July 2, 2012, 10:22 pm The 1st XI batters deliver the goods against Hastings in a big one at the SCMG. 1s also progress in T20 Cup.
Scribe returns this week from attending a splendid wedding in the Dominican Republic. Did you miss me? If so I fear for your well-being during the long winter months. Anyway, that is why there was no match report from last week, where I understand the key highlights involved the Horse getting some useful Saturday runs, Azbo v useful Sunday runs, Simmo taking some useful wickets, Jimmy Anyon being a top lad as usual and general winningness being achieved. Well done the boys. What a shame they are all illiterate and incapable of Scribing.
One surprise feature of Scribe’s trip was an hour wait on the tarmac at Antigua each way. This has given me a whole new depth of brotherhood with Big Carl Simon. I even shared a jovial wave or two with real Antiguan ground crew. Wahguanmiyoot. And all that.
Anyway, this week...
This week saw the current champions Hastings visiting the SCMG. At one point the Nomads team was looking so strong that there were some truly unpleasant decisions in the offing. When the comms black out was lifted on the hotel wi-fi the scale of the quandary facing LGoW emerged, fretful skipperial emissions flooding Scribe’s miscellaneous media inlets. Sadly the formation of the Super Mighty Nomads Machine (SMNM) was scuppered late on with a surprising call up for Jimmy A to the Sussex 2s, the BMH also to the 2s and the realisation that Gatts was feeling a twinge of Biggunitis in his hamstring and was unavailable.
This meant some unpleasant late Friday work for all Saturday captains, so big thanks to all. It also saw a call up for the Honey Monster alongside the owner of the finest abs in the UK (since Shep) - Huge Hugh Richards - The redheads' favourite. Hastings were seriously affected by absentees as well, Kirk Wernars, who has scored an absurd proportion of their runs and taken loads of their wickets, absent for the 2nd week running following a shoulder dislocation along with Harry Finch who was with the 2s. Throw an injured Poysden into the mix and it was clear the Hastings attack was not going to be at its pinnacle. Forget the SMNM, this was our clubbies vs. their clubbies.
A brilliant toss loss from LGoW saw the heroes in the field.
A great early spell from the Robot up the hill saw two uncharacteristic drops from Big C at slip. The first off Mr Finzell, a jaffa of a nut that Big C tried to take too late and the ground got in the way. That one really cost us. The 2nd was a real clanger from the edge of the number 4’s blade, but it was the 1st that hurt us much more. Extraordinary scenes with the Big C, one of the best slip fielders you’ll see.
Simmo did get the first breakthrough, Scribe finally landing a stumping in the book.
Carl was not to strike in his first spell which was notable for edges dropping short of the cordon and some extremely strong work from the boys in there to save runs.
The Honey Monster got the second strike in his first over, nicking off the lefty number three (who was featuring a backwards baseball cap under his lid – a look so surprising that a flummoxed Azbo couldn’t come up with relevant chat) courtesy of another great diving catch from Dennis Schildkamp in 2nd slip.
Maharaj Newman was unfortunate to be removed for 25 by Big C, replacing Simmo into the wind, when the ball came off his arm, but it looked right and was a great nut. Scribe the fortunate recipient on this one.
We quickly saw off the number 5 and Morgs joined Finzell after drinks.
Sadly there was to be one more crucial drop, Morgan spilled at slip by LGoW, albeit a very tough chance diving to his right. His early drop aside, Finzell played almost faultlessly for his ton (particularly impressive early against Carl regularly getting a big stride in defence) and it was his partnership with Morgan that made this a real contest.
Morgs himself played a great knock for his 61, pinching singles to rotate the strike, never allowing the bowlers to settle. Never the most aesthetically pleasing stroke player and he did put a lot in the air close to fielders, but I’d say he got the fortune he deserved, purposefully finding the gaps.
