The Wandering Fox Stumbles into Chingford (29/04/07)
The opening pair of Harvey and the cheating wotsit looked comfortable enough and whilst runs may not have come freely, neither seemed to be in too much discomfort out in the middle. The terror of WG then begin to open his arms to carve a few away nicely before getting trapped by one that seemed to keep low.
With kidneys now seemingly in full working order but with an ageing body creaking under the exerts of Saturday cricket, Allum, R. strode to the crease and it was soon business as usual, solid defence with scoring opportunities pounced upon. Harvey looked good until he picked out the fielder whilst attempting to pull one to the boundary.
Next came the welcome return of Mitz for his first game of the season together with the familiar sound of leather on garden fences. In typical style, Snooty progressed briskly and with a blossoming partnership beginning to develop, Chigs were still in with a good chance of setting a competitive total. However, after holing out for a jug avoiding 45, today’s debutant skipper stepped out knowing that a captain’s innings was needed to settle the listing ship.
Unfortunately, facing the wily McGreggor, I had the usual problem of how exactly to deal with proper line and length bowling. Solution, pad up and go after the other guy. Fool proof. After departing following the unusual experience of a mid-innings explanation to the boundary of the benefits of sitting in a wooden box to write down numbers, my worst fears of choosing to bat first were beginning to be realised.
Nick fortunately provided some much needed ballast to the innings but perhaps lacked the security of knowing there were many more to follow and was a little hamstringed on what was already a wicket that had so far proved difficult to score off. Thankfully Chigwell rallied and whilst our total may have been a lowly 156 on a day when somewhere around 240 was required, we had at least salvaged some pride by batting our time and we even enjoyed a touch of bun smearing by our prodigal son.
After a typically splendid Chingford tea, the skipper now realised that after having completed the task of picking a batting order, he now had to choose his bowlers carefully and work out how to set a field. Without wanting a volley of sweet northern dialect, I threw the ball to Miss Milly to open the bowling and hoped and prayed for a devastating opening spell. Not far off! The opener’s middle stump was soon disturbed and the fox hoped that the bugles that he had heard earlier in the afternoon had been a false alarm and the hounds would be avoided for another day. No such luck unfortunately. Dom continued to bowl well with accuracy and pace and Paul cleared up nicely behind the sticks. However, on a day where luck and slip-catching avoided him, Dom was left with his solitary scalp.
Frank bowled well, and whilst not claiming any wickets, went for a relatively economical 28 off his 5 overs and showed a great deal of promise for the rest of the season. However, with such a small total, bowling changes had to be made for fear of letting the game drift away. Mitz and Rob found no assistance on what I should have realised wasn’t a seam-up wicket. Whoops, oh well.
Remembering at least that spin works, Nick halted the run rate and turned the match once again into a semi-competitive occasion. Brad, in turn, immediately repaid faith by claiming his wicket and was unlucky not to take a second. However, once the young lad Peek had decided that he had seen enough he polished off the game, and Nick’s figures, to ensure that Chigs were finally put out of their misery.
How do I remember the first time? Was it the worst time? No, I hope not. Simply, we did not set a high enough total against a strong team and were stuffed from there on in. Lessons have been learnt but hopefully, with time to lick its wounds, the fox will be able to venture out of its den once again some time this season to lead us, next time, to victory.
Man of the match: Rob Allum