London Saints

Cricketers suffer heavy defeat to Sunderland

A QUICK glance at the statistics will tell you that, on the day, Sunderland had two very good players in a) skipper Woolston and b) Campbell, who could both bat and bowl. They also had good contributing players.

We also have all-rounders. The difference was that none managed to combine both disciplines on the day. So we lost, around 6.30pm, just minutes before the rain finally fell after five hours of dark cloud and the occasional splash of sun.

So hard was the downpour that our dressing room ceiling cascaded water. And so deep was the post-match trauma that skipper John Griffiths forgot to close his car sunroof. He and father-in-law Tony Grimes has their arses soaked on the drive back to London.

But, hey, it’s sport. Last month, we played Sunderland and won by nine wickets. This time, as JG said, we didn’t do ourselves justice.

A dropped catch when Woolston was on two proved costly. But we plugged away and Dave Nanton found a snorter to bowl Addison. Tony Grimes then clean bowled two of Sunderland’s middle order – his fist-pump, rendition of ‘Rolling Back the Years’ and new baseball cap (Mambo Ironic Youth) belying his 72 years.

They were 95 at the halfway stage, which was OK, but we needed to contain Sunderland further. Dave Nanton returned and bowled the threatening Howey with his first ball – but catches were dropped and Woolston let rip in the last 10 overs.

Now, I would be the first to admit to another comical piece of appallingly timed misfielding, very well replayed by Pete Berkeley in the bar. But as match author, I would also point to some outrageous examples of boundary avoidance (‘I was saving singles’) and some short hops that very well suited Mr Woolston.

It didn’t help that a very short boundary meant six sixes for Woolston and a large number of lost balls in the spikey undergrowth. But going in to tea, a total of 224 to chase meant serious pondering of our fielding performance.

It also led to batting tactics, with a remarkably confident Andy Mayhew claiming a new nickname. Asked where he would like to bat, he said ‘the Jacques Kallis’ position – eg., No 4, despite AM not being (it’s fair to say) an all-rounder.

It then didn’t help when opener JG was out chopping on to his wicket off the bowling of nine-year-old Enzo Gorrie, claiming his second-ever adult scalp and claiming £5 from his Dad (pictured).

The skipper took getting clean-bowled by a 9-year-old in good spirits. Probably vodka later in the evening.

The skipper took getting clean-bowled by a 9-year-old in good spirits. Probably vodka later in the evening.

Our first all-rounder (although AM/JK and JG may disagree), Lui Patel, then sadly blamed his bowling spell for knackering a calf and shoulder and holed out for 16.

Chalmers raced to 22 before being comprehensively bowled. Meanwhile, AM/JK was marooned at the other end and was next out for 18, claiming legitimately that he scored off only 15 balls and was kept off strike for ages (I might add, Keenan scored 4 off three balls, ahem).

LSCC went from 67-2 to 69-5 when Steve Grant (aka Mr Scones) blamed an unplayable bounce and low shooter for his two. His volunteering to finish off the final (and his third) scone at tea had nothing to do with his dismissal.

At the halfway mark, we were 88 – not far behind Sunderland (albeit with five more dismissals). But immediately, Nanton fell to a suicidal, bat-waving, never-was-on-and-it-was-his-shout MoM-decider run out and that really was it.

Berkeley top edged, Paul Pearce stuck around for a bit, Speedtwin got the game’s only duck and – with the clouds gathering – Woolston put himself on to bowl to finish off the game. Just in time, before anyone stated debating Duckworth-Lewis.

CHAMPAGNE MOMENT: While scoring, I had a lovely chat with Sunderland’s oppo about the old days when we turned up for cricket, had Sunday lunches, three pints then a big bevvy afterwards. Not we are (mostly) all old and drive home, she said, nicely. So hurrah for Tony ‘ Mambo Ironic Youth’s’ excellent first wicket to remove the dangerous Campbell and his resulting fist pump and appalling Simply Red song rendition.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Hurrah for two excellently bowled wickets, stolid defence, new cap, fist pump and Rolling Back the Years – Tony Grimes (aka Mambo Ironic Youth) eight times as old as Enzo.

Tony rolls back the years

Tony rolls back the years

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