Earls Colne CC reboot

vs Long Melford II’s – 22nd April ’23

After a tumultuous week or two in which Colne had played the part of the drowning man with the lead weights around his ankles who then realises he’s actually only in 2 feet of water, our cricketing heroes emerged once again to the new season, this time under new management.

To cut a long story short (“please do!” – Ed) Earls Colne CC were on the brink of exiting from the heady heights of league cricket only to be saved by the founder of the IPSCOL club who correctly pointed out that his problem was the opposite of ours, ie not enough players for the games.  So, several new registered players later, and one conceded match later, we were ready – onto the hallowed turf of Long Melford, where only 223 days earlier, David G. had scored a mighty 149 (later upgraded to 150).

With the former skipper Daryl having taken the wiser option of guaranteed cricket at an alternative club that also could offer a higher grade of the game (“don’t tell everyone, they’ll all want out !” – Ed), we now turned to that loyal stalwart Ben Mason to lead the new upgraded Earls Colne 2.0. Having pocketed the fielding and bowling trophies last year, here was a simple way to ensure the ‘clean sweep’ and put yourself into bat at the most opportunistic times.  We looked to our new captain for playing inspiration, for leading rousing renditions of ‘Jerusalem’, and ever-deep pockets for the bar afterwards…well, one out of three will do for a start.

We also welcomed four new players for this match, Ismail & Aqeel, from the Badlands the other side of the A12, and Steve & Ben W., more local recruits who had both recently remembered they could play a bit and had little else to do for several hours on a Saturday.  With one eye on tradition, the new skipper craftily lost the toss then learnt that his newly-assembled team were two short; young Ben W.’s promise of a lift from an established player had been dashed by that person ‘over-sleeping’.  No names no pack drill, but as excuses go, this was outdoing former regular Gary P. who used to wake up with a ‘sore fingernail’.

Newbie semi-quick Aqeel was soon forced off the pitch when realising that spikes were needed to enable those 90mph unplayable deliveries full lift-off, which left Colne with just eight players on the pitch.  15 minutes later, with Ben’s mum having made the mad dash from Halstead to the ground, and Aqeel having welded new spikes on, we were up to ten, and when a hungover Danny Saffer wandered by to watch the proceedings halfway through the Melford innings, he was rapidly bought on.

However, this Melford team would be no pushover for Colne’s re-vitalised bowling attack, and if it hadn’t been for Alex Chamberlain’s antics on the boundary, diving fearlessly in the mud to stop countless boundaries (though he did let a catch go past!) then the score would have passed 100 without the loss of any wicket.  The captain turned to the chairman for inspiration & he duly delivered, forcing one of the openers to fend off a full toss so as to offer a simple catch.

The introduction of Colne’s perpetual #2 bowler, Dave Moon, caused some mild panic for the Melford batsmen before they started depositing his balls over the hedge and onto the nearby football pitch.  After a few close lbw calls though, Moonie found his old radar and picked up two lbw’s and one bowled.  At the other end, captain Mason was inducing batsmen into catches, each one memorable in it’s own right – the skier that no-one was allowed near except the bowler himself, the one where David G. sprinted five yards from his wicket-keeping position in under a minute, and the one where Danny T. forgot to drop the ball.

With Ismail picking up the other wicket and the skipper regaling us with how reasonably happy he was with his own 12 wickets and 15 catches, Colne could be fairly content to keep the opposition to 215-8 off their 45 overs.  A small surprise awaited us in that Long Melford had provided a sumptuous tea despite the ongoing accepted view that ‘teas shall be provided as an exception’, so having hastily gobbled down their Ginsters & Monster Munch, the Colne players then feasted themselves on what appeared to have escaped the closure of a ‘Cheese & Cooked Meats’ emporium.

Weighted down with this extra baggage, opening batsmen David G. and new partner Pat K. set off to knock the runs over asap.  The latter found that a little late swing did for him 4th ball (although former opener DS was just at the very same moment taking only one extra ball for his duck, at another ground !).  David soon found that the pickings were not be as lavish as September ’22, but he laboured manfully on into the 20’s.  Aqeel showed us why Colne’s gain is Mumbai’s loss with nearly all of his shots actually recognisable from the coaching manual, but by the time he & Alex C. were bowled, Colne were in trouble at 60-odd for 4 and not many overs to play with.  Melford’s bowling was tighter than erstwhile seamer Harry Porcher after two cans of Stella – we were facing a bowling attack that not only bowled nine maidens, but was using a radio-controlled ball that was automatically sent to the nearest fielder whenever stuck with any force.

