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Mark Pougatch's Newsletter, 2017

The 2017 season started in very decent weather at the Wiltshire Queries and on a good batting track only Dom Fry with 3-52 shrugged off the winter rust as the home side settled on 283-6. The James’ Marsh and Scott both made 30s before the season really arrived with the first batting collapse of the year; 114-3 became 120-6 and 132-8 but just as it seemed the Chairman was going to save us, Bob Percival ran himself out - going for a second to deep extra. Might as well start as we mean to go on. We lost by 123 runs.

Run outs peppered our innings at Hartley Wintney as well, and not even a century stand between James Battersby and Tristan Gregory could set a challenging enough target for the home side who got home by 4 wickets in Baltic conditions. Even in the second game of the season the match report contains the familiar Grannies theme: ‘a number of dropped catches...a slightly underpowered attack....’ The chairman pulled off a blinding stumping but although disappointing to lose, it was great to see the fixture resurrected after a 20 year hiatus.

Staying in Hampshire, we wished we hadn’t. The match report against the Hogs reads thus:

‘Hogs 317 for 1 Dec
Grannies 141 all out. Andrew De Mestre 51. Full report to follow when crying stops.’

It didn’t, so it hasn’t.

Moving swiftly on, the Rascals at Stonegate was a 25 over game after one end of the pitch had been flooded. The Rascals ran up 177/5 which was always out of sight but Messrs Finn and Ellis brought along the next generation, which was fabulous to see.

St Paul’s fell victim to the rain and then Castle Hill saw an agonising 1 wicket defeat. Ed Gardiner-Hill showed unknown reserves of patience in making 68 in our 167-9 before Alastair Deighton’s got amongst their batting. He took 6-57 but a quick 50 from a Castle Hill buck took them just over the line.

The pitch at Wing was slower than usual because of overnight rain and even 245 for 9 from 50 overs didn't look quite enough. Kamal Chhibber followed up last year's ton with 86, James Brierley (46) and Will Wright (43) also contributed but the Stragglers of Asia won by 6 wickets comfortably enough with 7 overs to spare.

We lost against The Hurlingham Club by 38 runs, a game summed up by The Grannies match manager as a “Great game”! Chasing their score of 290 for 6 from 53 overs (memorable for the 125 not out by former England batsman Ed Smith), we recovered from 93 for 6 after 21 overs to end up on 252 all out in the 46th, with Joe Brennan contributing 64, Peter Schutzer-Weissmann 46, Stephen Hornsby 39 and Ed Brennan 27 not out.

Great Tew was ruined by rain during tea after we had made 194 all out, with a 50 from Rob Waddington. Archie Orr Ewing made his Grannies debut, following in the footsteps of uncle Colin, who played in the early days.

At this stage we hadn't won a game and a rousing - some would say bollocking - email followed from the Chairman, and a first win followed in the T20 game against the Dusters. We set them 163-5 with the runs shared out and likewise the wickets as the Dusters bit just that, finishing 148 all out.

The Old Spots game was, according to Jim Streeter, the game of Adam ‘Parky’ Parkinson's life. He made an impressive 38 on a slow pitch, kept wicket in 2 spells including a full-length diving catch, and bowled 8 overs of off-spin, took 2 wickets and caught a blinder at long on! Jim made 51, Martin Stringer 52 not out in a Score of 195-6. Martin's fiancée Catx fielded in her Brisbane Uni kit and 184-6 the game seemed up until Jonny Morris, Shiv with 2 and Martin strangled them to win euphorically by 2 runs.

We hammered Goodwood by 10 wickets. Lewis Roberts took 3-28, Tim Flood two fine stumpings, and the home side closed on 139-5 after 40 overs. Scotty's hamstring went...It took fewer than 20 overs to knock them off, Adam Parkinson 64 not out and Jonny Morris unbeaten on 63. Two matches over the weekend; 2 wins...

It couldn't last. The HAC beat us by 24 runs. Chasing 280 to win off 43 overs, Tom Smith rattled up a century off 62 balls and despite a late cameo of 48 not out from John Gibbons the target was beyond reach.

The game against Lord Carnarvon's XI was memorable for a stunning spell of bowling from one of The Grannies mainstays for three decades now. Jon Staniforth took 8-84, a spell of high class bowling from a man to whom the club owe a great deal for his loyal service, humour and skill. Chasing 277 to win, we were undone by a Granny opening the bowling for the opposition (after fielding as 12th man....) and even though Pari Job made 54 we were never in it, all out for 115.

That shellacking was followed by a similar one at The Griffin. Will Siebert and Charlie Ellis bowled well in their score of 218 but losing Richard Snowden to a nasty gash on his head left the top order short of power and although George Smith got the dilscoop out in his 34 we fell way short.

The Bar was beaten by 58 runs on a scorching hot day. Billy Maisey (68) and Jonny Morris (30) underpinned our 230-8 and then the recently married Martin Stringer (5-1-16-1), 3 wickets from James Battersby's off spin and 3 from Billy Maisey to blow away the tail wrapped it up.

The Demijohns game never materialised and Parham marmalised us by 148 runs, 258-3 Dec playing 110 all out and a match report which simply states, 'Youth prevailed.'

Against The Armadillos, The Grannies responded to starting the game with just 4 men but Ed Gross with an effortless 65 and Jay Stockham with 64 were central to our 200. Ed then took three LBWs and a smart run out as The Armadillos were all out for 81.

Rain put paid to both the Eton Ramblers and London New Zealand games, and Falconhurst won by 8 wickets as The Grannies made 114-8 in 35 with Jamie Williams striking an unbeaten 39, 'in conditions akin to The Tempest.'

Old Amplefordians was rained off. With rain forecast a 30 over game was agreed with The Turks and James Caldwell (87) and Adam Parkinson (76) put on a fabulous 163 for the opening wicket and 202 was a very competitive total. The Grannies ended with three invalids in the field, Mike Schutzer-Weismann took 2-23 from his 5 overs, and the opposition finished 172-7.

Odiham and Greywell was that rarity in 2017, a draw. We made 126, 51 apiece from Jim Streeter and Jamie Williams and then as the match report states, 'the second half of the scorecard was a riot of binary - 0,0,1,0,1.' The Grannies can collapse in September as well as April - and all points in between. The scene was set but then the heavens opened just after the Chairman had taken the team through a series of rigorous warm ups. Fate laughed in his face.

A 35 over game against the Royal Household went against us. They scored 198-5 with a louche amount of extras, 32, buffeting the total after Billy Maisey and a Jon Staniforth had opened the bowling very tightly. At 33-5 it looked all over but then two debutants, Ben Pullan (63) and Darren Almeida (30) put in 74 runs in 11 1/2 overs in great style but nevertheless we were all out for 133 in the 33rd over.

The season finished at Stone in Oxney and a loss by 25 runs in a 40 over game. The home side got off to a flier but the subtle spin of Adam Newton produced 3 wickets and Stone closed on 259. The Grannies made a good fist of it with 43 from Steve Slaughter, 40 from Mike Bellhouse and 39 from Jamie Williams but the big innings required wasn't forthcoming.

And so ends another season. By no means the most successful statistically but that's never been the ultimate barometer for this club! Good luck to the team in Rwanda and before you can say Geoffrey Boycott stole Theresa May's Tupperware, it will be pre-season nets.