For a number of reasons this year's report is going to take a slightly different format. For one thing I am unable to be here for the whole week, so won't have a chance to report on Friday's game, and may well be unable to post a report on Thursday's game, unless it is the briefest of updates. For another the Scorebook has not always been fully completed, so I can't do much of a report form the school game that I didn't play in, and have not been able to add the Barnes report until the following day, when I have been able to find the scores as posted by Barnes - though I am far from convinced that the score card they have posted is accurate, more of which later. With all those caveats in mind, here is what I can say about the week, updated as and when I am able to do so.
2013 marked a new era for Stoner, and the first part of this was the Stoner Weekend, created to try and extend interest in the game against the School, and to entice some of those London based Old Bedalian cricketers who find it hard to get time off for the week. In both its aims it seems to have been a success, as Stoner were able to raise teams for both days without too much difficulty, and a number of the players were people who are rarely able to appear in Stoner Week itself. The game against the school took place, and I know from the scorebook that Stoner made about 189-7 in 25 overs (it was a 25 over game). Ben Seddon top scored with 54, Hugo Burge made 39, Lawrence Moore 31 and Justin Jones a typically rapid 27 at the end. I am guessing this was probably he first innings of the match, but as the other innings is not recorded in the scorebook I have no idea what the final result was, what the Stoner bowling performances were like or how well the school performed.
An even greater problem came on the second day of the Stoner Weekend. I know a little about this as I received an e-mail from the Gentlemen of Bedales, Stoner's opposition on the Sunday, which was sent at 11.30 on the Sunday morning. This was to say that they had had three drop out that morning, and so were cancelling the game. Unfortunately I didn't see the e-mail until Sunday evening, when I returned from my own match, and it seems that no further attempt was made to contact Stoner, not even to the extent of sending someone to the ground to check if anyone turned up. This was a great shame, as Stoner actually turned up with 12, and in the (to the attending side mysterious) absence of any opposition they played a six a side game amongst themselves, and apparently had a good time. It is a shame that the remaining GOB players didn't attend - even if there had been only six a nine a side game could have been played, which would have been some recompense for those who had come down and stayed for the weekend in order to play the game.
So the first Stoner Weekend ended in a disappointing fashion, but in principle seems to have been a success, and is probably an idea worth repeating, provided more reliable opposition can be found for the Sunday game. Whether that would be at Bedales, or away to a local side, and who the opposition would be will have to be debated.
To move on to Stoner Week itself, this was the first Week of the post-Rozel era. The famed “Bennettry”, for many years the heart of Stoner Week and, more crucially, base for the tea preparation, having been sold o allow the President to move into more manageable accommodation. The absence of this base, and the consequent absence of the Roberts clan who usually fill it, meant new arrangements and new players were needed. The newly appointed Tea Monitor, Matt Evans, seems to have risen to the occasion admirably to date, with teas provided by himself (and no doubt the wonderful and saintly Mrs. Evans VP) on the Monday, and by the Jones family on the Tuesday. These have maintained Stoner's reputation for tea making excellence and shown that at least one of the problems facing Stoner for the future can be overcome.
The second problem might be somewhat more difficult to overcome, which is the difficulty in raising players. While vast numbers express an interest in stoner, and many make occasional appearances, the core people who regularly commit to attend the whole week is small, and it is hit and miss from year to year how many of the less committed make themselves available. Last year it seems there were plenty, but this year numbers have been rather thinner on the ground, and although there were 11 players for the first game, there were only 9 for Tuesday, and no guarantee there will be full teams for the remaining days. The result was that Tuesday was somewhat shambolic, with Chris Vincent's side, already providing 2 umpires, giving Stoner one of their players, to at least ensure parity of numbers, if not of quality. That sort of performance will not encourage opposition sides to want to play Stoner, and if things should get slightly worse and we have to cancel games we will be letting sides down (as we were by Gentlemen of Bedales), many of whom will have booked precious holiday time to play games. This is a more serious issue that does need to be addressed if Stoner is to have a future.
