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    Western Tour 2011

    Played 12 Won 6 Lost 2 Drawn 3 Abandoned 1


    1. “Picked the wrong fielder.”
    2. “Now you know what it feels like!”
    3. “Oh, all right! I’ll take it.”
    4. “When I bowl, will I be allowed to use my own ball?”
    5. “Is there a signal attached to that?”
    6. “No, I was in bed.”
    7. “It does rather look like it, doesn’t it?”
    8. “Well …..  that sounds a bit wishy-washy.”
    9. “You haven’t got four in the circle.”
    10. “Surrey loam! Ball don’t bounce on ‘e and grass won’t grow on ‘e!”
    11. “You’ll wither away.”

    Tour Report

    Things were in good order at Blundell’s.  It was dry.  Both sides were plentiful enough to agree a 12-a-side game.  Our senior umpire was able to fit us into his busy schedule.  Paul Thomas had taken very seriously the skipper’s end of tour plea to recruit and introduced no fewer than five players.  The only downsides were a bit of a dearth of bowling and a mass of noisy ten-year-olds and their parents and managers who clearly thought we were usurping their pitch and dressing rooms.  The skipper got off on the wrong foot by losing the toss, and we fielded.  The fancy helmet was on show again, and of the six who reached the crease four made fifties.  We gave the ball a generous width and conceded rather a lot of maximums (or should that be maxima?).  Only Alastair Thomas of our bowlers made any impact and the declaration came soon after 300 was reached.  Our senior umpire made no contact with the pavilion at lunch (or tea for that matter), but seems to have enjoyed both.  Our chase, if that is the right word, got off to a slow start.  Only James Yeabsley met with any real success; his 65 came out of exactly 100.  The score slowly reached 143-9, and then iron entered the collective Sou’wester soul.  The skipper, batting as usual at the death, joined the effervescent Simon HoggoggHogg, and they batted as if there was no pressure.  Hogg passed 50 and Oliver showed what a good player he still is.  They batted for sixteen overs without any trouble and were still there at the end, tantalisingly one run short of the club tenth wicket record, which has stood since 1935.  What splendid stuff! There followed a delightful supper, which featured a presentation to the head groundsman on his retirement.

    There is no clear-cut route from Exeter to Cerne Abbas and your correspondent inevitably chose the wrong one.  So he spent a long time in a traffic jam caused by an HGV which had ground to a halt on a very narrow stretch of road.  The game started a little late.  Spray had won the toss and his men went out to bat to bowling of some width.  The young openers proved sound off their legs and the score advanced steadily in the midst of a dropped catch or two and some rather leisurely running.  The blonde dreadlocks came out with a runner, but for once failed.  Lunch, at 104-2, proved yet another feast, with spectator sport put on in the form of a game of boule.  Olly Butterworth bowled a long spell, but only the inevitable Hogg and Thomas A made much impact.  There were several protracted ball hunts in the long grass.  Spray scuttled a couple of twos before the last wicket fell on 213.  Our innings got off to a slow and not very exciting start, but the arrival of Harry Thomas (Paul’s) turned things round.  In a mature and positive style which belied his years he put the bowlers on the back foot and brought the target within reach.  With his name sake, Al’s Harry, he put on 44.  Olly Butterworth hit powerfully.  Spray left the attack.  Hogg, as usual, found the middle of his bat, and we entered the last over with a chance.  The skipper hit a four and then just failed to clear square leg.  So nine down again and a game to save.  Chris Stone had three balls to survive, did so and even managed to nick a four.  It had been another splendid day in a glorious setting, with outstanding hospitality, graced by the presence of three Heazells and assorted dogs and topped off by a delightful barbecue at Simon’s new country hideout.

