“Is Richard alright?” my mother asked conspiratorially from the boundary edge. “He seems a bit grumpy today.”
And why wouldn’t he be?
After a bullish display in the field, we had just knocked Falkland over for under 140, leaving his quest for a fourth successive ton pretty much redundant (unless he opened the batting and bribed his partner into slothfulness). So, instead, he sacked it off, requested to be batted down the order and disappeared to an adjoining field with his girlfriend.
Little did he realise that, even batting at ten, he would need to be padded up and ready for action with plenty still required an hour or so later, as the Money Programme middle order subsided woefully.
First the good stuff. In the field we were excellent. The bowling was sharp, stifling the chubby opener (who seemed more interested in bantering with Richard’s effervescent burbling than scoring any runs). Tim was particularly impressive, recording a couple of wickets in his eight miserly overs. And he was backed up by a better fielding and keeping display than in recent weeks (new wickie gloves = money well spent).
Midway through the innings, and Falkland were pootling along at a paltry three an over when debutant Adam entered the attack. His first ball was a gentle half-tracker, but at least it was straight, and Adam was more surprised than anyone when it knocked back the off stump. Cue jubilation as we racked our brains for a previous MP first ball wicket-taker. The golden arm turned platinum with the final ball of the over as a similarly short one was swiped to the deep-midwicket boundary where it was caught by Tim who almost choked on his sandwich.
It wasn’t until his next over, when yet another short delivery was deposited into the trees for six, that Skip murmured something derogatory about “order being restored”. It’s always nice to be able to look to one’s captain for encouragement. Ironically as Adam’s bowling improved, so his luck decreased, but his opening spell in MP colours was certainly a memorable one – and his day wasn’t done yet.
A couple of good hitters in their middle order couldn’t rescue Falkland a decent total and, as is so often the case, Peter and Dan finished things up with maximum efficiency – Peter’s three wickets all down to beautifully flighted off-spinners that beat the batsmen all ends up.
At tea on a beautiful day, with the biggest Money Programme crowd in attendance for many a year (more WAGs than at Wayne Rooney’s upcoming nuptials) there was much to be optimistic about, and Peter and John started with great purpose.
But the top four all got themselves out after getting starts, and Troy ran out Mike and then skied one himself. Tom (all bottom hand) popped one to cover and somehow we were 90-7 and staring defeat squarely in the eye. That said our numbers 10 and 11 were R Marshall and D Rinaldi so we would probably have been OK even if Gordon and Adam hadn’t decided to make the whole thing immaterial.
Gordo was at his brutish best, and Adam showed that he will be a useful all-round addition to the team as he drove us elegantly to victory. Admittedly he doesn’t know much about humour – if he did he would have got himself out with a couple still left and made Richard come out to ruin his golden centurion streak…
Peter: Classic spin
John: Death rattle caught on camera
Tim: The sandwich of victory
Dan: Down the order
Mike: Try running your bat in…
Tom (W): New gloves; Old batting frailties
Adam: Golden start
Richard: Grumpy badger
Darren (C): Getting changed back into his flip-flops was a mite premature
“The Motley Crue”
CYPOS – 29th of June at Chiswick
Result: Lost by 3 wickets off the second last delivery of the game
It was a strange looking team that took the field against CYPOS. A post-France hangover meant that only 6 regulars were available and only Dan’s desperate trawl of the pubs of Primrose Hill, like some sort of latter day press-gang, ensured that we even fielded a side (thanks Dan, it’s a dirty job but someone’s got to do it). At least the playing surface looked good. After two weeks of “cabbage patches and puddings” it was nice to find a hard, flat wicket that promised good carry and good bounce. The threat of rain and the state of the wicket made the only logical decision to bat.
The innings didn’t get off to a great start. Daddio perished to an LBW shout and Dave flattered to deceive before holing out. However Johnnie Maund’s bloodshot eyes lit up at the thought of playing on a wicket with true bounce and he launched a blitzkrieg against the CYPOS bowlers while the skip held up one end. Unfortunately for the MPCC Johnnie’s shots all seemed to be aimed at the 120 meter boundary to one side and even resulted in the dreaded and unheard of “all-run four” an event that could be directly attributable to the collapse that followed? After Johnnie was bowled for an aggressive 54, Gordie and the Skip went soon after leaving Troy and Adam to show their credentials as batsmen by rebuilding the innings and guiding the team through to a competitive but not daunting total of 188-7 in 40 overs.
Adam’s innings of 35 was notable for the wristy power with which he hit the ball and an ability to play his shots at the last possible second, much to the bemusement of the over –excited bowlers. Troy’s was more classical, with a solid forward defense and some powerful drives, including a truly elegant cover drive when he was trying to grab a rest after running yet another three!
The thought of bowling on such a quick wicket got all of the fast bowlers’ juices flowing. Strangely they must have all flowed out into the carpet at Tea because by the time 7 overs had been bowled CYPOS had raced to 45 and barely played a false shot! New boy James got the short straw and was asked (told) to bowl uphill and into the wind. It was a tall order on his first match since school and despite showing some impressive pace he couldn’t quite find his length and duly suffered. The poor start forced some swift bowling changes and Johnnie came on to bowl an almost un-hittable spell of “squeaky-bottom tight” swing bowling. He bowled 8 overs on the trot up the hill and returned excellent figures of 1-16 including 5 maidens. At the other end Troy complimented Johnnie with some left arm swing of his own. Troy launched two of the loudest appeals ever heard at a MPCC cricket match and then bowled the deafened batsman as he wobbled around with balance problems caused by perforated ear drums. The send off was slightly over the top but the batsman should take it as a compliment that his wicket was so highly valued. (The match referee decided after the match that Troy had no case to answer due to his classical defense of “I only appeal when they’re bl**dy out!”).
An excellent middle period dragged the MPCC back in the match and “Angry” Dave’s second spell down the hill was as fast and aggressive as any seen this year causing some mumbled praying amongst the slips and a stampede of volunteers to “drop down to third man”. Dan then chipped in with a vital wicket with his beguiling left-arm spin and with 8 overs to go CYPOS needed just under a run-a-ball.
Three steady overs from Troy, were mixed in with a couple of rough ones at the other end and at the start of the final over CYPOS needed only two runs to win. The skipper took the responsibility on his shoulders, despite not reaching his usual high standards with the ball (which he lamely blamed on a hard-core Saturday on the Nintendo wii), and the game ebbed in flow throughout the over. A dot ball, followed by a wicket, followed by two more dot balls before the tailender got under a length ball, squibed it over the tallest man in the team and galumphed through for the winning runs.
The thriller in Chiswick was over and the MPCC had come out on the wrong side of the ledger. Despite the loss it was an impressive achievement to get so close with a scratch side and to uncover some useful future additions to the MPCC family.
Dave Dr Jeykll without the ball, Mr Hydes sectioned older brother with it
Dan It’s amazing what you can find at the pub
Johnnie Match winner on the losing team
Darren Johnnie can you please stop hitting it that way?
Gordie Troy, where are my runs?
Adam Quality Knock
Ian One for the future?
Will Yes Skip, I’ll run around for you all day
Nigel Ball Magnet - If only he was 6 inches taller (or even a foot)
James Bouncy in the field and at the bowling crease