Double-Duck Dawko Draws Defeat

SJFCC vs sjfcc vs St John Fisher Cricket Club

St Luke’s School, Redbourn, Thursday May 7.

By Matt King

Like all well-oiled campaign plans, our first outdoor ‘training’ game came four days after our first actual match. (I’m sure I’ve heard mention before of teams not being sufficiently well prepared for series due to their reliance on too few warm-up games to get them in tune with local conditions.)

Anyway, with a victory under our belts from the previous Sunday, it was mixed bag of Fishermen who gathered in the rustic Redbourn conditions. Having mastered the Sunday match approach for the season, it was now time to hone our twenty20 evening game skills.

With our new ground at Verulum School not quite ready, Sandsy did a sterling job to find a stand-in venue at short notice. He must have dusted down his Wisden and searched high and low for conditions fitting for a squad in such fine, fine form. Not for us, Clarence Park, oh no. Not for us, Wheato, nor Sandridge, nor Greenwood Park. Not for us, grass. No, we deserved an artificial pitch, and not just any old artificial pitch (hang on, it actually was ‘any old’ artificial pitch – in fact, I doubt there are any pitches {artificial or otherwise} that could be any more justifiably referred to as ‘any old’ than the one Paul so lovingly sourced for us.)

When I say ‘Paul dusted down his Wisden’, he really did. Sadly, it was a 1997 copy. The pitch in Redbourn had not been played on for over 10 years. Inspired, some would say. I mean, most of our team haven’t played properly for over 10 years so we were actually ideally suited.
Although the pitch had seen better days (about 3,650 of them since it was last used) and was complete with rabbit holes at the very edge of the strip, the outfield was lovingly cared for and much-used. Much-used, but not for cricket, mind. I know I definitely saw a running track marked out on it, and a softball pitch and I think I may have seen markings for the javelin.

Anyway, any pitch in a storm, as they say.

A training game wouldn’t normally warrant a write up, but this was one with a twist. Players, ex-players, non-players and random passers-by came out of the woodwork and we ended up having a three-sided game with 5 or 6 players per team. With one team batting, the other two fielded.

Reevo and Andrew Watson opened the batting for Team 1. Obviously, their plan was to start fast and get quicker. It worked. Reevo kindly hit CharlieTheGroundsman (who probably had a hand in letting us have the pitch in the first place and had even gone to the trouble of marking out a reserve strip on the grass, should the artificial pitch not be to our liking) for two 6s and a 4 in his one over. Both Reevo and Watson Snr. retired once they had sufficiently damaged (both the) bowling teams’ confidences. The other highlight of Team 1’s innings was that Dawko was out for a golden duck. Now I know sometimes people skim read these reports and only really focus on the bits mentioning their name (Anil) and then they email, text and call me to get me to improve their coverage to make up for other inadequacies in their lives (Anil), so I’ll make this bit easier to spot.


Anyway, there was a rule that you couldn’t be out first ball and Dawko went on to contribute an impressive four singles before being out again.

Team 1 finished on 79 for 2 off 10 overs.

CharlieTheGroundsman opened for Team 2 and had his revenge, hitting five boundaries on his way to 23. I’d like to say that they were all off Reevo. In fact, given that I’ve recently elsewhere accredited Reevo for a 50 for a match he didn’t even play in, I think I will say that all 23 of CTG’s runs were off Reevo’s one over. There you have it; the pen is mightier than the bat.
Anil got 12 before being clean bowled by James Carpenter. The ball sent middle stump flying six feet into the air and the bails flew about 20 yards. What a delivery.
I hit a 6 (not a phrase you’re ever likely to read again).

Team 2 ended up on 79 for 2 off 10 overs.

A bloke called Fraser, who looked like he may have held a bat before, opened with Ross for Team 3. Fraser retired on 25 and Ross was one of Reevo’s two victims in his allocated over. Bob made a quick 15 and Keith, having turned up late and not knowing that we were in three teams and finding the whole game a bit confusing, was not out 14.

Team 3 finished on 79 for 4 off 10 overs.

A three-way tie……or was it?

By dint of losing more wickets, Team 3 came last, leaving it a close call between Teams 1 and 2.
Now, I’ve checked the MCC rules for three–way matches and, apparently, in the event of a tie, the team having lost the least wickets by way of Golden Ducks shall be declared the winner. I’ve double-checked and can now confirm that Team 1 suffered two glorious goldens – Dawko and James (not Carpenter) – whereas the team I was in, Team 2, had no complete muppets amongst us and, therefore, are declared the 2009 Training Game Winners.