Ivanhoe CC vs Monks Risborough – 17th Sept 2023

A late addition to the calendar, as no-one had been booked to test their mettle against Ivanhoe, Monks Risborough stepped up to offer us a game. Once again, to Buckinghamshire Ivanhoe set forth.

Many grounds have idiosyncrasies, from the shelves and roman pottery at Verulamium, the tree on the field at Theydon Bois, strange dimensions at Rudolph Steiner and many others experienced over the years, but nothing quite took it to the extreme as this ground.

Steeply sloping from the clubhouse to the pitch on the straight boundary, the pitch was relatively flat but one square boundary was slightly uphill, the other dropped off precipitously and fielders on the boundary were almost invisible to a batter in their stance. The other straight boundary dropped away from the pitch too – meaning bowlers had huge slopes to contend with.

The changing rooms were well appointed, with John being particularly impressed by their collection on mowers…to each their own!

First use of the pitch was given to Ivanhoe, leaving Phil K and Hansi to face the unknown. Monk’s opening bowler, going up the slope, marked out a runup that saw him pass through a couple of postcodes…readers at this point will no doubt remember many a ‘quick’ bowler with a long run-up that puts the fear of whatever into them until the ball trundles down at a moderate pace. Well, dear reader, this was not the case at all! The runup was justified as the ball flashed by the batters in a spell that kept them on their toes, not wayward but not exactly threatening. Phil played a lovely pull-shot off him and Hansi ignored anything he didn’t need to play. The other end saw respite as ambling in but putting effort on the ball, the pace was considerably slower. Runs abounded from the flashing blade of Phil before he was undone by an effort ball that arrived a bit faster than expected and was caught.

Kirishna joined Hansi in the drizzle as thoughts and words were exchanged on the viability of staying out. Two mighty drives to wide ones got Krishna off and running before the rain got heavier and sadly the game was called off. 56-1 from 13 or so overs represented a great base. What would have come of the game but for the weather no-one knows, but an enjoyable experience, hopefully to be repeated next season under liquid-golden skies rather than under one that is leaden and grim.

Shoutout to John, who paused his mower appreciation to umpire from both ends and Tristan who stood at square leg throughout.

Author: Hansi B

Ibstone CC vs Ivanhoe – 10 Sept 2023

Friday dawned bright, heatwaves promised across Hertfordshire for the forthcoming weekend, the prospect of an artificial pitch necessitating soft spikes and running shoes loomed large. The prospect of revenge, all the sweeter given the forecast and probable pitch conditions and recent run of close games brought optimism to all registered for the game…at least until the calamitous message from Andrew that the scoundrels had cancelled on us…what were the intrepid travellers, bereft of the Royal Vet College to do?

Into the breach (although perhaps the use of breach stretched the definition of one usage of the word) stepped Ibstone – into deepest, darkest Buckinghamshire ventured the Ives.  Sat-navs were set for a journey to test ourselves against an unknown quandary.

Further disruption occurred as a late illness withdrawal left the brave travellers one short on the day. As cars parked around the square boundaries of Ibstone’s lovely ground all who’d ventured along the M40 regaled how they’d been peppered with a semi-torrential downpour en route, that had darkened spirits at the prospect of the game being called off. Hearts were gladdened by the pitch coverings and clubhouse for all and sundry to shelter in!

30 overs per side were agreed upon due to the delayed start and creeping darkness that curtail play early on a September’s eve. First use of the wicket fell to the home side but under heavy skies Saquib and Hansi opened up and took 2 wickets apiece, giving the Ives a start not enjoyed in a long while as runs were at a premium. Saquib swung it both ways trapping one batter LBW and another had their off stump knocked back. Stand-in wicketkeeper Rich defied a stiff neck to take a catch, as did Krishna before Ven disrupted another batters wickets.

A mini revival ensued, one cannot but applaud batters doing well against good bowling, before Ven took another, Mohammed chipped in to further deepen the mire Ibstone were in.

John and Phil K turned their arms over, each prying a batter out, aided by some top-notch fielding, both on the ground saving runs and in safe hands catching almost everything … for a while at least.

