Sunday, July 06, 2008

Jaguars (Woodford) v G&CCC July 6th (Home)




Shed loads to write here to night including a load of stuff relating to the MCC match. Again this'll probably be posted over 2 nights.

(Apologies for any spelling mistakes of names - I copied them from the scorebook and/or getting peoples identities mixed up. Send a comment with any corrections and I'll rectify them).

Anyway - initially I was called up for another away match in Margaretting but then a couple of days ago Neil sent a text saying 1pm at home. It seems as though I drew the lucky straw as you'll see later on. I arrived early which was a mistake as the game was ages from starting because the opposition didn't turn up till late, at one point it was looking as though there wasn't going to be a game and Super Dave said to me "Get your whites on you're going to have to play as one of the Dads" as there was a Dads and Lads match going on over at the 2nd pitch.

Eventually Neil turned up and we were just discussing the potential of a quick match with the MCC (Modlife cricket club) in the next 10 days or so when Boffa turns up with his little boy. I ran the idea past him and he seemed up for it in essence but he did add that he hadn't seen the rest of them and didn't know how they'd respond but he said he'd probably be able to get them together. So the plan of action now is this -

Some time between now and July 17th he gets his crew together for an evening match - 20 0vers or something and I get a team together comprising of as many MPA blokes as possible and as many Grays blokes as it needs to fill the gaps. Cat said he'd be up for it and no doubt some of the others? While that was being discussed Neil then mentioned that if I could get the MPA or in fact any team together so that could be a combination of the MPA and MCC he also wants a quick match against the Tilbury Taxi Drivers in the next week or so? So it could be busy? With regards the MPA v MCC in the next 10 days Boffa said "Give me a date"?

So eventually the Jaguars from Woodford turned up and the coin was tossed and somewhere along the way the decision was made that they bat first. The weather was doing it's usual July Moonsoon attempt with showery rain and drizzle but not enough to dry what with the relative heat and strong blustery wind.

The team was made up of some usual faces along with some blokes I'd never seen before including one that sounded like an Aussie (Johnny Kale)? Cameron McCennan and Russell Groves. Unfortunately I'd forgotten my notebook so I wasn't able to make the usual extensive notes. The bowling was opened by Lovejoy (With the wind behind him) and Yorkie into the wind (Yorkie is another player who I've only played alongside possibly once before).

The bowling generally looked good getting claps of approval from one and all but the two youths that were batting stood their ground well and got their batting average going at just over 5 runs and over. I can't remember who took the first wicket but there were some spectacular near miss dives performed by "The Cat". Cat had a bowl early on in the overs and had a near miss with bowled and caught opportunity which he could keep hold of. He also had another chance with a ball that came off the bat while he was at first slip? The rest of the team said he'd dropped it but he maintained it didn't carry. While cat was bowling from the pavillion end one of the bats hit a ball that nicked the edge of the bat and flew out to me high at somewhere between Leg Slip and backward short leg. Thing was it went to my left side and was obvious to me that it was just out of reach even if I made an attempt at a diving leap. Cat said that it was there for the taking (Maybe if you're a cat) I'm a bloke that's nearly 50! Other than that I generally stopped a shed load of balls going to the boundary - possibly one getting passed me other than the one I needed to leap for, so I felt my fielding today was okay.

One of their openers went on to score a 50 and the first few bats hung in there for some time. Lovejoy almost got a lovely low catch that he seemed to anticipate at mid wicket, before the bowler had let go of the ball he seemed to have made an exaggerated move forward as though he'd read the bats intentions and despite his efforts to come forward so much he was just unable to get there and fumbled it at full stretch and diving, but very well read.

Neil had a bowl with the wind behind him and I think it was him that took the first wicket, but then he retired himself after only a few overs. Unusually for him he was cursing himself when he was getting the bowling wrong. He then brought me into the attack bowling into the wind with Cat coming from the other end. After a week of bowling alternating off and leg spin in practice using wrong uns and the Gipper I bottled it and stayed safe with the Wrong uns and some top spinners. I tried to get the ball up around 4 or 5 feet short of the bat down the offside and for the best part managed to do so. But going into the wind it did seem very slow, I was also flighting the ball quite high but the good thing was that there was a bit of turn. I also used a few flippers, but they were less accurate. So as far as I was concerned the bowling seemed to be going okay. In my 3rd over I bowled a longer wrong un that the bat left and the ball turned into the stumps and I took a wicket. In the moments waiting for the next bat to come out Neil said that one of the new blokes "Russell Black Shoe" had been standing in the outfield saying things like "What the F**k kind of bowling is this"? And then the wicket came.

