Chigwell dazzle in the drizzle (Hainault & Clayhall at Home 19/8/07)
The unlikeliness of any play had had its effect on the team. Owen had completed a monopoly board pub-crawl - 26 pints from Mayfair to Whitechapel (he missed Old Kent Road). This led him to text James on Saturday night saying he would be in no fit state for Sunday, and that he was "on a promise". Sadly for Owen his excessive consumption of alcohol made whoever it was withdraw this promise; no doubt Owen would have asked if he should stop touching her at that point.
Meanwhile Dom, the ex-bun butterer, having completed the sale of his and Tilly's café, led the normally retiring Tim M wildly astray, until they eventually crashed at 6.00am, confident that the rain had ensured Sunday would be cricket free. How they must have enjoyed my text at 11.30 advising them that we were still going to play! At least they made it, albeit on the cusp of lateness, a feat not attempted by the Hairy Love Monster.
I won the toss and after wide consultation decided to bowl. The pitch was damp, but actually held up pretty well considering; the bounce was generally consistent and there was no extravagant lateral movement. A rather ashen Dom opened the attack, Adam firing the bullets at the other end. A brave but mis-timed pull by the H&C opener, E. Alexander, soon brought the first wicket, Charlie comfortably catching him at mid on. This was Dom's first wicket, but despite his usual classy bowling no more came for him in this spell. M. Shinn, the number three bat, showed attacking intent, but picked out Tim with a slap to extra-cover, to give Adam a wicket.
The classiest looking batsman was undoubtedly the number 4, F. Alexander. He played some lovely shots and looked good enough to take the game way from us, but thankfully on 25 he decided to advance down the wicket to Mitz, yorked himself, and was bowled. Rob A replaced Dom at the plum end, but for once went unrewarded for his efforts. The day before he had claimed 6 wickets for a single run (which he claims was actually an unsignalled leg bye) when playing for the F&H thirds, so his wicketlessness came as a bit of a surprise. Even more surprising was the fact that Nick wasn't given a bowl, instead Brad and Charlie in tandem claimed 2 wickets apiece. Brad broke a blossoming relationship between the remaining opener, B. Hoskins, and P. Shinn, the latter caught by me at mid off when I dived forwards and just got my fingers under the ball. Two steps forward when the ball was in flight might have made it easier! Brad's other wicket was B. Hoskins, finally departing for 39, caught behind by James. He nobly walked, (it's good to walk), although the umpire was in the throes of turning the appeal down. Lucky he went or there might have been an eruption.
Charlie's first wicket was from his first ball, a wide one outside off. S. Glasse did extremely well to reach it at all, and again prevented a lot of controversy by walking, the umpire mysteriously claiming that he had called a wide before the batsman hit it! A routine stumping for James secured Charlie's second wicket and H&C stood at 103 for 7.
A period of quiet cricket followed as a necessary reconstruction was attempted by our opponents. I replaced Brad, but proved ineffectual and by the standards of the innings, expensive. Fearing they might extend the innings to compensate for the low score I brought back Dom and Mitz, who efficiently polished off the innings . Mitz bowled Mike, their skipper for a hard earned 22, and Dom took the last two wickets, the batsmen by then trying to hit every ball. U. Shafiq tried tracking him, but sent a catch to me at mid off. The innings closed courtesy of a fine catch by Nick at third man off a skied slash outside off stump by D. Austrey, who had also grafted well for 22 runs. Nick's catch rounded off a much improved display in the field; hopefully this improvement will be sustained until the end of the season.
We experienced a really dreadful tea - it has become so embarrassing to have to ask for £35 from the opposition for the dried unimaginative excuse for decent tuck; we will have to raise this issue - again - with our landlords.
An all Allum opening pair were first to reply for Chigwell. Nick having missed out on a bowl was delighted to receive the ball of the day, which uprooted his off stump; at least I think he was, as he thanked me profusely on his return to the gallery. Enter Richard, and the entertainment commenced. An innings which combined swish and swashbuckle, interesting buttock swaying (avoiding the leg side deliveries) and exquisite hand eye co-ordination, produced six fours and a glorious 6 before he was caught at deep mid on. He had scored 35 by then, and had entertained us all royally. James was unable to match this feat and perished caught & bowled attempting a back foot force. Rob had assumed the anchor role and was happy to see Tim arrive at the crease. Despite Rob taking the majority of the strike for the early part of his innings Tim went through the gears and chalked up an imperious 50 before Rob made an unfortunate call and ran him out. By this time however the game was up, and Adam and Rob finished things off without further drama - except a slight confusion as to the point at which the H&C score had been exceeded, which resulted in us facing one more delivery than was strictly necessary. Rob finished on 39 not out. The innings closed with some 14 or 15 overs to spare in a persistent drizzle, which rather dampened the victory celebrations.
A fine team performance by ten man Chigwell, and a victory by 6 wickets.
Richard's innings was superb, but man of the match goes to Tim for his 2 wickets, his catch and his excellent half century.