So whilst those on the boundary wondered when the Colne batting fireworks were going to start to enable a rapid countdown to the winning runs and tucking into the local selection of Nethergate’s finest, Mason & Moon were faced with an ongoing dilemma and personal thoughts that went something like this :-

a) “I couldn’t attack that ball, it was pitched up & swinging in/out, better off defended”

b) “same with that one”

c) ….”& that one”

d) “oh, what a shot, crikey I’m good, but where the heck did that fielder come from?”

e) “actually, this could do wonders for my average…”

If it hadn’t been for Melford’s generous use of a part-time bowler near the end, those averages might have stayed lower than they might have been, so whilst there was ample opportunity for Moonie to turn two’s into one’s, and park his slim frame whilst missing out on errant boundary throws, our intrepid pair pushed Colne’s final score onto 154-4.  Not quite enough, but respectable….just.

So, onwards & sideways, next week sees the first home game, a scheduling oddity that will see us play at the Recreation Club in April on the relative sponge of our pitch against the massed youth of local rivals Coggeshall.

Veni, vidi, delicatus scoreboardus

vs Eight Ash Green, home 30th April ’22

The square was glistening in the beautiful morning light, the players were stretching (some even able to reach their knees) and the amazing new electronic scoreboard hung precariously from the Rec Club wall, held on by half a tube of Gorilla Glue.

Meanwhile, EAG’s rather weakened side couldn’t manage Colne’s one-man destroyer, Ben Mason taking the weekend accolades with an unbeaten 50 followed by 3 wickets (including the usual c&b that no other bowler would have dreamed of reaching) He was ably supported by Dave Moon who didn’t wish to purchase a jug so was happy to see several catches in the deep go down off his dobblers. Odd to see that the scorebook recorded both of the openers as ‘hit wicket’ as they were bamboozled by the local leggie.

End result, we won by 99 runs, but with several players still unavailable for a variety of reasons and even more missing next week, can Colne keep this winning streak going over at Stowmarket on 7th May ?

Mistley misses

vs Mistley, away, 23rd April ’22

With several players held up for a few days due to A12 roadworks, Colne were a little short-handed as they took to the field….

…..several hours later, we had our shock 2nd loss of the season, albeit a close one by 3 runs. Positives to be taken in that we almost chased down a 200+ total for the first time in 32 years and that the middle order actually contributed, but disappointing that having been ahead of the run-rate, we fell behind at the last hurdle to some rather wayward legside bowling and too many ‘swings & misses’. Further frustration came when studying the scorebook revealed most of Colne’s batters had scored less than they had been mentally counting themselves ! But the result was correct, so no complaints.

Next week, first home game and the launch of the much-awaited scoreboard.

New Season, New Opposition, New Result

vs Saxmundham Sports, away 16th April ’22

Welcome to 2022, and early doors we were off up the A12 to Saxmundham bundled into as few cars as possible to spare the fuel costs. With promotion from last year a distant memory and keen as always to get out after many indoor sessions, anticipation was rife. We also welcomed in two new players, young Barney Sharp and the ‘”you’ll-never-believe-my-age” Kye Hayden on an extremely short-term contract before he returns to another club when they start in another league.

With several regulars missing from the line-up such as David, Sam, Connor, all citing a variety of alleged excuses, we thought we had challenges but it was nothing compared to the opposition who’d planned not to play their skipper until he returned from seeing Spurs lose to the mighty Brighton. Such confidence ! Our skipper Daryl, not knowing that Saxmundham were actually two players down, chose to bat first on winning the toss. Would it have changed the result if Colne had bowled to nine players first ? Experts couldn’t agree.

Daryl was trying out yet another opening partner in David’s absence and this time we wondered if maybe the choice of Ben Mason might backfire, with the ever-present Cornardian usually keen on the “tip-&-run” approach. Fears were soon allayed however as the duo tucked into some early wayward bowling and were galloping along at 5/over until Ben holed out drove superbly to deep mid on where a smart catch was taken. In came Pat, but as soon as he arrived, Daryl departed, bowled around his legs for 35. The hubbub around the boundary grew as the crowd sensed a problem – when the skipper doesn’t go big, generally Colne dont either.

