v Isleworth Wanderers
Report by Lukey Sparrow
Sun, 30 Jun 2015
Report by Steve Werren Sun, 26
In sport, whenever there’s a changing of the guard the big question is “how will
the new guard shape up”? And that was the question on everyone’s lips before the
first game of the season against Highgate last Sun. After several successful
years where the regular Nepo team blew the opposition away more often then not,
with a squad that barely changed from week to week, were ‘nets’ a good indicator
of likely success, or would the pressure of performance be too much for the
Nepo’s new recruits in 2015?
The day started out in normal fashion for a late April fixture (ie) wake up,
look out the window, see dark grey clouds after overnight rain, walk out the
back door, have lower genitals immediately frozen, jump back into warm bed,
ring oppo skipper and pray match is called off, be disappointed when match is
given the go ahead, set alarm for another quick 20 mins power sleep, wonder what
the hell you are doing playing cricket in the UK this time of year, reach under
pillow and grab large kitchen knife which is left there in case of attack by
child predator (I do look young for my age), contemplate suicide but realise I
need both hands to fully insert knife to effect and it’s too bloody cold to
remove both hands from under the blanket, give up after figuring out that
partial suicide doesn’t really work and resign myself to fact that cricket is
the way ahead.
So after a hearty breakfast of ‘left overs’ from the final game of season 2014,
I ventured across town to ‘Shepherds Cot’ in North London where todays
game was due to take place.
On arrival at the ground I was greeted by a stream of television cameras and
strange looking people with
Seppo accents (septic tank ‘yank’, rhyming
slang for those non Australians). Yes, Hollywood had finally realised the true
value of the Nepotists brand and filming was about to commence for our USA
network debut. This is the first appearance of the lime green and magenta on
television in the States, to be screened on 07 May 2015 (UK General Election
day) on the 19 time Emmy Award winning
The Daily Show featuring
So after about 30mins of fluffing around with camera angles and make up so all
the Nepo’s didn’t look like
Bomber Dale with food hanging all over their
face and body, a 'pretend' game of cricket was commenced on a spare nearby pitch
with Daily Show correspondent, comedian
Jordan Klepper, donning a baseball bat and
shaping up at the wicket to face debutant speedster Caillan Leader from Brisbane
Australia - with Klepper giving it all the ‘trash talk’ for comedic effect.
Obviously he didn’t know anything about cricket, as he shaped up wearing a
business suit with no cricket pads, gloves, helmet, etc. So Caillan was
requested to trundle in off his short run up of only 50 metres using an old
ball. After several attempts Klepper didn’t get within 1 foot (that’s 85 litres
for the Antipodeans) of hitting the ball, so a good win for the Commonwealth
over the Septic's in the first game of the day, which included a £100 bar tab
for the Nepo’s after the match donated by the TV crew - prost!
Anyway onto the real game. Although it had rained overnight, the ground was in
pretty good nick with the pitch well protected by the covers, which in
Highgate’s case was 4,700 unused condoms that were found in ex-Nepo Shahna
Khan’s London flat before he departed these shores recently. Highgate won the
toss and ‘elected’ to bowl first, but after I informed their skipper that the UK
elections weren’t for another two weeks, I called ‘default’ and forced them to
bat. Ha ha... one up already, although I was planning on batting first myself,
so maybe not such a smart call.
With five debutants taking the field, it was important that they consider the
advice given to them by the two Nepo Legends on the park that day, Tim
‘Hannibal’ Hardy and Allan ‘The Sheriff’ Stamper, as these two guys have played
in the club colours since the very first Nepo game against ‘Adam & Eve CC’ in
the inaugural ‘Apple Cup’, so were well versed on the pressures of top line
cricket and the temptations that lurk playing at this elite level. So after
listening to what the two veterans had to say, the ‘Young Guns’ decided that 2
pints of ‘Battersea Dogs Breath Light Ale’ before the game in a neighbouring
pub, like the Legends did for many years, probably wasn’t a good idea - so we
The first ball of the match from Caillan Leader is what we believe to be a
Nepo World Record. Has anyone ever produced a
wicket with their first ball from their first over for the club in the first
over of the season for the team? I think not. If someone has, then the tie
breaker will be if they can juggle 3 cricket balls ‘no handed’ - which Caillan
did - or said he could do. I believe him.
After the Nepo bowlers pounded and spun the batsmen into submission, Highgate
was eventually bowled out for 152 off 37.4 overs with some great contributions
from the whole attack with all seven bowlers taking 5 wickets each, so a
phenomenal performance, and easily the best of the season so far. But besides
those bowlers, two particular figures warrant mentioning; Sanjay Thakker (Ind)
with 3-4 off only 2.4 overs, and Caillan Leader (Aus) with 3-23 off 7 overs,
stood out amongst a great team effort.
Highgate’s Thai chef outdid himself after mumblings that last years tea wasn’t
quite up to his normal high standard. This year we had real chicken in the rice
dishes instead of human remains from the 70’s, which I personally didn’t mind,
but that’s just me. But in all seriousnesslyed (it’s a real word check it
here), it was a top notch feed and thoroughly
enjoyed by the team and their entourage.
Although the Nepo’s were only chasing a small total they were mindful that the
conditions weren’t great for batting. It was a damp popping wicket with homeless
people lying all over the pitch waiting for the left over human remains to be
served. Once they were informed that this delicacy was now off the menu at
Highgate, they moved onto Birmingham where that type of food is still found in
abundance by ISIS supporters.
After last year’s batting collapse saw the Nepo’s bowled out for just 150 runs,
their worst score in almost 10 seasons, the two 'tried and true' run machines
Carl Hoar (Eng) and Damian Tambling (Zim) were sent out to open the innings and
knock off the runs so we could get into the bar before the sun came out. Anyway
after two overs the Nepos were 2 wickets down with just 6 runs on the board,
with both the Nepo stars from last season having a rare failure. Enter ‘Young
Guns’ Caillan Leader (Aus) and Courtney Keep (NZ) at numbers 3 and 4 for what
would be a match saving partnership when the Nepo’s could easily have folded
under the pressure of some hostile bowling on a deteriorating wicket. The two
debutants put on a 3rd wicket partnership of 61 runs before Leader was out
bowled for a well compiled 30 runs.
But the game was still in the balance at that stage, so another ‘Young Gun’ Mike
Sheldon (Aus) was sent in as reinforcement to support Keep, who at this stage
was starting to plunder the Highgate bowlers, hitting fours and sixes at will,
and even 8’s and 9’s. (We have a good scorer). Another top partnership of 79
runs was finally ended when Sheldon was controversially given out ‘handled the ball’
for 33 runs after adjusting his groin protector in between overs. We are
appealing this decision using singer Elton John’s attorney who is an expert on
The Nepo’s eventually chased down the runs finishing on 4-158 off just 23.4
overs and were surely on target for 400 runs had they batted first and Highgate
didn’t use any fielders – but we’ll never know. Debutant Courtney Keep (NZ) top
scored with 76 not out and got one back for the Kiwis after their disappointing
Cricket WC Final and theft of the South Island by Hawaiian canoe people last Sat
night when everyone was asleep.
After a fierce round of nominations, the NACA jacket and hat was eventually won
by that man Courtney Keep for not listening to the skipper who had asked him to
remain ‘not out’ when the scores were level, but decided instead to hit a six to
finish the match. Rebellion looks likely this year!
So the initial questioned posed at the start of this match report about whether the new
Young Guns ‘shaped up’, well the answer is a resounding ‘YES’ with cheese on
top, and bodes well for the season ahead.
And so ends a very satisfying first up victory for the Nepo’s in season 2015.
Well done lads.
After a week of match cancellations, player pull-outs, and dragging
selected players off their death beds 20 min before the game, the match against
Barnes finally got underway during pleasant spring conditions – finally! The
Nepos won the toss and decided to bat on what looked like another quick
outfield. After a solid start of 109 runs before the first wicket went down, the
Nepos were hoping to push on for a score in excess 250 runs.
Unfortunately they fell well short of that target after a typical collapse
reminiscent of the UK Liberal Democrat party, and were kept to just 218 runs for
the loss of 8 wickets off their 40 overs. Due in no part to Barnes overseas pro
from Trinidad belting the ball down at 26 hectares a second. Carl Hoar (Eng) was
back to his consistent best with 67 runs after flopping in the first game and
Lukey Sparrow (Aus), perhaps finding his new calling as an opening batsman after
the Thacker years left us bare in that department, scoring a steady 27 against
some hostile bowling.
