Teddington CC - 1st XI Vs North Middlesex CC - 1st XI - Saturday 20th May 2017

Despite a fairly wet week in the run-up to the match, and an indifferent afternoon forecast, North Middlesex won the toss and elected to bat first. This approach had served them well in their first two games of the season, with the North Middlesex captain clearly thinking that was a winning strategy and a strong bowling attack would champion the otherwise bowler-friendly conditions which greeted the sides in the morning before play. This proved not to be the case. Jack Sever picked up the first wicket, clean bowling the young North Middlesex opener and sending off-stump cartwheeling. However, North Middlesex's other opening batsman, the much vaunted Will Vanderspar proved harder to dislodge. It took a moment of brilliance from the exceedingly agile Sam Cato and a minor misjudgment from Vanderspar to dismiss the opener for 18- run out attempting to take 2 to Cato at third man.

Thereafter followed an exceptional bowling display from the Teddington seamers, led initially by the self-professed all-rounder Pollock, who put in a solid 10 over spell into the wind, before being picked up by James Keightley and Charlie Hopkins. Keightley put in another exceptional bowling display, consistently beating the bat, and finishing with figures of 3-15, while Hopkins returned figures also of 3-15, in arguably his best bowling spell of the year. North Middlesex ended 77 all out, thanks to a final wicket by Oxford classicist Sam Cato.

Needing just 77 to win, the game looked in the bag at the interval, but North Middlesex were quick to remind the Teddington top order of their previous disappointing performance at Finchley the week before. After Keightley got the home side off to a good start, wickets fell in fairly short order, with Teddington reduced to 35-3 and some nervousness spreading on the sidelines. The fall of the third wicket brought Armstrong and Williams to the crease, with North Middlesex turning to their Middlesex left-arm spinner, Ravi Patel, to try to rip through the Teddington middle order. Armstrong and Williams batted tentatively, with a number of close shaves, as they edged their way closer to the North Middlesex first innings score. Armstrong unleashed some heavy hitting shortly after drinks to take the wind out of the North Middlesex sails, before hitting the winning runs off the final ball of the 29th over. Armstrong finished on 26*, including two sixes, whilst Williams walked off with 15* to his name, sealing a 7 wicket win for the 2016 League Champions.

Whilst on paper an easy victory, the final scorecard didn't tell the full tale, with the Teddington batting line-up still eager to post a big score to put some of the more vocal spectators back in their place. Next week brings Richmond, who are also 2 from 3 thus far this year, with the squad taking good momentum from this week's victory and looking to build on the ever growing confidence in the changing room.

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Teddington CC - 1st XI Vs Stanmore CC, Middlesex - 1st XI - National Knockout, Sunday 14th May, 2017

Having received a bye in round one, Teddington’s National Knockout campaign began later than normal at home to Stanmore.

Despite the BBQ season being in full flow, we were able to field a side more than capable of progressing to the next round.  At the close of the first innings (ours), some may have been wishing they had followed the example of others and joined them in various gardens across London for a burnt ‘dog and a bun’.  Having been placed nicely on 112-2, we proceeded to lose the last 8 wickets for just 42 runs.  The only highlights from the innings came from the Oxford duo of Winter and Williams who registered 55 and 42 respectively. 154ao from 44.1 overs.

At tea, the team remained upbeat despite the score.  All who had batted for more than 16 balls, of which there were 3, assured the rest it was not an easy pitch for which to bat on.  Ben Williams was adamant 40 was worth 80!!  Despite a few raised eyebrows, more so from those spectating, the side took the field with much enthusiasm and belief that the score was defendable.

Having sent down six overs of half volleys on Saturday with the wind at his back, Pollock felt there was a need for change and cleverly chose to bowl into the wind.  The change brought success immediately.  With the wind blowing a gale the ball was dropping perfectly onto a length just back from that of the day before and he was rewarded with the wickets of both openers, both brilliantly caught by himself down by his ankles.

At two down the enthusiasm reached such heights that the officials asked for the volume to be lowered.  As upstanding gentleman of the game the request was acknowledged and obeyed and surprisingly enough played into our hands.  The morgue-like atmosphere that followed completely sweeded the Stanmore middle order and accounted for three more wickets all to the changed man that was Pollock (5-28)!!

There was a brief moment of concern for the Teddington faithful when a drop on 0 cost 16 in 5 balls but alas it was to be Teddington’s day and Stanmore succumbed for 66 in 22.3 overs.

Ben W was right: conditions were clearly very tough and Pol finally managed to pick the right end!

The cup run is off and indeed running!!  Round 3 away to Twickenham on the 4th June.  All support would be very welcome.

