Thanks to Daf for this fun light-hearted post.
Apologies this took so long to come out – bloody work, brewing beer and sun-tanning got in the way, and I haven’t even done my gym session yet!!!
What a wonderful weekend of cricket that was hey!!! We came away with 2 fantastic home wins and great parts played in both games by many solo cameos but overall the great team ethos won through, if you want the job done, then do it yourself!
Saturday was a glorious sunny day and it started well with Will winning his first toss (not that Adam, so juvenile!!!). We chose to field as there was some particularly spicy guano on one end, which we think Alex had somehow produced by feeding the local bats, hence why he was keen to get us out in the field. Bhupesh opened and there was the normal ooohs and aaahs but no clinking or thwacking. Lots of “too good for this league” and “You’ll get him next ball” but inevitably the next ball was wide (no surprise there then…).
Then Alex took the new ball and you could sense something was on as his first ball skidded off the goo and smeared the batsmen’s edge on its way to triple gloved Stupples’ hands. The team went up and then each of us walked past Alex to do the foot waggle. Seeing as we couldn’t hug and huddle any more there was loads more banter from Will and Els so we all quickly walked back to our places to get away from them (something we unfortunately can’t do in the bar).
The next 2 balls whizzed past the batsman’s nose (he was a short chap), before the next fuller one smeared through the goo, climbed a little off the ground, took a bite of the bottom of the bat and went straight to covid, sorry cover. Symons took a simple catch and they were 2 down. A couple of minutes later after the latest foot waggle and Will was washing his hands with the on-field sanitizer in the slips after snaffling a skier from Alex’s latest offering. To really batter the chaps on the boundary the next ball was wide (no surprise) but hold on, the batsman chased it and somehow scooped it back to Alex who took a simple caught and bowled. The hat-trick done, the over finished and Will in a ponderous position about whether giving Alex another over was a good idea.
Bhups was calling for a change of ends, but no one was listening and so he had to bowl another uneventful over, lovely swinging wide down leg that had Stupples diving as if he was a young Seaman. Then Alex was back on, everyone was on their toes and even walked in as he was running up, “thwack” the ball connected with willow and ran down to third man where the big “I” slowly bent down and retrieved it with his marigold hands. Their first run and the spell slightly broken. But Alex wasn’t fazed, the hunger deep in his left knee was driving him on, the years lost to injury being put to the back of his mind. In he steamed and snicko was not needed as Stupples took another guano bacteria-filled catch. A fiver and in the first 4 overs for 1 run. This was history unfolding before our eyes. The foot waggles were obviously taking on a bit of a life of their own too as one tried to trip up the other, but luckily big “Charles in Charge” put a stop to that! (little throwback there for us over 40’s).
Alex (now nicknamed 19) continued and had 3 dot balls before he had a plumb LBW. (The big brown mark on the brand new white pads was easy to see). Now there was silence as the umpire got called upon to do something (albeit he was the third change in the last 2 overs) but luckily he was not a taxi driver from Ealing and his finger dutifully went up. And to finish off his second over the new batsman took a huge swing at the slow ball up next from Bhups that we wasted 10minutes trying to get the ball out of the neighbouring garden. Oh well, maybe things were coming back to normal…
Bhups came steaming in the next few balls, loads of swearing behind his fingers and finally received some treasure for his troubles, with an easily bowled wicked through the gate. At least he had a smile (Funny brown smiling emoji here!!!). Alex was up next, his final over irrespective of the outcome and the facing batsman was just trying to get his bat on the ball and get to the other end. The first 2 raced past the off stump, the next would have been wide legside if the batsman hadn’t stepped back so far…
The fourth he finally got a shot in, it was sublime cricket, a beautiful covid drive but Symo was all over it like a whippet (obviously the 8 month pre-season training coming to the fore and he swooped on the ball (he had taken his marigold off just before that and he could feel for it baby (sorry – rock 80’s in the background)) and threw the ball in just like he had been reading about how Colin Bland had done (sorry for the youngsters maybe I should have said Jonty Rhodes, or maybe Paul Collingwood on a good day). The non-striker had actually been doing up his glove and looked up to see his mate standing next to him. There weren’t even any words exchanged as he just trudged off to oblivion. The next ball also hit the bat but went straight back along the ground to Alex, and he finished the over with a snorter that nearly caught Stupples on his nose, luckily he had also got 3 weeks through the couch to 3km training guide and he got a hand up just in time.
