Round-up for League Week 2 (Saturday 18 May)

1st XI

Kenton (186 a/o in 39.4 overs) beat SNCC 1s (145 a/o in 38.1 overs) by 41 runs

Kenton away was always going to be a difficult fixture. Firstly, where is Kenton? Secondly, why would anyone go to Kenton? And thirdly, and most pressingly, how do you play against a team who change the rules of the game midway through a match? Fourthly and completely irrelevantly, Kenton are alright at cricket.

And so Stokey’s plucky young bucks travelled into the north-west London abyss, hoping to find an appropriate green space and agreeable opposition that would enable them to play their second game of the season. They almost found both and in doing so found neither. Upon arrival the smallest ground in the world confronted them, with confusing and suspiciously-nuanced additional rules added to a sport that is infamous for its confusing and suspiciously-nuanced rules.

Scott won the toss and elected to bowl. A decision in keeping with the values and philosophy of the club. Zabe, as is traditional, hurled down some vicious deliveries that tied the opposition batsman in knots. Despite the tiny outfield and flat pitch it looked like Stokey would be able to gain the upper hand. However, at this point double-agent Chadwick took up the ball from the other end, and sent down four overs of tepid medium pace. Over the course of the spell two balls got lost in people’s back gardens, and the exuberance of the Stokey fielders had diminished slighty. Fortunately, our Afghan contingent were bowling like a dream, with both Zabe Mohammad (2 for 24) and Khapalwak Zazai (4 for 25) restricting and taking wickets. The game ebbed and flowed majestically, with both sides providing some textbook examples of cricket. Zazai, fresh from his excellent bowling performance the week prior, span a web of treachery and deceit that was so sneaky that even the great Sneaky Pete himself would be proud. It enabled the 1s to bowl out Kenton for an under-par 186 and leave the field feeling pretty good about themselves **.

**except for double-agent Rob who also dropped a sitter and watched a ball roll for four in front of him.

After a tea that overpromised and underdelivered, it was time for the 1s to bat. Josh and Abul opened the batting, in doing so overtaking Kevin Pietersen and James Taylor for the world record for “the biggest height difference in batting partners”… It was the only record they were to set that day. After a mix-up Josh departed, run out. Soon after Hodayne followed him. In fact, the Stokey batsmen seemed intent on getting out as quickly as possible. Luckily Abul was playing one of the most beautiful innings in the history of cricket, depositing the Kenton bowlers into random gardens with sickening ease. He cruised to 50 in no time at all and looked to be winning the game single-handedly. However, cricket is a cruel and uncompromising mistress, and soon Abul got out for a well-made and tragically-curtailed 60.

Fortunately Stokey rallied through the guiding hand of Joel, who hit a few fours. He also played loads of balls without scoring, instead “occupying the crease”. It was these actions that brought the game into its final and most heart-wrenching twist. With Stokey needing 70 runs to win with a mere four wickets in hand, enter double-agent Chadwick. Having stuck around with no real intent, Chadwick found himself confronted with a lukewarm half-volley on middle stump. He dully manoeuvred himself into position to unfurl his trademark forward defence, only to find (horror of horrors) that he hit it a bit too hard… The ball rolled onto the stumps at the other end, with Joel short of his crease. The umpire’s finger forced Joel to depart.

Now I know what you are thinking... the ball has to touch a member of the opposition before it hits the stumps in order for it to be given run out. However, Kenton’s loose interpretation of the rules of cricket seemed to have been adopted by the umpire, and he flung his finger in the air without a care in the world. Double Agent Chadwick then surrendered his wicket without adding any runs to the total. Despite Zabe and Asad-Nabi’s best efforts, SNCC fell short by 41 runs.

And so it was a chastening loss for the Stokey boys - a loss that put previous wins into perspective, and made them think deeply about their own performances. It was a loss that forced them to re-evaluate the rules, laws and “spirit of cricket” and, most importantly of all, a loss that forced them to consider why anyone would willingly travel to Kenton.

