Match reports

2008 End-of-Season Under 12's Report now on the Youth Cricket Page

.... and the one you've all been waiting for ....

Friday 19th - Sun 21st September 2008 - Team Evolve Branding Vs Team Jewers Doors

At the appointed start time of 9am on Friday 19th September, Blunham Cricket Club, were about to enter the realms of the unknown as they sought to break the world record for the longest continuous game of cricket, and bring it back home to England from Australia, and more importantly back to Bedfordshire. We had been looking for ideas for fund raising during the 2008 season, to update our dated pavilion and add some net lanes for our burgeoning youth section. Whilst the usual avenues of raffles and auctions had been successful in the past, we needed something on a much larger scale to bring in the level of funds required. We are blessed with a good wicket, one of Bedfordshire’s best kept secrets, and large player base, but unfortunately a small and pokey clubhouse, and just one net lane, inadequate for the 100 so youngsters that are regularly coached at the club.

One Friday afternoon I stumbled almost by chance upon the existing world record, set at 35 hours by a team in Chestfield, Kent, and sent an e-mail to my work colleague and Blunham player Neil Wildon, with the immortal line – “what do you think?” From then on the idea snowballed as firstly 24 players were sought, and then the huge army of volunteers that were required to act as witnesses, umpires, scorers, stewards and first-aiders, were sought, all requirements for the record to be ratified by the Guinness book of world records organisation. Neil worked tirelessly in getting this list filled, whilst other players had secured the floodlights for playing at night, bands to act as entertainment for the crowd, and food for both players and spectators.

At the time of our tour to Newcastle in July, talk was of little else, and we had a chance to practice some night cricket as one of our opponents Marsden CC held a 6-a-side tournament after our main match, which Blunham went and won, and we eventually left the field at ten minutes to ten. Next up was sponsorship, as every single player set up a just giving page for friends and families to donate, and finally we found a digital clock with enough capacity to time the event. Then the bombshell was dropped, the record at 35 hours had gone, and had been replaced by one of 50 hours and 18 minutes from a side in Australia, and worse was to follow, as we learned a club in New Zealand were trying to ratify their attempt of 55 hours. In a moment of stupidity we decided to up the ante and go for 59 hours.

There were dramas along the way, not least in finding a camera capable of recording all of the action, but at 9am on Friday the 19th September at our HQ - Phoenix Gardens, all of those worries had vanished, as we could look forward to just playing. The forecast was good, everybody was keen and the wicket looked just like the A1 not far away. Friday morning was a bit surreal as I bowled off a full run up with a camera crew about ten yards behind me, maybe they would do my fielding for me as well? Those batting took their opportunities to rest, as most had bought a tent, or at least were sharing one, but the first day was noticeable for long innings... very long innings. At one point I had been in the field for well over five hours, and Sunday evening at 8pm looked a long way off. I had worked out that we would probably bowl somewhere in the region of 1,000 overs over the weekend, which equated to about 11 County league games back to back. Considering the summer we had, and the number of washouts, we were about to play our entire County league season all over again in just three days and two nights.

Friday afternoon saw the arrival of Mike Gatting who stayed around for a two hours signing autographs, and at 3pm we took our first break, which was the opportunity for most of us to put some large amounts of calories inside our bodies, thanks to the sterling efforts of our caterer. We were allowed to take a five minutes break for every complete hour played, but had decided to play in 6 hours shifts to maximise this free time. Friday night saw the floodlights come on, the sightscreens covered with a large black tarpaulin, and the pink ball came out for the first time. The lights did their job as batting was still OK. Fielding was a bit perilous at times and high catches would surely be difficult at best. What spurred us on throughout all of this, was the arrival of cricketers from other clubs, friends and family, and the village in general who were out in force throughout the event, drinking our bar dry on more than one occasion.

Through the night, and the change of umpires acted as another marker towards our goal, continuing the countdown, and the temperature plummeted to 5 degrees. Never again will I moan about fielding 46 overs in the blistering heat. We saw the sun rise over the ground to mark the dawn of a new day, and by Saturday afternoon several of the players had officially hit “the wall”. We knew it had been coming. By this stage I still hadn’t slept and players were starting to get narky, particularly after one mammoth innings where our opposition had racked up well over 500. We were given a boost by the size of the crowd on the Saturday evening, and the music from the bands provided some timely encouragement and belief for all. Sleep still seemed impossible, the noise of the ball on bat magnified 100 times during the still of the night; the hum of the generators running the floodlights, and the non-stop encouragement by the two Daves – Cooper and McAdam in the field as they cajoled and bullied their team mates into making it through the session, all seemed to put paid to any kind of rest. Finally at eleven on the Saturday night I managed to sleep, for a whole two hours, after drinking two glasses of red wine in quick succession. I was quickly woken up by my captain informing me I was next in. Luckily I had foreseen this, and had fallen asleep in my pads and gloves anyway.

I felt so much better for my two hours sleep that now I was the one dispensing encouragement, even to the opposition batsman as they hung around to give their team mates some sleep. At about 5am, as the cold ripped through our bones, the fog slowly started to descend on the wicket and the players all looked like those people out of the "Ready-Brek" adverts. The umpires had now started to resort to calling the action as opposed to signalling, as our scorer simply couldn’t see that far. The sun rose and the fog lifted on world record breaking day and this was to be the turning point for many. The wicket was still playing true, and it was pleasing to see so many players scoring centuries; seven in total over the weekend. Few who will have seen it will forget Dave Milkfloat” McAdam’s whirlwind innings of 168 on the Saturday afternoon, but it was also nice to see Dominic Aloia, Chris Hudson, David Cooper and Matt Benson all score their maiden centuries. The rest of the day felt like a breeze as we had broken the back of the effort, and before you knew it we had passed the official record, which was quickly followed by the red arrows roaring overheard in formation. The Kiwi attempt of 55 hours was next to go, yet we played on finally pulling stumps just after half past eight, with a new unofficial world record time of 59 hours, 33 minutes and 56 seconds.

We left the field to large applause from the bumper crowd that had kindly come out to see us, and in a nice touch were led through a guard of honour formed by our youth players. Too shattered to celebrate, I went home and had to be helped upstairs to bed by my girlfriend.

A big thank you to the army of volunteers out there, the umpires, scorers, groundsman, stewards, first aid personnel, witnesses, sponsors, and to all those who turned up to watch. We were only doing something that we all love, you made it possible for us to achieve our goal, we were enjoying ourselves playing cricket, you were doing the hard work in our eyes.

We dedicate our effort to Bob Desborough, former groundsman and player, sadly lost to cancer some years ago - gone forever, but never forgotten at Blunham. I can’t help but think he had some role in the red arrows flying overhead just before the record went, as I have since found it was a pure coincidence and they were flying back to their base in Lincolnshire from performing over the Isle of Wight. On a final note, I’ll leave you with the words of what turned out to be our favourite steward from the weekend - Ickwell’s Shabaz Hussain who pulled the worst possible shift and really kept us going when we needed it most:

“water……….cereal bars……….red bull..............................water...... cereal..... red bull..... ”

- A Face in the Six Deep Crowd

Sun 31st August 2008 - 1st XI Cutler Hammer (County League)

Rain the night before ensured this game was called off, leaving us all to head down to watch the 2nds in their do-or-die promotion game at Phoenix Gardens, which unfortunately for the young lads ended up in a 50 run defeat and third spot despite some decent batting from Titch (41).

This has been one of those hard to sum up seasons, at some points we have been superb, others frustratingly disappointing. Defeats at home to Potton, Cople Argus and Eversholt in games we were well on top is something we shall have to remedy for next season. Although, eventually these proved irrelevant as we finished a comfortable second place and guaranteed promotion for the second successive season. The turning point for me this season was the game at home to Ickwell. Rain delayed the start and had it not been for D.O.C. we would have all gone home, 267 runs from 30 overs later we were well and truly glad we had stayed and picked up the full 30 points. Add that to victories home and away against Vauxhall Motors, both where we hit 280 runs when the pressure was on, showed the true class we have. How many teams can say that the bloke coming in at 8 has a 165* to his name?

This year we have been complete as a team. Flashes of individual brilliance have, as always, helped us through. But as Sam from Luton Town & Indians, rightly in my eyes, stated, "Others in this league have great players, you have by far and away the best team we've played against." As for the players, Binko & Sid at the top of the order have been reliable and steady throughout the year, setting great platforms for the rest of the order to bat around, Matt Benson at three, has been a great acquisition with both bat and ball, scoring a personal best score of 85* away at Cople. Nick has been his reliable self with the bat, again averaging 49 for the season, his 90* against Luton Town & Indians paramount in ensuring victory in that game. Chester has come in and strengthened the middle order, adding valuable quick runs and will no doubt prove next season to be invaluable to the side. Callum has proved his doubters wrong, ending the season with a flurry of match winning innings including 78* in a 170run partnership with Geoffrey against Vauxhall in a must win game, finishing with a season average of 53. Geoffrey has been his superb self with the ball throughout the year, with no batsman feeling comfortable against him at the top of the order, as he moves the ball both ways through the air and off the seam. Add to that, valuable runs, in particular 81* against Vauxhall and he's been a real star performer. Dave McAdam (Milkfloat) has been reliable and steady as always with the ball, breaking partnerships and bowling tight lines in the middle of the innings, and, as always with Floaty, has hit big licks throughout the season! His 52 off 19 balls particularly impressive. Connor has looked good when we've had the pleasure of him being in the side. Often away on County duty, at 14 he surely has a bright future ahead of him. Then we come to Daniel Jones, still striking fear into opponents with his pace and bounce and has been unlucky not to have taken more wickets this season as more often than not, batsmen had no clue what to do against him. Last but by no means least we come to Neil & Simon, throughout the season they have captained the side superbly, dealing with all the hassles and pressure of captaining a still predominantly young side. They've both contributed with bat and in particular ball taking vital wickets in the middle of an innings, both proving to still be valuable assets to the club who I cannot thank enough for the work they have done. A huge thank you to everybody else that has helped out in games as well, you've proved how much of a club we are.

