SJFCC vs St Albans Diocese
Clarence Park, Tuesday May 19.
by Matt King
The Not-At-All-Mighty Fishers: 83 for 8 (i.e. all out) from 24 overs, St Albans Diocese All Stars: 86 for 2 in 24.4 overs.
Anyway, the tea was, as expected, excellent. In the name of research, I sampled the three cakes on offer and am happy to report that all were truly outstanding. Now, I know you’ll be keen to learn which my favourite was. It was close. Chocolate cake is often a personal preference and it was a fine example of the cocoa-inspired, baked treat. As I’m sure many of you will agree, the quest for a moist fruitcake that is sufficiently laden with the appropriate quantities of the fertile, often spore-bearing, structures of a non-seed-bearing plant mixed with the necessary ripened ovaries of seed-bearing plants, is a difficult one and great specimens are hard to come by.
However, despite these two strong contenders, it was the Victoria Sponge that took the biscuit. After last year’s debate over the legal definition of the VS cake vs the lesser-seen sponge cake, I know that I have no need to clarify matters further.
This was heavenly cake. Moist, light, creamy, jammy and, err, spongy. It had everything one would expect from the local cottage-cake industry running under the guise of the Hatfield Road Sports and Social Club. I know that the Rev. Simon Moore (check title……next year) would concur with my choice (see below).
Don’t be getting the idea that the whole afternoon was about cakes, oh no, there was much, much more to proceedings than just sweet treats. It is often said that the simple palate of the English cricketer can only truly appreciate great cake when he is replete with savoury servings of the highest order. Replete we were. With sandwich variants too numerous to list here, hunger from a short day in the field was quashed in a dash. Rumour has it that the crisps were hand-cut and pan-fried on the premises of St Albans’ premier social club.
In such regard was tea held by the 17 weary cricketers that it was unanimously awarded a Gail-Force Tea rating (the highest domestic award for food prepared under non-battlefield conditions) and was also put forward for Carol-Cake Commendatation. The crisps were mentioned in dispatches.
There was only one down-side about tea. Just one thing that took the edge off the catering. It was the timing. To maximise the pitch-usage time allowed, it was agreed to have tea at the end of the game. It was anticipated that this would be about 5.30pm. I am sorry to report that by that expected hour we were fed, watered and on our not-so-merry ways home having suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the St Albans Diocese All Stars (SAD AS).
The short-fall in Diocese team size wasn’t quite balanced by the over-availability of Fishermen, but we loaned out Andrew and Ross, and Sandsy. Given that SADAS also had Bob in their line-up of eight, it was a somewhat ‘familiar’ team to play against. Subsequent investigation has uncovered that the shortfall in Diocese player numbers is linked to the number of current vacancies for the Church of England in Beds, Herts, Luton and Barnet: there are four in the Archdeaconry of St Alban, and one each in the Archdeaconries of Bedford and Hertford. With Phil and Bungle both in the process of submitting applications, the Diocese hope to be at full strength (and weight) next season.
Si came to watch and took inaction shots. These images now grace this website.
Unbeaten before this fixture, Cap’n Dawko again won the toss and, in keeping with his water-tight strategy, elected to bat. Dawko fell on 4. Coxy was intent on giving Sandy catching practise at mid-on. Sandsy had done the team-spirited thing and ‘dropped’ the first one Coxy lobbed to him, but felt duty-bound to make a better effort with the same shot a few balls later. He juggled it a little (whilst seeking out the whereabouts of Si’s telescopic lens on the boundary), but then ‘Safe Hands Sands’ did the decent thing.
Chris marched the crease knowing that this was his moment, his day, his innings. With the two slopeners gone, Chris knew that he needed no further excuses to bat out the rest of the day as slowly as possible. Andy Watson bowled. Chris watched. He watched the ball come to him; he watched the ball go past him; he watched the ball almost be in the keeper’s gloves……and then he hit. Gently. Really, really gently. A Golden Duck. Meanwhile, at the other end Matt was building an innings of some scale and magnitude. He was joined at the crease by Bungle (or was it Reevo, those two are so easy to confuse), the ideal batsman for restraint and rescuing batting collapses. Matt was out for a season-best 13, giving Bob his second wicket and Bungle followed suit shortly afterwards when he was caught of Ross’ bowling, having previously been dropped off the same bowler. Both batsmen were caught by ex-Fisher’s nets attendee, Andrew Moore, with a particularly good catch dismissing Bungle.
A sound innings from John Rudlan then followed. There were some actual proper cricket shots in his much-needed 11. Malc was out for 2 and Phil was not out 6 at the end of the innings.
83 in 30 overs with a fast outfield wasn’t a great target to set.
After a quick turnaround and fresh parking tickets, Bob and Will opened for Diocese. Bob batted well before being off Malc’s bowling. The only other wicket to fall went to JR when the other opener was caught on 41 after a solid innings.
Our opening bowlers, Bungle and Matt, were less strike partnership and more civil partnership. Coxy turned in a four-over spell, ending with a maiden, but we never had them in any real trouble.
The Moore brothers, Simon and Andrew, steered SADAS to victory.
Chris weighed in with his most significant contribution of the match when he went off to get some milk for the end of game brew.
For some reason Dawko was particularly keen to get the match stats posted on the website. He had his laptop with him and entered the figures enthusiastically whilst everyone else devoured tea. He was somewhat surprised to discover that the little-used Victorian building did not have wi-fi and, therefore, he couldn’t post them immediately onto the site. Shame.
Man of the Match: Only two contenders, really: Phil for arranging the tea and John Rudlin for arranging the use of Clarence Park.
Quotes Of The Day: Si, whilst watching, armed with long-lensed camera: “I didn’t play as I’ve got to be away by 5.15.” Ahem.
Rev. Moore: “It’s light, fluffy, moist and gone in an instant.” He was talking about Chris’ batting and not the Victoria sponge.
Chris, on being (once again) the butt of all jokes:” You’re going to miss me when I’m gone. Who are you going to take the p*ss out of?”
All: “You, Chris, you. Nothing will change.”
Anil, commenting on the (deliberate) lack of inclusion of his score in the report above: “Perhaps the one and only time where I batted properly and you left it out. I am beginning to regret the middle earth comment.”
Matt, armed with double-handled, giant tea-pot, to dog-collar-wearing opposition captain: “More tea, Vicar?”