to be struggling. Ken Griffiths (33) and Ian Green (26) stopped the rot but runs failed to flow. Dave Partridge (24no) saw his team to tea but we variable bounce and slow outfield only 136 runs were managed. Cinderford bowled good line and length and gave very little away, Craig Kibble the pick of the bowlers (24-3)
Despite the conditions vastly improving after tea as the pitch dried up, Birdlip's bowlers lacked discipline to make the home side earn their runs. In form Nigel Cartwright (60no) carried his bat and with fellow opener M Whitney (50) Cinderford cruised home with 10 overs to spare.

2nds v Cinderford St John 7 06 08  
What happens when you travel to the Shire with a team of 10 consisting of 5 boys of 16 or younger, a number of very senior players and a bottom table position? What happens when you lose the toss and you bowl hardly a wicket taking ball in the match? What happens when you concede 70 extras, more than your total batted score? What happens when you fail to suppress Abuse, that your only chance was given, as it transpired, not out when he was and that you dropped him several times? What happens when you let the normally introverted Parsola loose? What happens is that you stare out at the long and miserable vista of the 363 runs you have conceded and you know that you have no hope whatsoever of getting near the total. No one enjoys the humiliation of another team, at least I don’t because I have been in that position myself more than once and there is, or should be, a natural compassion for the plight of fellow cricketers. To their credit Cinderford took their beating with a kind of resigned defiance and those kids did not give up. Talking to Al P we decided that declaration was not an option for all sorts of reasons and so we watched the slaughter continue. Take nothing from James or Tom, you still have to play the shots and get the score though I did hear of a daft bet between TP and Buse as to who would be the first to a ton. Any bookie would have closed his account on Buse at a 100-1 on. Abuse, true to nature, duly got his hundred, waved to us and wagged two fingers at Pars; a no contest in the context of another. Busey ran himself on 151, I think a record in the Two’s, when he himself had run out of the strength to hit that ball anymore. Al P ,also true to Partridge habits, flung his bat around when he played on ,prowled around the ground for a while muttering to himself and anyone in earshot ,all because he had missed out on the run fest. Our bowlers were exemplary, dismissing a series of hapless batsmen with some good accurate bowling; it was clinical and right for the situation. Matty found some form and now is high up in the league bowlers with 10 wickets, Knockers, also with three victims, swung the ball and is always a danger when he does. We caught nearly all the catches ,one by Harry was top drawer, though some of the ground fielding let down the bowlers and one spilled catch was reminiscent of a performing dog act. How can you dive after you have dropped it??? And so a jolly evening in the bar, with lots of banter when the remains of the defeated first team dribbled in ; we wonder what the selectors are going to do now as a somewhat twitchy Greener seemed to going through a hundred team permutations a minute.
Apology Dymock 31 05 08
Al says I am wrong ,their batsman was run out because his bat was in the air but Rog in unrepentant still; sanferryanne as they say in the forest,it changes nothing

Match Report 31 05 08 Birdlip V Cirencester
Birdlip won the toss and with damp track asked Cirencester to bat hoping their bowlers would take the early initiative. It wasn’t long before Guy Partridge bagged the first of his 3 wickets with Cirencester’s top order making slow progress. The absence of regular skipper Nick Rutter who found success here last year, was readily noticeable. Frugal bowling from Partridge (20-3), George James and Trevor Holder (26-2) accumulated 11 maidens between them, with Cirencester through most of their innings finding runs hard to come by. J Gilchrist (26) with some fluid leg side shots was the mainstay of the early stages, posing questions of Birdlip’s fielding positions with his placement. Toby Harris, given a rare chance a long spell with Birdlip missing their opening bowlers, made the most of his opportunity with 5 wickets and twice in a position of a hat trick ball. As the overs ran down T Waters (23) batted with urgency at No. 10, to help the tail gain valuable runs for the visitors.
Chasing 122 Birdlip quickly gained momentum and the partnership of Nitin Shetty (36) and Trevor Holder (63) produced a 50+ opening partnership for the second week running. Skipper Clive Gray mixed his bowlers around trying to get something out of the game. Eventually with the score on 92, indecision by Nitin Shetty gave Cirencester a long awaited breakthrough. Their good standard fielding was rewarded with a direct hit run out with Shetty well short of his ground. Holder kept up his run rate although Cirencester bowlers started to get more out of the wicket and runs slowed from the other end. With 4 required J Denyer had Holder caught behind by Clive Gray and soon Guy Partridge followed with no addition to the score. After a couple successful overs for Cirencester Kent Partridge guided the ball of his legs for 4 to seal a convincing 7 wicket win with 14 overs to spare.

