Archived Match Reports 2005
Provided by "A face in the crowd", the "Optimist", "Captain Calamity" and various guest writers.

Saturday 10th September. PRESIDENT'S WEEKEND

Sunday 4th September Blunham Vs. Pavenham (Friendly)

With the promise of an opener' berth if they arrived on time, Gummo & Ed were seen at the ground 45 mins before the due start, beaten only by the new international signing from Bigglewade, Chris Brown. New Bloke arrived complete with new onboard SatNav, now known as SidNav.... With New Bloke giving the skipper a lift and rumours that there was payment of a pint in the pub on Friday, he also secured himself a spot up the order, wonderful thing, bribery.

Gummo and Ed to open then. 35 for the first wicket, before Gummo went. Ed followed next over, not waiting for New Bloke's LBW decision "I was trying to pull off middle stump and it didn't bounce" - Excuses... That left the eager to impress Tricky and Blunham new boy Chris at the crease, the two of them started building a partnership, Tricky looking good, creaming the ball through the covers on numerous occasions. Tricky was then bowled, bringing skipper Sid to the crease. Sid played a real skipper's innings holding his end while Chris and New Bloke both fell in quick succesion. This brought Sean 'Sports Bra does Ibiza' Web to the crease - It's amazing what players will do for their club, but Sean particularily stood out on this occasion. 6 am that morning, he was in Ibiza. A two hour flight and a rush from airport to the ground later and he was batting elegantly, smashing the trash and blocking the straight ball, GENIUS. As more wickets fell our tail was soon batting. There was still time for Sid to cheer Max 'Murili' Hill's wicket as it gave Mark 'Badger' Pallister a chance to impress with the bat, he didn't.... All out for about 190 then - David 'Duck' Cooper left 36* - Should accept the offer of batting up the order in future mate.

To the field. Badger & Duck to open the bowling - There is some form of animal theme generating here, worrying. Badger bowled the now famous 'Badger Ball' to remove one of the openers, caught by the swooping Duck at fine leg. Pavenham's #3 didn't look too keen to bat, Gummo asked why and received the reply "I'm not the best bat in the world">. Next ball, off stump was out of the ground. Well.. at least he was honest. Wickets fell steadily throughout the Pavenham innings. Chris Brown bowled his first spell for Blunham, Max asking Sid - "Has he ever bowled before?" Read from that what you will.... Sean's leg turned a nice shade of blue after he stopped ball after ball after ball with the knee, thigh, calf, shin, stomach, arm.. I think he even used his hands at one point. One batsman was sledged out of his wicket, after our bowler asked if he was a batsman or a farmer, Nick brought on to finish things off, number 11 bowled game won, Jodie happy, Nick happy, everybody happy - apart from Gummo - Funny things, teenagers.

To the pub apres game. £1.50 for a 1Kg of Pork Scratchings, deal and a half. Sid sat telling the opposition about his delivery in St Ives that one time. Oppo asleep, Sid still talking, we decided it was time for bed. After all, the sooner we get to bed, the sooner President's Weekend is upon us. It's going to be carnage. A polite reminder to all players MIDDAY AT THE SHOES for pre-match meal and refreshment of the amber nectar variety. To finish my last report for the season, a quick congratualtions to the members of the club who passed their GCSE's & A-Levels. Best of luck to Sean Webb who is off to South Africa to teach for 6-months. See you all next year.
- The Boy who Knew Too Much

Sunday 28th August Blunham 1st XI Vs. Eversholt II (County League Div 3)

Various withdrawals left us a little light, Gummo with Tonsillitis, Dan with work, Spider on Holiday. Able deputies were found in TAP, Connor and Coops (late from work). Once more the Blender won the toss and elected to bat as we were missing Coops for the first hour and a half due to work commitments. The wicket had seen some rain and was a little on the slow side; and at sixty for two (with the loss of Binksy and Blender) a score of 200 looked reasonable. With HD and Tricky in the middle a partnership started to grow and in 23 overs they put on 142 before Ackers departed for 81 to a dubious LBW. Nick raced on to 107 before we lost he and Sid in the search for more runs at the death. Tap and Ed saw us to the close at a creditable 272 for 5.

Their reply was fast and furious. With no obvious bowler to bowl from the bottom end in Dan's absence, first Tricky and then the Blender were tried from there before switching back to the top, Coops made an able deputy from the bottom end. After 20 overs however, they were 110 for 0, and we were very much on the back foot. The Blender removed both openers, and a period of rebuilding by the batsman saw only 26 runs from 11 overs as he and Coops sought to redress the balance. This proved to be the crucial part of the innings, as despite some late hitting the opposition fell 12 runs short for the loss of 5 wickets, with creditable efforts from G and Connor (who was entrusted the penultimate over that went for only 4 off the bat)....

Fifth place confirmed then and only 18 points behind 3rd place. [CLICK HERE TO SEE FINAL COUNTY LEAGUE DIV 3 TABLE] Ultimately, one poor result cost us - the loss to Southill Park, who only beat Hexton during the rest of the season. That aside it was a creditable first effort. We have our problems, with a lack of strength in depth, but we aren't alone and I would like to thank all of the youngsters and second teamers who helped out throughout the season to ensure that we had a full side even though it often meant they didn't get much of a game: Dom Aloia, Matthew Sheath, Mark Pallister, Chris Hudson, Kevin Raggett, Dave Shaw, Jack Mudge, Nick Pates and particularly Connor Heaps, Geoffrey Fitzgerald (who can already consider himself a first teamer) and Sean Webb, who played in half the games and never once complained if he didn't get a game but always answered the call.

I should also mention Nick and Mark, who had excellent seasons with the bat, and Simon came good at the end. Everyone else made useful contributions at different times. Dan was dependable as ever with the ball, and Ed and Coops confirmed their promise with bat and ball, but must continue to do so. For Gummo and Geoffrey, much is expected and we mustn't put too much weight on their shoulders, but I look forward to seeing them play over the coming seasons.

To these and all of the regulars, Thankyou.................
- Captain Calamity

Saturday 27th August Blunham 1st XI Vs. Cople Argus (Millman Div 1)

Last game of the season then, and availability crisis, thank God the 2nd team had finished their league campaign, so Max, Polarbear, Marge, Mustard, Cubby and young Connor got the official call up. We batted first and Ed and Binko make a good start, Sid has a decent cameo, but then wickets fall, thankfully New Bloke has his "sensible" batting head on, and posts a partnership of 77 with Tricky, all valuable runs on a wet and slow wicket. New bloke eventually falls for 25, and Mustard looks good for a while until the straight one does him. No sooner has Cubby come to the wicket when Tricky falls for 58 trying to reverse sweep, but forgot to actually play the shot and was bowled. Polarbear would have been in on the run out decision if his bat hadn't been four feet in the air, but this left Max and Marge to play some nice shots at the finish, wicket off the last ball, Connor hadn't realised and was keen to get out there, until he realised that we were playing forty overs, not forty five as usual. That was that then 185-9.

Cople started well, a good opening partnership, and it wasn't looking good for us, until Mustard bowled the opener, with one of those "pitch middle, take off stump deliveries", that Sid must have taught him from that game at St. Ives five years ago. Undeterred, Cople moved on to the victory target, the other opener, hitting 50, and enjoying some sizeable luck along the way. However, a late revival from the village, Binko running the dangerman out with a direct hit from about a mile away, and then a few wickets, with Max taking a good slow motion catch. Cople now needed about 25 from the last 9 overs, with about five wickets in hand, or ten if you looked at their scoreboard, whatever. We did ourselves credit to get it down to the last few balls with 8 Cople wickets down in the end, a scrambled leg bye proving the difference, so near yet so far again, but a close game, in which ten or fifteen more runs would have made all the difference. Oh, and we got an LBW decision, away from home, in our favour!!!!!

Sid had to make a frantic dash at the end of the game to buy some washing up liquid, as he had been using shower gel instead for the last few days, unbelievable, thought my curry from a few weeks back round his had an unusual Lynx type aftertaste to it.
- A Face in the Crowd

Sunday 21st August Blunham 1st XI Vs. Hexton 2nds (Beds County League)

On a hot day we all arrived early for a 1pm start, except Dan as usual, but this didn't matter as Hexton arrived in dribs and drabs after the start time. Blender (AKA Thatch) won the toss and batted.

This truly was a balmy English summer's afternoon. The strains of Incidental Jazz floated up the field from a house nearby as the house band serenaded our batsman and the watching hordes most of the afternoon (for hordes read Carole, our dependable scorer, and Sidecar Bob, our dependable supporter and erstwhile Poet Laureate). The game was twice interrupted in our innings due to Hay tornadoes that swept across the field. These must have affected the bowling skills of the opposition as flan balls were the chosen delivery from the buffet.

H.D. Ackerman and Ja Ja Binks tucked into their feast with gusto, despatching custard and assorted winter fruits to all parts of the field. Not wanting to be selfish, Ackers tried to pass some of these offerings back to the fielding side but they didn't seem to be hungry and spurned the opportunity. They sailed past 200 runs before Binko was finally caught for 107 with the first chance he had given, with the score on 217.

We passed our time listening to Scooper Cooper relive his bashing by his former lover the previous evening, and regaling any female who would listen with details of his Dark Side: "I am a lovely boy really". TopUp also turned up to watch, having pulled out with knee trouble, eye trouble, wrong kind of leaves etc...........

The Blender joined Ackers, as H.D. continued to stuff his face and the innings was declared in the last over as we couldn't be bothered to wait for yet another ball to be retrieved from the adjoining pasture. Too late, H.D. informed his captain that he was only one short of his all time best and had to settle for a not out score of 160, with the score at 319 for 1 declared. Still he had made the teas, but by now he had already gorged himself and had to satisfy himself watching everyone else tuck into his gourmet hand-made sandwich fillers and assorted Houmus, beautifully laid out by his two hand maidens (well Charlotte and Nicky).

Dufus Rufus and New Bloke to open the bowling then. Connor quickly despatched 3 of the top 4 bastman, one bowled, one LBW, and the other well caught by G. Hexton were wavering on 25 for 3. Wickets continued to fall at regular intervals, with a good caught and bowled by Jonesy, a good running back over his shoulder effort from New Bloke. In fact everyone bar the Blender had a bowl, including Binko, Ed, Spider, Coops and G who finished the innings with the score on 213 having served up a few Werewolf balls of our own. We even had time for Tricky to replace H.D. behind the stumps, who was already standing in for Sidney. This was the only way Tricky was going to get his pads on, out in the middle during this game!!

