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2006 Match Reports

Date: 20th October

Versus: Awards Night

Venue: The Surrey Club and A Chinese Restaurant

Result: Everyone wins!


The annual end of season do took a new twist as the previous "gentlemen only" atmosphere of past years opened up and took on players better halves. The better halves didn't know what they took on!

Shorn of the Reubens (Holiday, College & Glass Hamstring), Parker (Lording it up in France) and Finnerty (Apparently doing a great Parker impression in SW1) the OC's took to the Surrey Club for the traditional pre trophy & food booze up.

As usual, Skipper asked for a 6:30 start and no one turned up until 7, Ducklin turned up with a piece of equipment he wouldn't use, and promptly left behind and the massed ranks gathered for a "friendly" drink and chat.

The OC's retired (read annexed) to the TV room and Collett gave the traditional end of season speech. The speech was a chronological tale of the past season which got off to a poor start which usually sees the skipper fall on his sword. Some light was at the end of the tunnel with a series of victories including the "Miracle at Wandgas" against the Taxmen and ending with the usual second XI capitulation at Gibraltar Rec. Overall the campaign saw a winning season.

Collett then went round asking for everyones favourite moment of the season, swiftly banning mention of "Two Ball Ducklin" and the usual wide range of memories came out both funny (anything involving Beeks), romantic (Abby at the Oval) or painful (John Bollands finger).

An ill advised foray away from the funny stuff saw Collett draw a straw poll on whether the OC's should continue to be "gentlemen" or admit "players" when time and resources allow. The larking about of Beeksy and Bisson swiftly brought this back to reality.

Up came trophy time, Skipper Doyle and James won the Batting trophies and Manuawar and Bolland won the Bowling trophies.

Then came the most prestigious award of the year, "Players Player", Collett made a hash of building up the suspense and the outcome was as predictable as Steve Redgrave winning BBC Sports Personality of The Year on 2000 as Ducklin won for a third time.

Despite the cat calls from the stalls, Ducklin made a brief acceptance speech, he deserved it and thanked Beeksy for if it wasn't for his turning of a 4 into a 2, none of this would have been possible.

The party then retired to a local chinese at Surbiton where much food was eaten and memories were shared about the OC's in their previous incarnation, Kingston Engineers. Much drink was imbibed and much hilarity ensued whilst Beeksy supplied the entertainment on his harmonica.

Chief of the anecdotes was Ian Doyle's diplomatic incident which apparently led to Kingston no longer twinning with Delft where a worse for wear Doyle played for the Mayor's team, scored a ton in a match which apparently was neither won drawn or lost and received a glass cock full of lager as a trophy for his efforts!

So another season draws to a close, and preparations for the next one draw near, it's the Silver Jubilee as OC's celebrate their 25th Season. Tours (to Eastbourne), matches (Bisson XI vs Collett XI), benefits (HA!) and other ideas (OC's Calendar!!!!!!, banning Ducklin from the players player voting) on a postcard please to the usual address.

p.s. given the lack of English sporting heroes this year, how about Ducklin for this award.............


Date: 29th August

Versus: Epsom

Venue: Gibraltar Rec

Result: Epsom win by 52 runs


And so another season draws to a close as the OCs make their annual pilgrimage away from Fortress Ruxley to Gibraltar Rec to face Epsom.

Despite the email requesting that people turn up for a 5:15 start and another confirming that the game was at Gibraltar Rec (complete with map) come 5:30 both sides would struggle to field a 6-a-side team.

Epsom emulated the OCs tactic of having the stragglers turn up late so they can bat first whilst the OCs managed to collect themselves for a 5:45 start for a game reduced to 18/18 under the Bisson/Duckworth/Lewis self preservation method.

In the meantime, tales were told of the “drink the bar dry” night at Deando Ruxley as the survivors told tales of derring-do, the Full Monty and generally updated each other on how drunk they got and filled in the gaps in their memories from the night.

Epsom, complete with OC irregulars Adrian Smith and Simon Knox who had obviously been offered bigger contracts, took to the wicket on a green strip which looked like it had a touch of the Groundskeeper Reeves about it. While Jane, Abby and the rest of the OCs travelling support, complete with beer cooler, prowled the boundary in search of the last of the summer sun.

Short of Doyle and Finnerty, on holiday and football business, and Manuwar, who was absent by way of travelling to every Surrey cricket square save the Oval and Gibraltar Rec, OCs were short of bowling. Bolland and James opened the attack with Bolland’s first over containing a few rusty wides as he tried to find his line after a week or two on holiday. Come his second over, Bolland found the elusive straighter ball and managed to bowl Smith before he troubled the scorers and get another Epsom wicket caught behind by Collett who has capped a wonderful season behind the stumps.