Next was an older bloke. He played cautiously for a while but then hit me for a couple of fours. I had a few wides but by the end of my 5 overs I'd gone for 25 runs and taken a wicket, so I reckon that was my best bowling performance so far for the team. "Chirpy" (C.Scott) bowled next he's a young-un 14 or 15 I reckon. He took some wickets and Neil came back on and took another. Because of the weather we'd had a bit of a 10 minute break and one of their players - who I think was their top scorer had to keep cleaning his bike because of the rain (His glasses) which meant taking the gloves and helmet off wiping the lenses and putting it all back on again and this he did several times so it was agreed we'd play 35 overs. By the time we all walked off the pitch they'd scored 203 with a few blokes spare which was a healthy total especially considering at the point when the first wicket went the rest of the team were talking about cleaning up quick and getting away early.

Teas

Teas were good this week and this is at home! The Jaguar boys had brough their own not realising that we'd be laying teas on, so this caused a slight financial issue - with the sharing the cost of the teas between both sides. It seems the teas were good this week because of the matches happening over on the other pitch. One of the Mums had knocked up the teas and the quality had increased somewhat in comparison to what was on offer last year - although I'm not complaining about last years offerings it's just that this spread was good. It included Pizza, fruit, Jaffa cakes, a variety of sandwhiches, 2 pasta dishes, sausages and sausage rolls and tea.

Then it was our turn............

So it was our turn to bat. Surprisingly Neil put me up the batting order in front of Yorkie, I can only assume Yorkie didn't want to bat or maybe he's a first team batsman and the Jaguars are a Sunday team and it wouldn't be "Cricket" to play Yorkie further up the fielder as it was they were jokingly referring to the new Aussie bloke as a ringer. To be honest not ever seeing him before I don't know what team he would normally be playing for? The order of play providing I've got all the names right along with the scores was thus -

John Buckley - 12 Caught
J Kale 46 - Bowled
Cat - (M. Oneil) - 2
Cameron McCennan - 30 N/O
Russell "Black Shoes" Groves 0 (Golden Duck)*
Nick Buckley - 21
"Chirpy" Scott - 3
Dave Thompson - 7
Neil Samwell 1

The 2 new blokes Johnny Kale and Cameron were the stars of the day and saved us from total embarrassment. I was expecting that Russell "Black Shoes" would get at least 50 after the slating of my bowling and being mediocre in the field. In fact someone pointed out that even whilst the ball was in the air on it's way to the bat he was standing around much of the time with his hands in his pockets. It may be he was a "Decoy" player just brought in to make up the numnbers (Hence the inappropriate footwear)? Russel Black Shoes was also making the point that it takes up your whole life if you play both Saturday and Sunday. The way he was saying it suggested that this was possibly his first weekend of cricket, so that kind of suggests that perhaps he was a "Decoy" player? From the banter that was going around it seems that there had been a big "Beach Party" party up at the clubhouse the night before and they were all a bit worse for wear, many reporting that they'd been there till gone 2 in the morning and still feeling very rough. So maybe he was a part of that event in some way and a social member of the club rather than an active cricket playing member?

