Temple Grafton CC has been the home to some good, some average and some distinctly indifferent players over the years.
Here is a brief snapshot of those who currently turn out at the GCG
Batting: Dogged, resilient and not lacking in ability.
Bowling : Left arm over at a lively pace with a lovely hint of swing. Doesn’t get the rewards he deserves.
Fielding : Outstanding, comfortably the best fielder at the club.
Joined the club in 2013 having left Entaco and promptly became a key member of the league side as the stormed to Div 3 honours. Primarily a left arm seamer, it has been his fielding and batting which have also got Grafton out of many a pickle. Christened Ivor after Winna claimed that the only name which starts with ‘I’ was Ian. Quiet man of the team, needs to sort his Bobby Charlton comb over out though.
Batting: We’ve waited years for the archetypal “big boy from the farm” batsman since Nigel retired. Here he is.
Bowling: Quite something to behold. No concept of a run up, or indeed an action. Work in progress
Fielding: It’s only natural that 10 foot tall children should take up wicket keeping isn’t it? Effective and highly entertaining
The very definition of ‘man-child’, Kizza joined Grafton with Kirky Jr & Lewis and has quickly established himself in all three sides. Highly enthusiastic and resembling a real life Tigger, he has proven himself to become a favourite amongst the ranks. Decided to try wicket keeping and whilst he opts to drive feet first at the ball, rather than using his hands it is a rapidly improving skill. We all think however that his batting will be his strong suit, have seen in brief glimpses that he has the levers to hit the ball a country mile. If he continues growing, he’ll be an absolute behemoth in years to come.
Batting: Opens. As the skipper said when questioned on this “what else am I going to do with him?”
Bowling: Runs in hard, lots of effort, limited rewards.
Fielding: Finally we’ve found someone who can run and catch. Has the arm of a 93 year old woman mind.
Having left the clutches of Harvington where he played for many years, O decided that he’d join Grafton as he knew Milky. Great move all round as he’s seamlessly integrated himself into the dressing room with his witty repartee and genuine wurzel voice. We’ve not had anyone quite so bumpkin since Carl Page. Hasn’t scored as many runs as he’d have liked to so far and has probably bowled much more than he’d have hoped to too. Will hopefully use his extensive contacts from the Vale of Evesham to drum up a few more bodies over the coming years too.
Batting: Swoosh, smack, wallop. Likes a mow to leg.
Bowling: Erm. Not his strongest suit.
Fielding: Now we’re talking. Quick, fearless and can catch. Usually at the fifth attempt having fallen over.
TT was coerced into playing by his hetero life mate/twin brother Liam Killian. Having stolen some kit he subsequently loved it and has hardly missed a game in the 2 years since. Having never played cricket before 2014 he has become a key member of every Grafton squad. Spends his days with his hands down drains or drinking cooking lager. Enjoys parking his van in ditches.
Batting: Dogged. Has technique and a temprament few at Grafton can match.
Bowling: Improving rapidly into a leg spin bowler of note. Flighted and full. Encouraging
Fielding: Has youth on his side. Can’t throw, so fits in well with the remainder of the club.
The Youth Policy – Lewis arrived as Adam Kirk’s mate and has rapidly become a dependable member of the all three club sides. Wasn’t sure what he wanted to do initially; bit of batting, bit of keeping, bit of fielding, but has suddenly emerged as a genuine bowling prospect with a resolute approach to batting. Not sure that he actually is a Bilbrough though as Lewis is both tall and slim – must be the maternal genes.
Bowling: Thanks to a well thumbed copy of Bob Woolmer’s Spin Bowling Manual, we have a rarely seen slow right arm bowler.
Fielding: Belies his advancing years with energy.
Ian Young joined Grafton in 2007 having taught many of his teammates at Alcester Grammar. Obviously he didn’t get to teach Burrows, Morris, Killian and other assorted thickos who went to the High School. Enjoys the challenge of the Sunday captaincy which he took on in 2012 with great success, though he should involve himself a little more. His abstract match reports have made Mondays worth waiting for.