Finchley CC - 1st XI Vs Teddington CC - 1st XI - Saturday 13th May 2017

Teddington made the long trip up the Northern Line to play newly promoted Finchley in the second league game of the season. Fresh off the back of a convincing win against Stanmore the previous weekend, the 1st XI turned up confident of progressing their title defence.

Having won the toss, Fear elected to take the field. The Finchley opening pair started well putting on 61 for the first wicket. Cato was the man to make the first breakthrough as the Finchley opening batsman played a rather agricultural hack at a full ball with the ball falling into the grateful hands of Sever at mid-on. JK snicked off the other opener in the next over which led to a swift collapse to 79-6, soon becoming 92-7 and then 116-8.

Cato and JK bowled well through the middle order picking up 4 and 2 wickets respectively. Cato would have picked up a first TCC 5fer if not for a dropped catch at backward point (in reality the long hop did not deserve a wicket).

TCC’s usual opening bowler in Sever was held back until the 30th over as a reprimand for turning up late (again). This turned into a masterstroke as he picked up two wickets alongside Armstrong who also picked up a couple. A useful 9th wicket partnership helped Finchley up to 148-9 and the last pair added a further 14 before they were all out for 162 – a rather low score on a good pitch and fast scoring outfield.

Alas, 162 suddenly looked a rather good score as TCC quickly slipped to 67-8.

Twiney and JK fell early to Finchley’s lively opening bowler before the middle order slipped away to Finchley’s non-turning off-spinners (other than Timmy A who got the only ball that turned all day….apparently). Fear and Elliott stuck around for a while, Williams, on the other hand, did not (at least he got a good time in the Marathon during pre-season though…), as Finchley put the squeeze on the TCC batsman.

When Elliott fell, caught off a long hop, Cato and Pollock were left with a further 95 required for victory. The score board trickled along as the pair got settled and mused how the other batsman had found it so tricky out in the middle. With 10 overs to go, TCC required just over 60. Cato departed stumped for a well-made 31 to leave the score at 131-9 – 32 more required in just over 3 overs.

New man Sever set about dispatching the Finchley attack to all parts including a lusty boundary over the man at long on (whether it went for 6 or not no one will ever be sure). With 21 needed off 2, TCC were still in the game as the Finchley spinner sent down what appeared to be five wides – this was shortly amended to four leg byes. Into the last over with 9 required. A single, followed by a dot and then two 2s left TCC needing 4 off the last 2 balls with Pollock facing on 43. Unfortunately the dream came to an end as Pollock inside edged a full ball onto the base of leg stump to send Finchley supporters into celebrations.

TCC came away with 2 points. It should be remembered that TCC lost their second game last season before running away champions at the end of the season, so confidence should still be high before taking on North Middlesex at home next weekend.

View the full scorecard here

Teddington CC - 1st XI Vs Stanmore CC, Middlesex - 1st XI - Saturday 6th May 2017

A beautiful looking Bushy Park, played host to the 1st XI’s opening game of the season. The deck looked great, the outfield was picture perfect, the deer were present and a full contingent of Teddington players had arrived early for preparations.

Stanmore won the toss and elected to bat on a flat one, and it looked like a good decision as they got off to a flyer. Bowlers struggled to find their length, dishing up a healthy serving of HVs that S. Reingold (37) tucked into. Ali Pollock got the first breakthrough for Tedders, sticking with his full-length tactic, managing to beat the defence of Mehra who fell over a straight one.

The scoreboard again ticked over quickly, soon passing the 50 mark, with the Stanmore's overseas looking settled and playing freely. James Keightley bowled tight lines and was rewarded quickly, finding the edge of Reingold’s bat, providing a simple catch for Timmy Armstrong at 1st slip. This was quickly followed by Shields (16), hitting a delivery from Hopkins straight to Tom Elliot at square leg.

Wickets came regularly from here, with Keightley finding a thinner edge this time and Rist managing to secure the dismissal on the 3rd juggle. Charles Hopkins continued the attack, bagging a quick brace, both caught behind.

With a partnership beginning to form, Sam Cato bowled nicely and earned the wickets of both Karia (26) and Patel. But another late surge from Reingold Senior (27) and Hirani (20) saw Stanmore reach 150 all out, with Keightley and Sever picking up the final wickets.

Tom Twiney and James Keightley provided a solid base for Teddington amassing 61 before Twiney was bowled on 27. Keightley continued to bat nicely but progress was halted again when Fear chopped on, bringing Teddington to 78 for 2.

Keightley managed to bring up a very well-crafted 50 as Teddington passed the 100 mark. Unfortunately, this was followed closely by Timmy A, snicking off to give Stanmore a glimpse of hope.

Williams managed to add 17 before getting bowled by a decent pill from the Stanmore seamer. Elliot also contributed 10 before an ‘interesting’ shot saw him caught and making his way back to the pav.