2nd XI

SNCC 2s (210-9 in 45 overs) lost by one wicket to Wycombe House 2s (211-9 in 42 overs)

At a cloudy, but beautiful, London Fields and with a bohemian ambience enveloping proceedings, the 2s managed to bat for 45 overs for first time in living memory. Dilnawaz Ali (43) and Kartik Khatri (29) top-scored for the hosts. Alas this wasn’t enough to stop a well-drilled Wycombe House picking the gaps (and certain fielders!) to cross the winning line with just one wicket in hand. Returning Stokey die-hard, Irfan Momand, was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets.

3rd XI

SNCC 3s (128 a/o in 45 overs) lost by seven wickets to Winchmore Hill 4s (129-3 in 25.3 overs)

Having won one and lost one (each by one wicket) against Winchmore Hill 4s last season, the 3s travelled north expecting a close contest, but confident that they could bring ten points home. However, having won the toss and elected to bat the Stokey innings never really got going on a turning pitch with a slow-ish outfield. Wickets fell at regular intervals as the 3s fought hard to recover from 61 for 5 to bat out the full 45 overs and post 128 all out. Michael Tucker's composed 26 and a belligerent 20 with the tail from returning captain Sudeep Karumathodi were the top scores.

An opening partnership of 79 soon put the target into perspective and Winchmore eased to a seven- wicket victory inside 26 overs.

Junior highlights

· U8s enjoy a great away trip to play Primrose Hill in Regents Park

· U10As beat league-leaders Hampstead by 16 runs in a high-quality contest

· U10Bs make it four wins out of four in a roller-coaster match away at North London

· U13s Josh Clarke (37) and Harley Gordon (44) star for East London Borough U14s in the Middlesex Borough Championships.

· U15s lose out to top-of-the table North Middlesex, but Mueez Taj straight-drives a mighty six uphill over the sightscreen!

· All Stars Cricket Stokey-style kicks off in Millfields Park (Sundays, 10am to 11am).

2’s temporary sightscreens looking great at SNCC’s “out-ground” at the beautiful London Fields. Luckily the wind stayed away…

2’s temporary sightscreens looking great at SNCC’s “out-ground” at the beautiful London Fields. Luckily the wind stayed away…

Why we can't wait for The Hundred!

Just over ten years ago when it was announced that London would be the venue for the 2012 Olympics, after the initial hooping and hollering, you could sense the audible sigh go around the country. The feeling of dread. That we’d be found out – again. That London would deliver an embarrassing mess of a Games, the transport system would crumble, the weather would be rubbish and no one would bother to go and watch much either.

Look me in the metaphorical eye and tell me that London 2012 wasn’t the last time that it felt really good to be a Londoner, a Brit and a lover of all sports. From Danny Boyle’s breath-taking, awe-inspiring, funny and uniquely British opening ceremony, through three weeks of almost non-stop sunshine, precious few tube and traffic meltdowns, the spine-tingling Super Saturday and a once in a lifetime feeling of bonhomie, London rocked.

Stand on what we lovingly and grandly call the show pitch at Stoke Newington Cricket Club’s Hackney Marshes home and you can see the stadium (even hear the West Ham fans cheer on the odd occasion their team scores), the swimming pool and the velodrome. It’s an incredible reminder of the power of sport.

With tremendous support from both the ECB and Football Foundation, we are the fastest-growing, and one of the most successful cricket clubs in London, if not the UK. These two sports organisations helped fund a brand-new pavilion, new pitches and outdoor nets (the first-ever in Hackney). Since we launched the club just 20 years ago, thousands of young people have been introduced to cricket. Starting out with plastic bats and balls, many of those nippers are now turning out for our adult sides. With the support of the ECB, plus of course an incredible band of volunteers and ace professional coaches, we’re incredibly proud not only to be growing a game they call a basket-case, but also providing a sporting chance to more than 200 kids every single week of the year.

While the Hundred may not feel like everyone’s cup of tea (judging by some of the replies to our launch tweet!) – particularly those already enamoured of the greatest game on earth, let’s reserve judgment on its success or failure at least until the end of its first season. If we’d asked the great British public to vote on whether we should have hosted the Olympics and whether it would have succeeded, it’s more than likely that Mo Farah, Greg Rutherford and Jess Ennis would never have had their day in the sun. This club for one, like a good opening batsman, will wait, watch and then attack or defend - but we can't wait for it to start!

