Clinical Cricket, Stalking Barmaids and the Return of Dr Ian Van Ubernause
On a fine (and finally sunny) Sunday, with the added bonus of a bank holiday Monday to follow, the mighty greys downed their beers and headed up and over the golden downs for Wivelsfield. The team, minus David “the matchmaking kid” Hadrill (out on a work trip to the continent to find more special friends for greys statesmen) saw the return of EO – sporting his recently appointed honorary PhD title: Dr Ian Van Ubernause for his “contribution to the nausiation of fellow greysmen”. Clearly the team faced a net influx of nausiation; the kid had a negative nausiation factor, Dr Van Ubernause has a strong positive nausiation factor- it was going to be a difficult day.
The Wivelsfield Green was a sparkling scene of bright sunshine, blue skies, a flat wicket, a fast outfield, young inexperienced opponents. This was not going to be a two jumper day, nor a one jumper day, not even a sleeveless jumper day, this was our first “no jumper” day. Hooray! Sporting a pseudo hangover from one of Dave’s “come to mine to watch some boxing” nights, the skipper had a brain explosion and decided to field first. What was he thinking!?
The wicket turned out to be a good one for cricket, and definitely gave something back to the bowlers – this was no road. It carried, it nipped a little, one even shot along the ground. The undertaker (2-12 off 8) and the overlord (0-11 off 6) licked their lips (and Robbie evaluated the number of wickets he’d need to impress Alice). There was much playing and missing, there was lots of oohs and aaahs, there were even a few good shots every now and again. One memorable firmly struck ondrive from Elkins even had the shadow flop to the floor (like one of those little wooden toys held up by tension wires, when you push the button they flop on the floor) in a feeble attempt to get out of the way as it crashed into the gate behind him. There was no way he was going to stop that. Alan had a few fantastic saves in the covers, some were even off the bat, most were from disgruntled team mates (annoyed at the absence of a match report to chuckle over from the Warninglid game). Jerry went off in the early overs to have some concrete poured into his gloves, this especially evident during a comedy run out with both batsmen at one end, the throw in from the skip, only to bounce out of the concrete gloves, the batsmen 3 yards short. The effects of the concrete was also obvious with the need to throw his body into every take, and the late hand movements to miss three edges through the keeper-slip area. Alex got so fed up with this, he threw the ball hard into the ground in front of Jeremiah so that it bounced and hit him in the chest. Alex produced a magnificent diving stop at gully, Terry (formerly treacle toes) showed a glimpse of the twinkle toes of old with some fantastic footwork to stop a firmly struck ondrive. Jerry confessed to never washing his manky orange hat for 15 years: “it’s dry clean only”. Dr Van Ubernause (1-15 off 6) and Ricky the dreamboat ( 0-11 off 4) bowled some outswinging jaffas to beat the bat outside off stump. Alex bowled the longest spell of his career, bamboozling the Wivelsfield yoot, finishing with 3-28 from 7). Terry came on, tossed it up and Biffo took a solid running catch to complete the innings. Overall a clinical display of bowling and fielding to squeeze the Wivelsfield Greeners throughout. One surgically precise piece of fielding had the scum dive to field a sharp edge in the slips and throw down the stumps in one motion. The batsmen looked bewildered, the umpire had his finger up. What had just happened? With a shake of the head the batsmen headed realised his fate, turned and headed towards the pavillion. It was a PSM winning flash, and it was an yardstick for how clinical our beer guzzling, barmaid oggling cricket had become. The greeners had only managed to crawl and limp to 85 off 35.4 overs, despite some impressive blows from Savage (24 not out) late in the day.
Tea was hilariously without a vegetarian option. The cries of “if I were a black man being discriminated against in this way, this would be a criminal offence” were heard belting out from a smoky changing room. I didn’t even realise black men were vegetarians. The range of chicken, pate and tuna sandwiches were a delightful treat, complemented nicely with some crackingly moist carrot and sultana cake and nicely stewed builder’s tea.
The chase started slowly as the greeners threw their technically correct yoot with full force at the openers. This pitch was doing things. These kids could bowl. This was not going to be a walk in the park. After 7 overs the grey’s openers had managed to fight off the early aggression and tight bowling and accumulated only 10 runs. The score dribbled along to 22 and in the 10th over Nehls struck, having Gerald (or is that Geremy?) caught behind neatly for 11. Naturally Alex didn’t give him out, he walked. Another sign of the TMGs impeccable on field demeanour. Biffo, nearly broke from paying off the opposition last week for all those dropped catches, took out his cheque book again and was dropped in what can only be described as “nausiating” circumstances for the bowler Russel (a top edge, lobbed up 10 feet into the air straight to first slip, second slip, keeper, fine leg – take your pick). A loud grunt could be heard from a Newberry wielding silver haired stalwart on the boundary. The skip (34no) and the scum (28no) battled on, despite quite a bit of playing and missing (mostly from the scum), occasionally picking off the odd bad ball to keep the scoreboard ticking along to 40, 50, 60, 80 and finally the 86 needed for victory. The winning runs coming in the 22nd over, TMGs 1-87. All in all a clinical display from TMGs, both in spirit and in execution.
An idyllic drive back up and over the shimmering downs took us to our beloved Constant, where we waited for Dr van Ubernause to nausiate the team (“there’s an essay in every box!”), for the ninja turtles to weave their magic (“these michelangelos are just as good as the leonardos”), for the off duty barmaids to tantalise, and for the undertaker to return with his balaclava… or his cheshire cat facemask.
Scorecards for the match included below: