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Match Reports 2018

Nepotists v Ickenham by Lukey Sparrow. Sunday May 6
Nepotists v Northwood by Lukey Sparrow. Sunday May 13
Nepotists v Kew by Lukey Sparrow. Sunday May 20
Nepotists v Putney by Lukey Sparrow. Sunday June 3
Nepotists v Chingford by Lukey Sparrow. Sunday June 10
Nepotists v North Enfield by Lukey Sparrow. Sunday June 17
Nepotists v Shepperton by Lukey Sparrow. Sunday June 24
Nepotists v Royal Household by Lukey Sparrow. Saturday June 30
Nepotists v Crouch End by Lukey Sparrow. Sunday July 8
Nepotists v Teddington by Lukey Sparrow. Sunday July 22
Nepotists v Shepherd's Bush by Lukey Sparrow. Sunday August 5
Nepotists v Little Missenden Misfits by Lukey Sparrow. Sunday August 12
Nepotists v Post Modernists by Lukey Sparrow. Saturday August 18
Nepotists v Nevill Holt CC by Lukey Sparrow. Sunday August 19

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Nepotists v Ickenham, Sunday May 6 by Lukey Sparrow

As I look to the weather for next week’s fixture against Northwood and see the percentage chance of rain, I cannot help but feel slightly miffed at the weatherly direction the season is taking. The first two matches washed out (without rain, just the inability for the grounds to prepare) and the next looking iffy, thank Christ Sunday’s match against new foe Ickenham was blessed with perfect conditions and an over-subscribed Nepo line-up.

So perfect it was, an additional bottle of factor 30 sunscreen was added to the one of the kit bags moments before departure; a bottle that has not been seen since. With many thanks to Australian Cricketer’s past and present, we now have 7 kit bags in which to lose a plethora of keepsakes.

1 for left handed pads, gloves, and thigh pads.

1 for housing right handed pads and thigh pads.

1 for bats and right-handed gloves.

1 for swish lime green and magenta helmets, and the crappy no-longer-captain-approved-but-still-worn blue helmets.

1 home to adorable lime green and magenta traditional English playing caps, and the playing whites and/or creams depending on who did the washing.

1 bag for our new range of spikes/boots and, lastly,

1 for our much admired yet not yet needed sweaters, including 6 new sleeveless babies.

With them to travel is the new NACA jacket and much argued with the tailor, Captain’s Lime Green and Magenta, with a hint of Lemon, Floral Jacket. And the lap top on which the Nepo’s now score digitally with the one touch PCS PRO score program.

So, if ever there was a club that looked every bit a team of cricketers, we need not worry about winning and losing. As garnered by the reaction of never-before-played Ickenham, we were, if nothing more, respected for our very affordable appearance. As said many times, paying £10 per week with everything included, including a beer, you can’t play cricket for less and look as sharp.

If our presentation was any suggestion that we were a team that knew which end of the bat to hold in some vain attempt to put the opposition off their game, it didn’t work. And though we lost very admirably, with 3 overs to go, for the first time in a very long time, I won my first toss of the season and without hesitation, the Nepo’s newly padded up!

Carl Hoar (ENG) and our freshest international import, Nilesh Thacker with a ‘C’ (IND), came together once again after many matches apart, and standing at square leg I had this confident hue about our prospects of putting a big score in our new program. That hue dulled when Carl was castled for a very un-Carl-like 9 followed smartly thereafter by Nilesh when fired for 7, after driving the ball into his pads; a shot that somehow was missed by the officiating umpire. Still off he went which brought debutant Dave Blackman (AUS) to join debutant Rhett ‘Bear’ Ovens (AUS).

After a shaky start the new boys were stabilising the innings. However, after Dave absorbed 17 deliveries for his 4, and Bear 29 deliveries for his big hitting 29, they fell off consecutive deliveries straight after I tweeted their confident successes. Delete that tweet!

This meant our 3rd debutant, Ali ‘When Do I Pay’ Baloch (PAK), joined swashbuckling Rich Price (NZ) whom swashed two fours and two singles before buckling a catch to the man hiding in the oak tree and the Nepo’s were looking better in stature than score as we halted for drinks.

Jim Mason (AUS) and Ali took the score to 97 before Jim casually strolled off for a very casual 15 ball 9, allowing Ryan Styles (AUS) and Ali to add 16. Ali was out ‘unknown’ for 14 but nonetheless still out and at 7-113 in the 27th it was touch and go as to whether we’d even see out the overs, let alone card a competitive total.

13.2 overs still to bowl (love the digital scorebook!) allowed Ryan and Nick Grieve (NZ) to settle into a rhythm that added 61 for the 8th wicket. Excellent fight back. Nick sadly couldn’t see it through but his 25 off 25 was worth a lot more in the context of the game. Steve Werren (AUS) joined Ryan and tried desperately to give his wicket away more often that the 10 runs he scored. Steve remained not out helping Ryan to reach an outstanding 59 off 52 balls to see the Nepo’s home 8-197 off at Tea, which gathered a 7.5 on the RichTea Scale based on some misplaced peanut butter but I digress.

Following their success with the bat, Ryan was given the right to deliver the 1st cherry from the oaks, ending his first over 0-3, whilst Nick from the pavilion came home 0-7! After his 4th very weary over, and figures of 1-23, Nilesh replaced Ryan and opened with 3 overs 1 for 1. This helped stem the flow with Ickenham well ahead of the rate, as our digital scorebook said. I replaced Nick after his 4 overs 0-16 and after a tidy first over of 1-5, dragged myself after gifting Ickenham 26 valuable runs from 3, handing the nut to Rich, whom claimed a wicket in his first over. Great bowling change that.

This nearly didn’t happen mind you as Ali and Dave certainly did not debate over whom would take the catch. With both reaching for 8 Championship points, it was Dave that came down with the glory. Had the catch been grassed I’d suggest neither would play again had they been on the receiving end of a much-maligned Rich Price ‘How The F*** Could You Drop That?’ verbal. Rich was told he could have another over if he got a wicket in his 5th alas, his spell ended 5 overs 1-33.

Looking as the only candidate to keep us in touch Nilesh bled 19 in his 4th that put Ickenham within 100 with 25 overs to bowl. Credit where it’s due, Nilesh conceded only 6 from his next two overs, snaring another wicket, and ending his 6 over spell 2-27 at drinks, with Ickenham 5-118 after 20.

Jim replaced Nilesh and spun the ball better than I ever recall him doing as a medium paced pie-chucker. His first 3 overs only going for 6. With ‘Bear’ taking over from Rich and conceding only 5 off his first 3, the Nepo’s were in striking distance of restriction. Ickenham were 6-172 after 30 and well within reach though continued tight bowling and fielding would just about see us home. That said, there is one that breaks the back of a run chase and though all bowlers are guilty of that one bad over, the 27th going for 16 was what put the match too far away from a Nepo victory, with Ickenham needing that one sneaky inside edge to the short boundary per over to come home.

To our credit we fought on and stayed within a sniff thanks to a cracking 6 over spell of 1-17 from a very breathless Bear. We just weren’t good enough early enough and when the 7th wicket fell to a brilliant run out by Ryan we couldn’t keep the new batsman on strike, allowing Ickenham Captain Dan to seal their victory with 10 off my 8th (ending 1-49), and that was that with 3 overs to bowl.

We still looked fashionably sharp that well and truly made up for it!

Yours in Nepotism,

Captain Sparrow

SCHWIM MOMENT: Ryan Styles for his straight drive, lost ball, 6 over the club house

NACA: Rhett ‘Bear’ Ovens for impersonating 2017 ‘Nepo of the Year’ Paul McCubbin

Sun May 6 Result 1.00 pm 40 Overs
Nepotists Loss 197-8 40 Overs
Ickenham Win 200-7 36.5Overs
Batting   Bowling  
Styles 59 no Thacker 6-2-27-2
Ovens 29 Ovens 6-1-17-1
Grieve 25 Styles 4-0-23-1
Catches - Ovens, Blackman
Stumpings - 0
Run Outs - Styles
 

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Nepotists v Northwood, Sunday May 13 by Lukey Sparrow

I don’t think I’ve been as angry before a match as I was against Northwood. I don’t know if it was the frantic nature of my morning hastily spent trying to finish the ‘Haus Frau-ing’, getting Kahuna packed into the car (which takes more effort than shoe-horning 7 kit bags in) and fighting through London traffic to arrive later than I wanted, or the known fact that I just don’t enjoy playing Northwood.

As it was, that late arrival saw me walk angrily, virtually from the car to the middle to lose the toss and be asked to bowl. If there as some pleasure in the day, that was it. I wanted to bowl and release the anger on Northwood and, like last year, get it over inside 20 overs and go home.

As it was Rich Price (NZ) and Ryan Styles (PER) opened the bowling because in very un-Northwood style, they were all on the field for an on-time start and I wasn’t. I was dicking about trying to shoehorn the kit back out of the new dressing room (smaller than Kew’s) whilst getting the online scoreboard ‘online’ via network that was offline, whilst trying to find the key to open the window so I could run the power cable from the kitchen to the computer, whilst waiting 15mins to receive the name of the Northwood players, all of whom were strangely present, which is something I did not allow for. There hasn’t been a match since 2010 inclusive that 11 Northwood players were on the field until 30mins post start. So just when I needed them to be late, none were. Bugger!

As it was, with much shouting (something I excel) at young Kahuna (AUS), he was kicked off the field to score. With much reluctance or speed to get back to the computer to click ‘PLAY’, I was alerted to the shameful fact that debutant Kiso Kanth (SL), my recruit, had not shown up. With much shouting back at Kahuna to get back on the field to make up numbers, there I was the deserved villain. Late, one man short, fired up, and not opening bowling!

As it was, it took 17 overs for me to have a bowl after Rich and Ryan bowled their 8 overs straight in two very good spells that restricted Northwood to 59-3 off their 16 overs; Rich 2-26, Ryan 1-33. Nilesh Thacker (IND) replaced Rich, whereas my anger (POL) replaced Ryan, and together we allowed Northwood to add 55% of their current total in the 4 overs to drinks. Time for a change? No.

As it was, Nilesh continued. Though going for 8 in the first over after drinks, he carried on with a tight 7 over spell, taking 1-30. Conversely, the batsmen increased my anger through my 7-overs by putting the ball 49 times throughout Northwood for the loss of just one wicket. Conveniently, along with Nilesh, I only had one over remaining as I miscounted the overs with the scoreboard always behind. We both had to come on for just one over each at the end knowing we were short of bowlers and I for one am not very good ‘at the death’ so I couldn’t go for more than 36 more!

As it was Jim Mason (AUS) replaced Nilesh for 5 excellent overs, including 3 wickets in his final over, including Northwood’s righteous Rasta, whom should have been out for 0 twice, but whom went on to get 87, something that would keep Ryan awake most nights since. At the other end Dave ‘Mr Speaker’ Blackman (CBR) was entrusted to bowl 3 overs even though his 2 overs went for 30. Faith was not repaid as Dave ended with 44 to his name, something which we both hoped would be negated by a solid standing at #3.

As it was, chasing 227 for victory, Mr Speaker maintained his near equilibrium of runs versus position with 2 at 3 today, following 4 at 4 last week. To get the best from a very text-book stylish left-hander he should come in at 11. I digress as Dave replaced Nilesh after he very un-Nepo-like failed to warm-up appropriately, ‘pulled a hammy’ and retired hurt after a strong opening with Carl, and wouldn’t bat unless required, certainly hoping he won’t be.

As it was, Nilesh was required at the end as the Nepo’s failed to fire except again for Carl Hoar (ENG), bowled for a stylish Carl Hoar 40 off 66, Ryan whom took his season average to 101 with 42 off just 32 balls, and Rich whom clobbered 32 off 28 before clobbering an un-catchable return catch to the bowler. Aside that Jack Phelan (NZ) magicked his way to 15 off 33 after being bowled off a no-ball for 0. Jim was caught and bowled for 8 off 6, I dicked about for 9 off 13, while Steve Werren (AUS) maintained his red-ink with 7 off 12.