The pie man twirled away at the other end and bowled plenty of meat pies but was fruitless for 21 off his 4, while Bolland finished for 2 for 22 off his 4. Skipper Bisson provided another highlight during the opening spell by nailing an absolutely great direct hit from mid-off for a run out.

By this time mercenary Knox was at the crease getting his eye in and the bowling cupboard was looking bare. Ducklin (21 off 2) and Reuben (1 for 24 off 3) took to the attack while Knox decided to help himself, despite being occasionally deceived by the slower ball from Ducklin who produced variety without even trying. Beeks came and went with an over whilst Bisson brought himself on for the finish, getting a catch from the Pieman who took a running ankle high catch followed by a TV roll. They are still rolling out the divot from the pitch as we speak.

The lengthening shadows, oncoming gloom and Knox’s unbeaten 67 persuaded Epsom to ask for a reduction to 16/16, in hindsight, they could have declared and given us 20 overs to chase as Epsom finished with 119 for 5.

The opening partnership of Parker and Collett faced the Epsom opening bowlers who now had the temerity to have slips! Parker, still probably hungover from the drink the bar dry night or tempted by beers in the cool box that he didn’t have to pull himself was bowled by a fine delivery for 5, while Collett followed shortly for 9.

As the sun set, the run rate required grew and things were looking difficult. James came on with Reuben the eldest and steadied the ship against the opening attack. Adrian Smith came on at first change and the red mist descended over James as he went down the track to park it over his head, missed and was stumped for 8. Reuben the eldest (17) fared little better at the other end as he wafted towards a wide one which Ducklin was about to signal wide before top edging to the keeper who appealed for a stumping!

Reuben the youngest played a couple of excellent shots and was unfortunate to get caught by the tallest fielder at full stretch; whilst the long tail of Beeks (3), Bolland (4) and Mahesh (8) gamely tried to see out 16 overs while Bisson stayed in the pavilion hoping to play for the light again and get a draw.

Despite his claims to the contrary and “play forward defensive until we run out of overs” Ducklin saw out the innings with a couple of strokes for 2 as OCs fell 52 short.

So what can we learn, from this? Typically, OCs do not travel well, should not play games at either end of the season with high tree lines and someone buy Manuwar a satnav system with the venues pre-set.

Collett, keeper of the archives as well as behind the stumps, released the season averages before the game in the trophy hunt, some averages were close, it’ll be interesting to see what damage this game did to them.

And so it’s all over bar the shouting, next up is the awards night.


Date: 22nd August

Versus: Molesey Community Church CC

Venue: Ruxley Lane

Result: OCs win by 41 runs


Good day and welcome to this correspondent’s last report of an enjoyable 2006 season.

In a somewhat confused lead up to the game, stand-in chief secretary Andrew “lost me head, me phone, me wallet and me brain” Finnerty used the invite list from his last birthday party to select the team. There were at one stage 15 players on the team list and the skipper had to use his best diplomatic skills to ensure we took the field with 10!!!!

The warm glow that comes from re-discovering a lost sweater that you had for years and thought lost was replicated as OCs regulars Beeksy, Trev and Marky B. returned to the side as if they had never been away. And things returned to the way they had always been……………

There was a debut in the stands as Mark looked for inspiration, and brought down Jackie, who obviously got into character using the same high quality tanning spray that Jane Reuben likes so much she bought the company.

The skipper had cajoled everyone to turn up early only to be thwarted in his arrival by those monsters of rock The Strolling Bones, whose following are so long in the tooth they take three hours to walk from Twickenham station to the ground. Harsh I hear you say….but believe me, fair!

Somebody must have won the toss cos we batted first, Trev and Ben getting off to a not too clever a start before Ben retired hurt for a record 686th time, an approach to the Guinness book of records is planned. Doyle and Collett pushed the score along against some variable bowling before Collett, already struggling against the 8-year old bowler from one end, stepped aside a pea roller and let the 5-year old from the far end bowl him for 21.

The skipper racked up a patient 25 before playing a dreadful shot to a wide down leg side and getting caught off the back of the bat, James, who tells me he has given up pies, joined the fray and solidly accumulated runs, whilst the aforementioned Finnerty repeatedly trod on the square leg umpires toes before falling to a wild slog and edging behind for about 5. Nathan joined hotelier James (37n.o.) and took the score to a respectable 120-3.