One more game to go and hopefully 5th place secured, not bad for our first year.
- Captain Calamity

Saturday 20th August Blunham 2nd XI Vs. Biggleswade 2nd XI (Millman League Div 3)

So to the last game of the season and what a season its been. 12 months ago Map, Ed, Gummo,Coops and New Bloke were the 2nd XI bowling attack; this year they played 6 games for the seconds between them!!!!! However with this absence of star potential a new range of talent has emerged. With the sensational Sam Jones being injured Gareth 'Garf' Perry was drafted in for the trip to the 'Wade where again Covers lost the toss and Bigglewsade batted. An early breakthrough for Blunham came in the 3rd over as new signing Rowe Griffiths, owner of the fastest arm in the west, ran out their opener as he dared to steal a single. Next blood to mustard bowling dangerman Flower for just 17. Then bring on Rowe for his first over for the village - first ball wicket as Marge snaps one up at mid wicket. 2nd ball wicket as he dislodges off stump, finaly 6th ball wicket as Webby snaffles one at gully. Raggett then cleans up another batsman for 0 before a fight back from our hosts. With the danger of chasing a big hundred looking possible, Max Hill's donkey drops were again legendary finishing with 2 overs ,2 wickets, 3 runs. Biggleswade all out 111.

As Webb and Covers opened for Blunham it became clear it should be a routine job but as ever ....no. A solid start was underway before Webb was undone by the straight one for about the 59th time this year. Polar and Covers stuck on a partnership of 40 before polar lost his off stump. However by this time victory looked inevitable, a quick 12 by Big D brought the win within 15 runs. While the innings was progressing Covers was plodding along at the other end tickling the ball around for the occasional boundary and running hard for singles. Then on 43 hit 2 followed by a four to take him to 49* next ball and a mighty smash just wide of the mid wicket boundary and Covers had 50 his first for Blunham. Mustard played some rare defensive shots with the aid of his box before flicking a yorker of his legs over square leg to seal a 7 wicket victory (Mustard 6*, Covers 58*).

A slight problem emerged in the bar as it turned out that it lacked drink! So after a quick half we ended our season. With the resources available, the 2nd team has performed remarkably, every player making contributions with either the bat or ball at some point in the season, roll on season 06!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- The Optimist

Sunday 14th August Blunham 1st XI Vs. Leighton Buzzard (Beds County League)

Got the text at half ten in the morning, match off, the downpour of the previous day did for us, Ed still in bed apparently, late night for him with the remote control and some subscription channels, allegedly
- A Face in the Crowd

Saturday 13th August Blunham 1st XI Vs. Biggleswade (Millman League Div 1)

Amid torrential downpours and dropping Smee off at her home, we had decided there was no way this match was going to be on. So, in the back of Ed's car a few alcoholic beverages were consumed. Somehow decided that the weather was good enough to play cricket in. Biggleswade had turned up at Phoenix Gardens with a strong side so it was always going to be tough.

Blunham bat first... again. Binko and Pete stroll out to the wicket, snorkles in hand and soon start bludgening the bowling to all areas of the ground, Binko scoring 50 before eventually being caught. After this it was just get bat to ball and pile on the runs. Gummo scored a quickfire 22, Ed didn't look comfortable and while all this was going on, Nick was batting steadily at the other end. The departure of Ed bought Blunham's new player, Hector to the crease. After taking a while to get settled, Hector soon started piling on the runs, eventually ending up on 26 from 14 balls. 221 - 7 from 35, Game on.

Bowling started off well with Nick bowling a tight spell down the hiil. Ed struggling to bowl up the hill was soon replaced by Gummo, who bowled well considering the opponents. Ed then coming down the hill looked dangerous and gummo was replaced by Chris 'New Bloke' Hudson who bowled well with figures of 5 Overs 0 wickets for 23 runs. In his 6th over, Chris took a wicket with his first ball which bought J.C. to the crease. Chris's next 5 balls went for a total of 23 runs, and he was soon sent packing. Biggleswade eventually hitting Blunham's total with 3 wickets in hand.

On a final Note, a very happy birthday to David 'Ducky' Cooper who reached the grand old age of 20.
- The Boy Who Knew Too Much

Sunday 7th August Blunham 1st XI Vs. Henlow (Beds County League)

A few of the lads turned up late, poor effort, but then Dave Cooper had just become a single man, AGAIN, these on-off on-off relationships, not worth the paper they're written on. So Henlow, or as Dave Cooper calls them on account of their fetching blue and yellow kit, bananas in pyjamas. Henlow, the strongest outfit in the league won the toss and elected to bat, and were soon going great guns, putting on 80 for the first wicket, at one stage it looked for all the world like we were going to be chasing 300+ but then a couple of good catches from Cooper and some excellent bowling from the Jones and The Blender/Thatch restricted their progress to 220 odd, there was still time for the sickening sight of the Henlow Batsman being struck on the head by a lifting ball from Tricky, still a good lesson learnt for all the younger members watching/playing - wear a helmet.

Pretty poor response from us with the bat, a few batsman got starts but no one really kicked on to a score commensurate with their ability and the wicket (and yes Ed you can look that word up in the dictionary). Bombed out for 110, although Spider (some people are calling him sportsbra, but not me) showed great courage in trying to hook their quick bowler's bouncer, not for him this ducking and weaving lark. I predict Henlow will win the league, and fair play to them, they deserve to be tested at a higher level, us, well we have our days in the sunshine, sometimes good, sometimes indifferent, but always entertaining.
A Face in the Crowd

Saturday 6th August Blunham 1st XI Vs. Luton Caribbeans (Millman League Div 1)

With a few key players away with their new loves, it was a rather weakened 1st XI. Sid won the toss - we're batting on the new looking two-tone wicket (Have to say I liked it, helped with umpiring decisions as the change in tone was directly on middle) and the opposition were heard to be worrying about our V. Rapidé seamer - No need, rumours are he's in love.

Batting first, we posted 141 with good contributions from Pete (22) Gummo (22) and a Geoff - (That's Boycott, not mustard), style innings from Sid (19). Highlight has to be one of their players running, scared out of his wits due to the small rabbit that had been spotted. Still, our batting needs to be looked at if we are to compete at high levels. Tea, no complaints about there being 'No Variety'. Thanks to Carol. So to fielding - don't remember much as spent it talking to various lovers of players/ supporters/ anybody while sweeping the short boundry. It was all over and done with rather quickly. Although Ed and Coops bowled well, they were not backed up by any of the other bowlers. "Aprés jeu" a few of the younger players turned the Pavvy into a ball room, bopping to M.L. Kings 'I have a dream' speech dubbed over some uplifting trance the lads danced long into the night, before departing into Bedford, pink shirts galore!
The Boy Who Knew Too Much

Saturday 6th August Blunham 2nd XI Vs. Eaton Socon (Millman League Div 3)

The last words uttered to Covers as he went to toss up - "Make sure you win" . He lost. Blunham fielded. Sam Jones and Kev Raggett opened from either end, both bowling respectably all game. Raggers giving us the breakthrough as he removed their big hitting opener. Dave Cook was thrown the ball and bowling well, then the moment he had missed for so long as a catch was snaffled by Kev Sheath at mid-on. Dave Cook had his first wicket for Blunham and first wicket for 18 years!!!!!!!!! Not long to wait for the next one then.
Marge bowled like a fine cheddar as he continually matures, picking up another wicket for the season. A great catch by young Sam and brilliant fielding by Polarbear all game were all plus points as Eaton somehow amassed 208.

In reply, not the best of starts as the straight one did for Webb once again, Polarbear strolled out and started playing his shots once again, a sight we all had wanted to see again after a few poor weeks. Also for a brief moment there was a glimmer of hope if Polar and Covers could stay together for a while we had a slim chance. Alas no, Polar was bowled trying to glance from off-stump. Marge joined Covers at the crease; Covers dotting it around and hitting a couple of well struck boundaries was then out to a great catch for a league best of 32. Marge then got a shooter and both Kev's still can't fathom out how the ball went through their bats. Tap batted well with the tail for 24* and despite a collapse, young Dean Barrow hit his first runs for Blunham with a late cut through gully. All out for 107 but many positives. Next year could be our year - "You keep saying that but I haven't got that many years left! " - Tim TAP Pallister
The Optimist

Saturday 30th July Blunham 1st XI Vs. Houghton Town (Millamn League Div 1)

This was the game we tried to get re-arranged in April, as we knew we would be coming back from tour and it would be difficult, no, impossible to persuade 11 tired individuals to play yet another game, but the League knew best and said "no".

As a result Sid was meant to officially call the game off whilst on tour, but hadn't reckoned on losing his phone whilst "tired and emotional". He finally called it off at eleven on the day of the match, and an invoice for pitch fees and teas was last seen winging it's way to Hillesden Avenue, not the greatest of adverts for us.
A Face in the Crowd

Saturday 30th July Blunham 2nd XI Vs. Ampthill 3rd XI (Millman League Div 3)

The Saturday after tour was never gonna be an easy one, despite flying down the M25 in heavy showers and with polarbear dropping off now and again, you knew it was going to be one of those games. Polar, keen to open, was joined by Matt Sheath, then Mustard, then Big Dave who on arrival at Blunham strapped his pads on and batted for a run of very high quality. Polar then went, followed by Kev Sheath (run out by Marge). Luckily for us though, Jamie Hay pulled himself out of retirement to hit a magnificent 36 along with Marge's 37 in a partnership of over 50. This with late contributions from the tail, ended us on 135.

According to the unofficial drops tally in the scorebook completed by the first XI (funny that as they were supposed to be in Luton ?!) we dropped 12, but officialy nothing went to hand. Balls to the left, to the right just dropping short of fielders - it went on all game. Disappointingly we lost by 7 wickets. Kev Sheath made 40 the next day as the old fella notched up the big four O. As ever though, the lads in the 2nds clubbed together to buy a tube of Germaloid cream and a barrel of Deep Heat!!!! Well Done Kev!
The Optimist

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE SUMMER TOUR REPORTS....(not for the squeemish..!)

Sunday 24th July Blunham 1st XI Vs. Caldecote (Beds County League)

News filters through that Caldecote are suffering a player crisis, injuries, holidays and unavailability meant that four of their five regular bowlers were away, and in the words of one of their own players "bet you are looking forward to playing us this Sunday, you'll hammer us".

