Why does it always rain on me?

Is it because I dropped a catch when RUASC were on 117?  Or the rain in Sonning Lane falls mainly at the end of the game?

Reading University Alumni and Staff CC 140 all out
Mandarins 131-4
No Result*

* D/L score had us ahead!  [Ed.]

When is the most frustrating time for the rain to come? As one draws the curtains on the morning of a much anticipated game? Or as the metaphorical curtain comes down at the end of another Mandarin season? Ten minutes before the start of a match that you have already made the effort to drive to? Or ten runs short of victory at the end of a season in which wins have, shall we say, been hard to come by?

It was the latter fate that befell the Mandarins against Reading University Alumni and Staff. And it certainly felt frustrating. Especially so perhaps because all week we had been anticipating rain, with the forecast suggesting it would begin to fall at some point between the Chiswick roundabout and Captain Tunbridge losing the toss and being put into bat. 

But neither eventuality materialised and the only thing that fell with any consistency were Reading wickets, five of which all went to our recently discovered tearaway opening bowler Chris Healey (7-1-16-5) who bowled with control and not a little menace. (Or perhaps it was his identical twin brother Nick - who made a 'can you tell them apart?' appearance at tea). Backed by a somewhat surprisingly competent fielding display (McIntyre's one hander, Heard's athletic grab on the run and Tivey's steady under a steepler take all being - with all due love and respect - unexpected highlights), the bowlers all did a job. Heard was unlucky to go wicketless with the new ball. Venky was unlucky to be put on a time when the RUASC number six was swinging hard and happily; and Sommerville was unluckly his good ones were not rewarded (although took one with arguably the worst ball of his spell). McIntyre then supplied control and your correspondent (5.2-0-19-3) supplied three well caught wickets to finish the RUASC innings on 140 with an over to spare. 

(Although - in what later proved to be a crucial turn of events - I also dropped a low but catchable caught and bowled chance an over earlier in the spell. And while it was not costly to my own figures, it was to the team's as Tunbridge went around the ground for 16 in the intervening over. Team-spirited skipper that he is, Graeme naturally blamed this entirely on me.)

Tea was taken in the well-appointed Reading CC club house, rather than the rather exposed and ramshackle hut that served as the changing room for the second team pitch. And heartily fortified by samosas, spring rolls and chips, we set about the gettable but by all means fail-to-gettable chase. At this stage the weather still looked set fair for another 35 overs and it looked like we were going to need them as Tunbridge (victim of a ruthless first ball LBW decision by Umpire Tivey it must be said) and Mills returned promptly to the pavilion, leaving us 8-2 and asking Sommerville (44) and (Venky 52no)to set about a patient rebuilding job. This they did with aplomb, watchful at first, accelerating later, taking us to 93 in what was set to be a match-winning partnership.

However the mid-September weather was yet to have its say. As it worsened, RUASC creditably resisted coming off before a downpour made that unavoidable. A short delay ensued although not long later Venky and Tivey were back out there edging us ever closer to glory. But the weather worsened yet again and - while RUASC were sportingly willing to stick it out to a conclusion - a groundsman did nothing to confound his trade's grumpy stereotype and ordered us off for good without consultation.

A quick check of a Duckworth Lewis calculator had us comfortably ahead but in the absence of an agreement between the sides that DL would apply, we had to settle for a moral victory on this occasion, which is at least an improvement on all the 'moral/Mandarins draws' we suffered/earned in limited overs games earlier in the season.


Over a Healey-bought jug of local IPA in the bar, our belated run of form brought forth talk of trying to find a further fixture to keep the season going (not least for Graeme whose trips to Rochester and Reading brought scores of 0 and 0, figures of 1-0-16-0 and a horror drop to boot). But it was raging against the dying of the cricket season light. So we went our separate ways for 2017. In glorious sunshine of course.

Dan Forman

Averages and Related Stuff for 2017

Dan Forman has prepared a statistical digest and highlights of the season in numbers. It makes for a jolting read for some of us! Absolutely no liability for errors accepted at all....

Top run scorers (minimum 50 runs)


  • Healey 275 at 91.6*
  • Pharaoh 243 at 48.3
  • Baxter 207 at 34.5
  • Tunbridge 198 at 18
  • Brand 193 at 64.3
  • Manian 118 at 14.75
  • Mills 113 at 22.6
  • D Williams 108 at 27
  • Sommerville 101 at 20.2
  • R Eastaway 75 at 25
  • D Forman 70 at 8.75
  • N Davidson 68 at 7.5
  • Venky 57 at 19
  • Lowen 55 at 7.85

* Bradmanesque but not actually the highest average as Harry Forman was 2 not out for the season

Top scores (minimum 40 runs)


  • Pharoah 82 vs Whitchurch
  • Tonbridge 79 vs Streatham and Marlborough
  • Healey 78 vs WG
  • Healey 74no vs Brightwell
  • Baxter 63no vs King's Rochester
  • Brand 63no vs King's Rochester
  • Brand 62 vs Streatham and Marlborough
  • Healey 59 vs Hockerill
  • D Williams 59 vs BBC
  • Pharoah 59 vs Mickleham
  • Pharoah 55 vs Elstead
  • Venky 52no vs Reading
  • D Williams 48 vs Whitchurch
  • Mills 47 vs Essex
  • Healey 46no vs Quillebets
  • Hawkins 45 vs Worlingworth
  • Sommerville 44 vs Reading
  • Tonbridge 44 vs Charlatans
  • D Forman 41 vs North Enfield

Top wicket takers


  • R Eastaway 13 at 18.8
  • D Forman 13 at 21.4
  • McIntyre 13 at 27.3
  • Hurst 12 at 19.9
  • Healey 9 at 15.6*
  • Gundry 6 at 5
  • Gray 6 at 29.6
  • Heard 6 at 49.1

* the book does not record bowling figures for the rain affected game against the WG XI - the match report and Robin's memory recall that Arvind took three, Owen two and Chris one but without the runs conceded these have sadly not been recorded in the averages

Best bowling


  • Gundry 6-30 vs Milfields
  • Healey 5-16 vs Reading
  • McIntyre 4-39 vs Elstead
  • Baxter 4-40 vs Elstead
  • Hurst 4-42 vs Essex
  • McIntyre 4-46 vs Brightwell
  • D Forman 3-19 vs Reading
  • R Eastaway 3-29 vs Mickleham
  • R Eastaway 3-30 vs Ad Hocs
  • Heard 3-42 vs Hockerill
  • D Forman 3-44 vs King's Rochester
  • Barman 2-12 vs Superstars
  • A Eastaway 2-14 vs Worlingworth

Suffolk Tour 2018

A bit early, I know, but Graeme Tunbridge advises us that next year's Tour will be Thurs 16th - Sun 19th. Graeme is the new Tour Manager, taking over from Marc and Cheryl who ran it for a good number of years and will be a hard act to follow. Expect innovations, in the organisation if nothing else, I'm told.

Mickleham Memories - A Fairly Honourable Defeat

Mandarins 159 all out; Mickleham 160-6 from 31 overs; Mickleham won by 4 wickets

The scorebook tells the tale. We fell 25 or so short of the total Robin Pharoah's typically defensively solid, attackingly hard-hitting 59 put us in contention for. They had enough lower order batting to make it despite an early flurry of wickets which made the game competitive.

Mickleham's battery of seamers bowled well on the type of decent-paced track that offers seamers just enough lift and movement to ensure few batsmen look set. Robin aside, only three Mandarins made double figures. Nick Davidson's 17 in a 56 run partnership alongside Robin was central in nudging us into three figures; Rob Eastaway's well-timed 27 not out the stroke-making heart of successive 20+ partnerships for the 9th (with Paul McIntyre) and 10th (with Jean-Christophe Gray) wickets, ensured we made it to the middle of the 35th over before succumbing.

Rob and Jean-Christophe's (1 for 13 from 7 overs) tight opening bowling partnership reduced Mickleham to 30-3 after 9 overs. But we couldn't dislodge that mainstay of village cricket, the limited but limpet-like opener - his ground out 29 in 20+ overs enabling the opposition's strongest batsmen, reliably tucked away in the lower middle order, to whittle down the total.

The boundaries from Mickleham batters ticked over rather than ever flying. The odd wicket fell, deservedly, in particular to Rob (3 for 29 from 7 overs). We dropped their best bat 15 runs shy from the end, but it wasn't a howler. And so the slight of feeling of what might have been on our side was accompanied by Mickleham's sense that it was a game they had to work for. Which, in what was a 35-overs game, in a season in which we have struggled, made for a decent match to play in.

And if it's not a fixture you have played, the action was set to a leafy Box Hill back drop, included a fine tea, and was gently reflected on afterwards in a good pub 100 yards from the ground.

Jean-Christophe Gray
Mandarins chalk up late-season victory in Rochester drizzle

Mandarins (159 for 2) beat King's School Rochester (157 for 9) by 8 wickets


A fine performance with ball, bat and in the field (despite a couple of dropped catches) saw Mandarins notch their third victory of the season at one of the season's blue riband fixtures at King's School, Rochester. 

The clouds were ominous as King's went in to bat. Fine opening spells full of line and length balls from Eastaway (9-2-16-2) and Heard (8-1-25-1) restricted them to 41 for 3 after 17 overs. Fielding was tight for most of the innings, with some questioning whether this was really "how the Mandarins did things"; some worried about a dangerous precedent being set. Manian had a mixed day in the field, holding a great catch at deep midwicket before inexplicably letting the next chance through his hands to slam into his delicates. 

A spell of 14 overs straight from Hurst kept the runs down, going for 34, with two wickets. He was ably supported by Forman (10-0-44-3) and Healey (5-0-31-1). 157 for 9 declared at tea looked a gettable score but it was hard to tell given the rain had already been coming down, stopping play for 15 minutes in the middle of the innings and taking the shine off the ball and some pace off the wicket.

After a suitably classy tea in the headmaster's house, Baxter and Lowen started the Mandarins innings solidly, a few nice boundaries and some surprisingly quick singles taking us to 40 before Lowen was caught for 12. Lord Sir Graeme Tunbridge Esq. was out quickly, caught and bowled for a duck, but Brand steadied the ship at number 4. 

There followed a match-winning partnership of 110 between Baxter and Brand, who both dug in and accumulated steadily at around 4 an over before taking advantage of some friendly change bowling and then seeing off the returning opening bowlers. Each scored an unbeaten 63 in the wind and drizzle to win the game with 9 overs and 8 wickets to spare. 

Sam Brand

The day was rounded off with drinks in a candlelit Restoration House: many thanks Jonathan and Robert for your hospitality - Ed

Team Photo, 2017

Here we are, mixed in with the Elstead crowd, just after tea on a warm August Bank Holiday afternoon.


Picture credit: Anthony Ainslie

Rob Blogs

With the ‘five day’ Test at Edgbaston and the Mandarins tour starting on the same day, I’ve written a blog about the decline of the draw in cricket. Get it here.

Rob Eastaway

PS. (Andy H)

In defence of the overs' game, I would say that whilst I do kind of agree with Rob, it does require two important factors for a time-game to be a success.  First, a shared understanding of what constitutes the right time to shut-up shop a play for a draw  (the last two or three overs, maybe?).  In league cricket, I once played a match where the opposition blocked and blocked for 28 overs after losing a run of early wickets.  It was not an edifying experience.

Second, a pitch good enough to actually get people out, and umpires happy to give LBW.  I've played on too many slow, low pitches where it's almost impossible to get someone out who's mastered the art of the forward defensive.

I could add that, within the arena of the chess-playing professional, it's perfectly possible to agree a draw with an opponent just because you both happen to fancy doing something else entirely.  So called professional draws add to what is usually more than half of the total number of games being drawn at that level.