24 November 2005

Those Dodgers Awards 2005 in full

Thanks to everyone who came to the AGM and Social last night. Full formal proceedings will follow in due course but here is the moment you've all been waiting for - The Dodgers Awards 2005! MC Cooper and (outgoing) Chairman Adey presented the following:

Best Bowler - Simon Cousins [2nd – Neil Benn, 3rd – Nick Harrison]

Best Batsman - Neil Priest [2nd – JJ Dunning, 3rd – Nick Harrison]

Player of the Season - Simon Cousins [2nd – Nick Harrison, 3rd – Neil Priest]

Best Fielder - TQ [also voted for: The Cat, Rod Paterson]

Most Improved Player - John Hilary [mentions for TQ, Cat, Cooper, Benn, Cousins]


Champagne Moment of the Season - Beating Superstars at Sports Day and John Cooper's hat trick [Charley bowling out that mouthy little sod in the BSI return game, the winning hit against the Rats in the early 40 over game and the last-over bye against ATOC]

Innings of the Year - Nick Harrison v Superstars 22 June, closely followed by John Hilary's v Superstars when opening the batting

Bowling Spell of the Year - Simon Cousins on various occasions but memorably 4-3-1-3 v Science Museum [honourable mention for JC2's 4 wickets including a hat trick v Audit Commission and Adey's spell against Science Museum]

Catch of the Year - by a unanimous decision – The Cat's v Buckhurst Hill [even Neil P who wasn't even there voted for this!]

22 November 2005

Dodgers Season Review 2005

The Dodgers Season Review 2005 (ok, it's a series of player profiles, some stats and some fuzzy photos) is out now.

Thanks to NB and McB.

14 November 2005

Superstars Social this Friday in the Belgravia pub, Victoria

A message from Barry Gigg "This year's [Superstars] cricket social / awards night will take place in the Belgravia pub in Victoria from 5.30 on Friday 18 November."

All Dodgers are welcome to attend and there is a free bar.

More info inc map

Don't forget that the Dodgers AGM and Social is on Wednesday 23 November at the Marquis of Granby from 5.30pm.

08 November 2005

Superstars Tour 2006

A message from Ken Block about next year's Superstars tour to Somerset. There is an open invitation to Dodgers to attend.

"It's that time of the year again, where I ask you all if you would be interested in coming along on the Superstars 2006 cricket tour. We intend to travel back to Somerset again this year, staying around the Wells area.

For those that did come last year, the accommodation will be better this time around.

The dates are as follows:

Leaving Friday 28 April. Returning Tuesday 2 May 2006.

We hope as usual to play 4 games, 1 late afternoon / early evening fixture on the Friday and 3 half day games Saturday to Monday.

I would be grateful if you could let me know by the end of the week whether you would be interested in coming. At this stage, we just need a rough idea, so we will not hold you to your answer. You can come alone, or you can bring your partner, and kids if you want to. So when you reply, let me know. Please also let me know if you are not interested, so I don't bother you again with reminder EMAILs.

I look forward to hearing from you."

24 October 2005

Potential new member..............

................... well maybe it's a little early yet, but my wife gave birth to a boy yesterday (Sunday). His name is Luca Crawford. All are doing well.

18 October 2005

Dodgers Awards, AGM and Social 2005

The 2005 Dodgers AGM and Social will actually be in 2005. We are booked back in at the Marquis of Granby from 5.30pm on Wednesday 23 November. Friends, family and Dodgers groupies all welcome.

Voting is also now open in the Dodgers Awards 2005. Vote for the Best Fielder and the prestigious Most Improved Player awards exclusively online. All the awards, including Best Batsman, Best Bowler and Best Player will be presented on the night of the AGM and Social. Check out last year's winners here.

Marquis of Granby
41 Romney St
London SW1P 3RF

17 October 2005

Dodgers @ Buckhurst Hill, 4 September 2005

Match report by Simon Cousins:

Sweltering heat and a slow, low wicket combined to produce a soporific draw, as Dodgers finished their season in the Essex suburbs.

Stand-in captain Benn once again lost the toss, and condemned his team to fielding in the heat of the day. The Dodgers opening bowlers, Cousins and Cooper both bowled tidily. But the batsmen were taking no chances, eschewing scoring chance, except tucking into the full tosses, of which there were too many. The young opener, Gray, looked set for a big innings, when he was trapped in front by Cousins, but there were few other chances.

It was Benn who looked the more threatening. He deserved more than the one wicket he took, with the batsmen unable to pick up his line from left arm over. But he had only himself to blame, by missing an easy caught and bowled chance, despite having four goes at it.