Match Report 31 05 08 2nds v Dymock
Losing the toss on a damp wicket often proves fatal for the inserted team and, at first ,losing the game was the most likely result for us. As it turned out that was the last piece of luck Dymock experienced as they bowled too well in getting the ball to seam and swing but never close enough to the stumps often enough to take the early wickets they needed. When Roger was out ,trying to force some pace into the abject run rate, we were 17 off 11 overs . With his trousers tucked into black socks ,in true village style, and a hint of builders bum , our hero Abuse strode out to the crease. All those qualities of the bowling which Parsola said was ‘doing everything’ were as none to your man. Ah, the confidence of youth, as he began where he finished last week with two signature boundaries.  By the 16th over we were 52,even Parsons shed his terrors to leap from 8 off 14 overs to 19 in the 20th.Al P continued the assault with two successive sixes ; this further deflated Dymock’s earlier chirpiness now to be replaced by unease. When both Al and James departed, the latter failing again by 2 runs to make 50 (berk)  things still hung in the balance and we went quiet for a while until ‘Ron ‘ found the range. His 32 were crucial and so, with a flurry from the tail, we got to 203, something we should not have been allowed to do.
Dymock came out ready to go for it but then assisted themselves to destruction with a series of perhaps bizarre decisions in the context of some good bowling .Bizarre because I am convinced, as many were, that Abuse was run out but Rog at square leg ump ,he say no .Their opener, in by the same distance that James was out, was fired by a kid who I had got LBW earlier .He then gave me an LBW to a man half way down the track : sure the guy was probably out but no-one ever gives those, especially when the bowler in question got you that way, unless you are someone who is certain the victim is having an affair with your wife or a young man who doesn’t know the rules. Their captain ,when he came out, eyed up the miscreant with a look I have seen only when Clint Eastwood is about to execute someone’s imminent departure from this planet. Phil and Lloyd duly cleaned up the tail, making it a good day for ’ 006.9’.The only disappointments were that as good as Matt was last week he lost his rhythm this time out and couldn’t find it at all and that Chris Hieron didn’t bowl but that is sometimes how it works out. Both will have another day. Another very good game with some very decent men who took their defeat with good grace ,tinged perhaps with a little bemusement as to why ; but such is life in the seconds

Match Report 24 05 08 Birdlip V Frampton
Winning the toss we thought was vital, with patches of clover on a length at both ends the pitch looked rather dodgy. The toss was won but after inserting the opposition the pitch didn’t appear to hold any gremlins, that was till we had the pleasure of batting on it. It spit and seemed as though the locals turned a switch on after tea.
Driver Dickenson with red hair, resembling an ‘England’s Glory Match’ batted well with few mistakes and carried his bat to the final ball when run out by Toby. It was another booming throw from the deep, what an arm not always accurate though, one was so huge it cleared Nitin’s head by 20 feet, again from the far boundary. To give you an idea of distance, probably the equivalent of 5 of Ian’s throws. Driver’s 111 combined with a frugal bowling performance almost single handily put pressure on the boys from The Shire. Coops and Prakash grabbed 3 wickets apiece and George yet again slogged for 12 overs on the trot this time without reward. Nitin added to his season’s tally with another superb catch amongst his 3 victims.
Chasing 219 or 216 depending on what total we went by, (there could have been trouble at the death), their opener put the wind up us with pace not seen for some time, but luckily he ran out puff after 6 overs or in Trev’s words “I saw him off” after hitting him for consecutive fours in his last over. As with their last opening pairing Nitin (21) and Trev past the 50 mark in reasonable time and a solid start was achieved. Driver Dickenson’s introduction with bowling which would have been welcomed in our ranks drained the hopes of our chances though. He had Trev caught behind shortly after reaching his half century and conceded only 28 of his 12 overs. Ken (22) and a flurry of 14no from George offered some hope, but more in the chase for batting points. Matters weren't helped as for the second week running a poor LBW decision cost us a wicket, this time DP who is looking to kick start his season was the unlucky one. DP, Trev followed his firing with a 50 so look forward to next week. We crept passed the 175 before the dancing Coops had his stumps spread by a full ball from the returning quicky to end the innings

