Friday, 14 September 2012

Reed all about it

The Middle Stump like to cover cricket from all angles - from international, to county to club cricket, so we got an exclusive here with Neil Haslam, scorer for Reed Cricket Club and winners of the Yorkshire Tea Village Cup Final at Lord's on Sunday. Read here for Neil's account on a special day for a very well run and hospitable cricket club, but may we also add our commiserations to Woodhouse Grange CC, although I am sure they still had a fabulous day. With Hertfordshire getting to the Minor Counties final last year, and now one of their clubs winning this prestigious trophy, never has the game been stronger in this small, but cricket fanatical county.

Reed skipper James Heslam lifts the trophy

"Congratulations to Reed Cricket Club, the winners of the 2012 Yorkshire Tea National Village Cup".

This is still ringing in my ears some twenty hours or so after are our Captain James Heslam lifted the lovely Trophy. How could a village of a mere 350 people, lift Village Cricket's Blue Riband?

Twenty four hours previously Reed's First Eleven had beaten Dunstable to confirm their promotion from Saracens' Herts. League Division Two as Champions, but would there be a hangover? A glorious late summer day at Lords greeted the teams as they arrived. Reed won the toss and had no hesitation in putting "favourites", Woodhouse Grange from Sutton-on-Derwent in North Yorkshire, into bat.

Neil gets his name up in lights

Lee Johnson, our Red Bullet opened proceedings from the Nursery End and Jack Tidey from the Pavillion End. Woodhouse's two openers Hattee and Hadfield began to build a solid opening partnership, until at 55 Johnson did enough with a ball to catch the edge and land safely in Sean Tidey's gloves.

This began Reed's assault on the Woodhouse top order. Off spinner Tom Greaves spun his first delivery to C Bilton from the left-handers leg to off stump glancing the edge to Chris Jackson at slip 60 for 2, Mitchell Cooper was next on the act for us trapping M Burdett, 66 for 3. We were on top, and with Greaves removing A Bilton for 9, the three scoreboards around the ground read Woodhouse Grange 75 for 4, but the question was could we hold our nerve? No question, Cooper with another lbw, with a shout that no doubt was heard at the Oval, removed opener Hadfield 87 for 5, the Reedies were in the box seat!

109 for 6 shone out when the Woodhouse Captain S Burdett was dismissed and Wonderland rather than St John's Wood seemed to be where this match was being played. Woodhouse fought back though, their poster boy Tom Young and Chris Suddaby looked like setting a competitive score and the lower middle order did that together with a little wayward Reed bowling. It took a superb catch from Stuart "The Salmon" Smith to remove Young, a catch that wouldn't have looked out of place in a higher level of the game and to do it at Lords was amazing. At the time the score was 152 for 7, and eventually the White Rose team took their final score to 184 for 9, which was a par score but conceding 23 wides was a subject that could come back to haunt Reed. Cooper 3-39, Greaves 2-22 and Johnson 2-45 led the way for Reed's young attack.

Stuart "The Salmon" Smith takes a splendid catch

How would Reed set about their task? The brothers Heslam (not to be confused with yours truly) built a solid foundation. Captain James punished any bad ball and hit a marvelous six on way to a quick 28, before being removed caught and bowled by T Quinn. Younger brother Will knuckled down with bowling hero Tom Greaves and the target slowly but surely loomed into view as Heslam went for 19, but Greaves wanted more, showing the array of shots in his armoury. He brought up his fifty of just 49 balls with a pull backward of square, only to be removed by A. Horner the next delivery for 51, and Woodhouse were sniffing a chance of getting back into the game. "Elder statesman" Chris Jackson and Semi-Final hero Stuart Smith despite a tentative start, began to push the Reedies towards their target.

The Yorkshiremen bowled their hearts out but any bad ball was dispatched regularly to the boundary. Jackson tried one shot to many and went caught by sub fielder Anderson. 16 runs to win Smith and Cooper took them home. The winning boundary hit by Cooper, Reed had won with 16 balls to spare. Cue North Hertfordshire delirium! I had to pinch myself and making my way down from the scoring position, there were handshakes, high fives, hugs and kisses from man and lady alike. Tom Greaves, soon to be in tears was the "Man of the Match".

Greaves before the tears!

My final memory is seeing on the Edrich Stand scoreboard: "Reed 2012 National Village Cup Champions."

A production by:

James Heslam (c)
Will Heslam
Tom Greaves
Chris Jackson
Stuart Smith
Mitchell Cooper
Karl Ward
Sean Tidey (w)
Jack Tidey
Kallum Ward
Lee Johnson
Tom Walsingham

Edited by Neil Haslam, scorer and "Thirteenth man."

Well done to all concerned at Reed CC and comiserations to Woodhouse Grange.


  1. Just an add on everybody, we in the scorebox and the players off both side had a visit from Alan Wylie and Dermot Gallagher, the two F A referees. Of course muscle brain, here couldn't remember their names. Neil @ReedCC.

  2. Many congrats to Reed. I am sure the old stalwarts like Richie Robertson loved it. Sounds like Pete Tidey may have had a family interest!

  3. Don't know how drunk Robbo was but if it was the same as at Plumpton he was well gone ha ha. Jack and Sean are Pete's nephews. Three pairs of brothers on both sides last Sunday. Village Cricket at its finest. Neil@ReedCC.

  4. Village cricket - a game for all the family a bit like monopoly. Last time I was at Lords it was for the Olympics. Your final was a far more prestigious occassion! Keep following the site.

  5. Having spent many years battling Reed for Southgate Adelaide, it is depressing to see "good up & coming youngster" Chris Jackson (as I recall him) now being described as Elder Statesman!!

    The delusion that I am still at the peak of my playing prowess has been shattered!!

    Seriously, congratulations to all at Reed