Posts from the ‘Proper Village’ Category

Al-Mighty Performance Inspires Big Win

Every club has one. The archetypal number eleven. The man that loves the destructive element of the gentleman’s game. The man who, growing up, alongside images of Megadeth and Travis Bickle would have had crudely defaced posters of David Gower and Gordon Greenidge on their bedroom wall. To them a bat is merely a nocturnal creature with odd shaped wings and big teeth, while a batsman is the enemy, the object of their absolute ire. The Louis XVI to their Robespierre. Playing cricket is the chance to unleash their fury. To get even. To bloody the nose of a kind of snooty aristocracy. Having been imbued with this rebellious belief, it never leaves them.

Elstow’s member of this particular occult is Big Al Phillips, the second team captain. He’ll sit there chuntering away in the score hut as the wickets tumble. The departing batsmen will do everything to avoid eye, let alone ear, contact with their displeased skipper as they scuttle back timidly to the relative safe haven of the dressing room.
Yesterday at The Warren against Whitchurch of Buckinghamshire, the other nine members of the team kept their heads down. Number ten, James Glean’s useful stand at the wicket had come to an end. Big Al, face like thunder, sleeves rolled up, perplexed that those above had summarily failed in their duties, stormed to the wicket.

Like some kind of fellowship, it was always the way that bowlers never went after bowlers. Rough up the batsman as much as you like, but leave your colleague in arms be. Solidarity brother.
At some juncture in the last twenty five years, possibly in the Devon Malcolm “you guys are history” Test Match in 1994, this all changed. The Minutes from that particular meeting of the Fast Bowlers Union have probably been destroyed. Or they are hidden in a vault in some North Korean bank. Or maybe elsewhere shrouded in mystery. That emotive motion would’ve been hotly contested. But, just like every other controversial law anywhere in the world, once passed, there’s no going back.

Big Al’s first delivery faced was a head-high full bunger. At the non-striker’s end, Luke Griffin winced. A wince that said, “dear me, you won’t like him when he’s angry”. Thanks to Griffin’s stoicism and handy counter attacking, Elstow were in a position to post a decent score. With the riled Phillips at the other end now suitably incandescent this looked a formality.
A beamer from a brother. It was all too much for Phillips who tore into the Whitchurch attack with the kind of vengeful vigour usually reserved for Bruce Willis films. A huge six over deep, deep mid wicket was framed by an ensemble of fiercely struck fours.
At one stage, amid two batting collapses, Elstow looked in danger of not passing one hundred runs. They now had two hundred on the board and a man on a mission.

Whether momentarily swayed by thoughts of turning his back on his former life and going as a gun-for-hire allrounder or fearful of the call from the local shop steward on Monday morning demanding to know ‘just what the devil he was playing at scoring all these runs’, Elstow’s captain initially struggled with his radar. From the last ball of his first over, he thudded one into the Whitchurch opener’s pads. A lusty appeal, and lucky decision, brought the first wicket. Phillips yesterday bowled a nagging wicket to wicket line. You miss, I hit. He would hit three more times.

Whitchurch, despite the steady fall of wickets, to their credit, continued to chase the runs. No slinging out the anchor here, they fought fire with fire; their captain embodied the brave plan. His innings was brought to a halt by a full toss from Glean. Griffin backed up his growing all rounder credentials by getting among the wickets, inspired, no doubt, by teammates Nick Lewis and James Tanswell who also enjoyed fruitful afternoons with bat and ball. Elstow were in complete control.
In just the twenty second over, Tanswell bowled the last man, the eighth of ten such Whitchurch dismissals. Boisterous cheers greeted this healthy 93 run win and with it a welcome 30 points as well as a proud, almost paternal smile from the cuddly captain who had the look of a man, who, whisper it, enjoys batting almost as much as he does winning.