Fox also continued his encouraging form for Dodgers, taking a wicket courtesy of a brilliant catch diving to his right by Matthews. But his spell was cut short when he rashly tried to stop a hard straight drive with his ankle.

In fact all the bowlers stuck to their task well, even new-boy Marr, who was unlucky to take some punishment off straight balls. But by the time the Leyton Wizard, Pope, came onto bowl, wickets were desperately needed. Second ball, he obliged, the batsman popping one straight up to mid-on – where Benn again fluffed the catch. The batsmen now treated Pope with due respect, but he still got his statutory Buckhurst wicket, Atkinson driving low to McBarron in the covers.

Eventually Buckhurst declared at 4pm, and their score of 182-4 did not look massive. When Dodgers started, after an excellent tea, they looked to be positive. At one end was the dangerous quickie Baig, at the other a young spinner, who could turn it both ways. McBarron and Taylor seemed to be seeing off Baig, and picking off the spinner’s bad balls. But having made 12, McBarron was given out LBW on the front foot to Baig. This started a collapse, as Baig, now keeping the ball very low, and swinging it, ran through the Dodger's batting order. 30-0 became 60-6, with Baig taking four wickets, and one suicidal run out (Qureshi).

With the last 20 overs beginning, the odds were on a Buckhurst win. But Cousins and Benn now embarked on their second major partnership in four days. With Buckhurst employing an exclusively spin attack, there were nine fielders round the bat. But though neither batsmen, particularly Cousins, looked comfortable, generally the bowlers pitched too short, allowing the batsmen to play it off the pitch, and avoid the trap of the close fielders. When he had made 6, Benn saluted the rapturous applause from the boundary, which bemused the Buckhurst team. In fact this was to acknowledge that he'd become the first Dodger to reach 1000 runs and 100 wickets, a feat of such magnitude that later this proud Yorkshireman bought two jugs in the bar.

As the last over began, Buckhurst still needed four wickets, and the match seemed safe. But off the first ball, Cousins played around a straight one. Cooper then pushed into the hands of one of the close fielders, and the result was in doubt. Fox, though, comfortably saw off the next three balls, and celebrated by hitting the last one over mid-on for 4.

Dodgers were clearly second best on the day. But given that they had the worst of the conditions, and that the bowlers had bowled with such discipline, a draw was probably what they deserved.

06 September 2005

Player Profile - Neil Priest

Priest and Carr looking to better times for DodgersPriesty has been the side's premier batsman since our inception and is the only regular player to score a ton - including one in a 20-over game.

Belligerence is his byword and he gives his wicket away about as often as Benn gives money to charity.

Famous for decrepit kit and putting on more weight than his missus during her pregnancy, Neil has deputised for Cap'n Carr for the past few seasons, mainly to give him an excuse to stand at slip for the entire match.

A rare bowler these days, Neil bowls left arm spin at about twice the pace of our main seamers. Rumoured to have been a better player when he still smoked.

Vice-Captain Neil enjoyed a fine season in 2004, scoring the most runs and finishing top of the batting averages. Despite an absence of many major scores, Priesty scored consistently and had very few failures. Continues to hone in on Inzaman's world record for the highest aggregate number of hours spent standing motionless at slip, aided and abetted by Captain Carr.

Neil Priest 2006

O M R W SR Avg Econ

3.2 0 25 0 7.51

M I R NO Avg HS Ct St

15 15 350 8 50.00 50 2 1

Player Profile - Phil McBarron

McB in full-on attacking mode...McB is the archetypal Yorkshire opening bat - stubborn, mean, technically proficient, arrogant and wouldn't score quickly unless you paid him in beer.

Rightly famed for his ability to score singles off the last ball of every over and never running more than he absolutely has to, Phil has been a fixture in the Dodgers set-up since our birth. Formerly a key member of the seam attack, his advancing years have restricted him to serving up the occasional handful of pies when we're desperate.

He's an excellent close-to-the-wicket catcher, but woe betide you if you think he's going to chase anything the trickles off the square...

Dodgers most popular player (Que? Ed.) had a bit of a resurgence this season with the bat and the ball.

McBarron's stats 2006
M I R NO Avg HS Ct St
17 16 355 4 29.58 77 1 0
O M R W SR Avg Econ
36.2 4 167 12 18.17 13.92 4.60

Player Profile - John Carr

The legend that is JC. Managed a few decent knocks and captained the side with his usual aplomb. Became was third Dodger to pass 1,000 career runs during the season is now just 92 wickets away from the Holy Grail. Likes an ale and will only drink lager if there is no proper beer, spirits, petrol or distilled urine.

