Category Archives: Match Reports 2013

MCC v Riding Mill 8 May 2013 @ Riding Mill

Match Reporter: Colin Haylock

Mallards snatch ignominious defeat from jaws of mere defeat in “W” rated horror show against Riding Mill Village.

The headline says it all – those of a delicate disposition should read no further.

On a night of great cricketing innovation (18 overs at 12 a side) at a fortunately sparsely supported Estadio Riding Mill the Mallards surpassed themselves in a display of epic Mallardian incompetence which took its cues from the Geordie generosity offered to the visitors from Liverpool at St James Park last weekend.

Was it vaunting self-confidence from an unfamiliar early season win in the previous game, or the stress of travelling to their first away fixture of the year (having to cross the pavilion to the unfamiliar away dressing room) that prompted such a wonderous performance from before the first ball to the close of play?

Riding Mill’s captain returned from the toss and announced to his team that they were batting first in the best of the light as they had hoped. Congratulated on winning the toss he revealed he’d actually lost it !

From this doubtful platform the Mallards built in spectacular style spurning one potential further cricketing innovation – a retirement figure for extras.

P Terry and Nitsch opened for the Village and Browne and Dunhill for the Mallards. Browne established early a part of the tone of the Mallards performance – two wides in his first over – but untypically wasn’t conceding runs off the bat. Dunhill bowling tightly by the standards of the day was rewarded by the wicket of Nitsch in his second over leaving the Village on 15 for 1 in the 4th over. This brought Jonny Bennett to the crease to visit his particular brand of mayhem and push the score along with the only 6 of the game.

Six overs in and all to play for with the Village restricted to 28 for 1 and impressive figures for Dunhill of 1 for 19 and a positively miserly 0 for 7 for Browne.

The first change brought Heslop and Mexter into the fray — after a generous first over Heslop tightened things up in his second, which conceded only one run and a wide. The normally tight and threatening Mexter enjoyed his first over so much he didn’t want it to end – but after 10 balls even he had to admit one can have too much of a good thing ! At least he was consoled by the bowling of Bennett in his second over.

Meanwhile in the field “skip” Stig was commencing his taking of a battering – a seriously painful stop with wrist rather than hand – and another on the arm before he found ways of magically allowing the ball to pass through his not inconsiderable body.

Halfway and 57 for 2 and a further change of bowling brought Haylock and Scutt into play. Heslop was brought up to slip and took a sharp first ball catch off Haylock. The next 4 overs peppered with wides took the score to 97 for 3 before Haylock’s 3rd over sent opener P Terry back to the pavilion bowled for 23 followed next ball by Walker.

The final overs shared between Scott and Mexter brought wickets for Scott and Mexter but saw M Terry retire on 30 and the score grow to a challenging 113 for 7 off the 18 overs – with extras top scoring on 39 (9 over the agreed retirement figure!) [curiously the reporter has omitted to mention the sitter dropped by Dickinson, for the record it’s now noted! –ed.]

With a target of 7.5 an over and failing light the great chase was set upon by openers Steele and McCaffrey. Steele set out well with a four in the first over but tight bowling by Bennett and M Terry and our openers ability to cunningly pick out Village fielders slowed progress with the score creeping to 22 without loss after 5 overs.

Safeguarding his standing in the Village prompted Nitsch to a fine catch over his head to dismiss the unfortunate Steele off a slow leg break by Bennett.

With McCaffrey holding down one end and scoring steadily but slowly [having taken a couple of overs to rediscover what the purpose of the piece of sculpted willow in his hand, was for – ed.] wickets tumbled at the other end. Scott and Dickinson departed for 5 each  both caught by Bennett – Dickinson picking him out on the boundary for a juggled catch from a shot that deserved better.

Mexter rested on his two wicket laurels in departing for a 4 ball 1. Beacock attempted to steady the ship but, with the Mallards slipping further and further behind the run-rate, went for 7. 57 for 6 became 59 for 8 with the rapid departure of Heslop and a first baller for Scutt.

