Denham Cricket Club

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Archives 2009 Season

September 20th London Theatres, dressed in their fancy new greeen and white regalia (alias Australia), were in no mood for hanging around on Sunday and were soon cracking the ball to all parts, knocking up 239. Bobby Rai got 3 wickets: two of them via his trusty long on fielder, amid shouts of "Catch it, Stuart Payne!", but couldn't stem the flow. Denham (alias England) tried to match their urgency, but did so only in wickets lost, and succumbed to 144 all out with lots of Bopara- and Shah-like tens and twenties

Denham Sunday XI v Chesham Bois XI

August 30th 2009


As a result of recent criticism about the fantasy nature of Russell Bowry’s reports, he has been sacked and there follows an accurate report of Denham’s success with one untruth to test you. See if you can spot it!

· Nominal skipper Harish Bhatt was late as usual
· Heman Mehta was unavailable due to a side strain attributed to his “elbow spin” bowling action

· Bitchie Raithwaite cried off during the week

· Chesham won the toss and batted first, scoring 188 for 3 in their 40 overs
· Skipper Withams carried his bat making 94 not out
· Denham bowling was mainly accurate, especially Jack Grover whose 8 overs cost only 18 runs with one wicket, Bobby Rai whose 6 overs went for only 18, and skipper James Nicholas whose 4 overs cost only 3 runs with one wicket
· Harish took the other wicket despite some truly long “long hops”
· Bill and Sheila provided a tasty tea, especially the jam scones with lashings of cream
· Denham knocked off the runs for the loss of only one wicket with a couple of overs to spare
· James top-scored with 113 not out, his third Sunday ton of the season
· New Scottish batting sensation Hamish Zaheer reached his maiden 50 with the winning boundary
· Both captains therefore spent the whole game on the field of play
· James bought some refreshing drinks for the players in the bar
· Hamish showed his Scottish ancestry by leaving early, claiming no money, having topped up his sandwich box for the Ramadan feast
· Hemen Mehta was killed tragically when he ran to celebrate in front of Lewis Hamilton’s car at Monza, causing Hamilton to spin off and lose the race.

September 5th Great Kingshill beat both Denham sides in this, the last week of the League Season, but the results were in doubt until near the end in both cases. The Ones got their opponents all out for 190, but collapsed to 167, an agonising 23 runs short. The Twos on the other hand knocked up an impressive 253/9 - dominated by Mark Shepherd's imperious 140 - but for Kingshill Twos Michaels and Leybourne set off at a terrific rate and enabled the visitors to reach their target in under 40 overs.

Denham Sunday XI v Chertsey XI

August 30th 2009

Hemen's Reward for his Seemingly Moral Action...

Having kindly invited Chertsey to play at Cheapside Lane on Sunday, knowing that they were desperate for a game, Denham were expecting the same good-nature to be shown towards their bowlers and batsmen.

As it was, from the moment captain Harish Bhatt lost the toss, to the moment Alan Coulson edged behind, Chertsey gave Denham a rather sound thrashing.

The start of the Chertsey innings was confident, like their decision to bat first, and runs came easily as few ruppies were bowled by the Denham bowlers. The 5th wicket partnership between Taylor (52) and Hanger (67) then took the game away from the hosts.

Hemen Mehta managed to dismiss the pair before a humiliating score was posted, and he also picked off the tail to end with excellent figures of 6 for 42. But despite the late collapse, the damage had already been done, and Denham needed an improbable 266 to win.

The tea interval did little to motivate the players to chase such a large score. One of the Chertsey players described it as “absolutely rancid” and none of the home players disagreed. Fotunately, the muslims had Ramadan to rescue them from the cardboard sandwiches and other indescribable filth provided, so the quick-thinking atheists such as Coulson and Raithwaite, plus the entire Chertsey team (as-white-and-middle-class as your mum’s tits) temporarily converted to Islam to save their stomachs.

Not-so-quick thinkers Marman and Mehta were left in a horrible quandary. Naturally, they were unwilling to upset the local tea-assistant - who was merely presenting and washing up the filth Sheila Nicholas had created - by refusing the food. But also, they had deep health concerns about eating filth. In the end, Marman chose to fill up a plate, then carefully threw his sandwiches on the floor pretending he had eaten them. On the other hand, Mehta actually ate some of the tea, and as is often the case in life, was not rewarded for his seemingly moral action. On returning his plate of half-eaten sandwiches to the tea-assistant, he was told, in no uncertain words, that he should not have taken so ******* much if he was not going to eat it.

So, with the tea left almost completely untouched, the players resumed the match. The Denham faithful hoped that openers Bhatt and Zaheer would get them off to a flying start, but the pair put on only 22 runs. This meant there was too much left for Rai (34) and Mahmood (51) to do, and when they were dismissed the game looked over.

Further problems hit Denham when Mehta retired ill from his innings and went to sleep it off in the clubhouse, and it was clear that something special was needed to force a Denham victory. Sadly, Sadiq’s bizarre idea to bat in one of Club Chairman Bill Nicholas’ tank-tops was not it. The grey colured Marks&Spencer Autograph edition put off the other batsmen, who were all out to scuttlers from Shepherd. His figures of 5 wickets for just 6 runs meant Chertsey won by over a hundred runs.

With victory secured the now unconverted Chertsey players rushed straight for the bar and began celebrating wildly. The defeated Denham, envious of their enjoyment, were desperate to join in. Recession-hit pockets meant that it was not long before drinking-funds ran out, until the sleeping Mehta was robbed of the money he owed to buy a jug for his six-wicket haul.

The celebrations continued long into the night, and the unsuspecting spinner was re-robbed a further five times. Mehta showed no sign of complaining however. He had been dead for hours.

August 29th Don't win the toss and bat on Bank Holiday weekend, Denham Skippers have been told, year in and year out. But did they listen? Only 279 runs were scored between the XIs and the oppositions lost a total of 3 wickets between them passing those targets (us 5 points, opposition 60) 

Birkbeck College 2nd XI v Denham Sunday XI

The Hedge

Most cricket fans spent their Sunday eagerly following the Test Match at the Oval, wondering if the Australian batsmen could break the record of the highest ever 1st class run chase. As we know, they failed. What they should have been watching instead was Denham’s away fixture with Birkbeck College, for the two sides made a much better fist of breaking another record - the longest ever (and most painstaking) 40 over game.

The Marathon Park cricket ground in Greenford, the beautiful venue, provided perfect conditions for lengthy play: a good pitch to bat on; enormous, lightning quick outfields; and a dangerously overgrown and out-of-control hedge which enclosed at least half of the ground.

These factors, combined with the draining heat of the sun and the distraction of the final Ashes deciding test, meant that the sides had every chance of eclipsing the record of an-incredibly-long-time-indeed set by Utter Dross xi V Absolute Filth xi back in 2004. And, to improve the chances further, there were several unexpected incidents that meant this could have been the first time a game took longer-than-your-mum’s-tits to complete.

The first time-prolonging incident came in the first over, before a Denham bat had been laid on ball, when the Birkbeck wicketkeeper chipped a bone in his finger and took himself off to hospital. The interruption lasted at least 15 minutes as the keeper’s replacement would not wear the same box until it had been thoroughly washed and disinfected. However, it was in the following over that the players had the first taste of what was to dominate much of the afternoon.

After the ball was hit over the huge, lightning quick outfield, past the boundary, it was gobbled up by the viscous hedge, which was basically just a collection of brambles, thorns and stinging nettles. Several Birkbeck players spent what seemed like hours searching for the ball, until eventually it was found. But not after they obtained a plethora of pricks, stings, scratches and even deep cuts, which quickly sent a message out to the players of both sides to avoid the hedge at all costs. From then on, as each and every boundary was struck there was:

1. An argument over who should retrieve the ball 
2. A huge traipse over the outfield to where the ball had finished 
3. A lack-lustre effort to locate it 
4. A minor injury sustained 
5. A plaster, ice pack, or magic spray administered to heal the minor injury

This process seemed to take at least five minutes for every 4 scored, sometimes longer. So when, Maisal Fahmood and Robby Bai started to twat the ball to the boundary with alarming regularity - after Bussell Rowry had been dismissed by some unexpectedly hostile bowling from Deer - some of the more pessimistic players doubted that the game would be finished before nightfall. The twatting lasted an awfully long time:

In the 11th over, 2 boundaries were scored. 
In the 12th over, 3 boundaries were scored. 
In the 13th over, 1 boundary was scored. 
In the 14th over, 1 boundary was scored. 
In the 15th over, 3 boundaries were scored. 
In the 16th over, 2 boundaries were scored. 
In the 17th over, NO boundaries were scored. 
In the 18th over, 3 boundaries were scored… 
…and so on, until Fahmood was dismissed attempting the Dilshan for 82. 
Then Samur Tadiq came to the crease and he and Robby Bai continued the twatting. 
In the 25th over, 2 boundaries were scored. 
In the 26th over, 3 boundaries were scored. 
In the 27th over, 1 boundary was scored. 
In the 28th over, 2 boundaries were scored… 
In the 37th over, 1 boundary was scored. 
In the 38th over, 2 boundaries were scored… 
…until Tadiq was removed by Deer for 38 and then Bharish Hatt came in to accompany Bai through to a well-deserved and well-cheaped hundred.