Champagne moments abounded, as two contenders for catch of the season occurred within the space of a few overs; Saquib defied gravity at backward square flying through the air like a majestic falcon, and Phil K on the boundary flirting with the rope whilst charging back to pluck a lofted drive out of the air. Not to be outdone (and to provide competition to Will’s Mr Nonchalant easy catching and wicketkeeping), Rich affected a stumping with aplomb and calmness.

Sadly the last pair of batters swung their respective willows with gusto and to great effect. Runs were plundered, boundaries aplenty including several balls smote most profoundly over the rope and into nearby woodland inflated the score from a less than middling 110-odd to a semi-imposing 146.

The Ive’s innings can, and indeed should, be divided into two very distinct halves…to whit, Steve, and then the rest. More on Steve later, but for the rest it must be recorded, as posterity needs to know the horrors. Phil K and Venky opened up but sadly didn’t last too long, Krishna looked good and dispatched several balls to the boundary but fell just as the opening bowlers were finishing their spells. Mohammad was undone by a big turner and stumped. The lefthanded power axis of John and Hansi performed miserably. Rich lost the sibling rivalry as he was dismissed first ball and Saquib didn’t last too long. Chris came in for the last couple of overs and outscored his sibling to remain undefeated at the end.

On the other hand, and it is far more enjoyable to recount the exploits of Steve. Coming in early, blocking the good balls and dispatching the bad ones and seemingly untroubled by the carnage around him, he wore a bemused expression as batter after batter fell at the other end. His countenance was unflappable as, when the ball was in his ark, it was gloriously and summarily sent to (and over) the boundary rope. Even when the asking rate was at seven, eight, nine runs and above he did not panic, but merely hit the ball harder and through the ring field.

A well deserved half century was scored, unbowed and undefeated he led the players from the field at the end of Ive’s 30 overs.

History will record Steve’s excellent innings and a relatively close game all up, but those with long memories of the game will chastise themselves for letting the last wicket pair take the game away from them…as well as an admiring nod to Steve, the player of the match.

Author: Hansi B

Ives vs Harrowdene CC – 13th August 2023

Ivanhoe have challenged themselves over the last couple of years against the powerhouse team of Harrowdene CC A timed game in 2021 saw the Ives in desperate trouble but a powerhouse performance from Bob Collins and a controlled innings from Saqib both saved the game and brought the chance of victory but honours finished even. 2022 saw the Vet College host an absolute annihilation, 211 proved far too many in 35 overs as the Ives limped to 109, albeit only for 8.

A bright and sunny day in early August accorded the opportunity for revenge in another timed game, as the toss was won and Harrowdene inserted to face the new ball….

The first few overs belied the carnage that was to come; as few runs were scored off Saqib and Hansi, who took an early wicket as the ball moved off the seam and caused a few false shots and kept the fielders interested. The pitch wasn’t misbehaving in the ‘usual manner’ that we have come to expect from the Vet College.

When the shackles were broken, they were well and truly broken! Boundaries were plundered all around the wicket, leather was chased as the sound of the ball being dispatched echoed around the ground. Some outrageous shot-making ensued, including batters walking outside off stump and walloping the ball behind square on the legs side. It was entertaining to watch (even as a bowler being smashed), with high risk suggesting that wickets could fall at any moment.

Brakes were put on by Tristan, with two wickets in two balls, and Hansi had a plum LBW turned down (cue grins from the batter and a tacit understanding when they were bowling that any LBWs were not going to be forthcoming!). After a quite spell, lasting all of about 10 balls, the pace was picked up…A couple more big partnerships followed and a run rate of 6 an over was easily achieved. The ball, not the greatest to start with, resembled a lump of mud that was increasingly closer in shape to an egg rather than a sphere, certainly did not help.

Two dropped catches did not help the cause of the Ives, but in general it was one of the better fielding performances, espoused by fantastic keeping by Phil K who affected a stumping and kept the batters ‘honest’.

Newcomer Krishna came on to bowl deep into Harrowdene’s innings and bowled beautifully, taking two wickets from excellent deliveries – including the top scorer who was eying a century!

