Osterley CC - Osterley 4th XI Vs Teddington CC - 4th XI, 3rd September, 2016

The 4th XI's season finished with what turned out to be half a game at Osterley. Osterley were third in the league at the start of this game and with Hampstead already confirmed as Div 2 champions and Indian Gymkhana unable to get promoted alongside them (due to there being another Indian Gym team above them), second place was still to play for between Osterley and Crouch End. The maths was such that Osterley could win their game against us and absolutely guarantee promotion or draw and get more points than Crouch End or have the same result as Crouch End and still go up. For our part, we were going to finish 5th in the league regardless of the day's result, so we were just playing for pride and enjoyment.

The Osterley captain won the toss and decided to ask us to bat. The deck was nice and hard and they'd cut the grass, so 4s captain, Matt O'Toole wasn't complaining. He opened with Dilan Camball and after a cautious couple of overs, Matt decided to let fly. We were soon ticking along so quickly that Osterley decided to introduce spin after only about 8 overs, because, in their keeper's words, the tall guy (Matt) was "crazy". We were 52-1 when Dilan (7) departed to spin and Matt had hit 7 fours and 1 six out of a total of 40 before, in trying to keep up with Tim Armstrong and Ben Williams' tallies for hitting sixes this season, he picked out one of their kids on the deep mid wicket boundary. Luke Saunders was promoted to 3 for this game, partly because no-one else had turned up when we had to get our pads on, but he proved what a capable cricketer he is by hitting 25 (4 x 4s), before he was run out in a mix up with Elliot Harmer. Elliot then managed to run himself out for 18. By this time we had accrued 129 runs at a decent rate for the loss of 4 wickets, so it wasn't looking too bad. Shaz Butt (35), Tim Harmer (who played very well to top score with 44) and Hasan Mufti (30) helped us along nicely, with Oliver Khan (14), Taus (9*) and Bobby Woodcock (8*) also contributing before Matt decided to sportingly declare on 265-7 after 47 overs, in order to give them a chance to win the game ("Headless" had persuaded him).

Teddington's innings will probably be remembered for the fact that it's the only game I've been involved in when an ambulance had to be called. This had been due to the fact that the Osterley captain had managed to concuss himself, falling over trying to catch a skier. After the ambulance and several members of the NHS had turned up, he had to be taking to Ealing hospital to be fully checked out, whilst after a chaotic break in proceedings, we eventually got back to playing cricket.

Tea brought a forecasted shower and so we sat and waited. It was still raining when we went out to field, but Matt said he would have played in a blizzard and only one member of TCC's 4s was moaning (a little). Taus then added to the days's drama as he took a wicket with the very first ball of the innings. 0-1 from 0.1! Great start, but we only managed another 17 balls before we all agreed it was getting stupidly wet. OCC were 22-1 at this point.

After about half an hour of sitting around waiting, though, it seemed pretty clear that we were done for the day as the sky was as grey as Matt's hair. We were also losing overs and their task of winning the game was slipping away very quickly. However, their stand in captain refused to shake Matt's hand and insisted on waiting until 6pm to see if they could finish the game. This was ridiculous, considering how steady the downpour was and how grey the sky was, but he probably didn't want to have to tell his captain that he'd given up any chance of winning the game and thereby guaranteeing them promotion at only 5.30pm. Oh well. Phil Eastland, by this time, had already made up his mind and got showered and changed. So had Luke, and Tim Harmer was packing the car and going home, saying he'd come back, if there was a miraculous change in the weather. Mufti also left. So seven TCC players were left when the inevitable happened and it stopped raining! Their captain started taking the covers off and promised to mop up the few puddles that were on the square. Matt agreed. One of Osterley's called him "brave". So Matt then tried to round up his four missing players and also the match ball which had inadvertently made its way into one player's kit! Not mentioning any names, though, eh, BW! ;) Headless and Luke sportingly got changed again for the third time that day and we were getting the stumps back in the ground when an angry blue blur appeared through the drizzle.

This turned out to be their groundsman who greeted us with the words, "Oi! Whaddya think you're doing? You're not playing on that in this. You'll ruin it. Get off!! Get off!!! I've got games left this season to play on this!!!" He then had a heated discussion with their stand-in captain, whilst Phil and Matt looked on in amusement. Their captain downed tools, swore and stormed off, shaking Matt's hand on the way in order to officially agree to abandon the game after all. After the rest of the Osterley players had left, their groundsman then asked us what they needed and when Phil replied, "Oh... only about 250 more runs in 18 overs", he exclaimed "No chance! Bloody ridiculous!"

As it turned out, all this drama had been unnecessary as Crouch End ended up also abandoning their game, so Osterley got promoted anyway. We needn't have played at all, but I'm glad we did. It was a farcically funny way to end a decent season for the 4s.


We finished 5th out of 10 in Division 2 this season, with a total of 85 points from 5 wins, 5 losses, 3 winning draws, 2 losing draws, 1 abandoned and 2 wins from conceded fixtures. This is a slight improvement over 2015 as we got the same number of wins, but more draws and less losses. You can see the <a href="http://cricketleague.play-cricket.com/website/websites/view_division?id=65092" target="_blank">final league table here</a>. It looks like next season will involve fixtures against Middlesex Tamils, SKLP (who?) and Highgate who have all been promoted from Div 3; we'll also have fixtures against Perivale and Twickenham, both of whom come down from Div 1.


Our individual stats for the season can be summarised as follows:
1. Faz Ahmed - 342 (High: 107*; Avg: 38.00)
2. Matt O'Toole - 334 (High: 102; Avg: 27.83)
3. Shazum Butt - 327 (High: 118; Avg: 27.25)
4. Tauseef Khan - 301 (High: 69; Avg: 25.08)
5. Elliot Harmer - 200 (High: 94*; Avg: 100.00!!!)

