A beautiful late September day greeted CtC for their final domestic outing of a season that had begun in Rwanda over six months previously - with a rogue fixture in Sri Lanka still to come.
Three Sunday fixtures had preceded this one, a disappointing defeat in our traditional season opener against the Moose, a fantastic marque fixture at Whitgift where we were second best to a masterclass from their West Indian U19 player, and an enjoyable 8 wicket win against Highgate Wood. Midweek we also had a record four fixtures, sadly, in a summer that will remembered how hot and dry it was, two fell foul of the rain, against The Optimists and also the long awaited T20 against Zapoi. Of the two that were played, we lost to a Hesketh inspired ATL in another enjoyable encounter against our north London friends, and had a straightforward victory against a James Lester led Commons Old Boys XI. Until today then, the domestic scorecard read played 7, won 2, lost 3, no result 3. A win against London Fields then was therefore needed to come away with an even season.
Back to London fields and a nice looking pitch just behind “The Pub on The Park”. The wicket looked good and overall it seemed a brilliant set up for a council pitch. CtC won the toss, and eyeing the friendly conditions and with a stupidly strong batting line up, chose to bat. With a line up featuring Coe, Hesketh, Skinner, Gill and Dave Fagan, borrowed from Foxton, it was felt a big score could be on if the guns delivered. And deliver they did...
Lomas, making a long awaited debut, opened and got a quick 16, before Coe took charge. His hundred was inevitable and came up in just the 17th over - leaving CtC on 146-2 at drinks. Sadly for London Fields, Hesketh picked up where Coe left off, clobbering 83 before being caught on the fence, when a century looked certain. The eponymous London fielders kept working hard, and, taking the wickets f the dangerous Gill, and Baggo, cheaply, they might have had ambitions of keeping CtC close to 300. Sadly for them, Dave Fagan had other ideas, and raced to 50 in no time. Going into the last over, he was on 74, a 100 in reach with a perfect 36... he finished on 98*, a one bounce four the only thing that prevented him bringing up a ton in the most outrageous fashion.
With such a large total on the board, the London Fields innings was somewhat of a low key affair, a shame for a CtC attack with two debutantes looking to impress - both did as much as they could in the circumstances, Jelly taking 2-42 from 7, and Lomas bowling 5 tight overs for just 15. Elsewhere, Davidson was the pick of the rest, taking 1-29 from his seven. The game meandered along with London Fields eventually finishing on 238-7, giving CtC victory by 127 runs.
Despite our anti-social batting performance London Fields seemed to enjoy the day out, and with nothing more to say on the game myself, I'll copy and paste from their website:
"To conclude, the game was played in an excellent spirit, in the lat summer sun. We hope that CtCCCC enjoyed their fixture at London Fields, and look forward to the possibility of future games. All in all, this was a fitting way to end the 2018 cricketing season at London Fields."
CtC ended an unprecedented year of travel with a defeat in Sri Lanka against Vidyaloka College in what was a first non-touring overseas fixture for the club (this, in the unlikely events anyone is interested, was because it lacked any of the other trappings of tour such as court or roles, and rather than being an organised tour was more a group of independent travelling clubm’n and associates assembling in Sri Lanka).
The XI independent travellers compromised club members Dean, Davidson, Dillon, Shaw, Fairbank and Skinner (Rudkin senior remained unavailable due to injury, Cassels senior pulled out, presumably due to dating clashes, and Pemberton, for once, resisted goading and didn’t travel). In addition we were joined by three lads from Dulwich (Ben, AJ and Quaife), a mate of Simon’s, George Delemain, and the Philanderers’ Paul Leary. With very limited knowledge of our own team, and less of the opposition it was hard to know how the game would go...
A note first on the setting, a delightful ground, surrounded on three sides by thick jungle vegetation, and a striking rock on the midwicket boundary from at the pavilion end. The ground is officially named Lords’ Hikaduwa as it was funded by the MCC in the wake of the 2004 tsunami and also featured wicket that had been rolled to within an inch of its life, an electronic scoreboard and a pavilion complex complete with indoor nets.