Moving away from the more serious stuff, the matches themselves have been enjoyable, if somewhat deflating. On Monday Barnes won the toss and decided to chase, despite the thermometer getting into the nineties on Britain's hottest day for 7 years. Stoner had a late captaincy debate, with Matthew Quantrill pointing out that it was not reasonable to expect someone to have to try and control a Stoner team twice in one week, and passing the baton to Gordon Dale, who did not hesitate to receive it, and sent Quantrill and Justin Jones out to open. Jones was soon out, swinging at a short ball that died on him, and missing it comfortably. Paul Bradley bashed a few fours before he tried to swing at the first ball from the change bowler and just managed to get a toe end on it on the way to the keeper. Quantrill was then joined by debutant Neil Riathatha, who played in an unorthodox style, liking to use his feet on a regular basis, but had a good eye and had some success. He and Quantrill added 109 together, both getting to their fifties in quick succession, before Riathatha was bowled, swinging once too often. Adrian Hill helped Quantrill add another 40 before being bowled by one that just nipped away from him. Quantrillwas up to 80, but believing that time was running out, and not realising Gordon Dale's South African instincts were to grind Barnes into the dust, he went for a few attacking shots, and ended up being caught at third man when he connected rather too well with a reverse sweep. He was followed soon afterwards by Dale Collins, having a swing and being stumped, and by George Perry who swung one ball away for 4 but was then immediately bowled trying to repeat he shot. The skipper then joined Tom Blackburn, and in contrasting styles they kept the runs ticking over nicely as they batted on till 5 o'clock, when the score had reached 244-7.
Barnes' reply was a model of how a timed game should be played, with an initial spell from the seamers followed by a wide selection of slower bowling, keeping Barnes tempted, but bringing chances. The first wicket partnership was broken by a skyer caught by Connor Wilkinson off Dale Collins' bowling, and after that wickets fell regularly, but the runs kept coming at almost exactly the required rate. Paul Bradley bowled two, and Wilkinson followed up his first catch with a simpler one from his own bowling. (There should be added an interlude here, to mention that the fielding side were entertained by the sight of a senior Vice President trying to erect his new tent, which he had bought without instructions. This took him about two hours, and obviously tired him out so much that he felt the need to drive back from the newly erect tent to the marquee, a distance of no more than 80 yards.) There were then two for Justin Jones, one stumped and the other caught, but perhaps the key moment for Stoner was a difficult chance that was dropped. Ward, the batsman, was a big man, but had not really looked to be completely in charge of his attacking shots. One of his favourite shots was a lofted drive over the covers, and he played one off Jhon Cosgrove. Matthew Quantrill, fielding on the cover boundary, ran in and tried to slide under it, but couldn't quite get his hands to it, instead taking it on the end of the finger, and causing a nasty cut and damage to his nail, that would lead to his being somewhat bad tempered for the rest of the innings. His mood wasn't helped by the batsman proceeding to start timing the ball and smash the bowlers round the ground, as with 8 overs to go Barnes suddenly got well on top of the run rate for the first time. Stoner also missed a couple of run out chances at this stage, and although George Perry picked up one wicket with a bizarre dismissal where the batsman managed to loft the ball very gently into the air towards the leg slip area, where the keeper had plenty of time to take the catch, Barnes cruised to a win in the final over, the winning runs coming from the bat of Ward, with a six over extra cover.
Barnes have posted a score card on Play Cricket. It does not appear to be completely accurate - Justin Jones' runs have certainly been inflated by 100% - but it gives a pretty good idea. It can be seen here .
So on to Tuesday, and the somewhat unfortunate game against Chris Vincents' XI. They have usually been a much stronger side on paper than Stoner in recent years, but somehow Stoner have found ways to be competitive and even to win on occasions. Today that knack went missing somewhere. Vincents won the toss and chose to bat first in still stifling weather. (In fact during the afternoon it clouded over and threatened thunder, but after only a few drops of rain cleared up into a much more pleasant evening.) There were a couple of early successes for Tom Blackburn, easily the most economical bowler, and Paul Bradley, but for the most part it was a barrage of attacking shots, not helped by the early loss of the match ball, hit for a big six into the Dunannie fields. There had been some swing with that, but there was little help for the bowlers from the replacement balls., and the score kept mounting, with little slowing down when the occasional wicket fell. Justin Jones took a brilliant catch on the boundary, timing his jump to perfection to take it well over his head. Jack Norman caused some brief excitement when he had one batsman caught trying to dab him to third man, and bowled the next first ball, but there was to be no hat trick, or indeed respite from the onslaught. The borrowed player, John Brocklehurst, got the last wicket to fall, courtesy of a smart stumping, but the pain was only ended by a declaration after 38 overs with the score on 306-6, a record in Stoner Week at Bedales as far as anyone present could recall - and there were some long memories on the sidelines.