As it was, this wasn’t enough to protect our little NOTY’s in the making. Jai Thacker (IND) and Kahuna Sparrow (AUS) failed to trouble the scorers off a collective 3 balls and though Nilesh coming back at the end adding another 8 to reach 28, the Nepo’s fell 11 runs short, with just a few arguments for good measure knowing we claimed a minor victory at 140.

As it was, when Northwood’s Barmy Bajan (at 3) was given out LBW for 0, he raged to the umpire saying he hit it. With barely an argument, the Nepo’s invited him to stay. 87 runs later, the Nepo’s were chasing 227 instead of 140. It doesn’t help that he was also dropped on 0, again at 40, and probably twice more for all I care, as at this point, like Ryan, that decision has played on my mind for much time since. Good sportsmanship only feels good if the Nepo’s still win of course.

As it was, the Nepo’s once again just didn’t do enough when it counted. I let too many batsmen get comfy by allowing bowlers longer than usual or required spells, we (including myself) dropped too many catches and, more importantly, just didn’t get enough runs when it mattered (including myself!). At one point we only needed 38 runs with 5 wickets in hand so Barbados or not, we should not have fallen short by 11, with little to take from the game.

As it was, we did achieve a new world record (TBC), the first 6 Northwood wickets falling LBW with Steve breaking that trend stumping the 7th wicket. Nonetheless with just one feather in our cap from Northwood, the Nepo’s head to Kew still on top of the Non-League League, but with my anger still burning, fuelled by the disappointment of heading into the 5th match without a win to our name.

As it is, that is all.

Yours In Nepotism,

Lukey Sparrow

SCHWIM MOMENT: Jack Phelan. Attacking the ball at deep square leg to prevent the 2nd, Jack’s powerful throw, instead of over the bails, found its way to fine leg and to young Jai Thacker whom of course was not expecting the ball to come his way. Between Jack’s Noodle arm and Jai being only 15 and very match-unaware, the batsman ran 4. Just brilliant!

NACA: Dave ‘Mr Speaker’ Blackman for not only putting his shirt on backwards and not realising it, before he went out to bat he handed his phone to other Nepo’s saying, “My wife is 38 weeks pregnant. If it rings will you take my wife to hospital and give me an update!” FOTY!

Sun May 13 Result 1.30 pm 40 Overs
Nepotists Loss 215-10 36.5Overs
Northwood Win 226-9 40 Overs
Batting   Bowling  
Styles 42 Mason 5-0-29-3
Hoar 40 Price 8-0-26-2
Price 32 Styles 8-1-33-1
Catches - Sparrow
Stumpings - Werren 1
Run Outs - 0
 


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Nepotists v Kew, Sunday May 20 by Lukey Sparrow

For a time, it was shades of Chingford 2017 when we only claimed one wicket as Kew’s 2 & 4 put on 209 for the 3rd wicket. Going at 9 per over chasing 313 to win, ill-defence of our biggest score for the season was looking ominous.

For a time, it was shades of Chingford 2017 with a minor batting collapse when Kew lost two wickets in two balls (compared with Chingford’s one wicket from one ball). The thoughts of running through the rest of the line up and claiming a quick victory was short-lived on both occasions but let me focus on the most recent.

It was beautiful day. The best of the season. Made more beautiful by our first win in 2018 after winning the toss. We’ll bat. No hesitation as there was Nick Grieve (NZ), Myself, and Kahuna to field.

With rail lines shut for planned engineering works to improve customer service and safety, first publicised in 1895 and likely to continue until well after I am toes up, meant the roads were gridlocked. More buses. More cars. More delays. The late arrival of near all Nepo’s struggling through the traffic will not be in vain knowing our grandchildren’s grandchildren may have a safer and more comfortable journey to Kew Bridge in the Nepo’s centenary year, at the earliest.

This meant Nick opened with Carl Hoar (ENG), when he finally arrived. Looking to follow on from his impressive show, the video on our Instagram and Facebook pages of Nick at Lord’s shows better than his form at Kew when he was caught for 15 of 22. This brought a rapid return to the crease of the Nepo at Kew World-Record holder Damian Tambling (ZIM) to the crease for the first time in one year. Three balls later Damo didn’t rush back to the shed for zero to finish getting ready to bat and pack the kit. After running to the ground at 1.45pm, perhaps Damo should have let Ryan Styles (AUS) come in one early to have a breather. Perhaps should have let himself go in one earlier??

Hindsight is great as I am sure Ryan would attest with the shot he played to get out on the first ball after drinks. It was yet another superb 50 (off 47) by Ryan whom with Carl added 89 for the 3rd wicket. At 2-112 at drinks, we looked good for 250, but thanks to Rich Price (NZ) 29 off 16, Jim Mason (AUS) 14 off 17, and Mick McLoghlin (AUS) a cracking 48 off 24, we reached much higher.

These quick-fire innings were partnered all the time with Carl who found true form belting 104 off 108, a whopping six into the church to bring up his hundred. Brilliant. With red-ink to his name, Carl walked off with the Nepo’s an extremely competitive 312. A score not reached if not for Time Hardy (ENG) a nudging and ‘shouting better than he hears’ 7. As it was 305 was enough to win it, but you would not hand back 7 runs for the hell of it.

Tea managed 7.6 on the RichTea Scale for some reasons I can’t detail but I was surprised it achieved more than 5. Nonetheless, filled with sustenance and desire, Mick came on from the pub and was carted. Damian opened with the breath of God behind him and was carted. In the 5th Mick took two in two with 50 on the board. The hattrick was nearly a catch, but nearly doesn’t count and nearly out went on to 110 (unconfirmed) with Mr Sherlock smacking 124 in their 209-run partnership.

Our bowlers, though ineffective, were better than our fielders with the wig bandied about more often than the address of a strip-club in Karachi. We dropped catches but fielded sharply stopping boundaries, preventing 2nd and 3rd runs and ultimately restricting Kew to 3-287. Damo’s return with the ball, his 6th yielding just 2, was what dragged the game out of Kew’s reach and put victory in ours. This along with Rich’s tight 8-0-37-0 helped keep Kew out of the game.

Bleeding 287 comes at a cost. In fact, 312 bleeds more as Carl knows when he took out the front teeth of Kew’s import from Sri Lanka. To rub salt into his wounds, the ball ricocheted off the canines for 6 as two ambulances were called; one for KP, the other left looking for the 4 lost teeth at deep mid-wicket. If there was a score to level, Jim was under Kew’s 4th wicket but decided not to break a nail instead tried catching the ball in his right eye socket, resulting in he too walking off for surgery, leaving us with 10 men.

When the final ball was delivered after a smooth 8-over spell from Ryan, relief and exuberance washed over. It was not our easiest win, attested by, along with Rich, Mick’s spell of 8-0-54-2, Damian’s 7-0-55-0, Nick’s 6-0-40-0, Jim’s 3-0-33-0, and Ryan’s 8-0-60-1 but we came on the right side of the scorecard for the first time this season.

Pleasingly, Nepo’s remain top of the table, with mouthguards, helmets, and bigger wicket-keeping gloves (Steve grassed two!) mandatory for all fielders with Barnes & Chingford on the horizon.

 

Well Played Everyone,

 

Yours in unrequired (along with Kahuna) Nepotism,

 

Captain Sparrow


SCHWIM MOMENT: Carl Hoar for a whopping 6 straight down the ground to bring up his 100!

NACA: 'Time' Hardy for 'telling a 12 year old boy to rub it'. For clarity, Kahuna was crippled by a cracking on-drive that rebounded off his knee-cap. With tears welling the young ones called out 'don't rub it' whilst Time offered his matured advice!

Sun May 20 Result 1.30 pm 40 Overs
Nepotists Win 312-6 40 Overs
Kew Loss 287-3 40 Overs
Batting   Bowling  
Hoar 104 McLoghlin 8-0-54-2
Styles 50 Styles 8-0-60-1
Price 29    
Catches - Werren 1, McLoghlin 1
Stumpings - 0
Run Outs - 0
 


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Nepotists v Putney, Sunday June 3, by Lukey Sparrow

When Mick McLoghlin (AUS) held onto a cracking catch at covers, which if he’d not touched would have travelled for 6, the Nepo record of ‘bowling’ all the opposition was stopped in its track. This was the 8th Putney wicket to fall.

Losing the toss and being asked to bowl, we got off to a flier on a pitch that offered three variants. Slow and low, slow and even lower, slow and out, all of which played in the bowlers’ favour if bowled on the stumps. 

The first wicket fell in the 2nd over, the 2nd wicket in the 3rd, the 3rd wicket in the 6th, the 4th in the 8th, the 5th in the 14th, the 6th in the 15th, and the 7th in the 19th with a drink’s break to celebrate the stumps being rattled 7 times, and only 55 on the board.

The want to ‘bowl’ all the batsmen was perhaps more in the mind than deliveries which saw Putney add 51 for their last three wickets to reach 106. Actually, 51 was added by the 8th wicket! Though a small total, chasing 107 to win is still better than chasing 108, and lot better than 208 and so forth, and nothing which we hadn’t done before, but looking back, we’d rather have had a win chasing 56 than a loss chasing 107, but I digress.

After Kiso Kanth (SL) took the 8th wicket, his first for the Nepo’s, and was subsequently dragged due to him having bowled his quota of 8-2-45-1, Pawan Sharma (IND) delivered his first ball since 2002 and took the 9th wicket, a high ball caught by Steve Werren (AUS) behind. Mick delivered the final blow in his 8th over, bowling Putney number 11 and creating what will need to be verified as Nepo World Record of 8 bowled in an inning.

We were lucky it was 8 as Pawan grassed one catch, Nick Grieve (NZ) had one caught behind off his regular one no-ball per spell, and I had an LBW that was so out it barely warranted an appeal let alone penalising the batsman for not upholding the spirit of the game by walking.

Nonetheless It was our best bowling effort of the season with myself ending the inning 5-3-4-1, Ryan Styles (AUS) a blinding 8-2-27-4, Nick 6-1-13-2, Kiso 8-2-43-1, Mick 7.4-3-5-1, and Pawan 1-1-0-1.

We whacked 100yards through the scrub to the clubhouse next to Putney Cemetery for pasta salad and pizza, which gathered 7.9 on the RichTea Scale, brought to you this week by Ryan Styles before collecting the kit and whacking our way back to the field to nudge and snick our way to 107.

A small target became more difficult with Carl Hoar (ENG), Pravan Kara (IND), and Pawan all back in brambles and stinging nettles that bordered the ground, for zero after 7 balls. It our worst start ever and the first time I’ve seen Time Hardy (ENG) batting in the first over, and whom was soon joined by Steve, elevated to 5, in the 2nd over.

In respect of the inning so far, Steve and Time’s 27run partnership put my ill-ease and ease with Kiso, Ryan, Mick, Nick, myself, and Kahuna still to bat, if required. When Time was bowled, bringing Kiso to the middle, I was still confident with 25% of the target erased. I didn’t fell so good one over later when Steve was caught for 15, with the score still 27.

Ryan joined Kiso and continued his merry season form carting 26 off 28 before being bowled by one that didn’t keep low or lower, it just went past the bat and took off stump. 6-58 meant a change of umpire, and I marched off with Ryan to pad up.

No sooner had I found gloves to complete the preparation than I walked to the middle to join Kiso after Nick was bowled for 0 and Mick LBW for 0, confirming Magic will never umpire again!!

I helped Kiso add 6 more by getting him to run more in one over than he had in 37 overs in the field before he was caught at slip for 23, which left the birthday boy Kahuna and myself to take the Nepo’s home, with 27 runs still to win. Getting Kahuna to run more than Kiso was a challenge but run he did, made his ground each time, and together we put on 10 before I too fell to a blinding catch at first slip from a drive that was there to be hit, I just didn’t hit enough of it.