Ivanhoe’s response started in calamity as Phil K fell early, and tight bowling restricted Bob, Rich et al changed the nature of the game; it was no longer about trying to chase the target down, but to survive. Close fielders kept the singles to a premium, and the tight bowling gave few opportunities for the batters to free their arms and hit through the line to break the ring-field.

The battery of fast bowlers were augmented by two spinner; an offie who had tormented Ivanhoe in the past generating lots of bounce and turn, and a left-armer tied batters in knots…there wasn’t any respite and almost every-ball a challenge. The final insult came when a part-timer came on and bowled a maiden, a wicket maiden, then five balls (with another wicket) before conceding a solitary single that could have resulted in a run-out!  

Phil P and Hansi faced the music, trying to be positive wherever possible, with some powerful and controlled strokes from Phil. in a partnership that spanned nearly 20 overs, the draw was achieved, before off the last ball Phil holed out, having done his job to save the game.

Joint player of the match awards went to the returning Parnells, Phil and Tristan – glad to have you back!

Author: Hansi B

Theydon Bois CC vs Ives – 30th July 2023

Ivanhoe at Theydon Bois – The game that wasn’t

The Ives travelled to the lovely ground that Theydon Bois call home – last year we were serenaded by piano concertos from a nearby house as a tightly fought game came down on the side of Theydon.
The curse of 2023’s weather had temporarily abated but under leaden skies that threatened a downpour at any stage, but the presence of a fantastic clubhouse lightened any heavy hearts, Ivanhoe went into bat in a 35 over game.
Depending on where one bats in the order, the sight of a strapping young bowler marking out a runup over 20+ paces either excites or puts the fear of all that’s holy into others…coupled with the gloomy outlook, a large tree deep in the outfield and a pitch that sloped from the short boundary on one side to the long boundary on the clubhouse side, and a few ridges just outside off at one end suggested a challenge would be faced by the openers.
Phil K and Ciaran opened up and faced the wrath of the new ball…Phil made a handy 14 with some lovely strokes before falling. Steve joined the fray and played an exquisite square drive early on as well as a sweetly timed pull shot and looked utterly comfortable in scoring 16, before falling against the run of play.
One of Prasad’s friends was undone first ball by a big spinner bringing Bob Collins in, and the score rattled along until calamity struck and out of nowhere Ciaran fell for a very handy 44. Hansi Joined and was able to watch from the non-strikers end as Bob put on a masterclass of power batting, scoring around the wicket and utterly dominating the partnership.
The rain grew heavier, but the spirits of the Bois were not dampened, even if their shirts were sodden and rain dripped off the helmet visor and black and yellow cap of the batsmen but all and sundry stayed on the field.
Captain Collins was no-doubt cursing his decision not to play a 40 over game, as having scored 65 and led the Ives to 174/4 he left a century on the table. Considering last year Ivanhoe scored 156 off 40 overs this represented the kind of batting that was required last year…
During the luncheon interval, any prospect of play was utterly curtailed ad the downpour became torrential, and the game was called off – an utterly sensible decision but great applause must be directed to the Bois for sticking with the game for the Ives’ innings without complaint and then not getting an opportunity to bat.
Understandably Bob Collins (esquire) was player of the match, although due to some quirk of democracy he shared that accolade…

Author: Hansi B

Ives vs N2CC – 11th June 2023

The eidolon of victory

Sometimes after a game we Ives sit down and say ‘if only’, or ‘it was so close’, or ‘one more wicket would have changed everything’.  There are other instances when the result was never in doubt, as a new ball burst knocked the stuffing out of one team or other…or a total that looked just a little short is chased down well inside the overs as wickets failed to fall, catches dropped or balls fall between fielders…

The game against N2 was lost long, long, long before the denouement was finally applied and the final wicket fell. But that was not the story, or at least the full story of the second half of the game….but before speaking of the titan that bestrode all, 197 runs were plundered by N2 in their 35 overs…Saquib bowled 7 economical overs with the reward of two wickets, a feat matched by Rich who conceded fewer runs, but that, sadly was the end of the economical performance. All other bowlers conceded at least a run a ball, with Andrew and Hansi being the only others that had a positive entry in their final column.

