Or why you should never give the captain out LBW when you know he is going to be writing a match report later that evening following the consumption of large amounts of Merlot..
A full team sheet mid-week in response to the call for a bit more certainty and we gathered at the picturesque caldron of Denbigh. Stuart their skipper has been enjoying a good run this season and seems to have had great success in luring some strong players back with the results to match.
So we knew we were facing a stern test this week, but were determined to look for positives to move on from the shocker last week.
We eyed up Denbigh’s rope trolley – Jonty made a woefully high estimates of its cost and we all thanked ourselves he’s not the treasurer.
We won the toss – and much to Denbigh’s surprise – elected to field. It was sunny and forecast for all day, on paper we would be due a spanking and Sanath was a bit late at the start despite being No 2 bowler. No matter – some very wise heads had decided that getting rolled over by 3.30pm sets a very dangerous precedent with our other halves that needed immediate remedy.
Tom opened and kept the batsmen on their toes. A maiden on his third, he was 0-12 after 4 overs. At the other end Jonty opened, after 2 overs he was also 0-12 and gave way for Sanath. Sanath had a bit of a yippy start to be fair. He calmed down a little, but the two opening bats were strong, hitting hard and nothing with much air.
After 8 overs Prashad replaced Tom, got a maiden straight away. Sanath was mixing it up and after 10 they were on 42.
Our fielding was largely pretty tight, no real catches on offer but they picked on bad balls and ground on. After 4 overs Sanath waved for relief. His hamstring was giving him grief and he wanted a change. 0-23-0-4. A small shard of sunlight hit the top of his head at that exact moment and the ghost of the Beast of Bethesda shimmered into view.
Jonty came back to replace Sanath, while Prashad caused the usual pressure from his end, finishing his 5 over spell at 18 on 0-12. Skip came on with a few half baked pies, but more air in some shots gave encouragement that a wicket was near. The smell of a bbq – or was it pies – wafted over the ground. They got to drinks on 96 without loss.
More of the same after, except the openers were pushing harder now probably with the rest of the order wanting a look in.
Fordy joined skip for 3 overs of dolly’s – unlucky not to get more but the bats managed to put away the bad ones. Variety now the go to tactic, Will came on for his once a year over, only one extra and said thanks for the memories but gave it “that’s me I’m off”. Jit had a couple – pacier than I recall and generally gave a good account of himself – but these bats were well in and pushing at a regular pace. 17-0-0-2.
In skips last over a skier to mid-off fell under Tom’s watchful eye and he pouched it no mistake. Wait for it – 170-1 in the 31st. 41-0-1-6.
Tom and Prashad now re-joined to see out the innings. Tom caught another skier in his 7th, the No3 on his way – 190-2 in the 35th. It didn’t really get any easier as some quality agressive batting saw Prashad and Tom getting some heavy treatment in the last 6 overs to take them to close on 250. Prashad got another wicket – bowling the other opener who danced down the wicket to an off-break. We only gave away 14 extras which is a real credit to the bowlers. 6 byes though gives the sub-text to tricky selection decisions in coming weeks.
A hard shift in the office. Tea not an overly lengthy affair as the Denbigh lads were keen as mustard to get away for Eurovision.
Apples & Siv opened in our conventional response to Denbigh’s total. Apples got off the mark, a boundary in the second over and continued his current conventional response by getting bowled in the third (not sure of the action, but pretty sure playing across the line will nail it). 19-1. Siv meanwhile was showing his usual studied technique of advising steady play, while heaving to a couple that were absolute leaves! But a few were connecting for boundaries. Skip joined and faced their useful opener Thomas who was getting away swing and good pace. A few (well controlled) ground hugging edges from skip and we were block and boundarying our way through. Some varying bounce at the non-pavillion end was of concern and in the 8th Siv got a bit twisted by one and edged to the wktkpr on 15. 39-2. In came Will. A few testy deliveries before getting a couple to get off the mark. No change in overs and some effort balls mixed up with some bad ones put away to the boundary. In the 12th skip walked across his line again, giving umpire Fagan a gleeful opportunity to raise his finger. 24 runs and 52-3.
Tom in and dotted out against the same openers, again with Thomas being the pick of the two. In the 15th Will was bowled by him on 5 and Jit replaced Tom. In the next over there was a change to a younger left armer Davies. The following Tom bowled by Thomas with some good quality pace that was too good for any of us. Sanath joined Jit. Jit at the other end unfortunately was given lbw first ball of the next over to one that swung back having pitched in line. A lonely duck unfortunately. 64-5 became 64-6.
The good news that started a small sacrifice to the cricketing gods was that Thomas had finished his 9 and Sanath was injured – we know he has a few improvisation techniques in his locker.
Arjit replaced Jit and got off the mark straight away, but increasingly started to look a little bogged down. The spin attack from Denbigh offered a few opportunities now and runs started to flow easier. Sanath was moving gingerly and refused a few return runs. Arjit was dotting like a Ford by now and eventually scooped up a leggy pie to be caught at square. 77-7 in the 23rd. 151 looked a a galaxy far, far away. But enter MIMCC’ s answer to Princess Leia dressed like a 12 year-old dressing as a stormtrooper [I’m never going to give Andy Meakin out LBW again after this one JF]. Han Solo at the other end was misfiring a few times (but when did Leia ever mind that) but connecting with more as he got his eye in and rode his luck. Leia too began to feel the force, dotting like a jedi for the first 15 deliveries she faced, but then a 4! Soon a couple more and then another boundary. Could the rebel alliance start to feel hope? Before the Denbigh death star could get fully operational there was a chance these two could manually launch a phaeton torpedo manually through a 2-metre wide ventilation hatch at Warp speed 12. At 30 overs we were at 115 and a point was hoving into view. Denbigh were genuinely getting twitchy at this and made a bowling change. A few nervy deliveries, but they held firm. Leia was warming to the task, with two’s, boundaries and ……..a light sabre that seemed to produce many laser-like dots in the book.
Han meanwhile had pulled the trigger and in the last 5 got 26 of his 48 runs not out. Jonty 33 not out and a run short of the hundred partnership. Touchingly they shared a hairy wookie on the way home. We finished on 176-7 – a great result from 77-7 at 23.
2 points in the bag, which superficially is a disappointment, but plenty of positives from today.
176 runs would be in the mix for most matches. Batting confidence returned for many and the lower order rebel alliance once again came good.
Denbigh had a stronger line up – in both departments, but we showed we have depth too. It’s just not attuned yet to this division. Our continuing regret is not to have another strike bowler to make some inroads into the opposition.
No medals today, but a really positive showing. Thanks as always and please respond to availability as soon as you can.
Andy Meakin, Captain and Boba Fett lookalike.