(Author Phil McBarron)
Result: FSA won by lots.
Dodgers Man of the Match: Mark Kavanagh


The second occasion was last night at Kempton Park races where Capt Carr and I failed to find a single winner and suffered combined losses of £255. The first occasion was at Chiswick 24 hours earlier where a plucky Dodgers side was annihilated by a very classy FSA XI.

We had never played FSA before but word of their strength had emerged before the toss and Capt Carr very sensibly allowed them to bat first by agreement. The FSA captain had already stated his intention to retire his batsman "when" they reached 50 (he didn't say "if" such was his confidence on observing the riff-raff ranged against his boys). Play commenced under fairly overcast skies and Dodgers took the field with only 10 players having been unable to raise a full side. Being one light in the field clearly didn't help but such was the quality of the batting it would have made little difference if we had 15 fielders. FSA opener Stigent (who has played for the full South African U-19 side) was particularly impressive and reached his 50 in 10 overs. It wasn't a chanceless innings but such was the timing and power of his shots that we were not able to cling onto the two half chances he offered. Sillet and Friend (two first XI club batsmen) were only marginally less impressive and destructive in scoring 51 and 46 respectively.

Our bowlers actually stuck to their task very well despite Benn's attempts to feign injury and persuade Carr to "give McBarron an over or two skip". Although we conceded numerous boundaries these were usually the result of good shots rather than bad balls. Although 181 is many more than we have ever conceded in 20 overs, we have never had to cope with sustained batting of this calibre. In the end we were relieved to keep them below 200 and Cooper and Qureshi picked up a wicket apiece. We were playing on the 'A' pitch in the middle of the square and so the side boundaries were extremely long, otherwise 200 plus would have been inevitable. Despite his short and deceptive run up, new boy Mark Kavanagh bowled a particularly brisk and hostile spell and was probably the quickest bowler on view all night. Even Stigent didn't seem to relish a couple of short balls that flew past his nose.

It was also good to see Henry Hilary return to the fold and he bowled perfectly respectably. It was clear that Henry has accelerated his training regime for the forthcoming "World's Most Pissed Bloke Championships", and on Tuesday's evidence he is our best contender since Doylee and Priest in their drinking prime managed a bronze in the pairs event. The champagne (or Kronenburg) moments were Henry falling over and being unable to regain the use of his limbs after attempting a catch, followed a few balls later by running in the opposite direction to the ball when it was hit towards him (some of you will recall another drinking legend Spencer Broadley doing much the same on a Superstars tour to York a few years ago). Henry is a top bloke and a good cricketer so let's hope we see him a few more times this season.

It would be fair to say that we were not much looking forward to our turn to bat. We knew the target was way out of reach, the skies had darkened and it seemed inevitable that FSA would have some seriously quick bowlers who would have noted the short pitched stuff from Kavanagh. Capt Carr was keen to avoid the complete humiliation of being rolled over for something desperate like 30 or less and gave the order that we should "simply bat sensibly". In the absence of any other volunteers he decided to open the batting himself with McB. As expected the FSA seam bowling was accurate and quick enough. Fortunately, it was not seriously quick (more hit the pitch and hit the bat hard kind of stuff). The Dodgers openers were able to survive reasonably comfortably but found the bowling, backed up by some very keen fielding, much harder to get away. After 10 overs only 32 runs had been scored, although Carr was benefiting from much needed time at the crease. With total humiliation avoided Carr gave the order to press on and 31 runs were scored off the next 5 overs. At 63-0 after 15 overs, Carr decided that he and McB should retire. The game was clearly lost and there was no point in carrying on and denying other Dodgers the chance of at least a brief hit. At this point Benn was heard to mutter in reference to McB - "I don't believe it, the bastard is opting for a red-inker". That of course is an incorrect interpretation - this was yet another selfless act by McB, following captain's orders and denying himself a probable 50 in the process. Although Birch and the Cat went cheaply, Cavanagh had enough time to prove that he is a decent act with the bat and managed a quick-fire 31, including 10 runs off the last 2 balls of the innings. Sadly that still left us one short of the 100 mark.

All in all an enjoyable if one sided game. Even with our best XI out it is difficult to see how we could ever be consistently competitive against a side like FSA. Their batting is the strongest I have ever encountered playing for Dodgers (better than Traveaux according to Mr Benn). Their bowling (backed up by excellent fielding) is also above average for our level although not quite as strong as their batting. If we do play them again we should stick with the 20 overs format (one could imagine them scoring 400 in good conditions in 40 overs). However, there is one ray of hope. Superstars managed to bowl them out for 61 last year and won the game by 10 wickets. According to Barry Gigg it was a freakish result - the pitch was poor and the FSA blokes went for their shots and Superstars held onto a series of catches. Siva managed 4 wickets including Stigent! Interestingly, Superstars best and quickest bowler Gundry didn't pick up any wickets.

This led to a brief discussion in the bar about how some of our absent bowlers might have fared. Most thought Crawford would have gone for plenty because he would have come onto the bat at good pace and a nice height. Several thought that Mr Adey's straight and fairly slow stuff in the slot, would have been a candidate for six sixes in an over (the straight boundaries were not very long). By common consent we all thought that David Pope might have fared best - we reckoned that Stigent would never have come across a bowler quite like David in South Africa.

Quote of the week - Mr Benn in Yorkshire twang after his first three balls were smacked for boundaries - "why are Crawford and Roper never playing when the good batsmen are around - me av'rij".


Sillett RETIRED 51
Stigent RETIRED 51
Friend Not Out 46
Rowlands b Cooper 16
Lord b Qureshi 9
Baker Not Out 0
Extras 12
TOTAL 181 for 2, 20 overs

Dodgers Bowling

Cousins 4 overs 0-29
Kavanagh 4 overs 0-25
H Hilary 3 overs 0-30
Benn 3 overs 0-32 (yes and ouch!)
Qureshi 3 overs 1-27
Cooper 3 overs 1-27
Carr 1 over 0-0


McBarron RETIRED 38
Birch c&b James 0
Kavanagh Not Out 31
Matthews c ? b Gigg (no relation) 2
Qureshi Not Out 1
Extras 5
TOTAL 99 for 2, 20 overs

Dnb - Benn, Cooper, Cousins, H Hilary

FSA bowling

Baker 3 overs 0-3
Hooper 4 overs 0-14
Bourne 4 overs 0-26
James 4 overs 1-13
Hawthorn 3 overs 0-29
Gigg 2 overs 1-11