Because, let’s be honest, we all know what will win ChamMo this year, the Awards Committee have decided two have an unprecedented TWO moments for 2022 – a playing moment and an AOB moment…
With the workaday season of 20-over Wednesday nights done and dusted, attention turned to the one-off 40-over 12-a-side match at the ever-picturesque Crawley Crows CC. Stand-in skipper Humphrey won the toss for Blades and elected to field.
Galpin and Humphrey were on the spot from the start, keeping the openers restricted to just 12-0 from the first four, and amongst those overs were several tricky half-chances, the most spectacular of which being a diving attempted catch which eluded Webber at Silly mid off by millimetres. The breakthrough came in the sixth though as Humphrey bowled the number 2 and 3 for a 2-wicket maiden. The long grass and bowler’s pitch meant the batsmen were struggling to get much away. An occasional four amongst the dots and ones kept the score tickling along but Blades were on top in these early stages. Meering and Kumar took over the attack from the 9th over and it took only two overs for the next strike – a slower one from Kumar was handed back to him by the opener for a routine C&B, and then it was Meering who bowled number 4 next over. 37-4 and the timed element of the innings was starting to look academic. Crawley were still finding boundaries non-existent and singles a rarity; the Blades attack were offering little and when they did get it away, the Baggy Blues were sharp in the field.
The 17th saw a welcome return to the Blades bowling to TV’s Terry – fitting a day’s cricket into his hectic new lifestyle of Celebrity Strictly GoggleBake appearances and opening pavilions and the like – but it was Meering who bagged the fifth wicket courtesy of an alert catch from Marsh at first slip. Crawley has registered 70-5 by the 20th over break.
After the drinks though, following a caught behind wicket for Himphrey Jr, the Crawley number 8 decided he was having no more of this, and promptly set about thwunking deliveries into the trees like he was a ball manufacturer determined to lose a few and drum up some business. Umpires’ arms were tiring with all the fours and sixes being signalled, Terry and Hamer B in particular having their bowling figures savaged. K-Pup bagged a second wicket thanks to a catch in the Covers by Farmer who elected not to use his hands but to trap the ball between his ribs instead. Farmer then followed the fielding heroics by coming on to bowl. Remarkable figures of 3-0 from his first two overs including the wicket of the big-hitting number 8 for 46. Thanks to that knock, Crawley had motored to 142-10, the score doubling in just nine overs. The middlest scoring batsman returned and, along with an enthusiastic club member who had never played before but wanted to bat to assist her hip-op rehab (handing her crutch to the umpire on arrival at the crease), added a handful more. Hamer B gained his reward for the number 8’s bombardment by claiming the last wicket, and his first ever, in the 32nd over to close the innings on 149 all out.
The Blades innings opened much as Crawley’s had, Marsh and Hamer digging in and picking off ones and fours when they could against a swift pace attack. The pair had seen off the openers and reached 27-0 from eight when Marsh was caught and bowled for 9. Webber replaced him but was bowled shortly after, then Hamer was run out by some margin. A quick came0 from Farmer followed and suddenly it was 38-4. Regrouping and stability were needed. Humphrey joined Grimes at the middle and the fightback was beginning, but Blades were still only a handful of runs ahead of the Crawley score over-by-over. Humphrey slammed a four into the bushes but then was adjudged LBW despite his front foot being planted about an inch shy of the bowling crease, and with Humphrey Jr joining Farmer in the Doughnut Club, Blades were suddenly 61-6 in the 18th over.
Meering and Grimes were both living dangerously, the change of bowler and pace meaning they each offered high looping chances but both fell safe. A direct hit by Grimes on the bowler’s stumps had Meering yards out of his crease but with no Crawley hand involved, he was Not Out. The next over saw an almighty six from Grimes and Blades were 78-6 at the break – eight runs and one wicket further into their journey than Crawley had been at the same point. But whereas Crawley’s innings from there became a tsunami of boundaries and wickets, Blades’ innings was a masterclass in batting by Grimes. Meering offered faultless support at the opposite end, singles were dashed and boundaries were chunted where possible, and in the 26th over the pavilion rose to acknowledge Grimes’ fifty. And still the Jake and Bazza Show continued, the next over bringing up the fifty partnership and Blades could sense the target gradually approaching from the horizon. Despite the best efforts of the Blades academy making up the numbers in the field and stopping a few fours, the remaining runs were chalked up with no drama. Meering hit the winning four in the 34th over, closing the innings on 153-6. Meering ended on an excellent 20 not out to go with his 2-21 but the plaudits, whatever plaudits are, go to Grimes whose magnificent 72 not out was the sixth best all-time Blades innings and the highest since at least 2010 when the current online records began.
