Category Archives: Match Reports

Report – 18th September – Crawley AWAY

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.


Champagne moment contenders:
Grimes 72 not out
Farmer’s figures of 3-2-1-3
Hamer B takes his first Blades wicket


Report – 11th August – Knowle AWAY

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.


Champagne moment contenders:
Lowe calling “see out the over” before a hat-trick
Grimes 28* two catches and a stumping
Tubb’s wicket maiden


Report – 20th July 2022 – Brookfield AWAY

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.


Champagne moment contenders:
Two parent/child pairings in the Blades side
Patel returning to Blades action
Adamson F taking a catch on his debut


Report – 22nd June 2022 – NOC AWAY

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 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


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


Report – 15th June 2022 – Shirley AWAY

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.


Champagne moment contenders:
Galpin running two on his won for no score
Meering’s hard low four
Galpin’s first over maiden


Report – 9th June 2022 – Knowle AWAY

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.


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


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