Denham Sunday XI vs Odney
August 29th 2010
By Guest Reporter Russell Bowry
Basically, in a nutshell, to be brief, not to elaborate, Sunday’s game versus Oddney was not a classic. The important features were that the weather was sunny and windy, the pitch was slow and muddy, the tea was cheap and tasty, Bill Nicholas’s tank-top was old and filthy and the opposition were keen and friendly. There were no pink wafers at tea, James Nicholas did not scab a cheap fifty, Hemen Mehta did not die, your mum did not turn up and at the end of the day words are meaningless and forgettable. Sohail Anwar did well with the ball, taking 3 for 11, and Hashim Zaheer did well with the bat, scoring 54*. Chasing 131, Denham won by 8 wkts and there is nothing less to say.
August 28 Mixed fortunes against Hurley. Both the Ones and Twos were inserted and bowled out cheaply (145 and 132). James Nicholas (4/28) and Mark Shepherd (3/40) soon got to work for the Ones, who won by 46 runs, but Hurley 2nds scraped past their target with 2 wickets to spare despite Hemen Mehta's best efforts (3/43).
Birkbeck College vs Denham Sunday XI
August 22nd 2010
The Case of the Birkbeck Pasta Salad
By Guest Reporter Russell Bowry
Midweek, Denham were struggling to raise a team to play Birkbeck College on Sunday as several regulars gave poor excuses to avoid travelling to Greenford. According to Captain Harish Bhatt, James Nicholas was picking flowers for his girlfriend, Hashim Zaheer was washing his hair and Faisal Mahmood was on his period. Club Chariman Bill Nicholas also turned down the opportunity of a rare game, claiming he was participating in a smokathon, when in actual fact, he was just annoyed that he couldn’t make any money out of the fixture.
Fortunately the persistence of skipper Bhatt meant Denham were able to field eleven “players”, if by players you can include included distant relatives of Bhatt himself and two people who had not played since the late 1980s.
One of these men, Bret Slee – no relation to the Australian international - had not played a real game since school and had restricted himself to “netting” over the last few years. When asked about his ability to bowl he instructed captain Bhatt that he should only be brought on if Denham wanted to lose the game! This may sound like an obscure suggestion, but if one had seen Denham’s efforts during the match, one could have rightly assumed that losing was their intention, and wondered in fact why Slee was not considered to bowl.
So, whether it was the weakness of the team, the memories of forever looking for balls in hedges during last year’s fixture, or the fact this may have been one match too many in a never-ending season, it seemed the Denham players were determined to finish the match ASAP, by gifting victory to Birkbeck.
After losing the toss Denham were asked to bat and wickets were donated at regular intervals, but Ricky Bhatt – the nephew of Harish – had moved to 26 easily enough. But by this point, his gloves had become quite sweaty, and the bat grip all manky, meaning he was unable to maintain a proper technique. Of course, he could have had them changed, but having never played for Denham before and seen the efforts of the other batsmen he assumed that finishing the match quickly was the main priority and decided to loft a simple catch to mid-on and give someone else a go.
Russell Bowry then came in and scored 64*, but by gifting the strike to the other batsmen, who fell to wiley old-timer Pyle (4 for 20), he ensured Denham were all out for 168 in just 33 overs.
As a quick finish seemed the intention it was fortunate that the tea was not one to be savoured. A revolting pasta salad was served, and most players were more concerned with throwing it away without the tea-lady noticing than trying to eat it.
Bobby Rai, having foolishly piled his plate high with the filth, hid his food behind the sofa, and was deemed a coward by the other players. However, his actions were subsequently deemed wise after the tea-lady found the leftovers and mistakenly thought the fully-plastered Hemen Mehta was to blame. She ran back to her kitchen, collected her bread knife, and after a half-century of slashes, Mehta was no more. But the good news was this inspired a hasty retreat back to the pitch…
… where opening bowlers Siddique and Raithwaite quickly conceeded 52 runs in the first 6 overs, and then the combined filth of Bhatt and Bowry gently helped Birbeck towards their target.
With Birkbeck 120 for 1 in next to no time, the game looked to be finishing soon, but then Sohail Anwar was asked to bowl and somehow produced 3 ruppies in two overs which reduced Birbeck to 130 for 4. With a painstaking and time-consuming scramble over the line possible, skipper Bhatt quickly removed Anwar from the attack to allow Birkbeck the runs needed for their six-wicket victory.
The innings lasted only 26 overs and many of the players were back home before 19:00, allowing them to indulge in an evening of mind-numbing entertainment.
