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August 02, 2006

Chigs waltz to easy victory over weakened Woodford Green

(Chigwell vs Woodford Green, 30/7/06)

Chigs 251 for 6
Woodford Green 120
View scorebook

I arrived at Old Chigs on another glorious summer's day, writes Brad Davis. There was no sign that the threatened overnight and early morning showers had materialised to dampen the wicket and put something in it for the seamers.

This was a new fixture for us so I had no idea of the likely strength of the opposition. Our batting looked pretty good but we were a tad short of seam bowlers. The Woodford Green skipper told me that both of his opening batsmen were away as well as one of his opening bowlers and described his side as medium, weak. He called heads, the coin landed on tails and I opted to bat.

Harv and Rob A opened the batting and the Woodford Green opening bowlers struggled badly to find their length and line. We found ourselves at 30 for 0 after 2 overs, most of the runs coming in extras including 2 consecutive deliveries which resulted in 5 wides! The 100 came up after around 15 overs but by now the opening bowlers were off and the spinners were on. The spinner who was bowling from the pavilion end was bowling particularly well, extracting both turn and bounce. He took the 1st wicket of Rob as he beat him in the flight and bowled him. Harvey followed shortly afterwards for 38.

This brought Joe and James to the crease and potential fireworks as both have been in very good form recently. Unfortunately, it was not to be. Joe received one that stopped on him a bit giving an easy catch and James could not find his timing today perishing shortly afterwards.

This brought John to the wicket. John played an excellent innings, mixing solid defence and sound technique with some dashing stroke play to finish on 50 not out. Nick looked good before edging one and there was a very entertaining partnership between John and Imran. Imran somehow managing to regain his ground after running down the wicket and missing! However, he escaped making a cameo 16 and giving John good support as we accelerated towards 250 and a declaration. Imran was eventually out allowing Charlie to come in and see John home to his 50 which he just achieved in time! It was a good of effort by the Chigs batsmen with contributions from all of the top 5 against a painfully slow over rate, especially considering that they had the spinners on for 2/3rds of the innings.

John now has an average of 91! Joe had told me that his Sunday average is now over 700 having been out only once all season before today although not many of those knocks have been for us, it was a shame that he was unable to improve on that today!

As we munched on another poor value and dry Old Chigs tea I considered my tactics. It was tempting to open with a spinner but I resisted this and decided to go with Zarghum who has been bowling well and took 5 wickets last week, paired with Owen. Despite the view of some of my team I was FULLY AWARE that it was not a seamer's wicket but I was wary of keeping them in the game and not ending up with a bore draw. If this happens it is always the skipper's fault!

Zarghum was not able to produce the form of the previous week and went unrewarded. However, Owen bowling seam up took 2 Wickets! The 1st crucial blow was not a great delivery, but Imran took an excellent catch as he ran round for the ball having to make up a lot of ground. Owen then surprised the batsman bowling him with a quicker, straighter one, albeit it may not have been the greatest shot in the world!

By this time I was receiving a constant ear bashing that the spinners must be on now, it was now all of 10 minutes past 6! Although I would not expect anyone to admit this there was clearly paranoia at this very early stage that we would fail to win the game, as the previous week the opposition had been 29 for 6 and out of the game when we had taken our foot off the pedal and they had held on for a draw. With 2 quality spinners at my disposal in Nick and Joe I never felt this was a danger. I was intending to hold them back but brought Nick on to replace Zarg, but I stuck to my guns deciding to have a look at Imran's bowling from the other end although not expecting him to be able to extract much from the lifeless seamer's wicket!

Imran bowled perfectly well but after just 1 over the whinging started again. In my view it should have been obvious to the experienced player concerned that just looking at the way that numbers 4 and 5 were batting there was never a problem, we were still not into the last hour! I took Imran off after 2 overs and replaced him with Joe.

What happened next was exactly was what I expected as Joe and Nick took the remaining 7 wickets between them in virtually as many overs, finishing the game at around 6.45 with 15 overs still left! If the Woodford Green batsmen had been a bit more disciplined and determined then I am sure that they could have made life much more difficult but this never looked very likely to be case The result was that I sacrificed my own game and was unable to bowl Charlie as Nick bagged 3 wickets in 1 over just as I was about to bring Charlie on!

If I was Steve Waugh and we were Australia I am sure I would have been delighted with a professional job well done, but it just felt that we were perhaps a bit too ruthless and efficient as this was meant to be a Sunday friendly.

I am confident that Charlie and I could have taken most of the wickets with Nick and Joe available to finish the job if needs be, c'est la vie.

The catching and fielding was very good today and John and Imran were both excellent. I hope we will be seeing a lot more of them and that they will both become members next season. John also tells me he can bowl a bit!

The highlight of the day for me was a magnificent piece of fielding by Charlie who chased the bowl down to a longish boundary just stopping it on the line. He picked up the ball as the batsmen turned for what they thought would be a straightforward 3rd run. Charlie then put in an inch perfect and very powerful throw to Joe right over the bails to run out the batsman by a good 2 yards. For me these are the moments why we play cricket and what Chigwell Cricket Club is all about.

Be assured that next time I am skipper I will go with all of my 1st instincts and the whingers will be ignored!

Owen, it's over to you.


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