Rovers week 2019
The Cast: Nick (Ballas) Ballamy, Matt (Emlea) Lee*, Hector (Hec) Loughton, Henry (Plod) Ellinger-Gane, Tom (Nighters) Nightingale, Ollie (OJ) John, Ryan (Mask) Maskell, Aden-Jay (AJ) Wood, Matt (Badger) Clark, Steve (Disco) Crosby, Peter (Pete) Rayward, George (Skip) Holman, Jack (Dawlo) Dawling, Wilfred (Wilf) Aylett, Jamie (Betsy) Betts, Will (Wedge) Edgeler, George (Big G) Welsby, Robin (Freano) Frean, Joe (The Welsh Wizard) Naughalty, Lewis (Lewis) Franklin*, Felix (Fi) Aylett, Tim (Macca/El Presidente) Mackenzie, Jamie (Siggers) Signy*, Piers (Peri) Williams, Ali (Haresy) Hares, Joe (Shindog) Shinners, James (JAllen) Allen.
The Massacre of Monkton
Cricketer Trophy Quarter-Final
What is it about Monkton Combe? Following “The Miracle” a few years back we witnessed a completely different game altogether. As the President dragged himself out of bed for the long trip down to Monkton on Sunday morning, the Rovers’ WhatsApp group was still in overdrive, it was just past 6am, surely the troops would be tucked up in bed by now, as opposed to ‘seeing the sites’ of Bath, the professionals that they are!
I needn’t have worried…
I doubt such a picturesque venue has seen such a game in all its years. Rovers loss the toss and were stuck in the field by the Old Monktonians, had they also been following our WhatsApp chat! It proved to be a bad decision as the OMs soon found themselves under the cosh from an opening partnership of Ballas and debutant Emlea. The latter made the initial breakthrough when one of their openers creamed one at AJ at silly point, it stuck between arm and rib, he never moved, 35-1 after 8. Ballas then finally got an edge to stick, caught Skip, 35-2. Hec and Plod then came on and dried things up, three quick wickets saw the OMs in trouble at 69-5. Their number 5 showed some resistance, but was brilliantly run out by Hec for 44, 142-6, which soon became 163-7, and they finally limped home on 189-7 off their 50 overs. Hec was the pick with 2-36 off his 10, Plod 1-20 off 10, Nighters 1-34 off 10, Emlea 1-36 off 7 and Ballas 1-47 of his 10, bowled lads, apart from the 38 wides of course!
And so to the reply…where do I start? Mask and AJ strode purposefully to the crease, and when AJ returned, followed next ball by the Badger and Disco not long after, we were 41-3, however, it was only the 5th over. Nighters joined Mask at the crease, and I think it’s fair to say they enjoyed themselves putting on 146 for the 4th wicket. The both hit the ball so cleanly, and far, Nighters fell first for 63 off 33 balls including 13x4s just 4 runs short of our target, and Mask finished unbeaten on 110, his ton coming off just 54 balls and included 10x4s and 7x6s. We chased down 190 in just 19.5 overs for the loss of four wickets – batted.
And so the convoy headed south east across Salisbury Plain to Shoreham, and our new local The Bridge, to celebrate a great win, and to prepare for Rovers Week ‘proper’.
The Mystery of the Martlets
On a glorious south coast day we welcomed the Martlets to the LCG, and the lads were ecstatic when Betsy won the toss and elected to bat. Disco managed to talk his way into opening and was accompanied to the crease by Dawlo. The Martlets bowled tidily and were rewarded with the prized wicket of Disco with the score on just 20. That brought the Badger to the crease, and he put on 86 for the 2nd wicket before departing for a workmanlike 42. AJ was next up, and at lunch after 34 overs we were 155-2 and looking good, Dawlo unbeaten on 79. We ploughed on after lunch, Dawlo fell for a fine 83 (10x4s), AJ was trapped in front for a run a ball 57, and Ballas finished not out on 54, Rovers declaring on 261-5 off 51.