Horner Shearing Man of Substance of the Day: Solid displays from allrounders Luke Griffin, Nick Lewis and James Tanswell, with a nod to contributions from batsmen Guraj Galsin and Ed Wisson too, were in the shake up for the award. However, the irrepressible skipper Alan Phillips is this week’s worthy recipient.
Sammon Pie Moment of Fancy: Big Al’s gargantuan six will stay in the memory for a long time. Archetypal number eleven batsman? He’s better than Messrs Martin, McGrath and Mullally combined.
Clag Nut of the Day: Your correspondent. A first ball dismissal was compounded by an afternoon of aberrations in the outfield. The final humiliation of a day to forget was the Fawlty-esque act of drop kicking my keys into the garden hedge in a rage of visceral self hate that meant I spent what was left of the cool midsummer’s evening picking up scratches and splinters searching for them. Not quite the Saturday night rooting around in a bush I envisaged when I started the day….

Welsh Wizardry Worries Wing With Wingrave

The on-drive. The most exquisite, authoritative shot in the coaching manual. The look of tortured anguish on the bowler’s face, aghast as he pivots his head back round to see the ball fizz triumphantly past him. The illicit murmur of approval from his colleagues in the slip cordon. The celebratory roar of the crowd. Forget the ghastly clubs and hoiks, the new fangled scoops and switches, indeed even the magisterial cover drive. The on drive is the saintliest of expressions in the batsmen’s repertoire.
Elstow’s Chris Richards plays the on drive as well as anyone. In times of desolate emptiness and heart searching darkness; along with Get Ready by The Temptations and the “Sssstttttiiiiiiirrrriiiiiikkkkkeeeeee Tttwwwooooo” baseball umpire skit from The Naked Gun, thoughts of Richards’ on drive act as marvellous medicine. Simply, it gladdens the soul like little else.

Yesterday at The Warren against unbeaten Wing with Wingrave, fellow aficionados of the great man’s great shot, against the jarring June wind would have been thoroughly spoilt. Richards showcased not just his wonderful talents but how to build, maintain and then emphatically finish an innings, undefeated, as an opening batsman.
The grey skies joined the wind in making life as uncomfortable for Elstow’s openers, before AJ Stewart, the division’s finest new ball bowler, partnered by Rob Flynn, added to the discomfort. A fabulous battle ensued; Stewart eventually prised Gary Flower after a stoical, yet slow start in searching conditions. Wing dominated. From The Wilstead Road End, experienced left armer Barry Childs, tore into Elstow’s middle order. Captain Sam Rose smothered a sharp low catch to dismiss one of Elstow’s danger men, Ed Wisson. Childs needed no help with his three other victims, only Sumit Karunakotha can count himself harshly done by with a ball that zipped, then clipped, the spigot tops. Elstow were 59-6. The scoreboard looked as miserable as the weather beaten home support.
Despite his good work getting rid of Wisson, Rose couldn’t cling on to a swirling Richards miscue that slipped agonisingly out of his hands at mid wicket. It was to prove costly. Though Elstow’s middle order summarily failed, their tail provided much needed ballast. Steve Russell ‘had a go’, before Luke Griffin and, latterly, your correspondent dug in. All the while Richards, one or two blips not withstanding, powered through the tens. His fifty was politely cheered, his hundred, when it came courtesy of a flick through square leg for four, was greeted by a guttural outburst of relief from his teammates. Through Richards’ cussedness then undisputed class, Elstow reached 180-8 at tea, a giddy looking total considering their earlier malaise.

Buoyed by their boyo’s brilliance the home side tore into the reeling away side. Russell huffed and puffed. The enigmatic Hani Thiarra had his pal Rose in all sorts of bother before claiming Rose’s opening partner Rob Crallan. Rose chipped to Ravi Kalyan at square leg. Griffin claimed the wicket, Thiarra the assist. Bonfire smoke from a neighbouring garden blew, like cordite on a battlefield, across The Warren. If this was Waterloo, Wing responded to Elstow’s mighty fusillade with light infantry. With all three results still possible, Martyn Turner and Deepak Sukhani seemed content to block out a draw. Their dismissals, via Karunakotha and Nick Lewis, brought James Tuthill (once on the radar at Elstow) to the crease.
Tuthill’s powerful striking provided a delightful counter punch to proceedings. His boundary-laden, crowd pleasing innings of 40 ended on the last ball of the match to give Al Phillips his second wicket, but, alas, not his first win. Wing with Wingrave finished 149-7, some 31 runs shy of Elstow’s total. This was a thought provoking and sometimes thrilling draw. The day’s winner was undisputedly Chris Richards and that superlative on drive.

