Stoner Cricket Club

Founded 1934
  Match Reports for 2011 


2011 Reports

The following fixtures took place, and the reports are below. To jump straight to a particular report click on the opposition's name in the list below.





Start Time


July 2nd





July 25th





July 26th

C. Vincent's XI




July 27th


Steep CC



July 28th

The Forty Club




July 29th




A full set of averages for 2011 are now available by clicking here.

Stoner v Bedales

Saturday July 2nd 2011

Stoner 151-6 (30 overs)
Bedales 154-2 (23.2 overs)
Stoner lost by 8 wickets

For a change Stoner struggled against the school, a good sign provided that those that made them struggle eventually turn out for Stoner! Nick Tier went early before Angus Finney with 27 and Justin Jones with 49 made the most substantial contributions. Charles Cecil, Ben Roberts and Paul Bradley all made it into double figures as well, as did extras. A total of 151 was more than respectable in a 30 over game, but not quite at the level Stoner have achieved in recent years. Preston and Hay were the main wicket takers for the school, though precise figures, including runs conceded are sadly lacking from the book, so it is difficult to put their achievements in context.

It was in the batting department that the school showed real progress. They too lost an opener for a duck, but other opener, Rai, stayed throughout the innings, for 68, and numbers 3 and 4, McLeod and Hay, each got into the thirties and saw Bedales to a comfortable win with nearly seven overs to spare. There were wickets for Hobbs and Wilkinson, but only Hobbs kept the run rate in check at all, and the rest have very little to write home about, so we shall draw a discrete veil over the rest, and leap forward in time to the week itself....

Stoner v Barnes

Monday July 25th, 2011

Barnes 180 all out (39.3 overs)
Stoner 181-6 (27.4 overs)
Stoner won by 4 wickets

After a few wet weeks the sun shone for the start of Stoner Week 2011, and although the pitch was still very soft it looked to be in generally better condition than the last couple of years. Barnes must have thought so, as they opted to bat first on winning the toss. Jonno Gordon was determined to take advantage of the slow pace of the wicket, launching big shots at anything slightly off a good length, and rapidly advanced the score with a series of sixes and fours. A battered Paul Bradley took a break after 3 overs which went for more than 30 runs, but in an inspired move skipper Justin Jones brought himself into the attack. His first tactic was to lose the match ball by giving the batsman a full toss which he put out of the ground, then after a prolonged ball search he used the replacement ball to much better effect, inducing a gentle waft to mid on where Matthew Quantrill took a comfortable catch. Jones immediately removed himself from the attack, but Ben Roberts and Dale Collins could not make a further breakthrough. Paul Bradley tried the other end for a second spell, and took the second wicket with a ball that seemed not so much to slow down off the pitch as stop and almost go backwards before just about reaching the stumps. The batsman was described by the umpire as being several years too early with his shot. At the other end the occasional spin of Quantrill looked very occasional for his first four balls, but his first good one induced a straight low drive, and he dived to his left to pick the ball up one handed inches from the ground. There was a brief recovery from Barnes, led by opener Mike Harriman, but he eventually fell for 46, trying to take advantage of a generous gift to get his fifty, but hitting a Quantrill full toss straight to Ben Roberts on the boundary. Quantrill struck again soon afterwards, with a better ball, as Barnes skipper Foulds was beaten by spin and lobbed one up to midwicket. Dale Collins, protecting an injured right hand, firstly parried it with his left, then took the rebound comfortably with both hands. With spinners leading the way in wicket taking Jones turned to newcomer John Cosgrove, who bowled an interesting mix of googlies and leg breaks with some success. In a long spell he took four more wickets, including another good catch in the deep from Ben Roberts and another one handed effort, this time from Nick Tier. Cosgrove took 4-49, including the last wicket bowled, but was denied the chance to take five by a second cameo spell, this time from Gordon Dale who bowled a single over, and had a wicket maiden courtesy of a stumping from another Stoner debutant Alan Wright. Barnes' last three wickets all fell with the score on 180, but it still looked a defendable total on a wicket that was not easy to score on if the bowlers put the ball in the right place.