1. Taus Khan - 25 wkts (SR: 42.84; Avg: 24.72; Best: 4/0)
2. Elliot Harmer - 10 wkts (SR: 18.40; Avg: 16.60; Best: 5/18)
3= Faz Ahmed - 7 wkts (SR: 24.86; Avg: 15.86; Best: 3/17)
3= Ned Langlands-Pearse - 7 wks (SR: 22.43; Avg: 10.86; Best: 5/12)
3= Harry Polhill - 7 wks (SR: 29.29; Avg: 19.43; Best: 3/19)
6. Sheaml Camball - 6 wkts (SR: 12.00; Avg: 11.50; Best: 5/28)

1. Faz Ahmed - 5 Catches &amp; 1 Run Out
2. Neil D'Mello - 3 Catches &amp; 1 Run Out
3. Shazum Butt - 3 Catches &amp; 1 Run Out

1. Matt O'Toole - 6 catches & 2 stumpings
2. Freddie Kottler (colt) - 5 catches & 1 stumping

You can dig into more details on the play cricket website.

It's been a good season for the 4s and for the club overall. There were some personal bests (Matt and Shaz hitting their first tons and Elliot, Oli and Krish winning a game almost on their own, not to mention good bowling from some of the colts too (Sheaml, Oli, Adam, Elliot, Krish, Bobby, Oliver, Archie, Patrick and Luke, to name a few). The prospect for the 4s looks good. I'm already looking forward to next season!

Alexandra Park CC - 3rd XI Vs Teddington CC - 4th XI, Saturday 20th August 2016

Despite the fact that the captain (Matt O'Toole) had, during the week, put in the kind of military-level planning that would have been more suited to an MI6 Secret Service operation behind enemy lines in Eastern Donesk, the 4th XI's travel plans went straight out of the window Saturday morning as Taus decided to keep the captain (and Luke) waiting almost an hour beyond their agreed meeting time, with only the characteristic "Sorry, Boss" by way of apology. Sometimes you just want to slap that big, chain-smoking lump, but probably not a good idea. This meant that we were were going to arrive late, so Shakey (Neil D'Mello) was delegated to toss up and stuck us in, in what turned out to be horrendous blustery and wet conditions. Cagoules, anyone?

A long day ensued, not helped by the weather, which led to the odd delay. With a boundary that was spitting distance from the edge of their square (it was as short as Forest Gump's haircut) and bowling that was as generous as drunk in a gentlemen's club on payday, Alexandra Park's openers cashed in. Shaz Butt and Dilan Camball in particular received the kind of punishment most people would pay leather-clad inhabitants of dungeons for - orcs, I'm referring to orcs or dwarves, kids! - as they were consistently despatched for boundaries, Shaz going for four no ball sixes and ending up costing us 51 runs from just two overs. Suffice to say, this wasn't his best bowling spell and Matt made some quick bowling changes. After 20 overs they were on 168-0 (ouch! we hadn't even reached drinks!) and it took us another 29 runs before we finally saw one of them walking back to the pavilion (Shaz had thrown the ball over the stumps from the boundary to run him out!). Our bowling changes did have some effect in slowing the accumulation of runs, however; in particular, a change of ends appeared to suit young Luke Saunders who had an excellent second spell and picked up 3 wickets (10-0-58-3) and Patrick Elway again demonstrated that he could consistently put the ball in the right spot, as he returned the most economical figures of the day (6-0-21-2). Eventually, the opposition decided to take the Dignitas route and put us out of our misery, by declaring on 297-7 after just 42 overs. So, a big chase was on (with 50 overs to use up).

As this was almost certainly a dead rubber (prior to the game we did retain a mathematically slim chance of still getting promoted this year, but only if several other results went perfectly for us - quite honestly, we'd have had better chances with the Euro Millions), but it was worth going for it regardless (might as well!), so that's what Matt told his openers (Dilan and Shaz, the latter was opening for the first time for Teddington).

A steady pursuit ensued and, after Dilan (8) had skied one, Shaz and Patrick began to build an innings together, carefully selecting the right shots to hit towards a boundary that was shorted than Danny De Vito (or Snodders, if you don't know who Danny De Vito is - really?). Anyway, after 20, we were 100-3, after Patrick had been stumped and Matt (after a century in the previous game against these guys), decided to reduce his season's average by getting a second duck for the season to a ball that was going so slowly, it might as well have been going backwards. Neil came to the crease and mixed aggression with defence in good order, before he was cleaned up by one of their openers (who had been on their openers who had taken advantage of the Teddington bowling buffet we'd put on earlier to score a comfortable ton). This bowler was a chap called Zahid, who seemed to intent on winning the game single-handed, regardless of how much rain was coming down or how dark it was getting.

Garry was given out LBW by Matt and then Shaz's (surprisingly) excellent innings (118) was finally brought to a close. This had been his first ever ton, was the highest 4th XI score this season and had included 15 x 4s and 2 x 6s. He'd batted really maturely throughout the whole innings and unsurprisingly didn't want to leave the crease when he was finally given out caught and bowled. 

Taus and Hasan Mufti played a few shots to get us to 219 with 6 overs left and another 79 required. However, by this time, the rain was coming down in sheets and Matt had already had to insist that the fired-up Zahid had to bowl spin or not ball at all; however, one more over, it was clear to everyone when Taus fired a ball past one of their fielders on the boundary who stood there, shrugging his shoulders and indicated that he hadn't seen a thing, it became clear to everyone that play had become too dangerous for both the batsmen and fielders, so Matt and his opposite number (Ashish) decided to call it a day and settle for a draw, with us getting 1 point and them getting 4, meaning we would be both be level on 74 points after this, both teams guaranteed mid table medocrity this season.