We finally removed both, Finzell mis-timing one and Dennis getting his buckets beneath the swirler (why is it always windy this year?!), Morgs missing a straight one, fairly spectacularly in truth. One more wick for Big C and the declaration at 235-7 off 57.4 kept the points balance at 10-6 in the visitors’ favour.
Tea was a nervy affair. A big chase on the cards. But the feed was good. And actually so was the chase...
Scribe, conscious that he lives every ball he watches, tried to opt for some strategic hiding by sleeping in the changing room, but was quickly called into heavy throw down action by Lord Green and then Rob “The Snake” Wakeford (FYI - he showed his serpentine qualities at the expense of Scribe on the couches of Above Audio later that night). When not hiding he witnessed an unusually brisk start from Garfield (Why Garfield? He fields like a cat. But a slow, chunky cat), after being dropped badly first ball, finding his way quickly into the 20s including a top edge hook for 6 before 2nd slip partially redeemed himself.
Dennis took on the usually Faithesque accumulatory role to begin with but it wasn’t to last as he sprung to life hitting 6 fours for his 44 before mistiming one and gifting a catch to mid-off. You can’t help but feel Luke’s desire to really go on with one of these starts.
Huge Hugh Richards played a really great knock for his 51. Looking very solid in defence with controlled aggression in attack, showing a particular panache for putting Glazier over mid-wicket for 4. A really pleasing effort from Huge.
The skip joined in following Dennis’ departure and they put on 70 to add to the 55 that Hugh had put on with Dennis. Throw in the 30 we made for the first wicket and by the time Huge overbalanced and was removed by some tidy leg side work from the youthful Hastings keeper, we were 155/3.
The slithery reptile joined our leader and bedded in before upping the pace. Chasing 235 meant that we needed to maintain a decent rate and although Snakeford went for 22, knicking off much to his annoyance (he sought a 40 odd red inker), the latter stages of his partnership of 50 with the skip meant the required rate dropped from over 5 to less than 4 per over.
Azbo became our only unfortunate batter to fail shortly after, but Kashy smashed 17* off 11 balls removing any lingering doubts and leaving Jez on a very impressive 65*.
Hastings were not at their best, injuries and Sussex 2s robbing their attack of much of its potency, and they will surely rue some missed chances on the day. Faithy and Hugh were both dropped early in their innings, the fielder choosing to control Hugh’s one thuddingly on his chest rather than catch it and there was an ugly missed stumping that left the skip off the hook (though the game may well have been up at that point). That said, this was the batter’s day, they used the luck they got and looked the dominant unit they should be. They all went out with purpose at the crease to make a heavy task look eminently comfortable. It was a joy to watch.
So we are now 18 points clear. A pifflingly small and ultimately meaningless margin, but we got the result we wanted and now start the 2nd half of the job to “see ‘ow it goes, mite”.
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Sunday saw the heroes return to the SCMG for an uncomfortably early 16:00 start. Well most of us got there. Poor Horse got blown off course and arrived a few minutes after the start, bureaucracy meant he was unable to re-join us after the team was named, but it didn’t help we couldn’t get hold of him on the phone to tell if he was even en route.
Anyway, it didn’t matter too much. I’m sure Pulborough won’t mind me telling you that the batting of their top order was pitiful. Because it was. I’ve rarely seen such difficulty with playing a straight ball and I’ve played a lot of Sunday cricket. The serpent made a good grab, Rohit was a little unfortunate and Carl and Simmo did bowl well, but the procession of wickets got embarrassing. From 26-6 the Pulborough lower order pulled together to put on a further 58 for the last 4 wickets over most of the remaining 13 overs, which was a reasonable effort that rather underlined the failure of the top order.
No Horse meant a vacancy at the top of the order and a rare chance for Scribe who would open alongside Faithy who, like LGoW (and Hugh), he batted with for the first time in his career. A strange anomaly corrected. Wickets fell and the ‘borough bowled pretty well, but the required rate was lower than for yesterday’s 52 over chase and though we lost 5 wickets we got there with plenty to spare. A very rare and enjoyable top score for the Scribe unit. Scorecard.