Stoner certainly started as if the total was going to stretch them. Yet another debutant, Mike Truss, looked stylish enough, but misjudged the pace of the pitch and prodded the ball in the air in the second over, and soon afterwards Sam Roberts found point with what he thought might have been a bump ball, though umpire Britten disagreed. 5-2 brought in the skipper, and he was in fine form straight away, hitting his first three balls for four, and his fourth for six. Alan Wright made a useful 8 and Gordon Dale struck some useful blows in making a rapid 19 from ten balls, but this was really the Justin Jones show. The best efforts of Jonno Gordon, who had himself played such an attacking innings, but got out to Jones, to dissect Jones technique did nothing to faze or distract him, and he continued to score at better than two runs a ball, reaching fifty in just 24 balls. He then sped up for a while, but did struggle slightly with the spin of Tom Schneider (struggle being a relative term) and slowed in particular in his last five balls, which only brought one run before he was eventually bowled by Schneider for 96, a brutal knock that included 13 fours and six sixes and lasted for just 28 balls. Far from being under pressure to score Stoner entered the last twenty overs needing less than two an over, and after Jones departed Matthew Quantrill, who had been playing a supporting role, picked up the pace a little, pulling two sixes of his own on the way to making 40 at nearly a run a ball. Paul Bradley was LBW for one, but Ben Roberts played a solid innings as well, and finished matters off by hitting Schneider over mid-off for yet another six, to take Stoner past the target in less than 28 overs. It looked a convincing win, but with six wickets down Barnes had certainly felt in with a chance, and Stoner could be thankful that they had enough depth to have not only Quantrill and Roberts not out but Dale Collins still in reserve. An excellent start to the week in pretty much every way - weather, spirit of the game, teas and result all went the right way, as did an evening at the Harrow. The rest of the week has much to live up to.

Stoner v Chris Vincent's XI

Tuesday July 26th, 2011

C.Vincent's XI 252-6 dec. (40 overs)
Stoner 253-9 (45.5 overs)
Stoner won by 1 wicket

Chris Vincent's XI, a.k.a. Havant, looked a young and athletic bunch when they arrived, and they largely proved it in the field. The suspicion is that had they played it truly seriously they would have walked all over Stoner, having a number of current Premier League players and a few more who are likely to be so in future, but credit has to be given to their captain, who played the game in very much the right spirit, giving younger players a bat and plenty of batsmen a bowl, as well as having the Premier League's bowler of the month keeping wicket. All this was to come, though, as Stoner took the field and Ben Roberts started with a short but very good spell, moving the ball off the pitch and getting a wicket immediately to a leading edge. He continued to beat both batsmen regularly, but they both played him well, and were also scoring runs at the other end. Once ben was out of the attack the run rate quickly escalated, and never came back down again, apart from a two over second spell which ended up giving him figures of 1-11 in six overs. For the most part the rest of the bowlers will not want attention drawn to their figures, as all the batsmen put bat to ball with great gusto. The highlights initially were run outs, the first from a good piece of fielding by Sam Roberts and the second courtesy of a superb throw from the long boundary by Dylan Pearson, which bounced into Paul Bradley's hands just inches from the top of the stumps. The first of the remaining wickets came when Justin Jones' second ball tempted the batsman to advance down the pitch and miss the ball completely, finding himself so committed that even at Justin's pace he couldn't get back in his ground before the bails were off. There was then something of a hiatus in an otherwise excellent Stoner fielding display, with four catches dropped, though none were easy and it is a compliment to the fielders concerned that there was surprise at the drops. Laurie Goldsmith couldn't hold on to a spinning ball dropping just behind him, and Sam Roberts had a night are couple of overs where three big hits into the deep were just within his range, but trying to take them on the run he couldn't hold on to any of them. Eventually his brother showed him how to take a catch in the deep, though in fairness he didn't have to move much at all for his, and the final wicket came when an attempted drive at Nick Tier was lofted to point and comfortably taken by Dylan Pearson. Vincent's XI ended up declaring fairly early, after just over 2 hours, on 252-6, but had received forty overs in that time, a good rate by Stoner considering the number of balls they had to recover from the boundary.