The 40 overs were completed in an astonishing 3 hours and 15 minutes, with Denham making a monstrous 262 for 3.

After such a long time in the field, and with the Ashes live on TV in the clubhouse, no-one was in a mood to rush the intriguing tea provided. Whilst the players had to make their own sandwiches from the foodstuffs on offer, this in no way detracted from the tea’s excellence. The chicken tikka mix was rather special, but the absolute highlight was the Ladyfingers or Les Biscuits a la cuillère – if you are French. These were simply audacious, and are definitely the new pink wafers.

As the players stuffed themselves the cricket from the Oval was coming to a thrilling climax and it was difficult to tear the likes of Beve Stull away from the screen to go and field for the Birkbeck innings. But the Denham fielders reluctantly returned to the field, knowing that where Australia were about to fail, they could help break the record for the longest ever (and most painstaking) 40 over game of cricket.

Unfortunately the attempt to break records was immediately set back after the tight bowling of the Denham openers Rorgan Mees and Memen Hehta. Both barely conceded a boundary and both took one wicket each. But luckingly Birkbeck then sent in their best batsmen Naveed, and as the bowling changed, he started to copy the earlier twatting of Bai and Fahmood. With a penchant for the cover drive, Naveed found the hedge with this stroke on many occasions, and the game started to take an awfully long time again, particularly since Denham had learned the lessons from the first innings.

Not wanting to injure their best players, a democratic Denham decision was made to send Hehta, no matter where he was fielding, to fetch the ball whenever it crossed the boundary and ended up in the hedge. It was thought by some that perhaps that the plasters on his fingers may have been worn for days like these. But unfortunately for Memen, the plasters were about as inappropriate as your mum’s tits for protection against the hedge, and he picked up laceration after laceration when locating the ball.

Because of Naveed, Hehta was soon wearing reds rather than whites and no amount of plasters could stop the flow of blood.

Shortly before the drinks break, Memen was sent to the hedge for one final time. He became lodged in the brambles, and in his desperate efforts to untangle himself his arms and legs were torn from his limp and feeble body. Quadra-amputated, his head and torso remained there for countless minutes, suffering untold pain, until the few remaining drops of blood left his body. Although Hehta was dead, the game continued, as Sir Puart Stayne, who had come to watch, found the ball and bravely offered to collect it for the remainder of the game - his body being made of much sterner stuff than that of the deceased Hehta.

So at the halfway stage, with Denham down to 10 men, and with Naveed still at the crease, Birkbeck had every chance of winning. These chances were then removed as another partnership between Bai and Fahmood, this time with the ball, tightened the runs down until Naveed in desperation tried to twat Bai but only managed to sky it straight back to the deranged centurion, to be caught for 75.

Boundaries were still conceded in the last 15 overs, but none of the Denham bowling was filthy enough to allow Birkbeck a realistic run-chase. Clever flight by Famie Jirminger, and nice spin from Hatt, earned more wickets until the result was a formality. But there was still the record to break for the longest ever (and most painstaking) 40 over match in history. And with Birkbeck still hitting the odd boundary, it was still a possibility.

Cunningly, with the record in mind, skipper for the day Maisal Fahmood told Bohn Joy to bowl wides to keep the match going. He did this with aplomb, racking up a 15 ball over. But it was boundaries that needed to be hit for the match to reach the length required to break the record. Unfortunately the dreams of an entry into cricketing folklore were ended by one man.

After Fahmood had brought on Beve Stull to bowl some gentle deliveries to encourage boundary hitting, and with Denham legend Sir Puart Stayne poised to take forever to find the ball, the last Birkbeck batsman remaining capable of twatting tried once more to send the ball flying over the heads of the infield of Robby Bai, Rorgan Mees, Famie Jirminger and Bussell Rowry, only to sky it to stand-in-keeper-for-the-day Richie Brathwaite, who selfishly took the catch. The final two overs were bowled with double quick speed and the match ended having only taken an-astonishingly-long-time with Denham winning by 24 runs.

The players were obviously disappointed by coming so close to cricketing greatness, and Brathwaite was rightfully punished by being given the horrible task of taking Memen Hehta’s carcass home and reforming it for burial. But whilst the players had not quite achieved any records, the game will still be remembered as providing material for the longest ever and most painstaking match report in the history of the game.

August 22nd No game for the Twos (would have played Englefield), but the Ones went down again. Facing Chalfont St Giles' 276/4, they were all out for 168 despite Mark Shepherd's noble 68

Denham Sunday XI v Uxbridge 2nd XI

August 16th 2009

Inner Workings...

Oh no, please, not another Sunday game at Denham. Please no. What am I doing here? There has to be something better. Please God let there be something better. OK, calm down, get a grip. It’s just a few hours. It’s a sunny day. Everything’s going to be fine. Bill, where are you going? What do you mean you need to buy some new tank-tops? Please don’t leave me here with these people. Seriously, please don’t, it’s been a tough week, I’m not sure I’m gonna make it. What? Don’t tell me to….  OK, OK, seriously calm down, it’s gonna be ok, everything’s gonnabe fine, just win the toss, bat first, listen to the football, have a beer, chill out, have a perv if the opportunity arises… We’re bowling? What the hell have you done Harish! And why the hell are there two Hashim’s playing? His brother? Why are there only nine players here? Why is Dave Tang captaining? What’s going on? And what’s wrong with you Bobby? You’re not playing!?!? You can’t just leave us because you’re having your period. I know it’s gonna be crap but I’m still playing. Bobby? Bobby?? BOBBY!!! DON’T LEAVE ME HERE… It’s ok. Everything’s gonna be fine, everything’s gonna be fine, everything’s gonna be fine. You want me to bowl? Yeah okay, it’ll help me take my mind off things…


…This lot said they were rubbish. Well they are I suppose but I’ve seen a lot worse. Ah for God’s sake why did you have to hit it there. NO IT WENT IN FURTHER TO THE LEFT. NO NOT THERE… HASHIM!! Oh my goodness what is he doing? What? Why is he going in feet first? Please someone tell me what the score in the football is…GOOD STUMPING ALAN! How the hell did he do that? He normally tries to catch the ball with his pads. What? Another one? He’s getting pretty good in his old age… Oh no, don’t bring on Harish yet, wait until they’re 9 down at least. Let Hemen chuck a few more overs in. If I have to stand out here for another 15 minutes then… WELL BOWLED HARISH! How on earth did the batsmen miss that. THAT was ABSOLUTE FILTH! Well I suppose that wasn’t too bad was it? Thank God it’s time for tea…


…What, where’s the tea? Where’s Sheila? Who’s making the tea? Yes, but Bobby’s not here. No it’s not going to be fine, the tea can’t just make itself! Someone better make me some goddamned tea right now otherwise… Calm down, calm down, count to ten: one, two, three… The food’s in the fridge? OK, that’s fine, we’ll sort it out. What, this doesn’t make any sense. Why would you go shopping at Marks&Spencer when the club’s got less money than your mum’s tits? And do they sell pink wafers at Marks&Spencer? No way. This is so stupid, what the hell am I doing here…


...Now what’s happening? Dave Tang’s opening the batting? But he’s injured isn’t he!? He was weeping on the floor like a baby a minute ago. How can you open the batting when you can’t even run a single? This doesn’t make any sense. Please let this finish so I can go home…


…That’s middle Alan, three to come. That’s it, not long to go now, just do some umpiring and then you can go and relax… WIDE BALL! This bowling is atrocious.  WIDE! Please stop bowling such filth, I want to go home. WIDE! Please kill me. Somebody. Anybody. I can take the pain.  NOT OUT. HARISH, GET ME OUT OF HERE!..


There’s no way I’m cleaning up the tea. If anyone asks me to clean up that mess that’ll be it… Look Harish, I made that bloody tea and I’ve been umpiring forever so there’s no way I’m doing it. No Harish, I’m sorry, but I seriously doubt Krishna can help me with the clearing up, but if he can somehow bring my life to an end I really would be grateful. What? No I don’t need to spend some quiet time in the changing room. What are you doing? No, don’t you dare lock me in…


...How can he call me mental. There’s no way I’m mental. I don’t wear trousers up to my armpits or think I’m better than Mahendra Singh Dhoni or… OK. Just calm down and everything will be fine, everything will be…


…Yes, I’m better now Harish, sorry about earlier. Yes I’ll help put away the sightscreens, but I’ll just have a look at the scorebook. What!? Tang got 89!? But he’s injured. He was crying like a little girl. And why was Bitchie Raithwaite given out? He should never be given out. I don’t care if we won by six wickets if Bitchie only scored 11. No I don’t need more quiet time… Don’t let him touch me he’s got plasters all over his fingers. Why has Hemen got plasters all over his fingers? It makes no sense. Why would you put plasters all over your fingers? Don’t let him touch me…

August 15th The Ones were dismissed for 150 (Usman Khan 42) and Taplow knocked off the runs for the loss of 4 wickets, but the Twos had a respectable draw against Hurley. The latter smacked an awe-inspiring 300/7 (Arshad 139*), but Denham scored 234/8 in reply, courtesy of knocks of 72 from Tamar and 55 from Ray Rulach.

Denham Sunday XI v Bhatt Invitational XI

August 9th 2009

Oh my God, they killed..

