London Saints

LSCC vs. Roadrunners Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire. – 23rd June 2019

Roadrunners – 151-8 35 overs (Jacko 2-10, Tiger 2-9)
LSCC – 149-8 35 overs (Tiny Temper 50 not out, May 18 not out)

With the end of June fast approaching, your author was looking forward to his season debut buoyed with the excitement of the ongoing cricket World Cup and there being some genuine nail-biters in the run up to our game…none more so than the West Indies defeat the day before.

The result of that game had seen Dave Nanton’s haunted face in the crowd caught on telly and so shared all over the LSCC Whatsapp group. For Dave, it was going to be déjà vu all over again.

A Plucky underdog narrowly failing to beat the favourite was the pattern and one that sadly we ended up joining after a cracking match against the always affable Roadrunners.

Prospective skippers Pearce and Griffiths daunted at still seeking the season’s first win were happily replaced by eager to skip Andy Mayhew who then won the toss and despite seeing England continually fail to chase down a score, said we’d like to bowl first and try and do better.

To be fair the skip had a fine array of bowling choices and opened with Nanton and Dover whose deliveries soon showed that the pitch wasn’t particularly bouncy and actually a slow low one.

Their very decent spells meant Roadrunners first team Saturday skipper Yarnell wasn’t able to tonk us at anything like the pace of last year with both going for a very respectable 4 an over backed with some strong fielding, the Saints were well in the game! Dover claiming the first wicket when bowling (or was it stumped?) opener Rob for 9.

This brought Roadrunners two best bats to the crease, skippers Vishal and Yarnell and the run rate soon increased. Debutant Ben Elbogan finding a tough time to be given his first bowling spell for the club by the skipper.

A bullet of a shot by Yarnell was put down at mid-off by yours truly which if taken could have made all the difference – so ashamed was I at this that I left the field for 10 overs or so seeking sympathy from anyone who’d listen that I thought my thumb was broken and my season was already over…. Fortunately, this offered 12 and 13th players Nice Pint and Lana a chance to continue rotating the fielders to keep the overall fielding standard to a higher level.

Once Vishal was out for 25 and Yarnell retired at 51, the second half of Roadrunners innings saw a great ‘squeeze’ by the Saints with only one other bat reaching double figures (Vic Catlin) .

This fielding display included Ben completing a calm run out of Shibley for a duck and he actually threw to the right end – he’ll soon learn bad habits and not to do that!

Slimline Speedo also took a great stumping too off a very low delivery, but we’ll need to check the scorebook as the scores below don’t show it – I’m pretty sure Gary will be able to help us correct that injustice!

5 catches taken was testimony to the general fielding level we showed, and an enjoyable tea was taken with palpable excitement that we might actually be in the game although there was some concern at the mooted batting order. Skipper Mayhew seemingly needing to recover from a frenzy of fielding positioning and pointing during their innings was putting himself well down the order…. Others thought it might be red-ink related….

Judas and Tiny opened in the end and sought to build a solid base against some ‘diverse’ bowling which was ended when Yarnell bowled Johnny all ends up – he was not to be the last batsman to go that way!

The middle order then watched with delight as Tony at 3 joined Tiny and put on a fine display of defence against a lot of good balls and both using some imaginative shots to keep the scoreboard ticking over – if not entirely up with the run rate – but importantly seeing off the better bowlers.

Tony’s knock came to its usual demise when his son-in-law no.2 was able to give him out LBW – perhaps also for the 100th time, certainly feels like it?

Ben joined Mike for his maiden innings and failed to adhere to the usual ‘duck on debut’ rule scoring 4 before a hobbling Vishal who is now a quick spinner skittled him – the pitch was showing prodigious turn, oddly missing for me, perhaps their ball was out of shape?

Tiger went out and had his trademark innings (when not a duck) so that’s a Chinese cut for the first run, a host of lusty air shots, the very odd boundary and then out – this time caught on the boundary when trying for a 6.

This forced Mayhew to the crease and combined with Mike, an astonishing array of runs were generated from balls not reaching beyond the square – whether it was Andy’s £120 kiddies bat hindering his power or deliberate ‘bunts’, this proved highly effective with both players running well to keep the scoreboard ticking along nicely. No signs of red ink being sought either!

