All posts by thebladescc


So that’s another season under the Blades belt. And now all eyes turn to awards, curry and beer.
We have been collecting potential Champagne Moments throughout the summer and there is a list of them below. Please feel free to add your own nominaton in the comments below and I will then arrange a poll.
NOTE – don’t vote here, ths is just for nominations!

The list so far:

25th May 2021 – Crawley AWAY:
Marsh direct hit run out
Whythe on a hat trick in the last over
Reiss of Crawley surviving one delivery then hammering the next

2nd June 2021 – NOC AWAY:
K-Dog taking Twitter shade from GT
K-Pup’s debut wicket

Hurst and Marsh partnership
The Lordswood youth and the mystery of “who pushed Emily”

9th June 2021 – Deportivo HOME:
Meering’s big four to close the Blades innings
Farmer’s catch so low down that worms were ducking
Kumar’s 1-1 reply to the 16 off him in the previous over
Hall’s debut 17 with the bat / 2-12 with the ball combo

16th June 2021 – Shirley AWAY:
Humphrey’s 37 not out
nothing else this week came close

23rd June 2021 – Knowle Village AWAY:
Hall’s 27 not out in difficult circumstances
Andy ‘Safe Hands’ Lowe shelling pea

Harry Fay’s soothsaysong prediction

27th July 2021 – Brookfield AWAY:
Grimes hits three fours in the eighth
K-Pup’s respectable 0-6 with the ball

Grimes 25 not out

11th August 2021 – Quilter HOME:
Hurst’s 29 not out
Meering fixing his own dislocated finger and going back out to field on the boundary


Report – 11th August 2021 – Quilter HOME

There have been a few firsts this season, and this week was no exception. This fixture was the first time The Blades had played at the VT Sports Ground, next door to The Mackoy Stadium and home to still reigning Wessex League champions Sholing FC who, to this correspondent’s disappointment, weren’t training tonight so there was no chance for fangirling and autograph hunting – and also the first time we had a debutant donning the gloves. And although not exactly a first, the pre-match warm up was something that hadn’t been seen for a good ten years.

With both sides fielding ten, this was a sixteen-over clash and Blades were first to wave the willow. Hall and Grimes opened, but that became Grimes and Webber before a run was scored when Hall was caught. Indeed, only one run was added to what was technically the “total” when that became Grimes and Hurst. Webber’s NO call was overruled and he found himself Run Out without facing and Blades on 1-2. Not a great first over. Grimes hit two fours into the bushes from consecutive balls in the next over and although there was some tight bowling from Quilter, runs were beginning to come, Blades advancing to 25 when Grimes was caught on the rope in the sixth. Hurst and Humphrey kept the scoreboard ticking along with some big boundary shots and by the time Hirst retired his batting masterclass in the 8th over, Blades were on 45-3.
Fay’s cameo of 11 included a huge six, then Sharman and Rhodes both came and went but the scoreboard was still moving along to 82-6 from 13, a total which would have been higher but for some excellent fielding from Quilter. The fourteenth was a 2 wicket maiden which saw Meering caught and Humphrey bowled, and Hurst returning to the crease to join Davies for the last wicket stand. And what a stand it was as 20 were added on the last two overs, including 12 for Davies alone in the last before being caught on the penultimate ball. An innings which had started in less than glorious fashion garnered a respectable and defendable 103-9.

Fay and Humphrey opened the bowling and were giving very little away as Quilter made a slow start. A simple catch for Hurst in the second meant that Quilter were 17-1 after four overs. Virtually all the runs were coming from the number two batsmen and he set about Fay in the fifth to bring them up to 31-1 from five but Blades were relieve see that also brought his retirement. The change of Meering and Davies also bowled well but were up against cultured batsmen who could pick off any half chance.  At the halfway point Quilter were 52-1: Exactly half the runs required already chalked off and only one wicket down. The tenth saw the next breakthrough as Humphrey took a clean catch in front of the media centre and in the same over Rhodes saw a diving catch chance in the covers that he had no right to reach. But reach he very nearly did, only to see the ball evade his grasp at the last moment.