The evergreen Russ Dawes (persuaded to return on the basis that Saxmundham was only a few miles north of Chelmsford) was next to arrive, play some attractive shots then also depart bowled. Cometh the hour, and cometh the man – Jack Holdgate; here was a batsman who could rescue the situation whilst keeping ‘twelvethy’ busy with a succession of demands for items to be brought on/taken off whilst he amassed the runs. With a combination of effortless slogs to the extra cover boundary and intially good rotation of the strike with Pat, he did rescue the situation. Unfortunately, his batting partners had other places to be; Pat was dropped off a straight drive to short third man, but gave a simpler chance next ball to square leg; Barney’s intro to batting for Colne was shortened as he worked out what those white lines around the crease are for.

Jack was finally out for a respectable 38, and Kye took over the required boundary-finding, including one spectacular six which tested the structural integrity of the burger van scorehut. With 10-odd overs left, Trevor & Brommers tried to pick up the rate as Colne limped along past 150, eventually bringing in Dave Moon for a late cameo role.

A throwback to the old days was next as we trudged off to have tea provided – an exception to the modern norm of BYO, although several wondered what size bag would have been required to suit Kye’s dietary demands as he cleaned up, impressing all with his load and balance skills.

Back off to the field and normal service was resumed as ‘les freres de la lune’ (as they might have been known had they been born garlic-side) opened up the bowling for Colne. Just like in our innings though, the opening batsmen were no mugs and rapidly despatched anything over- or under-pitched. Younger brother Tom chose a shorter spell whilst elder brother Dave was in for a long one, and his deliciously devious leg breaks eventually brought reward, with two caught- & bowled, one smart stumping from Kye and and a simple catch to mid-on. His eventual figures of 4-37 would be the pick of the Colne bowlers and showed that his bitter frustration at being peaked at the post for last year’s bowling trophy had just about worn off. ‘Keeper Kye, who claimed post-match that it was a genuine pleasure to keep to such a bowler, was getting into the swing of wicketkeepers worldwide and keeping up a permanent chirp to batsmen and bowlers alike. His respectful call to the skipper’s bowling – “lovvvvvving it, Postie!” won’t be forgotten in a while.

Colne were always up against it though with too few runs on the board to defend, so despite the best efforts of Brommers and Ben, both of whom could be grateful for excellent catches from a Sleeman for their wickets, the home team progressed relatively serenely to their target. By the time the Saxmundham skipper came in at 6 down, amid various muttering about whether a player joining the game at 6pm could really be allowed to bat immediately (or wait until 11.30pm), it had all become rather academic and he was a happy bystander as the runs came from his batting partner, and the game was up with just under five overs to go.

A return to earth with a thud therefore, as last year’s promotion team met up with better opposition, longer matches, and a sign of what is to come. Next week, slightly nearer opposition as we head to the estuarian paradise of Mistley with a likely much-changed team due to enforced absences and the even more-enforced return of several stalwarts !

Earls Colne 155-8 (45 overs) – J.Holdgate 38, D.Sleeman 35, K.Hayden 19, T.Baigent 3-19

Saxmundham Sports 156-6 (40.5 overs) – S.Goddard 47, G. Butler 38, D. Moon 4-37

Onwards & Upwards from the binary match !

vs Bury St. Edmunds, away 4th Sept ’21

After three weeks of no action, the Day of Destiny had arrived; win this match and Colne would be champions and gain automatic promotion; lose and ignominy beckoned ! All the efforts that had gone into winning all but one match so far, all those hard evenings in the nets, all those endless strategy planning sessions in the bar, all would be for nothing if we couldn’t muster just one more win…so not too much at stake !

Team selection was made easier by the ongoing wedding season, but with a never-ending supply of Sleeman family members standing by, the eventual XI was a perfect match of the new and the old – the core of the team of who brought Colne back into the league in 2018 (Daryl, Pat, Jack, Colin, Harry), the new players we’d welcomed since then (Brommers, Connor, David G., Dave & Tom Moon) plus the returning dynamo Ben. Russian oligarchs would look on impressed at how cheaply this team of superstars had been cobbled together, on exceedingly good terms ranging from free lifts all the way up to free Earl Grey, with the ongoing paradox that only one of the names above actually lives in Earls Colne. Calling all part-time & full-time cricketers in Earls Colne ! Again !