The late cancellation of Denham’s fixture against Harrow Wayfarers, due to the opposition’s two-timing nature, did not prevent the usual bad-cricket and buffoonery from taking place at Cheapside Lane on Sunday. Seemingly deprived of an opposition, and therefore deprived of cricket, the Denham faithful had skipper Harish Bhatt to thank as he masterminded a superb plan to bring in some of the keenest cricketers of the Wembley area, so that a game of some description could be played.

It had to be admitted that this game - a 30-overs-each affair, between an almost-normal Denham Sunday XI (but including Club Chairman Bill Nicholas, sans tank-top), and a Bhatt Invitational XI (with Hashim Zaheer keeping wicket) – would be of a sub-village standard. In fact, to be brutally honest, if applying the settlement size guide to levels of cricket, it would probably not even be hamlet standard. Perhaps even, this would be the first ever occasion of a game played below the level of isolated dwelling. But whatever the level of cricket, the players agreed that it would surely be better to be playing rather than watching England lose the test match.

So the players descended on the clubhouse at around 13:30, with the obvious exception of the regular retard Harish Bhatt, even though he had organised the game. But this week he had an excuse. On his way to collect Hemen Mehta for the game, he received a call from the police informing him that Hemen had apparently been murdered. The exact details of his death were unclear and whilst the police had no doubt of foul-play, they decided not to investigate any further on utilitarian grounds - for the pleasure had by the murderer far outweighed any pain caused to Mehta or those that might miss him. In any case, Mehta was irreversibly dead and unable to play, and Bhatt was fuming when he realised that he had wasted 10 minutes driving in the direction of Hemen’s house to take him to the game.

Naturally, the players were also quite disappointed when the news broke at Cheapside Lane shortly after 14:00, as they now had to take to the field with just 10 men per side, condemning the match to middle-of-nowhere level at the very most. Eventually it was agreed that Mehta’s inconvenient death was not his own fault, but James Nicholas’s proposal of a minute’s silence before the game to remember Hemen’s contribution to Denham cricket club was rejected by the players because he probably hadn’t done enough for this to be achieved. A second proposal was made to reduce the minute to just 10 seconds, but was rejected for the same reason.

By this point, at 14:30, the players were positively aching to get the game underway, but Bhatt had still not yet arrived. It was decided therefore to abandon the toss and make Bhatt’s side field by default - eventually the game would begin when Harish arrived. Photographic evidence proves this was at around 15:40.

The Denham Sunday X’s innings finally got underway shortly after Bhatt’s arrival and the patient Denham fans were treated to these two superb shots from by Alan Coulson (20) and Bitchie Raithwaite (16):

After their 30 overs, the Denham Sunday X had scored 237 and needless to say, James Nicholas had scabbed 63 of these, but none of his shots were entertaining enough to demonstrate here.

Little else happened during the innings, although Tamur Sadiq bowled Bowry with a ruppy, and Andy “The Vortex” Kirby produced batting that brought the standard of cricket down a further notch to uninhabited desert-island level. The players then left the field to eat an excellent tea produced by Sheila Nicholas, who had charmingly added pink wafers to the selection of sandwiches, sausage rolls and (Jeffrey) goujons. Perhaps only some Ferrero Rocher, built into a two-foot-tall pyramid, could have improved it.

The Bhatt Invitational X got their innings off to the worst possible start by losing 2 good players, Giten Parmar and Tamur Sadiq, when the score was just 11, to a Marman third-tracker (© Colin Tobin MMIX) and a “Vortex” full-toss. This confirmed that the game had now descended even further down the settlement-scale to a-place-that-never-existed-where-no-one-has-ever-lived-before level.

But it wasn’t long before the adjudicators had to change their minds again with regard to the cricket on display as two players, one on each side, began to excel themselves. Kevin Parmar’s superb innings of 24 included several beautiful boundaries and Jamie Firminger, the youngest player on the pitch, bowled some well-flighted off-spin, creating parabolas of the and variety, which earned him 5 wickets. However, these were the only 2 players playing good cricket so the bar was only raised slightly to someone-once-sat-down-here-for-ten-miutes-but-no-one-else-has-since level.

After these two contributions, the Denham fans were treated to some extraordinary events: Harish Bhatt being given first-ball’s-grace after treading on his stumps; Club Chairman Bill Nicholas attempting to bowl; and finally, an elaborate collaboration between batsmen Zaheer and bowler Bowry, to enable fielder Rai to retrieve the ball from behind the square-leg boundary, allowing him to investigate the quality of two pieces of local tna provocatively lying there.

The Bhatt Invitational X, meanwhile, were all out for 125 after just 21 overs. Based on all this information, the game finished at the standard of somewhere-that-can-never-exist, or be imagined, by anyone, where-no-one-can-ever-live, or-conceive-of-life, in any shape or form, yet-somehow-where-most-of-Denham’s-cricketers-come-from.

And if anyone doubts the validity of this rather severe comment then they only have to look at the photo at the end of this report to confirm it. Of course, having said this, all the players enjoyed the game tremendously, but to draw any firm conclusions from this fact would be an error, for what makes people happy is a complete mystery and thousands of years of evolution and human endeavour have not revealed its secrets.

August 8th Mixed/bad news from the League front. The Ones prevented defeat courtesy of R Bowry's staunch 78* out of 149/6 versus Winchmore Hill's 232/8. The Twos, on the other hand, have been seriously infected by the losing bug and are now a sullen seventh in the league after another batting collapse (all out 151 vs Wargrave's 257/9 with H Zaheer 3/49).

August 2nd 2009

Harish Scores the Winning Runs and Other Stories...

Denham have to be grateful to Sir Stuart Payne for introducing the club to a first Sunday fixture at Datchet with its beautiful setting adjacent to the M4 and directly below the Heathrow flight path.

The latter hazard provided a chance for Denham players to practise their sign language skills when accomplishing field placings and their speed in retreating to the clubhouse when a “fuel dump”, or any other type of dump occurred overhead. On the call of “dump ahoy” from the skipper, all fielders would sprint for cover, with the exception of Harish Bhatt, who waddled and Dave Tang, who appeared to be asleep.

Tea was an inspired mixture of prawn sandwiches, cocktail sausages and jam sponges and Denham tucked in, buoyed by the arrival of another dignitary Count Peter Schembri (Club Captain), with the new stock of Denham C.C. T shirts (tremendous value at £5 each, cash only, limited supply).

Denham began with James Nicholas and Dave Tango scoring freely and keeping up with the required run rate. This entertainment was augmented by Datchet fielder Mr. A. Jackson, who did a rather good impersonation of Harish Bhatt with “high trousers”, even though he was walking around with an elastoplasts on his trouser seat – bizarre!

James and Dave reached 125 for 0 at 20 overs, but Dave was out soon after for 37, quickly followed by Bobby Rai, caught on the boundary. Tam Sadiq soon found his feet and added a brisk 27 before falling to the Datchet secret weapon, their first team opening bowler who had been kept in reserve.

At 220 for 3 this hardly seemed to matter as James continued to dominate. His subsequent demise, with the score on 233 for4, was unexpected, but what an innings of 153!

It was clearly time for a Denham collapse as Richie Braithwaite, Hamish Zaheer and Jamie Firminger were out and Hemen “Kenny” Mehta (RIP) was decapitated by a fearsome bouncer from the secret weapon. Fortunately the ice-cool Harish was on hand to score the winning boundary and secure a narrow victory. Not much doubt about the man of the match – James with 153 runs, 2 wickets and 2 catches. Commiserations to the family of Hemen, how unlucky can you get, killed three times in three weeks?

August 1st Bad weather severely truncated most matches, in fact it was surprising just how many did manage to produce results. Unfortunately both Denham sides did. They bowled very well (M Shepherd 3/38 and J Nicholas 3/41 for the Ones, plusH Zaheer 5/43 and J Grover 3/43 for the Twos), but batted extremely badly. The one exception was J Bhagodia, scoring 54 for the Twos.

Denham Sunday XI v Woodley

July 26th 2009

Oh my God, they killed...

After last Sunday's imaginary encounter, it was back to reality for the Denham players as they once again had to put out the ropes and flags around the boundary before the game. And even though Club Chairman Bill Nicholaspromised that Vanessa Feltz was coming along to act as a human sightscreen (running half-way-round the ground between overs to help her lose weight), the players opted against the idea and laboured for about 15 minutes putting the sightscreen slats into place.

Nicholas did not admit defeat however. So determined was he that Sundays at Cheapside Lane should be as great as the one fantasised about last week, that once the ground was ready for play, he announced that he was expecting a very special umpire for this all-important encounter against Woodley. "Definitely," he told the players, "the quickest umpire on the planet." But before the players could guess who on earth Nicholas had arranged to umpire, he received a phone call. It was bad news. The tea-lady had swine flu and couldn't do the tea!

Nicholas became very angry, even angrier than your mum's tits. He then received another phone call. This time it was the mystery umpire asking if he could get a lift from the train station as he didn't want to injure himself walking to the ground. Bloody hell, thought Nicholas, he's got three Olympic gold-medals and he can't even afford a taxi! So Club Chairman Bill Nicholas drove off to the train station and was not seen again for about three hours…

Fortunately, the players didn't believe that Nicholas had got a celebrity in to do the umpiring, so didn't wait for him to return. Instead, the captains tossed and Woodley, on winning it, decided to bat first. Now the average age of the Woodley side was about 15 years old, and one began to wonder at their inexperience as they lost four wickets in just the first six overs.

