A fine squad of 12 were on site and ready to play. All we needed were the opposition who were conspicuous by their absence at 1.35 for a 2pm start. No need to panic, as we started to check we were in the right place, they arrived.
So, the negotiations start and we end up in a 40 over game and lose the toss. They elect to bat. It gets worse as our skipper decides to keep wicket. The seemingly only good thing is that he doesn’t take 20 minutes to get ready a la Stumpy. Surely it can only get better, can’t it?
It’s raining and it looks set to stay all day, unlike the valiant Ruggy who is green around the gills and has on going eruptions in the stomach that have led him to realise that his bravery in turning out for the team may not have been his best decision.
Our vice and the returning Chung Fu open the bowling in the rain. The Foxbury older batsmen do the usual of gliding the ball behind square and are scoring a bit too freely. (4 byes didn’t help the cause). Then the tide, which we were bowling and fielding in, starts to turn. Vice suggests we deploy a deep 3rd man and cut off the run scoring and this works. (Lots of ideas from everyone during the game of which the skipper is always grateful)
First to fall is the opener. A chopped down square cut that pinged to the left of the keeper who somehow scooped it up diving/falling to his left. Maybe he is not so bad. Chung Fu then picks up 2 in 2 balls. A dead straight LBW (after which the petulant child complained to the umpire and went off throwing his bat about) and a fine catch from a flash to point by Saddam Blain. They are not very many for 3 and getting quite grumpy. This is turning out not to be the “thrashing” they were clearly expecting to dish out. A bit of a stand with the new bat, (number 2 is still in and in Boycott mode. We are reluctant to get him out). This other batsman is clearly very good but he can’t cope with the variation of Saddam (we all really know what “variation” means) and returns a sharp caught and bowled. Blain gets another LBW and gets another cooly caught out at long on by Bin Man. Somehow Saddam has picked up 3/30 from 5. The book cannot lie but we all know the truth. They are 6 down and struggling. After 20 overs the previous evening’s gluttony has brought Ruggy down and Walkie Talkie comes on. The sun is now out and God has chosen his favourite spy to smile on. First ball after drinks is a rank slow full toss and their skipper obligingly muffs it completely and loops and easy one to Walkie Talkie at first slip. Dino bowled as well as he ever has and took 2 other quality wickets with good lines, good flight and excellent length. The pick was the bowling of a big time leg side slogger who was conned into thinking he could hit every ball. He couldn’t. 8 overs, 1 maiden, 3/31 again doesn’t tell the truth of how well Dino bowled. Scrappy came on at the end and took the last wicket to a simple catch claimed by Chung Fu. Scrappy is a good example of not complicating things and just bowls really well and will run through a side at some stage. We bowl them out for 141 in around 26 overs. An excellent “lets get to the bar early effort”. Another great effort in the field. The new ‘keeper did alright. Buckets stopped almost everything. Krish, a little less mobile than before, did the same. Semtex making square leg his own and even when he was moved elsewhere did his best to forget the new plan and tried several times to return to that same spot.
Tea. Cans of Stone IPA provided by Semtex (who else) added a nice glow to the good tea that the Exiles always lay on.
Dartsy and Saddam stride out and set about the bowling with the thirst of men that had had one beer and were gagging for another very soon. Both timing the ball well and after a quarter of the overs we had a third of the target. Saddam hits a fine cover drive, almost as good as a left hander, and then snicks one behind for 13. 50 odd for 1 but no need to worry. Chung Fu comes in and looks a bit rusty. He starts to time it well and looks to settle in when he is bowled for 12. The calm head of our esteemed vice captain will steady the ship. No.Out for 5 to a “caught in 2 minds shot” with a scoop to the covers. Dartsy is our man and is still there. Semtex comes in and comes out again. A duck in his last game for a while is a shame but we will be seeing him in the pub. The welcome return of Krish has us all purring as his first 3 scoring shots are 4s. No slogging just timing. Unfortunately it was not to last and he fell for 15. Ryan out did Semtex and came back even quicker. The scoring has slowed and we were running out of wickets. 7 down as Jamie avoids the duck club but has only got 1. 7 overs to go. 28 needed. Dartsy has dried up a bit and is now joined by our average protecting skipper as the number 9. Tension is high as we are all desperate to beat this mob. (They changed the ball in between innings with out asking our captain and were seen polishing it over tea. Poor form.) There is no need to panic. The two old round men see us home without any worries. Dartsy finally gets that score he has been threatening for a while and finishes 70 not out in a chance less innings and Lord Ross a solid 11 not out.
We win by 3 wickets with 2 overs to spare. We took a lot of joy from this victory as we all stuck together and fully supported each other through out. Jordan nearly picked up 2 great catches and rather than adorn him with the catching hat we encouraged him. It could be the end of the hat as it was great to see everyone rally round and remain focused on what we wanted to do whilst still having a good time.
Thanks to the whole team for making a captain look good but being good at what you all did.
Thanks to Jordan Walking for turning up in case we were short and replacing the ailing Ruggy.
Thanks to Grandad Ron for coming back with Jordan’s kit.
Thanks to Pussy, Dory and Hangover for just turning up to support us.
SB went to Bin Man for addressing Chung Fu as a “panther” for some athletic fielding. (You kids have a very different idea to racist abuse to us oldies)
Performance to Dartsy for a great 70 not out.