It wasn’t a terribly encouraging start to get a text from bamos at 5.50 - “Hi I’m at Angel, won’t be there for at least an hour x” before our 6pm start, but we had been forewarned. No sight or word from Dave either, but Mike dutifully won his first toss as captain, and we batted. It was cold, dark and pretty miserable to be honest, the grass was long and the ball was hooping. Mike and John started fairly slowly, but seemed OK, until John got a brute of an inswinger, which actually did too much, but came back off John’s pads and onto the stumps. That started a bit of a procession, as umpires rushed off the field to pad up as wickets fell, out going batsmen had to be coaxed out of sulking and into umpiring, and our hearty bunch of supporters got stuck into the cider and laughed.
Simon managed to do the impossible, and riled Henrik (run out without facing a ball), I edged and slashed my way to more shot-defying ball-trajectories AND got to change my bat mid-innings (PIMP), and bamos entered stage right with the words “Right, you. Enough of this running bollocks”. End result - 65 all out. Simon got 15, Mike and myself got contrasting style 9s, Dave got 7, and Rob started as he means to go on - finishing not out, again. That average will be looking MONSTROUS soon enough.
We bowled really well - sure, they were probably playing reasonably conservatively with such a modest target, but there were plenty plays and misses alongside the defensive strokes, as Simon bowled a maiden, then I conceeded 1 off the next over, and the team in general bowled really tightly. Rob nearly got someone out with a ball that almost bounced twice, Hen and bamos resumed hostilities and competition (with each other) by bagging a wicket each (both bowled), and they only really won the game when they cut loose of Simon’s last over. We dropped one (off my bowling. BAH.), we cocked up a run out chance, but overall we bowled and fielded really well.
Unless we beat league champions Sky next week, we’ll be in Div 3, which isn’t a disaster. The aim will be nothing less than the title, and even failing that, we can go into every game knowing we have a good chance of winning it.
So. Season 3 is upon us. After last year’s second division adventures, the team is quite happy to be in either div 2 or 3 - although we lost more than we won, we rather threw away a couple of games, and winning them would have given us a much more respectable league position.
As it is, the qualifiers for this year are against Mad Moroccas, one of the teams we actually beat last year, and Sky, the league 1 champions. With the weather playing havoc with the fixture list so far (at the time of typing, 5 of 11 matches have been rained off, including the game between Sky and Mad Moroccas, and this league plays games in pretty stiff conditions), it’s going to be a bit unpredictable. Still, most of the team showed up for a nets session last Saturday, in constant heavy drizzle/light rain, so we should be somewhat acclimatised. Not sure how useful it was - whilst some bowling rhythm was achieved for some, John was struck by a loosener-beamer (not me for a change), and more worryingly I managed to twat Simon on the ankle with a straight drive. Kind of ironic, given Simon’s insistence on me playing straighter last year (rather than constant cross bat shots to mid wicket/square leg), but definitely pretty annoying. Hopefully it’s only bruised.
It was also excellent to see Mike, batsman of the year 2010 and 2011, get bowled by the slowest and dribbliest of googlies through his legs, from Steve. Who hasn’t played in 7 years, and just fancied turning his arm over as he was down from Reading for the weekend.
Roll on VPCCL 2012
So, two wins down, one more to get the ties. Stoke Newington were on the same points as us, so if we played well, we had every chance of a win. As we gathered on the boundary of pitch 2, we noticed that the opposition seemed pretty young. A brief chat revealed that this was the Stoke Newington U16s team, with three of their coaches also playing. After our game against Tower Hamlet College, we knew not to take them too lightly - in fact, if anything, these younger teams were a tougher proposition than the ragtag pub crews that formed the spine of most of the VPCCL bunch.
John won the toss and put us in to bat, as usual, and we hoped to set about the bowling in bright sunshine. A rash of front foot no balls helped, but it turned out the young tykes were pretty quick, and John was soon heading back to the, er, tree we were using as a pavilion. Dave and Mike struggled to score quickly, but stuck around long enough to see off the two openers. SN then brought on two more senior bowlers, and just when we seemed to be accelrating nicely, Mike got bowled, with Dave caught and bowled soon after. No-one else really added anything, and we were all out for 101, cleaned up by a man known only a Winston, without using our final four balls. CRIMINAL.