Batting : Hits the ball hard, has got better and better as more opportunities present themselves. Excellent maiden half century in 2014.
Bowling : Left arm over, moves the ball about and bowls from an odd angle which causes issues more often than not.
Fielding : Very safe pair of hands, has taken some sharp, sharp catches.
Another product of the Specsavers academy, Adam first came to light playing indoor cricket in 2011. Quickly progressed to regular appearances for the Sunday and Select sides throughout the his debut season. Despite this being his first ever season of cricket Adam managed to claim a hat trick and a five wicket haul on his way to a fantastic return of wickets. Continued in the same vein through 2012 and progressed to make his league debut. Will continue to improve and should be a key player for Grafton in years to come.
Batting : Was unproven until the opportunity presented in 2014. Smashed it miles and won a match with a rapid 50. Hasn’t reached those heights (or double figures) since
Bowling : Can bowl well. Thinks about what he’d doing and is getting close to being great. Is almost apologetic when taking wickets.
Fielding : Energetic, like a terrier.
As you may expect from a man nicknamed ‘Smiler’, Chris goes about everything with a massive grin on his face. Despite all evidence to the contrary he is not an antiques dealer but a cybergeek. Has shown huge promise with the ball in the past couple of seasons, Can bowl at a lively pace effortlessly mixing beamers with jaffas, spent 2012 developing and perfecting a slower ball which has shown up a fair few Sunday batsmen.
Batting: Flashing blade, effecting either side of the wicket. Scored his a maiden ton in 2006 at the age of 72.
Bowling: Left arm dibblys, unfortunately bowls less and less these days.
Fielding: Age has not been kind in this department, ability has diminished to be replaced with a series of witty barbs and put downs.
Grafton’s very own Little Master, Stanners is a Grafton stalwart having been involved with TGCC as soon as he left the womb, Has scored many runs and taken many wickets for Grafton over the years. Appearances have waned of late but still happy to fill in where short or turn out in the week. Arranges the splendid flowers outside the pavvy, Appointed Club President in 2011 and recently completed his 60th season of cricket.
Batting: Mixes resolute defence with barnstorming tennis shots square of the wicket and massive slogs down the field
Bowling: Like an elephant on his tiptoes, almost got a bowl in 2012. Will that chance ever come again?
Fielding: Amazingly sprightly and sharp wicketkeeper. Needs more confidence to stand up to the slow stuff.
By virtue of Grafton having a better website than anyone else in the local area Big Bob plumped for the GCG for his first season of cricket in 2010. And what an inspired choice it was for both parties. Slatts has taken to cricket like a duck to water. Sunday regular, clubbing batsman, wicketkeeper, petulant Villa fan (as they all are), Daily Mail reader, retail expert, skier, fan of the Third Reich and thoroughly splendid man. Bob took the Sunday Captaincy on a temporary basis in 2011 with great success. 2011 saw his maiden 50 swiftly followed a maiden century. Holds the record for the slowest drive to the G from Grafton Court.
Batting : Very difficult to shift. If he fancies it can hit a big, straight ball
Bowling : Tidy enough, doesn’t bowl very often though
Fielding : Sharp, good pair of hands and useful emergency wicket keeper
Selbs has been involved at Grafton for many years, much preferring the charms of friendly cricket. More than handy with bat or ball, his young family have prevented regular appearances of late. Not to be confused with the snooker professional of the same name.
Batting: Opening bat, the word turgid was invented to describe Powell’s style. Nurdles around the corner are his bread and butter.
Bowling: Loopy slow stuff. Infamous for the ‘Alan Powell Experiment’ at Earlswood. Has more CHL wickets than TEJ Benjamin
Fielding: This is how Alan gets into the side, which quite frankly is a disgrace. Last thing he caught was the flu in 2005.
Since joining Grafton from Entaco Alan has worked his way through the ranks at TGCC captaining both the midweek and Sunday sides. Away from cricket Alan enjoys counting bricks, wearing overly large clothing and painting his ceiling. Excellent financial controller. all round good egg.