Carr's stats 2006

M I R NO Avg HS Ct St

12 9 97 2 13.86 33 1 0

O M R W SR Avg Econ

2 0 10 2 6.00 5.00 5.00

05 September 2005

Final Season 2005 Averages

The season is over and the final stats are in. The final batting, bowling and fielding figures are here on the front page, soon to be followed with a full update in the Statistics section including the long-awaited All Time Averages update.

Pressure cricket

Dodgers' season ended with a hard-fought draw at Buckhurst Hill yesterday. In reply to their 182-4 we were clinging on at 128-8 when time ran out. Full report from Simon Cousins to follow.

02 September 2005

Bad result, bad taste

Dodgers suffered a 22-run defeat to Superstars yesterday, leaving the series tied at 2-2 for the year [unless you count sports day and discount the silly game in May when we hardly had any players, of course. That would be 3-1 to us]. Two-all is the finest outcome for Superstars in recent memory – a welcome shot-in-the-arm for the struggling state-funded outfit.

Captain Priest won the toss and we went out to field with some confidence on a very flat-looking deck. This confidence didn’t look misplaced as Simon Cousins swung one to bowl Conway with score at 13 and, despite an innocuous spell from Benn at the other end, the Rats’ usual blistering start never materialised. Rod Paterson – who had become an uncle that day – was pawing at the ground waiting to get on and didn’t disappoint when a full ball bowled Gaught. But wait! Umpire Conway had ruled that the ball had passed the batsman above waist height (and he’s a tall lad) then dipped down at pace by about 45 degrees before hitting the stumps. This ludicrous decision shocked and angered the Dodgers players and will leave a bad taste in the mouth for some time to come.

Fortunately, Gaught’s reprieve wasn’t a long one and he nicked a ball behind off Cousins in the next over to leave the Rats 72-2 in the thirteenth and give Simon creditable figures of 7-0-32-2 from yet another dangerous spell. Replacing him, Robert Fox was on target from the off before having danger-man Walker well caught by Hilary at deep mid-off and when Paterson bowled Gigg and Whitrod the Tomatoheads were under the cosh at 94-5.

Gundry and Mountain began the repair work slowly, but then accelerated rapidly against Cooper – again bowling at the wrong time – and Alex De Groote. John's luck is so bad these days that he had not one but two (difficult) chances dropped by McB. Both went for six. The late entry of Hilary into the attack accounted for both batsmen, but their stand of 85 in just 11 overs had done serious damage and allowed the Rats to reach a very challenging 204-7 in their 35 overs.

McBarron and Hilary began our reply brightly, with in-form McB particularly fluent, until John on 25 tried to loft Paresh Tailor over long on for a second consecutive boundary only to find they’d put a fielder there in between deliveries. Priest was struggling to time the ball but was showing signs of settling in on 17 before a swinging ball from Mountain reached his stumps via bat and pads to leave us 96-2. This triggered a horrific collapse.

De Groote shuffled across and was given LBW to Mountain for 1 (103-4); McBarron got caught in two minds before chipping a simple return catch to Tailor for a fine 47 (103-4); Paterson attempted an ambitious pull over mid-wicket to be bowled by Tailor for 2 (105-5); before Fox played across a straight one from Mountain for a duck (105-6). In all, five wickets had gone for nine in 14 balls – and that included four wides and a bye!

Pacemen Benn and Cousins then embarked on a spirited stand of 67 in 11 overs to restore some respectability to the score. Starting slowly, they began to play with more freedom and ran exceptionally hard without every really threatening victory. The stand was broken when Benn on 38 tried to hoist Patten over long off and was stumped leaving John Cooper to crash a final boundary off Gundry as we ended up at 182-8 with Cousins 21 not out.

This was a difficult game to assess. Superstars certainly deserved to win, but the game was there for the taking when we had them 94-5 before some fine batting gave them the edge at half time. Our reply was in touch before the middle order disintegrated and we perhaps did well to get so close with no players of the calibre of Gundry and Mountain to come in late-on.

Aside from the Gaught incident, the game was not played in the best of spirits, with umpire Priest subjected to some totally unnecessary verbals from several players when he turned down the umpteenth speculative appeal. Let’s hope for calmer waters next year.

Bowling: Cousins 7-0-32-2; Benn 6-0-35-0; Paterson 7-1-34-2; Fox 6-1-25-1; Cooper 4-0-34-0; De Groote 3-0-24-0; Hilary 2-0-16-2.

31 August 2005

Dodgers @ Buckhurst Hill - Sunday 4 September

The match this Sunday will be played at Buckhurst Hill Cricket Club's lower, Roding Lane ground.