There were still 15 overs to bowl, that’s what disappoints me more. Forget all other wickets, I didn’t have to play any shots, just not get out. With only 1 run per over to win, runs come without effort but being rolled for 90 with so many overs left hurts more than the loss.

We bowled ourselves to victory and subsequently batted ourselves to defeat against an attack that wasn’t our most challenging, but you must play the ball and, in this case, the pitch on its merit.

A low and slow defeat, just to mirror the pitch.

Yours in Nepotism,

Sparrow

SCHWIM MOMENT: Kiso for his whopping out of left field 6 to the right of field

NACA: Kiso Kanth. For 2 years Kiso said he will reply to the Monday availability email yet never did. When finally doing so, for Northwood, he didn’t turn up to the ground closest his home! After 1 failed selection, and 2 cancellations, Kiso made his debut and even voting for himself, won the NACA for said reasons, plus midway through the NACA asking if he could leave!! Very NACA!

Sun June 3 Result 1.30 pm 40 Overs
Putney Wiin 106-10 38 Overs
Nepotists Loss 90-10 25 Overs
Batting   Bowling  
       
Styles 26 Styles 8-2-27-4
Kiso Kanth 23 McLoghlin 8-3-5-1
Catches - Werren 1, McLoghlin 1
Stumpings - 0
Run Outs - 0
 

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Nepotists v Chingford, Sunday June 10 by Lukey Sparrow

Opportunity to learn never fails to impress and by the time I arrived at Chingford at 1pm I had learned many things about many Nepo’s, some not seen or heard from in a long time.

1 – Debutant Karthick Co-op very uncooperatively decided to stay home with an ill child. Isn’t that why kids have mothers? Because of this late cry-off I subsequently learned -

2 – Roddy was flying 150 odd passengers and crew to Seville. We expect Roddy to supply the half time oranges when next donning lime green and magenta.

3 – Nick Grice (uncapped) was departing Southend International to not necessarily sunnier skies but certainly better beaches than that of the Thames estuary.

4 – Ron Elliott is in Tel Aviv, perhaps championing for the US embassy to return or simply lazing under sunnier skies, on better beaches than those of the Thames estuary.

5 – Bonza was ‘not around’. Wherever that is, not too many Nepo’s are around Chingford, ever!

6 – Chris Ellegard now has two children; I barely recall him having one, that’s how long it’s been.

7 – Stoney has an Achilles. Whether that’s the tendon in his heel or his cricket, but possibly both.

8 – Courtney Keep is in Canada, a suitable place to be during Canadian Grand Prix weekend.

9 – Stuart Fraser is rather ambiguously ‘out of town’ for summer as one way to avoid selection.

10 – Terrence Ford is rather ambiguously ‘not in town’. None of us are when in Chingford!!

11 – Alex Hayde is in Albania, a forthcoming member of the EU and perhaps his new European home. At least the Albanians and Alex know what’s right for them!

12 – Steve Jones is in Merseyside scouting for new Nepo’s that will be ‘in town’ in July / August

13 – Keith Scott is living in Leicestershire, revelling in the fading successes of the local football team rather than living in London and shining a light on fading Nepotist availabilities.

14 – Paul McCubbin is in Australia. I knew this but wanted to keep the bridge of communication just in case he was feeling the absence of Lime Green and Magenta and decided to leave his child with his mother. This is what mothers are for Karthick!!

15 – Nathan Coleman is developing the Nepo’s Italian arm in preparation for his return in 3 weeks to take on Royal Household.

16 – Roly Monk lives 60miles from Chingford, which should make him available for all other fixtures knowing they are not 60 miles from home, if distance was the only issue.

17 – Dave Blackman is caring for his 2-day old new-born! Congratulations Dave but again, mothers!

18 – A Nepo stalwart is under-going cancer treatment. Not for me to say whom as it’s not for me to assume it is already publicly known but do spare a thought for our favoured beverage name-sake.

19 – Basher is marking exams. Or should be.

20 – Leckers, Morris, and Andrew Cullen are incognito, like Kahuna’s internet browsing.

21 Deep Sanganee should never field in a catching position

22 – Most learnedly, I discovered many Nepo’s are unavailable, which would be good to know before imposing myself on their quiet Sunday morning at home, abroad, or somewhere ‘out of town’.

My quest for education followed debutant Karthick's last minute cry-off with the need to personally contact almost every person I knew. When chasing up next week's availability I now know I can at least halve the number of people I need to hassle. Many hats off to Steve for having to do this each week for 6 years!!

I suppose they are all valid excuses for not answering the ‘11th hour call’ to make up the 11 to take on Chingford, except for debutant Karthick. For 20 years I’ve listened to my brother’s wife use his daughter’s ‘cold’ for not visiting my mother; I never known a child to be so regularly ill that didn’t appear on a Sunday night current affairs programme or midday charity hand-out advertisement. So, using an ill-child to justify your decision not to play does not warm me like a good rub of Vicks.

Heroically for the Nepo’s, Bruce ‘Basher’ Balden (ENG) dropped the red-marker, seeing the Nepotists more important than exams! So, with 11 on the card, after the longest pre-toss talk undertaken at all levels, and with one of the weakest teams I’ve commanded, I elected to bat to get some runs on the board. The sum of 162 in fact. Compared with our losing 274 last year, that was never going to be enough.

With few Nepo’s present by the time the toss was won, Steve Werren (AUS) was elevated to #2 with Carl Hoar (ENG) padding up at #1 by default. A solid opening of 48 in 17 overs ended when Steve was castled for 22 off 39. 18 runs later Carl was caught after a very casual 26 off 76. Magic Mike Sheldon (AUS), one of the two selection stop-gaps for the weekend, decided to pad-up to see which way the ball was turning. As bad luck would have it, it was turning into middle stump and he was fired for 0.

Jim Mason (AUS) came in at 4 and bludgeoned a four to announce his intent on reversing what was until then a rather lethargic performance. Rich Price (NZ) at #5 was his usual self, looking to hit big runs and run few. Alas he was rolled by the Bomber Dale of Chingford for 15 off 24, not before he and Jim put on 45 for the 4th wicket, which fell when we didn’t really want it to.

The ever-improving Jack Phelan (NZ) joined Jim and together they added 20 before Jim crucially was run-out for 49, a deserved 50 gone begging with the Nepo’s 5-133. This brought young Kahuna (AUS/POL) to the crease and with his repertoire of forward defence, stood-fast for 22 balls whilst amassing his highest score for the Nepo’s of 3.

In the meantime, Kahuna saw Jack walk off for 12 from 16, Lenard Co-Op (SL), from the Co-Op, run out for 2, and Kiso Kanth (SL), from the Co-Op, bowled for 0 off 2 earning him kit-duties, which he didn’t do, probably because Karthick’s child was ill!

I partnered Kahuna to the end, which I should have done last week, albeit with 2 lives. Running back for the 2nd to keep strike the keeper took a good throw from the deep, whipped off the bails, and stood shell-shocked at the not-out decision. Overcome with that, the keeper was at the forefront of further dis-grunt in the next over after the umpire reversed his OUT, LBW decision against me.

I’ve never-before been out LBW to a ball that went straight-through to the keeper and though with amazement I accepted the initial decision, a short debate resulted in the umpire changing this decision. I also accepted this change by yielding 13 runs off the next 4 balls, to take the Nepo’s to 162 and a tea that amassed a whopping 9.5 on the RichTea Scale. Pizza is always a winner.

30mins later, to reward his ‘answering of the call’ Basher rewarded the honour of opening the inning by delivering a maiden. So comfortable he was, he chose to have another during which he got the breakthrough. Bring him on from both ends!! His success granted him a third over, with his spell ending 3-1-7-1, though ultimately finishing with 4-1-18-1 with another dip late in the inning. Rich opened from the other and bowled a luckless yet excellently restricting spell of 8-1-21-1, his final over yielding 10 and few NACA nominated chirps toward the batsman.

I replace Basher bowling 7 overs of inconsistency to drinks, finishing 7-0-38-1, that wicket being the first time we’d taken 2 Chingford wickets in one inning!

Drinks done, Jim continued where he left off replacing Rich, bowling 5-0-34-1 with an all-too-late breakthrough. Kiso replaced myself to deliver 2-0-30-0. Lenard subsequently replaced Kiso to deliver 2-0-12-0. Basher replaced Kiso for this 4th over, and Magic replaced Jim to roll over 2.2-0-10-0 to see Chingford home, all too easily, in all too fewer overs, with 7 wickets still in the shed.

No excuses. We didn’t have enough with the bat. We didn’t have enough with the ball. We didn’t have enough to play. Sums up the season really. I’ll have to start shopping at Tesco where I am sure there is a deeper talent pool.

Yours in Nepotism,

Sparrow

SCHWIM MOMENT: Jim Mason’s straight drive for four to open his account

NACA: Rich Price for suggesting Sri Lanka needed a ‘long boundary’ during the 2004 tsunami.

Sun June 10 Result 1.30 pm 40 Overs
Chingford Win 166-3 30 Overs
Nepotists Loss 162-8 40 Overs
 
Batting   Bowling  
Mason 49 Balden 4-1-18-1
Hoar 26 Styles 7-0-39-1
Werren 22 Mason 5-0-34-1
Catches - Sparrow 1
Stumpings - 0
Run Outs - 0
 

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Nepotists v North Enfield, Sunday June 17 by Lukey Sparrow

With much conjecture over the postcode of North Enfield (E2, EN4 or EN2), typo’s in the ‘TEAM’ email and ‘Directions to North Enfield’ email that preceded this return fixture should not exclude any Nepo from confirming by their own means the correct location of the ground. Typo’s aside, you were asked to follow these ‘directions to North Enfield’ and not asked to follow the wrong postcode at the bottom of the email.

For the record, apologies to all for misleading information, in part!

Had the link been clicked you would see we were playing North Enfield Cricket Club in EN2 and not Chingford Cricket Club in E4 or E2 or anywhere closer to Heathrow for a better plane-spotting fixture (can’t wait for Royal Household!). When all else fails, full and correct ‘directions’ to all opposition ground are on the Nepo’s website for this very good reason but let me digress.

With less than 11 Nepo’s present (some still biking or hiking from E2) we lost the toss and were invited to bat and in the 14th over, James Culley (NZ / NY*) was castled by the Bomber Dale of North Enfield for a fine 23 off 39 in his first match for the Nepo’s in 2 years, with a fine opening stand of 63 on the cards.

Thank you for helping us make up the playing 10 James, see you next year?!

Steve Werren (AUS) padded up at 3 and as he did last week in E4, joined Carl Hoar (ENG) for a reckless and disrespectful 8 off 9 balls, calling Time Hardy to the crease on his way back to the shed after being castled by the Bomber Dale of North Enfield, Nepo’s now 2-77. Time too made 8 before he was knocked over by the North Enfield Colt off 28 patient deliveries, but not after adding 75 runs for the 3rd wicket. In the context of the game, that wasn’t good enough as we won by 76!

Rich Price (NZ) came looking to run plenty of singles but had to settle for boundaries that included the Nepo’s first six since Carl smashed one into the church at Kew to bring up his century 4 weeks ago; a long time between glories. As it was Carl need 4 of those 6 runs today as he was sadly stumped for a very-Carl-Like 96, sprawled across the deck, the Nepo’s 4-169, bringing Nick Grieve (NZ) to the crease.

Nick is often ‘always looking good’ until he gets out. This time, his 16 amid a 42runs stand with Rich was seemed a lot more by the time he was dubiously stumped. I think given out because Steve earlier in the inning, wasn’t. This is where it all went pear-shaped (template portion of the match report in use now).

Jim Mason (AUS) gone first ball. Surviving the Hattrick ball (but not his 2nd ball) Kahuna (AUS / POL) bowled for 0, bringing Bomber to the crease, and whom duly had Rich caught! Unlike Rich, Bomber didn’t want to run singles and subsequently left Rich on strike to be caught for 29 off 28. With Kiso (SL) still trying to negotiate his way from Harrow to North Enfield via Chingford, I was the last man in to partner Bomber through the final 6 overs.

