MIGHTY WANDERERS CC VS ADMIRAL'S XI, 5 SEPTEMBER 2004, GREENWICH PARK.
35 over match.
|Paul||Ct Gavin||M Page||32|
|TOTAL||209 All Out|
|TOTAL||90 All Out|
|Admiral's won by 119 runs.|
|Man of the match: Margaret (again!)|
IT'S MAGGIE'S WORLD - WE JUST LIVE IN IT
Our rain-sodden summer finally graced us with a glorious hot September day. And what finer place to be for it than the handsome setting of Greenwich Park and the superb (at least to look at) Ranger's Field pitch.
After a season of poor weather and even poorer results, the quarry in our sights were our auld chums the Admiral's XI. Without underestimating the pluck of the Admiral's plucky crew, surely here we had a realistic chance to notch up at least one victory this year.
It was not a great toss to lose on a hot day, and Tjassie, ripping open his Wanderers' shirt Superman-style to reveal his 'Admiral's-til-I-Die' tattoo, had no hesitation in consigning the us to an afternoon in the field.
Still, things got off to a reasonable start with three pretty early wickets going down. But Brendon, coming in at no.6, and a man re-juvenated this season, dropped anchor and slowly but surely started to craft a solid presence at the crease, trying nothing risky or elaborate, but ominously beginning to hit big and clean within the 'V'. Stephen had obviously told his men how immovable big-clean-hitting batsmen had been the ruin of the Wanderers' year, and Brendon had decided that, well, he might as well hit big and clean and make himself immovable. Seems simple really - we ought to have a go ourselves.
Another thing we all ought to have a go at is bowling as spectacularly as Margaret. Already established this year as the team's very own 'not male-more flighty-far less quick-nowhere near as tall' Steve Harmison, Margharita procceded to bowl an unbelievable 5 ball spell - Wicket/Wicket/Wide/Wicket/Wicket - that included the prize scalp of the Admiral himself, who was piped on board the crease as tradition demands, and then immediately piped off, also as tradition demands.
The Admiral's had been tottering at one stage heading for a likely total of 160-odd, but Brendon and Paul dug in like Japanese Knotweeds and refused to be budged. They were still held, through Margaret's inspired performance, to a reasonable 209 all out. Unfortunately, 48 of those were extras, which even allowing for some rather strict calling by the Umpires, was far too much. Wuff gallantly kept wicket throughout and did a stirling job, but it it showed how much Jonny M was missed on the day. Billy bowled with real fire, building up good pace and bounce and was unlucky not to have nabbed more than the one wicket. Tony Gavin, guest Gulliver's superstar, also bowled a challenging late spell of brisk tweekers and took an absolute blinder of a diving low catch to finally remove the dangerous Midshipman Paul for 32 off the bowling of Margaret, undoubtedly one of the catches of the season.
209 would normally be well within our reach, but absentees had thinned our batting line-up, and it was always going to be a challenge. And so it proved as our first 6 wickets were blown away for 4 runs off the bat. The Admiral's bowling attack was by far their best to date. This combined cruelly with the end from which Billy had extracted notable bounce suddenly deciding to make the ball shoot along the ground from a pronounced dip on a good length. We lost four wickets that way, including Mr Heafield himself, and the lower order in which our main strength resided just couldn't turn the tide. The Wanderers finally flew the flag of surrender to the Admiral with a mere 90 runs to their name and the ragged-breeked survivors were led off in chains down to Ballast Quay and made to drink London Pride all evening.
This year was the bill for three years of ever greater success and fantastic luck with the weather in equal measure. Next year will assuredly open a different page in its turn. Now that Jan has finally retired from the undemanding pastures of League Cricket to concentrate on the real game and Billy is back where he belongs, nestled in the capacious bosom of the Wanderers, an exciting season lies ahead.