The sound of hand clapping as Alex retrieved his hat from the rubber bag that the umpire was now having to carry to keep things so there was no handling of items, “Good stuff Al”, “Come on Hillians!!!”.
Bhups persevered from his end, with no joy unfortunately, but kept the runs to 3 for the over, it was very tidy overall. Now for the first change and Will brought on his best change Phil “NakkeredTooYoung” Nacmanson, the destroyer of the Commonwealth. With a skip hop, hop, I think a jump and a trot he trundled in and the first ball was sent to the boundary over cow corner, the second duly followed suit and then the third trundled down the leg. A far off sight to what we were hoping but nothing short of what was expected. Luckily he was able to finish off the over while only conceding 2 more runs. Back came Bhups and apart from a lovely cover drive another uneventful over followed. Back came the ginger nut, and even though he was a lot tidier we still conceded another 6 runs. And there the stalemate continued for a few overs as Bhups and Phil tussled in the sun and the oppo started their recovery.
Time for a change and Bhups had to resign himself to playing another weak Sunday opposition to get his numbers up and the Big “I” came on. “come on Metronome” was shouted from someone on the boundary (probably a fielder put there to protect Ian’s averages!). Ian’s first over was as slow as ever, on the dot and down the line, but it still produced that moment of madness as the oppo couldn’t resist a swing and up it sailed straight to Bhups at mid-off. The stand broken PH was upping the ante again and you couldn’t get a word in edgeways as Will talked, and talked, and then chirped some more.
Phil was given a rest, “oh I could have done a few more overs!” the sweating giant mumbled, but on came the larger of the Ransome rondavals. With a few wristy openers down leg, off and down his trousers it was back to normal and the oppo were once again getting their come-back on track. I’s next over was slick as ever and then back to Els, who finally got one to turn and took the leg stump. “one brings 2” I said trying to get into the game, but everyone was wondering about tea now. Unfortunately the next few overs continued like the village cricket you see on Youtube and there was a bit of “looking for the tiger-King in the grass” in the field, some running between the wickets and a few choice words between the fielders. Finally I put an end to it and got the last man and we all walked ff pretty happy to be getting an earliesh tea and the chance to enjoy the sun!!!
Tea was as sumptuous as ever, I don’t think anyone does a sausage and tomato sauce sandwich quite like Clare!
Back on the field and I was getting my opening career off to a great start, with Els at the other end. No footwork and great deal of luck and I got a single and didn’t get bowled. Els continued where he had left off the previous season and was in majestic form. No roundness here as he smashed a couple of covid drives and even tested the mettle of the fielders on the other field. I was happy to try and concentrate on not hitting out as normal and we moved the scoreboard along effectively enough. Finally the oppo saw Els weakness (just a straight one will do it) and he was bowled cleanly. In came Charlie, moved up the order to try and get things moving. I was lucky to be in the viewing seat as he smashed 2 fours and a six and then nicked one behind. We were beginning to look bedraggled but out came Alex, the man of the hour and he took the game by the scruff of the next and pretty efficiently finished it off.
What a game, and my man of the match – well obviously its Symo!!!
And I could go on about the drinking games that ensued that night, but maybe I’ll leave those for the local tattler paper….
Sunday was another home game and as promised we had a decent second pitch. Ewell cricket now had 2 covers and used them both, as well as having had a few words with the groundsman we had a pretty good second pitch. Ian made a tosser of himself, oh sorry typing what I am thinking not what I am supposed to type. Ian tossed with the oppo and we were put into bat. (Dan was supposed to be tossing but was actually tossing in his bed with one hell of a hangover from the night before – there was more than a bunch of queens at the Adelaide, and loads of carrots!!!)
Luckily I was available to open and Bhups was ready to fire. This also allowed the 4 other lads to pitch up in their own time of course….