We saw through a couple of maiden overs, a few boundaries, and a three, before I was bowled for 12 off 19 in the 40th, leaving Bomber stranded on 4 and the Nepo’s a competitive 228 before tea yielding 6.5 on the ‘RichTea Scale’. How it got 6.5 compared with last week 9.5 I will never know. Actually, I know why it was 6.5, I still can’t believe last week was 9.5.

Invited to maximise his contribution in his only game this season James Culley opened the bowling with myself and together we rolled through 16 overs outstanding overs; certainly the best both of us have bowled this season. We almost put the game out of reach for North Enfield there and then, if not for only taking two wickets, myself ending 8-3-17-2 and James 8-0-14-0.

Nick replaced myself and got carted but importantly claimed a wicket in his first over with Bomber Dale standing at mid-on between the batsman and a six. Somehow, Bomber held on to this tracer that wasn’t even juggled. Straight in, and straight up in celebration! Unbelievable scenes!

Rich replaced James to continue the tight bowling, including a wicket to end his first over, taking out the stubborn opening batsman and ending 5-2-18-1. Nick on the other hand, though claiming another wicket, that of a child, spilled claret all over the park as he went for plenty with 6-0-60-2. North Enfield at one end were looking good, but I had to drag Rich to keep him as a back-up if required later in the inning with Bomber replacing Nick, and Jim doing the same for Rich.

Like Nick’s batting, Jim’s bowling blows hot and cold. Thankfully today was cold as the Nepo sweaters (even worn by several North Enfield players) kept Jim hot and the Nepo’s in the game with a blistering 3 step spell of 5-0-12-3. This included the match winning dismissal of their 1st XI number 3 whom could single handed get the hosts over the line… if he wasn’t bowled before taking to Bomber, whom too was well amongst the championship points.

Replacing Nick, Bomber put the brakes on the scoring with a fine spell of line and dros, coercing the batsman into false shots and big boundaries and a mixture of the two which brought Bomber a spell of 4-0-26-2. With points for his catch and red-ink, in one match Bomber passes many regular Nepo’s on the 2018 points table, as perhaps inspiration to play more.

Bicycling to Chingford before reaching North Enfield doesn’t earn any bonus points this year but the destination is saved for next year and a reminder of where not to go next week.

With 76 runs the greater,

Yours in Nepotism,

Sparrow

SCHWIM MOMENT: Rich Price for hitting our first 6 in one month!

NACA: Bomber Dale for bringing the Nepo’s into disrepute by wearing his circa 1980 moth-eaten Nepos sweater and believing the postcode in the email was not there as a joke to mis-direct him!

*North Yorkshire

Sun June 17 Result 1.30 pm 40 Overs
North Enfield Loss 152-10 35,3 Overs
Nepotists Win 228-9 39.2 Overs
 
Batting   Bowling  
Hoar 96 Sparrow 8-3-17-2
Price 29 Dale 4-0-26-2
Culley 23 Mason 4.3-0-13-3
Catches - Dale 1, Price 1, Culley 1
Stumpings - 0
Run Outs - 0
 

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Nepotists v Shepperton, Sunday June 24 by Lukey Sparrow

I’ve been called many names, mostly bad, mostly deserved, but yesterday’s was very unwarranted. Getting to the non-striker’s end, Shepperton #11 opened with “You fucking Prat! What the fuck do you think you’re appealing for? I fucking hit it, everyone fucking heard it, and you carry on like a fucking idiot… blah, blah, blah, etc… etc…!”

 

Correct me if I am wrong but when a bowler believes the ball would have gone on to hit the stumps had the batsman’s pads not been in the way, it is his right to appeal. Yes? I certainly did not think the fat bastard hit the ball. For the benefit of any doubt he was still given not out yet I still copped a spray!!

 

The Spirit of Cricket, the code under which we all play, is by and large adhered without mention or reference so in keeping with being called a ‘Fucking Prat’ I replied in kind  by calling him a 'Fucking Cunt!'. With fucks going back and forth the umpire said, “Come on, it’s a friendly!” I asked him to remind that Fat Cunt the same and that I have the right to appeal for LBW.

 

Some may argue the ‘pressure of the game’ reached boiling point with Shepperton needing 9 of the last over and the Nepo’s two wickets. Personally, I think it was the Cunt calling me a Prat. Pressure had nothing to with it, but he got his comeuppance when given out LBW off the last ball; Nepo’s 3-runs to the good and Holgate Trophy retained!

 

Unsurprisingly it was a subdued post-match compared with last year’s team photos, speeches and trophy presentations, which culminated in the suggestion of returning the ‘long lunch’; 12pm start and 90min boozey lunch. For whatever reason, that didn’t happen and following the ill-end to this match, neither did the speeches or presentation, the trophy given by the tea lady for all I know.

 

Until then it was a great game with the Nepo’s reaching 238 off 40. Actually, it was Carl Hoar (ENG) (ignore 1st ball) with an awesome 133, Rich Price (NZ) a deserved 50 but only 45, Jim Mason (AUS) an incorrectly scored 30 and only 29, and Damian Tambling (ZIM) what looked 30 but only 15, were the only scores of value. That said if not for Ali Baloch (PAK) 5, Steve Werren (AUS) 4, and Kahuna (AUS / POL) 1, we would have lost in the 39th over and none of this eruption would have occurred.

 

For the 2nd inning records I opened up the hill, delivering 5-1-19-2, with debutant Bilal Khattak (PAK) doing his luckless best down the hill with 5 overs for 37, ultimately ending 7-1-54-0, going for 13 off his final and the 39th over. Rich replaced me going straight for 8-1-50-2 including the crucial wicket of the dangerous South African, which could have put us to the sword early. Damian tidied up nicely from his stiff performance at Kew delivering 8-1-33-2.

 

Steve Werren (AUS) was injured from Rich Price’s pedestrian attack at North Enfield last week and so gifted the gloves to Ali, whom until now had never kept wicket ‘at this level’. [insert your interpretation here]. In lieu of plenty of byes and broken digits Steve bowled 3-1-4-0 keeping us in the game with an uphill mix of unplayable shit and non-called illegal deliveries, whilst wearing only one shoe!

 

Jim replaced Damo for 5 tight overs downhill that went for 29 but bled 15 off this last ending 6-1-44-1. Uphill, ‘Nepo global’ took a step forward (or backward) with our first Papua New Guinea national taking to the Lime Green & Magenta.

 

Kupa (Jim’s Old Mate) having little to no idea as to how to play, accepted the opportunity to replace Steve and admirably came home 1-0-9-1, with Ali taking a blinding catch down leg, Shepperton now 8-163. Surely, we wouldn’t lose from here but let’s see what Kahuna can do. Encouragingly he went 1-0-8-0, which was awesome considering the next 4 overs by Jim and Bilal went for 37, leaving myself to bowl the last and the rest you know or don’t want to know!! Nepo’s finally with 2 wins from 2.

See you at Royal Household on Saturday!

Yours in belligerent Nepotism,

Sparrow

SCHWIM MOMENT: Damian Tambling for his outstanding unflinching catch at cover!

NACA: Kupa 'Old Mate' Warner for openly admitting he has no idea about the game. When bowled he was told this was when he needed to leave the field, and after taking a wicket, he needed to express a little more surprise!!


Sun June 24 Result 1.30 pm 40 Overs
Shepperton Loss 235-10 40 Overs
Nepotists Win 238-9 40 Overs
 
Batting   Bowling  
Hoar 133 Sparrow 6-1-24-3
Price 45 Tambling 8-1-33-2
Mason 29 Price 8-1-50-2
Catches - Baloch 2, Tambling 2,
Stumpings - 0
Run Outs - Baloch 1
 

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Nepotists v Royal Household, Saturday June 30, by Lukey Sparrow

I stood quietly at the square leg, an umpiring position defunct for this match because the Royal Household Umpire officiates at both ends, never looking square for confirmation of anything. As such, it was merely an opportunity to top-up the melanoma after spending 257 runs in the field!

As Carl Hoar (ENG) and Jim Mason (AUS) prepared the run chase, the RHCC square leg fielder asked, “How did you get here?” Well, because I know every word of the Young Ones*, I snapped back, “I came in my car!” With a roll of the eyes he replied, “No, how did you get to be playing here!”

I know we didn’t perform with ball and we may not always be TGTTWHES on the scorecard, but it shouldn’t be questioned with so much disdain and surprise. That question got my mind ticking over longer than it needs to quote the Young Ones, before waxing lyrically “After a lapse of 10 years, we’ve been playing every year, for the last 5 years” as a Singapore A380 descended over the Queen's Pavilion toward Heathrow (LHR) Airport, just 7km from touchdown.

(*Episode: Interesting: When his sociology tutor, Jim Morrison, arrives at his party, Rik asks, “Hello, how are you? How did you get here?” The answer you know! Rik then said, “Hmph, Amazing!” A reaction that too seemed to be in square leg’s head after I said we’d been playing here for 5 years!)

As the Singapore behemoth disappeared over the boundary oaks opposite it got me thinking further. Of all the years playing Royal Household, this was the first-time air traffic was arriving at LHR! I’d been used to playing between the departure corridors watching appliance of science thunder to fairer shores. For the week preceding I was excited at the annual plane spotting fiesta that this fixture allows, without considering the air traffic will be landing.

As LHR has about 650 arrivals each day, equating to one every 1.7mins, this puts 242 arrivals over Frogmore from 1pm – 9pm if using one runway! Alas, they use two. As LHR is so busy, the Russian roulette of landing aircraft are frequently held in holding stacks where they fly in an oval pattern to wait for a landing slot and from where they follow instructions issued by air traffic controllers (ATC). These instructions direct the aircraft towards the final approach, which today had all aircraft (except one Qatar Airways A380 on final to the Southern runway) only 500m directly over the Queen's Pavilion.

To prevent carnage on the cricket field, aircraft circle at different-levels, separated by 1000ft, within 4 stacks known as ‘Bovingdon’, ‘Lambourne’, ‘Ockham’ and ‘Biggin’. The bottom of each stack is around 7000ft. Although there are no set routes for planes moving from the stacks, factors such as how busy the stack is, weather conditions, or position of other aircraft will impact how aircraft are sequenced by ATC to leave and make their way to the final approach.

The arrivals procedure ‘Continuous Descent Approaches’ (CDA) involves aircraft maintaining a steady angle of approach until they reach ‘final approach’. LHR’s CDA is 3° from 6000ft, with the intent on reducing arrival noise by keeping aircraft higher for longer. An aircraft is ‘on final’ when lined up with the runway, approx. 15miles to landing. Frogmore is 4miles from the runway. The point at which aircraft join the final approach over Frogmore varies flight-by-flight depending on how aircraft need to be sequenced by ATC.

Aircraft landing at LHR follow the Instrument Landing System (ILS); a precision approach aid employing two radio beams that provide pilots with vertical and horizontal guidance during final approach, and the 3° approach angle. Each runway has its own centreline beam to ensure aircraft approach in a straight line. Once aircraft reach ‘final approach’ they need to be at a minimum height, low enough for square-leg umpires to clearly read the under-belly branding. The angle of landing is set at 3° and as a result aircraft will be at a set height for distances from the runway.

The minimum height at which aircraft can join the ILS into LHR from 6am - 11pm is 2500ft and no lower than 3000ft from 11pm - 6am. Aircraft can join the final approach at any point higher however this will vary on how aircraft are sequenced by ATC and when Nepo’s are playing Royal Household.

As it transpired, today’s arrivals were the best thing that happened as we were Royally thumped, even after winning the toss and electing to do what RHCC would have asked us to do had they won. Alas, the decision to use the new ball failed, as we conceded 172 runs for the 1st wicket, in 23 overs. If you can believe it, the breakthrough made by Carl!

