Thursday, 29 May 2014

League Weekend 6 and the Week Ahead

Saturday's League fixtures -
  • 1sts vs RH Corstorphine, away.
  • 2nds vs Largo 2nds at Arbo.

Sunday's League fixture -
  • 3rds vs SMRH 4ths at Arbo.

Midweek -
  • Tuesday - 2nds/3rds vs the Isobar, Presidents Plate Round 1, at Arbo.
  • Unknown - 1sts vs Watsonians, Masterton QF at Myreside.

Saideep Stars as Twos Tie

For each of the last two years the trip to Prestonpans has produced one of the stranger and more one-sided games of our season. In 2012, our then captain was "detained" leaving BAF and JB stranded in Edinburgh and when we eventually assembled ten players we were cuffed. Then last year more or less the whole Preston Village 1st XI was injured or absent and we routed them, with Gerry taking a six-for.

With a midweek selection crisis, 2014 initially seemed to threaten a repeat of 2012 but a more or less credible 2nd XI was cobbled together with the help of some well-known quantities from the 3rds and an unknown quantity in Saideep Kachodi, who had looked good in midweek but was making his League debut.

It was a grim, cold day. We lost the toss and were put in on a grassy track. BAF nicked off early to Ian Hawkins (9-1-36-2) and Adam Forsyth (9-2-20-3), opening from the pavilion end, bowled another excellent spell against us, quicker and shorter than in the past. When he removed Mike Nevin's middle peg we were 25-2 and 2012 seemed more likely than 2013.

By the drinks break, taken at 109-2, 2013 seemed on again as JB (40) found himself in the unusual position of junior partner/slow coach as Saideep (63) batted superbly. Four huge sixes (particularly one straight back over the PV captain's head after repeated, misplaced comments that everything was being hacked to leg) stood out but there was a lot more than power hitting to one of the most impressive debut innings I've seen in over 20 years at the Cross.

BAF coaches Saideep during that fateful drinks break. Photo: Broon.

Unfortunately the drinks break put 2012 back on the cards as JB tried to leave a sharply bouncing delivery from Shiraz Ramzan (9-1-34-2) and only succeeded in gloving it to the keeper, Buchie got a golden and Saideep fell lbw to Forsyth. But the tail wagged with Smudger (26) and Gerry (14), mostly deploying the slap-pull, rolling back the years and taking the score on to 174.

PV started slowly with Gerry (9-2-18-0) bowling the most economical spell of the day. Mark Powlett fell to Saideep and had chances been taken the Village People could easily have been 10 for 3. But Davie King (27) and especially Ramzan (48) are dangerous batsmen and, with Cross spurning still further chances and a couple of close shouts turned down, they added 54 before King was finally out lbw to JB. Ramzan and Ian Patterson (60) then added another 50 at 5 an over and 2012 was favourite again until Saideep caught Ramzan in the deep off Smudge. Patterson was batting annoyingly well - how many of his 18 career 50s have been against us?

Excited locals watch the action. Photo: McP.

With rain falling from about the 25th over, the scorers had retreated to the pavilion but messages were being sent out whenever PV were ahead on the DL. Thankfully, mostly thanks to Ian, common sense prevailed, we stayed on and played the game to a proper conclusion. With one over remaining PV were 170 for 4 and clear favourites. From the first five balls Saideep (9-0-36-2) conceded only one run and took the vital wicket of Patterson, caught and bowled - HX back in the box seat. But off the last ball, Alastair Dobie played what the PV website describes as a "top edged slog sleep" shot (sic - were his eyes closed?) over third man which plugged short of the boundary but far enough beyond the fielder for Forsyth to sprint the third. With PV finishing 174-5, a tie (15 points each) was a fair result - history made rather than repeated.

Thanks to PV for a game played in a fine spirit, for staying out in the rain and finishing the game and, as ever, for their splendid hospitality afterwards in the Goth.

From the Goth. We don't think they meant Saideep. Photo: Broon.

Caption Competition - What are Raja and Bainbro up to?

Photo: David Potter.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Weekend Round-Up - Fantastic Spirit, Mixed Results

Thanks to all those Crossers, new and old, several of them injured, who rallied round in a tough week for the selectors. On Thursday morning we only had two teams, but by Saturday ......

The fuds were the stars, beating Watsonians 4ths convincingly. Captain Candlo led the batting with 47, but there were also useful 20s from Dave Munroe, debutant Ross Baillie and Willie-doesn't-play-often-enough-Lyttle. Coco then set off towards his new target of 3000 Cross wickets with a five-for - at that pace, assuming the odd rain-off and allowing for the occasional midweek scalp, we reckon he only needs to play another 13 seasons to get there.

