London Saints v Trafalgar – Sun July 28th – Old Haberdashers CC, Elstree / Borehamwood
London Saints 95-4 (McIntyre 31 no, Mayhew 16)
After the mammoth tour report last week, this week’s effort is much reduced which is a shame as it coincides with our first, and much overdue, win of the season? When Statler, or is it Waldorf?, handed the team sheet to skipper Griffiths, John must have purred with delight at the bowling riches given to him today and at the end of our bowling spell, Phil (on his first appearance of the season following cataract surgery) remarked “ Is this the same London Saints team I used to play for “. Statler (or W?) conscious of last week’s criticism tried not to interfere but to no avail with skipper Griffiths suggesting that Il Duce’s nickname be changed to ‘ Backseat ‘ !
Many of England’s knackered World Cup squad chose not to play in the following weeks test match v Ireland and the same applied to the ranks of LSCC who had endured an arduous tour to Somerset the previous weekend. Five new, and fresh, faces were brought into the team spearheaded by brothers George and Henry Dowson who, as they are in their 20’s, also considerably improved the LSCC’s fielding which was last seen wilting over the Downs of Somerset. George and Henry were also joined by the welcome return of 2016 Player of the Year, Phil, Son-in-law No 1 Richard and Gary “I’ve been let out to play despite Passport gate “ Speedtwin.
Skipper Griffiths proved he wasn’t such a bad tosser after all by winning the toss and inserting Trafalgar, a wise choice under low cloud and threatening skies (which promised to improve as the match progressed) and a dodgy pitch which hadn’t been properly prepared due to the heavy rain of the previous two days. George took the new ball and proceeded to nearly knock their opener’s head off first ball as the pitch gave some surprising bounce after the overnight and morning rain. Their opening batsman endured a torrid first over but survived George’s bombardment. The first ball of the next over (a trend that we copied a few times in their innings) saw the first breakthrough as Phil had the other opener lbw. Their batsman was not happy especially as the umpire was his skipper (Judas 123 must have felt some kinship with his fellow skipper) and rivalled the strop thrown by Witham Friary’s star player the previous Saturday. “It hit me on the f**king thigh, have you seen how much bounce there is on this pitch“ he shouted as he returned to his teammates. “He can’t give me out first ball” he exclaimed but, from our point of view, he got what he deserved for wearing a Pompey shirt to the crease to show his allegiance to the fishy few. “You skate ba**ard” was what most of us thought and he was lucky the skipper didn’t let George onto him and properly knock his head off -) -).
From the first ball of George’s next over, their batsman groped at a lovely ‘ corridor of uncertainty ‘ ball which Speedo took with ease behind the stumps. On the first ball of George’s 3rd over their next batsman skied a high one which was brilliantly taken by Son-in-law No 1 Richard – they were 10-3 amidst mutterings of discontent from their waiting batsmen and threats of “wait till we get out there we’ll knock their heads off” (all in earshot of Statler on the sidelines who was taking notes). George took his 3rd wicket in his 3rd over and at 17-4 we were well on top. Skipper Griffiths could have gone for the kill but decided, in the spirit of Sunday social cricket, to change the bowling. Jacko was brought on – Statler informed their team that they would be pleased as Jacko is considerably slower than George so what happened? – 1st ball of Jacko’s spell it happened again – a wicket as their batsmen offered up a relatively easy catch for George to take standing at cover. 20-5 and they think it’s all over but their star, young, and new to us, all-rounder (named Henry) came to the crease and hit his first two balls for 4 then a 6 and off his third ball gave Jacko a very difficult caught and bowled chance which could have broken his hand if it hadn’t hit the fleshy part. Off Jacko’s next over Henry scored another 6 and two more 4’s and moved the score quickly onto 61, a stand of 41 of which he had scored 39. We obviously had to get him out soon and thankfully Oneliner clean bowled him which stopped their momentum and then Jacko nipped in with another wicket with Phil taking the catch to put them on 62-7. Richard came on to bowl a fine spell getting a wicket with an excellent smart catch from Speedo behind and, as they were getting bogged down, their ninth wicket fell to an excellent piece of fielding by Phil running out their only other batsman to reach double figures, Kerrigan for 20. The innings was concluded with a finely taken c+b from Tiny Temper to complete our best all round performance in the field this season.
We retired to the newly refurbished (they’ve spent £250k on it) pavilion for the new buffet style teas which seemed an improvement especially as the scones were available to all and not always kept down one end of the table as before (no names Judas, Tiger etc?). The bar area is much improved but the beer kegs are turned off during the summer as the Old Haberdasher CC’s players are not drinkers, unlike their winter rugby compatriots, making it uneconomic, so we had to, as usual, be content with the cans and bottles that Pauline buys at Costco for 99p and sells to us for £3!!.
Anyway back to more important matters and the skipper (with no help from Backseat, well perhaps a little?) decided upon his batting run chase line-up as we would soon find out whether it was a superb bowling performance from us or their score was the result of a crap pitch. Trafalgar came out firing with Kerrigan and Henry (who had scored 59 of their total of 94 runs between them) opening the bowling so we countered them with our own Henry (making his debut and the skipper Judas 123). Henry (ours not theirs) looked very composed and will be a great asset to us if he can play more next season and John looked like, well, a man who has been struggling for form all season. Henry (theirs not ours) bowled as he batted very erratically and with a decent cricket brain (where is Garry Burrell when you need him?) would have been dangerous. His eyes lit up with the bouncy pitch but he was far too short allowing our batsmen to get on the back foot and pick him off with relative ease. Well apart from the skipper who joined the duck trophy race as he did the ‘ get on the back foot thing ‘ right but got the ‘ keep the ball on the ground or avoid the fielder ‘ wrong as he dollied up a catch to the covers. The writing was already on the wall for John though as his parents turned up during the first over to watch him bat. John turned to Statler (or W?) who was umpiring and said “ Oh no look who’s turned up to watch me, I’ll be out next ball “ – well almost, it was the next ball !