Ryan Styles (AUS), from the Equine End, opened and closed his day 5-0-36-0. Bilal Niaz (PAK) opened from the ‘Mrs Paws Sharma Sightscreen End’ (Maria decided the grass in front of, and shade of, the sightscreen would be a wonderful place to set up her picnic blanket and watch the game!) delivering a brisk, luckless spell of 3-0-22-0. Nathan Coleman (NZ) finally made it to the game to bowl his first spell for 5 years, replacing Bilal, and it showed with 4-0-24-0, including 7-wides! Ouch!

Rich ‘I’d bowl every over if I could’ Price (NZ) took over from Ryan with a double spell of 9-0-68-1. Needing to slow the pace, Jim replaced the self-dragging Nathan and Carl replaced Rich with his mix of right arm uncertainty and claimed the Nepo’s 1st wicket. Jim got the 2nd wicket 13 runs later and Rich chimed in 21 runs later and suddenly we were in with a sniff of restricting RHCC to a paltry 350. Sadly, this was where the demolition stopped. Carl finished 3-0-16-1, Jim ended 7-0-49-1 replaced by Danyal ‘I live next door to Frogmore but only play for the Nepotists’ Ahmad (PAK). There were no mirrored heroics of his 2017 spell by Danyal whom went to tea with 3-0-23-0 after a timely and unexpected sporting declaration at 3-257.

Without a score on the tea board this week, the Nepo’s set about chasing the 258 and there is honestly not a lot to say about our poor showing. Carl 5, Jim 31, Danyal 12, Pawan 8, Rich ‘I’d not be out had I given the strike to Time’ Price 21, Time I’d not be run out had Rich given the strike to me’ Hardy (ENG) 0, Ryan 19, Nathan 6, Bilal 4, myself 0, and Stevie ‘I love red ink’ Werren (AUS) 14 off 14; Nepo’s all-out 124 just falling short by a whopping 133.

As the sun set over Windsor, with adrenalin of victory still coursing the veins of our hosts, before ‘final approach’ was drowned in darkness, next year’s fixture was confirmed, as Nepo’s drowned their dismay at the bar. I don’t know what time the last Nepo left to scale walls or scamper through hedges to escape Royal Security this year, but by all reports we are still good for 2019, hopefully 2020, and for several years until Heathrow’s 3rd runway is built, which will bring arriving aircraft directly over Windsor Castle and 800m closer to Frogmore and thus 100m lower, creating awesome photos especially if a backdrop to an eventual and rare Nepotist Royal win!

Yours in Nepotism,

Lukey Sparrow

SCHWIM MOMENT: Being told to go easy, Bilal swung and missed his first ball, smacked his second ball one bounce for 4. 3rd ball caught! Very Brett-like.

NACA:
Rich Price for violating Nepotist airspace in the change room moments after the door being closed for a breathless rendition of the team song.

Sat June 30 Result 2.00 pm Time Game
Royal Household Win 257-3 dec. 34 Overs
Nepotists Loss 124-10 27.5 Overs
 
Batting   Bowling  
Mason 31 Hoar 3-0-16-1
Price 21 Mason 7-0-49-1
Styles 19 Price 9-0-68-1
Catches - Mason 1
Stumpings - 0
Run Outs - 0
 

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Nepotists v Crouch End, Sunday July 8 by Lukey Sparrow

After the enthusiasm of match reporting from Royal Household, albeit a loss, getting to Crouch End and winning and now reporting, there is something of a nothingness by comparison; plane spotting was distant at best. Probably the most baffling or intriguing moment to report was 35mins before play when Crouch End Captain Mark, lay face down behind the stumps to purvey the pitch.
 
Most unusual considering this is his ground and the colour of his greying locks could suggest he’d been here long enough to know how the pitch played without the need to tug on grass to learn more. The very bottom line; the pitch was green. Very green. So, when the toss was not won by me, and we were asked to bowl, I wasn’t at all disappointed.

Following on from my painful victory with the Brentham 3rd’s yesterday when I bowled 13 overs for 17 runs, I opened down the hill with 5 overs for just 3 allowing Nick Grieve (NZ) to struggle up the hill for 4 overs, including the breakthrough with just 11 on the board! Thanks to a sharp catch by Ryan Styles (AUS) at very wide 1st slip, 2 more overs and another wicket to finish, Nick ended 6-0-47-2.

Ryan replaced myself for 5 unlucky overs. He deserved more than the 1 wicket of the threatening big hitter (bowled after he helped put on 60 for the 2nd) and eventually dragged himself, 5-0-30-1. Near enough to now regular Bilal Niaz (PAK) replaced Nick, and too with a double spell. 5 overs to start with one wicket, and 3 overs at the end with one more, and going tea 8-0-45-2. Nick and Bill’s spells up the hill bookended NZ debutant, Jamie Ronaldson’s 8 overs of text book leggies.

With a very Nepo-like loosener that went for 4 (pre-match practice did not help!), the rest of the over was un-Nepo-like flight, pitch, turn, and bamboozle, and included his first Nepo wicket off the illegitimate 7th ball. Though we suggested it was the end of the over, the umpires and scorers simply lost count, but counting the balls is not our job and Jamie brought the hosts to 5-135 with the extra cherry. Whilst Jamie was trundling up hill, Rich Price (NZ) did the opposite.

Jamie should consider himself lucky to miss a Rich Price Spray after adding his name to the Nepo’s thorough list of pink-wig wearer after Rich’s first ball. Perhaps Rich just hadn’t warmed up yet, but it didn’t take long for that wicket to fall, thanks to a good catch by Bill at gully. Crouch End 6-156.

Jamie’s 2nd wicket 3 runs later should have put Crouch End well below 200 at 7-159 however we let our hosts amass 221 for the loss of only 8 wickets; that skyrocketing total largely down to Steve Werren (AUS) letting through a record 23 byes. Jamie ended his opening Nepo salvo a very positive 8-0-44-2, with Rich a back to his normal tight self, 8-1-25-1, before delivering a flat 8 for tea. It was a good curry, and the pakora’s worth going back for, but hardly a £70 feast.

With possibly too much bang for the buck in the guts, Ryan took the honours of opening with Carl Hoar (ENG) and gifted a simple catch to the man at deep point, going for an early post-lunch dump for 9 off 10. Nick came in and looked very impressive as he often does until gets out, this time bowled by the Bomber Dale of Crouch End for 22, with the Nepo’s 2-88; Carl going postal at the other end but only when he could get the strike off Time Hardy (ENG), whom I think was trying to better their North Enfield partnership of 75. As it was, Carl had enough of the tinkering about and with 75 to his name, left Time stranded, to attend his father whom had father time by his bedside.

(We all hope Carl senior is OK and comfortable!)

Even before Carl had his boots off, Rich was caught by the hand of god at 1st slip off his 2nd ball, and the Nepo’s looked strangely uncertain at 4-120. Jack Phelan (NZ) joined Time and really, it was a case of getting any run they could. Time and Jack mustered a partnership of 1 off 13, Time castled for 7 off 37 allowing Jamie to show his prowess with the bat. Two lost balls later and 5 boundaries later, Jamie marched off at 5-155 with 29 off just 18, which put Jack & Bill in the middle.

“Take your time Bill, don’t get out”. 3 balls later, Jack was run out for an absorbing 6 off 10 after a 12 run partnership with Bill whom casually put the first two balls over the sightscreen. Yes, it appeared Bill has got his eye in, the Nepo’s 6-167. Kahuna (AUS / POL) joined Bill and stuck out 8 balls of the over (plenty of wides and no balls in that one!) before being called for the single on the last ball, keeping the strike, the Nepo’s still dangerously far from home with only 7 wickets in hand.

Two balls later, Kahuna was castled for one, bringing me to chew Bill’s ear about taking the single on the last ball of the over and not protecting the wickets. I also chewed his ear about slowing it down, and not getting out, one ball before he wildly swung and missed a ball that bounced just over middle stump. I am not one to instruct any batsmen in their art, but I did get Bill to keep the ball down, only run when necessary, and tick the runs off to victory, which came with 4 gloves down leg by myself.

A 49 run red-ink partnership to end the inning, with 5 overs and 2 wickets up the sleeve, myself going home 21, Bill 29, and the Nepo’s now 8 points on the non-league league table. A good victory in the end, not requiring me to first lay face down on the deck before play to inspect the pitch!

Well played Nepo’s,

Yours in Nepotism,

Sparrow

Schwim Moment: Bilal Niaz casually putting his first two balls over the sightscreen for 6.

NACA: Jamie Ronaldson on debut, caught 'warming up' in the nets before play.


Sun July 8 Result 2.00 pm 40 Overs
Nepotists Win 222-8 35 Overs
Crouch End Loss 221-8 40 Overs
 
Batting   Bowling  
Hoar 75 Ronaldson 8-0-44-2
Ronaldson 28 Niaz 8-0-45-2
Niaz 29 Grieve 6-0-47-2
Catches - Niaz 2, Styles 1, Werren 1
Stumpings - 0
Run Outs - 0
 

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Nepotists v Teddington, by Lukey Sparrow

Sunday July 22, 2018: 1.30pm. 40 Overs
Toss: Uncontested, Nepo's To Bowl
Teddington: 10-195, 34 Overs (Price 3-16, Grieve 3-19)
Nepotists:
 3-196, 29.4 Overs (Hoar 68, Mason 32, Price 32, Grieve 30)
Catches: Werren 1
Result: Win
Scorecard: Here

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Nestled deep amongst the flora, fauna, and public of bucolic Bushy Park, behind Hampton Court Palace in the South West of the London, hides Teddington Cricket Club. Just as many lose their way in the garden maze of the nearby Palace so too do many visiting cricket teams navigating the bum steerage of modern technology that directs them to most every part of Bushy Park than that of the cricket club.

The expected loss of Nepo’s meant a suggested 12.30pm arrival for the 1:30pm start, instead of the usual 30mins prior. This resulted in not only every Nepo being on time for the first time this season, but some 30mins earlier than suggested, allowing for Steve Werren (AUS) plenty of time to warm up. The day was off to a positive start.

Strangely however, after I arrived and met their captain amid the hubbub of the morning cricket revellers lining their livers at the bar post-match, it became apparent there were more Nepo’s than Teddo’s. When pressing for the coin to be tossed the hosts had an air of ‘do we really have to play’. Due in part to their 11 being only 8 and my sensing the captain would rather be at the bar than at the wicket

With only 8 opposition players, which eventually swelled to 9, without a toss we agreed Teddington would bat, allowing two of their lowest scorers to bat twice. It could have worked very wrongly as their 1st XI opening bat, was castled on the 3rd ball of the day. So yes, it ‘could have’, which says it didn’t. By the time he came back with 10 overs of lethargic Nepo bowling left, the 10th wicket fell, and he’d only added one run to his match aggregate. So yes, we got off to a great start.

Following a nasty head injury (the injury was nasty, not my head!) sustained the week before, I was unfit to play after one week in hospitals and doctor’s surgeries and a diet of paracetamol but had to nonetheless hide in the field as we were otherwise one man down. Thankfully we were extremely top heavy with bowlers (so much so no one bowled 8 overs, a first for a long time), which meant I didn’t have to.

Ryan Styles (AUS) opened from the palace, and chimed in with a breakthrough in the 1st, and ended his one spell 5-1-34-1. Bilal Niaz (PAK) opened from the No Palace End and though went wicketless showed his improving direction with the ball delivering a solid 5-2-16-0. Taking over from Ryan, Nick Grieve (NZ) bowled one no-ball, something that has become the norm for Nick, in what was a match defining spell of 5-0-19-3, one wicket in each of his first three overs. His first wicket breaking the dominance of Teddington which to that point had put on 60 for the 2nd wicket. He was only dragged because I needed others to have a go.