Horner Shearing Man of Substance of the Day: Chris Richards. Two catches and his first century for Elstow. An unbeaten 113 not out that gave the seconds something to smile about after a tough fortnight. After David Lloyd George and Barry John, the epithet ‘Welsh Wizard’ firmly belongs to this man.

Clag Nut of the Day: Hani Thiarra. A decent spell of bowling and an important catch can’t mask his misdemeanours. A dropped catch off captain Al’s bowling and his role in the embarrassing administrative debacle meaning a piqued and pooped opposition in the face of the Richards onslaught had to field for one more over than they initially thought, hands this honour to Hanvir.

Sammon Pie Moment of Success: The shot, the roar, the acclaim. The smile. After several close calls and many great knocks, the elusive maiden Elstow century for Chris Richards. Syr chwarae yn dda!

Unbelievable Geoff Ensures Bore Draw

Sometime shortly after seven on the evening of Saturday 18th May, cricket died.

Elstow Second XI are playing at Woughton on the Green against Milton Keynes City. Under grey blankets of matted cloud in something approaching muggy May, just off the A421, near central Milton Keynes, an emphatically short, wide, loopy Nick Lewis delivery is left alone by the home team’s Geoff Silk.

Frankly every conversation I’ve had over the last twenty or so years in my time as a cricket lover, in an instant, was rendered utterly inconsequential. Those sneering Brit-baiting Germans on my travels I’d fronted up to in hostels the length and breadth of the Antipodes, the ardently disbelieving sceptic Septics, even those dissenting voices closer to home were, in that brief passage of play, proved ultimately, and heavy-heartedly, correct.

Big Lew’s delivery was so incredibly tempting, so invitingly slow, so eminently hit-able. Like a fat bird offered a second slice of double chocolate gateaux or a lonely, socially repugnant fifty-something offered a lithe, comely Thai mistress, it was a heaven sent opportunity that just had to be taken.

Silk, for reasons known to him, wholeheartedly resisted temptation. This followed a similar pattern that left the protagonist 39 not out from 1000 balls (ok, 100 odd really, but you get the idea here) and his team, after 44 mind-numbingly dull overs, 142 runs adrift of the Elstow score they’d been asked to chase. Two wickets down, replying to 219-8, MK City put the barricades up. Silk, through his dull-as-ditchwater, dour defence was the chief architect.

Try explaining this to a wide-eyed, keen as mustard young cricket fan making his debut in seniors cricket. Why should any self-respecting teenager not want to be sat in front of the XBox, experimenting with dubious pastimes or hanging aimlessly around shopping centres when this is the alternative on a Saturday afternoon?

Two and a half hours of watching some gentleman of advanced years block, press, dob, and leave his way through a salvo of deliveries in pursuit of five measly points for his team. Why would you bother?

Elstow tried and tried, but found Silk abrasive. A smart catch by Gary Flower at cover off the bowling of Alan Phillips brought about MK’s first wicket. James Tanswell snared the next two before, with overs, wickets in hand and time in the match, the home team, to the joy of cricket’s detractors the world over went about their ugly volte-face. Singles were turned down, twos turned into ones, punishable deliveries went unpunished all for the sake of a meagre share of a drawn match.

Elstow lacked sharpness through the absence of attack-leader Steve Russell, but Phillips, in the first game in his tenure as 2nd XI skipper, and his charges gave it everything in pursuit of their first win of the campaign. Indeed, earlier the batsmen belatedly got their season off to a flyer as the top order all made decent starts. Lewis top-scored with a joyful 42 runs, Gary Flower hit 24 and Pete Burraway 28 as Guraj Galsin, batting at three, vitally provided the backbone to the innings with a resolute 29. Yet Ravi Kalyan’s cavalier knock of 34 caught the eye with a hefty six that wowed the thrill-seekers and a four through cover that pleased the purists; all sealed with an artisan’s flourish.

