Colin’s Bouncing Bat Can’t Save Colne

Down to sunny Witham went our intrepid band of cricketing gods, ready for another day of high performance (Ed: What??), banter, high fives and fielding prowess, second to none. The reality was a slight variation on this grand plan, more of that later!!!
As we waited for Chin and Tom to arrive the skipper went out for the toss. One look at this strip told you this was going to more of a road than the A13, with less deviation than a Monastery. And so it proved. Our resourceful Captain chose to bat first and made a masterful switch to the batting order, based on who was at the ground at the time. Sleeman and Holdgate Snr to open. Chin arrived and became our revised number 3 and no doubt Tom would arrive soon………
After one over we had 1 run, after 2 overs we had 24 runs. The one over spell from Humphries yielded 23 runs!!! His radar clearly constructed in toytown and he wondered off into the long grass to contemplate what had gone wrong. The openers were showing more cut and thrust than D’artagnan (Historical reference – French Musketeer).
The impressive Sarah Bendall bowled a full and straight line to return impressive figures on this pitch of 9 overs for 36, keeping the Colne protagonists from really cutting loose. At 20 overs we were 100-0 and Daryl had yet another 50, whilst Colin continued serenely along, looking born for the job, the years were being rolled back and we were witnessing the cricketing version of Back to the Future, we were now in 1985, Colin had no intention of getting out any time soon.
Finally, with runs flowing nicely, in the 34th over Daryl holed out for 78 and the openers had managed 178 for the first wicket, meanwhile Chin had pad rash. Somewhere around this time we had our champagne moment, Colin, now completely in command of his game, for reasons best known to himself, completed the equivalent of a ‘keepy uppy’ in the middle of a Premier League game. 
Whilst sprinting (relative term) up the wicket for a second run he threw his bat to the ground, kicked it with his right foot to achieve the perfect level of bounce and forward movement, then as the bat handle came back off the ground, Colin caught it in the same hand it was released from, all without breaking stride…..class is permanent!!!
Chin added a quick fire 14, then Willy (10 n.o.) joined big Col for a final push. The runs were quickly piling up and oxygen was needing to be administered. Our man finished on 96 not out, never really looked like getting out and would probably still be batting now if he hadn’t run out of overs. This was a master class in how to open the batting.
I am still not sure how many runs we scored, the scoreboard had throughout the innings, showed a chameleon like quality as the operators Hector and Harry grappled manfully with the technology. The score changed regularly, up and down more often than 20 kids on pogo sticks, after eating a tub of ice cream. 
We walked off the pitch on 223-2, and walked back on with 231-2, having scored 8 runs whilst at tea!! That is a good pitch if ever I saw one.
As we took the field forlorn looks were cast to the car park as we waited in vain for our 11th man, who we were beginning to believe had been sent to the Russian front. This was to become more of a factor as the match wore on.
In response, Witham had started well, the first ball went for 4 as Beaty (64) set about the bowling and Atkinson began striking the ball solidly, keeping up with the run rate. In the 11th over Atkinson whacked a short ball from Brommers straight at the unfortunate Doylie, who faced with the ‘catch it or wear it’ choice did a mixture of both. When the ball was finally extracted from somewhere about his person it was established, we had our first wicket. A super Yorker from Harry quickly snaffled the no. 3 and we were back in the game. Hurrah!!
However, the batsmen kept coming and runs flowed freely, the bowling was a tad loose and was being punished, with Brommers, Chin and Doyle failing to hit regular line and length and all going for over 6 an over. Good catches from Chin and Gavin supported what was to be an excellent spell of bowling from the skipper (13-2-47-2) but in truth we were not able to keep the rate down from the other end.
The ground was appearing to get bigger and the ball kept going into spaces, despite the grand efforts of Hector diving around like Tom Daley to stop everything he could. Finally, in the last over the measured batting of Facey (59n.o.) and Tinham (61n.o.) saw Witham over the line. Witham had won a fine game of cricket to achieve 16 points whilst a good display from EC saw them gain 7 points from a close contest on a fine day. 
Colne were left to rue some wayward bowling, the lack of a Witham second team game on the day, and that crucial 11th man. However, cricket was the winner and our joint M.O.M’s were Daryl and Colin.