Henry (theirs) encouraged by his wicket pitched the ball even shorter to no avail as our batsmen survived with ease (with Tiny Temper particularly and Andy Pandy to a lesser extent playing some lovely hooks off his short balls). Henry (ours) surprisingly played a loose shot to their other opener Kerrigan who was a much tighter bowler (7 overs for 12 runs) and was dismissed for 9 so at 14-2 were we to wobble and repeat their innings? No not with form batsman McIntyre and Mayhew in at 3 and 4 who took the score to 50-2. Trafalgar are quite rigid in their tactics and always bowl through their opening bowlers for 7 overs each unchanged. Their first change was also called McIntyre – this was starting to get confusing, we’d just had Henry bowling to Henry now we had McIntyre bowling to McIntyre, thank god we didn’t have Griffiths (J) batting with Griffiths (R) but that was never going to happen with Son in-law No 2 Griffiths (J) being first out and Son in-law No 1 Griffiths(R), after his excellent bowling spell, not due in until No 9.
Andy was out for a solid 16 and was followed in by George who played a brief but entertaining knock of 13 and then by One-Liner who was undefeated on 12 despite having a relatively easy chance dropped when two Trafalgar fielders almost collided (champagne moment contender if they were our fielders). Nothing though was stopping Mr Not Out, Steve Smithesque, Tiny Temper, McIntyre (ours) who made a splendid undefeated 31 following last Saturdays undefeated 50 and thus taking his LSCC 2019 batting average to 79.00. It wouldn’t be London Saints though if I didn’t dampen this by pointing out that Mike’s bowling average this season is 84.00 so he still owes us more runs!! We eased to victory with 13 overs to spare for one of our most comprehensive victories with the all-round bowling and fielding performance, backed up by solid batting, proving that the pitch was not as bad as Trafalgar were moaning on about. A performance not be faulted as everyone who bowled took wickets, everyone who had a chance in the field took it (6 catches and a run out) and everyone who batted scored runs (sorry John, apart from one) – so I will end with the fact that although, he may not have scored any runs, the team were excellently led by No 1 skipper Griffiths (J).
Trafalgar were an odd bunch, after complaining about the pitch and perhaps not helped by Statler (or W?) reminding them that we’d lost every game so far so you must be s**t (promise I didn’t use that word), but they buggered off after the game not bothering to even socialise for one of Pauline’s overpriced Costco bottles or pay for their teas or give us a copy of their scorebook!! – the latter two were resolved as Statler (or W) caught up with skipper later but still a strange reaction. It couldn’t spoil an otherwise excellent day, well apart from all trains beings cancelled into London for those who revelled in our success and Pauline’s beers.
Man of the Match – a difficult choice this week with so many good performances. If we’d had more to chase, Mike would have undoubtedly scored more than his 31no. Mike also might be destined for higher end of season awards so the award goes to George for breaking the back of the Trafalgar innings with 3 quick wickets (and like with Mike if he bowled his full quota George would have taken more wickets such was his form today) and an entertaining knock. A good start to his LSCC career for Dowson (G) as in his only other game for us last year he won the Champagne Moment for calling Tony (his senior partner by some 50 years) through for a quick single and running Clive Dunn out!
Champagne Moment – The reaction of the lone Skate was a great moment as was the near collision between two of Trafalgar’s fielders giving One-liner a lifeline but we should concentrate on ourselves. LSCC have had a history of finding certain scoreboards difficult to operate but Nice Pint took it to another level in displaying the score, wickets and overs – something which further infuriated Trafalgar as they constantly complained when they were in the field that they couldn’t make head or tails of John’s scoreboard interpretation! The award though goes to the skipper (and Statler or W would appreciate this) as his scrambled mind at tea (was it the fact that he didn’t have all the scones to himself at his end of the table at tea; was it the impending arrival of his parents to watch him bat and all that entails; was it the worry of having to decide the batting order at tea; or was it the general responsibilities of captaincy) led him to walk out to bat to face the quickest bowler we have faced this season on a bouncy pitch, without his box. The sight of John’s short fat hairy legs scampering back to his bag from the middle to retrieve adequate protection brought a chuckle to many of the supportive LSCC members present.
Liam lbw Rogers 2
Macca ct Speedtwin b G. Dowson 5
Jer ct R. Griffiths b G. Dowson 1
Rhys ct G.Dowson b Jackson 3
Jason lbw G. Dowson 6
Miles ct Rogers b Jackson 8
Henry b Nanton 39
Tony ct Speedtwin b R. Griffiths 1
Kerrigan run out (Rogers) 20
Alan not out 2
Ewan c + b McIntyre 0
Total 94 all out off 26 overs
G. Dowson 4-1-10-3
London Saints Batting
H. Dowson b Kerrigan 9
Griffiths ct ? b Henry 0 (quack)
Mayhew ct Kerrigan b Tony 16
McIntyre not out 31
G. Dowson ct ? b Tony 13
Nanton not out 12
Total 95-4 off 22 overs