Alex "The Marmanator" Marman bowled well, taking 3-23, but it seemed that Woodley were attempting to make up for the lack of a tea-lady by serving up their wickets on a platter. However, their generosity ended whenR.Sharma came to the crease.

The left-hander used his years of experience to build two substantial partnerships. Firstly with Painter, who contributed 17 in their stand of 73, and then secondly with Riaz, who twatted 33 out of their combined contribution of 61. Sharma continued to bat sensibly until the end of the innings but he got little support from the Woodley tail, which mainly fell to the elbow-spin* of Hemen Mehta (4-34).

[*elbow-spin © Sir Stuart Payne MMIX]

Sharma ended up with a superb 94 not out, and Woodley scored 204 for 9 from their 40 overs, but would the score have been less if The Marmanator had been asked to bowl his remaining four overs?

One doubts it, but he would surely have bowled better than the filth of Mahmood, Rai and Bhatt. (And Bowry).

Anyway, the players left the field in a ravenous state and then sat idly in the clubhouse, hoping that Bill Nicholas had come up with a rescue-plan for the tea. The Club Chairman however had not been seen for nearly three hours, very strange given that he was only supposed to be collecting the special guest umpire from Denham train station - a mere five minutes away.

But just as the players were about to call the game-off due to under-nourishment, Nicholas re-appeared in a very flustered state. The first thing the players noticed was that there was no special guest umpire with him, not really much of a surprise. But the more observant saw that Nicholas's tank-top had changed colour to a very strange shade of red. Some would even have said that it was blood red. Nicholas then produced a large pot from behind his back which he told the players contained the world's finest curry.

It seemed the game had been saved! The teams then began consuming the curry but to some it tasted a bit weird - a bit like chicken but not quite… Others enjoyed the taste, saying that it definitely had a Carribean flavour to it. Eventually, someone plucked up the courage to ask Nicholas what he called his delicious dish.

                                               "Oh," began Bill, "It's a…" he paused, "It's a…" he paused again, "It's called a… Usain Bolti!"

And it was then that the players realised what had happened. Nicholas laughed hysterically to himself as the players finally understood what a sick and deranged Chairman they had. Everybody stopped eating, and a collective subconscious decision was made to deny what had just taken place.

The cannibals quickly returned to the field, hoping that the cricket would distract them enough not to remember. Luckily a distraction occurred straight away, as the Denham innings suffered a minor setback when Hemen Mehtalost both his wicket and his life in just the third over. A beautiful quick delivery from Ali bowled Mehta off stump, and unfortunately one of the bails flew up at an incredible speed through his eye and into his brain, causing death instantly.

The Denham players were quite phlegmatic about the incident, realising that no-one was to blame. Furthermore, they still had 9 wickets to play with and every chance of victory. Therefore Mehta's corpse was quickly lifted off the pitch by the Denham players before being deposited in a skip on Cheapside Lane, and the game continued.

Mahmood (22) and Bowry (19) then built something of a platform for the innings but both lacked the patience to face the task in front of them. The same cannot be said about Bobby Rai and Bitchie Raithwaite.

The two BR's shared a fantastic fourth wicket partnership of 105 runs before Rai was superbly caught by Tamang for 61. And at this moment the game was brought to life as Alan Wiggett came to the crease. Having not played a game since 1971, one can only guess at how astonishingly old Wiggett is, but his age was no barrier as he hit one humungous four over midwicket that received a standing ovation from the Denham fans. They were soon disappointed when Wiggett's cameo of eight ended, but each of his runs was worth at least a hundred of Bobby Rai's.

So with the score on 193-5, and Bitchie Raithwaite still at the crease, the game seemed to be heading for an unexciting conclusion.

Then just as the Denham fans were leaving Bitchie played one of the greatest shots of all-time, and there is no word of a lie about it!

Struggling to clip the bowler away through a heavily guarded midwicket field, Raithwaite switched his grip and played a delightful reverse-swipe over cover point's head for the single that brought up his fifty! Sadly Bitchie was bowled next ball in an attempt to repeat the shot of the century and this meant that the two Bhatt's, Harish and Kerval, were left to score the winning runs.

But by this point everyone had stopped watching, as they were too busy worshipping Bitchie Raithwaite in the changing rooms.

At the end of the day it seemed that events on the cricket pitch had been sufficiently exciting to avoid remembering the dreadful events at tea-time, and Denham fully appreciated the efforts of Woodley's youngsters, who deserved to win the game. If it hadn't been for Man-of-the-Match Bitchie Raithwaite, they would have done so easily. Well done Woodley.

Next week Penn Street (Away).

Denham Sunday XI v Cranbourne

July 25th 2009

The following questionnaire, completed by an anonymous Cranbourne player, tells the story of Saturday’s game rather well (Cranbourne won by 83 runs): 

Denham Cricket Club Satisfaction Questionnaire 2009

We here at Denham Cricket Club are committed to making your game as enjoyable as possible. However, from time to time we admit to getting things quite wrong, and we don’t know why. By completing this questionnaire and making suggestions of how we can improve, you will be making the cricketing world a much better place.

On the whole, did you enjoy the game today?

Well, yes I suppose I did. One shouldn’t grumble when one has one the game by 83 runs. The weather could have been better, but then I guess this isn’t the fault of Denham Cricket Club!

Did Denham provide a suitable standard of cricket for a competitive game?

Not really. They only had one player, a tall Indian chap appropriately called “Indy”, who opened the bowling and the batting. He took 3 for 20 and then smashed 87 off 45 balls. He was a good player but the others weren’t really. In fact, in all honesty, I’ve never seen such bad bowling before, especially from their captain, I think his name is Bowry. Why, when you have a pitch that turns, would you keep on bowling full-tosses, especially when they keep getting hit for six? Oh, I almost forgot, there was one other batsmen who made runs, I think his name was JFK, like the assassinated president, but I think he was just batting for his average and didn’t want to win the game. In fact, he wasn’t that good, he just got to face all our bad bowlers, but he seemed quite pleased with himself, so please don’t show him this.

Did the pitch provide an equal balance between bat and ball?

No way. We scored 325 runs in 40 overs for Christ’s sake! I know their bowling was absolute filth at times, but even Denham scored 242 runs so it was definitely a batsmen’s wicket. One of our chaps, Goodwin is his name, told me that that was the easiest century he’s scored in his life. And even our number 8 made 80, and he’s only played hockey before!

Was the tea of sufficient quality to enable cricket to be played at its highest level?

For me personally, no. When I took the field I felt tired and had no energy to contribute to the game. It wasn’t the worst tea in the world by any means. In fact the sandwiches were well put together and nicely varied. But fruit-salad for a cricket tea? I don’t think so. What was needed was a treat of some description. I can’t think of much at the moment, but maybe something like pink wafers would have given the players something to get excited about.

What of the facilities?

Denham has a lovely ground and clubhouse and it is much better than ours because we don’t have one! But seriously, everything was fine, except that the ground was perhaps a bit small given the number of balls lost during the game. Maybe the Chairman, who, I must add, was wearing a lovely Marks & Spencer tank-top that wouldn’t go amiss in my own wardrobe, could arrange for a net to be put up, or employ someone to retrieve balls when they go over the fences.

And finally, would you play here again?

In an ideal world probably not. But then in an ideal world I’d be playing cricket for Middlesex, not Cranbourne. Yes, go on then, I admit it, for some unknown reason I’d love to come back. Even though it would probably depress me considerably, there’s a strange charm hanging around this place, and hopefully next time I’ll get to play against the one they call Sir Stuart Payne!

Next week Binfield (H) for the Ones, Littlewick Green (A) for the Twos.

Denham Sunday XI v Farnham Common

July 19th 2009

Sir Stuart Payne's Finest Hour (or two)

Sunday’s game between Denham and Farnham Common was what cricketing dreams are made of. For one thing it was a scorching day, with temperatures in the high 30s, and hordes of beautiful bikini-clad women sunbathing on the outfield conveniently acted as a human boundary, giving the players relief from the tiresome task of putting out flags and ropes. For another, an ice-cream van parked itself next door to the clubhouse, providing special offers on Magnums, Twisters and Mini-milks. And as a final bonus Club Chairman Bill Nicholas, sans tank-top because of the weather, had arranged for the game to be officiated by special guest umpires Mr. Motivator, and his close-friend Scorpion from Mortal Kombat 2.

Unfortunately Nicholas had failed to ascertain whether in fact the pair had any specialist cricket knowledge, and as neither did, it was decided that no batsman could be given out leg-before-wicket as this rule was far too difficult to explain to novices. Now if this decision would benefit one player more than all others, it would surely be none other than Denham legend and left-handed opening batsman Sir Stuart Payne, who during his 567 innings long Denham career has been the victim of the LBW rule on no fewer than 567 occasions – all of which, according to Sir Stuart, were definitely not out. So when skipper Harish Bhatt won the toss and put the home side into bat, the Denham fans wondered if they would finally see an innings from the illustrious left-handed worthy of his knighthood.

