Humbug's Blog - Pieterson Free Zone

Humbug's Blog - Pieterson Free Zone

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I have to say that the quality of writing, my efforts excepted, on this website is impressive. From the Hurley Lions colts reports to the Sunday 2XI guest reporters it is all very entertaining. I wonder if brown envelopes changed hands to entice Vicky Pollard and Bill Oddie to report, and maybe a pie or two for Lardy. Mind you, anyone watching any of the games a couple of weeks ago would have been treated to a weekend that saw 3 one wicket/run results. Sadly only one was in our favour.
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Oh well, better try to get a couple of blogs in this month so as not to disappoint my reader. As I gazed on the Spitfire doing loops over the Thames a couple of Saturdays ago and dwelled on the few, WW2 pilots that is, not Hurley regulars, I thought about all the noble acts that go unrecognised or just forgotten. Well, it distracted me temporarily from the clichés and jive coming from Hamersham Mill. While I am talking of selfless acts could a few more people offer to buy Val a drink after games, the amount she puts into the club is truly astonishing and we should never take it for granted. Also, if I didn't mention the many others that put in so much, they would feel unappreciated, not least the colts coaches trying to lay a better foundation for the club. The recent bbq and beer tasting would not have been so successful without the colts and their parents and of course Mike and his sausages and Rita and her baps and Caroline who did teas and helped with the food. With no Prof in the Team there was food left over, though the Lards did their best.
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Was it Morrissey that said 'Heaven knows I'm miserable now'? Just who is Humbug these days and why have I got so much competition? There are two outstanding competitors for my title, Stevie Sailor and Dave Walnut. Now don't get me wrong, both are really nice chaps but there just is no room for three of us. It is my handle and I jealously guard it. I wonder if it is a co-incidence that we are all long-suffering members of Hurley with about 90 years service between us. Maybe curmudgeons need to mature like a fine wine. Pop our cork and we flow nicely with a rather strange bouquet.
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Obama Bin President decided not to show the too horrific pictures of Phil's bloodied face last week after he tried to take a bite out of the ball, but as compensation, he is hoping to get a bumper pay out from the tooth fairy. Unfortunately it was the only ball of the day to spit, much like Phil was doing copiously until ushered off the square. The rather macabre sight of people looking for his missing tooth on a length after the match was made all the more amusing had we known that A&E had found it wedged in the top of Phil's mouth like a blown down tomb stone. Still, it allowed Veg and Dean to add 97 and coast the new Tri Nations 1XI to a 9 wicket victory.
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Despite transfer rumours over the winter, Hurley have not secured the services of a host of banned Asian players or Ricky Ponting looking to regain respectability after an Ashes humiliation, but instead have been in the greenhouse growing their own. Careful nurturing by Ringo, Lardy and Veggy is maturing budding talent, so is the Cola too expensive?
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Thanks to Kevin Clement who reminded me of my long absence from this page, it appears he still keeps in touch with what is going on through our website. I now have two readers!
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Visiting Hurley on Saturday for the annual fixture against Nally's XI (Hampton Hill), I received a tip off that we would score 150. So I placed all my loose change down the bookies with Mo Ne Launda and sat back in full expectation of a future life of leisure. Imagine the shock and awe when Rita calculated 151 and I had lost everything. Surely Mike 'the mask' had acquired an extra run, but no, a 24 ball duck disputed that theory. I did not dare challenge the red headed statistician who was brooding menacingly. Double or quits I thought on 3 stumpings in the second half but Jacko kept hitting the stumps and I was left without a button to my name.
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The sun shines brighter, Val's scones are fruitier, and the beer is more bitter/sweet when we win in the League. The 1XI climbed to 4th and the 2XI climbed to 3rd so things are looking good like Cameron (Diaz not David). I do blanch a little at the excitement in the weekly round up about the prospect of the 2XI getting promotion as there are several individuals lingering there who should be playing 1XI on merit. This rather makes a mockery of a 1st and 2nds, and will it be sustainable next year. Bring on a proper selection policy and a bit of competition for places! I really wish someone would tell me why these individuals prefer to play at a lower standard than they are capable. I hope I get a veto on the annual awards. I am not targeting any one individual, I can think of at least four who grumble at any invitation to play 1XI. ?
