I have the unenviable task in detailing to you the report into the first of two matches against Pretenders CC on Sunday 18th May 2014 at Gallery Fields; a beautiful setting for ugly
The day started well enough for the Gardeners. Despite the loss of the Captain for the day and Nick Dudley-Williams’s panic in being unable to get from home in SE21 to the ground – again in SE21
– without a vehicle, we were all present for an early start, at our opposition’s request, apparently, to commence what would be a terrific contest. All the omens appeared good for us. Plenty of
support from men, women, children, Welsh and Swedish; sun shining brightly, Samba band in full swing and the opportunity for a team photo before start of play.
The early commencement of play was delayed as Pretenders’ captain, Horatio, I believe, possibly a compatriot from the Bullingdon Club, did not have his full complement of players. Despite this,
he productively used his time to educate us on the maintenance of the score board and re-affirmed his desire for the score to be kept up to date.
It was only after the Samba band marched off north towards the village that it became clear they were not the most annoying noise of the day. There is a time and place for some talk in the
field; however, some the material from a limited number of Pretenders was offensive, tiresome, irritating and not very funny. It really lowered the tone.
That being said, we did not bat well. Too many wickets thrown away before partnerships were built. Jamie Elliott, the acting skipper, can count himself unlucky having being LBW to a
borderline call by one’s truly, and Andy O got a peach of a delivery that cut in and clipped the top of off as he waved it through. The remaining wickets were poor, by our own assessments, and saw
number 10 come in with 13 overs to go and the score at 87. Eventually, we hobbled along to 101 all out in 37 overs. About 100 shy of par for the conditions.
The mood was very down. Piers decided to cheer everybody up by deciding this was the point to start getting match fees from everyone [Point of order: it woz the secretary wot told ‘im to do
it, sarge, Ed]. But what a tea! Personalised biscuits, watermelon (in salad!), beetroot, carrot cake, brownies and excellent sandwiches. Incomparable to the £1 “Simply Ham” Morrison’s effort
from last week (it’s Wandsworth, for God’s sake, you can’t move for Waitroses). Special thanks for all involved in that feast.
No incentive was required in the field. All took to their roles with renewed energy, confident in what was required. The sight of the chief protagonist in the field, the spritely first slip,
coming out to bat gave Cunners an extra boost to his bowling, as did an LBW in the first over. This decision was not to become habitual. To give credit to Pretenders, they batted well and very
strongly and quickly amassed half the total. There has to be a question of umpire interference, however, when the non-striker is opining on an LBW appeal before a decision is made.
Pretenders reached their target for the loss of three wickets with 25 overs to spare. Horatio kindly congratulated us in his imitable fashion by instructing us to collect the stumps and then
reminding us, “That’s now three on the trot isn’t it?” Those familiar with Hansard will note that for five years (2004-9) the boot was on the other foot.
We departed the ground at six for the excellent Crown & Greyhound in Dulwich Village to take up the sights in the evening sun. Having seen Pretenders arrive, our competitive instinct took
over and we joined the pub quiz. Safe in our knowledge of French Honey, Ecuador and Frankie Goes to Hollywood we emerged victors and £40 richer. We didn’t even have to put the opposition off to
I commend this report to the House.