Sun May 26th v Nascott – Cassiobury Park, Watford (A)
London Saints 104 – 5 (Jones 32 no, Mr Extras 24, McIntyre 17) off 30 overs
Nascott 106 – 5 (Smith 3 – 36, Thomas 1 – 15 + spectacular ‘Messi’esque run out by the Skipper)
Another year but the same old Cassiobury Park pitch with council cuts meaning that the outfield was better suited to grazing goats (and they’d have enough to eat for years) than playing cricket. The only way to avoid the long grass and slow outfield was to go the aerial route and it’s been many a year since most of our batsmen could do that so please rearrange ‘ got down bogged we ‘ to get a gist of our early frustrating overs. Our situation was not helped by the fact that many of our players had a long way to travel and a combination of bank holiday and Wembley traffic meant that we only had 6 players available at the toss so winning the toss (yes the skipper won the toss) and choosing the bat was the only option. With both openers (Judas 123 and White Viv) stuck in traffic, the skipper and Clive (injured can’t bowl so “ Now I’m a batsman “) Dunn padded up. The skipper was reprieved when Judas turned up so the Father-in-law / Son-in-law partnership was re-established and with Richard, Tony’s other son-in-law at No 4 (White Viv was still somewhere on the M25), we were banking on the Dunn/Griffiths family tree to establish us with a nice platform.
Both had 4 scoring shots, John scored 4 Desmond’s whilst Tony (“I don’t run 2’s at my age “) ran 4 singles. Both struggled with the long outfield and accurate bowling but we hoped for more when Andy (“Don’t forget I hit my first ball for 6 last year at Ex Blues “) Mayhew came in at No 3. He’ll clear the fence we thought until we realised that he was batting with his new (jointly purchased by Andy for him and Tiger) bat which turned out to be more Lana’s (making her full LSCC debut at the age of 11) size than a grown man’s size! “ I got a bargain “ said Andy – “ the shopkeeper saw you coming we retorted “ As Andy stooped down to play with his kiddies size bat, any thoughts of him clearing the fence and us setting a formidable total evaporated. To be fair to Andy, under the circumstances, he batted well and kept the scoreboard ticking over and getting run out with 8 overs to go he at least could stop the Mr Not Out jibes from some.
White Viv finally battled through the traffic and strode out to bat in the 19th over with the score at 39 – 3 with only 11 of our allotted 30 overs remaining so, at this stage, anything over 75 would be a bonus. When Mike “ Tiny Temper “ McIntyre joined him in the 22nd over with the score at 52 – 4 we saw a real shift in gear, so much so that we doubled the score in the last 8 overs with some excellent striking with both of them finally hitting the boundary. Mike’s running between the wickets would have given Andy’s cardiologist palpitations but to Andy’s great credit, and increasingly crimson face, he kept going. Both batted excellently, putting on 50 in those last 8 overs with the thoughts of what might have been had they been able to bat earlier and for the full 30 overs. We recognised that a score of 104, albeit on a very slow outfield, was probably around 30 light and so it proved to be.
With bowling resources a little stretched due to various injuries (knee, eye and shoulder) along with holiday and dahlia selling commitments, the skipper asked Mike to bowl through the pain barrier and open the bowling with ‘ Desmond ‘ Jacko. Both bowled tidily but with little luck on an unresponsive pitch and a big hitting opener. What to do next with Nascott safely placed at 43 – 0? The skipper reminded Nice Pint Smith of his pep talk the previous evening at Lords after the 10th pint that the time had come for John to step up to the crease and come to the party – and how he did. Without a LSCC wicket for ages (he claimed in the pub later that he had never taken a wicket before, but that’s what dementia does to you John!) John struck in his 2nd over removing the dangerous big hitter and then in his 3rd double wicket maiden over removed their No’s 3 and 4 batsmen, so like London buses three came along at once. His 4th over was a little more expensive but he had already done the damage and got us back in the game.
We had a sniff and some were dreaming of a great comeback when their 5th wicket fell at 70 in bizarre fashion. Their star player (presuming he was as his nickname was ‘ Champ ‘) hit the ball to the boundary when our ‘ Champ ‘ McIntyre chased the ball down and hurled the ball into the non-strikers end with such velocity that the skipper could see two of his fingers being decapitated if he tried to gather the ball in cleanly and attempt a run-out. Instead, remembering his delicate footballing skills (London Saints Footballer of the Year 1985 I have you know), he turned and met the ball, coming in at the speed of light, on the half volley with a stunning strike that cannoned into the stumps and removed both bails. Their umpire astonished by this deft footwork claimed that he hadn’t seen it (well it was at lightning speed) but that it must be out as the batsman was two yards out of his crease. In the absence of DRS, common sense and honesty prevailed as their Champ gave himself out and walked off. Unfortunately we couldn’t keep up the momentum after this point and Nascott ran out fairly comfortable winners in the end, not losing another wicket, with 10 overs to spare.
So a good early season workout / net for some of us in a game that we were not disgraced and something for us to build upon.
Man of the Match – if White Viv had arrived earlier and batted the full duration then maybe he would have challenged as would Mike if he had some luck with his bowling to go with his good batting but the winner and (wait for the Smith roar) has to be John ‘Nice Pint’ Smith for his, London buses, 3 for.
Champagne Moment – Tony’s observation that White Viv was looking more and more like Julian Assange these days had a few of us amused at the start of the day as did Johnny G’s commitment in the pub afterwards that he would commence an 8 week Couch25k course (choosing Michael Johnson as his virtual running coach) so that he would be ready to undertake the tour parkrun challenge on the Saturday morning alongside Messer’s Lucan, Jones and Pearce. The winner (through unanimous vote in the pub – well the 5 that were there) has to be the skipper’s silky feet skills to run out the oppo’s Champ and avoid decapitation from Mike’s missile throw from the boundary. Rumours that he shut his eye’s through blind panic are wide of the mark.