Monthly Archives: September 2011

Simon Gundry – 100 wickets

On 25 September 2011, Simon Gundry took 3/20 against the Clapham Nomads, which included his hundredth wicket for the club – he’s now up to 101 wickets and – having recently notched his thousand runs for the club as well, he becomes the 4th all-rounder to have achieved the double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets – following in the footsteps of Sam Scott, Jeff Hilson and Andy Wingfield. For the second time in recent weeks, the Exiles website caught up with Mr Gundry – interrupting yet another of his sessions with his physio – for his thoughts:

Well Simon, here we are again, your physio seems to be working wonders with her hands. Your bowling is looking back to more-or-less full pace, just as the season ends?

Yes it’s amazing what my physio can do with her hands; she’s been very supportive during some dark times. It certainly has been a frustrating season – just when I thought I was over the back problem it would re-occur. But I got a good run-in towards the end of the season and bowled some decent spells though the pace was definitely lacking. Definitely a shame that the season ended when it did but hopefully I’m over the back problem now and looking foward to next season.

Has she been putting you in certain positions to ensure better performance?

Yes at times it’s been like a game of Twister!

You must be delighted to have brought up your century of Exiles wickets – there must be some favourites in there?

I’ll take any wicket obviously but the best are when you get good top order batsmen out and have an impact on the game.

What’s your favourite spell? Your famous 7-7-0-4 spell against Wealdstone Corinthians still sticks in the memory…

Those were pretty good figures! Any spell that has good batsmen in trouble, particularly when you get rewarded for it, is always very satisfying – usually on pitches that offer something to the bowler. Also I like it when a plan comes together, for example, against Agricola I was deliberately held back to deal with a couple of late order hitters and it worked when I got both out cheaply.

Do you give much thought to your bowling or do you just bowl it as hard as you can? You seem to pick up a lot of your wickets bowled leg-stump – anything wrong with the traditional off-stump theory?

I’ll ignore the ridiculous jibe in the second sentence! Actually, I do think about my bowling, for example, changing the length to particular batsmen and I do deliberately try off cutters, slower balls, scrambled seams etc – not that it works very often. But generally, I will try and bowl fast and straight. Of course variation can be very useful but I do think there’s no substitute for a consistent line and length that puts batsmen under pressure and doesn’t offer up freebies. Batsmen hate being tied down and I think pressure brings wickets.

Have you tried to follow the example of other Exiles bowlers over the years, or any other cricketing luminiaries in particular?

I always find it immensely interesting talking to fellow bowlers and there are plenty of bowlers from Exiles, my week day side and elsewhere that know their stuff and I really respect their thoughts. I’m probably too old to do anything about is these days though.

Which gives you the greater satisfaction – 1000 runs or 100 wickets?

Probably both equally.

What’s been your best all-round performance in a single match – ever taken a 5-fer in the same match as scoring 50+?

When I scored a hundred for Haud Magnum at Chsiwick, I also took a 5-fer in that match, so that was a pretty satisfying afternoon.

Any satisfaction in the fact that stats show Sam Scott (1,667 runs, 120 wickets) to be a batting all-rounder, whilst Jeff Hilson (1,345 runs, 156 wickets) and Andy Wingfield (1,420 runs, 188 wickets) look to be bowling all-rounders, whilst your record (1,037 runs, 101 wickets) suggests a ‘proper’ all-rounder?

At last a sensible question! Of course, you’re absolutely right!

Simon thanks again, your phsyio is looking impatient, so we’ll end things there. Here’s to your next 1,000 runs and 100 wickets for the Exiles!

Cheers – and thanks to the Exiles for being a great cricket club and here’s to many more enjoyable seasons.

Keith Roberts – Exiles’ record run-scorer

During Exiles recent match against Strollers on 11 September 2011, Keith Roberts scored 51 runs to finally overtake Mark Bradshaw’s 2 year hold on the status of the Energy Exiles record ever run-scorer. Mark has 5,080 runs for the club and Keith has now moved on to 5,114. The Exiles website caught up with the now legendary Mr Roberts for his comments:

Keith, many congratulations on achieving this epic landmark. How does it feel?

