Friday, 13 May 2022

Normal Service Resumed at Millfields

Millfields 234 for 5 off 40. 
Mandarins 166 for 8 off 40 (Stancombe 64*). 
Lost by 68 runs.


Blue sky, fresh sunshine, Spring trees at their peak, the South Circular, although within reach of a Millfields slogger - he actually hit it over the road -, strangely silenced as if in thrall to the spirit of nature: it was a near perfect day for cricket on a good track. The West Indians on the adjacent pitch clearly thought so too, and clones of Michael Holding and Viv Richards pummelled each other all afternoon. As I went to the gents at tea time they hit the ball onto the pavilion roof. As I came out of the gents they did it again. It was high quality stuff.

Our game was a bit less consistently spectacular, but lots of good cricket nonetheless, unfortunately most of it played by Millfields. That said Mandarins made a good start, Zac picking up a couple in his opening spell. It would have been better still had we taken the three chances offered by Tom Collis, none of them particularly taxing, but we let him score 40 odd before snaring him. It would have been better had Rob not tweaked the hamstring after three overs and had to retire. Fortunately Adam the GCSE troglodyte was on hand to do some subbing. Rob returned unable to bowl but picked up a surprisingly athletic catch at square leg to give Dan his only wicket. This was in the middle of the first Millfields acceleration after Hursty and Rakesh had tied them down tight - a combined 16 overs for 46, with Rob included, 19 for 54. Do the maths on the back of your envelope to work out what the rest went for. The short boundaries and fast outfield tested us, and whilst we bowled some good overs in the second half, and Healey got a couple of them out, the pendulum was definitely swinging to Millfields. Their second acceleration was more of a shock and awe blitzkrieg as the last two overs were blasted for 42.

Pensive described the Mood at tea. Skipper Graeme led from the front scoring 28 in the reply, but like the whole of the top order he lacked fluency. We took drinks at 62 for 3, still only 20 behind the Millfields score at the same stage. A good game to win from there to coin a phrase. Then Millfields brought on Cairan Cooper, their opening bowler who will be the fastest thing we see all season. Suddenly it looked like county cricket with the four slips 20 yards back. We fell away further, chances reduced by George "baxtering" Chris Healey. This followed closely on his "baxtering" of Baxter on Thursday, so those batting with Warren be warned, a new contender for the Robin Butler/Mike Richardson Trophy is emerging this season....

As we went to 81-7 the prospect of being close to the top ten heaviest defeats of all time was still in play, but having just avoided this statistical calamity when the 8th fell at 87, Cooper came off and Millfields withdrew their jackboot from our jugular. The beneficiaries were Zac and Rob, who played some pleasing shots, not merely to reduce the margin of defeat to respectability but to post a new Mandarin all time record of 79 for the 9th wicket, overtaking the 75 scored by JC Jarvis and JC Gray against Charlatans in 2008. Congratulations chaps, and in particular to Zac for his maiden club 50, a consolation prize for a day when we definitely came second.

Chris Baker

Sunday, 8 May 2022

Bad Day for the Bean Counters

Mandarins 134-3 beat HM Treasury & CO 97-5 Chiswick

Thursday 5th May (T20)


It was a bleak enough day already for the Treasury, before anyone even arrived at Chiswick. Interest rates were up, inflation was forecast to hit 10%, the economy to go into recession. At least, the HMT types might have thought on their train from Waterloo, we have a pleasant evening game against those friendly Mandarins to look forward to.

 

Well, a genuinely Mandarin side, if a little younger on average than some of our oppos might have become used to, had other ideas. It would not be spin worthy of Charlie Whelan to say that we battered them. And the seven former or serving civil servants among us may have taken a small dollop of satisfaction from this too. All of us who have ever had a funding request turned down, a slightly snooty response to go back and provide some more evidence on value for money, or a write-round that has been approved by every department bar the one at Horse Guards Parade, well, forgive of us if we enjoyed it a little bit more than we should.

