Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The National Village Cup Final

On Sunday 9th September, two club cricket sides will have the day of their lives, as they step out at Lord's to compete in the National Village Cup Final, sponsored by Yorkshire Tea. Reed from Hertfordshire, take on Woodhouse Grange CC who are based just outside York, and we will be documenting the day out in an exclusive next week, from the Reed perspective.

Let's hope the sponsors show no bias towards Woodhouse Grange CC

On my visit to the Test Match Sofa on Sunday, a bit of friendly banter with Max from the sofa ensued, as I said a good luck to Reed from the Hertfordshire League which I play in, and being the proud Yorkshireman that he is, mentioned a good luck to the boys from Woodhouse Grange.

On a personal level, I have had many a good battle with Reed CC over the years. Based at the very north of Herts, not far from the Cambridgeshire border, whilst my club Southgate Adelaide CC are in North London, we have always had good, hard fought games on the pitch, but always having a good beer afterwards, despite being one of the furthest games geographically.

Back in 1996, when I was captain of the first eleven, we played them last game of the season. We took a load of support up there, as we needed points to go up, and whilst Reed were already promoted, whoever won the game would be champions. When we took the wicket we needed to get promoted, a pitch invasion ensued from fifty or so of the travelling North London support, but Reed took it in good spirit despite some high jinks and some outrageous behaviour over the day. They even put a bottle of champagne in our dressing room, which was a lovely touch.

Lord's awaits the players of Reed and Woodhouse Grange
Another time, we went there again last game of the season and with a few of our boys having made a night of it, by hitting Cambridge the night before, our dressing room resembled a morgue before the game. Two of our players were taking it in turns to be sick, and needless to say Reed rattled up a large score on their picturesque village green.

Woodhouse Grange must start as favourites having been previous winners, and this being their fifth visit to the Home of Cricket in recent years. However, Reed have good batting and the Jacksons, Heslam and Co. will enjoy Lord's, whilst Lee Johnson for the Herts based side has serious wheels. I speak from personal experience, as I had my stumps rearranged by him a few years previously. Reed also beat Goatacre CC in the semi final who are always there or thereabouts in this competition.

Tickets for the final are available on the day and priced between £5 and £10.

With 292 clubs having entered the competition, the standard is improving year on year, and whatever happens on the day, I am sure that the players, officials, and supporters of both clubs will have a special, and memorable day out at Lord's. Enjoy it chaps, and for those who can't make it, check out www.themiddlestump.com for an exclusive on the day out.


  1. The Lord's Final is a great day, a real treat for everyone involved with the clubs.
    My photos from Reed's game at Plumpton (the Qtr final) and Woodhouse Grange's semi final can be seen at http://alastaircowe.zenfolio.com/
    My camera will be resting for the most Final, but I'm wishing the best of luck to both teams, especially Reed; and have a GREAT day!

  2. Hope to see you around on Sunday Alastair. Great build up lads are hearts are pumping up at Reed for our super weekend, on Saturday we need just ten points for promotion and thirteen points for the Division Two title. Then Sunday the most important day in our fifty six year history. My report will be with Middle Stump early next week. Keep peeled Neil @ReedCC.

  3. 1996 feels like a long time ago but a great day with both teams promoted and Reed somewhat bemused by the Adelaide celebrations in the home teams bar. My first experience playing Reed was opening for the first team as a 16 year old and putting on 100 batting first with an Adelaide stalwart, who told me pre-game that we had escaped a long journey by being shoved up to the 1s due to drop outs. He also told me watch out for the legendary opener Bevan who he called Keith but was actually called Brian. After the opening stand we collapsed to 175 and watched Bevan tear into our attack smashing an unbeaten 125, warming all our fielders hands. Pete Tidey also played in that game. Happy days.

  4. Hi Thorpster, Pete Tidey still plays for us he is our current 2nd xi vice captain. He took a ten for earlier this season, still got the knack has PT. The great Brian Bevan is part of Reed folklore, unfortunately he had left long I joined in 1997. I do remember him though being one of only two players to hit a six from the Baldock CC square into St Mary's Churchyard, that was a damn long way!!

