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Tour Match Report – Ropsley Baboons v Barford

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Finally, the word is in from Hendo

Ropsley Baboons vs Barford, Saturday 1st July 2017

For those who were not nursing a sore head before the British Lions magnificent victory, then the performance-enhancing ‘breakfast-of-champions’ (of a pint of Carling at around 9am) was the best possible preparation for another crucial game on tour. After the ‘miracle on grass’ performance of the previous evening, it was sadly time to say goodbye to man-of-the-match Kenny G, so the captain was left wondering where the star-performers might come from in the fixture… A quick tour of Newark in the sunshine was followed by a splendid lunch in Green Man (so long as you avoided Captain Morgan’s scratchings of Doom) and some pre-match warm-ups in the garden.

In contrast to the gloomy conditions of the evening before, the sun shone and clouds scudded across the sky and a youthful looking Baboons team promptly won the toss and kindly agreed to a slightly shorter game to ensure we could be on time for our Tour dinner.

So into the field we went and the ball was immediately and confidently tossed to the Tourmeister Mike Ireland, who once again showed everyone what we miss for the other 364 days of the year when he’s not propelling his deadly accurate tweakers towards the opposition’s timbers. One (double-bouncing) loosener was all it took to get back into rhythm and he bowled a water-tight spell of 5 overs for 16 but somehow contriving not to pick up a wicket. At the other end, the pace of Captain Morgan was used in a tactical burst of 3 overs for a miserly 7 runs. Keeping the pace options fresh, James Beavan was quickly brought into the attack, keeping the opposition interested, but quiet. The pressure told and when Judge Jolly was brought on to replace Mike Ireland, his impact was immediate, snaffling the dangerous looking opener Gilbert for 29 with a superb catch by ‘Tiger’ Tony Timms.

James was unable to make the breakthrough finishing with a fine 5 overs for 22 but he’d be needed for other exploits later, so the ball was tossed to Ben Griffin who tightened the screw with a remarkable 5 overs for 3. At the other end, the Judge was, as usual, in no mood to be profligate and doubled up on his wicket tally by knocking over (a) Guinness for 5, finishing with the fantastic figures of 5 overs 2 maidens, 2 for 3!

From one golden arm to another and Tony Timms rolled back years and made an immediate impact by holding onto a return catch from the other opener Booth in his first over, and never let the batsmen get after him.

Into the last 10 overs and although the Baboons had wickets in hand, with just 66 on the board they needed to start swinging to put up a competitive total on a great wicket and fast outfield. PJ and the skipper finished off the innings each claiming a wicket,with O’Reilly completing a neat stumping off PJ leaving the Baboons 98/5 after their allotted 35 overs.

Excellent fielding and tight bowling made it look like a chasable target, but Barford have done less with more, so tea was enjoyed but a lack of opening options forced the captain to accompany Jake Farquar to the crease, who immediately set about the task striking a couple of beautiful boundaries before being caught behind for just 8. Your captain for the day also perished early and the game was definitely on when tour veteran Pete Fisher (off the telly) was out for 2. 27/3 in the 6th over and James Beavan was joined by Ben Griffin to rebuild the innings. And rebuild they did, like Sandy receiving a call from our little porky friends asking for a rush job that needs completing before the big bad wolf comes complaining about some scratchings of doom he’s just eaten….

Clean strikes of the ball from James and telepathic running between the wickets brought up the fifty partnership in double quick time after just 14 overs. Then James, clearly wanting to get back to the hotel for his starter, pressed the accelerator, smashing his own 50 and finishing the job 3 overs later to wrap a up an enjoyable win against a side who play the game in the same spirit as we do.

On another day (perhaps in a year’s time) the result could easily be other way round, but cracking weather, top nosh and fun in the field in beautiful surroundings on a great wicket meant we could repair to the hotel for our fines session contentedly. Thanks to our hosts and we hope we can come back again next year and renew our rivalry over another beer or two.