The number four retired in the 11th – two retirees shows the ability of the batting line up. Meering was the pick of the bowlers with his three overs going for only 12 before – ouchie – he dislocated a finger. But within an over, his calm self-repairs saw the finger back in place and taped, and Meering back on the boundary fielding and returning the ball to the keeper’s gloves like it ain’t no thang.
With three overs remaining, twenty were needed for a Quilter win – a run a ball. Finely poised for a photo finish. Sadly though, these all came in the fourteenth as Quilter sprinted over the line and a fine match that, in all honesty, was probably going to be edged by Quilter, drew to a premature close with a six that went over the fence onto the hallowed Sholing FC turf. Quilter ended on 105-3.


Champagne moment contenders:
Davies explosive final over
and six
Hurst’s 29 not out

Meering fixing his own dislocated finger and going back out to field on the boundary


Report – 27th July 2021 – Brookfield AWAY

After last week’s HowwetwasthepitchreallyafterallthatrainGate, it was a pleasure to arrive at Riverside to a dry pitch and an evening so sunny that we probably could have fitted in 40 a side. OK, maybe 22. With both sides a couple short as the hour of 6pm arrived, stand in skipper K-Dog negotiated Blades batting first, and battle commenced.

Marsh and Webber started the innings in brisk enough fashion, marshalling the score to 15 in the third before Marsh was caught at square leg for 6. Webber continued the attack, hitting the second four of the innings in the next over but was then back in the pavilion having been caught for 10. 23 for 2 was soon 25 for 3 then 26 for 4 as both Kumar and Shedh were victims of the Brookfield “See how many we can catch in one innings” Challenge.
Tubb was the next catchee at 34-5 in the seventh and although the Runs For column was ticking along at a reasonable rate, the Wickets Down column was chasing it annoyingly closely.

A wide pitch with a dense outfield was doing Blades no favours. Boundaries were at a premium and Blades were forced to rely on running their runs, although to be fair Tras was having a decent knock too.
All that changed when Grimes came to the middle when the fifth wicket fell though. It didn’t so much start raining boundaries as lightly drizzling them but at least they were coming. Three of them in the eighth helped Blades to a respectable 49-5 at the end of the ninth. K-Pup was supporting Grimes well and showing good technique – the Blades Academy clearly teaches them well – but the runs weren’t coming for him. He was unlucky to be C&B in the tenth to a spectacular diving catch. There were murmurs around the media centre that perhaps another bowler wouldn’t have tried quite so hard against a Colt batsman and he was perhaps thinking of his figures, but to be fair it WAS a good take and they do all count. 50-6 at the halfway point was probably about par.

K-Dog replaced the Pup and he joined Grimes in keeping the runs ticking over whilst building a partnership. Brookfield were beginning to turn the screw though and a maiden sixteenth meant Blades were 68-6 having scored only 18 in the last six.
Grimes retired next over with an impressive 25, leaving Hamer to bring the innings home with Humphrey.
It had been an innings of two halves, with the flurry of wickets around the mid point, and the scoring in the second ten overs had slowed.  Blades innings closed on 93-6.

So not a huge total but a rate of around five an over would be needed on a pitch that offered the batsmen little, and an outfield that offered less on the occasions the batsmen could get the ball away. It was very much game on.

Humphrey Sr and Lowe opened and although they both had a couple of expensive overs, the rest of their respective spells was tight enough, and Brookfield had only made 22 when a run out brought the first wicket at the start of the fifth.
A routine catch off Lowe for Hamer at short extra cover (or thereabouts, positions aren’t this correspondent’s expertise) in the sixth and another run out in the seventh and the ancient Cricketing Gods of Dukwuthe and Luës were beginning to smile down on our gallant heroes.

At the halfway point, Brookfield were 50-3, matching Blades run for run.
From that point on though, Brookfield seemed to flick a switch and although they were struggling to find the rope as much as Blades had, they were running the ones and twos. I would say they kept the scoreboard ticking over but we didn’t have the numbers to do that so they kept the Brookfield scorer’s ECB scoring app ticking over instead.