    1. cheers Neil. The game I'm talking about was in 1988 or 1989 and the Reed attck was Tidey, Richie Robertson who not content with smashing a ton sent down a few Tommy Rundlers and got me out. The story on the circuit in those days was that Bevan had always been number one but was then relegated to two when opening with Baz Curtis so he gave all his gear way in the dressing room and never came back. It may be true but who knows it was a good story? I enjoyed many games againts Reed in both 1s and later on the 2s and got a number of big scores in those games. Tidey suited me as he swung it in to my pads but our other guys who like to whack it through the off-side struggled. Some other decent bowlers in those days, were John Pemberton and young lad called Seale who we used to say chucked it. Good luck for the weekend and keep following the site.

  5. As discussed with Simon Jackson on Twitter we took a minibus up to Reed in 96, and by the time we got back to Southgate, we were all absolutely smashed. I think on top of beer and champagne at Reed, Thorpster may have produced a bottle of whiskey on the way back?
    Last time I played against you boys at first team level was here;

    It wasn't an easy track and I crawled to a 40. Mr Jerome tied me up, but he was a good bowler who played for Herts for years.
    Best of luck on Sunday!

  6. Another one Thorpster may remember at Reed was me and him smashing runs quickly back in 98, as we had my stag do to go to in Dublin and a flight to catch out of Stansted? We thought we'd get the game over and done with one way or the other. In the end we won I believe and we caught our flight!

  7. That game from 2003, looks like the bad old days of the Herts League when you could take the old ball, which funnily enough we did quite a lot with Pete Tidey and Pies! No surprise that Chris Jackson got runs, the same thing is still happening now, 9 years on!! That sort of time the Herts League was fun before everyone got overseas players and it got a bit serious (and players like me got found out!).

    We used to have great games and nice friendly rivalry with Southgate Adelaide. Good luck in staying up on the last game of the season….at least you have a team mid table with nothing to play for!

    Simon Jackson (the poor batsman in our family!)

  8. Ah the joy of Reed, once you had found the entrance between the houses!! Jacko, don't put yourself down, I remember a time when you were the best batsman in your family, mind you Chris was about 10! and couldn't get talked out by wicketkeepers!!

    Seriously, good luck to all at Reed, it shows what can be achieved by any club with the right attitude, commitment and planning

  9. Excellent article and some good, if not long memories flooding back. One of my strangest memories of playing at Adelaide (must be mid/late 90's) on a hot day, one of our elder bowlers (I Roberts) offering to give a lady spectator a massage! I recall he implied he was a physio or something! I think on that day Baz was out early trying to go over the top :-)

    Chris 'still hanging in there' Jackson

  10. Chris,
    Glad to see you are still hanging in there pal! If it is the game I am thinking of you had a ginger keeper who went off with heat exhaustion - I thought the poor kid was going to die! Our left hander Richard Hale got a ton, and we got 240 odd, you boys replied with 230-8 and you should have won it.
    Many, many good games - the one in 98 where I rushed off to my stag do, we won on the penultimate game meaning we had to get 4/5 points to go up in the last game. I think you got a 90 and Baz was bowled first ball of the game :)
    Congrats on the winning the cup, fantastic to see and give our regards to all the boys at Reed.
    We had good, hard games of cricket and then plenty of beers afterwards. You might want to read this and reminisce too!


  11. Those were great years and 96 was fun. I remember you boys coming over to watch the end of our game with Radlett as we got a tie off the last ball and two extra points. I was out first ball in game you mention. A real shooter. Robbo still doesn't believe me that can happen on one of his wickets.

    Brian was indeed a legend. The biggest compliment I can give him is, when I was skipper captains would still ask me if Brian was playing, I would say no and the relief on their face was immediate.

    Thanks for a great article and may we meet again. Don't suppose you're in Div 7 :-(

    1. Baz - from memory our Ginger prince of the half volleys Wheaton bowled to first ball a copuple of times. As we considered you the big wicket after the game discussed above with the massage incident, I started a chant afterwards of "Michael Curtis you'll never hurt us and Reed well amke you bleed!". I think that was thrown about along with many others during the final day of the 96 season. I also remember the game you talk abut V Radlett A, when you took that one handed diving catch meaning you got 20 points. I also remember the Braughing skipper turning up during the last game as we took our 2nd wicket after you were out first squirting one to point. As I said above in my early first eleven days Bevan was talked about with reverence throughout the league. If you were at mid off you dreaded the hammer like swing of the powerspot!

  12. Dan / Bas

    The heat stroke incidence was in my first season back at the Adelaide, 1995. Hale did indeed get a ton but I remember it for hitting the last two balls of our innings for 4 & 6, both through midwicket you'll be surprised to know!! It was hot but I think I earned respect as the only ginger keeper to last the entire match without passing out!!