Hairy Love Monster the Hero as Chigwell Pull Off Yet Another Dramatic and Magnificent Victory! (South Woodford 19/6/2005)
I arrived at the ground which was bathed in glorious sunshine to contemplate whether I could risk batting first with what looked like a rather weaker team than usual with 11 players unavailable! I had been advised by Rallum, Nick and the president that I should not take the risk and had to bowl first even in these conditions for the sake of the match although the rest of my team did not seem to agree! However, their skipper successfully called tails and inevitably chose to bat much to the delight and excitement of some of his teammates.
I opened the bowling with Dom and Rallum but there was no early breakthrough as two difficult chances went begging. Dom as always bowled fast and with a lot of heart and was once again unfortunate to only take 1 wicket when his spell deserved 3 or 4. Rallum as ever bowled a tight and accurate spell, which was extremely long especially in the conditions, but my options were limited and he did finish with 2 wickets.
I replaced Dom with Nick but things did not go according to plan as by now their overseas paid player was at the crease and hit him for 4 huge sixes. Nick was not happy but there was little I could do to protect him and I asked him to persevere, he was finally rewarded with a wicket. I kept Rob toiling at the other end whilst I considered my options. I contemplated both Owen and Olly before deciding to try my own luck. It proved to be a good decision for me as I firstly managed to get the only LBW of the day before grabbing 3 clean bowled including the danger man as they increased the tempo and looked to reach 250 before the close. I replaced Nick with Mitzy and Dom volunteered to go behind the timbers. Mitzy also received the treatment and was replaced by Rob for what proved to be the penultimate over. I thought Dom kept really well only conceding one bye. The Chigwell fielding was excellent and we kept on going right until the end for almost 3 hours never wilting in the searing heat. There were also 2 catches for Owen, one of them at short mid on! They finished on 231 for 8, which we could achieve, but it required runs from the top six and a solid start.
With this in mind I decided to open with Mitzy and Nick. The start could not have been better as they built an opening partnership of just over 100 in very good time. Nick batted really well and very positively scoring 39 at a run a ball before being bowled going for a big shot. Mitzy hung around and played some glorious shots to put us in a strong position to hit 75 off 60 odd balls before going to a catch. Last week's hero Dom had been promoted to number 3 and was looking good for his 15 before playing the same shot as Mitzy and perishing in the same fashion. Rob had been dropped down to 4 as he was batting with a fractured hand. He showed tremendous grit and bravery whilst in great pain as he nudged and nurdled the ball around like Javed Miandad for 21. Rob did manage to hit two 4's that were pure timing, and avoided a third attack on the pavilion window and disturbing the dancing teenagers who were oblivious to the building tension outside.
When Rob was out Olly came to the wicket and when Tim H followed cheaply I came out to join Olly with 30 required at about 5 or 6 an over with 8 overs left. We took the score to within 8 or 9 of victory when Olly was caught at slip for a cameo, quick fire 18, but we had a big over before his dismissal with Olly hitting his 2nd and 3rd boundaries before his demise, runs that were to prove crucial in the final analysis as we were almost home.
With Olly gone we now needed 7 runs from 11 balls but we had some unknown batsmen to come and time was running out. I was surprised and relieved to see Owen coming to join me, who had volunteered to bat at number 11 to allow his 2 friends to come in before him. However, as the most experienced batsman left Owen had taken an executive decision to come in next and what a good one it was to prove to be.
We reached the last over needing 3 to win and with me on strike. We ran a sharp single off the 1st ball leaving 2 runs required off 5. Owen failed to connect with the next one but then played a glorious leg glance off his glove as we scampered home for 2 and a memorable victory!
Special thanks go to Reobyn and Dave for turning out at such short notice and fielding really well in the true Chigwell spirit, I hope we will see you both again, also to Steve Drabwell who on his first outing this season managed to get in the way of anything that came anywhere near him and almost held on to what would have been a top catch early on.
Also, to our twelfth man in the form of the guys and groupie girls who roared Owen and myself to victory from the boundary edge. In true AC DC style for those about to win we salute you!
It was an absolute pleasure to skipper you guys today for this great club and I can't wait for the next opportunity, I thank every one of you for making it a memorable day.
May strength and honour go with you!