Had they played, James Nicholas would still have had time to pick flowers, Hashim Zaheer could have washed and conditioned his hair, and Bill Nicholas could have smoked his tits off. But there was nothing that Faisal Mahmood could do about his period – he would have whinged, moaned and bled all game long.
August 21 Meanwhile the Ones lost to Holyport by 59 runs despite the best efforts of Shepherd (3 for 53), Malik (69) andShokat (55), and the Twos had a walkover gift of 25 points from Braywood, but both stay mid-table.
August 7 The Twos weren't playing, but the Ones absolutely trounced Englefield. First Russell Bowry batted like a dream (110*) and then James Nicholas (7 for) and Mark Shepherd (4 for) did the business with the ball
July 31 Great weekend for Denham with both League teams winning - congrats to Faisal Mahmood (4/47 and 53*) and Mark Shepherd (3/51) who helped the Ones beat Little Kingshill, and to M Singh (41) and Jack Grover (7/43 - wow!) who inspired the Twos to an unlikely 11-run win over Hawridge & Cholesbury.
Datchet vs Denham Sunday XI
August 1st 2010
The Legend of Lion Bara
By Guest Reporter Russell Bowry
The Denham Sunday XI made a rare trip away from Cheapside Lane this week to play Datchet. Whilst this pleased some of the players who quite rightly fancied a change of scenery, there was one man not amused by the move - Club Chairman Bill Nicholas. How on earth would Denham make any money out of an away fixture, where there would be no chance to rip-off the opposition by charging a ludicrous amount for the tea? Nicholas senior was therefore made to suffer as he watched Denham players and fans alike queue up at the Datchet bar to buy refreshments throughout the game.
Having been asked to bat first, Denham made a great start to the match, with a 100-run partnership betweenRulach and Extras being brought up in just the 14th over. Rulach was dismissed shortly after one run short of a deserved 50, and as the better bowlers came on, the run rate stalled, and more wickets fell. It looked like Denham would be denied a competitive total, but then Bitchie Raithwaite played an innings of such greatness it changed both the course of his life, and of the match.
This ineffable innings of 27 captured the hearts and minds of all who played, none more so than Datchet all-rounder Shepherd, who was convinced he was watching Brian Lara batting. It did not take long for Denham to warp this comparison into giving Bitchie his new knickname - Lion Bara.
It took even less time for Nestle to jump on the bandwagon and seek a way of making money out of the great man. Within minutes their marketing department had come up with this: These commemorative edition Lion Bara Lion bars were delivered just in time for tea and all the players bought one. As they ate them, they were already reminiscing on Bara's unstoppable late leaves for four; his midwicket clip which somehow bulleted past point for a boundary; and the absolute highlight - the world's first ever single run backwards. What an innings it was. And it gave Denham a good chance of victory with a score of 222 for 7 from 40 overs.
It was only natural that the Denham players went back to the field with great reluctance. They knew that the rest of the match would pale in comparison with Bara's knock. Andy Kirby tried to lift the mood by taking a wicket with the first ball of the Datchet innings and he continued to bowl effectively, eventually removing the other opener. But even with Morgan Rees bowling superbly at the other end, a collapse did not ensue.
After 20 overs, Datchet had reached 120 for 2, and looked odds on to win. The 3rd wicket pair of Finn and Sheperd were starting to twat the ball to the boundary more easily than your mum's tits and skipper James Nicholas only had himself, the fully plastered Hemen Mehta and absolute buffoon Hashim Zaheer left to bowl. Things did not look good. It was a great surprise therefore when Zaheer somehow managed to take the prize wicket of Sheperd (42) with a random bouncer. This sparked a Denham fightback, with Hemen Mehta then proceeding to take three crucial middle order wickets.
At 169 for 7 with 12 overs to go, it looked like Datchet had blown it. However, Denham defector Hussain(54*), and the turbaned talent that was Heer (4*), managed to negotiate Nicholas's own bowling to see Datchet home in the penultimate over to earn them a three wicket victory. In the end Bara's faultless innings of 27 was not good enough to win the game for Denham.
And in the end Club Chairman Bill Nicholas was even more pissed off as Nestle refused to sell him bulk supplies of the commemorative edition Lion Bara lion bars, fearing he may charge obscene prices for them back at Cheapside Lane. Unfortunately Nicholas took his anger out on the closest thing to him - Hemen Mehta. But whilst the Chairman's tank top allowed him to swing strongly and freely at the unsuspecting spinner, it was Mehta's plasters that made the difference, when they acted like little knuckle-dusters as he retaliated and punched the living daylights out of the enraged old man. A great riddle had finally been solved. It can only be hoped that Hemen removed his plasters before he returned home to his wife…
June 19th The news of the Ones continues to be bad. Best not ask. And the Twos are mid-table but getting rusty (only 3 games played in their league on Saturday).
