MIGHTY WANDERERS CC VS GULLIVERS, 18 JULY 2004, PARLIAMENT HILL.
35 over match.
|R Winter||Ct Gavin||Mohammed||43|
|M Page||Ct Billy||Michael||3|
|Montgomery||C & B||Baja||9|
|TOTAL||210 for 7|
|TOTAL||206 for 8|
|Gullivers won by (sort of) 1 wicket.|
|Man of the match: Margaret|
The weather had been toying with us all season and it wasn't about to stop. Not content with causing a postponed OM game to take our slot at Headstone Lane and forcing us to seek glory elsewhere, it continued testing our resolve until shortly before the game itself. However, fortified by a visit to the Bull and Last where we were joined by our opposition the Gullivers, we ventured out onto the enclosed pitch at Parliament Hill and were greeted by what felt like the first sunshine of the week.
Feeling buoyed by this change in the weather, the inspirational leadership of the day's captain Bob and the antics of mascot Roxy, we prepared for battle. For some, this preparation required a trip to Hampstead Heath's scenic and characterful open-air gentlemen's facilities. For others, it consisted of throwing a tennis ball for Roxy and it's a wonder the ball didn't get lost in the undergrowth that was the outfield.
Our innings was opened by redoubtable partnership of Paul and Wuff who mixed strokeplay with grit and determination to see off the opening bowlers. Paul was unfortunate to be the victim of some curious bowling and fell for 16. This brought Lars to the wicket and he and Wuff pushed the score along impressively, fighting all the way against an outfield that would certainly have provided adequate grazing for a herd of buffalo until at least early 2007. When Lars finally fell for 44, Margaret joined Wuff and added a further 6 to the score before being caught. Stephen was next to the wicket but sadly the left hand / right hand combination (which we liked to think was fooling the opposition) ended as Wuff was caught for 43. Wildman made 3 before becoming the victim of the most straightforward (or most outrageous, depending on who you're asking) LBW decision in the history of the game. Gaf put on 10 before being run out valiantly trying for an extra run in the last over, to bring in Chairman Kelly who added a single to his average. Stephen, deciding that scores in the forties were obviously the order of the day, ended on 44. Our total was a very defendable 205 for 7.
After a BYO lunch and a couple of beers in the shade, we took the field. Their openers strode out onto the pitch to gasps of awe from everyone who beheld them. Fully ten foot tall they stood, and wielding a bat like a tree trunk in each hand. Some cunning bowling from Kells and a catch by Margaret accounted for Nikhal, but the other, Vaja, was made of stronger stuff. Not content with striking the ball to the boundary with monotonous regularity, he entertained himself by launching the ball high into the air only to have it land where no fielder could reach it. This was obviously having an effect on his new batting partner Turner, as he too started to build an impressive innings. It took the accuracy and control of Tim's bowling to trap Turner LBW and shortly afterwards Vaja reached his century and retired, his job seemingly done.
The score looked well within reach of Gullivers, even with two new batsmen at the crease. However, they hadn't reckoned with Captain Bob's cunning and he brought on the spin twins Gaf and Margaret who proceeded to make short work of the middle and lower orders! First to fall was Malik, caught at square leg by Wild off Gaf's first over. Margaret bowled Billy and everyone cheered, but had little idea of what was still to come. Gaf removed two more in quick succession, his crafty leg spin getting Lubbe caught having a go at long on by Wuff and then Gavin caught at mid off by Stephen. The game was coming alive, but with only a couple of runs left to play with, it still seemed certain that Gullivers would make it easily. Margaret continued to bowl with exceptional accuracy and guile, bowling both Attard and Alibert for ducks on consecutive balls. Gullivers having only 10 players available, Vaja had to take the field again, wearing only one pad. They conspired to thwart Margaret's well-earned attempt at a hat trick and it was left to Hodgetts to push for a single and take Gullivers past the Mighty Wanderers' total, having very nearly managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of almost certain victory.
A game with more twists and turns and tense moments there couldn't possibly be, and even though the Mighty Wanderers had lost the game, nobody particularly seemed to care as we returned to the Bull and Last. Margaret was chosen person of the match, with Gaf close on her heels in second place. Roxy kept asking for a bowl of beer but everybody was too busy analysing the intrigues of the day's play to get it for her.