Stoner had a huge target to chase, but lots of batting and plenty of time, as well as mostly fairly inexperienced bowlers. Oliver Jones, though not a regular bowler for Havant, has done well against Stoner before, and in the conditions he was quite a handful as an opening bowler, keeping it mostly fairly low and getting considerable movement off the pitch. However it was a good shot off his bowling that brought the initial break through, Ben Roberts running after driving the ball straight back, while Dale Collins had turned to watch the ball and set off far too late to make it to the far end. Whether there was a call or not was the subject of much speculation. Jones struck on his own shortly afterwards, getting one to just take Roberts' off bail, and when a few minutes later Gareth Dale put one in the air straight to a fielder from the other opener, Oliver's father Mike, Stoner were in deep trouble at 14-3. It could easily have been 14-4, but Dylan Pearson survived a very confident LBW shout to his first ball, and he and Matthew Quantrill then almost managed to see off the remaining overs of the opening pair of bowlers, Pearson being bowled in the final over of their spells. Quantrill greeted the first change of bowling, skipper Stainton bringing himself on, with a reverse pull to the short boundary for 4, but in the same over was nearly gone when he pulled a short ball almost into the hands of Loat, who seemed to be getting to it comfortably, but then at the last moment contrived to make the catch look difficult enough that he was accused by his skipper of dropping it deliberately. A selection of spin of various quality followed, though with the pitch taking spin and occasional balls dying batting was never a completely easy prospect. Quantrill hit well into the gaps until he had driven back three boundary fielders, and Mike Truss, having started slowly, also started to score a few runs. They added 68 for the 5th wicket before Truss found a fielder for 22, but with Laurie Goldsmith coming in there was no slowing in the scoring rate. Quantrill did perish for 59 at better than a run a ball, badly misjudging an attempted pull of another short ball, but that only brought in the man in form, Justin Jones. By the start of the twenty overs less than 100 were requires, though six wickets were down, and Stainton soon decided to remove himself from the attack and turn to one of his quicker bowlers, 17 year old Clark Harding. If he assumed this would give him control he had reckoned without the hitting power of Justin Jones, who continued smashing balls to all corners, including a big straight six back over the bowler's head. With the rather more orthodox skills of Laurie Goldsmith complimenting him at the other end 79 were added for the seventh wicket at a good pace, before Jones got slightly under on and hit it very high in the air, but not very far, and was calmly caught for 48, scored at a rather tardy 1.5 runs per ball. With just 41 needed and more than ten overs to get them in Stoner had plenty of time, but wickets were running out, and when Nick Tier played back to his first ball and was trapped LBW Vincent's XI must have fancied their chances. They cannot have counted on having batsmen of the quality of Paul Bradley and Sam Roberts coming in at 10 and 11, but Bradley made his intent clear by hitting his first ball for 4. He and Goldsmith put on 29 for the 9th wicket in quick time, both ending up scoring at exactly a run a ball, but with the winning line in sight Goldsmith edged and was caught behind. 8 runs were still needed to win, with the last pair at the crease but still six overs to get them in. They crept the score forward by two singles in their first couple of overs, but not without alarms. Six were needed to win, and with his brother having hit a six in that situation yesterday Sam Roberts clearly decided it was time to ease the tension, and swung the ball to the short midwicket boundary. The crowd on the far side of the field had their hearts in their mouths as the fielder appeared set to take the catch, but leaping up he could only parry the ball, and it turned out he was already over the line and just trying to get it back inside the line and save the six. He failed to do this, and Stoner secured a one wicket victory. It was, of course, partly thanks to the generous way their opposition played the game, but it still took a determined batting display to make the runs under pressure, and it ended up as an excellent game of cricket, hopefully enjoyed by all, even those junior members of the Vincent's XI who performed numerous press ups throughout their time in the field as part of some arcane punishment system for messing up throws and catches, not just in the game but when passing the ball back to the bowler.

Steep v Stoner

Wednesday July 27th, 2011

Steep 148 all out (about 30 overs)
Stoner 151-2 (26.3 overs)
Stoner won by 8 wickets