It had been an eventful game for both the wrong and the right reasons. Anyway, onwards and upwards (or most likely sideways-ish - just moving up or down a couple of places before the season is over!)

View the scorecard here

Teddington CC - 4th XI Vs Richmond CC, Middx - 5th XI, Saturday 13th August 2016

This game should be remembered for the day in which some of Teddington's young colts proved what a collective bag of talent they are. 4s captain, Matt O'Toole had packed the team with young talent (7 in all), now that we had some of them finally available and we faced Richmond at home in a must win game (if we wanted to retain a slim chance of going up).

Toss won and on a warm, but overcast day, the opposition were stuck. Runs can be relatively easy to score on the second team's ground, if you get yourself in and this was proving to be the case, as Richmond managed to pile on 267-8, before declaring for the loss of 8 wickets from 46 overs. Elliot Harmer did well in returning 9-0-50-3 with his off spin, as did Adam Spencer (on debut), returning 4-0-24-2.

Matt decided to delegate the job of chasing this down to the colts and put all seven to the top of the order (it's not child labour, honest!), relegating himself to #11 for the first (and maybe not the last) time. Seeing as Tom and Patrick Elway probably hadn't had much chance to bat together, Matt decided to let them open the batting. Unfortunately, that didn't work out as they were both out cheaply and we were 22-2 and then 51-3 after Adam had followed for 10. However, Oli George was beginning to accumulate runs with ease (you've got to see his cover drives - they are Bell-esque!) and after he'd reached a very quick and classy 61 (12 x 4s), we were 98-4. Enter the stage, Elliot Harmer and Krishan Sachdeva. They smacked a few boundaries managed to accumulate 70 more runs for us, before Krish (35 - 5 x 4s, 1 x 6) departed, leaving the bulk of the rest of the work to an increasingly comfortable looking Elliot, who was on 40 by this point. He began to really lead the way then and after 36 overs, we were sitting on 200-7 with adult batsmen still left. Not all of these were needed, tho, as Shaz Butt joined him and saw off the remaining runs with 2 overs to spare! Elliot was left stranded on 94* (14 x 4s). It had been a class knock and takes his average for the 4s this year to a mere 182!! Incredible.

A great win and it had been nice that much of the 1st team and the chairman and a few others had been around to witness it at the end. Well done, lads!

View the scorecard



Hampstead CC - 4th XI Vs Teddington CC - 4th XI, Saturday 30th July 2016

A long trip up to Winchmore Hill's cricket ground saw Teddington 4s play top of the table Hampstead. At least we had 11 players this time!

Despite it being an overcast and warm day, Tooley decided for a change to field to see if we could chase down a total (Hampstead also had one of the best bowling attacks in Div 2). After about 35 overs, it didn't look like too bad a decision as they were hovering around 3.5 an over, but we hadn't taken any wickets and a few dropped catches hadn't helped matters. Then they took off like greyhounds chasing a rabbit and the scoreboard started really ticking over. After 42 overs, they had accumulated around 260 runs for the loss of 1 wicket. Their captain, however, decided to bat on to give their young #2 a chance to hit a ton, as he was in his 90s. However, his teammate then promptly ran him out and they ended up decking for 283-2 off 46 overs, thereby denying us the chance of a winning draw and 4 points, but also causing us to face the task of chasing a big total in a game which we didn't need to win.

4s captain, Matt O'Toole went back to his opening slot this week, along with Dilan 'Boycott' Camball. Lucas Birrell-Gray opened the bowling for them. He's probably one of the quickest in Div 2, if not the quickest and Matt was respectful of good balls and watchful for the first few overs, before he hit a half volley back over the bowler's head into the side of the tennis courts, prompting the slip fielders to describe it as a tennis shot. Bit harsh. Matt was out the next over to their wicket to wicket dull as dishwater #2 bowler to a very thin edge to their keeper.

Dilan, at the other end, was determined, it seems, to give their slip fielders some fielding practice, as he managed to score most of runs with the ball going backwards. During his innings of 46, he certainly scored at least 50% behind square and could have been out about 7 times. Still, you take your luck where you can find it. He had been joined by Rob Eveson and both of them together for a good period put on a 'Geoffrey Boycott' masterclass to grind the innings almost to a halt. At drinks, we needed about 10-12 an over and that quickly became around 15, after a flurry of wickets. For a period of around 14 overs, they had needed a wicket every 12 balls. Our batting certainly helped them towards this target, though and by the last over, we were 9 down and it was left to young Oliver Khan to block it out, as Luke Saunders lent on his bat at the non-striker's end, with the clear intention of going nowhere. He was facing Birrell-Grey who had already taken 5 and was still steaming in. Oliver stood firm, though, and patiently blocked everything, getting forward and demonstrating how to play 6 perfect forward defensives (he must have been watching Dilan and Rob earlier!) - and this was despite Tooley (who was umpiring) generously signalling a wide halfway through the over, so in the end, Oliver had had 7 balls to face.

So we scraped home for 1 point. The effect of this result was really to do Osterley a favour, as they had been 2nd in the table going into this game. For us, it was a long trip back to SW London, pride intact.

View the scorecard

Teddington CC - 4th XI Vs Indian Gymkhana CC - 4th XI, Saturday 23rd July 2016

Teddington unfortunately lost another close game this weekend against Indian Gymkhana.

4s captain, Matt O'Toole, had (somewhat controversially) packed the 4s with seven talented colts to give us some pace and agility in the field (something the 4s aren't generally renowned for), as well as plenty of bowling and batting options.

Having turned up a few minutes late, Tooley ignored the opposition captain's request to claim the toss and threw a coin in the air and actually won (for only the second time this season). It was probably one of the warmest days we've had this year and the deck looked flat and a good one for batting, so Tooley stuck us in.