[Directions: as you leave Buckhurst Hill Underground station (Central Line) via the car park, turn right across the bridge over the Underground. This road becomes Roding Lane and continue along it going east until you find the ground on the left. The entrance is slightly set back from the road but it's only about 1/2 mile from the station.]

Match start time: 1pm

24 August 2005

Rain stopped play starting

Tonight's match against ATOC has been called off due to the bad weather.

19 August 2005

Dodgers v St Andrews @ Burgess Hill, Sunday 21 August 2005

A joint Dodgers / Warwick Castle Select XI takes on JJ's St Andrews at Burgess Hill this Sunday. Here are the directions to the ground for those playing:


Take the exit for Burgess Hill from the A23, turning left in front of the Little Chef and petrol station. Go for about 3/4 mile until you reach a roundabout (go straight over) then take a left at the next roundabout where you should have a new school on your left and a leisure centre in front. At the next roundabout, take another left. Then, at the NEXT roundabout you take a right (up the hill) and there should be a welcome to Burgess Hill sign. Continue up the hill until you reach the Kings Head pub where you will need to turn left at the mini-roundabout. The ground is then on your left behind the hedge, there's plenty of parking.


Go to Wivelsfield Station from Victoria or London Bridge. When you get there, turn left out of the station and walk for about a mile until you have a cricket ground on your right. Then play cricket. Invariably there are quicker trains which run to Burgess Hill Station from Victoria. Those with cars will be able to sort out lifts from the station.

Dodgers v Ombudsman, 18 August 2005

Match report by Simon Cousins:

On a humid evening, Dodgers ensured that they finished with a positive record for 2005 with a comfortable win by 13 runs over the Ombudsman.

Stand-in skipper Benn won the toss and chose to bat first and it was soon clear that conditions would favour the bowlers when in the second over Hilary's recent good form was interrupted by a ball that swung in a good six inches to hit middle. None of the batsmen looked comfortable, though Dunning (25 no) did well to see off the opening bowlers. At the halfway point, Dodgers had made just 43. But despite swinging the ball extravagantly, the Ombudsman bowled far too many wides (17 in all), which kept the run rate ticking over. The second half of the innings was more profitable, as Qureshi (25no) took charge, getting correctly to the pitch of the ball to minimise the effect of the swing. All the middle order and tail contributed, and the running was more energetic than is often the case, despite an impressive fielding display from the Ombudsman team.

The final Dodgers total of 112 seemed no better than par on what was a good wicket. But it was soon put in perspective. Cousins kept things tight at one end, but it was Benn (3-17), inspired by the captaincy, who broke the back of the Ombudsman innings. Bowling a full length to allow the ball to swing, he castled the top three for next to nothing. With Golden Arm Cooper joining in with two wickets in his first over, the score was 24-5 after 9 overs and the match as good as over. The Ombudsman team fought to the end, but the bowling remained disciplined (Dodgers bowled just 4 wides), supported by uncharacteristically good fielding. The one blip was a dreadful drop from Qureshi, flooring a dolly that even Adam Gilchrist may have held. Towards the end Luke signed off in his last game before a sabbatical from Dodgers by teaming up with Matthews for his second stumping in as many weeks, crowning an impressive Dodgers performance.

17 August 2005

Back on track

A high-octane Dodgers crushed BSI tonight by 85 runs to record their ninth win of the year. With only six defeats, we are just one victory away from guaranteeing another positive season.

Captain Priest won the toss and opened with Westhead. Thirteen runs came from the first over to set the tone before Guy introduced a new variant on his standard dismissal: he still played back to a full ball but this time got his leg in the way. Out for 6 and 26 for 1.

BSI’s bowling was very variable – to say the least – and the batsmen took full toll. Priest, McBarron, Hilary, Qureshi and Gundry all reaching the retirement score of 25 in quick time without giving a single chance, Charleston’s four overs costing 48 with a further four overs coming from a promising 14-year-old leg spinner. We closed on 155-1 – in theory a second-wicket stand of 127!

It’s remarkable how a massive score on the boards can settle the bowlers and the luckless Cooper began with five balls on a good line and just back of a length as the opener swung violently and missed. The sixth was similar and the batsman’s top edge floated to McB at point, where it was uncharacteristically floored. At least it kept McB relatively quiet for a bit. The second over from Benn was all-action: two powerfully struck boundaries and two wickets, both bowled.

The 14-year-old had opened the innings and his chuntering and cursing was getting on our skipper’s wick, even though he wasn’t actually scoring. Time for Mr Gundry! It went quiet for a while as ball after ball thudded into the Cat’s gloves, but Simon is a gentleman and stuck to length and line rather than tickling his ribs.