Paul Bradley's regime as team secretary continued to be blessed with good fortune. After the Tuesday miracle when a late drop out appeared to have left Stoner with ten men only for someone Paul wasn't expecting to turn up believing he was playing, Wednesday was a slight reversal, with twelve on the team list, but Laurie Goldsmith being injured and wanting to rest, while George Taylor was arriving late. Goldsmith had to be seriously struggling, having insisted that the criteria for his eponymous award had to be an injury that caused someone to drop out of a game, but he took the field for the first few overs until Taylor's arrival. As things turned out by the time the exchange took place the course of the game had virtually been decided. Dean Knight had made 143 in the same game last year, but this year Ben Roberts bowled a maiden to him first up then bowled him with the first ball of the next over, to start a truly bad day for him. Dale Collins had taken 14 runs from a nervous first over from Bradley, but he too was bowled by Roberts, who took 2-5 in a four over opening spell. Bradley continued to struggle with line and length, but produced one perfect inswinger to bowl Gareth Dale. Adrian Hill and Jack Hannam steadied the ship temporarily for Steep, but Hannam was well held by Justin Jones off his own bowling. Hill meanwhile survived the annual umpiring controversy when he appeared to have been bowled by Bradley, but after much discussion by the umpires was recalled on the basis that the ball was a no ball because it had bounced twice. The legal and factual basis for this decision were subject of much debate, but fortunately without any bad feeling attached. In any event Hill's innings didn't last too much longer before, to his disgust, he pushed a ball from Connor Wilkinson straight back at him and was held securely. Steep captain John Smith launched a few good blows in an attempt to justify his decision to bat first, but was always taking risks hitting it in the air, and soon found Paul Bradley. The next pair got their heads down to graft away, avoiding taking risks against the wide variety of Stoner bowling, and were able to keep the scoreboard ticking over with the help of wides, which were rapidly heading towards being top scorer thanks to the strict interpretation of umpires Evans and Antrobus. Surprisingly, though, they then threw it away trying to take a suicidal second run to the arm of Sam Roberts, who despite his desperate struggles to hold catches remained excellent in all other departments of fielding. Another wicket soon afterwards, clutched by Gordon Dale off George Taylor's bowling, left just three youngsters to bat, with the score yet to reach 100. However these last three, with an average age of about 13, showed their seniors how to bat sensibly and put the ball in gaps, James Campbell in particular playing an excellent innings at number 10. The last two pairs added more than 50 between them before finding Al McConville off the bowling of Gordon Dale and Sam Roberts, Stoner's ninth bowler. A total of 148 was much higher than it might have been, but still looked well below par against an attack that could not really be described as penetrating.

Law 24.6: Ball bouncing more than twice or rolling along the ground

The umpire shall call and signal No ball if a ball which he considers to have been delivered, without having previously touched bat or person of the striker, either (i) bounces more than twice or (ii) rolls along the ground before it reaches the popping crease.

Although Stoner's batting line up was deep enough that it could hardly be described as pivotal Steep were dealt an early blow in their attempt to defend their total when Matthew Quantrill made a complete hash of the third ball from John Smith, hitting a shortish wide ball gently to point, where Dean Knight continued his bad day by dropping the simplest of chances. Had he taken it then the two batsmen who scored more than 280 between them in the previous year's fixture would have been out for ducks this year. Quantrill also escaped on three when he got a good bat on a leg side full toss, but hit it straight at Dale Collins. This time, though, the ball was moving and Collins, with an injured hand, did well to parry it and save the four. At the other end Alistair McConville, one of many Stoner debutants this week, was proving a useful find, producing a series of quality shots. Having been twice reprieved Quantrill had two more escapes with mis-timed cut shots that flew in the air but evaded fielders, but then started to settle in and bat with more control. John Smith bowled through with respectable figures but no luck, but Jack Hannam had a few too many loose balls, and Dale Collins struggled for control, in particular putting in two short balls that Quantrill hit for big sixes into the field. In the end as with the batting Steep had to turn to their youngsters to establish some sort of control, but by then the game was almost lost and the batsmen could play them sensibly, pushing then into the big gaps that had opened up in the field. The unfortunate Dean Knight's day was completed when he dived to stop a ball in the covers and dislocated, and perhaps fractured, the little finger on his right hand. Many cricketers have had a day when everything seems to go wrong, Paul Hutt famously getting a golden duck and falling off a fence into a cowpat at steep a few years ago, but few can have had as bad a day as this, and everyone's best wishes will go to Dean and hope that he recovers fully and quickly. As he departed for hospital, though, the opening pair brought up a century partnership, and McConville brought up his own fifty before departing to something of a swish across the line, a shot that suggested he thought it might be time for someone else to have a go. Quantrill reached his fifty soon afterwards, and in similar vein tried to give others ago. His chosen method was initially to try and hit a catch to John Smith off Rory Hewiit, in the mistaken belief that Smith was his father, though it turned out that was actually just an in joke within the Steep team. Perhaps in light of this it was fortunate that the first two shots just evaded Smith and the third was edged for four. Having changed ends Quantrill gave Campbell his second wicket by hitting the ball straight up in the air, and being held by the sub fielder, John Whaley. Sam Roberts and George Taylor finished off the victory with time to spare, but although Roberts kept the winning runs in the family he failed to keep up the tradition this week of finishing the game off with a six. Nonetheless it was the most comfortable victory of the week so far, and the Wicksteed Trophy was returned to the grateful hands of the President at a presentation during the function.