Keightley and Rist finished off proceedings, with JK finishing on a fantastic 66 not out. A great knock, that everyone is hoping to see more of this season!

A great start to league campaign by the current champions, and in keeping with tradition, a few ‘celebratory’ beverages were toasted in true Teddington fashion.

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Teddington CC - 1st XI Vs Oxford University Club CC (Oxford University Originals) - Saturday 29th April 2017

After a delayed start, Teddington was asked to field first to the disappointment of our returning overseas, Tim Armstrong, who would have preferred the opportunity for a long bat before the league season. As it turned out, this wasn’t going to be an issue.

Pollock and Sever took the new ball, whilst the Oxford openers compiled a steady start to their innings. The introduction of James Keightley brought about the first wicket as he trapped Escott (8) leg before. Keightley followed up with his second wicket bowling Naylor for 17 as Oxford made their way to 60 for 2 off the first 15 overs. This brought to the crease Rackow (58) who along with captain Hughes (40) increased the scoring rate and took the attack to the Teddington bowlers. At the drinks break 220 looked to be the par score, but after some fairly lacklustre bowling and fielding from the home side, restricting Oxford to below 300 soon became the objective. Oxford eventually reached 286 for 6 after their allotted 50. Overall, a disappointing fielding display from Teddington with much improvement required before the first league game starts next week (particularly with the over rate!). 286 would however provide the batters an opportunity get some runs under their belt in a chase.

Teddington started with good intent as Keightley looked in imperious form carving Pettman through the offside for three fours in an over. Sadly on attempting his fourth, a miss-timed square drive led to his dismissal as he was caught in the gully. Fear came to the crease and quickly departed, edging Marsden through to the keeper without troubling the scorers. This brought together last season’s leading run scorers, Twiney and Armstrong, who continued where they had left off six months ago. A combination of brutal power and graceful touch saw both men dissect the Oxford attack with ease as the scoreboard raced along. Both reached their well-deserved hundreds at better than a run a ball and reached the target of 286 with more than 7 overs to spare. A fantastic all round batting display that brought to a close a very Jekyll and Hyde performance from the 1st XI. Much better efforts in the field required next week please!

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Stanmore CC, Middlesex - 1st XI Vs Teddington CC - 1st XI, Saturday 3rd September 2016

TCC travelled up to Stanmore for the last game of the season just needing to win to claim the Premier League title for the second time in three years. There appeared to be three possible obstacles to our success: the weather (it was going to rain, it was just a question of when), a poor TCC record at the ground and the possibility of a certain Mark Ramprakash putting on a master class.

Things did not start perfectly. “Ramps” duly turned up looking fitter than anyone else in spite of being in his late 40s and JK lost the toss again. We were put in on the usual slow, slightly two paced surface which suited Stanmore’s less than lightening attack. JK and TT gave us a reasonable start before JK was given out caught behind and objected to the abuse being hurled at him while waiting for the decision. He had to be led off by his mate Ramps in order for things not to escalate further. The new captain-elect James Fear came in and immediately played a shot that came from his 2014-15 repertoire and so TT was joined by our bulky Aussie. He looked as though he had not done his usual Friday night training (he had in fact) and struggled to time anything. TT eventually hit it up in the air (again) which was the cue for last week’s super hero Ben Williams to arrive at the crease. He made batting look very possible and he Tim got us going towards a respectable score. With 15 overs left Tim decided to hit the accelerator pedal (too early we thought from the boundary) and after giving Mid On a sighter promptly put one straight down his throat. The rest of the innings was then just a question of eking out runs and we eventually made 222-8 which was quite respectable on that wicket (but what about Ramps?).

Over tea the skies darkened and our mood was not helped when we heard that North Mid had scored 301 against the hapless Bush. We clearly had to win and that prospect looked a distant prospect when Stanmore reached 40 0 off 10 overs, helped by some unusually average bowling from the bulky Aussie (kept on at least 3 overs too long according to those of us in the pavilion) and JLG. The moment of truth was upon us and enter stage left our captain. His bowling this year has been rather better than his batting and this time he delivered an inspired spell. Ably helped by the young grump from Cambridge, the old pro from Uxbridge and some really classy keeping from our coach from Finchley, TCC got back on top. However, the rains were coming. Would the umpires let us get to 20 overs in order to allow a result? Wickets fell (4 to JK) and it rained, hard in the 19th and 20th overs but Mark Williams (our new favourite umpire) allowed play to continue, actually until the 25th over. There was time for the bulky Aussie to drop Ramps (which really helped the demeanour of the young grump) before we came off with the opposition five down and well behind on the D/L run rate. Now it was a question of whether we would get back on at all later in the evening? It started to rain harder and the news from the Bush was extraordinarily in our favour. We had to wait for an hour before the umpires declared that no more play was possible and the league was ours. What had been the problem? North Mid had lost, and we had beaten Stanmore to win the league by 16 points in spite of the weather, our poor record and Ramps. Cue large celebrations!