After many, many hours of debate over what to do first, Dean lost the toss and CtC were put into the field on a pretty stinking fucking hot day (side note, as we limbered up Mike Gatting ambled over to inspect the facilities on behalf of the MCC and wished us luck). The Lankan batsmen came out, sadly not in their sparkling blue uniforms, but I was pretty aroused anyway. Davidson bowled the first over, and immediately had a big lbw shout turned down. Undoubtably the Sri Lankan schoolboys were roughed up by a global businessmen steaming in, and sure enough there was a mixup with the batsmen, one opener desperate to be off strike was sent back halfway down the pitch, with the ball already in the fielders hand. Sadly the fielder in question was Dean, whose pathetically weak and inaccurate arm proved to be nowhere near up to the relatively easy chance.
Quaife bowled the second over for 5 and CtC were on top. Davidson, sensing the fear in the opposition batsmen went for the jugular, and dug a couple of vicious looping bouncers which were deposited to the fence. Quaife however got a nice caught and bowled in his second over to leave the score at 30-1 after four overs.
The middle overs progressed with neither side getting on top. Fairbank bowled four on the bounce in the heat, with figures of 0-31 not really doing him justice. AJ similarly threatened but couldn’t make the breakthrough, though would’ve done had Dean held a simple chance, and Ben bowled two tight overs for 11.
After thirteen overs things looked ominous with the score 113-1 but Quaife returned to get the accelerating opener for a classy 60. AJ got the number three and suddenly 117-3 after fifteen overs looked much better for the cycling cricketers.
However a combination of a couple of “old boys” trying to hit every single ball for 6 and trademark terrible over from Dean which cost 16 swung momentum back towards the Sri Lankan’s. Once again CtC fought back and Davidson and Quaife bowled excellent final overs, Davidson taking one wicket and Quaife another two to finish with superb figures of 3-22 from four overs. The final total was an imposing but chaseable 167.
Skinner and Leary started in watchful style. The first over a maiden, they then scored exclusively in singles until the 30th ball of the innings, which Leary hit for 6. Skinner was the first to go, bowled for 11 (all in singles), in his defence he had little chance to defend the ball given his bat was sailing towards the square leg umpire at the moment the ball hit the stumps. Dillon joined Leary but sadly another mixup with the basemen, combined with some sharp fielding, which was to be a feature of the innings, ran him out for just 2.
Ben Lester (3) and George Delemain (2) failed to get going, but this didn’t deter Leary, who started to play some truly stunning shots. He hit seven sixes in an arc from wide long on to extra cover, each with a lazy swing of the bat. Suddenly CtC had hope. He hit the first three balls of the eleventh over for 6, and the fourth for 2, taking him to 54 out of the total of 80. Sadly he was out, stumped, next ball.
A.J. did his best with 31 but had no one to stay with him, Shaw run out and Davidson bowled both for ducks. Fairbank made 12 including a nice straight six but he game was up, CtC all out for 133, a loss by 34 runs.
As so often with T20 it was a case of should’ve, would’ve, could’ve... we bowled well with probably just two big overs costing us. Certainly they outperformed is in the field, where they were very strong, and perhaps because they were more used to playing in oppressive heat. With the bat we probably just needed one other player to go with Leary... but all in all the better side won.
So finally CtC’s epic ten month season came to an end in fine surrounds, albeit in defeat. Vidyaloka college were great hosts and it was hugely satisfying for CtC to sample another continent. When the cycling cricketers return to the sub-continent will now be in the hand of the future tours programme, who were rumoured to be booking flights to the next destination in September 2019, within days of the 2018 season ending.
After a dominant performance in the Kennington Wednesday final CtC felt they had a real chance of progressing in this years champions league, particularly after avoiding any big guns in the opening round. Unfortunately for the cricketing cyclists it wasn’t to be, with a poor performance in all facets of the game, they lost to pique blinders, despite Baggo’s best efforts.