The Malden Parishioners were bedecked in rather fetching orange and white shirts, all emblazoned with evidence of some tour or another. Interestingly they all appeared to have been on some tour somewhere, but none of them to the same place….Hmmm.

Their response was swift and flashing as Finnerty and an out-of-sorts Munawar were put to the sword in short order and 31 runs came from the first 4 overs. There is much to be said about Munawar’s bowling, probably too much for this short report, safe to say it is entertaining, and will get a column of its own soon.

Munawar’s take on the LBW law seems to revolve around the fact that the ball has hit any part of the batsman’s body and he is situated somewhere on the ground. That and the longest build up to bowl I have ever seen must be put to one side as our destroyer in chief, took the most important wicket of the innings with a fine leg stump Yorker dismissing the powerful Church opener for 21.

The score continued to build until Doyle and James bowled 4 overs between them for 8 runs that effectively ended the match as a real contest. James’ excellent spell yielded 3 wickets for bugger all and Mark “Elmer Fudd” Bisson, grabbed his gun, shouted “Where’s dat wabbit?” and whipped out 3 wickets for 10 runs.

With the inevitability that surrounds England’s exit from any major football tournament, Beeksy was bound to get in on the act, and soon scythed through the air like a graceful buffalo to pouch a catch, congratulated by bowler Bisson who informed the speechless Beeks he was a prime candidate for having Mark’s babies…….this confused me as the gestation period must have lasted 10 years.

Good catching and fielding supported the bowling, apart from the curiously out-of-sorts skipper who appeared to have just taken up the game and was unable to field, catch or do anything remotely useful, other than frown a lot.

Despite the Community Church scorer turning the scoreboard into something out of a modern art gallery, we were able to deduce they were all out in the 17th over and a good win over a spirited (no pun intended of course) Community Church team had been achieved.

Support as ever was good as Trev seemed to have invited his extended family down although Jackie obviously was left at home to prepare food for the victorious clan. Jane was ever present and the ladies seemed to enjoy themselves at the bar.

Unlike previous weeks our oppo avoided the bar, paid up and shipped out, nice bunch though. The early finish to the game (over by 8pm…hoorah!) was bound to lead to problems as large quantities of beer were consumed by the usual suspects. The post match eatery venue returned to the Ajanta in Surbiton where plans were made for the end of season celebration sometime in October.

One game to go and I am off to France, enjoy……………………….


Date: 15th August

Versus: Hounslow Leisure

Venue: Ruxley Lane

Result: OCs win by 68 runs


Well into August, early evenings and the continued usage of the white ball, the condition of which, after the game, explained much about Beeksy’s E-Bay buying exploits, cheap and nasty but at least we could see it, if not hit it!!!!

Hounslow skipper Paul confessed to a slightly weakened side (no Sri Lankan) and lost the toss, leaving a much-changed strong OCs team to bat first on a low slow pitch, well that was Knoxy’s excuse anyway.

Dave “Pieman” James and debut boy, Simon “Scared of me girlfriend” Knox opened the batting and proceeded to miss-hit and carve, generally, their way steadily along at around 6 an over, as the ball continued to land between fielders, go over the top of the stumps and generally avoid the middle of Mr James’ bat. This is truly a bat that owes more to the inventive ability of John A. Balsa, than the bat making skills of Messrs Gray and Nicholls.

At 60-0 off 10 overs OCs were well placed, and the waiting batsmen pretty cold, whilst Hounslow fought hard for a wicket, with no luck and it seemed no interest in catching the ball (well it was cold).

The run rate increased slightly and finally the OCs openers started to look comfortable, Knoxy passed 50 on his debut and DJ followed some while later.

Then the catch of the day, DJ had spent 19.3 overs finding the middle before leathering the ball straight to Hounslow’s own Billy Smart, a man so confident in his own ability he tried to catch it in his mouth; impressive I hear you say, however, the ball thudded straight into the waiting throat of Mr Smart who clasped it strongly against his now larger than normal Adams apple and fell to the ground. The brave fielder was able to continue, whilst DJ walked off disconsolately examining the piece of wood he loosely describes as a bat.

Even more disconsolate was the waiting skipper, who strode onto the pitch for the last 2 balls. OCs finished with 143-1 with Knoxy stranded on 70 n.o.