Talking of which, the function, described by one bystander as the Function Without Portfolio, needs to be reported as well, though there isn't a great deal to say other than that a delicious lamb roast was arranged by Messrs Britten and Roberts, with supporting courses from various relations and supporters and desserts from Mrs. Grocock, not to mention the cheese provided as ever by Mike Russell in his continuing bid to cement his vice-presidency, an application that will be given careful consideration at the AGM, the stilton having been inspected closely by the attending fully qualified vice-presidents. The conversation and company were excellent as ever, and the night ended with a drift over to the fire where this report is currently being written. Brian Taylor is playing his guitar, those who talk a lot are talking a lot, and Alistair Britten has yet to fall in the fire, but there is plenty of time yet, so additions to this report may yet take place in 24 hours! Thanks again to all involved in arranging this superb evening.

Stoner v The Forty Club

Thursday July 28th, 2010

The Forty Club 198 all out (42 overs)
Stoner 201-3 (29.2 overs)
Stoner won by 7 wickets

Team selection for Stoner may have had its difficult moments in the past few weeks, but it seems to have been as nothing compared to that for the Forty Club, the new opponents pencilled in for the Thursday fixture. With many of their potential players being drawn away by re-arranged age group county championship fixtures they had a mere three players on Tuesday evening. After some toing and froing, and with the aid of a surprisingly high number of people available for Stoner and some volunteers from Steep and Petersfield, it appeared that it would be possible to get 22 people to the ground, and although in the end some drop outs and no shows reduced that number to twenty it was eventually possible to pit ten men of Stoner against four men of the Forty Club, one of Steep, two of Petersfield and three of (loosely) Stoner. Given the excellent weather everyone was pleased the effort had been made, perhaps even the two victims of freakish injuries, of which more anon. Stoner won the toss, and as the various potential opposition were not yet all present put the Forty Club, as we shall call them for brevity's sake, into bat. The opening pair had a familiar look, being the same opening pair as had played for last year's opposition, Carpe Diem, as ringers, and who had raced to a huge partnership in no time. This year they were less successful, Sean Blanks charging Mark Collins' first ball, having a big swing, missing and being smartly stumped, so giving Collins the distinction of taking a wicket with his first ball for Stoner. His partner, Jack Hannam, didn't last long, being beaten by one of the balls of the week from Collins, swinging away then cutting back in to take out centre stump. A steadying partnership for the third wicket was ended by yet another foolish decision to take on a Roberts arm, Sam this time getting the ball in, luckily finding the batsman short enough of his ground to give the keeper time to roll on the ground to recover the throw and flick it back onto the stumps. There was more surprise a short while later when Forty Club captain Paul Whittle went for a shot off George Taylor, and spooned it up to Sam Roberts. The combined shock of actually having an easy catching chance, and having dropped five previous hard chances in two days almost saw him fumble the chance, but he just clasped it as it threatened to slip out of the top of his hands, sparking joyous celebrations from his team mates, the disproportionate nature of which must have been something of a puzzle to the batsman. With four wickets down and barely 50 runs on the board Forty Club were in danger of getting nowhere near setting a challenging target, but with Stoner's only strike bowler resting a sore shoulder they were never in danger of being bundled out, and the remaining batsmen took advantage of the usual variety of Stoner bowling to come back strongly. Charlie Miller, a potential Stoner recruit who had turned up to make contact and found himself drafted in to play for the opposition, was next to go, providing Sam Roberts with another catch, this time slightly harder and off his own bowling. Alan Newman and Steep's own Gareth Dale then made the highest stand of the innings before Newman gave Roberts a second wicket, very well caught by Joe Banks diving to his left at backward square. Running out of partners Dale then took the positive approach, putting away various loose balls and well supported by obdurate Dutch tourist Jaap Vogelaar. At one stage it began to look as if the visitors might go on not just to get past the minimum target Stoner wanted to chase, 150, but the higher end targets in the 200s, but unexpected package of the day was the spin of Dale Collins, which was relatively impressive, more so than the medium pace he has produced in the last two days. He eventually accounted for Vogelaar, and after Dale had received further support from Stoner guest come press ganged opponent (he had been swapped after the game started) Louis Webb he eventually got the wicket he really wanted when Joe Banks took another good catch to remove Dale for 70. There was still work to do, though, as Connor Wilkinson kept Webb company as another twenty or so were added for the last wicket before Collins (of the Dale variety, Mark having returned at the other end) finally finished things off by bowling Wilkinson with what might generously be called a Yorker but was probably more akin to a full toss. The final total was (probably, the book didn't seem entirely consistent) 198, leaving Stoner an hour and twenty overs to make just about 200, a suitably challenging target.