In reply we opened up with Emlea and Big G, the former’s opening spell 5-3-3-0 set the early tone, but it was Big G who made the breakthrough with just his fourth delivery. Wickets fell at regular intervals, particularly when Wedge entered the fray, and his figures of 14-1-60-5 helped reduce the Martlets to 79-5 at one stage. But they rallied, and at 188-7 the game was in the balance, particularly with their number 2 Richardson 122*. But when he was run out the game turned, and when skipper Carter was run out coming back for a second the game was over, a Rovers win by just 15 runs with just 4 balls left in the day. Also mentioned in despatches are Freano 2-69 and Big G 1-36. So credit to the Martlets for having a good go, but two out of two for the Rovers, and back to The Bridge it was.
The Usual of Uppingham
Having come so close to finally beating Uppingham over the past couple of years, could this be our time? Skipper for the day Disco lost the toss, but was delighted when we were stuck in. Having drafted Mask in for this one, he strode to the middle accompanied by AJ. For a brief period there was a repeat of Monkton, but Mask couldn’t kick on this time, departing for 36 in the 7th over (6x4s 1x6). AJ however did, and after a couple of quick wickets, was joined in the middle by the Badger. These two put on 64 for the 4th at which point AJ gave it away for a fine 75, 153-4. This soon became 153-5 then 155-6, 155-7, 162-8, 168-9 and finally 169 all out in just 27.3 overs. Impressive, losing our last seven wickets for 17 runs, reminiscent of our collapse the previous year.
Having drafted in The Welsh Wizard, he opened up with Emlea again, and the two of them set to work. The Wizard took the first wicket, 22-1, and after some fine bowling by Lewis, 7-2-22-4 on debut, we had Uppingham reeling at 109-7, still 61 required. But that was as good as it got unfortunately, and despite the best efforts of Ballas 8-0-28-1, Mask 6-1-22-0 and Wedge 3.2-0-10-0, the Upps ended up winners by 3 wickets. A lot closer than it might have been, but once again we couldn’t get over the line in a match we should have won. So we repaired to The Bridge to drown our sorrows.
The Saffa from Steyning
Freano took the helm for our match against Steyning, and when news filtered through that they had a South African ringer, decided to bat first when he won the toss. Disco and AJ opened up on day 4, but both fell cheaply, 26-2! This brought the skipper to the crease, and Freano 81, ably supported by the Skip, 33, Fi with a beautiful 58*, and the Wizard with 41*, we posted a respectable 247-5 off our 45 overs.
Not much to say about their reply except without the ringer they managed just 103 runs between the other 8 batsmen. Louw looked quite tidy to be fair, and his 146, while not chanceless, was a good knock. He finally fell to Siggers, who on debut returned excellent figures of 9-2-53-6. The Wizard took the only other wicket to fall, finishing with 1-32 off 5. Disco’s one over should be noted, 1, no ball 6, free hit 6, dot, 6, 4, 6…!
So Steyning scraped home by 3 wickets, and we all went for a curry.
The Oops of Oundle
With the Skip back in charge, he duly lost the toss and the Rovers trudged out onto the Upper Field on another glorious day. With the College’s 1st XI opening pair taking the new ball, the mood in the camp was buoyant. Such a mood was justified when Lewis took a wicket with his first ball, 10-1. This very quickly became 40-2, 48-3 and 51-4, a decent partnership saw Oundle reach 136 before losing their 5th, and a couple of quick wickets courtesy of Ballas saw them 166-7. A late flourish, ended by Siggers, who begins next season on a hat-trick, enabled Oundle to reach 206. Lewis returned fine figures of 8-2-33-3, Emlea 7-1-26-1, Siggers 3-0-17-2, the Wizard 8-0-59-1 and Ballas 8-2-55-2.
Advantage Rovers, or so we thought. AJ and Peri opened up, but didn’t trouble Midge a great deal, both departing for 10, 23-2. Disco looked in good nick, but Ballas went 2nd ball, and with the exception of the Wizard with 29, no one else reached double figures, Disco finishing on 24. Rather embarrassingly we failed to reach three figures, with the statisticians struggling to remember when that last happened. Fortunately Oundle’s Chairman, who doubles as the Chairman of the Cricketer Cup, had left by this stage, so the good work put in by the Skip and Macca hopefully wasn’t wasted.