(Author: Tim Armstrong)

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Teddington CC - 1st XI Vs Southgate CC - 1st XI, Saturday 27th August 2016

Following the previous weeks’ drubbing of Richmond, the 1XI had another top of the table clash in the form of Southgate.

After captain Keightley lost the toss again, Southgate chose to bat on what looked like a good batting track. Timmy A started up as ever full of enthusiasm and bounded in to deliver the first ball of the innings. Steel struck a few early boundaries which led the captain to bring himself on in the 6th over and with his first ball found the edge of Steel’s bat to send him on his way for 15.

Pollock came on at the other end and picked up a couple of wickets which gave Knappett three early catches to his name. At 54-3 in the 19th TCC were well on top with Southgate’s Sahota and Morton scratching around and giving the TCC slip cordon some much needed slip catching practice. Armstrong continued his cracking form in the slips this season with an impressive juggling display much to the delight of Nish Patel as two went down in consecutive deliveries. Following the second effort, Patel came close to giving the crowd a rendition of Michael Holding’s demolition of the bowlers end stumps but managed to show calmness beyond his years to control his rage.

Haydan Morton, Southgate’s overseas, was now on his 5th life graciously given to him by TCC. Morton now became a new man as he started to flay the TCC bowlers to all parts on his way to a run a ball 100. The change between his first 20 and last 80 was quite remarkable and helped Southgate to a competitive 239 off their 50 overs.

Opener Twinney was looking to maintain his fantastic run of form this season however succumbed to a spectacular bit of fielding from Southgate’s overseas, again another miraculous recovery from his somewhat slow start to the game, and was run out for 0.

Keightley and Fear attempted to steady the ship before JK was caught at long on off Southgate’s lightening quick opening bowler. After Fear went for 9 caught at mid-on, in form Armstrong and Williams set about looking to rebuild at 70-3 off 25 overs.

As the rate moved closer to 7s and 8s, TCC started to look to accelerate with Williams pulling out his full array of sweeps including one scoop into his chin which left him with a nice gash prior to his midweek trip to Ibiza. Whilst Doctor Patel relaxed on the side line, Knappett rushed to Williams’ aid and patched him up. Much like the transformation in Southgate’s batsman earlier in the day, Williams then proceeded to dispatch the Southgate bowlers to all parts ending on a match winning 106 not out off 60 balls. Armstrong also played his part with a handy 76 however tiredness led to his ultimate demise just prior to victory.

The result left TCC top of the table with 1 game to go away at Stanmore and a second league title in 3 years within touching distance.

(Author: Alasdair Pollock)

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Richmond CC, Middx - 1st XI Vs Teddington CC - 1st XI, Saturday 20th August 2016

With three games to go in the league season and with a six point league at the top of the table, we travelled to local rivals Richmond feeling well prepared for what we anticipated would be a closely fought contest, particularly as Richmond were still mathematically in the title race themselves.

If points could be awarded for warm-up aesthetics, Richmond would have taken the first round. Not that there was much wrong with ours, but there are some teams who just seem to warm up better than others. I often think too good a warm is sign of nerves – what’s been noticeable this season is that we have a group of players who have confidence in their own ability and know what it is they need to do themselves to prepare properly for a game (even if in the case of Tim Armstrong, where it’s three bottles of red and ten pints the day before – but if it ain’t broke…).

I apologise for allocating a whole paragraph to the warm up, but as it turned out, it ended up being a third of the cricket that was played that day…!

After winning the toss, Richmond elected to bat on what seemed to be a typical Old Deer Park wicket i.e. a bit slow and low. JLG (1-13) and Armstrong (2-7) opened the bowling and the first couple of overs were uneventful.

It was then at the start of the third over that wicketkeeper/batsman/coach Josh Knappett approached Tom Elliot to quietly ask (to avoid embarrassing him in front of his teammates) “why are you fielding in a sort of short fly gully, have you got lost?” to which Tom replied “concentrate on your own game champ, I’ll let you know if I need your advice. Skipper and I have got a plan.” And so it was proven as the very next ball, Richmond’s swashbuckling opener sliced the ball straight down Telly’s throat – a perfect plan, well executed!

And so it continued – 10 for 1 became 15 for 3 which became 30 for 5. Armstrong picking up two in his opening spell and the introduction of Pollock (3-21) and Keightley J (4-6) yielding further wickets at very little cost. As the 6th wicket fell at 32 for 6, an often used adage of caution was being banded around the team huddle “we know they’ll be a partnership, so don’t let it slip…” But it turned out not to be, as Keightley and Pollock continued their ruthless assault and skittled Richmond all out for 47!