SNCC - The Hundred - Twitter image.jpg

Round-up for League Week 1 (Saturday 11 May)

1st XI

Alexandra Park 1s (118 a/o in 37.3 overs) lost by seven wickets to SNCC 1s (119-3 in 16.5 overs)

A festival of cricket greeted both home and visiting players on their arrival at Hackney Marshes. The new pavilion, resplendent in its early season glory, was a hubbub of chatter and excitement as the juniors finished their training sessions.  Eventually the final stragglers made their way to the café and the 1s ambled out of the changing room, ready for the first league game of 2019. 

After the obligatory early-season thunderstorm had been negotiated (aided by the excellent new mobile covers), Skipper Scott won the toss and decided to bowl first.  Whereupon opening bowler, Zabe, carried on from where he left off last season and went about dismantling AP’s top order.  20 overs later and AP’s top-order were reeling, with Zabe returning figures of 5 for 14 off nine overs.  Some slightly more attritional overs followed, with AP limping along at two an over.  Wickets fell to the wily spin of Zazai and the unerring accuracy of Rob, with Ishaq swooping in to clean up the tail.  AP finished on 118, a potential banana skin of a score on a green, seaming May pitch.  

Perhaps they don’t sell bananas where opening bat Pete is from, for he certainly refused to register the potential dangers of scoring runs on a sticky wicket.  Both him and Abul got the innings off to a flier, racing along at six an over.  Hubris is the downfall of many and even Sneaky Pete could not allude its grasp forever.  Having plinked a six over the ropes he fell to the very next ball attempting another glorious maximum.  His failure to do so brought momentary joy to the opposition, but also meant that Hodayne found himself at the crease... 

They say that one wickets brings two, and they were right!  Not long after Sneakers got out, Abul followed suit having compiled a typically classy 28. Seemingly unbothered by this Hodayne started to score freely, culminating with a glorious six into the car park.  With Stokey on 114, he decided he would let someone else have a turn, and chipped up a catch.  This brought Joel out to the middle. Wanting to share in the glory he charged down the pitch and had a massive yahoo at a wide ball. The ball was so wide in fact that the keeper was unable to stump him and he returned sheepishly to his crease, victory achieved…dignity damaged. 

2nd XI

Alexandra Park 2s (102 a/o in 36.3 overs) lost by one wicket to SNCC 2s (103-9 in 40.1 overs)

Early-season rustiness and May showers dogged both teams’ efforts.  And things weren’t helped by a slightly-under prepared wicket (and we’ve seen a few of these at the Marshes in its early days) and a “luxuriant” outfield which might not have encountered a mower since the end of last season.  Unfortunately, all this produced a standard of cricket which apparently should never be discussed or mentioned to anyone who didn't witness the atrocity - where Extras top scored for both teams! 

Less said the better, but the 2s sneaked across the line by one wicket in a nerve-shredding finish and ten points is ten points… 

3rd XI

North Middlesex 5s (191-9 in 45 overs) win by 77 runs against SNCC 3s (114 a/o in 32 overs)

An experienced North Middlesex proved a bit too strong for the 3s.  Consistent bowling kept the visitors in check on a pitch that played much better than expected on a showery afternoon.  U15s paceman, Archie Parnum, was the pick of the bowlers with 3 for 44 off nine overs, while there was also a wicket on debut for spinner Hamza.

In reply, top-order batters Soyfur, Michael and George all got starts, but without pushing on to the kind of substantial innings that might have seen the 3s chase down their target.  In the end debutant Joe Ling top scored with an unbeaten 21 as Stokey fell 77 runs short.

Junior highlights

·         22 of our U8s & U9s played their first games of the season last weekend at the Marshes

·         U10Bs make it three wins out of three

·         Archie Mullen takes five wickets for one run (including a hat-trick!) as U13As win by  two wickets away at Primrose Hill

·         U13Bs edge a thiller against North London U13B by six runs

·         Our U13/U15 girls have a great first training session of the season last Saturday – all welcome!

·         U10 Girls play their first match next Saturday!

SNCC - SNCC logo at Marshes.jpg

U13Bs hold nerve to win a nail-biter at North London!