First ball of the game from Saquib reared off a length, calling for helmets all round – perhaps this was a reason some bowlers went for a few as the back of a length bowling played into the hands and meat of the bat of the opposition…

One catch went down on the field, but a few pop-ups landed between fielders, but all in all a much better performance, despite a lot of leather-chasing.

Will had an excellent day behind the stumps letting very few past him, as well as nonchalantly ambling back and taking a skier with Rich bearing down on him apace.

Was 197 too many for Ives to chase? Some fast scoring on an outfield that gave value for shots – all that was needed was a start that didn’t leave Ivanhoe behind the eight-ball.

Sadly, calamity befell the openers, and high scores were not forthcoming, the pitch that had not kept low when it misbehaved in the first half of the game turned Jekyll and Hyde, balls on a length kept low, short balls occasionally shot along the ground doing the odd batter in and grins all around from the opposition. Phil received an excellent delivery that angled in then moved away, possible contender for ball of the season…it set the tone really. Decent balls and pitch misbehaviour did for Bob, Earle, Steve and Hansi to knock the stuffing out of the top and middle order.

Astride, and untroubled by the mayhem, stood Rich. Swatting both bad and good balls to the boundary, running hard between the wickets and utterly serene at the crease whilst he was at the wicket, the possibility of victory, even the vaguest and most unlikely, was on the cards.

Wickets fell, Rich scored more. More wickets fell, once again runs were plundered all around the wicket. Calamity almost striking when John tried a single off the last ball of an over to steal the strike…but somehow in a moment of comedy he managed to regain his ground.

Perhaps victory was only just a dream, phantasma or an eidolon…which proved to be the case when Rich fell for (scorebook says 83 but I was certain it was 89), and that was that.

Well played N2, and Rich…sorry mate, next time we’ll offer more support (promise) as the all-round performance deserved a century and a win. Player of the match will have to console Rich till next time!

Author: Hansi B

Belmont & Edgware CC vs Ives – 21st May 2023

Returning to Belmont & Edgware for an early season game, Ivanhoe had high hopes repeating the performance of last year (https://www.ivanhoecc.co.uk/2022/05/ivanhoe-cc-vs-belmont-and-edgware-22nd-may-2022/) – however all was not aligned with last year…for one thing, it was not the final game of the Premier League season, so no cheeky checking of phones to stay appraised of the score, and the teams were slightly different.  Good for Ives, no fast bowlers pushing off the sightscreen, the pitch looked more even, but the weather was equally fair as last time around.

The toss was lost, and once again first use of the conditions went to the home side…how they must have been ruing that decision after two wayward overs as wides abounded, inter-spaced with some excellent boundaries by Bob Collins and Phil K. Thoughts of challenging last year’s big total were being aired on the boundary, batters waiting to come in began to relax and curses were heard from the scoring hut as all tired in vain to keep up with the runs…then calamity struck from the final ball of the third over. The hitherto untroubled BC, showing off his new bat was facing as the ball was angled in, seamed away and clipped the top of off stump…regardless of the newness of the bat, a very good ball had appeared out of nowhere and the first wicket was down.

Two in two!!! First ball of the fourth over saw PK beaten by an inswinger through the gate! Both ends had seen the stumps rocked back, and pressure was suddenly on Ivanhoe. Enter last year’s colossus at this ground, Ciaran. 70 odd not out last year with lots of time to bat – who’d bet against him emulating this feat? Ably aided by Earl, the next 11 overs saw consolidation with the odd boundary, good running between the wickets…the old adage of block the good ones and hit the bad ones was followed and stress free 49 runs added to the score. Many a leg side blow went for four, the fielding became a bit ragged, when Earl went to the well once again and was bowled.

The malady of having one’s stumps rearranged continued a few balls later, as, off the thigh-pad Ciaran was undone, thus ending a good innings of 32.