Match Report 24 05 08 Birdlip 2nds V Cam
I wonder when the real second team will appear or maybe we have already seen it; who knows? Thanks in part to guest appearances by first teamers (two successful one not so) we have won our last two matches. That the real umpf in the score was in our top 5, all regular seconds , suggests we have something but with Charlie Harris coming in at 6 and bowling match winning stuff confuses the situation. Nonetheless many positives were to be taken out of this game because we have beaten the league leaders and not just beaten them, duffed them up a bit .Those that failed this time were not a worry and need not worry, the task was taken on by others, the character of a good batting unit. And it was a another damn good game.
Abuse and Danny P were, in boxing terms, two sluggers that stood their ground and belted anything within range very, very hard. Pie after long hop after full bunger were planted in the surrounding fields. We were 100 off 15 overs, neck braces were made ready for the umpires as sixes crashed into the vegetation. Roger started to look like he was getting going when BBQd , according to him , by an LBW decision; if he was right it was an honest mistake; it is a risk you run playing off the back foot. The Ginster twins were taken off and the game began to assume its more typical character. Our stars both perished close together and with Parsola and Al both out cheaply earlier on, we subsided somewhat to 196 when 220 was most likely. This later period was enlightened by the elegance of Charlie and Duncan’s obvious quality against much better bowling.
For us Matt bowled his best spell yet , straight and pacier, supporting Charlie very well. Despite the fact that he took the opener with his worst ball, the dreaded full bunger, this did not detract from the general standard he established. I was congratulating myself on getting rid of numbers two and three, their top batter by a distance, when Abuse deflated my joy by announcing to the team that all I got were geriatrics and kids. Dave Cotterell is a year younger than me by the way. In came that awesome sight, a very large man , left handed and high on the grip, eyeing up the short boundary .By this time they were chasing an accelerating  run rate and I knew that  it was him or me. It was him. Taking myself off I turned to Jon Atkinson, who pranced in with my plea to bowl straight still ringing in his ears. ‘Don’t worry Foxy ‘ quoth the Billericay White Lightning as 8 went off his first over; but he was right .At the other end ,after Duncan had bowled a really nice spell of military medium ,Charlie destroyed them though not without the tab of fellow paedophile stuck on him by Abuse. Treacle also reminded me that he is still a wonderful fielder , (and we in general were pretty good again on the ground) ; his two wickets were well deserved, despite getting slogged for three fours off his last over. Cam were very generous after but the re-match will be interesting to say the least.

2nds against Churchdown 17-5-08 An away win gained by good tight bowling , on the whole, and batting which, though not chanceless, had the quality of being ,on the whole, positive. Three toss wins in a row defies odds but then all gamblers respect the streak effect and I am one. Damp wickets on cool May days are usually significantly difficult to bat on , often because they are seamer friendly ,do not come on to the bat and have odd bounce. To be fair to Churchdown , with all the problems they have with Council maintenance, they managed to clear the lumps of wet grass off the outfield just in time. All you Birdlip boys should give thanks to the fact that you are privileged to play on a ground as good as Sinclair Field created by the men that do.
Putting Churchdown in was a ‘no brainer’ given that we had ’ Ron’ Hieron and Andy Ward to open the  bowling with Matt and myself as change. Duly they struggled to put any score up and although wickets were hard to come by at first, the possibility of keeping them to a score less than 120 was the objective. We failed by 10 runs but that was due to bad luck, and maybe a spell of poor captaincy, more than anything else. As a unit we bowled well, notably Ron and Andy. If we had got through their top five quickly, they were dead in the water; we didn’t because I never had the fielder in quite the right place and dropped two caught and bowled.
One hit my leg, proving that 56 year old reaction time is all about self preservation. Another inch or so higher and I would have been looking for my nuts somewhere near my liver. The second was a low and painful bang on the thumb, a case of stick or not. I have come to the conclusion that I need to have two fielders close in to mid off /mid on for rebounds (and maybe wear a box; was Ned Kelly really a scared spinner?). James Buse should be renamed Jimmy Abuse such was his range of banter. He , along with Andy Ward and Danny P ,kept up a level of chirp not seen since the Marx Brothers. According to him the average age of my three wickets was 9, they all blubbed when out and rang their mums to take them home. My fielders made me laugh anyway, but they were pretty good that day, should you think it was all a gas and no action.
And so James abused their bowling, the silly sod getting out on 49. Tortoise Parsons,  abusing only the time he took to get 46 off 41 overs,  along with  a more urgent Dave Green , (Dan’s flame briefly spluttered but then went out ) got us to the target. Our three ducks were typical of their owners, nuff said. It was another really good game, good fun, great entertainment at times and it made you look forward to the next time. What more can you ask?