Denham Sunday XI v St Johns Wood
June 20th 2010
Joe O'Hara Recovers from a Ducking
By Guest Reporter Russell Bowry
I was passing through Denham on Sunday so I thought I'd pop down to Cheapside Lane to check out how the cricket team were doing as I hadn't been there in a while and the first thing I noticed as I approached the ground was that someone had built a playing area for the kids in the corner of it and that someone had cut all the branches of all the trees back but apart from these things and the fact that Faisal Mahmood had obviously been on the protein shakes everything was still the same like Hemen Mehta having loads of plasters on his fingers.
So it was a really pretty scene when I turned up at 6:30 as the sun was out and it was warm and Club Chairman Bill Nicholas was sitting their smoking and drinking in his dark blue tank-top next to his wife and there were others there smoking and drinking but not wearing tank-tops including Gareth Rees and Mark Shepherd and everyone was behaving themselves and watching the cricket intently because it really was an excellent game.
The spectators told me that Denham had batted pretty well in the afternoon and scored 239/9 in their 40 overs with Bobby Rai putting in a huge performance and getting 109 runs and James Nicholas also scabbing 35 but I was disappointed to hear that Bitchie Raithwaite scored only 8 but was then cheered up again because Denham bad-boy Joe O'Hara had got a second ball duck and I realised that there was still some justice in the world.
At this point I wasn't really sure who Denham were playing because they were now out in the field and whilst the scoreboard said 92/2 after 20 overs it didn't say who the opposition were so I went over to Phil "The Filth" Ashworth who was scoring but even he didn't tell me that Denham were playing St John's Wood because he didn't need to because it was written in the scorebook and also in the scorebook were the bowling figures and it said that the bowler MacDowall got 3/19 which is pretty good so I assume he bowled well but I couldn't be sure because one of his wickets was O'Hara and most bowlers can get him out.
When I looked back out to the pitch Denham captain James Nicholas was starting to get angry and had a sour look on his face and was telling off Bitchie Raithwaite because he had done some dreadful fielding which gave the batsmen an extra run and I started thinking 'chill out James it's just one run so stop taking the fact that your life will be over soon because you are getting married to Charlie Porter out on Bitchie Raithwaite who is a living legend' and then I stopped thinking because I was distracted by a packet of crisps rolling across the outfield and I think it was a packet of roast beef Monster Munch.
After this the batsman called Hogg started to twat the ball a lot and so did the batsman called McNel and it the space of a couple of overs they both received applause from their team mates and the spectators presumably because they had scored fifties and before I knew it the scoreboard said 165/2 off 30 overs which meant St Johns only needed 75 from the last 10 overs with 8 wickets in hand and I didn't think that Denham could win because James Nicholas had that sour look on his face still and it was probably because Alex Marman was diving all over the field like a goalkeeper but not actually saving anything and James was probably thinking something like 'Marman is a buffoon' but he didn't say it out loud.
So Hogg and McNel continued to twat the ball and all of Denhams bowlers suffered but Bobby Rai was bowling some nice leg spin and while the batsmen thought they could twat every ball they couldn't because Hogg tried to twat one of Rai's balls which looked like a ruppy but could have been a mini-ruptoid but it didn't really matter which because it was skied into the air for Denham bad-boy Joe O'Hara to take a good catch because Andy Kirby was too scared to go for it himself and Hogg was out for 74 which was a good score but St Johns still needed about 50 runs to win from 8 overs at this stage and I reckoned they would get them because McNel was still in and still twatting the ball a lot and not getting out either.
I still thought St Johns Wood would win a few overs later even though Bobby Rai had taken another wicket and Joe O'Hara bowling at the other end had also taken a wicket because the scoreboard said 204/5 off 35 overs which meant that St Johns Wood would win if they scored 36 runs off 5 overs and the way McNel was batting it looked like he could get them off one over because he was very strong and had just twatted another six which brought up his century or I presumed so because everyone was clapping and he had already been clapped once for his fifty and not again since.
Anyway McNel did not actually get another 36 runs because Denham started to bowl much better and the fielding improved as everyone started diving around like Marman but actually stopping it and so it meant that the match would be decided in the final over with St Johns Wood needing seven runs off of the bowling of Denham bad-boy Joe O'Hara.
