Match Report: 4th May, 6:00PM, Manland, Rothampstead Park

Result: A tie!

On a balmy Wednesday evening at Rothamsted Park Cricket most certainly was the winner for Crabtree's season opener against Manland.

Skipper Newton won the toss and elected to bat on the basis that batting is more fun.

The surface was less dangerous but more difficult to score on than usual, though this didn't seem to bother Rich Bailey who got us off to a great start with 33 not out scored in his usual indomitable manner. We agreed to make the game an 18 overs affair due to light issues and Crabtree got to 121 with almost everyone chipping in, including 27* from Tony Ward on debut. Well done Tony!

121 was one of those totals where you never really knew whether it was defendable or not, but in the end we probably should have won. 

Manland got off to a good start with Chesney smashing it everywhere until Bendy got some revenge and clean bowled him. Apart from Weddy in the middle none of the Manlands batsman really got on top of some tight Crabtree bowling and fielding, once again capped off by excellent wicket keeping by the good ship SS Sears. Nic Hale's bowling figures of 2 for 6 from his 3 overs being the mainstay of the Crabs bowling effort.

Rich Bailey manfully volunteered to bowl the last over in which Manland needed 12 to win. They fell one run short meaning the inaugural match of the season was a well-earned tie!

A great game of cricket followed by some lovely food and drinks at the Oddfellows Arms. Everything a midweek game of cricket could hope to have.

Match Reporter: Ben Newton

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Match Report: 11th May, 6:00PM, Garden Fields, Verulamium Park

Result: Rain


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Match Report: 18th May, 6:00PM, Final CC, Greenwood Park

Result: More Rain


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Match Report: 26th May, 6:00PM, SFDWP, Verulamium Park


Result: Lost by 2 wickets


Match Reporter: No reporter assigned

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Match Report: 1st June, 6:00PM, St John Fisher, Rothampstead Park

Result: Rained off


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Match Report: 8th June, 6:00PM, Killigrew, Rothampstead Park

Men against boys

Result: Killigrew won by 7 wickets

A glorious dry summers evening, nary a cloud in the sky, what could possibly go wrong ?

Not sure who won the toss, but we ended up batting first, Paul didn't hang around picking out deep mid-on, not helped by a cracked bat. Rich was imperious with boundaries abounding until he skied one to the keeper on 22, great knock, he and Graham (13) set up the stage and Ben blasted a quick 31 to retire, but not before he had bent the oppo skippers finger out of shape so badly that a reset at hospital was needed, which took out two of the field. In true Crabs spirit, we provided spare fielders. Tim arrived, no fanfare but there really should have been a drum roll, first ball pulled for four, second ball straight over cow for six, third ball out to a shooter, great strike rate. Then a succession of run outs and low scores brought Tony to the wicket, he ended supporting Ben upon his recall to end on 16 not out with Ben claiming 38 not out.

Crabtree took the field with optimism, against ordinary opposition (or men), this would be a decent total on a tricky wicket, sadly the oppo just had boys. Wickets were few and far between as the young antipodeans of Killigrew flayed us to all parts. In hindsight, we were probably around 70 short of a competitive total. Killigrew could probably have finished it in ten overs, but once their top order had all but retired, they sent in a couple of more mature players who politely slowed things down to take it to the 15th over. A solitary wicket apiece for Nick and Ian, a bit of a pounding for Phil, and a stunning run out from deep mid-wicket direct hit from Ben (on the run) were the highlights. Comedy moment kindly provided by Ben; one of their Aussies launched a six so big it sailed over the tall hedge at long on, Ben fielding at long on sprinted after it tracking it over his shoulder  in the vain hope that it would touch down at some point, and promptly ran straight into said hedge providing light relief for all, although it did hold up play as he took some time to disentangle and reappear, the ball was gone for good. There is a suspicion he did this on purpose, but doubts exist that he meant to go that hard and fast into it.

Top nosh back at the Engineer, Killigrew skipper reported back to say surgery was being planned, so I guess we won that battle.

Match Reporter: Paul A

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Match Report: 15th June, 6:00PM, SFDWP, Rothampstead Park

Crabtree first win of the season

Result: Win

Rain threatened all day but we got a clear if slightly chilly run at it.

Ben D kindly offered to field first as the oppo were still a man or two shy at the start time. Did not start well, with a certain distinguished member letting a gently pushed drive go straight through his legs for 4, the match reporter was not amused, nearly a double tea pot. Saddoes had a few bats, with biffing ability, intentionally limiting themselves to selected shots (in the arc and cow). Decent bowling all around, very good ground fielding although Ben N did put down a sitter on the boundary (sprinted 30 yards to get a  fingertip to it at full stretch, four, tea pot, glares, "it's in the book Ben" and "Head up Ben"). Nic injured himself in his first run up, scratch, rub back, try again, nope, off for some deep heat. Fortunately for the replacement bowler, this goes down as Nic's over, the stats should reflect that. Bowling highlights were Phil recovering from his mauling last week admirably (expect nothing less for a county player of his ability) and Matt R, bowled a decent length and the batsmen found him very difficult to get away, credit to Matt of course, but also to his bowling coach, Matt also picked up a good wicket, a delight to watch. Superb glove (and occasional chest) man ship by Graham behind the sticks, the rare sight of him be-helmeted had us in fits (apart from Ben N, helmet owner, too much sweat apparently, or maybe the wrong kind of sweat).