Batting: Mention Rowington within earshot of Nick and he’ll tell you all about the time he hit 28 off the last over to win the game
Bowling: Right arm, on the spot.
Fielding: Fine as long as the ball is hit at him, not so good if it’s anywhere else.
Club stalwart and former treasurer Nick has been involved with Temple Grafton for many years. Has unofficially retired from weekend cricket, but forms the backbone of the Select side. Tourist extraordinaire.
Batting: TGCC all time leading run scorer. Possesses both power and finesse. Proper filthy slogger at times
Bowling: After years in the wilderness following the ‘way-oop’ ball at Ebrington, Kirky now only bowls spin at Woodbourne.
Fielding: First slip, unless Ashfield is playing, then second slip. Is fifth best wicket keeper at the club, equal with Tim Moore.
Feral beastie with the longest hair in the Cotswold Hills League. Has a unique fashion sense described by Vanity Fair and Tatler as “mechanic chic”. Has struggled with a catalogue of injuries over the past few seasons, is aiming to still be playing cricket into June before too long. When not cricketing enjoys cider, smashing things up and driving diggers. Buys everything off ebay. Will be bald by the end of next season.
Batting: Correct, patient, the spitting image of his dad when in stance. Less of the blarty slogging though.
Bowling: Slow, steady, will take buckets of wickets in the coming years.
Fielding: Great pair of hands, loves a graze out in the deep.
Born to it, Adam started playing seriously in 2013. Has developed week in week out to initially become a crucial member of the Sunday squad before staking him place in the League side on merit. All the attributes to bat properly, just needs opportunity and confidence. Hopefully his blossoming rugby career will not hinder his involvement at the G over the coming years. Looks less like a little farm tramp since he cut his hair. Beat Winna up aged 14 – his physical development means he’s not one to be trifled with.
Batting: Set the tone for his future giving the bowler the charge 2nd ball of debut as 14 year old. Is all about triple digit strike rates. Six and out.
Bowling: Was young quick and erratic. Got older quicker and more erratic. Has given all that up to bowl pies.
Fielding: Can catch, throw and used to run around lots. This makes him better than 95% of other TGCC players. Despite his increasing girth, still an excellent all round fielder.
As a youngster was identified as the future of TGCC, Liam is a talented all round cricketer made entirely of Lego and Guinness. Having undertaken his apprenticeship at the G, Killer was promptly sent on work placements to Stratford and Leamington. Having decided that playing Birmingham League Cricket constitutes too much hard work and restricted his ability to drink he returned to his true home full time in 2016 as Captain. Continually infuriates everyone with his consistent ’40 off 7 balls, wild yahoo, out’ routine. Has been affectionately dubbed ‘clunge’ as a result. Swears more than is humanely possible.
Batting: Straight batted and elegant but prone to straight balls. Enjoys a good sulk when getting out.
Bowling : Big performer for Grafton over the years, taking wickets with pacey in-swingers, full tosses and long hops.
Fielding : Affectionately dubbed ‘Spamhands’ in 2004. Joyce; in one of the biggest bites ever, created a dropped catch spreadsheet to clear his name.
One of the original Grafton ‘Spice Boys’ Ben has been an exceptional cricketer for Grafton but has appeared less and less since marriage in 2008 and the subsequent arrival of three little Joyces. Appears for huge drinking binges once in a blue moon these days due to the never ending job of refitting his kitchen. When he does turn out it typically ends well despite him blowing out of his arse after two overs. One of the finest umpires Grafton have seen.
Batting : There are many who say he slightly favours the leg side. Go big or go home.
Bowling : Offers a variety of filthy darts. Occasional option.
Fielding : Another new recruit who can’t throw.