Obviously this meant that it would slash it down all weekend, and the match would be called off Sunday morning, the word "gutted" was last seen doing the rounds.
A Face in the Crowd

Saturday 23rd July Blunham 1st XI Vs. Elstow (Millman League Div 1)

Mark "Prada" Newman was doing his annual "I'll play one game before the tour, to get my eye in", so the sunglasses quota for the day was quite high, I counted three separate pairs that he wore throughout the day at one point, vain, oh yes. We won the toss, and then as soon as the first ball was sent down, some charity music concert started from one corner of the ground, and this was the cue for three separate bonfires to be lit. Undeterred, the opening partnership of Acky and Pete Thompson were going well. Acky hit the first over for 14, including one huge six straight back over the sightscreen. Pete had his new bat with him, but for some reason decided to play everything with his pads for the first ten overs, well he had knocked them in well. Acky bludgeoned everything straight back over the bowler's heads and had moved nicely on to 48 before being caught. Tricky and Karl put on 90 odd for the fifth wicket, Tricky falling for 44, and Karl was probably not out 27ish??, can't quite remember but he batted well. Anyway, the innings collapsed in the last ten overs and were all out for 211 I think, if that's right I'll be amazed. Meanwhile the concert rocked on, some good music, especially the funk and soul section, but then the band's started playing :-( there's only so many times you can hear Green Day's basket case sung by some random girl).

I have absolutely no recollection of the Elstow innings, other than running in to bowl to the sounds of trance, although that could just have been the voices in my head. I think we were in with a shout at one point, but am pretty sure a few catches got earthed. Ultimately though, Ali Milne batted well for them and won the game - about time he retired and stopped playing against us I reckon, killjoy.
A Face in the Crowd

Saturday 23rd July Blunham 2nd XI Vs. Old Sun Cricketers (Millman League Div 3)

In summary, without the oldest member Max (60) and youngest member Mustard (14) we would have not of reached 50. Marge was stumped going for a walk, Sheathy edged, Covers skier, Mustard 36 (cheated), New Bloke madman, Big D wafting, Polarbear swiped, Max respectable, Deano not out, Matt annoyed. All out 102, we lost by 7 wickets.
The Optimist

Wednesday 20th July Blunham 1st XI Vs. Henlow (Midweek League Div 1)

Three minutes before the start of the game and we've got eight players, the Duck and Ed shopping apparently, and running late, and Sid didn't realise that Callum was on holiday as he communicates with him through Ed, so assumed he was ok to play. With bowling not an option with eight players, we had to bat first on the wicket which was still quite wet but drying out, not easy to time the ball on, not that New Bloke struggled at all in his new role as opening bat, back in the hutch after one ball having skied a drive. This bought the new arrival Hector to the crease, although he and Binko had a semaphore calling moment, with both stuck down the same end attempting a single, well one of them was attempting a single anyway. So, eight players, and 12 for 2, a great start, not. By this stage the late arrivals had turned up but repairing the innings was the order of the day, which Binko and Tricky managed for a while getting to 40 odd without further loss when Binksy went for the drive, edged and was gone. Skipper to the crease then, and seeing off the opening bowlers was the game plan, job done. Sid had got to 17 before he went, Badger (back in the ranks) hung around for a while, the duck looked solid to start but mis-timed a drive as the ball wasn't coming on to the bat, and a low score looked on the cards. But, wait a second is that the cavalry arriving in the form of the Blender, given special dispensation to play and boost us up to full strength.

Ed and Tricky then put on a few before Ed went for 16, caught at cover, but the Blender at number 9 batted well and with Tricky put on 35 in no time at all, and at least we had some sort of score to try and defend as our innings closed 158-9, with Tricky 67 not out.

Henlow off to a good start, but the Duck got the breakthrough with a wicket with his first ball, and for once we had the luxury of a genuinely quick bowler in our ranks, with Neil playing. With the light fading, it looked like being quite a close finish with Neil taking a few wickets, but Henlow got home with six wickets down, another twenty or so runs to chase and it might have been a different story, but a lot of positives to take from the game, not least that Dave Cooper is looking like a bowler again.

If only we had bowled first, or had the opportunity to bowl first when the wicket was wet, Sid not happy with the late arrivals as he may have mentioned to them after the game, once or twice.
A Face in the Crowd

Sunday 10th July Blunham 1st XI Vs. Langford (County League Div 3)

It was a stinking hot day. Fortunately Captain Blender kept up his record of having won every toss on a Sunday this year and we batted. The unfortunate Binksy pulled out on the eve of the game for the second time this year having sprained his finger nail in the previous days game. With H.D Ackerman away in Dublin and Clint having retired, we were once again devoid of recognised opening batsmen.

Wildon and Davis sidled out to the crease to try and keep the home side quiet. Back on his old stomping ground, the Blender took most of the early strike and it wasn't until the 8th over that Ed got of the mark. By now confidence was building as 17 from 7 overs soon turned into 101 from 24 as Hamshere, Dacre, Schofield and Gentle were blunted. Maybe a little over confidence saw a mini collapse as Ed (44), "The boy who knew too much" (3), The Blender (60) and Top -Up "I really can't see, you know" (0) departed in quick succession with only 12 runs added. This left Tricky and Coops at the wicket, and in the knowledge that there wasn't much left in the hutch they set about rebuilding the innings and put on 66 for the 5 wicket before both falling quickly, leaving Mustard to shepherd the tail before left being stranded on 5 not out in the last over, after Dan had added a valuable 10. 199 all out.

In reply Langford were never really in contention, Blender bowling Burley before any score was added; Connor ran out Raggett, foolishly taking on his arm to be left stranded for 2. In a good opening spell Jonesy bowled HB and the score was 19 for 3 after 10 overs. G replaced his captain and bowled Gentle for 7 in a good opening spell of 5 overs 1 for 16. 30 for 4 after 14 overs. Crouch and Hamshere hung around for a while but Tricky found the pad plum in front and Blender bowled a slower ball that pitched and rolled, to remove the pair of them and after 28 overs the score had crawled to 76 for 6. SP Lash and the Zimbabwean Schofield played some outrageous Karkot cuts and heaves to cow that saw the score race to 128 in the 33rd over, however Callum's assorted leg and off spin saw them off as they collapsed to 137 all out in the 36th and Callum finished with figures of 3 for 26, finishing off the good work put in by Jones, Wildon and Harding who bowled 22 overs 6 maidens 4 for 44 between them. For the first time this season two wins on the trot and up into fourth place in the table and possibilities of finishing third which would be a great effort for our first season................
Captain Calamity

Saturday 9th July Blunham 1st XI Vs. New City (Millman League Div 1)

Away to Milton Keynes then, which probably explains why most of the team arrived at five to two. We won the toss and opted to bat and soon the opening bowling attack were swinging the ball all over the place, which accounted for Binksy and Polarbear, 11 - 2 and in trouble. Fortunately, Pete Thompson was playing a gem of an innings and he and Tricky set about repairing the damage, eventually adding 140 odd for the third wicket before Pete fell for 61 to a great diving catch at midwicket. Sid came and went, but Tricky and Garofalo added a few before Tricky fell trying to hit the ball over the top for 59. Then, remarkably, considering the state they were in, Callum and Ed found themselves at the crease together, batting down the order, largely due to their "late night". What followed was absolute carnage as the young guns carved the bowling all round the shop, sixes everywhere in an all guns blazing assault, 90 off the last 8 overs, sixes off the back foot over long off, the lot. Callum finished 58 not out, and Ed 32 not out, proud of you fellas, you've stepped up a level. So, 262 for 8 then.

We started well, wicket with the first ball of the innings, and the first ten overs looked good. However, soon New City looked threatening, as a partnership developed after a couple of wickets. The rest was heartbreaking stuff really, we didn't bowl as a team at all well, but had a couple of stonewall lbw's declined and the game looked like ebbing away from us. However a late flurry of wickets, started by Pete Thompson's run out, and some good bowling by Callum, and we had a chance. Finally we got an lbw, but by this stage the fat lady had started clearing her throat, and was just too little too late really as New City got home with two wickets left in the penultimate over. Gutter.

World's longest game, but that doesn't explain why Polarbear didn't get home 'til half ten, few chip shops en route I reckon.
Face in the Crowd

Saturday 9th July Blunham 2nd XI Vs Caldecote (Millman League Div 3)

After last week's pandemonium, we were delighted to face Caldecote again but at least on a decent wicket this time. Covers won the toss and confidently elected to bat. Smalley was keen to open and with Marge, put on a decent start of 30 odd before Smalley departed. Kev " am actually still only 39" Sheath entered the fray and hit a quick 26 in a 50 run partnership for the 2nd wicket. Marge went for 25 and Cover's 14. Karl followed for 7 and Raggers just 3, as we struggled through the middle order. However, the reliable Mustard with support from Tap (13) hit a very respectable 40* as Blunham finished on 186 for 8.

Despite several tables attending the local barn dance, we managed to take tea courtesy of Covers and TESCO value, also a quick match report via Polarbear about the first XI on 260+ (should sail through we thought).

Caldecote got off to a slow start, but after several near misses by Mustard and Sam in the first 9 overs, Caldecote took advantage of loose bowling by Ben 'Marge'Jeffs, - got to learn to fight for your wickets boy. Raggers eventually got the breakthrough with a caught and bowled and with a run out soon after the game was evenly poised. With Jeeves and Dave 'where's the ground gone' Mcadam now at the crease and both scoring freely, the game again fell into the hands of Caldecote. But.....just hang one tick as young Sam Jones was brought back to the attack, after clearing up Milkfloat the previous week, it was expected to see him pointing to where he was going to land the ball and suggesting several suitable field placements. But as Sam let go of the ball, a pre-anticipated shot by the Float ended with a top edge landing safely in Mustard's groin!! as Milkfloat left for just 20. Then 4 balls later Karl snapped up a second in cover. 2 more wickets for Sam (38-4) were not enough despite a late fight back and amazing discipline from Mustard (10 overs for 22) we went down by 4 wickets despite a great second half performance. Young Sheath and Marge then spent about 2 days replacing the rabbit netting before Marge (OFFICIALLY the chip shop's number 1 customer) all went home .....clutching chicken nuggets, burgers, pizza's...........
The Optimist

Thursday 7th July Blunham C.C. Webmaster vs Al Qaeda (Aldgate Tube Station)

Standing on Aldgate underground station platform, at 08.50 on Thursday, awaiting a Circle Line train , the Webmaster suddenly found he was in an unscheduled fixture against Al Qaeda. Their first delivery took the Webmaster somewhat by surprise (blowing him off his feet, in fact), but he stayed at his crease and carried his bat. Our thoughts are with those who, (unlike the Webmaster who was otherwise uninjured), were not able to walk back to the pavilion that day.
Final Score Blunham CC 1 - Al Qaeda 0