RESULT: BLADES WIN BY 5 WICKETS
Champagne moment contenders:
Grimes 72 not out
Farmer’s figures of 3-2-1-3
Hamer B takes his first Blades wicket
Here is the list of Champagne Moment nominations as taken from match reports. Add your further nominations below and voting will take place soon…
Afzal arriving during the 15th over, taking a wicket with the first ball of the 16th vs Knowle Away 9th June
The pavilion cheering the Ten Up in the 4th over vs Knowle Away 9th June
Galpin running to the batter’s end, turning back to run two for no score vs Shirley Away 15th June
Meering’s hard low four vs Shirley Away 15th June
Galpin’s first over maiden vs Shirley Away 15th June
Lowe going to the middle for the toss without a coin vs NOC Away 22nd June
Grimes retires on 25 including six fours vs NOC Away 22nd June
Wythe 3-16 including 2 in 2 balls vs NOC Away 22nd June
Two parent/child pairings in the Blades side vs Brookfield Away 20th July
Patel returning to Blades action vs Brookfield Away 20th July
Adamson F taking a catch on his debut vs Brookfield Away 20th July
Lowe calling “see out the over” before a hat-trick vs Knowle Away 11th August
Grimes 28* two catches and a stumping vs Knowle Away 11th August
Tubb’s wicket maiden vs Knowle Away 11th August
Terry appearing on TV and “signalling” four at the Bowl 2nd Sept
If you signal with both hands it counts double right?
On the hottest day of the year since, oh I don’t know, last week some time, it was to North Walls in burning sunshine to play 18 overs on the driest pitch since records began. Lowe was triumphant in the tossery and elected to bat. Hamer and Hurst, aided by E X Tras scoring two for every wide and no ball, kept the score ticking over but fours were at a premium on a boundary so far out that the Boom Town Shuttle Buses from the station were offering a service between the square and the rope. There were some fours though, each one met by a mighty cheer from the pavilion. 23-0 after six was a fair return from a strong opening attack. In the seventh, Hurst offered a high c&b that hovered in the air for longer than many of this correspondent’s innings over the years, but it was dropped. Next over the breakthrough came though as Hamer offered an even higher one to mid on but this time, no mistake. Hurst was in belligerent mood, taking on the bowling and Farmer joined in. Both Blades were hitting big shots, Farmer’s swept four the pick of the bunch, but he was caught and bowled next ball for 10. Webber’s cameo 8 included a ball that needed to be rescued from the bushes. When Hurst was clean bowled for an excellent 14, Grimes took over, batting like he had somewhere to be and like he wanted the ball to be there first. It was four after four as he hammered 28 in just four overs, retiring with the score on 91-4 after 16 overs.
Meering to the middle with Tubb to see out the final two overs. “See out the over Bazza” the Newport Express called from behind the scorebook with three balls to go. Meering was bowled next ball. Galpin went in and was clean bowled, leaving Lowe to put his pads back on and face the final ball. “See out the over” several wags offered. Reader, he didn’t; LBW was the decision, the hat trick was complete and the final score, even with the mini-collapse at the end was 94-7.
A rate of five an over was respectable against a decent league side on a pitch the size of Moeen Ali’s beard but anything under six always looks vulnerable to an in-form batsman or two. We didn’t have to wait long though for the breakthrough as Grimes caught the number one behind in the second, a wicket maiden which saw Knowle on 5-1. The number two gave it what we all in the business Some Welly after that, and the number three joined in. 30-1 after five was ahead of the rate and Knowle were cruising. A stumping in the seventh from Meering in a spell of 1-17 gave Blades some hope. Knowle were slowing, 62-2 after 11 was just ahead of the rate but Blades were reining them back. Until the 12th went for sixteen and suddenly they needed just 17 from six overs.
Farmer bowled their number four next over and Grimes, now out in the field after Meering had taken over the gloves, caught one off Farmer in the 15th, but that was to prove to be the final over. Yet another huge four coasted them to victory. Tubb’s 1-11 and Farmer’s 2-11 had been excellent resistance but Knowle knew were the gaps and the boundary were and were just that bit too good, ending on 95-4 with three overs to spare.