Stoner's reply started promisingly enough, with Paul Bradley and Tom Blackburn playing positively in contrasting styles. Blackburn (13) was unlucky to play on, and Bradley(19) popped up an easy catch just after hitting a massive six. Dylan Pearson made the mistake of trying to pinch a quick single to a good fielder, and was run out for a duck, Laurence Moore had some big swipes on his way to 19 before he inevitably missed a straight one, and Justin Jones, having hit an impressive lofted straight drive for 4 first ball, holed out on the boundary soon afterwards for 5. That brought Matthew Quantrill and John Brocklehurst together at 60-5, with the run chase pretty much out of the window. They responded by trying to play sensibly but positively, and had some success in building some sort of a partnership and taking the game into the last 20 overs. They had added 63 and were looking increasingly solid when the partnership was ended in hugely unlucky fashion, Brocklehurst's straight drive being touched by the bowler on its way to the stumps to run out Quantrill for 44. Having looked as if they might snatch an undeserved draw Stoner then went down in something of a flurry. Brockleurst was bowled for 24 and Jack Norman (8) became the third run out victim of the innings when he was called through for a quick single by George Perry, who had obviously not been paying attention to the quality of the fielding earlier when Pearson was run out. Perry and Jhon Cosgrove prolonged the resistance for a while, Perry with some hard hits and Cosgrove with a range of strokes, including a reverse sweep to his first ball, before inevitably Cosgrove found a fielder and was out for 6, leaving Perry not out on 18. The final total was a moderately respectable 174, but the margin of defeat was still a crushing 132 runs, and that was, one suspects, without the opposition getting anywhere near top gear or using their strongest bowlers.
Wednesday morning brought cloudy weather, but by lunchtime the clouds had burned away, and the sun was shining, with less humid heat and a gentle breeze - perfect conditions for the annual match against Steep for the Wicksteed Trophy. Not only was the weather better, but the atmosphere between the teams as well. For a while this fixture was in danger of turning into a genuine grudge match, a shame when so many players in the match have represented both teams at some stage or other. Today was a case of back to what it should have been - both teams trying their best, respecting the opposition and enjoying some banter at the right sort of level. Let's hope it remains that way for the future.
Steep won the toss and chose to bat first, and despite an excellent 4 over opening spell from Tom Blackburn that went for just five runs, four of them from one edge, they got away to a steady start, and maintained a fairly similar run rate, around 6 an over, throughout their entire innings. The first wicket was some time in coming, and when it did come it was something of a fluke, Adrian Hill becoming the second player in two days of Stoner games to be run out backing up as Paul Bradley deflected a drive onto the stumps. This had little effect on the scoring rate, as Mike Murray, touted by his team as a complete non-batsman who was only being allowed to bat at 3 to appease him, proved to look a very capable batsman and Keep Dean Knight company as the runs continued to mount. In the end it was a full toss from Paul Bradley that made the breakthrough, Murray hitting it to Al McConville at point. There followed a more vital wicket very soon afterwards when Knight, on 58, hit Justin Jones' first ball straight to Tom Blackburn at point. Steep continued on their merry way, though, with Gareth Dale and Alex Bone both making fifties at a good rate, with all the wide variety of Stoner bowlers tried being almost equally expensive. It took another run out to end the partnership, Bone hitting a ball straight to Dale Collins in the covers and calling a single that left Gareth Dale (far too many Dales in these games) unable to manage the single. Bone himself was out in the final over giving the returning Blackburn the charge and missing, smartly stumped by Matthew Quantrill, who had taken over keeping duties for the final third of the innings to give Dale Collins the chance to bowl, something he achieved with no more success than the majority of the Stoner bowlers, Blackburn being the notable exception with 1-23 in his 8 overs, including the only two maidens of the innings.
