TMG vs Brunswick Village Sep 2011 by Alex Fenton

      And so to St James’s, nestled in the shadow of the South Downs, for the last game of the season. As is often the way with our encounters with the Villagers of Brunswick, it proved a fitting finale to a year full of exciting games.

Strangely for the last game of the season, we were short of a full team up until Saturday, and Ibless, for the first time in 3 seasons. I had been picked to play despite being booked to make speeches and make people laugh at the St James’s youth ypresentation. Skip correctly surmised that this wouldn’t impede my ability to make people laugh with the standard of my cricket but we were still two short, when Ricky managed a bit of a coup, capturing two victims in the pub, Jigs and Mac. Jigs had played for us before, at Staplefield, and made quite an impression with some hostile bowling, but this didn’t stop Biff memory man Line from shaking Mac firmly by the hand and saying, “you must be Jigs”. Having realised the game was due to start at 1pm and not 1.30pm, pints were swiftly drained and we set off to do battle, under inauspicious skies.

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Bring me my bow, of burning gold

Bring me my arrows of desire

Bring me my spear, O clouds unfold!

Bring me my chariot of fire.

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We won the toss, and elected to bat,and were met by the surprise use of Keith as an opening bowler. A purveyor of loop which can only be described as Speigelesque, the trick was to not get too carried away and slog the ball in the air, which Biff and Jerry managed with relative ease. Their tactic was to sneak an early wicket, but it only succeeded in giving us a good start, despite some typically tight bowling from former Hornblower, Graham Shreeves. Keith was removed from the attack, and was replaced by a more orthodox opening bowler type, but the BV remained wicketless.

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Suddenly it was an hour later, and I was being summoned from the marquee to pad up.

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Nelly the elephant packed her trunk and said goodbye to the circus. Off she went with a trumpety trump, trump trump trump.

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We were by now 120 odd for 4, after twenties and thirties from Jerry, Biff, Alan and Jigs, and in need of some quick runs to put up a defendable target. Can’t quite remember what happened next, but Dave was still in at the end and we had somehow got to 172 all out. Some cracking shots from Dave, including a back foot drive and a ferocious straight drive, and a lusty blow from Rob helped us on our way, but it looked a getable total, and we knew we had to play well to stop BV reaching it. This may or may not have been why no one joined me in taking the unusual step of a pint with tea, but if anyone had known the Harveys was only £2.50 a pint, it may have been a different story. Duely fortified, we took to the field.

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And did those feet, in ancient times, walk upon England’s pastures green?

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Contrived, or what? Anyway, Overlord and the Undertaker bowled with their usual accuracy, and Dave removed Mr Brunswick Village, Simon, with a smart catch from the Wall. Another easier catch from the Wall removed another Alan, though definitely not another wall, as Dave started the task of trying to overhaul Ib at the top of the wickets table. Rob chipped in with a wicket, as did Ricky, Easy Rider, Southon and it started to look like we may be able to get through their batting, although the dangerous Roshi was still there, and he had been joined by a partner with an exuberance for running between the wickets which reminds me of someone, but I cant for the life of me think who. These two put up stubborn resistance.

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Scaramouche! Scaramouche! Will you do the Fandango?

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Things were looking ominous, as BV moved on to 120 odd with plenty of time to get the required runs. Having failed to get to a loopy shot just to my right, another one looped up invitingly to my left, and with a spring in the step which can only be credited to Messers Gray and Nicholls and their new boots, I managed to get a finger under the ball as I slid in to take a surprise catch for PSM. Collective shock seemed to rejuvenate the Mighty Greys, Roshi departing quickly afterwards, following numerous chances, to a well taken high catch by skip. The partnership broken we looked to be back on course. There were, however, more batsmen to come and as the light began to fade, Jigs came into his own. Jerry was having a torrid time behind the stumps, but had discovered the hitherto unknown “wicketkeepers one handed scoop” manoeuvre, and coped brilliantly with the speed and occasional waywardness of the very appealing Jigs. Terry took a great catch on the boundary, only to be denied by a law of cricket. This was off the unlucky Biffolini, for once without his golden arm.

And so to the climax, as we found ourselves needing one wicket to win, and BV needing 5 runs. With the setting sun behind the trees, it’s glare was replaced by shadows in the increasing gloom. Dave came on at the top end (ooh err!) and should have wrapped things up after a well hit drive in front of square went through my hands at cover point, with the small consolation that what little I got on the ball was enough to stop it going to the boundary, and they ran 2. Those were the only runs of the over, which left Jigs to do the business. There was no more time for the tension to mount, as Jigs bowled his man first ball, quick and straight. Victory by two runs, and no Del to say Jigsaw.

St James’s seemed all the more pleasant sitting and reflecting, chatting with the ever friendly Brunswick folk, helping finish off the barrel of Harveys. A fitting end to the season as we finished with a fourth win, in a season with more close finishes than Daves head. We’ve beaten teams we normally don’t, and found new teams to lose to, and gained an internet following. I think we may be about to go bacterial. Why can’t it always be summer?

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