Saturday 20 January 2024


When we were defeated by Graces CC last year (all out 70 chasing 83) I speculated that this might have included the worst collapses in Mandarins History. Of course, I need not have overly worried. A quick survey shows that such disasters are so common as barely to require the raising of an eyebrow. But India’s recent 0 for 6?? Can we better that?

First some definitions. Losing two or three wickets together is routine, so I take losing 4 wickets for less than 10 runs as my starting point. Turns out this has happened well over 100 times in Mandarins annals, often twice in the same match. So instead we ask ourselves was the 4 wickets lost for zero runs against Graces the worst? No. (Although obviously it equalled the worst.) We achieved this feat against Peper Harow in 1967 and  Utopers and Begbroke in 1979 then against Great Tew in 1991, and most recently Palm Tree in 2019. We have also lost 4 wickets for 1 run on at least 10 occasions.

Was the 5 wickets for 2 runs against Graces the worst? No. 5 wickets for one run vs Gt Tew in 1980, Weald in 1989, UCS Old Boys in 2013 and Palm Tree 2019 hold that prize, although Graces takes second place alongside Cobham in 1989 and RCDS in 2010. We have lost 5 for 3 a number of times.

Was the 6 wickets lost for 3 runs vs Graces the worst? No, Great Tew 1980 again (6-1), although the Graces performance is now the second worst. So we can’t match India.

Was the 7 wickets lost for 4 runs vs Graces the worst? YES IT WAS. Beating the 7 for 8 on THE DAY OF SHAME vs East Horsley in 2006, and the 7 for 9 inflicted by Mayfield in 1980. We lost 7-11 vs Berkely Taverners in 1982, and 7 for less than 20 on 7 other occasions.

Was the 8 wickets for 11 lost against Graces the worst? YES IT WAS. Beating the 8 for 14 taken by Weald in 1979, and the 8 for 15 taken by Mayfield in 1980.

Was the 9 for 33 vs Graces the worst? NO, because the Grace’s innings also featured 9 (different) wickets for 21 (the double 9 a record of sorts, certainly unprecedented). Was the 9 for 21 the worst? NO! Mayfield 1980 witnessed 9 for 16 and so did THE DAY OF SHAME.

Nor was the 10 for 43 vs Graces the worst. A number of contenders for this one, starting with 33 vs Peper Harow in ’67, via 35 vs Theberton in 1987 and 26 vs East Horsley in 2006. But the winner, once again, is Mayfield on 26 July 1980, reaching a promising 18 without loss, then losing all 10 for 21, to expire for 39.

Chris Baker

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