With 8 bowlers in the team this week, the Nepo’s still felt confident of victory
if they could get the whole Barnes team out before they reached our score. But
alas it was tough going at the start, with two Barnes first team batsmen opening
the innings. But the Nepo’s still felt confident after dismissing both these
guys with score on 98, only for the Trinidadian dude to come in at no.3 and do a
Brett Schwim (Zim) and belt the ball to the moon and back and then back again.
Eventually Barnes clocked up victory in the 34th over with only 5 wickets
down. So a first loss of the season for the lime green and magenta, but we have
an opportunity for revenge come June in our rematch.
The disasters of our game here last season apparently live long in the memories
of Nepotist players where Bomber Dale unanimously won the NACA for the second
season in a row against Barnes for losing the ‘un-losable’ game; although he
didn’t actually play in the match, or in fact wasn’t even in the country at the
weekend – but thoroughly deserved.
Following last year’s gripping last over defeat to Northwood, redemption
was sought yesterday on Northwood’s newly laid square. Following a sewage flood
last year from the top of hill that washed volumes of sh*t across the field
forcing the need for fresh pitches, the omen, or perhaps enthusiasm, to take
advantage of the better playing conditions, was instilled. As last week’s NACA
winner ‘Bomber’ remained the last Nepo invitational Captain to lose, the want to
redeem myself from last year’s loss while playing ‘match manager’ was stronger
With a team top heavy of bowlers and debutants, choosing to bowl would give the
Nepos a great chance to rip through Northwood and let the new boys contribute
before a spectacular batting failure occurred, something the Nepos are renowned.
That decision was taken from me as the Northwood Skipper ‘We’re not having a
drink’s break’ Keith, won the toss and elected to bat on a new track, which he
described as helpless to bowlers. Great to know!
With the new ball, debutants Roddy Kelso (Scot) and Alex Hayde (Nz) bled a few
too many down the hill and a few too many down leg before being swapped after 6
overs for debutant Rohan Anderson (Nz) and long-time Nepo Viv Pillay (Sa) to
stem the tide - alas no. After 10 overs with the score 0-88, the openers weren’t
looking too troubled on the pitch rolled for them as they increased the run rate
for the next 4 overs. Time to slow things up.
Sanjay Thakker (Ind) and Mike Sheldon (Aus) operated in tandem off 5 paces each
for 16 overs, and though Northwood were 0-188 after 20 overs, it was testament
to persistence as the openers fell off consecutive deliveries on consecutive
overs and the Nepos pounced, as best we could. The runs dried up and wickets
fell. As luckless, or with limited reward it may seem, the efforts of Sanjay and
Mike, whom took only one wicket each, was the change of play we needed. They
laid a solid foundation for debutant bowlers to come back, grab 4 wickets and
ensure Northwood only scored 51 runs in the 20 overs since drinks and finished
on 7-239 off their 40 overs. It was huge fight back and the Nepos smelled a
sniff, and it wasn’t leftovers from last year’s mishap.
Going into lunch with only 240 to win, when originally after 20 overs of the
Northwood innings we were thought we’d be looking at 340, the spring in the step
was obvious, or maybe because the buffet offerings weren’t the best, so getting
on with it was far more tempting.
“Viv, would you like to open?”
OK. “Paulie, would you like to open?”
"I prefer not, but thanks for asking!".
OK, “Ah, Stevie?”
‘Tennis elbow, I hope not to bat at all’.
Fair enough. “Sanjay?”
‘Yeah absolutely, I prefer to actually’.
So London’s favourite Cabbie, Carl Hoar (Eng) has a batting partner after I too
preferred not to bat with dodgy knees, strained quads, torn hamstring, and too
many tuna sandwiches on brown bread from the buffet.
Standing at square leg counting balls and watching Carl and Sanjay meticulously
tick off runs, I had quiet confidence that these two stalwarts would cruise
through the total, merely competing for the honour of packing the kit. No sooner
did that thought of confidence pass than Sanjay popped a catch to mid-on for 21,
followed shortly by Paul McCubbin (Aus) whom gifted the keeper an edge without
using any scorer’s ink. The Nepos favourite
Sommelier debutant Matt, whom after clipping
his 1st Nepo boundary through mid-wicket, decided not to use his bat next ball
and was cleaned up for 5 by the Northwood opening batsman now hiding at 1st
change bowling. From there, it was a procession.
Carl, 37 (not age, perhaps), though top scoring once again, pushed one to
mid-off without making it bounce first, then once again, thanks to Mr Modi’s
Steak and Kidneys, we welcomed and farewelled in 10 overs and almost the same
breath, Roddy 13, Alex 15, Rohan 0, Viv 2, myself 15, and Stevie 6 leaving Magic
stranded 8 not out, and handing Northwood victory by 96.
I can’t say I’m not disappointed, but when is anyone content after a loss? We
gave ourselves a cracking chance once we restricted Northwood to 239 but with
the monkey now off Bomber’s back, the famous Nepo collapse was all too strong
against mediocrity on a brand new pitch that was clearly still full of sh*t!
Congratulations to all the new Nepos on reaching the pinnacle of your Sunday
afternoon leisure programs and thank you too all Nepos for your efforts with bat
& ball yesterday. Results aside, it’s always a pleasure!
Yours in Nepotism,
here to see photos from Sunday’s game courtesy
of Tim Hardy)
Nepotists won the toss and elected to bat first on a bit of a green top
Stand in skipper Carl Hoar (Eng) struggled against the swinging ball and was
bowled for 1 with only 7 on the board. Sanjay Thakker (Ind) (showing no signs of
the ‘Ilford Pneumonic Plague’) played with great control, which has been such of
feature of his play since signing for the club. He eventually departed for 44.
Damian Tambling (Zim) trying to repeat his 2014 heroics, pulled out of a cut
shot that plugged in the pitch and spooned an easy catch for 19.
Caillan Leader (Aus) strolled to the crease and immediately laid waste to the
Kew bowlers with shots all round the ground. Anything that stuck in the pitch he
flat batted straight, a great improvised innings of 41.
Ryan styles (Aus) played some good looking shots but was bowled flicking to leg.
Roddy Kelso (Scot) fell to a similar stroke as he tried to push the rate up,
being bowled for 17.
Kevin Shah (Ind) on debut, unluckily played on for 0.
Ben Evans (Nz) chipped in with a well crafted 1.
Philip Challinor (Eng) coped a beauty to be bowled for a tightly constructed 0.
Fortunately for the Nepos, London’s favourite postie Sandip Sharma (Ind) played
some wonderfully controlled shots, including a magestic cover drive on his way
to 22, along with Steve (one arm bandit) Werren (Aus) who remained not out 3,
wagged the tail as the visitors were restricted to 176 all out off 37.1 overs.
As the team munched its way through one of the best teas of the season so far
(cakes this week boys!!) not many gave the lime green and magenta much of a
chance. Our worst fears were realised as catches went down and Kew raced to 50
within 5 overs.
The introduction of Damian Tambling ended the opening partnership as he broke
through with his fourth ball. "Damo’s" gun barrel straight bowling (3 for 16 off
8) in tandem with Sanjay Thakker’s off spin (0 for 22 off 8) clawed the Nepos
back into contention.
Kew seemed to have too many overs and wickets left but Ryan Styles broke through
in his first over on his way to bagging 4 for 34 off 7 including an attempted
Caillan Leader bowled with pace and accuracy on his way to picking up 1 for 45
Defeat seemed inevitable, but not to the Nepos new "flying Scotsman" (sorry mate
couldn't resist) Roddy Kelso, as he sent back Kew’s 1st team star bat Thomas for
a well played 33.
Another in-swinging Yorker from Roddy won the match as Kew were bowled out for
162 off 33.2 overs, giving the Nepo’s victory by 14 runs
Both teams retired for beers to the pavilion to ponder over a most unlikely
Credit has to go to Kew’s skipper for holding back his first team quick bowler.
Good on ya mate for keeping the game open.
In a thrilling match that went down to the last few balls the Nepos let
one slip away yesterday against Ealing Three Bridges and failed to get the final
wicket for victory with just 4 balls to spare. The Nepos thought they were home
and hosed with the oppo 7 wickets down still needing 73 runs and only 3 wickets
left, but the team relaxed and paid the penalty.