    Parking gets no easier at Sidmouth, which may explain the late and hurried arrival of their long-term captain.  However he won the spin and invited the Sou’westers to field.  His side, though youthful, lacked the experience of recent years.  They got off to a blistering start – after four overs the score was 42, but they were pegged back by the opening attack of Butterworth and Stone C.  By the thirteenth over the score had moved to just 61, and they never really picked up again.  The spin of Thomas A and Will McKegnie turned the scales.  Rahul Sharma caught a beauty and McKegnie dived forward for a c-and-b, which took us to lunch at 128-5.  Progress after lunch was measured, and one wondered (and wonders) when the declaration would have come.  As it was, Matt Humphries cleaned up the tail.  We were in the 64th over when the end came.  Our innings started slowly.  Barford P failed to trouble the scorer and Marc Webb was LBW soon after.  Rob Holman and Justin Williams made progress against the skipper, who bowls better than he counts, and a youngster with a marathon run-up and deeply concerned parents.  By the time the rather frugal tea arrived we had reached 43 – preparations for what seemed to be a croquet dinner took priority.  Thereafter we pressed on and wickets fell at regular intervals.  Sharma shone.  McKegnie reached fifty.  The field spread, and then Thomas arrived.  We needed 118 off sixteen overs, and he made it look easy; his 68 came in barely an hour.  Oliver S gave him some help at the end, and we sneaked home by two wickets with four byes off the third ball of the last over.  We had effectively used sixteen fewer overs, and there was a certain amount of pride and joy in the camp.  It was pleasing to see Sam Crosbie among our intrepid band of supporters.

    The sun shone on a spanking new club-house at Chard.  Oliver S agreed a 45-over game, won the toss and sent Barford P and Webb out to bat.  The umpires eventually followed the players on to the field.  Chard rather ignored the downhill leg-side when it came to field-setting and then bowled there, so Barford and Webb were able to put on a brisk hundred.  A crafty left-armer applied a bit of a brake and a lad fell into a ditch attempting a catch; his colleagues seemed utterly unconcerned and in time he crawled out.  Barford reached his fifty with a reverse sweep.  He moved inexorably past his hundred and eventually holed out to one of nine boundary riders two short of 150.  Sharma batted well in support.  P J whacked a beamer for four and was given out LBW next ball by umpire Oliver M. Stone P was subjected to a twenty-first century version of Spettigue’s Dropper.  We passed 300 in the final over.  Chard made a steady start, but then Stone C took three quick wickets and Guy Bucknell another.  Oliver S took three c-and-bs.  PJ took two excellent catches.  Stone P showed that he could both catch and bowl.  Chard did not always agree with the umpire.  Hogg cleaned up the tail.  The hospitality was as usual outstanding, but the game showed up most of the disadvantages of overs cricket.  Later a hungry party found that the Holman Clavell is not what it was and that the Merry Harrier is.

    The square at Taunton School was being relaid, so the Old Tauntonians took us to Staplegrove, a pleasant ground on the outskirts of the town.  Barford P, skipper for the day, won the toss and chose to bat.  Our innings centred on a partnership between debutant Craig Williams and Sharma, who both batted with power and style against a varied attack which included two good leg-spinners.  The innings folded dramatically when they were out, and only Nick Charlier with some lusty blows made any further contribution.  Hogg was finally out (after the best part of two years), and the last wicket fell frivolously early at three o’clock.  The Sou’westers straggled out for the second innings, followed by the umpires, followed by the ball, followed by Hogg, followed by the batters, and our opening  attack was soon among them.  Stone C hit the stumps twice in his first over.  Will Penny started with three slips and a gully and soon added a second gully.  Andrew Lewis caught a good low catch in the gully and almost every bowler took at least one wicket.  A notable exception was Barford, who came on to bowl in one of those tricky situations when adjustments are made for a very young batsman.  At one stage the score was 75-8, but then the OT skipper, who was clearly no mug, took charge and with help from a big-hitting number eleven added just over a hundred more.  One of Dean’s characteristically precise decisions saw off number eleven and the game ended early.  It had been an odd contest, but we hope that the fixture is now established.

    Back to Sherborne for a revival of the Swashbucklers game.  No Steve Gray sadly, but plenty of experience on both sides.  The skipper won the toss and opted to bat.  Lewis was the backbone of our innings with an unbeaten 84, but everyone got runs.  Bertie Preston, colleague of Paul’s Harry, had a splendid little bat, until he misjudged Lewis’s willingness to take on the measured 22 yards.  Peet J smote lustily and almost doubled his previous best for the club.  Our declaration came after 54 overs and set an attainable target.  Guy Bucknell got in amongst them and at 91-5 we were very much on top, but then a couple of batters got stuck in and it took the leg-spin duo of Hogg and guest player Richard Glover to pick up wickets at intervals, and we emerged comfortable winners.  It had been for some of us a long drive, but it was pleasing to return to an old favourite, even if the pavilion steps posed a delicate problem for your correspondent.