Looking forward to next season the task in hand will be consolidation as we continue to grow as a club. The teams we will face will be a lot stronger, but we will all be another year older. We still have people like Ed, who found some form at the end of last year and hit his maiden 100 for the club and Dave, who's scored runs consistently throughout the year, pushing for spots in the first. Also Dom & Adam Grimes, who both hit their maiden 50's for the club this season and will continue to improve with age, soon they shall be pushing for a first team place themselves.

As a team WE WILL BE READY! - On The Ball Village, Keep Living That Dream.

- The Analyst

Sat 30th August 2008 - 1st XI Vs. New City (Millman League)

A decimated line-up headed over to great Linford to face champions-elect New City, mind you we still managed to put three sides out on the field of play, testament to the number of people that are now living the dream. With most of our absences in the batting ranks we decided to bat first. We didn’t really apply ourselves too well and were bundled out for only 73, only Tricks providing some resistance with 27 not out, but there was the opportunity for some of the younger players to bat against better opposition than they are used to. New City romped home by 8 wickets in the end, but we took a couple of wickets with us, Grimo taking a decent catch off of badger, and then young sheffers splattering the stumps as their number three tried to finish the game by hitting the ball to Midsummer boulevard. Congratulations to New City who became deserved champions, we finished in fourth or fifth, just behind the Uefa cup spots, but a good season all the same. We left New City to settle their wage bill, and drink champagne, and we even performed a guard of honour for them as they left the field, which was a touch of class from the children of the corn. Play cricket, make friends, not a bad way to go about things.

Our best performance of the campaign came at home against the new champions earlier on in the season when we chased down their score of 200+ relatively easily. It was probably no co-incidence that this performance occurred when we were all up the field early with everything done, and spent a good 30 minutes warming up and practising.

An early finish meant we raced back to PG for the 2nd team’s game, to confirm the validity of the text message we had received “Gilo has just joined the century club by hitting 150 not out”. Badger had promised to drink a beer out of his bowling boot if this was confirmed, and to his enormous credit some 24 hours later Badger was as good as his word, draining the last dregs from his right boot.

- A Face in the Crowd

Sun 24th August 2008 - 1st XI Vs. Pavenham & Felmersham (County League)

News had filtered through that Potton’s game against Vauxhall was off, which handed them 10 points each, and meant that Potton would be champions. Going in to our game we had a slender lead of 6 points over the motormen. Even the dunces in our team realised that a win taking at least 5 wickets would secure us promotion to Division One for next season, to follow on from our promotion last year. On arrival the covers had done their job and P & F elected to bat. We were soon in amongst them, Mustard taking a couple of early wickets, and the Trawlerman bowled his best all season, although it has to be said with no luck as the cardboard cut outs behind the stumps failed to cling on to any edge he extracted. The dangerous number 3 was removed fairly cheaply, and Float came on and picked up four wickets to send P&F crashing to 113 all out. Sid and Binks negotiated the opening overs early enough, doing their best to not be distracted by the 7 slips and gullies, and the selection of guinea fowl parading around the boundary until Sid couldn’t resist in trying to lace a ball through the heavily populated slip cordon. Bink and Cat Dog remained vigilant though to ensure no wobbles, until Bink chopped on. At this stage we were 60 odd for two, but with Cat Dog remaining calm and ending with 29 not out, a promoted Float bludgeoning a quick few runs, and Chester launched a six to hit the winning runs.

That is us promoted now as runners-up, a good season again. If you take out the poor start to the season we turned the corner probably against Ickwell at home in the wet when the batting fired, and has continued to fire since. Now, all thoughts turn to the Sunday 2nds, who have their own judgement day next Sunday. If they win well, they will also be promoted. Good luck to you lads….

- A Face in the Crowd

Sat 23rd August 2008 - 1st XI Vs. Pavenham & Felmersham (Millman League)

We amassed 302-8 on the worn playing strip, Cheddar Bob smashing a rapid 127, and Cat Dog 79. Once these two had been split after a 180 run partnership we lost a few wickets in the thrash towards the end, but our highest score of the season was not to be sniffed at. Mustard was soon among the wickets, and then the ball was tossed around here, there and everywhere, so much so that we had Tricks bowling with a hamstring problem off of two steps, and Sid having his first league bowl for years. P&F eventually finished on 253-9 after we had bowled an extra over due to a problem with the scorers and a bottle of wine.

- A Face in the Crowd

Sun 17th August 2008 - 1st XI Vs. Vauxhall Motors (County League)

An important game for us 2nd (them) Vs us (third), judgement day was upon us. We reached 285-5, an excellent partnership between Mustard 81 not out, and Figjam 78 not out, added to Cheddar Bob’s 57 made for a more than competitive total. Vauxhall had a go, but fell short on 189 all out, the second half of the game notable for one incident, as both sides contributed to the lack of class.

Normally I would write about the great catches taken by the Jones, and Figjam, but I just feel hollow this morning.

- A Face in the Crowd

Sat 16th August 2008 - 2nd XI Vs. Caldecote (Millman League)

Despite the rumours of torrential rain, the game got underway under a bright blue sky. Due to the 3rds having 'borrowed' the majority of the 2nd teams bowlers, Blunham opened with the unique partnership of Eddie Davis supported by Andrew 'Polarbear' Jeffs. However the wicket was clearly lively early on as one of the Caldecote openers rushed off to get a helmet after Ed's first over. However, Ed finished wicketless leaving it to Bear to bag two wickets before forcing the Caldecote number 3 to top edge one into his nose. Having removed Bear from the attack, to prevent further injury, Acky and Gilo bowled in tandem. Acky's first over seeing further wickets as Covers took a good catch at cow corner (with key support from Pete). Caldecote finished eventually on 105 all out, with 73 year old debutant Glynn Croaker bagging a wicket and a diving catch on his debut.

Mrs Hay's spread was fantastic! Wonderful cakes, sandwiches and assorted savoury snacks were gladly received and got the seal of approval from a pumped up Bear. In reply, Pete Thompson and Scotty Hutchinson started well, but Pete fell, closely followed by Ed, Polar and Tap, leaving us on 60 for 5 and Caldecote fancying their chances. However, with their opener bowling his final over and Scott plundering two fours from it, meant Gilo was able to swing his bat (his averaging over 286 you know), bringing us a five wicket victory with Scott carrying his bat for 26*.

A good win for the seconds made as difficult as possible. Key game next week, as we see if we can still sneak into the top two..

- The Optimist

Sat 16th August 2008 - 1st XI Vs. Luton Caribbean (Millman League)

In case you are wondering, the gherkin that Sid left on the window of the changing room in 2005 is still there. We won the toss, and then bizarrely chose to field so we would have to bat last on a wicket that would undoubtedly resemble a ploughed pitch when it came to our turn to bat. We managed to restrict the Caribbean to 230 odd in their innings, and then batted reasonably well to reach 190 all out, with Figjam passing 50, and Marge a patient 34. One of these days we will win in Luton.

- A Face in the Crowd

Sat 9th August 2008 - 1st XI Vs. Luton Cricketers (Millman League)

Rained off - A Face in the Crowd

Sun 3rd August 2008 - 1st XI Vs. Eversholt (County League)

Rained off before we left unfortunately, as:
A) We had a great team out
B) Eversholt is probably the best batting wicket in the league
C) No doubt other teams in our league would play and gain more than our ten points for a cancellation.

- A Face in the Crowd

Sun 27th July 2008 - 1st XI Vs. Luton Town & Indians (County League)

LT&I batted first on a lovely wicket at Phoenix Gardens (the 2nds had scored 326 here the previous day), and sure enough runs were the order of the day. With the temperature nudging up to the late 20’s, the sweat-clad Blunham fielders stuck to their task restricting our visitors to 267-8. Jayasuriya Bink crashed a few early doors, but then we had a wobble at 80-4. Callum and Tricks steadied the ship with a partnership of 98 to put us back in the hunt, before Callum went for 48 very well made runs. Runs continued to flow though through cameos down the order from Milkfloat with 26, and Acky with 18 as we passed the 200 mark. Tricks smote Panesar over the sightscreen to bring up his 50, and the strength in our batting showed down the order, as despite missing Sid and Chester we still had someone of Neil’s calibre floating down at number 9. The game went to the last over, but we were never going to fail to score the 2 required, and Neil hit the winning runs to bring us home, Tricks exhausted down the other end on 90 not out, and 13 and a half stone, down from fourteen for the day.

