There are days when the Mighty Wanderers fight and subdue opponents of unceasing ferocity and matchless technique
and there are days when they
eke out a narrow win against eight men and a small boy on a dodgy pitch
at Mill Hill Park.
Sunday's game belongs in the second category.
No matter - the glory is ours and always shall be! Here is a tale of
audacity and aggressive captaincy that will inspire
generations of Wanderers to come...
The Goodlength eight-and-a-half batted first. The ubiquitous Stephen
Tjasink and legendary sandwarrior Beau Geste quickly
found themselves in
trouble against the Wanderers opening attack. The Slippery Swede
intimidated them with his scorching pace
and accounted for the Tjas in
his second over. He then proceded to bowl four successive maidens,
his captain's decision to field four slips, two
leg-slips and a forward short leg. At the other end, the legendary Welsh
bowled four overs of breathtaking sorcery, demoralizing and
humiliating the bewildered Beau Geste who resorted to a suicidal
was duly dismissed by a ruthless Mortimer/Smith combination.
This brought to the crease 80s pop legend Blatch Le Bon, who enjoyed a
cruel stroke of luck at the Gafster's expense.
Unwisely hitting against
the spin, the Blatch holed out to Murdo, only for the Herculean Hebridean
to step over the line at the
last moment, conceding six runs and denying
the Wizard the wicket he so richly deserved.
Then came the turning point in the Goodlength's innings. The writer of
these lines took the momentous decision to bring into
the attack the
team's most naturally-gifted swing bowler and the Goodlengthers wilted
like over-watered basil.
The Explorer's beautifully judged spell
accounted for Blatch and the Wildperson (the former to a smart catch from
the Cat at slip -
the third successive Wanderers game in which we've held
a slip catch) and a series of classic Wufferelli bowling changes,
Wanderers firmly in control.
As the middle order subsided under a hail of blows from a bewildering
variety of sources, only one batter had the maturity
and vision to hold
the innings together. Cometh the hour, cometh the small boy. The
indomitable Nick Charlton, not only withstood
an over from the great
Wufferelli at his shimmering best, but remained undefeated throughout.
Desperate Dan and the Wild returned to add some late lusty blows, before
the Goodlength finally collapsed exhausted on 122.
Now our great captain
(a man of extraordinary knowledge and vision) knows his cricketfighters
well and was never in any doubt
that after the record-breaking victory
against the Admiral's last time, the canker of overconfidence would be
at the team's vital organs. What he had not anticipated
however, was the part that our own team's brilliant fielding would play
in bringing us to the very brink of disaster. You must learn, dear
Reader, from this cautionary tale - for next time you find yourself
similar position, you Renegade Colossus might not be there to rescue
The catastrophe began, when Gloves Mortimer flicked the ball nonchalantly
to the Emperor Sozi (substitute fielding in the covers).
Majesty seized upon it like a cheetah bearing down on an exhausted kudu
and ran Murdo out by several yards.
A couple more wickets fell. Then
Margaret was cruelly defeated by a fiendish delivery from Beau Geste -
his previous incarnation as Linx the Sontaran (be afraid:
http://www.shillpages.com/dw/story/st--3u47.jpg ), he was able to perform
the uncanny trick of making the ball behave
according to the
gravitational conditions of his home planet, rather than those normally
associated with Planet Earth.
The Emperor Sozi batted like a cheetah that had too much kudu for lunch
and was then out to a brilliant catch from Andy
(who else?) at second
slip. The Wanderers collective foot was then firmly shot-in again as The
Gloves fell to a catch by Lasse.
Before long we were 70-odd for 7 and
staring down the barrel of a big defeat.
At this point the tide inexorably turned as the immortal combination of
Captain and Secretary administered the devilish death
of a thousand cuts.
The opposition's morale was sapped by over after over of deft defence
punctuated by rapier-like flicks
piercing the infield - that and the
menacing presence of the slavering Roxie beast lurking in the undergrowth
at third man, of course.
Before long the hapless Goodlengthers were
begging to be put out of their misery and in due course the Great
administered the coup de grace, flaying the ball through mid-off
to take the Wanderers to victory.
Glorious, god-like magnificence of victory! how sweet thou art! We will
surround them in their tanks and kill them.
We will behead them all...