Payne walked to the crease with James Nicholas and the atmosphere was heavy with anticipation. Sir Stuart elected to face the opening over from Farnham Common’s wily seamer Grant, and set up his crab-like stance at the crease. Each of the following 6 balls Grant bowled was full and gun-barrel straight and would surely have knocked middle-stump out of the ground, if it wasn’t for one thing – Sir Stuart Payne’s front pad. Payne planted the tattered thing that had been practically dyed red by years of use in between the line of the ball and his stumps and for once had no reason to make up a reason for why the ball would have missed them. Grant was massively frustrated and by habit kept appealing to Scorpion even though the LBW rule had been temporarily abolished. The ninja warrior said nothing, as he would do for the remainder of the game. Payne, similarly said nothing, just rehearsed his late-leg-glance and smiled back at the bowler.

Sir Stuart Payne walking out to bat

After 10 overs of this painstaking pad-play from Payne, with him yet to get off the mark, Denham had progressed to 40-0, with James Nicholas scabbing cheap runs at the other end. It would be fair to say that at this point most people were more interested in the special offers at the ice-cream van than watching the cricket. But with the change of bowling came a change of approach from Sir Stu, who now decided to play his whole repertoire of shots: the pat-back to the bowler - played to the full-toss; the hoick to cow corner - played to anything on a half-volley length; and of course the late-leg-glance - played to most balls, particularly those hitting middle-and-off. With these three shots, Payne started to find the middle of his bat and the sunbathing women forming the boundary started applauding him rather than Mr. Motivator’s obscene lycra-clad lunges at square-leg. After 20 overs, Denham had moved to 100-2 after justice had been done to both Nicholas, bowled for 49, and O’Hara, bowled for 0, who tried to cut one off middle-stump and missed.

The next 5 overs saw a huge acceleration from Payne, as Farnham bowlers Terry McFilth and Jonathan Dross came onto bowl. Their wayward bowling was glanced down to the fine-leg boundary and launched over midwicket’s head until finally the Farnham Captain Barnes decided to adopt a 9-0 leg side field - 5 deep midwickets, 2 square-legs and 2 fine legs - in an attempt to slow Payne’s scoring. But nothing could stop Payne, who brought up his fifty with a humongous hoik in the 25th over.

At this point, some of the women in the human boundary starting fearing that their young and nubile bodies might get bruised as the ball was flying past them at dangerous speeds. Mr. Motivator, sensing that the boundary might disband, lunged over to them to persuade them to stay. The sight of Motivator at such close range, with his huge muscles and other parts of his anatomy struggling to be contained by his colourful lycra leotard, terrified the sunbathers so much that they did not refuse his request, despite the dangers of Payne’s brutal batting.

Fortunately, no harm was done to the sunbathers, as Payne suddenly made all fielding irrelevant, as he started to clear the boundary from nearly every ball he faced. The only point of the 9 Farnham fielders was to retrieve the ball after Sir Stu began to launch Way&Tillard maximum after Way&Tillard maximum. In fact Payne, whose normal call of “Come one” is mimicked mockingly by the other Denham players, started batting so confidently that he simply swung his bat, connected, and not even looking where the ball had gone cried “Come six!” to the non-strikers. He brought up a thrilling century in his fashion in just the 28th over and received a rapturous applause from the Denham fans and sunbathers forming the boundary.

Despite recording his first century in over 300 innings, Sir Stuart Payne was not content to stop, even though there was an unfortunate incident in the 30th over which could have distracted him. When Sir Stu faced a full-toss and just patted it back towards the bowler - knowing that to do otherwise would have been like confusing real gold for Iron Pyrites – the bowler misfielded and so he called Hemen Mehta, the non-striker, through for a single. “Come one,” said Sir Stu. But he then realised that it was just the first ball of the over, and that he should try to remain on strike, so he changed his mind. “Come none” he said. Unfortunately Mehta, who had begun the run, was completely confused by the contradictory calling and just stood aimlessly half way down the track and was run out. Hemen then swore awfully at Sir Stuart on his departure from the crease and this disappointed the Denham fans and on-field umpires, not-to-mention the beautiful bikini-clad sunbathers forming the human boundary.

Scorpion was particularly offended by the outburst - so he performed a fatality on Mehta, reducing him to cinders with fire blown from his mouth. Club Chairman Bill Nicholas quickly came onto the pitch, swept up the remains with a dust-pan and brush, told the Farnham captain that he would field instead of Mehta during the Farnham innings, and the game continued. Mehta was an interesting member of the Denham Sunday xi and might be missed – especially on occasions where there are only 10 players available – but the Denham faithful were glad that his premature yet fully-deserved loss-of-life did not distract Sir Stuart Payne from continuing his awesome display of batting.

From overs 31 to the finish, Payne went into berserker mode and started playing massively audacious shots all around the wicket. He rewrote the textbook with one-handed super shots, and there were many ineffable blows that are too great to describe. He also played his first ever cover drive. The fans loved it and Mr. Motivator got incredible satisfaction from signalling the boundaries with his ludicrous lunges. By carefully hogging the strike and hitting a grand total of 52 Way&Tillard maximums, as well as 25 fours, Sir Stuart Payne finished on 435 not out, giving Denham an absolutely massive total of 523 for 5 off their 40 overs. All the other batsmen paled into comparison compared to Sir Stu, and even Bitchie Raithwaite had to accept that he was not for once going to be man-of-the-match.

Sir Stuart Payne in berserker mode – equally adept on both front and back foot

At the close of innings the human boundary finally disbanded as each and every sunbathing woman ran onto the pitch to touch Sir Stu. The Knight was then held aloft by the mob and carried triumphantly back to the pavilion, where a thunderous reception greeted him. The women then demanded more than just a smile from Sir Stuart but Payne was so satisfied that he just sat on a stool at the bar grinning to himself for the rest of the day. Fortunately for the other Denham players, the sunbathers had been so aroused by Payne’s innings that they were happy to be pleasured by anyone who was even on the same team as the great man, and many of the younger players enjoyed themselves very much during the tea-interval. Motivator felt particularly left out by this and decided to leave, dragging co-umpire Scorpion with him. And as they boarded the ice-cream van parked beside the clubhouse it turned out that it had been Motivator’s vehicle all along! As he drove off he shouted “the Mini-milks were out-of date” but nobody heard him and nobody cared.

After tasting the unforbidden pleasures of the sunbathers, and dispatching them with cruel and necessary indifference back to the boundary, the Denham players were really in no mood to field for 40 overs. And luckily neither were Farnham, who decided to concede the match knowing they could never chase down Denham’s Sir-Stuart-Payne-inspired total, so Denham won by a record 523 runs.

Of course none of the above really happened - the game was called off on Friday. But everything is possible and who knows what would have happened had Farnham Common bothered to raise a side?

Next week Woodley.

July 18th The Ones bowled really well to dismiss Hawridge & Cholesbury for 173 (J Shaikh 4/56, F Mahmood 3/56), but the home bowlers did even better to dismiss Denham for 119. The Twos batted stoutly (243/6 off 50 overs, with R Rulach 70, M Dalton51), but just couldn't winkle Hawridge & Cholesbury Twos out (162/8) despite M Shepherd's 4/49. 16 points gained, but down to fourth as Great Kingshill got a 30-pointer to overtake Denham.

Denham 2nd XI v Amersham Hill 2XI

July 11th 2009

A dark day for cricket

When people think on this weekend of cricket in years to come it will perhaps be the valiant tail-end partnership that they remember. It will maybe be the questionable lbw decisions on which the game may have turned or it could be the telling part the rain played in proceedings. As in Cardiff, so in Denham, as the great John Fashanu once predicted. Awooga.

Before even a ball was bowled on Saturday afternoon, tragedy struck as Denham lost the toss and were consigned to an afternoon of watching Mark Shepard bowl 15 overs for 17 runs and 3 wickets. Hemen Mehta also took 3 from the same end. Honourable mentions also to Jack Grover, the Kirbivore, Ralph Rulach and Morgan Reeswho grafted away and held Amersham Hill to 200 all out in the 51st over, although if truth be told, Denham had done enough within the technicalities of the game to have closed it down at about 150.

A mighty fine tea was taken, as Ray got his baps out for all to enjoy. This reporter also tucked in to some juicy melons and a French fancy. The omission of pink wafers was not as much of a problem as it has been on recent Sundays, and the devilishly spicy cheese and chili baps turned out to be less than diabolical due to the inclusion of chili in homeopathic proportions.

After losing 4 overs to rain, the Denham innings began inauspiciously with Harmeet going first ball. JK also failed on a pitch and against bowling where he should have filled many boots. Heinously tricked into playing a pull shot, JK was later found self-flagellating in the disabled toilet, using his flannel as an impromptu whip, emerging only to put his hands up and say sorry. And drink whisky. Witness! the man loves his Denham so much he finds it necessary to hurt himself, confess to his captain that he has done wrong and then drink himself silly. Perhaps he has found his religion… Denham Catholicism.

That Shepard man then made 43 before Roy Rogers' dog made an unwelcome appearance, however despite a brave performance by Mehta, wickets continued to fall and soon Denham were reduced to playing for the draw. Bravely they took on this task, even as the rain began driving in to their eyes. No stoppage this time. And then number eleven Ralph Rulach joined outstanding stand-in wicket keeper for the day and number ten batsman GS Atwal in what turned out to be a most fiery tenth wicket stand.