With strict instructions to be at the ground before the start, it was a pleasant surprise to see Colne ready and fired-up at the allotted time, with only one mild panic when Ben realised late on he was car-less and would need picking up from darkest Sudbury. For once, we’d be bowling first so the Moon bro’s would be summoned into action before 3pm, not part of their usual commitment: Tom would be tearing in from the top end, marking his run-up (& the pitch) with his unique brand of left-arm searing pace, whilst elder brother Dave would no doubt be consolidating his place at the top of the wicket-taking charts with a constant stream of unplayable dibbly-dobbly leg breaks.

Unlike the home fixture against these worthy opponents, someone hadn’t read the script and today, Colne would struggle to take any early wickets. The Bury opening partnership found the going easy-to-straightforward, despatching anything wide with ease over an outfield that was proving to be a quick as an empty A14 on a freezing December night. Colne’s usual ‘ring of steel’ on the off-side could only watch as cut after cut scythed past them before crossing the boundary and trundling away for a further 100m or so. When Tom hurried one of the batsmen into a nick which was well taken by David behind the stumps, the relief was palpable, the joy unbounded, and some of the language…a little, colourful ! The bowler would rightly claim it was frustration at his own inability to take a wicket until then, but for a few moments, it all went a little Kohli/Anderson.

The next partnership did little to calm the growing supporters’ club nerves, as the hosts passed 75. As Dave Moon racked up a 10th wicketless over, the skipper’s patience finally snapped and in a Mike Brierley-like moment of inspiration, he chose to ‘try another bowler’, a technique that has worked wonders throughout the cricketing ages. The bowler he turned to was Connor Oldrey, a man pinged more times recently than Google, with his Covid alerts, and a man NOT AT ALL obsessed with his stats. But the consistent thing you can always rely on Connor for is his consistency, so it was no surprise when with his 2nd ball of metronomic accuracy (some might say dull, but let’s not be envious of being able to pitch the ball in the same half of the pitch twice in a row – Ed.), he broke the burgeoning partnership.

What happened next will go down in Earls Colne CC folklore (or as long as this site is hosted, whichever is longer – Ed.) as Connor was joined at the other end by cheap-wicket-sensing Daryl and the two of them accounted for the last eight wickets for approximately 10 runs. Connor’s amazing eventual figures of 6-12 allowing him the honour of leading Colne off as Bury succumbed to 100 all out.

As Colne sensed a potential early finish, they wolfed down their DIY tea’s, then settled into the uneven benches to watch the Saturday mid-afternoon ‘Daryl & David Entertainment Show’, a weekly production that combines muscle with subtlety, strokeplay with big heaves, good looks with snarls….and that’s just David. Sure enough, they didn’t disappoint as the rapid outfield proved a continual ally to anything that could be pulled or cut. Having reached 37 and realising he wouldn’t score 249 today to make 1000 league runs for the season, Daryl selflessly sacrificed his wicket (or was that, ‘missed a straight one’ ? – Ed.) with 25 runs needed to win, so that the cultured middle order could get a look in. But barely had Pat taken guard and driven effortlessly past 2nd slip who wasn’t there, than David decided enough was enough, he really didn’t need a Boycott-style partner, the run rate needed vast improvement and so powered on to his 50 and the winning runs in only the 16th over.

To Colin, Jack, Ben, Brommers, and Harry, none of whom had a look-in with bat nor ball…it could not have been done without you and being part of another excellent fielding unit on the day. Just when it looked like no outfielders would be involved in any of the wickets, Colin took his annual semi-worldie at gully for the final Bury wicket Safe to say though, such is the depth of this new-look Colne team, these five could have won it on their own. Ben used to open the bowling for Colne, Harry did so until this season, Brommers was top-wicket taker in the 2019 league season, Colin took a 4-fer not so long ago, and Jack’s banana-balls continue to befuzzle many good batsmen, if not endanger their stumps too much !