McCaffrey went LBW [or maybe that was BBW – box before wicket – ed.] on 24 (six short of cancelling out the 30 wides given away in the first innings) and a closing partnership producing 18 runs over the last 5 overs between Browne and Dunhill took the score to a shameful 81 for 9.

Truly a night to forget [chips and onion rings in the ever welcoming Wellington helping to accelerate the process – ed.]



MCC v RGS 16 May 2013 @ Jesmond

Match reporter: Alan Boyes

It was the naughty step, a visit to Principal Savile’s office and a belated referral to operation Yew Tree for the Mallards.

All had seemed set fair on a sun drenched late afternoon at the Jesmond County Ground. With a late start in prospect, because an under 15’s Grammar school game was still in play, this was opportunity for several Mallards to consume generous amounts of performance unenhancing drugs and to top up their melanomas in the brilliant, burning sunlight.

Drugged or not the Mallards couldn’t help but notice the high standard of batting, bowling and fielding that they were going to have to follow once the kids had vacated the pitch. “The trouble is these kids are trying too hard. They all think they’ve got something to prove whereas we’ve reached that high mountain peak of maturity. From our lofty peak we feel the air of another planet. We’ve nothing to prove,” As one Mallard eloquently put it. So confidence couldn’t have been higher – if you can’t distinguish bluster and bullshit from confidence.

Then the first tiny hints of doubt: “Who has the kit bag?” Quizzical looks all round and with the finely honed powers of Sherlockian deduction the team collectively narrowed it down to Mr Peter Nitsch who was, at the time, treading the boards in Stratford. His magnificent “Bottom” was wowing the audiences there in a much lauded production of “Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Back in Newcastle the reviews weren’t so good as his colleagues had deduced that he’d left the kit bag at Riding Mill. A pithy and withering review from local theatre critic, Gareth Taylor was particularly [eloquently short and – Ed.] stinging but deemed unsuitable for publication; apt though it was. The message did, however, reach the forlorn thespian.

With the humiliation of having to plea for kit charity from the opposition and heads spinning from their “essential medication” the Mallards took to the field in less bullish fashion than might have been the case earlier. The burnishing sunlight gave way to an enveloping chill that saw the lesser spotted Alan Boyes rushing back to the pavilion to get his fleece top. The exhaustion from this lengthy run left him breathless for a couple of overs and led to a couple of unfortunate fumbles – not in the Principal’s office you’ll be pleased to know.

A fast outfield, firm wicket and reasonably competent looking opening batsmen did not auger well for the Mallards. So it was to prove despite Andy Dunhill and Tom Browne bowling a reasonable line and length. Anything slightly inaccurate was punished and the score sped along at nine an over with only the prospect of batting retirements for reaching thirty providing any hope. The score passed 50 in the sixth over and reached 65 after just seven.

Some chances came and went with a run out miss and the normally reliable Peter Beacock dropping a catch but it was mostly one way traffic for the first 12 overs as the score passed a hundred.

Eventually Davidson retired on 33 but Leon took the first actual wicket by dismissing the other opener with a seemingly slow motion caught and bowled.  Craig followed this up by bowling Payne. Leon had Devlin well caught by Colin and the scoring rate began to slow. Indeed Leon finished with fine figures of 2 for 18. The remaining overs were delivered by Andy, Trevor and Stig.

With 4 down a burly man came to the wicket dressed in a green top and dark trousers. First impressions think are, “this guy won’t have a clue” followed by bitter experience where many a poorly attired player smacks every other ball for six. For once though, prejudice proved spot on as this one seemed incapable of hitting anything. The scoreboard ground to a halt only for him to finally connect with one ball from Andy, which Stig pouched spectacularly. Congratulations were hearty but short lived, “Oh I guess the next batsman can’t be that bad.”

Despite that Trevor and Stig took another wicket each, including a sharp stumping by Pete, as the RGS Old Boys closed on a fine but hardly frightening 137 for 6. A special mention should go to Colin McCaffery for a tireless display in the field that saved many runs. This had been a great fight back and given the Mallards real hope.

