St John Fisher v Garden Fields Cricket Club Men of Fields on Thu 26 May 2016 at 6pm
Garden Fields Cricket Club Won by 14 sweet (not bitter) runs

Match report Bittermen battered

Revenge wreaked for 2015 debacle

Big Fight Night over dodgy run out

World First: Sweater awarded for excellence

Dab: “That was very satisfying”

“We shall go on to the end. We shall fight on Verulamium, in Harpenden, in London Colney. We shall fight on the flat wickets, the shitheaps and down the rabbit holes, we shall catch with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our wicket, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender” - Churchill

And so it came to pass, on this most glorious of evenings at London Colney CC, that revenge of the greatest magnitude was extracted from the bitterest of MoFs opponents – the Bittermen.

A 14 run win against a team of ringers who had roped in half of Harpenden’s Cricket Club’s first team in a vain effort to overcome the invincible, the mighty, the noble Men of Fields.

Not bad, considering that at ten past six, MoFs had three players in attendance. Even better given that the Bittermen had tried every psychological trick in the book to put one over the old enemy. The ground had been flooded a few days earlier by a burst water main, the game was off, then it was on, then it was off, then on again.

Batting first, MoFs got off to a brief flier. Big J, flashing harder than a dodgy character on Bernard’s Heath, edged a four, missed a couple more, then was cleaned up by a straight one.

In strode Wilks to join Turps. This was where the soggy wet outfield, still laden with water from the burst main, started causing problems. The boys were hitting decent shots all right. But the ball was stopping in the swamp.

So Turps and Wilks had to run the lot. An all run four, then a couple of twos, and another all run four. Turps called for oxygen, even Wilks looked buggered.

But the runs total was mounting. The Bittermen brought on a spinner. Big mistake. Turps hit him for 12 off an over then retired on 36.

Wilks continued twatting, before he too was back in the hutch for a valuable 31.

Now it was the turn of Shep and Dingo to pick up the baton. They too fell foul of the wet outfield, Dingo to such an extent that he required resuscitating after another couple of all run fours, while Shep, looking increasingly middle aged, was also gasping and had to resort to some ugly mows to cow corner, which thankfully connected, one of them flying straight into the bushes for six.

These two remained at the crease until the end of the innings, Dingo finishing on 18 not out and Shep 30 not out.

Once Bomber’s dodgy scoring had been rectified and the extras put in order, MoFs ended on 145 for one after the 20 overs – a fine effort.

The Bittermen introduced an interesting innovation for this match – instead of swapping ends for each over, they opted to bowl 10 overs consecutively at one end, then 10 at the other. This would speed the game up, they argued – for once a sensible suggestion.

Shep cannily decided to start proceedings with 10 overs at the top end, so that the second 10 could be bowled from the end where the setting sun was edging down towards the sightscreen. Good move.

TT, having downed an entire bottle of gout pills that morning in order to get himself fit, pronounced himself spaced out but pain free, and marked out his run. A solid first over, which included the prize wicket of Boxer, bowled for nought, was followed by a second which went for 17 runs, most of them smitten by the Bittermen’s hate figure, the Bathstore Saffer himself. Clearly the gout pills were wearing off as time went on.

At the other end, Dingo had recovered from sprinting between wickets, and bowled his ample backside off, pounding in to bowl a tight spell.

Then Shep brought himself and Turps on, which continued to keep things reasonably tight.

But in a game against the Bittermen, there’s always more drama than Shakespeare, and this game proved no exception.

A scramble by one of the Bittermen’s Harpenden ringers for a quick single, resulted in the ball being thrown to the bowler’s end where Shep removed the bails with the batsman a good foot or two short of his ground. There was more daylight between bat and crease visible than in one of Bomber’s early morning dog walking photographs from Batchwood golf club.

But the Bittermen’s umpire could only shake his head. Not out.

“COME ON”, yelled Shep. Wilks, keeping wicket, charged half way down the pitch. “You’ve got to be joking mate.” “Arsehole” yelled everyone else.

There were more toys flying out of the pram than at Busy Bees nursery. The Bathstore Saffer, now umpiring at the other end, tried stupidly to defend his colleague, saying he gave it as he saw it. Should have gone to Specsavers then. Sheps entire collection of toys was spilled on to the pitch and to round things off, in a moment of pique, he finished off the over with a couple of lobbed spinners.

It was then that Ant finally arrived at the ground, only an hour and three quarters late. But he was put straight on to bowl by Shep, with MoFs by now into the second ten overs to be bowled from the pavilioin end.

And then a miracle happened. The Bittermen’s number 4 slapped on in the air towards point where Manny, looking stunned as the ball drew rapidly nearer, slapped his hands together and caught the ball between his wrists, to jubiliation from the rest of his team.

Meanwhile, out the legside boundary, Jonty was running around like a chicken with its backside on fire, fielding ball after ball pummelled in his direction off the Dab’s and Ant’s bowling.

After three sixty yard sprints in an over to retrieve various pull shots, Shep told Jonty to warm up. A bucket of cold water would have been more appropriate for a gasping Jonty.

But he managed to steam in and bowled well. Three off his first over, four off his second.

By now, Shep was rotating the bowling faster than a fairground merry go round. MoFs were confused, but the Bittermen more so. Further good overs from Dingo, Shep and Ant.

Then it came down to the final six balls. Dingo to bowl. About 20 to win. Always a man to add a bit of drama to proceedings, Dingo slung in a wide, but otherwise bowled a good over to clinch a fine victory, striking twice in his six balls to end with three wickets for 20.

The Bittermen had fallen 14 runs short.

Walking off afterwards, the Dab was heard to remark, “That was very satisfying.”

That summed it up.

The chips, bread and butter and bottled Doom Bar tasted good, and the team performance had been so consistently good that skipper Shep found himself struggling to find a candidate under the normal criteria for the Sweater.

Instead he was forced to award it, in a world first, for excellence, Turps being the modest recipient.

Lets repeat the performance against these guys when the home game comes round. Never Surrender!!

Garden Fields Cricket Club Men of Fields Batting
Player Name RunsMB4s6sSRCtStRo
10w 11b 1lb 
for 1 wickets

(20.0 overs)
Andrew Turpin Not Out  37 15 6 246.67
Nizam Memon Bowled  4 2 1 200
Paul Wilkinson Not Out  32 17 3 188.24
Matt Niel Not Out  18 15 120.0
Simon Shepard Not Out  30 12 1 1 250.0
David Clamp  
John Smith  
Anthony Walter  
Tim Griffiths  
Stephen Bonfield  
Nick Knapp  
Stephen Nicklin  

St John Fisher Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
No records to display.

St John Fisher Batting
Player name RMB4s6sSR
for 5 wickets
131 (20.0 overs)

Garden Fields Cricket Club Men of Fields Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Tim Griffiths2.0023123.0011.50
Matt Niel4.00723.501.75
Simon Shepard4.0020120.005.00
Andrew Turpin3.001100.003.67
Anthony Walter4.0030130.007.50
Richard Jones1.001000.0010.00
Nick Knapp2.001400.007.00