LSSC V Roadrunners 12th June 2016 (30 Years of Hurt)
Roadrunners CC 225–6 (Thomas 1-10, J.Griffiths 1-24, R.Griffiths 1-26, Grimes 1-28, McIntyre 1-36)
London Saints 120-7 (Thomas 49, Nanton 20, Jones 10)
What were you doing thirty years ago? Maradona was waltzing through Terry Fenwick, Peter Reid and about another 5 England defenders to score a wonder goal in the world cup quarter final. A 13 year old singer won the Eurovision song contest for Belgium (Uk’s entry from Ryder ????? came 7th) Prince Andrew married the famous toe sucker, Fergie and Jeffery Archer was exposed after being up to no good with some ladies of the night. In the same year DT, London Saints, long suffering skipper, scored his one and only half century for LSCC – a feat never to repeated (more later).
As we awoke to dark and dreary skies with the many varied weather reports forecasting mixed prospects, at best, for a full day’s play, there were many doubting Thomas’s out there, some of whom contacted the skipper questioning the wisdom of trying to play the game and wouldn’t it be better to cancel the game and watch the Euro’s on TV. A text and subsequent phone calls with our opponents confirmed that “it was peeing down “a few mile away and “no one would want to play in this “. At the end of the day there was only one Thomas that mattered and the skipper sticking to his famous phrase “ it’s looking brighter over there “ took the brave choice (in the absence of being able to contact the groundsman) to proceed with the risk that he would face the wroth of those who had travelled miles if the threatened rain actually arrived. These important decisions are what the skipper gets paid (???) for and as it turned out all those other doubting Thomas’s were proved wrong as it turned out to be a wonderful afternoon with bright sunshine towards the later end of the game.
The skipper arrived early as there was a bit of mopping up to do and fortunately the only player fit or strong enough to lift the roller out of the scorer’s hut, Mile McIntyre, was also there and helped to roll the pitch and take away the moisture from the surface. The skipper lost the toss (again) and with our opponents choosing to bat, could relay the positive message to the team that “ the good news is we’re batting 2nd and if we can hold out to 6.30 we should be able to get a draw because it’s due to be coming down in ‘ cats and dogs ‘ by then.
With that ‘positive ‘mind set we started off with our only two fastish bowlers, Flatliner Nanton and the Champ McIntyre. Thanks to Roadrunners, our opponents, in lending us a player until our 10th player White Viv turned up (who had arranged to go shopping in Bluewater!!) and even when Andy arrived they continued to lend us a player so we would have 11 fielders after he eventually arrived. I had never really understood the importance of using a roller on a pitch until today’s game when we saw the results of all Mile’s fantastic rolling efforts. The effect of the now dry and hard top part of the pitch, along with the underlying dampness and some sunshine, made the ball jump all over the place for the first few overs. One of Flatliners first few deliveries reared up off a length nearly decapitating the batsman and clearing the salmon like (well perhaps dead salmon is a better description) leap of keeper Mayhew to go for 4 byes. When Mile also got one to rear up there was some concern that his rolling had been too efficient and that it might be too dangerous but thankfully the pitch died down and played truly throughout, though giving the spinners every encouragement. As one old and very famous groundsman from Norton St Philip once said “cricket was the winner “and it certainly was today as a full day’s play was possible.
We made a quick breakthrough when Flatliner (the full Jonty had not re-emerged yet) caught their opener at deep long leg off the Champ’s bowling – good field placing said someone! Roadrunners then consolidated with everyone wondering who the skipper would next throw the ball to, from his full array of slow bowlers. Possibly the least obvious was Richard Griffiths, another of Clive Dunn’s son-in-laws. Richard had previously played for LSCC in 2007 and not bowled but it proved to be a(nother) inspired bowling change as he bowled their other opener with his first ball. His father-in-law at the other end then picked up a wicket courtesy of a fantastic catch from our sub Roadrunner fielder Sam. Roadrunners were now 3 down and we were containing them well. The skipper then picked up the 4th wicket caught behind by keeper Mayhew, though some in the team had their doubts given that Andy had failed to get his hands to 3 other tough chances behind the stumps (sorry Andy I promised not to mention this!!)