RESULT: KNOWLE WIN BY 6 WICKETS
Champagne moment contenders:
Lowe calling “see out the over” before a hat-trick
Grimes 28* two catches and a stumping
Tubb’s wicket maiden
The weather gods were kind to The Blades this week as the frankly stupid and unnecessary 30+ temperatures earlier in the week mellowed down nearer to 20, and it was a slightly cloudy Wednesday night at Riverside. The Blades side saw the return of Adamson S and the debut of Adamson F, meaning there were two parent/child combos in the side. Khan was also a debutant.
Blades won the toss and elected to bat. Hamer K and Adamson S, the two parents of the side, opened and the Brookfield front line gave little away. It wasn’t until the 4th that we saw a boundary, with the score at 11-0. Brookfield changed their attack after four but the second string proved just as hard to get away. The dry, yellowing pitch had fours in it but there was little on offer from the bowlers. The opening stand made 33 from the first eight overs before Adamson was bowled after a fine four to Deep fine leg.
It’s around here that this correspondent lost track of the over count for a bit. Although the runs started to come from Brookfield’s bowling rotation, wickets were falling too. Hamer was unlucky to see a huge shot fall five yards short of the rope and directly into the hands of Deep Midwicket. Fay was hitting big but was caught for 15. Khan looked good value but a slower one did for him on 8. The fifth fell in the 14th (over count back on course) with Blades on 64 as Kumar was caught, and Brookfield brought their frontline bowlers back on. Lowe survived a huge LBW call in the 15th before a lengthy delay in the 16th when Rhodes pulled a hamstring and had to be carried from the pitch. Lowe was bowled next over, Blades were now on 78-6, effectively 7 with Rhodes’ retirement. Meering contributed 5, and the two Academy players Hamer B and Adamson F offered cameos as Blades stuttered to a total of 87-8.
On a night of debutants and returnees, we also had the pleasure of Patel joining us to watch, and given the injury to Rhodes, act as substitute fielder for the Brookfield innings. Afzal and Adamson S opened the bowling and, unexpectedly, Brookfield set about the chase early. A four every over combined with sharp running that kept singles coming saw them canter to 26-0 off 4. The no2 went for 20 next over when Afzal caught him LBW, then Kumar bowled a maiden. But the charge started again afresh and at the halfway point 64 of the required 88 had been scored. The no1 retired for 25 in the 11th, then Adamson S took a catch off Fay H but the runs kept coming and it was 79-2 after 13. Nine needed from seven overs. Meering and Adamson turned the screw, Adamson with a maiden and Meering with a wicket – a catch by Adamson. Three overs had gone gained 4 runs for 1 wicket. 83-3 after 16 then; was an impossible victory on the cards?
Well, no. Brookfield took the runs they needed in the 17th and despite a late rally by The Blades, ended on 88-3.
RESULT: BROOKFIELD WIN BY 7 WICKETS
Champagne moment contenders:
Two parent/child pairings in the Blades side
Patel returning to Blades action
Adamson F taking a catch on his debut
A Wednesday night, not a cloud in the sky, 11 Blades present; the sort of night when you’d even think 24 overs a side was on the cards.
When a coin was eventually found, Blades won the toss and elected to bat. Wythe and Hamer H faced the quick opening pair on a pitch that had a few surprise bounces in it but both had their eyes in early and made steady progress to 34 before Hamer was caught off one that popped up and at him, glancing a glove on its way to the keeper. Hall took over batting responsibilities in a Blades innings that was being built mainly on ones and twos. Wythe in particular was playing masterclass strokes but kept finding the fielder before finally hitting a four in the 11th over.
The first and second change bowlers both kept coming in at pace but Hall and Wythe were up to the challenge, building a partnership of 51 when Hall retired in the 16th with the score at 84-1. Grimes to the middle then and promptly tonked a four. Then two more in the next over as he batted like he had somewhere to be. Wythe retired in the 18th, followed by Grimes in the 19th having scored 25 including six (yes, six) fours.
Three retirements would surely be a Blades record if this correspondent could be bothered to look through the scorecards. Afzal and Meering saw out the remainder of the innings and Blades finished on a very respectable 128-1
Afzal took the first over and bowled a maiden but that pressure was short lived as the opening pair picked off both Lowe and Afzal, the fifth over seeing two boundaries off Afzal. When did that last happen? The number two retired in the 7th with the score at 43-0, bang on the required rate.