 

Indeed, forgive us if those of us who have been on the other side of a Mandarins trouncing a few too many times, didn’t mind being the dominating force just for once. But it is okay to win a game once in a while, even to win well. And, well, if it happens to come against the all-powerful holders of the government purse strings (and don’t they like to let us know it), forgiveness is surely forthcoming.

 

It seems Rishi Sunak needs a have a few words with his troops about timekeeping too as, unlike Wilmot’s wonders, who, perhaps even more surprisingly, were all largely present and correct by the allotted start time once more, even on a weeknight. However Treasury tardiness (or perhaps Jacob Rees Mogg standing over them with a stopwatch) kept the oppo from arriving on time for a full T20, and the game was reduced to 18 overs-a-side instead.

 

It probably made little difference in the end, as it turned out to be a walk in St James’ Park. Baxter and Warren (28 retd not out) got us off to a fair flier, before Stancombe (25 not out retired from 15 balls) and debutant Joey Hayle (27 retd not out from an even fewer 11 balls) got the scoreboard going up even faster than the national debt in a lockdown. Matt Brown found some welcome form in accompaniment and Owen Jackson had the perfect platform to play some of his huge heaves across the line (one of which went faster than the RPI in recent weeks). Score predictions were revised more regularly than even the OBR could cope with (Ed: okay Dan, that'll do) and the final tally of 134-3 looked like it must have been double counted across at least two or three spending review periods.


Dare I say we even took the field a little confident that we might defend it? I would if even knew how to recognise such a feeling. So slip was withdrawn just after the first ball flew past him to third man for four, and just before both opening bowlers Heard and debutant number two Sushant Achawal (3-0-20-1) induced edges that would have been pouched by any Mandarin fielder (Webmaster: Hah, hah!), let alone the unrecognisably effective team of groundfielders we had out on this occasion.


But the run rate never threatened to get close to the eights and more that were quickly required, especially as Sushant and Jackson (3-0-24-1) removed the two useful openers rather than us seeing them retire with the potential to return. Stancombe (2-0-7-0) and Hayle (2-0-3-1) kept the scorecard in even firmer control than when JC Gray was in charge of it, just leaving time for Baker and your correspondent (3-0-14-2 if he says so himself, even if he does know when to bring himself on on these occasions), to offer some tempting flight to batters who desperately needed to go after it.


Value for money you say? I'll say it was.



*Author's note: The Treasury guys we play against and I have worked (and played) with are all thoroughly nice chaps. Honestly. Some of my best friends work for the Treasury. Any caricatures of snooty arrogance are entirely of the author's own making for the purposes of jazzing up a match report and bear no resemblance to any real life Treasury civil servants, dead or alive.

Wednesday, 4 May 2022

Friendly cricketers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your wickets

Mandarins (132-4) beat Superstars (131 all out)

Dulwich Sports Ground

Sunday 1st May 2022

It wasn’t a thriller, of a standard to trouble the new England selectors (whoever they turn out to be), or even a classic example of the art of timed cricket. But the Mandarins and Superstars once again put on a May Day exhibition of the spirit of friendly cricket. But two sides who now know each other well, indeed who often now appear on each other’s team sheets, and who, it is fair to say, prioritise play fair over play well, were always likely to do that on a day designed to celebrate brotherhood and union, weren’t they?

Drop outs, no-shows, actions short of a strike, and never-knew-I-was-playing-in-the-first-place-guvs meant it was nine versus 10, a contrast from last year’s 12 against 12 (or was it?) extravaganza, excluding young Josie Eastaway’s energetic contribution at fine leg for a few overs. But a shortage of labour wasn’t going to spoil the party, even if it did rather spoil the Superstars’ efforts to set a competitive total to defend.