A good win for us against a strong Luton side, who will surely avoid relegation if they field this team for the rest of the season. This puts us 2nd now, and in the promotion spot, albeit Vauxhall have a game in hand on us in third, which will make our game against them at PG a must win.

- A Face in the Crowd

Sat 26th July 2008 - 1st XI Vs. Pilgrims Oakley (Millman League)

We posted what I thought would be a very competitive score of nearly 200, Callum 30 odd and Tricks 36 odd not out batting well together, and Spenders showing some promise for the future with 16.

Unfortunately, the heat got too us as we lost our discipline in the field, started arguing amongst ourselves when things didn’t go our way, and then conducted a full-on blame storming session as we could only take five wickets as Oakley got to the victory target in the penultimate over. Disappointing to see this really, I need say no more, I hope never to see it again.

- A Face in the Crowd

Sat 26th July 2008 - 2nd XI Vs. Langford (Millman League)
A day of blistering heat and...records. In such heat, winning the toss and sending the opposition out to field in such a fiery furnace was going to be crucial, so Captain Covers duly obliged and poor old Langford had to face both the heat AND a mature batting performance from the Blunham 2nds. After the loss of an early wicket, a partnership between Ed and Covers started to build....and build.... and build. A slow pitch, but a fast outfield saw 4's and 6's from both batsmen, Covers making his maiden home half century and Ed carrying on to make a magnificent 138 before being caught. Meanwhile, Umpire Sheath made some interesting calls, including a "Brown Ale" award contender for signalling a wide after the batsman hit the ball cleanly. Dave Cooper was somewhat disguntled at being adjudged LBW, but was to make up for it with a superb mid-wicket catch later on in the match. By the end of the 45 overs, Blunham had amassed 326 for 6. A record for the seconds ?

The scoreboard was a depressing sight for Langford as they came in for tea.

Langford were always going to have to chase such a huge total and a bit of youthful impetuosity from one of their openers, saw their more experienced opener run out (who was none too happy about it either !). Although Langford tried to keep their heads up, they started to fall behind on the run rate and eventually ran out of wickets in the chase, ending up at about 290 all out.

So a great record breaking win for the 2nds on a punishing wicket.

- A Casual Observer

Thu 24th July 2008 - 1st XI Vs. Sharnbrook (Midweek League)

And so the last midweek match of the season as we face “The Mighty Brook” away, in what could be an unlikely title decider for us, although to be fair we’re an outsider and I wouldn’t back us any more than Eagle Boy in the 3:30 @ Chepstow (Incidentally, that was a horse that I picked when I was nine, and which came in last, much to my granddad’s delight). Unfortunately, our captain was laid low by a bout of tonsillitis at the age of 34, which meant that “no keys” Gilo assumed the role of changing field positions, moaning etc etc. Gilo came to the party by making sure we had eleven players (good to see Milkfloat’s nemesis Sam Jones in the side) and Chester and Ed strode out to the crease to commence hostilities. Ed was the victim of a direct hit run out early on, but after the second over which contained at least 15 wides it was clear Sharnbrook had a different agenda to us. As the wide count rose, several batsman got out, but the innings belonged to Chester, who helped along the way by Float, New Bloke and Grimo, took most of the strike and hit his maiden century for the club from the last ball, including one lovely drive that will linger long in the memory, as we closed on a formidable 170-6.

It was clear from the opening batsman that were sent out against us, that the second half of the game would be treated with a bit more seriousness by our opposition, but with us keeping things generally tight, the brook were never in the hunt once the dangerous Robert Green look-alike had departed to a good catch by someone, Krusty I think? Gilo had a good game encouraging the side, and it became obvious towards the end of the innings that they would fall well short, so we went on the hunt for wickets and bonus points that these bring. The innovative fly slip was utilised to Krusty, and a few balls later a spirally catch was heading straight to Cubby in this aforementioned position, for the simplest of catches when…………..out of nowhere came Float who must have put the fear of god into Cubby, as he dived at full stretch to take the catch flattening him in the process. After peeling Cubby off of the floor, with the aid of some margarine and borrowed spatulas, all agreed that yes, it was Float's catch to take, yes sir.

So the win by x runs (not sure how many, but quite a few). It remains to see if we’re in the title hunt, as it depends on other as yet unknown results, but knowing this league we could be anywhere from 1st to 6th now, I predict a third place finish, unless there are some shocks, but third place with essentially a young side is a hell of an achievement.

- A Face in the Crowd

Wed 23rd July 2008 - Blunham Phoenix Vs. Riseley (Midweek League)

So to the last midweek game of the season and with a faint waft of promotion still in the air, away to bottom of the league it was! In fact, "waft" was the order of the day as Riseley seemed to connect with everything their somewhat aggricultural batting line up swang at and we, well.... didn't. Riseley 120-9 (Swann 4-12) Blunham 86 all out. Praise must go to young Jimbob Sheath who barely knee high to a grass hopper, came out and fielded like a trooper while we were a man light!

A crushing defeat ensued after a stuttering end to the season, but there are plenty of positives.... The losing performances against teams like Queens Park & Henlow were more than commendable and the victory against Pilgrims Oakley (who are in the same league as our Saturday First XI) was a particular highlight.

This side is only young, with an average age of just 19! Everybody pulled together throughout the season, worked as a team and showed maturity with bat and ball that you wouldn't expect from such a vernal group of players. This year has been a learning curve for all involved and we've come out with a lot more knowledge of how to play the midweek game. I for one can't wait for the midweek season next year.

- The Boy Who Knew Too Much

Mon 21st July 2008 - U14 XI Vs. Kempston Hammers (County Youth League)

With Connor and Malinga away, new Captain Pato took up the reins, and did the first thing correctly – win the toss. We amassed a decent score of 148-7, Spendlove a typically belligerent 50 and Harper 27 not out. In reply Kempston Hammers finished about halfway to this score for the loss of six wickets, Harper taking 3-3, as the ball was tossed around for everyone to have a bowl.

Thanks to under 12’s Deryn and Will for playing, with key members of our side unavailable, your enthusiasm is a credit to you and Coach Cubby.

- Mr Tricks

Sun 20th July 2008 - 1st XI Vs. Vauxhall Motors 2nd XI (County League)

We were missing a few players, most notably in the bowling department, as we went into this fixture against the 2nd placed motormen. The wicket looked very green and didn’t look that great, but how wrong we all were, as it was rock hard underneath. Bink and Sid soon had the scorebook rattling along, so much so that inside 16 overs we had 100 up for the loss of Sid for a well made 41 - he really is loving this opening stuff. Bense was given out LBW (despite a faint inside edge). Chester batted well, but then had his stumps rearranged as the ball started to move, but Bink carried on passing his fifty until he went the same way, and then Titch was also given out by our own Umpire bang in front. S Dog mistimed a drive to be caught, and was last heard throwing things about. With runs not a problem, but a flurry of wickets, Tricks dropped anchor, and this bought the big fella to the crease. Milkfloat didn’t disappoint, bludgeoning 52 from just 19 balls, including numerous sixes. He just has the ability to smash length balls off his stumps with such power. This was the moment the opposition’s spirit was crushed. After a while, they even forgot to bring the field in to Tricks, which meant he could just take a single at will and watch the carnage from the other end. When Float perished for 52 we had passed 250, and despite the late run out of TAP, we reached 273-8, Tricks 32* and Acky 1* including the cheekiest single from the last ball you ever likely to see.

We stuck to our task well in the field, knowing that pressure would tell in the end if we could just keep a lid on the run scoring. As it was we were helped along the way by three run outs; the first a comedy one as the batsman fell over, the second a pretty decent Gary Pratt type effort from Tricks, and the third Milkfloat masquerading as Andrew Symonds throwing the stumps down. Runs flowed though on the fast outfield, although we were always slightly ahead thanks to Float’s pyrotechnics earlier. In the field we were mustard, especially Titch and Grimo, who were throwing themselves around like youngsters. Wait a minute - they are youngsters, which must be the secret. Vauxhall’s innings succumbed to the slow slow spin of Acky, as Bink and Float held their catches, to be fair, there can’t be too many better catchers of the ball in the club than those two, except maybe Gilo who is best in club. As we walked off the field weary we had secured the holy grail of 30 points against one of our promotion rivals, despite missing our opening bowling attack, two further bowlers and our number 6. Good effort from all involved. It can’t have been easy for all of those boundary riders out there, but the plan worked in the end, keep it tight and wickets will come, as Sid would say.

- A Face in the Crowd

Sat 19th July 2008 - 1st XI Vs. Biggleswade (Millman League)

Biggleswade were indebted to one of their openers who made a century in making 238, and showed our alleged “fiery” wicket is actually a decent surface to bat on. Grimo kept well, and Sid had a couple of decent catches to pass what must be about 500 catches for the season to date. Our reply started well, with Marge and Sid having a decent opening stand, before Sid went for 30 odd. Marge passed his fifty, Chester hit a quick 34 and Callum a quick 15 as the run chase continued. With the revised batting line up chasing runs, New Bloke strode out at number 5. Marge eventually played on for 77, a steady platform for the rest to bat around, and then New Bloke smashed a straight six up the hill and into a garden losing the ball in the process. Bense also showed he can play off the back foot despatching an attempted bouncer with ease to wide long on, and runs were coming at a fury. New Bloke then smashed Twiggy about 30 yards over the pavilion to move to 46 not out, and with two required for the win, the opposition skipper then bowled two wides, presumably to prevent further punishment, allegedly.