On a glorious afternoon in Harrow, the weather finally played it’s part with the
Nepos winning the toss and batting first. With runs coming steadily a
score of around 250-ish looked likely, but hit a snag towards the end of the
innings only scoring 9 runs off a 6 over period in the last 10 overs, but still
ultimately ending up on a competitive score of 8-225 off their 40 overs -
considering the unpredictable pitch. Courtney Keep (Nz) kept up his Twenty20 big
bash image with a hard hitting 48 runs off 30 balls – very impressive. Carl Hoar
(Eng) had another solid score of 39 runs opening the innings, then Ryan Styles
(Aus) 28 runs and Mark Logan (Nz) 22 runs contributing in the middle order.
After tea the Nepos felt confident having never lost to Ealing Three Brides
before, and steadily took wickets, although the oppo kept up a big run rate.
With the introduction of Ryan Styles into the attack the Nepos really took
control of the game. Ryan does a great impression of Australian opening bowler
Mitchel Stark, with his left arm late swinging full pitched yorkers, with all of
his wickets being bowled and ending up with figures of 4-49 off 8 overs - great
effort. Along with his 28 runs in the first innings and his 4 wickets in the
second, Ryan now jumps to the top of the Club Championship table followed by
Caillan Leader (Aus) and Sanjay Thakker (Ind) in 2nd and 3rd place.
There was a fair bit of niggle in the game, which is unusual against these guys,
and resulted in tit-for-tat calls of wides, no balls, not out’s etc, with a
total of 73 extras between the two teams including 55 wides and no balls- very
However in the end the score tells the final tale and the Nepos were on the
wrong side of it with the oppo finishing on 9-226 off 39.2 overs and just
But as always, the lime green and magenta kept the bar open till late in the
evening and after a few beers the game seemed a distant memory. Along with the
brass band that was entertaining us on the other side of the ground, bright
sunshine, a bit of exercise, and cold beers, I can think of worse ways to spend
a Sunday arvo. We try again next week. Click
here for photos.
It’s hard to believe that it was just a year ago when Nepotists CC hit
one of the lowest points in their history, as it only feels like about 12
months, but who’s counting. That was the day the Nepotists lost the un-losable
game against Barnes captained by invitational skipper Bomber Dale (Aus) that
will go down in infamy as probably a seminal moment by any human being who can only survive via Photosynthesis. (Last year’s match report
The Nepo skipper Steve Werren (Aus) had chills up his spine walking into Barnes
cricket arena with memories of last year’s debacle still haunting him, only to
realise he’d accidentally swallowed his refrigerator in an attempt to squirrel
down some nosh while racing out the door to get to the match. A quick call to
the RRD (Refrigerator Removal Dudes) and things were looking better after a short
Barnes ground has produced some incredible scores over the years with both teams
scoring 300+ runs in each innings in the past two seasons. The pitch and
outfield didn’t look much different, so runs, runs, runs seemed a natural
possibility. With the Nepos winning the toss and choosing to bat as they always
do, reliable openers Carl Hoar (Eng) and Sanjay Thakker (Ind) set off to ‘steady
the ship’, even though they were the first people to face a cricket ball that
The two guys put on their usual opening partnership of more than 57 runs,
scoring 58 when Sanjay was dismissed in a most unusual fashion. Apparently one
of the escaped Tigers from the Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia had somehow found it’s way
to Barnes, and thought that Sanjay was giving him a challenge after he held his
bat up to the crowd when he reached 38 runs (why he does this I don’t know),
prompting the lion to
charge onto the field and bite Sanjay’s head clean off. It’s
probably the first time anyone at Barnes has seen this before, and brought oohs
and aahs from the masses who just couldn’t watch, but still peeked through their
fingers perhaps hoping to catch a bonus car accident in the background. After
consultation with the MCC ‘Rules of Cricket’, Sanjay was given out ‘Decapitated’
which none of us had ever heard of before, but according to the rule book, is a
real dismissal. Sanjay was dragged off the field and the match resumed.
Carl had better luck punching his way forward to a well deserved century, but
unfortunately ended up with a well deserved 92 runs, until he was attacked by one
of the Hippo’s running around and was given out ‘Sexually Assaulted’. It was
quite sensual actually as Carl got into the spirit of the mating ritual before
eventually being devoured. Didn’t see that one coming with no spiders in sight.
So with the Nepo’s down to 9 players, the rest of the team all hit out as quick
as they could before the Rhino’s turned up, who had apparently heard about the
top pickings on offer. The two Nepo Aussie debutants William Medcalf and Alex
Jenkins, both recovering from ‘Overnightuspissedofftheirheadus’ and regaling
stories of their time at Newcastle University when they drank 5 bottles of
Jagermeister and threw up up over the Chancellor’s BMW, decided they weren’t
hanging around to see what these animals were going to do next, and hit out
scoring 25 and 42no respectively off 6.5 balls – very impressive.
Other notable scores from 'Mr Reliable' Paul McCubbin with 30 runs, and current
‘Club Champion’ leader Ryan Styles with 20 runs, helped the Nepo’s to 266 runs
off their 40 overs, losing 7 wickets along the way. This is a very healthy score
on most grounds, but..... this is Barnes, and anything is possible.
After a fine Tea of ‘Hippopotamus a la Cabbie’ and with the meter still running,
the Nepo’s set out defend a target which at that stage was unknown to be above
or below par. A quick look at the scorecard from nearby Richmond Park Golf Club
told us it was above par for the weather conditions, which was hot and cold with
a possibility of volcanic ash from the opening of the new ‘Jurassic Park’ movie
playing on a nearby laptop.
In fact it was more than above par, it was 137 runs above par, as the Nepo's
rolled over Barnes for just 129 runs. The lowest amount of runs the Nepo’s have
witnessed at the ground, except for the time I’m told Chris ‘Lec Lec’ Leckenby
had stomach problems at Barnes back in the 80’s, where he did 45 runs to the
It really was a team effort, with the bowlers sharing the wickets around; 2 each
to 4 of the bowlers, and 4 each to 3 of the bowlers, just in case the game is
washed out next season. But the two star performers with the ball were
definitely Ryan Styles (Aus) and Roddy Kelso (Scot) who are both really coming
into their own at ‘first change’ continually throwing down swinging unplayable
balls and pepper spray in the direction of the oppo. Brilliant to watch, even
though the screaming from the batsmen holding their eyes gets a bit over the top
at times – this is not football!
The players had a pleasant surprise when Nepo Legend and leading wicket taker
with over 500 Nepo wickets, Rik ‘eh’ Andrew (Eng) turned up at the start of the
second innings and volunteered to umpire. However he was very lucky he left
before the after match presentations as he was on course to win the NACA jacket
and hat for not giving any LBW’ decisions against the Barnes batsmen, when he
always seems to love giving Nepo’s out any other time.
Instead the jacket was shared by the two slips fielders Sanjay Thakker (Ind) and
Vivan Pillay (SA) who complained it wasn’t their fault that so many edges went
flying between them at 1st and 2nd slip during the game as they claimed there hadn’t been
any edges to slips since one in the first game at Highgate. So how can they be
expected to take it seriously and waste valuable time bending down when they
were more content comparing Facebook photos on their mobiles as the bowler ran in.
A good victory to the Nepotists, and thankfully Bomber Dale’s days are now just
a distant memory. (Although we may bring it up from time to time if there’s
nothing interesting to write about.)
As Brett Schwim casually swaggered out to the middle wearing his sleek
Panama hat, the Nepo’s were hovering on 3-83 in the 16 over. You could hear the
mutterings and hand over mouth conversations from the Old Actonian boys about
the big Zimbabwean as he took strike not even asking for ‘centre’, wondering if
he’d just arrived on his horse from
Palookaville. Especially after he’d just
performed an alternate pagan ritual to the one he normally does at Stonehenge
each year on the summer solstice, and sacrificed a local virgin Druid on the
side lines before heading out to bat.
After the first ball went for 6 out towards the North Sea, the Actonian lads
knew this guy meant business and the fielders quickly scattered to the boundary.
After another 31 balls Brett had brought up his 50, then only 18 balls more
brought up his 100, falling just short of the Nepo World Record for ‘Fastest
Century’ by just 8 balls, which was set by, um.... Brett Schwim in 2013! But his
50 ball century was in fact the fastest century of the day at Old Actonians, so
some comfort there. Eventually Brett was bowled for 124 brutal runs off just 59
It really is something to see Brett in full flight as anyone who has seen him
bat will attest to. When the balls go for 6, they don’t just drop over the
boundary line, they drop over the nearest row of houses and the streets that
back onto them. As Jackie Gleason used to say in the classic 1950’s sitcom
The Honeymooners, ‘To the Moon Alice’.
And that’s where most of the balls were heading till gravity just forced them
down before they took out the Hubble Space Telescope - very entertaining.