Tiny brought up his maiden 50 and retired bringing Nanton to the crease with the skipper. 117-4 off 30 overs. Roadrunners were worried and needed to use the max 7 overs from both Vishal and Yarnell who were brought back on but we were in the game with Dave channelling Carlos and standing tall to hit Yarnell for a 4 back past the bowler… but then bowled next ball sadly to the same bowler (as Mayhew had fallen too).

Brian/Theresa/Philip May made his maiden innings and like Ben, failed to appreciate that means a mandatory duck and instead looks a serious prospect hitting some splendid boundaries meaning 29 needed off 3 overs left became 11 needed off the last over.

We bat deep of course and Paul Dover was partnered with May so a ball by ball commentary for absent skipper DT and others recorded the last over as we got the score down to just 4 off 4, Jon hitting a 4 which so nearly went for 6 but then with a wide and a run, Jon was now off strike.

Dover saw the chance to win the game in one shot as we’d all do in the same position but sadly was bowled an accurate Shibley (fair play to him by the way bowling a decent over under such pressure) and Jacko went out with 3 needed off 2 … given nothing to hit, a dot ball left us needing something dramatic off the last ball but it wasn’t to be as instead Paul was bowled when swinging for the runs needed.

We were all gutted. But what a game!

Then in a flash Tony cheered us all up by pointing out the season’s first duck had just happened so the Duck Trophy is now up and running and with a silver duck at that!

The return game is much anticipated in early August and we just need a whip round to send Yarnell off on holiday – victory will be nailed on then for sure!

Man of the Match
An impressive all-round debut from Jon May (nickname awaited) marks him out as a man of the match winner before long whilst an impressive bowling spell from Jacko also had him in the running.

Co-incidentally both took catches off Tiger Pearce’s new 2019 magic ball, the ‘going down leg very slowly stinker’ and taking such a catch is normally enough to secure any MotM award in my opinion but the rare sight of 2 fielders doing so means that usual criteria has to be ditched this time.

The clear choice therefore is Mike Tiny Temper McIntyre with a splendid innings and his first half century for the club – there weren’t many boundaries but those we saw early on were glorious and not many others in our team could then have the athleticism to get the rest of their 50 with so much running! Including 2 not-so fat-boy 3’s run with willing partner, Skipper Mayhew (would he have bothered when not wearing the armband we wondered?)

Mike’s fielding was as ever superb and was unlucky not to pick up a wicket in his spell.

Champagne Moment
Tonker Yarnell needing to retire at his 50 was cause for celebration in some ways whilst his father complementing we spectators for our number 3 (Tony) for his fine technique in seeing off his son’s pacey bowling were pleasing to hear – especially impressed as he was when it was explained that Tony has actually been listed in Wisden, albeit in the 1950s!

Johnny G brought on to bowl demonstrated his confidence as a player now with 100+ career wickets, by rebelling against skipper Mayhew’s very imaginative leg-side field for him with just the 1 player on the off-side (which was the short boundary) by promptly bowling a long-hop at least 3 foot outside the off-stump to be hit straight to the boundary – that soon got the field rebalanced!

The stand-in skipper wanted the champagne moment to be Pearce’s dolly-catch of Roadrunners skipper, Vishal, forced into a false shot by debutant May and claiming his first wicket for the club. Skipper Mayhew had just moved Nice Pint to a key fielding spot and hidden Pearce with his poorly hand at Silly Mid-on (thanks Andy) when the chance came. Tahir’s celebratory run when taking a wicket is nothing compared to Andy’s when he thinks his field positioning has taken one! Catches win matches … but not this time.

Inspired by the insurgent Griffiths, I’m instead going to pick Dave Nanton’s great sportsmanship as with every run crucial in a tight run chase, Dave smote a trade-mark pull to square leg which was heading for a crucial boundary when it hit the aged Roadrunners fielder flush on the cheek there – rather than run as he could have done, Dave instinctively went to see if the fielder was ok (he was fortunately) so well done him and well done boys for all supporting that sportsmanship!

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