And the binary connection other than win/lose ….? How often do you see a scorebook that reads 100/10 followed by 101/1 ? Interesting, eh ? (No, you’re sacked again ! – Ed)

So that wrapped up the league and last game of our season as Champions. Finally, after inconsistency laid waste to our hopes in the last two league seasons, we can progress onto higher grounds where several of our players clearly belong (such modesty – Ed.). Next Saturday 11th will be our annual storing away of sightscreens, boards, etc, followed by the annual presentation of the batting trophy to the skipper….and many others !

Special thanks to :-

  • Bury St Edmunds CC for being excellent hosts despite having to field a weakened team, and for buying us a jug
  • Stowmarket CC for being amongst the first to congratulate us. Class. We hope in the re-jig that usually happens at this end of the league, they are also promoted.
  • All our supporters who made the journey to see our first success in eight years.
  • Rosemary Prestney for taking some great photos, which WILL end up on the website
  • Finally, our coach, Bryan ‘Merciless’ McManus, whose regular beastings and tongue-lashings took us all to some dark places before instilling in us all a belief that winning more than two games in a row is not against the rules, that staying in after you’ve hit one sumptuous shot actually makes sense, and that using your hands to field the ball saves your ankles. Bryan’s near-psychotic St. Osythian rants drove at least one player (Connor) to avoid Earls Colne on a Wednesday evening. This one’s for you, Bryan !

Highlights of the 4th Century AD (Anno Daryli)

vs Woolpit, @home 14th Aug ’21

The rain had subsided, the pitch rolled flatter than the former editor’s one-liners, and Colne were looking forward to welcoming Woolpit for the final home league match of the season. Whilst we couldn’t hope to match the quality of their pitch and facilities, we’d endeavour to entertain them with our witty onfield banter and post-match much-delayed BBQ.

For the nth time this season, Colne would be batting first, having lost the toss. In a neat symmetry to their lengthy partnership against the same opponents earlier in the season, Daryl & David set off in the usual rapid style taking advantage of some under-pitched bowling from one end and over-pitched from the other. When David finally fell for 69 with the score on 194, matters were looking peachy for the home side. By that time, Daryl had reached his 4th century of the season (placing him at the top of the entire league in ‘centuries scored’) and his 2nd against this same opposition. On the flipside, we are recommending that he really focus on converting his 120’s into ‘Big Daddies’, but so long as he’s scoring >90% of his runs in boundaries, there’s a bright future for ball manufacturers.

To give Woolpit some credit here though; this was a (mainly) young team who have a long cricketing future in front of them, and all watching were impressed with not only how they stuck to the task but didn’t let their heads go down when boundaries were flying ball after ball.

Pat came and departed rapidly, falling a tantalising 92 runs short of an equally entertaining century, to be followed by Sam. Here was a man on a mission, to stop the rot on his recent low scores, invariably bowled on the back foot, and sure enough, 30 minutes later, his confidence was restored with a rapid 60*. He partook in an electric partnership of 87 with Connor who scored 35, and then we saw Ben enter the fray for the final ball of the innings. As ever, Ben was keen on turning the inevitable single into a two, and then attempt to make that three. It wasn’t to be though, but Colne could be satisfied with a final score of 327-4, and all batsmen scoring at over 100% (with the exception of one who saw out a particularly accurate spell – own up Ed !, Ed) with plenty of respect due for a young Woolpit bowling attack.

After a team huddle to remind ourselves not to get carried away and start dreaming of the sumptuous BBQ offerings, but instead to focus on taking 10 wickets, Colne took to the pitch with their habitual opening bowling pair of T. Moon & D.Moon raring to go. The latter was soon into his swing, bowling yet another innocent batsman around his legs, and when a difficult fielding stop for Harry at square leg caused the ball to ricochet to Ben who then threw back to the bowler’s end, a simple run-out gave us the 2nd wicket with just 11 runs on the board; cue over-celebration on the part of Ben as he added to his lengthy list of ‘Total Victims’ in the fielding stakes.

Wickets began to fall regularly, bar a 53-run 6th wicket partnership. When the catch was smartly taken at slip by Connor to end that partnership, D.Moon had picked up 3 wickets & younger bro Tom 2. An eighth wicket partnership of 69 between young Loft & skipper Holmes had some of the many spectators concerned but Woolpit were never really up with the required rate to threaten. This partnership also gave Chairman Pat the opportunity to put down or just completely miss some relatively easy catches in the deep – depth perception training may be required.