On an unfamiliar pitch CtC were pleased to be asked to bowl first. Hammo and Sherwin opened up and the opposition batsmen looked out of their depth. Dean’s plan A has been to bowl Sherwin and Hammo hard at the start In search of wickets, thus saving his bits and pieces bowlers to the lower order. Sensing however these might not be there strongest batsmen, Dean switched to plan B after three overs - getting through the bits and pieces of Baggo, Dorgan and Cassels early and saving Hammo, Rutty and Shez. Ultimately the plan didn’t work... though PB never got away, they got far too many. Both openers retired with respectable but mor astonishing strike rates, but it turned out there were no better batsmen. The tail could thus swing from the hip, and kept the rate up, not helped by some very poor fielding, including an awful drop from Hammo and Cass tipping a catch over the ropes for 6. Shez battled taking a few wickets, but at this point it was dots we needed.
All that said... we only had 181 chase, which we felt we had a good chance to, but would be reliant on Hammond or Cassels going big. Hammo sadly went early, but with Cass firing we had a chance. Sadly he went for 39 and without either “gun” in the hutch we were struggling.
Shez got 30 from 20 to keep us in the game and Will Wright, and absolute legend for helping us out, for 20 from 13. Rutty meanwhile was lacking his usual fluency but was hanging in there. The rate however seemed to have got away from us, many felt we were dead and buried. Not the bagman though... he doesn’t know the meaning of the words “lost cause”. Joining Rutty he hoisted three big sixes over the legside and suddenly, it was back on, 11 off the last. The game in the balance. Pique Blinders keeper took off the lads. This was drama. One more big shot from Baggo would do it. keeps Bowled well. Just four off the first three balls, but crucially bagman on strike. Could he write another chapter in his book of memorable moments. This would surely top them all. We knew where Baggo was going, over the leg side. Keeps charged in and bowled straight, Baggo heaved... stumps everywhere, Bowled’im, CtC crash out.
To be fair to Pique blinders they batted and fielded very well, but had we bagged, fielded or bowled to our potential, or got he tactics right, we’d have gone through.
So all over for another year, perhaps CtC need to look to Manchester City and spend big in the off season to move from domestic success to champions league pedigree. Lots for the chairman and DoC to consider.
Having lost to The Jiminy Crickets earlier in the season, CtC were somewhat nervous about the prospect of a late season shoot out at Kennington Park to decide the league.
Even despite the absence of player of the season Will Hammond, CtC were able to name an extremely strong side (link), skippered by Davidson on a rare week off from his globetrotting business adventures. Davidson proved why he’s in such demand across the globe from the get go, managing to win the toss and bat first, and then negotiate a twenty over a side game, meaning TJC would be batting in the dark.
Still, CtC needed a score and the top order fired in style. Cass races to 37 off 14, Pearso for back to the hutch with 52 from 28, Skinner joined him, of course he did, with gear unbeaten 50, his off 26 balls. Sherwin however was the standout, bludgeoning 49 from a mere 15 balls. At this stage 250 might’ve been on, but the usually dependable Rutt and Davidson couldn’t keep the rate going, and it took a trademark blast from
Conway 21 from 9 to see CtC up to 220. A good score sure, but anything’s possible at KP...
TJC indeed started well, with their top openers scoring freely. However two wickets from Gimson, introduced at a key time by the skipper, and 8 overs for just 51 from the Rutt / Davo axis meant TJC were out the running from the mid point of the innings. They finished 191-5 giving CtC victory by 29 runs and a second successive league victory.
Chairman George Dean commented “It’s been another good season from the boys, and I think we’re old value for that win. Fair play to TJC, they’re a good side and had they batted first it could easily have been a different game.
