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August 25, 2006

Dashing Davis Derring-Do Delivers Defeat to Hainault & Clayhall

After cocking up the team selection for the season's penultimate home fixture I was hoping for an easy ride against Hainault and Clayhall, and thanks to an outstanding team performance this is exactly what transpired.

On a dry day in the midst of many wet ones the toss looked a
good one to win; the pitch was almost certain to be flatter
and better behaved later in the day, once some of the
moisture had disappeared from the juicy surface. At the
appointed start time we were short of two players however,
one of whom was an opening bowler, so losing the toss and
being put in to bat was not the disappointment it may have
been. Harvey and Rob A were well underway by the time the
late-arrivals arrived. It would have been possible to note
exactly how many overs had gone when they arrived, because as
scorer I had decided to alert the batsmen to exactly how our
run rate was progressing by displaying both the score and the
number of overs bowled. This information was not regarded as
necessary by Rob, who like his brother is always at full
awareness.

Rob and Harvey did what they had to do, batting through the
very tricky first 10 overs, taking the sting out of the
attack and the aqueous venom out of the pitch. Each survived
a chance, but Hainault and Clayhall were unable to complete
the dismissals and a very valuable stand of 78 had been
realised before the first wicket fell, Harvey gone for 29.
John joined Rob just in time to see the slow pitch induce a
false shot from the Chigwell number two and Rob departed for
37.

James and John then put on 44 for the third wicket, James
wielding his Uzi like the terminator at a Sarah Connor
convention until one stuck in the chamber and he was bowled
for 34. Paul, or Newman Senior, tried to maintain the fast
scoring, but was caught having acquired 7 runs. Nick was
next up and his partnership with John was progressing well
until a crazy mix up - John yelling "Yes" and Nick
yelling "No" - ended with John suffering the supreme
irritation that is being the victim of a run out.
Nigel, myself Brad and Zarghum came and went, the only
highlights between us being Brad's two scoring shots, for 3
and 4 together with his final dismissal, LBW, where he seemed
to walk around the stumps half a dozen times before seeing
James' raised digit. Hannah held up one end well allowing
Nick and extras to add a useful 13 runs from the final over,
inducing a declaration at 196 for 9. This was a good score
for the conditions we had batted in, but things had begun to
get easier, and we feared it might not be enough.
Tea was okay, a ripple of excitement ran through the room
when some mustard was detected in a ham sandwich, but
otherwise it was uneventful.
The Hainault and Clayhall innings was torn to shreds by a
scintillating team display from Chigwell in the field.
Zarghum set the ball rolling, sending the H&C captain on his
way LBW. His next wicket came courtesy of a simply breath-
taking catch by Brad, one handed and completely airborne, at
square-leg. It was the finest catch I have ever seen him
take, and definitely the best catch of the season so far.
Words fail to capture the sheer brilliance of it, and it
further inspired the whole side, so it was no surprise when
James, having a day off from wicket-keeping, executed another
great catch at extra-cover to give Zarghum his third wicket.
I had granted myself the other opening bowling slot,
and "joined the party" with a wicket of my own. Hannah
replaced me and bowled her best spell under my captaincy,
claiming two wickets, one bowled and one well caught by
Zarghum. I had a feeling that what with "The Catch" it might
well be Brad's day and he certainly did not let the team down
with his excellent spell of 5.5 overs 4 wickets for 17 runs.
3 of these wickets came courtesy of slip catches by Rob A,
one in particular standing out as another high class catch -
a low swooping dive to a dying ball to the right and in front
of him. The last wicket fell as a top edge flew high towards
a number of potential catchers in "the cordon", Harvey
realising that if Rob took it he would be "on a jug" for
three catches, wisely left it for him.
Sadly the scorebook does not reveal the final score for H&C,
but I think it was about 78, the value of our opening stand.
What a pleasure the whole event was, and a very easy game to
captain. Our mettle may be more tested next Monday by WG,
but with Strength Honour and Davis we will surely prevail.
Man of the Match - Cheesely Bratwurst

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