To cut a long and potentially libelous story short, it was discovered that although the league rules say that a player/umpire shall count as an official umpire, apparently that isn't what they mean. How one is to determine this from reading the league rules is unclear. Perhaps the league will look to clarify the position of player/umpires. One wonders what would happen in the situation where neither team supplies a dedicated umpire. Are the officials (oh, sorry, they're not officials are they, that's just what the rules say) then unable to make any decision? Thus the umpire supplied by Amersham Hill allowed play to continue in significantly deteriorated light and eventually at a few minutes past 8 under heavy cloud cover an outside edge was found and not dropped with 4 overs to go.

At the post-match press conference, Denham skipper Jack Grover had these words: "Obviously it's disappointing to lose, but there we go, that's cricket. At the end of the day we lost out by not supplying an umpire, and there are some teams in the league who seem to think that in 2nd team 2nd division cricket, providing a dedicated umpire is the be-all and end-all. The league clearly needs to acknowledge that in reality this doesn't always happen and that the position of ad hoc umpires needs to be clarified. I would suggest that their status should fall in line with their legal liability."

When asked to comment on the words that were exchanged in the middle, he said, "Look, it was clear there wasn't going to be any sensible discussion. The game and league officials we were looking to for guidance offered even fewer words on the subject than the league handbook. Ultimately I'd rather we lost putting up a fight in the dark than forfeiting because conditions were unacceptable, and so I asked my batsmen to continue playing at their own personal risk and to them I am grateful. The game was obviously rather more important to the opposition and I hope they are able to go home and laugh themselves to sleep as they dream of bowling bouncers at Ray's dad as he curses them in the manner of a vaguely South African Father Jack Hackett. I do - I imagine I'm Devon Malcolm and that Ray's dad is the entire South African Test team. Ralph bowls me a bouncer and it hits me and I turn to the four giggling Ralph slips and tell them that they are gonna pay for that. And then in my dream I'm running in and I bang in bouncer after bouncer. Bouncy bouncy bouncy. Bang bang bang. Unfortunately in my dreams it's daytime and Ray's dad can see the ball and he keeps hooking me into Archbishop Tennyson's school. So I put on my thick glasses and go back to the changing room and cry into my coffin. It's a dark dream and has given me some sleepless nights. Seriously though, we have already erased this game from our memories, and so I hope the "Hill" are able to go home and rub one out too."

And what plans for the future? "Obviously we're going to take the positives we can from this game. Despite JK's failure, I think the rest of us managed to give them the wind-up pretty good and I liked it. Also Ray made a great tea, and I think that gives us all something to look forward to next week."

Any regrets? "Only that I wasn't within earshot of Ray's dad, when he was being moved by the spirit to testify. In the name of the JK, the Philth, and the Harbourmaster."

In other news, tank-top fans will be pleased to hear that Bill Nicholas was dressed to impress on Saturday, and could be found handing out free pieces of mind to anyone who less than loved their Denham.

Denham Sunday XI v Chiswick & Latimer XI

July 12th 2009

And even darker... by RB Sartre

The collective mood of the Denham team reached a whole new low during Sunday's game against Chiswick & Latimer after they produced a rather lacklustre performance to lose by 5 wickets with 11 overs to spare. Whilst the opposition certainly enjoyed their comfortable victory and were able to float serenely along in the stream of life, by the close of play the Denham players were left desperately attempting to scramble up the banks of - and away from - the terrifying river of reflection.

The first sign of the malaise to come was a quarrel amongst the Denham players before the game began. It resulted in two deserters and the unfortunate reinstatement of Denham exile and bad-boy Joe O'Hara to the side. Then slowly and surely, the mood worsened as the Denham innings progressed. Several well-placed batsmen, including Mahmood, Rulach and Rai, all returned to the pavilion before making a score worthy of mentioning. In fact the only thing worth mentioning about the Denham innings as a whole was that it was so boring and devoid of excitement that by the end of the 40 overs the Denham players were thoroughly depressed and were struggling to find reasons to continue.

Sufferers of depression are encouraged to bathe in the sun or eat chocolate as either can improve one's mood. It is also a little-known fact that parading yourself around in Marks and Spencer tank-tops can lift your spirits. Yet unfortunately none of these options were available to help the Denham players as they ate an austere and economical tea sans chocolate (and pink wafers) in horribly overcast conditions and Club Chairman Bill Nicholas, a notorious tank-top collector and therefore potential provider, was nowhere to be seen.

Increasingly depressed, moved only by force of habit, the Denham players returned to the field to defend their hopeless score of 177. After being twatted around for 20 overs by the Chiswick pair of Ramdampully and Bitmait, who put on over a hundred for the second wicket, the Denham players were now even more depressed - even more depressed than your mum's tits. Some of the more intelligent (and elderly) players such as Alan Coulson, Club Harbourmaster Steve Bull and scorer Phil Ashworth then made the terrible mistake of consulting Reason to try to think themselves out of their woes. All that resulted was an escalating spiral of negativity that ended in a newly-formed desire to end their cricketing lives.

Bull came perilously close to satisfying this desire when towards the end of the Chiswick innings skipper Harish Bhatt came on to bowl and somehow claimed three wickets with what the Harbourmaster later stated was, "the worst bowling, at any level, in any country, on any continent, in any era of the game."

Even some of the more-laid back Denham players began reflecting on why in fact they were playing as Harish gifted the Chiswick 40 runs off his 4 overs to help them seal an easy victory. Unaccustomed to unhappiness, Bobby Rai came to the conclusion that there was no point, no point at all. Rulach even considered that visiting his girlfriend might possibly have been more fun. And the mammomaniac O'Hara, normally pleased by the mental images of page 3 models in his head, was suddenly so upset that he was unable to imagine said models, and after the game was seen standing in front of the changing room mirror completely naked, staring avidly at his own absolutely massive pectoral muscles. Clearly, he had been deeply disturbed by the day's events.

Fortunately for the younger players in the side, hope and possibility came to their rescue, and it is unlikely that any permanent psychological damage was inflicted by witnessing Bhatt's bowling. However, it was a huge relief for all concerned when the game was ended by scorer Phil Ashworth at the start of the 30th over. The players were ready to play on, but by cleverly gifting some extra extras to the opposition he brought a premature conclusion to the encounter.

The players then left the field and for many it was if they had fallen into a pit of despair. If it hadn't been for Bobby Rai, many would never have escaped. But having pursued his earlier thoughts further Rai managed to cheer up the Denham faithful who were seriously considering retirement. Before he left he delivered these memorable words in the changing-room:

"We have been abandoned to live in a world without objective moral values, and it is clear that nothing really matters. But if this is true, then this doesn't matter either, and therefore we can keep on playing for Denham and living our lives with a spirit of seriousness totally at odds with the meaninglessness of the universe. See you next week Bruvs."

Thanks to Rai's existentialism the players accepted that it didn't matter that they didn't have anything better to do than play cricket for Denham on the Sabbath, and Denham fans will be pleased to hear that there will still be chaos at Cheapside Lane for uncountable Sundays to come…

July 11th The Ones - well, the less said the better. Actually P Richards scored a dogged and very creditable 52 out of Denham's 132 all out, but Wraysbury got this for 2 wickets in just over 28 overs.

Denham Sunday XI v Birkbeck College

July 5th 2009


Denham batted first against Birkbeck College with an untried opening partnership of Sir Stuart Payne and Dick Philson. They produced an entertaining partnership of 62 in 13 overs with plenty of “waiting....” and edges interspersed with many firm blows. Both fell in two overs, Payne for 19 and Philson for 38, having provided a superb start.

This brought to the wicket a subdued Bobby Rai and new batsman Tamour and for a while the momentum sagged and after 20 overs Denham were 92 for2. Denham “special” drinks were taken and the partnership really started to blossom with Bobby scoring from nearly every ball and Tamour taking the aerial route with anything pitched short. The stand was finally broken on 191 with Tamour runout on 75.

This brought the imperious Richie Braithwaite to the wicket, who wound himself up for some glorious singles. At 40 overs, Denham had reaches 232 for 3 with Bobby not out 65 and Richie not out 14 – a decent score but with a good batting wicket was it enough?

After a healthy vegetarian tea, courtesy of Harish Bhatt, with optional meat supplied by Sir Stuart, Denham took to the field trumpeting their chances. Sir Stuart revealed his master plan of opening the bowling with opening bat’s twin brother Phil Dickson and wily spinner Hemen Mehta. This paid dividends with Birkbeck quickly slumping to 34 for 3.

Excellent support bowling from Alex Marman and Bobby Rai continued to apply the pressure, despite a number of dropped catches (again!). Richie and Harish also bowled, but it was agreed that Harish had expended all his useful energy on the tea preparation as 5 overs went for 34 runs.

Despite the dropped catches, Birkbeck were always struggling to be up with the run rate and they finished on 209 for8 with Hemen taking 3 for 33, Bobby 2 for 23, Alex 2 for 48 and Phil 1 for 45.

We then retired to the bar to consume even more tea and took the p*** out of the smelly teenagers who refuse to have a shower.

Only once was the chairman heard to say “nice bloke, but a bit of a tosser”.


