SJFCC v Crabtree

SJFCC 179 for 2 off 20 overs won by 88 runs against Crabtree 91 for 8 off 20 overs (scorecard here)

Rothampstead Park, Thursday June 2nd 2011 – Match Report: Stuart Nurse

Rothampstead Park is a verdant expanse of rolling hills and plateaux, vistas and arboreal enclosures; the perfect place for a long walk, especially if you need the loo, need to get to the pitch from your car, or end up fielding on the leg side where the ground falls away from the boundary rope like the north face of the Matterhorn.

A heavily pregnant Mrs Dawko graced us with her presence, but regrettably we only saw her at the very beginning and end of the game as she spent the entirety of the intervening 3 hours walking to a neighbouring county to make use of the facilities.

Virji and Nurse had aptly returned from a school family camping holiday to play in the game, apt because Camp seemed to apply to a number of incidents that evening. Firstly the ridiculous waddle of the dog that minced past us whilst we were padding up, and secondly the farcical piece of fielding that Nurse produced that was camp even by his standards. Not so much a ‘Scoop’ in fact, as a ‘Scamp’

As strong a team as the Fishers have fielded this season won the toss and batted. By the standards of the wickets we have forced to become used to at Verulamium, this Rothampstead wicket could have been produced by a Jermyn Street shirt-maker and Fishers posted their highest score of the season thus far.

Of the 7 batsmen deployed only 2 lost their wickets and that the other 5 registered not out scores of 8, 25, 28, 35 and 48 must have been demoralising for the Crabtree bowlers who lacked the penetration we have come to expect from them.

Recent recruit Dave Summers put on an assured opening partnership with potentially ascendant wicketkeeper Dawko and was the first to retire with a correct and speedily compiled 25* off 9 balls. Nursey then opened his account with the straight 6 of his career and was so overcome by the ovation it generated, that he spent the next 10 balls trying (and failing) to repeat it before being bowled middle stump for 14 attempting it just one more time.

If Crabtree thought they could now see the light, it was quickly blocked out by the breadth of Andy Watson who after sweeping his first ball for a single and then reverse sweeping his next for 4, left the wicket 7 balls later with 28* and Crabtree wishing the sporting ban on South Africa had never been lifted.

Aspirant regular keeper Dawko meanwhile used Watson’s assault to have a breather and pick off the odd single to cleverly place himself on 21* at the start of the next over. A flurry of boundaries then ensued as he picked up, and put back in, the eye he had dropped on the pitch against Diocese two weeks ago and at the end of the same over he strode off with 35* to organise the search party for his wife.
But the batting performance of the match, and indeed the season so far, belonged to Bungle. He may only have one shot, and the opposition may have been utterly deluded thinking that he wouldn’t play it again, and again, and again….but play the cross-batted pickup to midwicket he did for a total of 4 fours and 4 sixes to finish 48* with 24 coming from the final over of left arm round the wicket. It was only a mistiming (of the same bloody shot) that prevented him from registering a much deserved half-century. Unfortunately this assault also prolonged the game by about an hour as each cow corner slap, sorry….each cultured pull through midwicket, either went into an inconveniently placed, but very pretty, oak copse….or travelled straight through it and down the mountainside resulting in a number of chases that resembled the annual Gloucestershire cheese rolling race.

Whilst nothing should be taken away from Bungle’s fine example of clean and sustained hitting which finished with a genuine straight 6 that travelled twice as far as Nursey’s , the oppositions persistence in feeding the shot and not reinforcing the small stretch of boundary he consistently peppered was curious.

179 – 2.

Dave Boxer and Andy Reeves opened the Fishers Bowling and whilst Boxer was again both economical and venomous he went wicketless. He did his bit, however by softening up the top order. Only opener Bailey got into double figures ( 31*) and there followed a tight bowling and fielding performance which included attacking Captaincy from Anil (there were 5 slips deployed more than once ) and more than competent Keeping from Dawko that moved him marginally ahead of Robin Smith in the Thursday night wicket-keeping pecking order almost irrespective of Robin’s much respected decision not to play on Thursday nights anymore.

Kingy took an excellent running catch in the outfield and stopped numerous certain boundaries of his own bowling before dismissing their No 3, Virji was all economy and movement again though like Boxer he went unrewarded. Reevo and Julian took a wicket apiece as Crabtree stuttered towards defeat but it was the restlessness of Watson that ultimately sounded their death knell.

Watson A had stood completely unutilised at 1st slip for 15 overs and had taken root and begun to resemble a giant Redwood when he complained to Anil of being bored. An empathetic and understanding Virji told him to ‘ shut the f*** up and concentrate’ resulting in an amazing sequence of events that the scorecard records as:
Ct Watson Bowled Nurse
Ct Watson Bowled Nurse
Ct Watson Bowled Nurse,
played out over the following 10 balls.

That Nursey finished with 3 for 13 off 2 overs was thanks to an astonishing 3rd effort which Watson took one-handed, diving forward and crashing to the ground to hold a gloved catch that deflected off Dawko. The resulting earth tremor was felt as far a field as the municipal toilet block and had Mrs Dawko reaching for her birthing plan and hospital bag. The margin of Victory was a thumping 85 runs.

Man of the Match: Bungle.