    Bridgetown is something of a magnet to Sou’westers of all ages, and under quite a lot of cloud cover quite a lot of Sou’westers, complete with chairs, rugs, picnics and families, gathered, slowly, as has become the custom, among them a full set of Haynes and quite a lot of Peets, Chris Fairey, looking very dapper and apparently out of context – in fact his son-in-law seems to own most of Exmoor, Peter Sprague, not to mention the President and three of his predecessors.  Forty overs were agreed and we batted.  Haynes P looked in great form and then ran himself out in style.  Harry Kennedy followed suit, attempting an impossible second.  Justin Williams took charge and moved to a majestic hundred, bringing out the best in the wading section of Sou’wester search parties.  Halliday scored rather a lot of singles.  There was a late flurry of wickets before the end, and we withdrew, with a handsome score, to the usual massive feast.  There was an understandable reluctance to go out and field.  Their reactions no doubt dulled by their generous tea, the fielders spilled several catches, with Bucknell generally the unlucky bowler.  Sam George spilled a skier and bent a finger so badly that his active role in the tour was over.  Richards junior batted solidly (and so did his father), and we had the usual hard-hitting innings from Chris Ridler, but Kennedy S made the crucial breakthrough, and Lewis, skipper for the day, and Kennedy J built on that.  We had the first drop of rain of the tour and managed to keep them to fewer than two hundred runs.  It had been a well-contested game, and we were again reminded of the hospitable nature of the Badger’s Holt and the genial company of the Bridgetown players.  Oh, and yet again the bridge coped with my weight!

    It wasn’t far to the Exeter County Ground, at least for the residents.  The weather was threatening and the pavilion verandah draughty; the scorebox was unusable because the sight-screens blocked the view, but at least there was a Dumplings scorer to keep your correspondent in order.  Joel Martin, as yet unaffected by the Exeter night life, bowled with pace and plenty of bounce and he took two early wickets, one of them the opposition star treading on his stumps hooking.  Then we lost the plot a bit.  Will Penny could only manage one over, though his injury did not prevent him patrolling the outfield.  It wasn’t until Kennedy J and Jared Ashworth entered the attack that wickets began to fall.  Ashworth won an LBW and with two crafty long-hops and the help of Penny on the square leg boundary took two more.  Kennedy wheeled away and finished with a richly-deserved five-for.  The fielding was rather less deserving and the ball-hunting not very good, but 255 looked chaseable.  It turned out that it wasn’t.  Halliday played one of his pawkier innings, but did pass fifty.  Charlie McKegnie was run out.  Spin prevailed and of the lower order only Ashworth reached double figures.  As the last hour began the score was 136-5.  Byes featured heavily thereafter – there were thirty-eight in all, to go with eight wides, and a long-stop was brought in.  A Muralitharan-like off-spinner appeared.  With four balls to go, Rob Marson used his pads, and Oliver M, in the white coat, raised his finger.  We had lost in another tense finish.  My spies tell me that the catering was superb, and the weather improved.  So there were some compensations.

    The sun shone at Axminster, who had produced a significantly more mature side than in recent years, sadly without Robbie Prior, who was on the injured list but came along to watch.  The home side won the toss and chose to bat, and what followed was the Kennedy and Williams show.  The batters showed no inhibitions and the outfield was quick.  Marson hit the stumps with his first ball, but then Kennedy S took over.  His type of bowling suited the pitch and he steadily worked his way through the batters, aided by a series of slip catches of increasing sharpness by Williams J and a couple by Williams C behind the stumps.  Kennedy J was more economical but less penetrative, and Ashworth got into the act in his only over.  The innings ended rather earlier than expected, with a healthy target to chase.  Our innings started slowly.  Bolan padded up unwisely and the opening bowler retired hurt after seven balls.  The field was tightly set and the lines bowled indicated plenty of experience of limited over leagues.  Kennedy H and Williams J soldiered manfully on.  Debbie Kennedy joined the drinks huddle.  Sea-gulls behind the arm held play up.  Justin fell to a sharp slip catch and Williams C was batting cautiously, but the arrival of Sam Piper changed the tempo dramatically.  He immediately found the middle of the bat, and, inspired by this, so did Craig.  They rapidly and in style put on the 130 we needed, and we won without further loss with more than fourteen overs to spare.  The hospitality had been as lavish as usual.  It is always a pleasure to come to Axminster.