Aside from the bowlers, special mention should also go to Jamie Wade for a stellar catching performance in the slips.

After a quick turnaround, Keightley (19*) and Twiney (25*) made light work of chasing the total, knocking it off in 11 overs without the loss of a wicket to complete a comprehensive drubbing lasting a mere two and a quarter hours in total!

Needless to say, the unexpected early finish allowed for ample preparation time for the TCC summer ball where after thrashing our local rivals in such a manner, the Sambuca shots tasted even sweeter!

(Author: James Fear)

Teddington CC - 1st XI Vs North Middlesex CC - 1st XI - Saturday, 23rd July, 2016

On a stinking hot and humid day in Teddington, we played host to North Middlesex who had provided us a challenging game earlier in the season. On what looked to be a batting friendly wicket, North Mid won the toss and elected to bat first.

The bowlers were summoned to the ground 20 minutes early to have a chat about the day’s proceedings, although the clubs keenest bowler, Timmy A, didn’t arrive for our pep talk as the skipper thought it would be best for him to have the extra lie in; we presumed he might have had a skin full the night before. Clearly the pre match chat looked to have worked to start with with some tidy bowling first up from Pollock and Sever, Pollock unlucky not to get a clear LBW. After no breakthrough and at 35-0, JK decided enough was enough and on came Tim and himself to have a crack. Four quick wickets were to follow with 3 for Keightley and 1 for Tim leaving North Mid 55-4. Armstrong made way for Sever just before lunch and himself bagged 2 wicket to leave them 71-6 at lunch.

Two quick wickets for Sever in an over after lunch left them 79-8 and thoughts of all out for under 100 looked on. However, a good partnership from Newton and Brand saw the score to 103. The last two wickets fell for no runs so Teddington were to chase 103 on a seaming deck. A great effort by the bowling attack to keep the opposition to a low score that we believed was easily achievable.

North Middlesex started off well with two quick wickets to leave Teddington 10-2. After a brief partnership between Twiney and Armstrong was broken with Armstrong caught behind the wheels fell off for Teddington. Twiney was give out LBW to ball that was nearer his throat than the stumps. There were some starts by Keightley (15) and Knappett (12), but no one could progress on.  With some poor shots and some good bowling, Teddington were down to 74-9.

In the reverse game earlier in the season it was left to Sever and DK to get the remaining 23 runs. Today, though, was a greater task, 29 runs and a seaming wicket with Hughes unplayable at times; however, his ego never showed that and what a charming chap he is!!!!!

After a few good leaves that went for 4, a few wides, byes and some nudging and nurdling by Sever and DK, it looked as though they might have pulled off yet another great escape from the jaws of defeat. Unfortunately that was not to be the case. Bird got the final wicket leaving the Teddington team dejected.

In summary, Jack’s dad and Roy are no longer on speaking terms and cricket is s*** when you lose. Oh and check out Sever’s average.

View the scorecard here

Ealing CC 1st XI Vs Teddington CC 1st XI - Saturday, 16th July 2016

A scorcher of a day at Ealing cricket provided the setting for the League leaders to host a Teddington side, once again, ‘fresh’ from a perilous Thursday / Friday Lords Test match combo. However, with the Lord’s curse having been broken at ‘Shey Boo’ just a month previous, the boys were buoyant, and keen to make up for 2 rained off games costing precious points.

James ‘The Labrador’ Keightley won the toss and elected to put Ealing in to bat on a wicket that was as flat as Keir Knightley's chest.

Once more, the skipper rallied the bowlers with a private discussion on pitch to great effect. Sever and Pollock controlled the ball well from the start, but as suspected, the slightest of slips on this wicket and the Ealing openers were quick to capitalise and put away a few early boundaries. This would surely be a 300 par deck!!!

Pollock was rewarded for his tight bowling and toil up the hill by drawing first blood, dismissing Wakefield who lost his leg stump convincingly.

Some fantastic partnership bowling from JK and Tim Armstrong saw both batsmen really scratch around for anything to hit. Somehow the ball was seeming around off this road of a pitch and the chances were beginning to come.

Keightley trapped Morton leg before, to great delight of those who chased a double ton’s worth of leather earlier in the season at Bushy Park.

The lads didn’t have to wait long for number 3 as James took the edge of Ashok 1st ball and a smart catch from Wade at second slip “finally saw him do something decent this season”. His own words.

Armstrong followed suit and claimed the wicket of Elech. Another great catch from Wade at second slip, who must have limited faith in JK’s catching ability having dived right in front of him at 1st. Greedy, but solid catching, and we weren’t complaining.