After a lengthy career playing for Stratford, Johnners decided that he needed to drop down a few divisions and find a ground with tiny boundaries to aid his batting and fielding. Thankfully he chose Grafton. Joining towards the start of the 2012 season he quickly formed a key part of the CHL side despite not really scoring many runs at first. The runs have since come in an arc between mid wicket and cow corner. Keen to shake off a reputation for being a leg-side slogger. Well liked at the club despite being both ginger and South African.
Batting : Averaged 42 in league cricket through 2014, owns three bats. Still rubbish.
Bowling : Canny bugger, always a threat despite bowling leg stump, slow seaming guff. Fancies himself as a spinner.
Fielding : Chooses to ‘conserve energy’ whilst fielding; arms usually folded or hands in pockets. Great pair of hands, especially off his own bowling.
Joined TGCC formally in 2006 following occasional Sunday appearances having fallen out with several other clubs. Quickly established himself as the bestest bowler at the club (in his own mind). Can’t bat properly, general fielding is prone to moments of utter comedy yet despite this still gets picked. Enjoys talking about himself, compiling statistics, scoring and eating teas. Determined to score a half century with the bat having conceded quite a few over the last couple of years.
Batting : Saunters out, has a look, blocks the straight ones, blarts everything else
Bowling : Has reinvented himself as a spin bowler with great success. Can turn it, which makes him better than Badger.
Fielding : Historically has had the safest pair of hands around. Raised concerns recently however having developed an inability to dive to his left.
Former Sunday captain, style icon and owner of several pairs of ‘low slung’ jeans. Super laid back, Winna sees cricket as a way to ensure he spends an afternoon out in the sun topping up his Mediterranean tan. Since developing a defensive shot and then slogging some 12 years olds at Dumbleton he feels he is now Stratford’s premier bowling all-rounder. Switched to spin bowling with great success, proving be both a wicket taking threat whilst remaining economical – held the attack together throughout 2014. Plays basketball. Mostly on his own; occasionally for a team.
Batting : Has a great big heave at anything in his slot. Typically between deep midwicket and long off.
Bowling : Left arm swing, capable of moving the ball miles.
Fielding : His bionic knee, made of dead people and corrugated iron means Jon can sort of run again.
Knee reconstruction and a recurring bad back have led to a third ‘retirement’ from Holty, much missed. Jon formed an integral part of the Invincibles Grafton league era with his left arm seam and powerful hitting. Off the field loves a bit of karaoke and has proven to be a vital tourist. Jon was delighted to skipper TGCC for the first time ever in Menorca 2010 where he was able to take himself off after three overs as it was too hot.
Batting : Used to open, now relegated to number 11. Highest backlift since Lara retired.
Bowling : On the spot, lively inswingers. Loves a pose, a scowl and an appeal once a game when he beats the bat.
Fielding : Has resolutely disputed being named Hands of Spam winner 2009 & 2010. Is scared of the ball.
Former TGCC skipper, Holty has been the mainstay of the bowling attack for the past 20 years. Has developed a reputation for bowling well at the young and infirm. His run, run, stop, grunt, bowling action is renowned within local cricketing circles. Has been invaluable over the past few seasons in driving the new Pavilion project to completion. Mastered arriving at the ground with seconds to spare to avoid forfeiting the toss.
Batting : Bats with the action of a man chopping down trees. 15 off 63 balls. Caught at point.
Bowling : Reinvented himself as a slow bowler in 2013. Economy remains in excess of 6, wickets increased substantially. Doesn’t turn it.
Fielding : As expected from a man who tells everyone about when he used to play in the Birmingham League, it’s good. Can’t throw.
Matt joined TGCC from Solihull Blossomfield in 2011 when they threw him out. Eventually realised that he couldn’t bowl seam up and only then proved to be a huge asset to TGCC. Any benefit is however offset by abject tardiness, the dress sense of a tramp and frequent bouts of high volume swearing at his own inability to both bowl straight, and not to cut short balls straight to point. Scored his maiden century in 2012 and broke the club record for league wickets in a season a year later. Proclaims himself to be the best all-rounder in local cricket. Constantly gets unrelenting abuse from everyone, even small children. Autistic, and is resentful of the fact that he’s the only former public schoolboy not to have played the game professionally. Old kit wanker.