- A Face in the Crowd

Mon 14th July 2008 - U14 XI vs Ickwell U14 XI (County Youth League)

Blunham 143-9, good knock from Connor 41, and excellent batting towards the end from Boulders 34* and Toby 22 from just 9 balls.

Ickwell 70-8, Connor 2-2, Rob 2-10 and a direct hit run out from Pato.

Good batting towards the end of our innings from Boulders and Toby got us to a good score, despite some comedy wickets and good catches in the middle of our innings, have to value our wickets more. Shame we couldn’t knock over the tail in the last few overs when a couple of full and straight balls might have done the trick, but overall a good performance, and good to see some others coming to the party with the bat. The talent is there, just believe in yourselves.

- Mr Tricks

Sun 13th July 2008 - 1st XI Vs Potton (County League)

Potton 188-9, a decent performance in the field from us, generally good bowling.

To the batting. We were cruising with 40 odd for none after ten overs, then a couple of soft wickets went down, but even so, with plenty of batting we ought to overhauled Potton’s total. As it was, they bowled well and Tricks got stuck in a rut, which created pressure right down the innings, culminating in a load of wickets as the run rate increased. Lost by 36 runs in the end, very disappointing for all concerned.

- A Face on the Crowd

Sat 12th July 2008 - 1st XI Vs Ickwell (Millman League)

Ickwell called off due to the weather at 9.30am

- A Face on the Crowd

Thu 10th July 2008 - 1st XI Vs Bedford Pakistanis (Midweek League)

On a wet wicket we went ahead and played, and were rewarded for our endeavours. Mustard took a wicket with the first ball of the game, and in tandem with Bense reduced them to 25-4. From here on in, perhaps worried by their batting lower down, they looked to consolidate but with Connor, or is it Callum Heaps, and Tricks keeping things tight, they were restricted to 89-7 from their sixteen overs.

Ed and Mustard got us off to a brisk start before both were out, but Bense with 30 and Tricks 31* broke the back of the run chase adding 60 for the third wicket, and as the gloom descended we ran out worthy winners by 6 wickets, despite only having ten men throughout, PT out ill just before the start.

That’s last year’s champions put to the sword, and their first defeat in this league for two and a half seasons so they told us. With us lying second prior to this game, it certainly makes things interesting if we could play our final game which was due to be played the day before this one, but fell victim to the 24 hour downpour.

- A Face on the Crowd

Tue 8th July 2008 - U14 XI vs Harrold U14 XI (County Youth League)

Harrold 108-3, good bowling in the main throughout the innings, the pick for me Benny Howlett.

Blunham 112-0, Spendlove 50ret, Heaps 35*, Harrington 15* the chase judged to perfection

An excellent performance, shows what we can achieve when we are all up for it.

- Mr Tricks

Sat 5th July 2008 - 1st XI Vs Houghton Town (Millman League)

At approximately 1pm a phone call came from D.O.C. with words saying that Houghton Town could not field a side. With a disappointed Blunham 1st XI looking forward to a good game. 28 points and a place in Millman Division 1 all but secure now. instead....

Sat 5th July 2008 - Browns 7's vs Newblokes 7's

Mustard and Sid went home. With Malinga, Mini Tricks, Spendog and Derren Gough down watching, we decided to have a twenty/20 match. The two Chris' as captains. The teams were chosen and Chris Brown's team to bat first with Pob (bense) and best in club to open the batting. Bense took a liking to Marge's bowling hitting him for 33 of his 2 overs, B.I.C went to Newbloke to a back of the bat shot. Bense went on to reach his 50 inside the 5th over with a towering 6 over long on off Newbloke. This brought Gummo to the crease and looking to build an innings. Gummo and Bense both managed to hit 2 sixes and Newbloke thought he would turn it into a 6 hitting competition. Once Gummo got to his 50 he gave way to Spendog. First ball facing Leading wicket taker Tricky who decided to toss one up in the air and then saw the ball disappear over deep mid-wicket for 6. Tricky was not happy so fired one in quick and bowled him. Not a bad strike rate of 300. Out comes Derren Gough to the crease a dead ringer to Darren Gough. Bless him was a tad scared that people were going to bowl fast at him. However, he looked solid in defence against Tricky's spin attack he managed just two before being bowled. Out came skipper Charlie making good use of his dab. A few wickets fell, bringing Pob back to the crease, looking to build on his 55 from his previous innings. Tricky looked to bounce him out but the pitch was not quite lively enough to do it. Bense added just 9 to his total taking him to 64 off just 29 balls before being caught by Mini Tricks off Ducks impression of Murali. Gummo back to the crease adding 27 to his 50 getting to 77 and 1 over to go needing 23 for his 100 and Duck bowling. First ball looking to put him out the park and missing the straight one. Chris Browns 7's reaching 213 of 20 overs.

Openers Marge and Tricky came to the crease knowing they needed to score runs quickly. Proper opening Batsmen so Browny went to his proper opening bowlers. Bense running in off his full run up for a long time and bowling a decent pace picking up the wicket of Marge caught by Malinga at gully in the first over. Tricky looking in good touch at the other end smashing Gummo to all parts of the ground. Bense decided to bowl a few balls of spin the next over which inevitably ruined his figures bowling a juicy full toss outside off to Tricky that he smashed through mid off for 4. Back to pace he goes beating Tricky's outside edge, then trying to bowl a bouncer as advised by Tricky to Condog which he happily uppercutted for 4. Tricky reaching his 50 off 31 balls hitting Browny for a massive 6 over long on. Newbloke came to the crease looking to beat Bense and Gummo's two 6's the field was set 3 men at cow corner Jamie Hay into bowl and its straight down Gummo's throat, with a chipped bone in his thumb, dropped the catch but stopped it from going for 6!!

Newbloke reached 2 sixes, one massive over the trees and Bense looking nervous after betting a pint of beer on it. Jamie Hay still bowling at the other end and Newbloke happily used the wind to smashed the ball down the ground over Bense's head and hit the top of the sightscreen to reach his 3rd 6. A break through was needed so Browny brought Bense back on to bowl with Duck at the other end Bense bowled a bouncer and then saw a ball smashed over his head for a 2. A quick yorker was followed which got rid of Duck. Malinga and Mini tricks were at the crease Browny's team looking in control with 55 runs needed off 3 overs and happily giving the two young 'uns singles and a four of some spin from Bense. Bense ran in from the boundary to Pato which saw him back away to the clubhouse and bowled spin very wide. The last over came and Newblokes 7's needing 25 to win. Some strange umpiring from D.O.C. giving 5 runs to the batting team for abuse to the umpire. Newblokes 7's needing 5 off the last ball with Condog facing managing just the 2.

Charlie Brown's 7's winning by 2 runs. Some very good umpiring from Miss Adams. Usually seen with a can of fosters and a fag in her hand and often on the phone, but no controversial decisions and some very good decisions made.

- The Director of Maintenance

Thu 3rd July 2008 - 1st XI Vs Biddenham (Midweek League)

With the opposition skipper stuck on the A1, we found ourselves in the field, and despite the wicket looking very good for batting, and a lightning outfield, we soon made a couple of breakthroughs through Krusty and Tricks. Chester found himself on a hat-trick following a slow motion tumble and dive catch from Sid, and from then on in the Biddenham innings subsided to the bowling of Con Dog and Gilo, as every catch was taken by the boys in red and gold, maximum bowling points ensured as Biddenham were bundled out for just 82 on a good track.

Before long, a tired Mustard was peppering the ball to all parts, and also showing his numeric skills as he deprived PT of the strike for three consecutive overs. Mustard bought up his 50 with a cheeky sweep for a single, and then departed to a ball that lifted off of the ridge. PT followed LBW to the umpire stationed 44 yards back, but by then the result was never in doubt, and New Bloke and Chester eased us home for the loss of just two wickets, with several overs in the bank.

That should be enough to secure our top flight status for next year and all of the TV revenue that comes with it, but in this league stranger things have happened like actually winning the title when you think you have just done enough to be safe. Extended net session for some after the game, Coops looking keen.

- The Janitor

Tue 1st July 2008 - U14 Vs Caldecote U14 (County Youth League)

Blunham 206-2, Heaps 50 ret, Harrington 36, Harper 33*, Parish 24, Pates 13* (from just five balls - and looking very good)
Caldecote 92 all out, Jiggins 5-21, the 2nds teams favourite cult hero – Boulding 2-4

Excellent aggressive batting throughout our innings, Jack unlucky to play on after a great start, and Jordan falling to a great catch the only two wickets to fall.The Caldecote reply was stifled early on by 5-21 from Tom (yes, I have the match ball to give to you) including a terrific stumping off a first ball wide from Jack. Too many wides in general, but an excellent performance nonetheless.

