18th June 2016
40 over game
Weather - overcast and pitch sodden
SCCC won the toss and chose to bowl
Not the best of starts to the pre match. Mil Steyn only got the email saying he was playing that morning that morning and so could only text me that he couldn’t when I was already at the ground (grrr). Matt and Tim were running late (ggrrr) and Australia had just lost the rugby (oh FFS). Southgate won the toss and chose to bowl so at least that took care of problem 2. Dan (C) and Jon opened for us and the Southgate attack was less zingy than Village. Pitch was less zingy and more pudding like too and in accordance with the instructions the openers dug in and served up a solid helping of stodge too. Dan was solid and occasionally fluent- when lancing through the covers especially and Jon was watchful (but oh where is the flowing pull shot of yesteryear?). Left armer Willis got one to shoot low through JD’s defence (b 8) and Simon (J) took his instructions to build a platform very literally - playing the sort of defensive innings that would serve well in a timed game rear guard but less so in a 40 over affair. So not so much building a platform as a mausoleum - SBCC 52-1 at drinks.
After the break Simon cut loose and missed (b off stump Brandon 5). I sent in Will A and he picked up the tempo - finding the rope with lovely crunches through the covers. Dan had slowed from his bright start and was looking to accelerate when he got an lbw that he’d never have given himself (a front foot struck by a ball that even after deflection still missed leg stump lbw Brandon 32). Shortly after Will went down the ground but got under it and Brandon held the skier at mid on (better than a run a ball 21). Simon (M) set off briskly but then played across a straight one (b Khan 5) and 83-5 looked pretty ordinary with just 13 to go. Supersub for the day Dan (V) a Southgate Compton man who came to help us and the skipper then set about trying to build something we could bowl at. We profited from some “it’s only a friendly game” fielding (letting well struck shots go through the man for 4), but also started to find the gaps and with the lush outfield ran some threes that were probably Ok for a man in training for a half marathon but damn near killed me. Dan was strong on the sweep (he later admitted his main/only scoring shot) and I hit the only six of the innings - an on drive that carried the very long long on boundary to appreciative comments from the fielders. Our partnership ended when Dan top edged a sweep to his skipper Ben at mid wicket (b Wallis 29 and hopefully having made a case for selection in his team next week- the partnership worth 60). Big Tim joined and said simply - “I’m gonna tee off” and was, I think, eying a passing BMW over the hedge he was trying to nail when he thrashed at and missed a full one (B Wallis 1). I fell next hitting straight to point and relying on the direct hit missing (it didn’t - 31). The innings was nearly done but there was time just enough for all to get a bat. James Smith was run out in the last over (0) and Matt got to face one ball. He attempted to tw*t it over cover but gave birthday boy Wallis his 3rd and himself an average for the season (5). SBCC all out 154, Michael Mcintyre not out 4.
Willis, 8 overs, 2 maidens, 16-1
Arif, 5 overs 16-0
Abbas, 8 overs, 2 maidens, 20-1
Brandon, 4 overs, 20-2
Khan, 6 overs, 1 maiden, 28-1
Wallis, 7 overs, 1 maiden, 26-3
Brazier, 2 overs, 23-0
We returned after a cracking tea (3 desserts- scones, with cream, jam and strawberries, banoffee cake and chocolate cake) with Matt and Tim to try to lead us to our first win of the season against grown ups. It looked pretty good too. Matt was his usual controlled self - luring the skipper to play an ugly mow to leg from a decent off side ball and not quite carrying Dan (V) at mid on (build that case for selection Dan, Shearly b Porter 5). Tim was his usual bundle of Geordie aggression and joined in with a short ball that was top edged off the pull to carry to Matt P at fine leg (good catch making up ground to take it knee height - Walker 7). So 13-2 and Will A turned to me from slip and said maybe this week we’d have a celebratory pint than a consoling one. Southgate showed why they had won their last seven games as Brandon at 3 and Brazier at 4 rallied well. Brandon was strong off his pads and Brazier fond of thrashing through long on or over cover. Will replaced Tim from the cenotaph end and Michael M from the pavilion but despite beating the bat well (Will especially- he kept it outside off and Dave Brandon looked far less assured trying to cut or off drive) the partnership grew and passed 50. At which point it stopped - Dave inside edging a cut onto his stumps (21). They had restored Southgate’s advantage though and at drinks they were 83-3.
After drinks I resolved to run through my shock bowlers from the pavilion while trying to contain from the cenotaph end*. Matt P got another breakthrough when Brazier picked out Tim on the boundary at mid wicket (“Why am I here Mike?” he’d asked moments before he took a brilliant catch over his shoulder running to his left - Brazier 36). Masood and the birthday boy Wallis (turning 18) then rallied again feasting on some nervy stuff from James S, and from Dan’s floaty right arm around (crunched wonderfully through the covers by Wallis). Tim replaced Matt and blasted out Wallis when it ricocheted off his thigh guard into the stumps (b 16) but could get no more. Will replaced Tim but he couldn’t run through the opposition either and was hooked very sweetly by Masood when he strayed short (and through which we lost the match ball for the final time in the hedge and blackberry border). Only about ten runs or so to defend and Michael Mc replaced Dan and got his first when a rank half tracker was planted to Will at deep square leg (he neither moved nor dropped it- Grayson 9). Dan V opined that new man Khan would go long over mid off and I hoped for the miscue and kept Tim up - but he carried big Tim by yards (and would have been safely taken had I followed the intel). So last rites time again and Masood sliced a dreadful heave to leg and it landed safely short of a despairing Matt P at gully, Southgate home by 4 wickets with the cheery Masood not out on 28 and Khan not out 7.+
Matt Porter, 8 overs, 33-2
Tim Williams, 8 overs, 2 wicket maidens, 18-2
Will Arnold, 7 overs, 1 maiden, 23-1
Michael McIntyre, 5.4 overs, 32-1
James Smith, 2 overs, 21-0 (most of that in the second over alas)
Dan Cohen, 3 overs, 23-0
We had fought really hard all day and bounced back from our drubbing last week. What was so impressive was that we dropped nothing and held some great catches - it was just that the tickles we needed never came however many times we beat the bat. Southgate were a good outfit who showed why they had won so often- mixing brutal aggression with sensible batting against our best bowlers knowing there were easier pickings on offer. Lovely bunch of lads too and we enjoyed a few very cheap beers (£3 for a pint can you believe and £12 for a jug) before I headed off to take our token supporter (Mrs Dollin aka Crawf) for a meal at recommended curry house Anuraags (garlic chicken as nice as advised). Thanks again to supersub Dan Vanniasingham for playing for us (and buying a jug) and if you are ever at a loose end in South London let us know. We may also get a Sunday game against them next year (if Sir Jon can be persuaded to head that far North).
* Lest people think that I just stand there and ask bowlers to bowl - there is usually a plan.
+ Actually 3 wickets as their number 11 was in a strop for some reason and may well not have batted (he’d changed and declared himself hors de combat). He’d also exhibited some of the strangest behaviour on a field I’ve seen since those classic Mushie Punjabi strops (though to be fair he never sat down with legs crossed like the great man was known to do muttering “joke game man” to himself…)