McNel had cleverly kept the strike from the penultimate over and was determined to run twos when only ones were possible and ran out his partner off the first ball doing this so then it was seven from five and then he starting to go too big and missed a couple and then it was five from three and Denham looked like they could win but then I looked at the field and there was a gap at midwicket and I was about to shout to James but it was too late as McNel twatted the fourth ball through there for four and now St Johns Wood would win with two from the last two balls but then something brilliant happened as McNel tried to run two again where there was only one and Tamur Sadiq did a good throw and ran out the non-striker and the scores were level and so then Nicholas brought the field in very close for the last ball and all the spectators were standing up and Club Chairman Bill Nicholas had three cigarettes in his mouth and Joe O'Hara ran in to bowl the last ball and McNel looked like he was going to try and twat it but he couldn't do it as it looked like O'Hara had bowled a pearler but it could have been a pearlstallion and the ball just went straight through to the wicketkeeper Paul Richards who kept his nerve brilliantly and ran out the non-striker approaching him and the Denham players then started to hug each other because they felt as if they had won even though it was actually a tie but when I looked at the St John's Wood players they were happy too so it seemed that everybody had won.
I then had to go again but I was really pleased to have seen such a great game and at the end of the match I realised that Harish Bhatt was missing so I quickly asked Hemen Mehta why Harish was missing and Hemen Mehta told me that Harish had a urinary infection which he didn't want anyone to know about so I promised Hemen that I would not tell anyone and hoped that Harish got better soon because he is one of the best people on the planet.
May 29nd Both Ones and Twos had their matches abandoned
May 22nd The Ones were rather brushed aside by Chalfont St Giles, who won by 10 wickets. The Ones now hover close to the bottom of the table.
The Twos also lost, but gave league leaders Winchmore Hill much more of a battle. M Singh scored 59 out of Denham's reasonably challenging 217 all out, but they came up against an irresistible force in M Dickson (145 not out in the visitors' 220/3).
May 15th The Ones lost a close match with Hurley in which bowlers dominated. Ones 147 all out, Hurley 148/7, despite James Nicholas's superb 6/46. Next week a chance to leapfrog Chalfont St Giles (A). The Twos found some form at last and thrashed Hurley Twos. The latter were bowled out for 178 (Hashim Zaheer 4/50), whileJeff Simpson (53*)and Pete Schembri (45*) helped ensure a 5-wicket 30-point victory that brings the Twos up to seventh in the League.
Hurley Twos v Denham Twos
Report from the Wannabe Geordie
May 15th 2010
Denham Twos endeavoured to make up for last week's defeat, with their away fixture versus Hurley (who had won their first two league matches).
Last year, Denham Twos conceded over 300 runs at the very same ground, yet held out for a losing draw. Could they do one better and win this time around?
Things didn't look too promising at first with Hurley's "no mercy" opening batting onslaught, as they raced to 50 runs in the first 6 overs. However, two quick wickets (from C O'Hara and J Grover respectively) reduced the flow of runs. Shortly thereafter, H Zaheer started his 15 over spell. He bowled sensibly and most significantly took 4 crucial middle order wickets. This overlapped with economical bowling from P Ashworth and J Simpson. The final few overs were bowled by J Grover and A Saberwal, as Denham Twos skittled out the mighty Hurley for 178 off 51.5 overs. Part-credit must go to P Schembri for his "iron man" heroics behind the stumps. Also a notable mention must go out to captain R Rulach for his various field settings, which resulted in plenty of catches and a run out.
The tea was splendid to say the least. Once everyone had stuffed themselves with carbs, fat and protein, Denham Twos' openers were ready to rock and roll with the knowledge that they needed to score at 3.7/over to win the match.
The Denham Twos started off with a decent run rate, but the problem was that wickets were falling along the way! At 80ish for 5, the match was in the balance as J Simpson and P Schembri occupied the crease. They settled in and played with patience. Slowly but surely, Denham Twos had reached 100 runs. Thereafter, they showed their finesse and tortured the 2nd and 3rd bowling changes.
With 3 overs to go, J Simpson hit the winning runs with a half ton in the bag (and 45 not out for P Schembri), as Denham Twos recorded their first league win of the season!
What next for the Denham Twos? Will they continue this winning momentum into the next match? Or will the lack of player availability rear its usual and ugly head? Stay tuned until next time for the escapades of the Denham Twos!
*=Done over! (shame on you if you didn't get it the first time around!)
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