GCC v Sheen Park CC - Match Report - 12th May 2019
Football is a game for gentlemen played by thugs and rugby is a game for thugs played by gentleman, or so the hoary old saying goes. I assume whoever came up with that didn’t witness a teammate from my university rugby days urinate into a pint glass in the middle of a rival college’s bar then fight the bouncers as they tried to throw him out. O tempora…
Anyway, it is undoubtedly true that cricket is a game for individuals played by teams. All the collective spirit in the world cannot make up for acts of individual brilliance (exhibit one: VVS Laxman vs. Australia, Eden Gardens, 2001). Thus it played out on a sunny Sunday at Sheen Park CC, where all the Gardeners’ hard work in the field (bar the odd dropped catch!) would have been for nought had it not been for two virtuoso innings: one expected and the other from one who had previously kept his dogged best for opposing sides.
By prior agreement and one man down as the Metronome flew to the rescue of his new squeeze, who had ‘demolished’ a wall while attempting a three point turn [insert women drivers gag here], the G’s took to the field under blue skies and refreshed by a gentle breeze. The opening pair of Cunners and Sam the Axeman kept to the captain’s script and runs were hard to come by for the Sheen opening pair. Eventually, Sam made the breakthrough with a vicious leg stump yorker that the batsmen was so late on he’s probably trying to play the shot now.
18-1 became 48-2 as Paddy took a fine caught and bowled to dismiss the other opener and then 79-3 as Phil took a good catch in the covers off Steve Mac. Just as Ashbery snr looked as thought he might start to cut free, the G’s secret weapon, the artist formerly known as the Chancellor, was brought into the attack. His first over was of such exemplary leg spin that one wag suggest he, ‘Retire now.’ Ignoring this helpful tip, he wheeled away, earning success is his third over when Ashberry was caught at long-on by Dan Fryer, the axeman’s younger brother.
Ashbery jnr and Syed put on a fifty stand for the fifth wicket without ever looking to seriously threaten the scorer’s wrist. Both were dismissed before the forty over mark by the skipper and it was left to the lower order to thrash away in the final few overs, Sheen Park finishing their 40 overs on 172-7.
Tea in the form of pasta salad, hotdogs and bountiful plates of biscuits was enjoyed by the Gs, confident that it would only take one partnership to break the backs of the fielding side. What they didn’t realise is that would take five batsmen to commit the limpest form of cricketing suicide one can imagine before reinforcements arrived and the game won.
Steve S was the first to go, chasing a wide one. He was followed Phil A, bowled first ball. But at least these wickets fell to what one could genuinely describe as ‘decent bowling.’ At the other end, a lob bowler without the vicious turn and dip delivered by the Chancellor was gifted the wickets of Cunners, Steve M and Paddy, all of who retreated from the scene of the crime in abject shame.
The Gs badly needed some backbone. Cue Struthers: the former ST renegade strode to the crease with an iron glint in his eye and defiant glare that said, ‘Not today. Not tomorrow, either.’ With Dan Fryer putting together as fluent and chanceless innings as possible at the other end, Struthers resolved to do his bit and grind the oppo bowlers into the dust. Bar the odd LBW shout and some barracking from a coterie of drunk Aussies (is there any other type?), this combination of ice and fire, of bludgeon and rapier, resulted in a fine century partnership. A record stand for the sixth wicket was only thwarted by Dan’s dismissal for a wonderful 87, leaving intact Shomit and Mike’s 138 against Crathie back in 2004. In the closing moments it was left to the skipper to hit the winning runs, his 10* depriving Greg of a much deserved 50, as he finished three short on 47*.
A much deserved sandwich moment was shared by the sixth wicket centurions over a pint among the rose bushes at The Plough. The rest of the batsmen were scolded with Boycottian fervour by the skipper, who reminded them that you can’t score runs in the pavillion!
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