The smiles faded from the Elstow team as the afternoon progressed. The elation and hope provided by Tanswell’s opening spell was systematically and painfully ground down by the home side as they escaped undefeated.
This afternoon, the game of cricket itself, however, lost badly.

Horner Shearing Man of Substance of the Day: Jimmy Tanswell. Some lower order hitting, exemplary fielding and a spell that produced, according to the man himself, “my best bowling figures since middle school.”

Clag Nut of the Day: Ravi Kalyan. A wonderfully entertaining innings was curtailed by a daft run out which was then compounded by a dafter run out decision given in a two over spell while umpiring. He will score more runs, he will take more wickets. He’s never umpiring for Elstow again though.

The Sammon Pie Light Moment of the Day: Al Phillips was warmly welcomed to his new role by nearly being decapitated by his right-hand man’s wild throw. The new skipper, stood at short-mid off and seemingly out of harm’s way, hit the deck as Lewy’s wayward shy thudded into his upper back. Cue laughter, for probably the only time in the afternoon during the MK City reply.
Et tu Brute?

Sun Rise Light Flies

Summer is here people! Or late spring anyway. Cracking day yesterday. I even applied sun cream at some point. At The Warren, the wispy white blossom of the cherry trees and the Dulux paint catalogue’s worth of lush greens served notice of summer’s intent. Yes, the Bunyan Breeze continued to bite like midges in a cold quarter, but the sun shone magnificently throughout. As we lurch from the long winter into a longer summer (trust me on this one), Matt ventured a drought had been forecast.

So we are set fair, at last.

Except for one day. Sunday 19th May. You can count on it.


My annual visit to Lord’s with The Cheshires. It’s always a truly wonderful day out at The Home of Cricket.

The trouble is, every time we go, it rains.

Still, rejoice, the first Test Match of summer is a mere fortnight away. And that, along with this gorgeous May morning, is another reason to smile.

Pie Day Saturday

Matt Sampson’s debut wasn’t the only momentous Antipodean first for Elstow Cricket Club yesterday. Thanks to a generous benefactor, Elstow CC now proudly boasts Bedfordshire’s and possibly anywhere south of Wolverhampton’s purpose built pie warmer. It was certainly the weather for pies at The Warren as, despite the welcome spring sunshine, the infamous Bunyan Breeze had a spiteful zing to it.
The visitors from Newport Pagnell joined in the preview opening of The Sammon Pie in the Willie Peck Suite as the pies sold out quicker than a respected Aussie Test umpire taking the rupees in a high profile T20 competition.

Working in conjunction with the greatest Anglo-Kiwi combination since, erm, Andrew Caddick, The New Zealand Gourmet Pie Company (; Elstow are proud to offer pies from the Newcastle based company’s range. Our menu has been adopted to suit local tastes and diners can choose from the following delicacies:

Milne & Cheese (see picture below)
Spin The Chicken & Mushroom
The Crowded House

Elstow CC offers discerning customers a choice of award winning pie along with a good selection of international beers as they take in the splendour of the Bedfordshire sunset. We now also boast an alfresco dining area in which to make the best of the summer evenings too.

Our new facilities will be officially unveiled next weekend as the club makes its debut in the Yorkshire Tea National Village Cup as we take on Preston of Hertfordshire on Sunday 5th May. The match starts at 13:00 and new visitors are encouraged to come down and experience for themselves our exciting new venture.

Happily tucking into a Milne & Cheese, washed down nicely with a Shepherd Neame Masterbrew following a decent afternoon’s cricket. A genuine Pig-In-Shit moment.

