Virgin Verulum Victory

SJFCC vs Nick Button XI

Verulum School, Thursday May 14.

By Matt King

The Mighty Fishers: 123 for 9 from 20 overs, Nick Button XI: 45 all out in 14.2 overs.

Cap’n Dawko is unstoppable. Not only are Fishers unbeaten under his leadership, but he has also single-handedly found and prepared a completely new home pitch for us at Verulum School. If only Sandsy were as resourceful.
Unlike previous captains, Dawko also has a strategy. It may prove to be neither flexible nor successful in the long run, but who are we to argue with victories in 100% of competitive matches played so far this season.
And the strategy itself? Bat first. Simple, as they say, is often effective. Dawko is effective. So confident is he in his chosen path to cricketing nirvana that, having won the toss, he put his strategy into action this time without even bothering to look at the pitch. The brand new pitch.

The oppo must have been quite impressed when they turned up. Not only were a handful of us there, coiled and ready for action, but the heavy roller was actually trundling up and down the strip. Later, when Bungle had finished his pitch-inspection, the groundsman came on to roll the wicket.

In the way of all great leaders, Dawko delegated the organising of the batting order to Bob. Dawko, having got down to the lowly team members as far as no.4, said: “I can’t be bothered doing any more than that. Sort it out yourselves.” Bob did the honours. Then Bob volunteered to umpire and also to score. We sense a coup in the offing. Cap’n Bob even has a certain media-mogul ring to it.

Our lack of a scoreboard was brought into sharp relief when Bob was umpiring and scoring. With Bob’s well-intentioned control of the pencil, and Dawko’s Morse-code batting at the crease (dot, dot, dash) those of us left on the boundary were clueless, leaderless and ignorant; it was the Bungle-era all over again.

All we had to amuse us was Hayd saying to little Jake ‘Wave to Daddy’ and the little lad obliging by pointing to any number of random Fisher’s players.

I’m not mentioning the incident with Anil. Not one bit. At all. Ever.

Similarly, Bungle’s comments on the Olympics won’t feature here, either.

Meanwhile, some cricket was being played in the vicinity.

Openers Dawko and Coxy both got 6. (Yes, that’s six, not a 6. Come on, you’ve seen them both bat.) Si then went and got some proper runs before retiring on 28. His knock included three boundaries. No mean feat, when you consider that the boundary itself was a bit of random line half way between the pitch and Smallford. In fact, it was El Magneto who scored the first boundary at our new ground. Facing only his second delivery, the ball rocketed off the outside edge after a poorly-timed shot and, after two mis-fields, gathered pace down a steep slope and trickled across the boundary.
Then, in the most mis-calculated bit of running, since Paula Radcliffe was caught short in the 2005 London Marathon, Chris ran out Dave. Dave took it in his stride. Well, the one stride he had taken since hearing Chris’ kamikaze call, that is.

Matt made a brief 7, before also being run out by Chris. Anil and Bungle weighed in with one apiece, preferring to hit out and get out rather than run the risk of being Chris’ next victims. We were 98 off 17 when the masterplan of putting later-comers, the Watson Twins, in at 10 and 11 paid off. Ross got a useful 9 and Andrew spanked a quick 14. Fishers finished on 123, with Extras second highest top-scoring after Si.

Dave opened the bowling from the Longbow End, with Bungle hot-footing it in from the Sandpit Lane End. They were followed on by Anil and Ross, with all four bowlers getting a wicket each for only handful of runs. Bob, Coxy and Chris all bowled well. Anil let the team down by catching batsman no.1 off Chris’ bowling, thereby giving the Welsh Wizard his (probably) first ever openers’ scalp.

It was dark, dank and late when Andrew W came on to bowl. It may have been hard for the batsmen to see the ball, but stumpmeister Dawko was having no such trouble. Some quick work behind the wicket from the captain saw Watson No.1 get wickets in consecutive balls and end up with 3-3 off his one over.

The NBXI finished on 45 all out from 14.2. (Apparently, that’s not even their real name. They are known more regularly as ‘Sad Dads with Pads’). Mr Button himself was injured, but it’s always nice to have a volunteer umpire.

Man of the Match: He may only have played a bit of a cameo role – batting last and bowling just the one over – but with 14 n.o. and 3 wickets in his over, it has to be Watson Snr.

Quotes Of The Day:
“Don’t worry, I had my hand on it all the time.” Anil.

Dawko, on seeing Si return from the crease to the boundary: ”Why’s he coming back? I think his bat must be broken. It’s not the end of the over.” It was. He hadn’t. It’s called ‘retiring’.

“That was the wrong shot” (Anon), as Anil was bowled.

Chris: “I played the anchor innings.” Yes, Chris, of course you did. ‘W’ anyone?

Chris: “Watch me run Dave out this week. I’ve been dying to do it for years.”

Dave, on being ‘terminated’ by Chris: “What dashed bad luck. I do hope that Christopher does not blame himself as that unfortunate incident was clearly of my own doing.”

Phil (the voice of reason): “Dave was probably asleep from watching Chris bat; that’s how he ran him out.”