How do we know all this? These were historic events, after all, happened literally days ago. The RGS Old Boys, great fans of French situationist art appeared to have kept the score and then randomly cut the bowling analysis into many dislocated pieces and rearranged them in a new absurdist form. It’s good that they loved art but it wasn’t much help to us Mallards. Thankfully, a large team of professional restoration staff was drafted, who lovingly and tirelessly worked through the night to reconstruct the original masterpiece. The following morning, their spokesman, Professor David Starkey confidently announced that the original had been faithfully restored to its original state and provided a perfect facsimile of King Richard III: It might as well have done.

OK so historical memory was a bit iffy for part one but the Mallardian restorers got to keep the books for the reply. Many of the eye witnesses still live among us today. Glenn Steel and a slightly surprised and bewildered Alan opened the innings. It’s fair to say that things didn’t start too well. Alan facing the very first ball realised the painkillers and anti epilepsy tablets had his head spinning before the bowler released the ball. Thankfully it tailed way down leg side for a bye. When a more clear headed Glen was confused by a fielder’s dark trousers he called for a single thinking it was the umpire only to see him collect the ball and run Alan out. Alan left the scene quite relieved that his dismissal could be blamed on someone other than himself rather than his own short comings.

Sadly the hapless opener was quickly followed by the cream of the Mallards batting line up as they crumbled to 18 for 5. Glenn, Matt, Colin and Trevor were soon able to warm themselves in the bar before Craig and Leon began to rebuild the innings. The scoring rate however, like the British economy, didn’t pick up as it bobbed along at or around 3 an over for the first 16 overs. Eventually the dogged Butcher / Scott partnership was broken when Craig was caught and bowled for a creditable thirteen. Leon soon followed and Pete, in a situation set up to play for his average, was uncharacteristically was caught for a duck. That left the score at 45 for 8 with just 4 overs left. A large gathering of RGS old boy groupies chanted, drunkenly throughout the innings, cheering every little RGS triumph along the way. Normally this would be very annoying but it showed a totally unwarranted respect for the Mallards abilities when they’d not mounted the slightest threat to their team’s total.

To this point Stig had taken Lord Haw-Haw, sorry Hawke’s, famous adage about “getting them in singles” to heart. It was more like getting them in dot balls and the occasional bye. With just 2 wickets remaining and the overs drifting away the Mallards faced a super human task to overhaul the RGS total. Not since Eric Pickles became the first man to successfully cross the Florida Everglades on a pogo stick and Michael Gove climbed Mount Everest on rollerblades had human endeavour reached such dizzying heights. Sadly both those adventures ended tragically when both men survived to tell the tale [much to the frustration of Andy Dunhill who had been looking forward to getting a solid 7 overs of much wanted batting practice in – Ed.].

For Eric Pickles and Michael Gove read Mark Butcher and Tom Browne: the final 2 overs showed a remarkable acceleration with Tom blasting an unbeaten 21 [including a humongous 6 over the fence and into the cemetery – an early candidate for a trophy nomination perhaps? – Ed.] and Stig a “quality, well structured” unbeaten 17, blotting his copybook only by scoring a needless late boundary. Tragically these heroics still came up 60 runs short but thankfully the two heroic warriors emerged unscathed to enjoy a pint after the match.

With defeat looking inevitable so long before the close the lads were reconciled to their fate and took the defeat in the way that only true winners do; a shrug of the shoulders and a “whatever”.  Defeat this time but rest assured that for the Mallards glory juggernaut this was but a mere puncture; they’ll be back on the road crushing opposition at ground near you soon; with or without their kit.



MCC v St Georges Rovers June 18 @ Riding Mill

Match Reporter: Gareth Taylor

With just 3 days to the solstice, and a lovely warm summer evening the auspices were good for a competitive game of cricket against new opposition St Georges Rovers.