When Sam caught out the dangerous Holmes, the game was nearly up. There was still time for skipper Sleeman to take 2-2 from 15 balls, for Connor to pick up 2 wickets of his own less economically, and for Harry to display some disturbing symptoms connected to his ‘nettus allergicus’ condition …or maybe it was just because he wasn’t used to the uphill climb when bowling from the lower end. Eventually, the game was won and all could feel they had participated; Gav had taken a smart catch, Brommers had taken some smart tumbles, and it was great to see so many non-playing players supporting from the sidelines; well, we think it was support, maybe it was the cheap drink !

One more league game to go, against the erratic Bury St E. (big winners one week, big losers the next, but more of the former recently) on 4th Sept. We’ll take no notice of the result when they visited the Rec Club ground earlier in the season, but a win will ensure we win the league !

Next week meanwhile, a return friendly fixture over at Halstead, and a chance to gain revenge for the remarkable result we saw at Colne on 5th June.


Rampant Rain Ruins Roughhouse Rematch

vs Stowupland (away 7th Aug ’21)

August had arrived and with it came dodgy weather, so when the skies over Colne were bucketing down @7am and forecast to continue for three hours whilst moving north in the direction of our planned match, we waited for the call to cancel from Stowupland.

Practical to the last, the oppo tried to get the game on, but by 11.00 they had to admit defeat and it was called off. Shame for all as we were looking forward to ‘The Umpire Strikes Back II’, but it means our average points stayed the same whilst nearest rivals Stowmarket improved theirs with a walloping of our next opponents, Woolpit.

That match on Sat 14th will be our last home league game of the season, so with the weather set fair from Tuesday onwards, let’s get behind the team as they look to all-but-confirm winning the title !

It never rains in Earls Colne…..

vs Stowmarket (@home, 31st July ’21)

As the dawn mists rose above the verdant pitch, as the groundsman marked out the crease lines one final time, and as 11 men good and true rolled out of the pub , the day of reckoning was finally with us; top of the table Colne would be playing their nearest challengers Stowmarket for that most elusive and prestiguous title, the one that eluded the greats such as Botham, Border, Kallis, and Ryan ten Doeschate – Champions of the Two Counties Division 9, Group 2 !

It would be in the words of the opponents, a Cup Final-like game, a winner-takes-all, a never-to-be-repeated (in 2021) meeting of 1st vs 2nd that would likely decide the fate of the prized trophy, so long as there were no further trip-ups in August…..Stowmarket had to win, Colne just had to show up and rely on the depth of their batting, a Moon-dog or two to take a five-fer, and the brilliance of their fielders who could still touch their toes (whilst keeping their legs straight).

With the weather set fair, Colne would be batting first, so out strode skipper Sleeman and David Griffith . The latter’s recent improved form at turning up on time for the matches would not be matched by his batting prowess and after a patient 18-ball innings he was caught behind off the relatively quick pace of Finbow. Next up, Chintesh Patel likewise lasted 18 balls before seeing his timbers clattered.

The skipper meanwhile was pushing through the 30’s and 40’s unnoticed, until he was tempted by the metronomic accuracy of Codd to send up a simple catch, out for 54. At 90-3, this would have meant disaster in former times, but Colne’s stern pre-match talking-to would pay off, as nearly all the batsmen then chipped in, led first by Pat with 19 and Jack with 10 (both undone by the slow bowling of Watling) but most critically by Ben and Connor coming together for a essential 7th wicket partnership of 64. Fresh from being amongst the gaggle of golden ducks last week, Connor was keen to put that behind him and get a rapid move on, so took an immediate liking to the short stuff, whilst Ben was his usual energetic self, tempting fielders into giving away overthrows and happy to take on any throw from the deep to pursue an extra run. When Ben was eventually caught for 26, and Connor bowled for 44, the scoreboard was looking more respectable, but it didn’t stop there.

Those of us with longer memories cannot actually remember the last time Colne’s #9 & #10 stroked the last 12 balls of an inning around with such ease, even if the boundary was a little too far; Alex and Dave M. made some of the batsmen who’d gone before look ultra-cautious with the strokeplay and urgency with which they picked off the 1’s and 2’s, so that with a final total of 198-8, Colne could be reasonably content that they’d dug ourselves out of a little hole.

