The One Versus The Landlords

07-08-09. Lost by 14 runs

By Matt King
SJFCC vs Wheathampstead
Wheato: 168 for 6 from 20 overs, The Mighty Fishers: 154 for 5 from 20 overs.
The Cresta, The Cannonball, The Great North – they are all exceptional runs, but, in one way or another, they too come to an inevitable end. So, with heavy heart and misty eyes, Fishers waved goodbye to the winning run that had started way, way back in May when Chris had a perm, Bungle was still in shorts and match fees were sixpence a game.
Having dabbled in the summer transfer market, it was a new look Fishers featuring four debutants that took to the field for the final ‘home’ fixture of the season; the mighty Tenants Vs Landlords clash. With Treasurer Chris away this was a ‘pay what you want’ fixture. I’d like to thank all for their generosity and make it known we collected 72p, a button and a spare spike towards club funds*.
Ok, fair enough, so Anil was missed off the email confirming that the game was at Wheathampstead and not Greenwood Park, but Fishers do play at Wheathampstead and, surprisingly, so did our opponents, Wheathampstead (bit of a hint in the name there) so you would have thought it would have rung some alarm bells for him somewhere along the line.
So, our last home game of the season and everything was going according to plan for our well worn path to victory – Anil was late, the car park was locked and the scoreboard was off. Surely nothing could stop us now?
With the memories of their civil ceremony fading, Mr & Mr King opened at either end. Elder and Junior did their stuff to contain the oppo to 18-1 from the first four overs. Anil, coming off his long run from Greenwood Park, took a wicket in his first over. Unfortunately, it was downhill for Fishers from there as the batsmen took control of things, meting out punishment to all subsequent bowlers apart from Bungle and debutant Diraj.
Kevin Shepherd, playing his first game for 40 years (according to Bungle) took his first wicket since decimalization when Matt casually caught a high one coming out of the sun deep on the mid-wicket boundary (actually, it was only casual because he couldn’t really see it).
Ever the man to give new players a fair chance in the easiest circumstances possible, Bungle left new men Jamie and Julian to bowl the closing overs against a Wheato team in full stride. Nice. We held our breath. Can Julian cope? Had he learned to accept his reward? Would his teardrops explode?
Jamie got the final wicket when Kevin, taking his first catch since the death of Queen Victoria (she was a monarch not just a pub, Anil), took a smart one at mid-off.
King The Elder and The Dawkinator opened for Fishers and forced the pace to 43-0 off 6 before John and then Kevin were out in quick succession. Dave hit a quickfire 14 before being smartly stumped. Dawko was only dropped the six times on his way to an all guns blazing retirement on 34 to share the honour of Fisher’s highest 20 over score of the season with both Reevo and Adam Hounslow.
By now Anil and Bungle were occupying the crease. Anil was trying to psyche out the oppo’s bowler by walking away from the wicket mid-run up. Next ball, the bowler, showing (im)maturity beyond his years (12?), trumped Anil by pulling up mid run up – much to the amusement of both teams – causing Bob to signal two dead balls in a row.
Anil hit a valuable 21, but it was Bungle who really got the ‘crowd’ going. He was facing the pacey Ben. Dim, not very bright and fading fast. The poor light was also against him. It was gladiatorial cricket at its very best. The bowler gave no respite in the Wheato gloom and bowled bouncers off a full run. Bungle’s response was smash four boundaries in a row. At least two were well-executed hook shots. It might have been more, but it was too dark to see from where we were. It was brave batting appreciated by both sides. This, remember, from the man whose average was flat-lining on zero for the most part of the season. Top stuff, Bungle. He was finally out for 30. It would have been a lot more, but Anil (at the non-striker’s end) stopped at least two boundaries through slow reactions. Then again, who would ever have expected Bungle to hit the ball straight?
Fishers reached a respectable 154. On most days a wining total, but not today.
(* I wonder if Chris will have even read this far before falling off his chair about the finances and promptly contacting a firm of debt collectors.)
Man of the Match: It was close, but Bungle pipped Dawko to it by hooking after dark.

Quotes Of The Day:
(anxiously to the pavilion) “What’s my score? What’s my score?” – Bungle, having scored one run since his previous score check.
Anil – “With 1-5, a strike rate of 200 and the catch of the century, if it weren’t for John King’s little brother we’d have been home by 6.30.”
Julian – “Bless my cotton socks I’m in the news”