Saturday night took its toll on WUCC: Liverpool won, our heavyweight champ got pummelled by an overweight Mexican and somehow Peter Brown’s late night celebrations left him in worse shape than AJ come the start of this match versus Park Hill. Our strike bowler would only manage c.60% of his usual allotment of eight overs; read on to see if he managed any wickets.
The match reporter has no idea if Gary won the toss or not but given his historical undefeated record in this aspect of the game, let’s assume he did and WUCC elected to bat first. Rowan’s marvellous innings last week was rewarded by him being thrown up the batting order and opening with the regular opener, Anand. Not knowing which South Asian Opener was which, the match reporter can only guess at which one of the two proceeded to be caught early doors at gully for one run and which went on to build a magnificent innings which acted as the spine of the WUCC batting performance. Lightning (in the form of Rowan batting beautifully) typically does not strike twice in the space of two matches, so we must assume that Anand hit a wonderfully patient knock, surpassing 50 chancelessly. Anand was clearly determined to bat to his full potential this week and demonstrated excellent concentration and shot selection, including patient defence against the good balls and defiant scoring shots against the bad balls.
Anand’s knock occupied one end for the majority of the 40 overs and really was a pleasure to watch. Various batting partners joined him and provided much entertainment too. The classy Sameer occupied the crease for a textbook knock before he decided that it was more important to win an argument with the wicketkeeper (who claimed that Sameer was far too good to be playing at this level) than score more runs. Putting principles over performance, Sameer managed to dismiss himself on 38 runs and have the glory of being able to reference his mediocre score (well mediocre for him of course, personal best for most of us) as evidence he was not cheating by playing Sunday Friendly Cricket. A man with great integrity. A man with equal integrity, but lacking any sort of nutrition for the day, replaced his nephew at the crease and promptly hit a typically serene 24 before being distracted by the worry that Mitesh was scoring the game. So preoccupied with the thought that Mitesh would be losing WUCC the match from the sidelines, Farrukh got himself dismissed so that he could supervise his Gujarati teammate’s movements without having to bat at the same time.
Sameer and Farrukh’s non-batting priorities brought our skipper Gary Saxby to the crease. What can you say about this lad eh? A solid father (kids in tow), tremendous husband (he even let Emma come to the cricket) and a leader of reasonably unfit men. Anand and Gary settled down into a productive partnership which, according to Jono, was going on for far too long. Jono was in his own words “desperate for a hit” and was willing the two at the crease to get themselves out. Neither was obliging of their Kiwi teamate and the score ticked up very nicely indeed until Anand was instructed by his captain to “give it a bang” and was caught behind for a super innings of 76 runs. Well played Anand, take a bow my son.
Mitesh came to the crease and, presumably thinking of Jono eagerly waiting on the sidelines, got himself out for a pathetic knock of 2 runs. It is worth noting that “the worst ball of my day” (according to the Dwayne Johnson shaped bowling unit that dismissed Mitesh) was met with a truly atrocious shot from Mitesh which saw him caught behind. Based on this dreadful innings, there is a compelling case for Mitesh being made a Specialist Scorer in future matches and perhaps even Farrukh and Gary will consider this recommendation in due course.
As normal, Jono smashed 23 runs in something like three balls. Course he did. Greg came in and did a sterling job of supporting Gary who played really well on his way to a wonderful 47 runs which shall give him and the team much confidence for the remainder of the season. Gary then got out. Our newest team member, Hammy (who, let’s be honest, is clearly a great bloke and we want to become a regular team member) and Greg finished a fantastic WUCC batting performance which saw us post 242 runs, a very challenging target for the opposition.
Tea was class, as always. Thank you Dave & Sue, you are WUCC legends.
The hung over Peter Brown opened the bowling and looked much more dreadful than he actually bowled. Smart, quick, swinging bowling from Peter put the opposition under pressure from one end whilst, probably inspired by an Oriental Fusion from the night before, Ian bowled very well indeed coming up the hill. A fine opening pair these two make, with Ian an excellent recruit to the WUCC team that the website/webmaster must be given much credit for.
The alcohol and Thai Green curry infused pressure from Peter and Ian was simply too much for the disoriented batsmen who, basically, lost their marbles. Sameer had clearly put some sort of a “higher level cricketing” curse on his nemesis wicketkeeper/opening batsman as he, inexplicably, ran himself out calling a run from the non-striker’s end to a shot to gully. Almost immediately afterwards, the other opener did the same thing. This time a weak shot to Rowan (or was it Anand?) at short fine leg, was cleanly picked up by Rowan/Anand and the poor chap was smartly run out by Gary Saxby behind the stumps. Overall, this was turning into a chaotic but productive opening spell for WUCC.
Then the moment that turned the match. A whipping delivery from Ian generated the clearest of nicks from a very decent Park Hill batsman who was well caught behind by Gary. This would have been Ian’s first wicket for the Club and would have been well earned too. Kudos to the opposition umpire who genuinely had the guts not to give his fellow man out. It was indeed one of the more disgraceful decisions we have seen over the years but, in the match reporter’s view, had the effect of really pumping up the WUCC bowlers and fielders for the remainder of the innings.
WUCC proceeded to dismantle the opposition batting line up.
Greg came onto bowl down the hill as first change and smartly took two wickets in two balls, cementing his place as the man that Peter needs to be mentored by, with regard to being a genuine strike bowler. An extremely odd decision by Gary to bowl Mitesh first change up the hill worked well with two wickets being contributed by the Specialist Scorer. Sameer deserves huge credit for taking a very clever catch in the covers for one of these wickets. Farrukh bowled an excellent four over spell for a meagre eight runs and took one wicket. Rowan bowled well up the hill and ended with excellent figures of 2 for 19 runs. Good work.
It was a particular delight to have our newest team member, Hammy, come on to bowl a commendable couple of overs down the hill but the “Thai Finisher” Ian came on to complete the job. Ian took his first two (excellent) wickets for the club and promptly suggested that we should all circle him and urinate on his face in celebration. This was a strange moment but we were assured by Ian that any respectable teammate residing North of the Watford Gap would have done exactly this to congratulate him for taking his first wicket for WUCC. We will have to put this proposed protocol to next year’s AGM to decide if it should be implemented for new players in the 2020 season. Hopefully that vote won’t be influenced too much by the Northern contingent, otherwise we might have another Brexit on our hands as WUCC members exit the club.
The case for Mitesh to be dropped to Specialist Scorer was reinforced by a post-match review of the scorebook which indicated that WUCC had actually taken 11 wickets in the match. With no idea which bowler had incorrectly been given an extra wicket, the match reporter has decided to punish Peter Brown for only completing five out of his eight overs and change his figures to indicate minus one wicket for 16 runs. That’ll teach the big lad to lay off the tequila the night before a big cricket match.
In all, a wonderful team performance with both bat and ball by WUCC which led to a huge 115 run victory. Commendable performances all round with particular note to Gary for an excellent innings and good work behind the stumps, very good bowling from “Thai Finisher” Ian and great fielding all round. Someone even suggested that the website should be Man of the Match for bringing Ian and Hammy to the club. Silly suggestion that. In fact the Man of the Match decision is very easy this week: Anand is our Man of the Match for an ultimately match winning 76 run innings. Well done Anand, keep up the good form at the top of the order!