Beds in the dark as Beacon shines


Bedouins v Beacon at Wombourne, July 26th

Bedouins lost by 5 wickets

This is getting silly. In a Bedouins season that has been positively littered with down-to-the-wire finishes, the meeting with Beacon at Wombourne went all the way to the very last ball before the home team scored the winning run, leaving the Bedouins in the dark as to why they should be snatching so many defeats from the jaws of victory.

It was Beacon skipper and general factotum Alan Green who scored the winning run off the last ball of the final over, just as he had done at the start of the season in the game at Enville. There was a certain air of inevitability about it, in light of what had gone on before this season. Indeed, it was at least five overs before the end of the match that Jon Stanier was heard to be asking the Beacon lads whether there was a defibrillator on hand in case needed by the dodgy ticker of the Beds chairman/scorer. (Incidentally, there was one).

After a rain-soaked morning, Beacon had done well to get a wicket ready, and the Beds had first use of it. Neill Smith was promoted to open the batting with Ian Woodhouse. The partnership didn’t last long, as Neill Smith called for a quick run which only he thought was available. Sent back, he made an over-hasty turn and ended up in a crumpled heap in the middle of the wicket as the bails were removed, prompting an erstwhile Bedouin friend of his to ask where he thought the sniper had been hiding.

Ian Woodhouse went on his merry way, hitting two sixes and three fours In his 28 before being adjudged lbw. Jon Stanier reached the retirement point with 31, and there were double-figure scores for John Howells and Paul Lippitt (the dab that went wrong).

It was Jono Hill who gave the innings real impetus. With a fast-scoring efficiency coupled with minimum running effort that had echoes of his old man about it, he hit seven boundaries in his 32 retired, enabling the Beds’ closing total to reach a competitive 126 for 5.

With a number of the regular bowlers absent receiving treatment for damaged fetlocks and things, the Bedouins bowling department lacked a certain amount of experience, but that was more than made up for in enthusiasm. Paul Lippitt opened the bowling with Lee Bywater. The former completed four tidy overs that included clean bowling the Beacon opening batsman, while the latter’s first three overs went for just 9 runs.

There was a wicket apiece for Austin Gregory and Neill Smith, but most successful bowler was Ray Bate, who completed two overs to take 2 for 15. But it was all finally in vain, as the home side, needing 10 runs from the last over, reached the target off the last ball, although even then Ray Bate almost made “catch of the season” with his full-length dive to try to reach the winning shot.

Bedouins 126 for 5 ( Hill 33, Stanier 31, Woodhouse 28, Lippitt 10, Howells 10)

Beacon 127 for 5 (Bate 2 for 15, Smith 1 for 13, Gregory 1 for 19, Lippitt 1 for 32)

Over-train – risk a strain


Bedouins v Enville on July 19th

Bedouins lost by 4 wickets

It’s the over-training that does it. All those selfless hours honing skills in the nets; all those sessions pumping iron in the gym; and all that abstaining from the pleasures of the flesh. All of that is bound to take its toll. Hence a long list of strains and stresses among Bedouins this season.

Latest on the casualty list, in the annual needle match with an Enville XI, was Adrian Susman. Fielding in the deep, he was unwise enough to walk – very quickly, mind you – towards an approaching ball, only to pull up short with a complaining muscle in his leg. The result looked, from the scorebox, to bear a spooky resemblance to a “JB hobble” (sorry, skipper). Susman Junior therefore became another candidate for an early shower and restorative glass of beer. Talk about “ill wind” …..!

The Bedouins got away to a good start in their innings. In spite of a maiden first over from the metronomic Paul Moran, John Branch hit three boundaries in the second, on his way to 26, while Ian Woodhouse had six boundaries at the other end, before retiring on 31. They had put on 55 for the first wicket by the end of the seventh over.

Things slowed down a bit after that, although there were a couple of boundaries each for John Howells (13) and Jono Hill (13), the latter including a classic cover drive as one of them. With Ray Bate making 12 not out and Adrian Susman 10, all five Bedouins batsmen who got in had made double figures, so it was disappointing that the final total was no better than 117 for 4.

Josh Lemm opened the bowling with an accurate spell, taking 2 for 18 in his four overs. At the other end, Will Howells (son of, and guesting for the evening) kept things tight too, giving away just 12 runs in his four overs. But the later Enville batsmen got the scoreboard ticking over nicely, as the Bedouins tired.

