London Saints

Friday September 2nd 2016 v Ex Blues at West Wickham, Kent

Ex Blues 239 – 4 (Griffiths 1-20, Smith 1-21, Berkeley 1-26, Keenan 1-35)

London Saints 140 (Griffiths 27, Wilson 14, Grimes no 13, McIntyre 13, Thomas 13) 

Our usual end of season game down in not so deepest Kent was, as usual, an enjoyable day and evening out against familiar and social opponents – Ex Blues CC, our 27th encounter. Hopes of a bumper turnout of 13 players evaporated with two late withdrawals, so thanks to Ralph Wilson for stepping in and Wath for making a slight detour on his drive to north Wales for his paddling exploits. The latest pull-out was John Watkins on the eve of the match after picking a fight with something hot in his kitchen to scold his hand – some may see this as an extreme length to go to, to avoid the duck trophy. Other notable and senior duck avoidance charges could be directed at Tiger Pearce (family cruise) and Flatliner Nanton (work commitments). This left only Paul Wathan playing today who had previously secured a duck this season – but this was ok we thought as if Wath scored a run (which he was bound to with his new bat still in pristine condition) the duck trophy contest could still be interesting as it could be snatched from his grasp by any of the other 10 if they achieved a golden today – but more of that later.

Much of the train journey down was spent discussing the merits of allowing Wheelie-Bin Griffiths a longer bowl today or at least a chance to come on earlier in the proceedings than usual, to celebrate what would be his 150th LSCC game. It was pointed out to him the examples of other senior players who can’t accept their place as specialists such as Lucan (in his case – a slow bowler) who every few years want to experiment with taking up the other art (in Lucan’s case – the David Gower No 3 spot). It inevitably ends in disaster and they go back to the ranks of their specialist art until they pipe up again every 5 years! We thought we had put the Ex-Councillor in his place until the skipper opened up his kit bag in the changing room only to realise that he had left his y-fronts at home. Now whilst this might not be as serious as leaving the score book at home, it ranks up there when it was discovered that the only person who had a spare pair to lend to the skipper was The Towel himself, Mr Griffiths and the price for lending the aforementioned jock strap was a bowl up the order! What can you do – so he was promised a good bowling spell. To be fair to Dishonest John (Royal Brussels CC 2011) he did offer the skipper a choice of pants allowing the skipper to choose the ‘ cleanest ‘ under garment whilst DJ agreed to wear the dodgy pair that bore a remarkable resemblance to the under garment that our ex player Roger Mason always would have worn (older readers will remember Roger’s famous skid-marked appearance !)

Anyway onto the game and not surprisingly, given our track record of just one win (though there have been 8 draws) in the previous 26 encounters, an arrangement was made between respective skippers that Ex Blues would bat first and set LSCC a target to chase. We decided to open with pace from end (McIntyre) and lack of pace from the other end (Lucan) without much success so replaced them with Clive Dunn and Pete Berkeley who brought back more control and in the process Pete’s 200th LSCC wicket. Ex Blues though continued steadily accumulating runs at a good rate. This is when (following the under garment arrangement) the skipper brought on  DJ Griffiths to bowl in partnership with Nice Pint Smith. JG’s bowling, obviously getting a nose bleed from bowling so high up the order, couldn’t handle the pressure and a lot of dross ensued but he did get a wicket with a ball that bounced twice. From the other end JS bowled a much better spell and a wicket was just reward from some accurate bowling. With JG taken off (and back to his day job of being our premier batsman) the skipper threw the ball around to our extensive array of bowling options with the only players not getting a bowl being Wath (dodgy shoulder) and Ralph (wk). Even White Viv was given the ball, much to the surprise of some and after a couple of trademarks wides, came back with 6 dots – wonders never cease! Lucan came back with a much better 2nd spell to claim a wicket but I’m afraid the same could not be said for the Ex-Champ McIntyre who was punished by some excellent Ex Blues batting. As this is being written before the watershed, Mike’s bowling analysis cannot be revealed (anyone wishing to know please contact the skipper after 10.00pm) suffice to say that Lucan’s infamous spell of 6-0-66-0 from a Somerset tour has now been surpassed.

A target of 240 was always going to be a challenging total as our openers, JG and White Viv set off. Old man Jones, despite trying to ‘ smell the ball ‘ struggled as his season long ‘ net ‘ continued – Andy, we all can’t wait for you to finally build your bl**dy net in your back garden so you can recapture the old glory days! Wheelie Bin, back to what he does best looked in his best form of the season racing to 27 before surprisingly getting out. The rest of us came and went with many getting a start, getting into double figures but not going on. The biggest anti-climax was Wath getting out for another duck, early on in the proceedings, and thus securing the duck trophy for the 3rd time. Nice Pint also joined him on the duck ladder with his first duck of the season and so will hand over the trophy he won last year to Wath. In fact it’s been a disappointing duck trophy contest in 2016 with only 6 ducks, half the total from 2015 when we played fewer games. We limped through to the end with Clive Dunn and Ralph both playing fine lower order knocks to give our innings some respectability.  

Nevertheless a good contest against Ex Blues who always tailor their team, and bowling to our ‘strengths’, making it a good day out – and our 28th game v Ex Blues for this time next year was confirmed in the bar afterwards. A good evening was had in the bar afterwards with the Player of the Year vote taking place and, along with postal votes, deservedly going to Phil Rogers (the 15th different recipient) by a wide margin – in fact the only other players to get more than 1 vote were Steve Keenan and John Smith with two each. It is the first time that Phil has won the award and a fair reward for his service to LSSC having now played 47 games for the club – pressure will be on him now to play more games next season to live up to the award.

Man of the Match : Despite some ribbing here about his bowling ‘ attributes ‘ the award goes to The Ex Councillor for his fine batting but mainly for giving the skipper his clean under garments and volunteering to wear the alternative ‘ Roger Mason ‘ stained pair himself !

Champagne Moment : Tony is really getting into the spirit of umpiring these days. Having been warned for his bowling action when we bowled (going too wide of the crease), when umpiring himself, he warned one of their players for running on the pitch and gave the loudest “Not Out“ reply to an appeal that has been heard for many years down in Kent! John’s underpants can’t win both the MotM and Champagne Moment awards so the award goes to Wath’s fielding on the boundary. His efforts were a reflection on how a lot of us fielded in this match but rather than giving it to the whole team it must go to one ‘effort’. The ball was hit towards Wath on the boundary but despite being only two yards from the ball, he couldn’t stop it, trod on it, went arse over tit and watched the ball going over the boundary line. In then trying to get up off the floor he found his legs to be like Bambi on ice, or BC Arundale after a heavy session, and down he went again, this time tit over arse, to much amusement from his teammates!

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