A fantastic effort from the bowlers had got Teddington in to a great position with Ealing 73-4. Ollie Wilkin managed to steady the ship slightly playing through injury but striking the ball nicely. David Keightley entered the attack to mix things up with a bit of spin and was rewarded for his tight bowling by forcing Wilkin to take a few risks. A top edged sweep saw the demise of Wilkin when Rist ran round to take the catch with the gloves.

Dave Keightley was in to his stride now and promptly went through the tail and earning a well deserved Michelle Pfeiffer.

A great job by all the bowlers in tough conditions, skittling Ealing for 171.

Both James Wade and Tom Twiney opened the batting solidly and made the wicket look as dead Michael Gove’s political career. 50 for no loss, 75 for no loss, 100 for no loss. The boys were batting effortlessly and both looked set.

Unfortunately, Wade couldn’t manage to kick on and was dismissed for 41 by Marshall.

Twiney began to go through the gears after having reached a half century and was hitting boundaries with ease. Ably assisted by James ‘The Pair’ Fear, Twiney steered Teddington towards victory. Fear tried his best to make things difficult for Twiney to reach his ton, leaving him 12 runs to finish the game when on 88. “No problems” said Twiney, who promptly hit 4, 6, 4, to both win the game and bring up his 100 in emphatic style.

A fantastic knock and some superb bowling leave Teddington sitting in pole position at the top of the Middlesex Prem.

(Author: Will Rist)

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Southgate CC - 1st XI Vs Teddington CC - 1st XI, 25th June, 2016

On arrival at Southgatem it became clear to all that, due to the overnight rain seeping under the covers, bowling from the top end was going to cause the batsmen the most problems. Clear to all except that is, Teddington’s strike bowler, Jack Sever, who prefers to challenge himself and opted (much to the delight of Ali Pollock) to toil up the hill into the breeze!

Nonetheless, both seamers bowled miserly opening spells and barely let the run rate creep above one an over. Pollock in particular made good use of the conditions picking up 3 wickets for only 8 runs in his 7 overs.

Armstrong and the Keightley brothers picked up where they left off and when lunch was taken Southgate had crawled painfully to 76 for 6 from 33 overs.  Southgate’s opening bat was particular pleased his club had not made a similar scoreboard investment to Eastcote, such that his strike rate of 26.6 was not on display for all to see!

Sadly, this was the last of the cricket to be played as just as we were about to go back out after an exceptionally good lunch, the heavens opened and delivered a downpour from which the pitch didn’t recover.

Being the second abandoned game in a row, this has resulted in a measly return of only 2 points in 2 weeks. Such is the new bonus point scoring system, this is 2 less than a possible 4 had we had lost both games. A somewhat bitter observation perhaps, but for a team that has a genuine chance to win this league, let’s hope the weather gods look upon us more favourably going forward!

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Shepherds Bush CC - 1st XI Vs Teddington CC - 1st XI, 11th June 2016

If you are searching for an omen at the start of a cricket match, look no further than the team warmup.  On one side of the outfield a young, keen, exuberant outfit, newly promoted and confident are executing well-rehearsed fielding drills with energy and precision.  On the other a disorderly rabble are gradually emerging from the safety of the dressing room to begin a game of football as chaotic as it is lacklustre.  A last-minute scramble for a wicket-keeper, two faulty sat-navs and a few souls left behind in the Harris Garden meant that Teddington could have been better prepared.  Far Eastern betting syndicates were piling in on Shepherd’s Bush to continue their strong start to the season and for Teddington to extend their disappointing run of results on the Saturday of a Lord’s test.

However there were two men who hadn’t read the script.  Captain Keightley, fearing the wet weather on the horizon, opted to field and promptly ordered his bowlers into a private on-field meeting.  Whatever was said during this meeting is still the subject of great intrigue, however it was sufficient to rouse the attack into their best performance of the season as the home side were dismissed for 194.  Jack Sever, fresh from a weekend of pre-marriage soul-cleansing, led from the front, bowling with pace and movement to make early inroads and leave the Bushmen on 35-2.  Jack was complemented after the game for his resemblance to Liam Plunkett, and on this performance he could rightly claim the confusion to be created by his bowling rather than just his beard.  Shepherd’s Bush recovered well with some counterattacking strokeplay from swashbuckling captain Jack Brydon, well supported by Massey and Bryan in the middle order.  However Teddington’s bowlers kept plugging away and were rewarded with wickets at vital times.  Bryan was the fourth wicket to fall at 158, and from this point it was a steady procession of wickets as Teddington began to turn the screw.  Sever came back to complete a well-deserved five-wicket haul and Charlie Hopkins completed the innings as the final 7 wickets fell for 36 runs.