Not actually this match, but Justin Jones batting

“Catches win matches” is a well worn cricketing term, but it is certainly true that dropped catches often make a critical difference. There were several throughout the Stoner innings which might have made for a very different game if they had been held. Stoner's initial problem was a freak injury that curtailed the welcome return after many years of Mark Layton before he had scored a run. A relatively slow ball deflected off his bat handle and struck his face just above the eye, and somewhat freakishly (remember that bit about more anon at the beginning?) managed to cut him badly enough that he had to leave the field and eventually depart for hospital to get stitches or glue put in it. He was replaced by Joe Banks who was promptly dropped from a difficult chance in front of him by Jack Hannam, then, still struggling to adjust to the pace of the pitch, lobbed one gently in the air to see it land not far behind the bowler's stumps, somehow evading three converging fielders. Not long after that Ben Roberts didn't quite time a pull correctly, but was dropped at square leg from an only moderately hard chance. Riding their luck the pair settled in and both looked in very good touch as they dispensed with the opening bowlers, then dealt very effectively with the tempting loop of Vogelaar and the rather pacier seam of Blanks. The runs piled up quickly, and by the time of start of the twenty overs the score had advanced to 117 and the wiles of Connor Wilkinson had replaced the Dutchman. The first of the twenty finally brought the breakthrough though, when Banks, within two runs of his half century, went to pull Blanks and lofted him in the air for Miller to take the catch. Paul Bradley came in at four and almost immediately pulled a ball straight to mid-wicket where it burst through the hands of Louis Webb and went for 4, setting in train another big partnership. Ben Roberts had been in commanding form, but the loss of his partner seemed to send him slightly into his shell, and it was Bradley who dominated the stand, scoring 44 of the 58 the pair put on with a series of typically powerful blows. He scored nine boundaries in his 35 ball innings, and by the time he was out, well caught above his head by wicket keeper Whittle off the bowling of Webb the game was virtually over. There was still time for a little drama though, as John Whaley came in and had to face his best mate's bowling, a reversal of the first innings when he had failed to remove Webb. Sadly for him Webb did not return the compliment, bowling Whaley for 1 and bringing in Dale Collins. Prior to that Jack Hannam had suffered the second freak injury of the day, dislocating his shoulder while trying to slide into a stop on the boundary from a Ben Roberts drive. Luckily it popped straight back in, and he should recover safely enough, but the pain caused him to leave the field and brought on Sam Roberts as a substitute, setting up the final dramatic act of the game as Gareth Dale was brought on to bowl with four needed to win. Dale Collins could not resist having a huge swing at him, and naturally enough the ball sailed out to Sam Roberts on the boundary. Having taken two catches in the first innings the spectators all assumed he would have regained his confidence and taken the catch with ease, but it managed to slip out of his hands and give Stoner their third win this week achieved with a six. Ben Roberts remained undefeated on a very classy 90 not out, and it turned out that all the effort to produce two sides had been well worthwhile, with a thoroughly enjoyable game all round, played in excellent spirit. Forty Club's captain Paul Whittle was determined to raise a full side next year, so hopefully it will be the first of many such fixtures.

Also not this match, but Derek wore the same clothes to umpire

The observant amongst you may have noticed the absence of any mention of the annual Stoner golf competition. This is because the competition has been hard to pin down, but we will mention something of its history here. Originally billed for Tuesday morning nothing happened as the organiser (one C. Wilkinson) had not yet arrived in the Petersfield district. In his absence Messrs. Green and Britten had arranged to play a round on Wednesday morning, and when Mr. Wilkinson did eventually arrive he decided to join them. The account of what happened was relayed from Mr. Britten with many dark mutterings and golfing jargon about banditry and playing to handicaps, citing scores of 28, 25 etc. Much of this was lost on his assembled audience at the function and (much) later around the campfire, but the impression was definitely gained that Wilkinson had won and that Britten hadn't. However it was not clear if this was the formal Stoner Golf Competition or not, and it appears that Mr. Wilkinson had arranged a contest for 10am on Thursday morning. Having initially decided he would not take part in a second contest Mr. Britten became fired up with indignation and desire for revenge, and by 3am was very definitely up for the contest, and numerous others were being pressed into taking part. However it seems that a few hours sleep knocked some sense (and the desire for a few more hours sleep) into them, and in the end only Mr. Wilkinson turned up for the match, and was thus able to declare himself very definitely the winner. This was probably a good thing, as in an indiscrete moment in the pub he let slip that he had lost the trophy, and only by carrying on winning it and not having to present it to someone else could he hope to cover up this fact.

