Archive | July, 2011

Captaincy and The Coin Toss

Captaincy and the coin toss.

We’ve all got one, they head the team up, pick the team and call or toss the coin. Most Aunt Sally Captains once they attain the rank stay there for years. I don’t know why. My theory is that most people think it doesn’t matter who it is, only that you have one. That’s a fair enough point. The only real pressure is who to pick and who to drop. If the team is running the ‘lowest score of last week is out’ then even that is taken care of.

You’re wrong though. Why?

Here’s how it breaks down.

Teams like setting, teams like chasing. Some love to chase big scores, and the pressure that comes with it. Some can’t do pressure at all and fold. Your Captain needs to know what type of team you are and what the opposing team prefer.

A few years ago my Captain and I made a note of who we were playing, who won the toss, the choice that was made and then who won the leg.

The results were surprising, not for us, we suspected this was the case but needed to prove it.

Some teams (read Captains here) are unable to read the situation. They go first every time they win the toss, every time no matter what. So prevalent is this trait or foible that we gave it a name. The Oxford call. During years of playing in various Oxford league and competition matches it’s where we first noticed it. Not that they do it anymore or less than Abingdon.

Now if you’re the Cricketers (Ox) or the Spread ‘A (Ab) this doesn’t apply to you.

These rules work 90% of the time and are tried and tested. They work if you have a team of eight or you are on your own in a singles competition.

When to set When to chase
Team your playing love to set so you set instead Team loves to chase. So you chase
Competition – After 2 draws and you’re throwing one stick. ALWAYS GO FIRST You’ve just chase a big score and got it. You need a break. NEVER EVER go straight back in. You’ll set an embarrassingly low score
Your at home and it’s raining or windy, so much so it’s affecting everyone’s game When your clearly the better team
Evenly matched teams but with a lot on the line. Playoffs or competition finals

The rules always have exceptions. But you can play some real mind games with some Captains and totally psych them out. Always be unpredictable and always be prepared to take a risk. I know of at least one Captain who really takes this as far as you can take it and will actively psych out the other Captain during the toss. He’s good at it too, I’m pretty sure no one has cottoned on yet.

Remember the toss is all about being in control. It gives you the opportunity to make a choice that gives your team the best chance of winning the leg/match.



Match Reports 13th July 2011

Prem / A Section: Abingdon United ‘A’ 2 Spread Eagle 4, Fox 6 Waggon & Horses 0, Steventon SPorts ‘A’ 6 Berinsfield S.C 0, Spread Eagle ‘B’ 4 Abingdon United ‘B’ 2, Tandem 4 Abingdon Legion 2. B Section: Abingdon Uited ‘D’ 1 Admiral Benbow 5, Abingdon Legion 4 White Horse 2, Red Lion ‘A’ 6 Barley Mow 0, Berinsfield S.c ‘B’ 4 Abingdon Con Club 2, College Oak 2 Abingdon United ‘C’ 4. C Section: Plough Long Wittenham 4 Brewery Tap 2, Wootton Legion 2 Harwell Legion 4, North Star ‘B’ 6 Steventon Sports ‘B’ 0, Vine Cumnor 2 Pack Horse 4. D Section: Fox Denchworth 4 Chequers Charney Bassett 2, Crown Marcham 1 North Star 5, Volunteer 4 The Hatchett 2, Spread Eagle ‘A’ 0 The Midget ‘A’ 6, White Horse ‘A’ 3 Black Horse Hanney ‘A’ 3. E Section: Eight Bells ‘A’ 4 Eight Bells ‘B’ 2, Crown Didcot 4 Red Lion 2, Abingdon Arms 5 G.W.R. S.C 1, Bowyers Arms 3 Wheatsheaf Didcot 3, Plough Sutton 2 Stanford F.C 4. F Section: Brewery Tap ‘B’ 4 Old Anchor 2, Fleur De Lys 3 Didcot Con Club 3, Plough Appleton 4 Boundary House 2. G Section: The Midget ‘B’ 2 College Oak ‘B’ 4, Good Lake Arms 5 The Bear North Morton 1, Cross Keys ‘B’ 4 North Star ‘D’ 2, Plough Hanney 4 Morning Star 2, Cross Keys Wallingford 5 Didcot Labour Club 1. H Section: Black Swan 4 Railway Inn 2, Challow Legion 6 Steventon Sports ‘C’ 0, Marlborough Club 6 Good Lake Arms ‘B’ 0. Sixes: C Smith N Weston G Barguss J Simmons M Manion Blobs: B Willoughby K Dyba D Hart S McCann S Cox

World Aunt Sally Championship

World Aunt Sally Championships?

I was speaking with a good friend of mine on Wednesday night. He mentioned that at the weekend he attended the 1st World Aunt Sally Championship at the Charlbury Beer Festival. He passed on some thoughts which I feel I should share.

The claim of the organisers that it is the first ‘World’ championship is a bit misleading as some years ago the Abingdon round table organised a Singles and Fours World Championship in the Abbey Meadow. The singles competition was won by Dave Dix but I’m afraid my memory fails me as I cannot remember the fours team winners. However, this is unimportant and me being pedantic.