Almost going unnoticed with Brett banging away at one end, was another top
innings from Ryan Styles (Aus) who just keeps clocking up Club Championship
points with another fine knock of 66 not out, and Sanjay Thakker who is fast
becoming one of the Nepo’s most consistent openers, hitting up a very composed
The Nepo’s eventually posted a score of 6-317 runs off their 40 overs, which was
always going to be a bridge too far for the Old Actonians outfit. And so it was,
the Nepo bowlers were able to dismiss the oppo for just 165 runs off 36.3 overs
(yes, it was slow), winning by a mammoth 152 runs.
The Nepo’s used 9 bowlers on Sun, which I can’t recall happening in any Nepo
game 40 overs or more I’ve played in, with Roddy Kelso (Scot) taking the honours
with his late in-swinging deliveries finishing with 2 wickets for just 6 runs
off 5 overs. Lukey Sparrow (Aus) as always bowled with his usual control and
impeccable line and length picked up 2-17 off 5 overs. Caillan Leader (Aus), the
Nepo’s new recruit who has terrorised oppo batsman all season with his pace and
head butts, played possibly his final game as he heads off travelling, picked up
a fiery 2-22 off 5 overs, and will be a big loss to the team, but may be back
for an end of season guest appearance. It was short and sweet mate, but now
you’re a Nepo for life, so come back soon. You can still follow the games each
week on Twitter.
The comedy moment of the match was when Roddy Kelso was on a hat trick. The
Nepo’s decided to give it every chance with a left hander facing and Roddy
swinging the ball away, thought the best approach would be to have a wicket
keeper and 9 slips! Click
here to see a video of the resulting ball.
The best reaction was from Damian Tambling (Zim), standing at 8th slip, who
almost had me convinced as wicket keeper that the batsmen had edged it, although
I knew the ball missed the bat by at least a foot. Very convincing appeal by
Damo, unless of course he really believed it was an edge and was influenced by
my reaction! Either way, funny to watch.
The old Actonian boys were a top bunch of blokes and played the game in very
Nepotists like spirit and even borrowed the Nepo pink wig which helped them drop
possibly 30+ catches. Well maybe not 30, but a lot. In honour, after the match
the Nepo skipper Steve Werren (Aus) presented them with their own pink wig. The
wig that was just about to be thrown away as we had just bought a new one this
week, but got us a free jug of beer in return - bargain!
So another big win for the lime green and magenta before they head into their
feature games over the coming weeks.
But the day certainly belonged to Brett Schwim, who brought up his second Nepo
century and proved once again that he is a complete psycho and needs to be put
down. It may have been the longest day of the year for northern hemisphere
citizens, but it would have felt a lot longer for the Old Actonian fielders.
As the midday rains chucked down over the Nepo’s longest serving fixture
against Shepperton there was never any doubt mother-nature would prevent the
game from going ahead. The only cause for cancellation was the lack of Nepos.
With 15mins to first wet ball, the count was 7!
It would come as no surprise that a mid-morning call to Steve from a wailing
Paul McCubbin (Aus) hailing or feigning injury, self-imposed or otherwise,
reduced the starting 11 to 10.
Even less of a surprise was a text at 12pm from Rohan Anderson (Nz) after a
spontaneous sleep over at some unknown’s house saying he had just arrived home
and he’ll be a tad late. Leytonstone to Shepperton will make Rohan more than a
tad late, so we’ll be starting with 9 and a shoe-in NACA for Rohan after it was
learned he started his day just 20mins from the ground before travelling home
simply to find out where we were playing. NACA!
Viv Pillay trudging through the gates at 12:45pm brought the present count to 8,
but there still one notable absentee. Waving The Flag was Carl Hoar (Eng)? Carl
is never late. Never!
It was 12:46pm and Carl whom is normally on site one hour before play purveying
the pitch and quickest access to the buffet, was nowhere to be seen, or even
heard as his phone failed to answer on several occasions. It transpired that
Carl (London’s BEST cabbie?) was stuck in traffic in some strange distant place
call Sunbury. The only Sunbury I know is North West Shitsville of Melbourne. Is
that where he was with our pads, bats, gloves, and balls?
Forget the rain, without a team or kit, this could be the easiest match report
Easier than that, with rain eased, was losing the toss and then being asked what
we would like to do!
With limited players, it was decided to bowl. With the use of Shepperton’s 12th
man and the eager young Kai ‘Kahuna’ Kogutiuk-Gillian (Poland) making his Nepo
debut at the ripe old age of 10, 9 of us could protect the runs while waiting
for other batsmen to arrive, save a famous Nepo collapse.
As it transpired the rain held on long enough for Carl to arrive and we took to
the field with Kahuna doing an inspiring job running fine leg to fine leg as
Ryan Styles (Aus) opening for four overs (before being changed by the umpire for
running on the pitch) with the Skipper Lukey Sparrow (Aus) for three as
Shepperton’s top order put on 22 for the 1st wicket then 69 for the 2nd. Change
bowlers Viv Pillay (Sa) and Mark Logan (Nz) helped the hosts reach 70 after 10
overs before a vital breakthrough thanks to the ever tight spin bowling of
Sanjay Thakker (Ind) and Mike ‘Magic’ Sheldon (Aus), in tandem again for 16
The Nepos clawed their way back brilliantly.
In the ensuing 30 overs that saw Carl replace Sanjay for 6 overs to complete 14
straight overs of spin from the Shepperton Town end, and with Ryan coming back
on to replace Magic, just as Rohan decided to arrive at the completion of the
27th over, to see the inning through, the Nepos restricted Shepperton to just
174-7 off 40 overs. An outstanding fight back.
After a delightful build your own lunch, Carl took to the middle with Sanjay,
whom failed to repeat his recent opening heroics being caught for 1. After two
years in exile, recently dusted off Sandip Sharma (Ind), whom made it clear he
does not bowl, was granted the rights to #3, but failed to impress with 8, but a
very valuable 8 they were. Rohan, looking to contribute to the game did anything
but add more misery to this day than his one did to the scorecard. At 20 overs,
the Nepos always look to be 100+ to set a foundation for the rest of the inning.
Today we were 48-3 and far from 175.
But Carl was still there. He was only 20 off 60 balls but he was there. As was
Logan, whom clearly didn’t want to run. 5 scoring shots, 5 boundaries, and out
for 22 off 22.
Viv playing his usual ‘I am a mannequin’ style of play held one end without too
much fuss for 13, as Carl discarded the shackles on his way to 80 runs leaving
the Nepos just 30 runs to win. As Viv walked off, Steve Werren (Aus) could be
heard ‘30 runs to win, we can’t lose it from here’, as Ryan walked in and out,
as did myself, as did Carl, as did Magic, leaving Stevie to face the dying overs
with Shepperton’s 12th man Will, padded up to help us achieve the 10 needed to
win. Surely not Steve.
With a discrepancy in the scorecard we were unsure how many to win so preferably
we wanted to tie the score and finish with a 6 to make sure. As it was, three
singles to Steve and a quiet word to Will, ‘just play straight, I’ll finish it’
with 8 runs to win, saw young Will go ‘Fuck that’, Bang, Bang, 4, 4, Game Over,
and Nepos regain the Holgate trophy in very unorthodox, but very Nepo style.
It could have been very ugly in the end had it not been for the outstanding
fielding by Kahuna on debut whom saved 12 very valuable runs by saving 4
boundaries. The day could have been worse for Carl too had it not been for
Rohan’s ‘journey planning’ cementing his winning the NACA without any
nominations, as we just went straight to the voting!
Albert Einstein’s definition of ‘insanity’ is ‘doing the same thing over
and over again and expecting different results’. Unfortunately I fall into that
category. I keep buying cars and for some strange reason I expect them to
actually work! After breaking down in France while driving to Austria a year or
so ago in the infamous Werren van, resulting in a long tow back to the UK
costing €600, then quick repair job and back on the road again, I arrived back
in the UK after the ski season 3 months later at which point the van motor
promptly blew up, resulting in another tow to its final resting place in the
‘Wembley Cemetery For Extremely Gullible Van Owners Vans’.