Steep's final total of 239 left Stoner the target of scoring exactly one a ball to regain the Wicksteed Trophy. They started well with a four from the first ball, and took a toll of Mike Jones's errant first over, so 18 was on the board after 2 overs, but Jones got his line and length largely right thereafter, and scoring was harder work. Al McConville was perhaps a touch unlucky to be LBW for one, but Matthew Quantrill and Dale Collins then built a steady partnership, and after Collins had been dropped from a skyer he punished Steep heavily by launching into some savage straight drives. The pair added 61 and were getting the rate close to that required when Quantrill (33) threw his wicket away by playing back to Rudi Antrobus and dislodging his own bails with his backlift. That just brought in Justin Jones, who was quickly into his stride, hitting Antrobus for fours from his first two balls, and he and Collins added 39 in less than four overs before Collins was caught for 63, driving Mike Murray to mid-off. Jack Norman then scored just one run of a partnership of 37 that lasted only another 4 overs, but when he was bowled by Antrobus and Lawrence Moore was caught first ball Stoner were in a little trouble at 158-8. However there was plenty of batting left, and Gordon Dale almost matched Jones for scoring, hitting some meaty blows as they added 50 for the next wicket, to bring the finish line into sight. Dale was only playing as a last minute filler, claiming he was unable to run at all, and those who had resisted the urge to say “no change there, then” had some comfort in seeing him not just jog a few singles but take a risky second run as well, when it was off his own bat and counting towards his own total. He should really have been run out, but survived to make 19 before giving young Jack Paul his first wicket to a catch at mid-of by Gareth Dale. Tom Blackburn then joined his Uncle Justin at the crease, and the pair never looked troubled. A couple of slow overs while Tom got his eye in were quickly made up for by some beautiful attacking shots, including a swept six over square leg, which made sure he actually made more than half the runs in the final unbroken partnership of 35 that took Stoner to a comfortable 4 wicket win with more than 3 overs to spare and with Paul Bradley not even having had to get his pads on. Jones ended up on 88, and Blackburn 18 not out.
Justin Jones batting at Steep
So the trophy was swiftly and with little ceremony handed over to the winning Stoner captain, Paul Bradley, before being whisked back to Bedales for the 2013 function, where it was later presented to the President with rather more ceremony and grace by Mr. Wicksteed. The function itself was, yet again, a great success, even if a rather more intimate affair than some of the grander occasions of the recent past. The sausages, and especially the steaks, lovingly prepared and barbecued by Messrs. Britten and Russell were greatly appreciated by all, along with the excellent selection of salads, the copious beer and wine and the selection of biscuits, stilton and cheddar that might well earn Mr. Russell further consideration at the AGM for possible future promotion to a full vice-presidency. After last year's promise of a bounty of seafood fresh from the river by Matt Evans brought nothing at all to the meal, this year he returned triumphantly with a large bucket, containing a single bewildered crayfish, that stretched to nearly six inches in length. Named for absent friends, as is traditional with function animals, the unfortunate creature spent its last few hours being posed for photographs with the triumphant fisherman before being barbecued and served to the President, who spent enough time looking at it for attention to turn to other things before anyone could force her to actually swallow the thing. However it has to be noted in defence of Mr. Evans that this was not a native crayfish but a foreign invader that is deemed to be a pest, so needs to be eliminated, so some good was being done to the environment, though it is far from sure that the Evans strike rate of 1 fish every 2 years is going to make a great impact on the invader's population numbers.
The crowds gather for the 2013 Function
With the dry hot weather leaving much of the vegetation around the school doing a passable impersonation of a tinder box the traditional bonfire was banned, and the function drifted to a pleasant close at a relatively sensible hour, with a few outdoor chats under the almost full moon, and the occasional twang of Brian Taylor's guitar. Once again the logistics of the week have proved to be a success, and with a number of recruits throughout the day bringing the team numbers for Thursday and Friday up from a rather worrying 6 and 9 to a probable eleven for each day the recruitment problem seems temporarily eased. It was a lovely evening when (almost) all seemed right with Stoner and the determination to continue having such evenings was very evident. Thanks again to all those who put a lot of work into organising, preparing and clearing up, it was an effort clearly greatly appreciated by all those who attended.