- Mr Tricks

Sun 29th June 2008 - 1st XI Vs Cople Argus (County League)

New Captain Floaty was ready to administer some punishment beatings to anyone who gave their wicket away, but as it was we found ourselves in the field. One of the best appeals all year including a trio of raised hands from the slip cordon, accounted for the opener LBW to Mustard, and Soapy picked up the other, one of three catches that the legendary Sid took. At 19-2 Cople were in some trouble, but slowly put themselves back into the game. Float came on, and showed the virtues of line and length. For any of our younger players reading this, here is a guy to base yourself on, although I mean in regards to bowling, and not lifestyle. Whilst not blessed with express pace, he consistently hits good areas, and asks questions of batsman, his size might also intimidate them a bit. 4-19 from the Float pegged Cople back, and Callum came on to bowl some leg spin, bowling one with his moon slider, and then taking a wicket the very next ball, with his new variation the grenade, and finishing with 3-22 as Cople slid out for 176.

Our reply started with Sid and Bink, and a load of wides. With the score on 23, Sid lost his stumps yorked for 1, and this bought in Bens to the crease. This pair with float’s words of "build a partnership" no doubt ringing in their ears, they did just that, simple really, as they kept out good balls, and punished the bad. Bink hit a towering six and passed his fifty, and with the score on 113, and a partnership of 90 , bink was finally gone for a timely 56. Bens then passed his own 50, and accelerated as victory loomed, adding a further 63 runs with Tricks 17 not out, and Bens a chanceless and personal best of 85 not out to secure the 8 wicket win.

With plenty of batting left in the hutch, if we continue to go about things as we are, we should do quite well this season, if not very well. If we can stamp out the Jekyll and Hyde performances we should fear no one, at this and higher levels. Maybe we will even feature in the Ickwell Cricket Monthly magazine that is due out soon….

- A Face in the Crowd

Sat 28th June 2008 - 1st XI Vs New City (Millman League)

Mustard took a four bag, Soapy and Con dog bowled well, and at 63-5 we were well in this game. The number four looked a very good player and eventually ran himself out in the 80’s, and some late hitting boosted their score to 204 all out. Without Sid (absent at a wedding), Bens opened instead and himself and Marge slowly laid the platform for a winning reply. Both Marge and Bens passed fifty before they were each out, but crucially had posted 100+ for the first wicket. With the run rate climbing some late wickets were lost, but Mustard was in no mood to hang around having had a nice afternoon kip, and promptly slapped 28 not out in quick time to reach the target. Another good win, confidence is rising. We can now add “beaten a city” to our growing list of achievements.

- A Face in the Crowd

Thu 26th June 2008 - Blunham Phoenix V Pilgrims Oakley (Midweek League)

To Phoenix Gardens (do we ever play away?) for yet another home midweek league fixture against a team which, coming into the start of the midweek season, must have fancied themselves to be one of the strongest teams in the division. With A. Jeffs absent with work, B. Jeffs took the reigns and with orders to bat first promptly, won the toss and batting we were. Jeffs and Clayton opened up and laid the platforms for a good score with an opening partnership of 30 off 5 overs before Marge chipped a catch to mid-on to depart for 22. This brought McGlynn to the crease and in tandom with Claton, did a good job in running hard, turning 1's into 2's and punishing the bad ball when it was delivered. A partnership of 90 runs from 8 overs followed, before McGlynn was caught for a well made 49. Some late fireworks from Swann 11* from 4 balls and continued sensible batting of Clayton left him with a midweek best of 48*, meaning we had set our highest ever midweek total of 139 - 2.

As we went out to field, the heavens opened which made bowling particularily hard. Subsequently after 8 overs, Pilgrims were 88-0 and well in the game. Jeffs then threw the ball to Swann from The Salvatore Genevese Greenhouse End and Clayton from The Swings N' Roundabout Stand End. In tandem, they bowled good lines, varying their pace with effectively match winning spells. Titch finished his 4 overs with 3 wickets, well supported by Swanny with 1 giving us a 30 run victory. Now this reporter, while not The Optimist, can confirm with some optimism that Blunham Phoenix are now TOP of their midweek league table, 4 points clear of Henlow and Queens Park, with the two bottom teams in the league still to play. Henlow and Queens Park still have to play each other so could this be a year of the unexpected promotion for the young Phoenix side?

- The Boy Who Knew Too Much

Wed 25th June 2008 - 1st XI Vs Mowsbury Park (Midweek League)

We disappointed in the field, dropping numerous chances, and not bowling too well at one of their batsman, as they amassed 144, although Gilo bowled very well, going for just seven off of two overs and being on a hat trick. In our reply we had a poor start, consolidated with New Bloke 42 and Mustard 25, and looked to be on course. Then we had the controversial (for some) calling of one of their bowlers for throwing, and in fading light our hopes faded fast as a succession of batsman were bowled as we finished 14 short.

- A Face in the Crowd

Sun 22nd June 2008 - U10 Vs Queen's Park (County Youth League)

On a VERY windy morning, Blunham went out and fielded first. With the first few overs having lots of wides, they soon adapted to the wind and they had some good bowling. In particular, Oliver Lee had some excellent bowling, with 2 maiden overs and a wicket. Mike Winfield, James Sheath and Tom Lumley also put in some good bowling. At the end of the 20 overs Blunham had taken 5 wickets (meaning Queens Park lost 25 runs) and Queens Park had a total of 153 runs.

After a quick loo break Blunham went out to bat and some more excellent running saw the score mount quickly , with some good shots from all the players and quick running. Blunham reached a total of 223 losing only 3 wickets!

So another good performance from the team in some tricky conditions. Well done to Man of the Match Olly Lee for some excellent bowling and batting.

- Chris Bruce

Sun 22nd June 2008 - 1st XI Vs Pavenham & Felmersham (County League)

2nd verse same as the first, as we play P&F for the second time in two days, albeit this time on home turf. Blender won the toss, and took little time in opting to bowl, with the opposition in disarray having had a couple of late call-offs. Whilst they waited for their replacement players to turn up, we took to the field in conditions not unlike that from the film Twister, with the scoreboard again coming crashing down narrowly missing our own Jody (and I’m sorry for laughing). Mustard had already told me prior to the game that he was injury free and raring to go. Faced with a quick rock hard flier of a pitch, it was no surprise to see him roaring in from the swings n' roundabout stand end with pace and hostility. An early wicket went down when a gloved bouncer from the well-named Harding flew to Top up at slip who clung on. With Floaty bowling up the hill into what the shipping forecast would no doubt call a light easterly, and keeping things tight, and Mustard searing in, the opposition were put on the back foot A succession of attempted hooks, cuts and pulls were all taken. Some innovative fielding positions and excellent captaincy kept the wickets flowing. Callum added to the chaos doing a 360 degree pick up, turn and throwing the stumps down type effort to add another wicket. Brian had to be replaced after one ball pulling a fetlock, but if the opposition were grateful that Mustard had finished his first fiery six overs, they must have been gutted to look up and see the 6’7” Trawlerman coming on to replace him. Floaty finished things off, as is his way. You just can’t keep the big fella out of the game, and Mustard finished with 5-29. If only he had been a bit more miserly in his fifth over, he may well have returned our best ever County League figures. As it was, I’m not sure too many of our number would have fancied facing him, and if there’s a quicker 16 year old bowler out there, I’ve yet to see him.

So Pavenham & Felmersham bundled out for 47, and we soon wrapped things up inside of 8 overs, losing Sid along the way. But Binko with 29* led the way, on a wicket where really 250 looked to have been the order of the day. Then we took tea, Binko providing some fusion food, including tuna, sweetcorn and ham sandwiches, and some fake Battenberg cakes that prompted some discussion from Sid. Clearly we have turned the corner now from some of our earlier insipid performances, and there are reasons to be cheerful, particularly with the Sunday second team who are currently hoovering up in division 4.

Thesaurus word of the week for Mustard to look up - lacklustre

- Attaché to the Director of Cricket, Blunham CC

Sat 21st June 2008 - 1st XI Vs Pavenham & Felmersham (Millman League)

With P & F utilising their covers, this game went ahead despite the downpour of the previous evening, and we took to the field in a light mizzle as Cubby would call it. Before too long we had the opposition in some trouble. I cannot remember who took the wickets, but Floaty seemed to bowl well, although with the ball swelling this was not the easiest of tasks. With the former Blunham player Gary Wintersgill looking good, it was left to one of his team-mates to despatch him to a dubious looking lbw, and with Connor taking three wickets the innings was wrapped up fairly swiftly for 117.

Whilst Marge lost his off stump early on, Sid proceeded to hook the short pitched bowling, and as we took tea after fifteen overs we were well placed on 70 odd for two. This was a fairly uneventful game to be honest, we passed the victory target with plenty of overs to go, and were five down; new signing Chester going great guns on 41 not out, and New Bloke not out at the end, albeit possibly without a testicle after taking a painful blow, which of course, was in time honoured fashion greeted with hoots of laughter from his watching team. I still cannot believe that one of our A-level taking students does not know the capital of Romania, or that Mustard had to use a thesaurus to look up the word Miserly. Clearly, they are not watching enough of the National Geographic channel. (By the way Sid, if you’re reading this, I want my DVD back of that documentary on the mating habits of the Tsetse fly.

A much needed win this. Chester will certainly strengthen the batting, and if we can actually play a Millman game at home soon, that would be nice as well.