Not all plastic is bad

Now you might think that ECCC were an eclectic band of brothers unified by the single purpose of bringing home victory at the Rec. Or just a bunch of blokes with nothing better to do on a Saturday afternoon!! Whatever you think, the sight of eleven chaps, plus supporters, enjoying a beer after the game, celebrating tales of derring do and expanding the reality of their own team performance, would tell you these boys have come a long way in the last couple of months.
At Lords you have a team of highly trained ground staff, state of the art covers, hover suction machines and excellent drainage systems. At ECCC on Friday night we had a whole bunch of plastic sheets, some bricks and a few blokes cradling a beer, determined to get the game on.
Most of Saturday morning was spent watching the rain fall and scanning 5 different types of weather forecasts to see if we could find one we liked. In the end after many phone calls, we decided that Alex’s meteorological skills and Pat’s Norwegian satellites told us to crack on with the game, and so West Mersea were invited and Brommers began his quest to break the record for the fastest tea ever made.
Once West Mersea arrived a long drawn out game of will we, won’t we, began. Top league rep and WM captain Graham Pryke brought with him a bunch of 1st teamers who ‘were only here for the beer’. Hmmm. Suspicions aroused. One particular chap clearly with an unhealthy gym addiction, stood out like a bulging muscle, surely he wouldn’t be playing………..
And so to the game……..Mr Pryke persuaded the skipper that now the rain had finally stopped and with a narrow window of opportunity, we would play a T20 match starting at 2pm….game on, and well done to all that made it possible.
Bowling first, ECC were soon caught in the headlights of ‘Adonis’ striding to the crease. Our wicket keeper Pat had the red eyed stare and glare of a man that had either spent the previous evening downing whiskey or who was very perturbed by the situation. Said ‘bulging muscle’ made his first mistake……taking Brommers for 8 from the first over. There would be no way back.
Brommers accounted for Proven (3) and Young (2) in quick succession, including a smart catch by Russ and the plumbest LBW you have ever seen (and loudest shout). A good catch by Tom put young Harry on the board and we were rolling, however our Nemesis Wilkin had reached 21 and the game still had the potential to run away from us quicker than Jack at full pace!! 
Then came probably the Champagne moment. Like any good skipper Daryl had been teaching Brommers some new deliveries in the nets, and he chose this moment to unleash it in a match. It is difficult to know what any other ‘paid’ player would have made of the now, written into history, ‘Ooogly Googly’. However, this one failed the test, Brommers let go a tight leg stump special and Wilkins was bowled off the pads and is probably still wondering what the hell happened…maybe one day Brommers will sit down with him and explain. Excellent figures from Harry (1-23) and Brommers (3-16), they ripped the heart out of the WM batting and did their jobs well.
Pryce (21n.o.) and Goodwin (19 n.o.) attempted to keep the score going but were unable to pierce the boundary at regular intervals, as good fielding and bowling restricted them. We were unable to take another wicket, the highlight was Russ’s 1 over for 1 run with interesting contributions from Alex, Doylie and Bootster. At the end of 20 overs West Mersea finished 90-4 and ECCC were reasonably satisfied that this was a gettable total.
But…it was clear our gym bunny friend was not finished yet, the game was about to get interesting, rather too interesting.
Tom, promoted to open, failed to trouble the scorers, there is debate as to whether it was first or second ball, but it wasn’t many. 1 wicket down. Wilkin by now was tearing in from the football stand end (yes, he opened the bowling as well). Doylie joined Pat, and both were out for 6 to similar deliveries they didn’t really look like playing, quickly followed by Jon (2). We were now officially in trouble. Brommers went out and immediately thick edged a 4 off the fast bowler. Brommers went for 11 and we had Daryl and Willy at the crease. The run rate had now risen to just under 8 an over. Could these boys get us out of a hole bigger than the famed Calcutta black one. Once Wilkin (4-11) was seen off the runs began to flow, just when we needed it Daryl started to launch, a couple of good overs and we were back in the hunt. Willy nudged and nurdled away intelligently and you could see our version of Tango and Cash (Ed: more like Morecambe and Wise) were getting things under control. On the side lines Brommers was by now more nervous than a mouse in a cattery.
Another couple of 6’s from Daryl (35 n.o.) and a wonderful cover drive from Willy (10 n.o.) brought victory and relief to the ECCC masses, as we ran out winners by 5 wickets, earning, hopefully, 17 points in the process. This was a challenging game, where the team showed resilience, character and fight. So maybe, they are just a bit more than 11 blokes on a Saturday……

After the rain comes the sun!

With Earls Colne on a winning roll and team spirit at an all-time high the weather threatened to dampen the hopes of another win and redemption over Maldon 4ths. Luckily the captain and trusted allies Ian Doyle and Wife covered the wicket with anything they could get their hands on overnight on Friday 19th and were delighted to see their efforts were worthwhile after after a night of biblical style rain.

A crucial toss was won by Earls Colne who inserted Maldon on a damp pitch and the usual suspects of Paul Bromley and Harry Porcher opened the bowling for Colne. After a brief onslaught from N. Case(25) who Harry had caught behind brilliantly the usual tight bowling and excellent support from the field made it hard for Maldon to score runs with both Paul and Harry getting a wicket. Alex Chamberlain came on for his debut bowling spell and bowled some great balls and will greatly add depth to what is developing into a tight bowling unit. Then on came Russell Dawes who bowled incredibly to return figure of 4 wickets for 12 runs of 7 overs. Going into the last over Colne were chasing the final wicket to grab what could be a important extra point come the end of the season. Up stepped Booty whose composure when a difficult throw came in with a run out chance stopped the ball and then had the presence of mind not to panic, but to gather the ball and remove the bails in time to run out their final batsman. Maldon 104 all out in 39.1 overs 

After a tasty tea provided by Ian Doyle, Colnes opening pair Daryl Sleeman and Pat Kerry strode out to the crease knowing they just needed to bat sensibly to get the full 20 points for Colne. 

The innings started off well with both openers blasting the bad balls to the fence and getting through the opening bowlers. Pat (16) was first to depart caught after trying to turn the leg spinner Joe Gregory round the corner caught by their wicket keeper. Daryl reached his 50 soon after, after taking a liking to M. Newman depositing 1 ball for 6 into the tennis courts followed by another 6. Russell Dawes (14) picking off the bad balls the other end also fell to J. Gregory. Daryl (61) also fell soon after trying to despatch one too many to the boundary which left father and son (Colin Holdgate and Sam Holdgate) to bat out the final runs ensuring Colne the victory in just 14.2 overs.

Fantastic effort from all who helped get the ground ready and great to see so many players and family come along to watch a good game of cricket. 

This result takes Colne up to joint 3rd and the winning machine just keeps on rolling 

Derby delight

Colne welcomed Chappel & Wakes Colne just two weeks after having narrowly lost at their opponents.  Batting first, Colne’s top three (including a welcome return for Chintesh Patel) made hay with some wayward bowling.  Pat Kerry & Chintesh both made 50’s before leaving Daryl  Sleeman to carry his bat through the innings with an excellent 128*.  With Colin Holdgate and Ian Doyle also applying quick runs near the end, Colne ended on a superb 299-3.

With the now established opening bowling partnership of Paul Bromley & Harry Porcher applying the usual run-rate pressure and both taking two wickets for very few runs, the Chappel wickets started to fall at regular intervals and it became clear that the visitors would not be chasing for the win so much as the batting points.  Some good catches were taken, with the highlight being Alex Robson’s one-handed casual hold at mid-wicket, and some usual bad drops were also seen, none more so than from the usual reliable wicket-keeper Pat.  Daryl couldn’t be kept out of the game either and brought himself to take 3 late wickets, although the final bowling point couldn’t be won, with Chappel finishing on 132-9, thoroughly beaten but as amicable as ever.

The double over Kelvedon

Colne travelled to Kelvedon on 6th July, aiming to kick off a productive month against some of the weaker teams in the league.  With Jack Holdgate back in the side and making an immediate impact (to the outside structure of the clubhouse) the second surprise of the day was the hosts’ secondary pitch with it’s Lords-like slope making it tricky for fielders at one end to see their team-mates at the other!

Kelvedon batted first and for a short while looked like they might replicate the reverse fixture opening partnership, but Paul Bromley broke through with a couple of lbw’s and eventually finished with figures of 4-47 from his 13 overs.  No other partnership really developed for the hosts, thanks to astute use of the bowlers with Jon Dawes taking his first wicket for the club, Ian Doyle & Luke Booty both picking up one each, and the ever-canny Russell Dawes taking 2-9 from his 4 overs.

So chasing 143 to win, Colne set off at the usual pace with Daryl Sleeman and Pat Kerry picking off the bad balls and making it to 70 without loss before Pat attempted one drive too many to Kelvedon’s most threatening bowler, Jeremy Manning, and was bowled for 44.  Daryl followed soon after, brilliantly caught for 39.  With Tom Bosworth, Jack Holdgate, and Gavin Sleeman all departing relatively cheaply, nerves were starting to show, especially as Manning still had 4 overs to bowl.  However, Ian Doyle and Russ Dawes applied themselves with utmost patience to pick off the remaining 32 runs required and a much-needed 5-wicket win.

Partnerships are key !

In only their second home game of the season Earls Colne welcomed Kelvedon.
After winning the toss, Colne skipper Daryl Sleeman decided to bowl and Gary Pushman opened the bowling on his debut with Paul Bromley. Kelvedon openers Martin Pope(65) and Peter Rice(94) did not let either settle, pouncing on anything short and were sitting at 130 at drinks with Colne looking at a potential chase of around 300! After drinks Daryl Sleeman and Luke Booty slowed the run rate down and the wickets started to fall with Luke Booty taking 4 wickets for only 35 runs and with a tighter fielding performance managed to restrict Kelvedon to 206 for 6 off their 40 overs.
Knowing that they need to bat sensibly Daryl Sleeman and Pat Kerry walked out to start the Colne innings. Pat Kerry took off at his usual pace scoring a quick 24 and then George Gibbins looked set before being bowled by J. Manning, who eventually finished with figures of 2-57.  This brought Russell Dawes to the crease and with Daryl Sleeman, set about rotating the strike and putting the bad balls away to the fence. Daryl made it to 112 before being bowled whilst Russell carried his bat for 58 sharing a partnership of 113 before Gavin Sleeman (4 n.o.) came in and finished the game off in 34 overs 
A very impressive win and all round performance from Colne and with morale high and 2 wins on the bounce, and the skipper convinced that Colne will now start to push up the table

Back in the winning way

After a few weeks off due to rain Earls Colne made the trip to neighbours Eight Ash green. Captain Daryl Sleeman finally won a toss and elected to bat first on a interesting wicket. 
After a cautious start and losing both openers and a quick fire 24 from Sam Holdgate, colne rebuilt with the middle.order in Ian Doyle (33) and new player Dave Moon(24)teasing the opposition bowlers and taking all the runs that were on offer. Earls Colne finished on 185 for 6 with all batsman adding to the score but none making it to 50.
After tea Earls Colne were quietly optimistic but knew they would need to be tight in the field. The team pulled out the best 16 overs of bowling and fielding for a long time and after 26 overs eight ash green where 36 for 0 and facing a real uphill battle to reach the 185 target. As the pressure grew Dave Moon and Ian Doyle kept it tight and took regular wickets and then the secret weapon Russel Dawes who was back from injury bowled a spell of 4 overs 14 runs for 3 wickets and Colne knew that they had got the win in the bag. Eight Ash Green finishing on 160 for 6 
A great win for Colne and an all round team performance leaving the club very happy

Hot day by the sea…and recycling centre

Earls Colne made the long trip down to sunny Harwich with only 9 players. After being inserted into bat Colne made the usual brisk start with openers Daryl Sleeman and Pat Kerry getting off to a quick start with Pat attacking from the off. He finally fell on 54 and Daryl made 46. The incoming batsman all getting under 10 with only Tom Bosworth making it to double figures as S Harrington ripped through our batting and finished with figures of 5 wickets for 21 runs, to leave Colne 168 all out 
After a fantastic tea laid on by Harwich, we took to the field with mammoth task of restricting the opposition with only 9 players. Harwich got off to a good.start with N. Steven’s (20) and A. Double(70) hitting the 2 opening bowlers out the attack. Luke Booty and Paul Bromley slowed down the rate and then Steve Wilsher and Ian Doyle came on and took 3 wickets between them and took the game into the 34th over when Harwich hit the winning runs.
A hard day’s cricket for Colne but well fought

Perfect Storm

Short report this, as it’s a horror story…

Witham III’s at home and we kept them to a respectable score of 157-8, with the wickets shared between Jack Holdgate, Daryl Sleeman, and Paul Bromley.

However, the batting ‘perfect storm’ of the top 3 not getting going, excellent line & length bowling with a hint of swing, and the customary collapse all led to all out for not very much at all…..34. With 8 batsmen bowled or lbw, it’s time to get the bowling machine out.

A week off, and then off to the seaside at Harwich on 1st June. Things can only get better !