Once he'd managed to remember to ask someone to fetch a match ball (doh!), Tooley opened the batting with Joe Woodcock, who had looked in good nick in recent weeks. Unfortunately, Joe got an underedge and departed for a duck and Tooley managed only 19 before stupidly falling into a rather obvious trap the opposition had set for just 17. However, Bobby Woodcock showed a maturity beyond his years to quietly pick the right shots, move the ball around and rotate the strike with Faz who was being his usual beligerent self. Bobby ended with a very credible 36. Our run-rate wasn't the greatest, though, as the oppo had a few slow bowlers bowling a really good line and their leg spinner was turning the ball both ways. When Tooley gave Faz out LBW for a ball that Faz reckoned hit him in the chest, it came down to some of the colts to pick up the run rate. The highlight of the whole innings was a superb partnership from Ed Lord and Elliot Harmer. Ed managed to quickly accumulate a classy confident 52 and Elliot added an unbeaten 36. Both managed to demonstrate what great cricketing talents they are, often charging down the wicket to loft the ball for 6 or 4 and scampering between the wickets like cats that had just spotted an open tin of tuna 22 yards away. A quick flurry from Taus and Elliot towards the end helped us to a very reasonable looking 235, as Tooley decked in a bid to force a result.

Indian Gym got off to a flyer, it has to be said and were racing along at the required run rate for the first half of their innings. It all came down to fielding or more specifically catching, though, as chances kept on bouncing out of hands. One particular player who shall remain nameless probably had one of his worst games as he managed to spill at least 4 and take one. "Catches win matches" is a cricketing trope, but it proved very apt for this game. Still, we managed to take enough wickets to make it another close game with them, as they only managed to reach the total with 8 balls left. Elliott returned figures of 8-0-46-2 for us, so he was the pick of our attack that weekend.

Crouch End Calthorpe CC - 3rd XI Vs Teddington CC - 4th XI, Saturday 16th July 2016

Teddington 4s travelled to Crouch End's pitch in North London. We ended up turning up a little late, mainly because Faz's sat nav decided to take us on a tour of Acton on the way. For, I think, the fourth game this season, we were again short of players and turned up with only 10.

We lost the toss and we stuck in. It was a warm day, but the sight screens consisted of large green hedges and the pitch was a tricky one, so it wasn't going to be easy. 4s captain, Matt O'Toole, partly because he wasn't feeling well himself, tinkered with the batting order and we opened with Dilan Camball and Hasan Mufti. Hasan clearly didn't fancy hanging around for long in the heat, as he was promptly pinned in front for a 5 ball duck. Joe Woodcock batted sensibly and accrued runs at a rate that wasn't matched by Dilan at the other end who took 20 or more balls to get off the mark. Both finished in their 20s (Joe - 28, Dilan - a 'Geoffrey Boycott' 23), Shaz hit 3 boundaries and after 'sickly' O'Toole came and went (to a good ball that was impossible to see), we were 89-5. Not good, as Donald Trump would say. Not good at all. We needed a score much more bigly than that to have a chance. Then it became the 'Faz and Taus show'. Our innings will probably be mostly remembered for the amount of lost balls it cost and the amount of time both sides spent in the adjoining allotments, looking for missing balls. It has to be said that the blame for this can be laid squarely at the feet of Tauseef Khan who seemed to be determined to have the abandoned by losing all the cricket balls in North London. Faz was also despatching the ball to the boundary and finished on a credible (if under par for him) 32. When Taus' rampage was finally over, the remaining wheels came off and we were all out for 168 off 42 overs, giving them 50 overs to chase them down at just over 3 an over. In all honestly, it looked a doddle.

In the end, they only needed just over 30 of them to reach the total, helped along by some inept fielding, it has to be said. We dropped a few catches, including one that was skied so high the fielder in question had so much time, he could have popped over to the scorer to give him his name before trotting back to take the catch; but he didn't move until it was too late and another chance was lost. Pick of our bowlers was young Bobby Woodcock, who returned very credible figures of 10-1-33-2.

After this defeat, it looks like we're looking at a mid table finish for this season. Still, better than going down, I guess. :)

View the full scorecard here

Teddington CC - 4th XI Vs Osterley CC - Osterley 4th XI

Saturday saw a top of the table clash with Osterley. At the start of the game, they were 2nd and we were 3rd, so this was effectively a 20 pointer!

This was unfortunately yet another week where player availability proved to be an issue. We must have made at least a dozen changes from the teamsheet that was originally sent out. In any case, by Friday night all 4 teams had 11 players, but this was quickly to change as one of the 1st team had to drop out which had a knock on effect on the teams below. Luckily for the 4s, Frank Davis dusted off his whites and cried on, so we started the game with 11.

The opposition arrived at moreorless the same time as the rain, so our start was delayed by 40 minutes. Matt O'Toole lost the toss yet again and we were understandably asked to bat. Matt again opened, this time with young Joe Woodcock. We got off to a fairly solid start, despite losing Joe early. When Matt was also out for 37, trying to pull one that kept a bit low, we were 69-3. Not ideal. If we were going to post a competitive total (200+), then someone else needed to contribute a decent double figure score. Unfortunately, Glenn Armstrong, Tim's father was the only one to do so, although Frank contributed a useful 16 late on. Glenn, managed to get his Australian brain around how to play on an English wicket and flicked and thumped the ball to the boundary. He ended up top scoring with 43 as we finished on 157ao.