Bhups and I negotiated a few snorters and some low drifters and got the scoreboard rolling along nicely. Then a rush of blood to the head and for some reason I wanted to tip and run, or smash it. Bhups was shaking his head at the other end when he could and otherwise gasping for breath as I was squeezing as many sneaky singles as I could. Eventually my luck ran out and I was caught on the square leg boundary. Stu “rudderless Radders” briskly walked to the crease and with renewed optimism and vigour which we had just seen in the indoor nets 6months previously was stroking the ball delicately to third man and fine leg just like he had been doing for the last 20 years. Bhups was getting into his stride too and was finding the boundary with increased regularity. Then out of the blue the keeper took a fantastic leg side catch and Bhups had to go. In walked Dan who had finally pitched up, his mom having lovingly dropped him off with his 1litre orange juice-filled bottle and new sunglasses. His composer was meek yet mild but the shots he pulled out of his pocket were top draw. The ugly duckling suddenly became his namesake more than his favourite pub and the swan began to fly. Dan even swivelled like a huge drilling machine and feathered a ball over the boundary, without bouncing. A six!!! The other 3 batsman on the boundary were loving it.
So Dan and Stu got the board moving along and at 200-2 it was a sight to see. Then Stu hit a straight one back to the bowler and we were three down and just when we wanted to accelerate in came Stupples “the Hare”. (Get it? Did you see what I did there? He’s actually the tortoise, oh well the youngsters of today!!!) And now we really did see him count, 1, 2, 3, 18, 19 dot balls. It was like we had come to a standstill. Maybe the bowling had tightened up, who knows? Anyway Dan was able to get a few singles in and the score slowly increased. Finally Dan could stand it no more and tried to hit one too many drives and was bowled through the gate. Out came the big Metronome and as easy as you like had leg glanced 2 fours like there was no tomorrow. That woke Dave up who now was able to hit his straps and ran a 2, whew… and then decided it was better to hit a couple of fours instead. Then he too drove one too many and was on his solitary walk to the boundary. Barry came out now to join Ian and the 2 older gents were able to stroll a few more singles before our overs were done. Definitely a good score to try and defend.
A lovely tea was then followed with a little warming up on the outfield as Clare and Clare were trying to gee the team up. It was decided to really get the cat among the pigeons, ok its was 2 birds bowling, I’m struggling to get the words together here as I want to finish this and send it off.
Clare came jogging in and had a decent maiden over blocked. Then Claire came in from the other end and if only Els had been there to see the master class, the swing, the bounce, the line. Unfortunately not even Stupples saw it and the oppo got their first runs with several byes through the wickie’s legs. This continued for a couple of overs when suddenly Claire bowled a straight one, which surprised the batsman more than the rest of us and he was clean bowled. The next fellow pre-empted the straight ball and nicked one to Dan at slip and suddenly they were 2 down. Clare joined the party next over and had one caught at cover. Call the Queen, we were going to be getting more rounds in tonight for sure!!!!
The first change was the Metronome and this time he was well on line and in time and had 2 bowled in his first over. Then Claire continued and had one caught at cow corner as he tried to send the ball to the Esso garage up Ruxley Lane. Ian got another and we were among the chickens. There was even some clucking from Dan although retrospectively I think he realised he was going to have another bad headache the next day….
We decided to change it up and give the ball to Barry (my mate’s a window cleaner) Smithie. And he duly obliged with 3 leg side wides, 2 fours and a six. An ominous start but we had faith!! Oh did we – NOTTTT!!! Anyway Claire bowled out and against everyone’s better judgement Barry found himself with the ball again. This time he was more in line and began with a couple of straight ones before he had a lovely one go through the batsman’s back door and take off the bails. He was back !!! And just for the fun of it he tried to run around like an older Imran Tahir, forgetting that his knees couldn’t do the running thing and he fell over and twisted his ankle. Well that was 2 solitary men walking to the boundary and we were down to 9. (We had never got up to 11).
Luckily we could turn to a solid backup and Kyle finished off Barry’s over (I think Kyle probably finishes off more than just the left overs!) Ian came on for Claire and bowled a couple of maidens and we kept Kyle on just to keep him quiet as it would take the whole next over for him to get his breath back. And who would know it he took a lovely caught and bowled. Now Ian had bowled out we decided to get KP on just for a laugh. Well, that was the end of that as his rugby prowess, 8 month pre-season training and the limitless skill bestowed upon one of Zeus’s own, he bowled 3 dot balls before he had 2 LBWs upheld. What a start. And a finish. The game was done and PH had another convincing win.
Player of the match – Claire with those stunning turners….
Up the Hill
Till next week.