With Operation Gundry not working it was time for some subtlety – so nothing to do with any of the regulars then. The Hilary family were on a mass outing to Chiswick and JH’s nephew, Charlie Wood, was drafted into the eleven. Fortunately for him, Charlie has no obvious Hilary characteristics and his first ball confirmed this impression: it was a Chinaman which pitched, turned and hit the leg bail to win the battle of the teenagers at the first attempt, his opponent having occupied the crease for 11 overs for 12.

Two catches by Great Uncle John followed (the second a beauty) to give Charlie figures of 3-0-14-3. It could’ve been better too, because the umpire – on his mobile at the time - ruled out an attempted stumping by the Cat when the batsman wasn’t back in his ground until after the next ball! A wicket for Adey and two for Old Spawny Wickets at the end sealed a very comfortable victory as BSI reached just 68 in the seventeenth over.

The British Standards Institute suggested that the two teenagers were joint men-of-the-match. The Dodgers Standards Institute concluded that three wickets in a massive win was rather better than no wickets and eleven overs of blocking and awarded it to Charlie.

12 August 2005

Off the rails

After the sensational finish at Regents in June, Dodgers were looking forward to a less nervy encounter against ATOC at Chiswick on Wednesday with a nice early finish: and so it proved.

Having lost the toss – again – and been inserted, Priest and Jacobs made a respectable start on a bouncy track before Chris missed the type of delivery that has given him so much trouble over the years, the straight one. A few moments later Neil gloved an attempted pull into his face to sustain a cut above his eye and the easy game we were expecting was not really materialising.

The Priest / McBarron partnership made sedate headway against rather better bowling than the last encounter but Neil was just starting to find his feet when a very indifferent piece of running by McB left him hopelessly stranded. [I use the word “indifferent” on legal advice – you’ll have to use your imagination as to how bad it really was].

The innings was becoming stalled as neither Phil nor the incoming Carr could manage a-run-a-ball against consistent bowling. When both were out in the 20s desperately trying to make progress the youngsters Luke and Qureshi added some urgency but neither could really break the shackles as we closed on 101-5.

Our score looked hopelessly inadequate – perhaps 50 runs short - on a really good track and the early overs didn’t change anyone’s opinion. Cousins bowled with his customary control but Benn and Cooper were distinctly lacklustre at the other end against some very solid looking batting. A brief mid-innings flurry gave us hope as a voluntary retirement was followed by a dubious run out and a rare stumping for the Cat off Luke, but we never had a serious prospect of victory, even when their premier batsman was bowled attempting to hit Pope into the Thames. The match was eventually wrapped up in the seventeenth over to give ATOC a very cosy victory.

Was this really the same side we played at Regents? Re-nationalise the railways!

03 August 2005

Dodgers v Superstars - 2 August 2005

Match report by Neil Priest:

Last night a strong Dodgers side met an equally strong Superstars side looking to exact some revenge for their Sportsday semi-final defeat.

Inevitably we lost the toss and were put into bat and inevitably Superstars took the field with only ten as part time Dodgers player, this time turning out for Superstars, Rhys Thomas was late. The pitch was slightly green but surprisingly hard given the recent rain and we played on the edge of the square on the "A" pitch with a 40 yard boundary on one side and a ridiculous 140+ boundary on the other.

As John Hilary prepared for his usual top of the order role by putting on the umpires coat and striding out towards the middle he was called back by Captain Carr and told to pad up – Dodgers hoping to cash in on JH's good six-a-side form by using him as a pinch hitter. And boy did he deliver, ably supported by Nick Harrison in his last game of the season. Gundry was repeatedly charged by Nick and went for 18 off 4 and Taylor also suffered going for 31 off his allocation. Nick was finally stumped off Suggitt off the last ball of the 10th over with the score on about 70. Hilary and Priest then set about Superstars lesser bowling and we finished with an excellent 165/1, Priest 43* and Hilary finishing with a superb 76*, his highest score for Dodgers.

Superstars started well with Gigg looking in fine form turning Cousins off his hip for four in the first over and following it up with a lovely square cut for four and then a six over extra cover off Paterson. Rod came back well though and soon hit the top of a retreating Gigg's leg stump. Conway quickly followed, bowled trying to moo Cousins over the pavilion. This brought together Abigail and Lomas, with Walker and Gundry ominously padded up.

After 10 overs Superstars had 72 on the board. Good spells from Adey and Cooper kept the pressure on although Alex Luke, making a welcome return from injury and turning his arm over for the first time in nearly a year, had a few Dodgers hearts in mouths as he conceded 34 off 3 (very good second over though).

