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May 25, 2005

First Away Win? I'll Have Some of That!! (Willingale 22/5/05)

The day started strangely for me. A dash to my deaf 94 year old Nan's house - she'd pulled the emergency cord and was not responding to the intercom - where I found her fully ok - and naked - in the bathroom. Shocked and relieved I headed to Willingale.

Charlie had had to pull out in order to play for Essex under 11s, so we were one short and that, coupled with a complete lack of knowledge with regard to the likely strength of the opposition, having never played them before, meant that I was happy to lose the toss and have to field first.

Phil had not yet arrived as we took to the field, being lost in darkest Essex, so I tossed the new ball to Rob Allum and Owen, freshly shorn and newly turned 28 years old. Owen set the theme for the Willingale innings by inducing one of the openers to play on, before deceiving the other with some useful left arm swing bowling. He finished with 2 for 24 off 7 overs, most of the runs coming from his last, slightly wayward over. Rob joined the party with a ball that clipped and broke the off bail, and things looked well under control. Ritchie bowled well, but couldn't quite reproduce last weeks magic, finishing with none for 28 off 8 overs. During this time Mr. N. Copper, who had arrived at the crease after Owen's second wicket, began to wield his bat like a member of the SPG might wield a police baton, taking a particular fancy to Nick's uncharacteristically wayward bowling. He hit a peach of a shot through the pavilion window - much to the alarm of the tea-ladies - along with three or four more sixes to the leg-side boundary.

Feeling Nick had suffered enough punishment I decided to bring myself on to replace him, although I must say I feared I would suffer similar treatment from Mr. Copper. After the aperitif of a gift wicket where the batsman played on, the ball scarcely having enough energy to reach the stumps, yet somehow dislodging a bail, my main course of bowling to Mr. Copper arrived.

He was obviously full of confidence, but he tried to smash the wrong ball and to my delight and surprise I saw the ball turn through the gate and bowl him! "HAVE SOME OF THAT" I yelled, sounding like the lovechild of Mike Reid and Delia Smith, and punching the air in best Brad Davis fashion. How embarrassing. My mum had turned up to watch too. Oh dear. It was a decisive breakthrough however. With their top scorer finally removed for 77 and time running out, Willingale huffed and puffed to a total of 181 all out, Phil Bannocks doing particularly well to take two wickets and a catch (off Brad), and Owen effecting one of the two late run outs.

Who to open the batting? Tim Hall was a natural choice, but could I risk Nick partnering him; would that run the risk of too slow a start? I decided to chance it, but after 8 overs there were only 11 runs on the board, and questions were being asked on the boundary. Then Nick and Tim began to accelerate, initially by taking tight singles, and turning ones into twos, and later by striking the ball to all parts of the ground. By the time Tim fell on exactly 50 runs the total had reached 134 from 26 overs. Nick was eventually out for 75, leaving Rob and Olly to bring home the Chigwell victory.

It was a really good team performance from Chigwell, with a fantastic vibe to the team on and off the field. And now the tour beckons. I gather from the Beamers' blog that they feel confident after a couple of victories over (no doubt) inferior sides. Beware Beamers, the Dominatrix might teach you a painful lesson in humility...

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