1975: Pilning cricket and some best elevens

Saturday 14th June 1975

No exams to revise for. All is done, so today was all about the cricket. Rode my bike to Pilning at 11 to help mark out the boundary. Kevin was doing the final rolling and Sharon and Mrs Lloyd were on teas today. Came home for some dinner and back up for 1.30.

Played against Oldbury but we lost. I like playing against them, they have some old football mates like Frenchy playing for them. We should have won the game but somehow they scored the runs needed by slogging at the end, I batted O.K. but slowly, for 15 but no one else scored any better. Had a couple of shandies after the game and we had a team Chinese in the pavilion. Topics of conversation in the bar included the EU referendum, The I.R.A. and the National Front. Tomorrow we are playing Southmead Hospital, a much easier game and hopefully I will get a decent bat.

The West Indies beat the Australians in the World Cup and England hammered East Africa.

My ramblings on this entry:-

The exams were nearly over. School was now used for recreational nets and finishing off the details of next year’s options. I had decided that my ‘A’ levels would be Maths, Geography and History. The exams had gone well and I was pretty confident that the results would be good. For the record they were:-

English Language B

English Literature B

French C

Maths (the year before) 2

Additional Maths C

Geography A

History B

Geometric (Engineering) Drawing B

Physics B

Chemistry C

Technical Drawing C.S.E. 2

The Thornbury Gazette report for the game a week later included these comments:-

Pilning V Oldbury – on – Severn

In a tense and competitive match at Pilning on Saturday, Oldbury; after looking a beaten side, won with eight balls to spare and by three wickets. They took 17 division 5 points to Pilning’s six.

Batting first Pilning got off to a slow start making only 27 for the loss of Lewis off the first 10 overs. Then a useful second wicket stand between Stedman and Humphries took the score to 46 before the latter was bowled. Youngster Stedman was out before any further addition to the score for a well-played 15. With the match evenly balanced Clemson and Baker gave the initiative back to Pilning adding 58 for the fourth wicket before Baker was out playing on to a ball from Keedwell.

and  later…….


Lewis 7, Stedman 15, Humphries 28, Clemson 32, Baker 27, Webb 5, Studley 6, Reeves C 0, Maslen 12 n.o.. Reeves M 0, Howse 1 n.o, extras 11, Total 144 -9

Oldbury 146 for 7

I was now opening the batting on Saturdays but I was very slow, being still keen to occupy the crease. To be fair the instructions were always to get my head down and still be in after the first 20 overs. I did this quite a lot but the score would rarely be above 60 in that time. The thinking was that if we were 80 for 0 after 20 overs than we should get 200 and in our standard of cricket we would have a winning score. The problem was always getting the others to not get out. If I opened with Kevin we would score quickly enough but he never stayed long. Don Baker would be good and nick the strike from me on a regular basis, smack a few fours and then get out. Vernon Humphries didn’t often play but he could score heavily. The other option was Richard Hodge who had a similar mentality to me so we could bat long without scoring any runs at all. I must have annoyed the rest of the team like mad but I just didn’t care. I was opening and that was my job. As far as I could see, my occupying the crease was what was needed and that was what I aimed to do. It wasn’t as if they were ever going to let me bowl instead.

Pilning never had a settled side. We young ones were getting in to the team but were still yet to run games. Paul Maslen was a more than useful left arm swing bowler with a really nasty attitude. He hated losing and didn’t get the good winning mentality either. He, like me, eventually left for other things. One likes to think Mas found some self-discipline within the RAF. For now his contribution to team social life was to get his post-match Mars bar and coke and then strop off home, much to our collective amusement. Chris Studley played for the club for too many years and was always an accurate bowler who could bat better than he thought he could. Neil Malpass was pretty quick as a sixteen year old bowler but he struggled for accuracy. He too left for work and a life elsewhere. As with any village side the young come and go. The more mature at Pilning did so as well; work and wives dragging them to different priorities. Tony Clemson came in from Bristol Uni, smacked the ball over the Rhine with regularity and then, just as quickly, left again as Chemistry research took him to somewhere new. I managed to get Dave Barter to join the club when he moved from Southampton University to Bristol but eventually he found fun elsewhere in United Banks circles. Mike Johnstone was a local bank manager who took plenty of wickets with accurate bowling but went to manage a bank somewhere new and that was that. Mike’s role with me was to offer considerable advice about university choices, careers and drinking beers in Jacks Riverside Club late at night.

My best Pilning XI

If I had the choice of best team to play for Pilning it would something like this. The eligibility is based on having played in the same team as me at some time and assuming they were at their better age for playing when selected.

  1. Richard Stedman
  2. Vernon Humphries
  3. Dave Barter
  4. Don Baker
  5. Paul Maslen
  6. Tony Clemson
  7. Chris Studley
  8. Mike Johnstone
  9. Colin Reeves
  10. Ivor Clarke (Wicketkeeper)
  11. Neil Malpass

I reckon that team could play against some pretty high opposition and probably did for their respective clubs over the years.

While we are on the subject of a best XI, here is my best team that I have played with: I am not including myself in this one:-

  1. Andy Tooley Rickley Park
  2. Dave Barter Pilning
  3. Paul Cooper Bletchley Town (Wicketkeeper)
  4. Andy Needham Rickley Park
  5. Mike Sandeman Rickley Park
  6. Stuart Renshaw Rickley Park
  7. Paul Maslen Pilning
  8. Graham Eccles Winslow Town
  9. Chris Studley Pilning
  10. Pat Lovell Rickley Park
  11. Colin Reeves Pilning

The team bats to number 10 and has a choice of 8 bowlers. That is one quick bowling attack of Past Lovell. Colin Reeves and Stuart Renshaw (when angry). Chris and Mas offer something more devious and reliable should the wicket have something in it.  Andy Needham can bowl some spin. Coops, the Andys, and Dave have all scored runs in high standard cricket. The middle order includes a minor counties player in Rennie and a league record breaking club all-rounder in Graham.

I have left out Tony Penman, our New Zealander ringer, just because he only played one season. So too Barry Lines and Vernon Humphries because they only played as older chaps so I didn’t play with them in their prime. No “Peakers” or “loads of runs” Mark Walters, nor ten wicket wonder boy Dave Branston in this team because the bar is set very high, at players who I think could play at the level below county cricket if opportunity arose. Some of them (Paul and Stuart) did of course, but the others I feel perhaps didn’t really know just how good they were; playing on crap wickets on too many week.

fixture cards cricket

1974       Pucklechurch A D 16

1975       Oldbury on Severn L 15

1988       Abbey National H W

1989       Open University H W

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