Wednesday 6th July Blunham Vs. Cople (Midweek League Premier League)

With Biggleswade playing in the Cup we were missing Doops and Smoggy, in came new additions Boris from Caldecote and the legendary Mike Davenport. Cople batted first with their assortment of Ampthill players. Our bowling got flayed to all parts on the usual good Blunham batting track as they totalled 153, whilst Eric Fowler stood as umpire asking why some of us would want to play on our wicket when theirs is so wonderful (in other words we are struggling for players, why don't you come and play for us!!). In reply our openers Boris and PT struggled to get County bowler Sneath away, and he was the difference between the sides as his 4 overs went for 14. Nick (36) and Chico (29) were the best of the batsmen as we fell 22 runs short. One game left against Elstow, probable champions; we will surely finish mid table and secure another season in the top flight.
- Captain Calamity

Sunday 3rd July Blunham 1st XI Vs. Hexton 2nd XI (County League Div 3)

A lovely stinking hot day at Hexton. One short so we picked up young Nick Pates for his debut from the colts game that morning. We arrived to find that County batsman Stuart Harvey was playing as he was babysitting and what would have been a two hour game turned into a chore. The Blender won the toss and inserted Hexton as he wanted to be set a target in this case. The track looked pretty ropey which is unusual for Hexton. Coops and Ed opened the bowling and whilst they didn't concede many runs, they didn't worry the batting too much either, so on came the Jones and G for his Sunday debut. G bowled a tight spell, 10 overs 3 for 29, whilst the Blender came on for Dan and took 4 for 32 off 11. Callum eventually removed Harvey (55) and they collapsed to 166 all out. Tea time saw the best teas anyone could wish for: smoked Salmon sandwiches and lashings of cream and strawberry scones, fantastic. Binko (28) and H.D. Ackerman (38) opened the batting and put on 87 against the most facile bowling attack we are ever likely to face. Ed (13), Dave (37no) and Callum (17no) finished the game off in good style. Back on the win-lose-win-lose pattern and on to Langford next week after a good confidence booster.
- Captain Calamity

Saturday 2nd July Blunham 1st XI vs Ickwell (Millman League Div 1))

Hmmm, league leaders Vs the winless Blunham team in the Millman league who were featuring just four 1st teamers from the previous season, officially the pools panel said "away win". Badger was unavailable, and Callum was birding, or something, but clearly we hadn't read the script, but then probably with most of the team's favoured reading material being "see spot run" this was no surprise. We won the toss and soon the opening partnership of Acky and Binko had moved the score along nicely and pushed the field back before Binksy lost sight of one in the trees over the sightscreen and was gone for 14. Davey Cooper threw his name into the hat for the number three berth and was looking the part before steering a shot into a fielder's midriff for 6, and we were 30 odd for 2. Tricky joined Acky and the pair were moving along nicely before Acky's departure for 17. This bought the "self proclaimed legend" Sid to the crease, fist scoring shot, a six into the changing room, but his innings went the way of the pear for 7. Tricky and Karl Zwetsloot looked to repair the innings, not helped by the fact that the scoreboard suddenly went from having ten overs left to just six, time for a few random slogs then. The innings closing at 194 for just the four wickets, a partnership of 90 odd, Tricky 78 not out, and Karl another impressive knock, finishing with 29 not out.

We just needed to remove the dangerous top order of Ickwell, as we figured we could roll through the tail, but after a few overs the ball was flying to the boundary. Then a ball left the in-form opener , took the edge, and there was ACKY JUGGLING THE BALL, BUT WAIT A MINUTE HE'S ONLY GONE AND HELD ON TO IT, yes ACKY. At 92 for 1, we were, to coin a phrase "not looking too good", but Acky was introduced and with the wicket taking spin managed to dislodge the other opener, the first of one of Sid's four catches. Dave Cooper was bowling impressively from the top end, getting one to lift and there was his mate Ed to take the catch. From here on in it was all Blunham as Acky's tight spell continued, backed up by further wickets from Coops, and the introduction of New Bloke bought two wickets. With the last pair at the crease 30 odd runs were needed from four overs, but Ed was having none of it, bowling a massive inswinging yorker that saw the end of the Ickwell resistance, and VICTORY, oh yes, I thang you. The legendary Stevie Wonder once had an album called hotter than July, let's hope it's a good month.
Face in the Crowd

Saturday 2nd July Blunham 2nd XI vs Caldecote (Millman League Div III)

A report dedicated to Big Dave's greatest loves.

A trip to local rivals Caldecote to face a team made up of a few 2nd teamers, 2 fresh from the bar and 1 first XI bowler who 'would only be used if the game got tight'. Caldecote batted first and 13 year old Sam Jones playing his 2nd senior game, got rid of the 2 openers in no time before (after good pressure from Mustard), Sam bagged the prize wicket of Dave 'Blunham Wanabee' McAdam for just 2, as Tap snaffled yet another behind the stumps. With so many WALKERS on what was far from a CRISP wicket, we looked in good stead. Dave Cook bowled his first spell in 15 years, several sprays of WD40 later and a loose spell, Dave moved into mid wicket to join the rest of the Dad's Army the 2nd XI contain these days. As Caldecote then began to BREAKAWAY, a wicket for mustard and a spell of 30 for 4 from Marge and the "Cot" were all out for 154.

Obviously this was a 'tight' situation, as Maudlin of the 1st XI opened the bowling, clearing out 3 of our top 5 in no time, despite 4ft 10 Matt Sheath smashing 7ft Dave McAdam back over his head, we slumped to 19 for 6. Kev Raggett played determinedly for long enough and when finally getting the chance to attack one, a blinding catch in the covers saw him depart for a defiant 12. However Dave 'Big Dave' Shaw at no 8, refused to apple CRUMBLE as he bravely held his wicket and took on the attack, hitting one almost past MARS, out of the MILKY WAY and into another GALAXY. Max had a go, but departed for 3 after a CRUNCHIE blow from his bat just went up and up and up before resting in the hands of mid off. Big D had some luck, as possibly the worst attempt at a catch since Polarbear's skyer at Bashley gave Dave a life. As Dave's wicket fell for a hard knock of 33 and with the heart of a LION clearly within him, it was left for young Sam and Dave 'biscuit' Cook to see what they could do. 2 for Sam and 3* for Biscuit and we stumbled to 78 all out. A disappointing performance but so many positives, with our opening bowlers combined age being 27 and our first 3 batsman totalling an age of 47, we need not be too down-hearted. Still, despite CHEESY comments, a good team spirit was still evident. In 7 days time the sides meet again!!! (well spotted anyone who got all the links, and I didn't even mention Sheath's CURLYWURLY!!!!!).

- The Optimist

Thursday 30th June Blunham Phoenix vs The Ringers (Beds Beds Midweek League)

A rather unusual occurrence started the evening as all the Phoenix XI arrived and some were even in whites before 6.30. A wet wicket and a new ball from the interchange retail park, Kempston and Phoenix were placed into bat. Gummo and Mustard both gave their wickets away for 0. New Bloke hit 12 runs from 6 balls before also departing, which brought Shaun 'Stanner' Webb to the crease. After a timid start, he and Ed dug us out of trouble and with Ed's 28, Webb's 33 and Karl's 16* we had 96 runs on the board.

With no recognisable keeper in the team, Covers again donned the gloves. Two good early wickets fell but then an inside edge eluded Covers, before an array of step-overs by new bloke at fine leg let the ball run through for four. Ben Jeffs guarded the boundary well, spilling what would have been a great catch (though to be fair, last season he would have run the other way to the ball, so fair play...). Then a tight spell of 4 overs plus 11 for 1 from Max and the pressure being caused by Covers whose first ever stumping was called 'not out', gave Phoenix the upper hand. Mustard snatched 2 wickets as our boys scrambled home to win by 16 runs. As the relegation battle enters its final week, the village waits in anticipation., Come on boys 'Lets Be Havin' You!!!!!!!!!'

- The Optimist

Tuesday 28th June Blunham 1st XI vs Beford Indians (Midweek League Div. 1)

As Chuck Brown would have it, this was the Budna XI on tour once more, the usual rag-tag crew of Blunham, Biggleswade and now Caldecote joined forces. Anyone else out there want to play?? There are no stars in our side and everyone gets a game. This game was no exception. Blender won the toss and inserted the opposition. There was a choice of wickets to choose from but they ranged from the down right awful to our choice which was akin to the complexion of Smoggy's bottom.

The Float and Blender opened, with Charlie and Doops following behind. After 12 overs BICC had reached only 64 off 12, and despite a late flurry against Chico and Tricky, a total of 99 seemed very gettable. Top-up left his eyes at home and missed a couple of straightforward catches as did their umpire who turned down an obvious LBW against their top scoring batsman.

Pete Thompson and the Smog Meister opened. Smog followed up his Duck from the night before with a Golden on this occasion as he got bowled flailing down the wrong line, which brought Coops to the wicket. Pete continued to accumulate and reached 18 before he was well caught in the deep scooping one to long off. Preceeded a few balls earlier by Coops who also played down the wrong line and was bowled. 22 for 3 after 5 overs. MAP joined Sid. Sid's eyes were still adjusting and he scratched around like an old hen or rather something that resembled the 'Shop Girl'. MAP scored a run a ball, 5 before being bowled, bringing Nick to the wicket. 33 for 4 after 7. We were falling behind the rate, but Nick's arrival brought Sid alive and they added 52 from the next 6 overs before Sid's back called time and he was run out whilst crawling on all fours for a second run. 31 from 27 balls. Milkfloat arrived at the wicket, and Blunham's new hero attempted to emulate his heroics of a fortnight earlier with the bat. In the blink of an eye the game was won as Dave 'Tarmac' Adam scattered the cows on the corner of the field and swatted 17 from 6 balls including 4 fours, and Blunham triumphed with 11 balls to spare. A quick shower and off to the 'Park' to celebrate and listen to Sid talk about the variety in his current entourage of females: sheep, meerkats etc.......................
- Captain Calamity

Sunday 26th June Blunham 1st XI vs Leighton Buzzard (Beds County League Div 3))

A second consecutive thrashing, another batting collapse and Nick left standing without any support yet again, 48 not out. Enough said.

- Captain Calamity

Sunday 19th June Blunham 1st XI vs Henlow (Beds County League Div 3))

What a hot day.

Upon pain of death from his team mates, Captain Blender succeeded in winning the toss and put Henlow into the field; thats Henlow, unbeaten and league leaders.