Another period of reconciliation of the innings between Steve and Mabs, before a catch in the deep broke the spell of all wickets being bowled…then another straight one was missed by Mabs who’d made 41, and the stumps rearranged yet again…

The end came quickly and all-out for 154 in 36 overs…

Last time round, tight bowling was the order of the day, with pressure ramping up all the time…

Saqib and Mabs opened up with some lovely stuff. The first wicket fell in slightly curious fashion, as the pads were struck and a confident LBW appeal ensued. The full repertoire of emotions were played across the umpire’s face and as the fielders were going back to their positions (it felt like 3 Ice-ages had passed) the finger went up!

Ciaran came on, bowling for the first time of the season, and in flash the off stump was knocked back – what a way to start! Earl then came on and fired one in to take a wicket, but after that the successes dried up and chances, both in terms of catches and near misses went begging. 77/3 at drinks was reasonable, but there could have been significantly more wickets down had a chance or two stuck.

The opening bowlers returned to the crease to try and put more pressure on and promptly delivered, with Saqib gaining two more wickets, and Mabs one with a caught and bowled…the only fly in the ointment was Belmont’s opener (who’d turned down playing for the 1st eleven because he’d have to bat a 5…the shame of being so low in the order!) was unbeaten and smote a glorious back-foot drive off Hansi for a boundary to finish the game off in the 33rd over and remain unbeaten on 89.

Retiring to the bar for a quick drink and reminisce it was agreed that the small moments went against Ivanhoe this week, a dropped catch, good ball sneaking through defences that did not quite happen for Belmont. There’s a saying about catches and matches, but it slips (or has been dropped) rather aptly from my mind…

Great game played in excellent spirit between two relatively evenly matched teams.

Congratulations to Saqib as player of the match

Author: Hansi B

Croxley Guild CC vs Ives – 4th June 2023

The day dawned bright, weather perfect for the Ives to journey to the Croxley Sports complex, a venue many had driven past frequently but hadn’t realised it was there…Fresh and hungry were Ivanhoe for a grudge match – no it cannot be described as a grudge as the game was played in too good a spirit, but regardless revenge was on the mind of the Ives given the close loss to them the previous week at home.

Bright was the sun, fresh was the breeze, lush (and bumpy) was the outfield and hard was the all weather pitch that once again yielded a lost toss and once more unto the field went the happy few, once more.

Saqib and Prasad opened up with the new cherry, steaming in and hoping to extract some bounce and utilize the artificial wicket’s pace and carry. Lips were licked, eyes widened in anticipation in the cordon behind the wicket due to a gentle slope across the pitch and a distinct slope along the pitch. Edges were going to fly, batters peppered and wary whilst protecting their wicket…at least that was the plan but the openers batted and saw off the new ball bowlers in a sedate fashion as batting was easier than Ivanhoe’s bowlers had expected. Nothing was doing until Ciaran pulled off, what an Australian would term ‘a ripper’ off Prasad to break the opening stand.

The presence of a bar onsite (one that certainly helps the libations flow) must have led to a tradition for the Croxley Crew as all umpires came onto the field with an alcoholic beverage of some description in hand…occasionally venturing to the boundary for a top-up! This may have been the reason an LBW off Hansi was turned down…

Andrew ambled in to turn his arm over for the first time in 9 months and was right on the money from the off, creating pressure and keeping things tight. Bowling in tandem with him for a time was John, and chances were created aplenty…some ‘earned’ through good bowling and some from big shots going awry. On another day, in his own words, John would have taken a fiver-for as chance after chance went down (apologies to name names but Prasad and Saqib, as well as John himself were guilty of the dreaded dropsies). John did, in the end, get a wicket so he wasn’t too filthy with the fielders, but a penny to a pound he’ll remind everyone of what could have been…bit like Hansi with the LBW that still smarts!