This has been a pattern that has plague me since before birth, and generations
of my family before me with basically every car I owned. It an unenviable
genetic disease that I have been burdened with, but have to live with. That’s
why I never had kids - the guilt would be too much to bear. Hence the need to
plunge in and buy a decent car, a 2010 Ford Galaxy sedan which comes highly
spec’d. Since the purchase it has been a never ending procession of issues like
doors that won’t open, windows that continue opening through the roof and then
smash on the ground, motor malfunctions, leaks in radiator pipes, wireless keys
that turn off my neighbour’s fridge, wheels falling off, steering wheel turning
but wheels going straight ahead, people foolishly walking across pedestrian
crossings in front of me, and on and on and on. Even ISIS refuses to target my
car with rocket launchers as they see it as a waste of ammunition because they
know the car will eventually blow up of it’s own accord.
So yesterday at the Windsor Castle game after a pleasant day in the sun and a
great game, the Nepo’s left the 'John Taylor Bar' at around 11pm, all full of
beans and ready to head home. A click on the key ring to open the car door
yields a beautiful sound of.... silence. Oh oh, here’s trouble! With 9 Nepotists
expecting a lift back in the 7 seater car, this could be a issue. Why was the
battery flat for no apparent reason as everything was turned off inside the car.
Herein lies the problem. What do you do when you’re stuck in one of the most
highly protected establishments in the world, when you have an automatic car
which can’t be clutch started, the AA recovery vehicles aren’t allowed onto the
grounds, Liz is asleep on the other side of the cricket ground so can’t make too
much noise, security are probably watching us on CCTV, and the SAS is being
immobilised as we ponder our predicament.
Hmm, who do I know at Windsor Castle besides the Queen? Although it was only one
date I know she likes her sleep, so waking up Liz not really an option. There
were houses scattered around the grounds containing who knows what, maybe they
can help us. But what if I stumbled across some flogging chamber which they have
installed for insolent staff, is it worth the risk?
So we decided the best option was to walk home back to London and pick the car
up at next year’s game. Probably not the smartest move, but what else could we
do? So off we went. After immediately getting lost and stumbling across some
field and being accosted by horning thoroughbreds along the way with a glint in
their eyes, we noticed a series of shiny lights heading towards us. As they got
closer we surmised they were torches being held by what appeared to be humans or
human like, but we couldn’t be sure - we were scared! We were hoping they
weren’t the new secret breed of highly sexed horses the Castle has been breeding
for next year’s 'Royal Ascot' races that we have all read about in the ‘Daily
Luckily for us it was thankfully a few ‘Royalty Protection’ guys who had been
monitoring our movements. After trying to plea bargain a lift back to London,
which failed miserably and didn’t bring too many smiles to the RP, a severe
tongue lashing ensured and we were promptly heralded back to our motionless car.
Back where we started!
But wait.... we noticed a small light dimly glowing inside the cricket clubhouse.
Was the Duke unable to sleep, and scrounging through the fridge for a late night
snack of ‘Unruly Peasant Delight’. Not so, but it was the caretaker tidying up
after the Nepo’s had drank the bar dry. Please, please have some jumper leads....
yes, we are in luck!!
So after 10 minutes of trying to find the battery (hate these modern cars), the
vehicle was miraculously back on the road - yippee!! So with legs and arms
hanging out the window with not enough seats for everybody, which for some
reason didn’t seem to amuse the ‘Shaw Farm Gate’ security staff as we passed by,
we exited and were safely on our way home.
There was also a cricket match taking place against the Royal Household that day
as well, so I may as well tell you about it if you’ve read this far. The Nepo’s
lost the toss and were sent in to bat on a strange sort of wicket that appeared
to have cameras just underneath the surface, and I’m sure I saw a pair of
eyeballs just below the popping crease at both ends. So it looked like the pitch
will take spin if the rights spots were hit.
Traditionally games at the Castle are low scoring affairs as Royal Household CC
have been told to keep costs down, so excess ink in the scorebook and minimal
maintenance of the outfield was a budgetary necessity. The Nepotists were happy
to oblige, and at one stage looked like they would be lucky to make 150 runs
when they were struggling at 7-120 in the 34th over. But a tremendous knock from
the Nepo’s ‘Flying Scotsman’ Roddy Kelso with a very very stylish 63 not out off
50 balls, backed up by the ever consistent Mark Logan (Nz) with 29 valuable hard
hitting runs off 23 balls and also remaining not out, yielded an 83 run 8th
wicket partnership off just 9 overs, and saved the Nepo’s innings. Carl Hoar
(Eng) with his standard 50 runs and Paul McCubbin (Aus) with a well paced 30
runs laid the foundations at the start of the innings. The Nepo’s eventually
finished on 7-203 runs off 42 overs. (‘Time’ game remember.) A respectable
total, considering previous scores at the venue.
It was more than respectable as the Nepo’s were able to roll over the Royal
Household for just 111 runs in 31.5 overs to inflict the first defeat on the
Windsor Castle boys in 13 games we were told after the match. As has been the
case all year, it was a real team effort from the bowlers with Sanjay Thakker
(Ind) picking up 3-18, Roddy Kelso doing the double with 2-13, and Lukey Sparrow
(Nesting) plundering his way to 2-17. Also special mention to Bomber Dale (North
Pole), who also did the double with no runs and no wickets. This was probably
because he didn’t play, but still no excuse.
So that’s 5 wins in the last 6 games to the good guys and keeps us at the
top of the London ‘Non-League’ League table as we move into the second half of
the season. It will be very difficult for any of the teams below us on the table
to make up ground, seeing as they normally only play us once. So could be our
36th consecutive premiership on the way.
Always being ready to do my bit for the ‘greatest team the world has ever
seen’, I was a little offended at Steve’s reasoning for selecting myself as
stand in skipper. He told me, "mate, I'm going to be far too hung over watching
you Poms getting stuffed in Cardiff to lead the side at British Airways". There
was me thinking it was my tactical awareness.
British Airways won the toss and elected to bat. Nepos took to the field with 9
and a sub blagged from their generous hosts. The new ball was tossed to Ryan (Nobby)
Styles, who without much luck, returned 0 for 28 from 5 overs. Playing his first
Nepo game for 3 years, "the Eagles favourite" Terry Ford steamed in and picked
up 2 for 37 with his big booming away swingers. On a very true pitch and fast
outfield the Nepos decided to turn to spin.
Another faultless tidy spell that brought back memories of "flat Jack Simmonds"
(not a kiss band member), Sanjay Thakker went for only 15 runs in 6 overs. At
the other end Mike Sheldon bowled his best spell of the year so far, collecting
4 for 29. Swing pace, bounce and a mandatory "U-boat captain beard (new ECB
directive this year for any pace bowler )" were the main features of Courtney
Keep. Blistering spell of 1 for 31 in 7.
Viv Pillay insisted he was only fit to bowl 3 overs having just recovered from
the flue, the common cold and the cruel realisation that it was proper grim up
north. Despite this he returned 1 wicket for 9 in 3 overs thanks to a great
catch by Logan. Surprise bowling package of the day was produced by Alex Hayde.
Having bowled some genuine medium pace, Steve Werren decided to stand up to the
stumps. Then Alex released the quickest ball of the day that nearly took Steve
clear off his feet. Real pace potential there mate, and a tidy 1 for 14.
The hosts were all out for 183 in 38.4 overs.
After a rain delayed 2nd innings, openers Carl Hoar and Sanjay Thakker made a
steady start against some well directed medium pace. After some fine stroke play
Sanjay played on for 18. As the rain continued, Paul McCubbin (15*) lost his
footing several times on the slippery pitch. Opposition eyebrows were raised as
he seemed to "moon walk" on a good length whilst running between wickets. The
second time Paul did this he grabbed is box and shouted "owwww" (in a Michael
Jackson style tribute).
As the pitch cut up it seem more unlikely that the match would be finished.
Eventually the oppo skipper asked us if we wanted to continue. I told him "skip,
I'm 34 not out, I'm feeling good". Then he took me to one side and said "Carl,
your a Pom, most of your team mates are Aussies. Remember the stick they gave
you about going down 5 nil in the ashes? You will easily win this game if we
continue, do you want to give them anything to cheer this weekend?"
With a rye smile I removed my gloves, shook his hand and headed for the bar.
The Nepotists arrived at Edmonton, or was it the Caribbean, on a peach of
a day. Jerk chicken cooking in oil drum BBQ’s, reggae blaring out across each of
the grounds and a rum bar as well, it wasn’t the usual setting for a Nepo
As a first time invitational skipper and having been present at Barnes in 2014
for the ‘loss of the century’ at the hands of the once well renowned Bomber Dale
(now resident of Alaska), the vibrant atmosphere wasn’t helping the first time
After a successful call of heads on the toss, Carl Hoar (Uk) and Lukey Sparrow
(Aus), who everyone was surprised to see at Edmonton and not on the Sunday
highlights reel at Lord’s, headed out to the middle of the Edmonton second
After a steady start on a fairly true pitch, the ever-reliable Carl Hoar decided
to mix it up for this week and was out caught for 15. At the other end, Lukey ‘I
wont ever make the mistake of making myself ‘available if short’ while an Ashes
test is on’ Sparrow, was swinging big at everything. Joined at the crease by
Paul McCubbin (Aus) at three, Sparrow amassed a respectable 34 runs with some
big hits and some big misses before taking a second run when he shouldn’t have
and being run out.