    North Devon had returned to its best, apart from the traffic jams from the North Devon Show.  Lundy was in full view, and the sun shone.  The new caterer seemed to be up to the best standards of the past.  The home side had a better mix of youth and experience.  We won the toss and Halliday and Charlie McKegnie opened in contrasting styles.  When McKegnie fell for an exciting 94, the score had reached 138 – not much left for Simon, who was bounced twice by a fellow who stretched the fifteen degree bend to the limit.  Williams J continued his good run of form.  Halliday hit a six, to the astonishment of his friends and admirers, and reached his hundred in time for the skipper to declare.  Piper had a little bat.  Balls were lost down-wind.  A diminutive hopper bowled chinamen.  Ominously we passed three hundred (we rarely pass that landmark and avoid defeat).  Our opening attack of Marson and Martin was suffering perhaps from an arduous evening and sprayed it, though Marston got prodigious swing.  The third man area took a peppering.  Bertie Preston bowled the first maiden in the twenty-third over.  Williams J caught yet another in the slips.  There was a pretty silly run-out.  We were in with a chance until an Antipodean we have seen (and heard) before reached the crease and smashed a very brisk 83, making full use of the wind to clear the inland boundary six times.  Spare balls were much in demand.  Ashworth got him in the end with the aid of yet another Williams catch.  It was all too late and we lost with five and a bit overs to spare.  Oh dear!

    It rained heavily overnight, and word filtered through that the Seaton pitch was waterlogged.  Rumour also reported that the Seaton squad contained a number of Australian pros.  Noise levels might have been unendurable, and so we weren’t entirely unhappy to have a rest day, as the touring party split to spend the night half-way to Newbury.  Exeter to Falkland for an 11.30 start is a bit of a challenge.

    The sun was back on duty at Falkland, and we made a pretty prompt start with rather a lot of Falkland players in the game.  Joel Martin was back on song and quickly disposed of the dangerous Bobby Zafar, while debutant Bilal Chohan looked useful at the other end.  Martin seemed to claim another victim when he felled the other opener with a blow in the unmentionables.  He retired hurt, which enabled Marson to claim the second wicket.  After that it was all downhill.  The next wicket fell 254 runs later as Rob Morris and the revived opener made hay.  Morris hit twelve maximums and thirty-two fours.  Kennedy S, introduced belatedly, picked up two wickets, but his figures were rather spoiled by a final over of 34 runs.  Marson caught one and Morris was declared on at 248, which won’t have happened often in a Sou’wester game.  Not surprisingly, the scorers’ table was under some pressure, but the score seems to add up to 370-5.  A successful chase would need a very brisk start, and against youthful bowlers we didn’t get it.  Bolan flourished briefly.  Harry Beeston grew in confidence and reached fifty.  Barford P and PJ each made 44.  Mark Foster had a brief innings, but nine bowlers could not finish the job, and our batters were simply not up to the Herculean task.  Ashworth and Marson played out time, and we had four wickets in hand at the end.  There wasn’t much doubt who the Man of the Match would have been.  It had been a sobering end to the tour.

    So another memorable spell in the South-West came to an end.  Only one day had been lost to the weather.  There had been some excellent cricket and lots of able new players, for many of whom we owe warm thanks to Paul Thomas – perhaps we could have done with some more quality bowlers.  The Cathedral School at Exeter received us generously, and though I still have dreams about navigational problems the President saw me through.  I discovered that I am not well suited to bunk beds or security pads, but the water was always hot and the sofas in the lounge of beguiling comfort.  There was a surprisingly good pub only yards away and an excellent Indian restaurant even closer.  We should be very grateful to the authorities at the school for making us so welcome.  There were masses of supporters and players and rather more call-offs than usual.  We were very sorry to hear of Rob George’s illness, but delighted to hear late in the tour of his improvement.  Once again Martin and Marion made a marvellous job of raising sides, filling gaps, allocating rooms, laying on breakfast materials and all with unfailing cheerfulness.  Both deserve medals.  And so to 2012 and South Africa and then the West Country again.  See you then!