Still, 101 wasn’t the worst of totals, and if we could get a couple of early wickets… I haven’t got the scorecard so I’m not too sure of the details, but what details I can remember:
- me getting given a wide for balls that passed over the middle of the bat
-Henrik stopping a wide being called with a well timed and pretty threatening glare at there junior umpire
-tormenting their junior captain with some good swing - unfortunately we couldn’t quite dislodge him, despite some close calls, and he was unbeaten at the end to see his side home. A shame, cos he was a gobby little shit at times when he was fielding
-I have no idea who took the wickets, though I think Mike took one. I’ll say I got the other two. Yeah.
Stoke Newington 102-3 (14 overs) bt Regents 101-7 (15.2 overs) by 4 wickets
tumblrbot said: WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST HUMAN MEMORY?
A few people deciding to see if any of the nets at Regents Park were available, about July 2008
And so it was that the worst game of the year was followed by the best, both in terms of the competitiveness and the spirit it was played in. CDM John watched from the sidelines, having been unable to make the start of the game, though he made up for it by getting thoroughly pissed and shouting, er, support. I won the toss (I’d been practising all week), and Mike and Dave set about building a great opening stand, scoring 66 at a reasonably healthy rate, despite slowish start and general lack of boundaries. They departed fairly soon after each other, so Henrik and Tom had to allow the runrate to drop whilst they got their eyes in, but they were soon ticking along. Each of them played a superb cut through point in consecutive areas, Linay in particular had truly moved on from his mastery of the forward defensive. Sadly, with this had come a Boycott-esque mastery of the run-out, and departed for the seond game in a row short of his ground. We eventually finished on 144, a score we knew was good, but gettable. A big proportion of this score was the extras, including a perplexing 7 off one ball – wide down the leg side, our batsmen ran, fielder missed the ball, we ran another 1 or 2 whilst the fielder pretended to throw a non-existant ball (I kid yee not), then when he eventually did pick the wall up, threw it for 4 buzzers. No-one really knew how many to add on to the score, I think we went with 7 in the end.
The Bengal’s innings started really well for us, bamos inducing a rather rash attempted pull shot in his first over, which was top edged high enough for me to scramble round from midwicket to catch on the run at square leg. Their remaining opener and number 3 then put their markers down for the long haul, and after 8 or so overs we were in a bit of trouble – these two lads hadn’t offered any chances, and Bengal were well ahead of the runrate. Mike bowled to good effect, restricting them to 1 boundary in 2 overs, which got us back to parity there or abouts, and then the game really shifted. Firstly their opening batsman had to retire upon reaching 50, and then the next over I brought myself on to bowl, and removed their other set batsman, clean bowled! He departed, blaming low bounce, Dave said he thought it had nipped in a bit. It was probably a little of both, though I didn’t have a clue, and frankly, couldn’t give a shit.
The new batsmen were considerably hampered by the fading light, and were also clearly not as good as those they had replaced. Henrik and bamos came back on, and picked up a wicket each, both clean bowled, Henrik utilising the Regent’s full toss to great effect. This left Martians with 8 or so to get off the final over, complicated a touch by the fact that they only had a couple of wickets left until their opening batsmen would be able to come back out – whilst I felt confident we could bowl tight to the tail, he’d been in such good touch that I felt he could knock any of us for a boundary or two if given 2-3 balls. I put myself back on, and managed to avoid bowling any wides, basically just wanging everything down outside off stump to *avoid* cleaning up the tail. It all passed in a bit of a blur to be honest, so I’ll just quote myself from the VPCCL report page - “A chaotic final over included run outs, byes, lots of shouting and a result that left the Tigers short by a mere 2 runs”.
Epic. We agreed after the match to try and get an 11-a-side game sorted, ideally for the same season, but more likely in 2011.
Regents 141-4 (16 overs) bt Bengal Tigers 139-6 (16 overs) by 2 runs
Probably the least fun game we had in the season, a bit of post-match research revealed that Ranwellians had been cited by a few teams as being unpleasant to play against the previous season. To be fair, the majority of their team were fine, but it didn’t stop their opening batsman/bowler being a petulant prick, and the keeper being a gobby, ‘hilarious’ bellsniff. John won the toss and put us in to bat, and we set about trying to make a decent score. We were on the larger grounds of Pitch 3, which generally meant more knackered batsmen due to more running/less boundaries. Sadly, John was bowled for a 3 ball duck, and Mike was stuck lbw soon after, leaving Tom and Henrik to dig in a bit. Both of them played some lovely shots, Tom in particular playing a very un-Linay innings – two boundaries for his first two scoring strokes, and eventually run-out trying to accelerate the scoring rate. Tono played a great attacking knock at the end too, scoring at well over a run a ball, including a front foot sweep to their ‘fast’ bowler, who turned away chuntering “You can’t play that shot to that ball”. WELL HE JUST DID CHUMPO, SUCK IT UP. This left us with a slightly under par 107.