Meering and Kumar joined the attack and had the same luck. NOC moved on to 64-0 after ten overs, exactly half the Blades score at the halfway point. The game couldn’t have been more evenly poised. That was 87-0 after 14, before out of nowhere Meering was hit for five fours in the 15th, and the number three retired. (Three retirements – where did I see that happen before?)
That mammoth fifteenth over hauled NOC to 108-0. 21 needed from five overs and the way the fours were raining down, NOC were already logging on to opentopbus.com. Wythe, however, was having none of it. In the sixteenth, a NOC wicket finally fell as Hall took the catch of Wythe, and the next ball Wythe splayed the stumps. 2 for 2 in the over. Was a Blades fightback on the cards? Grimes took a catch behind the stumps off Saad in the 17th and NOC had scored 6-3 in two overs. Wythe wasn’t finished, bowling another in the 18th, then Saad did the same in the 19th. NOC had gone from 108-0 to 120-5 but that 15th over still loomed over the match and with one over left, it was nine to win and still anyone’s game.
A wide, some frantic running, and it came down to 3 to win or 2 to draw off the last ball. Lowe and Wythe debated long and reset the field. Wythe delivered…… the batsman connected and set off…. but there wasn’t enough on it. Blades kept them to a single and a blistering finish saw Blades claim it by a single run after an astonishing turnaround in the last few overs. NOC closed on 127-5. Wythe finished with 3-16 to go with his 25 not out in a man of the match performance
RESULT: BLADES WIN BY 1 RUN
Champagne moment contenders:
Lowe going to the middle for the toss without a coin
Grimes retires on 25 including six fours
Wythe 3-16 including 2 in 2 balls
A Wednesday night, a week before the summer solstice. No rain for three days. A warm sunny day that lightly clouded over at about 5.50pm. The day after a famous England Test victory. If you were designing an evening on a drawing board that was perfect for cricket, this is what you’d come up with. Your plan wouldn’t include Afzal withdrawing due to illness at the last minute and Academy product Hamer B having a twisted ankle, but seldom do all the cricketing planets align. Thus it was 10 Blades, including new signing Harry Singh that batted first.
Pitch one at the Sporty has a boundary so wide even Jonny Bairstow would struggle to reach it and the Blades openers were forced to run every single one of their 7 from the first three overs. With Hamer K bowled in the fourth and Marsh run out in the fifth, Blades were looking to do this the hard way. Even more so in the sixth when a mix up was Rhodes run out and Farmer caught, the latter surprised to see Singh joining him on the trudge back to the pavilion, having injured an ankle that needed the services of A&E. 12 for 4, effectively for 5, after six overs wasn’t in the blueprint. Kumar twunked the first four of the night before being caught in the eighth over.
Cue Galpin and Hurst steadying the ship and stopping the collapse, but despite some fine stroke play, finding runs hard to come by. The eleventh over saw a classic ChamMo contender – Galpin set off for a straightforward single and was a yard shy of grounding his bat when Hurst, still in his crease, turned him back. A charge back to the striker’s end saw Galpin safely home, having run 43.5 yards for no score.
Galpin was bowled in the 13th for total of 4 that deserved more, and Meering joined Hurst at the crease. The pair set about what I’ll generously call a widely shared out bowling attack which allowed Tras to get amongst it too. In the sixteenth, the reason for Hurst’s reluctance to run became apparent when he called for Rhodes to cover his Dashing Duties, having sustained an injury. It rained fours in the latter overs before Hurst became the second Retired Hurt of the match – a first for the Blades, and Hamer B joined Meering at the crease to demonstrate his batting ability.
A combination of a huge pitch, some accurate bowling and a pandemic of injuries had kept the scoring down though and despite Meering and Hurst both in double figures the Blades totalled a below-par 69-6.
So, a mountain to climb but Blades reached base camp in the first over as Hamer K caught the opener for 2 off the bowling of Kumar. The batsmen set about Hamer B, finding the boundary with big shots, and even Kumar was hit for 10 in his third over. Swashes were being buckled in the middle, and buckles swashed into the bargain and after just five overs, Shirley had rushed to 35-1, halfway to their target. Rhodes came in for the same treatment and the number two retired in the sixth, to be followed by the number three by way of a huge straight six. Shirley had motored to 60-1 after eight, neediNg ten to win from twelve overs.
