For once an honour and a pleasure to write a match report with a convincing away win for the Gardeners. Quite an eventful and memorable match for some very good reasons and some not.
On Sunday 15th May we set out on the South Circular, well out of the detritus of South East London to the leafy suburb of East Sheen for a swiftly-arranged fixture against Sheen Park CC. Honestly, I think for all the fighting talk on WhatsApp before the game, many of us were apprehensive about taking on a club whose 1st team play in the Surrey Championship. Of course this was not assisted by Metronome’s message, “Rich tells me they look rather good but their tempo is relaxed on Sundays.”
Despite the enduring Putney traffic for once we all arrived on time on a glorious day to a wonderful setting of green grass and a flat pitch, not a divot in sight. Bar the odd A380 over head, this was pretty perfect.
Ah! Who do we see prowling around with bat in hand at the ground? Current England number three, Nick Compton, in an intense mood. Would he play? Was this going to be one of those days? Oh, no, wait, phew he’s driven off.
We won the toss and elected to bat. Good start from J Lo, waiting until the second ball to play an agricultural pull/drive to long on for six. David edged one behind, missed by the keeper but gathered by slip bringing our own Mr Intensity, Steve Seaton to the crease. Thank goodness too. Steve was the rock in which the innings was built, carefully making 54 off 79. Useful contributions at the end from Ferris and Huggy helped us through the full 40 overs with a defendable total of 179. The team were upbeat throughout the innings and obviously paying attention but there is some work to do on our batting with our big guns in the middle order still misfiring.
I mentioned some bad moments. As we all know, at this level it is impossible to provide professional umpires so we must rely on each other. Unfortunately, nobody thought to tell a particularly grumpy member of the opposition, who petulantly argued a leg side wide with DDJ for some time before their captain stepped in to calm him down and remove him from the attack at the next over. Credit to DDJ for standing his ground and not reacting. It was an unfortunate moment in a game otherwise played with the advertised relaxed tempo of a Sunday friendly.
Tea was a very good spread. Scones with cream and jam being an obvious highlight.
We took to the field optimistic that we could win. Mr Grumpy came out to open and lasted a few balls before being judged LBW to Rob. It was, to be fair, a harsh decision which did little to lighten his mood, but hey ho. Fielding was of a good standard with J Lo taking two catches, the first landing between the sternum and diaphragm with a thud that drowned out the flight path. The wicket of their opener, Crenshaw was a thing of beauty, particularly as he’d helped himself to 170 in the previous day’s league match. Astonishingly a, “proper cricket wicket.” Cunners right on the mark, forced an edge to slip, which was gratefully taken by Fatty. Sheen collapsed to 35-6, with the Metronome finding the rhythm he temporarily misplaced supported by some accurate round-the-wicket stuff from Ferris.
Our exuberance was to be tested, Sheen’s number 6, Brahmbhatt, came to the crease and started to let loose, at one stage hitting and mishitting four 4s in a row off DDJ and smashing 3 sixes in total. At drinks they were 106-6 and continued to 117 before Bottriell charged and missed a Chancellor floater - Steve did a tidy job behind the stumps.
At 141-8 Gardeners were getting worried. Brahmbhatt was on 84 and after twice being dropped on the boundary off Huggy, it seemed he was guiding Sheen to victory. It took a moment of fortune when the Chancellor surprised him with an off spinner that Brahmbhatt misread and slipped by his attempted cut, clipping the off stump as it passed. It was a lonely time for The Chancellor celebrating all alone whilst the other fielders ran in from their attacking positions on the boundary. “I thought you’d get him … caught in the deep,” chortled DDJ.
Cunners then returned to the fray to take the final wicket in no time giving The Gardeners their first win … and first away win in … well ages!
Onwards and upwards.
We play most of our games in Dulwich and net during the winter at The Oval. Send us an email at email@example.com
Matt Aked (life)
Jamie Elliot (life)
Rob Navratil (life)
Hugo Nisbet (life)
David Woodhouse (life)
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