Thursday dawned grey, with hints of rain, but a forecast that predicted brighter weather as the day went on. Your reporter therefore decided to set off to Petersfield to witness the dramatic climax to the annual Stoner Golf Competition, taking place on the 12 hole Pay&Play course on Petersfield Heath. It turned out that the weather forecast was largely right, the afternoon ending up bathed in sunshine, but there was one slight blip in the shape of ten minutes of drizzly rain that struck as the golfers and spectator were on the furthest reaches of the course. Having survived that the golfers headed for the home holes with the tension mounting. Matt Evans was already out of contention, but Wilkinson and Britten were neck and neck with two to play. Wilkinson suffered an unlucky break when his approach to the par 3 11th landed just over the green, struck a downslope and ricocheted away down a cart track into the woods, leaving him scoreless on the hole, and so two points behind on the final hole. The pressure was clearly getting to all the players, as they played the final hole like the most amateur bunch of hackers imaginable, making the watching non-golfer believe this was truly a contest that could be open to any Stoner Member capable of walking the course. Wilkinson had been given hope by Britten's hideously pulled tee shot, but his own drive flew straight into what looked like impenetrable jungle. He played a provisional ball even worse than Britten, so decided he had to head into the wild woods to search his original. Once he and Matthew Quantrill had found their way into the woods it turned out that the undergrowth was actually quite thin, and both ended up emerging laden down with balls that were lying about. After checking about 10 balls Wilkinson finally stumbled on his original ball, and managed to hack it out in two blows, onto the fairway. With Britten and Evans having already completed the hole, without scoring any points, Wilkinson still had a faint hope of levelling the match with a miracle shot to the green, but instead pitched about 30 yards wide. By this time he had been informed by Mr. Britten, who brooks no argument in matters of etiquette and making sure he wins golf tournaments, that he had taken more than the statutory five minutes to find his ball and had been disqualified from the hole. This and the fact that victory was now beyond him may have accounted for his next shot, a pitch to the green so wildly overhit that it landed deep in the trees behind the green. Britten and Evans alleged a tantrum, Wilkinson claimed a too sweetly struck shot, but either way there was no second visit to the jungle, the ball was abandoned and Mr. Britten retained the Connor Wilkinson Virtual Seven Iron.
Wilkinson of the Jungle
Back at Bedales the teams were starting to gather for the match against the Forty Club. For various reasons they have struggled to put out a full team in the two previous fixtures, turning up with 4 and 6 men. Their captain this year, Derek Candy was determined to turn up with a full eleven, and he succeeded in his ambition. It was somewhat ironic, then, that Stoner had been struggling to raise a side for this fixture, going into the week with just 6 names. Throughout the week nothing seemed to be working to raise numbers, but suddenly on Wednesday things started clicking into place. Matt Evans' putative son-in-law, Paul Swann, saw the benefit of cricketing success to curry favour with the protective father of his girlfriend and volunteered to play his first game since his school days, Dale Collins, Freddy Hughes-Stanton and Jack Paul from Steep all volunteered, and Lawrence Moore's work decided they didn't need him for Thursday, and suddenly there were eleven. Indeed there were potentially others, but with a full eleven secured there was no need to follow them up. Until, that is, work intervened in different ways. Freddy Hughes-Stanton had simply forgotten he was supposed to be working, Lawrence Moore was called into work after all and Dale Collins got additional work and had to stay in Winchester. Stoner were back to 8 again, and it was all hands on deck. The Forty Club were very cooperative in allowing Stoner to bat first, and whilst they were shuffling umpires around (luckily not needing to provide a scorer thanks to the high tech efforts of Forty Club scorer Andrew Jones) efforts were also made to track down possible additional players. In the end it was the golfers who came to the rescue. Connor Wilkinson was called up and added to the team, then on arrival Matt Evans decided he couldn't leave everything to the younger members of his family and also volunteered, once he had managed to borrow some suitable kit. That took Stoner back to ten, but there was more to follow. Mr. Britten had been in the pub celebrating his golfing triumph, and having had one or two was clearly full of bravado. He asked the skipper if he should put his pads on, and whilst this was initially thought to be a less than serious offer the crowd were soon treated to the sight of the Vice-President stroking practice balls back to his assistant with the elegance he is renowned for, pipe firmly clenched in teeth. It is true that Justin Jones had had to help him on with his pads, as he had not come across Velcro before, being a buckles man as far as pads were concerned, and was surprised by the shape of modern bats, but he was there ready to stride to the crease and put his career record of never getting out first ball to the test, and Stoner had eleven names on their teamsheet.
