Season ends with entertaining draw
West Wickham in south east London was the venue for Friday afternoon’s traditional end of season match against Ex Blues (well, traditional for the last 22 years anyway!).
The first shock of the day saw Steve Keenan (aka Lord Lucan) actually arrive early at Charing Cross station and catch the same train as his team mates. The match started late, for a number of reasons, but the main one being because the bar in the Ex Blues clubhouse was open. Pete, stand in skipper of day won the toss and the Ex Blues were put into bat. Despite some early success, Ex Blues went on to reach a mammoth 225 runs, including a couple of 50s from their batsmen, before declaring in this time match. London Saints fielding was not dissimilar to that of the Pakistan cricket team with an array of dropped catches, notably two from Mr Keenan and a bizarre piece of fielding from Dave Nanton saw him sprint in 5 yards only to see the ball fly over his head and land in exactly the same spot he had been standing two seconds earlier! Trev behind the stumps also had everyone in stitches as he majestically dived Reggiesque goal keeping style to stop a ball to his right – only trouble was the dive was instigated about 5 seconds after the ball had passed him. When Pete’s first two balls of his opening over were both hit for six, the Lord was heard muttering “here comes another Gary Sobers over”. However, the highlight of the London Saints bowling efforts must be two very distinctive LBW appeals. The first came from Tony giving another fine example of his moonwalk, which must have had poor Michael Jackson turning in his grave. The second from Johnny Quinn, resembled one of Mark “Bez” Berry’s drug fuelled dances freaking out to the tunes of Happy Mondays.
As this is the match where the infamous Duck Trophy is played out, a change in the London Saints batting order was called for. This year saw 5 ducksters in contention for this coveted award, which meant that the 5 had to start the batting in reverse order of the likeliest winner. Clive Dunn (aka Tony Grimes) and Lord Lucan joint favourites to lift the grotesque piece of kitsch for a 12 month spell on their respective mantel pieces having 3 ducks each, with Clive’s including a golden. But Wath, Johnny G and DT were also in contention each having amassed 2 ducks so far in the season, but required goldens to stand any chance of the honour. Wath was first in and survived the first ball down the leg side so was free to play his usual 4 and out innings. Johnny G also survived a few nervy deliveries before scoring a few runs. However, when Johnny (hitherto to be known as to as Mr Angry) was caught at deep backward square he displayed the worst case of bat abuse seen for many a year when he slammed his willow into the adjacent strip (required for a league match the following day) creating a divot the size usually reserved for the golf course. I’d hate to see what happens if he gets involved in any heated debates in the Council Chamber. DT looked steady for a good knock of 27 and even the Lord (highest score in 5 years) and Clive were duckless, meaning no change in the rankings with the trophy heading its way to the Grimes household. Interesting fact here is that last year’s winner (Finn) was aged 17, whilst the 2010 winner is 70 years young – some spread there!
Other notable incidences of the London Saints innings included Pete calling Tony for a single and waiting for him to run half way down the pitch before shouting “No” – with the obvious result. Needless to say Tony bears no grudge, but is immensely looking forward to umpiring next season when Pete is batting! Pearcy was also run out going for a “Fat Boy 3” – when will he learn?! Johnny Quinn having spent a good half hour getting his eye in warming up in the nets was duly out for a duck and Dave Nanton was out soon after to a very good caught and bowled for the team’s other duck of the day. With our last wicket partnership of Finn (winner of last year’s duck trophy) and Gavin Van Marle needing to bat out the last few overs to earn the draw, Ex Blues decided to make it interesting and give us an outside chance of winning by bringing on their up and coming 10 year bowler. Gavin (I’ve never had a duck playing for London Saints) was already in double figures and his eyes lit up as he saw his chance to climb further up the batting averages. As he slogged a brace of fours off the young kid’s first couple of balls, some of his London Saints team mates watching from the boundary didn’t see this as being very fair on the ten year old bowler and proceeded to loudly “boo” Gavin’s next few lusty fours. Gavin got the message and promptly de-accelerated, meaning an honourable draw was our only hoped for outcome. However, on the last over Gavin realised he only needed 9 runs to make his first ever 50. After attempting a huge 6 off the first ball he miss-timed the shot and only managed a single. Finn played his best Geoff Boycott at the other end and kept out the last remaining 5 balls and Gavin remained on 42 not out. An entertaining, if somewhat one-sided draw, it was.
After the match many beers were drunk, whilst watching the England v Bulgaria game and Ex Blues laid on a very tasty BBQ for us. Before catching the last train back to London, we also held our vote for London Saints Player of the 2010 Season, which was duly won by Trevor Mayhew in a last ditch attempt to persuade him to reverse his early retirement plans. How any one can consider retiring from the cricket team at the tender age of 42 is beyond me, particularly when half the team are older than him anyway!
Man of the Match
A few contenders: Tony for his very tidy spell of bowling earning two wickets plus a few runs with the bat too; Wath for also capturing a couple of wickets, but really needed that third which Dave Nanton should of course have gained for him; good knocks from DT and Pete. But it goes to Gavin for top scoring with the bat with an impressive 42 (even though half of them came off a ten year old bowler!), but anyone who misses / forgets his wedding anniversary to play cricket for London Saints at Ex Blues gets my vote!
A few contenders for this too: The two LBW appeals referred to earlier; Tony returning the ball from the boundary back to the Ex Blues fielder out of the sun and promptly hitting him on the head with it; our soon to be Hackney Mayor’s act of aggression when being caught. But the classic has to be DT’s comment straight out of the book of stating the bl**ding obvious: “It gets dark when the sun goes down”.
Keenan 3 0 17 0
Van Marle 5 0 17 1
J.Quinn 4 1 27 0
F.Quinn 4 0 21 1
J.Griffiths 4 1 27 0
P.Berkeley 3 0 23 0
D.Thomas 4 0 23 1
D.Nanton 3 0 15 1
P.Pearce 2 0 9 0
P.Wathan 3 0 28 2
T.Grimes 3 1 8 2
G.Van Marle 42 not out
F.Quinn 7 not out