A bit of a relief more than anything else! I haven’t been able to buy a run for the last few weeks since the landmark came into view, so I’m just happy that I’m not going to have to wait til next season to get it out the way!

Do you remember the shot that secured the feat?

To be honest, not really, although I was told in the pub afterwards that it was most likely a cover drive (past the guy with the artificial leg!).

Which landmark gives you more personal satisfaction – reaching 5,000 runs or becoming the clubs leading-ever run scorer? 

Probably the latter, although it’s at least in part a function of just outlasting my rivals!

Looking back over the years, which has been your favourite innings?

Probably the 100 I scored against British Library a few years ago – a bit of a feat of stamina, and a close run thing because I completed it off the last ball of the innings, and particularly pleasing because it took me 18 balls to get off the mark, but thereafter I scored at a run a ball; But I also have fond memories of an innings played a long time ago against Roehampton on a spicy pitch at an old ground of ours at Overton Rd in Sutton; This was in my pre-helmet days and I got hit in the throat early on, but went on to get 70 odd; I often get most satisfaction from innings when theres a bit in the pitch and the bowling’s challenging, if not dangerous!

And your favourite shot(s)?

I suspect Amil would say the slap in the air to, or if I’m lucky through or over, cover! And I do indeed like a cover drive. But I played a couple of late cuts for four last year against Cypos which made me very happy (small things!), because I didn’t think I had them in me!  Speaking of which, my all-time favourite shot was against Great Dalby on tour in 2003, where I came in down the order and, to very audible surprise from my team-mates, hit one of my first balls for six, straight over the bowlers head, landing the ball on top of the large leylandii hedge that doubled as a sight-screen.

Who has been your favourite opening partner? Martin Thomas must be high on the list?

Well, there are a lot to choose from – perhaps as many as 15! Martin’s on the list, and I’m happy to confirm he’s not at the bottom of it (older exiles and Mark B in particular will have no difficulty guessing who is in that position!). Of past exiles, I greatly enjoyed batting with Jon Taylor because he was so fluent he took a lot of pressure of me. Similarly, it was always very reassuring to see Mark at the other end, and of course we hold the opening partnership record for the club. Of current exiles, it’s great being at the other end when Q is in full spate – you can just sit back and admire – and batting with John Tither is always very satisfying because he’s so strong tactically. And I’ve really enjoyed watching Jasper’s cover driving at close range this season.

Is there a certain pitch that you particular enjoy batting on?

Nursery Road has usually been kind to me (I’ve even hit sixes there!), and in fact I’ve got runs on most of Merton’s grounds – perhaps a link there to not getting in the car to play cricket! Despite getting my hundred there, I don’t feel that Chiswick is a particularly happy hunting ground – and despite being the flattest wicket we play on.

Which opposition bowlers have you found the trickiest?

I’d better choose someone historical – don’t want to encourage anyone for next season! I always found Caythorpe’s opening bowler Roberts pretty hard work, and North Croydon/Merton had a pretty tough mix of young quicks and wily old seamers a few years ago. Simon French of Strollers was always for me a matter of survival rather than scoring runs, and in common with many exiles past and present I’ve had my moments with a number of opposition slow bowlers – Pinkney and Morgan spring to mind!

Some negative members of the tabloid press have questioned your strike-rate, whilst other more experienced writers have commented that you provide the glue that holds the Exiles batting together. What’s your take on this?

Well, of course, I don’t read the tabloids! But, without getting all Geoffrey Boycott on you, I do believe there’s an important role for an opening batsman who can blunt the opposition bowling and pave the way for the dashers in the middle order. Add to that the need over the years (perhaps less true now?) to counter the traditionally brittle nature of the Exiles batting line up, and I think my skill set (which is mostly based on reasonable technique and concentration) fits the role, which is just as well because I certainly don’t have the gifts to be one of those few opening batsman who can score quickly and consistently heavily at the top of the order!

Have you got any tips for young opening batsmen hoping to follow in your footsteps?