The Charlbury competition had 32 players playing a down to a final. Initially the weather looked as though it would be an issue but, after the draw, the sun came out. I’m told that the two Abingdon players that did attend are not familiar with that area of Aunt Sally world so it was nice to have a few throws against some different opposition.

I won’t bore you with a blow by blow account of the competition I wasn’t there vbut both players that did attend said what a great day it was. In particular to note the calling was to a very high standard. It’s always difficult particularly when playing in unfamiliar territory and you always have at the back of your mind that calling might not be as good as you are used to. In fact I am told it was as good if not better. I’m afraid I do not have the names of the two gentlemen in question that did the calling and sticking up (all day) one of whom made it to the final. I hope they read this and are able to add their names to the comments section they deserve a little recognition for a well organised event.

Something new was brought to my attention which I wasn’t aware of and I apologise if the exact details are wrong here but the gist is. In the Wychwood league owing to the small number of teams in the area they have reduced the team number from 8 to 6 and instead of 3 play the best of 5 legs.

Having played for 20 years I have seen our numbers dwindle steadily every year. The smoking ban, the cost of beer, the recession. All I suppose have taken their toll. I’m aware that in my own team we have nine regular players and that’s about it. We have players we can call in if needs be but its certainly getting worse. How long before we can’t get a team? We’ll have two choices join with another team or try to find new players. (If we could have found new players we would have done so) .Would reducing the team numbers be the answer to our shrinking league? I would be really interested to find out your opinion on this. It’s successfully done in the winter with teams of 5.

Something else that was mentioned was that there were a lot of very decent Aunt Sally Players at the World Championship but who, for what ever reason, didn’t put their names down for the competition. I have to ask myself why. Is pride a factor here? Not wanting to be beaten by what are perceived to be lesser players? Or the credibility of the competition? Who cares it’s their loss. It sounds like it was a great day that was a lot of fun for all involved. There was a very sizeable crowd for the final. If that gets a few more people interested in the game we all win.


Match Reports 6th July 2011

Prem / A Section: Spread Eagle 4 Spread Eagle ‘B’ 2, Abingdon United ‘A’ 4 Waggon & Horses Southmoor 2, Fox 0 Berinsfield S.C ‘A’ 6, Steventon Sports 4 Abingdon Legion 2, Tandem 4 Abingdon United ‘B’ 2. B Section: Berinsfield S.C ‘B’ 0 White Horse 6, Admiral Benbow 3 College Oak 3, Red Lion ‘A’ 4 Abingdon Con Club 2, Harwell Legion 2 Abingdon United ‘C’ 4, Abingdon United ‘D’ 3 Barley Mow 3. C Section: Vine 4 Brewery Tap ‘A’ 2, Flowing Well ‘A’ 4 Plough Long Wittenham 2, Wootton Legion 4 Steventon Sports 2, North Star ‘B’ 6 Pack Horse 0, Plough East Hendred 2 Harwell Legion 4. D Section: Fox Denchworth 4 Black Horse Hanney ‘A’ 2, Chequers Charney Bassett 6 Spread Eagle ‘A’ 0, White Horse ‘A’ 6 North Star ‘A’ 0, Crown Marcham 4 The Hatchett 2, Volunteer 6 The Midget 0. E Section: Eight Bells 2 Red Lion 4, Bowyers Arms 6 G.W.R S.C 0, Abingdon Arms 6 Eight Bells ‘B’ 0, Crown Didcot 2 Stanford F.C 4. F Section: Old Anchor 0 Plough Appleton 6, Brewery Tap ‘B’ 2 Didcot Con Club 4, Fleur De Lys 6 Cross Keys ‘C’ 0, North Star ‘C’ 5 Bear & Ragged Staff 1, Black Horse Hanney ‘B’ 0 Boundary House 6. G Section: College Oak ‘B’ 0 Cross Keys Wallingford 6, The Midget ‘B’ 2 Bear North Morton 4, Goodlake Arms ‘A’ 2 North Star ‘D’ 4, Cross Keys ‘B’ 2 Fairmile S.S 4, Plough Hanney 0 Didcot Labour Club 6. H Section: Boundary House ‘B’ 2 Railway Inn Culham 4, Challow Legion 2 Good Lake Arms ‘B’ 4, Marlborough Club 4 Wheatsheaf Drayton 2. Sixes: 0 Blobs: M Chadwick R Rill L Fisher S Brown P Facey G Lester N Ford M Palmer F Mackellar P Stone Olwyn J Aram



As I covered throwing I guess it’s only fair I shine this week’s spotlight on the black art that is Calling.

I’ve done loads of it and I like to think I’m better than average at it. I’m lucky in that the people I play with are also very good and in doing so have showed me how I can be better. I’m always open to what other people say as long as it isn’t aggressive.

1. Stand close to the doll.

This is key, if you’re standing 10ft from it how can you see a close shave or if the stick clips the offside of the doll. I stand one large pace back. I’ve been hit by a stick maybe twice in 20 years.

