“Oldies” getting younger every day


Bedouins v Enville Over 40s at Enville – Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Enville won by 7 wickets

After the disappointment of “Oldbury Oh B .g..r” rainy Sunday, the Bedouins got back to action against “Enville Over 40s” – and probably wished they hadn’t, after one of their worst all-round displays in a long time.  It was just one of those nights!

Now, far be it from any true Bedouin to register any kind of complaint about the make-up of an opposition team; we’re happy to take on anything thrown at us.  But the Enville Over 40s appeared to contain a fair few “over 40s” who were suffering a nasty bout of nappy rash.  There were the odd few who lived up to the “over 40” age tag, including Fred Hodges and Ian Burn, who are both now probably even nudging the 50 mark.

It was the younger members of the team who featured in the early bowling, as the Bedouins began their innings.  Skipper JB “got a good one”, as they say, and was bowled for 11.  Lee Bywater seized the opportunity of an early spot in the batting line-up to reach the 30 retirement point, and he would have been joined by John Howells, who hit four juicy boundaries before being cruelly run out just one short of a retirement 30; wild horses won’t drag from this writer the name of the perpetrator, Lippo.

With the aforementioned Paul Lippitt making 22 not out, the Beds’ closing total was a respectable 111 for 2.

The Bedouins’ bowlers, who had been in such good form in recent matches and had made major contributions to a three-match winning sequence, all chose the same game to be off-colour.  Wides came thick and fast from a number of quarters, and the result was scarcely in doubt from quite early on.  Enville Over 40s won by seven wickets with a little more than three overs to spare.

The saving grace was that, once again, Bedouins enjoyed the opportunity of an evening in each other’s company – and the rain stayed away, just.  Plus, the post-match buffet was as good as always!

Bedouins 111 for 2 (Bywater 30 retired; Howells 29; Lippitt 22 not out)

Enville Over 40s 112 for 3 (Branch 1 for 4; Bywater 1 for 14)

“Get those Sheep away from the Skipper’s Car”


Bedouins v Kinlet at Kinlet – Sunday, 12 July 2015

Bedouins won 4 wickets

In the grounds of the magnificent Moffats Boarding School at Kinlet, sheep safely graze in the field adjacent to the cricket ground.  It’s a field that doubles as a parking area for those fortunate enough to be engaged in cricket there.  Not privy to the ways of cricket crowds, the sheep are inclined to wander around behind the bowler’s arm, but there’s little that can be done about that.

However, when they get too close to the skipper’s car, in an attempt to get out of the fresh north-west wind that is inclined to blow across the ground, something has to be done.  And something was done to move them on when they came too close on a fine but windy Sunday afternoon in July.  It almost looked as if they had a “sheepish” grin on their faces as they moved on!

But enough of this somewhat wordy meandering.  Down to the game itself.

This was the day when the Bedouins showed what they are really capable of.  It was the most complete performance from a Bedouin team for ages.  To get tight, accurate bowling, sharp and incisive fielding, and well-paced batting all in one place at one time is unusual in the annals of Bedouins cricket.  But that’s what happened here.

As always, it was a pleasure to be spending time in the company of another team of cricketers who like to play the game the same way as the Beds.  Matches against Kinlet are always occasions to be relished.

Bedouins won the toss and, much to the chairman’s evident displeasure (what does he know, silly old fool?), chose to field first.  It turned out to be a good decision.  The Beds opening attack was on top form.  Krishna Balthu produced one of the best spells of hostile opening bowling that many of us could remember.  And at the other end, Spratters was in equally accurate mode.

In the first ten overs, the home side could muster only 24 for the loss of three wickets, all taken by Balthu and including two fine slip catches by John Branch, the second particularly memorable just inches above the ground, to remove a dangerous Kinlet batsman.  The knees may be going, skipper, but the reactions are still pretty sharp.

The remaining Bedouin bowlers all did well, with Lee Bywater the most successful (3 for 23), backed up by Adrian Susman (1 for 20) and Nick Slym (1 for 32).  The latter at last got his radar tuned in correctly, completing his last three overs without bowling one wide.  More of the same, please Nick!  Spratters, who had pulled up complaining of having strained a muscle that he never even knew he had, finished with 1 for 25.

Chasing a moderate 40-over total of 134 for 9, the Beds sent out a 110-year-old opening pair.  With plenty of time to get the runs, they could pace themselves, waiting for the occasional bad ball.  The scorebook shows how successfully they did this, with their opening stand of 76 being comprised totally of boundaries or singles.  Skipper JB made 41 and Jon Stanier 35.  They weren’t parted until the 18th over, and, after that, it was fairly plain sailing.

Krishna Balthu rounded off a good day with 21, including two sixes, and Jono Hill, making a welcome return to Bedouins colours, made it look as if he’d never been away, with a quick 15 that included a trademark six over extra cover off the back foot.  Tony Hancock (10 not out) and Adrian Susman (9 not out) hit the winning runs, with four boundaries between them, and the Beds won with a total of 138 for 6 and best part of 10 overs to spare.