- Attaché to the Director of Cricket, Blunham CC

Tue 17th June 2008 - 1st XI Vs Ampthill Lions (Midweek League)

Ampthill started well, taking 13 off of the first over, but we soon had both openers removed, one who had scored 150 odd on Saturday looked useful, but always looked like being caught at deep square leg, and sure enough, a paint-stained Krusty hung on. Mustard bowled tight, mixing his slower ball with his slower ball next ball as “the batsman won’t be expecting another one”, and generally we pushed the field out in an attempt to keep the scoring down. This approach served us well, and in the last few overs, a clatter of wickets fell in direct proportion to the risk of shot being played. Fielding was generally good, some good catches taken and 111 to win looked about par, when you factored in the very short sided boundary.

PT opened and slapped what would have been a wide to point, but this bought in the new signing to the crease, who I will refer to as Tour 2007, for now. Tour 2007 and Mustard then proceeded to smash the ball to all parts as we raced to 50-1 off of five overs. Tour 2007 smashed 3 sixes, and Mustard who hit 2, batted so well he doesn’t have to clean his bedroom up this weekend. With the game looking up, we then conspired to make it very interesting as we lost a load of soft wickets to poor running and poor shot selection to give Ampthill a sniff.

A quick cameo from New Bloke put us back in the hunt, until he fell, and it was left to Grimo, who was playing nice and straight, and Charlie to score five from the last over for victory. The dab came out, dot ball, then the cover slap for two, and we got to the last three balls needing three to win, surely not another last ball defeat we have been specialising in? As it was, we needn’t have worried, as the next ball was short and Browny cover slapped it for four for the victory.

This puts us back in the mix for midweek having played three and won two, and perhaps more importantly is the turning point for our season. To go over to Ampthill which plays exactly opposite to our own wicket, with a mixture of 1sts and 2nds (both sides) and to win, doesn’t happen too often.

Good work fellas !

- Attaché to the Director of Cricket, Blunham CC

Sun 15th June 2008 - 1st XI Vs Luton Town & Indians II (County League)

Under a leaden sky we lost our two openers, Sid and Bink with just 20 on the board, as the ball swung late, and nipped about. Connor and Tricks steadily built, and when Connor and Mustard fell, we were in some trouble at 73-4. Callum joined Tricks and the two went about batting, and batting, and batting, eventually adding 59 together until Tricks was caught behind for 48. The tail didn’t wag much, but with the wide-count rising and Callum passing his 50, the score rose to 180 when he was last man out, stumped for a valuable 58.

Luton’s reply was stifled early on by the miserly Mustard (first 7 overs for just 4 runs) and Benson (nickname still required) who picked up a few wickets. Blender came on to replace the spent G, and quickly picked up 3-9, to leave Luton down and out on 47-7. The Trawlerman bowled a fiery but luckless spell to finish wicketless, but to be fair, most of his fielders were now in the umbrella of slips that was operating, and despite 5 catches going down, chances were never that far away. Some late resistance meant I missed the first ten minutes of Caribbean Cops on the virgin channel, but eventually the newly-named Con Dog, bowling in tandem with Swan Dog, saw the game to its conclusion. Winners by 86 runs, shows the dominance, a really good spell in the field from us, apart from those missed chances, and just goes to show that you can only score what you think is a good score, and then defend it, 200+ is not always a given on some surfaces.

- A Face in the Crowd

Sat 14th June 2008 - 2nd XI Vs Caldecote (Millman League)

An interesting week before this game saw 11 players unavailable and a further 3 rule themselves out with a selection of injuries throughout the week. This mixed in with Polarbear's car being out of action, meant 4 people and four suitably sized kitbags all trundled to Caldecote in Cubby's fiesta.

Good start though for BLunham as we win the toss.....good start for Caldecote as they have us at 13 for 3 after 4 overs. Luckily though, Gilo stuck out there to reach 20 odd and late call up Connor add a useful few. Luckily though, John Small returning for the first time in a year, started playing his shots as Blunham finished on 175 for 8 from their 47 overs (yep, 47 overs as the Bunham scorer had miscounted somewhere and the last two overs were then removed). So Blunham officially finished on 163 for 8, with Smally unbeaten on 62.

Tea was nice although Polarbear was a little disappointed with the plate sizes and was heard mumbling 'I thought these were the saucers for the tea cups' and Ed was disappointed on missing out on the world's biggest cake! As we took to the field, Caldecote seemed in a hurry to get going, but Matt Sheath and Ed Davis pegged them back early doors. Without a breakthrough, Blender threw the ball to debutant Tom Jiggins who finished his five over spell with figures of 4 for 7 (bowl straight and not short and apparantly it works). After shelling a catch, Gilo (the best fielder in the club,league, county and second best in the country after Paul Collingwood) was sent to backward square, where he promptly sulked for 10 overs dispite an insperational chorus of 'if your happy and you know it'. Anyway, a win in the end by 80 runs as the Caldecote tail crumbled.

Ultimately a good win and a performance that shows the colts are improving and contributing to Blunham's success.

- the Optimist

Sat 14th June 2008 - 1st XI Vs Luton Caribbeans (Millman League)

Going in to the game we were a few players light, Mustard was making his long overdue debut for one of the county sides, Con Dog was also playing for the county, and a few others were unavailable, but against the unbeaten league leaders, this game was never going to be easy anyway. As it was, we acquitted ourselves well in the field, Benson the pick of the bowlers with an economical ten overs, and Krusty bowled a decent spell towards the end. However, I have to mention the NAILED ON certainty for catch of the season, Benson diving full length to his right to pluck a ferociously struck drive, to dismiss the batsman for 99. The Caribbean (with no players from Tobago) ended on 249-9, so we were the first team this season to keep them below 250.
,br> Our batting started quite well against the quick but erratic opening bowler and at 62-2 from 12, we were on course. A mini-collapse halted our charge as the middle order fell, Bens making 27, and after that it was the left hander show as New Bloke 17 and Coops 21 gained some respectability. A decent showing from us as heads never dropped, we fell some way short of their total at 130 something all out, but you could see why they are top, and if we beat the teams around us, there is no reason why we can’t be playing this level again next season.

- A Face in the Crowd

Friday 13th June 2008 - U15's Vs Bedford (Cup Semi-Final)

Bedford 112-7, hat trick from Connor who took 4 for 16 in the match, excellent tight bowling at the start from Toby and Benny Howlett early doors, but a couple of loose overs were costly.

Blunham 103-5, good opening partnership of 80 from Jack and Connor, but the spinner stifled us, as we fell 10 short, despite some late fireworks from Spenders and Benny Howlett. Don’t be too downhearted lads, you still have another year at this level don’t forget.

- Mr. Tricks

Wed 11th June 2008 - 1st XI Vs Elstow (Insys K/O Cup 2nd Round)

We batted first amongst the gloom and got to 105 – 6, which I felt would be a competitive score, with the wicket still drying and therefore unpredictable. Mustard, Tricks and Float all hit maximums during their stay at the crease, and Gilo batted well, and it was too the field we took.

A quick glance around, and we had taken to the field with 12 players, Sid had selected eleven players, but had forgotten to include himself in the list, so unfortunately for Grimo, he was sent packing. The opening overs from Mustard and Tricks were quite tight, and at the halfway stage Elstow, having only lost one wicket, were under some pressure as they had only scored around 40. Connor came on from the top and bowled his heart out, and we continued to stifle the opposition. As we got to the business end of the game, a few opportunities went begging, which is where we are going wrong at the moment, a few simple catches were earthed. No one does it on purpose, but these would come back to haunt us, nothing increases pressure on a chasing side like wickets. To the last over, and we were in the box seat, Elstow needed 13 to win, a few dot balls early on, and we would surely progress. Unfortunately Elstow’s guest player from Ampthill, chose exactly this moment to hit a few fours, and then we were playing catch up. With the scores tied, tip and run was employed, and Elstow went through off the last ball..

- Kevin the Teenager

Mon 9th June 2008 - EBS Junior Vs Eaton Socon 2nd XI (At home)

With a 6pm start and still Mssrs Cooper and McGlynn missing, Skipper Blender won the toss and batted. On a very hot and bright evening both skippers agreed to play 15 eight ball overs per side. Thompson and Wildon opened and found it difficult to get the two opening bowlers away, with one swinging it in and the other away. The wicket was still slow and timing the ball was difficult. Both openers soon perished after a slow start. No-one ever quite got in on the surface, but generally everyone chipped in with 10 or so, with Gilo and Coops providing much of the impetus to the innings. A final total of 132 seemed reasonable but possibly 10 shy of a good score.

The opposition were clearly concerned that we had scored too many and we only needed to keep them quiet for the first few overs and the game was ours. The first four overs from Blender and Domenici were good, but beyond this the bowling fell apart as a bad over from Dom, followed with further Diana Ross from various bowlers (none of whom seemed capable of the basics of bowling full and straight), got Eaton Socon back into the game to the point that off the last 8 ball over, they only needed 6 to win. Had it not been for two good overs from Gilo prior to this, the game would already have been over (2 overs for 14).

Blender took a wicket in the last over, but a couple of inside edges for 2 got the opposition to needing 1 off the last ball to win, which they duly got. 2nd loss in two days off the last ball.................notwithstanding everyone tried hard, just a little inexperience in the bowling dept cost us the win. With a number of youngsters in the side, hopefully they can learn from the experience.......

