Opposition: The Wiltshire Queries CC
Result: Game 28: Won by 24 runs
Usually for Wiltshire Queries games we simply copy/paste the Queries match report into our site. But they don't write match reports any more, so here goes:
The game itself took SOME putting on, I can tell you! Queries were at 4 for much of the week, then got to 7, and then finally to 9. Avebury were invited to over-recruit, and lent Jeremy Richards and Rama Adi to the Queries - maybe not such a smart idea!
Batting first, Avebury managed 163 off their 35 overs, as the Queries bowlers (led by the excellent Harry Flack, supported by Avebury / Avon Valley's Jeremy Richards, and Avebury's Rama Adi, bowled nicely and reduced the scoring opportunities.
For Avebury, Wes Hartslief managed a typically robust 28, ably supported by new recruit Ross Haines, who also looked very fluid and also made 28. Chairman Fry coming in at number 7 added 40-odd for the 8th wicket with Dan Hunt, seeing Avebury to a competitive but by no means overwhelming total.
In reply, Queries got off to a flying start, taking Ben Wilson for 7 an over from his 5 overs, Rob Gater keeping it tight for 3 an over at the other end.
Nationwide's Himanshu Suri, a friend of Rama's playing occasional Sunday cricket at Avebury, was excellent, bowling 7 overs and taking 2 for 20.
Queries were left needing 40 from the final 4 overs, but with only 2 wickets left. Avebury prevailed as Dan Hunt and Wes Hartslief (bowling his filthy spinners) took the last 2 wickets.
Queries Match Manager wrote the Chairman this really nice email, which I reproduce below!
"Just a note to say thanks for persevering in getting the match played yesterday. I was disappointed we struggled in getting side out particularly after last year when the Queries were better represented. In the end everyone enjoyed the afternoon with everyone getting involved in some way.
"While thanks to you are important , a special BIG vote of thanks must go to Kate for the lovely tea, she spoilt us with such fayre. All the guys enjoyed it and know join me in asking you to pass thanks onto her.
"I was pleased your girls enjoyed Milly and Willow [Brian and Greg's dogs!] and were most helpful in taking them for walks, even if it may have created a future problem for you."
"Daddy, when can we get a puppy?"
Opposition: WCCL: Warminster CC II
Result: Game 27: Won by 2 wickets
Game 27 of the season was a "Wiltshire League" (village cricket, with points) fixture against the mighty Warminster, a massive name in Wiltshire cricket, whose second eleven can boast a wealth of cricketing talent that minnows Avebury, stuck out in the Wiltshire downs with a population of 3, can frankly only dream of.
Avebury stood in awe as we watched the warm up drill; counted the number of players happy to walk around with their shirts off (Warminster: 11; Avebury: 0) and amused ourselves with the stat that Avebury's wicketkeeper, first and second slip are in aggregate (138 years) probably older than the entire Warminster side. Roll on veteran's cricket.
Winning the toss, we duly inserted the opposition who played cautiously against the new ball, albeit seizing mercilessly on any loose tosh served up by the Chairman, who looked woefully out of sorts. At the other end, Hartslief, carrying the entire team on his back, was superb once more, giving 100% for the team and (note, opposition) never uttering a single word, all innings.
At 6 down for 80 at the half way stage, Warminster looked in trouble but their never-ending batting line up saw them right in the end, with a host of talented players playing cautiously, but also pushing the run rate back up and over the 4-an-over mark and closing on a very respectable 180 after 45 overs. The Chairman was wiped for 3 boundaries in the final over of the innings and was cross with himself, to the delight of the opposition, who found it highly entertaining that someone might care about letting their team down. 15-year old Dan Dix was excellent for Avebury, picking up 2 wickets bowling from the bottom end and looking completely at home in adult cricket.
At tea, it was Avebury's chance to massively outshine their opposition, as the sausages and Cadbury's mini rolls of the first leg of this fixture were countered with a fantastic spread of home made cakes, quiches, and muffins, topped off with fresh watermelon and with freshly made sausage rolls thrown in for good measure. Congrats to the family Dix / Watson on this fantastic spread. And all this brought to you for the same price as a glass of squash and a Balconi Choco Latte*.
Avebury's chase of the total was stilted to start with, in the face of excellent bowling from Mumbai Under-15s legend Akash Saraswat **, and former Warminster 1st XI bowler Alex Adlam***. However, no-one pressed the panic button, and despite the departures of Gater and Rheinberg, the Chairman, Dix and Hartlief were able to get the score board ticking (eventually) at something approaching the required rate.