Hounslow came out to bat and were soon in trouble as Finnerty finally found the wickets that have eluded his medium pace off-spin all season. A dreadful half tracker was despatched to mid-wicket where the debut boy continued a good day with a smart low catch. Finnerty took 2 more wickets and finished with 3-4 from 3 overs, whilst Pete Foy proved an admirable replacement for the big space that used to contain Beeksy.

Tight spells from all the bowlers, The Leatherhead Express, Munawar, Dangerous Dave and Skipper Doyle all got amongst the wickets with little effective scoring coming from the Hounslow boys.

Then things started to go slightly awry for Knoxy: first he made possibly the worst attempt at a catch since the last time Beeksy spent a week fishing in a puddle outside his house and dropped a sitter, then he was asked to bowl!!!

Hounslow’s debut boy, tall Richard, had looked in trouble up to this point, until Knoxy arrived with a grin and a lack of bowling ability. Seemingly strokeless previously Richard proceeded to carve the bowling to all points and easily finished top scorer with 20 n.o. more than twice the score of any of his colleagues, a fine performance, more will follow surely.

Hounslow finished 75-9 and were well beaten in the end, having put OCs to the sword earlier in the season. Always a sociable lot and keen on their beer another good bar stay was welcomed and we will look forward to renewing battle next season.

Ben Reuben was a welcome returnee and Jane and Trev’s mum were brave enough to stay to watch.

There were many jugs on show in the bar after and this week’s post match curry took place at The Raj in Surbiton and was rather good. Thanks to DJ for the post-curry accommodation

Two games to go this season with OCs in fine fettle.


Date: 8th August

Versus: Sutton

Venue: Ruxley Lane

Result: OCs win by 74 runs


Another rockin’ Tuesday night started in the middle of traffic jams, with a vain attempt to reach the ground, through the roadworks specifically placed en-route to ensure OCs players struggled like maggots on a fishing hook to make the start time.

But enough of personal woes and discontent.

Old foes Sutton arrived with skipper John Wilson claiming, “It’s our weakest side of the season”. Well we’ve heard that one before, but…………….he was right.

The toss was decided with the OCs skipper saying “Well we’d better bat then”

The OCs batting line up was changed from normal with the ever resourceful talisman, Ducklin and Dan “It’s my last game” Reuben opening the batting. Reuben’s face when he walked off from being caught off a pitiful off-side waft showed the recent advice given by the skipper was as about as welcome as a turd in cake shop window.

Ducklin was run out by the skipper (not having a good day at this point) and the new line-up hadn’t quite worked as OCs stood at 5-2 off 3 overs. Not a good start. Normal service was resumed from then on as Collett continued his good form with a blistering array of strokes and Doyle battering the hell out of fresh air, before finally finding the middle of the bat in about the 15th over.

Collett (40) and Doyle (75n.o.) took the game away from Sutton despite James’ attempts to bat left handed with a blindfold on as OCs powered to a respectable 153-4.

In reply Finnerty bowled a respectable spell (3-13) whilst OCs other opening bowler gave the crowd what they had come to see. In years gone by Botham, Flintoff and latterly Pieterson have emptied the bars when they have entered the fray. For OCs and Deando Ruxley, only one man has this power.

Tuesday nights have become known in recent times as “Beekswatch”. Master Beeks entertained, laughed and wobbled and roared in like a man possessed, with a full complement of 4 overs for 23, which on another day may have yielded 5, 6 or even more wickets. Sadly not to be, but there is never a dry eye when this man performs.

Sutton struggled against the bowling, and when the Leatherhead Express ripped out 2 wickets before being prematurely removed from the attack the graffiti was on the window.

Another good spell from Munawar (3-2-6) just about finished them off before the crowning moment. This was one of those specials only Beeksy can produce. “Chasing” the ball to the boundary, the beaming messiah bent down to retrieve the ball just inside the line, and with perfect comic timing kicked the ball with his left foot over the boundary, just millimetres from his own grasp. Only those who saw this will understand this “Tommy Cooper” moment.

Special guest Dan “Warny” Moore finished tidily from the top end and Danny Reuben had his first and last bowl of the season, with an unusually straight first ball taking out the stumps.

Sutton finished 79-6 with OCs comfortable winners by 74 runs.

The watching gallery were surprisingly quiet, unless Beeks was on show, ladies again complained about the lack of excitement, whilst Nathan sat there admiring Abby.

Another affable lot were the Sutton boys and again the bar till rung well, which probably has more to do with the fact that the “hamstrung” Sparky doesn’t know how to work it.