Matt had been complaining to anyone who would listen how the game had already cost him £60 in new keeping gloves as he'd managed to drop one, getting on the bus on the way to the ground, so sporting a brand spanking new pair of white gloves, we started with Taus bowling his away swingers from the top end. Taus toiled away to his credit and ended up taking 4 wickets, but the opposition always looked quite comfortable in trying to chase 158 with 50 overs. One of their kids, batting at Number 4 with an undersize bat, managed to accrue 51 not out during an innings in which he only really gave us two difficult chances to get him out. Their opener put on 73 before he was brilliantly caught by Joe Woodcock with a superman-style one-handed mid-flight right handed take. If we thought at the time we wouldn't see a better catch, he only proceeded to repeat the trick later on. It was just a shame no-one managed to capture those two efforts on film as they were truly special moments. He also bowled a bit of off spin later on and managed to pick up a wicket, with Faz taking the catch right in front of his er, groinal area. Matt tried rotating the bowling options, but as I say, they always looked quite happy to tick along slowly towards their total. Matt took off his pads and had a quick bowl (still wearing a box, as their umpire refused to hold it for him) towards the end, but their young kid scrambled only a quick single off it to get to his 50 (the Osterley batsman at the other end had been selflessly blocking out over after over to give the kid a chance to get to his 50, before they won the game - their umpire was also steadfastly - and rather farcically - refusing to signal wides, despite the ball being bowled almost on the next strip.)

So we ended up losing by 5 wickets as they chased down the total in 40 overs. Ideally, we could have done with another 50 runs or so on the board.

So we're 1/2 way through the season and currently sit at 4th in the table. Hampstead and Osterley are both around 30 points ahead of us, so catching them is going to take some doing. We certainly need to win both return fixtures against those two, probably win most, if not all, the other remaining games and hope they both drop some points here and there to enable us to catch up and have a chance of getting promoted. Well, we'll see. Next week we're playing Finchley who are second bottom, so we should hopefully pick up 10 points there.

View the scorecard

Twickenham CC - 5th XI Vs Teddington CC - 4th XI - Saturday, 25th June, 2016

Last Saturday was a fixture between Twickenham and Teddington at Broom Road Recreation Ground. If you've ever tried to play cricket on this ground, you'll understand why I wasn't particularly pleased losing the toss and being stuck in. Why? Well, let me put it this way - there are mattresses dumped in laybys that have more bounce than this pitch. It was characteristically awful, which essentially meant that back foot shots were pretty much impossible to play.

There was some team management to sort out before we started as one player hadn't got the message that he was playing and Taus and Shaz breezed in about 1/2 hour late. However, Nigel Owen was good enough to dust off his whites and turn up at short notice, so we had 11.

Garry Meredith and I (Matt O'Toole) opened for Teddington. We were quickly 1-1 as a low one trapped Garry in front and whilst I managed to hit a few 4s, I'm not exaggerating when I say that I then got a good ball which started on leg and then swung around to clip my off stump (if you don't believe me, ask Phil who was umpiring at the time). To be fair, I was lucky I got the runs I did (13), because Phil was later to admit that I was probably LBW in a previous over, but he was reluctant to give me out simply because it would have meant giving me out for a duck and he didn't feel he could do that after my ton the previous week. I don't think those are the rules, Phil! ;) At this point we were 13-2. Neil D'Mello and Faz Ahmed got us to 43-3 when Neil was out and young Oliver Khan was playing quite sensibly until he also departed and we found ourselves 55-4. However, we were then to rely on the old heads of Phil Eastland and Faz Ahmed to get us to a more comfortable position, as they sensibly knocked the ball around and managed to add a partnership of 102, before Phil was out for a very credible 32. Faz eventually departed for 68 (3 x 4s and 2 x 6s), whilst the only other notable thing to happen during our innings was that Stan Nicholson was umpiring in the final over when he needed to have been putting his pads on. We could have declared there and then and foregone a couple of balls but Nigel had just come out to face, so Stan agreed to bat without pads, faced one ball and was duly run out. Still, brave to face any bowler without pads - cricket balls against shins tend to hurt! We finished on 187ao off exactly 50 overs, a credible effort on that ground and perfectly defendable.

The opposition then decided that tea was going to be a 'make your own sandwich' affair. Fair enough, I suppose, but the first time I'd seen an opposition do that.

To say their reply was slow would be an understatement. They were crawling along for just over a run an over for at least the first 20 overs and we should have had their burly opener out a few times. He was eventually to part for 24 (top scoring for them) as they pitifully blocked almost from the outset. Faz returned the best figures of 6-2-17-3, but Archie Talman also bowled very well to pick up figures of 6-2-13-2. In truth, none of our bowlers bowled particularly badly and all of them returned very economical figures, but it was definitely helped by Twickenham's defensive mindset. We persevered anyway and I even got Nigel to get out some of his leg spin to try and get the last few wickets, as I'd heard he once bowled for our first team. However, after 41 overs, they were 97 for 6 when I told Nigel that Phil Eastland was nicking his last one. Phil then hobbled in to bowl left arm around and their batsman was calmly knocking the ball back to Phil, when Phil announced to the batsman what he was going to do the very next ball. The batsman, for whatever reason, then popped the ball straight back into Phil's hands, so the innings ended on a wicket maiden for Phil, in what must have been his first over in some years. 

So we picked up another 4 points and stayed third in the league. Not a bad effort all round.

Teddington CC - 4th XI Vs Alexandra Park CC - 3rd XI, 18th June, 2016

Saturday saw Teddington take on Alexandra Park at a damp Bushy Park. The 1sts had already had to call off their match due to waterlogged square, but lucky for the 4s, the second ground drains quicker, so our game was still on. 4s Captain, Matt O'Toole lost the toss for the third time running and we were stuck in, which was what we would have done, considering it was cloudy and kind of damp. 

