TMG’s versus Littlehampton C.C. , 4th July 2021 by Ian.
(please, click on the data-lite music clips to enhance your enjoyment of reading my report)
Start spreadin’ the news, …., I’m leavin’ today! Wrong city. No, I am taking you on a gutter-dragging, jumper-soddening, cake-snorting journey of Fear and Loathing, to L.A.!!
Let’s get this out the way early; L.A. is South Coast banterese for the town of Little’ampton, i.e. Littlehampton*, based on the widely held belief that its inhabitants are poorly-spoken, rough, thick and using drugs. (Is this broadly correct, Trev?)
While waiting for Trev to reply (its 2.15 a.m. so he shouldn’t be long) let’s join the G-men as they cruise nervously down St Floras Road, waiting for the large suburban semis to give way to sub-prime housing projects, trailer parks and burnt-out Fords. The Google Maps pin was behind us – was this going to be another cricket-related drive-by? No, squeezed in-betweeen corner lots, was the rival gang’s HQ, a large two-storey, concrete Sports and Social club. Hidden away behind that was a quaint wooden cricket pavilion, on which the terrace of lurking were the L.A. motley crew, emboldened by their extended families and dogs and bicycles. And the odd Hells Angel.
The stand-off began; The Greys were put into the field by the L.A. skipper and opening bat, a powerfully built man, who along with the incoming curtains of fine white mist and drizzle, dominated the first part of the afternoon.
Dan H, QB and DC after them bowled well, but the ruthless L.A. leader seemingly with ease picked at least one ball per over to smash for four. A chilling breeze and long boundaries was making life hard for the moisture-coated foot-soldiers in the field. The intensity of the precipitation of water and runs increased until halfway through the eleventh over when the teams had to come off. The Greys retired to their brick dungeon with little for solace, just Ginger Nuts and water from the sink where the footballers wash their boots.
The score was 53-1, DH had removed the other opener, caught in the gully by Jez. Their skipper had looked untroubled and had not given any chances against arguably our best bowling.
After perhaps half an hour, during which we were entertained by some pretty impressive Keepy-up from The Meekon and The Postman, we were back on. Things lightened up even more when our tormentor retired, not-out, on fifty. Cue a flurry of rotating arms and fake hamstring stretches from out-of-favour, old-timer, Robbie H. However, Captain ‘Ice’ QB turned to stringy sixtenagarian, yours truly, to take over from the exemplary postie
After a cagey maiden, vigorous ball management got the cherry to swing. The new, relatively uncultured batsman was undone – bowled, top of off. The Greys began to staunch the flow of runs during these middle overs and were enjoying themselves. A fabulous slip catch from Robbie H that escaped his grasp at the third attempt, Washington DC, moving the ball off the pitch beautifully, getting a deserved wicket, a Pickfordesque, flappy punch from Dan H on the boundary to send the ball 30 yards to his left, and Biff painlessly snaffling a hard, low drive in his bollock-area were some of the highlights. Then another wicket for Moi as their number three tried again to play across the line and top-edged to, still in the gully, Jez! Oh no!, he can’t get airborne and only manages to finger it before dropping to his arse. Fortunately the shot was repeated in the next over and this time, with a grateful sigh from the guilt-wracked crypto-woman, the ball floated safely in to her/his/their open hands.
Then some proper cricket – Robbie H, on at last, inducing a fine edge which was duly gloved by clinical keeper Al. Clinic-Al!
This unfortunately brought the L.A. Heavy Mob to the crease. Do not judge a book by its cover, or indeed a cricketer by his BMI! – this giant showed nimble footwork and graceful wrists to turn his first delivery round the corner for a single. He went on to score an unbeaten 39, including 6 fours, in a stand of 62. He put us on the defensive and I had to watch the final overs from a very deep Midwicket. With a tree-lined backdrop I was unable to immediately pick the trajectory of the shot played to wide mid-on off the last ball of the innings. Two-runs all day long. Unremarkable. We need to seriously review the use of frivolous PSM nominations. For example, someone who couldn’t be arsed with, “I say, I’m not terribly aware of sports branding; could you possibly remind me of the maker of your cricket bag?”, and instead says “What flavour is yo bag, man?”, or cool words to that effect should not be ridiculed. Especially when he’s getting you your jumper!
Without having had the time to stop anywhere and find any kind of tea for himself, Ice QB agreed to a seven minute turn-around. This led to difficulties for those Greysmen who had accepted a piece of The Mekon’s caramel-stuffed, double-choc, virtual-lockjaw, 40th birthday, face-cake. Only tea from a pot could have expedited the necessary mastication and I suspect I wasn’t the only one dealing on Monday with squirreled pieces of contact-adhesive laced choc-bomb in pockets and kit bag.
By the way, you can stop looking for references to Los Angeles now, it’s way too late for that!
The feeling among the senior squad was that we had let them off the hook and with a bouncy wicket, 178 was a good score from 35 overs.
Biff got us off to a flying start with fours off the first two deliveries but the bowler from the other end soon had us in trouble. Two wickets in an over removed Hat and The Mekon and much of our attacking threat. The Mekon being dumbstruck as the aforementioned Heavy Mob guy in the gully flew to his side to take a blinder! Jez stabilised things for nearly eight overs before being bowled for 8. Although we were now behind the rate, this did bring in-form Golden Boy to the crease nice and early. He proceeded to zonk his usual mayhem on anything long, short or wide on his way to his season‘s best of 67! Well Done! Compton at his best!
Stands of 26, 30, and 39 followed with I presume Biff, Alex and Hippy D. We were in it briefly as the rate fell to eight an over but as Ice and HD fell trying to force the runs it fell to myself and The Postman to get 17 from 10 balls. Just to be on the safe-side L.A. captain brought himself on to shepherd us through the last over with his wily off-spin. Maybe he planned to give it some Bel Air.
The scorebook only records two dots in 12 balls, so we did our duty and got bat on ball, but without the muscle or technique or opportunity to hit big shots. In so trying however, a hearty play and miss at a near wide caused me to spin round and lose my footing. I floundered on the floor a bit trying to get my bat from under me and regain my ground, which took at least 4½ seconds. Fortunately the ‘keeper had missed it and in fact I was required to be at the other end. Communication is key. We finished on 171, nine short of victory. In truth it wasn’t a serious possibility but it was fun pretending.
We availed ourselves of the facilities and had a beer and did PSM on the pavilion benches before taking our leave of the only remaining L.A. Woman and going our separate ways.
Back in the ‘hood after sunset, we were in reflective mood. How many G-men equals a good time? What if one of them is DD? What if one of them is Mr “Change is the only Constant” Meek? Will Biff and I ever understand why our own personal, free, mental and funny drinking club with loud music and dancing, just won’t carry on forever? Is Van Morrison any good? Why do Polish people steal carp? Why must we not talk about it
* Disambiguation. Littlehampton is nothing to do with pleasant gentrifier, Dan H’s penis.