The twelfth over saw the biggest four of the night which took two bounces before arriving in the media centre – smart fielding by the scorer preventing loss of life – and shortly after the 4 and 5 batsmen both reached their retirements, the number 5 hitting the evening’s only six back over the bowler’s head.

They may have been back in the shed but their work was done and the game was as good as Brookfield’s. 92-3 after fifteen overs meant there were only three needed and five overs to get them in. Humphrey Jr and Grimes made them work for the final runs and they didn’t cross the line until a leg bye mid way through the seventeenth brought them to 94-4.

Overall a decent Blades effort in an enjoyable and generally close match but it was the Brookfield middle order wot won it, the Blades total being around the twenty short that some pundits had suggested at the break.


Champagne moment contenders:
Grimes hits three furs in the eighth
K-Pup’s respectable 0-6 with the ball

Grimes 25 not out


Report – 23rd June 2021 – Knowle Village AWAY

Baking hot sunshine greeted the Blades’ first visit to North Walls this season as a shuffled Blades line-up battled the ever-joyous Winchester traffic to face Knowle village. Fay senior and junior making their first appearances of the season.

The Badger Lowe is nothing if not a traditionalist and duly lost the coin toss. Knowle opted to bat and, further sticking with tradition, Afzal took the fresh cherry. Tradition the theme then, Knowle were treated to typically miserly stuff from Afzal with just one scored from the first over. K-Dog opened from the other end and Knowle were 7 for 0 from the opening 2. The pudding wicket was clearly slow and regularly keeping low.

However, one of the Knowle openers quickly got their eye in and the pitch didn’t seem to bother him – Afzal getting milked for 12 in the next over. It’s rare to see the main man taking quite a beating but it was happening at both ends. I don’t recall the last time an opener was walking back to the pavilion with 25 not out in the middle of the 5th over.

Afzal and K-Dog toiled away but Knowle found themselves on an ominous 44 for 0 off 6. Knowle were adopting the “go big or go home” Lance Kluesner mentality but maybe a shade to soon. The other Knowle opener went for an Afzal delivery that turned out to be a yorker and the stumps were inevitably splayed.

Our Newportian skipper then made a change and brought Saad into the attack who bowled a fine over and went for just 2 runs. The Badger then backed himself and, despite going for a few runs, brought the second as another Knowle batsmen threw the willow at a straight one and then had to get straight on the phone to DFS for fresh furniture.

In the next over Hall took a routine catch off Saad’s bowling and suddenly our heroes looked back in the game. At the 10 over halfway stage Knowle were on 62 for 3. A strong start but the wickets were tumbling. Knowle continued to take healthy swings at a variety of deliveries and regularly found the middle but they all seemed to be falling safe or to the Skipper – which essentially meant they were falling safe. Lowe got under three chances that were, admittedly, travelling – but none would stick. He was dropping balls like a contestant on Danny Dyer’s The Wall – check it out, good clean fun – but to be fair to the Badger, none were as easy as this –

Where were we?  Oh yes, Blades cricket – Blades struggling. However, Hall and Juggy combined to create a run out but Knowle were now on an eye watering 108 for 4 with 5 overs to come. Hall and Meering  kept things tight and in the 18th over the “Barrier” conjured up a caught and bowled and almost got another after that. A Knowle colt came to the wicket and batted well for a couple of runs and whilst the run rate appeared to slow a little, there was sufficient Knowle bat wafting at the other end to see them end on 133 for 5 off the 20. Oof.

A slow wicket, keeping low and a big pitch made it look an ominous total. 

Hamer and Hall lead the Blades response and found the going tough – straight and accurate bowling on a slow pitch with long boundaries. That runs were hard to come by somewhat underlined just how good the Knowle opening batsmen were. Runs were slow to come by indeed – Hall hitting some fine shots but on a few occasions the ball stopping short of the rope. Hall and Hamer did a lot of running to see Hall to his retirement for a very fine and well-earned 27*. Hamer followed Hall back to the pavilion almost immediately getting bowled off his pads to a swinging delivery for 11.