With the opening bowlers seen off, Paul and Ryan Styles (Aus), set about scoring
some runs on a super fast outfield. After picking up the run rate with some very
decent shots, Ryan gave Edmonton their third wicket with a thick edge to the
slips and departed for 37 and probably not helped by the regular Ashes reporting
from Steve Werren (Aus).
In at number five came the high-flying Scot Roddy Kelso, who seemed to set the
Nepo twitter feed alight with a quick fire 69 (43 balls) and got out on what was
suggested to be a good number.
With only a few overs to go, Ben Evans (Nz) and Mike Sheldon (Aus), faced a few
balls each and Paul McCubbin finished not out on 81, a new highest score for the
Nepos, and moving to the top of the batting averages (for now at least).
The Nepo’s ending on 5-279 from their 40 overs and confident of taking the
current winning streak to 5.
After a wait for tea that wasn’t ready, the Nepo’s went into the field for 10
overs in anticipation of a Caribbean feast. With James Culley (Nz), back after a
year off Nepo duty and Sparrow opening the bowling, Edmonton were tied down in
the first 10 overs, with Sparrow picking up a bowled and a caught and bowled
before the second break.
After a second wait and a disappointing tea, the Nepo’s returned to the field
with James Culley picking up a wicket in the 11th over shortly followed by Ryan
Styles chipping in with a wicket of his own.
Roddy Kelso then decided that a charge on the 'Club Champion' points table was
on after a great batting display and proceeded to knock over 6 of the Oppo’s for
20 runs (5.1 overs). The effort tarnished only by what has been described as the
worst hat trick ball ever bowled, the result being four byes rather than a
wicket. Edmonton bowled out for 142 from 29.1 overs.
The Nepo’s recording a comfortable win by a margin of 137 runs with Steve Werren
picking up a deserved NACA for a host of usual infringements (Terrorism
comments, constant social media posting and general distracting efforts).
With the Nepo’s winning streak coming to an end last week against
Wembley, the game at Hampstead had seemingly lost some of its sting. However,
there was another streak on the go and this one belonged to our enigmatic leader
Steve Werren and his pursuit of a 4th consecutive NACA. Tension filled the air
as we all kept an eagle eye on Steve throughout the day to see if he could once
again come up with the goods. Perhaps the closest eye was kept by myself, as I
was sure to be a target for a first NACA on captaincy debut. He appeared to be
on his best behaviour but surely it was only a matter of time…
Fulfilling the main requirement early on of any Nepo’s skipper, winning the toss
and batting, I was quite pleased with myself. It was also evident early on that
the sting was well and truly back in the game once the Hampstead boys began from
the very first ball what could only be described as a constant stream of verbal
diarrhoea. Even the bowler at the top of his mark was willing to offer some
encouragement to our boys, including £20 to our favourite cabbie if he could hit
him back over his head. Aforementioned favourite cabbie got off to a handy start
with the bat, but it was Sanjay looking to push the pace and the opposition
fielder’s early, with a flurry of skied shots that somehow manage to elude a
fieldsman capable of holding a catch. The boys back in the shed were left
wondering if Sanjay had used up all our luck! And so it seemed, after a solid
opening stand was followed by a run of wickets that saw the boys collapse from
0-35 to 4-69. At least we passed the Aussie’s score in Nottingham, right lads!
After Carl departed for another stylish 46 it was our debutant from NZ, big Rich
Price, who picked up the pace with some lusty blows into some unsuspecting
backyards. A quick-fire 26 from the Kiwi pushed the score along, but without too
much fuss the team disappointingly were bowled out for 189, and for what looked
like a good 40-50 runs short of a solid total on a pretty flat wicket.
Always confident, even with a below par score, the Nepo bowlers started strong,
but weren’t quite able to tear through the oppo’s top order. It was time to give
the all Kiwi opening attack a breather and bring on the 7ft Aussie quick on his
debut, the double ‘G’, Gerard Gillian. He came steaming in, baring the
unmistakable passion and steely determination of his relative, Lukey Sparrow,
however, it was clear he was playing his first game in England when he asked if
he should fire in a few quick bouncers. Wisely told by the skipper it might not
be the best idea on these English wickets, the double ‘G’ sent the next one in
as short as he could and promptly removed the well set batsmen who had genuine
fear in his eyes. We were on our way, or so we thought. 22 wides and about 6
sixes off our debutant Kiwi later (into the same back yards he had earlier being
depositing the ball) the game was all but over with Hampstead 3 down and only 17
required. Re-enter Carl Hoar who bamboozled the batsmen and quickly took 3
wickets in 3 overs. Valuable club championship points to Carl provided by our
generous debut captain. Surely that deserved the NACA! Alas, the late comeback
was all for nothing as Hampstead fell across the line with three wickets in hand
and 9 overs to spare.
On to the post match beers and formalities. Unsurprisingly I was first in the
firing line, immediately nominated for the NACA by Carl. That stings after
gifting him the easy championship points! Since winning the toss, we’d lost the
game and all seemed lost for me. That is of course until we remembered who else
had gotten lost that day. Surely not? Yes it was that man again, Steve Werren,
stepping up to the podium for another well-earned NACA after confusing West
Hampstead for Highgate and driving 15 miles in the wrong direction, only making
it to the ground with seconds to spare. Well done Steve and good luck in
continuing your streak into Oxford. Of course the more important streak of us
retaining the ISIS trophy will be in play!
here for photos of the game provided by Tim Hardy)
Sat, 15 Aug 2015
The Nepo’s arrived at Oxford on Sat morning amidst glorious sunshine which was
to be the forerunner for the two day tournament. The Nepo’s went in as reigning
champions and were determined to keep their name on the trophy for a fifth
consecutive year. There was talk from the Nepo committee during the week that
they would prefer us to throw the games, as the engraving costs were sending the
club broke. However the players took matters into their own hands and decided to
actually throw the trophy into the ISIS River in the morning and take that
course of action out of play.
After a contrived toss by Woody the organiser, as no-one wanted to play the
Nepo’s first up, we were drawn to play Leicester lads ‘Nine Bar’ in the semi
final on the Brasenose College field on the basis that we both had a 11 players
ready to go, while the other two only had 9. As anybody who has ever played at
Oxford knows, the facilities on display are top class, but unfortunately the
groundsman this year seemed to have rolled ‘blue tack’ into the pitch reducing
it to a ‘3 bouncer’ before the ball arrived at the wicket keeper - flat and dry
as a bone. So the Nepo’s in an unprecedented move after having lost the toss and
being sent into bat, decided to gather round the pitch, skull 3 pints of lager
each they’d stolen from Bombers van last year, and relive ourselves evenly over
the 22 yard strip in an attempt to liven up the pitch.
Unfortunately this didn’t work, as not only was the pitch worse, but we ended up
all standing around crying on each others shoulders over past relationships gone
bad. In fact the Nepo batting performance was so bad, we ended up being bowled
out for our lowest score that I can remember, totalling 124 runs off 36.1 overs,
with only Ryan Styles (Aus) 33, Sanjay Thakker (Ind) 21, Elliot Miller (Aus) on
debut 19 and Tim Hardy (Eng) 11, reaching double figures. As Ritchie Benaud
would have said if he’d lived past his death, “pretty p*ss poor effort that
After a big heart to heart during the lunch break, the Nepo’s sobered up and
decided that women weren’t worth it, and that winning this match must take
priority, at least till Sat night in Oxford town. The Nepo’s dragged out every
ounce of energy to produce one of the teams all time great comebacks and bowled
Nine Bar out for just 77 runs in 27.2 overs after most of the oppo were run out,
collapsing mid wicket from some kind of stench coming off the pitch. So it did
The undoubted star with the ball was big Kiwi opening bowler Courtney Keep,
producing season best figures of 4-19 off 6.2 overs and ripping the spleen,
liver and oesophagus out of the Nine Bar batsmen along with injecting lethal
doses on Kiwi breath on them as they ran past, looking like Arnold Vosloo in
Mummy’ after he produced all the vermin
from his mouth in the movie to destroy the white trash filth.
