A winning run!

Bedouins v Oldswinford at Oldswinford, June 13th

Bedouins won by 14 runs

It’s known as “London Bus Syndrome” – you wait for ages for one to come, and then two come along together. So it is with the Bedouins. Having waited all season for a win, two come in rapid succession. Joy was unconfined (did you know that Joy had been in confinement, by the way?). The chairman permitted himself a full-strength (no less) glass of Coke, while the skipper permitted himself a second plate of chicken curry (it’s that London Bus Syndrome again).

All this by way of preamble to the fact that the Bedouins beat Oldswinford on their ground by 14 runs, just a few days after the first success of the season, against Kinlet. This time it was the batsmen who set up the victory, and particularly the opening pair of Paul Lippitt and John Howells, who put on 51 fairly rapid runs for the first wicket

John Howells led the way with 31 retired, including a number of classy boundaries, and was even seen to scamper a couple of quick singles. Looks like he may have been on the red meat again – better be careful, John, look what it did to “Beefy” Mike George! Lippo added 18 before falling c&b, and the Beds were on the way.

Numbers three, four and five failed to contribute much, so it was left to Neill Smith (22 not out) and Lee Bywater (20) to add 44 runs for the fifth wicket, taking the Bedouins’ final total on to a reasonable 117 for 5. However, it was a good Oldswinford wicket, so nothing was yet decided.

The Bedouins’ regular opening pair of bowlers were again in good form, particularly the effervescent (don’t remember him when he effer vasn’t) Mike George, who completed his four overs for just 11 runs. Lee Bywater was accurate too, his two spells of four overs in all costing 23 runs.

Jon Stanier took particular delight in securing two wickets against his “other” club; Adrian Susman had a wicket with first ball and went on to 1 for13 in four tidy overs; and our guest for the evening, Matt Watts, had 2 for 22.

There were a couple of spilled chances in the field, but both would have been pretty good efforts if they had been taken. Tony Hancock made up lots of ground to get close to a catch in the deep field, failing by inches to make it. Mejdi Mabrouk found himself under a skied off-drive and again almost completed the catch before taking a hefty tumble that left him bruised and battered.

However, man-of-the-match honours went to John Howells, who followed up his good batting from with a terrific display behind the stumps that resulted in three stumpings.

A good evening all round, against friendly but competitive hosts, and on a superb wicket, was rounded off with a welcome chicken curry in the pavilion. The names of those who went back for seconds have been noted and will probably be used against them at a later date.

Now can we keep up the winning run? We’ll see what the Celebs have in store for us on Chairman’s Day, July 1st.

Bedouins 117 for 5 (Howells 32; Smith 22 not out; Bywater 20; Lippitt 18)

Oldswinford 103 for 5 (Stanier 2 for 21; Watts 2 for 22; Susman 1 for 13)

At last! At last!

Bedouins v Kinlet, June 10th

Bedouins won by three wickets

On a fine June Sunday afternoon, when the Scots were beating the English (good grief!) in a 50-over international at Edinburgh, an even more sensational result was emerging from Enville. The Bedouins, who had been on as long a losing run as most historians could remember, were beating their good friends from Kinlet to register their first win of the 2018 season. But, heavens above, it was tough going and a bit like pulling teeth at the end.

From the scorebox could be heard the sound of teeth gnashing, and paramedics were already on standby, just in case the old codger’s dicky ticker went on the blink. Chasing a less than formidable total of 96 to record their first win of the season, they were at a reasonable 33 for 2 after 9 overs. But they then rapidly subsided to 58 for 7 in the 20th over, by which time the alarm bells were ringing ever louder.

It was Adrian Susman (10 not out) and his mate, playing for the first time for the Beds, Phil Pountney (23 not out) who got together and, with no pressure from the overs count, they nudged and nurdled the home side to a win in the 31st over. Jollification all round; church bells were rung; the Red Arrows swooped low over the ground; and Phil the Fan waved a banner or three.

Unusually for the Beds these days, it was bowlers and fielders who laid the foundations for the win with a solid display. Mike George – some call him the “evergreen”, but he looks more “ever white” to me – had probably his best ever spell in Bedouin colours, taking 4 for 18 in 8 very tidy overs. He was backed up by skipper Lee Bywater at the other end, who completed his first 7 overs for a total of 7 runs, before being clouted in his eighth and final over.

Along the way, there were four excellent catches (none dropped!), including a spectacular caught and bowled for Phil Pountney and a running over-the-shoulder job from Paul Lippitt. There was also a tidy spell of 4 overs for just 9 runs from Will Howells, and two wickets each for Pountney and Susman.

Amidst the carnage of some parts of the Bedouins’ innings, there was a typical hit-and-miss

22-run effort from Kiwi Keith Dawson, making a welcome return to Bedouin ranks.

All in all, then, a satisfactory afternoon for the Bedouins. The rest of the season will now, no doubt, produce as long a winning run as the losing run that has just ended – or will it??

Kinlet 95 (George 4 for 18; Pountney 2 for 11; Susman 2 for 21; Hill 1 for 0)

Bedouins 96 for 7 (Dawson 22; Pountney 23 not out; Susman 10 not out)

….. and so it goes on

Bedouins v Austin’s Army at Enville, June 6th

Bedouins lost by 36 runs

“Dear God. Will it never end?”, they cry. The “it” in this context is the Bedouins’ losing run – now five out of five, following a 36-run defeat by Austin’s Army. The length of the losing run is being compared, in some quarters, to the length of the Baggies’ losing run in this season’s Premier Division, and by others to the anticipated winning run of the mighty Bees in next season’s Championship. But are we concerned? “You bet your sweet bippy we are” (Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in, 1970). Are we down-hearted? Definitely not. That’s not even in the Beds’ vocabulary. We’d just like a win sometime.