There’s been a few standout performances this year, led by Hammond who has been relentless with the bat, and the ever reliable Rutt who has been brilliant in all three disciplines. It’s also great to see Cass back as an asset to the side. Most pleasing though is that it’s been a squad effort, we’ve had better availability this year, and a great spirit - as shown by so many the lads down to watch the final”
Member of the committee for touring Hugh Pemberton added simply “we go again”
CtC today announced a very strong squad of nine for the LMS London South FInal on Wednesday 29th August.
Chairman of selectors George Dean commented "As ever it was very tough to pick a squad for the final and we've left out some serious players who can consider themselves very unfortunate. Ed Cassels for example has scored 100 runs this season without dismissal at a healthy rate, and we haven;t managed to squeeze in either of our middle-order cannons Dillon or Pemberton. Behind the stumps Shaw is unlucky to miss out to Skinner, and would surely find himself walking into most sides"
Director of Cricket Henry Rudkin said "Make no mistake this is a strong side. Five of the team are averaging over 50 in this format, and Davidson is almost there at 47. Cass and Hammo have been in unreal form this season with the bat and I back them to get us off to a flier. With the ball it looks a balanced attack with Pearso and Conway providing slow bowling options, Rutty bowling tight, and of course Shez - he bowls rockets and clears the ropes"
The Last Man Stands South Wednesday Final vs. The Jiminy Crickets, 18.20, Kennington Park
Twenty CtC members enjoyed a fantastic evening at The Oval watching Glamorgan chase down 194 against Surrey in the Natwest Blast. CtC would like to thank Surrey for the tickets given to the club as part of the affiliation scheme.
CtC ended the season top of the London South Wednesday league despite a tricky run-in which saw a loss to HCS wanderers and a rained off game against second placed side The Jiminy Crickets.
Going into the final game of the season against Platinum Ducks CtC knew they needed at least 4 points to qualify for the final which they did in some style, racking up 239 from 18 overs thanks to 69 from Rory Davidson promoted to open the batting, 67 from in form Ben Cassels and a typically classy 51 from Ed Pearson. Platinum ducks were limited to 157 in reply to give CtC a 10 point victory and seal first place.
Due to some fairly sloppy admin from Ross at LMS HQ CtC had been forced to play their last two games on various south london 'outgrounds' which proved to be absolutely tiny, and with the games reduced to 15 overs, became somewhat of a lottery. In the first in Brockwell Park CtC racked up an enormous 211 from 15 overs against The Jiminy Crickets, thanks to quick fiftes from Hammond and brothers' Cassels. However for much of the chase TJC were ahead of the rate (despite some unbelievable fielding efforts from Rutty) and it took a phenomenal spell of bowling from in form Ben Cassels to secure victory. In the second game CtC came off worse in another high scoring game, this time HCS wanderers batted first and racked up170-3 from just 12 overs. Cassels, in the form of his life and now ranked in the top 100 batsmen worldwide, smashed 54 from just 14 balls, but it wasn't enough and CtC finished well short on 134-4.
CtCCCC were playing their first ever match at Highgate Wood and were intrigued to know what the opposition had to offer as the quality of the ground raised expectations. The opposition in question were The Strongroom CC, a friendly side with a 34 year old history, who had nearly felled the Chairman with excitement when sending an unsolicited email requesting a fixture over the winter. Not only was this new opposition for CtC, but also a first domestic Saturday fixture, a detail which had made raising an XI quite tricky, with most of the team engaged in weddings, stags, yoga-brunches or other cappuccino-swilling millennial urban nonsense. As such CtC were forced to borrow friends from old-friends and north London dwellers And That's Lunch to form something of a hybrid team, which became known as the "Prius XI", much to the mirth of your correspondent Rupert Rudkin.