An arranged, barely even negotiated, toss saw Superstars inserted/opt to bat. Openers Gigg and Gaught-Allen struggled to get going on a slowish and noticeably slanted pitch (that otherwise generally played a bit better than it looked). And while Gigg (17) and Anand (14) chipped in a bit after seeing off a few overs of accurate Mandarins bowling from Eastaway (R) and Stancombe, Gaught-Allen really took his time, perhaps worried about the paucity of potential after him in the order were he to try to accelerate too soon, or perhaps just tied down by the Mandarins’ slower bowlers as well as their slightly less slow ones. He was best supported by Bishop (20) in a 50 partnership for the Superstars’ third wicket, but was still in no rush as Forman (D) and Duggan departed and the clock began to count down to what was expected to be a teatime declaration. Some wondered whether the bank holiday Monday might be needed to complete the innings, let alone the match, before eventually Paul brought up his personal 50, had a dart at a couple more (one more successfully than the other) to finish on a fine 55, and a clatter of four quick wickets saw the innings actually end just before the allotted time for tea.

All the while Ramani and Healey had been making the most of the lack of bowling restrictions and lack of Mandarins’ bowling options, in a mammoth combined 23-over effort from each end (which would surely have been in breach of some kind of European working time directive had such things still existed). Rakesh got all the rewards he deserved, dining on an outstanding 14.2-5-33-5, while Chris could count himself unlucky, with Baxter (4-0-8-2) also picking up a couple of cheap ones at the end.

Baxter (40) was also busy after tea, getting the Mandarins’ reply off to a rapid start, in another important partnership with Healey (30), after Baker was the early victim of the first all-Forman wicket of the season (caught Dan, bowled Stan on this occasion). Both punished anything a fraction short, including a huge Healey six into a neighbouring garden, and putting the Mandarins in a very dominant position. But everyone was aware of how uncomfortable the Mandarins are in such a situation, and the inevitable wobble did come, after Chris inexplicably hit a rare Anand full toss straight to Stan at mid-off and Tim was inexplicably caught Gaught-Allen at short mid-wicket (in fairness a great reaction grab by Paul that just stuck, on a day when, perhaps surprisingly, most if not all chances did for both sides). At that stage 50 tricky runs in darkening light were still required, even if overs were never going to be an issue, and Mandarin murmurings along the lines of ‘we have lost games from much better positions than this’ could be heard on both the boundary and around the country as the WhatsApp updates arrived.

But the orange-tinted pessimists failed to account for two factors: Firstly Superstars’ skipper Gigg’s commitment to the first principle of friendly cricket – that everyone shall be involved in the game, no matter the match situation, withdrawing Vijay despite figures of 3-1-3-1 that might just have made a finish of it had he continued or been combined with the almost equally economical Konrad. And secondly, young Zac Stancombe at five, who knows nothing (yet) of honourable Mandarins failure or such concepts as snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. He ignored the situation and just played the bowling he was delivered, treating it with the respect it deserved, which mostly meant down the ground for crisply struck boundaries. Accompanied by an unflappable Jarvis, he put the game to bed before it got too gloomy, with a sparkling 36*.

Those principles of friendly cricket continued off the field of course, as tables were shared between the teams at tea and after the game over a good few beers, with no one having to worry about work the next day thanks to the trade unions. On International Labour Day the bond of brotherhood between these two sides and the spirit of friendly cricket remained strong. 

https://mandarins.play-cricket.com/website/results/5415478

Dan Forman

Monday, 18 April 2022

A New Dawn?

In these uncertain times there are few things you can still rely on. But you can be confident that the traditional opening fixture of the season at Peper Harrow is a two sweater game played in intermittent driving sleet on a soggy green pitch. The Mandarins can’t really play the 40 over game. Chasing anything much over 120 is always a challenge (as indeed is chasing anything much under 120). And rarely are 11 players at the ground on time, with Jonathan the most reliably late.

But not in 2022....

45 minutes before the start time a full team of Mandarins packed with wicket-keepers, team photographer Chris Healey and Rakesh’s noisy fan club (partner, sister, brother-in-law, niece and Lexi the dog) were ready to go (though it would be some time before the first opposition member strolled in). The sun was blazing down and the pavilion clock’s thermometer read 38 degrees centigrade or just over 100 in old money. Jonathan managed the toss and we bowled. The Mandarins slathered themselves in sun block.