The 2nds tied against Preston Village. Saideep was the star on his League debut with 63 runs, including four huge sixes, as well as two wickets and two catches. More on this to follow.

The 1sts came second, or perhaps third ......

Friday, 23 May 2014

Coco Claims 2000th Scalp as Cross Prove Too Hot for Currie

New midweek captain Alex Candlish's debut match report -
On what was a sodden evening in some parts of Edinburgh, luckily not Fortress Arbo, a HX midweek XI took on Currie-Balerno in the first midweek friendly of the season.

Arbo action from Thursday. Photo: BAF.

I have been called a t***** for most of my adult life (and my misspent youth) and that proved to be correct when I won the toss and chose to bat.
A much changed opening partnership of Elmondt and Butchy got HX off to a cautious start with some good bowling from CB’s opening bowlers. Once the openers were dispatched as well as Dave Munroe without troubling the scorers a fruitful partnership of 60 between Bimbo and new man Saideep, with some excellent wristy stroke play (not building on the previous euphemism in any shape or form), steadying the ship. Both were to retire reaching the magical 30 mark even though Bimbo miscounted himself to 28, he blamed me for that but the skipper is never wrong in a cricket match (see Shaun Pollock, circa 2003). After the retirements athletes-come-cricketers Danny, Graeme and Ross went within quick succession and brought myself and Dan Welsh to the crease, Dan boshed a quick fire 30 whilst I held up the other end for 3 balls, but what a 3 balls. Usama played some useful shots as did Saideep when he returned to the crease. HX posted a decent score of 135/7 off 20 overs.
After a quick turn around, Dan Welsh and Saideep opened the bowling, bowling tidy (Dan not robbing any wickets this time as he was forced to bowl at the opening batman) with both bowlers taking a wicket a piece (I think). Coco came on to replace Welsh and after two overs he was celebrating his (claimed) 2000th wicket shortly after smoking his 2000th cigarette of the month. Athlete-come-cricketer Ross Bailey bowled some tidy balls and soon took his first wicket for the cross, (just 1999 to go). Butchy and Usama were brought into the attack, with FB rolling back the years (is that a Simply Red song?) and Usama bowling a mixture of ¼ trackers, beamers and a few absolute peaches. Elmondt replaced Usama and was quickly in the wickets however, surprisingly, there were no vigorous appeals for balls sliding 12 stumps down legside from Holy Cross’s version of Albie Morkel.  Bimbo and myself were brought on to bowl the final overs out, both of us taking a couple of weeks a piece. HX eventually winning by circa 20 runs.

A thoroughly enjoyable game of cricket.

Thanks to Currie-Balerno for providing the opposition and all those who turned up on the night to play.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

League Weekend 5 and the Week Ahead

Saturday's League fixtures -
  • 1sts vs Murrayfield-DAFS at Arbo.
  • 2nds vs Preston Village, away.
  • 3rds vs Watsonians 4ths, away.

Midweek -
  • Tuesday - friendly vs Herriot-Watt at Arbo.
  • Thursday - Masterton QF vs Watsonians, away.

"Paxo Never Got One of These" - Lohan Sinks Watsons as 2nds Win Again

Saturday was dull but warm as stand-in skipper BAF put Watsonians 3rds in. Praveen, in his first
No house colours for Gerry's fag
spell for several years, showed a little rust but also some "good wheels" from the Castle End, while Ross T bowled a tidy spell from the Ferry Road End. The openers beat the bat often enough, but with the Arbo Doctor gusting strongly from the west some wide wides and some stolid batting from Counsell (29) and Borthwick left our opposition 40 for 0 from just 11 overs at the first bowling change.

However Gerry (9-2-16-4), wearing his near-50-year-old house colours cravat and utilising all his Arbo experience, struck first ball, removing Borthwick with the first of three LBWs and by the time his excellent spell was over, Watsonians were 80-odd for 5 with Rae unfortunate to fall to a dodgy call and a BAF-Lawrie run out.

There's nothing unusual about Gerry bowling beautifully, but that run-out, so slow-mo that it may still be going on, was only one of a number of odd incidents, now listed in ascending order of weirdness. Ken pulled off a superb stumping. Buchie took an excellent catch low by his right knee to dismiss the dangerous Tim Bunker off Ross P - but only after first flinging his hands up towards his left shoulder. The-man-who-had-Paxman-for-his-fag-at-school appealed for an LBW from slip by shouting "No Ball". And, strangest of all, JB (4-1-7-3) nipped out the tail in his first bowl of the year. Watsonians nine down and all out for 111.