Some quick singles by Conway on running for the now injured Abigail and we started to feel the pressure until a good throw from the short boundary by Priest finally ran out Lomas. This brought in the dangerous Walker, also injured meaning that there were two runners on at the same time. Then Hero Hilary dropped Abigail on the long on boundary. No matter we thought as Richard had been scoring quite slowly. He then of course spanked two sixes and a four straight afterwards but some quick thinking by the Cat had him run out for 54 as runner Conway tried to steal a bye.

Harrison came on for one over before rushing off to meet "Ivan" at Hammersmith station (just what is this job in Moscow...?) but a good tight penultimate over from Paterson (Gundry of all people asking him to slow down because of the light!) left McBarron needing to concede less than 21 off the last over. When Walker skied Phil's second ball to Priest at long off the victory was effectively sealed, especially when Gundry came in and seemingly decided to play for his average off the last few balls. Superstars finished on 153/5.

So victory by 12 runs and 2-1 up with one to play. An excellent all round performance based on keeping our heads under pressure in the field and a great knock from Mr Hilary.

Dodgers bowling:

Cousins 4 0 26 1
Paterson 4 0 29 1
Adey 3 0 22 0
Luke 3 0 34 0
Cooper 4 0 19 0
Harrison 1 0 9 0
McBarron 1 0 9 1

M-O-M: Hilary 9, Cooper 2

29 July 2005

Sports Day 2005 – best ever performance but still only the bridesmaids...

On Friday 22 July two teams from the club embarked on the annual quest for six-a-side glory at the SPARTA Sportsday. Dodgers were represented by Neil Priest (c/wk), Simon Cousins, Phil McBarron, Rod Paterson, John Hilary and guest Darren Cooper. The Codgers were John Carr (c), John Cooper, Tawhid Qureshi and Kim Matthews (wk) who were joined by guests Cathal Rock and Richard Weider.

Dodgers Report by Neil Priest

My apologies if some of the following is a bit vague, but we don't have any scorecards for the games and it's hard to remember all the details. I did ask my team mates to check an early draft so any errors are entirely theirs!

Dodgers v LGF Jaffers

We won the toss and elected to bat first. Jaffers were expected to be the weakest side in an otherwise strong group and so it proved as Hilary and Cooper got the campaign off to a flying start racking up 71/1, Hilary being run out off the last ball. We followed this up with a good bowling fielding display, the highlight of which was McBarron's excellent throw in the first over to run out Paul Gaught who had scored 50 against us for Superstars earlier in the season. From then on Jaffers struggled and we kept them down to about 30/3.

Dodgers v SRA Sharks

Dodgers won the toss again and again decided to put runs on the board. Captain Priest was talked into opening to give Hilary a rest, although this was short lived as Priest soon dragged a wide one onto middle stump trying to hit over the top. After this brief interruption the Cooper/Hilary roadshow resumed and again posted us a score in excess of 70. Cooper then kicked off the SRA reply with wickets in consecutive balls and had an excellent shout for LBW turned down off the hat-trick ball. We then took our foot off the pedal and although a couple of decent SRA batsmen scored freely towards the end the result was never in serious doubt. SRA finished with about 60/3. This was undoubtedly Dodgers' worst performance of the day but we were still able to beat a decent side with relative ease.

Dodgers v Broadway

Our final group game was against a good side from Birmingham. Both teams were already through to the semi-finals having won their first two matches. The losers would face the trek over to the Fullers' pitch to face the mighty Deliverance in the semis.

Priest was late on parade - spying on Superstars v Deliverance, the deciding match in the other group – and in his absence Dodgers lost their first toss of the day and were inserted (we'd have batted anyway). McBarron was promoted to opener to make sure we had more than three batsmen who had had a hit before the semi-finals. Deja vu from the SRA game as Phil was out early and Cooper and Hilary were again left to get stuck into the opposition bowling. Priest joined in late on, a return to proper cricket shots instead of slogging providing more success than against SRA. Paterson was also able to get in at the end, playing one lovely dab for four behind square on the off. Yet again our bowling and fielding were excellent and the opposition managed less than 50 in reply. The highlight was Priest's superb legside stumping off Hilary off the last ball... well, the Cat was impressed anyway!

So we finished up as group winners having beaten two good sides along the way and now faced a tough semi-final against the auld enemy Superstars.

Semi-Final - Dodgers v Superstars

No need to read to the end to see how we got on. We won. And to put it mildly we were rather pleased with ourselves.

First let's put this into context. This is was about the fifth time we had played Superstars on Sportsday, including two finals (including last year). We had lost the lot. In fact, not only had we lost the lot but we had normally capitulated and been bowled out for 20 odd or other similar disasters. This was a real monkey on our backs.