With words of wisdom in their ears about batting in partnerships and making it hard for the fielding side on such a hot afternoon, openers Binksy and Clinton strode to the wicket. Less than five minutes later both they and HD Ackerman were back in the pavilion for ducks. Fortunately the increasingly dependable Tricky was now in, looking to improve on his Sunday average of 723.63. With their Pizza delivery boy and Toploader bowling, conditions remained awkward for both him and Scott, and Scott soon holed out. Could anyone stay with Nick? Soapy soon went and the opening bowlers were replaced by a Sri Lankan legspinner and Scott 'ooooohhh' Spicey. The pressure was on but no-one could come to terms with the legspinner and everyone was too frightened to smash the flan of Spicer for fear of losing more wickets. Blender and Gummo soon went too as the score limped to 80 for 8. Out came the Ed, with no Mrs Ed for moral support these days, his batting form had plumbed the same depths as his morals on a Saturday night in Bedford! However, Ed played the leg spinner with disdain and had worked out a reasonable plan to cope, despite looking like numero uno bunny, he smashed his way to 28 not out and got his bat down on anything that betrayed his lack of foot movement, proving just what good eyesight he has. Poor Coops, who must have been expecting to have had the opportunity to bat for many overs, was deprived of a bat and Blunham closed on 138 for 8, with Tricky on 55 not out.

We were thoroughly demoralised by this stage. Bowling and fielding after Tea proved just how well they had fielded and we were well beaten off about 20 overs. Ravi the finisher tossed up some gravy towards the end and their Sri Lankan duly obliged to give up his wicket, but otherwise we were resoundingly beaten. As we seem to win every other week lets hope for more this weekend.

- Captain Calamity

Thursday 23rd June Blunham Phoenix vs Ampthill Lions (Beds Beds Midweek League)

In summary, we was rubbish. Polarbear managed to use 8 bowlers as Ampthill amassed 150+. In response, Big Dave top scored with 11, as we slumped to 60 all out. As Status Quo once sang we're going 'down down, deeper and down'

- The Optimist

Saturday 18th June Blunham 1st XI vs Henlow (Millman League Div 1)

13:55 In changing rooms, awaiting the result of the coin toss, very hot day, Sid must call correctly.
13:56 Sid returns to the changing room, nothing needs to be said - we're in the field.
17:00 A good batting wicket then, as Henlow amass 270 all out, good bowling from Callum and New Bloke I thought, who was a little under used. Acky somehow strangled a couple of wickets as well, at least we got them all out, off the final ball.
17:01 Dom starts knocking in Acky's new bat, complete with price tag sticker.
18:00 A good start from Acky and Binksy, with Acky smashing anything up there straight over the bowlers head.
19:00 After 18 odd overs we are up there with the run rate, having passed 100, Acky and Binksy's good start continued by Pete Thompson, Tricky and Sid, game on.
19:15 A mini collapse sees the fall of the wickets of Tricky and Callum in quick succession, Sid however is "legendary" and brings up his fifty with a six over long-on.
19:45 Hmmm, victory looks some way off now, but Karl batted well for 31, and the arrival of New Bloke is imminent.
19:50 New bloke smashes a six over long-on, sadly it is a gesture of defiance as overs are running out.
19:55 Badger plays an elegant cover drive, reminding us all that he can bat. Unfortunately, New Bloke loses his stumps trying to smash the ball for the 40 odd runs we need for victory - would have been a hell of a hit as well.

In the end we finished 224 all out. A decent batting performance with contributions throughout the order, we just need to bowl less four balls and get the ball in the right areas and we will put teams under more pressure. There's a rumour going around that Binksy was seen "leaf watching" at some point in the game, I don't believe it though.

- A Face in the Crowd

Saturday 18th June Blunham 2nd XI vs Elstow 2nd XI (Millman League Div 3)

A much stronger Elstow side than our previous encounter turned up at Phoenix Gardens. With the sun blazing down, Covers promptly lost the toss and Blunham took to the field. A bright start by Elstow was halted by Polarbear's flumping catch at point from Ben 'Marge' Jeffs' bowling. Then two misfields in succesive balls by Dave Shaw were followed by a short ball, guided by the batsman into Big Ds hands. Then Elstow's number 3 began taken on the bowling attack, taking a particular fancy to Covers' right arm straight spin! However a mistake and a great catch again by Dave was followed by controversy as the Square leg umpire called a no ball. So after several more boundries he eventually fell to a diving catch from John Small at slip. Several stumping appeals were turned down (I tell you, Tap could write a book!) but 2 wickets for Small and Kev Raggett's 3 finished Elstow off for 185.

Blunham's reply didn't get off to the best of starts with Covers going second over for 0 and a rather nervous Polarbear playing some rare nervous shots before getting off the mark with a single. However, after the initial panic, Polar and Marge began playing their shots, Marge particularly strong through the off side. The pair put on about 70 before a hungry Polarbear flung one to square leg. Smalley skied one on 9 and we did then look in a bit of trouble, but while his quiz team were wondering 'Where's Kev?' the opposition were seeing several balls smashed by his bat through the off side. Tap arrived at the crease and launced a six first ball which produced a quick field change. He and Sheath guided us close to the total but both fell before the end. Then Mustard falling for 0 the game looked to be taking a final twist. But need we worry ? With Big D 6* and Kev Raggett hitting the winning runs, we were home and dry with 3 wickets in hand. A great win on the world's hottest day - a game of two halves really, with the nerves and excitment of a penalty shoot-out. Some of us missed, but at least a few of us scored!!!!!!!!!!!!

- The Optimist

Wednesday 15th June Blunham 1st XI vs Ickwell (Midweek League Div. 1)

So, with Captain Wildon away, Blunham descended on Ickwell with JC taking up the captaincy. Ickwell batted first on a damp track, and were soon in trouble, Dave "Milkfloat" MacAdam taking a wicket first ball, and then following it up a few balls later with another. Soon, Ickwell were reeling at 12 - 3, and would have been in more trouble if the appeal off the first ball of the day had been upheld - Sid convinced of an edge, never mind the batsman, went on to score 70 odd, and without that we wouldn't have a total to chase. JC shared the bowling around, and in a reduced 14 over game, it was with some skill that he managed to get no fewer than eight bowlers on the scorecard. So 107 to chase then, and with several of the Phoenix squad watching we got off to a good start from Pete Thompson and Smoggy, and when Pete departed, Tom Dupuy upped the ante, slamming a six over long off and nearly taking out a few windows of a strategically placed car. The good tempo to our innings continued with useful contributions from Tricky, Frank and Milkfloat, and the last few runs for victory were secured with another lusty blow from "the float" who finished on 18 not out from 5 balls, good effort fella. All this and Sid preserved his "scoring a hundred and not getting out on this wicket earlier in the season, therefore I'm legendary" status. It only remains to be seen whether the Captain can force his way back into the squad, everyone bats and everyone bowls, but not everyone has a blue cricket jumper from Lords.

- Face in the Crowd

Sunday 12th June Eversholt versus Blunham 1st XI (Beds League Div. 3)

Eversholt - a great venue that we will all look forward to returning to in the future. After an U12 game at Clifton in the morning which ran very late, Soapy, Tricky and the Blender struggled to get to the ground in time, making it with minutes to spare. Sumo assumed control, won the toss and called correctly on a flat track. Blunham to bat first. Ackers and the patched up Binko to open. After a slow start that saw 28 from 9 overs, Binko ran out Ackers after hitting the ball straight to Cover and calling one. Sumo came and went after two lusty blows for the same score (8). Tricky and Binko put on 53 for the 3rd wicket, as it became increasingly apparent that the wicket was very flat indeed, and the bowling very ineffective. Binko then missed a straight one and contrived to get bowled around his legs (29). This brought Sidney to the wicket. What followed was the best batting partnership I can recall seeing for Blunham in a competitive game in the last 10 years. Nick Harding and Martin Sadler put on 181 for the 4th wicket, Tricky was sublime through the 'V' and Sid showed us all a 'wagonwheel' with almost all of the spokes on one side, which included one six off the back of the bat. Show-off!

Sid departed off the penultimate ball, caught for 84 and Tricky was run-out off the last ball, unselfishly going back for a second, when it would have been easier to preserve his not-out status (123). Our innings closed at 267 for 5.

In reply, their Skipper opened and looked useful, driving the ball for a number of boundaries. Jonesy and Soapy were consistent and gave little away first up. Dan was unlucky as Tricky juggled with one at 3rd slip but let go at the 4th attempt. The other opener had a lot of luck throughout the game, but you had to give Eversholt their due, they have a lot of colts and played seven 16 or 17 year olds. Ed replaced Dan and got some good swing but is still struggling for the consistency that he needs to cement his place as a bowler, nevertheless, some good inswingers had the batsman in trouble. The Blender came on at the swimming pool end and immediately removed their Skipper's leg stump with the score at 75 in the 15th over. Make no mistake Eversholt were still very much in this game. The introduction of Coops in place of Ed, brought a wicket but again there was a lack of much needed control and the run rate continued to climb. The Blender got another wicket before being replaced by Dan who got the 4th wicket with the score at 138 from 30 overs, Eversholt looked to press on. The next 9 overs went for 86 runs, before the Blender and Tricky (a little stiff and sore) returned to try and redress the balance. Eversholt now looked on top as the score reached 210 with 7 overs remaining. The Blender removed the opener for 101 (having been dropped 8 times in the process), and Nick removed the number 6 for 35. Despite much bat waving the flow of runs was stemmed and we ran out winners by 27 runs. Callum bowled the last 3 balls of the game and took the 10th wicket off the last ball of the game, as Sid stumped / ran out the last bat in true comedy fashion that is unique to our premier 'keeper.

The winning touch returns..........
- Captain Calamity

Saturday 11th June Blunham 2nd XI Vs Sandy (Millman League Div. 3)

Having had to concede this fixture earlier in the season it was a determined Blunham side taking on Sandy. Covers won the toss and elected to bat; a decision that looked to have back-fired as after 7 overs Blunham sat on 7 runs with 2 wickets down, Polarbear and Marge both losing middle stumps for 3 runs a piece! This brought Tim 'Tap' Pallister to the crease. After an early scare he and Covers slowly began to push the score along. Aided by some rare fielding, the partnership was worth about 65 on a slow outfield. Covers poised on 18, yet again picked out a fielder with pin point accuray and took the long walk back to the changing rooms. Young Mustard strolled to the crease and Tap departed soon after for a defiant 38. Raggers hit a quick 11 before Big Dave (despite the sight of several ice cream vans headed down Sunderland Road) hit a quick 19, as we finished on 160 for 5 (Mustard 33).

