Fri Sep 1st V Ex Blues – Ex Blues CC, West Wickham, Kent
Ex Blues 231 – 5 (Pearce 2 – 22, Rogers 2 – 51, Smith 1 – 21)
London Saints 189 all out (Rogers 59, Mr Extras 45, Griffiths 29, Pearce 22no)
Our 28th fixture v Ex Blues, which first took place in 1989, proved as popular as ever as we played our usual end of season game on a lovely sunny day down in Kent. For the record there are only 3 teams whom we’ve played against more times than Ex Blues and they are London Sunderland (51), Gents of West London (44) and West XI (33). We had a few dropouts due to clashing commitments varying from having to a) plan for the next stage of their globe-trotting adventure, b) plan their spouses birthday, c) not plan for their ex-spouse to look after their child in time to d) plan to sell pansies the next day – leave you to guess who they are ? Obviously the most important excuse was from Ben who couldn’t play due to Jeff’s sudden illness – so would like to use this forum to once again wish Jeff all the best and speedy recovery. Jeff’s obviously on the mend as he was soon on WhatsApp joking about assisting his son in the duck avoidance stakes – more of that later.
Even with these unavailable players we still fielded 13 players supplemented by 5 further supporters who came down for our ex-player Trevor Mayhew’s 50th birthday. Trev had chosen Ex Blues to come down and buy the lads a drink (can’t remember getting mine Trev?) and reminisce on some of his highlights at this ground including his pulled hamstring, pulled thigh muscle and oh yes that other part of the body close to the never regions that he pulled last time out. Ex Blues was never Trevor’s luckiest ground (with only 2 of his 29 half centuries being scored at this ground) but nonetheless we were pleased to have our 2nd most prolific batsman in history (4,078 runs) present and I’m sure he would have been proud to see how our most prolific batsman Mr Extras (7,331 before today) performed later on when we batted.
Last season’s player of the year Phil Rogers opened the bowling along with Tiny Temper himself, Mike McIntyre. Mike was particularly unlucky and bowled extremely well with his 7 overs costing only 20 runs and thus banishing, to memory, his expensive spell (7-0-89-0) from last year – I told you Mike that the skippers motivational wind up would work (Art of Captaincy Chapter 411). Phil was more expensive but picked up two quick wickets, Stuart, Ex Blues’ long time captain and organiser, who was unlucky to play on plus their other opener who gave Nice Pint John Smith his first LSCC catch of the season – we never doubted you John as the ball hung in the air for what seemed an eternity. Their No 3 narrowly escaped being caught first ball by the skipper as the ball died and dropped just in front of him – he did NOT drop a dolly catch as was later reported by some in the bar afterwards as the ball didn’t just carry – a fact that was supported by the adjacent fielder and Phil, the bowler, himself. We can always beg to differ.
Ex Blues’ powerful middle order then took hold of the game and a couple of their players retired on 75 and 51no respectively as Ex Blues always play this game in the right spirit. The bowling was shared around, given the nature of this game, with 10 different players turning their arm over with even the ex-Mr King Yips Andy Jones getting not one but two overs and Andy Mayhew been given an over (as long as it was downhill ok Andy). Apart from Mike’s bowling the highlights were a) Tiger Pearce’s good spell which included two wickets to take him into 3rd place in the all-time LSCC number of wickets taken with 161 just now ahead of Psycho Burrell on 160, b) White Viv’s casual miraculous running catch on the boundary off Nice Pint’s bowling – how does this man do it at his age we ask? And Johnny G’s almost as miraculous catch again off Nice Pint which was unfortunately called as a no ball thus dampening JG’s lap of honour! So we started and ended well whilst Ex Blues got away in the middle overs and their score of 231 was always going to be a tough ask to chase down.
The tea break allowed us to take stock and structure the batting order partly determined by the duck trophy. With young Ben and Mr One-Liner (who once again at Ex Blues was guilty of duck avoidance) absent it was down to Neil and Wath to score a run meaning that Nice Pint would secure the duck trophy for the 2nd time in 3 years. Coming in at No’s 4 and 5 they duly did meaning Nice Pint could bat down the order having done his job in the field with an excellent fielding and bowling display. We opened with the dependable Jones and Griffiths (with Andy having a particularly good record at Ex Blues with 3 of his previous 5 half centuries being scored here including one to secure the player of the year trophy in 2012). Unfortunately Andy fell cheaply this year (never mind Andy you always have that catch today) but John was looking very solid on his way to a good 29 and in doing so become the 8th LSCC player to score 2,000 runs for the club.