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I have not been blogging recently, too busy filling in my World Cup wall chart and sticking pins into my Fabio Coppello doll. Having watched England nervously stutter into the last 16 I am comforted that it could be worse, we could be French.
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What a game the other week! I went over to Hurley fully expecting to see fours a plenty but instead it was wall to wall four by fours. I could not park and had to go down the road and sneek into the Old Bell car park. It was the first under 11s game and our boys were taking on the might of Royal Ascot. Set 112 to win in 20 overs, our brave lads set off at a terrific pace (fuelled by coke and fruit pastilles) and as the runs flowed (admittedly mostly in wides) so the bar did a roaring trade. The highlight had to be Ollie Dawkins' reverse sweep and Dad Lardy's chest swelled with pride and Stella. Sadly the boys fell just short on 103 but it was a terrific evening albeit a few tears as messing about turned to a split lip for one tadpole. There is certainly a buzz around the place that was not there last year and certainly a few green shoots of recovery. The colts programme is progressing better than expected and we expect to secure Clubmark very soon. The promising U17s are breaking into the senior sides and showing real promise and the two innings from James Taylor and Ross Brown against Little Kingshill were brilliant to watch. It must have been much less fun for the adults bowling to them. I realised that the last time we won the Chilterns League, Ross was only 1 year old and the term 'fill yer boots' had a whole different meaning. A miserable evening at Holyport saw us crash out of the League ko in the last over despite the heroics of Jacko. Never mind, we fielded a very reasonable side but never pinned down two of their batsmen. Finally, congrats to Steve T for his century on Sunday and Scotty's and Sam's exploits on getting us across the line at Theale. I realise that the weather was not so hot as the Saturday Steve got 52 for the 1XI, but if there is any correlation between runs and the crimson colour of his head then commercial jets must have been using it to approach Heathrow on Sunday.
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I have been a bit slow posting my blog, blame the arctic conditions, volcanic ash and concentrating my efforts on winning the pub fantasy football. I fully expect to get a free meal from the chef Sean as I 'battered' him in the final couple of weeks. Somehow I think I had better not touch the hollandaise sauce or gentleman's relish with the free chips.
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As a cloud of volcanic ash settles over Berkshire, the new season is clouded in uncertainty. Where will the 1XI get a middle order from and will youth fill the gap before the burgeoning over 50's finally call it a day and retire to the Berkshire Over 50's cricket. Mother Hurley is trying to give birth to a new generation of colts to keep the club alive and I am not sure if Ringo is father or midwife. To make another analogy, the excellent CricketForce weekend at Hurley was a little like the happenings in my pond or a scene from American Pie, frantic activity and lots of tadpoles. The U11's held an inaugural training session supervised by Lardy and Veg and the kids looked like they were having fun. The more wizened members painted, chopped, hammered and drank coffee; but it was encouraging to see all this pre-season activity although not too many new faces.
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And so finally the league season has come to a close with the final match for the 1XI at Little Kingshill. A red kite circled over the ground on the look out for a tasty morsel, Ross was on the menu for lunch. Maybe that was the incentive for him to keep moving and score a rapid and shockingly classy 36 for a 15 year old (or a 45 year old for that matter). Was that a whistling of wings, or the wheezing of Denis trying to keep up? Still, there is 40 years between them. The opposition bowler was going to take it easy on Ross until he timed the ball off his toes to the mid wicket boundary faster than Dave Walton heading for tea. Later in the day Dave's opening 'bomb' provided the comedy moment of the afternoon as the batsman's eyes lit up, his mind calculated seven places where he could deposit the pie, the grass grew another inch, Empires rose and fell, a huge heave and the ball nestled at the base of the middle stump surrounded by bails and fielders rolling around with mirth. The batsman trudged off with a self depreciating smile and I could hear David Lloyd shouting 'start the car'.