Although, the wallpaper, you’ll note, looks suspiciously like the colour of baby poo. Anyone wishing to donate a few pots of paint (preferably of the shade of jacket Richie Benaud would comfortably wear) to help our club, please get in touch at the usual address; via

Tom Ton Warms The Warren

Of the few small mercies from 2013’s endless winter was the success of Elstow’s indoor team. Two constants from the last few months were in abundance at The Warren in the season’s opening fixture against Newport Pagnell Town.
Firstly the prevailing arctic winds transforming Bunyan’s village into a tundra and secondly the white hot form of the indoor team captain Tom Wisson. His 109 not out here, his second Elstow century, plus the two wickets with the new ball confirmed Wisson’s return to his commanding best.
Newport Pagnell chipped and chirped away at him early on, and had a chance to second slip been taken in the second over, their opening bowlers’ work would have been justly rewarded. As it was, Wisson made the away team pay for their profligacy.

Cover driving with customary élan, Wisson warmed the cockles of the frozen Warren regulars hearts as well as the breast pocket of the umpire with his smiting. Where once upon a time would have been a cigarillo case, now sits a mobile phone and thankfully this was the only damage done to the official from a searingly vicious drive down the ground. Danger money in addition to appearance money may well now make up the umpire’s fee in future weeks. Let’s hope the league committee aren’t reading this.

Once past fifty there seemed little doubt of a three figure score as Tom accelerated through the gears taking his team through the points barriers as his boundary count continued through a variety of bulging sixes and crafted fours. He was helped firstly by an assured knock from Phil Johnson (27), who may well have gone on to some big runs himself but for a sharp return catch, then Matt Stevens and Chris Richards who both made decent starts. It was Wisson though who dominated the home side’s innings, leaving Elstow 233-5 from 44 overs at tea.

Wisson’s two early wickets put the jitters among Newport Pagnell and with a spritely looking Rob Tebbutt powering in from The Abbeyfields End, Elstow sensed an opening day win. Captain Stevens threw everything at the opposition using his bowlers well in pursuit of the thirty points but Pagnell, as they have done so effectively down the years, dropped anchor to secure a draw.

Late drama by way of four quick wickets gave Elstow grounds for optimism. Two wickets apiece from firstly the returning Tebbutt from the Wilstead Road End then debutant Matt Sampson set up a grandstand finish. Elstow needed one wicket from the last fifteen balls after Queenslander Sampson’s first two wickets caused a panic in the Pagnell ranks.
The last over, bowled amid lengthened shadows, looked like a Phoenix From The Flames replay from the first Ashes Test in 2009; an Australian bowler bounding in expectantly with nine round the bat in pursuit of a crucial victory. The English, memorably, prevailed that day in Cardiff. Frustratingly for Elstow yesterday, they did this time too.

Horner Shearing Man of Substance of the Day: T.W. Wisson. Brilliant all round display. He looks in the mood. Get him in your Fantasy Cricket Team.
Play here:

The Sammon Pie Moment of Success: Geoff Couling’s pulled six in front of square leg as Elstow quickened the tempo in the last overs rivalled anything that may have been shown on ITV4 at a similar time. Bombastic!

Clag Nut of the Day: R.S. Thiarra. No runs and a rather chastening afternoon in the field. We all have days like these. Indeed, some of us have made a career out them.
Plenty of cricket to come this year still… Head up fella!

A cricket ball, yesterday. Looking spent after an Elstow mauling.


The build up to the Ashes continues apace. The release, by Cricket Australia, of their Ashes Tour Party this morning will further add to the already fervent anticipation of the highlight of the summer.

The 10th July will be here before you know it.

Meanwhile, closer to home, with the Mighty Elstow due to begin their season this weekend, some Aussie news of our own. Matt Sampson from Nambor, Queensland has taken time out of his world tour to turn out for us at The Warren this summer.

Matt is a big hitting, fast bowling allrounder, who among other things, is a dead ringer for a young Andrew Sachs.



We’re still working on his nickname. Matty or Matto? Sammo or Delilah? Manuel maybe? Either way here’s to a great summer of cricket and lots of Caaaaaaallld Ones.

Welcome to England Matt. Good on yer.