The innings was littered with snarky comments from the Warminster slip cordon about the quality of the Avebury track, and the sledging just went on over after over like a stuck record, marring (for some) what was on reflection an excellent and keenly fought game of cricket. Warminster would do well to realise that not every club has access to their deep pockets and grounds facilities, and that turning up to other people's grounds and being abusive about it does nothing for the spirit of the game or, frankly, for the number of clubs pulling out of league cricket on the grounds that it's just not worth the abuse any more. Want to spend your days playing intra-club games between the seconds and the thirds, lads? Carry on exactly as you are.
As to the impact of the pitch on the game, the neutral observer would suggest that ultimately most batters on both sides contributed to their own downfall. This was definitely the case for Avebury's middle order, who generally either nicked off (Gater, Hartslief, Dix), or all swiped horribly at Warminster's best bowler on the day (Marlborough's Kevin Ridley, who lives just a few miles down the road in Manton) whose 9 overs of off-spin was nothing short of was excellent, getting dip on the ball, and prodigious movement off the pitch.
An excellent partnership of 82 between Hartslief and number 8 Jeremy Richards saw Avebury to within 16 of the total, both batters mixing aggressive and patience to thwart an exceptional Warminster attack. Both batters having departed, the game looked to be slipping away from us, but an excellent stand between 15-year old Dan Dix and wicketkeeper Guy Clarkson saw Avebury to a thrilling win with 3 overs to spare.
Warminster departed swiftly after the game, ponying up the match fee but refusing the offer of a drink on the basis that they wanted to get home to their showers (Cue: A call to the disappointed barman at the clubhouse, who'd hoped some money might come back over the bar). A last dig at Avebury, from an excellent cricketing side who would do well (frankly) to just tone down the abuse from time to time (or maybe just concentrate on one or two quality sledge, rather than six an over? And do you have to tell a 15-year "you shouldn't be out 'ere, mate?").
Ultimately one hopes that this group (maybe on both sides) will one day (maybe when older) realise the sad, but ultimate truth, which is as follows: As cricket players (and lovers of the game) we have a lot more in common with each other than we do differences; and sometimes this is worth bearing in mind.
How do you judge a man? Whether he looks you in the eye when shaking your hand. No more so than at the end of a cricket match, when he has sledged you incessantly for 45 overs, and lost.
-- NOTES --
*See elsewhere on these pages.
** Source: cricketarchive.com, and therefore almost certainly wrong.
*** Source: Gazette & Herald, and therefore even more wrong, I'd expect.
Opposition: 20/20: Cherhill CC (AWAY)
Result: Game 26: Kippered by Cherhill!
Sometime you can get "done" in a 20/20.
Avebury's unbeaten 20/20 record came crashing down on a beuatiful evening at Cherhill's picturesque ground, thanks to a combination of factors!
- Logistics: People not replying sooner to the request for players. We had 5 the night before the game, then 17 on the night! Overseas pro Hartslief was duly stood down, as was the Chairman. Both could only look on and sup their pints as Avebury tossed it away failing to chase down the Cherhill score!
- Men and Boys: Young Max Woodford (11) was playing his first game of adult cricket at Avebury, and was repeatedly smashed out of the part by the Cherhill batsmen, whilst his poor father looked on and the Avebury Chairman apologising on behalf of all present! We should have done something different - not sure what!
- "Everyone Bowls" vs. "Best 5 bowlers bowl 4 each". We went route 1, Cherhill went route 2.
That's pretty much it I think. Well played everyone, and let's do it again next year!
Opposition: The Fulham Taverners CC
Result: Game 25: Won by 6 wickets
Bruce Crook's 46 not out, supported by Dan Hunt at the other end, saw Avebury home in the delightful evening drizzle, as Avebury chased down 134 in a little under 27 overs, having had a solid platform set by Andy Schofield (42).
Earlier in the day, Fulham Taverners had elected to bat first and were given a flying start by the brothers Maingot, who raced to 47 from the first 8 overs as they pounced on half volleys and long hops. Dan Dix made the breakthrough, followed by another quick wicket for grumpy ex-pat Robert Gater, bowling in heavy drizzle and looking utterly displeased about it!
On Day Three of their tour, the Tavs were certainly looking the worse for wear, but bravely battled through their hangovers, taking full advantage of a crate of beer donated by Rob Gater, and topping this up with another crate from the well-stocked Avebury Community Shop.
Back in the middle, the introduction of Spye Park's own Mike Du Boulay proved inspired, as Mike picked up 3 middle order wickets in his first guest appearance for Avebury. Pete Force-Jones bowled 7 tidy overs for just 15 runs (but went wicketless); Dan Hunt picked up 2 wickets with his legspin, and Jimmy "The Cat" Neve picked up a couple at the end. Avebury used 9 bowlers, with only Skipper Dix held back from the fray.