Ciaran and Rich brought the thunder and heavy metal to what had, hitherto been more of an improv jazz session – hitting the pitch hard and the bat harder. Croxley Crew’s tactic in light of this fire and fury was to swing hard, and failing that swing harder…a few rewards fell Ciaran and Rich’s way with an LBW given (not the same umpire, he was probably snoozing it off in the sun I might add) and a top edge caught and bowled, as well as a resounding demolition of the stumps saw 2 and 1 wickets respectively to the fast and furious duo. The aggressive hitting from Croxley did pay-off however as runs, particularly down the ground, were scored apace and the mighty blows struck resulted in what looked like a massive total of 225 being chalked up. Two half centuries from Dallas and Rose were the foundation of the score, well batted and cheers to them! The true pitch with very even bounce and minimal seam movement or spin, and the slope barely affecting the direction of the ball had worked in the batter’s favour.

Over a lovely tea in the clubhouse we were reassured that this score was par for the ground (not sure I’d believe it with the outfield not benefiting nudgers and nurdlers, and many a big shot stopping almost dead short of the boundary) but with light heart and heavy stomach it was time to see what damage could be rent on the Croxley Crew’s bowing figures.

Phil K and Venky opened up and entered the fray, and in a mirror of the Croxley Crew’s batting were untroubled and survived, nay thrived for a fair few overs before Venky was LBW and the stand was broken.

Hansi joined Phil and kept the score ticking over before…remember how I said the pitch was true and even…well, there has to be one ball that disproves this and pitching just about in his half Hansi was bowled by a shooter that didn’t get above ankle height…confident stroke-play be damned when that happens! Much commiseration and genuine compassion was shown as (allegedly) this had never before been seen on that pitch.

Rich came out and struck the ball with power and precision, showing great poise and led Ives to 80 at drinks…bang on par with where it had been first time around.

Were Ivanhoe ever to divest its collective interests away from Cricket and buy a racehorse, it would surely be called Calamity…sired from collapse and disaster…for it was on this metaphorical horse that Ivanhoe returned to the pitch to resume post drinks…the catalogue of dismissals and their manner is almost too painful to recount, but one has to tell the tale of at least some of them; Phil was run out going for a second that was made risky by hesitation at both ends…sawing off what had been a good and well earned half century. Rich saw one pitched up and his eyes lighting up (could have played in the dark so bright were they and so wide was his grin) came charging down the wicket and was stumped. Bob Collins’ bat didn’t save him as a forcing shot failed to connect with a looping slower ball from the opening bowler and top of off dislodged. Earle, fresh from great exploits the week before top-edged one and was caught in the deep…

In the final furlong, as Calamity trotted along looking for fences to knock over, the Croxley Crew decided it was time to join the fun and drop catches aplenty, misfield and generally contribute to the fun and games, but alas it was too late and Saqib, Andrew and John succumbed meekly in what may look like a one-sided defeat, but the little things again were stacked against Ivanhoe.

Joint players of the match Phil and Rich were ably supported by the whole team but dropped catches and the flurry of runs at the end took the gloss off what was a competitive and relatively even game skill-wise…

Next week Calamity will be left in the stable and Ivanhoe will bring the Heavy Metal with the artistry of Ritchie Blackmore and the double album of Ivanhoe v Croxley Guild will be left on the shelf, the riffs never to be repeated.

Author: Hansi B

Octopus CC vs Ivanhoe – 7th May 2023

A particularly late season start for Ives, following a rain soaked Spring; this match was a bonus following the rain of previous days and the forecast for the following day.

Returning to Ally Pally where a victory was achieved in the previous August, the pitch was a very different prospect this time – surprisingly playable but not exactly dry.  Put in openers Kenchington and Collins faced the worst conditions with the ball hooping around – too much, in fact, to catch an edge, though both survived difficult dropped catches. Progress seemed slow, but they ground out an opening partnership of 103, in about 21 overs, before a self-inflicted run out changed the game. Collins (39) was soon followed by Kenchington (52), leaving Parnell R as the only other batsman to reach double figures. 1st injury of the day occurred during the opening stand when umpires Loveday and Prasad returned to the pavilion, and a cockapoo (or was it a large Chihuahua?) sensing Prasad’s fear, decided to take lumps out of the RSPCA animal whisperer Loveday who bravely, as in a Monty Python sketch , declared it was a” a mere scratch”. The second injury followed quickly with Abrahamson running into a fielder and rising from the horizontal, bloodied but unbowed.

