TMG v Lindfield July 10th 2011
Having established the way to the suburb of Haywards Heath that is Lindfield, we arrived at a pretty but lightly drizzling scene. Lindfielders hate being classified as a part of Haywards Heath, apparently, but have an older cricket club, established in 1747, so there. Coincidentally, that is also the year (insert your own “Greys oldest player joke” here, because I don’t want to be rude about Terry-unless you are Terry, or Ye Shadow, as he was known then).
The start of the game was delayed due to everyone talking to members of the opposition, including skip, who must have taken a good five minutes over the toss. We were to play a sort of hybrid of village cricket with 42 overs for the side batting first and 38 for the second, with the draw still allowed. Perhaps tempted by the extra overs….or perhaps not (actually I don’t even know who won the toss, so really perhaps not), Skip told us we were batting first.
This was the liveliest track of the year, and even from our vantage point we could see the ball seam and swing around and why Jerry and Biff were playing and missing so much. Biff continued his excellent running between the wickets, and kept the scoreboard ticking over, until given out LBW by the opposition umpire. Even this provocation couldn’t disturb his zenlike calm, however. The returning Delboy started as if he was going to make a mockery of the openers travails as he crashed his first ball to the extra cover boundary. Unfortunately this was a cruel illusion and he fell soon afterwards to a ball which went straight through his defences, like a phone hacking scandal through an vile old man’s business empire. But not as funny, obviously. They are both Australian, though……food for thought there.
This was almost exactly the moment that Dave and Ian decided to seek out the nearest offie, a mission Jerry obviously wanted a part of because he was caught behind as they were leaving the car park. Skipper’s slightly worried, “Um, I’m not sure that’s a good idea, lads”, looked like it may have been his first of a series of inspired calls of the day. This brought Terry to join me in the middle, vaguely aware of activity on the boundary, caused by a hurriedly reorganised batting order. It’s a shame the Greys official photographer/webmaster/token colonial didn’t film this- it would have made a good educational video for the Jamaica Inn Pirates. I suddenly found some timing and smeared a shot a ball 26, including a 5, as the cap of the fielder fell on the ball while touching the boundary rope. Still not sure what the correct ruling should have been on this, but they probably shouldn’t have gone to me. Out after dollying a full toss to mid off, I didn’t think I’d be top scorer, but so it proved as first Alan, then Dave played some decent shots, started to look more comfortable and got out. Ian did his now customary good job with the bat until cruelly run out by Richard on the last ball, thus denying him yet another not out. The score had reached 140, and we thought that was pretty good, although maybe short of 10 or so details, as I haven’t got the scorebook.
Tea was excellent with scones and homemade cake. Contender for tea of the year, I’d say. Although the final judgement on this will be how much of it Ian tried to eat, of course.
Dave and Rob must have been relishing the prospect of a bowl on this strip, which looked like it would be as much fun for the Lindfield batsmen as an appearance before a parliamentary select committee for anyone with the surname Murdoch. Dave bowled with increasing hostility, clearly enjoying the chance to bowl quick balls which were lifting viciously from just short of a length, as opposed to the usual tennis ball stuff. One of these found the glove from an attempted pull, and flew, somewhat surprisingly, straight into my outstretched right glove, and on to the Constant for PSM. Despite this, and with good support from the unlucky Rob, Lindfield were going along at 4 an over. Two hard chances at slip were just missed by Ib. Terry had to chase the ball to and beyond the mid on boundary so often that on one occasion he thought he was back in his recurring nightmare, where he has taken a wrong turning and found himself running the London to Brighton bike ride course instead of the Brighton marathon. It was only slowing down to signal that the ball would be crossing the boundary quite soon, that brought him back to reality. In as much as game of Sunday cricket involving the Greys can be described as reality.
Rob was replaced by Ian, an inspired bowling change by Skip, as he immediately took two wickets off the last two balls of his first over, one with a ball that swung away and seamed in to take out middle, and the other to a sharp catch at slip by Rob. The hat trick was not to be, however, and Lindfield’s score kept up with the required rate. Despite full inflation and declaring after a good first over “Well, I’ve become a better bowler”, and taking a wicket, Richard was unable to stem the tide, and Ib was having no more luck at the other end. Towards the end of his spell I suggested he bowled a bit quicker, as he was getting loads of turn and would probably spin it anyway. First ball worked a treat and beat the bat, and the batsman, by now beyond his 50, fell forwards and dragged his back foot out of the crease. I even took the ball cleanly. The sad part is that after my conversation with Ib, I had hurried back behind the stumps and positioned myself exactly far enough away not to be able to affect the stumping. What a tit. Could have been a game changer……um…..anyway, enough about me.
Richard proceeded to attempt a monopoly of PSM, with a variety of comic turns in the field, the best of which was a passable impression of Devon Lock, when after turning to chase a ball, he took a couple of strides and then leapt over an imaginary obstacle and fell over. This may simply have been to emphasise that he was prepared to dive, but just not when a ball was involved, having been told by skip not worry about the grass stains on his trousers. (Biff later showed he too had concerns about diving, but his were nothing to do with fear that his bio detergent may not be up to the job on the lower temperature wash cycles demanded by todays synthetic fabrics, or indeed today’s busy lifestyle, but that his body may not be….up to the job, if you can’t remember the beginning of this sentence). However, Richard did take a great catch near the boundary, exactly where he’d been placed by Biff, to dismiss the batsman I hadn’t. Biff had brought on paceman Del in a last ditch attempt to prove the old adage of “it ain’t over til the fat lady says so”, and again it was an inspired change as he took 3 wickets, the first Richards catch, the second removing middle and the third, well, suffice to say, I can’t remember. Rob replaced Ib, and kept up the pressure and with 10 runs to get and 3 wickets remaining, Lindfield were rattled, and didn’t apparently have much batting to come. Despite geeing up Del with a round of “Aussie scum”, their last decent batsman was able to see them home. The game was over, like a bid to take over a major satellite broadcaster by a morally bankrupt multi-national.
Coming off the field, we were welcomed like old comrades to a general thumbs up on the quality of our banter, sportsmanship and even our cricket. Lindfield like us, we like Lindfield, and I’m with them- fuck you, Haywards Heath tossers.
Any similarity to any other place or person called Haywards Heath, whether real or fictional is purely co-incidental. As is any similarity between the skipper bashing Alex Fenton who wrote the J Inn match report, and the sycophant Alex Fenton who wrote this one.