Gater's tea was very good indeed - he heavily under-sold it prior to the game, but getting his sister to make home-made cookies and a big rocky road was an inspired addition to the spread.
After the game we gathered around the wettest barbecue ever, drank every drop of alcohol in the Chairman's house, and agreed to do it all again in a years' time.
Opposition: WCCL: Bradford on Avon CC (AWAY)
Result: Game 25: Won by 8 wickets
Here is my match report:
End of match report.
(words fail us)
Opposition: 20/20: National Trust CC
Result: Game 24: Won by 67 runs
Extraordinary scenes at Avebury CC on Wednesday night. NT ring early to advise a shortage of players.
Avebury rally round, and ask Avebury's 1st XI opener Rheinberg to join the NT team.
Avebury post a good total of 144 - junior stars being Matthew Dix (14) and Max Woodford (11 not out), supported by some robust 30s from Crook, Tendayi and Schofield.
In reply, NT choose NOT to allow Rheinberg to bat, saying "it wouldn't be fair to our guys to bat him in front of them!!"
Wow, not sure I saw that one coming!
NT blocked out for a draw, closing on 87 for 6 in 20 overs!!
Matthew Dix and Max Woodford also star with the ball, taking 3 wickets between them!
Well done the Wednesday side.
Opposition: Spye Park CC (AWAY)
Result: Game 23: Won by 7 wickets
We enjoyed a splendid pint at the Rising Sun this evening, looking out over the whole of West Wiltshire and across to Somerset, bathed in a rare bout of evening sunshine and without doubt the perfect setting to reflect on the days events at Spye Park Estate.
Avebury's pursuit of the required 194 for victory in 35 overs was initially hampered by the Chairman running himself out, but Hartslief and Karatte (20) set things on course with a partnership of 77 in 9 overs. On Karatte's departure, Hartslief found a willing partner in Tendayi, who also added 13, and then Dix G, who made 26 not out from 16 balls to take us over the line in the 21st over of our innings.
Hartslief's 123 not out in 52 balls was a brutal but effective display of hitting from someone who earlier in the day had refused to allow Avebury to take the field with less than a full XI. Thanks Wes - we will no doubt be criticised for "playing you" - but you and we know the truth of wher we were today from an availability perspective!
The first half of the game had started poorly, with two members of the scheduled Avebury team crying off with a variety of excuses that touched upon plausibility but ultimately rang hollow. Taking the field with nine men (7 fielders) is never a great starting point for a game on a hot day, and so we were grateful for an inspired "on day" for opening bowler Pete Force-Jones whose 4-29 in 7 overs kept a lid on an explosive Spye Park batting line up.
No Avebury bowler had any answer at all to Lechlade CC batsman Tom Young however, whose imperious 112 not out was the innings of the match. He was extremely harsh on the ageing Chairman, and poor 13-year old Matthew Dix was hit for 8 runs an over as Young showed his class.
In the end, we were lucky that a 35-over format had been agreed - we'd certainly have been chasing 250 had we run the full 40 overs!
Opposition: 20/20: Collingbourne CC (AWAY)
Result: Game 22: Won by 40 runs
With (for the first, and hopefully last time this season) TWO players short for this midweek friendly, we trooped over to Collingbourne for our first T20 against our long-standing friends.
Collingbourne were very decent to lend us the services of Aaron and James Brett. Neither side could have foreseen the role Aaron would play in the game!
Batting first, Avebury got off to a turgid start, with Rheinberg in full "Brigadier Block" mode and Luke Neale following his lead. Eventually Rheinberg opened shoulders and perished shortly thereafter; the experience of Dix G, Crook and Tendayi saw us to a reasonable total of 148, with stand-in Captain Gater magnanimously putting himself down the order. Hartslief got 3 balls and made i think 2 boundaries. There was some real pace in the Collingbourne attack towards the end.
In reply, Collunbourne were (quite rightly) stunned as Aaron Brett ("he plays every week for us, and he's rubbish") bowled beautifully for his adopted club, taking 4-17 in 4 overs and swinging the game decisively in Avebury's favour! He was well supported by Dan Dix in another impressive spell, and some decent control from Luke Neale, Wes (bowling his much-hyped spinners), and James Brett bowling his unique brand of 20 degree inflection darts!
We retired to the EXCELLENT Barleycorn Inn in Collingbourne Ducis where we were treated to sausages and chips, washed down with an excellent selection of crisp lagers and real ales.
Which frankly, is what it's all about!
