Date: 14 June 2015 | Venue: Turney Road | Toss: Eastside | Weather: Cloudy | Attendance: 4
After facing off the familiar foes of Pretenders and Palm Tree, we happy few noticed a new name on the fixture list [in fact, from TheFixtureList, Ed]. We’d be meeting Mr Miandad, Will Sutton had once minstrelled presciently, when we get to Pakistan, but how would that first encounter play out when his fans came to Turney Road? A full complement of Akeds would soon find out…
Eastside opted for first dig and our opening cherry was that renowned blend of guile and aggression. In his first spell, the Metronome’s unerring accuracy went unrewarded again (would he ever scalp that elusive 50th?) while, at the other end, Cunners (Tasty) responded to two early boundaries by knocking back Ali’s middle stump. He also had a hand in the second stick, pouching Farkhan’s chip off the Clan Macleod.
Warning signs were there, though: opening bat Usman was merrily middle-or-not’ing everything into every gap. Now joined by Hamza, sporting his brand new “KD Lang meets Posh Spice: we are the Karachi Suede” haircut, the two compiled a handy partnership, helped along by a dropped catch or three – yet to call the Naked One’s drop “a chance” would be slightly churlish; he did brilliantly to get a hand to it – and some redoubtably dubious fielding. The Chancellor’s wily leg spin was particularly unlucky, creating a chance spilled off his first ball, then conceding 32 off the next 17.
Eastside’s innings accelerated continually – 5 an over after 10 begat 6½ after 20, begat 7 after 27, begat 7½ at the break. Yea, and verily, it was a procreation of biblical proportions, as if straight from that ancient patch of Earth where the Tigris meets the Euphrates. Or thereabouts… ish. Tasty and the Metronome each returned 1 for 32 off 7 – in context, our best bowlers of the day. And that means that Rob Navratil has taken his 50th wicket for the Gardeners – hosanna! And so to tea.
We started our own knock in a forthright Northern fashion, Woodhouse and Warbrick taking the attack to Eastside with gusto and delivering an excellent opening riposte: 72 runs in the first 10. A double bowling change brought the breakthrough – Jim foxed by Rameez’s slower ball – and also slowed our run rate, with both Rameez and the quicker Farkhan finding useful line, length and lateral movement. Cunners the Elder wore one on the ribs and Dave, mindful of the RRRRR (run rate required, rising rapidly) perished four short of his 50 when his partner declined a single to cover. They’re crying into their ales in Yorkshire, lad.
Fewer names on the field now, the brothers Cunningham got things moving again; comma-N-dot continuing his great batting form this season with some lovely square and late cuts, while comma-O-dot eventually found his range, driving Shayam for a six over long off that never really got over two metres. The chatter was quieted; would this be the partnership to silence the incessantly effervescent Eastside fieldsmen?
Alas… bewildered, befuddled and be-Rahim’ed, we subsided in a spin from 142 for 2 to 156 for 7, prompting Piers to ask the question, “Jet from Gladiators – where is she now?”
To answer: Diane Youdale divides her time between Surrey and the Northeast. She is a qualified psychotherapist and a keen surfer. Married once, now divorced, she still does TV appearances, most recently on Big Brother’s Bit on the Side, where she analyses the in-house behaviour.
Hugo took due inspiration from that mental image, joining Tasty for a 20 run partnership, but by now the platform was well and truly burnt. Enter the Chancellor and a spirited attempt to inflate our flagging performance – the ninth wicket contributed an undefeated 34, with Cunners the Taller unbeaten on a tasty 56. He’s certainly an early contender for this year’s Best Batsman. Bested by 54 runs, the Gardeners could only wonder what might have been when Eastside, nice chaps off the field, cheerily informed us that one week earlier they’d been rolled for 75. Hmmm… OC
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Jamie Elliot (life)
Rob Navratil (life)
Hugo Nisbet (life)
David Woodhouse (life)
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