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June 07, 2006

Beamers unearth diamond, retain silverware, but fall short of crock of gold

Chigwell vs Brighton Beamers, Sunday 28th May 2006

There must have been a smile of satisfaction on Caveheart's face as he stepped into the East Brighton Park showers on Sunday afternoon, writes Niall Chafey, Beamers skipper. Perhaps he even started humming a jaunty little Bacharach number to himself as he lathered up and reflected on a job well done. True, he'd failed to heed the skipper's exhortation to stay there to the end, but he'd compiled a patient 31 to complement Randy's classy 67 and they'd combined for the third wicket to put the Beamers within twenty runs of a rare victory against the Chiggers. Shower over, as he towelled his hair and sauntered back down to the huddle of onlookers, Caveheart must have felt that he'd somehow been transported to a parallel universe. This looked like the same game of cricket, the same familiar faces, the same early summer sunshine, but rather than reading 122-2 the scoreboard now read 136-9.

Half an hour earlier the skipper had had to dampen down triumphalist talk from the waiting Beamers middle order as Randy treated us to a masterclass in controlled brutality and raced to a glorious half-century on his debut. The Dominator had made short work of Chafey and Smith, but when he went for three boundaries in an over he must have wished that he was already serving Earl Grey and crumpets in Miss Tiggywinkle's Norfolk Teashop. Indeed, the once-feared Dominator was renamed the Percolator as Beamer runs flowed from his bowling like so much Costa Rican Arabica. But games between these two great teams are seldom one-sided and when Randy and Caveheart fell in successive overs Chigwell realised they were still in with a shout. When the Beast and Siddens fell three runs later, the biggest Wobble since the Weebles had begun.

By the time the skipper had found a "6" to update the wickets column after Siddo's departure he had to turn it upside down as Marlena, Waynage and Musso all fell in the meantime. And so the Beamers found themselves still seven runs from victory with the Dominator back on in all his terrifying pomp, Allum N dealing up deadly dob, and just Jonners and Arthur at number 11, nursing a strained meta-arsal, the folorn hope left to deny them. But deny them they did for ball after ball. Then a couple of singles were gleaned and, praise be, a full toss allowed Arthur to punt a boundary down to fine leg and the scores were tied. Now the pendulum was swinging back towards the Beamers, but as it reached Jonners he gloved it to short leg and the scores were left tied on 142.

So, ultimately, we snatched a tie from the jaws of victory from the jaws of defeat from the jaws of victory. Much credit must go to Chigwell for coming back from the dead like that. Well bowled Dom (career average v. Beamers, 6.57!) and well batted Rob Allum (51 in the face of good bowling and even better sledging). Inevitably there was much beer-fuelled post-match analysis as individuals searched their souls as to where a run or two might have been saved when we'd fielded. For some individuals the search was quick and fruitful, but a tied match is a thing of rare beauty and should be cherished as such.

Chigwell CC 142-5 (Allum R 51, Lowe 3-42, Musset 2-18)
Beamers CC 142 all out (Ebert 67, Cave 31, Addison 6-49, Allum N 4-29)

Match tied, Beamers retain the Ashes

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