Two’s V Down Hatherley 10 05 08
Whilst all is rosy and splendid in the Ones, the game as played in the Two’s this Saturday reflected significant differences in quality to the point that I wish I had kept Ross Moore on the team sheet as a bowler. If you detect a note of some angst you would be right. Cricket, as it should be played, is a simple game. You bowl straight and you bat straight making adjustments as you go; if you can. Chasing 206 on a good wicket with short downhill boundaries did not seem too many, I made them perhaps 6\4 on favourites but when you have the much vaunted Ken Griffith in your line up it shaded maybe 11\8 against. Alas he was barely ready batting at 7 as we stumbled to 35 for 5, they played the simple version of the game. AP told me , when I made my all too early entrance at 8 with only 16 overs gone, that little was happening off the wicket. From the club house you would have thought Lilley and Thomson were flying in on a sticky dog such was the mayhem. Roger does seem to collect odd ways of getting out. This time he played a full bunger, a no ball, into the side of his face, went down like a shot stag and then summoned ‘er Indoors (his not mine) onto the pitch for medical opinion.  She certified that his head was still attached and left the field. Jaqui , if I spelt that right, is also a dentist and so was quick to spot that dear old Rog still had a full set of knashers in working order. Knash his teeth he did as he was bowled by a Yorker next ball. James Buse went the same way, bunger and yorked. I also went to high full toss, all of us from the same bowler but Al had spanked the same ones for 6 and 4.What does that tell you? It was not bodyline, Roger was not Woodfall felled by Larwood but it left an unpleasant taste nonetheless. How many times have I heard Norman P say that the straight full bunger is a dangerous ball to all but the in form batter? My version of this well practiced delivery may at least have the redeeming quality of guile and flight but then the likes of Al P should , but not always (see stats) ,bash them where they should go . AP did their man so much damage that he sulked on the bench for a while and that is the best answer I know. Matt bowled well again, amid a welter of wides , slow full tosses,half trackers and pea rollers, but he was unsupported most of the time and that is where , in part, we failed. Even so had we kept them down to 170 we batted poorly enough that a loss was probably inevitable. Ken the talisman shambled off as he does , muttering as he does ,something about ‘huh ,last week11, this week 10,huh huh huh.’. Aghast I watched all of this as you might when you see Tiger Woods miss the hole from inches ; with him and the blameless AP went our hopes. Parsons and I eventually wound up in our underpants at 3.30am that night, photos to follow but that rather said everything about the day.  

Two’s V Chalford 03 05 08
So the Mole is back, his coat is perhaps a shade of grey these days, maybe he’s a little slower and certainly lower than before but he still has those great qualities revered in journalists, accuracy, brevity and the ability to tell lies as if they were the truth , all shielded by anonymity ; taking the name of a blind rural pest is rather appropriate.
On to the new look Seconds or should I say, 2003 revisited with dash of fresh faces .What a great pleasure it was to see Dan Partridge back .He was in such great form ,not to mention his batting , which still has that firework quality of the supremely confident and reckless loon that he always was .A child  bowled at Dan what he felt was good length ball only to see it deposited on the roof of the club house for a huge six. With every ball he had sent down previously, I noted the elfin cricketer’s expectant face ,Dan gives hope to all. This brutal blow puckered the tiny features into an expression of disbelief and dismay; tears were not far away.I fully expect these two not to meet again for a year or so.
AP and other senior players persuaded me to bat first when I had come to bowl. If I had with me four known quantity on form bowlers I would have but I did have some good batters for a change so what the hell and they were, on balance, right.  A combination of the Partridge brothers, Alan and Dan, threatened to take the game into a positive position for us but Danny and Alan live by the sword and duly died by it, perishing to high swirling catches, as usual; but they cannot do it on their own .Dave Green batted with intelligence and almost got into the real money with a useful 13 .
What of Parsola? Patience has been his watchword, some would say that most of his innings are marked by somnolence for those watching, that is if any have an eye open long enough. However he won the batting prize last year and he does a job .He may have the strike rate of an anaconda which feeds twice a year but this was enough for now .I hear he thinks he lost us the game, he did not but he might have been patient a bit longer .Roger Moore made a fatal error of judgement however I expect him to be in the frame for the batting award in October. A flurry by the tail gave us something to bowl at but six scores of 3 or less tell the story.
The quality of our bowling was always going to be the key. Lloyd Moore,15 , on debut, was raw but he has real promise as a cricketer. He took a great one handed catch, batted with some composure and so reminded me of Coops at the same age. What he does have is a good attitude which will make him a real force sooner rather than later. Matt Roberts also conquered a few demons and settled down to bowl well. Being a left arm bowler is a great advantage and he will come on. Phylis amazingly sent down a high proportion of good balls having had no nets; his figures do not flatter him. He and I, with Matt, got a grip on the game. We would have won but for some unknown 15 year old who, coming in at 8, proceeded to belt Matt and the two Phils, James and Dickenson, over the rope in double quick time. This surprised not only us but also their captain. On the whole they were the better team, in that they had more batsmen and fielded better, yet the winning margin gives us the most credit. So ended a great match, and it was a real birthday treat for me. The thing I enjoyed the most was the superb atmosphere around the team; if all the other games are like this then the 2008 season will be one to remember.

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