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September 02, 2004

Chigwell Almost Get the Runs at Bank Holiday Barbecue (WG Gracefully 30/8/2004)

Chigwell's last home game of the season was the visit of WG Gracefully, and was followed by the now traditional club barbecue. WG gracefully conceded the right to field first at my behest, on the grounds that we needed to bat second in order to prepare the barbecue. Dom thundered in and snaffled an early wicket, courtesy of a sharp catch at short leg by Joe Rudkin, making a very welcome return to the side. A good start, but the next two wickets put on about 140 runs, with the highest scoring batsmen both surviving catching chances that we would normally hope to take. Joe took another catch close in, but when bowling struggled to find the right line and length. Matt Sutton, guesting from Fives and Heronians, found it hard to keep his balance running in to bowl, and asked to be taken off. Brad and I were thus thrust into the attack, and were immediately rewarded, Brad striking first ball. From this point on the momentum swung back in Chigwell's favour. The standard of fielding improved greatly and fine catches were held by James, Harvey, and Dom. Nick replaced Brad in the attack to great effect, his truncated spell returning four wickets. Charlie delivered the coup de grâce, claiming the last wicket via my regulation catch, and WG Gracefully had subsided somewhat to a total of 209 all out. Chigwell looked, on paper, to have a strong batting line up, but were a little short of openers; Rob Allum gamely agreed to start things off with Harvey. He may well have wished he'd declined, when his off stump was knocked back before he had scored. Joe joined Harvey, but after a few lusty blows Harvey edged to the keeper and was out for 19. Matt Sutton joined Joe and assumed the role of anchor man. Joe smashed a straight six into Matt's dad's car, but soon afterwards perished for an impressive 49 whilst attempting to hit the ball over the M11 and into the solarium at what used to be Buckhurst Hill School. James added some tidy runs, then Dom smashed a quick fire 38 to reduce the asking rate to under six per over. Once Dom had departed Ritch joined Matt, and this pair had taken us to the point of victory (10 required from 2 overs) when disaster - only 3 off the penultimate over, and then further disaster - Matt skied an attempted heave and was caught, having notched a patient 50. Ritch was left on strike, having crossed, and we needed 7 from 5 balls. Ritch couldn't get a bat on either of the next two deliveries, then smashed a four though wide mid off to leave us needing 3 from two balls. A fine piece of bowling, a yorker on middle stump, proved too good for Ritch, and Nick had to come to the wicket to face one ball, needing 3 to win. He managed to keep out another good ball, but couldn't get it away for any runs, and the game ended in a draw.

Of course when a game is so nearly won there are always a thousand little things that could have made a difference, but on balance I prefer to think that everyone played their part in an exciting game; any match that has so much hanging on the last over must be a good one.

The barbecue was a resounding success, thanks to the food contributions made by everyone, but mostly due to the massive amount of effort put in by Linda, Kate and Angela to ensure the meat etc. actually got cooked. I personally can't thank them enough. It was great to see a few faces that don't get along to the cricket so much these days, like Doug & Diane, Si Thorpe, Rita Wiskin, Flacky etc. and I reckon we should make sure that we maintain the barbecue tradition - although the committee, of which I am of course a member, need to organise the event a little better in future!

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