Blades found themselves on 51 for 1 in the 12th and, frankly right up against it. K-Dog and Harry Fay were at the crease now and wasted no time getting amongst it. Boundaries remained at a premium but the runs came a little quicker. 68 after 14 overs still leaving surely too much to do. Acutely aware of this, K-Dog was caught at mid-wicket going after one which brought ‘Juggy’ Marsh to the crease.

The Blades returning academic Harry Fay edged the scoreboard towards respectability with a mighty heave to cow that brought about what was easily the biggest six of this Blades season. Possibly trying to repeat the trick he was sadly clean bowled next ball.

Meanwhile, the Newport Express had been working on his catching – catching some rays umpiring out in the middle – but it was time to come in and pad up as he would soon be needed. The Barrier was out all too quickly bowled for 2 or possibly 3 – I can’t read Afzal’s scoring, this bloke must be a doctor or something.

Now, Harry Fay claims to be studying business at University but one wonders if in fact he is actually studying witchcraft with Potter’s crowd. As Fay senior took the crease, Harry, with fine precision, predicted that his Dad John would “just hit it and run” and he wasn’t wrong…… John hit it, set off and at around halfway realised that Marsh wasn’t interested in the dodgiest of singles – Fay sprinted back to his original mark but didn’t quite get there, effectively running himself out. Colin ‘Crazy’ Johnson, formerly of this parish, holds the record for run out involvements but I don’t think he ever brought the sword down on himself. This is just how the day was going for our heroes.

Blades needed 51 off the last 2 overs and I’m afraid it is difficult to give this story even the faintest whiff of climax. Marsh and Saed gave of their best but the Blades were well beaten on 93 for 6


Champagne moment contenders:
Hall’s 37 not out in difficult circumstances
Andy ‘Safe Hands’ Lowe shelling pea

Harry Fay’s soothsaysong prediction


Report – 16th June 2021 – Shirley AWAY

There have been a few firsts this season, and this week we had – well, not a first but a first for a long time – namely, several Blades having to stand down due to over-subscription of players. The eleven that made the cut gathered at the Sporty (ten of them ready by 6pm – another first?) in anticipation of 20 overs each way against an always useful Shirley side.

The Newport Badgerstrain, making a first appearance of the season, set out his stall early by winning the toss and electing to bat. Marsh and Hamer K headed to the middle to engage battle. This correspondent had barely written their names in the notepad though before Marsh was returning, caught first ball. Not the start we wanted. But Webber took over and promptly tonked two fours off the over. But it was to be a mere fleeting cameo as next over he was back in the pavilion, caught for 9. Hamer was LBW for 8 in the fourth and whilst the rate was ticking over nicely, so were the wickets.
K-Dog had taken over from Webber and Kumar joined him on Hamer’s demise. Between them they played some glorious shots, Kumar claiming his weekly six in the process, and their partnership was at 42 when it was ended only by Humphrey’s retirement on 26. Tame was next up, getting off the mark straight away with a 4 as the pair kept the 6+ run rate moving. Tame sadly only made 5 before being bowled in the 11th but with the score at 78-4 the numbers were in Blades favour.
Kumar was dismissed for a splendid 16, quickly followed by Saad and Lowe – caught and bowled and caught behind respectively – and suddenly we were 7 down and in danger of not batting out the 20 overs. Cometh the hour though, cometh The Barrier. Thou shalt not pass, he declared and set about the bowling. Afzal and Hamer B came and went at the other end and with 3 overs left and 103 on the board, Blades had got through their full batting line up. meaning Humphrey strode back to the square. Another 23 were cultured from those three overs, both batsmen ending the innings undefeated; Meering with an impressive 24 and K-Dog with an imperious 37. Both with asterisks of course. Despite a wobble around the 10th to 14th overs during which this correspondent lost track of the over count, such was the tumblefest, Blades had powered to an excellent 130-9.

