Notts the upset we wanted

CRICKET: SUFFOLK'S rather overwhelming defeat by Notts in the Cheltenham and Gloucester Cup was the only black mark for me in a great week (the week before last) which was my club Browns CC's annual cricket week.

SUFFOLK'S rather overwhelming defeat by Notts in the Cheltenham and Gloucester Cup was the only black mark for me in a great week (the week before last) which was my club Browns CC's annual cricket week.

Most of the people I spoke to who actually went to the game at Mildenhall were in agreement that as upsets and shock results occur so rarely in these matches. (Herfordshire's win over Middlesex being the first such "turn-up for the books" for a number of years, maybe for the third round of the competition in future the formal should be that the First Class counties should always bat first when playing against a Minor County.

This would enable the Minor County's supporters to see the inevitable star batsman involved in action.

It didn't happen at Mildenhall, Greg Blewett didn't get the chance to bat.

Even if conditions are in favour of the side fielding first, surely the professional training of the First Class players makes them better able to cope than the part-timers.

Whatever, I felt sorry for the spectators at Mildenhall who must have ended up feeling a bit short-changed.

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Which certainly wasn't a feeling that the members of Browns CC would have had after a week of cricket blessed with excellent weather and good entertainment.

The same day as Suffolk were losing to Notts, Browns put out a Seniors XI to take on the Two Counties over 50's XI.

This was in line with our policy of involving all age-groups at the club in the Tolly Cobbold sponsored Browns Festival of Cricket, and followed two games featuring the Under 13s and Under 18s.

The seniors' game ended in a high-scoring draw but what rendered it worth remarking upon was that it saw the return to the cricket field of our ex-captain Richard Robinson who, as most people in local cricket circles now, was struck down by a serious illness at the end of last season, one from which it has taken remarkable courage and mental toughness to get back to a situation where it has been possible for him to do the whites again.

A long struggle has resulted in "Robbo", who has been an absolute colossus of a performer for Suffolk and all the local clubs he has played for down the years, taking a first few tentative steps back into the arena he used to regularly dominate.

Attempts to bowl proved tricky at first but he eventually pitched one in the right half, and I'm sure no-one will be surprised to hear that when his turn came to bat he soon picked up where he had left off and did what was always expected of him – he hit a size!

It was quite a moving occasion for all concerned, and we and all his many friends in the game can only hope that he continues to make progress. He's definitely lined up for another game soon.

I ended the week by captaining a Browns 3rd XI in a friendly match against St Margaret's 3rd XI in which two of us were aged over sixty and the rest were 18 years old or younger.

During the game something happened which I thought was absolutely wonderful.

I happened to be batting when we were in a bit of a pickle at 73-7. My partner was a young 13 year old gentleman by the name of Courtney David, who, as his christian name suggests, is setting out to be a pace bowler.

We had plenty of time to try to steady the ship, so I suggested to him that he just try and stay in and I would endeavour to put some runs on the board.

Well, he did magnificently, playing beautifully straight, and although at present he is not of any great stature, he was not intimidated by facing older boys bowling quickly at him. We managed to put on over 30 runs, and during this time he played a lovely square cut-cum-drive past point for four.

When we had a quick chat in the middle of the wicket he told me proudly that it was the first four he had ever hit in his life. It felt a privilege to be there with him, and if he keeps going the way he has started I'm sure he'll have a good career ahead of him.

He managed to hit his second before he got out, and when he bowled later his figures were 4-0-8-0.

We lost the match quite easily in the end, for St Margarets have some useful youngsters too, ably marshalled by Mick Pearce, but I hope young Courtney will remember the day he first experienced that special feeling of striking the ball over the boundary line. I certainly will, it was great to see close up how much pleasure the game can bring a youngster just starting out.

I always like to hear of outstanding achievements and unusual events and occurrences in the very divine world of cricket, and big-hitting is an aspect of the game that often throws up something special.

Hitting six sixes in an over seems to be becoming a slightly more regular event these days, but there can have been fewer more eventful examples than that of one Usman Tariq for Whitefield against Tranmere Victoria in the Merseyside Competition.

He hit thirty-six from an over after gaining the strike when his partner took a single off the first delivery, which was a no ball.

He thumped the next ball over mid-wicket into an adjacent park where a dog picked up the ball and wouldn't return it.

The fielders eventually got it back, but the dog was inaction again when the next delivery sailed back into his territory again, with a similar result. The ball was finally snatched back again after a chase, but when the third delivery followed the self-same route, the dog got fed up and bit the retrieving fielder's hand.

Fortunately for all concerned the next three sixes were hit to different parts of the ground and Tariq went on to score 202 not out.

Talk about adding insult to injury!

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