Usual Crabs approach to the batting order ("who hasn't had a go lately ?"). Saddoes started with a father and son combo, son a bit quick and tasty, Dad more wily and got wickets. Rich took the brunt of the lad and was a bit more than gruntled when he misplayed one once the lad had been seen off. Bats came and went, slightly behind the rate, but Ben N came in and hit a rare 6, plus 19 other runs to time his retirement perfectly on 25. Then Nick T and Ben D polished it off, perfectly measured innings each, Ben hitting to spaces, Nick hitting to the field for hasty singles (111111111111) then something awoke Nick (think he realised Ben was pulling ahead) and bish bash bosh, finished with an over and a bit to spare, Ben D 23, Nick T 24.

Engineer, chili-con-carne, jar, happy.

Match Reporter: Gary

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Match Report: 22nd June, 6:00PM, Verulam, Verulamium Park

Pre-Brexit Verulam Flex-it

Result: Lost by 9 wickets

Verulam flexed their muscles in chasing down a paltry 116 with two overs to spare. 

We convened at Verulam Park on the evening before the Referendum (well all but one player who sent a text saying they weren't available which never arrived at its intended recipient). The pitch looked fairly dry despite the heavy rain the night before but very spongey and having lost the toss we were sent in. Paul got a rising delivery early on but Rich Bailey was looking good on 21 and about to retire when he chased a wide one (literally) to lob the ball up to point. The customary Crabtree collapse ensued alleviated by a powerful knock by Ben Newton (29) and an excellent watchful 24 by joint founder member Graham when we needed to solidfy the innings. Despite being aware we only had 9 wickets we were unable to bat the overs scoring 115 of exactly 19 overs.

We needed to bowl very well to have a change and (to cut a long story short) we didn't. Verulam lent us a fielder for the whole innings with Benin being our best fielder. As hosts Verulam wanted to bowl 2 overs per person as far as possible and we honoured this (by letting them get the runs in 18 overs for just one wicket). Very notable excpetions to the poor bowling was Nick T (0-2 in 2 overs), Rich (0-8 in 2), Tony (1-9 in 2) and Paul (0-8 in 2).

Not a good day at the office for our intrepid team which could only get worse the following evening....

Match Reporter: Ben Dearman

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Match Report: 29th June, 6:00PM, Garden Fields, Rothampstead Park

Result: Rain stopped play!


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Match Report: 3rd July, 2:00PM, The Holly Bush, Wheathampstead CC

Result: Lost by 1 wicket

Before the match started I would have put the probability of at least one of Bailey, Lloyd, Newton and Jenkins scoring a 50 in the same category as Germany not missing a penalty! Germany went on miss three! We batted first on a reasonable wicket at Wheathampstead and crept to 103 in 37 overs. Nick T top scoring with 21 only two other batsmen getting into double figures. However, bolstered by the usual high quality Blanchard family tea we set about the impossible and very nearly pulled it off. Excellent bowling by the two youngsters, Dan Dytham 1-12 and Nick Bailey 3-10 set the opportunity for Matthew Rees 3-15 to almost snatch an unlikely win at the end. A very tight game played in an excellent spirt. 

Match Reporter: Ian Blanchard

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Match Report: 6th July, 6:00PM, Stags, Rothampstead Park

Result: Won by 24 runs

 A very strong Crabtree batting line up took full advantage of a weakened Stags attack with five home batsmen undefeated with more than 25 runs. At one stage we hope for 200 runs but the two of our more experienced players (no names) played out the final over for 3 runs! Stags set about an almost impossible task with enthusiasm and no little skill eventually falling 24 runs short. Pick of the bowling Nic Hale 3-9 and Tim Jenkins, an over of straight deliveries!

A good turnout by both teams at Engineer enjoyed another excellent meal.

Match Reporter: Ian Blanchard

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Match Report: 13th July, 6:00PM, Manland, Rothampstead Park

Result: Won by 6 runs

Our middle fixture against the ‘auld enemy’ ended with a very close home victory. Crabtree opened with Bailey R (38 no) and Bailey N (16) who produced a solid if steady opening partnership (maiden first over). After then only Rich Light (22) reached double figures. Our total of 127 seemed about 20 runs short.  However, outstanding catching from Crabtree (guess who) coupled with excellent end of innings bowling from Ben Newton (3-6) and Rich Bailey (3-12) resulted in what seemed a very unlikely result at half-time.

Match Reporter: Ian Blanchard

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Match Report: 20th July, 6:00PM, Marshalswick, Rothampstead Park

Result: Lost by 14 runs


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Match Report: 27th July, 6:00PM, Final CC, Rothampstead Park

Result: Won by 6 wickets

Despite Final’s opening bat taking a shine to Ben Dearman none of the other batsman really threatened some tidy bowling.  Best figures Ed Jones (2-6) early on and Jason De Klerk (2-2) at the end of the innings. Once Rich Bailey (29) and Ben Newton (26 no) had made their customary contribution the result was never in doubt. Nice hitting by Ed Jones and Neil Dytham gave us a home victory in our final evening match of the season. Points to note – Steve Sear’s maiden victory as captain (excellent keeping as usual); Another great meal at the Engineer, hospitality has been excellent.

Match Reporter: Ian Blanchard

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