The clouds were gathering as Shirley began their innings, and the wind was beginning to blow. Thunderstorms and rain were forecast but there was full expectation that the match would run its course.
Afzal and Humphrey opened the attack and Afzal was first to strike in the third and only 7 on the board. Both bowlers kept the lid screwed, glued and nailed on, only allowing Shirley 20 from the first seven overs. In the eighth, Shirley found where the boundary was for the first time, and then rather decided they liked it, finding it twice more in the over. Was this the belated but half-expected charge beginning? In a word, nosireeBobbyGee it wasn’t. Next over Hamer caught the number two off the bowling of Lowe, then Saad clean bowled the next with his second ball. By the tenth it was 40-3, Shirley well behind the 70 that Blades had amassed by halfway. It is a sign of the accuracy of the bowling and the efficiency in the field that the next four didn’t come until the 11th over. Not only were Shirley falling fatally behind the rate, they were lucky not to be more wickets down. Lowe had waited under a huge skied shot for long enough to think about it, not think about it, think about it, think about what to have for tea, do the crossword, pop to Sainsburys for his week’s shopping, have a quick nap and still be underneath it. I counted three juggles but it may have been more. The batsman was already walking but by the fourth juggle, with Lowe now on the floor, it had slipped from his grasp and the batsman stayed.
Another chance was much quicker – so quick in fact that it zipped between Marsh’s gloves behind the stumps before he had a chance to bring them together.
Saad took the fourth wicket in the 14th over but with only 60 posted, there was surely no way back for the home side. Occasional rain drops were falling, the gloom was gathering and it was becoming a race to finish the game.
Meering and Kumar were the final change and all hope of an admittedly fanciful victory evaporated. It’s true that this coincided with Shirley sending a schoolgirl in to bat but although sportingly the Blades attack gave her a decent chance, neither she nor her colleague-in-pads could get the score board moving. Meering’s 0-2 from 2 and Kumar’s 0-8 from 3 tell the story of the innings’ end, which bookended Afzal’s 1-10 from 4 at the start.
Shirley never got going in their twenty overs, mainly due to the accuracy of the Blades bowling, and as a result fell a long way short on 81-4. Not since 2003 when Blades won by 55 runs had there been such a margin of victory.


Champagne moment contenders:
Humphrey’s 37 not out
nothing else this week came close


Report – 9th June 2021 – Deportivo HOME

In a week that saw a late fixture addition vs Knowle, which was then cancelled, then replaced at the last-minute with a hastily arranged match vs Deportivo, followed by several WhatApp messages telling of withdrawals and injuries, it felt like this fixture was Off and On again more times than an IT helpdesk caller’s laptop.
But On it went, and two teams of eager cricketers, without the assistance of oxygen or sherpas, scaled the East Face of the Sporty for only the second ever Blades vs Deportivo clash.

For the second time in two weeks, Blades took to the field with two debutants – Nigel Hall and Hemant Kumar both donned the baggy blue with reputations in both bat and ball prowess.
Hall opened with Hurst, whose cameo four was cut short by a calf strain, and knocked a cultured 17 including the first boundary of the innings. Showing he knows one end of a bat from the other, he gave a masterclass in Actual Cricket Shots. Brown and Farmer’s 46 partnership was dotted with fours and motored Blades to 67-1 from 10 overs before Farmer was caught for 20 at long off in the 11th. Brown followed him back to the pavilion later that same over, but of his own volition with an undefeated 27. Second debutant Kumar, having patrolled the rope for a good three or four overs like a caged tiger but with pads on, also impressed with the bat, compiling a 20 which included the only six of the innings before being stumped next ball in the 15th.
A regular smattering of fours and sharp running throughout the order ensured the run rate was in the high sixes for the whole of the innings; Hamer and Meering’s 20 partnership keeping this going, and it was The Barrier who tonked a four off the last ball to bring The Blades to a creditable 123-4.