Sadly Britten never made it onto the field, not being needed to bat and declining to open the bowling, or indeed field at all. Stoner started poorly when Tom Blackburn pulled across the line and was bolwed second ball, then dewildered the Forty Club with an array of strokes and dismissals that made the game feel like a highlights reel. Were it not for the amount of time that was spent searching for the ball in the long grass on the Orchard banks the game would have proceeded at lightning pace as Paul Bradley, George Perry, George Taylor and, of course, Justin Jones all put the bowling to the sword, but also managed to find ways to get themselves out. Perry(17) was very LBW, Paul Bradley(26) failed to notice that the fielder had stayed back on the boundary after collecting his straight driven four, and drove the next one to the same spot where the fielder didn't have to move an inch to take it comfortably, and George Taylor(17) was stumped. Jones lasted a bit longer than the others, getting to his fifty and onto 59 with fours 6s and three 4s before managing to get himself in a terrible tangle playing forward and also being stumped. Paul Swann had looked initially very nervous and tentative, but had survived, edged a four and made another run with a rather better shot before he got over-confident and hit one back to the bowler, leaving the day's skipper, Matthew Quantrill, to marshal the tail. 12 year old Jack Paul played a very sound innings, getting 7 in a partnership of 23 before he was very unlucky to be well caught low by a Forty Club fielder, who are not renowned for their catching ability. Connor Wilkinson perished trying to turn one to fine leg for a single, but Matt Evans(8*) played with great common sense in keeping Quantrill company as a defendable score was achieved. Quantrill managed to get a few good drives and slashes away for fours and reached 50 in the penultimate over, but in the final over with Britten waiting on the sidelines neither batsman could get out as the fielders spurned catching chances, and the final total ended up as 206-8, the crowd deprived of their chance to see the old master at work.
That was a respectable total, but by no means a guaranteed winning one, as the Forty Club opening batsmen soon showed. Despite decent spells by Tom Blackburn and Jack Paul opening the bowling they put on 77 in good time, and although Matt Evans picked up one, Steve Dean, given out LBW well forward but looking very 'in front' the twenty overs started with only just over six an over needed and nine wickets in hand. However George Perry then bowled his best spell of the week, becalming the batsmen at his end, and Connor Wilkinson also kept them quiet. The run rate quickly began to mount, and feeling that the draw at least was relatively safe the batsmen tried to attack. Wilkinson bowled one, and then the key wicket came when George Perry was removed after a brilliant spell of 6-2-19-0 that deserved better reward, and Paul Bradley immediately picked up Jon Thornton who had made 56 before lofting up an attempted cut into the covers. Bradley stuck again almost immediately, with Matt Evans having come in to field close rewarded with a gentle catch. Wilkinson then bowled another, off his foot, the batsman being heard to mutter something about dross as he walked off in disgust. The run chase now seemed over, but after a few wicketless overs it looked as if a draw was going to be the end result. Stoner rang the changes to try and tempt them out, with every outfield player getting a bowl. In the end whilst Jack Paul deserved the wickets it was Justin Jones and George Taylor who actually took them. Jones tempted two batsmen into stumpings on his way to figures of 2-7 n 4 overs, but Taylor administered the coup de grace. Coming on with just four overs remaining and three wickets to take, he started with a terrible full toss, which the batsman missed and was horrified to see hit the top of leg stump. Four very ordinary balls were followed by a straight one which was also missed for an LBW. The final pair were clearly blocking for the draw, but Taylor then found some unexpected bounce with his tenth ball, and took the gloves of the batsman on the way to Jack Paul at short third man, who took the catch with complete comfort to bring up a magnificent and somewhat unexpected victory, the draw having looked heavy favourite. George Taylor spoiled his figures somewhat with a head high full toss, called a no ball and pulled for 4, but still ended up with 3-7 from just ten balls, the best bowling figures of the week.
Thanks to modern technology and the marvellous Andrew Jones, Forty Club scorer, a fully comprehensive scorecard from this game can be downloaded, as a Word document, here .
Finally to the Friday, when I was not able to be present, so this is a truncated report. I managed to get to the Harrow in the evening, and picked up some drunken gossip, from which it appears that the AGM was in very positive mood, with the week having been fairly successful, the only real debate being, as outlined above, how to get more young players committed to Stoner on a regular basis. The officers and fixtures appear to have remained the same, but at some stage either the whimsical minutes of Mr. Wicksteed, or the largely fantastical ones of Mr. Evans may reach me and be published, and more detail will be available. The match itself seems to have been a great success, with Ropley batting first and piling up 270 runs, and Stoner then managing to chase it down with several balls to spare and record their third consecutive win, giving a week that started poorly a positive win/loss ratio. Little mention was made of bowlers, perhaps not surprisingly when so many runs were scored, though George Perry apparently bowled well again. All Stoner's batsmen apparently scored well, with special mention being given to one of the Boatright's (but I'm not sure which one!) and to Jo Banks and Justin Jones. The key point seems to be that the cricket was enjoyed, the weather was good, a high percentage of both teams were still in the Harrow well after 9pm when I arrived and the week has ended in a very successful style. As transition years go it has been a great success, and if that positivity an be built on to build a larger core of young players then the future of Stoner really does look rosey.