Further tour photos are available here

Tour Match Report – Upton v Barford

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Hot of the press from Captain Morgan

Upton vs Barford, Sunday 2nd July 2017

So here we are at the end of a truly marvellous tour in a microbrewery pub. Just an hour before the game we are knocking back another couple of pints – as if we hadn’t had enough – and Pete Romyn is suggesting I use the used pint glasses and bottles as a template for my field positions.

As we sit there in the pub, we take joy from the warm sun and think how nice it would be to bat first having lost the first two tosses.

We arrive at the quaint ground of Upton Cricket Club and are greeted by their skipper Tom. A friendly chap who is interested to know in which spirit we would like to play the game. I suggested Rum but apparently that wasn’t the question.

We presented the Upton Captain with our beautiful new ball as is tradition, and I walked out to the wicket to conduct the toss. The kind skipper asked me if I’d like to bat or bowl, and I stated clearly that if I won the toss I’d bat. He tossed the coin, I called heads and to my relief Barford had won the first toss of the tour.

The standard of tour performances had been so high that to date the duck suit had not yet been used. Captain Morgan had no alternative but to appease Club Captain Drage – who had paid for the suit to be dry cleaned – to try and ensure it was used. So open with Richard Jones a stalwart number 11 and Paul Robbins, a tour virgin yet to bat.

Well it was not Richard that wore the suit. He majestically fought his way off zero, but poor Paul I’m afraid fell for the skippers trap. A tour Duck followed by a fine display of quacking around the boundary made all Club Captain Drage’s hard work worth while.

Jake batted at three, and immediately set about a fairly strong bowing attack. He made short work of the short boundaries and quickly rattled off
the runs. At the other end Richard’s steady progress was halted pretty much immediately after avoiding the duck suit, and he played on (bottom edge) bowled for one run.

In came Simon Drage who initially looked in good nick. Having got over his running between the wickets on Friday, he set about the boundary with aplomb. However a comical dismal, bowled on 13 saw the end of the club skipper who seemingly refused to walk initially after being clean bowled, he came up with some random claim that the wicket keeper had thrown himself into the wickets instead of the ball.

PJ batted at five, and so an umpire change made sure that didn’t last long. PJ on just 2 runs danced 9/10ths of the way down the wicket, struck on the pads and an audacious appeal saw quick draw Simon Hawkins raise the ugly finger for a LBW.

So all of a sudden we have the last two recognised batsman of Paul Henderson and Jake. Let’s face it James Beaven’s 60 not out the previous day had ensured a golden duck for him!

Both Paul and then Jake fell cheaply and although Jake had scored almost all of our runs we were in trouble. Phil mighty tight arse Morris and young Captain Morgan were charged with seeing us home. Well maybe not myself dismissed for 1! So maybe Tim Jolly could steady the ship? Phil fell for a decent score of 14 and Simon Sachin Hawkins and Tim had to bat out 6 overs.

Tim could not and instead chose the duck suit and Barford were all out for 114.

The game was far from over, a few quick wickets would sort this out. Despite aggressive appeals from Simon Hawkins and some good tidy bowling from James Beaven things didn’t go our way. Eventually a wonder catch, yes a wonder catch from Simon the eagle eyed Hawkins got the break through that gave us all hope. The game was all but won for Barford when Phil took a catch behind the wickets of Uptons star batsman on just 4 runs.

Only to throw the ball from the gloves to the floor
Meaning he could stay in.

That same batsman went on to destroy a bowling attack of Simon Hawkins, paul henderson, James Beaven, Tim Jolly, PJ, Paul Robbins and Richard Jones. Thanks Phil!

Upton could have won easily but chose to prolong my agony to the 34th over. In a fine spirited match we came second. But a fun fixture it was and I hope to be given the chance of revenge next season.

A top tour, was had by all – the walking wounded played in Sunday to the best of their abilities and three duck suit parades were enjoyed by all. With hindsight we should have gone for a run chase but you live and learn.