The season is nearing the end but the winning run has continued, with 3 games to go OC’s are top of the league, but then they are the only ones in it


Date: 1st August

Versus: Wandsworth

Venue: Ruxley Lane

Result: OCs win by 27 runs


The OCs are a strategic bunch of forward thinkers, way ahead of their time. In fact Beeksy often plays the ball long before it has arrived. Those doyens of senior management Messrs Collett and Bisson started playing 20/20 cricket over 20 years before this “new form” of cricket came into being.

So it was no surprise when Collett produced a cricket ball, Beeks got out the Tipex and hey-ho we played our first game with a white cricket ball. And what a success it was, one single innovation has just extended Mr Bissons playing career by a number of years….yes he could finally see the ball.

What of the game I hear you say……………………….

Well OCs were reassured by the presence of lucky mascots Jackie C. and The Duck. A strong Wandsworth team turned up with 8 players, lost the toss and we batted.

Parker and Collett made slow progress against tight bowling before finally making headway and taking the score to 58 off 10 overs before Collett (16) departed. James arrived and, with Parker regularly finding the boundary, OCs imposed their style and class (???).

Parker’s 68 laid the foundation, and with Doyle and James (37 n.o.) plundering some quick runs at the end a solid 143 was posted.

Week by week the OCs word has spread and more and more Deando Ruxley players use the Tuesday night experience as an excuse to come down for a beer. Smithy turned up to umpire all game (Thanks mate) and the boys shouted abuse generally, especially once Beeks built upon his Monty Panesar status later in the game.

Despite starting off with a worse field setting than Beeksy’s last attempt to grow vegetables in a sand pit, Munawar came back well from last week with a creditable 4 overs for 21 and took the first wicket. Finnerty bowled a good 3 overs then started bowling left handed facing the wrong direction and got walloped.

With Wandsworth slightly behind the run rate Doyle and James brought them back into things before the oppo’s hard hitting skipper was bowled by a cunningly disguised straight ball from James, a turning point in the match.

The last over from the skipper saw 3 wickets fall and the game was effectively over.

Once Bisson bowled, lost interest and come off, Mahesh and the oft-mentioned Mr Beeks drove the point home with some classy, and it goes without saying, entertaining white ball wobble.

Back up fielding from “thou shalt not pass” Ducklin, Sparky and the faultless Catch-all Collett, gave the feeling of a well-oiled machine at work. Danny Reuben patrolled the boundary with growling menace but had less involvement than a pork chop in a synagogue. Wandsworth finished 27 runs short on 116-6.

Despite early OCs departure from the bar, Wandsworth peppered the till until 10pm and were thoroughly nice chaps. Jane was the missing supporter this week, with the notable lack of a doctor’s certificate, although the lack of sunshine drew obvious suspicions of a sun bed appointment.

The 2006 bandwagon rolls on.


Date: 25th July

Versus: Hounslow Leisure

Venue: Ruxley Lane

Result: Hounslow win by 6 runs


The sky shone bright on this gorgeous hot July evening. The heart of the OCs team dug deep into their Benson Hedges, cracked open the Fosters Ice and was ready to do battle with Hounslow (Oh, and Trev put out the boundary markers).

Unlike the OCs skipper who shouts “bat” instead of heads when the coin is tossed, the Hounslow boys went into the debating chamber to discuss the Iraqi crisis, price of petrol, and the fact that wagon wheels are much smaller than they used to be before emerging with pads and bats (bloody good name for a new cricket game..Mmmm).

OCs were in good mood after four straight wins and a damn fine celebratory curry last week. (Mark Bisson chose to celebrate in other ways). The time honoured shout of “C’mon boys let’s get surfing” rung out once more and the battle commenced.

Finnerty the Yeti raced in and bowled an efficient accurate four overs for 18 runs, whilst Bolland weaved and wobbled once more to great effect, continuing the form of recent weeks with 2-19 from his four.

All was going to plan the skipper smiled serenely, the ladies gossiped, sun bathed and clinked a satisfactory glass together, proud of their heroes in white, and of their own steadfast, unwavering support.

After an over each from (new recruit) Tricky Dicky Armstrong and Munawar the ten over score stood around the mid 40s.

Then it all went pear shaped!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Munawar caught a rocket to the moon and came back as Dave James; the next over went to Sydney, Texas and all points East with Tricky Dicky also coming under punishment. The score rocketed to Mars and beyond and the skipper frowned, came on to halt the onslaught and bowled a bunch of pony: not very useful.