Up until the drinks interval we were performing really well, Flatliner was rolling back the years with some excellent fielding and the bowling was tight whilst we all wondered what had happened to White Viv. A previous commitment in Bluewater shopping centre meant that his eta was to be just after 2 pm so when he arrived closer to 3 than 2 there was a mixture of relief and mirth. Those who know Old Man Jones will understand that his arrival did not mean he would then be ready to play and a further 10 minutes of faffing around getting changed in his car meant that he was not ready until just before drinks break. He parked his car on the boundary’s edge and then didn’t impress the lads further as having looked up to see Tiger Pearce bowling decided to jump back into his car and move it 40 yards further away from the boundary – some might call that a wise move (if you’ve seen Paul’s bowling figures this year) but it further delayed his grand entrance! White Viv was then thrown into more confusion when the skipper asked him to keep wicket after the drinks break to give Andy M a ‘rest ‘so he would be in a better shape for batting. White Viv’s confusion turned to despair when he realised that he didn’t have his box and would have to use Andy M’s box after he had been ‘sweating ‘into it for the past 17 overs!
We then lost it a bit in the field after drinks when Roadrunners progressed from around 80-4 to 227-6 by the end of their innings. Once again we were hit with a class century innings, this time by Ryan, a player we had first come across some 5 years ago as a precocious young fast bowler who has now turned into a very fine batsman and wicket keeper. Recently we have been hit with such a fine innings which turns out to be the difference between the teams and so it proved today. We toiled away as the 2nd half of their innings seemed a lot longer than the first half. Two memorable breaks occurred firstly when Clive Dunn’s other son-in-law John (Judas, Councillor, Towel, Wheelie Bin, DJ etc etc) Griffiths picked up a wicket also off his first ball which led to a request from Tony to see if anywhere else in the world of cricket had two son-in-laws taken a wicket with their first ball in the same match as their father-in-law had also taken a wicket. Then we finally saw the real Jonty back and crowned as he was many many moons ago when a throw from the boundary was so accurate that White Viv only had to catch it and run out their player for our 6th wicket. It was like the old times.
Teas were taken, with the skipper pondering his line up with the shock revelation from Andy M that he was tired and didn’t want to bat up the order ! (to be fair to Andy he had been up working on a night shift so we are all grateful just for his presence – honest we are Andy). A senior member of the teas committee (PP) asked for it to be noted that our opponents had demolished all their tea whilst we had left some – are we getting too fussy in our old age as the quality of scones and battenberg’s has definitely decreased at old Habs over recent years?
With Andy M having a rest the batting was changed around a little to give those who hadn’t batted the week before (or those who had batted for a very short ‘ duckish ‘ time, ok Paul Pearce) more of a go. We started with the tried and trusted opening partnership of Jones and Griffiths (J) so all the other batsmen could put up their feet confident in the knowledge that these two could bat all day – John, our leading run getter in recent years and White Viv who has a bowling machine and cricket net in his own backyard. We were then told the annual tale at the start of each season from Andy that despite buying the bowling machine many years ago, it has still never been used and the cricket net has yet to be built – the intention is there, but the body is not! So with Andy having not held a bat for almost a year and John’s only effort for a year being last week’s brief effort, the others were told to pad up. Both started well but were out to consecutive balls but we were confident that, with Mike Mc impressing with the bat for his ‘other‘ team this season, we would see some progress. Mike though went the same way as Andy to their opening bowler Sam who was trying to make amends to his team for catching one of their players when fielding as sub for us.
In came Tiger Pearce on a Hilda avoidance mission, hoping to avoid the feat previously suffered by the original Hilda, Pete Berkeley and then Garry Burrell (for newcomers a Hilda is a Hilda Ogden as in her 3 ducks on the wall or in our case 3 ducks in consecutive innings). Paul sighed / cheered a sneaky single that got him off the mark, despite some on the boundary querying that it should have been a leg bye. He didn’t hang around long though as he fell for one and allowed the now (name reclaimed) Jonty to come to the crease. Roadrunners are Dave’s favourite opponents for his batting and Roadrunners immediately showed him respect by putting some of the fielders back on the boundary. Jonty and the skipper then proceeded to develop the only real stand of our innings as the bad balls were hit to the boundary before Dave fell to a very good (no I didn’t say it was unplayable Dave) delivery.