We then took to the field with Big Dave getting the jitters, bowling 2 overs for 21 as we gifted Sandy nearly 40 runs. Need we worry though ? - 13 year old Sam Jones on debut (after being selected late on Friday night) bowled a satisfactory first few overs before a mistake by the Sandy opener, allowed a ball straight through. This was followed by a pearler next over to trap Sandy's Lloyd LBW. Kev Ragget replacing Big Dave, continually bolwed straight and got his rewards with 2 wickets in 5 overs. Mustard however bowled a tight spell which allowed Ragget to snatch another two wickets. This left Kev on 4 wickets but with only 1 ball left of his spell, a five haul looked doubtful, but a closed field and a ball pitched 'up there' did the trick, as Kev finished with 10 overs 1 maiden 26 for 5. Sam came on for his second spell and took a wicket first ball as the batsman (despite hitting a four) also stepped back onto his stumps (uprooting 2). A second wicket a couple of overs later and Sandy were 87 for 9. This should have meant a quick finish, but Marge having a personal grudge match, ended up bowling 4 overs for 29, as Sandy trundled along with several lusty blows from their tail end. With 20 runs required, Max Hill's pace proved too much and a catch was lobbed towards Marge who redeemed himself with a catch that lacked grace, but did the business. Blunham won by 20 runs (Sam Jones 4 for 37, Max 1 for 8 and Raggett MOM)
- The Optimist

Wednesday 8th June Blunham Phoenix Vs Colworth House. (Midweek League)

Simple instructions to find this ground. Go through Sharnbrooke until it stops and follow the track. One by one we all made it, some of us later than others. Phoenix batted first with Mustard and Gummo opening as they were the only two with pads. Mustard top scored the innings with 10 as we amassed 67 for 9.
Fielding wise, Covers kept wicket for the second time in 4 days and picked up a catch from Ed's bowling. However, despite a fighting effort, we simply didn't score enough runs and lost by 6 wickets. )
- The Optimist

Sunday 5th June Southill Park 2nds versus Blunham 1st XI (Beds League Div. 3)

After the Lord Mayors show of the week before, could Blunham maintain some consistency against supposedly lightweight opposition ? Winning the toss and batting first, the Blender chose to bat on a green, awful looking wicket that played suprisingly well. In the auspicious surroundings of Southill Park, Ackers and the Blender strode to the wicket (Binksy out injured having hurt his little finger again), Blender looking splendid in his boating shoes, having left his boots at home. The Southill openers bowled a mixture of half volleys and full tosses, which were all summarily despatched and after 6 overs there was 49 on the board; 300 was looking a reasonable score. However the Blender edged a ball that left him to slip who clung on (28), and Ackers did the same just 5 minutes later (20). Tricky Joined Sumo, and the bowling remained tempting with Sumo hitting some lusty fours, but he quickly picked out Long off and departed for 18. Callum got a good ball that he edged to slip without scoring, and Top-up followed 4 balls after, missing a half-volley to be bowled. 78 for 5 in the 14th over. This left Tricky to bat with and nurse the tail to some kind of total, despite the rapid free scoring start no-one had gone on to make a score and some contributions were needed. Tricky was last man out for 62 as numbers 5 to 11 failed to get into double figures and we amassed a paltry score of 159 from 37 overs.

Despite fielding very well, following on from the week before's performance, we were always going to be around 10-15 runs short of a winning score. Blender, Tricky, Dan and Sumo bowled very tidily and after a couple of lucky shots including an inside edge for four they got over the line with 3 balls to spare. The most notable incident was Dan firing in short ball at their top scoring number 6, which he ducked into and it caught him flush on top of the head. Those of us at slip called catch as it sounded quite 'woody' (we hadn't realised he had been hit), clearly hurt and shocked the batsman turned on Top Up behind the stumps who hadn't said a word. A few expletives were exchanged as the batsman threw his bat at Sid, and was lucky to miss, otherwise he may have been facing a season long ban. Bearing in mind the batsman was a stocky Scotsman, Sid squared up to him and threatened to knock him into next year with a few choice words that you will only find in the extended version of The Oxford dictionary and that would make my cat blush. This lucky individual disappeared straight after the game (after a quick apology) and we chose not to report him, but Southill would be well advised not to have him play against us again.

So inconsistent Blunham stumbled against the weaker side once more..............
- Captain Calamity

Sunday 5th June Blunham 2nd XI Vs Pavenham (Friendly)

With being let down at the last minute, Covers was seen lurking round the under 12s game at Blunham in the morning, scouting for any potential talent. Chris Boulding and Nick Pates fairly keen to play and also Gareth 'Garth' Perry was dragged out for a seasonal appearance for the club. Blunham fielded first, with Covers behind the stumps (conceding just 2 byes all game). Dom Aloia and Connor Heaps opened the bowling, both bowled tight opening spells and also Map catching a skyer off Dom's bowling for an early break through. This then allowed Nick Pates to join the attack finishing with great figures of 4 overs and 19 for 2 as he troubled the stumps on both occasions. Will 'Im really nervous' Phillips also bowled well after initially strugling for rhythm, with figures of 4 overs 1 maiden 1 for 7. Dean Barrow also picked up a wicket with Garth taking a difficult catch at square leg. Then a moment that could go down in history, as Garth bowled two overs. However, despite an impressive effort, he didn't snatch a wicket. Map was keen to get in on the action. Before the lads snatched all the wickets, he showed them how it could be done with a spell of 10 for 3. This left Connor to clear up the tail, his last ball an absolute pearler. Pavenham finished on 207 all out and the younger members of our team forgetting Covers' explanation about letting the opposition have tea first were instead loading their plates high with crisps, cakes, sausage rolls and going back for seconds before some of Blunham's players had even entered the room!

In reply, Webb opened, hitting 17, Connor keen to open, got a shocker of the pitch and was caught behind. Dom looked solid before playing a rash shot straight up in the air. Max however, batting for the first time since 1871, looked solid and as players fell around him, he stayed there despite 12 year old Nick Pates making him run 2s. Max eventually out for 27, Covers didn't hang round long for 3, which left Boulding and Garf at the crease. Boulding finished on 2 while Garf, after receiving batting tips from the opposition (he listens to them more than us), hit a couple then smashed a four over midwicket. Two balls later he repeated the shot with the same result before losing his middle wicket, as Blunham reached 90. On paper not the best result, but a good lesson for the young lads and a good practice session for some of the others. Thanks to Pavenham for some friendly bowling and a good game. There's a rumour going round - the future's going to be good, just need to keep them off the cake!!!!!!
- The Optimist

Saturday 4th June 1st XI Vs Luton Caribbeans (Millman League Div 1)

Sat around the changing room whilst it slashed it down, but this allowed Sid enough time to deploy Neil Thompson off to McDonalds, and then to score a direct hit on the viewing pane above the changing room door, with his gherkin, comedy moment of the day. Having looked at the wicket, or at least the twenty two yard long stretch of grass complete with tyre marks, that had stumps at either end, we were in bat, tremendous. A good start between Acky and Binksy was continued by Pete, aided by some shocking dropped catches by the hosts, we conserved wickets, and with fifteen overs left of the thirty five overs, and with only two wickets down, it was time to send in Gummo to chance his arm. Binksy batted sensibly and made his way to 53 before being sent on his way lbw to a ball that was not only going over the top of the stumps, but also about a foot down the leg, so what set of stumps they were hitting I don't know. Meanwhile Callum was making good headway with 36, and Squash had been promoted up the order to add some biff. With three overs to go, Sid walked out to the wicket following, another, surprise surprise lbw and before you knew it had made 26, with both him and Squash hitting maximum's. Sid fell off the last ball of the over, as the innings closed at 160 - 5, very few extras, and surprisingly few wides given, very surprising, or not.

We had Luton well and truly on the rack with five down for not many, MAP and Acky the main wicket takers, and Callum with a couple of great catches, and Dom "the running man" Aloia nearly pulled off what would have been described as "officially a great catch". Acky's kit bag would probably have had more luck with the chance offered to him, but then he is blind without his glasses. With luck not on our side, and with the "stonewall, plumb in front, ball hitting the pad about 5 inches up, destroying all three stumps lbw appeal" was turned down, and equally unfortunately the benefactor of this decision went on to make 80 and despite our best efforts, with Fleming taking a late wicket after finding his range, we were denied, as Luton passed our total with 8 wickets down. Sid's second visit to a well known fast food establishment, culminated in a lot of interest from the local girls to the three occupants, it must have been his dad's H reg Cavalier with blown exhaust and Foster & Allen tapes that caused them to do two laps around the roundabout honking their horn and waving.
- A Face in the Crowd

Saturday 4th June Blunham 2nd XI Vs Eaton Socon (Millman League Div3)

Going into a game with only one regular bowler was always going to be difficult, and with the first dropped catch of the day coming from the second ball, a long day in the field was inevitable. Not much else to say really - Kev Raggett picked up 3 wickets, Tap a couple of stumpings as Eaton Socon reached 311 for 9. In reply Raggett again top scored with 20 odd, Dean Barrow got his first not out as we slumped to 85 all out. A game to remember for a number of reasons, however our batting not being one of them!
- The Optimist

Sunday 29th May Blunham 1st XI Vs Caldecote (Beds County League Div 3)

On an overcast day, we arrived at Caldecote to find that their mower had 'broken' and the wicket was very grassy indeed with a bit of variable bounce. They won the toss and had little hesitation in inserting us. Clint and Binko opened the batting, this despite Clint's pleas at 1.30am that he was in no fit state to play. The ball did all sorts as the two opening bowlers moved it time and time again past the outside edge. Clint was soon bowled for 4 proving that his eyesight was still troubled by alcohol excess. Tricky came to the wicket and Binksy started to move his feet. The bowlers bowled too straight at Tricky and he was soon scoring freely to leg. The pair put on 95 as they came to terms with the wicket, and Binksy proved that he is rapidly becoming our answer to G. Thorpe as he battles it out on difficult wickets. He departed for a dogged 36. Sumo came in and smashed a quick 22 as we sought to up the pace after a slow start which saw 21 off the first 10 overs. Nick quickly followed Sumo with a well constructed 80 and we were 153 for 4 in the 36th over. Soapy got a dodgy decision and Sid was left to see the tail home as he made 29 not out with quick fire contributions from the Blender, Spider, Coops and G. 207 for 8 after our allotted overs.