Lee Bywater had to wait until the 17th over before coming on to bowl and proceeded to complete two tidy overs, including a double-wicket maiden in his 2 for 4. The last over arrived with 8 runs needed, and the Enville batsmen achieved those with two balls to spare. A good, competitive game which maintained the Bedouins’ season-long run of close finishes.

Bedouins 117 for 4 (Woodhouse 33, Branch 26, Howells 13, Hill 13, Bate 12 not out, Susman 10)

Enville 118 for 6 (Bywater 2 for 4, Lemm 2 for 18, Susman 1 for 17, George 1 for 30)

Chairman’s Comment: In his “Credit where it’s due” piece now on the Beds website, Susman Junior generously refers to his father’s copy for match reports as being impeccable, “ … including apostrophes and all (some of them in the right places) …. “ I have to own up here. My alter ego is as Chief Inspector Susman, of the Apostrophe Police. And I’d just like you all to know that the most frequently met wrong usage of an apostrophe is in the word “its”. Here’s the rule for all to follow (sit up at the back there!) –the only time that “its” has an apostrophe (yes, the only time), is when it’s short for “it is”. So there!

A Tie ….. and the Truth unravels!


Bedouins v Oldswinford at Oldswinford, July 12th

Match tied

So, now the secret is out. Bedouins’ results this season had increasingly been pointing in that direction. But now we know. It’s all been part of an orchestrated plot to get rid of the chairman. There can be no other construction put on results that have become increasingly tight and tense, and designed to cause maximum distress to the elderly gent’s dicky ticker, as he has struggled to keep up with events in the scorebox A variety of last-gasp finishes all were topped off with a tie at Oldswinford. You don’t get many of them to the pound, thank heavens!

After the previous day of almost continual rain, the match day turned out fine and sunny. The Beds turned up again with potentially 13 men. Typically, Ray Bate did the decent thing and stood down, so that Adrian Susman could play. Also on hand was skipper of vice, Lee Bywater. He took on the onerous task of umpiring, and he was destined to be severely tested in the final moments of the game; more of that later..

With regular chief JB absent, with leave, Jon Howells took on the onerous duties of skipper and sent Ian Woodhouse and Jon Stanier in to open the innings, the latter chomping at the bit to lay into his erstwhile colleagues at Oldswinford. They rattled up 57 in the first ten overs, before Woodhouse succumbed to a caught-and-bowled for 21. Stanier went on to retire with 31 to his name.

Another 50-run stand between Jono Hill (26 not out) and Paul Lippitt (27) took the Beds’ final score to 132 for 4. The renowned Lippitt dab was much in evidence, but star shot of the evening was his reverse sweep, which came more truly off the middle of the bat than any other as it raced to the boundary.

Earlier in the evening, an unfortunate injury befell the luckless Spratters. Performing the difficult task of carrying a glass of water to the middle, then returning with it, he managed to pull a muscle that he didn’t even know he had. The man’s over-trained, that’s clear. The result was his withdrawal to the sidelines, and an unexpected appearance for Ray Bate.

Having been hit for two boundaries in his first three balls, Josh Lemm recovered well to take 1 for 25 in his four overs. There were also two wickets for Adrian Susman and for Mike George – yes, that Mike George. The latter made one of his infrequent but welcome appearances, and immediately was back in his familiar groove, keeping tha ball straight and true as Oldswinford tried to up the pace.

The last four overs arrived with the hosts needing 40 runs to win. The more astute mathematicians in the crowd were quick to point out that that represented a rate of somewhere between 9 and 11 per over. It was at this point that a member of the Stanier tribe arrived at the wicket, to display batting talents that belied his arrival at number ten in the order. Hitting the ball to all corners, he took the score to 121 for 7 as the final over arrived.

Georgey had the last over – welcome back, Mike! It was going well until the fourth ball was adjudged a wide by an umpire who used to be Mike’s mate. The last ball arrived with Oldswinford needing four to win. Confusion reigned, as they somehow managed to scramble three – resulting in a tie, and near-collpase of elderly party in the scorebox!

Bedouins 132 for 4 (Stanier 31, Woodhouse 21, Lippitt 27, Hill 26 not out)

Oldswinford 132 for 7 (Susman 2 for 21, George 2 for 29, Gregory 1 for 14, Stanier 1 for 12, Lemm 1 for 25)

Chancers? No chance!


