London Saints CC v Cincinnati
at Old Haberdashers’ CC, Elstree,
Sunday 19th June 2011
Cincinnati 108-9 (Van Marle 3-13, Griffiths 2-13, Nanton 1-4)
London Saints 109-3 (Mayhew 33 not out, Griffiths 33 not out, Barber 21)
London Saints’ cricketers awoke with some apprehension on Fathers’ Day. The weather forecast was decidedly iffy and, even if we were lucky enough to get a full game in, we had not beaten the day’s opponents in 5 previous attempts (including a right pasting last season under . . . Captain Berkeley). ,What’s more, we arrived at Elstree to find our opponents already-changed and limbering up with some professional-looking slip catching practise.
The skipper won the toss and, under leaden skies, decided to insert the opposition. It proved to be the right choice as conditions later on became far better for batting. Cincinnati’s openers found the going tough against some tight opening bowling from Finn (Chauffeur-less) Quinn and Gavin Van Barge. Gavin in particular bowled beautifully, repeatedly beating the openers’ outside edge, and it was no surprise when he struck early. Such was Gavin’s dominance of the batsmen that DT took the decision to bowl him straight through his 7 overs. His faith was duly rewarded by Gavin’s excellent return of 3 for 13. Only opener Tim Ross, who had filled his boots against us last year, looked like he might do so again, but an inspired piece of fielding put paid to him for 31. When DT found the thick edge of his bat, all bar one of his teammates instinctively looked to the third man boundary. Miraculously, however, Clive Dunn had swooped, thrust out his right arm and taken a truly superb slip catch. It was a game-changing moment, which seemed to take the wind out of Cincinnati and inspire the Saints.
None of the bowlers under-performed and most chipped in with wickets. Bowling in tandem, Tiger Pearce and Clive Dunn, strangled the Cincinnati middle order. Following a short rain break, a sticky wicket made Paul’s well-flighted left-arm spinners especially difficult to get away. DT felt confident enough to use eight bowlers in all and even brought on Flatliner and Paltrow to try to wrap up the innings. El Duce explained that he was taking a leaf out of Andrew Strauss’s book, pointing out to anyone caring to listen that Strauss had persisted with Stuart Broad the previous morning in the Test Match when Broad couldn’t buy a wicket. After Flatliner’s pounding in the Nelson Cup two weeks before, the Skipper’s throwing him the ball proved to be just the same confidence boost, as Dave duly snaffled a wicket. Surprisingly, Paltrow kept things tight, picking up a couple of cheap wickets, as Cincinnati posted what seemed at tea like an eminently gettable total of 108-9 from their 35 overs.
Tea was not particularly notable, save for the welcome return of scones and cream, but . . . no jam! Still, there was not much left as both teams tucked in. Talk of our strong batting line getting us home was quickly snuffed out by the skipper who, as the second oldest member of our team, had experienced far too many instances of our snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Saints opened with Clive Dunn and Paltrow. Both started quite confidently, but soon came unstuck when Paltrow called his father-in-law for a quick single on an apparent miss-field by Cincinnati skipper, Brendan Carlin. Brendan recovered and Dunn, well short of his ground, was given run out by Umpire Berkeley. However, there was some doubt whether the keeper had actually gathered the ball cleanly and broken the stumps correctly. In any event, it was not the first time Paltrow had run out Saints’ eldest statesman.
Professor Chalmers strode out to the crease and immediately picked up where he had left off from his unbeaten half century in the Nelson Cup, smacking the Cincinnati bowling to the square leg side boundary twice in three balls. Your correspondent, at the non-striker’s end, agreed with Umpire Hilda that DC seemed to be in fine fettle. He was duly out next ball, nicking one to the keeper that he could have left alone.
Mark Barber kept the momentum going, however, with a quick fire 23, finding the boundary several times. After he was caught, at the third attempt by a juggling Cincinnati fielder, Andy “Tokyo Joe” Mayhew continued in the same vein drilling several lofted drives to the boundary and, running well between the wickets, in spite of the scones, turned several ones into twos. Paltrow, who had dropped anchor after running out Clive Dunn (“playing for his average” – El Duce; “like watching Tavaré” according to QE2), managed to snick one past a grasping first slip to see the Saints home. The win, our first ever against Cincinnati, was by 7 wickets, and with 8 overs to spare. LSCC are now 2 and 0 (in proper cricket) – one of our best starts for many a year.
Champagne Moment – a couple of rib ticklers, including El Duce’s directing three of his charges to move the sight screen, only to realise that he was opening with left armer Finn and ordering the screen to be moved back; Finn’s fielding off the last ball of Cincinnati’s innings, falling flat on his front and allowing one run to become two, before almost conceding more through overthrows. But nothing could compare to Tony’s stunning catch. A couple of years ago, Mark Barber pulled off a catch in the deep in the Nelson Cup which went on to become “champagne moment of the year”; Clive Dunn’s was similarly top draw.
Man of the Match – a few contenders, including Gavin for his near unplayable spell of bowling, but on what was a difficult pitch to bat, and for an innings which reminded his teammates what they have (and have not) been missing, the MOTM goes to the man on his holidays from Tokyo, Mayhew Senior, for a chanceless 33 not out. Come back soon Andy.
Ross ct Grimes b Thomas 31
Bennington c + b Van Barge 6
Carlin b Van barge 0
Sahavian b Clive Dunn 2
Moyniton ct Barber b Van barge 22
Hughes c + b Pearce 7
Hibbs b Nanton 14
Hongavani b Griffiths 7
DeQuintall stumped Chalmers b Griffiths 7
Ellery not out 1
Woodhouse not out 2
Total 108 for 9
F. Quinn 5 0 13 0
Van Marle 7 2 13 3
Berkeley 4 0 20 0
Thomas 4 0 10 1
Pearce 6 0 23 1
Grimes 4 0 11 1
Griffiths 3 0 13 2
Nanton 2 0 4 1
Griffiths: Not out 33
Grimes: Run out 1
Chalmers: Ct, Bowled Hobbs 10
Barber: Ct, Bowled Di Quintall 23
A. Mayhew Not out 33