The Chinese One

2007-07-04. Won by 1 wicket 

By Matt King


Garden Fields: 107 for 7 from 20 overs, The Mighty Fishers: 111 for 9 from 19.3 overs. 

Unbeaten in the month of June, Fishers went into this first July fixture like Schumacher racing a bumper card, but oh how the wheels so nearly came off. 

Garden Fields won the toss and decided to make the best use of what little light there was at Verulamium and take advantage of the ten man Fishers fielding side (‘King Prawn’ being delayed by his Chinese supper.) 

Dave bowled three tight overs for 6 runs. To say the bounce was ‘variable’ for the first few overs of the match would be an understatement, but the opening batsmen both progressed well to retire on 26 each. Lesser bowlers like myself and Malcolm take no pleasure whatsoever in seeing our (usually potent) strike force concede a fair few runs for no wickets at all. 

As I said, lesser bowlers like myself and Malcolm take no pleasure at all (and I just want to make that absolutely clear) in our so-called ‘attack’ bearing no fruits. 

There weren’t even too many real incidents of note for the first 15 overs or so. The oppo progressed steadily, we tried our best to keep warm, ‘Peking The Elder’ sat at home in the warm eating his oriental banquet and Matt Hounslow fielded the ball 80% of the time (he’ll revise that fielding style once he starts having to wash his own grass stains out of his trousers). 

A breakthrough came in the 17th over when their no.4 skied one to King The Younger out by the bushes at long on. Naturally, the memories of dropping two the previous week (when ‘fielding’ for the oppo – ahem) did not flash across his mind. He was under it, it popped out, he grasped at it with an extended arm and knocked it yet further away, but saved the day by lunging with a leg and kicking it back up in the air to take a simple (?) one-handed catch. Of course, it was never in doubt. 

Malcolm and Matt K then came to round the innings off with over a-piece, both taking two wickets and run out in each over. Malcolm’s were actually deserved, whereas Matt’s were purely down to good catches by Adam at mid-on and Harris behind the stumps. Flash Harris also produced a good stumping for Big Malc and turned an (unusually) wayward throw from dead-eye-Si into a nifty run out. 

Bungle had a batting line-up strategy and “Shock & Awe” was its theme. I guess it came as no great shock to see who got the only duck of the innings and we were all in awe of Adam’s batting, but I’m not sure that was exactly what he meant. 

We were all also in shock to see Chris hit out. Usually when he opens he reserves this approach for the 19th or 20th overs in a bid to reach double figures, but he went for it early and was actually unlucky to be caught off a decent stroke. Ethan and Adam followed with a display of ‘awe & awe’, before Ethan was out for 22 and then a shock followed when King the Younger was run out for 6. About that time, feeling suitably full and with a fortune cookie grasped in hand, ‘King-Po Chicken’ arrived and was promptly sent out to umpire. 

Actually, he probably wasn’t umpiring for that long as, after Adam retired, our batting collapse was swift and scripted. As Bungle came to the crease the crowd held its breath (we were down-wind). Surely not another duck? Much to our collective disappointment he got one that moved in the air, off the pitch, stopped, started again, bounced low and high and hit the stumps. (Does anyone have that engraver’s number?) 

It was all getting far too tight for comfort and when Dave was bowled for 8 (our joint third highest score) we ordered a No.11 (Sweet & Sour ChicKing) to come to the crease. He was out for 1 (chicken & sweetcorn soup) and then Adam returned to the crease to knock-off a couple of quick boundaries, make the whole thing look easy and wonder why we were making a fuss. 

Man of the Match: Adam Hounslow for two stints at the crease and a great 34 not out. 

Thought For The Day: Afterwards we retired to the mardi gras-like atmosphere of St Michael’s village Folk Festival, Morris dancers and all. Men in white outfits with wooden sticks messing around in public in the summertime. You think they’d know better. You wouldn’t catch us doing that.