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May 2008

May 14, 2008

Chigwell Fall Short, Despite Glorious 123 from Tim (Stallion 11/5/2008)

Our league adventures continued on 11th May with us playing hosts to Stallion. Once again I managed to arrive later than most of the team, but was able to palm a little of the blame onto Nigel, whose homemade pizza was just about to finish its spell in the oven when I called to pick him up. I won the toss and made the usual league call of fielding first. Our team had a strongish look to it and I was confident we could compete. During the week I had made the schoolboy error of failing to confirm the availability of a schoolboy - Charlie - and we were fortunate indeed that Roger was able to fill in at short notice. Adam was back in the team too, so happy days! Stallion's openers were of the normal league variety; impressively powerful hitters. This type of batsman seems to enjoy the pace that Dom generates, and once again Dom was unceremoniously carted. After 5 overs the score was on 49, 43 of them from Dom’s 3 overs. Roger meanwhile was proving more difficult to get away. He saw both batsmen dropped off chances that would normally be taken (except the one I dropped, which was virtually impossible!). In Roger's third over A. Rahman was pinned in front and, to Chigwell's immense relief, his gun-slinging partner, B. Mehmood, was bowled by the same bowler in his fourth over. By now Nick had taken over from Dom and was no doubt delighted to have more restrained batsmen at whom to bowl. Roger bowled through his eight overs, his final analysis 2 for 25 even better than it looks. I bowled in tandem with Nick for a while and things were relatively quiet. In my first over Adam executed a superb run out, hitting the stumps from the boundary to leave K. Shazad stranded. Nick trapped W. Ahmed plumb in front in the next over and the score was 101 for 4 in the 19th over. The next two wickets to fall were both good catches by Nick on the boundary, both from my bowling - thanks Nick! Brad and Frank were tried, but neither seemed to give the batsmen much trouble and the run rate picked up as Stallion approached the last quarter of their innings. F. Shazad batted well and made sure their good start didn't go to waste, surviving one difficult chance to Nick off Brad's bowling. Dom returned to bowl his remaining five overs and finally dispatched him for 65 crucial runs. Rob A only got to bowl 3 overs (1 for 16), and as the innings finished on 250 for 9 I had to confess that perhaps I should have given him a full 8 overs. Nigel's reheated pizza was the star of another improved tea, after which Rob A and Tim M girded their loins and strode out to the pitch knowing we needed 6.25 per over to force a win. Whilst not achieving the pyrotechnics of the opening of the Stallion innings the Chigwell openers made an encouraging start, Rob scoring a good 18 before trying to force the pace and edging one behind. Tim, joined by Adam, began to ease through the gears and the second wicket pair added 87 before an untimely run out saw Adam return to the hutch, 30 to his name. Roger was rather unfortunately given out LBW first ball, and the innings was in danger of petering out... but not with Tim at the crease! He had now reached top gear, and was going into overdrive. We needed more than ten per over from the last seven, but when one over went for 20 it looked possible… Sadly it was not to be. Tim departed for 123, a second successive league century, another innings full of grace and power. He'd added a little Pietersen to his Gower of the previous knock, and one and all applauded him loud and long as he joined the throng outside the pavilion to see if the lower order could bring the win home. No. I was out first ball and those behind me crumbled, our last five wickets going for ten runs. The crowd were still in good humour as the game ended with Chigwell 37 runs short, players and spectators alike agreeing that it was a fine game of cricket. What our total might have been without Tim I shudder to think, but at least we are proving that we can compete in this league, and that we can have fun in it too. Mitz of the match: Man!

May 08, 2008

Draw Draw, Not War War (Hadley Wood Green 4/5/2008)

Having told the team to assemble at 1.00pm for sight screen duty, I arrived at 1.30pm to genial and well deserved abuse. I trotted into the changing room after handing over the cable ties to a band of trusty men, who headed across the pitch to the rusty sight screen, thankfully already roughly in place at the plum end.

In the time it took for me to hop into my kangas the sheet had been fixed wrongly to the frame of the sight screen, it requiring my attendance and superb management skills to detach it and rotate it through 90 degrees. Thereafter in a trice the grey-screen was fit for service.

Next task, duly accomplished was to win the toss. Tradition has it that in this fixture it is always wise to field first, but despite the risk of being unable to bowl the opposition out later on I chose to bat, thinking us the stronger team. Dan, the HWG skipper, was pleased to get his preferred option without having to win the toss.

Harvey was not keen to open, so in the absence of Rob, I promoted Nick to join John as opening pair. The innings started as I sped to Mace in Chigwell to buy a battery for the match clock. It soon became apparent that Hadley Wood were a little under-strength, and their bowling was a bit limited. Nick and John settled in, but the slow pitch and mostly slow bowling didn't make it easy for them to score quickly. After 20 overs we had 71 for 0 on the board and really needed to kick on. John grew unhappy with his bat and called for a replacement. I risked him using my blade, but after finding the middle with his first two shots it betrayed him and he spooned one to Jim Wallace at cover and was out for 42.

Nigel had been promoted to number three and he didn't disappoint, soon overtaking a frustrated Nick. It was during this partnership that a delighted crowd witnessed an all run 6, which must have had the batsmen puffing! Eventually Nigel perished for 42, with the score on 139. Charlie took his place, but with so little pace on the ball he too struggled to score quickly. The opening bowler returned, which seemed to suit Nick for a short time, two boundaries lifting his score to 43 before one sneaked through his defence and toppled the timber. Harvey joined Charlie and kept things ticking along, but after 40 overs we had only 173 on the board, which I felt was way below what we might have expected given the gentle attack. On 22 Charlie holed out to square leg and departed with his usual good grace.

James and Harv had taken it to 217 from 47 overs when James was bowled for 19, at which point I declared the innings closed. Harv finished unbeaten on 25, having shrewdly picked out the same fielder with successive pulls for successive drops.

Tea was supplemented by gratefully received contributions from Richard (scones with cream and jam), Linda (fruit cake) and Nigel (spicy noodles) and for the first time in Old Chig's history drew compliments from the opposition. Perhaps it was the excellence of the scoff that led to a 30 minute tea break which deprived us of ten minutes in the field, which may in the end have made a difference to the result.

Mike Davey never seems to fail against us, but he and his partner Mr. Bolt showed little urgency to attack the total set, although that wasn't easy with Dom firing on all cylinders, and Frank keeping it tight at the other end. The lack of ambition, driven apparently by poor totals in their previous fixtures, soon made the game unwinable for HWG and by the time Brad took the first wicket we were in the 22nd over with a paltry 34 on the board. The Chigwell bowlers couldn't get past the stonewalling, and instead merely improved their economy rates. Mike fell in the 32nd over for 39 runs, my arm ball hitting the stumps. Towards the end of the innings the prodigious spin I was finding started to make inroads, but it was too little too late. Dan was sent on his way thanks to a superb catch at slip by Dom, and James completed two more stumpings to add to his earlier one off Brad. The HWG innings closed on 103 for 6 from 45 overs. I finished with 5 for 21, which was a source of slightly muted pleasure for me, given the game overall had been rather dull.

But never mind! Alex, back to Old Chig's for the first time since the disturbing events of last summer supplied a couple of jugs courtesy of his mother, which was a great gesture, greedily consumed. James bought another following his 3 stumpings, and mine for 5 wickets was held over until next week - honest!

Man of the match? Nigel for a good pacy knock when it was badly needed.