                                                                          **** STOP PRESS - MISSING PERSON ****

The man seen posing as Harish’s friend in a recent report disappeared from the clubhouse on Sunday 28th June after becoming very subdued and circumspect. We are becoming increasingly concerned as to his whereabouts and state of mind.

Harish and mystery friend: who is this man and why is he reaching for Harish's wallet?

Whatever the truth, a lesson has been learned - do not mess with Bitchie Raithwaite.

July 4th The Ones sank further into obscurity, all out for 102 versus Penn & Tylers Green's 225/8 despite the brave resistence of Dave Maynard (45), while both Nicholas J (3/44) and Mahmood F (3/61) had earlier performed creditably with the ball. The Twos, on the other hand, regained their form and second spot in the League. Coleshill were kept down to 203/7 (Jack Grover 3/47), and with both Ambrose Treacy, 55, and J Bhagodia, 52, in form, the Twos reached their target for the loss of just 5 wickets for a 30-pointer.

Denham Sunday XI v Knotty Green XI

June 28th 2009

At just before 2pm on Sunday Denham won the toss and the Knotty Green players thought that they would be punished by having to field all afternoon in the Scorchio weather present at that time.

As it was, the clouds blocked out all sunlight from then on and provided conditions that were murkier than your mum’s tits. And as if to complement the drabness of the skies, the Denham batting began the innings in a drab fashion, largely due to the excellent bowling and fielding of the opposition.

After losing Rulach to a direct hit run-out, there was little filth bowled for Nicholas, J and Bowry, R to punish as they trickled the score onto only 77 for 1 after 20 overs.

It was then that the unfortunate incident occurred. Club Chairman Bill Nicholas, bored to death by the slow run-rate, launched a protest by burning his entire tank-top collection just outside the pavilion, creating a horrible smell that did not amuse the spectators. Nicholas then started to dance around the flaming heap bearing his hairy chest and babbling incoherently something about changing light-bulbs. Eventually several players persuaded the Chairman to stop this mad display and the game continued - but not before the reality of what he had done dawned upon him. The Denham faithful then tragically witnessed the bedraggled Chairman rummaging through the remains of the bonfire, searching for a tank-top that had escaped the inferno.

Back on the square, it seemed however that the protest had worked. Bowry, R (133) and Nicholas, J (81 not out) went berserk in a 200+ run partnership that left Knotty Green chasing 256 for victory!

Sadly Nicholas Senior did not witness the exciting cricket as he had been sectioned (after much wailing and gnashing of teeth) by his own wife Sheila, who then put these concerns behind her by producing a very fine tea which included some delightful banana sandwiches which I for one did not know existed.

The Knotty Green innings that succeeded the tea could be characterised by the following three problems:

1. Internal battles about who should update the scoreboard.

2. Very honest umpiring.

3. An over-reliance on extras as a run-scorer.

If any of these problems could have been resolved then the Green might have got closer to their target.

1 obviously put their batsmen in a bad frame of mind and may have contributed to 3. And because of 2 too many stumpings and lbw decisions were given which did their cause no good at all. But they put in a valiant effort all the same, finally being bowled out for about 160.

Their dangerous left-handed number 8 was the best batsmen and last man out for 48, and as long as he stayed at the crease Knotty had a chance of victory. But he did not account for a devilish Schemberi beamer which he skied to Rulach - who also took two other good catches.

As the match concluded, everyone had forgotten all about the earlier unfortunate incident, and no-one cared about the dreadful smell of burnt tank-tops left lingering in the air. So it was a good Denham victory, and Bitchie Raithwaite received the man-of-the-match award for nobbling Bowry towards the end of the game when they both attempted to take the same catch.

Bowry later described the collision as: “like being hit by Appollo Creed”, and when one considers the uncanny likeness between Bitchie and Carl Weathers - the actor who plays the aforesaid boxer - one wonders if they are not, in fact, the same person.

Whatever the truth, a lesson has been learned - do not mess with Bitchie Raithwaite.

Anonymous Addendum: Some more heroes of the day

“After the hammering by Bowry and Nicholas, Knotty were demoralised and never really threatened, despite a brief late rally from opening bowler Ritchie who scored 48. They were all out for 164 in 32 overs, with wickets fromHemen Mehta (3), Harish Bhatt (1), Morgan Rees (1), Richie (5 overs 1 for 5), Alex Marman (1) and Richard Schembri (1). Ray Rulach took two blinding catches and Alan Coulson got three stumpings. The only negative of the day was the collision between Russell and Richie when going for a catch.

Russell had to retire from the field and the usual running banter stopped. After the match he spent a very quiet half hour slumped in a chair not taking part in the normal "joshing" at the bar. Get well soon Russ!”

June 27th The Ones game was brought to an untimely end with the match very much in balance (Great Kingshill 247/8, Denham 88/3 off 20 overs). But the Twos faltered against the high-flying Great Kingshill 2nd XI: Denham 161 all out (with R Schembri 61), Great Kingshill 167/4. Denham now down to third behind GK

Denham Sunday XI v St John's Wood XI

June 21st 2009

There was no need for St John’s Wort during Sunday’s match with St John’s Wood as the cricket and buffoonery of both sides ensured that the match provided entertainment for all involved.

The clubhouse was packed for the encounter, with Chairman Bill Nicholas, sporting an audacious aqua-marine tank-top, offering drinks to all and sundry.

It really must have been a special occasion!

St John’s Wort - a mild anti-depressant but not needed on Sunday

The visitors batted first. After a wily opening spell from Jamil Sheikh 1/22, St John’s got off to a slowish start. Then during the middle overs Harish Bhatt bowled with a deliberate lack of pace and picked up 3 for 37 off 8 overs. These were the only two Denham positives and in truth St John’s absolutely ruined the bowling, twatting it to all corners of the ground. McNee paid considerable disrespect to what was bowled, retiring himself having amassed 124 runs in next to no time. Other short bursts of twatting came from Blunt, McDoneell and Fisher, as the Wood reached a sizey total - 267 for 5 off their 40 overs.

The players then eagerly left the field to sample James Nicholas’ tea, which whilst adequately satisfying their hunger, was about as tasteless as saying: “Jade Goody deserved to die – she was a very bad person indeed.” But the cold pasta was a nice idea however and therefore Nicholas should be encouraged to improve upon this bland performance. (Perhaps with the addition of pink wafers.)

Anyway, Denham’s openers, Hashim Zaheer and the ubiquitous James Nicholas, set about employing Captain Bhatt’s brilliant ‘gameplan’ – to have no wickets down after 10 overs then steadily increase the run rate. After 10 overs, the score was 40 for no wicket and the plan was working. Then after Zaheer lost his wicket, Robert Bentallcame in and there was indeed a noticeable growth in the run rate.

The rate was then increased further when St John’s introduced former Bristol University 3rd team captain, Oliver Van Den Broek, into the attack. Notorious for bowling filthy off-spin, Nicholas and Bentall wasted little time in attempting to twat him to the boundary. But if Van Den Broek’s bowling was filth, the St John’s fielding and catching was a whole new level of filth:

Massive Filth

Total Filth

Absolute Filth

Complete and Utter Filth

Beyond Filth

These are all ways that one can try to explain just how bad it was, but sadly none can do it justice. Bentall and Nicholas were dropped a combined 13 times in a partnership of 122 off just 17 overs.

And as if to prove the cricketing gods were on Denham’s side, poor visibility due to strong sunshine prevented a strong appeal for a stumping being affirmed by special guest umpire Russell Bowry (co-incidentally also a former BUCC 3rd xi captain), after a Van Den Broek delivery fortunately hit a crack and deceived Bentall. Whatever the third umpire would have said about the matter, justice was undoubtedly served, as no-one deserves wickets bowling filth of this kind.

Alas, the cricketing gods eventually lost patience with Bentall (80) and Nicholas (81), who were both caught at mid-off off the bowling of McDowell. With little batting to come, and some less filthy bowling from Leggot and Cotterell, Denham subsided to 230 for 9, some 39 runs short of their target. But this was not before a lovely cameo fromCaptain Bhatt, who completed his first ever all-run two, much to the delight of the Denham fans.

A good day then was had by all, and this fixture re-iterated itself as one of the most enjoyable on the Denham fixture list. Long may it continue, and long may absolute filth go unrewarded on the cricket field!

June 20th One up, one down. The Ones recorded their best total of the season, at 254/9, with the help of Faisal Mahmood (72) and Russell Bowry (52), but Binfield were in no mood to hang around, passing their target in just 37 overs for the loss of 4 wickets. Bobby Rai, 4/99, did his best to prevent them. The Twos, on the other hand marched on again, with the aid of a terrific 8/31 from Henen Mehta. Denham 161, Littlewick Green 71 all out. But who is going to tell the tale about his great feat?

June 13th More defeats. The Ones knocked up a respectable 205/7 (Bobby Rai 85, P Richards 61) but Winchmore Hill had been watching the Twenty20 - and knocked the runs off for just 3 wickets in 31.1 overs despite all Jamil Shaikh's good efforts (3/49). The Twos on the other hand, had a day to forget: all out 106, Wargrave 107/2 in just 20.3 overs and down to second place behind White Waltham

June 6th Crappy weather forced the Twos match to be abandoned (Twos still at the top of the table) while the Ones got the worst of a rain-shortened match (Taplow 153/9 off 27 overs, Faisal Mahmood 4/42); Denham 99/7, with Jamil Shaikh unbeaten on 43) - and remain on the bottom

May 30th Same theme, different opponents.