Well done to the U13Bs who held on to win a tight, entertaining game away at North London by six runs (in front of visiting Spanish photographer, Raul Ruz).

SNCC: 125 for 4

NLCC: 119 for 6

Winning the toss, SNCC opted to bat first. After losing an early wicket, Jonah and Ted established a partnership. Jonah was driving well and reached 32 before being run out. Good knocks too for Ted (14) Elijah (12no) and Archie (19no) pushed up the total to 125.

Our opening bowlers Sam and Gabriel restricted NL with some unplayably fast deliveries early on. Fielding and communication was good and the team was working well together under Ted’s captaincy. Some sharp keeping too by Sid and later Henry. Sid made a great stumping from Michael’s tricky spin.

Wickets for Sam and Gabriel were followed by Jonah - who set up a hat-tick chance with two quick wickets. Unfortunately, this only brought NLCC’s impressive Fernando to the crease, who started hitting plenty of boundaries in an unbeaten 50+ innings. This left NLCC needing 12 from the last two overs. Sam and Archie bowled these really tightly, backed up by some great team fielding to keep the aforementioned Fernando off strike. Archie took a wicket with the final ball, leaving NLCC just six runs short.

Well done. Great effort. Those boys who didn’t get to bat today will be moved up the order in the next game.

Raul takes a quick snap of our victorious U13Bs (who showed Barcelona how to do it…).

Raul takes a quick snap of our victorious U13Bs (who showed Barcelona how to do it…).

U13As clinch last-over win in the Marshes tundra...

North Middlesex U13A: 112-8 off 20 overs v SNCC U13A: 113-1 off 19 overs, Saturday 27 April at the Marshes

An early start and Storm Hannah couldn’t quell the enthusiasm from both sets of players yesterday. A tense and cagey affair with the batsmen finding it hard to score freely. A tight opening spell from Atticus and Sam kept the North Middlesex batters pinned down. Ellis, Harley and Felix then shared 7 wickets before North Midd threw caution to the wind and pushed on to a total of 112.

In reply, the Stokey openers cautiously nudged along, just about keeping up with the required run rate. Archie, seemingly impatient with the short stuff being thrown down at him by North Midd’s excellent opening attack, swatted away a couple of boundaries out of long legs reach. This set the tone for some more expansive batting and when Atticus came to the crease the ball started to find the gaps with more frequency. The Stokey boys made it home in the 19th over.

Congratulations to Archie for an unyielding performance in tough conditions - 43 n.o - with Atticus unbeaten on 27 and Josh opening up with 18. Well done to both teams for making this a thoroughly enjoyable game to watch.

A new pavilion, new nets, new website – a new era?

It’s just about 20 years now since a group of keen cricketing dads, unable to find a club to teach their young sons this great game, got together and formed Stoke Newington Club.  You’ll spot one of those founding fathers, Simon Hore, still playing an active part in the adult teams.  It’s easy to forget that even as recently as ten years ago SNCC had no outdoor pitches of its own, making do with training on an uncut strip of grass at Clissold Park.

Now, at the very end of 2018, we can look ahead to our first summer with our own pitches, pavilion and practice nets – the envy of our North London rivals who for years have bemoaned the shoddy facilities of their poor East London cousins.

The new facilities are fabulous, and we are hoping to make even better use of the pavilion over the coming summers.  But bricks and mortar aren’t what make a great cricket club.  We’ve been lucky over the last 20 years to find a steady stream of willing and dedicated volunteers to step forward and coach or manage teams and drive young players to matches all over the capital. Others have helped oversee the welfare of our juniors, or have umpired, scored, baked cakes, distributed club kit, organised annual awards ceremonies,  designed and built our bespoke storage room (?!) in the pavilion - or created this terrific new website.

The club cannot function without the contribution of all of these volunteers.  We are in the process of bolstering our club committee and roster of people prepared to do their bit for the club, however small.  Everyone who is a member of the club or a parent of a member will know Duncan and the monumental part he plays in ensuring SNCC functions and functions well.