OCs came back like cornered rats In the last seven overs, Bisson (1-29) and Doyle (2-28) raised their game and the fielders came to the party and had much cake (sorry Beeksy had to get you in). Sparky muttered swearwords and threw himself around like a discharged Whoopee cushion.

Dan Reuben, Mahesh, Andy F. and Sparky all did their bit in keeping the ball from crossing the boundary.

No mention will be made here of catches that may have been dropped as we need to avoid a serious sense of humour by-pass, and it wasn’t done through lack of effort.

The final score represented a good fight back and the score of 142 eminently gettable, despite a variable pitch.

Openers Collett (35) and Parker (50) set about the task with vim, vigour and many other household cleaners. Collett searched into his drawer for shots long since lost in the vagaries of youth, bashed a few 6s and dabbled a few singles. Parker tried and failed to hit the ball hard, once the bat had been duly broken, the borrowed bat of Beeks belied its origin and a continuous selection of sublime boundaries followed.

By 12 overs the boys had reduced the run rate to six an over and we were in the box seat. Then Hounslow produced their paid professional ace in the hole, the Sri Lankan had batted superbly and certainly knew what end of a cricket ball to hold. He quickly dismissed Collett and then in a match defining moment Spread Mr Parker’s stumps with an unseen fiendish full toss.

OCs lost the impetus, and despite the efforts of Tricky Armstrong, the Leatherhead Express, with a fighting 21 and Doyle (14 n.o.) couldn’t bring the spoils home to the deserving ladies in waiting, finishing a tantalising six runs short.

The match was again played in a great spirit, despite Finnerty calling wides to deliveries going straight over the off stump, and the oppo outlasted most OCs players in the bar, staying till 10:15 a record performance for this year.

The absence of Jackie Collett was key to the match result, that extra 0.05% performance provided by regular supporters can mean the difference between defeat and glory.

An amalgamation of many small elements support the make-up of any great team, and this team is just one small step from glory.


Date: 11th July

Versus: Kingston Taxes

Venue: Wandgas

Result: Old Californians win by 1 run


It’s difficult to know where to start with a game of such magnitude, with so much to say and so little ability to say it, however………….

Every now and again a game comes along that reminds you just why you spend countless hours travelling, and fretting about travelling, each Tuesday to fight your way to Outer Mongolia (Ewell) to play a 20 over cricket match……this was such a game.

The opposition were our ever-present old rivals Kingston Taxes; in terms of rivalry this one is up there with England-Australia and was played in an excellent spirit. On the face of it OCs team was strong with plenty of batting and should have been strong favourites, however the Taxes played with spirit and verve, in fact drug testing may have been appropriate.

In the late summer sun the OCs openers went out and started work, one by one Collett (21) James (25), Doyle (27) and Parker (bugger-all) drove the score on despite appearing to bat left handed and use every part of the bat but the middle.

As the ladies basked in flesh exposing outfits designed to maximise the sunshine, the Taxes bowled tightly and OCs never really got on top of the scoring. With just a few overs to go Danny Reuben arrived at the scene and scythed, drove and cut the ball to all parts, top scoring with 28 not out and taking OCs to 129-6. Which to be honest we thought was enough.

The captain set the field and Taxes came back with more life than one of those Eels that gets stronger the more times you hit it with a hammer.

Despite a tight spell from Bisson (4 overs for 15) and with Finnerty only going for 21, despite not having played for 15 years (well the actual location of the stumps was different, apparently, from the last time he played) Taxes battled and crucially did not lose a wicket.

With Taxes needing around 7-8 runs an over Doyle commenced bowling with Munawar at the other end and successfully brought the run rate down to manageable levels!!!

The OCs openers increased in confidence and at 75 for no wicket we were in trouble, the Captain's brow was furrowed, and wickets were harder to come by than women in a gay bar.

Doyle was removed from the attack and on came James, whose Cheese and Onion, Ham and leek, Mrs Miggins selection brought on more grief.

Munawar bowled much better and took a wicket and Doyle came back on. There were 30-odd runs needed from 4 overs and tension was increasing with the Taxes looking favourites. Doyle got hit for 4 first ball and with a cunningly designed slower ball finally removed the opener for 56.

Fielding was impressive with Finnerty (catch avoiding techniques apart), James and Reuben the Younger patrolling the legside like watching ladies of the night in Soho.

With 2 overs to go you cut the air with a hedge-trimmer. 14 runs needed and the Taxes on the brink of a special win and still 7 wickets left, James stepped up and bowled an excellent over keeping the Taxes to only 5 runs.