Just for a change we decided to give the Crown & Anchor a visit, before heading back to The Bridge, before hitting the curry house again, where Peri began sponsorship negotiations!
The Icing of the Ivy
And so to Friday, and the visit of our good friends from the Ivy Club, and this year they brought a videographer to record the game. The Ivy won the toss, and very generously inserted the Rovers, and AJ and Peri set about building a good score. The latter was bowled for 13, and this brought the Shindog to the crease, for the first time in a long time. He and AJ put on 114 for the 2nd wicket, AJ coming good with 107, but when the Shindog went the following over for 65, the rest of the innings sort of tailed off to a whimper. Our final total of 249-7 off our 40 overs was more than decent but could have been so much better.
Big G took the new ball from the Ladywell End and was backed up by Peri trundling in very purposefully from the Pavilion. Peri made the initial breakthrough, 15-1, but it was Plod who changed the game when he got his mitts on the ball. Four quick wickets saw The Ivy crumble from 64-1 to 71-5, quite Roveresque to be fair. A decent partnership saw The Ivy recover to 153-5 but when Freano finally found his range he snuffed out any further resistance and The Ivy were bowled out for 191. Plod finished with figures of 6.4-1-23-5, Freano 2-27, and Peri 1-45. Haresy had a go but got the yips unfortunately, and poor old Midge had to get his finest nib out to fit all the deliveries into the scorebook.
And so the end of Rovers Week proper, so we all hit the pub and the curry house just for a change.
The Humping of Hampton
Cricketer Trophy Semi-Final
And so to the biggest game of the season so far. Could the Rovers win themselves a spot in the Cricketer Trophy Final for the 2nd successive season? All that stood between them and their dream were the Old Hamptonians, the side we had beaten at Lancing in last season’s quarter-final, so confidence was high. Once the numerous ‘operational issues’ had been ironed out, no boundary rope, five stumps, no covers (it was raining) and no 30 yard discs, and the England v New Zealand match was streaming on the big TV, we were asked to bat first having lost the toss.
Whilst we didn’t see the fireworks of previous rounds, the top five all got starts, Mask 27 (6x4s), AJ 42 (8x4s), Badger 78 (7x4s), Disco 45 (4x4s) and Nighters 47 (7x4s 1x6) and we were on our way. Some late hitting, despite attempting to play the reverse sweep by the Skip, 22, and we posted a very respectable 295-7 from our 50 overs, game on.
Emlea opened up once again, and two quick wickets saw the OHs on the ropes at 7-2, and when Ballas, his opening partner, took three wickets in an over, the game was well and truly done as a contest, 38-5! Their number one carried his bat for a decent 77, but with the exception of their number 10, who scored 22, didn’t receive any support, JAllen and Hec finishing them off, and the Old Hamptonians were bowled out for 142. Ballas finished with 3-26, Emlea 2-21, JAllen 3-44, Hec 1-27 and 1-20.
Rover of the Week
The Swordfish Trophy
Not too many believed that AJ, last season’s inaugural winner, could pimp up the trophy to the standard required, but I think it’s safe to say that everyone was impressed when it finally turned up. But who would win it? There were plenty of candidates, Freano for runs and wickets, Siggers for his sixfer on debut, Dickie for his bellowing voice, Emlea for pushing Ballas down the slope, Lewis for embracing the tour with such enthusiasm, Plod for runs and wickets, Ballas for writing off parking tickets, Peri for setting up the Rovers Sponsorship Foundation, Disco for his car sharing scheme, the list is endless. But having played every game this season, amassing 336 runs @ 37.33, including 107 against The Ivy, 75 against Uppingham and 57 against The Martlets, not to mention his 42 against the Old Hamptonians in the semi, AJ deservedly gets to enjoy the fruits of his labours for another 12 months, well played mate.
So seven games in eight days, what a tour. All starting with the jaunt to Bath and finishing back at HQ with another Trophy semi-final win. Played 7, won 4, lost 3. Thanks to everyone who took part or just supported, especially George H for all his hard work, Midge for scoring, and Disco Cabs.