Time For Another Bottle
Chigwell vs Coopersale at Brickfield Road, 26/07/09
Hi everyone, (writes Richard Hannant from France)
It’s a little odd to see a team being scraped together without me in it. Eh well, tant pis! I will spend six weeks in France...anyway about my report I did start it last week but ran out of time at the internet cafe and got completely bored with my own rhetoric, so I’ll try again now, slightly worse for wear but with a bit more time and hopefully with a little more succinctness than I had shown myself capable of last time, he writes without any kind of irony...
Well we won the toss and I decided to bat; we were waiting for two players of varying abilities, but each important to the collective, and we didn't know what time they were due so hence the decision to bat. I got out for 8 (2 fours off Tony in the same over but he got his revenge with a superb off cutter that i took a nibble at), Nigel held forth for a miserly return of one and Ahsan displayed his usual panache tempered by impatience so too was dispatched before his innings met its proper conclusion.
Dave on the other hand, everybody's favourite poor man's Aussie, came good, just as I knew he would. A week of badgering, hectoring and cajoling paid dividends for me and the team with another magnificent ton.
Can’t remember much about the rest of the batting other than to say the youngsters that were coerced into the team batted really well and fluently, especially young James, each doing as was asked of them, keeping the scoreboard ticking over. We managed a not unreasonable 215: despite the fact that there over rate seemed at best tardy and at worst f**king slow!
Their innings got off really quite badly. At one point they were 26 for 5, in no small part to some excellent bowling, lazy batting and the debut of a superb, new, and exciting young wicket keeper. Their stalwart of a giant, Graham Hancock, kept his end up well however and started to mash our bowlers into the adjoining gardens and fields. He was aided and abetted by a batsman who should have been out on 2 to the most blatant lbw ever witnessed but the clueless umpire said it was bat first! [Steady on old boy - Ed] Anyway he got out caught behind by the fantastic, new and exciting prospect of a wicket keeper (have I already mentioned him), even though he didn't actually touch the ball. It was a fair cop even though he did make an extra 46 unfairly.
Anyway, their tall but friendly giant was finally dispatched for 99, joy never knew such sublimity, and from then on it was not so much as a run chase as just sticking out for an undeserved draw. And even though with one wicket following another, despite one bad umpiring decision following another, they did until the final ball of the innings.
Let it be said now that to get to this point in the game we had been called off the field twice for rain, once rather prematurely and the other rather fortuitously because it meant that we could all marvel at the wonder of nature as it put on for us a spectacular light show in the form of a rainbow that we saw the full curve of with one end in the middle of the cricket pitch, quite wonderful, and the light that had been so bad so as to nearly require cocoa and bedtime stories . Despite all that, at the end of the game we needed one wicket from one ball to claim victory. The bowler Mr. Allum of the BGC variety, the batter who cares, just a body to pad the ball back for a draw. The ball came in, Rallum deciding earlier that the batsman was not capable of playing a slow full toss, the great team of Chigwell surrounded the bat, watching, concentrating and willing for a catch or the tumble of wicket, oh that the wily Rallum's strategy proved to be pitch perfect. The batsman played across the line of a perfectly straight ball and the off stump fell. It was joy and sublimity in quantities unimaginable, the team rose as one and the joy and relief on those Chigwell players’ faces could have sourced the national grid enough for break time during Corrie! It was that kind of moment.
I'd like to give the captain some credit at this point for having the tactical acumen to have Rallum taking the last over. Btw, did I mention that the captain was the same handsome young, imperiously talented, new wicketkeeper that I mentioned earlier? No? Oh well, tant pis! Time for another bottle!
Strength and honour!