With the words of one of the spectators in our ears at tea, that ours was a reasonable total but no more, we set about the Caldecote batsmen with some gusto. A fired up Dan started from the bottom end and with good line and good bounce he soon had Brett Sizer in trouble with the Blender taking a good diving catch at slip. Tricky's first over was more of a trial to him as he tried to come to terms with his length and control the enormous banana he was bowling with. Number 3 hit a full toss back to him which he dropped but only to see it hit the stumps and run out the other opener at the non-striking end. This was going to be our day.

Dan bowled another good Maiden and Nick followed up in his over with an out-swinger that caught the edge of Caldecotes captain straight into the pouch of the Blender at slip.

Tricky bowled a booming in swinging yorker in his next over, that was reminiscent of Salvatore in his Hey-day, and the Ox departed for a duck.

Their batting was now in tatters as our openers were all over them like a cheap suit. Nick did for the left handed Ben Maudlin as he played a shot to leg at a ball which swung a mile and removed the off stump.

Both had a breather after 6 overs a piece. Soapy Bennett and the Blender came on at 24 for 5. With good catches from Sid, Clint and Binksy the score reached....

Time for the young guns and Coops and G came on to finish it all off. G got a wicket with his first ball as he and Sid combined to strangle number 10 down the leg-side, and Coops wrapped it up as Blender came in to leg gully and caught a ball played off the batsmans legs.

A complete morale booster after last week, Caldecote all out for 50 and a massive drubbing dished up. Here's to next week.
- Captain Calamity

Saturday 28th May Blunham 1st XI Vs Houghton town (Millman League Div 1)

Hmm, all a bit of a blur this, well, let me see, Peter Manfredo beat Alfonso Gomez in the rematch, and will now face Sergio Mora or Jessie Brinkley at Caesars Palace, no wait a minute, that was the Contender, back to the cricket. Toss won, we bat, and amass our best score of the season 228 all out, largely thanks to another half century from Binksy (most improved player this season by a country mile), a vital knock of twenty odd from Ed, and some late pyrotechnics from New Bloke of 48 off about twenty balls, boom, smash. With a bit of luck we could have forced a win here, but the vital wicket eluded us as apparently according to the umpire "you cannot be out lbw if you bat outside the crease", hmmm, have to try that one myself when I'm given out lbw next time, and see how I get on. Despite the defeat the younger bowlers - Coops, Ed, MAP and Callum are all getting vital experience at this level, and that's about all that can be said about this game.
- A Face in the Crowd

Saturday 28th May Blunham 2nd XI Vs Ampthill (Millman League Div 3)

The hardest challenge of this game was at first trying to find the ground as we had relocated to Milton Bryan (near Woburn). The animal we saw on our journey was our very own Polarbear who was convinced he knew directions to the ground despite calling in at Toys R Us en route! However, 11 of us did all find the ground and with mini tornados sweeping through, our hopes of a nice windbreak were shattered with one tree behind the clubhouse providing as much shelter as your average sieve. Ampthill opted to bat and it was soon apparent that Blunham were short of bowlers. Mustard bowled determinedly from both ends when called upon, finishing with 10 overs for 22. Kev Raggett finished on 10 overs, 44 for 2 and Max 9 overs, 20 for 3. So who to throw the ball to was the next question. Polarear had a go to no avail and then Marge 'are you sure' Jeffs and Smalley both picked up 1 for 24 leaving it for Covers to dislodge the tail as Ampthill were dismissed for 177. Catches from Dave 'Coach' Cook and Tap behind the stumps aided a spirited fielding performance in difficult conditions.

Tea was well accepted with music being added by Covers' tubular orchestra, then to our batting. After a 20 minute protest, Ben jeffs eventually was made to open, looking good on 13 he was then run out by Covers who then himself chipped the ball to mid off next ball. This brought Smalley and Polarbear together, who initially struggled in the conditions. Polar fell for 7, which allowed Mustard in a rare number 5 spot to take to the crease. Have to admit at this point with about half the overs gone and about 50 on the board, I did think it was all over, but with a 2nd half performance (similar to that of Liverpool in the Champions League) we began fighting back. Smalley hitting a massive six and Mustard playing some beautifully timed cover drives before Smalley had his stumps removed by a young spinner. This though brought Tap to the crease; the game still looked like heading toward defeat for us but several wides, no balls etc and more runs for Mustard, we got it down to a run a ball. Tap then joined Mustard with several boundaries and with 14 needed for victory, and Mustard on 39, a half hearted LBW appeal was enough for Polarbear to trigger Mustard and then next ball, Kevin Raggett! Should we have worried though ? With Paula Pallister double checking, we recorded every run. Dave 'Coach' Cook opened his Blunham account sliding the ball to point and followed that up next over with 2 more, leaving it for Tap to crash home the winning boundary with a couple of overs spare. Mustard received Man Of The Match, Polarbear a copy of the LBW laws, and finally big thanks to Dom and Deano for helping us out. Well done lads, much appreciated!
- The Optimist

Thursday 26th May Blunham Phoenix Vs Flitwick (Midweek County League Div 3)

Amazingly we all arrived at the ground before the game was due to begin. On the changing room floor a copy of the Sun was laid open, displaying the pull out poster of Liverpool lifting the European Cup, but alas Dave 'Big Dave' Shaw was intent on the highlights Page 3 had to offer. Anyway Phoenix batted first, scoring 105 for 7. Useful contributions from Gummo 30 and Kev 'first 4 on the leg side for 20 years' Sheath 19. Then a disastrous start to the fielding, as Ed's first over was despatched to all areas of the ground. Dom Aloia on Phoenix debeut nearly pulled off the catch of his life, diving full length to his left, but it took the ever-dependable bowling of Geoff Fitzgerald to pressure the batsman to lob the ball to Sean 'midweek specialist' Webb at Square leg. Polar then threw the ball to young Dom (D-D-dom)' Aloia whose first ball was smashed high over midwicket only to find the safe hands of Gummo at Cow corner. Dom's first ball - Dom's first wicket ! Despite late pressure and several rash shots from the batting team, Phoenix lost with just four balls left of the game. A relegation dog fight appears to be on the cards....
- The Optimist

Sunday 22nd May Blunham 1st XI Vs Langford (County League Div III)

It was an afternoon that forecast showers but the game got underway on time. We won the toss and inserted Langford on a still softish but drying wicket. Langford's side was short on batting and as always much was dependent upon Chris Gentle's performance. We were confident of victory.

Tricky opened from the top end and bowled a very tight spell of 9 overs, 4 maidens for 12. This was a lesson to all the young pretenders watching. We play limited overs cricket and bowling tightly is paramount. This normally brings wickets especially at the other end as batters look for the easier option. In this case the easier option was the Blender, struggling for rhythm, still struggling with old age and injury. Blender bowled a spell of 8 overs, 3 for 29, a bit expensive but nevertheless 3 of the top order. This brought to the wicket Meatloaf and after playing out the openers, he despatched Ed, Dan (first game back) and Gummo for 31 off three overs as the hapless captain scratched his head for ideas. Much to Dan's disdain he was taken out of the attack after one over and Ed was switched to the top end. The plan worked, despite going for 14 off the over, Ed despatched CJ Gentle, bowling him through the gate. After a few gentle overs from Ackers, and a wicket, Tricky and Blender returned to the attack to tighten things up a little, with a wicket and 10 runs off 7 overs to compete their overs. Just as Ed came back on, the Heavens opened with some ferocity, and there was much scampering about to find suitable covering for the wicket ends. With assorted bin bags and some plastic sheet, kindly donated that very morning, we managed to stem the rain and Tea was taken.

With the loss of 35 minutes after tea, the match was reduced to a 41 over-a-side game, which suited the opposition Captain, Paul Crouch, as they were by now 7 down with 6 overs left. The wicket ends were dry but the middle was very wet and there was one problem spot at the top end where the rain had run off the 'covers'. We decided to continue as it was apparent that we would bowl Langford out and gain 10 bonus points. Had we called the game off we would only have got 10 points for an abandoned game either way. Dan and Ed mopped up the remaing wickets with 2-19 off 4 for Dan, and 3-40 off 7 for Ed. Langford amassed 140 all out. Ackers and the Blender, opened the batting as they had in the previous game, but batting had now got worse and collectively Langford's bowlers bowled better as a unit than we had done, giving little away. The Blender went early and Ackers hung around like a cat in a tree, before he too mis-timed one and was out for 22. Sid got one that popped second ball from Splash and couldn't get out of the way. Meatloaf and Splash were bowling tightly and further disaster followed as Gummo also went for a duck and Nick for 17 off the bowling of Chris Gentle. 48 for 5. Ed went quickly too, as the score reached 52 for 6 and complete capitulation seemed minutes away.

In complete contrast, Binksy, adapted well to the conditions and was very watchful. Coops joined him, and for a while we hoped we might see them get us home, but with the score on 84, he too was guilty of playing early on the tacky surface and was caught for 10. Dan and Big Dave Shaw departed quickly leaving the score on 95 for 9; the end was near. But wait an unlikely 'hero' entered the fray, Sean 'Spider' Webb. With 7 overs left and a seemingly impossible 46 required, Spider and Binko, mixed some big drives with well run singles, and after 19 of the remaing 42 balls, the pair had added 20 for the last wicket against the weaker bowlers, and some of us were starting to pinch ourselves. Just as it started to look achievable, Binko was yorked by the pie-bowler, and the inevitable eventually happened. Mark batted very well for his 32, easily worth 60 or 70 on a normal Blunham wicket. The difference between the sides was the bowling; they put us under pressure with accurate lines, and Tricky aside, we bowled too many balls that were short, wide or both. We can only get better.............................
- Captain Calamity

Wednesday 18th May Blunham 1st XI Vs Sharnbrook (Midweek League Div I)

The usual early week scramble to assemble a side saw the inclusion of new member Waggers from Biggleswade plus young Connor, MAP and a reluctant JC-Edwardes.

Sidney lost the toss and the 'Brook' elected to bat. A steady 3 overs 1-19 from Tricky 'mind my ankle' Harding, 4 overs 3-19 from the Blender, 3 overs 1-19 from Cooperman tore the heart out of the oppositions batting; let the fun begin. On came Waggers with a good line in leg spin that had the lower order in knots, further spells from Chuck, Smog, and Map closed the innings with Sharnbrook amassing a very gettable 116.

