Recent Bushmen results

Published May 15, 2017

Heavy defeat from the V&A; here’s their match report:

V&A PLAYERS: C M-T [Captain], C JONKERS, T P-G, N P-G, D DE CAIRES, N EMLEY, T BIRD, N BIRD, L NIEBOER, D SIMPSON, S JULKA

They are a small, hardy, intelligent and gentle people, who have eked out life for themselves, while the rest of humanity developed along completely different lives” – John Simpson

Our opponents were not the people of the Kalahari desert as Simpson describes but, spiritually at least, from Bush House, the home to the BBC World Service until its move in 2012.  Theirs is a distinguished, if eccentric history: their first match, organised in 1942 by Hugh Carlton Greene, brother of Graham Greene and later the Director-General of the BBC, was against the Political Warfare Executive at Woburn Abbey.  It was said that match was interrupted by news that Tobruk had fallen, but that the BBC cricketers, not unlike Drake at Plymouth Hoe, played on regardless.  This has since been shown, like much of the V&A’s match reports, to be pure fiction.

Bushmen alumni include the poet Edmund Blunden, former Foreign Secretary Patrick Gordon Walker, the broadcaster Trevor Macdonald and the great West Indian all-rounder Learie Constantine.  The current side is, shall we say, ‘well established’.  I ruefully consider that my best playing days are behind me, but some of these chaps were playing for the Bushmen when I was still in nappies.  However, a more convivial bunch could scarcely be hoped for and many of the characteristic tales recounted of their team, such as the opening bowler who turned up at 3pm for a game which had started at 2pm, unrepentantly saying, “I thought the game began at 2.30”, could equally apply to the V&A.

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Under leaden skies, Chris Mounsey-Thear won the toss, chose to bat and with commendable promptness (only twenty minutes behind schedule), the contrasting pair of Neiboer and Emley opened the innings.  The start was steady, both batsmen showing excessive care to guard their wicket against bowling which veered from the erratic (Butt) to the wily (Jeavons).  Adam Jacot has no time for this sort of play, saying it puts undue pressure on the later batsmen; he employs a block-block-bash approach to batting regardless of the situation.  Fortunately, he was sunning himself in the South Seas (or similar) so his ire could not be raised by the fact that after nine overs, our prudent pair had mustered a mere 20 runs.  With time, however the flow of runs moved from trickle to steady stream and Neiboer had just began to open his shoulders against Jones-the-Seam and Nick Norman-Butler, when the latter contrived one to run along the ground and trap the hapless batsman plumb in front.   Lunch, a fine spread of chicken and assorted salads, lovingly prepared by Sarah Jenkins, was taken with the V&A more comfortably placed at 102-1 from 22 overs.

I have no recollection of the lunch time conversations, beyond Lachlan’s lack of numeracy.  Nicky Bird talked a lot, but I forget about what.

After lunch, Sunil, pushed up the order to number three, continued to score freely but Emley who had nurdled his way to 36, fell to an excellent overhead catch by Edward Faulks at deep square leg.  This brought in Mounsey-Thear.  Already in good form, the captaincy seemed to give him added purpose and he set about the bowling with18199341_10154596642542781_5432526940097200373_n a swagger.  In a whirlwind innings he scored 40 from 17 balls with four sixes.  The principal victim of this assault was Faulks whose two overs cost 31 runs.  But he got his man in the end: caught in the deep attempting his third six of the over.  After all this excitement, concluding the innings at a run a ball seemed positively pedestrian, but that was the net result of Sunil’s 39 aided by cameos from de Caires, Tom Bird and Nick Pritchard-Gordon.

208 was going to be a stiff target to overhaul in 35 overs and things did not begin well for the Bushmen.  Jones, who had survived six overs without contributing to the team tally, fended a ball from de Caires apparently into a gap between slip and gully, only to see the 66 year-old Emley leap like a salmon on the Tarpon and snaffle the catch.  A few overs later, just to prove this was no fluke, he took an almost identical catch, this time off the bowling of Tom Prichard-Gordon to dismiss Faulks, and four balls later Butt prodded one which kept a little low straight back to the bowler.  Tom has a habit of making a Horlicks of such simple offerings, but on this occasion the ball settled safely in his hands.  Throughout this Nick Norman-Butler had looked mostly untroubled, but a rush of blood to the head in the next over saw him heave a ball from Dario Simpson giving me a straightforward catch at mid-on and that, so far as the result of the game was concerned, was very much that.  Spare a thought though, for the hapless Javed Soomro, whose day’s cricket came to an abrupt halt when, yet to face a ball, he agreed to an ill-conceived second run and found himself comfortably run out.  He was understandably crestfallen, his partner sheepish, but the umpire was apoplectic at the folly of the whole thing and continued to ruminate on the matter for a good couple of overs.

18221547_10154596642257781_2769521296600482907_nThere had been a good deal of chat in the field.  Nicky Bird, forced to field in the absence of a twelfth man to complete the fielding duties for him, and Emley had been yacking about some arty bollocks in an attempt to make themselves sound intelligent. Off the pitch, when this sort of conversation starts to wear thin, I would simply excuse myself, perhaps to discuss the finer points youth culture with Tom P-G and Dario, but a batsman is obliged to stay put and listen, over after over.  One wonders how many batsmen have sacrificed their wicket over the years, simply to escape the relentless waffle.  Emley says he talks more when Bird is there to encourage him, but this is plainly not so.  Without prompting, he cornered Dario’s unsuspecting parents and quizzed them for the duration of the tea interval.  Tea, incidentally, was one of the ripest, containing two homemade cakes, one by Sarah Jenkins and the other by Stephanie Bird.  Both were delicious.  After tea the Bushmen seemed mainly concerned with self-preservation.  Whether this was because of the hopelessness of their situation or because they failed to fully grasp to nature of limited overs cricket was unclear, but they proved jolly hard to dislodge, and the game petered out with their score at 80-8 from 35 overs.  Both in batting and bowling, the Bushmen’s style of play is more suited to timed cricket.  We should seek to accommodate this form of the game for next year’s fixture.

Sir Hugh Greene was as well known for his love of a good pint as he was for his love of Cricket. I would like to think he would approved of the offerings of The Golden Ball, where we repaired to quench our thirst and discuss whether Douglas Jardine wore a cravat.

Result Bushmen versus V&A 2017

A draw with scores level at Sonning – a thrilling match.  Highlights were George Dabby’s unbeaten century and Zohaib Butt’s 6 for 42.

Result Bushmen versus Sonning 2017

An excellent victory against Fernhurst.

Result Bushmen versus Fernhurst 2017

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