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July 05, 2004

Cricket the Winner as Chigwell and Hadley Wood Green Slug out a Draw (4/7/2004)

Imagine how I felt. Lost the toss; promoted myself to opener; watched Harvey fall for 3 runs; saw last weekend's batting hero Ritchie expose his leg stump and depart first ball; edged one to the keeper for 4; witnessed last weekends icing hero Steve fall for a duck; wondered where we might go from 8 for 4! I need not have worried because this was only the first act of an intriguing game, where both sides held the initiative and tossed it back and forth like twin brides practising bouquet throwing.

In what seemed like the blink of an eye Dom and Tim M had produced a partnership for the fifth wicket of some 137 runs; indeed if there hadn't been so much time spent searching for the various balls which were lost somewhere in or around Hadley Wood Station, it might actually have been the blink of an eye. The four batsmen who had perished, and had been commiserating with each other in a huddle on the boundary, puffed excitedly on their Malboro Lights as the boys laid waste to the attack. Dom passed the fifty mark for the first, (but assuredly not the last), time for Chigwell. Tim was so graceful yet brutal with the bat at least one of the opposition was heard to mutter "ringer" as the advantage began to tip towards Chigwell. Bad news for them: Tim is no ringer, they'll be seeing a lot more of him!

Eventually Dom fell for 55, and shortly afterwards Tim went for 77. We were 149 for 6 and we had only been batting for an hour and twenty minutes! We needed to bat out some time as well as accumulate runs and Rob A stayed steady while Olly and Nige blasted quick fire runs - Nigel hit his first three balls for 4, and scored an entertaining 30 in 17 balls. Enter Nick who scored 7 all in singles as Rob began to accelerate, hitting their best bowler for a massive straight six before being superbly caught at point for 34. Brad collected 5 runs, including a powerful 4 through extra-cover, before the declaration came on 255 for 9, in 39 overs and just over 2 and a half hours. Quite a relief after 8 for 4!!

We enjoyed a fabulous tea, surely the best so far this year, and set about the task of trying to win the match with four pounds of egg sarnies, a pork pie, two pieces of quiche, a bramley apple-pie, a dozen kettle crisps, and a mini "time out" weighing each of the fielders down.

Dom, still high from his willow wielding, charged in as usual, although Mr. Carter, one of the openers, looked to be profiting from an aggressive approach, including a shot smashed at me standing at silly mid off, which some might consider a chance, but which I consider an escaped death sentence. No worry though as Dom zipped one through his defences, bowling him for 17. The dangerous Davey appeared at 3 but was soon on his way, snapped up at slip by Tim from Dom's bowling. Brad bowled well for no reward, I replaced Dom and again went unrewarded, although at least some of the balls turned! Nick Allum took up the baton and bowled his usual tidy stuff taking two wickets to remove the rather stubborn opener and his slightly more aggressive third wicket partner. It looked highly unlikely that we could lose until P (Paul I think) Randall arrived at the crease and took a liking to both of the Allum boys' straightish line and bludgeoned a very rapid 60 including six sixes. Steve Meggs helped to break the tense mood on the field by tumbling spectacularly over a low boundary wire fence and into a dense thicket head first whilst chasing the sixth six. Luckily he sustained no injury!

Dan, the Hadley Wood skipper had just uttered the words "We've got them worried" when Rob broke through to send him on his way. The dangerous Randall P was eventually dismissed by Rob, caught by Nigel, and with his departure the game swung back towards Chigwell. Dom returned to great effect, sending two more Hadley Wood Greensters on their way, but neither he nor Tim could break through to take the final wicket and the home side hung on defiantly to what in all fairness was a deserved draw.

We bowled 54 overs in a little less than 3 hours, which spoke volumes for our desire to win. We were left with the memory of a great game of cricket, 487 runs and 18 wickets and the thought that we were but a thin edge away from winning a game from a position of 8 runs for 4 wickets.


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