Team: Rheinberg, Gater, Dix D, Dix G, Neale, Crook, Hartslief, Tongayi, Chairman + super subs Aaron and James Brett.
Opposition: WCCL: Beehive Southwick CC
Result: Game 21: Won by 210 runs
Avebury sought revenge for an early season away defeat, which had (in the words of Fred Kerley) "left a nasty taste in the mouth" and had several players declaring that they had (frankly) had enough of league cricket!
Skipper Dix lost the toss, to whoops and bellicose war cries from the ecstatic away changing room.
On a worn pitch, under dark skies and with the threat of rain ever present, Avebury's 323 for 7 was a grand total in the circumstances - more convincing than their earlier performance against the same opposition, and helped by a century opening partnership from old school pals Rheinberg and Gater.
Throughout the Avebury innings, Beehive fielders made constant reference to extracts from the first match report of the game which was indeed flattering, and makes the continuation of these reports somewhat worthwhile, as the hand of the censor becomes ever heavier.
After the openers, Hartlief's breezy 47 kept the momentum going, before he was run out having been sent back by the Chairman on a tight single. This prompted a change of bat for the "Walking Wicket" Chairman, who then went from 50 to his third hundred of the season in 15 balls in a good partnership with H.Fry.
Dix G. and Crook kept the momentum up; Rama and Bruce both sacrificing their wickets in the name of getting a wriggle on; and Jez finished our innings with 2 lovely sixes over deep midwicket to help us to our highest total of the season.
After a stunning Emma Crook tea (marinated chicken for the coronation chicken sandwiches; hickory smoked bacon BLT; scones with clotted cream and jam; coffee and walnut cake, and lashings of brownies, all rounded off with watermelon and strawberries - please take note!) Avebury had one objective - get 25 overs in before the game was abandoned to the weather.
Having spent a good deal of time plotting an alternative bowling line-up to get the Chairman and Hartslief into the middle overs of the game, we abandoned the plan on account of the weather and the need to get 25 overs of low run rate into the game.
At 42 for 3 in 16 overs this was working a treat; but then the rain really started to fall and we spent around 45 nervous minutes in the pavilion wondering whether than was indeed the end of proceedings.
Eventually, play was resumed, and change bowlers Jez and Rob started to pick up wickets; second change bowlers Rama Adi and Dan Dix continued the trend, and Beehive were all out for around 80 in the 35th over of the game.
We repaired to the Club, bought each other drinks, and talked a good deal of nonsense for a good deal of time.
A week off next week for Avebury, and best wishes to Adam Duncan on his wedding. Another one bites the dust!
Innings of Avebury.
323-7 off 45.0 overs.
Avebury: "Walking Wicket" 101, Rob Gater 51, John Rheinberg 48, Wes Hartslief 47
Beehive (Southwick): J Dennison 9-0-62-3
Innings of Beehive (Southwick).
77-10 off 40.0 overs.
Target was reduced to 288 runs off 40 overs.
Beehive (Southwick): "Walking Wicket" 8-1-20-3, Rob Gater 6-0-17-3
Avebury won by 210 runs.
Opposition: WCCL: Beanacre & Melksham CC (AWAY)
Result: Game 20: Won by 7 wickets
On a windy and sunny day in Melksham, Avebury won the toss and bowled. 2 early wickets had everyone's hopes up, but Beanacre's 3rd wicket partnership was a big one and kept the game interesting throughout. The wind really got up at one point, and the bails at both ends fell off with monotonous regularity. The introduction of Pete Force-Jones finally did the trick for Avebury, with Beanacre's big hitting batters all eventually falling to his unique offerings, helped by some good catching in the deep and around the park. Rama also picked up wickets, as well as the Chairman in his final spell. 145 was a competitive total, but felt below par given the excellent batting surface and quick outfield.
Avebury's reply was cautious - Rheinberg and Gater plodding along with no concerns about the run rate. Gater holed out to cover; Rheinberg was bowled "on the heave'; and the Chairman accumulated 26 runs before being called a "walking wicket" and duly obliging by patting the ball to cover. Thereafter, Schofield showed his class with a patient 37 not out, helped by an unnaturally cautious Hartslief. The pair saw us comfortably home, and into the King's Arms in the centre of Melksham for an excellent pint.
Many thanks to Beanacre & Melksham for being excellent hosts, and we're sorry again for their loss.
Innings of Beanacre & Melksham.
145-10 off 40.2 overs.
Beanacre & Melksham: Matt Hunt 46
Avebury: D.Fry 6.2-1-13-3, P.Force-Jones 6-0-28-4
Innings of Avebury.
146-3 off 29.4 overs.
Avebury: Andy Schofield 37*
Avebury won by 7 wickets.