Our top order had barely featured thus far this season, but this time it was different, if only because our middle order engine room of Dan (19) and Ross T (30) had been promoted to open. They put on 61 before Dan fell to Bunker (9-3-26-1) who bowled a typically probing spell. Soon after Ross was bowled by Somerset, but any jitters were short-lived as JB (29*) and Ziggy (11*) took us to a winning total of 112 for 2 in the 24th over.

Thanks to Watsonians for a game played in good spirits, for their very fair umpiring and for hanging around for a drink or two - if only we could arrange an FA Cup Final with extra time every week, the bar takings would soar ......

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

A thriller in the mist!

Monday, 19 May 2014

Midweek Update

Two midweek games this week. The friendly has been moved to Thursday -

  • Tuesday, Masterton Trophy vs Livingston, away.
  • Thursday, friendly vs Currie-Balerno at Arbo. If you'd like to play please contact Captain Candlish.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

League Weekend 4 and the Week Ahead

Saturday's League fixtures -

  • 1sts vs Freuchie, away.
  • 2nds vs Watsonians 3rds, at Arbo.
  • 3rds vs Glenrothes 3rds, home on the Inverleith artificial.

On Tuesday night we have our first midweek evening friendly, vs Currie-Balerno at Arbo. Contact Captain Candlish if interested. The postponed Masterton tie away at Livingston many also be rearranged for next week. There are (currently) no nets on Thursday.

STOP PRESS - Masterton rearranged for Tuesday evening, so Currie-Balerno friendly in jeopardy.

Monday, 12 May 2014

KF Returns to the Blog

It's great to be able to publish KF's latest piece on the state of HX, Scottish cricket and related matters.


Stop Press: Unfortunately the club's lawyers (no, not him!) have informed us that KF's piece cannot be published on a public forum on account of its controversial contents. Sorry folks - try the Deep Web... or the HX email list ...

'using expletives to bid farewell to an opposing non-chivalric swordsman'

Saturday, 10 May 2014

All Saturday matches OFF

1sts, 2nds & Fuds all rained off.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

League Weekend 3 and the Week Ahead

Saturday's League fixtures -

  • 1sts vs Glenrothes at Arbo.
  • 2nds vs Stirling County 3rds, away.
  • 3rds vs Leith 2nds on the Inverleith Park artificial.

On Thursday evening we travel to Livingston for the 1st round of the Masterton Trophy. Nets at Arbo for anyone not involved.

Inching Ahead - Hungry 2s Win Again

The slow-motion bar crawl that is Holy Cross selection reached the Raeburn Hotel in Stockbridge last week. In a former life this was the venue for the rather raucous celebrations of the 2nd Division championship in our 50th anniversary year. It is now a "boutique hotel", unlikely to welcome the riff-raff of 2000, but natural home to man-about town, Andy G, and his selectorial colleagues.

The selectors were on top form, too, this week, producing a list of 11 players all of whom were actually available. Naturally, this being the Cross, one of them was then sent to Arbo by mistake, leaving us with 10 at the designated start time. This was, however, two more than South had. Our hosts won the toss, borrowed a fielder and put us in and we finally got under way around 1.20 on another cold, grey Inch afternoon.

Beyond superior numbers, we also started with the huge advantage that the peripatetic Gus McLean (usual bowling figures against us roughly 9-5-7-3) had wandered off over the winter for another spell at Boroughmuir. But we didn't make the most of it and even though Tiwari (9-3-12-1) couldn't repeat his extraordinary 6-for of a year ago, he, Shepherd (8-0-28-2) and Sheikh (9-4-18-1) bowled accurately on a tricky, muddy pitch on which Paul Murphy's very slow googlies also later proved effective. Our top four rode their luck a bit but still mostly contrived to get themselves out and, at 38 for 4 for the second week running, we looked to be in some trouble and South's tails (of which there were by now a full eleven) were definitely up.

However Dan (30) and Ross (18) consolidated and began to push the score on, and Milly (21 no), who arrived late from Arbo in his second taxi of the day muttering darkly about claiming expenses, and Dom (12 no) saw us to a handy score of 145 for 6, which included 25 extras but only 4 boundaries.

Ross and Dan looking unflustered. Photo: BAF.

With the teas locked in an apparently unstaffed clubhouse, we wasted 25 minutes standing around in the cold before turning round, but this seemed only to inspire the bowling unit and wickets fell regularly as South were bowled out for 68 in 27 overs, a score which included no boundaries but one 5 run penalty as, allegedly for the first time ever, a batsman chipped a ball back past Gerry and onto the cap he uses as a bowling mark. Ross effected an excellent run out; Ziggy pulled off a fine diving/falling catch; Gerry bowled beautifully (8-0-19-2); Dan (1.1-0-1-2) snuck in for some cheap wickets at the end again; and man-of the-match Milly (6-1-15-4) bowled well, although he took all of his wickets with rank filth.