Jim Mason (AUS) replaced Bilal and compared to his previous matches, didn’t quite have it but still got amongst the wickets with one of the poorest LBW decision we’ve ever received. In short, if the ball struck the batsman in line then the umpire (ECB accredited!) was going to give him out. Jim didn’t argue, ending 5-0-35-1.

With Ali Baloch (PAK) replacing Jim, Terrence Ford (ENG) replacing Ali, and James Ronaldson (NZ) replacing Nick, I reckon Rich Price (NZ) was thinking he was never going to bowl, after announcing at the start his preference to bowl from the Palace, and ‘staying warm’ for 28 overs before finally given the honours.

So enamoured with the opportunity he didn’t waste any time arguing with the umpire over his ‘usual’ no-ball, before taking 3-16 in 3 overs. All the while Ali took his first Nepo wicket coming home 3-1-6-1, Terrence didn’t, ending 3-0-23-0, and Jamie having first bowled from the Palace without luck, switched to the No Palace End and wrapped up the inning 5-0-34-1, Teddington with 195 on the board; a lot more than I thought.

Very surprisingly, we rolled through our overs and Teddington in record time, which meant tea was not ready, so Carl Hoar (ENG) and Jim padded up to face 4 overs, and very sharply came off once the billy had boiled with 37 to the Nepo’s.

Compared with last year’s free tea, I think Rich just threw 8 points on their card because it was better than 2017. Not worth 8 but 8 it was before the Nepo’s went to bat once again to chase down 196; two Nepo’s required to field for Teddington. Thankfully there were no catches offered, though no Nepo can be blamed for letting a boundary or two slip by. It’s OK to lose bark saving your own runs, but not for the opposition.

Now just as I thought 195 was a lot more than I thought, at no point did I think 196 was ever too many. The game was played with a casualness akin to one team preferring to be at the bar and like never before, the Nepo’s only faced 4 bowlers. Each trundled in off 10 steps or so, delivering rubbish that allowed Carl to come home in text book style with a red-ink 68 off 77, with Jim wasting another 50 on his way to 32 off 28 in an opening stand of 78 in just 11 overs.

Terrence, in his first match for the Nepo’s since last year’s Old Wimbledonian farce, was elevated to 3 for the chance of getting runs. Alas he succumbed to Trigger adjudging him LBW after the ball hit his thigh pad on its way over middle stump for 9 off 14. Nick too threw away 50 on his way to 30 off 33, whereas Rich simply ran out of runs ending 32 off 27 as the Nepo’s strolled off in the 30th over, 7 wicket victors, with no doubt more effort required to play for next week.

As I write, I can’t help but feel this match was simply a waste of everyone’s time. Teddington players that did turn up possibly wished they didn’t and the Nepo’s played in a very positive ‘let’s get this over with’ style without actually saying it. The day came and went in a lethargic blink, which reminds of Steve telling me that we are Teddington’s only Sunday fixture, the match played out of long-standing courtesy.

If we are to confirm 2019 with Teddington based on today’s game, it will not happen. Nepo availability hasn’t been the greatest this year and we are guilty of disappointing opposition teams with late cancellation, but at least we have given warning. If Teddington can’t be bothered to turn up, or simply don’t want to field a team, then out of long-standing courtesy say so now rather than waste everyone’s Sunday afternoon, that could be better spent at the bar in bucolic Teddington, than spent in the field preventing runs from own batsmen!

Yours In Nepotism,

Lukey Sparrow

Schwim Moment: Jim Mason for bludgeoning his first ball for 4, and cracking the roof of a mini-cooper parked a very long way from the middle.

NACA: Terrence Ford for wearing such exceptionally tight whites he had to wear his thigh-pad in the outside!

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Nepotists V Shepherd's Bush, by Lukey Sparrow


Sunday August 5, 2018: 1.30pm. 40 Overs
Toss: Nepotists, Bat
Nepotists: 8-242, 40 Overs (Styles 85, Hoar 59)
Shepherd's Bush: 6-245, 29.5 Overs (Niaz 2-16, Styles 1-35)
Result:
 Didn't Win
Scorecard: Here
Catches: Sparrow 2

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It’s one click. That’s it. Almost impossible to fuck up, even for a lobotomised half-wit. Now this said, I don’t wish to offend Shepherd’s Bush scorer (let’s call him Obi, and the one responsible for taking on the simple task of using PCS-PRO Play Cricket Scorer) by suggesting he is a half-wit, which he is not, in fact he is a damn good player, but how he fucked up the scoring so monumentally, and for so long, is beyond comprehension. We bowled 30 overs, half of these were wrong!

Watching the scores rapidly tick over on the scoreboard had me questioning whether errors were being played out. Though Shepherd’s Bush were putting us to the sword and all over the park, the runs in the middle didn’t cross-reference with the volume of runs being added to the scoreboard. When the alleged winning run was finally hit, a 6 to long off, and we all walked off to shake hands, I approached ‘Obi’ to ask if ‘all was good’ (with the scoring)? I always look forward to feedback from the opposition after they use the program for the first time, all of whom say ‘awesome / great / easy / marvellous / perfect’ or the like. Obi simply said, “I fucked it up royally!” I was not surprised to hear that!!

Most Monday’s are spent updating the Nepotists website, uploading the scorecard, writing the match report and editing photos. Some days are longer than others depending on the match, others not so. However most of this Monday was spent scratching my head as I scoured the scorecard. How in the name of all things Holy can a bowler deliver 5 consecutive overs? I know the term ‘bring him on a both ends’ is voiced when a bowler is delivering shit, but I never thought I’d ever see it on the scorecard.

According to Obi, Ed Greening (WAL) bowled overs 23, 24, 25, 26, and 27. In Obi’s defence it could have simply been a name selection error, however it is indefensible. With PCS-PRO if you select a bowler whom has just bowled, a pop-up asks ‘do you want the same bowler to bowl again’ or words to that effect. Everyone that plays cricket knows you can’t bowl consecutive overs, so why Obi would select ‘yes’ is one mystery, all of which kept exposing themselves the more I looked.

As I played through the scorecard, it all started in the 16th overRich Price (NZ) dragged with one ball of his over to bowl, replaced by Jim Mason (AUS). Adding confusion to this manual selection by Obi, Jim bowled the next over! Unless you look for it, you can’t accidentally change bowlers mid-over, and then select the same bowler to bowl next. Unless you're Obi!

He had batsmen hitting boundaries off the last ball of the over and then keeping strike for the next. He had batsmen taking singles off the last ball of the over and then losing strike. One batsman even scored a 9; that’s a big hit!! Why is '9' even a scoring option?? He had bowlers doing 5 consecutive overs for God’s sake! The system works to prevent you from fucking up like this. If the batsman scores a single, he is automatically on strike the next over. If you want to swap batsmen, you do it manually, so why Obi took the time to swap the batsmen and dig his hole deeper did little more than prolong my day.

The program also has an auto-correct, highlighting all errors in red. With a magical ‘one click’ you can make it all right. The problem is, once correcting the first problem, which brings everything in line with that correction, it in turn makes ‘correct scores’ further down the inning, incorrect. It was mess! There was red-ink everywhere and frightening to look at, but this was only Sunday afternoon so no love or trophies lost. The best I could do was get out the note-book and write down ball by ball, bowler by bowler, and then score it all again from the 15th. This is why Mr Otto-Mian and Mr Miller batted for 2720 mins and 2639 mins respectively; as boring as a Geoff Boycott and Chris Tavare opening stand, but with more runs!

Although I had the opportunity to fudge the scoring in our favour I still couldn’t muster a Nepo win, a day that started with our winning the toss and batting, and the closest to a pleasure we achieved. There was no way in this heat I was going to run about on the desert dry parched earth any earlier than feasibly possible.

Ali Baloch (PAK) opened with Carl Hoar (ENG), only adding another single figure score of 4. Nick Grieve (NZ) promised his wife 100 and getting off the mark with a 6, followed by a 4, all looked good for Nick tonight. Alas, there was only grief as he was knocked over for 16, bringing Ryan Styles (AUS) to smash 119 runs in 21 overs with Carl for the 3rd wicket before Carl was gone for an excellent and text book 59 off 96. In walk Rich Price!

Well, didn’t we just cop an earful before play, Rich reminding us all of how he got 163 in a losing match here last year, and how his 6 went some 90m over square leg, and how he did it all in 13 overs. Well, with less than 10 overs to face by the time Rich got in, there was no time to get his eye in, or was there? On his 3rd ball, a beautiful half-tracker, he stepped back to pull it for six and a possible night with Nick’s wife. Alas, as it stuck in the spongey pitch, Rich was through the shot and only managed to rough snick it to the keeper whom, as he ducked to get out of the way, somehow miraculously caught the ball somewhere between his eye-socket and armpit.

Conveniently, before Rich went in, I walked to the sightscreen in anticipation of a frenzied post-drinks attack. With 8 still in the shed, and 11 overs still to bowl it was time to tee-off. Luck would see this decision pay dividends in Nepotist exposure. Not only did I capture Carl being out on the 2nd over post drinks, I captured ‘one of the greatest catches you will ever see’! No matter how often I look at this, I still can’t see where the keeper caught the ball, but I do know it has been viewed 3000 times. It’s not exactly melting the internet, but by Nepo standards it is on fire!

So, Rich gone for 163 less than he scored last year brought in Time Hardy (ENG), whom was well on this way to 50 before being bowled for 6. Bilal Niaz (PAK) looks more comfortable down the order and it showed with another dominant 17 off 13. Sadly, very deserving of a century and a night with Mrs Grieve perhaps, Ryan was knocked over for an outstanding 85 off 84. Jim whom was relegated to number 8 thanks to TFL scheduling, looked good to see the inning through with a couple of boundaries on his way to 14 from 10, alas he left myself and Jack Phelan (NZ) to add 5 off the final 4 balls, to reach our combined effort of 8-242. Not bad, but at least better than the ‘8’ on Rich’tea’ Scale for the best Tea on the calendar. Madness.

Defending 242 would be simple if we could just get out the little prick that scored 120 against us last year, after we dropped him on 4!! This year was no different, though we dropped him on 24. Instead of having an average of 14 against us, the young fella doesn’t yet have one as we failed to dismiss him again (he retired last year), this year holding his bat for 136 and the 4-wicket victory (Obi had him down for 157) with 10 still overs to bowl.

Nick opened and was quickly dragged after 3-0-26-0. Bilal looked good, getting the early breakthrough with an inside edged LBW, in his first over and the Nepo’s were on top. When Bill claimed his 2nd LBW that was marginally less out than the first, in his 3rd over, we were an outside sniff at 2-36. At 3-73 when Ryan chimed in, in his 3rdover, we had a red-hot chance if we could just keep the young fellow off strike, if not get him out. Ryan remained the unlucky soul with that dropped chance against his Ed’s name, eventually ending 5-0-35-1.

Bill was poorly replaced after a splendid 4-0-16-2. 72 runs and 8 overs later Rich got the 4th wicket and a massive send off. I’ve not often seen a batsman send off a bowler, but Rich copped it, and it didn’t help; Rich conceding 7-0-62-1. All too little too late as the Nepo’s snared two wickets in 4 balls, which could have been 4 overs if you go by Obi’s scoring. Jim finally got one, ending 7-0-57-1 and our favourite Welshman Ed ‘I’ll bowl from both ends’ Greening going home to his AirBnB with 3.4-0-40-1, and the Nepo’s back on the losers list.

If we’d like to feel slightly better, the score auto-correct had the Shepherd’s Bush young gun out for 57 in the 17thover. Alas, their score still totalled one more than ours, so it would only be a slight consolation. Next week’s fixture is buried somewhere deep in the Chiltern’s. Although public transport doesn’t reach the ground of ‘Little Missenden Misfits Cricket Club’, I’m sure there will be internet to keep you posted about our return to analogue scoring!

Yours in Nepotism,

Lukey Sparrow

SCHWIM MOMENT: Nick Grieve getting off the mark with a 6 over backward square

NACA: Rich Price for telling us 163 times how many runs he scored last year!