John Buckely played in his usual cautious style taking the best part of an hour to score his 12 runs eventually being caught off a ball that was hit highish into the infield at gully and easily taken. While he was getting his tenners worth of time at the crease new bloke Johnny Kale was spraying 4's all round the pitch notably some nice leg glances with the bowling was coming in from the Pool end of the track. He eventually was bowled cleanly (I think)? Cat's stand was marked by some "Almost" chances for the bowler - 2 of Cats balls that were hit straight back at him he managed to get his hands on both of them with really fast reflexes considering he was an older bloke. Both balls were hit pretty hard and both times he was unable to cling onto them. One of them was amazingly low 3" off the ground and the bloke whilst still moving forward from his run up still managed to get down there to catch it with one hand (Almost) showing real determination to have him out. Cat soon went for only 2 runs caught easily by 1st slip. Russell Black Shoes wasn't around for long. For a few minutes he didn't get a look in as it seemed he was always at the wrong end once the action started. Eventually the bowling caught up with him and he faced his first ball and was out for a "Golden". Hmm and my bowling was crap was it?
At this point the weather was looking to make another show but this time with a lot more rain, I'd been trying to take pictures of the dark skies and the action and failing abysmally once again, but the general over-view images came out okay with the juxtaposition of the match against the foreboding skies. Then I got the shout to pad up as Wicket Keeper Nick made his way out to the crease. Nick went on to score 21, I didn't see what happened but someone said "he went for a big expansive drive and hit the ball straight up in the air to be caught easily by the bowler". Chirpy was next and by now I was padded up and ready to go, it was obvious that Lovejoy for some reason had forfeited his innings to let me go out next. Chirpy put on another three runs and then it was me. There had been an older bloke bowling - the same one that nearly caught Cat off his own bowling twice, but shortly before I went out he'd had his allocation of overs so I was left facing two of the less affective bowlers, which was nice. I took the stand with new bloke Cameron and initially screwed up on the communication thing what with just trying to concentrate on surviving. It wasn't until I recognised the exasperation in his face with the lack of me calling for runs when the ball had gone behind him for about the 3rd time that I realised it was my call to run, then still not quite getting the procedure and what with Cameron still looking to score 36 runs somehow off of the last 6 balls to draw that we both nearly ended up getting run out. But in between the confusion I hit my second 4 for G&CCC and then got 3 singles taking me to my new record for Grays and Chadwell. In my head that still feels pretty pitiful, but it is still short of the 9 I scored for the MPA 1st XI last summer. So my attitude is to take what I can get and just work towards beating that 9. The encouraging thing is that some of the far better players go for less albeit facing much better bowlers, but then my 9 was against a 2 F**K off great fast bowlers who's 2nd game was Rugby and both stood 6'6" or more and were 4' across the shoulders and South African and Kiwi to boot! All I did was hold my bat up and the ball pinged off miles to enable those 9 runs! In the last over of the game I hit the ball and sliced it and it was caught at Gully the same as John Buckley's. Neil then came out and score a run before the game came to an end. We ended up with 173 I think with Cameron not out with Neil.


Looking at the batting totals 46 - 30 - 21 - 12 - 7; I was the 5th highest scoring batsman! John Buckley and a few others commented on my four which I hit down to Long Off saying that it was a nice 4! So that's encouraging, I just hope this winter my late night if I'm allocated one at work doesn't fall on the night when we have nets as I might be able to improve on my batting?
Overall for me this was the best match of my life - half decent bowling performance with a wicket, only a few wides and my new highest score with the bat and an okay performance in the field - shame we lost!
Margaretting match

Just as our game was drawing to an end the team that went to Margaretting turned up and they'd had a crap match. Whereas we'd almost avoided all of the rain and it didn't get that much worse than spitting for 15 minutes they'd had loads of rain and were playing on a crap wicket in what had been dusty (like ours is) conditions that then turned into a mud bath by all accounts. The captain of the other team wasn't up to much and our lot bowled them all out for 65 or some ridiculous total so it was all over and done with in a matter of hours, so they weren't that happy despite winning.

Modlifecrisis CC Take note - you'll need one of these and this is dirt cheap - http://www.newitts.com/product/IT013670/Kookaburra_Cricket_Scorebooks.htm

Other news
Once home I went over the Valence Way cricket pitch and had a look at how it's getting on and took some progress shots. I noted that on the practice wicket in the corner the ground is beginning to crack - hopefully there'll be some more of this in the area where I bowl and I'll be trying to get the ball in there amongst the cracks!

Over the last couple of days I've been posting stuff relating to my old Tilbury mates possible conduct in the up and coming match between them and my old team. Seems they've taken offence, so much so that they've been emailing me and I've taken the unprecedented action of removing the comments from the blog.

It rained today (Monday) quite heavily and I checked to see how deep the water had soaked with a view to getting a roller on the Valence Way wicket. It's gone deep but it seems I'm not going to be able to get the roller till Saturday when I'll have some help to get it in the back of the car and out on to the field. Once it's there though it'll end up being there and I'm not sure we'll be able to get it back up the bank in order to stash it up outside the confines of the field. But as long as we roll it once or twice it should improve it a bit? What with it being wet I also weeded track as well as there's a load of one particular weed. I may even get some weedkiller!