Another handy victory with good bowling, better fielding and some stuffy batting from the lower middle order. The top order hopes to turn up this week. Thanks to Edinburgh South for their usual good cheer and fair umpiring (and for making us look quite organised by comparison). One last thought, captain Smudger has yet to bowl a ball in anger this summer .......

Monday, 5 May 2014

Holy Cross Academicals 2 Edinburgh South 1

1sts win by six or seven wickets at Arbo after bowling South out for 130 - Raja the star with 3
wickets and 82 not out. Reports of "excellent teas" from the Edinburgh South Twitter account.

Contrary to reports on the Edinburgh South Twitter account, 2nds win by 77 runs at The Inch with fine all-round performances from Milly and Dan, backed up by Ross and Dom. No reports of teas.

3rds lose by 9 runs at Inverleith Park despite a good wag from the tail.

More to follow, from the 2nds at least.

Friday, 2 May 2014

League Weekend 2 and the Week Ahead

Saturday's fixtures, all of which are 1pm starts -

  • 1sts vs Edinburgh South 1sts at Arbo.
  • 2nds vs Edinburgh South 2nds at the Inch.
  • 3rds vs Edinburgh South 3rds, home on the Inverleith Park artificial.
  • 4ths vs Edinburgh South 4ths ..... only kidding.
Nets at Arbo on Thursday night.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Vik-tory - but no Invasion.

A selection meeting that apparently ended in the early hours of Wednesday morning in Tiger Lily
may have provided further fodder for the Twitter phenomenon #babesincrosskit but it had also produced a slightly strange-looking 2nd X (sic) which featured four 1sts squad members.

Two of those, Kev (5-0-18-1) and Vik, opened the bowling after BAF, subbing for a late-running Smudge, had won the toss and put Carnegie in on a damp Arbo wicket. They bowled well but without luck and the College's experienced opening pair of Daughtrey and Honeyford moved the score on to 43 in the 15th before, shortly after Norrie's appearance as a sub fielder,* Dom McMonagle (9-0-28-1) removed Honeyford lbw.

Two more wickets fell quickly including the prize scalp of Harris run-out by Dan Welsh, and when Ross Treacy (9-1-25-2) took the second wicket of a fine debut spell, Carnegie were 60 for 4. Saleem hit one superb 6 in his 26 and he and Walker rebuilt for a while, taking the score past 90, but then the introduction of Welsh (3-1-5-2) and the return of Vik (8-5-13-4) produced a startling collapse with the last six wickets falling for four runs to leave Carnegie 96 all out from 34 overs.

A recent BBC News Magazine article on a 1937 tour to Germany reported that the English tourists had not warmed to the German captain "who had a penchant for punching fielders who dropped catches off his bowling". Smudge didn't bowl himself but our catching (5 in all, with no clear chances missed) was good enough to suggest that if he had there'd have been no need for violence and Tom Jordan kept wicket superbly.

After another fine Arbo spread, most of us were expecting a slow grind as, while the boundaries were shorter than we'd have liked and the pitch barely misbehaved, going had been slow for Carnegie. Tom clearly had other ideas, however, racing to 10 off four balls, including a six. Unfortunately a single of the 5th ball of the innings brought BAF to the crease and in trying to pull a ball into Arboreturm Road he somehow contrived to offer a sharp catch to first slip. This rather set the pattern for the first half of the innings as the score raced on, but the top four all fell to slightly odd, self-induced dismissals, leaving us 38 for 4 after 8 overs.

This, however, merely set the stage for a fine partnership of 57 between Dan (23no) and man-of-the-match Vik (29) which carried us to the verge of a 5 wicket victory in the 24th over. Dan, showing a highly developed sense of where his off and leg stumps were, played and missed a bit, but Vik, curbing his natural attacking instincts until a spinner came on, looked in good form from the start.

A very satisfying win against a team that beat us twice (the second game featuring an extraordinary pitch invasion by Dunfermline youths) and pipped us for second place in Div 5 last year. Thanks to Carnegie for a game played in good spirits and for staying for a couple of pints afterwards, before leaving us to try to assemble the scoring gazebo for the first time ahead of the 1sts' home game on Saturday.

How many Crossers does it take to put up a tent?

Getting there.

* Your reporter has to confess to having been a bit "jaded" on Saturday - it was only when Norrie came on the field and he couldn't work out who'd left that he realised we'd been playing with 10 men for over 10 overs.