Date(s) - 03/07/2011
2:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Result: Lost - Barford 192 all out (Johnstone 52), Combe Down 193-8
Combe Down v Barford CC – Sunday 3rd July
Well in time honoured fashion, as captain of the Sunday side it has fallen upon me to write a report of the game. Simon Hawkins informs me that it must be an accurate account of the game and I must not stray from the truth. So with my left hand on the bible, “I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me judge Jolly”. Its actually July’s edition of Mayfair I’m holding and this is my report so I will tell it as I remember it. Sorry Simon.
On a beautifully sunny afternoon we took on the Cross Keys of Coombe Down. After winning the toss I decided to bat first. At this point there was no strategy involved, it had nothing to do with the weather conditions or the state of the pitch or the fact that two members of my team were still in the pub. (“Sorry skipper, we thought it was a 2.30 start”). It was in fact because I felt collectively we needed more time to sober up, after two very heavy nights out on the town.
So to the baying jeers of the home crowd, well a lady and her six year old daughter sitting on a blanket next to me. My first two gladiators took to the arena. James Wilson and Sandy Peirson. The plan was very simple. Attack, attack attack. Unfortunately Sandy was slain in the second over, caught at point whilst playing his first attacking shot. With his head hung low and the bitter taste of disappointment in his mouth after carding a duck, an apologetic Sandy returned to the club house. With the score on 14-1 Paul Johnstone picked up his battle-gear and strolled to the crease.
James and Paul put on one heck of a show, cutting, thrusting and driving the opposition back. The foundation for a proper innings was being well and truly laid. Just as I began to relax and think to myself, we can do this, James was caught out by one that kept low. But he had opened well with 34 and we were on 97-2. We took drinks and Ben joined Paul at the crease.
In the 22nd over to the delight of the travelling army of fans (Chris, Simon and Erds’y) Paul hit his 50. Unfortunately though, we had not finished clapping or re-taken our seats before he was out, caught for 52. Peter Fisher went in next, but was sent straight back without scoring as the curse of Pete Roymn’s crooked finger struck. Was another one of Barford’s notorious collapses on the cards? With the score now on 100-4 it was my turn to join the fight.
It wasn’t long before Ben and I started playing some attacking shots in an effort to push up the run rate. But Ben was caught for 17 and the score was now 131-5, time to enter Shawn (I’ve got special needs) Harrison. Unfortunately though Shawn was paying too much attention to the two girls playing tennis at the side of the pitch and not to the one that nipped back and he was gone for a duck. Next came Judge Jolly who smashed a four off his first delivery almost carving me in half whilst taking evasive action. Going for another big hit the Judge was caught and it was time for Tony Timms.
After pinching a couple of quick singles, Tony faced up to a change of bowler and Coombe Downs 12th man Pete Romyn. The combination worked perfectly as Tony was given out LBW and Pete had two wicket’s to his name. With the overs ticking away and the score on 149-8, could we get to the magical 200? It looked possible as Richard Jones hit a couple of glorious fours straight back over the bowlers head and I smashed a massive six. But the home side went back to the successful pairing of bowler and Romyn. The ball hit my pads, the bowler appealed and Pete, who I think was about to pick his nose, realised everyone was watching him and stopped himself in mid action which left his finger waiving just in front of his face. I was out LBW just shy of a tour 50, and Pete not to be outdone by anyone had his hat-trick. I’m sure you still owe everyone a drink Pete, as I don’t recall you buying a jug. Ha ha. In came our last man Phil (New Gloves) Morris who helped push the score by a run before he was caught and we were all out for 192.
We had set a target which was going to make an interesting game – but would it be enough? We then broke for a bite to eat. I must thank our hosts for a lovely tea in particular the delicious homemade cakes which everybody complimented. You will all be pleased to know that as I was so impressed I have contracted the cake maker to cater for my next marriage – Well, you all know what a sucker I am for wedding cake!
As I mentioned earlier it had been a long hard weekend and we took to the field for the second half of the game looking like a team of Orc’s about to invade Middle Earth rather than a team of cricketers from the picturesque village of Barford.
The attack was opened by Wilson and Griffin and we were soon celebrating as Ben removed one of their openers for 4. However their batsmen quickly got into their stride and started knocking the ball around. The first bowling change saw Jolly and Johnstone come into play. As the batsmen started to take control of the game one of those sporting moments came along which will remain in the memories of those present for evermore. As PJ bowled, their batsman smashed the ball toward square leg (shurely backward point – ed). I, Simon International, fielding at deep mid-wicket (?! – ed) instantly reacted by taking a few steps to the right before flinging myself down low to the right. At full stretch a diving one-handed catch and flamboyant roll saw the batsman heading back to the pavilion in utter disbelief. Those present instantly compared the catch to the impossible save made by Gordon banks to deny Pele may years ago. Would this now inspire the Barford cricket team? PJ continued to bowl and in the next over claimed his second wicket of the match. At 79-3 we were back!
At drinks there was nothing in it as the scores were almost identical with everything to play for. Their batmen came out of the blocks firing so Richard Jones was bought into the attach to see if he could break them up.. and that is exactly what he did. The first one was clean bowled 119-4, then the next was caught and bowled 119-5 and Richard was on a hat-trick. The field closed in, as like a pack of bloodhounds we could smell a jug back at the pub later. Sadly it wasn’t to be. Although there would not be a taste of Doombar, there soon followed the champagne moment of the tour. The ball was played between Tony Timms and Richard Jones who both ran towards it from opposing angles. I shouted at them “One of you.”, but with neither prepared to back down they continued on a collision course until Wham they crashed into each other knocking themselves to the ground. It was a cross between the closing scenes of the Benny Hill show and a tackle that any rugby player would be proud of. It still makes me laugh recalling it now.
Anyway back to the game, Tim and Ben were brought back on as the opposition started to close in on our total. Tim removed one and Ben another, the home-side were now 166-7. worryingly though there opening batsman was still there just short of his 100. Then in the 31st over came the potential match winning breakthrough we so desperately needed. With Wilson firing in from the pub end of the ground their opening bat presented a little soft ‘dolly catch’ to mid wicket, but the cheers soon turned to tears as it was subsequently dropped. Now for legal reasons I am not permitted to name this monied person as I have been contacted by his legal team informing me that he has taken out one of those super-injunctions banning his name from being released in the press. All I can say is within the realms of the cricketing world his identity is about as big a secret as Ryan Giggs’ and that welsh bird from Big Brother. However if you have not been able to figure out his identity you can find the answer on Twitter (am I allowed to say that?). No doubt I will soon find out if his team of lawyers get hold of me in the morning. LOL. As the overs ran out James trapped one of their men and it was 175-8 but ultimately their opening batsman steered them home and finished on 116 not out with an over and a half to go.
I would just like to say well played to everyone, after a gruelling weekend we put up one heck of a fight and deserved better – but that’s cricket. Thanks for letting me captain the team, I thoroughly enjoyed it but hated writing the report. My Barford man of the match was Paul Johnstone who batted beautifully for 52 and bowled 8 overs straight through for two wickets superbly. Cheers guys.