Stoner v Ropley

Friday July 29th, 2011

The Return of The Destroyer

Stoner 157 all out (37.2 overs)
Ropley 128-9 (42 overs)
Match Drawn

Friday morning as ever saw the AGM take place outside the marquee, reasonably well attended although there remain many members who have clearly not yet discovered that it constitutes perhaps the most entertaining 90 minutes of the week. The full minutes, in one form or another, will appear in due course on the website, but for the purposes of the match reports the most relevant part was the debate over the week's awards. The Champagne Moment was hotly contested, with various sixes to win matches and caught and bowled opportunities being to the fore. Sam Roberts became the front runner initially with his six to win against Chris Vincent's XI, distinguished from the other sixes to win by the fact that there were nine wickets down. However as ever with Stoner awards merit was far from being the only qualification. Sam had won the previous year on the basis that he might share the Champagne with the judges, but presumably had not done so sufficiently well, as the mood swung against him and behind Connor Wilkinson, despite his protestations, for his caught and bowled of Adrian Hill at Steep, this on the basis that it was highly unlikely ever to happen again. Roberts struck back in the Low Alcohol Lager Moment, with his selection of six missed catches being almost the only contender felt worthy of debate, a drop by Laurie Goldsmith, Dale Collins run out and the Evans/Antrobus umpiring fiasco being dismissed out of hand. The Band Aid award was also hotly contested, with Laurie Goldsmith actually failing to win the award despite having raised the bar for qualification in order to try and avoid it and then successfully meeting the criteria by having to miss two games through injury. Matt Evans' knees and Paul Hutt's arthritis also missed out, while discussion of Derek Roberts steam burn was rapidly crushed by threats that there would be no further tea prepared, so the field was left clear for Mark Layton to pick up the award for his return after many years of absence, which had lasted an unmemorable 42 overs in the field and then 7 balls of batting before managing to cut his head open when fending off a slow ball and having to depart to casualty for stitches. Finally the Duck Cup was a weak field this year, with the opposition having much stronger contenders, including the opening batsman who was stumped to the first ball of the match. Stoner had managed only three ducks, and one of those was on Parent's Day, but as the same person had made two of the three and one of them had been first ball there was little doubt about the winner, Nick Tier.

The cold clammy weather that had swirled around the AGM gave way, with no noticeable change in the level of cloud cover or light, to sweltering humidity as game time approached. Connor “The Destroyer”Wilkinson's plans to chase down any target were thwarted by losing the toss, and Oli Green's decision to insert Stoner, leaving them batting first in Stoner Week for the first time since 2009. The wicket was again slow, but the bowling wasn't terribly threatening as long as you played with patience. That not being Dale Collins strong suit he didn't last too long, though he was less convinced that he had got an edge on his swish outside off stump than the fielders. Sadly for him the umpire agreed with the fielders. Ben Roberts was patient enough to see off the opening bowlers, but in the first over of left arm spin from the experienced Barry Newton he came forward and swung, and then managed to jam his studs in the ground and fail to slide his foot back, being comfortably stumped. George Taylor also couldn't resist the temptations of Newton for long and was bowled having a swing and being beaten by the turn. At this stage Laurie Goldsmith joined Matthew Quantrill, and the experienced pair, with over 100 years between them, settled the Stoner nerves, waiting patiently for the bad balls and although not always timing them perfectly getting enough runs from them to keep the board ticking over at a healthy rate. They added 63 for the 4th wicket and had seen off the first choice spinners when Goldsmith, having made 26, took on the more innocuous seeming spin of Ropley's overseas player, Marks, and found a man on the mid-wicket boundary. What had been 129-3 rapidly crumbled away. Quantrill was smartly caught round the corner for 73 when he pulled a short ball from Marks and found the hands of short fine leg with a shot that had looked destined for the boundary, and the remaining batsmen all managed to get the ball in the air and find fielders with surprising ease, the last seven wickets going down for the addition of just 28 runs, Marks taking 5-14 in five seemingly unthreatening overs. A total of 157 was far short of that that the captain had had in mind, but it did at least give the bowlers something to defend.

