It’s A Miracle!
SJFCC V Diocese CC: Verulamium Park May 19tH
Match Report : Stuart Nurse
According to the Good Book (Readers Easy Scorer, 60 Innings version), when we last played the Diocese CC, Captain Will Gibbs led a communion of Pastors, Clerics, Lay Preachers and Ministers whose collective age could have taken us back to the Creation.
Perhaps galvanised into change by the sight of Bungle inverting the box of their senior player last year and sending him into uncomfortable retirement sitting on several cushions somewhere in Devon, Will clearly led his Flock to the rejuvenating waters of Lourdes (or perhaps just raided the ground staff at Lords). Either way the team that met us under the shadow of the cathedral of St. Alban had been re-incarnated as an athletic assemblage of Choirboys, youth workers, and Theological students whose collective age took us back almost to the Royal Wedding.
After Will convinced Anil the Diocese XI weren’t very Strong (weren’t very old would have been more accurate) and asked him to bat first, new opener Ryan (a perfect example of composure and confidence batting at XI the night before), walked to the wicket like a man on his day of judgement and was bowled for a 6 ball duck. Perhaps he should bat in the middle next time! At the other end, Dawko returned to the fold after a period trying to find himself in the wilderness. Whilst he may have found himself, he struggled to find the ball and after treating the opposition to an entertaining display of mistimed chips, wild cuts and self Flagellation he was eventually dismissed by the only opposition player over the age of consent and walked off in a fashion that owed something to a disgruntled Mutley in the ‘The Wacky Races’. ‘Twas an exit so laden with suppressed invective and self-loathing that it would have made a vicar blush. Welcome back Dawko.
Hughes followed for a 2nd ball Duck and after some brief hitting from Watson and Reevo, new recruit Robert resolutely defended, well didn’t get out anyway, for 10 balls before being bowled for a score that would have kept statisticians working in Binary very happy.
Run out for 6
The Partnership of Bungle and Boxer went some way to bringing some much needed salvation, and also co-incided with the introduction to the attack of Prodigal son Nursey.
Perhaps he had his imminent interview with a pugilistic sporting hero on his mind when he bowled his first over, having carefully reminded the two batsmen of the humiliation they would feel should either of them get out to him, but it certainly helped him prepare when Bungle Played forward to a ball that left him looking like he’d just gone 10 rounds with Smokin’ Joe Frazier. He then smacked the following length ball for 6, although it was only about 4 inches over the head of the sprightly junior church leader who’d just been placed there for the shot. I did mention all this to Smokin’ Joe the following evening, but in common with the vast majority of the questions I asked him, he didn’t have a f****** clue what I was talking about.
Speaking of not having a F****** clue we come to the shot that Boxer then played to Nursey. When later asked to talk me through his edge to 2nd slip he said:’ S**t Ball, S**t Shot. What more do you want to know?’. I got more out of Smokin’ Joe!
A series of run outs then meant that the Fishers had managed a score of under a ton, with more than an over left to bat.
If the reports above seem overly critical of the Batsmen, the following mitigation needs to be given careful consideration. The pitch supplied by John O’Connor and St Albans council was easily the worst we have played on all year, and whilst it evened out a little for the 2nd innings it was a disgrace. Given that the hire of these pitches costs the club £65 a time, it would reasonable to expect something less than dangerous. Thoughts on what to do about this would be welcomed.
I’m going to start by writing one to both the above suppliers to complain.
If they had laid it, rather than been buried under it, it may have played a bit straighter.
In the gathering darkness all four fishers captains, Virji, Hughes, Reevo and Bungle set a field by committee for opener and oppo skipper Will. His eventual innings of 22 played out over 10 overs proved the backbone of the Diocese Innings ably supported by 28 not out from a young antipodean missionary. Boxer bowled with hostility, was a real handful on this pitch and deserved more than his one wicket, whilst Virji was all economy and movement from the other end. Dave Hughes gave us an exhibition of his spin bowling which went for 17 of 2 overs and then an exhibition of his seam up which went for 1 off 1. More of the quick stuff please Hughsie!
Quality Bowling from Reevo and Bungle got them among the wickets and with 4 run outs contributing to their difficulties, things were getting very tight, not to mention very dark, as no’s 9, 10 and 11 came in.
‘Hit it over here Nursey!’. So I did. I’m such a muppet.
Well they ain’t pretty. Apart from Bungles 20 and an equal total of extras, nobody scored more than 12 and there were 4 scores under 5. As I mentioned earlier, the pitch was a dog. Bowling highlights were Virji 3-0-9-0, Reevo 3-0-10-2 and Bungle 3-0-2-15.
The final act of this game was played out in almost total darkness with a white ball. Needing 9 off the last two overs an edge towards the fine leg boundary produced a fine bit of fielding to stop the 4 but the subsequent throw in hit the Helmet, unprotected as Dawko tended the stumps and a total of 7 runs resulted. 2 off the last over. A scrambled single bought the score level with 9 wickets down, and off the last ball of the game the Fishers of Men got their man run out and an enthralling and most entertaining match was tied. Having checked the score book, the number of extras on either side was equal on 20 until that throw cost us another 5. So ultimately the opportunity to win a tight game was lost by the Helmet. As Kingy said at the time, it’s an unkind way to describe Dawko.
Man of the Match: 20 runs, 2 for 15, split lip. Bungle.