Bedouins v Chancers at Enville, July 5th

Chancers won by 62 runs

Well, really! Fancy turning up for a meeting with the Bedouins with a team of actual cricketers! The Chancers produced a team consisting not only of batsmen with more than a hint of knowledge about the right end of the bat to hold; they also had a string of capable bowlers, and weren’t too dusty in the field either.

Thus the Bedouins’ run of five games unbeaten came to a shuddering halt and defeat by 62 runs. No complaint, this time therefore, from the scorebox about the closeness of the finish and its possible negative effect on the scorer’s dicky ticker. It’s an ill wind …..

On a steamy Enville evening and with an outfield now starting to show the signs of near-drought conditions, the Bedouins made the decent, though perhaps unwise, decision to allow the Chancers first use of a dry wicket, as some of their members were late arriving. As it was, play did not begin until 6.20, meaning that the Beds would have the worst of the fading light in their innings.

With two batsmen reaching the 30-run retirement point and four others making double figures, the Chancers rattled up 156 for 4 in their 20 overs (a wicket apiece for Richard Spratley, Paul Lippitt, Jon Stanier and Ray Bate) – a challenging total, even if they had not much bowling to follow it up. In fact, that was far from the truth, as most of the Beds batsmen found to their cost.

The honourable exception was Ian Woodhouse, who made an attacking 33 retired, including six boundaries and a six. The only other batsmen to reach double figures were Paul Lippitt (16 not out) and Mejdi Mabrouk (11), the final total reaching no more than 94 for 7.

All good runs have to come to an end sometime, but this one was particularly hard to take. In truth, the Chancers were too strong for the Beds in all departments. Not that the home team were in any way despondent afterwards, all of them sitting around in the pavilion enjoying each other’s company, as well as Sam Chambers’s usual excellent buffet.

Chancers 156 for 4 (Spratley 1 for 28, Lippitt 1 for 26, Stanier 1 for 21, Bate 1 for 8)

Bedouins 94 for 7 (Woodhouse 33, Lippitt 16 not out, Mabrouk 11)

Credit where credit’s due


Whilst posting the two latest match reports, I notice that they say “buy Kiddybee” (my alter ego) at the top. I wish to make it clear that it is Mr Chairman who concocts these reports, not I. There was a time when I did and believe it or not, that played a part in getting me the job I’m presently in. So thanks to Mr Chairman who has been doing a sterling job for the past several seasons (how long is it Mr C?). He always provides impeccable copy, apostrophes and all (and some in the right places) unlike the time Spratters did the job and sent his copy in nothing but cap letters.

“It’s the wrong ball, Gromit”


Bedouins v Fossils at Enville, July 2nd

Bedouins drew with Fossils

“There was a young man from Devizes

Who had balls of two different sizes.

The one that was small

Was of no use at all,

But the other won numerous prizes.”

After their meeting with the Fossils, the Beds know how the young man from Devizes felt. It was not until about the tenth over of their targetting the Fossils batsmen that they realised that they had been using the wrong ball – a “junior” sized one – in an effort to dislodge them. The usually super-perceptive Jon Stanier suddenly woke up to the fact that the ball felt smaller than usual in his hand. This prompted an examination of the ball, which revealed the “junior” tag written all over it. It has to be reported that one or two bowlers thereafter shamefully claimed that this was the reason for a few loose deliveries.

This was another down-to-the-wire performance by the Bedouins (have you no pity for your scorer’s dicky ticker, lads?). The more alert of the members – you decide which ones they are – may have noticed that the title to this piece refers to a “draw”. In spite of the fact that the Beds made 144 for 9 from their 35 overs and the Fossils only 140 for 8 from theirs, this was classed as a draw because the Fossils always make it clear that they play for “win, lose or draw” results.

There was an explosive start to the Beds’ innings. Kiwi Keith Dawson was in his usual belligerent mood, hitting four boundaries in the second over, before missing a straight one and departing, much to the Fossils’ relief, for 17. John Branch followed for 14 and, with Jon Stanier and John Howells both falling for single-figure scores, it was left to Adrian Susman, just back from two weeks in the Iberian sun, and Ray Bate to rebuild the innings.