It was a cold and grey evening and we were all glad to get off Phoenix Gardens and wrap-up. JC sought sanctuary in the Wenger bus (with his lurvely lady Sarah) at the top of the field as we sought to do without him. It was so cold, even his legendary movement in the field was so slow he looked like a Ready Brek kid (for younger readers, he was pedestrian). Safe in the knowledge he was but a phonecall away, Blunham's skipper tinkered with the batting order once more. Thommo opened in his first game of the season as did MAP.

With his Dad looking on, MAP cut the grey evening sky to shreds and eventually Blunham's D'Artagnan disappeared back to the pavilion with 1 to his name, but no doubt learned from the experience. Pete went for nought to a superb diving catch at gully, and Blunham were 2 down for 3 runs, not the start required! With Scarecrow Sid and Smog at the wicket things could only improve.

Sid hit a much needed 39. Smog and Charlie added 14 between them. When Tricky came to the wicket at halfway, we were up with the run rate and ones and twos were all that was required. The Blender came and went and in came Dave 'Porthos' Cooper. He too had a good go at what was left of the sky and eventually the vet arrived from Emmerdale and put him out of his misery. Lets hope Dave re-finds his touch soon, we need him.

With 22 needed from the last two overs, we had fallen behind the run rate, and it was time to unleash JC to join Nick. They added 9 off the penultimate over and with Tricky leaving Jon on strike for the last over. He finished it off in style in 3 balls: 6,6,1 and the game was over with 3 wickets and 3 balls to spare.

You had to feel sorry for Sharnbrook as they trooped off, but had we not given everyone a game in the true midweek tradition, they would have been well beaten without JC's intervention.
- Captain Calamity

Tuesday 17th May Blunham Phoenix Vs Kempston Methodists (Midweek League Div III)

Always gonna be a hard game over Kempston, but even harder when we scrape only 73 together. Not a bad start with Ed and Gummo knocking the ball about to start with, before both being out cheaply. Karl Zwetsloot in his first Phoenix game looked solid before his stumps tumbled to the floor. Michael 'Squash' Robinson was eager to impress (...perhaps a little too eager, as he charged like a roman chariot toward the bowler before being stumped first ball). Shaun Webb was unlucky not to score more than 7, as a rising drive that would have easily cleared the field, instead deflected off the meaty thighs of Dave 'Big Dave' Shaw for a single. Anyway after 16 overs we were 7 wickets down.

Defeat did look inevitable, but a mis-timed drive by the Methodists opener found the safe hands of Blunham's major summer signing, Squash. Next ball and Marge nearly pulled off a stunner, but alas not. The rest of the innings was fairly simple as we bowled the balls, Kempston hit the balls and we retrieved the balls (repeat this process several times) and the game was shortly over as we crumbled to a nine wicket defeat.

Saturday 14th May 2nd XI Vs Elstow (Millman League Div III)

At last a second team game, a full squad and a bright sunny day !
What could go wrong ? ..... for a change, nothing really. We arrived at Elstow in good time, Polarbear proving his knowledge of the backstreets of Bedford was second to none. Daniel 'Cubby Covers' Coverdale won the toss and elected to bat. Ed started well, smashing the first ball he faced high over square leg - not the worst of starts. After a typical fiery 15, Ed was trapped LBW which brought a bedraggled Callum 'Gummo' McGlynn to the crease. He and Cubby put on over 50 for the second wicket, mostly through pushing singles. Cubby looking set for a decent innings, went 'easyjet style' as his wicket tumbled behind him. Andrew 'Polarbear' Jeffs fell cheaply which allowed Kevin Raggett to arrive at the crease. Whilst this had all been going on, Gummo had been trundling on slowly at the other end and with great support from the Raggett, he passed 50 and then on 98, guiding the ball through mid wicket for two valuble runs for a well deserved hundred. With this milestone out the way, he and Kev started smashed the ball all over the park in an unbeaten stand of 109 runs (McGlynn 114*, Ragget 36*) as Blunham finished on a highly respectable 196 for 3.

A bright start with the bat by Elstow was cut short by Cubby's sprawling catch at mid wicket from the bowling of second teamer Mark 'Map' Pallister. This followed by two wickets from Dave 'Big Dave' Shaw. Two more wickets for Map and a great spell of 4 overs,1 maiden, 4 runs for 2 wickets from the short lad Geoff 'Mustard' Fitzgerald. Then the gentle finger spin of team beanpole Ben 'Marge' Jeffs who, with the aid of the lightning reactions from Tim 'Tap' Pallister, claimed his first league wicket, quckly followed by his second three balls later with a caught and bowled, to win us the game as Elstow collapsed to 69 all out. Surprisingly (?), Callum bagged the man of the match award as we trundled down the local public house, while Tap shot off to catch the evenings episode of Dr Who - Don't know why, - he could have set the video.....!

Sunday 8th May 1st XI Vs Sandy (Champions League)

A localised shower twenty two yards long hovering over the pitch and depositing about a tonne of water, ensured that Sandy could do what they wanted, namely:

A) Depart Phoenix Gardens asap as they evidently weren't keen.
B) Jog on down to the local to watch the football.

Saturday 7th May 1st XI Vs Div 1 vs New City (Millman League)

New city, wasn't that some early 1990's film of the "Boyz 'n the hood" type genre?? Anyway, not much to report really, MAP bowled a great opening spell finishing with 5-24, and if we hadn't bowled SO MANY full tosses/freebies/help yourselves and alleged wides, the opposition would probably have scored 60, not the 179 they ended up on. Our response at 49 - 0 looked good, then 90-2 ok, then 118 all out, poor. Binksy with 45 top scored, but the rest of the innings was a shambles really, no excuses, it's time to stand up and be counted. If I could choose one word, that word would be

Thursday 5th May 2005 Blunham Phoenix Vs Mowsbury Park, Midweek League

Last year saw the Phoenix propelled into division three of the midweek league. This season saw us standing around waiting for the arrival of our captain, vice captain and several other players as 6.30 came and went with out the start of the game. Polarbear half way back from Luton, had realised his Bob-the-Builder backpack still lay on the extension roof of his current worksite and Ed was going be late all day. When Ed did arrive he strapped his pads on as we were already 8 for 4. Ed though had to wait longer than expected as resistance was uncovered in the form of Ben 'Marge' Jeffs and Kevin 'Youth coordinator' Sheath. Marge played a good little knock for 9, while Kev carried his bat for an unbeaten 25. Ed looked in fine form before being brilliantly run out, which allowed Matt Sheath to join his Dad at the crease. Phoenix finished on 87 for 7 and expected a quick fielding experience, but with Max Hill in your side and the safe hands of James Aust, the game went to the last 8 balls as Phoenix disappointingly lost by five wickets.
TEACHERS VERDICT------- Must Try Harder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday 1st May 2005 Blunham 1st XI vs Southill Park 2nds.

Blunham's first ever County league game, and lo, half the first team squad is missing. Binko and Smally took the option to go drinking in York, Dan 'found' himself in Goa, Clint has retired for a life of womanising, and the Optician is severly injured needing to go under the knife. So in came two colts, Ed, MaP and Coops.

After an overnight tropical monsoon, which brought down enough water to fill Lake Victoria, miracle man Floppo managed to get the wicket into a fit state to play on, including enough of a dry crust at one end to hide the bog beneath. This fooled the oppo captain as he won the toss and chose to bat.

Lo and behold, the 'bog' had most batsman playing at balls that hadn't arrived yet, and the 'orthodox' batsmen of Southill struggled early on. Good early spells from Bingo and Tricky dried up the runs. Soapy, The Ed, Floppo Jnr and MaP got through their spells without any dramas. Coops turned up from the showroom at 3pm and finished the innings from one end with a tidy spell. A hot and steamy afternoon saw Ackers and Sid even more lethargic than normal behind the stumps, with the former consistently trying to break his foot and the latter looking like Worzel Gummidge catching a turnip. The last over turned into a farce for the Park, as there were 5 wickets and a dot ball, as belatedly they tried to up their score and ended on 168 for 8.

After Bingo's missus put on a lovely spread at Tea, Bingo and Ackers walked out to bat. Lots of swooshing and 'unorthodox' wand waving saw the score rise quickly to 94/3, before the quick departures of Bingo and 'The boy who knew too much' saw a minor slump. Tricky and Soapy saw the score mount to 163 before both departed.

The 'Bog' by this time had played into Blunham's hands as many runs were scored to the short legside boundary with some needy 'bogslogging' by all and sundry. With 5 needed and 7 down, panic set in but Ed and MaP saw us home with one lusty blow through covers from Ed and two wickets in hand.
With new go faster hats on display and nice new shirts for sale, many took the opportunity to buy, except poor old Sidney who had left his wallet in the taxi the night before. Pity the poor cab driver, who must have thought all of his birthdays must have come at once...........Still onwards and upwards and back to Ackers for a healthy diet from the Rising Sun takeaway.

30 April 2005 Millman League 1st XI Vs Ickwell
And so, to Inkwell for the first game of the campaign, and the usual early season panic, people away/injured/unavailable, thank God Sid won the toss and we were batting. Hmm, "volunteers for opening anyone" - silence, until Acky and Tricky threw their names into the ring, and before you knew it were off to a decent start, with a few boundaries. At 40-2, Captain Sid came out to join his new housemate, and the "Hillesden Massive" were soon putting together quite a tidy partnership, belying the fact the Acky was clearly still feeling the effects of the previous night, and Sid had blurred vision from sticking a cable in his eye/tonsillitis/everything.

Someone pinch me I must be dreaming I thought, as these two carved the bowling to all corners, Acky sensational through the off side and Sid patient and watchful, with violent intent simmering below the surface. After this pair had lived the dream (officially) in putting on over 150, Acky fell to a sharp caught and bowled effort for 64, and despite a clatter of late wickets to some good catches, Sid played a gem of an innings in seeing the score past 200. With the last over to go, the skipper needed 13 for his century, no problem eh, two sixes off the green and then a slap to wide mid-on and he was there, arise centurion. We finished on 228-9, a tremendous effort all told, Sid 104 not out and now officially "rated" by some random old bloke wondering around the boundary. With a decimated bowling attack it was always going to be difficult restricting Ickwell's powerful line up, but young MAP can take heart from his two wickets, and Mustard earned some praise from the opposition for consistently beating the bat, even if his nickname did bamboozle them totally - "why do you call him Mustard?", surely a rhetorical question - "Because he's mustard". Ickwell eased home for the loss of three wickets, but we did see some great fielding by Polarbear, and at one point I swear I saw Sid running at full tilt to save a boundary, without pulling up and claiming his knee hurt, - phenomenal.

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