Thanks all. See you best year.

Man of the Match Jake
TFC – Phil Morris for dropping their star on 4! And because I know this will annoy him.

Captain Morgan

Sent from my iPhone

Tour Match Report – Balderton v Barford

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First match report in courtesy of El Trez

Hares hare to a hair-raising draw with Bald(erton)
Balderton Cricket Ground, 30th June 2017

The match was in jeopardy when a squally shower passed over the district just an hour before the scheduled start time. Barford CC impressed their hosts with some early drinks in the bar whilst the skies cleared. Chat in the bar was around what to do if Barford won the toss. The sensible money was on bowling first, although some wag (Pete Romyn) suggested having a word with the groundsman first, to see whether or not the match would be going ahead [thanks Pete].

Skipper Morris was offered the option of not tossing the coin and batting first. Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth he negotiated to bowl first, two overs a man and to retire on 25 – all potential match winning decisions – and to keep it to 16 overs, not 20 due to the postponed start.
So we prepared to bowl. Skipper offered O’Reilly the gloves to keep wicket. Chris, possessing a typical keeper’s extrovert (some may say, gobby) nature, jumped at the chance, and rewarded the team with an excellent performance behind the timbers.

Rumour had it that Balderton had one of those female types playing for them. The rumour sent shivers through the batsmen at the thought of being “outed” by a woman. So, Hawkins stepped up to open the bowling and kept it tight against two good openers. Then Robbins took overs 2 and 4. Paul was rewarded with figures of 2-0-2-16 which were pretty good against strong opening batting.
Morgan took overs 3 and 5. A mildly suspect LBW shout was rewarded with the umpire’s trigger finger. She was promptly taken off but the scorebook never lies. There was no way Morris was going to withdraw the appeal. If the Ump thinks it’s out, then it’s out. Morgan ended with 2-0-14-1. Pace and strike man Tony “more accurate than a special forces sniper” Timms took over 6 and tied them up, before being rested before they worked him out.

Sandy “the arm” Pierson was then asked to take over 7 and he struck straight away with the very nifty stumping of their number 3 batsman by O’Reilly. Sandy’s second ball was a comedy of errors. Firstly, he fell arse over tit on his delivery stride. Then his (lack of) pace had the batsman in the corridor of indecision. He swiped at it and edged it behind. O’Reilly however was creased up at Sandy on his backside and let the bugger go over his shoulder!

Sandy was clearly irked. His next delivery was equally unplayable. The Batsman spooned it up to mid-off. Skipper Morris raced in to pick it out of the sky but sadly ended up picking it up off the turf. Sandy was clearly even more irked. “Oh do me a favour Phil!” he grumbled, his competitive nature coming to the fore. The remainder of his spell passed without incident, save for a shocker of a wide, but 2-0-12-1 says a lot.

On came Lord Farquhar. Seven off his first over then a wide and a single before their No 3 smashed it straight to Morris running in from long off. Staggered at this rare event “Hmm and outfield catch to Morris not often that’s in the scorebook.” Said one wag [thank you Hendo], the team was temporarily elated. Jake finished his spell with 2-0-10-1.

Drage was next to be handed the leather. “What? Me? Are you sure?” he said to the skipper. “Well it’s either you or me!” replied Morris. “Ah, OK.” Drage said as he took the slightly wet and soggy cherry. Superb semi-death bowling followed with dot-1-dot-1-dot-1. Balderton’s young Tansley came in following the retirement of their opener, Ross. He needed no balls to work out Timmsy’s flight and smacked it over midwicket for 6, then 4, then 6 again over from where Morris had just moved the man. Timmsy came back with a vicious dot, then his spell ended with a scampered single and 2-0-25-0. At this point Hendo was starting to jump up and down, minion like, inwardly shouting “me, me I can bowl, don’t forget me!”