But this was The Sporty. Their website declares that the pitches “vary a little in size” and Pitch Five is legendary for its philatelic proportions. Coupled with the fact the wicket was cut so near the boundary on one side that chasing a wide would put the batsman in danger of catching his glove on the fence, the standard “one or four” innings was expected. And if this leant more towards the fours, then 123 could quickly look very gettable.
Afzal opened proceedings, only allowing a single from the first over. Farmer joined him in the attack and when he bowled the number 2 in the fourth, Depo were 16-1. They were finding runs hard to come by, fours in particular – one of which in the fifth only crossed the rope when Rhodes was completely unsighted by the sun setting directly in his eyeline.
Farmer took a catch off Afzal in the 7th with the score at 34 – a little behind the rate but Depo still had the total very much in their sights. They were 42-2 after 8, only four behind the Blades total at the same stage.
But where Blades had kept the scoreboard ticking from the ninth onwards, Depo stalled. They were 45-3 in the ninth when Brown caught behind off Meering, then Farmer decided that was enough of other people getting Depo out thank you very much, and caught the next off Hall before flooring the furniture himself for the fifth wicket. He had now been involved in four of the five dismissals. Depo slumped to 52-6 when Hall claimed a wicket in the 12th, three wickets having fallen for just 7 runs. 68 runs were needed from the last 6 overs and BetFred were considering paying out but Depo went on the charge. The 14th went for 16, the 15th for 11 – both overs featuring sixes – and suddenly Hollywood film producers were on the phone, sensing a comeback that would feature Tom Hanks when they showed it on the big screen. But in the 16th Kumar replied brilliantly to his previous (undeserved) 16-run over with 1-1, slamming the door on the nascent recovery. Hall kept the 17th down to five runs – ending his impressive debut with the ball with a return of 2-12 from three overs – and barring a miraculous 28-run final over, Blades were home and dry. Still the drama continued with a 6 and a 4 in the over but a run out with the batsman so short you could see it from space, meant the last two deliveries were of academic interest only. Despite a gallant late effort, Deportivo had not quite done enough on the middle of the innings and this thoroughly enjoyable match ended with them on 110-9.


Champagne moment contenders:
Meering’s big four to close the Blades innings
Farmer’s catch so low down that worms were ducking
Kumar’s 1-1 reply to the 16 off him in the previous over
Hall’s debut 17 with the bat / 2-12 with the ball combo


Report – 2nd June 2021 – NOC AWAY

“If life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. Elbert Hubbard couldn’t make the Blades second fixture, taking on NOCS at Southampton Sports Centre, but if he had he would have doubtless said “if life gives you a massive pitch, 9 players and two of them colts – try and make it look like a game of cricket”. But maybe something a shade more pithy.
And so it came to pass that a patched up Blades took on NOCS with no less gusto than is normal but with some understandable apprehension.

NOCS won the toss and, with scant regard for the Blades predicament, asked our 9 brave heroes to bat first. K-Dog and MC Hamer took to the field and made a steady start against some tricky movement but mostly unaggressive bowling. However, Hamer got through an attempted hook shot too quickly in the third over and absolutely skied it. Fielder standing at mid wicket initially looked unconfident but ultimately held on.
This brought Jim “Jimmer Thirsty” Hurst to the crease who was quickly joined by James “Juggy” Marsh as K-Dog ‘got a good one’ from the NOCS opening slow right arm. Blades really up against it early doors but, dear reader, don’t fret just yet. Hurst and Marsh showed the way with some absolutely imperious batting, each helping themselves to plenty of boundaries with some beautifully timed fours. Both Blades seeing their way safely to retirement, each scoring 26.
Kieran Tame – remember him? – making about his third Blades appearance in 20 years, came to the crease to support Juggy at the end of his innings. He was joined by The Barrier and these boys continued the good stuff with plenty of scoring and each hitting fours – Kieran’s so big it felt like it should’ve been 6 but the pitch really is that big.
Both untroubled throughout and carrying their respective willows, Blades reached 97 for 2 at the end of 18 overs. A slow start led to a decent total but it felt short given the pitch size (and team size!). At the close of innings, 10 year old debutant Keir Humphrey – padded up and ready to go – looked disappointed not to be getting a bat but his story wasn’t to end there..…

Blades took to the field fully aware of the challenge ahead of them. Big pitch, not enough bodies and, in all probability, not a big enough total to defend. Good then that they were joined for the second half by another debutant in Zia Saad brought in on a loan deal from the Afzal academy of cricketing medicine. As is now customary Afzal took the first over and was backed up at the other end by K-Dog.
Now, what you don’t want at the start of such a challenge is the local Lordswood youth on the boundary, kicking off with each other over who pushed who. Yet that – guttural language normally reserved for cruelly dismissed Les Ormes batsmen – was our soundtrack, at ear splitting volume…….