Old Ranwellians started off well, fairly circumspectly (despite what the ‘official’ report says on VPCCL, with its claims of crashing boundaries), but solidly, which to be fair was exactly what they needed to do. Sadly for us, we dismissed the opener who had been struggling a bit, nicking one behind to John. I think it was Henrik bowling but I could be wrong. Said opening batsman responded by hurling his bat away and sloping off, which was just pathetic. Your team’s in a great position to win, but you’re throwing your toys out of the pram because you won’t hit the winning runs? Awwwwww. The next guy in batted well, and although we bowled and fielded really well, they didn’t offer a chance and eventually won with 10 balls to spare. A couple of wickets would have made a difference, no doubt, but it wasn’t to be this time.
Surprisingly, they invited us to get some food that was laid on for them by a local pub.
Unsurprisingly, we declined, and went to our regular.
Old Ranwellians 108-1 (14.2 overs) bt Regents 107-5 (16 overs) by 6 wickets
Sounds like some kind of Sci-Fi based B-movie doesn’t it? After our success against Old Fallopians, we felt we could get another result here, given that Martians had made a similar start to the season as ourselves.
It was really hot and sticky. We were pretty disgusting after getting changed and knocking up a few catches before the game had even started, so I can only extend my sincerest sympathies to the patrons of the Inn on the Park, where we convened afterwards (as we always did). But anyway, back to the game.
They won the toss, and rather predictably put themselves into bat. By now I think we’d pretty much sussed out how we’d bowl: bamos and I would open up, then Henrik, Rob and Simon would come on and bowl a couple of overs each. If Mike wasn’t too tired, we’d persuade him to throw some leggies down, and Tom would bowl whichever seemed more needed out of some controlled seam up or some off-spin. Whoever seemed to be bowling best would tend to finish off the innings, sometimes people would miss out (only 16 overs after all), but this system seemed to work. Bamos and I kept things fairly tight, though I do think the Martian batsmen were playing themselves in a bit. They opened up a bit more against our change bowlers, and it looked like a big score was on the cards. Simon and Rob then took over, and pegged back the charge by picking up wickets – Simon with the quantity (3), and Rob with the quality (beautifully executed off cutter nipping back through the gate and clipping middle stump, only to see the stumps swing back and forth), giving us an eminently gettable target of 133.
Sadly for us however, we lost regular wickets, starting with John in the opening overs, and continuing throughout the innings – with only 7 wickets at your disposal, these games can change from in control to desperation inside an over. Mike had a superb knock, and the one plus side (for him at least) of the surrounding collapse was that he could come back out to bat again (VPCCL rules state that once a batsman makes 50, he must retire until all the rest of the team has had a bat). As it was though, Mike was last man out, caught trying to smash over mid wicket, for a LAD’s score of 69. If we could have just kept going those last couple of overs, who knows…
The team was properly up and running now, 1 win and 2 games that could have gone either way. Surely those ties would be ours?
Martians 132-5 (16 overs) bt Regents 111-7 (14.2 overs) by 21 runs
Next up were the team with the best name in the league, founder members Old Fallopians. CDM continued his good form with the coin, and inserted us into bat again, on a beautiful day in Victoria Park. Knowing we were on the same pitch as last week, and that Fallopians were a man down in the field for half the innings, John and Mike laid about the bowling, which, to be frank was of the buffet variety a lot of the time. The opening bowlers were decent enough, but the 2nd, 3rd and 4th bowlers were fairly poor, and both CDM and Mike retired with 50s, to let in Simon, then Dave and then Tom (after Simon retired with a 50 of his own). John managed to find the first 6 of the season, winning that particular sweepstake (and accompanying cash pot), literally a couple of balls before Simon repeated the feat. Conscious that we’d probably underscored in our previous two games (especially when we had wickets in hand), all the incoming batsmen scored quickly, Dave in particular scoring at 2-3 runs per ball, and we managed to set a score of 188-0.
ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY EIGHT FOR NONE. Surely we could win this one?
Myself and bamos opened, and I think it’s fair to say we were both a bit nervous – the Fallopian batsmen had no real option but to go for it, and I think knowing we just had to bowl reasonably well to win our first game just made us a bit tense. Anyway, CDM brought Simon and Rob on, and those two managed to shore up the run rate a bit, although a fair few of Simon’s express pace deliveries managed to beat batsmen, wicket, keeper AND fine leg and fly for 4. A late whack-attack on Henrik and Tom wasn’t *quite* enough, and Fallopians finished 13 runs short.
