In the post-truth world we inhabit there are facts and then there are alternative facts. There are wins and there are losses; triumphs and disasters; ups and downs; centuries and ducks; catches held and not held; wickets are taken and chances are spurned.
The alternative facts regarding GCC’s second fixture of the season, played at a mostly sunny Sheen Park CC, are that no chances were dropped; full tosses and long hops were kept to a minimum; none of the batsmen offered their wicket to the opposition for less than market value; and the team dug out a hard-worn victory.
In the Donald’s words, “it was the most beautiful cricket match I’ve ever seen.” Maybe that was the case, but as with all things in life, one’s assessment of a situation is relative. For Sheen Park, one of whose batsmen scored a hundred, another remaining not out on 65, as they compiled a total of 246 from their 40 overs, and then bowled out GCC with a variety of dobbers, aided by batsmen intent on hara-kiri, for just 163 in the 33rd over, it was, indeed, beautiful.
Everything had started out so promisingly too. Rob dismissed Mr Grumpy early on, with a skier caught by Tom at mid-off, and with wickets falling at relatively regular intervals and some tight(ish) bowling, the hosts were 105-4 in the 25th over. However, from there things got out of hand, with number four, Dave, and number six, Luke, putting on 141 for the fifth wicket. Dave was finally dismissed in the last over by Rob, but by then the damage had been done.
Not all the GCC bowlers got the ‘treatment’ though: Olly, aka Tackleberry, bowled a good spell in the face of the storm and had centurion Dave dropped at first slip; Fraz and Saj bowled economically; and Rob and Cunners’ opening spells were models of consistency and pressure.
The tea was generous in both breadth and depth, but featured no signs of last year’s much vaunted scones with jam and cream. Scant consolation was provided by large plate of teacakes (of the chocolate and marshmallow variety) and packets of chocolate bourbons.
Openers Olly and David, fortified by the spread and in the knowledge that the pitch held few demons, with one especially short boundary, got off to a steady start. However, Olly managed to top edge a low full toss with the score at just 18, which proved to be an omen for the rest of the innings. David was run out following a mix up; number three, Steve, was strangled down the leg side; Cunners top edged another dolly; Saj took on the longest boundary and was caught at long on; and skipper, Tom, ran himself out in a fashion described as ‘idiotic’ by one onlooker (who won’t be bowling again this season).
Highlights? As the ancients knew, there is no pleasure without pain, and amid the pain, pleasure came via two of the best struck sixes you are likely to see this side of Chris Gayle. Fraz caressing Sheen Park’s quickish left armer into the bushes at long, long-on, before doing the same at the other end to their leg-spinner.
A comprehensive loss then, with a pint among the roses at The Plough after the match, probably not sufficient to drown the team’s sorrows. Onwards though, to Teddington, scene of record breaking performances and the chance of redemption.
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Matt Aked (life)
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Rob Navratil (life)
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and may involve some poetic licence. GCC cannot be held liable for any misrepresentation in these articles.