Exiles v Luddites, Honor Oak, 7 September 2003.

A rather patchy looking Exiles eleven assembled at a very scrappy looking Honor Oak for the last home game of the season and perhaps the last ever on this formerly great ground. Three debutants, Kyle's brother Dax, and Andrew and Wesley, two young friends of Steve's. Old timer and founder member John Morgan made a comeback appearance and was looking in better health than the square, which isn't saying much. Once again there was no pitch prepared but at least there was a straight edge and some paint to re-mark the worn and dusty ends on the only track not deep in grass and mushrooms (honestly!). The old sitescreen on rails was in about five large pieces and was cobbled back together just to keep the planks with nails through off the playing area. The football pitch has been sliced up like a very large school dinner, apparently in an effort to kill the grass. The boundary was moved in to avoid the mess. The pitch we were forced to play on was dusty and breaking up between the green clumps of surviving grass, and slight improvements seen in the Exiles v Exiles game had literally evaporated. Stuart Lindsay, a stalwart Exiles bowler for many seasons now was given the Captaincy in his farewell game. He'll be returning to his native Sydney in January.We'll miss his late-inswingers, a lot of batsmen did too. Rumours that Nuxley CC are paying his air fare an ungrounded. He won the toss and elected to bat.

John Morgan, out of the game for a year, played a typically forthright innings as an opener, he swung across the line, played and missed and survived several lbw appeals by the faintest nick onto pad. The bowlers must have been tearing their hair out as he lifted another full length ball over square leg. Steve DuPreez fared less well at the other end, bowled between bat and pad by an inswinger from Sherlock for 5. Stephen O'Connor proved a suitable foil, his own brand of unorthodox hitting containing a good blend of beef and cow. The pair added fifty-odd and survived a few chances, the most notable of which was a drop at midwicket, where the newly arrived Luddite fielder Evans held the ball for almost a second before dropping it like a hot potato. Guy Hatton, on as a sub in the same spot until a couple of balls before would have swallowed it without hesitation. Stephen became the first of Crispin Oakley's four victims and the only one to score a run as a middle order collapse of epic proportion unravelled before disbelieving eyes. Even by Exiles standards four ducks in a row is pretty extraordinary. Steve Du Preez illustrated each one in the scorebook, and while perhaps not of Thomas Bewick's standard, they did look undeniably decorative, waddling four abreast. John then holed out at deep midwicket before adding further to end on 49. The score had plummeted from 70 for 2 to 103 for 8 with almost half the overs remaining. Eddie and Guy managed a pretty good repair job considering, adding 42 including consecutive sixes and a four by Eddie to put a dent in Robinson's figures. Guy was run out for eight with a little over two overs remaining the shortly afterwards Eddie was bowled by Sherlock for a personal best 34. It was not as bad as it could have been but hardly a dominating score. The Exiles bowlers would have to exploit the vagaries of the pitch well to triumph.

Exiles' innings:

 Batsman How Out Bowler Runs
J Morgan Ct D Oakley 49
S DuPreez bowled Sherlock 5
SD O'Connor Bowled C Oakley 30
R Anderson Bowled C Oakley 0
S Lindsay Ct & Bowled C Oakley 0
Dax Holling Caught C Oakley 0
Wesley Bowled D Oakley 0
E Fuller Bowled Sherlock 34
A Pearson Caught Robinson 1
G Hatton Run Out 8
P Shorrock not out 0
     Extras 18
 Total 38.5 Overs all out 145

Luddites' bowling figures:

 Bowler Overs Maidens Runs Wickets
 Sherlock 7.5 0 21 2
S Musgrave 8 2 31 0
C Oakley 8 2 11 4
D Oakley 6 1 35 2
Robinson 7 1 27 1

It all started well enough for the Exiles, Paul Shorrock's slower ball got through Sehmi's defence and in the next over Stuart bowled Woodward with one that rolled back from a defensive block with just sufficient force to remove a bail. Next ball Stuart held on to a one-handed return catch that almost chipped him, Seaman-style. The Luddites Captain Maunder then played the match-winning innings, he gave a few chances, the best of which was dropped at gully by Rob off Steve DuPreez's slow left arm. Rob has been making a habit of dropping opposition Captains, rumours of Cronjegate type skullduggery are starting but to be honest Rob doesn't look like he's had any cash injections recently. Steve was perhaps on at the wrong end, several drives back past the bowler dissected the long on and long off or carried for six to the short boundary fence. Rob Anderson bowled Thomas in identical fashion to Woodward's dismissal and the game was then nicely poised. Robinson supported his Captain until Maunder tried one-too many drives at Steve Du Preez and was held by Paul Shorrock running in from the long off boundary, to much relief from the suffering all-rounder. Robinson and Crispin Oakley then saw their side sedately home without further loss as the bowlers were permed but couldn't make the breakthrough. An unbroken 54 run partnership brought victory around 6.30pm, the light already fading as shower clouds gathered. A downbeat finale for Stuart's last Exiles game. The Exiles innings had resembled a beef and game pie, a thick but flaky crust suppled by John, Steve DuPreez was just a hole to let the steam out, Stephen added some chunky cuts of beef before four plump ducks were added, some nice thick gravy was spooned over by Eddie and Guy made up the slightly soggy lower crust that somehow managed to bind the whole humble pie together. On the subject of collective nouns for ducks Stephen O'Connor has found this:

"Most commonly used first, Ducks:Flush, Team, (diving) dopping, (in flight) team, plump, (on water) Paddling, (brood) Flush, (pair) Brace"

Afterwards in the bar the talk was all of the prospects for the Eng v SA test match which was balanced on a knife edge. Bizarrely the heating was still on. What kind of logic dictates that tables are "too expensive" to be used and must be locked in a cupboard but central heating is squandered throughout the hottest summer on record?

Luddites' Innings:

 Batsman How Out Bowler Runs
Woodward Bowled S Lindsay 2
Sehmi bowled P Shorrock 6
Maunder Ct Shorrock S Du Preez 62
Harlow Ct & Bowled S Lindsay 0
Thomas bowled R Anderson 7
Robinson Not Out 32
C Oakley Not Out 19
D Oakley , , ,
Sherlock , , ,
Evans , , ,
. . Extras 19
 Total 36.4 for 5 Wickets 146

Exiles' figures:

 Bowler Overs Maidens Runs Wickets
P Shorrock 8 2 17 1
S Lindsay 8 0 21 2
S Du Preez 8 0 42 1
R Anderson 8 1 30 1
E Fuller 2 0 9 0
A Pearson 2.4 0 13 0

Netx week: a surprise away game versus Nuxley ,arranged at the last minute.

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