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Match Report vs Newton Tracey (Tour) 4 Septmber 2010@ Newton Tracey (Skipper and report Jam)

Picture this. You’re on tour and you start some serious drinking early on a Friday evening. You then drink a bit more with dinner and afterwards go out for more … well … drinks and (for some) a dodgy kebab. What could you really need the following morning to make you feel a bit better? Well, whatever it is, it definitely ain’t an hour and a quarter’s drive (through gloomy weather and the odd bit of drizzle) to play a game of cricket in the middle of nowhere with only 8 (hung over) players!

And so it was with great enthusiasm that we undertook our familiar pilgrimage to Newton Tracey for the first of our two tour games. Richie stood in as skipper for the toss as it was the only cricket action that he could manage with a broken hand - as it turned out, there was no toss as they have a convention by which the away team decides what to do. I said “bat” for no other reason than I didn’t want to chase the ball around all afternoon while they racked up a load of runs.

Mindful of his recent injury, Johnny F did a bit of limbering up before batting, saying "I need to stretch these calves" to which DT replied, "They're over there in that field, mate!" That pretty much set the tone for the day!

Jam & Cheese opened the innings and changed the usual routine of Cheese facing with JF at two. The first ball of the innings was a wide long hop, Jam chased it and edged it towards gully who stuck out one hand and looked as amazed as the rest of us that he caught it. So much for limbering up - I knew we should have stuck to our usual routine! 0 for 1 off 1 ball.

Shaky joined Ed and immediately took a single to get off the mark. Cheese played a cracking trademark square cut to get off the mark himself but was bowled shortly afterwards, leaving the Casz innings in disarray at 5-2 off 5 overs. Paul joined his brother and the next few overs were pretty slow going as the two tried to rebuild. It took Pablo 13 balls to get off the mark whilst the Councillor needed another 27 balls before his second scoring shot, a boundary which took his score to 5, but 11 dots later he was bowled.

17-3 off 11 overs didn’t look too good but there was a recovery of sorts as Ash & Paul ground out a 47 run partnership over the next twelve overs. Newton Tracey had brought on a new bowler by now: their skipper said he had an ‘unusual action’ – when I tell you his nickname was ‘Chucker’ you’ll get the picture. Why they let this bloke bowl was beyond me and Ash (19) was unfortunate to get bowled by a quicker chuck which I fancy stayed a bit low. It all seemed a bit pointless and left a bit of a sour taste in the mouth (a bit like Pimms & Vodka!)

So 64-3 became 64-4 and became 64-5 in the next over as their skipper came back on and got Paul bowled for a patient 24 with one that jagged back from well outside off. Next ball, it was 64-6 as one of their players, a kid called Alex, played all around a straight one.

This brought tour virgin Goff to the crease with Nick P, one of their players and reputedly a very good batsman. The problem was, he didn’t really want to get out against his team mates, so played a lot more conservatively than he normally does and eventually lobbed one up to a twelve year old at point for just 3 runs. Goff (who was still pissed thanks to Shaky’s fines from the night before) started very slowly but then decided to take the long-handled approach and managed a magnificent cover drive 4, a toe-end 6 over midwicket, and another smash to cover … which was caught by the fielder before he’d had a chance to move! A yard either side, it was a boundary all the way; as it was, Goff was back in the hutch for 19.

Andy Hood joined another guest batsman, Nick H who was bowled for 6, bringing last man Dave to the crease. A few extras helped the score to 113-9 with 7 overs to go. The 34th over went something like this:
Andy H: “Plenty of time, mate”
Dave: “Yes, mate” (Swish)
Andy H: “Plenty of time, mate”
Dave: “Yes, mate” (Swish – top edge over keeper, two runs)
Andy H: “Plenty of time, mate”
Dave: “Yes, mate” (Swish)
Andy H: “Plenty of time, mate”
Dave: “Yes, mate” (Swish)
Andy H: “Plenty of time, mate”
Dave: “Yes, mate” (Swish – top edge to mid on for an easy catch).

Casz 113 all out

Jam – caught 0 (1ball, 0x4)
Ed – bowled 4 (13, 1x4)
Mark – bowled 5 (38, 1x4)
Paul – bowled 24 (65, 5x4)
Ash – bowled 19 (28, 4x4)
N Parkin (guest) – caught 3 (12, 0x4)
A Hillman (guest) – bowled 0 (1ball, 0x4)
Goff – caught 19 (30, 2x4, 1x6)
N Harris (guest) – bowled 6 (13, 0x4)
Andy H – not out 6 (8, 1x4)
Dave T – caught 2 (9, 0x4)

Tea was ok if fairly unspectacular.

Chasing a measly 114 for victory, the first ball of the Newton Tracey reply brought a boundary, the nutty bowler Chatham cutting Winkie for 4 behind point despite Ed’s desperate chase. In Andy’s third over a widish ball went past the off stump and through to the boundary and the umpire signalled wides. Now, we had been extremely generous, not giving any wides unless they were outside the white lines, so I did mention somewhat vocally that I thought it was a bit harsh in the context of the game! A couple of balls later, a ball went about 4 inches down leg and again wide was called: if I recall I shouted something to the effect of “For f*ck’s sake, are we playing the same f*cking game or what?” Other words were said and I have to confess it really annoyed me the way they couldn’t or wouldn’t adapt their game, treating it like a league match instead of a tour friendly.

Anyway, Andy got the first wicket in the 5th over, smartly caught by Ash behind the stumps with the score on 26 and Paul got the next one bowled in the 8th over with the score on 42.

Goff replaced Andy but struggled a bit with line & length and Paul was replaced by Nick H, one of our guests who had Chatham caught behind first ball. Their skipper came in next, pissing off a number of his own team who, unlike him, had not had a chance to have a bowl. First ball was a full toss which he lobbed up to Cheese for an easy catch in front of point – serves him right! After taking two wickets with his first two balls, Nick then bowled a pile of sh*te, getting carted everywhere but I felt I had to give him go. By the time Shaky came on to bowl, they only needed 4 to win which they duly got with the last ball of the 15th over, meaning DT didn’t even get a chance to bowl.

Newton Tracey 115-4 won by 6 wickets.

Andy H: 4-1-15-1
Pablo: 4-1-24-1
Goff D: 3-0-25-0
N Harris: 3-0-41-2 (guest)
Mark: 1-0-5-1

After showering, JF asked one of their number how much we owed them for tea: when he said £40 I thought they were having a laugh, but he did say he’d go and check. So he asked the guy in charge of the teas and he said £50!! I nearly fucking fainted!

We then went to the pub where I tried to engage in a bit of conversation with the oppo, but apart from one guy who came to talk to us outside, the rest of them just sat in the pub, which just about summed up their whole attitude towards us. It’s not about winning or losing, or even about playing well or badly, but when you’re on tour, you want a bit of banter and a friendly game with friendly opposition and a drink with them afterwards. That’s what we get at Baltonsborough and what we used to get at Pumsaint, for example, but for me, it has never happened at Newton Tracey – they’re just not that friendly.

One good thing did come out of this sorry episode, however: the game finished so early we were back in Taunton by about 7:30 with plenty of time to go out on the lash and have a good curry – even if we did start off the night in a gay pub … but that’s a whole different story!!



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