    Chris Carruthers

    The Quotes Explained

    1. A Cerne Valley batter caught by Al’s Harry Thomas.
    2. Alastair Thomas to Philip Spray – he had just been bowled by an ultra slow ball.
    3. Simon Oliver brings to an end a silent debate on who should stand under a skier.   He caught it.
    4. Diminutive Old Tauntonian.
    5. The scorer’s table to umpire Oliver.   The ball had very clearly been hit for four.   And answer came there none.
    6. A Dumpling excuse for not taking a call to confirm his availability.
    7. Carruthers’ response to the skipper asking whether his passengers were likely to be staying for their supper at Instow.
    8. An opposition player, who had just been told we weren’t playing an overs game.
    9. Another opposition player to his captain.   We were playing proper cricket.
    10. The Exeter groundsman in response to our President’s comment that there were too many low slow wickets about.
    11. Co-scorer’s comment to Carruthers when he declined to participate in tea.


    v Old Blundellians (12 a side) Monday 24th July Drawn
    Old Blundellians 308-4 W.Gingell 84, A.Thomas 3-80
    Sou’westers 216-9 S.Hogg 68*, J.Yeabsley 65, M.R.Oliver 20*
    v Cerne Valley Tuesday 25th July Drawn
    Cerne Valley 213 S.Walsh 75, S.Hogg 4-63, A.Thomas 3-22, O.Butterworth 2-34
    Sou’westers 204-9 H.S.Thomas 57, O.Butterworth 33, S.R.Oliver 25, P.Stone 22
    v Sidmouth Wednesday 26th July Won by 2 wickets
    Sidmouth 253 M.Humphries 3-29, W.McKegnie 2-41, A.Thomas 2-44, O.Butterworth 2-49
    Sou’westers 256-8 A.Thomas 68*, W.McKegnie 50, R.Sharma 39, R.Holman 28
    v Chard (45 overs) Thursday 27th July Won by 162 runs
    Sou’westers 305-6 P.L.Barford 148, R.Sharma 42, M.Webb 36
    Chard 143 S.R.Oliver 4-22, C.D.Stone 3-32
    v Old Tauntonians Friday 28th July Won by 54 runs
    Sou’westers 232 R.Sharma 72, C.Williams 71, N.Charlier 22
    Old Tauntonians 178 C.D.Stone 3-33, N.Charlier 2-22, W.Penny 2-22
    v Swashbucklers Saturday 30th July Won by 34 runs
    Sou’westers 245-5 A.H.Lewis 84*, J.Peet 31, B.Preston 31, R.Glover 29, H.S.Thomas 22
    Swashbucklers 211 S.Hogg 3-33,G.Bucknell 3-53, R.Glover 2-44
    v Bridgetown (40 overs) Sunday 31st July Won by 40 runs
    Sou’westers 235-7 J.Williams 109*,S.J.Halliday 47, P.J.Haynes 20
    Bridgetown 195-6 M.Richards 61*, A.H.Lewis 2-19
    v Devon Dumplings Monday 1st August Lost by 60 runs
    Dumplings 255 J.P.Kennedy 5-59, J.Ashworth 3-38
    Sou’westers 195 S.J.Halliday 64, A.Bolan 21
    v Axminster Tuesday 2nd August Won by 7 wickets
    Axminster 227 Kennedy 6-81, J.P.Kennedy 2-39
    Sou’westers 231-3 C.Williams 90*, S.Piper 48*, J.Williams 45, H.Kennedy 20
    v North Devon Wednesday 3rd August Lost by 6 wickets
    Sou’westers 309-3 S.J.Halliday 101*, C.McKegnie 94, J.Williams 79
    North Devon 311-4 M.Smith 85*, S.Rhodes 83, J.Ashworth 2-66
    v Seaton Thursday 4th August Match Abandoned
    v Berkshire Gents Friday 5th August Drawn
    Berkshire Gents 370-5 R.Morris 248*, E.Brock 84
    Sou’westers 219-6 H.Beeston 59, P.L.Barford 44, P.J.Clarke 44