With Priest back in charge of the coin we won the toss and again batted first. This time there was no mucking about with the batting order and Hilary returned to open. He and Cooper put together another promising partnership that was unfortunately cut short by some good Superstars bowling. Fortunately Priest and McBarron were able to keep some sort of momentum going and get us up to 50 – the highlight being a beautifully placed edge for four from McBarron off Gundry.

50 had been the minimum we considered we could defend but would it really be enough? (Of course it would, I’ve already said we won!). In the end it was easy and Superstars only managed about 30 odd in reply, hitting, I think, only one boundary in their innings. There were a couple of highlights. In the first over Cooper dropped a sharp return catch off Conway but had the presence of mind to grab the ball and turn round to run out non-striker Gigg. Phil McBarron's over also deserves special mention as he picked up the wickets of Gundry and Conway and effectively sealed the victory.

So celebrations all round – except for the poor dead monkey...

Final - Dodgers v Deliverance

Deliverance have always been a good side but in the past have relied almost
entirely on the huge talent of Richard Godden, a former Dodgers player (he also played for Zimbabwe U-19s but let's get our priorities right!). This year they had much more strength in depth although Richard was still clearly the star man. Deliverance had beaten everyone else on the day comfortably and had made Superstars look almost as ordinary as we had…

For the first time in the day Priest lost the toss and for the first time we bowled first. Godden opened and smashed Cooper's first ball for four. We did however get the dangerous Kenny Barry first ball. Cooper’s over was followed by tight overs from Cousins and Paterson and then with Deliverance on about 26 off 3 it was time for semi-final hero McBarron to step up to the plate, Godden at bat... The first ball was, as I'm sure Phil will admit, the worst we bowled all day. Short and slow, slow at least until it made contact with the middle of Godden's bat. Fortunately the adjacent softball tournament had finished, although he hit it so hard it probably would have cleared them anyway! The next ball was almost as bad – a knee high full toss on leg stump and the result was the same – softball players again grateful for their early finish. This time salt was rubbed into the wound as the umpire inexplicably called no ball – the only blot on an other wise excellent days umpiring. Sadly the extra 4 runs were to prove significant... Phil then settled down to a much steadier line and length and went a long way towards redeeming the over by bowling Godden neck and crop off the last ball of the over. This took some of the pressure off Hilary's final over and we were able to restrict Deliverance to a very gettable 58.

We again started steadily but were in trouble once Cooper and Hilary fell in quick succession. Some lusty blows from Priest ably supported by McBarron kept us in the hunt and we needed 18 off the last over. McBarron got the first ball away for a single. The next was pulled through midwicket by Priest for 4. The third was a wide (four extras but no extra ball) and then Priest swept the fourth ball for another four behind the square leg fielder. 6 off 2... Another short ball was pulled away by Priest – not middled but hit hard enough to the square leg fielder to leave Priest 6 yards short of his ground going for the second run. Paterson strode out with us needing 5 to win outright off the last ball, although a four would have given us victory by virtue of having lost less wickets and/or having scored more runs off the last over. The ball was wide of stump – play at it or leave it and hope it’s a wide…? Rod played it (correctly the umpire confirmed afterwards) but could only get it away for a single and Dodgers, for the third time, finished runners-up.

This was undoubtedly the best ever Sportsday performance by a Dodgers side. It was also the best Sportsday final I can remember playing in or watching. The highlights were for me were the batting of Hilary and Cooper, everyone’s fielding and bowling (Simon Cousins was especially accurate and gets less of a mention than he deserves in the above reports) and running a very good Deliverance side, who had hammered everyone else all day, so close in the final. As Rod pointed out though it will be a long coach trip from Swansea next year for them to come and defend their title... Oh, and did I mention we beat Superstars?

Codgers Report by John Carr

As you will have gathered from above, Codgers fared less well. This was hardly surprising. The team was not very strong and was drawn in the qualifying group from hell which included both the eventual winners - Deliverance - and Superstars. While Codgers predictably lost to both of these, they were not disgraced and managed to finish third in the group after a good win against the fourth team in the group - Broadway 2.

Codgers v Superstars

Skipper Carr inevitably lost the toss but, surprisingly, Barry Gigg decided to bowl first. After a reasonable start by Carr and Qureshi, things deteriorated when Tawhid was run out and a couple more wickets fell quickly. But Carr and Cooper with a few lusty blows managed to take us through to a score of 39 off our 5 overs. This was never likely to be enough with Superstars batting line up (and Codgers attack!) and so it proved with Superstars securing the win at the end of the third over.