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Nepotists v Little Missenden Misfits, by Lukey Sparrow

Sunday August 12, 2018: 1.00pm. 40 Overs
Toss: Nepotists, Field
Misfits: 10-124, 28.2 Overs (Price 3-9, Mason 2-10, Sparrow 2-11, Grieve 2-29)
Catches: Styles 2, Price 2, Werren 1, Niaz 1, Baloch 1, Hardy 1 

Nepotists:
 3-196, 29.4 Overs (Styles 37, Coleman 34*, Werren 16*)
Result: Win
Scorecard: Here

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As our regular fixture against Edmonton was cancelled, Carl answered Little Missenden Misfits Cricket Club advertisement for a match. This is the brief email exchange: 

“I'm Carl Hoar, Fixture Sec for Nepotists CC. We are a wandering team that mainly plays 40 over games in and around London. We play the game with a smile on our faces and never sledge the opposition. We are a weak medium team at the moment. 
Regards 
Carl”

In reply;

“Hi Carl, Sound ideal. We are weak medium too (bit more weak than medium so far this season!) so would be happy to welcome you guys August 12. How does a 1pm start sound? Longer in the pub afterwards!

David”

More than ideal it was!

If you were to schedule a match based on spending more time in the pub afterwards, then Little Missenden Misfits Cricket Club should have a very long list of opposition to choose from as the Red Lion is outstanding. Aside the rain that brought us to move our debrief from the ‘Winnie The Pooh’ lakeside table to the under-cover terrace, you have to go far to find a better place to convene post-match. I am very sure there are 1001 village pubs and beer gardens across the country that 1001 would vouch as the best in the land but from Nepotists fixtures perspective, this is #1 and well worth the 40 over prelude on a soggy pitch buried deep in a Chilterns valley, once found of course!

The follow up email from David reads;

“Ground can be hard to find. Go all way through village if coming off A413 and turn left after The Red Lion. Road turns to the right and then it turns left again. Turn again to the right, and then to the left, straighten up, and then take a few more lefts and rights, and you may see entrance to ground in front of you!” (with artistic license)

If you know your lefts from your rights and Red Lions from your Spotted Dicks, you’ll turn through what is simply a hole in the roadside hedge and discover the parched earth of a once green and pleasant land. If you can’t, simply head back to the Red Lion for a swift half (pint or dozen) and ask directions as our favourite Black Cabbie Carl Hoar (ENG) had to do. Alas for Carl, the ‘Knowledge’ does not extend to Little Missenden, so his Black Cab sadly had to firstly employ the power of the internet, and the secondly the power of local knowledge to point him in the direction of the ground. Something Jim Mason (AUS) did not have concern, once he remembered he was playing!

I received a text message from Steve Werren (AUS) at 11:15am, “Running late, the earliest the guys can reach Greenford is 12:20pm.” ‘Guys’ translates as ‘Jim’. After getting home at 5am the story says Jim was found wandering around a kitchen (possibly his) at 11am wondering what he'd do with his day. At 11:14am the penny dropped; he needed to be at Greenford in 30mins. Hence the 11:15am message. If finding the ground wasn’t hard enough, being late didn’t help.

As Steve and his passengers, including Jim, huddled at 12:45pm greeting others and extolling virtues of alarm bells and TfL journey planning, I reminded Steve for the 3rd time that we were fielding, which sent him hastily off to tape his fingers and toes and teeth and all that mesmerising preparation that goes into dropping catches and letting through byes. No time for dry-rooting the earth as he did at Teddington, if that was not a paradox in itself, the rain of the past week having sodden the land to the point of unplayable! Thankfully, said rain held off!

The pre-toss discussion of the toss (that landed me a NACA nomination) has since been lost to folklore and hearsay, but truth be known I suggested to David my preference to bowl to which he responded his preference to bat. So, it was settled, Nepo’s to bowl. We nonetheless made our way to the very green and muddy wicket (the 22yards only discerned by 3 stumps pressed into the strip at opposing ends) and tossed the coin. As it happens, I won the toss, chose to bowl, and everything discussed, mentioned, spoken, and distorted through the ages since arrival into the vagaries of Little Missenden was no longer relevant.

Ryan Styles (AUS) was asked to open until told we were using Concordes not Kookaburras. “Then I am not bowling until that shit comes off!” Admittedly our very affordable Concorde balls are coated in a thick lacquer and difficult to grip as the lacquer also coats the thread. Once however the lacquer cracks and splinters off, the polish holds exceptionally well. I can’t say the same for the shape, but at £1.80 per ball what do you expect??

With Ryan curling his bottom lip, myself having had the week off against Shepherd’s Bush to give others the chance to ruin their season average took first use of our affordable plastic. After yielding 5 off my first over, the lacquer causing the ball to stick in or slide from the hand, the ball going every which way but straight, I loosened up into the strong head-wind for a spell of 6-2-11-2. Downwind came Nick Grieve (NZ). With no boundary wife to impress this week, Nick delivered 4-0-29-2 including 9 wides. Better 9 wides than 9 off the bat like the bloke from Shepherd’s Bush (see 25.6 overs of the original scorecard)!!

With the shine now limited to one side of the cherry, Ryan replaced Nick and started scratchy with an 8 but settled down for another luckless spell, which included the ‘pink wig’ for Ali Baloch (PAK); not for dropping a catch but deciding that he’d rather field the ball on the bounce, which ended Ryan’s spell 6-0-34-1.

Fresh from his sins in Vegas, for his 2nd and last run in the Lime Green and Magenta for 2018, Nathan Coleman (NZ) took over from myself and pounded the mud hard with his 7ft 32” frame to deliver from on high a mix of slow-medium-slower, off-spinning, fast dross. Not even Nate knew what he was bowling, hence the batsman didn’t know how to get themselves out, thus Nate ended 4-0-26-0.

At 5-104 after 20 overs, it could be at least suggested that our hosts would set 200+ after 40 but the pitch had other ideas. The ball however was not too conducive to clean hitting or even snicking! The pitch simply did not want to let the ball go. As fast and as bouncy as you would like to bowl, most batsmen were through their shots early, thus many boundaries were only scored from full tosses or when the batsman chose to have a cuppa waiting for the ball to arrive (as Ryan did on the 5th ball). So, when a batsman edged or hit a catch, the ball didn’t so much spoon up as it did float and get pushed about in the heady breeze (which too kept the rain at bay for the day), making any catch worth double points (speaking terms, not earning terms!).

So, slowing up the pace to let ‘the pitch do the work’ Jim with 4-1-10-2 replaced Ryan and Rich Price (NZ) with 4.2-0-9-3 replaced Nathan to bowl in tandem and mop up the Misfits for just 124. On this wicket, that was pretty good. You can recall our capitulation on a similar deck at Putney!

With the Misfits’ early demise, something I was aiming for as the reason to bowl first without discrediting our opposition sight ‘un-seen’, tea was delayed for as long as it took David to say, “Pad up, we’ll have a bowl before tea”. Deciding instead we would indeed have tea was not argued, just inhaled. The Misfit spread ranked one of the season’s finest with 8.5 on the RichTea Scale. Admittedly he did give it an 8 but series of boos and jibes at the debrief added the .5.

With guts full of quiche, scones, and milky tea, Carl and Ali opened once more. This week it was Carl that went early. No photos of text-book defence, no internet melting clips of wonder, just a skied chip to a ball that got stuck in the mud to see him caught for 0 off 3 and thinking of getting a head start on packing the kit as he passed Bilal Niaz (PAK), confidently strolling in at 3!

No sooner had Carl taken one pad off wondering which bag it goes into, than Bilal was sitting next to him to wonder the same question. 4 balls & 2 wickets down, and Time Hardy (ENG) on a hat-trick. No pressure, except for me as I messed up my 3rd umpire recording!  In my haste to get into position (late whilst searching for umpiring stones) I inadvertently pushed the record button twice, thus turning on and then off ‘record’. So, when I pushed ‘pause’ after the first ball, I had in fact started recording. I then pushed pause for the 2nd delivery, and then pushed record to count my stones.

When I realised my error, I put the phone away to record the 3rd over, and simply call it the first. Who’s going to know?? That plan went out the window with Carl and Bilal sharing a shower and waiting for Time to join them. By now I wish I was recording, but Time survived the hat-trick so further internet glory will be saved for next week.

Time was eventually knocked over, his 50 cut short by 43 off 22 balls, one that seemingly pitched a yard outside off stump and barely hit leg. At 3-15 our hosts had the local winds in their sails and ‘Putney’ was being spoken. When Ali was amazingly caught for 11 off 20 by a deepish mid-on whom ran (lumbered / gambolled / laboured) in and looked to do nothing more than finger the ball onto his boot and kick it further afield (which he didn’t do!) the Nepo’s were 4-30 and in more strife than Bilal packing the kit on his own.

The damp stage was set for a Ryan and Rich show (attached). 4 overs later at 5-50, that poor show was over with Rich strolling off (without internet fame this week) for 12 off 12 (as I write, Rich has been viewed getting out at Shepherd’s Bush 8008 times!). Enter stage far left, Nathan Coleman. If ever there was a batsman that never looked like he wanted to be there, and admitting it so, it was Nate. Try as he might he just couldn’t get out. That instinct to keep the bat between ball and stumps was too hard to ignore. That ignorance put on 47 for the match saving 6th wicket with Ryan.

Ryan deserved 50 but ran out of luck; Time Hardy firing him LBW with the ball ‘probably clipping the top of leg!’ for a superb 37 off 53. In these conditions it was the winning knock that warranted red-ink. With Ryan shaking his head at 6-97 it could have gone either way, as tension crept into the Nepo shed. Steve, elevated to number 8, joined Nate and admirably carried his bat once more with a fine 16 off 21. Surprisingly, so too did Nathan whom strolled proudly home 34 off 58 at barely 6pm, the Nepo’s home by 4 wickets for the first time against Little Missenden Misfits Cricket Club.

With David’s wish for an early start of the match for an early start at the pub, and with Rich talking about bringing his ‘chilly bin’ next year, because as his wife put it ‘If there’s no bar at the cricket, what’s the point in playing!’ because he’d been 59.5 overs without a drink, there was no wasting time in helping Bill pack the kit and getting to the Red Lion. By the time we left, the 2019 fixture against Misfits CC was confirmed and importantly the ‘Winnie The Pooh’ table booked (attached).

See you somewhere again in Chilterns next year!

Yours In Nepotism In The Hundred Acre Wood,

Sparrow

Schwim Moment: Ryan getting off the mark with a big 6 down the ground over long off.

NACA: Jim Mason for sleeping in, forgetting we were playing, forgetting his socks, falling asleep at the game, playing in one sock, and the list is endless!

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Nepotists v Post Modernists CC - Isis Trophy Semi Final, by Lukey Sparrow

Saturday August 18, 2018: 12.00pm. 40 Overs
Toss: Post Modernists, Field
Nepotists: 6-257, 40 Overs (Hoar 76, Styles 72, Sheldon 40)
Post Modernists: 9-179, 34.3 Overs (Styles 3-37, Mason 2-26, Sparrow 2-37)
Catches: Sheldon 2, Styles 1, Price 1, Werren 1, Hoar 1 
Result:
 Win
Scorecard: Here

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When the email from Post Modernists was received in the days before the Isis Trophy, requesting an 11.30am start against the usual 12pm, and without any mention of whom sent it whilst informing them of the earlier start, the Nepotist replies came back; “Did Woody ask for this?” and “I bet that was Woody!”, and so forth. It seems each other year, this my first as 'Chairman of Selectors' so never in receipt of Oxford emails, Woody would invariably ask for an 11.30am start and invariably never ready to play any time before 12pm. 

(*The later was indeed a preferred time knowing several Nepos would be struggling after a night celebrating victory in the Steve Werren Invitational Golf Tournament the day before, especially knowing all the beers were on Steve following his 'Happy Gilmore’!)