Batting: Claims to be awful, was spotted hitting a massive six to win a match in 2012
Bowling: Fast and wild. Mixes wides and long hops withgenuinely unplayable deliveries
Fielding: Excellent ground fielder, true athlete. Can’t catch.
How Dave must regret spotting his next door neighbour dragging a cricket bag to the car one balmy spring morning. “Oh, I play cricket” he offered by way of conversation, “great, you’re playing on Sunday” was Tommy’s immediate response and so Dave joined Grafton. Name is pronounced like ‘Nathan, with a D’, quite possibly the best fielder at TGCC despite the fact he can’t catch. Dave has the grace of a PE teacher and the action of a tearaway West Indian quickie circa 1985, needs to work on the accuracy though.
Batting: Claims to be unable to bat, has a eye for the big hoy however.
Burling: On the spot, bustling, straight. Champion. Run up seems to have disappeared however.
Fielding: Enthusiastic, dives around like his mum still does his laundry. Scares cows at Longborough.
Despite being introduced to TGCC by Tim Moore, Spender has been very well received to date. Requires subtitles due to his thick Geordie brogue, sounds not unlike Alan Partridge’s good friend Michael. Has proved to be a useful member of the Sunday side on his limited appearances and has even earned a league cap, “Whey man, you must be reet despurate like”. Excellent committee man. Recent addition to the family may curtail appearances for the forseeable.
Batting: Bowl it anywhere at Crossy, he’ll try and hit it through mid-wicket.
Bowling: As yet unseen. Has claimed to be better than Johnners, so he’s not setting his stall too highly.
Fielding: He can throw. Therefore the fielder Grafton have been after for the past two season. Catching? Hmmm,
Following a number of years with both Stratford and the Bards, Crossy followed his fellow ginger Mark Johnston from Swan’s Nest Lane to Grafton for the 2013 season. A capable opening batsman and energetic fielder he has fitted in well both on and off the pitch so far. Whether working anything onto the leg-side or spending 45 overs in solitude on the boundary Rupe has been a good fit. Excellent entertainment provided in dropping approximately 500 catches through the 2014 season.
Batting : Makes it look effortless at times. Strong on the drive, proficient on the pull and has a world class dolly up to mid-wicket.
Bowling : Effortlessly mixes leggies and offies with medium pace, refers to himself as ‘Economy Tom’.
Fielding : Excellent keeper. Loves the array of leg side filth his bowlers serve up. Especially loves leg-side quicker balls from spinners.
One of few Grafton players to have recorded a 1,000 run season. Only Grafton player to have represented the CHL Select XI, this was definitely NOT because 44 other wicket keepers were unavailable. Consistently ranked in the ‘Top 10 Angriest Cricketers in England’, guaranteed to bite at anything when behind the stumps. Will be bald by the end of next season. Drives a bus.
Batting : Owns more batting kit than anyone in the club. Has two fifties, obdurate, out LBW.
Bowling : Purveyor of dot balls. Has developed into an economical wily old sod of late.
Fielding : Safe as houses; prone to drop the odd dolly but catches most stuff that comes his way.
‘Mr. Grafton’; Howard dun arf love the Shire. Does the ground, plays every game, on the committee, builds pavilions, rides mowers, buys Grafton kit. Bloody loves it he does. Canny cricketer and exceptional social animal. Can sleep anywhere and enjoys untagging himself from Facebook photos.
Batting: blart machine. scores heavily over square leg’s head
Bowling: has retired from bowling as it constitutes too much effort
Fielding: 1st slip, 3rd man for last 10 overs.
Took TGCC from 6th to 3rd divisions as captain, future Grafton Hall of Famer. Has played less frequently over the past few seasons, but having bought some new boots and taking on the role of Chairman, Martin has returned to regular action. You know it’s been a good night when you wake up on the Ashfield’s sofa on a Sunday morning with no recollection as to where your shoes or car are.