Cricketers slump to heavy first game defeat
Well we all gathered together in the changing room of the very pleasant Crown Taverner’s Cricket Club ground, in god’s own county, in readiness for the new season. Debutant Mike McIntyre had been kitted out in Lilywhite’s finest, whilst others were opening their cricket bags for the first time since last August – thankfully not in the style of White Viv some ten years ago when he discovered the contents of his stomach amongst his kit ! However the player with most to boast about was Neil ‘ Barry ‘ Hotston who proudly showed off his brand new cricket boots which were purchased at a price bargain of only £ 22. And very impressive they looked too.
Being our first game we were a little undercooked with only four of the ten London Saints having been to nets for some practice. The ten soon became eleven when the barman, or should he be called the barboy, Mr A.Ringer, batted for us before going back to his bar duties. On the basis of the team being very raw, the Skipper hoped to win the toss and field first or persuade the opposing captain to bat first if he lost the toss. Unfortunately neither of these happened and our team were quite surprised to learn that we had been inserted by the Gents and asked to bat first !
What were we worried about as our openers raced to 37 without loss with John “ I didn’t nick it “ Griffiths being particularly dismissive of their opening bowler H.Patel. Dewy was the first to go bowled by Horace, their Skipper for a solid 11, in his first game back in the fold for a few years. John though kept going surviving life after life and thoughts were turning to a new nickname as he rapidly approached nine lives. Some cruel teammates on the sidelines counted an aggressive appeal, for a caught behind off John, as another life and recalled a similar incident in Brussels. But that is not fair as we all know that John always walks when he nicks the ball behind him.
At 52 – 1 we were very confident and wondering whether this was our best ever batting start to a season. A few minutes later at 59 – 6, including ducks for Mayhew, Hotston and debutant McIntyre, our horizons had been somewhat lowered. No-one else got into double figures, Mr Ringer got a very stylish 5 with the next top score being 3 and , as usual, we were indebted to Mr Extras helping us out as we were all out for 83 in 22.2 overs. Garry Burrell claimed the 4th duck of the innings so at least the duck trophy got off to a competitive start. Not a great performance first up and the fact that of our 10 wickets, 9 were clean bowled, showed our lack of match, or net, practice.
When Garry Burrell took a wicket in his first over, the 150th of his LSCC career, and another soon after to leave the Gents at 19 – 2, and with Pete bowling well at the other end, we had a glimmer of hope but our lack of bowling depth showed as Gents easily reached their target with 17.2 overs to spare.
We suffered the indignity of tea being delayed until both innings had been completed and being asked to play a 15 over a-side beer match. Then again it was some more match practice, it was a lovely ground and the sun was out. We fared slightly better in this format ‘ restricting ‘ them to 151 – 4 before replying with 108 -6.
Man of the Match – only one contender really with John Griffiths playing the stand out innings of 45 although special mention for Garry Burrell’s 150th club wicket
Champagne Moment – Back to Neil’s new shoes. In attempting to run backwards, looking over his head, to take a catch, Neil went arse over tit and fell, well, on his arse and then on his tit. Classic you had to be there moment, with Neil complaining that the studs of his new £ 22 shoes had got stuck in the grass !
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