With all comments on the looming dark clouds tending to be of the nature of “it’ll stay in the valley, never rains here” (how come it’s so ‘verdant’ then? – Ed.) the players took to the field for Stowmarket’s innings…40 overs to establish which side would have one foot on the steps of eternal glory. With Tom Moon serving up some appetising hors’d’oeuvres for the openers to gorge on, there were some nervous moments before elder brother Dave offered some unplayable pies from the bottom end: first Baxter was perplexed by one that jagged back from well outside leg, then Mayhew edged one to Sam in the gully spot.. This brought together the oppo skipper Griffiths, and Spreadbury (bored with life in the Stowmarket 1st team where opportunities to bat are limited – unfortunate then that a batting collapse was taking place simultaneously for that team).

These two set about the Moons with relish, until at approx 4.30 pm, the first spots of rain turned into an excessive downpour. As all 22 players and spectators huddled under the pavilion cover or settled down to conveniently watch the British Lions rugby, some of the Colne players were seen already changing into their evening wear of choice (black tie for Alex, tasteful salmon-coloured polo for Pat, stab vest for Dave M.) A succession of interested groups then ventured out to the middle to assess whether cricket could resume amongst the puddles; Colne not too bothered, Stowmarket urgently seeking signs of drying dampness and sunshine.

As the biblical deluge faded to a distant memory, the two teams resumed at 17.45 with promises of further rain meaning a complete stop, our ‘Elf & Safety Officer predicting dire outcomes for any bowler, and uncertainty over whether we were picking up from the shallow end or the diving board end. Spreadbury soon put paid to any belief that the outfield would be an impassable swamp with some heavy hitting, but just as the Colne skipper bought himself on to advance the scoring rate even further, the weather intervened for one final time with more rain, bringing on an agreed abandonment.

Honours even therefore with no points awarded in this season where average points determine the table positions; who can say what might have happened had the match run its full course ? What it means is that Colne’s destiny remains in their own hands with three games to go. Next week, off up to Stowupland, and meanwhile look out for revised BBQ and end-of-season plans plus (the Chairman having done some in-depth libatious research with West Mersea CC last week on their West Country tour) some tour ideas and commitment requests for July ’22.


Collapses win Matches

vs Elveden (home, 24th July ’21)

Finally, the first of two Saturdays that could well decide Earls Colne’s destiny for next season had arrived and we would be welcoming Elveden to the Rec. The skipper had a near-full squad of players to choose from, Covid-isolators had returned and we welcomed a 2nd NHS hero back for the 1st time this season, Chintesh Patel, who’d not played much since he used to walk off regularly with the annual batting trophy.

With the weather forecast decidedly iffy about when and where exactly the heavy showers might break out, it seemed as if our oppo were looking for that potential copout for some of the afternoon – with most of them languishing around at 1pm rather than taking to the field, we wondered if they saw something in the clouds we didn’t. As it was, Daryl and David G. took to the opening bowling with the usual relish, despatching anything short from the more pacy van Overmeire and less pacy but accurate Kent Sr.

David was undone sooner than he would have liked, caught behind off the former, which brought Chintesh to the wicket with his usual wristy style of playing most balls later than thought physically possible then unleashing powerful straight drives. With only one further wicket to fall for the next 25 overs, Colne would be left wondering (especially given what happened at the other end of the innings) why both opening bowlers went through almost all their allotted overs, not cheaply. When Chintesh was out for 25, Daryl & Pat resumed their old left-right partnership which invariably works out well for one or both. In this case it was both of them cashing in, Daryl powering on to score his third century of the season and his second against the same team – how they must love seeing him !

With the score on 188-2, & around 10 overs to go, all was looking rosy for Colne with their sights set on 260+. However, first Daryl was undone playing across the line to a slower one from the wily Firman, then in the same over Jack & Nick were bowled. Cue time for Pat & Sam to steady the ship which they did…for 2 overs only, before Pat tried to hoik one too many of Kent Jr.’s short balls and proffered up a simple catch to cover. Next ball, Connor took Pat’s advice of “he’s bowling short, just stand & deliver” too much to heart and was bowled by a full one; Dave M. lasted two balls before turning a catch around the corner before exhibiting a side to his temperament that only his brother was aware of due to a remark made to him by a fielder as he left the stage. His subsequent destruction of a line flag and “colourful” language would have made Javed Miandad blush.