The Ones bowling held Chalfont St Giles down to 236/8 off their full 52 overs (J Shaikh 3/45, J Nicholas 3/65), but the Denham batting collapsed to 115 all out. Result: 27 points clear at bottom of table. Awaiting full story of the villains

The Poets XI allowed Englefield to score more runs (246/9) but knocked them off for just 5 wickets. Result: 22 points clear at top of table. Awaiting full story of the heroes: but evergreen Sir Stuart Payne claimed 4 catches and Mark Shepherd's 66 was the mainstay of the Twos innings

May 23rd Mixture as before, but not quite. The Ones were beaten (NB not thrashed) by 39 runs (Penn & Tylers Green 227/8 off the full 52 overs, with Faisal Mahmood 4/75; Denham 188 all out).

The Poets XI prevailed yet again - that makes 4 out of 4 and top of the table by 12 points. This time Mark Shepherd (7/48) put on a super performance to dismiss Coleshill for 171, while JK Bhagodia was not to be outdone with his 85 not out as he guided Denham to a 3 wicket victory and 30 points. We're expecting nothing less than Iambic Pentameter for the match report this week.

May 16th Another black and white week: the Ones managed a single point in their thrashing by Hawridge & Cholesbury (them 257/3, us 82 all out), but the Twos - hurrah for the Twos - achieved a splendid victory over Hawridge & Cholesbury Twos (us 210/6, with Jack Grover 53, and Mark Shephard 46, them 143 all out, H Zaheer 4/39, A Kirby 3/39). The Twos are now third in their League.

Denham 2nd XI v Hawridge & Cholesbury 2nd XI

May 16th 2009

Denham Till We Die

A Match Report in Verse by Jack and Ray

(to the tune of "The Animals Went In Two By Two")

Denham 2s were on the road
Denham Denham
Hawridge & Cholesbury's where we goed
Denham Denham
The rain was falling, weather dross
We called it wrong and lost the toss
We were asked to bat first
Denham till we die

Schembers opened well with Ray
Denham Denham
JK came in and had a flay
Denham Denham
Sheppy fired off his guns
Captain Jack scored lots of runs
And we scored two hundred
Denham till we die!

The rain threatened to stop the match
Denham Denham
But the Twos held onto every catch
Denham Denham
Except Tom Buckler, he dropped one
And we fumbled a run out for fun
Did it stop us winning?
Denham till we die!

The openers they kept it tight
Denham Denham
But Hawridge they put up a fight
Denham Denham
Halfway through our fielding chore
We'd got 1 out, we needed more
So we changed the bowling
Denham till we die!

Hashim bowled well and he got four
Denham Denham
He tried but couldn't get one more
Denham Denham
But Kirby he got three as well
And Jack the ninth in a second spell
We were close to winning
Denham till we die!

But then came in two grafting kids
Denham Denham
It seemed our effort hit the skids
Denham Denham
For 13 overs they blocked out
Till Sheppy had an LB shout
We won with nine balls to spare
Denham till we die! May 9th Black week for Denham - both sides skittled, both sides thrashed. Awaiting reports and excuses. And Sunday was no better - a 9 wickets defeat. It can only go up from here...

May 9th
Black week for Denham - both sides skittled, both sides thrashed. Awaiting reports and excuses. And Sunday was no better - a 9 wickets defeat. It can only go up from here...

Wraysbury 1st XI v Denham 1st XI

May 2nd 2009

Denham Produce Cricket fit for the Queen(’s husband)

Looking at the team sheet before Sunday’s match against The Royal Household would have left many Denham fans fearing the worst. For it contained no less than six unknown quantities, all with the same surname, and all “friends” with skipper Harish Bhatt. Surely Denham had found six more buffoons to add to their ever-growing list.

So, the uncertainty of the side’s ability, combined with memories of previous thrashings at the hands of The Household, left little room for optimism in the Denham dressing room.

But in actual fact, the inspiring cricket of the six Parmars plus the five Denham regulars, the immaculate scoring of Phil “The Filth” Ashworth, and the ruthless umpiring of Pete Schembri all ensured that Denham put in a performance at Windsor Castle that was fit for the Queen(’s husband).

Having barely and successfully met the security requirements at one of the Castle’s secret entrances, the Denham side changed fully expecting to field first and chase leather for 3 hours before being skittled for under a hundred. But the first surprise of the afternoon came when having lost the toss, The Household skipper decided to insert Denham into bat – surely with the intention of bringing an early conclusion to the match.

And so it was then up to three of the unknown quantities, Prince, Kevin and Sanjay Parmar to get the Denham innings going. They did a fine job. There was no expected top-order collapse and although 2 wickets did fall in the first 10 overs, almost 30 runs were scored, and this was already more than the 27 all out obtained against the same opposition in the 2006 fixture.

From then on, Denham frustrated The Royal Household by preventing them from taking wickets regularly. There were good partnerships right throughout the middle order, the highlight being 43 between Russell Bowry (in a rare appearance) and Hashim Zaheer. Bowry led the other batsmen through to tea, finishing on 84 not out, and Harish Bhatt then declared the Denham innings on 149-9. Now, 149 runs for the loss of nine wickets may not be the highest score in history but it was more than respectable enough given the fears before the game.

And what is more, it was certainly entertaining enough for none other than Prince Philip - the Queen’s husband – the Duke of Edinburgh – someone-so-important-he-has-three-names – to tell the chauffeur to stop his passing Range Rover, leave the passenger’s seat, and stand under a tree to watch the Denham innings for approximately 15 minutes!

Unfortunately the Duke was unavailable for comment after the game, but a member of The Royal Household confirmed that he was obviously a Denham fan: “He hardly ever watches us play, and we play 30 games a year. It’s very unusual for him to watch, but he definitely looked like he was enjoying himself.

A less unbiased source, Gareth Rees, equipped with binoculars and a talent for lip-reading, claimed to see the Duke mouthing “Come on Denham” in the Colin-Tobin-style, akin to an announcement at a train station.

So however difficult the target of 150 would be for The Household really didn’t matter. What did matter was that the Denham batsmen had entertained the father of the future king, and pound signs appeared in Bill Nicholas’s eyes, even though he was not in fact in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

Anyway, tea was taken and it was of the expected Royal Standard. The Coronation Chicken sandwiches were the obvious highlight of a delicious spread, the which of could have only been improved by the presence of pink wafers. The ultra-observant would also have seen Harish produce from his own supply of food the world’s smallest banana, but this is an unnecessary distraction from the cricket.

But despite the loss, Denham produced a more than apt display in the field. Special appreciation must go to Prince Parmar, who only conceded 1 run from his first 6 overs, to Alex Marman, who fielded with the energy and determination of some kind of deranged-Denham-loving-lunatic, and to Gitan Parmar, who organised the field with aplomb and also took two wickets. 

Phil "The Filth" Ashworth. Nothing filthy about His scoring.

So all in all, it was a great occasion, and one that will probably go down in history as the one where the Queen’s husband came to watch Denham. It was a shame that the Queen herself did not watch, but this is her loss, not Denham’s.

Also, it must be stressed that without the valuable contributions of the Parmars the game would not have taken place, so Denham owe them a huge thanks.

Finally, there were 2 more events of significance on this momentous day: 

1. On the drive back to Cheapside Lane,Harish Bhatt outrageously overtook Pete Schembri, putting his car into 3rd gear for the first time in its history.

2. On hearing the news that a member of the Royal Family had become a Denham fan, Chairman Bill Nicholas hastily ordered 5 new tank-tops from Marks and Spencer’s online store. The tank-tops – all the same colour - have not yet arrived, but what this means we will never know. 

Wraysbury 1st XI v Denham 1st XI

May 2nd 2009

James Nicholas's Report

Denham 1st XI got off to a disappointing start to the League season after being thrashed at home by Wraysbury.

Asked to bat first, Denham’s problems at the top of the innings continued as they lost early wickets to the accurate Wraysbury opening bowlers.

Usman Khan made a gritty 37 before he was caught on the boundary just after drinks and when Faisal was adjudged LBW Denham were in trouble at 76/6.

Tom Welbury batted well on debut to make 43 and was well supported by Jamil Shaikh (34). Both showed what can be achieved by spending time at the wicket. Denham were able to scrape up to 158 all out in the final over.

This appeared to be a reasonable effort as now the Denham bowlers had something to bowl at on a pitch that offered some assistance to the bowlers.

However right from ball one Wraysbury made their intentions clear. Perhaps they had somewhere else to be that evening because they smashed the ball to all parts. Most of the Denham bowlers actually bowled reasonably well, the just had no answer to the Wraysbury onslaught. It took just 18 overs and the loss of two late wickets for Wraysbury to complete victory.

Points: Wraysbury 20, Denham 4

Denham 2nd XI v Amersham Hill 2nd XI

May 2nd 2009

Denham won the toss and batted, but could only manage 199 all out in the 51st over (A Saberwhal 40).

Amersham Hill were soon in trouble, and with the aid of Ray Rulach's 4/31 they were dismissed for just 122 after 39 overs for a great win