Along the way, Kinlet majordomo (look it up, like I did) Francis Engleheart took the MCC Cricket Coaching Manual too literally – “when fielding, always keep your eye on the ball” – when stopping a Jono shot with his forehead.  It was a worrying moment, but he was up quite quickly and, although he trudged off to the dressing room, he thankfully put in an appearance later at the Eagle & Serpent, looking none the worse for wear  He it is the Beds thank for arranging another highly entertaining day at Kinlet.

Kinlet 134 for 9 (Balthu 3 for 20; Bywater 3 for 23; Spratley 1 for 25; Susman 1 for 20; Slym 1 for 32)

Bedouins 138 for 6 (Branch 41; Stanier 35; Balthu 21; Hill 15)

Winning streak for Beds


Bedouins v Pedmore House at Enville

Wednesday, 8 July 2015 – Bedouins win by 61 runs

“Austin’s Army”, otherwise Pedmore House, were comprehensively beaten by a resurgent Bedouins at Enville, the “home” side recording a 20-over total of 145 for 1, which can rarely have been beaten in Bedouins history.  After a stuttering start to the season, the Bedouins can now bask in the splendour of a winning streak of no less than two games.

Each of the Bedouins first five batsmen made decent scores.  Skipper John Branch got things going with 31 retired, which included five boundaries that removed the need for too much of that damned running between wickets.  The scorebook shows two run-twos but, with JB’s famed amble between wickets, that must surely have been an error on the scorer’s part.

Opening partner Jon Stanier has clearly not yet got the hang of all Beds rules.  Anticipating the application of the “mug with the jug” rule, he made sure that he got himself out one run short of 30.  Paul Lippitt was in belligerent mood, hitting his first two balls for four and retired with 30 not out, including a couple of trademark reverse shots.

Adrian Susman (22 not out) and Lee Bywater (14 not out) took the total on to 145 for 1.

Krishna Bulthu had a couple of early wickets in the Pedmore House reply, as the Bedouins continued with their unaccustomed habit of taking their catches.  Bedouin Ian Woodhouse, complete with dodgy knee, made an appearance for Pedmore House and weighted in with 31 retired, which was completed with two successive sixes.  However, the Bedouins total was always going to be challenging, and Pedmore House finally succumbed by 61 runs with a total of 84 for 6.

Best of the bowling came from Krishna Balthu with 2 for 11 and Josh Lemm, making a welcome return to duty, with a similar 2 for 11.

All of that just left the highlight of the evening to be completed.  The barbecue!  That was Austin Gregory’s most memorable contribution to a memorable evening.  Thanks, Austin.

Bedouins 145 for 1 (Branch 31 retired; Stanier 29; Lippitt 30 retired; Susman 22 not out; Bywater 14 not out)

Pedmore House 84 for 6 (Balthu 2 for 11; Lemm 2 for 11; Spratley 1 for 10; Branch 1 for 7)

So that’s what it feels like!


Bedouins v Open GI at Enville – Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Bedouins won by 9 wickets

At about the half-way point in their 2015 season, the Bedouins can at last bask in the glow of what it feels like to win a game.

Erstwhile Beds playing member, Des Johnston, brought his Open GI team over from Worcester on the hottest evening of the year, and proceeded to receive a bit of a “roasting” from a home team that finally lived up to its potential.  Chasing a competitive total of 119 to win, the Beds lost only one wicket in getting there, with an over or so to spare.

A resounding win, all right, but “Nil DES-perandum, Des” (see what I did there?), there’s always next year.

Traffic problems in Kidderminster – so what’s new? – resulted in a late start on a sultry evening, with the light fading almost from the start, much to the consternation of the elderly gent in the scorebox, who was having some difficulty in telling his Lippo from his Spratters.  Open GI got off to a terrific start, with 50 on the board in the first six overs.  John Pearsall made his customary 30 retired, as did his fellow opener, and the Beds looked to be in for a tiresome evening.

Adrian Susman then got to work on a hard wicket that suited his variety of leg-spin.  A return of 4 for 9 in 4 overs told its own story.  Austin Gregory took two wickets and Jon Stanier 2 for 4 in one over, and there was a wicket apiece for Lee Bywater and Richard Spratley.

Two other points worth noting.  Firstly the Beds recorded a “nil” figure in the “wides” column, which definitely makes a change this season.  Secondly, catches were held – mostly!

Never noted for the extreme youthfulness of their team, the Beds new opening pair of John Howells and Jon Stanier set the record-hunters a-flutter, with a total age of somewhere around 120.  But they  showed that they knew their stuff, with each hitting the boundary rope half-a-dozen times.  Both reached the 30-run retirement point.  They were followed by Krishna Balthu with 30 not out and Lee Bywater 19 not out, as the Beds reached their target of 119 for just one wicket with the second ball of the final over.

The annual meeting with Open GI is the Beds’ longest standing fixture, now probably well past its 20th year.  The trophy now returns into the Beds’ hands, which will come as some relief to the trophy engraver in Bridgnorth, who had become used to putting the Bedouins name on the shield each year until the last two, in which h it had been in Open GI hands.  Welcome home, baby!

Open GI 118 all out (Susman 4 for 9; Gregory 2 for 18; Stanier 2 for 4; Spratley 1 for 20; Bywater 1 for 34)

Bedouins 119 for 1 (Howells 32 retired; Stanier 32 retired; Balthu 30 not out, Bywater 19 not out)