London Saints

London Saints v Hermits CC Sunday 17th June 2018 Bloodied but unbowed

The bloodstains told a tale of battle, and heros… and glorious defeat. Yet, among the vanquished Saints was one who stood tall, leaving even the Hermits’ young challengers in awe. As others collapsed on different fields of battle in Kaliningrad, writhing as if in throes of death at the slightest touch, the sight of the veteran Tony Grimes waving off medical attention to finish his over with two dot balls, even as blood poured from a blow to the shin by a well-hit ball, is the stuff of legend. Later, returning to the heat of battle after having his wounds tended, he fearlessly stuck a foot out to stop – almost nonchalantly – another well-hit ball under his foot, when lesser men would have crumbled. But this was no mere foot soldier, as one opponent found out when Tony knocked back his middle stump and then stood Cantona-esque, head raised, slowing looking around him as if to say, “Are you not entertained?!” as the vanquished Tom trudged back to the sidelines. Legend!
But heroic tales need jesters too, and there were plenty of those as well, including the aptly-named scribe of this tale, One Liner, who tumbled headlong into the bushes over the ropes while making several attempts to pick up a ball that somehow managed to stay just out of reach as it rolled lazily toward the boundary. Hilda and the Bishop also joined in with their own comedic rolls.
First blood actually went to the Saints, your humble scribe partnering with Rogers to launch the attack with a blistering wicket maiden to have the Hermits reeling at 11-1. Rogers made it 11-2 from the other end, his consistent attack forcing the opposition to dig in before Tony the Titan entered the fray to break the deadlock with his aforementioned heroics. Enter the Hermit’s Olly B, who turned the tide against the Saints, smiting and smashing all in his path before retiring at 50 not out. On the other end, though, four wickets were falling by the Hand of Hilda, taking the field for the first time this year. Your most unworthy scribe, unhappy with his bowling after losing his way earlier, returned to snatch another maiden that included two wickets of the last two last balls of the over. Alas, One Liner is no Tony (or, indeed, a Hilda) and failed to get a third consecutive scalp off his next over, with the Hermits leaving the field at 203-9.
Captain Il Duce has been a revelation opening the (batting!) attack for the Saints this season and strode out confidently with Collis as the battle resumed. The latter (5) was soon replaced by Mayhew the Younger, who narrowly escaped a golden duck after lobbing his first ball to the slips. Mayhew had earlier risked the wrath of Il Duce by leaving the field unannounced to tend to Tony’s wounds and then sauntering back on mid-over but his score of 29, which included several attacking shots, took him to 2500 career runs for the Saints. His achievement was somewhat overshadowed, though, by his Neymar-esque antics, collapsing to the pitch as if shot by an arrow antics after being hit at the back of the leg by one of the Hermit quicks. Tony, on the field as umpire, looked disgusted.
With the skipper falling at 17 (four 4s and a single) Littlefinger John Griffiths entered the arena and left just as quickly with a Golden Duck to his name, the second victim of Page to leave him on a hattrick. Phil saw the next ball off, however, and batted with his usual consistency before holing out to the covers – caught at the third attempt by a juggling fielder for 32. Phil had been joined by Berkeley (33) and the two set about putting the opposition to the sword, threatening to lead the Saints to a repeat of the heroics that saw us win the corresponding fixture last year. But, caught up in the heat of battle and perhaps blinded by bloodlust, Pete “I want to win this!” Berkeley was both hero and villain, running out two of his fellow batsmen – Mike “Tiny Temper” McIntyre and Mark Barber, neither of whom were particularly amused. At least Barber, who had been due to bat at 5 but kept sending in others ahead, managed to score a single to maintain his record of never having scored a duck for the Saints. There was still time for Tony to take his place with the bat, assisted by Mike as a runner, before Littlefinger was recalled to bat again (the opposition had used 12 batsmen). It was a chance for him to redeem himself after his earlier Golden Duck, but alas, poor John still managed to end the game without even hitting a ball.
And so, in the end, the Hermits vanquished the Saints. But this was no crushing defeat and we live to fight another day with our highest score for the season thus far. The heroics of Tony the Titan, and of Pete and Phil the Punishers will be told for many moons to come and your scribe is proud to record their exploits. Thus spoke Barber as an Oracle before the game on seeing the youth of the opposition: “They’re so young, if you add up all their ages you get one Tony.” Wise words indeed!

Champagne Moment
Take your pick – it still goes to Tony Grimes. His muted-swagger celebration after taking a wicket was pure theatre; but his complete nonchalance in stopping a well-driven ball (one destined for the boundary) under his foot, especially after having been earlier patched up after being hit on the shins from a similar ball, takes the win.

Man of the Match
Pete Berkeley, playing his first game for the Saints this season, took four wickets (six, if you add the two teammates he ran out!) and top-scored alongside Mr Extras with 33. He even ended the game a little bloodied as well, after scraping his knee in the field! And so, the “debutants” (season, in Pete’s case) make it 4 out of 4!

London Saints 167/10 off 35 overs
Collis b F. Page 5
Thomas b F. Page 17
Mayhew caught b Jacob 29
Griffiths b F. Page 0
Rogers caught b Butcher 32
Berkeley caught b Butcher 33
McIntyre run out (Berkeley) 4
Jackson b Butcher 1
Barber run out (Berkeley) 1
Nanton caught b Farman 7
Grimes 6 not out
Griffiths (again) 0 not out
Extras 33

Hermits 203/9 off 35 overs
Blake, T. b Rogers 4
Farrell b Nanton 5
Joe ct McIntyre (wk) b Berkeley 33
Parkinson, T. b Grimes 22
Olly B retired 50
Hobbs b Berkeley 6
Blake, P. LBW Berkeley 6
Buxton not out 26
Page b Nanton 22
Luke b Nanton 0
Parkinson, S. b Berkeley 3
Farman not out 1
Extras 25

Phil Rogers 7-1-29-1
David Nanton 6-2-19-3
Paul Jackson 4-0-38-0
Tony Grimes 7-0-27-1
Pete Berkeley 8-2-52-4
John Griffiths 3-0-23-0

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