Bloody Hell. A bit tighter than we’d wanted. But we’d won. We’d won!
Regents 188-0 (16 overs) bt Old Fallopians 175-5 (16 overs) by 13 runs
First up was Tower Hamlets College. With hindsight, this could have been a great scalp for us, as THC eventually won League 3, and the game could have gone either way.
For the first time, CDM won the toss, and put us into bat. This tends to be the decision most people make, as the fading sunlight means batting second can be difficult, especially for incoming batsmen midway through the innings. Sadly, John himself was unable to cash in, and departed cheaply, caught on the straight boundary by an incredibly casual, one-handed catch. Tom then got a bad decision from their umpire (their coach/teacher had said he wanted to officiate both ends… which was a touch odd, but he seemed to be impartial). Still, at least Tom took it in good grace. Eventually. Y’know, after the initial protest, turning to walk off, turning back again, and THEN going. Henrik came in to partner Mike, and the pair put on an excellent stand, finishing at 111-2.
Seeing as we’d scored by far our highest of the season, we knew we had a good chance, but that wickets would be important. Bamos and I opened up the bowling, bowling fairly well, but going for a few too many boundaries, especially down the short fine leg/mid off boundary (depending on which end we were bowling from). Still, after 4 overs, the match was still in the balance, and we’d taken a couple of wickets. Henrik came on, and bowled well, nipping another of their batsmen out, and at this stage we had them 3 down, still requiring 60-odd, with two new batsmen at the crease. If we could just get another wicket or two…
Sadly, it wasn’t to be. Their number 4 went for it, and it paid off. He basically teed off, charging down the track to Tom and Rob, and connecting, even when the run rate was down to 5-6 an over and their coach was telling him to calm down a bit. I think we dropped one tough chance early on in his knock, but, to be fair to the lad, it was his day, and he made it count, making 33* while his partner made 20*. GUTTED.
We did have the consolation that we could go to the pub and they couldn’t though. We sure as hell made that count.
Tower Hamlets College 116-3 (13.2 overs) bt Regents 111-2 (16 overs) by 4 wickets
These results meant we were very much in the third division, an outcome I don’t think any of us were too disappointed by. CDM John challenged us to win 3 games out of the 8 we were scheduled to play, a target we felt was achievable, despite our only two matches so far being pretty one sided affairs.
THE CUP RUN
Before the season proper began, we had the cup to deal with. We’d been drawn against Junoon, another new team like ourselves, although they’d managed to get into the second tier after the qualifiers (we later found out that a few of their team had turned out for other VPCCL teams in the past). I was actually away for this match, along with Mike and CDM John, and as a result Jack, Simon and Sam were drafted in. As I wasn’t there, all I can offer is what I can remember being told.
We batted first, and scored our highest score yet (80), and managed to bat out our overs for the first time – progress. Henrik put in a good show with the bat, scoring 27*, but in hindsight, we really needed another 30-40 runs. 120+ seems to be a reasonable total to defend (though matches can vary to an astounding degree).
With a low target, any chances would have to be taken in the field, and sadly one of our super subs put down a good chance of a catch against (who would turn out to be) their best batsman early in his innings. None of this was helped by the opposition captain shouting for Rob to be removed from the bowling after a couple of loose chest high no-balls, but to be fair to Junoon, they just told us to ignore their own captain. So we did.
Or at least we tried. After the match was over, Brave Captain Firoz ended up bombarding us with text messages and phone calls, trying to obtain a copy of the scorecard (fair enough I suppose) and the match ball (which was ours as much as theirs to be honest). Even replies of ‘I don’t have either of those items’ (Rob), ‘I think he’s away on holiday’ (Rob), ‘I don’t know mate, I’m on holiday in Vietnam’ (me), ‘I’ll have a look when I get back, but I’m literally 1000s of miles away, sorry’ (me) and ‘I’ll see what I can do, but seriously, I’m on the other side of the world’ (me) wouldn’t placate him. Eventually we just ignored him until I returned, and sent him the stuff, but The Terminator had been named, and we would keep an eye on him as the season progressed. The choice cut from a match report was “With 28 runs needed in the last over, Captain Firoz stepped up to bowl the last over, knowing that it wouldn’t be easy and the pressure had to be contained”. BRAVE MAN INDEED.
Junoon 81-1 (9.5 overs) bt Regents 80-5 (16 overs) by 6 wickets
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