 From 154-3 Ives managed a spectacular CC (catastropic collapse) to 158 – all out – yes that is 7 wickets in 4 runs. John Loveday and Prasad’s resort to pre innings Peroni resulted in the grand total of 1 run (though to be fair Prasad managed a one ball not out).

Then came Ts -– a superb tea provided by Octopus – a rare and much appreciated delight. But tea did lead to the 3rd “injury”: on the weekend that King Charles gained a crown, Collins lost one on a salad sandwich – possibly the least of the 4 injuries, but also possibly the most expensive!

Ives began the second half looking rusty with too many full tosses from Saqib and leg side deliveries from Prasad, which keeper Brooks athletically leapt upon impressively. Saqib did encourage two thick edges which flew to Parnell P at gully, the second of which, whilst it could count as a dropped catch, also resulted in the departure of said fielder to A and E where an impressively broken digit was revealed as a “proper job”. Luckily the injury count stopped there at 4. We were grateful to Manny, from Octopus, who efficiently and helpfully fielded as a sub for 20 overs.

Change bowlers improved things with T taking 3 wickets in all, including a played on by John who was striking bad balls for 4 with ease. With Octopus 3 wickets down, a victory looked possible, but the 4th wicket pair each scored half centuries, initially accumulating slowly, but increasing their tempo superbly.  Some credit was taken as Ives took more wickets with 2 catches taken in the safe hands of Kenchington, along with superb fielding by skipper Parnell R.  Parnell C and Parnell T, also, can take credit from their reliable fielding. A second spell from Saqib proved better and brought a catch – put down by Collins. In the end Octopus took a 4 wicket victory in a good and enjoyable match, but Ives know they can do better and must aim to reverse the result at home to Octopus on August 27th.

Author: R Collins

Nets – 8th March 2023

Snow on the ground, hot and sticky conditions at the nets – who says the cricket season looms on the horizon? Only 4 brave, hardy and committed souls managed to overcome the conditions and make it to what turned out to be a test of fire and brimstone…

Somehow we lost track of time and went well over our allotted hour, but that was all for the good as all four batters saw a lot of bowling, and the bowlers really started getting into a rhythm. It was awesome to see Phil P coming in off the long-run and sending the ball whistling past one’s nose at high pace, good movement and accuracy…the opposition should be warned of another prong to the pace attack!

It was great to see Explorer Bob Collins, back from his European sojourn…and he looked like not a minute had passed since his last bat as he was back in the groove very quickly, nurdling and nudging it around. John’s front foot movement saw him getting down the pitch and looked comfortable and Phil P just smashed it to all parts, treating the bowing with disdain.

Despite our best efforts to concentrate on what we were doing, we were agog as the batter in the net facing the bowling machine was confidently coming forward to balls travelling at 99 miles per hour…we’ll get there soon, honest!!!

Although it was great to have an elongated batting session and as a bowler to work out plans for the batter, we’d love to see more people face the music next week!

Author: Hansi B

Nets – 1st March 2023

A new month dawned and brought out Ives in droves to the Hatfield Leisure centre. We were fortunate to have two nets once again, so there was no issue in accommodating all of us as we ease ever closer to the first ball of the season on an outdoor pitch.

The theme of the night was power batting – the crash, bang and wallop of leather on willow permeated through the air, the nets bulged with shots square and drives thumping into the back wall all evening. Both Phils and Mabs lead from the front, with Mab’s cover and straight driving something to see, as was Saqib’s unorthodox but effective technique sending the ball to all parts. From the signs of this evening, competition for runs amongst the top order will be fierce…

The furious and powerful batters did not have it all their own way though; the ball nipped around and the bat was beaten a bit, as well as the stumps being knocked back on occasion. The wily spinners gave pause to the batters, with John and Phil P often luring batters to their doom…Will and Bob will no doubt be licking their lips in anticipation of many stumpings next season! The pace bowlers success was all the sweeter given how well everyone batted; Tristan and Saqib caused problems and really ramped up their speed as the evening wore on.

A great time was had by all, and all 9 had a decent bat and good bowl, testing both skills and fitness that all passed!

Author: Hansi B