Beacon shines – Beds sleep on

Bedouins v Beacon at Enville, May 23rd

Bedouins lost by 7 wickets

Consistency is a valuable commodity in any team game. The trouble, at the moment, is that the Bedouins appear to have forgotten that consistently losing is not quite as valuable. With a batting display that, in some of the more erudite national dailies, might be described as “lack-lustre” but in more down-to-earth West Midlands parlance would be seen as “pretty bloody awful”, the Bedouins continued their early-season poor form with a seven-wicket defeat by Beacon.

A late change to the Bedouins line-up was necessitated by the skipper’s sudden lameness. But it’s an ill wind that blows no-one any good, and at least the elderly gent in the scorebox had a welcome companion for the evening in John Branch. On the field, it was big Lee who took on the responsibility of leading the side.

Batting first again, the Bedouins unveiled a new opening batsman. Spratters had some instruction on the boundary edge about the correct way to hold the bat (“ … the flat side faces the bowler”) before going to the middle to display a fair bit of ability before being bowled for eight.

The innings had got off to a poor start, with the home side losing Ian Woodhouse before he had the chance to let off any of his customary Woody fireworks. From there, it went from bad to worse as, with an unpredictable wicket playing a part and Beacon fielders holding all the catches that came their way, wickets went down with alarming regularity to give the home side the unenviable 10-over score of 29 for 5. It wasn’t until the ninth over that the Beds managed their first boundary – surely some kind of record?

The only stand of any substance was between Jon Stanier, who made 15, and Adrian Susman, whose 20 was ended when a Bedouin umpire, who shall remain nameless, gave him out LBW. Our beloved treasurer Tony Hancock weighed in with two boundaries in his nine runs, but the final score of 68 for 9 was unlikely to trouble the visitors.

Opening with a left-handed batsman who had clearly played the game before and proceeded untroubled to a retirement 30, Beacon were at least made to work a bit for their winning score. It wasn’t until the 16th over that they reached a winning 69 for 3, the wickets going to Stanier, (1 for 4 in 4 overs), Lemm and Spratley.

Champagne moment of the evening – and probably many other Bedouins cricket evenings – was Tony Hancock’s catch. Matching his ability to juggle the Beds’ finances with his ability to juggle a cricket ball, he appeared to complete about four catches in one, as he finally held on to a skier in the deep field. His unbridled joy at finally completing the catch was a sight to behold – as was the batsman’s sporting handshake as he left the field.

So the Beds continue to look for the first win of their 2018 season. Someone is going to take a terrible hammering from them one of these days – but please can it be sooner rather than later, lads?

Bedouins 68 for 9 (Susman 20, Stanier 15)

Beacon 69 for 3 (Stanier 1 for 4, Spratley 1 for 9, Lemm 1 for 15)

“158 ought to be enough”

Bedouins v Kinlet at Kinlet, May 16th

Bedouins lost by 5 wickets

When the Bedouins rattled up 158 for the loss of just two wickets against Kinlet on the Moffats School ground at Kinlet, the talk in the dressing room (AKA the wooden shed at the back of the pavilion) was to the effect that it “ … ought to be enough”. But on a ground like Kinlet’s, with batsmen retiring at 25 and everyone being obliged to bowl two overs (aargh!), it would prove to be some way short of the required figure.

Having said that, it is unusual, in Bedouin terms, for a Wednesday evening 20-over-a-side game, to produce a total of more than 300 runs. Still, it was enjoyable for the crowd, even though by far the majority of them (in fact, come to think of it, all of them) were of the ovine (look it up!) persuasion. The ground does lend itself to high scoring, having an extremely short boundary on one side and a moderately short boundary on the other.

Once again, the Beds’ innings got off to a good start, with skipper John Branch continuing where he left off the previous week, hitting a succession of boundaries, plus the odd hobbled single, before reaching the somewhat meagre retirement point of 25. His opening partner, John Howells, also reached that point, but not before the pair had had the record keepers scurrying around to see if this was indeed a record combined age for a Bedouin opening partnership – decision pending.