2(a) If the Doll falls forward its probably not a doll

There are always times when this isn’t the case. For instance if the doll is hit squarely on the top it will fall forward also if the stick hits the very bottom of the doll and iron at the same time.

2(b) Doll placing – The doll should overhang the swivel with a gap all around.

The swivel should NOT be bigger than the bottom of the doll.

If the bottom of the doll is smaller than the swivel you need to place the doll at the front with at least 5mm or 1/8 of an inchoverhang. This is crucial as it means you can hit the doll on the very bottom and not get a doll because you hit the swivel and not the doll. See below diagram. The red line is the top of the swivel with the doll overhanging it. As a caller it is your responsibility to ensure the doll is placed on correctly.

Doll_PlacementSml.jpg (click for larger image)

3. Never step in front of the doll to replace it – Always put it on from the side.

A lot of players especially the good ones will not take their eye from the swivel at all. If you break the line of sight it can be off putting. Though not as much as……….

4. Never look or stare at the thrower.

It’s extremely off putting. I learnt this hard way when I was 14 years old. The barrage of abuse I got was pretty harsh, but I never did it again.

(Webmaster: the exception is if you’ve got beginners throwing wildly keep an eye on that stick or you might regret it!)

5. Be quick, don’t linger, never go back

A fair amount of players, once the first doll has come off throw with a rhythm – this can end badly if you decide to go back to centre the doll. Leave it. I know players who begin to throw as soon as they see the doll touch the swivel.

6. There are 2 of you sticking up so ask their opinion

It sounds controversial but why not ask the other person what they think. If the stick has clipped the doll on the other side then they are best placed to say yes or no. Not everyone likes to call but they should be able to tell a doll.

A personal pet hate of mine is a Caller who won’t move and expects the other person to do all the work. I mean it’s not difficult to do even if they just throw the doll to the other person to place it on the swivel.

Another is people who get aggressive when a call has gone against them that they thought was a doll. I’ve lost matches for the same reason and have never given it another thought. We play for fun, if it’s that big a deal for you maybe you should try something that doesn’t involve humans because we are all fallible.

We all make mistakes so you shouldn’t be afraid of getting it wrong. I do occasionally. You find people who complain loudest are the people who refuse to call or are worst at it.

And finally as is the case with everything it’s practice that makes you better. So when the Captain is asking for a Caller and Sticker up why not volunteer instead of waiting to be nominated or worse still, not going at all.



Match Results 29th June 2011

Prem / A Section: Fox Steventon 2 Spread Eagle 4, Steventon Sports 5 Waggon & Horses Southmoor 1, Tandem 2 Berinsfield S.C 4, Abingdon United ‘B’ 6 Abingdon Legion 0, Spread Eagle ‘B’ 3 Abingdon United ‘A’ 3. B Section: Red Lion ‘A’ 6 Admiral Benbow 0, Berinsfield S.C ‘B’ 6 Barley Mow 0, Harwell Legion 2 Abingdon Con Club 4, Abingdon United ‘C’ 4 White Horse 2, College Oak 0 Abingdon United 6. C Section: Wootton Legion 0 Flowing Well 6, North Star ‘B’ 6 Harwell Legion 0, Vine Cumnor 2 Steventon Sports 4, Brewery Tap ‘A’ 6 Pack Horse 0, Plough Long Wittenham 3 Plough East Hendred 3. D Section: White Horse 3 Chequers Charney Bassett 3, Crown Marcham 1 Black Horse Hanney ‘A’ 5, Volunteer 4 North Star ‘A’ 2, Midget 4 The Hatchett 2, Spread Eagle ‘A’ 0 Fox Denchworth 6. E Section: Abingdon Arms 4 Wheatsheaf Didcot 2, Eight Bells ‘A’ 6 G.W.R Didcot 0, Crown Didcot 2 Eight Bells ‘B’ 4, Stanford F.C 4 Red Lion Drayton 2, Plough Sutton 4 Bowyers Arms 2. F Section: Fleur De Lys 5 Old Anchor 1, North Star ‘C’ 6 Didcot Con Club 0, Black Horse Hanney ‘B’ 5 Cross Keys Abingdon ‘C’ 1, Boundary House ‘A’ 4 Bear & Ragged Staff 2, Plough Appleton 4 Brewery Tap ‘B’ 2. G Section: Good Lake Arms ‘A’ 2 College Oak ‘B’ 4, Cross Keys Abingdon ‘B’ 1 The Bear North Morton 5, Plough Hanney 1 North Star 5, Didcot Labour Club 1 Fairmile S.S 5. H Section: Black Swan Abingdon 2 Royal Oak Didcot 4, Marlborought Club Didcot 4 Steventon Sports ‘C’ 2, Wheatsheaf Drayton 6 Good Lake Arms 0. Sixes: M Sheridan M Rusher D Mott M Jarvis L Clapton Blobbers: M Ellaway, B.Lewis, J.Ody, K.Dyba, N.Lobo, S.Webster, M.West, O.Ryan, B.Gordon, V.Gough, L.Bumpass, P.Golding, P.Watts, M.Weston, N.Crook, L.Ainscough, S.Hunt, M.Tyler,