Trafalgar Freehouse v London Saints – Dundonald Park Rec – Sun June 2nd
Trafalgar 197-7 (Griffiths 4-49, Wilson 2-28)
London Saints 128-9 (Thomas 40, Calais 15, Wilson 15)
It was the hottest day of the year and the 62-year-old cricket legend was looking forward to spending his Sunday relaxing in front of the telly.
Outside, temperatures were soaring, but our hero didn’t care.
After all, the cricket was on and he had stocked his fridge with his favourite lager and positioned the comfy armchair in prime position.
A blissful eight hours was about to unfold ahead of him.
Then the phone rang.
It was Young David.
A brief feeling of panic filled our hero’s mind, because Young David only usually phoned when he needed something.
But he was also a cricket fan and maybe he’d phoned for a nice chat about the game on the TV.
Our hero – let’s call him James – relaxed.
But soon, however, the conversation took on a darker turn.
Young David wasn’t making a friendly call about the World Cup at all – like the most skilled telephone salesmen he had a secret agenda – little did James know that the London Saints due XI that day had been decimated by last minute injuries – gout (Nanton) and bad back (debutant Elbogen).
Before he knew it James had agreed to spend the day playing cricket for a team he had once graced a long, long time ago. In fact, so long ago that no one could remember if James was No1 or No2 on the team’s long and illustrious roster of players.
James, realising that his day of beer and TV cricket was about to be wrenched from him, tried protesting.
He told Young David: “I’m 62, for Christ’s sake, I’m far too old”
But Young David was ready: “You’ll be our fifth youngest player and 16 years younger than our 2017 player of the year.”
James realised that resistance was futile.
It seems that, as far as this team was concerned, age was no barrier – nor, it turned out later, was the ability to run or bend over.
And so it was that James found himself hours later in a park in south west London standing with a group of old men in various states of undress.
James has read about people like this – but for the rest of the day he had to think of them as his teammates.
They took the field amid soaring temperatures (Young David had lost the toss again).
For a while, the game was tightly fought and James – as one of the more mobile players – was sent to field on the boundary, resplendent in his bright blue shorts (his cricket trousers were still in one of his many overseas abodes).
The home team made a steady start on the bumpy, bone dry council park pitch.
Youth player (well it’s all relative) Paul Calais impressed with some tight bowling.
But, with both teams playing with 10 a side and the temperatures rising, the runs began to flow.
The deadlock was broken in the most unlikely of fashions – a stumping by Andy Mayhew.
Andy, fired up after a stumping appeal had been turned down just minutes before, whipped off the bails like (well, a little bit like) a wicketkeeper after Smith had played and missed a Griffiths snorter.
The rest of the team were praying that Andy’s success might make him stop moaning about the earlier decision, but he was having none of it and proceeded to play like a man possessed.
Pretty soon he had caught three (two off Johnny G and the other off Paul C).
Andy M’s stellar performance was then somewhat tarnished by an over of leg spin from White Viv which went for a frightening 21 (well, it would have been leg spin had they hit the pitch). White Viv was unceremoniously hauled off by Young David before he could do any more damage.
Ralph Wilson and Terrence Collis then tried their luck – with Ralph claiming two wickets in a tidy five-over spell.
Trafalgar’s innings closed on 197 – a tough but not impossible target on a pitch with a quick outfield.
Terrence and White Viv strode out (the latter anxious to score at least 21). Sadly, the partnership ended when Viv chopped a ball back on to his stumps. Wheeliebin Griffiths joined Terence and the pair were looking comfortable when both were out in quick succession – Terence leg before and Johnny G caught behind.
This brought Paul Calais and Ralph Wilson to the crease – but what the partnership lacked in nicknames it made up for with some rapid scoring until both holed out on 15.
Paul’s dismissal had brought Young David to the crease and the skipper impressed with some strong hitting. With former London Saints centurion and occasional opener Andy Mayhew still to bat hopes were briefly raised of London Saints getting back on target.
However, while the skipper was going well his partners fell, first Ralph, then Andy – ironically caught behind on 1.
Young David’s great knock ended with him on 40, Tony Grimes chipped in with a brave 8 with his injured shoulder and John Smith added to his daily Fitbit steps count with 4, leaving our hero James unbeaten on 2 as the London Saints innings ended 69 runs short.
Young David is 58 and three-quarters and hopes to be an astronaut when he grows up.
Man of the match: There were four contenders on an otherwise difficult day for London Saints. Firstly, Johnny Griffiths, making a welcome return to the attack grabbed four wickets (the first of which was his 100th for London saints), then Ralph Wilson whose 15 runs and 2 wickets were backed up by excellent fielding, then skipper Dave Thomas with the top score of 40 (DT wanted it to be known that he now averages 90 in his last 2 innings) but my pick was Andy Mayhew for his four dismissals in a noisy, all-action cameo behind the stumps.
Champagne moment: Our hero, James Whitworth, having been cruelly torn from his seat in front of the telly, provided the most entertaining moment of the match while he was being peppered on the leg side boundary by a succession of firmly struck shots. James did manage to get behind one such mighty heft, but he chose to ignore the old-fashioned approach of picking the ball up with his hands. Channelling instead the football skills of Nathan Redmond and a baby giraffe, James slowed the ball with one deft touch of his right foot, teed it up with his left, before volleying it over the boundary with his right. Less Jonty Rhodes more Mick Channon.
Frost c Jones b Griffiths 33
March st Mayhew b Griffiths 16
Martin c Mayhew b Calais 38
Liam c Mayhew b Griffiths 15
Rhys c Collis b Wilson 28
Mike b Wilson 9
Kerrigan not out 5
Miles c Mayhew b Griffiths 33
Phil not out 0
Extras 23 (byes 11, leg byes 1, wides 11)
Total 197 for 7 wickets. (30 overs)
London Saints bowling:
London Saints batting:
Jones b March 7
Collis lbw b Smith 11
Griffiths c wkpr b March 9
Calais c ???? b Rice 15
Wilson b March 15
Thomas c ???? b Stroudy 40
Mayhew c wkpr b Rice 1
Grimes lbw b Rice 8
Smith c ??? b ???? 4
Whitworth not out 2
Extras 18 (byes 0, leg byes 2, wides 11, no balls
Trafalgar won by 69 runs