Nelson Cup goes West – again!
LSSC vs. West XI
At Old Haberdashers’ Cricket Club, Elstree, 6th June 2010
West XI – 113 all out (19.1 overs); Grimes 3-13; Thomas 2-5
LSSC XI – 103-6 (20 overs); Old Man Jones 33; Chalmers 31
West XI – 151-6 (20 overs); Pearce 4-35
LSSC XI – 128-8 (20 overs); Griffiths 39; Nanton 33 n.o.; Berkeley 26
It was a game of two halves; four quarters even. Unfortunately, on this occasion – the 66th anniversary of the D-Day Landings (“enough irrelevant scene setting” Ed.), it was West XI that won all four sessions. Skipper “El Duce” Thomas, fresh from tonking Snarler for a couple of imperious 6s in Saints’ opening game, was understandably in confident mood; all the more so on learning that West XI’s skipper and star performer of many a year, Chris Wright, had been detained in Amsterdam . . . With Westies short of a full XI, DT gladly chose to insert the opposition. Gary “Baker” Burrell arriving with 2 minutes to spare, on a 400 mile round trip up from Cornwall for some pre-Lords’ match practice, found his former teammates taking the field and paid a harsh penalty for his relative lateness. Mussolini loaned him to our opponents for the afternoon. It should be said that Gary took it remarkably well, and even chose to take tea at the West XI table.
On a slow, lifeless pitch in sultry conditions, Saints soon had West XI at 18-3. Some suicidal running (by no means the last of the afternoon) saw Dave “George Roper” Laing run out for 1, and Pearce and Berkeley snaffling early wickets. Any sense of complacency, that West XI were little more than “Wright plus 10” was soon dispelled, as the powerful middle order of Bodin (40) and Dane (48) set about Saints bowling. At one point a score of 150 seemed on the cards, but the LSSC XI attack hit back led by Clive Dunn (3-0-13-3) who was well supported by Thomas (2-5), Pearce (2-20) and Berkeley (2-23). Restricting West XI to 113 was a commendable effort.
Saints got off to a steady start with a sturdy, if not fast-moving combination of White Viv and Mildred. How Jonesy managed to score 33 is beyond the comprehension of your reporter who umpired for most of his innings, during which oxygen was almost required. The Prof who joined Old Man on the fall of the first wicket was breathlessly informed “no running, just boundaries.” If only. Damian did, however, show AJ the way with a couple of stupendous 6s over long off, before perishing for 31. The rest added little – DT followed his magnificent 47 last week with an ignominious 1, bowled by Bender’s dibbly dobblys, if you’ll pardon the expression. Our nemesis, George Roper, amazingly, failed to pick up a wicket. He was to make amends second time around.
Resuming after tea, having succumbed once again for the extra “waffer thin” piece of cake, Saints’ bowling and fielding was lethargic at best. DT opened with father-in-law/son-in-law combo of Grimes and Griffiths, who took an early wicket each, one a fine stumping from the Prof. However, in spite of some excellent bowling from Pearce (4-0-35-4), it was once again the West XI middle order that did the damage. Allerton junior thankfully missed his 50 – we wouldn’t have heard the end of it – bowled by a snorter from Pearce and took it in his usual gracious style, and Boden chipped in again with a more than handy 40 not out. Saints were thankful for some excellent catching in the deep from Neil Hotson, making a rare appearance ahead of the big game at Lords. West XI’s ominous accumulation of runs was only briefly interrupted when Clive Dunn, in retrieving a Boden 6 hit into the grass at long on, amused his fellow Dad’s Army comrades by contriving to throw the ball with a resounding thud into the back of the sight screen.
Chasing an improbable 173 to win at over 8.5 an over, Saints got off to an inauspicious start. Gary Speedtwin and Gavin Van Barge managed to stay together despite an almighty mix up over a single that never was. Not the quickest between the stumps, Gary contrived somehow to get back in his crease as West XI fumbled a simple run out chance seemingly to keep Saints’ infamous leg-side swiper at bat. Unfortunately both openers soon fell to the naggingly accurate Dave Laing (3-24), who was quick to make up for his wicketless first innings’ spell. Berkeley (26) tried successfully, but too briefly to increase the Saints’ run rate, before perishing LBW to Bignell. Paltrow (39) and Flatliner (33 n.o.), the latter nursing a strained groin from treading on the ball in the field, steadied the ship. However, in spite of some stupendous six hitting from Dave, Saints were never really in contention. In the end getting 15 runs past our own first innings score was a reasonable return, but we were still 45 short of the target.
England Batting: 85 runs for 9 out, 0 ducks, ave 9.46
England Bowling: 13-0-101-8 (ave 12.5)
ROW Batting: 121 runs for 7 out, 0 ducks, ave 17.29
ROW Bowling: 25.5–2-161-8 (ave 20)
England Catches/st: 6
ROW Catches: 0
Man of the Match
Honourable mentions to the Prof, Flatliner and Paltrow for decent knocks. Had we won the game, MotM would most certainly have been Gary Burrell for his contribution of 4 (lbw Grimes) – that’s one run per hundred miles travelled – and 2-0-25-0. The Baker did his best to help his ungrateful former teammates notch up their season’s first win, but it wasn’t enough. However, for a great spell of 4-35 (6-55 in the match) and an excellent caught and bowled, the day’s award goes to Paul “Mildred” Pearce.
Andy Jones’ fielding kept us all amused. The tumble and roll that turned a single into two had a certain 16 stone Nelly Kim about it. However, the sound of the thwack of Tony Grimes return throw hitting the back of Old Habs’ decrepit sight screen will resonate long in the memory.