We eventually got underway only around 1/2 hour late. Even so, things were slightly delayed at 1pm when everyone except 4s captain, Matt O'Toole, were standing in the ground, ready to start. Matt had been tied up in the clubhouse, trying to deal with the odd case of two strangers turning up saying they'd been promised a game by someone called "Jay". After further investigation, it turned out we couldn't blame the lesser Mr Lockwood for the mixup as it transpired that this Jay worked for Gumtree and they'd simply answered an ad for players and were told to turn up to TW11 0EA and to ask for "Eric, the game manager". What? After Tooley had explained to them that that might have meant Teddington Town, he finally got his pads back on and we could start. As it turned out, we ended up playing with 10, so he really should have hung onto one of them.

If we had expected that it was going to be a tricky test of our ability to bat doggedly, this was looking quite likely to be the case when Rob Eveson, who (in only his third appearance of the season) was cleaned up by a yorker. TCC: 12-1. Tooley and Neil D'Mello then set about trying to rebuild. We'd got to 74-2 when Neil (8) skied a short one, Matt and extras having contributed the bulk of the rest of the runs by that point. Faz Ahmed joined Matt and before long, we'd got 90 when drinks were taken, with Matt having picked up his first 50 of the season.

Immediately after the break, Alexandra Park's captain (a nice chap called Ashish) tried to break the partnership by introducing a zippy off spinner. However, Tooley, who had rather superstitiously ignored the insipid orange refreshments on offer, obviously felt relaxed enough to see the newbie off in one tumultuous over which went 6-dot-6-6-4-1, including his first ever slog swept six. 23 off one over! Nice bit of impetus. Faz and Matt then continued to accumulate runs, including plenty of boundaries and Matt found himself in the enviable position of sitting on his highest ever career score as he raced past his personal best of 83. The opposition then began the usual wittering you see in these situations about the "nervous nineties". Matt was patient enough, though, to not let it get to him as he picked up a few more runs and reached his first ever century. You can see Matt getting to his ton on our Youtube channel. One of the opposition then started amusingly chattering about the "nervous hundreds". Following Matt's rather modest celebration, he quickly departed for 102, having hit seven 6s and eight 4s along the way. Nice captain's knock that!

At this point, TCC had a firm foundation, but only Faz (49) and young Oliver Kahn (24) then made any meaningful contributions with the bat, Faz being his usual beligerent self and Oliver (on debut) toying nicely with the opposition by continually lifting the ball over the infield into the gaps. After a bit of a late clatter of wickets, Tooley decked on 223-8.

We only had ten men, including a friend of Matt's who hadn't played for 20 years! Still, we had a number of bowlers to choose from and runs on the board, so it looked defendable. Alexandra Park opened with an older fella and someone who allegedly had just been demoted from their 2s and might well have been determined to prove a point. Taus and Oliver opened the bowling for us and whilst they performed admirably, the opposition were patient and selective with their shots. And that, unfortunately, is the way their innings panned out. They just kept themselves within the required run rate, despite Tooley throwing seven bowlers at them. Faz returned the best figures for us 4-0-24-3 and whilst we were always in it and managed to get them 6 down, they managed to chase it down with exactly 6 balls to spare.

An extra man in the field would certainly have made a difference and could have meant that we'd have ended up with 4 points, instead of zero. Still, it was an entertaining and good natured game. Their captain described it later as the "nicest game he'd ever played in" - albeit Tooley was letting him share his jug at the time.

You can view the scorecard here

Richmond CC, Middx - 5th XI Vs Teddington CC - 4th XI, 11th June, 2016

For this league fixture, Teddington played Richmond at QPR's training ground in Hayes. 4s captain, "Tooley" (Matt O'Toole) lost the toss and we were promptly stuck in in overcast conditions.

To say we got off to a slow start would be the understatement of the century, as Matt and Garry Meredith saw off 10 overs for only 12 runs; extras must have been ahead at this point as Matt was still stuck on 1. To be fair, though, Richmond were bowling from one end with slingy pace and from the other with the kind of tedious precision you often get from middle aged experienced bowlers who know how to bowl a good line and length. However, the patient start was what was needed as we were short for the second week running (9 + a very late "Dangerous" Dave Pearce). We plodded on and Garry and Matt had patiently accumulated 69 runs before Matt picked the wrong length to have a swing at and holed out to Mid On. Garry, however, continued to accumulate runs nicely and had reached his first 50 of the season, before he was out (also to a straight lofted drive). You can witness his dismissal on our Youtube channel here.

He'd been joined by "Shakey" (Neil D'Mello), who also picked off the bad balls and even picked up a couple of sixes, thanks in part to the short boundaries on offer. When Neil finished on a well deserved 46m TCC were 158-3. Neil's wicket was perhaps the highlight of the innings, with the Richmond player catching him nonchalantly using one hand whilst teetering over the boundary (I don't think even he could believe he had caught it). The tail wagged a little and we had managed to claw our way to 206-7 off 46 overs, before Tooley declared, thereby denying the opposition the chance of picking up a winning draw. They'd now be batting for either 10, 1 or zero points. Tactics, you see?

Ned Langlands-Pearse and Tauseef Khan opened the attack for us. Both bowled with effort and skill for long spells and managed to help us to keep Richmond struggling to maintain the required run rate. Ned ended up finishing with 16-2-64-2, which was a very credible effort. Economy seemed to be the order of the day with the rest of our bowling attack too, as Mohammed Omer Mirza (bowling for the first time in 2 years), Stan Nicholson and Harry Polhill all helped restrict their batsmen, whilst we picked up the odd wicket. Harry, in particular, turned the ball very nicely and finished with figures of 10-3-23-1. In truth, Richmond never seemed in danger of chasing down our total and eventually had to settle for 1 point, as they ended on 161-7 from their 46 overs. So, 4 points; on reflection, we perhaps could have done with one more bowler, but it was still a result that helped keep us in the top three in the league.

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Teddington CC - 4th XI Vs Hampstead CC - 4th XI, Saturday 28th May 2016

If you've not got time to read this match repot, I've summarised my feelings in this simple Haiku:

Difference between
Twenty two legs and eighteen
Is a gap and four

Saturday saw a top of the 1987 Div 2 table clash between Teddington 4s and Hampstead. Hampstead had won all 3 of their previous games, so were unbeaten, but so were we, even though we were 6 points behind them at the start.

The morning hadn't started so well, with one player injuring his finger and Fergs having to borrow Patrick Elway, so we started the game with 9 good men. Despite winning the toss, Hampstead's likeable captain, Andy, put us in.  Maybe he thought he could bowl us out quite quickly.

Despite it being a lovely, warm summer afternoon, Hampstead's bowlers found the energy to keep steaming in for the first ten overs. They'd bowled Edmonton out for less than 40 the previous week, so we were aware that they might have a good bowling attack. Dilan Camball and 4s cap, Matt O'Toole got us off to a fairly solid start and after 14 overs, we were sitting on 37. It was an okay start, but then Hampstead brought on an off spinner and Dilan was trapped in front and O'Toole (25) joined him 'back in the hutch' after mishitting a full toss to Mid On. Then young Freddie Koppler came to the crease and played a classy little innings and this, coupled with Faz Ahmed who was playing his usual beligerent innings, helped to get us to 93, before Freddie was out for a very respectable 24. Shazum then joined Faz at the crease and together they managed to take the score to 163, before Shaz (36) skied one. Faz continued hitting boundaries, taking 25 off one over and we'd made it all the way to 219 before Stan was cleaned up. This was a very respectable total and gave us something to defend, albeit with 9 men. Faz finished on 107*, having hit six 6s along the way - one was so big, I'd asked the opposing captain if we could have 12 runs for it, but he wasn't obliging.

If you've ever tried fielding with 9 men, you'll understand how much of a difference not having those two extra pairs of legs has on the amount of gaps it creates in the field. Hampstead got off to a flier and were quickly up to around 10 an over, despite Taus' and Dilan's best efforts. Both their openers had reached 50 before O'Toole gave his quicker leg spin a shot and we managed to get one of them out. However, with gaps as wide as the current budget deficit, Hampstead continued to accumulate runs at pretty much the same rate, despite what bowling option we chose. The effort in the field was definitely not lacking, especially from Archie who ran his socks off and Freddie also looked very capable behind the stumps, but we were always facing an uphill task and so it proved, as Hampstead comfortably knocked off the remaining runs for the loss of only 4 wickets in just over 21 overs. We hadn't even had a chance to take drinks or get Stan to lob some balls at them. To be fair, they could have taken all afternoon in reaching that total, but some of them had said they'd been in a hurry to go watch the Champions League final.

We just need better availability and less unexpected injuries and I'm sure we'll still be in better shape to beat them at their place at the end of July.

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Teddington 4th XI vs Indian Gymkhana, 21st May, 2016

Indian Gymkhana vs Teddington 4th XI, 21st May, 2016 @ Northwick Park, South Kenton, Wembley

The 4s played Indian Gym in this league fixture.  After receiving a phone call on the morning to tell us that we had a new venue for the game, Matt hastily made arrangements for the team to go to Kenton.

It was a big place and quite a nice place to play cricket. The square was reasonable and we had a nice view of the arches of Wembley where Palace were about to lose what looked like a good FA Cup final to Man Utd. But back to cricket!

Matt lost the toss and Teddington were promptly put into back in overcast, cool conditions. It looked like it was going to be a tricky place to get a decent total. Dilan opened with Patrick Crossley, but Dilan got a slight nick behind in the first over and we were 2-1. Patrick hit four boundaries before he was cleaned up for 19 (the banner at the top of this report actually captures the moment before that happened - you can just see the ball mid-flight, if you zoom in). We were 36-2 after 10, so it was a slow start.

Garry Meredith and Matt O'Toole then knuckled down and tried to build a partnership and managed to take us to 76, before Garry was trapped in front. 76-3. Faz pushed at one on the final ball before drinks, despite being told by Matt to make sure he survived until after the drinks break (you had one job, Faz!). Matt produced what can only be described as a golf shot for 6, then holed out to long on, trying to do the same thing. Hasan Mufti came and went quickly.

At this point, we were 90-6 and it wasn't looking great. Then it became the 'Taus' and 'Shakey' show as Neil D'Mello and Tauseef Khan managed to add 50, most of them coming from Taus and we found ourselves on 140-6 after 37 overs, before Neil was out for a sensible 16. Taus continued to beligerently bludgeon almost everything he could reach (you can see some of these shots on our Youtube channel), but he did actually hit a few along the floor and also produced the occasional forward defensive (look! I've got photographic evidence below). 


Taus then pretty much single handedly helped take us to a very decent looking 198-9 after 50 overs, after Matt decided against declaring, even thought the runs in the final few dried up rather after Tauseef had departed for a muscular 69 (9 x 4s and 2 x 6s). Still, 199 to win on that deck looked a pretty tough ask.