The majority of the team were in fact still fuelled off fumes from an ATL social at Rowans bowling alley the night field in somewhat cautious fashion. However, a slightly overcast day had the seamers licking their lips and an attack led by wise old head Davoe (5-1-18-1) and debutant May (5-0-10-2) made no mistake by putting the batsman under a lot of early pressure. This pressure gave way to wickets and after getting the top few batsmen out quite easily it soon became apparent that this may not be CtC's toughest opponents of the season. That said the opposition managed to scramble together a few runs, despite strong bowling from Eric Heath, and some unorthodox hitting by their lower order got them to 124ao, which they declared to be only just under par for their home ground. (Ed - your correspondent Rupert Rudkin finishing with 2-17 which he modestly forgets to mention)
The hosts put on a more than satisfactory picnic for lunch which was thoroughly enjoyed by all, before CtC openers and debutantes Powell and Wright went out to open the batting. The physically mismatched pair got the team off to a solid start, albeit in contrasting styles. Whilst Wright was watchful on a tricky pitch Powell raced to a quickfire 20 before being caught. Wright was joined at the crease by Nunez who both in true test match style punished the bad ball and slowly edged the team towards a victory.
The oppositions bowling wasn't overly dangerous but nonetheless it still took some proper application from Wright and Nunez to put CtC into a commanding position, and soon it looked like the two would guide CtC home unbeaten. However with the end in sight Wright fell on 38 and in came "Hammmmo" who stated that he was keen to try and catch the end of the England South Africa rugby match in the pub and wasn't looking to hang around in the middle.
Seeing the self-styled big show stride to the middle the opposition captain cunningly called for substitute fielder Davidson to enter the attack. This brought strong attention from all members of the team as they were keen to see who would win the duel. After some testing first balls from Davoe, his attempts to bounce Hammond were to prove as predictable as they were easy to play, and Hammo played some lusty blows to take CtC over the line for the loss of two wickets. Hammond finished on 18* and Nunez 30*.
All in all a very enjoyable trip to the charming Highgate Wood for a well spirited fixture which we hope to repeat next year.
Cambridge to Casablanca Cycling Cricket Club announce Delay to publication of Rwanda 2018 Tour Report
CtCCCC are announcing today that the Rwanda Tour report will not be published on Saturday 18th August as had been previously communicated.
At the time of the Midnight proofread of the content of the report, Co-Authors Cassels and Davidson concluded that in order to match the consistently high quality of previous tour reports and to do justice to what was by some distance the Club's most significant and successful tour to date, more time was needed to complete a flawless report.
Desiree Printing Ltd have been instructed to cease printing and binding activities with immediate effect and to pulp any printed copies which have already left the machine. CtC will seek to prosecute any report content which is leaked by Desiree Printing or any other third parties involved in the report production process.
Co-Author Rory Davidson explained that 'after such a long delay in drafting the report, it would not be reasonable or right to publish an expedited report which did not do justice to the unforgettable, era-defining event that was Rwanda 2018'.
Co-Author Ben Cassels added 'We always said that a high quality tour report to cover such a long tour could take up to a year to complete. The section describing my brother's catching against the Indian Expats alone has consumed over 500 words and the thesaurus we had to order to find a way of articulating Jamie Rutt's reaction to being run out by Davidson got lost in the post. We can once again reassure everyone that the final report once revised and published will not disappoint.'
A new publication date for the report is yet to be confirmed but it expected to be in Q3 FY18 in time for end of season festivities.
Please address any enquiries to CtC General Secretary and Interim Press Officer Simon Shaw.
Whitgift Staff v. Cambridge To Casablanca Cycling Cricket Club
“Bagman,” noun, British dated, informal: “A travelling salesman.”
With a full list of domestic fixtures this summer this ‘touring’ side moves from infancy to youth but some features don’t change. No doubt the rank and file remain grateful to the ‘gun’ cricketers for their sterling service, runs and wickets. Grateful if not loyal. The little people remain the beating heart. Smaller feats, maybe, but bigger heroes.
This was 21 June 2018, the Summer Solstice Cup, and the second of the year’s biannual Croydon pilgrimages. Yet another exemplar of the ‘barbecue-and-ice-box’ hospitality on display south of the river.