Right on cue, Galpin stepped up and bowled a maiden. Shirley had promoted their own Academy product up the order and her batting, along with the batsmen at the other end leaving her a generous share of the strike, brought the scoring rate right down but with wickets and overs in their hands, it was only a matter of time. Galpin’s third over was also a maiden but the slow accumulation of runs was completed with a huge four in the fifteenth and the inevitable Shirley win came with a total of 71-1.
RESULT: BLADES LOSE BY 9 WICKETS
Champagne moment contenders:
Galpin running two on his won for no score
Meering’s hard low four
Galpin’s first over maiden
In an alternative Universe, this week would have seen the start of the football World Cup in glorious sunshine and this November would be dark, cloudy and threatening drizzle. Yet in this crazy post-truth world, the World Cup is going to be in November in blazing temperatures and The Blades rocked up to this match at a North Walls ground blanketed in semi-gloom. An unprecedented 10 Blades were on site before the 6pm start and fielded first in this 18-over race against the light.
Fay H and Farmer comprised the opening attack, bowling on a green pitch that suggested little in terms of bounce. The option to give 2 runs for wides and extras helped the score tick along as well as the over rate, although a clearly very classy Knowle batting line up needed little assistance as they started off at 6 an over. The number two in particular decided boundaries was the way to score, helping himself to four of them on the 6th and 7th before retiring with the score at 55-0 from 7 overs. The rate fell back after that. Kaur and Meering joined the attack and in the 12th came the breakthrough in bizarre fashion. The batsman, running a hopeful single of a shot that broke the toe off his bat, was found out of his ground when the fielding throw to Meering missed his hand but deflected off him onto the stumps. They all count, and finally one was back in the hutch at 81-1 in the 12th. Cue ten minutes of mayhem as Kaur clean bowled two in the 13th and Meering took another from the other end in the 14th. Suddenly it was 85-4 and the Knowle lower order were scrambling for their pads. Knowle returned to their previous form in the 15th – eight from it including a four – but wait, who was the yellow-capped eleventh Blade arriving? Afzal was brought straight on for the 16th over and splayed the furniture with his first delivery, using the post-wicket celebratory huddle to bid his team mates Good Evening. 95-5 then, and game was, contrary to earlier expectations, on. Or at the very least, leaning a tad less towards off. Hamer B assumed the responsibility for the 17th and was unlucky to be the victim of some late-innings run-chasing. A run out in the final over saw a 6th wicket fall but overall a decent club side had built a solid total of 127 for 6.
So a challenging target for the gallant Blades, in fact a victory would be the highest domestic second innings total for 24 years, but thoughts were of nothing but waving the willow, punishing the pill, and Seeing What Happened. Marsh and Webber strode to the middle and What Happened was Marsh striding back to the pavilion to the sound of tumbling timber after the first ball. These things happen though, and thanks to a wide, Blades were 2-1 after the first over. These things happened again in the second when Farmer was caught LBW, and then happened again again as Fay H joined Marsh in the Primary club. Oh, and then in the third too when Webber was caught, swiftly followed by Hurst who – in the unluckiest and bizzarest dismissal of the night – was out of his ground when Kaur’s drive hit the bowler’s end stumps, and he was on his way back without facing a ball. Five for five, the sort of score that would have brackets if it was on the videprinter. Hamer K was next to the middle and his 21 partnership with Kaur at least meant Knowle’s open top bus was put back in the garage for a while. Kaur was caught in the 6th with the score at 26-6 and Meering took his place, sharing a 23 partnership with Hamer K.
Hamer K was eventually bowled for 17 in the tenth over, his skipper’s innings bringing much-needed respect to the Blade scorecard. Rhodes was next in, and saw the fifty up for the Albanian massive before he was caught next over. Brief cameos from Afzal and Hamer B followed but the chubby lass had been warbling for a while. It was all over in the fourteenth, and in an evening crammed full of Unbelievable Jeff moments, the lad E X Tras came out top scorer with 18 in the Blades total of 56 all out.
RESULT: BLADES LOSE BY 71 RUNS
Champagne moment contenders:
Afzal arriving during the 15th over, taking a wicket with the first ball of the 16th
The pavilion cheering the Ten Up in the 4th over
The lad Tras finally showing his class and top scoring for The Blades