They did so slowly, adding 36 runs for the fifth wicket before Bate went for eight. Susman went on to make 28 before being caught and bowled (“The only one I middled”, he said). That left the returning Andy Hill to organise a recovery of sorts, hitting 40 not out and, in the process, pulling yet another muscle, while enjoying the company of Spratters (7) and finally Tony Hancock, with an invaluable 3 not out, in adding 45 for the last two wickets.

The final total of 144 for 9 looked pretty average, particularly with the Fossils’ fourth wicket not falling until the 28th over, with the total on 112. However, the later Bedouins bowlers managed to keep things fairly tight and the fielding was above Bedouins par, with John Howells completing two stumpings. Paul Lippitt took 2 for 22 and Richard Spratley, returning after his opening spell, to bowl three overs off a three-pace run, took 2 for 34. But it was skipper JB who completed the bowling with three overs and 2 for 8, ensuring that the Fossils finished four runs short.

For the benefit of the Bedouin statisticians, it is worth noting that not a single wide was recorded in the 70 overs of the match. Also, the Fossils innings included just one extra, a bye; John Howells note – must do better!

Finally, a comment from the scorebox – it is a recurring pleasure to play against the Fossils. They have an enlightened attitude towards the game and, in spite of the fact that one or two are knocking on a bit (five of them over 70 in this match), they also have a welcome competitive streak. Here’s to the next time!

Bedouins 144 for 9 (A. Hill 40 not out, A. Susman 28, K. Dawson 17, J. Branch 14)

Fossils 140 for 8 (J. Branch 2 for 8, P. Lippitt 2 for 22, R. Spratley 2 for 34, A. Susman 1 for 26, J. Stanier 1 for 28)

P.S. Apropos the erudite verse that kicked this report off, here’s a question for you:

Q – Why do people in Wiltshire like potatoes?

A – Because they have Devizes for Chippenham.


Have a heart, fellas!

Hreat monitor

Bedouins v Austin’s Army at Enville, June 21st

Bedouins won by 1 run

A reminder to all regular Bedouins – your beloved chairman and long-time resident of the Enville scorebox, had open heart surgery no more than a few years ago. Yet here you are subjecting him to three of the tightest finishes imaginable during the first five games of this season. It started in match 1 with a defeat by Beacon on the last ball of the final over; then in match 3, a five-run win over Belbroughton Strollers; and finally in match 5, victory by just 1 run over Austin’s Army. The dicky ticker can’t take it.

As usual, Beds favourite Austin Gregory brought a team based on Amblecote CC personnel to Enville to take on a fairly strong Bedouins team. What was different, though, was the weather conditions – 30-degree-plus heat throughout the evening on the longest day of the year. Worth recording too that the Beds had the benefit of a shiny new set of stumps, kindly donated by a Bedouins favourite, who felt it was high time we actually had stumps that the bails would stay on until knocked off by the ball.

Bedouins batted first and returning skipper, John Branch, back after a bit of treatment at the vet’s to his damaged fetlock, promptly dispatched the first ball to the boundary. He continued in his customary fashion, with the occasional four punctuating a series of hobbled singles, before falling lbw for 13. Jon Stanier came and went in a flurry of boundaries for 12, leaving the red-meat innings to be played this time by Neill Smith, who had five boundaries in his 23.

With Lee Bywater hitting 19 not out and Mejdi Mabrouk 16 not out, the Bedouins finished their innings on 116 for 6, which looked as if it might be a bit thin on a fast-scoring outfield.

Spratters was back from his hols, all sun-tanned and lovely (well, sun-tanned, anyway), and was straight back in the groove, completing his first two overs for just one run. With the heat finally getting to him, he finished four overs with 20 runs against his name. Also returning, but this time after a longer absence due to unspecified treatment to an unspecified – and quite unexpected – muscle, was the silver fox, AKA Mike George. An analysis of 1 for 13 in four overs reflected a pretty successful return!

The final over arrived with Austin’s Army needing 9 to win – no pressure, then, on the bowler, Lee Bywater. Some frantic running left the visitors wanting two off the last ball to tie. Amid mounting confusion, they managed just one bye, leaving the Bedouins winners by 1 run, and the scorer almost becoming the first recipient of the benefits of the defibrillator now residing on the pavilion wall.

Bedouins 116 for 6 (Smith 23, Bywater 19 not out, Mabrouk 16 not out, Branch 13, Stanier 12)

Austin’s Army 115 for 5 (George 1 for 13, Stanier 1 for 13, Branch 1 for 19, Dawson 1 for 24)