Throughout the first innings Tim Armstrong stood brooding at slip.  Nine misery overs for 13 runs and his first throw in anger of the season were the only brief glimpses of what was to come.

Teddington’s response didn’t start as planned, with both of the opening Toms quickly back in the shed without unduly troubling the scorers.  This brought together the pairing of in-form James Fear and Armstrong, who watchfully saw off Shepherd’s Bush’s lively opening pair of Morse and Howell, gaining in confidence as the partnership grew.  Armstrong in particular seemed at home on a pitch where other batsmen had toiled, effortlessly sending a series of glorious back foot shots screaming to the boundary and a towering six that had nearby tennis players ducking for cover.  Their match-winning partnership of 150 swung the game in Teddington's favour and when Armstrong was eventually out for 99 from 97 balls the visitors needed only 30 to win.  Fear followed soon afterwards for 60, unbelievably being run out while backing up for the second time this season.  The series of calamitous dismissals continued as the Harris Garden once again threatened to rear its head but with the home team sensing an unlikely victory it was left to the calm and collected Johnny Smith to take Teddington over the line.

A brief mention for Stefan Bullon, who stepped in behind the stumps after a mysterious escalator-related injury for regular gloveman Will Rist.  Stef kept with aplomb, taking two catches, and then saw the team home when the batting was looking dicey.  Most notably he performed an admirable lapping service with Dave Keightley, setting a new record for marching round the Shepherd’s Bush ground of which several guardsmen, trooping the colour not too far away, would have been proud.

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Eastcote CC - 1st XI Vs Teddington CC - 1st XI, 4th June, 2016

On a very mild muggy day the first XI travelled to Eastcote looking to make it 4 from 5.  Having won the toss the skip asked Eastcote to bat first and early wickets were the order of the day with showers forecast for later in the afternoon.  Tim had not conceded a run when he took the first wicket trapping Sagoo in front (13-1).  The score had moved to 40 before JK removed Eastcote’s overseas caught behind and the opposition were soon 98-5 with DK bagging himself two in quick succession and Pollock returned to clean up Hirani.  Lotay had made a patient 68 before he gifted his wicket away caught at mid-off trying to go over the top and when Savage went (133-7) it could be said that thoughts turned to the ‘best teas in the league’.  This would be to our detriment as Eastcote’s tail wagged and they posted a score perhaps 40 more than they should have! 

After what was a very enjoyable tea we set about our target.  Although 182 was the lowest score we have been set this season it looked a long way away with both Twiney and Fear back in the pavilion before the score had reached 30.  Timmy A got a good one which cut back through the gate and at 51-3 the games was arguably in the balance!  Benny Williams and the skip then batted through to take the score to 104 before the skip departed for 44.  Benny W soon followed, stumped when attempting to hit the ball to the moon.  Wadey and Tom Elliott then built the necessary match winning partnership.  Manipulating the ball into the gaps brilliantly and running very well.  With the finish line in sight Wadey unfortunately succumbed to a short one for a well-made 31, Chimp came and went to make it that little more interesting! And so it was left to Tom (33*) and 'Risty' (Will Rist) to see us over the line.

Another win on the board but it is fair to say it was a fairly underwhelming performance by us from start to finish.  The positive though is we keep winning, long may it continue.

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Teddington 1st XI vs North Middlesex 1st XI, 21st May, 2016

Last Saturday saw the team make a tough away trip to North Middlesex, a venue that has not been kind to us over the past couple of seasons. Having a 1-1 record so far this year, whilst nothing was said beforehand, everybody knew the importance of the game in trying to build up some momentum for our league campaign. 

North Middlesex chose to bat first and posted a slightly above par 241 in their 50 overs. It was based around a well made 97 from their number 3, who made it difficult for us to ever really take control of things. It's very much a new look bowling attack for the team this year and whilst still a long way from where I think we will get to, improvements were there to be seen, and the team as a unit stuck to the task well enough.

Having scored over 300 in both of the previous weeks, though, and with nearly all the batters in form, we were quietly confident that a 'mere' 241 would not prove a problem. 

About 40 minutes later it felt like it might be a problem as, after being second man out, in the time in took to take off my pads and find my ******* keys (how many pockets can one bag have!), I was joined swiftly by our 2 centurions from the previous 2 weeks. But this is a batting unit with confidence in each other and Ben and Tom Elliott assuredly began to get us back into the contest. It was a mature partnership that took us from 34-4 to 125 before the latter was bowled for 33. 