Matt then asked Taus to continue his one man show with the ball and we were looking okay for a good while. After 21 overs, we had them at 67-6. Taus had bowled a good line and been rewarded with 3 wickets. This period also included a great spell by Harry Polhill who had been a very late call up was playing his first game for 6 years! He took 2 wickets in his first over for 1 run and ended up with figures of 6-0-20-3. That's three weeks in a row now we've had debutants produce a great performance (he was good in the field too). When we had them 7 down, it looked like they were stuck either in a position of either having to gamble and go for a win or just accept 1 point and block out the remaining overs. However, they then put on a good 8 wicket partnership which meant that we were in danger of giving them 4 points as were running out of overs and they were steadily getting towards the 167 they need for a winning draw. 1 over to go and Matt got the umpires to get their calculators out before the final over to agree the target with the other captain (a nice chap called Nandan). They were on 156-8, so needed 11 to get 4 points or an impossible 43 to win. We needed 2 wickets. First ball. Blocked. Matt asked their batter what he was doing and was told that he was following instructions. It proved to be a ruse, though, as Faz's next ball was put back over his head for 6. 5 off 4. This was beginning to look like an IPL finish. Matt brings everyone right in. They get a couple. Dammit. 3 off 3. A single. 2 off 2. New bat now facing tho. They go for a single. Garry quickly collects and gets the ball back to Matt. Out! So after almost 7 hours, it all came down to the last ball. Their No. 11 needed to score 2 off the last ball to get them 4 points. We needed to get him out to win or to stop them getting more than 1 run. Faz is told by almost the whole team to bowl at the stumps. The ball is delivered a foot outside off (you had one job, Faz!), a swing and a miss and Teddington pick up 4 points for their efforts. Not what we would have wanted from the position we were in but we're still unbeaten so far this season, so all in all a great start. We're currently 2nd in the league! :)

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Finchley 4th XI vs Teddington 4th XI - 7th May, 2016

The sun was shining. We had a full team. The opposition were a friendly bunch. Blue skies, happy faces, green grass, the sound of leather on willow, isn't it.... what's not to like?

The 4s opened this season away to Finchley. We'd done the double on them last season, having beaten them by over 200 runs at our place and having won on the last ball with Headless proving that he can scamper 22 yards at pace when he needs to, even with those dodgy knees. But that was last year and a new season dawned.

We won the toss TCC opted to bat first, mainly because the sun was shining and new 4s cap, Matt O'Toole wanted us ideally to keep them out for 50 overs as it was meant to be getting warmer. The pitch was like a soft sprung mattress, with anything short just sitting up and saying "Hit me!". The ground also benefitted from very short boundaries. Matt opened with a newbie (Dilan Campbell). We got off to a solid start, before Tooley was pinned in front of leg stump and given out LBW by Taus (I have to say the umpiring was very fair throughout the game  - we gave them 4 LBWs and they gave us one). 27-1. The FOWs was then 60-2, 72-3, 96-4, 100-5 and then 114-6. We then lost two more wickets for no more runs and it looked like we were going to struggle to put on a defendable total (~160 at this place, according to Vice Captain, Shakey) when Dilan Camball was also adjudged LBW. Dilan finished on 41 (1 x 6s, 5 x 4s), having batted very well on his debut for over 35 overs. Three more debutants - Shazum Butt, Nick McLellan and Ned Langlands-Pearce then all contributed some very useful runs. Nick added a a fluent 21 runs and, with the last 2 wickets adding 43 runs, runs which were to prove crucial later, TCC finished on 157 ao, with extras contributing 28 (one of their bowlers finishing with figures of 15.2-6-33-4).

In reply, they got off to the worst possible start as Ned on debut got a wicket with his very first ball in competitive cricket for TCC, the Finchley opener swishing at one outside off and Tooley taking an easy catch in his buckets. First ball duck! I think that's a platinum duck, right, if it's the very first ball of the innings? Their innings went from bad to worse quite quickly when Tauseef got the ball swinging from the other end. They were quickly 6-2 off 3, then 9-3, 22-4, 27-5, 33-6, 34-7 and then 40-8 and we hadn't even had drinks yet! One of these wickets involved Taus delivering a ball that swung more than someone attending a wife swapping party, bowling the Finchley batsman around his legs and clipping top of leg stump. It was a beautiful thing to behold Taus finished with 11-2-22-4 and Ned returned 10.1-2-12-5. A five-for on his debut! Great start! Well done, lad!

However, if we thought they were now going to rollover, their captain ('H') had other ideas and added 69 more runs with their beefy No 10 and after we finally got him out, they were 109-9. From that point, it was still precarious as their No 11 helped their captain to keep the board ticking over. I think we dropped at least four catches in the field during this period, so it wasn't as if we hadn't had chances to finish the game. A change of attack did the trick, though, as Ned with his very first ball of his second spell, got one to bend back in and uproot their captain's middle stump. Finchley finished 132ao, so we ended up winning by 25 runs. The best possible start to a new season. Let's keep it up and get us back up this season to the top tier!

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Teddington CC - 4th XI Vs Twickenham CC - 5th XI, Saturday 29th August 2015

The 4s played their final home match of the season vs local rivals Twickenham. Despite their proximity and their captain being there in plenty of time we managed to follow the usual trend of starting at least 15 minutes late which set the tone for the day ahead.

Headless won the toss and we batted as we were now safe from relegation after Ealing conceded their game mid week.

Matt O'Toole and debutant Will Greenall got us off to a really good start. In fact Will hit his first ball in senior cricket calmly for 4. The opening stand of 102 was scored at a good rate on a slow wicket. Will ending up on 21 at the fall of the first wicket. Matt O'Toole continued on his merry way hitting as many to the boundary, 13x4′s & 2x6′s, as he missed before departing for his highest score for Teddington, a well made 83. Check his social media pages for a ball by ball breakdown of his innings.

Oisin and Shakey continued with the early momentum from the openers and with a cameo from Bob Fleming, 26, his runs not his age we declared on 267 for 4 off 48 with Shakey unbeaten on 70. Thereby preserving Headless’s average by deciding to drop down the order.

A break for rain of over an hour meant Twickenham needed 160 off 28 for 4 points. We were keen to play to give everyone an opportunity but sadly our enthusiam was not matched by the opposition total lack thereof. Their captain opting for 1 point from ball 1.

So the game ended in the dark after 26 overs at 101 for 3. Roy with 2 wickets and Jago with 1. The 4th team league does throw up some bizarre and interesting spectacles  and your correspondent is always surprised with what will happen next, but this was up there with the best of them.

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