Sophistication? I’ve Been To Leeds

Three weeks on and I haven’t yet got round to compiling that Roll of Honour from my travels yet. This may still happen. One of the trip’s heroes was undoubtedly Professional Yorkshireman Gareth. I’m very grateful to this gentleman for, among other things, putting me up for a few days, shouting me brews, giving me lifts (via Barney, another top bloke) re-tweeting some of my blog posts, sneaking Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pudding parcels out of the Press Lunch Room and for introducing me to one of the principal characters of Miles Jupp’s Fibber In The Heat*.

Stout fellow that he is, Gareth’s generosity doesn’t just stretch to Backpackers-battered travellers. He has signed up to run the Leeds Half Marathon on 12th May. Gareth will be running for Marie Curie Cancer Care. Earlier this year Gareth raised loads of money for Cancer Research by giving up beer for a month in January. Having survived that Herculean task, he is looking to do similarly great work once again.

Sprinting around the roads of his beloved Garden City will probably be motivation enough for Gareth, but, what will spur him on to an even faster time will be the difference he’ll be making to this important charity. Please help Gareth and Marie Curie Cancer Care by clicking the link below.

Your generosity will be hugely appreciated. Good on yer!


Tha knows.**

*A real tour-de-force of travel writing, especially cricket based travel writing. Highly recommended.
**For your kindness, here’s the man who helped inspire a legend;

April Powers

April, let’s face it, is the ultimate sporting month. If it were a woman, it would be Isa Guha. If it were a pie, steak and cheese. A band, The Jam. Let’s be honest, it’s got the lot.

Saturday saw my favourite sporting day of the year, the Grand National. We’ve had the Boat Race already too. The County Championship started yesterday (Elstow begin their season on the 27th, thanks for asking. See you all there. ) Still to come are the FA Cup and Heineken Cup Semi-Finals. It’s the business end of the season at Goldington Road too (Kenilworth Road and its hapless occupants, in contrast, seemingly stopped trading about mid-February) while the Premier League Darts bandwagon continues to roll triumphantly from city to city. They’ll be shuffling happily into their seats at The Crucible before long too. On Sunday 21st April it’s the London Marathon when the roads of our nation’s capital are full to bursting with great athletes and greater causes.

Then there’s tonight. Several thousand miles away. On the Azalea lined fairways of Augusta. Vistas so polished, drama so compelling, spectators so comically attired and ample, it could only be The Masters.

I love golf. I always squirm in embarrassment when I’m asked if I play it. As mentioned here previously, nothing, nothing opens the overspilling compartment in my head coarsely marked ‘Self Hate’ like a round of golf. So to prevent myself from turning, permanently, into a gibbering wreck I tend to steer clear of anything that involves picking up my clubs.

I’ll contentedly watch it all day though. Yesterday’s Par Three competition made for interesting viewing. Watching the wonderful Messrs Palmer, Player and Nicklaus (Possibly the best triumvirate since the aforementioned band earlier?) enchant the crowds amid the spring sunshine was in stark contrast to the uncomfortable live interviews given by today’s heroes, the pride of N’orn Iron, with their respective partners on their bags.

Tonight, though, the real stuff begins. Expect to see one of our guys start really well only to have a shocker come Saturday. Await the first idiotic ‘inthehoooole’ shout from one of the half-witted locals. Count on someone from outside the predicted pack come good too. You will tear your hair out at the amount of ad breaks. You will coo in appreciation at the utterly superlative craftsmanship of the course’s greenskeepers and groundsmen. You will speak aloud ungenerous, cussed oaths when Lee Westwood misses a sitter.

The Masters helps make golf the sport it is. It helps make April the month it is. Put your feet up and enjoy.

Wonderful News From The Warren

My cricket club, Elstow C.C. are champions of Bedfordshire. Indoor champions, but champions nonetheless. I am exceptionally proud of Cousin Tommy and the lads for their achievement. This is another significant landmark in the club’s history and is testament to a great bunch of players and the hard work they’ve put in over the last few years.

Regular readers will be familiar with DWC’s regular guest contributor, The Bury Avenue Bugle. In the last of his winter columns, he reports from the club’s victorious last indoor game of the season.