Toss won, CtCCCC to bat.
Senior clubmen were in disarray. The Chairman: late, muttering quietly about ‘going upstairs.’ The Director of Cricket: absent full stop. Irrelevant perhaps to this report, committee members Cassels (Social Secretary) and Davidson (no portfolio): busily under-delivering the (Tou)Rwanda Report by, at today’s count, nearly six months. But even when the dog doesn’t bark the tail can wag.
Enter the Bagman.
A false dawn; opening the batting Baggo fell early, not atypically but valiantly, on the hook in the fourth over.
Sure, the ‘gun’ batters made runs. 205 of them. Chapeau, Will Hammond, who scored 105 retired by 7.05pm following a 6.05pm start, a run every 36 seconds: a berserk episode in the middle of a strike-hogging patch purple enough to embarrass hallucinations. Tip of the cap to Ben Cassels, 22* off 11, smashing a pavilion window to conjure memories of a past more glorious than the present. Nod of the head Edward Pearson, a flawless 48* off 23. True performers.
These were great successes, no doubt, but the evening should be judged in context. 40 overs overall leaked 393 runs at 9.83. A true batsman’s paradise and run-plundering carnival. But yet, into this unpromising environment, onto this unwelcoming stage, up to this intimidating crease …
Enter the Bagman.
First, a little background. Off the pitch and on his touring debut Ollie “Baggo,” ”the Bagman” Roberts famously made the carrying role his own with an enthusiastic debut which even now shows no sign of abating. On the pitch, in truth, Baggo has been better known for self-celebratory episodes of momentary individual brilliance, mostly in the field, and one glorious extra cover drive in Corfu. Maybe he carries the bags, but not the team*. So they thought.
Somewhere tonight, as the Bagman handed the umpire his cap before bowling the first over, bells tolled and angels sang. His first over: a maiden. The other opener, much heralded young recruit and fast bowling so-called rude boy Thomas Sherwin, bowled the second over for 17. One run off the bat in Baggo’s third. Nervous to lose their wickets to this part-Basset hound and full time talisman, Baggo’s staff colleagues prodded nervously forward, wafting outside the off stump. Shez’s second went for 16. It went on like this.
First change, the skipper switched to ever-present Jamie Rutt and renowned B&P cricketer Mark Conway. Rutty economic, Conway solid.
Whitgift scored 90-0 in the first 10 overs, primarily off Sherwin whose overall figures were 47-0 off four. (The more generous minded were liable to assume that his placid spell, not to mention the suit he wore to the game, were intended to buy social capital among his new staff colleagues.)
The first wicket finally fell, snick’d off by Rutt. 97-1.
Conway bowled a ball so unthreatening that the batsman endangered people quietly filling their cars at the petrol station some distance away across the A235. Not to mention endangering the opposition as they scuttled out of the ivory towers to ask locals for their ball back. Whitgift back on track.
Ed P to bowl now – risky choice at this stage but maybe the right call, bowling the other Whitfgift opener and only a single overstep. 152-2. Another over from Gimson passed safely. Whitgift were poised on 165-2 off 17 overs, needing 41 off three with proper hitters at the crease. Wicket needed.
Enter the Bagman.
Five off the first three balls. Baggo under pressure. Fourth ball: the breakthrough. Joubert – a enormous South African – was caught by Dean at midwicket. Checkmate. Baggo getting the job done. The Bagman set off at a sprint, waggling his finger in magisterial send-off. After the grandmaster stepped away from the board Whitgift were reeling, 170-3 needing 36 off 2, and limped blandly to 188-4.
4-1-15-1. The travelling salesman had earned his commission.
*Ed: Those that saw Baggo bowl 8 overs in the heat in Brittany or his full allocation in Valencia, when no-one else was physically capable or mentally willing to bowl, may suggest otherwise
Cambridge to Casablanca Cycling Cricket Club