One problem with the rush of Stoner wickets was that it caught the tea ladies unawares, and as a result Ropley had to face a tricky half hour session of batting before they could get their hands on the excellent selection of sandwiches, cakes and other goodies provided by the Green family. His ended up being eight overs, and after taking six runs from the second of those overs Ropley made heavy work of it. Ben Roberts made the initial breakthrough with one that cut in to take off stump to the batsman's obvious astonishment, but it was the return of Connor “the Destroyer” Wilkinson that really turned the game. Bringing himself into the attack after just 5 overs, to try the batsmen out on spin bowling before tea he again, as last year, had little success with his first over but in his second struck early, the ball spooned up for a fairly simple catch. At this point Oli Green, who was umpiring at square leg decided it was tea time, rather than subject his star batsman to four balls of The Destroyer before tea. That may have turned out to be a game changing mistake. Half an hour, several sandwiches and some very good cake later the Australian Marks faced The Destroyer. Apparently an accomplished batsman he can seldom have seen anything quite like this before, the ball being thrown up high, but drifting away to the off side, as well as being short. He had time to think very carefully what to do with it, but like a moth drawn fatally to a flame he couldn't resist walking towards it as it bounced gently away for what would have been a wide and tried to push it through the off side, only to see a thickish outside edge loft gently up to the very safe hands of Mark Collins at point. It may be as humiliating a departure as any Australian has ever suffered in England, but he did have his five wicket haul to comfort himself with, and perhaps he played those wickets back in his mind as The Destroyer discussed the finer points of the dismissal with him after the match. Last year The Destroyer earned his name by taking three wickets in his second over, but this year he couldn't manage the hat trick either next ball or in the over. However Jack Hannam replaced Ben Roberts (who ended up with 2-10 in 8 overs) and struck two useful blows, one bowled and one caught behind from a simple edge. 13-2 at tea, and now 35-6 soon afterwards Ropley looked in all sorts of disarray, but as last year it was the skipper who came to the rescue. Oli Green survived the no win situation of facing The Destroyer, and with the aid of Ed Stennet added 54 for the seventh wicket against a variety of Stoner bowlers who were struggling to hold on to a ball wetted by the brief spell of light rain that was, luckily, all that emerged from the very threatening looking dark clouds. Stennet eventually holed out from Paul Bradley's bowling, but Barry Newton kept Green company, and the required rate of five an over throughout the last twenty was being maintained. Both batsmen were dropped, to chances of varying degrees of difficulty, and Stoner's nerves were starting to jangle before Green finally holed out at cow corner, solidly caught by Dale Collins off the bowling of Paul Bradley, who seemed best able of all the bowlers at this stage to keep a good line and length. The run chase was now largely abandoned, and the fielders started to close in, giving The Destroyer the chance to bring himself back on with just 3 overs remaining, and almost immediately he struck again as Newton pushed too hard at the ball and gave a relatively simple return catch to the bowler who accepted it with inordinate glee, not least because he had been awarded the Champagne Moment at the AGM on the basis that him taking a catch off his own bowling was likely to be a unique event. The proposer of this theory, one M. Evans, was thus the recipient of a sharp reminder of the morning's debate by The Destroyer as the chastened Newton walked off. 14 balls remained, and the final pair showed no sign of being brilliant with the bat, but they remained resolute in the face of increasingly intimidating field placements, so that by the time The Destroyer was bowling the final over the ball had to make its way through a virtual tunnel of fielders surrounding the wicket. Despite this the one ball that was put up in the air, almost straight back down the track, landed disappointingly without any sign of a fielder flinging themselves in for the catch, and a similar shot could not be induced from the batsmen, who clung on for the draw to break Stoner's dreams of a 100% record for the week, and leave The Destroyer contemplating figures of 3-16 form 9 testing overs.

Still 90% plus is not a bad result at all, and it was another excellent game of cricket played in an almost entirely enjoyable atmosphere to conclude a magnificent week. With the wet weather throughout July having almost entirely abated there were no interruptions to play apart from those caused by umpires answering their mobile phones during play, and the very enjoyable cricket was complemented by good teas, good evenings at the pub, excellent company and a superb function. The only down side was the lack of recent OB cricketers performing during the week, but one or two of those who did play seem to be in contact with others who play some cricket, and hopefully the word will spread about the excellence of the week and we will see a few more youthful faces next year. In the meantime thanks go to all those who did play, and especially to all those who organised the catering and teas, and we hope very much to see as many of our readers as possible at Stoner Week 2012.