- Brenda Lender

Sun 8th June 2008 - 1st XI Vs Eversholt (County Sunday League)

With the wicket still soft, we took no trouble in inserting Eversholt, and this soon paid dividends, the Trawlerman getting one to take the gloves en route to Charlie to dismiss one of the openers. After this it was a bit cat and mouse for a while, as Eversholt limped along, until the final ten overs, when one batsman chanced his arm, and boosted their total to 185-8. Again early wickets the theme of our innings, with the ball doing a bit, and the odd run out for good measure left us in the unhealthy 50-4 scenario. Enter the Float who then bludgeoned 37 quick runs, including four sixes, three of them in a row, to give us some hope. Charlie kept his end up until he went for 27, and Mustard with a mature 33 kept us in the hunt. At 9 down with twenty odd needed, Blender and the Trawlerman got us to the last over with 7 required, with a mix of good running, and it must be said good wise experienced heads at the death. It went down to the last ball as we needed three to win, or more realistically two for the tie, Blender went down on one knee to sweep square, and got it fine, although the return was good, and the stumps were broken before the second run could be made. A gutting one run loss for all involved, and the slump must soon be reversed.

- A Face in the Crowd

Sun 8th June 2008 - U 10 Vs Kempston Hammers U 10 (County Youth League)

Blunham went out to bat first, and what a performance!! With only 4 wickets lost Blunham were grabbing every single that was out there, scoring a total of 96. Top scorer and captain for the next match was Rueben Augustine Ford with 13 not out. Other top scorers were Finn M.J with 12 and Jimbo and Rob Lowe with 10.

When Blunham went out to bowl they took 8 wickets, Mike Winfield and Olly Lee taking 2 each, George Burns and Jimbo took 1 each too. Rob Lowe took a great catch and some great throws into the wiki took some more.

So another great win for the U10’s with their best batting yet, BUT remember to keep those wides down to a minimum!! Well done to man of the match Reuben.

- Chris Bruce

Sat 7th June 2008 - 1st XI Vs Luton Cricketers (Millman League)

Out of form Blunham travelled to Icknield Way, to face in form Luton Cricketers, and were met by a surprisingly dry wicket, despite our own being under water with Sid having to remove the grass carp of the outfield at regular intervals. We bowled generally quite well, Mustard particularly unlucky, to restrict the cricketers to 184 all out, although at least six catches were put down and at this level these really have to be taken.

Marge went early doors second ball, but Sid hammered two sixes in two balls, and at 91-3 we were well in the game. Contributions from Sid 22, Tricks 40 and an unbeaten 26 from Bens showed he deserves a go higher up the order, but there was little else, and we were not helped by the fact that we are not shy in giving our own players out, one particularly harsh looking LBW appeal sent Ed packing. Needless to say our own equally looking debatable LBW appeals were met with a “not out”. We did scrape past the 150 mark, making another valuable bonus point, and with other games in the league being rained off, this defeat might not be that catastrophic in the grand scheme of things.

- A Face in the Crowd

Sat 31st May 2008 - 3rd XI Vs Wilden 2nd XI (Beds District League)

The pitch played well considering the amount of rain that had fallen. Wilden were 1 for 3 in the second over, before rebuilding their innings. Good bowling from Matt Benson, Matt Clayton, Glinn and Callum McGlynn restricted our opponents to 116 all out.

Batting, we never really looked in danger, a solid platform from Callum and Alan Hutchinson and some tidy batting from Matt Benson, Scott Hutchinson, Matt Clayton and Matt Sheath saw us home for the loss of 6 wickets.

A good team performance all round then and a much welcomed victory.

- The Boy Who Knew Too Much

Tue 27th May 2008 - U.14 Vs Potton U.14 (County Youth League)

Potton 58-7, several run outs, great catch by Jordan.

Blunham 59-7 B Spendlove 18

Sun 25th May 2008 - 1st XI Vs Kempston Hammers 2nd XI (Beds County League)

Rained off, unfortunately, so me and Sid never got a chance to test out our new earplugs whilst batting. Later in the day I did drive past their ground, and gave it my customary wave, although their home game was clearly off as well.

- Nice Handling

Sat 24th May 2008 - 2nd XI Vs Langford 2nd XI (Millman League)

A day that'll be forever known as the day of the Polar Bear (Andy Jeffs) was to be witnessed as the revitalised, win-hungry second XI side that Director Of Cricket Mr. Wildon has put together, made their way to Langford.
The game started off with a presentation to Mr. D. Coverdale for his 100th Millman appearance for the 2nd team, aged 21, he must surely be looking at hitting 1,000 games for the club before his cricket playing days are over! Toss won AGAIN, that D.O.C. really is a top tosser these days and in to bat we went!

We battled well throughout our innings, Coverdale looking particularly impressive for his 28, and some big hitting down the order from Hay (39) were useful contributions, but this day belonged to the Polar Bear, making his way to the middle on the back of three Golden Ducks in four Innings, you could see the nervousness and pressure in his every move. What followed was a knock of the highest class as he drove through the off-side majestically and flicked the ball through the on-side with great ease as he bought up his 50 with a now trademark cover drive and a punch of the air in delight, eventually falling for 64. 209-7 was a good score, but not a great score!

To the field, and good opening spells from Cooper and Aloia backed up by a good catch from Wildon and a great one handed catch from McGlynn, had Langford on the brink at 30-3. Langford then staged a good fightback with their opening batsman proving especially stubborn. As the middle stages of the the Langford innings seemed to fly by, Langford were suddenly 120-3. Capt. Wildon rotated the bowling unsuccessfully but, with Langford crawling their way to the target, Wildon threw the ball to The Bear who bowled an inspired spell taking 4-25 as Blunham battled to a 10 run victory.

With the first XI team game called off, the majority of the side were there to watch the 2nd XI win. We never gave up hope and continued to talk and encourage throughout.

- A. N. Other

Sat 24th May 2008 - 1st XI Vs Pilgrims Oakley 1st XI (Millman League)

Imagine my surprise on sitting down to a Tesco breakfast at half past ten (2 snags, 1 bacon, 2 hash browns and toast, if you’re asking) to receive a call to inform me the game is off. OK, it was a bit windy out, but it hadn’t rained, only confusion reigned. Had Pilgrims Oakley (with three teams out on a Saturday) suddenly folded over night? Was Blunham the victim of a localised shower, twenty two yards long hovering over the freshly prepared strip? No, as it turns out Oakley could only get 8 players out and allegedly none of their second team were willing to step up, as Sid said - maybe they preferred batting on Mowsbury Park pitch 5, who knows.

So, full points in the bag to us, one players mother’s morning wasted, preparing teas, and eleven frustrated cricketers without a game. I feel sorry for the Oakley Captain who is a good egg, but surely the first team must come first, I guess he was hamstrung by club politics.

Anyway, on a positive note, it was pleasing how many of the team to face Oakley actually went to support the 2nds Vs Langford, and were witness to the “Day of the Bear”, more to follow from A.N. Other on that one.

- Nice Handling

Wed 21st May 2008 - 1st XI Vs Wilden (Midweek Cup)

A youthful Blunham arrived at the cricketing outpost of Wilden, with several players driving past the ground at least twice before pulling in, finding it tucked I behind a hedge. Wilden won the toss and elected to bat, which was probably a bonus for us as we got to have a look at how the surface played. The wicket hadn’t been rolled this season, so it was going to be clear that runs would come at a premium. With this in mind most of the bowlers opted for a short run and to go for accuracy. This practice paid dividends throughout the innings as Wilden subsided to 31 all out inside their sixteen overs. All of the bowlers, Tricks, Krusty, G and Ed took wickets and bowled to the conditions, there were very few freebies on offer, and some good fielding settings kept scoring opportunities down. Browny took three catches and Gilo a couple, but it became clear that the chase would not be easy, given the variable bounce and movement that the pitch offered.

Chico went early doors, but Browny kept the score going along with the dab shot in evidence on at least four occasions. In between stolen singles, our innings was punctuated by a dismissal, usually bowled with the ball jagging back a foot, or in G’s case literally rolling along the ground, and only New Bloke picked up anything more than singles and two’s as he hit a boundary. Progress was slow, with a wicket usually every five runs or so, and at 29-8 the game was anyone’s. A full toss was driven out to the leg side for two runs to tie the score and with Tricks now batting at least 8 foot outside the crease the winning runs came a few balls later. Not easy, but a more challenging wicket you are unlikely to find.

- A face in the Port of Spain crowd

Tue 20th May 2008 - U.14 Vs Queen's Park U.14 (County Youth League)

Blunham 108-4 J Harrington 31, J Parish 13, N Pates 10

Queens Park 103-6?? (three run outs – good work JP and outfielders)

Sun 18th May 2008 - 1st XI Vs Potton town (Beds County League)

A much improved performance in the field, although we must start taking our chances when they come. One of Potton’s resident South Africans played superbly to get a century, playing the ball late and punishing the bad deliveries. It was a day for medium pace accuracy. We generally bowled OK, Float and Trick each picking up three wickets, but Float could have had a hatful, if catches had been taken. We took all ten bonus points in dismissing Potton for 199, and that led us to the chase.

Before long, the top order had crumbled, but Sid is not a man to throw the towel in, and at 60-4 found useful support from Benson and then Swan Dog. Sid passed his fifty, and was looking nailed on for a century as he kept swatting balls to the leg side boundaries, until a needless run out proved costly. Sid went for an excellent gritty, fighting 67. I can’t praise him highly enough, he held his hand up and delivered when the team needed him. Another thirty of forty runs in that partnership could have proved decisive, but Potton went to on to win by 70 runs, as the tail tried to hold out.

