London Saints

Grant the hero

Dave Thomas and debutant Steve Grant added 34 for the last wicket in just seven overs. That made a game of it – but Saints’ total of 166 was still 20 short of what was needed, as we found out roughly two hours later.

That was largely due to one Simon Bevan. He has played the last three games for Cincinatti against us, and has scored a century every time – and not been out.

This time, he scored 117 not out in another virtually chanceless innings. As with LSSC’s first game of the season, one player made all the difference.

But hey, we’ve got a story of our own.

Steve Grant is a Saints fan who discovered LSSC a few months ago and has since appeared for the pool and darts teams. A couple of weeks ago, he was dubiously rewarded with a place on LSSC’s committee as website editor.

And against Cincinatti, he made his cricket debut at No 6 – his first game in 15 years – and top scored. At this rate, he’ll be manager of Saints next season.

(For the rest of the squad reading this and choking on their branflakes, hold onto your hearing aids: Steve is 28).

LSSC also had another reason to celebrate in defeat: the return to the team of our irregular but brilliant batsman Lui Patel. He last played in 2008 and scored 46 v The Gents:  this time he chipped in with 36 before top edging when well set.

He calmed Steve down after our debutee’s first three balls were tonked for four, two and two. Indeed, he settled Steve down so well he didn’t score again for ages – but the youngster went on to bat exactly half the innings and stay undefeated.

Earlier, Pete Berkeley had played solidly with Lui to put on a half-century partnership  and a late flourish of powerful drives from Johnny Quinn also helped LSSC to an above-average score.

One blemish on the card was the controversial run-out by umpire Quinny of Andy Mayhew. Andy takes up the story: “€œI wasn’t out. If he (Mr Quinn) was saying I was outside the crease, then I was out. But when the ball hit the stumps, I was in and had the bat down.”

On his return to the boundary, Mr Quinn offered a different view of events: “I don’t care what you all fucking think. I said he’™s out, so he’€™s out.”

The Duck Trophy also got under way with Dave Nanton and Gary Burrell chalking up the first fat zeros of the season – Gary off his fourth ball, but it could have been the first. Umpire Paul Wathan took pity on a plumb ball by explaining that the ball was Outside The Line, leaving Cincinatti incredulous.

And so to tea, Steve G making the schoolboy error of going for a shower to cool down and leaving his teammates to make light work of the Battenburgs, apple tarts and scones with jam and cream– even without JG and PP in the team.

He then compounded the error by asking if he could get a coffee. Suggestions that he might get a cappuchino off the groundsman were helpfully offered, along with a remaining cold slice of pizza.

Bellies full, veterans Thomas and Keenan opened the bowling with confidence high, and were further encouraged by conceding just 17 runs off the first nine overs, leaving Cinicinatti a target off 150 off 26 overs – or just under six an over.

But that was as high as the required run rate was to reach. With Bevan punching and pulling fours, LSSC were left to rue a dropped chance behind the stumps off the third ball of Keenan’s first over.

A couple of balls also dropped just short of Patel and Mayhew – but there were no other chances to hand. Lui picked up two sharp wickets in his spell but Bevan kept on scoring steadily.

Both Lui and Pete Berkeley beat the batsman but the ball bounced agonizingly outside the stumps.

An exasperated Tony Grimes was heard to say: “I’m bowling OK but I don’t know how to get him out.” On hearing this, Dave Nanton decided radical measures were required, so delivered his first ball two feet above the batsman’s head and straight to the boundary.

(It wasn’t a good day for Dave. He dragged his second ball onto the stumps for a silver duck then walked off to find the West Indies had collapsed to 61-6).

Cincinatti kept scoring steadily. With four overs to go, they required 18. But then Keenan was brought back on and the total needed rapidly diminished.

They made it with nine balls to spare. But not before Keenan had taken £2 off Berkeley who had challenged his ability to bowl a dot ball. He bowled two.

One curious aspect of the game was LSSC’s ability to pick up odd injuries.

Dave Thomas had to take himself off after one over having inexplicably strained rib muscles (although he came back later), while Keenan stopped one rocket with his shin (off his own bowling, naturally).

The most bizarre was Berkeley doing a Paul Pearce and running himself over with a sightscreen. At least PP fell under the one with plastic wheels. But Pete tumbled under a heavy metal wheel , which then ran up his shin.

At this rate, we won’t have enough players to last a season. Thanks heavens for Steve G – and Lui, who we hope will play more games. But with such a good spirit in the side, and generally good play, it won’t be long before our first win of the campaign.

Man of the Match: Steve Grant, by a whisker. Lui Patel was set fair for a big score and took our only wickets, but the youngster did brilliantly on his debut to score 41 not out with some confident shots – and a dose of luck. Fair play to him.

Champagne moment: One minute he was there, the next howling on the ground. No, not Pete’s sightscreen moment, but the one where DT tried to scoop the ball back to Pete only for the ball to run sideways along the boundary. Pete laughed so much at this outrageous attempt at fielding that the opposition easily ran three.


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