    Batting Averages

    Inns N.O. Runs H.S. Ave Ct
    A.H.Lewis 2 1 98 84* 98 2
    C.Williams 3 1 178 90* 89 3
    S.J.Halliday 3 1 172 101* 86
    S.Hogg 3 2 83 68* 83 3
    S.Piper 3 2 69 48* 69
    J.Williams 5 1 256 109* 64 6
    R.Sharma 3 0 153 72 51 2
    C.McKegnie 2 0 100 94 50 1/1
    P.L.Barford 4 0 192 148 48 1
    A.Thomas 3 1 90 68* 45 2
    J.Ashworth 2 1 36 19* 36 1
    W.McKegnie 2 0 60 50 30 2
    G.Bucknell 3 2 27 14 27 1
    H.S.Thomas 3 0 80 57 26.67 0/1
    P.J.Clarke 2 0 51 44 25.5 2
    M.R.Oliver 2 1 24 20* 24
    S.R.Oliver 3 1 38 25 19 3
    E.Lyons 2 1 18 11* 18
    H.Kennedy 2 0 35 20 17.5
    B.Preston 2 0 33 31 16.5
    O.Butterworth 3 0 42 33 14 1
    M.Webb 3 0 41 36 13.67 1
    P.Stone 4 1 37 22 12.33 1
    A.Bolan 4 0 44 21 11 1
    R.Marston 2 1 11 6 11
    J.P.Kennedy 2 0 12 7 6 1
    M.Humphries 3 0 9 5 3 2
    W.Penny 2 0 5 5 2.5 2
    C.D.Stone 3 1 4 4* 2

    Also batted: H.Beeston 59; N.Charlier 22; B.Chohan 19; M.Davis 0; M.Foster 2 (1 st); S.J.E.George 0; R.Glover 29 (3 ct); P.J.Haynes 20; J.Hodgson 2; R.Holman 28 (1ct, 1 st); J.Inglis4; S.Kennedy 1; J.Martin 8*; J.Peet 31; H.S.C.Thomas 6 (1 ct); J.Yeabsley 65.

    Bowling Averages

    Overs Mdns Runs Wickets Average
    A.H.Lewis 7 0 19 2 9.5
    P.Stone 10 2 24 2 12
    W.Penny 9.3 2 27 2 13.5
    S.R.Oliver 13 2 61 4 15.25
    J.P.Kennedy 36.2 5 123 8 15.38
    A.Thomas 39 5 146 8 18.25
    S.Kennedy 27 2 168 9 18.67
    W.McKegnie 11 2 41 2 20.5
    G.Bucknell 26 3 109 5 21.8
    R.Glover 7.4 0 44 2 22
    S.Hogg 45.3 1 225 10 22.5
    N.Charlier 14 2 69 3 23
    M.Humphries 9.5 0 69 3 23
    C.D.Stone 48 10 181 7 25.86
    O.Butterworth 28.2 3 121 4 30.25
    J.Ashworth 28 3 186 6 31
    J.Martin 42.1 7 182 4 45.5
    R.Marston 27.4 1 218 3 72.67

    Also bowled: P.L.Barford 4 – 1 – 18 – 0; A.Bolan 3 – 0 – 32 – 0; B.Chohan 10 – 0 – 53 – 0; M.Davis 6 – 0 – 31 – 0; S.J.E.George 5 – 0 – 25 -1; C.Hedley-Dent 8 – 0 – 58 – 0; J.Hodgson 10 – 0 – 72 – 0; E.Lyons 8 – 0 – 33 – 1; J.Peet 8 – 0 – 63 – 0; B.Preston 6 – 1 – 31 – 0; R.Sharma 8 – 0 – 59 – 1; L.Terry 6 – 0 – 61 – 1; M.Webb 5 – 0 – 18 – 0; J.Williams 1- 0 – 2 – 0.


    1000 Runs

    A.Thomas 29 innings 7 not out 1080 runs 114 H.S. 49.09 average
    J.Williams 30 innings 7 not out 1243 runs 140 H.S. 54.04 average

    50 Catches

    S.R.Oliver 52