Courtney was well backed up by Sanjay Thakker (Ind) with his usual tight
accuracy, picking up 3-19 off his 5 overs until he succumbed to ‘scurvy’ and was
taken to ‘Captain Bligh Hospital’ in nearby Portsmouth. Lukey Sparrow (Aus)
bowled 6 impeccable overs of ‘line and length’ which produced 2 wickets and only
10 miserly runs, until he had to stop as well when he passed out due to not
registering a pulse after he’d bowled his heart out. A transplant was
immediately attempted during the ‘Tea’ break with a heart that was flown in from
‘The Fanatics’ headquarters at ‘Temple Walkabout’. Sparrow refused to accept the
heart on the grounds that, “The Fantantics are f*cked and I wouldn’t accept
anything from that bunch of buffoons who are a disgrace to Australian cricket
and even make David Warner look good.” As it was his body, we had no choice but
to abide by his wishes and were lucky enough to find a dead half eaten duck by
the side of the river, removed it’s heart, shoved it into Sparrow and told him
it was from Steve Waugh’s late grandfather - and it worked perfectly. Job done!
Nepo’s were in the Final!!
The Saturday night after match bbq and live music from the skipper, produced the
usual array of antics and abuse that have become synonymous with the Oxford
Tour. The drinking games were a little bit slow to take off this year, so we
tried to introduce a new one which involved a Nepo on one side and a member of
the the Nevill Holt team - who we were also playing in the final the next day –
on the other side facing each other. The rules were, that seeing the Nepo’s are
the reigning champions we would pick up an axe, belt the oppo over the head with
it, then they get to do the same back to us, if they survive. But unfortunately
after the Nevill Holt team had suddenly doubled in a matter of minutes - albeit
looking a lot thinner - thought it wise not to continue this game, as 11 players
were enough to face in the final, not 22.
About 11pm the Nepo’s attacked the Oxford bars and clubs until the wee hours of
the morning to ensure that the tradition of playing Sun’s game with the
‘hangovers from hell’ was continued, knowing they play their best cricket under
Sun, 16 Aug 2015
As the crack of midday dawned, players from the 4 teams slowly made their way to
the ground, all looking the worse for wear. Mike Sheldon (Aus) in particular
looked a lot lighter! after he had successfully adopted the rarely used
Louis Réard method into his womanising playbook
throughout the previous night in town. (Réard was the French inventor of the
bikini in 1946 as a joke to get woman to walk around in their underwear.)
The toss for the final is the most crucial part of the weekend - along with
burning the clubhouse down - as nobody wants to field first up, preferring to
laze around for a few hours while the vitamins and paracetamol kick in.
Unfortunately for the second time in two days, the Nepo’s lost the toss, were
immediately ordered to clean up their mess, and sent out to field on the
magnificent Queens College ground. “Adrian” was the cry from the clubhouse.
(Rocky Balboa reference there for those who don’t get it.)
The Nepo’s opened up with their two big gun bowlers, Sparrow and Keep, who had
the Nevill Holt batsmen tied down for long periods, particularly with Sparrow
bowling 5 overs and conceding only 5 runs, which included 3 maidens. Although
the run rate was slow, Nevill Holt still managed to reach 49 runs before they
lost their first wicket, so the game was still well and truly on. The next
change of bowling saw the Nepo’s take the ascendancy with Thakker and Ryan
Styles (Aus) picking up 4 valuable wickets in 12 overs between them, and Styles
particularly brutal taking 3 wickets for 7 runs off 7 overs including 3 maidens.
An outstanding effort and puts him in the ascendancy for the prized ‘Club
Champion’ award, followed closely by Hoar and Kelso.
With Nevill Holt faltering on 4-58, but still in the game, it was time to go for
the jugular, so the local chapter of the ‘Oxford Gay Werewolves for Peace and
Liberty’ was called in. This did the trick as did the next change of bowling,
with Sheldon and Mark Logan (NZ) destroying any semblance of resistance from the
Holt boys, and Sheldon also picking up season best figures of 4-12 off his 4.2
overs. The oppo were finally bowled out for 80 runs before lunch and the Nepo’s
had one hand on their penis's the trophy.
After the best lunch of the weekend which included roast beef, baked potatoes,
gaggles of salad, and left over duck, the Nepo’s strolled past the Nevill Holt
score losing only one wicket along the way, to record a nine wicket victory and
secure their fifth final win in a row, with the two Nepo openers Carl Hoar (Eng)
35 and Paul McCubbin (Aus) 36 not out, providing the fireworks at the top of the
innings and securing victory in the 19th over.
After the ISIS Trophy was found down river attached to a homeless dead person
who had strangely died from imitation silver poisoning, the presentation
ceremony saw the Nepo’s once again crowned kings of Oxford. Beers were drank,
war stories were regaled and jumper leads were called for. Then all embarked on
the journey back home with another memorable weekend under the belt that always
goes hand in hand whenever Nepotists CC is in town.
A late booking by Steve for the weekend after a resounding ISIS trophy
victory had the Nepotists arriving to a new fixture in Finchley to take on
Grimsdyke with 10 men after a ring-in no show and the on-going test match ruling
After some recent poor form with the coin toss, Steve decided to offer up the
captain’s role for the day and I happily took the job, thinking we could
continue the fine work of the Australian Cricket team as our game was in London
and not anywhere else in the UK.
A rubbish weather forecast was surprisingly spot on at 1pm and the Nepotists
arrived at a lovely ground to consistent rain, a well-covered pitch and a
nervous groundsman. The Oppo though were confident of a start, albeit a little
delayed and at precisely several minutes after the planned start of 14:30 with
the toss won, Carl and Sanjay made their way out onto a well-draining pitch to
start us off in the rain reduced 30 over a side game.
With the Opposition setting a very defensive field from the get go, the run rate
was kept down with some straight bowling, until, with Viv channelling Rudi
Koertzen from one end, Carl was given out LBW for 8 in the eight over, with some
surprise to everyone but Viv as the finger was raised with Carl returning for a
second run. This sparked a social media frenzy as the ‘apparent’ club champion
incumbent, Ryan Styles, watched the twitter feed from afar and sensed that the
champion trophy was his.
Next to the crease was Paul, trying to do the mental calculations to work out
how many runs he needed to still be topping the batting averages after Carl’s
early dismissal. With the fielders well back on the short boundary and the
bowlers keeping the ball on the stumps for the most part, Sanjay and Paul toiled
away trying to build a defendable run rate knowing that 30 overs would be up
quickly. Having thrown the bat a little, run some singles and still failing to
work out how many runs he needed, Paul dollied a catch back to the Grimsdyke
bowler and departed for 27.
Next in was Rupesh who was quick to point out he hadn’t played since a couple of
games with the Nepo’s a year earlier. Small in stature, but with a big enough
bat, Rupesh made a quick fire 27, including a huge 6, then becoming Viv’s second
LBW victim of the day.
Rupesh’s departure would mark the last of the significant scores with Rich Price
making a quick 2 (and giving Viv his 3rd and last LBW decision – thank Christ
because he had to come off the field to pad up). Courtney with a useful 12 and
Logan and Mike finishing the innings not out 6 and 1 respectively saw out the
innings. Watching it all unfold from the other end while making sure the runs
ticked over was Sanjay who made a very well deserved 54 to ensure the Nepo’s
made a respectable 159 from their 180 balls.
After an ordinary tea and with Ryan Styles causing untold threats in the
twittersphere, the players re-emerged on a dry field under clearing skies.
With a lack of strike bowlers in the team it was Courtney and Logan who got us
going with two tidy spells for the first 7 overs, Logan picking up the first
wicket of the day and Courtney’s first spell of 4 overs producing figures of
The spin pairing of Sanjay and Mike were in for the first change with the Oppo
keeping track of the required run rate. After a tidy (as always) start from
Sanjay, Mike’s first over went for 9 and he was sure his day was done. But some
faith from the skipper saw Mike return for a second over and yield a wicket
maiden and a cracking LBW. With both bowlers going through their 6 overs, Mike
ended with a second wicket and Sanjay ended with 0-23 to keep the pressure right
In amongst the bowling the Nepo fielders were on fire. With Mike claiming his
13th (allegedly) catch of the year, the team secured four run outs across the
innings (surely a record?), one each to Carl, Paul, Courtney and Viv as the
pressure built on Grimsdyke.
