By 'Jones the Spin' (AKA Gaf).
DARK CLOUDS THREATEN WANDERERS PARADE*
After losing the toss we were sent into the field. Wufferelli opened the bowling with Johnny coming in from the other end. Revelling in a change of duties 'Gloves' Mortimer tested the opening partnership with an accurate spell of off-breaks. However the St Annes remained unscathed, showing the kind of good fortune usually reserved for a Murdo betting slip. Over followed over and still no breakthrough. In the searing August heat most teams would have soon lost resolve. Fighting on, however, The Wanderers finally got their reward. Jan, steaming in from the pavilion end, clipped Haydon-Allen's edge and was taken safely by Andy behind the stumps. Smith senior continued to bowl with some fire and aggression, for a man of his age.
In a typically brilliant piece of captaincy, The Wuffster then decided to test the mottled foot-marks and the concentration of the opposition, by introducing the Wanderer's strike leggy. The Roon looped up an over of teasing leg-breaks, encouraging the batsmen to hit out against the spin. Then with a beguiling change of pace and rip, the Welshman coaxed Mr Skilbeck into scooping one up that was gathered by Stephen T. Wickets were starting to tumble. St Anne's continued to struggle with our spinners and soon Johnny had Devlin stumped off a skidder from the Tartan terrier.
Stephen T, bowling from the other end, seemed inspired by another invitation to play for 'The Mighties'. Bowling with perfect line and length he sliced through the Allstar's mid-order, with catches for Johnny and The Chairman in succession.
Smithers was brought back into the attack and soon, with the help of Smith junior, the innings was almost wrapped up. The final wicket defies description. This bizarre run-out left the non-striker so nonplussed that he was still standing at the opposite crease, staring slack-jawed down the pitch, when the rest of us were half way to the tea room.
Refuelled by a typically magnificent Headstone lane tea, both sides headed out to continue battle. Kells and Andy went to face the St. Anne's attack. The Chairman was unlucky to fall early to a speared yorker from Devlin. Andy withstood the storm, and with a series of flowing strokes went on to make the stand of the innings. He finally fell, one short of his half-century, to the bowling of Haddow Allen. Lars and Margaret added more invaluble runs before it was Stephen T's turn to step up. With an eye already on 'Handsome Jock - the Laird of the Loch'**, he steered the Wanderers out of a tricky situation. With the help of Murdo, Soth and Jan the 'Manhattan' was looking competitive again.
The Allstars fought back with two quick wickets. The match couldn't have been closer as we went into the final over. Three runs off three balls; two runs off two balls; then the last ball; scores level, and plenty of nervous debate about what this meant. Johnny and The Collosus himself ignored this nonsense and scrambled home the winning run. Glory was ours! However around every silver lining is black cloud, and I fear they are gathering around the Wanderers.
We have fine tuned Stephen's talents only so that he can report back to the Admiral with greater weaponry and inside information. With Flintoff performing erratically for England and Smith senior performing as well now with the ball as with the bat, surely it can only be a matter of months before he is given a central contract. I understand that Glamorgan have already approached the Welsh Wizard. With performances, in general, at an all time high, I sense the evil spectre of complacency.
So Wanderers, hold your mettle true and remember we must, and will, behead them all.
DARK CLOUDS THREATEN WANDERERS PARADE*As we gathered in the pleasant surroundings of the Headstone Lane clubhouse, toasting each other's performances in our great victory over the St. Anne's Allstars, surely I wasn't the only one thinking "this can't be good!"
*(Some knowledge of Gaf's grim upbringing in the Chapel-ridden gloom of the South Wales coalfields in the early part of last century is necessary to understand his often pessimistic view of life, even in moments of triumph - "Joy in a wicket is Satan's own Davy lamp lighting the way to Hell" was his comment. CLICK HERE TO SEE GAF'S FAMILY PHOTO ALBUM Ed.)
**(Mr Jock is, of course, our wee green Highland mascot and man-of-the-match trophy. Ed.)
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