The middle order fell away cheaply to leave us at 62-6 before an excellent 7th wicket (3rd highest in the club’s history) partnership of 72 between Phil and Mike gave us some hope. Phil, in his 50th match for the club, dominated the stand with an excellent 59 (and his 2nd club half century) but was ably supported by Mike’s text book forward defensive play (hold that pose Tiny). With the score approaching 140 some of us dared to dream (although the run rate was now up to 10 an over) but………………………..we all forgot (how could we) that Mr Trigger Happy was still umpiring and as sure as day turns to night Mr Trigger’s finger went up in a flash, to give Mike out lbw for a very solid 14, to a ball missing leg stump by the width of at least two stumps! For all John’s nicknames, Judas certainly is the correct one whilst he is umpiring (only banter John)!
Our final total of 189 was a good score in the circumstances ably abetted by an excellent knock of 45 from the prolific Mr Extras and 22no from this year’s most improved batsman Tiger Pearce. Despite his excellent knock Paul’s run out victims would not want me to ignore the part that Mr Pearce played in their downfall. Poor Tony was run out for the 3rd game in a row, none of which being his fault, as coming back for an easy 2nd run he was turned back by Paul not wanting to be embarrassed at being out-sprinted by someone 30 years his senior. What made matters worse was that Tony hadn’t faced a single ball and, after much debate, it was established that the correct terminology for his downfall was a diamond duck. Finally Nice Pint was run out being called by Paul for a non-existent 2nd run with just three balls to go in the final over thus giving victory to Ex Blues. In some ways it was good that we were all out and Ex Blues won as they allowed us to bat all 13 of our players and we couldn’t claim any moral victory in drawing this ‘ time ‘ game on 189-11. As they say cricket was the winner again in this enjoyable fixture and thanks to Stuart and Richard and all the lads from Ex Blues for playing the game in the right spirit.
As usual, this year 13 of us, plus our 5 groupies, enjoyed the day and the evening bar-b-cue and jugs. The player of the year vote was held and overwhelmingly won by Tony with 79% of the vote, almost one percentage point for every year he’s been on this planet!
Man of the Match: Some good all round performances by Paul Pearce, John Smith, John Griffiths and Mike McIntyre but Phil Rogers has to win it with two wickets and his excellent 59.
Champagne Moment: Now normally it is encouraged to give Champagne Moments to some of our more calamitous moments and there were many today with umpiring decisions, golden (Speedo) and diamond ducks (Tony) and many run out confusions but today it goes to a man who casually ran around the boundary and plucked the ball out of the air one handed. Andy was so nonchalant that as he continued to run around the boundary most of us thought that he’d missed the ball and it had gone for 6 until he turned around to show us the ball in his hand to both the batsman’s and fielders surprise.
Dilley bowled Rogers 2
Bates caught Smith bowled Rogers 2
Barham retired 75no
Rudyard bowled Pearce 32
Harris caught Jones bowled Pearce 12
Loughlin retired 51no
Danks retired 12
West retired 11
J Dilley not out 2
Dacre bowled Pearce 1
Total 231 – 5
McIntyre 7 – 0 – 20 – 0
Rogers 7 – 0 – 51 – 0
Thomas 4 – 0 – 21 – 0
Grimes 4 – 0 – 25 – 0
Pearce 5 – 0 – 22 – 2
Smith 3 – 0 – 21 – 1
Barber 2 – 0 – 25 – 0
Jones 2 – 0 – 14 – 0
Griffiths 3 – 0 – 21 – 0
Mayhew 1 – 0 – 3 – 0
Jones caught ? bowled Dacre 5
Griffiths caught ? bowled Danx 29
Mayhew bowled J. Dilley 1
Hotston lbw Danks 9
Wathan bowled Danks 2
Barber caught ? bowled Danks 4
Rogers bowled S. Dilley 59
McIntyre lbw Griffiths 14
Thomas bowled Loughlin 1
Pearce not out 22
Speedtwin lbw S. Dilley GOLDED DUCK 0
Grimes run out (Pearce) DIAMOND DUCK 0
Smith run out (Pearce) 1
Total 189 all out