The Scorpions C.C.
Nigel Wheeler sent this contribution from the Scorpions, who keep a wonderful album recording every one of their matches in detail with photos.The Scorpions were founded in 1968 and their first match vs Lynxes was in 1970. The game was arranged through Edward ‘Tubby’ Craven of Sutton Valence, my Godfather/Uncle. AScorpions total of 221-6 dec seemed adequate but not for Tony Todman, who smacked 124 not out including a golden over of 28 off (Sir) Ian Davis, one of three Scorpions batsman who went on to be knighted. The Lynxes scored 222-2 with a partnership of 195 in 105 minutes, between Todman and Morgan (78 not out).Aha, a year later saw a Cambridge Blue, Michael Barford score 103 not out and Scorpions declare at 177-1. What strange scores in those days - that would not be enough in a 20/20 game now! Lynxes scored 130-7 in reply. For some reason I kept wicket and when the sun lowered, Mickey (Sydney) Prall, batting out for a draw, assumed that if he could not see the ball from the Judge’s flighted filth nor could I!1972, Lynxes 213-8 and Scorpions 177. We borrowed Richard Fisher, but it did not help matters. Tim Fiducia powered a half volley; Peter West was heard to say ‘they look a useful lot of cricketers’. Tim has dined out on this for the last 50 years, but it was not useful enough to win the match!Lots of mentions of the Windmill, and the occasion when Neil Grainger, arriving late for a match and the pre match snifter, was standing up in his ancient Citroen open top and drove straight into the side of the pub! The same car had its bonnet smashed by Paul Baddeley in 1976, Neil was umpiring at the time and after he had made a dash for his car to see the damage done he held up play for ten minutes while he cooled down and remonstrated with his unfortunate teammates.1981 saw the saddest of days for the Lynxes when they were bowled out for 31, (see reference in David Firminger ‘s contribution below). The bowlers Hudson 10-6-7-6 and Pearson 4.3-1-6-4 were unplayable. Philip ‘Tin Peach’ Thompson was given out caught behind off a vicious bouncer from George Pearson and clearly was nowhere near the ball.The sporting Scorpions called Peach back but he declined the offer and said that “he had had quite enough for the day!”In 1990, we had an extraordinary game. We included in the Scorpions side an Iraqi on the very day that Saddam Hussain invaded Kuwait. We also had a future British ambassador to Paris, Wilson, and the UN Humanitarian Counsellor(Sir) John Holmes. The Scorpions book states that Tim Spelling and Mike Jenner bowled horribly well on yet another sporting track at Cranbrook. We do so much enjoy playing at the school ground against splendid opposition but we, who profess to bat and really cannot cope with turbulent pitches with wily bounces, must ask ourselves why we return like lemmings or lambs to the slaughter to allow these fine exponents of the Cranbrook track to succumb in a mess yet again! Scorpions 123-7 declared, interesting declaration that. Six Spelling wickets spelt trouble for us. He was mostly supported, in the late moments of the game, by Thompson and sons and Jenner and Fisher. As I recall, I dropped Spelling in the deep and the game ended 123-9, a wonderful draw!Interesting to note that in the Cranbrook Lynxes vs Old Eastbournians World Cup Cricket Competition match played earlier that season Tim Spelling - always one to bat himself far too low in the order- was the last man out with the scores level, just as he was a few weeks later in the Scorpions game. What a great sport he must be!John Shepherd, Kent, and West Indies legend made 81 not out and took the final wicket in the final over for the Scorpions for a Scorpions 12 run win in 1997.Andy Waller and Andy Whittall (both Zimbabwe) are other Test players who have played for the Scorpions vs the Lynxes and, of course, The Judge from Ghana. You have had more England hockey players than we can boast!In 2009, Alex Presnell assured me that no side had batted second and chased down 130 all season. Lynxes 130 Scorpions 132 for 8 - luckily I was umpiring on that one!So many good games over the years - 40 played in total. Scorpions won 18, Lynxes 8 and 14 draws, with 2 cancelled games. Many of the games had very tight finishes.On one occasion, 16 th August 1986, the year of Gary Marshall’s patient 97 (which was not enough for victory), this scribe was despatched to Cranbrook town to buy ice-creams for his team. He arrived back 15 minutes into the Cranbrook batting line up, leaving theScorpions to field ten men. However, he had bought a very elegant and smart George 111corner cabinet, at present hanging in his dining room. As punishment for his lateness, the corner cabinet sat in the front of the team photograph at the end of play and the scribe was relegated to the back row.Too many Scorpion memories – but days vs the Lynxes meant very genial relationships andfriendships formed. The terrible three, Fisher, Jenner and Spelling upset so many Scorpions with their quality bowling. The Lintott brothers were firm favourites and Jeremy Barham, David Firminger and lots more made Cranbrook vs Scorpions days incredibly special. We also had some golf days with John Taylor in charge of the Lynxes. We should keep them up even now.Lastly, thanks to Uncle Edward for introducing the two clubs in the first place.