From here, whilst others would need to do their bit it was clear we needed something a bit special from Ben Williams and that is exactly what we got. His composure, and the efficiency and power of his stroke play was something I'd have paid to watch (technically I did- £12). In making his 113 of 106 balls, he took us to the brink of victory (20 to get when he was finally dismissed) but it was left to Jack and DK, our final pair, to somehow find us those extra few runs we needed and once again we were slightly second favourites.

However Jack, our new fast bowling recruit, played as most number 10s do with an apparent freeness/total lack of awareness - I don't know him well enough to make that call yet - despite the perilous state of the game. With 5 needed and most of the team quietly mouthing 'just knock it about lads', Jack decided it was time to end it there and then and promptly with a long heave of the bat lifted the ball just far enough over long-on's head for the 6 that brought us victory.

So to summarise: Roy of the Rovers stuff from the new boy Jack (a six to win the game), another mention to Ben for an amazing innings (his second match winning century in a row); and 2 wins from the first 3 sets us up nicely for a big game this week against Hampstead. This team has some good players and should only get better from here too, which is an exciting prospect. 

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Teddington 1st XI vs Ealing 1st XI, 14th May, 2016

After a fantastic start to the season in week 1, week 2 saw us back at Bushy Park to host an Ealing side who had amassed a huge 377 runs the previous week.  On winning the toss JK invited Ealing to bat first in the hope that the rain that had fallen all week would offer some assistance to the new ball bowlers.  Jack Sever bowled nicely early on and was rewarded with two wickets but could not find a partner in crime from the other end.  Morton was pummelling the bowling to all parts and raced to a chanceless hundred.  Robbie White provided Morton with the necessary support and the two had put on 156 before Tim got White to nick one behind and give the Ozzie his first wicket of the summer.  Runs continued to flow and none of the 6 bowlers had any answers for Morton who was soon raising his bat for the fourth time of the afternoon and celebrating a belligerent double hundred.  Ealing finished on 363-6 with Morton finally falling on the last ball of the innings for a league record score of 232.

For the second week in a row we would need something special to chase down the 300+ total.  The skip came and went and it was Twiney and Fear who picked up where they had left off the week before, taking advantage of anything slightly off line.  We were well ahead of the rate when Tom went for a very entertaining 72.  Tim came in and wasted no time in adding to his nine sixes from week one.  Not yet being that familiar with the home ground and knowing a small lob wedge will get you over the rope when hitting to the 3rd XI pitch Tim tried to hit the ball to the moon and in doing so unfortunately failed to make connection and was stumped.  Regular wickets fell but James Fear stood strong and reignited the chase with a huge slog sweep over the scorebox.  We needed 11’s for the last 10 and despite all his efforts no one could stay with James long enough to make a telling contribution.  We finished on a very respectable 330-9, securing 2 bonus points in the process despite losing and James ended up with a brilliant 126*.  A few lessons learnt with both bat and ball and lots of positives to take forward.

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Teddington 1st XI vs Twickenham 1st XI - 7th May, 2016

The league campaign began on a sunny Twickenham Green.  Having lost the toss, we were asked to go and graze in the outfield first.

We got off to the best possible start with Hannah nicking off Berger with his first league ball of the summer.  Twickenham's two new recruits, Middlesex Academy player Manuwelge and Gloucester Academy player Lezar steadied the ship and took advantage of some indifferent bowling.  Chimp got us our second when he trapped Lezar in front with the score on 96.  One Lezar replaced another as MYCC YC Marc Lezar came in and instantly increased the run rate with some powerful hitting down the ground.  Manuwelge went about his business picking up anything slightly off line being particularly destructive to anything that strayed leg side.  DK got on the board by dismissing Lezar for a well-made 72.  An onslaught came in the remaining overs which pushed Twickenham's total past the 300 mark, Manuwelge finishing with a very impressive 138*.

305 was the target, a daunting one you may think, but the four that batted had other ideas.  Twiney and Keightley J got the side off to the best possible start and the score had raced to 121 before JK was dismissed for 57 (52 balls) in the 17th over.  Twinners followed him back soon after for a composed 62 (70 balls).  It then simply became the Pear and Armstrong show.  Both latched on to everything and anything they could and simply didn't bother running.  Multiple boundaries each over became the 'norm' and the houses across the road were taking a pasting!  Armstrong got to his 50 first and Pear was raising his bat the next over.  I am not sure what was discussed at the end of the 34th over but I would suggest by what followed it must have been something along the lines of 'let's go home'!!!  We fast forwarded to 297 in the 42nd over, 8 to win, Armstrong needing 6 for his maiden TCC hundred.  A towering 6 into the houses was followed by a monster hit into the industrial estate, Armstrong 106* (9x6's and 6x4's), Pear 64* (8x4's) and an emphatic win for the team.  A great team effort all round and a fantastic start to what promises to be an exciting year!!

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