Then came the last over that from memory lasted longer than Godfather 2. 9 runs needed to win, 7 wickets left, and an eerie quiet hanging heavy over the ground.

There were only 6 balls in the over, yet no-one could remember them all afterwards. Doyle ran in faster than before and the ball was hit into the legside and the batmen scampered. In like a seasoned hyena came Sparky, whipping the ball in at speed to the “waiting calmness” personified by our illustrious padded grim reaper, Collett, who took the bails off in a flash and the batsman was sent packing, 1 run scored.

The bowler strained hard, like a morning curry-fed hangover, but the next 3 balls were struck for 2 runs each. With 2 balls left to be bowled things were tight. The fifth ball was hit to the waiting Ducklin who gathered in and homed in on the stumps before the run was completed. There could only be one result, as there is only one Ducklin…………………………………..another wicket gone. Premature celebrations ejaculated in the stands, as the ladies, and indeed the scorers, and watching Taxes players, thought the game was over. But there was one ball to go (maybe)………….

Ken Wood arrived in hastily adorned pads to face the last ball, 2 runs to win, 1 run to tie (Speaking as the bowler I wasn’t sure whether he would attempt the ‘big one’ or push into the gap). The field came in half way to stop 2 runs and the bowler started his run up, the spectators looked on……….

Doyle attempted a Yorker and succeeded in bowling a well pitched up straight ball, the experienced Wood attempted to push into the gap on the off-side. The ball popped up and went straight to the watching Ducklin….The result was a slow motion galaxy of emotions, Ducklin pushing the ball up in the air and over his shoulder, turning round and clasping the ball to his chest.

We had won and Ducklin set off around the pitch followed by celebrating team mates in a scene straight from the end of the Benny Hill closing credits.

This was a fantastic match and played in an excellent spirit. What a game, what a team and what a Ducklin.

We had won by 1 run and I have never seen so many cigarettes smoked and pints drunk in such a short period of time.


Date: 30th May

Versus: Priory Panthers

Venue: Ruxley Lane

Result: Priory Panthers win by 71 runs


Bad things happen in life, and looking back on this lacklustre performance one has to be philosophical.

For example, I class being told recently, by a woman I desperately fancied 20 years ago, that she had felt the same way and wondered why I never asked her out on a date (I was scared she would say no and things would never be the same again), as a bad thing.

Spending 5 hours in a traffic jam to get to Wakefield for a meeting that had been cancelled was also a bad thing.

So on the scale of bad things this, less than mediocre showing by the Surfers, whilst lacking even a credible wave, could have been worse.

That being said we started badly and descended slowly into a chasm of mire deeper than the bottomless pit in Lowtown, Lowville, near Australia, which as we know is a deep dig. Our loyal supporters failed to show, removing OCs’ well known 12th man home advantage, and the skipper got lost in the navel of Hounslow arriving 7 overs into the match; at which stage the Panthers already had a man retired on 25 and were scoring at 7 an over.

As you can see the signs weren’t good!!!

Bolland was bashed into oblivion (2 overs 19 runs) and retired to the outfield whilst Finnerty also brought his pie machine with him, despite an early breakthrough.

63 off 11 overs was a difficult position for OCs to defend. Reuben-the-Elder brought his wily skills to the piece and hauled the beleaguered boys back into contention with 3 overs for 11 runs. Star of the show was the irrepressible Munawar Ahmed, this purveyor of peril; deadly dealer of devil deliveries ran through the middle order taking 3 for 20 in 4 overs. Bisson came into the attack and slowed things down - as we had to search for the ball, hit long and far from his predictable first over straight from Mrs Miggins pie shop.

Despite this setback Doyle and Bisson kept things fairly quiet towards the end and the Panthers were held back to 115 at the end.

In reply OCs started badly and got worse. Many came and many quickly went. Only Collett (15) and extras reaching double figures. To be honest the less said about this innings the better, suffice to say everyone got a bat and we were all out for 45.

So yes I suppose it was not good and morale was not exactly sky high, but many of these battered heroes from past battles have been here before, and will no doubt be there again. However, the unbreakable spirit that characterises this team will see them fight back very soon.

On a positive note we know that this side plays well when the sun comes out, the loyal supporters are shouting abuse and drinking wine, and the Fosters ice is cold.