It was fitting that arguably the two most progressive ‘village cricket clubs’ in Bedfordshire, Blunham and Elstow should play out the final game of the indoor season. Both clubs, have made giant strides in recent years, with emphasis placed on ‘community’, ‘youth’ and ‘facilities’ and at the heartbeat, dedicated lovers of the game ensuring both clubs continue to develop apace to try and emulate the powerhouses of Bedfordshire cricket.
The division was extremely tight; four teams equal on points going into the last round of games, with Elstow leading on net run rate. Many a calculator and abacus had been deployed during the day’s preceding games especially as both Flitwick and Biggleswade Town won handsomely. After much algebraic logarithms, the mathematic equation was simple:
If Elstow win they win the league.

Blunham’s Nick Harding put Elstow’s batsmen under early pressure, keeping Elstow’s opening pair and the all important run rate tied down. Despite the bright start by Blunham’s bowlers, the experienced Dave Riddle soon moved to the retirement score of forty, this in the fifth over. Fellow senior pro Matt Stevens joined Tom Wisson at the crease and Elstow were 65 without loss halfway through. This pair, allied with the profligacy of the Blunham change bowlers, began to speed things up for their side. Wisson’s departure left his team 117-1 with three overs left. Dan Wisson came and went for twelve before the gloveless Phil Johnson joined the irrepressible Stevens who smote a lofted six from the last ball of the innings to finish undefeated on 32. Elstow had to defend 157-2 to win the title.

In Shabz Hussain, Blunham had a man to break Elstow hearts. One of the county’s stand out cricketers and characters, Blunham promoted him to the top of the order to get them off to a flyer. Former County colleague and Elstow captain Tom Wisson took the new ball for his team. Runs came agonisingly through the vacant slip areas and Stu Robson was unlucky with a run out appeal, indeed it was the big North Easterner who was up next. As he has done all season, Robbo turned the screw with the ball and Hussain was run out by Riddle from the last ball of the second over. Blunham were soon 29-2 after three overs, Riddle again the man; his athleticism saw Connor Heaps run out.

Dan Wisson’s sharp catch at short mid on had the opposition 30-3 off the bowling of Johnson. Then Harding, the other danger man, was the third run out victim of the innings courtesy of smart work from Robson, as Blunham, under relentless pressure from the bowlers and fielders began to cave in. Belief was about to become victory.

Elstow’s player of the season, Dave Riddle, accounted for the remaining two wickets, the first a caught and bowled chance and the second, for the sentimentalists, via a stumping from his old mucker, Stevens. Blunham had been soundly thrashed by eighty six runs, the demolition job being completed inside nine overs.

Tom Wisson lifted the trophy aloft to great cheers from the packed gallery. He was quick to laud his players for an outstanding championship winning performance and a terrific last few months. However, the triumphant season was a squad performance, with every person contributing and thanks must be extended to the players that were not playing today but have assisted the club in becoming Champions. Rani Thiarra, Ed Wisson, Rob Tebbutt, Will Wisson, Rob Leddy and of course to our long standing scorer, groundsman, President and all round good egg – Ali Milne. Also to the throngs of supporters present at any game whether 9am sharp or missing their Sunday Roasts (even on a Mothering Sunday!). Your support is hugely appreciated.
As always, though its the players that do the easy bit, it is thanks to the ‘behind the scenes’ hardcore of dedicated volunteers that helps to make Elstow – ‘Elstow’ and give us the platform to develop and grow. Huge indebted thanks to Phil, Ali, H, Ben Wisson, Paul Jackson, Geoff Couling and Will – amongst the growing youth network and support (too many to mention) that makes our club special.

The Blunham Phoenix will rise again but the day belonged to Elstow. Lustily cheered below a packed gallery, little ole Elstow (who dared to dream) had somehow ascended the elite Bedfordshire Indoor League and become champions.
Elstow is now etched alongside Bedford Town, Dunstable, Flitwick and Biggleswade to mention a few, as winners of this league – esteemed company indeed. Tom Wisson lifted the trophy amongst the Elstow faithful after some kind words from the League Chairman.
Next stop…. the nationals…. crumbs!

So that’s settled then. They only win things when I go away for the winter. Better see if I can get to The Ashes in November…