It was clear from the start that Peper Harrow had a long and strong batting line-up. With their first league games not due until the following weekend, several of their better players were keen to get their eye in. The pitch was more like those we find in August and September in a good year: firm with good bounce and carry. Anything dropped short was dispatched to the boundary. Opening bowlers Eastaway and Owen Jackson just about kept the lid on things with Rob’s rhythm improving over by over. An excellent steepling catch by Rakesh removed the dangerous Ghani. But after ten overs Peper Harrow had moved to 53 for 1.  The introduction of spin proved crucial in putting on the brakes with Dan in particular bowling well. But the key moment was a brilliant run out by Owen of the highly dangerous looking big-hitter Spooner who had driven his first ball far into a neighbouring field. However, the classy Faisal held the Peper Harrow innings together and others chipped in. They were heading for over 200 despite decent bowling from all the Mandarin spinners (a special mention for Chris Baker twirling away effectively despite hobbling a little after taking a fearsome drive on his shin) until the returning Jackson bowled Faisal for 54 and then with Manian cleared up the tail to leave Peper Harrow all out one ball into the 37th over on 194. Mandarin ground fielding was uniformly excellent in the face of some aggressive hitting. It was one of those days when all the chances offered were tough ones, many on the boundary. Some good ones were taken (Ramani, Warren, McKeon) and others just missed.  The wickets were shared around pretty evenly.

After a relaxing tea (not perhaps legendary in terms of content but a pleasure all the same), Dave Williams and George Warren strode out to the middle. The Peper Harrow opening bowlers were a mixed bag. Dave and George punished the bad balls, especially the shorter ones and Johnny Extras got off to a flyer. After 9 overs we were 63 without loss and well ahead of the rate. Chris Baker started talking of the best ever Mandarin 10 wicket win although Chris Healey more realistically claimed that Winviz still had a Mandarin victory at 8%. Dave promptly missed a straight one and was LBW for a very good 20. But George, Jonathan and Arvind kept the total moving. There was a moment of real controversy when Peper Harrow thought they had Jonathan caught behind. But umpire Baker was not to be persuaded and Jonathan went on to hit several classy drives. With contributions from Rakesh and Chris McKeon we moved to 131 for 4 off 25 overs. But then Peper Harrow brought on Spooner who turned out to be a fast bowler as well as a big hitting bat. Soon we were 137 for 8 with Owen, Chris Baker and your correspondent failing to trouble the scorers. But cometh the hour cometh the man. Rob wearing a borrowed helmet unfurled a series of classy cuts and drives and with an increasingly aggressive Arvind took us to the brink of victory with 5 needed off the last two overs. But then the inevitable.... Rob missed a straight one and was gone for 27. Dan strode out having announced to the crowd that his role was to leave things to Arvind and duly played out the rest of a maiden over. But there was to be no further twist: Arvind justified Dan’s confidence and hit two classy shots off the returning Spooner and the first victory of the season was secured. Johnny Extras top scored with 41, closely followed by Arvind with 38* and George with 32.

So a near perfect start to the season all round.

More pictures from Chris Healey here.

John Hawkins

ps. Rob Eastaway would like to add "that the scoreboard thermometer was playing up all match, but the temperature did probably make it to 20C and at the start of the game no Mandarin sweaters were in view."

Sunday, 28 November 2021

MANDARINS FULL CAREER DIGEST 1978-2021, plus a few earlier games.

There were some pesky formatting problems with this one, so instead please download a document very similar to the one Chris sent me. It's a remarkable piece of work with many surprises. As a taster, here are the subject headings:

  • Players making more than 100 appearances
  • 1000 runs
  • 500 in a season
  • Seasons reaching 300 runs aggregate
  • Catches / Stumpings (qualification: 50)
  • Fielding victims per match
  • 50 Partnerships
  • Most 50 partnerships (qualification: 7 plus)
  • 1000 Overs
  • 100 Wickets, and Strike Rate (balls)
  • 50 wickets in a season
  • 5 wickets in an innings

All the work of Chris Baker.