With Captain Wood suffering from a fractured little finger and Vice-Captain Butcher enjoying a day at Lords it was the opportunity for club despot Taylor to take on the role of acting captain. Winning the toss, Taylor chose to bat and asked the latest opening pair of Porteous and Steel to open the Mallards innings, and a highly effective choice it was. Against some good bowling from Cuthbertson and Littlefair that saw both batsmen dropped early on (credit to the opposition fielder who immediately put his hand up after taking a very low one at gully admitting that he’d grounded the ball), and several scoring shots off the inside edge, both batsmen got going and kept the scoreboard ticking over. Cuthbertson who had bowled tidily say his last over starting with a flicked 6 to deep mid-wicket off Steel and a further 9 runs added thanks to another 4 and a no-ball 5 before finally securing the wicket of Steel, out for 25, with his last ball to see Mallards finishing off the 7th over the score of 53 for 1.

Octogenarian bowler Stevens who had replaced Littlefair in the 5th over had taken an over to find his length, but struck in his second over as a frustated Porteous took a charge down the wicket and was duly stumped for 21. Nitsch helped to keep the runs moving while Scutt appeared to be suffering from a dizzy spell having been promoted to the number 4. Both however perished, the former from a direct hit from deep fine leg while taking a second run and the latter caught plumb lbw from a straight one from Stevens – despite protests that he’d hit it first falling on the highly deaf ears of umpire Dunhill.

The innings was shored up by the second decent partnership of the innings between Dickinson (finally finding some form) and McCaffery. Dickinson declared intent from the outset with a huge driven 6 over long on that cleared the trees, while McCaffery has happy to happy to keep the strike rotated. The Cat finally perished for 12 after skying one in the 16th over with the score on 103. His replacement, Scott was bowled for 2 – possibly as a result of Matt pushing for quick singles, which then saw Mussett come to crease and an interesting tussle as both batsmen vied to keep the strike. The competition got all too much Mussett who was caught for 7 with 2 balls of the innings remaining. Taylor at number 8 hit his first ball for 4 and duly missed the second completely, seeing the Mallards innings close on 125 and Dickinson seeing a vast improvement to his average finishing on 31 not out.

Mallards defense opened with Browne and Mussett. Browne now firmly established as the logical opener for Mallards bowled tidily, while Mussett exhibiting the testosterone of youth opened his end with a snorter that went past the batsman’s grill and mutterings of “I thought this was a friendly”. However the batsmen kept scampering singles and the scoreboard was kept ticking along at 5 runs per over.

Taylor replacing Mussett in the 6th over secured a wicket with his first ball thanks to a well taken catch at cover by Mussett, however things went downhill from there with his second ball going for 6 off Munro. With Browne finishing his spell with a respectable 1 for 17 off 4, Nitsch continued to keep things tight from the “singular tree” end. However the story was not as rosy at the other end as Taylor hemorrhaged runs, in part thanks to 2 misfields going for 4 and 4 overthrows from the normally reliable Dickinson and a 4 let through by Browne who for some reason has decided to move in 20 yards from the boundary. 4 overs, 2 for 45 do make pretty reading.

Most of the damage was being done by Munro, who eventually retired with the score on 90 – at which point the St Georges skipper Phil stepped onto the field to confess that Munro has actually been called off after scoring 44 not the 35 agreed retirement. In a sporting gesture he then proposed that Mallards be awarded 9 penalty runs to set a revised target of 135 to win with 6 overs to go – an offer Taylor gratefully accepted.

With the scoreboard continuing to tick along at 5 runs an over despite some tidy bowling from Scott (replacing Nitsch 3 overs 1 for 10), Mussett (bowling a tidy penultimate over with spin for just 1 run) and Dunhill, 10 runs were still needed off the last over. With most of the Mallards squad out on the boundary, and other form batsman Hall on 26 it looked set for a tight finish. A dot ball suggested this before Hall took a big step down the wicket and wrapped things up with a 6 (over Dickinson’s head) and a 4 to the backward square leg boundary to see St Georges home with 3 balls to spare.

A couple of bits of tidier fielding [ahem and bowling from a certain person, sorry guys – Ed.] and it could all have been different. Nevertheless a really competitive game, good opposition and good spirit made it an enjoyable evening’s cricket and hopefully a new team we will have the fixtures list next season and maybe a return match in a couple of weeks time.