Having arrived early to unpack the horse, set up the laptop for scoring, and pour coffee down my throat without scalding, I was set to go by 10.45am. It should read as no surprise to those that know Woody, come 12pm he was still in his Hugo Boss slacks, Burberry Shirt, Holland & Holland Sweater, Barbour Jacket, and 'Oxfords not Brogues' debating whether Post Modernists would bowl, given they were only 8 with barely enough to field let alone 'abled' to rotate deliveries with anything akin to ‘troubling the batsman’.

Some 25 mins earlier under much distress by Woody and persuasion by me, and without walking to the middle instead standing in the doorway of Woody's fitting room, the Nepotists lost the toss, which resulted in us being asked to bat by way of Post Modernist historically being rubbish! If they batted first, the Nepo’s would castle them smartly and be left chasing a handful of wides to win and the concept of ‘making a game of it’ lost before lunch was served. So, this sporting gesture saw Woody finally in his whites and 10 Post Modernists on the field at 12.20pm, some 2hrs 15mins after my arrival!!

For all the fear of the PM’s not ‘making a game of it’ must have been smartly forgotten when Ali Baloch (PAK) was caught behind in the 4th for 0 with the Nepo’s just 18. Ali promised a big score today, but I think I’ll bring him in much lower down tomorrow to give him the chance to get some runs against what could be a weaker or at least a more wearisome bowling attack in the latter overs.

The early loss brought Magic Mike Sheldon (AUS) to join Carl Hoar (ENG) and the early PM’s excitement was quickly nullified as they put on 87 (this clip viewed near 27,000 times) before Magic was bowled for an excellent 40 off 49 off a non-excellent ball that bounced twice before him. Law changes are not high on the study list between Sunday afternoon friendlies so it did surprise that as recently as last week law 21.7 (give or take a month) changed from two bounces being legal to only one bounce before it reaches the bat or popping crease. Mike said he should never have missed such a crap ball so deserved his comeuppance at 2-105 in the 21st.

This dismal dismissal brought another dismal display from Time Hardy (ENG) after as he ran some 36 yards collectively to be run out for 1 off two balls. Having driven the ball to mid-off, Time called for the run as soon as it left the bat, knowing it was heading to the only player most unlikely to trouble Time at the non-striker’s end, Woody. The controversy came when Carl, in a non-text book display of backing up, wrongly called “No” and stood his ground. Time ran 19 yards before turning back, and if ever there was a chance to save himself it was hitting the ball to the only player most unlikely to under-arm the ball toward any stump with threat of speed or accuracy, Woody. Time alas ran that 1 yard too far before turning back to be run out by half a yard after the keeper collected Woody’s wayward toss, the Nepo’s 3-106.

In what threatened to be Rich Price’s (NZ) best inning for quite some time, adding 40 with Carl for the 4th wicket turned out to be just another near 30 as he was caught by the only player most likely to drop any chance his way, Woody, for 28 off 23 and another big score goes begging. With 146 the total, Carl was joined by the in-form Ryan Styles (AUS) looking to snatch the Club Champion Trophy from our legendary opener.

Together they put on 41 before Carl was dismissed after yet another match-winning 76 off 100, leaving Jim Mason (AUS) and Ryan to crack 69 off the last 7 overs, before Ryan was once more unluckily given out by LBW Time Hardy, a decision that looked about as out as Time or Carl would not have been had they both just run. Disgruntled at losing another 7 points, Ryan solemnly strolled off in the wrong direction for a beautiful 72 off 48 leaving Jack Phelan (NZ) the honours of facing the last (extra) ball of the inning and walking off with a strike rate of 100; something that matched the quality of lunch and tea, the Nepo’s 6-257 off 40.

If Post Modernists live up to history, defending 257 should be a walk in an Oxford Park for the Nepo’s, even with only 10 men after Bilal Niaz’s (PAK) late withdrawal. Surprisingly Woody and his men were not the pushed over this year, and it took near 35 overs to confine their fate to a Sunday bronze medal play off, leaving the Nepo’s to play in the final for the 9th consecutive year.

Opening the bowling without luck, I came back on late inning to eventually deliver 7-1-37-2. With Ryan opting for further rest just 15 mins after Time gave him out, Rich trundled in from the pavilion with the new cherry to make the breakthrough in the 6th over, their 1st XI ring-in caught at 1st slip by Ryan, with 37 less to get.

It was not until after another near 50 was added, thanks to Ali for taking the Pink Wig once more, before Ryanmade the 2nd breakthrough, and for the first time in a long time at Oxford the Nepo’s were, to use an expression, struggling. PM’s were not exactly on top of the rate either, though helped by Time with his un-Brett-like out-fielding that yielded ‘4 all run’ to a ball that barely passed square leg. A bewildering moment that did yield a good laugh once the shock subsided.

At 3-95 in the 16th, after Ryan got his second wicket, was when the Nepo tide turned though at 4-110, then 5-129 in the 21st, we still weren’t ‘knocking them over’. Rich was replaced after 5-1-26-1, Ali was dragged after 4-0-26-0, and Ryan ran out of puff after 5-0-37-3, which left Jim and Mike to bowl in tandem and break the PM’s back to come home respectively 6-0-26-2 and 7-2-19-1. The Nepo’s into the final by 78 runs, fittingly after the best catch of the day, taken sharply by Steve Werren (AUS) to dismiss Woody after Woody had already set off for what he believed to be a three to fine leg. Alas, the ball went only as far as the outstretched and falling left glove of Steve, the accidental cricketer.

Yours in Nepotism,

Lukey Sparrow

SCHWIM MOMENT: Time Hardy’s non-Brett like fielding by allowing the batsmen to run four. Time charging after the ball, and in picking it up, still some 15m from the boundary, launched a throw that landed barely at the feet of the square leg umpire as the batsmen completed three. With the umpire, batsmen, and 9 other Nepo’s standing around looking at the ball stationary between the umpires feet, the batsmen ambled their 4th.

NACA: Steve Werren for casually announcing as he and walked back on after tea “I hate having a shit with tape on my fingers as after I wipe my arse there’s always the stench left on the tape!”

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Nepotists v Nevill Holt CC - Isis Trophy Final, by Lukey Sparrow

Sunday August 19, 2018: 
12.00pm. 40 Overs
Toss: Nevill Holt, Field
Nepotists: 9-141, 33.3 Overs (Baloch 40, Styles 26, Sparrow 24*)
Nevill Holt: 4-142 , 35.3 Overs (Mason 3-49, Baloch 1-9)
Catches: Mason 2, Werren 1  
Result:
 Loss
Scorecard: Here

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If ever there was a difficult match to report, it was Sunday’s final against Nevill Holt CC. Some reports are easy and long, some short and not so easy, even after a win. This is written with a massive dollop of disappointment, for for the first time since 2010 the Nepotists lost the Isis Trophy. Quite easily!

If I recall, 2017 went down to the last over, Nine Bar CC needing 7 to win in the rain, with Nepo’s slip sliding all over the place. Still we held firm to win by 3 and grasp a fine victory. Fast forward to 2018 in blazing sunshine and a bag full of spikes to help us stay firm footed, we let slide what should have been a routine win.

Losing the toss (in the middle for a change!) and being asked to bat felt like a gift, though Nevill Holt are somewhat stronger than Post Modernists of yesterday’s game. The morning was grey, the wind strong, the pitch soft and moist, and everything felt in the bowlers’ favour. As promised Ali Balcoh (PAK) (below) was relegated to number 9 allowing Rich Price’s (NZ) to open for the first time this season with much distaste, for the second time in two weeks he’d lost his preferred Number 5 slot, conceding this to Steve Werren (AUS).

Without needing to ask, Carl Hoar (ENG) partnered Rich with far more success than yesterday’s stand, though not by much. 6 overs in and Rich was out, bowled for 12 off 17 with 21 on the board. Not mirroring his glory 40 of yesterday, Magic Mike Sheldon (AUS) came and went for 2 off 11 balls, the Nepo’s 2-27 after 9. In very un-Carl like fashion he too was castled, 4 overs later, for just 8 off 32 sticky deliveries. If Carl uses 32 cherries to get 8 runs you know the pitch is not working for the batsmen. In the 13th over, the Nepo’s in deep stickiness at 3-40.

Cue, famous Nepotist collapse.

After spending more time setting the field for his preferred late cut, much to the bowler’s mis-fancy, Steve did nothing more than sponge his first ball straight to where he jokingly asked the fielder to stand. Nepotists 4-40.

Jack Phelan (NZ) (in the cap) whom came in at 4 had his furniture dismantled for 8 off 21 balls. Nepos 5-40.

Time Hardy (ENG) didn’t trouble Carl with his running today, nor did he trouble the scorer, LBW for 0 off 3 balls. Nepos 6-40.

The stage was set for the Jim Mason (AUS) and Ryan Styles (AUS) show. Sadly, after receiving a no-ball to start, Jim was bowled for 0 off his first legal delivery. Nepos 7-41 in just the 16th.

Perhaps it would be the Ryan and Ali show. Well, their 35 runs were better than any of the previous 41 collective with Ryan looking as good today as he did yesterday (and here at Little Missenden) right up to the point in which he got out at 8-76, with 26 off 28, the pitch playing just little better in the 23rd over. Thankfully.

With only 10 Nepo’s I walked to the middle to join Ali with one instruction. Don’t get out. Sadly, Ali did get out, but not with immediate effect. With 17 overs to face we just got behind the ball, hitting only what we had to. The lose balls came and off to the boundary they went. Slopping fielding and noodle-arm throwing allowed us to steal plenty of bonus runs and by the time Ali was caught by seemingly the only man on the off-side for a splendid 40 off 60 balls, our 65 runs (myself 24 off 30), 11 overs partnership gave the Nepos what we thought was enough to defend. 

Over-indulgence at the lunch buffet could be blamed for us being a little too lethargic with the ball but seriously, the conditions changed so much our failing to trouble the batsmen had nothing to do with lunch, as Jim's figures would attest. The sun came out. The wind dropped. The pitch hardened, and the outfield played as if it had been mowed during the break.

Opening into the failing wind I dragged myself after 5-0-20-0, the ball did not want to take the edge of the bat or the top of off stump no matter how often the ball lined them up. Ryan at the other end did his best to contain by bowling straight through with another solid spell of 8-1-25-0. Rich replaced me for 5-0-21-0, with Jim taking over from Ryan, performing was what largely a one-man band to the end, bowling 8-1-49-3. The breakthrough eventually coming in the 22nd over, Nevill Holt 1-85.

At 2-92, then 3-120 we had a sniff with Jim getting the wickets against Magic Mike’s excellent and luckless spell of 8-5-15-0. It felt as if we were going to restrict the runs, and even though Ali claimed the 4th wicket thanks to a good catch at mid-off by Jim for swag of points in the field today, it was all too little too early. In the 36th over the winning runs were carted toward the River Isis by their ex-Captain Joff Ward whom held his bat for a splendid red-ink 70.

With no time to waste, and with bowlers still massaging shin splints and broken ego’s and batsmen still padded for a non-existent second inning, Woody called the presentation to order. Within 5 mins of losing for the first time in a long time, Nevill Holt had the Isis Trophy as if the sooner they had it, the longer they would hold it, and we were on our way to packing the kit for what could be the last time this season, pending next week’s shithouse weather forecast. At least there were three Nepo’s with 0 to make packing the kit somewhat easier and if that was a silver lining for Steve, Jim, and Time, the blessing for the Nepos is that we don’t have to pay for the engraving for the first time in a decade!

Yours in Disappointed Nepotism,

Lukey Sparrow

NACA: Backing up with a double NACA, Steve Werren for shaving and moisturising his head before hitting the Oxford dance floors last night and, whilst I was standing at 2nd slip, Steve casually turned to Rich at 1st slip to ask if all men in his family were uncircumcised. Thankfully, this was my only venture into the slips this season.

SCHWIM MOMENT: Ali Baloch for his clean striking down the ground when all around him was chaos

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