Keep the Faith


Date: 9th May

Versus: Atkins

Venue: Ruxley Lane

Result: Atkins win by 78 runs


A threadbare early turnout and slight reduction in strength, akin to Samson, post haircut, left OCs struggling to match a very strong, multi-talented, multi-lingual, multi-run and frankly too tall (again) Atkins side.

Finnerty had taken a ‘leave of absence’ to avoid the carnage that was bound to follow, suspicions linger here, average wise. The good news for the OCs squad was the presence of their first paid sports professional, the bad news being that she doesn’t play cricket (another selection cock-up maybe………….).

Despite this unfortunate faux pas Atkins were invited to bat, on an uncharacteristically good, slow batting track and took to the OCs bowling with the greedy voraciousness of a gnat in a nudist colony.

Ducklin’s invited recruit, Everton was hit for two fours off the first two balls, which set the pattern for the next 19.4 overs; the new man, however, bowled well and got two wickets during an impressive spell. Meanwhile Beeks was blasted around but stuck to the task and Jane Reuben offered encouragement (sounded like laughter to me!!) in her new playing/supporting role.

To single out any particular bowler would be unfair, everyone got blasted to all parts and fielders avoided the ball at all costs. Each Atkins batsmen left the field at the score of 25 only to be replaced by a stronger harder hitting replacement, something along the lines of Jason and the Argonauts.

It was a fraught time for all concerned, and resigning point for the captain nearly came when Mahesh and Ducklin were brought on way too late and proceeded to show the other bowlers how to do it, becalming the batsmen and Mahesh taking a wicket. Add to this a shambolic attempt at a point blank run out by Collett and it wasn’t looking a good day.

Atkins amassed 186-3 and put the OCs through the kind of beating they have administered to others in the past. If you give it, you have to be prepared to take it…………

Beaten and bloody, OCs came out to bat with a steely determination not often seen in these parts, either that or DJ badly needed the toilet.

Reuben quickly departed for 0 and Everton scythed through the air for a few overs before hitting a few and departed, caught, for 10.

Doyle and James came together and set about putting the innings back together, a solid partnership throughout it never looked like threatening the Atkins score. Bowling from Atkins was generally there or thereabouts and James finished 50 n.o. supported by Doyle on 34 n.o.

OCs ended on 108-2 well beaten but not humiliated.

Supporting cast of loyal supporters remained upbeat and Abby or Phys.Ed as she is better known, again sported her ‘second skin’ loud top. Jackie has apparently threatened to wash it, but apparently this will reduce its important sporting qualities!!!!

Jane turned to white wine, and the Collett clan grows by the week.

Our heroes finished DJ’s jug of beer and left in the deepening gloom, confidently knowing that soon their day would come……………………this is just the beginning……………………


Date: 2nd May

Versus: Epsom

Venue: Ruxley Lane

Result: OCs win by 9 wickets


It was another grey day at the start of May, and the summer started with the OCs season in its usual fashion, cold, windy and overcast. However, our intrepid band of artisans returned from the winter break and picked up right where they had left off.

The Captain lost the toss, having previously lost his kit, and was bedecked in Bisson’s trousers and t-shirt, Collett’s socks and a rusty pair of boots found in the clubhouse. The team took the field after the obligatory Bud Ice, with the ladies and dogs (no jokes please) safely ensconced in the clubhouse.

OCs wasted no time in getting in amongst the Epsom batsmen with Doyle taking 2 early wickets. Bolland resumed with 4 overs of accurate pace and Epsom found runs harder to come by than the sun in May.

The pattern continued as a bewildering array of bowling talent kept the brakes on.

Mahesh foxed and confused with a mixed bag of pace, spin and wides, finally outthinking the most stubborn of Epsom batsmen, whilst Beeks wobbled enough to trouble the batsmen.

Despite the Skipper attempting in vain to catch the ball like an extra in Benny Hill's closing credits, Epsom finally succumbed to OCs power, pace and accuracy with Bisson taking 3 for 8 in 3 mixed bag overs. Epsom all out for 75

OCs replied professionally, by laying again into the bar supplies whilst Collett and James went out to commence the reply. The slow progress gathered pace until Collett after a number of powerful wallops for 4 was given out LBW by the bearded wonder for 25. James (41 n.o.)and Parker (9 n.o.) put the attack to the sword bringing home OCs in 14 overs for a comfortable win.

A win to start the season was celebrated by the boys, whilst the girls left for their sunbeds and curlers. Jane's suntan seemed ever deeper and darker, whilst Abby sported her fetching personalised tracksuit top, I definitely want one of those, although not with “Abby” on it.

Cricket season has arrived.

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