Codgers v Broadway 2

Having seen Broadway's first game against Deliverance, Codgers recognised this match was likely to decide who would finish third in the group and who would receive the wooden spoon. Carr again lost the toss but, obligingly, Codgers were again inserted. This time, Carr and Qureshi managed to survive all 5 overs and posted a total of about 70 (this sounds better than it really was because Broadway contrived to gift us numerous extras and overthrows). Reasonable bowling performances from everybody saw us home by about 15 runs.

Codgers v Deliverance

The final game always threatened to be a mismatch but Codgers put up a good performance. Carr won the toss and decided to bat (on the basis that this was likely to get the game over quickly and we could at last get to the bar). Codgers struggled against tidy bowling and good fielding (Tawhid was again run out!) but useful contributions from Cooper and Rock saw us make about 36. Deciding to give some of their lower-order players some batting practice, Deliverance decided to reverse their batting order and at one stage we seemed to have a sniff. After two tight overs from Tawhid and JCII, Deliverance only had 11 runs. And, early in the next, guest Richard Weider secured a wicket. But that was as good as it got. A proper batter came to wicket, was promptly dropped (off Richard again), and then a blaze of boundaries saw Deliverance home with more than an over to spare.

28 July 2005

Dodgers vs New Barbarian Weasels 28 July 2004

35 overs

Innings of Dodgers

McBarron c&b Alexander 51
Qureshi c&b Michaels 34
Andrews b Alexander 29
Gill c Hurley b Owen 46
Hilary b Alexander 0
Benn c Hurley b Kirkwood 2
Crawford c Woodhead b Pagan 1
Bass b Kirkwood 22
Matthews not out 8
Cooper c Alexander b Kirkwood 0
Pope not out 0
Sub-total 193
Extras 6
Total 199

Weasels bowling

Owen 7 1 35 1
Michaels 7 1 37 1
Alexander 7 0 35 3
Gibson 3 0 39 0
Kirkwood 7 1 20 3
Pagan 4 0 30 1

Innings of Weasels

Michaels c&b Benn 6
Carson c Hilary (J) b Bass 10
Woodhead c McBarron b Benn 6
Parker c Benn b Cooper 10
Alexander c Matthews b Hilary (J) 0
Owen c Qureshi b Cooper 0
Hurley run out 23
Gibson c Qureshi b Hilary (J) 14
Kirkwood c Bass b Hilary (J) 0
Smith run out 0
Pagan not out 0
Sub-total 92
Extras 23
Total 115

Dodgers bowling

Benn 6 0 18 2
Bass 5 1 18 1
Cooper 6 0 18 2
Crawford 5 0 26 0
Hilary (J) 4 0 10 3
Pope 3 0 23 0
Andrews 1 1 0 0

Result: Dodgers won by 84 runs

Neil Benn writes: Dodgers got back to winning ways with a clear-cut victory against New Barbarian Weasels at Berrylands this afternoon, thereby avenging a similar-sized defeat last season.

Winning the toss, stand-in skipper McB opened the batting with Tawhid Qureshi. Their partnership was a revelation, notching up 75 at quicker than a-run-a-ball before Tawhid skied one and was caught for an excellent 34. McB completed a rapid 50 - easily his most fluent for Dodgers in recent years - before also being caught. Weasel's successful bowler was heard to bid McB a hearty farewell with a cheery gesture as he departed. Well something like that....

Replacements Chris Andrews (Dealers) and Jas Gill (ORR) kept up the pace before Andrews's departure for 29 sparked a dramatic collapse as Hilary, Benn and Crawford managed just three runs between them. Guest Bok Warren Bass steadied the ship before launching a quick 22 and Gill's eventual dismissal for 46 left us on 199-9 after our allotted 35 overs.

200 looked tough but getable on a very decent track, but Dodgers' performance in the field was awesome and they never really looked like threatening it. Benn (2-18) and Bass (1-15) made early inroads, Cooper (2-18) pressured the middle order, and Hilary (3-10) mopped up the tail. We had taken no fewer than 8 (eight!) catches - Qureshi (2), Benn (2), Matthews, Bass, McB and Hilary - and effected two run outs with only one chance grounded. If only it was like that every week!

The evenutual margn of 84 was a fair reflection of our dominance, though we certainly owe a debt of gratitude to the three guests who performed so well.

Notes: Man of the Match votes: McB - 3, Gill - 2, Andrews - 1, Bass - 1, Benn - 1, Cooper - 1, Qureshi - 1 (10 votes only)

24 July 2005

Sports Day 2005 - photo gallery

Yup. It's here.

Codgers didn't survive the Group of Death but finished a respectable third. Dodgers had an unbeaten run on their way to the final (memorably beat Superstars in the semi-final) but narrowly lost out to Deliverance.

Thanks to everyone who turned out especially Darren Cooper, Cathal Rock and Richard Weider without whom, etc.