Drage finished his spell with 2-0-13-0 having seen Tansley retire on 26 off far fewer balls. Hendo came on and kept it tightish. At the end of the 14th Balderton were 98-3. Hawkins and Henderson then bowled death-style straight from the heart of the Grim Reaper. Their No 10, the dreaded female came on and hit a nice midwicket drive for a scampered single. It also earned an only slightly patronising “Oh well done!” from our esteemed Chairman, for which a fine was well administered the following evening. O’Reilly took a good catch and another great stumping before their star batsman was out LBW (or possibly LB nothing) off the last ball. Balderton’s innings finished 111-7, Hawkins ending with 2-0-8-2 and Henderson 2-0-13-2.

Tour style, Morris invited Ken “Kenny G” Gill to open the Barford batting. Initially Ken declined, having had four pints. However, eventually valour got the better of him and he succumbed to the invitation. Good job too as he faced down the opening girl’s bowling, and hit her for four over mid-on. O’Reilly knocked a single before being caught off their no 2 bowler.

In came Lord Jakey Farquhizzle and hit it around as well. We were well ahead of the rate and cantering along at 45-1 after 5 overs. Jake was bowled for 16 to bring in Henderson. Ken retired on 25 and in came the not insubstantial batting unit that is Simon “Skipper” Drage. Hendo spooned one to a safe pair of hands and in came Morris. Two runs later, and a Duck suit well avoided, out was Morris to a jaffa of a spinning ball, caught by the keeper. 76-4 in the twelfth over.

In came Hawkins with Drage still at the other end. Some flair-batting followed before Hawkins played on, for 11 and we were 87-5 in the thirteenth. The also not insubstantial batting unit that is Simon Morgan waddled in, quacking nervously. No need to be nervous though as he and the larger Simon set about them; 100-5 off 14 and only twelve needed off the last two overs. 105-5 off 15 and seven needed to win. Dot, two, two off the first three balls and it was looking rosy. Balderton’s Tansley wasn’t to be phased though and two more dots followed. Three needed off the last ball to win. Simons little and large (or large and larger) ran one and nearly stopped there until they realised only a second was needed to tie the game. Sprinting like Bolt and Christie’s fat, lame, white cousins, they scraped home for the tie and the never-ending appreciation of the Skipper.

Man of the match had to be Kenny G for his magnificent 25 not out.

The TFC would be shared between Morris, Timms and Pierson for, respectively, a dolly of a drop, conceding a few more runs than is polite (sorry Tony, although he was a good batsman) and for outwardly expressing disappointment at being let down by the field when a hattrick went awry (occasional bowling makes it difficult to get used to drop after drop eh Sandy 😉).

Thanks to my team for a great performance and to Balderton for a very enjoyable game.

2017 Tour update

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We’re well into the final countdown to the tour this weekend, so here is all you need to know in an easily digestible form. Assuming you’ve remembered to avoid any (more) serious injuries and wash your kit (otherwise see the fines section below), you should now be raring to go. We also have a tour virgins (Ken Gill & Paul Robbins) amongst us this year, so remember to play nicely!

The long-range forecast looks to be set reasonably fair (although Friday may be a bit damp) and at least we won’t be playing in a tropical heatwave. We’re staying at Millgate House Hotel in the centre of Newark and will be enjoying the number of local real ale pubs, and the inevitable Spoons (for the lager boys).

Friday night’s game at Balderton will be followed by a bbq to tide you over before the night’s clubbing and the subsequent kebab hunt begins. Saturday’s evening dinner will be hosted in the hotel before Judge Jolly holds court, dispenses his wisdom and levies his fines. Thanks in advance once again to tourmeister Mike Ireland for all his organisational efforts in ensuring another enjoyable tour!