After a steady start the quality of the opening NOCS pair became brutally clear. 7 for 0 from 2 became 19 for 0 off 4 became 32 for 0 off 6. Afzal was then hit for consecutive fours for the first time in this correspondent’s memory. What is the opposite of a champagne moment?
At 42 for 0 off 7 K-Dog brought Juggy in to the attack and Marsh might’ve wished he’d picked someone else. Blades were helped ably by E.X.Tras in their innings with an over of “absolute filth” (as Wikes would’ve said) from some lad who hadn’t bowled for two years. Marsh is such a nice guy that he opted to make the NOCS lad feel better by showing it can happen to anyone, even a seasoned campaigner such as the Juggster.
53 from 8 looked very bleak for the Blades. Around this stage “epic bants” were kicking off on Twitter as the King of Sping, usually infamous for his on-field chat, took on the role of keyboard warrior and called out K-dog for not giving the youth a go. Meanwhile, on the field, Juggy pulled it back with a fine recovery over whilst   the Barrier was keeping it tight at the other end, despite a four from the other NOCS opener to bring up his retirement.

At 85 for 0 K-Dog did indeed turn to the youth and Keir “needs a nickname” Humphrey took the ball for the 14th over. The first ball produced a dot and the second, keeping low and nipping back in, made a mess of the batsman’s furniture. Cue absolutely insane cover safe bedlam. The new batsman then edged the third delivery but stand-in ‘keeper Hurst couldn’t make it stick – very tricky chance to be fair. Every other ball a dot and the ten – yes TEN – year old takes a wicket maiden. Absolutely remarkable but, taking it in his stride, he then took another wicket in his next over, completely untroubled by a couple of boundaries. At the other end Hamer Junior was bowling for just the second time and would’ve had a maiden if his dad was a bit more awake, the 6th ball going for a couple that maybe could’ve been stopped. Billy’s second over brought a couple of almost half-chance catches but no dice and NOCS got the winning runs though it took longer than most expected – the youth policy creating their own script and an exciting finish.
“King of Spring was right” t-shirts on sale soon.

NOC score 98-2


Champagne moment contenders:
Keir Humphrey wicket maiden from first over on debut
K-Dog taking Twitter shade from GT
Hurst and Marsh partnership
The Lordswood youth and the mystery of “who pushed Emily”


New Fixtures Added

My fellow Albanians

Yes, you read that right, there are now THREE more chances to don the baggy blue this summer:

Wed 2nd Jun vs NOC @ The Sporty

Wed 9th Jun vs Knowle Village (venue tbc)

Wed 2nd Jun vs NOC @ The Sporty

Click on each fixture above to register, or click HERE to go to the full fixture list and register for every game this season. You will also* be entered into our mega-draw where you could win one of these amazing prizes:

A popadom of your choice at the end of season curry
A mention in a match report
A chance to keep wicket for a over
One million pounds in cash**
An all-expenses-paid trip to Tirana***