Adrian Susman and Lee Bywater also reached the retirement score, both having included a six in their innings. Jon Stanier made 22, and Ray Bate 10 not out from the two balls he faced, bringing the final total to 158 for 2.

The Beds also made a good start to the home side’s innings. Spratters, who had earned himself copious Brownie points by being the scorer’s right-hand man throughout the Bedouins innings, when no-one else appeared to want to do it, took a wicket in each of his two overs, plus a painful blow to his foot which, no doubt, later had him wondering if it was really wise to get the toes in the way of that one.

Josh Lemm was also doing a good containing job at the other end, conceding only eight runs. But then the runs started to flow, with Kinlet benefitting from the batting abilities of a couple of guests (AKA ringers). There was a wicket apiece for Susman and Branch, but Kinlet reached their challenging target with a couple of overs to spare.

Then it was all back to the Eagle & Serpent for a couple of drinks at the “baa-baa”, where the Beds were looking a bit “sheepish” after their beating. The evening concluded somewhat better, however, for head of comms Adrian, who won a tenner on the Kinlet sweep; no doubt most of it will go on buying his old man a beer at the weekend!

Bedouins 158 for 2 (Branch 26, Howells 25, Stanier 22, Susman 28, Bywater 27, Bate 10 not out)

Kinlet 159 for 5 (Spratley 2 for 19, Susman 1 for 9, Branch 1 for 13)

“Is anybody there?”

Bedouins v Oldswinford at Enville, May 9th

Bedouins lost by 8 wickets

There’s poor light. And there’s bad light. And then there’s the Stygian gloom in which most of the Bedouins’ opening game of the season – against Oldswinford, at Enville – was played. You can tell how dark it was – the scorer had to call out from the scorebox to enquire the name of the incoming batsman, only to be told that it was his son!

Following a Bank Holiday weekend of glorious, sunny weather, it was sod’s law that all would go downhill by the time Wednesday evening arrived. And that’s the way it was. But at least, the game was completed (some of it in rain), even though the result was not a good one for the Beds – defeat by 8 wickets.

It all started so well. Bedouins batted first, and the skipper had clearly been on the red meat again. After three boundaries in the opening over, JB completed his first 20 runs without actually having to move from the crease, as he found the middle of his bat with regularity. At the other end, Ian Woodhouse took some time to find his touch, but finally weighted in with a couple of trademark Woodey sixes, before being bowled for 25. Meantime, John Branch was also bowled, for 24.

The tempo slowed in the middle overs of the Bedouins innings, while three more wickets went down. Then Adrian Susman (16 not out) and Lee Bywater (18 not out) took the total on to 101 for 5. Along the way, big Lee near-as-dammit decapitated his partner, with one particularly powerful straight hit for four.

The home team’s total was always likely to be a bit short of par, and so it turned out. Oldswinford made a solid start against the pace of Bywater and the guile of the evergreen Mike George – the latter returning the impressive figues of 1 for 15 in his four overs. The only other wicket fell to Ross Morgan, who, it has to be said, bowled a “variable” length, but still made a welcome injury-free return to Bedouin ranks.

Jono Hill had the dubious privilege of having a bowling return of 0.1 overs, for two runs, as the skipper displayed a somewhat surreal sense of humour by bringing him on to bowl with just two runs needed for victory.

Oldswinford thus won the game by eight wickets, with almost four overs to spare. At the wicket at the close was the Beds’ own Jon Stanier, who had transferred himself to his “other” team to make up for late withdrawals. It remains to be seen whether his application to return to the Bedouin ranks will be accepted any time soon!

Bedouins 101 for 5 (Woodhouse 25, Branch 24, Bywater 18 not out, Susman 16 not out)

Oldswinford 102 for 2 (George 1 for 15, Morgan 1 for 28)