Not sure there’s a big queue of them, but here goes – don’t forget that leaving the ball early on is a legitimate option, very few of the bowlers we play against are immune from serving up something worse shortly afterwards!

Finally, what are your cricketing aspirations going forward? Perhaps one of your sons might open the Exiles batting with you one day? Do you have any targets you have yet to achieve?

I’d love to keep playing long enough to play with one or both boys. Not sure about opening with them though – they’d definitely be faster than me between the wickets (who isn’t?!), and calling might be a problem, since they already ignore 90% of my instructions.

If I do keep going that long, then maybe I might have a realistic chance of getting to fifty 50s, and I quite fancy getting to 100 wickets (but that would require some fairly benevolent captaincy, not to mention generous batting from the opposition!)

Keith, many thanks for your time and best of luck in the future.

Gunders plunders 1000 runs

During Exiles’ recent match with Stollers on 11 September 2011, Simon Gundry brought up 1,000 runs for the club (he’s now on 1,011) and also took a hat-trick. The Exiles website caught up with the injury-prone veteran to ask him what recent events might have inspired such inspirational performances:

Simon, very well played, which of your feats in the Strollers game gives you the greater satisfaction – the longevity of 1,000 club runs, or the moment of inspiration required for a hat-trick?

Yes it’s good to reach 1,000 runs but I suppose I always knew that I’d get there eventually. The hat-trick is such a rarity in cricket that it was a particularly pleasurable moment.

Do you apportion anything in particular to your impressive performance? It was reported in the press that you were seen out on the town on the eve of the match…

I can’t deny it, that is true. I was given a rare night pass and let’s just say I made the most of it! Perversely it’s the not the first time in my life that I’ve performed surprisingly well with a hangover.

Which has been your favourite innings for the club to date?

I probably enjoy the knocks where it helps the team get out of trouble. My knock on tour at Hawes a while back springs to mind as does one against Commonwealth on my home ground (Haydon’s road).

What’s your favourite shot? Is there a pitch you play at where you always fancy you might score runs?

I like the straight lofted drive over mid off (not mid on Andy W!) when it comes off but I also enjoy cuts and pulls. No grounds stand out but strangely I tend to prefer the challenge of trickier pitches, but that might be because with my bowlers hat on, I can’t bear those banal, flat boring batting wickets like Chiswick.

In your most match comments on Sunday, you were very quick to point out your achievement in reaching 1,000 club runs. Are you a secret statto?

Perhaps more than I like to admit to myself! I’m not so interested in the day to day averages but I do like the big milestones – 100 wickets, 1000 runs, maiden 50s, club records and so on.

Have you ever taken a hat-trick before?

I’ve only taken one before for the civil service mid-week team. I reckon I’ve put myself in the position for a hat-trick loads of time but it’s only happened twice.

What was your thinking in bowling the hat-trick ball 3 feet outside off-stump?

Yes I agree – it was a strange tactic to employ! The first 2 balls were full, fast and straight and of course I was trying to bowl the same again. But fortunately the batsman went fishing and cut it back onto his stumps.

Are there any members of the Exiles squad you’ve tried to copy to improve your game? You must be envious of the amount of swing available to Phil Ling and the variety of shots in Martin Thomas’s locker?

Of course Martin and Phil are cricketing legends but I just try and do my best within my own limitations.

In fact, having such a cricketer as Martin Thomas in your side must be a difficult shadow to escape from – how do you cope?

I think it can only be inspiring to have an all-rounder of Martin’s ability in the side.

What targets are next on your cricketing radar? You’ve now got 94 club wickets – so the 1,000 runs and 100 wickets double surely seems the obvious one?

Yes that’s the only one I can think of. Oh and getting Thomas (and/or Tilly) playing for the Exiles – ideally with me in the same team!

As you are getting older and seemingly injured every other week, do you have plans in mind to ensure your long-term effectiveness as a cricketer? Have you been practising the art of depth-charge bowling?

No I’m going to keep doing exactly the same things I’ve always done until reality kicks home and I’ll retire – at this rate probably next season!

Right have to go – my physio is ready to give me my rub down…..

Simon, thanks for your time and good luck with your physiotherapist.