Satnav postcodes:
Millgate House Hotel NG24 4TU
Balderton NG24 3BD
Ropsley NG33 4BE
Upton NG23 5TG

Currently selected teams (as usual subject to negotiation and last minute changes!) are as follows:

Friday 30th June vs. Balderton 6.00pm
Phil Morris (Capt.)
Chris O’Reilly
Ken Gill
Ben Griffin
Simon Morgan
Paul Robbins
Simon Hawkins
Jake Farqhuar
Simon Drage
Tony Timms
Sandy Peirson

Saturday 1st July vs. Ropsley Baboons 2.00pm
Paul Henderson (Capt.)
Ben Griffin
Mike Ireland
Simon Morgan
Paul Johnstone
Peter Fisher
Tim Jolly
Jake Farqhuar
Tony Timms
Sandy Peirson
James Beaven

Sunday 2nd July vs. Upton 2.00pm
Captain Morgan (Simon)
Paul Johnstone
James Beaven
Paul Robbins
Phil Morris
Tim Jolly
Simon Hawkins
Jake Farqhuar
Simon Drage
Paul Henderson
Richard Jones

2017 Pre-Tour Report

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The Tourmeister and his associated lackeys have sent the following (unexpurgated) report of their holiday reconnaissance trip to this year’s tour venue of Newark:

The FairyTale of Newark

“They’ve got cars big as bars, they’ve got rivers of gold, but the wind goes right through you, it’s no place for the old”-well Timmsy’s Landrover was bigger than anything local, The Trent was a muddy shade of brown and the weather was unseasonably mild as Barford’s ageing recce party descended on the festive lights of Newark.

Prior to arriving at our 2017 base we stopped off at the picturesque village of Ropsley, just outside Grantham. The ground is large and open, currently housing two football pitches (it is December after all) and is a five minute walk (just ask Sandy) from the excellent Green Man, where the “Baboons” are based. We enjoyed good food and beer despite the pub being invaded by Peirson clones due to the local shooting club’s midweek meeting.

Balderton, on the outskirts of Newark was our next port of call to check out our Friday night venue. Our hosts play a significantly higher standard than us, a fact confirmed by the affable groundsman who was describing the quality of their Sri Lankan and South African overseas players-let’s hope they believe we’re as bad as I have told them and select accordingly.

The final ground to explore was Upton who host us on Sunday afternoon. This is an attractive small ground with a pavilion that is also used as a pre-school venue. The fact that a bunch of old men with cameras were hanging around outside a building full of children did prompt some concern from the teacher (quite rightly!) and once we had assured her that we were no threat we headed into the village to check out the pub. The Cross Keys looked like it would have been very nice but we were told they’d stopped serving as soon as we entered-it was 3.00pm (or they’d had a phone call that a car full of paedos was on the way) so we made our way to Newark.

The Millgate House Hotel will certainly cater for all the needs of a Barford tour. Clean, centrally located with friendly staff, and the same price that we’ve been paying at other venues! The only black mark was no real ale in the bar but as we were about to discover, this is not a problem in Newark.

The town centre has the unique boast of housing ten pubs within one square mile. Just Beer is an archetypal micropub, one room offering six ales with no sign of a TV screen, pool table or Carling pump. Upon deciding that the delicious 6% IPA I was quaffing wasn’t suitable for a session we headed across the street to the Flying Circus, and were confronted with an even bigger range of ales and craft beers. Resisting the temptation to sample more we moved on to the Prince Rupert, and were met with another six traditional beers on tap. Assuming that the bubble had to burst soon we arrived at the Fox and Crown-six real ales! Solids were now becoming a necessity so we tried The Ram (too busy), The Water’s Edge (too crap) and an Italian restaurant that said they couldn’t take us before settling on a Greek steakhouse that did the trick.

On the way back to the hotel we did spot some burly bouncers outside a place called The Atrium which looks as if it would interest Mr Drage and the midlife crisis brigade, but those interested in traditional pubs will find this place to be a gold mine. Newark’s Christmas illuminations also put Warwick to shame but I guess this won’t be an issue in July.

No sign of the NYPD choir though…

Thanks to everyone involved for maintaining the high standards of touring due diligence that have been so painstaking established over the years! More photos are available here.



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