Nothing beats a sunny September day. Clear and crisp but warm enough for t-shirts, and so it turned out on the morning of our fixture against hard to beat Cutters Choice. The perfect weather for playing our glorious game at the nicely local Horsdean.
A small gathering in the Constant, as the Hove wankers and Hatrick have become accustomed to forgoing this important part of the pre-match warm up on some spurious excuse involving time and traffic. The early start meant only time for a pint and a half, and viewing of Jerry’s hands, which are being rejected by his body. His feet are being slightly ostracised as well, but we weren’t allowed to view those.
Cutters Choice were without Cutter himself, and Paul, the normal wicket keeper, but we had the return of their very own scouse Ian, and Louis, who has moved to France to meet more Louis (not sure on the plural…. Louises would be the plural of Louise, and Louiss can’t be right?)
Fielding first, we were ready for a close game. CCCC have beaten us on at least the last two occasions we’ve met (one of them said it’s been five, but not sure about that, and can’t be arsed to check. A stato will probably make a comment below). Maybe conscious of the Aussies terrible decision to put England in at Oval, the Cutters had won the toss and elected to bat, presumably quite confident in the quality of their batting line up.
This proved ill-founded, as through a combination of tight bowling, misjudged shot selection, and for one batsman, an overly bright sightscreen, Cutters capitulated.
Dom opened and was miserly in the extreme. He started with two maidens and a wicket in his third, Ben conceded a four in his first over, but also had removed the other opener. Cutters were 5 for 2 off six overs. In a 35 over game, scoreboard pressure was soon apparent. By the time Ben decided to show some mercy, pulling himself and Dom off, the score was 16 for 5. Three for Ben, bowled, LBW and caught (the holy trinity of dismissals. Can’t remember who took the catch, but it wasn’t Ben, who’d only just spilled a c & b opportunity, which itself was part of a virtual hattrick of the same batsman, the ball before being a very decent LBW shout). Dom took the other two, one with a vicious seamer, nipping in quick from outside off stump, and left by the batsman. The other he cunningly bowled from in front of a sightscreen so dazzlingly white that the batsman was momentarily blinded. Seven maidens between them, Dom going for 4 off his six overs.
El Tel and closet rugby fan Ian hadn’t read the script, however, as no mercy was shown by either. The King of the Swingers showed great control after a lay off of a few weeks, effortlessly finding his rhythm from ball one, with which he somehow bamboozled the batsman into jumping towards off and exposing his leg stump. The ball swung perfectly to find it’s target as he was bowled round his legs. I think Ian could be the answer to the Steve Smith problem. Something similar happened for one of his other wickets, and he bowled another one that swung away and seamed in. He’s also on a tantalising hat trick, having taken one with the last ball of his penultimate over, and finishing the game with the first ball of his last over. Read it again, it does make sense. 4 for 16, all bowled.
Terry meanwhile had them tied up at the other end, metaphorically, taking a wicket with a beautifully flighted off break, through the gate and hitting the top of off. Terry finished with 1 for 11 off 6 overs. All done for 45.
The father and son combination playing this game had hatched a plan midweek to hide son Max’s throw, which is pretty good. Max fulfilled his part of deal, only lobbing the ball in when required to. As luck would have it, in the midst of the carnage, a quick run was taken as the ball came to him in the field. Sharp throw straight into the keepers gloves, bails off. It was not given out because the keeper obscured the umpire’s view, who later pointed out that the batsman was also definitely in, and the bat was definitely on the ground. I suspect the truth is he was still a bit blinded by the sightscreen. Shame, the throw deserved a wicket.
A lovely tea, provided by Ryan’s mum, included a selection of Indian snacks, and rolls, some of which were partly filled with cheese.
The aforementioned Ian and Louis opened the bowling, and did their best to defend the meagre total, but it was not to be. Biff and Hatrick, got us off to a solid start, both striking nice boundaries before the former was out to a good catch at second slip(?), the latter to a plumb LBW given by Trigger Edwards, that he definitely didn’t hit the cover off, as I could obviously see much better from the boundary.
Max and Alan saw the team home (as well as lowering the team average age to well below 50), with selectively aggressive batting, including a lovely lofted cover drive by Alan, and a “sumptuous” (his choice of adjective) and hard hit cover drive from Max for PSM. Max is unavailable for this match report because Fifa doesn’t play itself (his father’s choice of patronising stereotype)…although it does sort of, come to think of it.
As it was such a lovely day and the Cutters are a nice bunch, the Beer Match tradition was resurrected, and we won that too. Highlights included a perfect slip catch for Biff I’m only standing here because I was coming back from a piss Line, Flash Fenton disappearing in a cloud of dust up the bank having superbly stopped a ball on the boundary, Ben taking a nonchalant looking one handed catch at mid-off, Jerry being out to the new “ball of the century” (it turned a bit), Duncan also is on a hat trick with two late wickets (unfortunately he’ll have to wait for the next Beer Match to attempt to complete that one) and Ian took a quality catch, diving low and rolling around for extra affect.
Most of us returned to the pub, including a welcome visit from Del, Greys groupie extraordinaire on his second rendez-vous with TMGs of the day. It should also be noted that no less than four Greys partners came to watch their loved ones at play, proving there must be an alternative Phase 5 to cricket widowdom, which is, of course, divorce.
This match report was not written by the PSM winner, but it does contain clues as to the whereabouts of Terry’s pads.
Not really, Tel, I’ve posted them to Necker Island. And you’re right, they weren’t County, they are Gunn and Moore 202s.