Sunday, 21 November 2021

MANDARINS CRICKET CLUB 2021 SUMMARY

Summary

  • Played 22 (11 games were cancelled)
  • Won 6 - 34.1% (2020 50%);
  • Lost 13;
  • Drew 3.

The Season in Extremes

  • Heaviest Victories: By 6 wickets vs Erratics, by 41 runs vs Norfolk and Suffolk over 70s
  • Narrowest Victories: By 3 wickets vs Superstars and Abinger, by 12 runs vs Harwell International
  • Heaviest Defeats: By 7 wickets vs Millfields, by 155 runs vs Reading (11th heaviest runs defeat of all time.)
  • Narrowest Defeats: By 18 runs vs Streatham & Marlborough midweek, by 1 wicket vs HMT (T20).
  • Highest score for 191 vs Superstars. Highest score against 251 vs Reading.
  • Lowest score for 76 all out vs North Enfield.
  • Lowest score against 112, Harwell International

Batting

Mandarins scored 10 50s and no centuries:

  • Tunbridge 74 vs Superstars, 60* vs Erratics
  • Healey 64* vs Alton, 58 vs Highgate, 51 vs Kings School Rochester
  • H Forman 62* vs Weekenders, 61* vs Norfolk and Suffolk
  • Mills 53 vs Abinger
  • Lowin 50 vs SMCC Midweek, 50 vs Alton.

Bowling

  • Best bowling was Rakesh Ramani 12-4-26-6 vs Elstead. 

Notable events

58 players turned out for the Mandarins (2019,53) of whom 26 appeared just once. Mandarins took 86 catches and 8 stumpings. Baxter had most victims, 8+1, at least three of which were sensational.  Worst collapses were 6-9 vs North Enfield, 5-10 vs Hornsey, 5-10 vs Taplow, 5-11 vs Millfields, 5-12 vs Heber. Against Abinger we fielded possibly the most experienced team ever, with an estimated 2,726 caps between them. By only modest contrivance on tour we managed a father and daughter (Hurst) batting against the bowling of a father and daughter (Porter). Vs Norfolk and Suffolk over 70s we recorded the largest age margin of 64 years between our youngest (Josie Eastaway) and oldest (David Lowen) players, and the largest margin for an opening partnership, 59 years between David and Harry Forman.

Best Partnerships for each wicket

1st           109* vs Norfolk and Suffolk (Lowen/H Forman)

2nd          57 vs Highgate Taverners (Taylor/Healey)

3rd           56 vs Highgate Taverners (Healey/Tunbridge)  [Composite 96 vs FFTMCC, T20 retiring at 30 –Baker / Healey / Somerville / Keayes]

4th           80 vs Superstars (Tunbridge/Wilmot)

5th           45 vs Peper Harow (Healey/Wilmot)

6th           51 vs Taplow (Ramani/Hawkins)

7th           56 vs Weekenders (H Forman/Manian)

8th           41 vs SMCC Midweek (Lowin/Stancombe)

9th           14 vs Hornsey (Wilmot/S Forman)

10th         32 vs Framlingham College Quilibets (J Porter/M Hurst).

Other 50 partnerships

66(1st) vs Superstars (Baxter/Brand)

BATTING AVERAGES

(qualification is 3 completed innings)

Player

Played

Innings

N.O.

Runs

Highest

Average

100/50

Healey

11

10

2

332

64*

41.50

-/3

H Forman

8

8

3

188

62*

37.60

-/2

Tunbridge

11

11

1

246

74

24.60

-/2

Lowin

7

7

0

140

50

20.00

-/2

Brand

5

5

0

92

27

18.40

Ramani

13

12

4

145

32

18.12

G Porter

3

3

0

53

36

17.66

Williams

4

4

0

69

27

17.25

Mills

8

8

0

135

53

16.87

-/1

Baxter

14

13

0

212

36

16.35

Wilmot

10

10

2

116

29

14.50

Manian

11

11

0

141

30

12.82

M Hurst

9

7

3

45

17*

11.25

Heard

8

5

1

39

15

9.75

J Porter

6

6

2

38

15

9.50

Hawkins

11

10

3

48

9

8.87

D Forman

13

9

3

53

15*

8.83

Baker

13

13

1

106

29

8.83

S Forman

10

9

1

68

25

8.50

Somerville

8

9

1

57

25

7.12

Eastaway

12

8

2

42

12

7.00

Hawkhead

4

5

1

22

8

5.50

Brockbank

5

5

0

24

19

4.80

McIntyre

11

10

4

14

7

2.33

Brown

3

3

0

7

7

2.33

Also batted, appeared more than once, in order of appearance

Taylor 2-2-0-33-25-16.50; McInerney 2-2-0-12-11-6.00; Jackson 2-1-1-8-8*; C McKeon 2-2-0-11-11-5.50;  A Hurst 4-3-1-14-12*-7.00; Tivey       3-2-0-7- 5-3.50

One appearance: Conway 1; Richardson 1; C Kennedy 5; I Kennedy 1; Munt 0; Mark? 0; Henly 4; Ollie W 6; Borthwick 0; Reeve 0; Wendelborn 18; Pritchard 1; Stancombe 23; Warren 0; Allen-Perry 10; Plahe 0; Duggan 9*; Diagienda 0*; Arun DNB; Thompson 2; Lowen 38*;A Eastaway 2; J Eastaway DNB; Price DNB; Garett 5; Keayes 3; Gardiner 6; Jarvis 0 .

BOWLING AVERAGES

(Bowled more than once and took a wicket)

Player

Overs

maidens

Runs

Wickets

Average

Econ

Strike

H Forman

44

7

161

13

12.38

3.65

20.3

Jon Porter

28

2

116

8

14.50

4.14

21.0

Baxter

27-1

3

132

9

14.66

4.86

18.1

D Forman

79-2

6

373

25

14.92

4.71

19.0

Tunbridge

16

0

91

6

15.17

5.69

16.0

Ramani

97-1

15

395

26

15.19

4.06

22.4

Healey

42

6

139

9

15.44

3.31

28.0

S Forman

58

6

230

13

17.69

3.97

26.8

G Porter

20-2

2

82

4

20.50

4.00

33.0

Baker

21

2

111

5

22.20

5.29

25.2

Mills

20-1

1

94

4

23.50

4.66

30.2

Eastaway

82

21

236

10

23.60

2.88

49.2

Heard

60

9

206

8

25.75

3.43

45.0

M Hurst

72

8

262

9

29.11

3.64

48.0

Somerville

22

1

113

3

37.66

5.14

44.0

McIntyre

68

6

418

9

46.44

6.15

45.3

Jackson

13

2

50

1

50.00

3.85

78.0

McInerney

12-3

0

52

1

52.00

3.90

75.0

Manian

20

0

106

2

53.00

5.30

60.0

Also bowled : Lowin 3-0-32-0; Richardson 2-0-16-0; Brown 2-0-21-1; Munt 6-1-17-1; C Kennedy 6-0-37-0; I Kennedy 2-1-8-0; Mark? 1-0-8-0; Allen-Perry 4-0-21-0; Plahe 2-0-22-0; Arun 2-0-12-0; Diaglenda 3-0-10-2; Duggan 2-0-10-2; Thompson 7-0-34-2; Hawkhead 1-0-13-0; A Hurst  12-1-63-0; Stancombe 5-0-13-1; Reeve 4-0-21-1; Borthwick 4-0-14-1; Keayes 3-0-25-3.

Fielding: Mandarins took 86 catches and 8 stumpings: Baxter 8+1; Lowin 6+2; Ramani, D Forman 8; Healey, H Forman 6; McIntyre 5; Tunbridge 4; Baker, Mills, S Forman, Heard 3; Tivey 1+2; J Porter, Hawkins, Manian, Brockbank, 2;  C Mckeon, Wilmot, Warren, 1+1; Somerville, Taylor, Brand, Allen-Perry, Arun, Hawkhead M Hurst, A Hurst, Eastaway, Borthwick, Stancombe,1.

Chris Baker
November 2021