I don’t feel we are far away from where we need to be; the batting just needs to click, rather than one person. If we build partnerships, runs will come and we will be fine. Our strength is our sum of parts, a team with no stars all fighting for the common goal, let’s get out there and start living the dream.

- A face in the crowd

Sat 17th May 2008 - 2nd XI Vs Biggleswade 2nd XI (Millman League)

It was wet but a good batting with Gumo hitting his first 50 in about as many years meant captain Blender declared on 197 for 5 with contributions all the way down.

In reply Biggleswade collapsed to 53 all out. Mappy bagged his hundredth Millman wicket for Blunham and everyone else bowling well along with Tap keeping wicket fantastically in difficult conditions, led to a fantastic win for the seconds.

- The Optimist

Sat 17th May 2008 - 1st XI Vs Biggleswade (Millman League)

The benchmark for poor play.
In years to come we shall look back on this game as the catalyst for a change in attitude and performance. We must do better. We must fight and hold our heads up, retain our spirit, support each other, apply ourselves.

- A face in the crowd

Thu 15th May 2008 - U.15 Vs Biddenham U.15 (Cup)

Biddenham 87-7 T Williams 3-9

Blunham 88-1 C Heaps 35*, J Parish 24, excellent running the pair of you.

Wed 14th May 2008 - 1st XI Vs Wilden (Midweek League)

A scampered leg bye off the first ball of our innings set the tone for a much needed good batting performance from us. Pete Thompson and Tricks added 50 for the opening wicket off seven overs, before Tricks fell for 24. Pete continued to take advantage of some good fortune, being dropped along the way twice, and surviving a stumping (when the square leg umpire wasn’t looking) to make his way to 72 not out, with a supporting cast of Dom and New Bloke both hitting sixes as we posted 144.

Our catching was thankfully a lot better in this game, Gilo taking a steepler and the improving Grimo bowling well. Wilden were never really in the hunt after the first few overs had been sent down, as the main threat had been snuffed out. As the gloom descended, the innings closed as we came out victors by 40 odd runs. A much needed and confidence building victory.

- A face in the crowd

Sun 11th May 2008 - 1st XI Vs Cople / Argus (County league)

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Blunham 194 all out (Fitzgerald 45, Harding 41, Newell 24)

Cople Argus 195-4 (Fitzgerald 2-24, Jones 2-34)

Lost by 6 wickets

11th May 2008 (Sun) BLUNHAM U.10 Vs Elstow (County Youth League)

Elstow 105. Blunham 286.
Lumley 29 not out. Winfield 4 overs, 7 wickets for 10 runs. Great catch from Ollie Lee
- Chris Bruce

Sat 10th May 2008 - 2nd XI Vs Henlow 2nd XI (Millman League)

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First league game of the season and captain Blender promptly won the toss and decided to bat on a hard wicket. The Henlow openers bowled well restricting Blunham to 30 odd from the first 20 overs. Then a mini collapse with Acky faliing for 32 followed quickly by Polarbear, Charlie and Dom. Jamie 'How am I not in the first and more to the point why havn't England come knocking on my door as I am the best technical batsman and best fielder at the club' Hay batted well with Tap as Blunham posted a score of 152 all out with two balls to spare.

In reply, Henlow got off to a great start and after five overs had near forty on the board, literally everything thrown at them was sent to all corners of the ground. Dom was hit onto a local's roof, Coops bowled a short one which was then lodged in a tree for ten minutes as it was dispatched by the left hander. With victory looking assured a decent catch by Cubby at backward point and a wicket for Acky provided a little joy but all in all a bad day at the office for all involved with an 8 wicket drubbing, As always though things can only get better!

- the Optimist

Sat 10th May 2008 - 1st XI Vs Ickwell (Millman league)

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Sid and Mustard posted 100+ for the second wicket after the early loss of Marge, with Sid hitting 57 and G 54, but after that only Connor came to the party with 44 not out as we hit 223-9. Ickwell’s number 4 Robertson with 58 and opener Fensome with 64 led the way for Ickwell, as our bowling in the latter stages lacked penetration. G can be proud of his efforts in taking 3 for 22 from his ten, but the loss of Benson to a quad injury was a big blow, as Ickwell got home for the loss of six wickets.

- A face in the Port of Spain crowd

Wed 7th May 2008 - 1st XI Vs Elstow (Midweek league)

Facing last years league champions was never going to be an easy task, and sure enough we got gubbed. Nevertheless, fourteen of our sixteen overs sent down were delivered by players of 17 years and under, and they all did a good job, Elstow closing on a 146-4. We got off to a decent start with eleven off the first over, but then a clatter of wickets went. We were always well behind the rate and there was only pride to play for. Connor emerged as the one shining light with 18 not out, and surely a decent experience for him to be facing better bowlers. Could be a hard season midweek with a youthful side, but they deserve their chance…

- A face in the Port of Spain crowd

Sun 4th May 2008 - 1st XI Vs Ickwell II (Beds County League Div2)

This season's get out of jail card has now been used for the season twice already, first with the bat, and then the ball as we snatched a victory from the jaws of defeat.

Inkwell put us in, and we, yes you’ve guessed it, proceeded to bat like we were on our home wicket in August, wickets given like gifts to the opposition bowlers, and at 40-4 again we were, as they say, bang in trouble. Tricky tried to shore up one end and with the middle order coming to the party (Swann and McGlynn both hitting 19), a recovery had started. We were still leaking wickets left, right and centre when Matty Benson came to the crease at number ten with us 101-8 and staring defeat down the barrel. Matt had clearly borrowed the team brain cell and hung around, as with 20 odd overs left a decent score could still be salvaged from the wreck of our innings. This pair added 61 for the 9th wicket, aided by plenty of extras, decent running and a sound defence on a slow low wicket. Matty eventually fell hooking for 18, and Tricky fell LBW in the penultimate over for 43, leaving the Trawlerman high and dry on 2 not out.

Inkwell started slowly and built, and built, and built, showing how easy it was to stay in, albeit without scoring at a tremendous rate. The pair reached 114 without loss, as a deathly hush descended across the 11 Blunham clad fielders, tumbleweed blowing across the ground, as defeat loomed. Then we struck with Swan dog taking a decent catch off Titch, and then a clatter of wickets fells, with Matty Benson on a hat trick, with Tricky chipping in with a rare outing with the ball. The hat trick ball was successfully negotiated only for the opener to then hit a ball straight to mid wicket and take off, leaving his partner yards out as Charlie Brown completed the run out. From here on in we kept it tight and The Trawlerman came back to blast the tail out as we secured a hard fought and unlikely (at times) victory by 12 runs.

Must improve, and we will……..
- A face in the Port of Spain crowd

Sat 3rd May 2008 - 1st XI Vs Houghton Town (Millman League Div1)

This game was noticeable for the absence of any moaning from the wicket keeper’s position, with Callum donning the gloves, and struggling to cope with the ball that pitches halfway down the wicket and shoots along the deck. Houghton Town reached 147 all out with Neil taking 5-23, and some tidy spells from Soapy (as ever) and Benson on debut.

We slid to 44-4 in reply, as the top order failed to adapt to the lack of bounce in the wicket (how many times can we say that) but Marge held fast at one end, eventually reaching his 50. When Marge went for an excellent 52 (he really is looking a class performer) the rest of the batsman fell in quick succession doing their own imitations of a person threshing corn, and it was only the arrival at the wicket of the number ten Neil, that showed us all how it should be done inching us to within 17 runs of victory when he was bowled by a full toss for 26.

Pretty disappointing performance with the bat, Marge and Neil apart, and about time we had a different approach to batting on these difficult wickets
- A face in the Port of Spain crowd

27th April 2008 (Sun) BLUNHAM U.10 Vs Potton (County Youth League)

Potton 120. Blunham 175.
James not out 11. Diemer 4 overs, 3 wickets for 6 runs
- Chris Bruce

26th April 2008 (Sat) 2nd XI Vs Shefford (Friendly)

Fear Not! its cricket season once more, no longer must Polarbear practice his coverdrives with a random length of 4 by 2 on the building site, Cubby need not try and leg glance tulip bulbs with a lawn rake and Gilo can stop admiring his features in every second window in the factory.

To start the season, a home tie against last year's unbeaten league champions Shefford. Captain Blender was doing his best to organise everything from his sick bed, whilst the ground and the weather actually were fantastic in appearance, temperature and a slick new boundary. Debutant & Captain Luke 'don't touch me/swanndog' Swann confidently put a Blunham side into the field. Connor and Matty Sheath bowled well going for less than 8 runs a piece from their 5 overs. Kev Raggett, the retired bowler, bowled his ten through for little trouble and this along with Swanndog's 5fer on his debut, meant Shefford were dismissed for 122 in the final over.

In reply, Marge went early followed by Rags for 19. However, a partnership of 70 from Connor and Dom brought us within two runs of victory, which allowed Pete Thompson to finish things off as we won by 7 wickets, well inside thirty overs. A good start to the season and hopefully prospects of things to come.
- The Optimist

20th April 2008 (Sun) BLUNHAM U.10 Vs Bedford B (County Youth League)

Bedford B 142 Blunham 169
- Chris Bruce

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