MIGHTY WANDERERS CC VS TOURING THEATRES XI, 27 JUNE 2004, HEADSTONE LANE.
35 over match.
|Montgomery||Ct and Bwld||Neil||6|
|TOTAL||210 for 7|
|TOTAL||102 for 2||RAIN STOPPED PLAY.|
|Man of the match: Paul Kingsley|
I know match reports should start with something about the weather or the strength of the opposition but this one will start, as did the match day itself, with a hangover. A 2500 mile round trip for my final ever game of cricket and it starts with a hangover. And not a nice, Mediterranean, wine-induced hangover but a London one of uncleaned pipes, stale IPA and curry. But things soon looked up. On arriving at Headstone Lane station, I encountered the Wildman with a bottle of water. Even better, whilst drinking Wild's water enter Kells in a car to carry my tired limbs to the ground leaving Wild to walk. And there I encounter other Wanderers limbering up in the sunshne ready to do battle, seemingly none too upset that I had, in fact, turned up. And that, dear Wanderers was as good as it got (well, at least until I was on my third pint of lager.)
Our intrepid skipper strolled Jardinesquely towards the square whilst I was trying to work out where the hell my studs had gone. The toss was Nassered and the Wanderers were inserted (can you type that in a match report?-ed). The skipper returned to the dressing room as I remembered I had taken the studs out myself three months earlier to play golf because I couldn't get the metal studs out of my golf shoes. As I was trying to work out whether it would be better to bowl in a cricket shoe with the sole hanging off or in a new pair of cowboy boots, Kelly and Murd padded up and I was, not unsurprisingly, passed over for umpiring duties. (Six is such a difficult number to count up to.) And an opening partnership ensued. Proper cricket shots and all. Murd, having looked in absolutely no trouble at all, managed to sky one to the only man in the vicinity who would not drop it 9 times out of 10. Cue Wanderers collapse? Not a bit of it. Resident sadist Andy C. made Kells run more 3s in an afternoon than he should be allowed to in a lifelime. 75-1. Then 2 quick wickets, one a catch of aptly epic proportions to dismiss Kells, brought the Captain and the overseas dynamo to the crease. And then.....the worst decision ever seen in the history of sport. Worse than not sending off Silvestre. Worse than taking Heskey to Portugal and then letting him on the pitch. Worse, even, than giving Carlton Palmer an international cap. Stumped my arse. Gaf and Soth, in understandable shock at such a dreadful decision, set about rebuilding the innings whilst giving the umpire quizzical looks.
Another flurry of Wanderers wickets and suddenly Sozi and Smith were staring at a score of 110-7 with overs running out. A couple of cracking straight boundaries each and then even Sozi, a man in the form of his life, could only play second fiddle as the man from Vest-or-ass laid waste to the bowling, as the drizzle turned steadily heavier. At this point, from beyond the boundary rope, there did appear to be a slight difference of opinion between the Tartan Terror and the man from down under as to what constituted a sufficient downpour to suspend play: "A wee shower on the Isle of Skye, if that" was seemingly mumbled. The Touring Theatres gratefully sought refuge in the pavillion from both the continual rain and the incessant barrage of the Scandinavian flashing blade (at the same time commenting on how fortunate they had been with the stumping decision).
210-7. If only the Wanderers could restrict the scoring for a few overs, maybe nick a wicket or two, and the pressure would really be on. So what happened? Miraculously, the Wanderers opening attack restricted the scoring, Wild had an opener plum in front, Chas did all but take a wicket, and the pressure was well and truly on. 20-1 off 8 overs, the scoring rate at six an over and the clouds gathering. The Theatres, however, struck back. Despite Murd inducing a nick and Devey, Kells and Smith bowling tidily enough, the gaps started appearing. The drizzle started getting heavier and, with over 100 still needed, a couple of quick wickets could have made it very interesting. But the heavens opened, as did the bar, and all that was left was what might have been.
Eleven players! Kit! All the players and the opposition turning up at the correct venue!! Balls! Stumps! Not the Wanderers as I remember from the distant past. The team have definitely moved onwards and upwards. Just a shame that my cricket has staggered arthritically in the opposite direction. But the mind plays funny tricks. And while I sit here now fully aware of my total lack of ability, come next spring and the meddlar harvest, maybe just one last game......The one decision over which there could be no dispute was the unquestionably just decision to award the man of the match vote to the overseas meddlar farmer just for turning up.
Maybe things haven't changed so much after all.