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Now, two readers of my match report last week commented that it sounded a little like 'Watership Down' and now I cannot get the annoying theme tune out of my head. Somebody please shoot me! Next week's report will be based on 'Titanic', 'The Poseidon Adventure' or 'Armageddon'. Just think of all the clichés I can employ (and have done - sunk with out trace, subsided etc) whilst describing our batting. I liked the little bunnies reference but I shall have to think of new and imaginative ways of describing the total inability of the Saturday 1XI to post a score and so ruin my afternoon.
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Sometimes, when writing emails and even Blogs, it is worthwhile having a period of reflection before hitting that 'send' button. I think I have waited long enough. There could not have been two more contrasting days of cricket over the past two weeks for the Saturday 1XI. Two weeks ago we played a team, lets call them Hammersham Mill to preserve their anonymity, and we had a thoroughly unpleasant afternoon. To be fair, we anticipated this having played them earlier in the season. The racket and cacophony of 'encouragements' while they were fielding was a little like Wimbledon Centre Court, but substitute Andy for Buddy. The 'common buddy' count and clichés reached epic proportions and was clearly aimed at putting off the batsmen as they obviously did not back their bowlers to do the job. Our obdurate 'go slow' and determination to grind out a draw would not have been half as effective had they not been so objectionable. Let's hope they get promoted to Division 1 and others can enjoy their particular brand of village cricket.
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Having suffered deep depression at the 1XI dismissal for 88 against Holyport and bemoaned our lack of batting, I was only a little more buoyed by the 188 against Wargrave, but another defeat. Veggie's 77 was pivotal to us staying in the game. But 6 lbw's in the match spoilt a fine afternoon even though they were evenly distributed. I thought the rule was give the batsman the benefit of the doubt. Veggies kit hit the clubhouse wall with another dubious decision this time for a run out and messed up my book when he was called back 4 minutes later, poor Sam having already taken guard. The dear lady who gave me the finger whilst driving home the other week would make a fine umpire I thought, blind but dexterous. Sadly she did not look like the lingerie model co driver for James May in top Gear last night, and I had to laugh as he leant across to help her with her seatbelt and was in danger of brushing against 'the works of the Devine plotter'. The Saturday 2XI move up to 4th and are in danger of promotion. If they achieve that it will be a tremendous effort and will achieve one of our goals in the new development plan.
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Well, I didn't think the Maidenhead Thunderer would print my musings on our moral stance over selection last week, but maybe they did as an implicit support for our cause. Perhaps every new member should get a copy of the accounts to see the extortionate amount we have to pay in rates and water, and the cost of simply preparing wickets and getting the grass cut. Anyway we got through to one who duly paid up.
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After some unpleasant weekends with opposition batsmen querying whether they had 28 runs and NOT 27, umpires questioning my 30 years of scoring (eek) and an opposition fielder deciding to empty his nose several times infront of Mary until she put a stop to it, and loudly commenting on every delivery (except when his went to the boundary), how pleasant it was this Saturday. A journey down the M4 to the beautiful ground at Englefield set in the grounds of Englefield House, a country pile resembling Hogworts, this was a magical afternoon. Ok, so the usual suspects were still to arrive at T-5 minutes, but in a rare show of sympathy and sportsmanship, the oppo skipper delayed the start so that we did not have to take the field with 6 men, which might also have been against the Laws ancient and modern. I almost felt embarrassed when we thrashed them by 6 wickets, the usual suspects having all arrived by over 2, 10 minutes after we should have started.
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I don't usually agree with Ian Chappell but our summers are crap. Luckily we managed to call off our game on Saturday relatively quickly, get a beer in the pub and then sit down to 5 hours of sport on TV. I got to watch the Aussies going down to the awesome Chris Gayle which is always a bonus.
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