With all to play for the second change bowlers were Viv and Rich Price. With the
boys wondering if Viv had the strength to bowl after his busy arm work in the
first innings and Rich coming off a Bomber-Dale-esq debut of 0-36 from 2 overs
at Hampstead, the atmosphere was tense. Rich finished with 0-12 off 3 and Viv
0-17 from 4 to ensure the game would go down to the wire.
With four overs to be bowled and Grimsdyke still maintaining the required run
rate, it was time for a Captain’s call. Who was left to bowl?
Carl Hoar, trailing by 9 points in the race for club champion was the man to
bring us home. Knowing that Ryan ‘if it’s on twitter its official’ Styles would
be drafting a lawsuit immediately following any tweeting of a Hoar wicket, Carl
accepted his fate of bowling out the innings and guiding the Nepotists to
His first over went for 8. Was this the right decision?
In between, a tidy last over from Viv brought the game down to 12 balls.
Carl’s second over was the one which would bring the legal challenge. After
restricting the batsmen to just three singles from the first three balls, Carl
got the breakthrough. And not just a 20 point wicket, but the big one, the
caught and bowled (28 points), to regain the lead in the run in for club
champion 2015 and guarantee that the registered offices of the Nepotists CC
(wherever that may be) would receive the Ryan Styles legal challenge without
A final over from Courtney, keeping the runs to a minimum brought Grimsdyke to
150 from 29 overs.
The final over. 10 runs needed by Grimsdyke to win the match.
Ball 1, a full toss from Carl resulted in a pull shot to the ropes for four to
start. 6 to win, 5 to tie.
Ball 2, a dot ball from the next ball as Carl found his line and length. Still 6
to win, 5 to tie.
Ball 3, 2 runs, the Grimsdyke batsmen scampering through. 4 to win, 3 to tie.
Zero fingernails remaining.
Ball 4, a wide… It wasn’t a wide… But it was called a wide. 3 runs to win.
Ball 4 (the repeat), a dot. Carl scrambling to field the ball as the batsman
tried to get him away.
Ball 5, one run. Grimsdyke move to 158 with a ball to go. Bring the field in, no
one wants a tie, the Nepotists play to win.
Everyone is tense. The crowd is silent (or non-existent).
Ball 6… Stumping! The strike batter with one ball to win the match, 50 under his
belt already, a big swing to a great ball and swift work from Steve behind the
stumps made sure the Nepos won by a single run.
A cracking game of cricket and a great result for the 10 man Nepos. Truly this
must be the greatest team the world has ever seen.
The NACA of course went to Ryan Styles… Now busily preparing his legal challenge
and sure to be the first to call for a fixture next week and to be found
furiously refreshing his browser to see the updated championship points.
With 'donation in hand' I don't believe I've been as excited to arrive at
the game as I was today against Isleworth Wanderers.
After ‘20 Years of Flagging’ with Australian Cricket I've seen first-hand time
and again the team discarding unwanted kit off their balcony towards the
flailing arms of the unappreciative, so with the Ashes Series ending just 6 days
before, this year was going to be different. I was not going to stand about and
watch perfectly good cricket kit go to waste.
I had the chance to meet Shane Watson (whom I've known for 13 years) at the
pre-Oval Ashes Test function, so going straight to the point yet not wanting to
be greedy, I asked if he could collect 4-5 sets of 'no longer required (used or
otherwise) 5 sets of pads and gloves for the Nepos'. A text from Shane on Day 5
invited me to the players' hotel on Day 6 to collect 10 sets of pads, a set of
keeper pads, and 15 pairs of gloves. Awesome result for the world! The Nepo's
would be set for a decade, hence my excitement at presenting the kit on Sunday.
I had to break the news to Steve mid-week as I needed the reason for him to
collect me from home rather than outside Greenford Tesco, but he was more than
happy to see the result of my effort to simply ask, a request that netted £1500+
worth of kit.
Reaching the sodden field in West London, I laid out the kit on the field to
present to each Nepo as they arrived. Amid the emotional high-fives and broad
cheer of others, Carl was the only disbelieving Nepo as he dragged for one last
time the shit kit towards the club house. I told him to 'throw that filth in the
skip, here's our new kit', as I motioned to the on-field display. He thought the
laid out kit was the oppo's (when looking at the oppo's fashion they'd be lucky
to have 3 pads between them, let alone 2 pads each)! When Carl came to the
realisation that this new kit was indeed the Nepo’s new kit, he looked as if
he'd been selected to play for his country. And he batted like that too!
With three Nepo’s in contention for Club Champion, it was imperative to bat
first to give Carl, Ryan, and Sanjay the best chance to reach the pinnacle of
Nepotism, albeit on a crap pitch. Looking at the pitch mind you, I'd love to
have bowled, because it wasn't so much a pitch as it was 22 yards of grassy mud
with no discernible difference between those adjacent left for winter from
previous weeks. So crap was the pitch we even considered playing on the astro-turf
3 pitches across.
With the oppo captain tossing the coin and having it land on it's side sticking
up toward the rain, I received the benefit of any doubt in his mind as there was
none in mine and sent Carl in with Sanjay to get runs. With a lead of 40+ points
over Ryan, whom I asked to bat at 3, Carl went for an early quick single only to
have Ryan on the side lines appeal for the run-out. Very NACA nominating
behaviour I must say. Ryan didn't get Carl 'OUT', instead quite the opposite.
When Sanjay fell after being dropped 6 times for a solid season-ending 53, after
a 2015 season best opening stand of 149 (eclipsing the first game's 106), Ryan
joined Carl only to have Carl go for a quick single that Ryan never wanted
(usually the other way around with Carl). With a wide throw and dropped take by
the keeper, Ryan luckily remained in the middle to chase Carl's ever-increasing
Championship lead. Ryan valiantly shaved 38 runs off Carl's lead, however Carl
on the other hand cruised to 101, he too being dropped close to 10 times, and
thus increase his lead. Sealing the Championship, Carl retired and duly f*cked
off to play for another club. If not deserving of the NACA for such flagrant
'two fingers' to the Nepo’s, word came through that he was out for a deserving 0
in the other match. If not next year, at least Carl won't do that again this
With Carl off to mix drinks for others, Rich Price joined Ryan adding 66 before
Ryan threw his red-ink away being bowled, followed soon by Rich whom made a
healthy 32. Legend Tim Hardy remained not out 3 after Roddy Kelso was bowled
without score off his 2nd ball and the final ball of the innings, leaving the
Nepo's with 243 well scored runs in the mud. Must have been the fresh pads and
gloves that inspired the guys to stay out there (except Roddy!) under suspect
After what can only be described as a 'casual' lunch for want of a better
expression, it didn't take long for the Nepos to make headway into the Isleworth
Wanderers 'casual' line up, defined as such due to their calamity of 'whites'; a
mixture of greys, shorts, track-pants, jeans, and black t-shirts. If the pitch
wasn't indicative of the standard we faced, then their uniformity made it all
the more clear. Not to be too judgemental, but if you take the game seriously
you should really present yourself as serious, though we did have 10 year old
short-wearing Kahuna replacing Carl so it shouldn't be frowned on too much! This
said, I think the Nepo’s too need to brush up their appearance in 2016, but
leave that with me!
An underwhelming pitch and a mish-mash of uniforms should also have suggested
the scorecard would not be quite so spot on. None of us could make heads or
tails of the bowling figures, but if it wasn't for wickets falling every 10-12
runs (on average) none of us would really care, except Ryan whom needed 5+
wickets to pass Carl in the Championship, but he never got the chance until 9
wickets were down. With Chris Ellegard taking 1, Roddy 2, Sparrow 1, and Sheldon
3, with Steve taking the final catch of the season and Ryan the final wicket,
Isleworth Wanderers ended the Nepo’s season with a 116 run victory. This wasn't
the Nepos strongest season, but on top of the table we finished once again, so
off to Restaurant Molana we went to celebrate.
Celebrate not only the victory, or the season, but the success of out-going
Captain Steve Werren, whom has been the club's engine for 6 seasons. If it
weren't for Steve I am sure the Nepo's would not be the confident stable club it
is today and I can only hope all maintain the direction of the Nepo's, so as to
remain the 'Greatest Team The World Has Ever Seen!'
Yours in Nepotism.
Yours in 2016.
PS: Bomber Dale also took one wicket. This is the same Bomber Dale whom the year
before Captained the Nepo’s to the highest ever run-scoring loss at Barnes,
unable to defend 341 runs with 2 overs to spare, and the very reason Bomber won
the NACA in the final match of season 2015. Good decision that!
here for photos of the game including the new