The skipper meanwhile stuck in there whilst wickets were falling at the other end, punishing the bad balls but news of his ‘ technique ‘ to spinners must have gotten to Roadrunners as a succession of spinners had him in all sorts of trouble and often in two or three minds for several shots. DT got bogged down especially as news that he had entered his 40’s (runs not age!) filtered through. It was not the prettiest innings and he apologised afterwards to being selfish and batting for his 50 and not more expansively. The chance of winning was though long gone as was the chance of a draw as the threatened heavy 6.30 rain showers were nowhere to be seen. With ‘not out’ Mayhew at the other end runs dried up and the skipper was scratching away for the elusive run that would get him to that first 50 in thirty years, something he thought would never come his way again. Then an unplayable swinging and seaming miracle ball, from Roadrunners skipper, somehow took the slightest of edges to Ryan their excellent keeper who was never going to drop it. The appeal went up as did a haze with the realisation that he would be denied his 50 after all these years. The senile old umpire though didn’t give it and for a fraction of a second the skipper thought about staying in his crease but he walked. It wouldn’t have been (or felt) right to get a 50 knowing you were out on 49 and off he walked. As they say in the spirit of the game and “cricket is the winner” off you go, otherwise you suffer the abuse (and get given yet another nickname) that one of our senior batsmen did on our tour to Belgium. As to the senile and blind umpire – White Viv, said “there was no way I was going to give you out on 49 in a dead game” – thanks Andy but your place is safe in the team, now just go and get that bloody net built in your back garden.
So it all really petered out in the end, to be honest with White Viv and DJ (subtle non walking Belgium link here) getting out cheaply we were never going to get the runs required, with the real difference being Ryan’s excellent century. The 2015 duck trophy was finally awarded to John Smith, in the bar after the game, for his efforts last season as the recipient in 2014 (ex Jonty) had finally gotten around to getting it engraved. The only problem being that the plaque with John’s name had fallen off on the way to the ground so although John now has the Garry Burrell duck trophy in his possession, his name is not on it – Dave will get this rectified and bring along the super glue next time so John can affix it.
Man of the Match – always difficult for the match reporter to award this to himself, but as much for the sympathy on missing out on his long lost 50 and continuing his 30 years of hurt, the skipper gets it
Champagne Moment – not wanting to win this as well, the skipper went to all lengths to get other nominations in the bar afterwards but two moments were highlighted. Firstly after being dismissed for 49! and thus with his mind scrambled, the skipper got increasingly agitated as to why he couldn’t get into his car, until the realisation dawned that he was trying to get in by pressing the umpire’s clicker and not his car fob! However the winner goes to the skippers attempts (in his defence he was getting nervous in his 40’s) to play the right arm spinner. He confidently advanced down the pitch, realising half way down that he didn’t know what the hell to do, or which way the ball was spinning, and had to run back (crab like was DJ’s comment) down the track just reaching his crease in time and avoid being run out. This happened on more than one occasion to much hilarity from the side lines and square leg umpire – you had to be there, though some knowing the skipper’s ‘technique’ to spinners can well imagine (no comments please Mr T. Mayhew)
Vic ct Nanton b McIntyre 4
Adam b R. Griffiths 15
Mitch ct Sub (Sam) b Grimes 18
Jordan ct A. Mayhew b Thomas 9
Mark ct Thomas b J. Griffiths 34
Ryan not out 104
James run out (Jonty) 2
Rich not out 21
Griffiths 1 5-0-26-1
Griffiths 2 3-0-24-0
London Saints 120-7
Jones ct Rich b Sam 10
Griffiths 1 ct Viv b Nial 8
McIntyre ct Nick b Sam 5
Thomas ct Ryan b Adam 49
Pearce ct Nial b Josh 1 (Hilda avoidance)
Nanton b Josh 20
Griffiths 2 st Ryan b Mitch 8
Mayhew not out (again) 8
Grimes not out 5