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« First Away Win? I'll Have Some of That!! (Willingale 22/5/05) | Main | Strength And Honour Sends Strollers Into Submission »

June 01, 2005

'Rudderless' Beamers hit rock bottom (Brighton Beamers 29/5/05)

Match report from Niall 'Grandpa Potts' Chafey...

The Beamers juggernaut, possessed of huge momentum from the unbeaten start to the season, jack-knifed horribly on Sunday against Chigwell CC, shedding its load of London Pride and Mr Kipling's Country Slices all over East Brighton Park.

After hours of post-match analysis over their tear-diluted pints the elders of the Beamers Jedi Council concluded that we hadn't score enough runs or taken enough wickets. This nugget of wisdom was later whittled down to: it was a bad toss to lose. Well, in the immortal words of Professor Yaffle, 'Fiddlesticks and flapdoodle!' We were well and truly chiggered, outplayed in every area of the game, and only clawed back a modicum of pride through a nice tea and some quality quaffing in the Battle afterwards. Toss, schmoss - the better team won. In a most un-Beameresque manner there was mutinous talk from some quarters that the skipper had left the Beamers ship of state 'rudderless'. It might have been kinder, perhaps, to say that the rudder sheared off in the skipper's hand as he tried to steer HMS Beamer away from the rocks of a 9-wicket defeat. A loss of such magnitude cannot be blamed on the limitations of one man.

The Chiggers bossed the game from the outset. A combination of hostility from the Dominator and guile from Rob 'The Beat' Allum was more than a match for the Beamers top order and by the first change we were reeling on 30-odd for 4. But the skipper had made plans for such a contingency in the stately, plump form of Frank 'Insurance' Rigby being held back at number 6. He was the Beamers Praetorian Guard, charged with the task of stemming the haemorrhage of wickets. While those around him lost their heads he stood firm, his bat and armguard metamorphosing into an impenetrable Frankish shield. Alas, only Siddo, resolute in defence, dashing in attack and suicidal in running between the wickets, was able to prosper alongside Frank. So thornlike was Siddo's resistance in the booze-soaked side of the Chiggers that the Dominator had to bring himself back on and resort to attempted murder with a bouncer. Eventually, tea came and HMS Beamer, with her mainmast blown away but with Frank still standing on the burning deck 57 not out, limped into port at 140-8.

Quick wickets were the order of the day if the Beamers were to have any hope of victory and so it was that Musso and J were let loose with a cordon of slips and gullies to make the first incisions. But the breakthrough proved elusive, not just for the opening pair but for every other bowler who followed in their wake.

Richard Mussett has, no doubt, been called many things in his time but 'Muss the Toothless Dragon' will surely rankle with him. Jeremy Cakeheart provided plenty of sponge but the icing and the cherry on top were sadly lacking. There followed a succession of puff pastries, fondant fancies and fairy cakes from the Beamers bowling attack all of which Ross and Tim, the Chigwell openers, tucked into like a couple of third-formers on an afternoon exeat to a village teashop. Nothing seemed to go the Beamers' way. Everyone seemed to bowl all right and there was plenty of playing and missing, but the three half chances went begging, the runs mounted up and as the first hour ended without a wicket we entered the Bowldrums. It all went eerily quiet, what little banter and sledging there had been dried up, and the Beamer mariners huddled together in their ragged whites on the Raft of the Medusa, lips parched, delirious through lack of wickets:

Chiggers, Chiggers everywhere
And all the Beamers think,
Chiggers, Chiggers everywhere
I really need a drink

When the wicket eventually came it was sadly symptomatic of the whole afternoon. A weary long hop from the skipper, an attempted pull by the tiring batsman and a dilly-dolly-dandy dollydrop to Dave at slip, who had time to tuck a red gingham napkin into his whites and rub his hands together before completing the catch. Celebrations were as muted as the Beamers had been all day. After that, Siddo managed to put some decent overs together as Ross inexplicably refused to perform the coup de grace, but it fell to Tim, that stout yeoman of East Coker, to finally put the Beamers out of their misery.

After a few pints, it didn't seem that bad, but Monday morning brought both headache and heartache as the enormity of the Chigwell victory sank deep taproots into the skipper's brain. In Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Grandad philosophises that 'From the ashes of disaster grow the roses of success'. It remains to be seen whether this captain will be there to smell them.


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