* probably
** you won’t win this
*** or this

Report – 25th May 2021 – Crawley AWAY

After a couple of cancelled fixtures, the Blades season got under way at Crawley Crows, an idyllic Constable painting of a ground in the Hampshire countryside. A capacity crowd of four humans, three dogs and fifteen million midges packed the huge terrace in anticipation of a top notch evening of cricket. Traffic congestion resulted in delayed Bladery, and the pragmatic decision was taken for Blades to bat.
Whythe and Farmer opened the batting and Whythe flicked the first Blades score of the summer off his legs. E X Tras got amongst it early doors too as the opening pair began to score but a direct hit run out found Whythe short of his ground in the third and we were 5-1.
Marsh joined Farmer for a fine partnership of 29 including the first boundary of the season as March chunted a low four through cow in the seventh. This was followed next ball by a dropped catch – albeit a tricky diving effort – and then a further four with a beautifully timed flick behind square leg by Farmer. Marsh was bowled for 11 at the end of the 7th with the score on 34, to be replaced by Webber whose 12 included the first 6 of the season.
Farmer was caught at mid-on in the ninth and at the halfway point Blades – admittedly helped by what we could fairly call Second String Bowling helping Tras to a good knock and testing the scorers’ ability to fit multiple extra deliveries in a small box in the book – were poised nicely at 50-3.
Hurst replaced Farmer and, partnered by Webber and then Hamer, knocked a cultured 12 that this correspondent felt deserved twice as much. The next bowling change after the 13th saw a much more miserly attack reduce the rate and although the wickets stayed intact, Hurst and Hamer were struggling to get much away on a slow pitch. When Hurst was bowled, Humphrey knocked a cameo six in the last two overs, the final being the debut over from a female rookie bowler. Blades, despite a slow-down in the latter half, had done enough early on to post a decent – but gettable – total of 101-5.

Afzal-Galpin is by now a legendary opening attack, and Blades opted for this trusty pairing. Whythe caught the number two off Afzal in the second and Crawley were restricted to 18-1 from the first five overs.
The sixth went for a few including what looked destined to be a huge six but it fell ten yards short and a combination of the height of the shot and the heaviness of the pitch meant it stopped, not even making a four.
The next over though belonged to Afzal, a catch by Hurst giving him a wicket maiden, assisted by a run out off the fielding of Marsh. 34-3 from seven overs – behind the rate but still evenly balanced.
Wythe and Humphrey came on for the first change and, whatever the cricket equivalent of parking the bus is, that’s what happened. “Oh god they can all bowl,” remarked their scorer behind me. “Yes they can,” was the resigned reply from his companion. 16 scored for 1 in the next six overs and the pendulum of fate was looking kindly down on the Blades.
Marsh joined Humphrey at the next change, then Whythe took over from Humphrey as his spell ended, but the Scroogesque attack continued. That was fatally combined with a revolving-door installation in the pavilion as all Crawley’s attempts to chase the total resulted in Blades catchery or furniture demolition. By the end of the 14th Crawley were at 53-6 and BetFred were already paying out on a Blades win.
The final over began at 66-7. Gary Sobers could have won it from there if we’d been playing in Swansea but the great man wasn’t selected and Crawley hopes vanished as Whythe caught and bowled, then bowled, Crows to 66-9. A hat trick ball would wrap it up. Last man in was in fact the last woman in, as the bowler of the last Blades over stepped up to face the rest of the last Crows over. The ground was abuzz – Whythe was on a hat trick but would gentlemanly decorum be observed too? Whythe delivered a strong ball, but to cheers from the home contingent, the hat trick ball was fended away. Next ball the cheers were even louder as the red pill was despatched effortlessly towards the pavilion, falling just short of a majestic four. Whythe brought the innings to an end, and Blades had recorded only their second first match victory of the last ten seasons. Despite a minor flurry near the middle of the innings, Crawley never looked close to the win, and closed on 69-9.


Champagne moment contenders:
Marsh direct hit run out
Whythe on a hat trick in the last over
Reiss of Crawley surviving one delivery then hammering the next


Mirëdita 2021!

My fellow Albanians

Thanks to the excellent and dedicated work of our beloved HOFF Emma, we have a(n almost full) list of fixtures for this Summer and we all hope that weather and pandemics permitting we will be able to get back to cricketing some cricket in 2021.

Of course the other variable is sufficient Blade sign-up, so let’s make sure we give the selection committee a headache every week by all registering for as many games as possible. Of course if you don’t play one week then there is always space on the North Stand for the travelling army. Let’s face it, the more people that can remind Ade not to leave the flag behind the better.

Click HERE for the full fixture list, and get your names down!