When 4 runs later, younger bro Tom also departed ‘without troubling the scorers’ as the old cliche goes, Colne had lost 7 wickets for a mere 16 runs. However, we had high hopes for the last wicket as we had two recognised batsmen out there; at one end we had Sam who was beginning to wonder why none of his team-mates didn’t hang around long with him, whilst at the other, specialist-fielder, death-bowler, and re-born batsman Ben emerging with his running spikes on. Fresh from professing a love for umpiring “because no other *** will do it”, and fired up to make up for the antics of the previous 20 minutes, Ben soon had Sam turning dot balls into singles and singles into two’s. Unfortunately, when a brief fielding mishap persuaded Ben to call Sam through for a 2nd, the latter was still search for 3rd gear when the irate Kent Jr, threw down Sam’s destination stumps from 18 yards away. With Meady having stepped into the square leg umpiring shoes and busily studying the interesting cloud formations, the decision was never in doubt.

So all out for 216 and the proverbial psychological advantage lay with Elveden having seen the mighty Colne batting line laid waste and a few too many batsmen guilty of playing the wrong shot early on. However, with only 9 opposition wickets to take, we took to the field with a spring in our pork-pie-laden step, and cheered on the mighty Moon bro’s as they opened with their familiar numbers of left-arm demon pace and unplayable leggies. When Tom saw his first couple of deliveries deftly carted to the boundary, he might have let his head drop or even stuttered further in his run-up, but his determination would pay off later. Meanwhile, elder brother Dave’s devious dobblies did for opening bat Flack, undone by the superb spin imparted from the bowler’s well-used wrist.

Fellow opener and potential party-pooper Aldous soon followed, caught by keeper David G. off the bowling of Tom, although there was some debate as to whether the umpires might have called a waist-high no ball. They didn’t and when #3, Siriwardena followed the next ball, it would be the third time in the match that a bowler would be looking for a hat-trick. Kent Jr. came and stayed for a few before offering a catch to Jack at mid-wicket – we all held our breath when it was evident he’d come too far forward to take a simple catch, but then stuck out a high hand to make it look like a worldie !

Skipper Rodic joined van Overmeire at the crease with the score on 57-4 and the required rate rising. Their partnership caused a few concerns , but when the keeper-slip combo of David G. and Connor contrived to removed Rodic in Dave Moon’s final over, Colne knew they were approaching the final straight. What they didn’t expect was that straight to be a mere two yards long as Elveden’s own mini-collapse occurred in the blink of an eye with the last four wickets going for no runs. Although Chintesh took a wicket in his one and only over, Connor would no doubt claim all the glory for that collapse as his bowling figures of 5 balls, 3 wickets for 0 runs were reasonably impressive, but we won’t let him forget his batting performance and most of the team agreed it was only because his Mum was watching. It was all over, a win by 121 runs and a good all-round team performance; our bowlers who took most of the wickets had contrived to score no runs between them, nearly all the catches were taken, the Sleeman-Mason-Kerry catching axis went unused, Daryl passed 500 league runs for the season although that doesn’t let him off his fielding misses, and umpire Meady discovered yet another unknown rule.

A great win further backed up by the news that nearest rivals Stowmarket had lost their game, meaning that we regained our place at the top of the table by some margin, and no prizes for guessing which side are next to visit us on 31st July……it promises to be a cracker !


The Match that never was

vs Mildenhall (home, 17th July)

A glorious weekend of weather beckoned, all our Covid-isolation cases were returning and we even had some former players back in the team for this week or next, now they knew we were an unstoppable force (except for last week’s deviation). What could possibly be a fly in this perfect ointment ?

PINGDEMIC was the answer, meaning that Mildenhall were hit, as an entire club, with a mass of isolation requests and even 1 or 2 positive tests. Whilst we wish them all the best for speedy recoveries, putting our game on was not going to be practical so a cancellation was called on the Friday. No points awarded and a further justification of the average points system this season. Special thanks to Meady for putting out the scoreboard and some of the flags anyway – WhatsApp 1 vs Nokia 3310 0.

Onwards to next Saturday 24th and the home fixture against Elveden, followed by the traditional salmonella-fest BBQ, if the weather holds.