In case you didn’t know, we’re lucky enough to boast 275 juniors.  In the winter of 2018 our teams won a national indoor title and three County indoor titles.  And last summer, our U15s and U17s were County runners-up and our U10s were County semi-finalists.  SNCC also has eight boys and two girls training this winter with Middlesex County Age Group Squads, including a trialist for the England Lions Disability Squad.  We need help to continue this growth in numbers and success on the pitch.

Ask not what your cricket club can do for you - ask what you can do for your cricket club!  If you have something to offer this fantastic club, please do get in touch, either with Duncan (at duncanandliz@btinternet.com) or me, the club secretary (at tomsgtanner@gmail.com).

We hope you can join us in building a partnership for the next 20 years of SNCC.

Tom Tanner

Club Secretary

Cricketers wanted for SNCC’s Senior teams – all welcome!

London’s fastest growing cricket club is looking for new recruits to its Senior squad. Stoke Newington Cricket Club, formed in 1999, now fields four adult teams (as well as U21 & U19 sides and 14 junior teams!) so there’ll be plenty of cricket for everyone next summer, whether you’re looking to play high-level league cricket or recreational friendlies. 

We play at the legendary Hackney Marshes which, as well as being the centre of Sunday League football, is the hub for cricket in East London. We have a fantastic new pavilion, some of the best wickets in the city and the only outdoor nets in Hackney (with four net lanes!). 

Our 1st and 2nd XIs play in Division 1 of the Middlesex Championship. Our 3rds are in the Middlesex 1987 League and we’ll also have a Sunday team playing friendlies. With our 1sts being promoted three times in the last four seasons years and our 2nds having been promoted two years running, we are East London’s most dynamic cricket club and we are aiming for promotion to the Middlesex County Leagues within the next three years.

Indoor training for our Senior squad takes place on Monday evenings from 7.30pm to 9pm at Bridge Academy (Laburnum St, E2 8BA), starting on Monday 7 January. The sessions will be led by SNCC's Director of Cricket, Gordon Summerfield - a professional level 3 coach who also coaches County Junior Squads at the Middlesex Academy. 

If you’re interested in joining London’s fastest-growing cricket club, please get in touch via the club website or by email (at sncc@btinternet.com) or contact 1st XI captain, Scott Doody (07739 393 462).

Confessions Of A Cricket Dad

Despite the fact that I’m pretty much 100% Englishman and had a provincial lower middle-class upbringing, I reached my personal half century without ever being the least bit troubled by an interest in the game of cricket. I remember once loitering aimlessly around the periphery of a school match as a teenager and being spontaneously roped into padding up and taking part by a desperate teacher short of players. My heartfelt plea that I barely knew how to hold the bat fell on deaf ears and I dutifully walked to the crease where I was clean bowled with the first delivery. Thus my playing career began and ended. I became one of those woefully uninformed bigots who thought that watching a test match must surely be some kind of masochistic endurance exercise.

This all changed unexpectedly in one of those random and unpredictable ways a couple of years ago when my son Elliott, then six, discovered cricket entirely off his own bat (pun intended) and promptly fell in love with it. As parents will, I gently encouraged his nascent passion, which was fuelled by endless hours on YouTube watching legendary Ashes moments, bowling tutorials and compilations of “Shane Warne’s greatest leg-spin deliveries OF ALL TIME”. It was all a mystery to me, but Elliott’s enthusiasm was infectious. Shortly thereafter I discovered to my delight and surprise that right on our London doorstep was an incredibly vibrant, friendly, first-class cricket club called Stoke Newington C.C. For Elliott it was a match made in heaven.

Since then I have become a full-time cricket dad and in the process have developed an appreciation and genuine love for a sport that I spent the preceding fifty years barely noticing. I have learnt that beyond its notoriously impenetrable rules and infamously arcane terminology lies a wonderful game requiring a unique breadth of disparate abilities, incredible specialist skills and intense mental focus; a game full of subtlety and exquisite nuances, often with the mathematical and tactical complexity of chess, punctuated by moments of individual genius and explosive athleticism. There is no more fascinating team sport on earth. 

Being a parent inevitably involves passing on a few of your passions to your offspring, whether intentionally or not. One of life’s small joys is that occassionally it works the other way around. – Ben Smith