This was an Austin’s Army without Austin. You can tell how he thought the game would go from the fact that he put out a team of cricketers (I ask you), then took leave of absence, to avoid the accusing looks from Bedouin team members. No doubt he was off to do something important, like addressing the annual convention of the West Mids fish fryers’ association – not much point really, because they’re all hard of “herring”!

Sorry, hysteria is creeping in, due to the constant defeats.

The story of the game was that the Beds skipper, Lee Bywater, having lost previously by batting first, changed procedure and opted to bowl first. Good thinking, Lee, except that it didn’t change a thing. Austin’s Army had two batsmen who reached the 30-run retirement point and a third who hit hard for 24.

The bowling attack started well, with just 12 runs and one wicket coming in the first four overs, thanks to the efforts of the skipper and Mike George, the latter taking the first wicket to fall, caught behind by John Howells. But it was a bit of a false dawn. Things started to go downhill, and the ball started to go down, just as the fielders were trying to get hold of it. Three fairly straightforward catches went down, and the Beds fielding all round could be reasonably described as “patchy”.

Jon Stanier had the unusual distinction – if that is the right word – of having a catch taken off a no-ball. It was a terrific effort by Jono Hill, who dived forward to scoop the ball up, but it was ruled not out by the umpire’s no-ball call. Next ball the same batsman put up another catch to Jono – a relatively easy one – which he dropped. Such is life!

With a wicket each to George, Lippitt, Stanier and Bate, the visitors’ total was 130 for 4.

A total of 6 for 1 after 4 overs was not the kind of start the Beds wanted. However, John Howells went on to hit some classy boundaries before retiring on 31, while Jon Stanier did his best to keep things ticking over, against tight bowling. Jono Hill made a welcome return to form with 22 not out, including four juicy boundaries, but the Beds were finally well short of the required runs at 94 for 5.

Austin’s Army 130 for 4 (George 1 for 34, Lippitt 1 for 24, Stanier 1 for 22, Bate 1 for 16)

Bedouins 94 for 5 (Howells 31, Hill 22 not out, Stanier 15)

WIDE open gate at Belbroughton

Bedouins v Belbroughton Strollers at Belbroughton, May 30th

Bedouins lost by 7 wickets

Picture the scene. A perfect, pastoral English summer evening. The sun shining from an azure sky; maidens frolicking in the newly mown fields; birds twittering in the trees; all that sort of thing.

Except it didn’t quite happen that way for the Beds’ first ever visit to the picturesque Belbroughton ground on a late May evening. The sun wasn’t shining; in fact it was bleedin’ grey, misty, murky and drizzly (the Scots have a word for it – “dreich”). And although there were maidens about, they were the kind that are being increasingly bowled at the Bedouins batsmen. And the birds weren’t in the trees; they were crashing into them because they couldn’t see them in the dark. And we lost – AGAIN!

In spite of all that, there was a warm welcome from the Belbroughton team to their ground, which embodies all that is fine about the English country cricket setting. The gate to the ground was “wide” open. But more of that later.

As time goes by, the early promise of headaches for the selectors (AKA Adrian) in terms of having to leave people out and rotate selection from the plethora of those available, has dissipated. Early season injuries have taken their toll – could over-training be to blame? Nah! So we are back to drafting in the odd guest here and there. Some of them are not that “odd”, like Kevin Potter (another off the production line of Stanier mates), who turned out for us and made an instant hit with his accurate bowling. Then, of course, there’s Josh Lemm, who has been appearing as a last-minute sub so often that he is just about regarded as a regular Bedouin – but none the less welcome for that.

This has been a somewhat lengthy introductory section to a report which must, alas, come to the point, We lost – AGAIN! That’s four out of four now. Surely we couldn’t be heading for some kind of Bedouin record, could we?

With constant drizzle, the game got off a bit late, so became based on 15 eight-ball overs, with wides being recorded as two runs, but no extra ball being bowled. That had a degree of significance later, as will be revealed. Beds batted first and had yet another new opening pair. Neill Smith and Paul Lippitt did a good job against tight bowling, but were finding it difficult to get the ball away. It has to be said that the Strollers bowled well and fielded excellently throughout the innings.

Lippo was first out, stumped (the first of three) for 13, and Smithy followed soon after for 6. Jon Stanier top-scored with 22 and Adrian Susman was just getting going, having hit a six (the only one of the match) over mid-wicket, before being stumped. The Beds’ final score of 75 for 7 was probably about ten runs short of being competitive in the conditions.

Both Belbroughton openers reached the 30-run retirement point, which more or less decided the game. However, the Beds fought back and took three quick wickets, two to Josh Lemm and one to Mike George with a rapid bit of fielding to run a batsman out. With the last over to be bowled, the Strollers needed four runs to win. Skipper Lee Bywater took on the responsibility of bowling that over and all was going fairly well, with the score only having reached 74 for 3 with two balls to go.

Then what had been a friendly but competitive game of cricket lost a bit of its shine, as the home umpire called the penultimate ball a wide, giving the Strollers a win with one ball to spare. A pity that such an agreeable game should end that way. As the colonel of the regiment – that lovable old rogue with the shiny boots, slicked back hair and bristling moustache – would say “Hrrumph!”

Bedouins 75 for 7 (Stanier 22, Susman 15, Lippitt 13)

Belbroughton Strollers 76 for 3 (Lemm 2 for 11)