SJFCC v Octopus

SJFCC 156 for 4 off 30.2 overs WON by 5 wickets against Octopus 155 for 5 off 35 overs (scorecard here)

Napsbury Park, Sunday June 19th 2011 – Match Report: Dr Mark Dawkins

A resigned crowd of Fishers players gathered at our new spiritual home of Napsbury for a Sunday fixture against the interestingly named Octopus CC for the first time. Resigned to many things – that the pitch would resemble a mud track in downtown Dhakka in the monsoon season; that the dark clouds gathering would prevent demonstration of their (undoubted) skills once again; and that with Keith & Dawko in the line up, another dynamic and “power play style” opening partnership was probably on the cards…

Well, it just goes to show that you shouldn’t jump to conclusions – well, not about the weather or the pitch anyway…

So despite the fact that indeed the pitch was indeed of the sort that Boycott would no doubt remember most fondly from the old days of uncovered county pitches, the game started on time in dry weather, and Bungle even won the toss, inserting the opposition – confidently predicting that his bowling attack would be able to exploit the seamer friendly conditions. Boxer opened and quickly found that despite being 10ft tall and working up a good pace, the ball simply refused to bounce or carry through. Luckily Bungle began to swing things all over the place (but no that’s too easy…) and after some overs of no runs and many play and misses from the batsmen, he produced possibly the ball of the season-  full, starting well outside off and then swinging late and far to take middle and leg while the batsmen was still groping to off…bungle at his best.

So a good start, and it should have got better when Streaky produced a shock lifting, pacey delivery which took the batsman’s glove and went through to keeper Dawko for an easy catch… unfortunately instead of celebrating we made the mistake of appealing for the catch and the umpire looked confused and asked the batsman who incredibly claimed not to have got near the ball. Of course Dave took it all with excellent good humour and in anticipation of his sanguine temperement the slips and keeper edged backwards for the next ball (shame we didn’t all just edge wider…)

Despite this setback, the bowling remained tight and the scoring rate low. We had mystery spin in our ranks to turn to as well, and Nursey & Marriott came on to exploit the obviously spin friendly conditions on the mud track. Nursey took a couple of balls to find his line and then started serving up some beautiful deliveries which fizzed past the edge. Just enough of these straight balls compared to the more frequency and rather wider pies persuaded Bungle to keep him on, and a chance soon came from the previously reprieved batsman when a catch was offered at point to Boxer but on this occasion it failed to stick – not improving Streaky’s mood. But not to worry as a brilliantly disguised “full toss miles down the leg side” from Nursey was middled round the corner straight to Si on the fine leg boundry who took the catch with great aplomb. Nursey was on a role, and then persuaded the umpire to give a generous LBW decision against his mate (well, he was his mate) who had taken a long stride not just down the track but practically as far as the long off boundary. So a full spell of 7 overs was completed for the first time ever. We’ve not seen Stu since but presume that Monday involved a few “minor” aches and pains after this unaccustomed effort…

While all this was going on, Si bowled a very tight spell from the other end, bowling spin at a good pace to keep the batsment tied down, and being unlucky not to pick up a wicket after an edge failed to stick in Dawko’s gloves, and shortly afterwards a legside delivery had the batsman charging down the pitch and missing – the stumping opportunity being completedly ignored by Dawko who was too busy admiring his sharp take of the rising ball down the legside to think about actually taking the bails off..

So a good bowling effort overall, and we felt confident of making the 155 to win. First things first however and along with the move to Napsbury (which has amazing modern luxuries like a roof, running water, and some new-fangled thing called electricity so we can boil a kettle) has come a very welcome hike in the quality of the teas (thanks to Krista and Jules!). Sadly however misplaced kindness on Jules’ part meant that Dawko ate far too many sandwiches and was in even less dynamic fast scoring form than usual. With Keith also opening, and despite their best efforts to handle good tight bowling and the slow pace of the pitch, this meant that after 10 overs the score was only 20, and the target suddenly felt a long way off.

Not to worry though as Keith and shortly afterwards Dawko departed to catches while trying to pick up the scoring, bringing in Si & Robin. Robin managed to get off the mark for the first time in a couple of matches and hit a few nice boundaries, and Si was his usual classy self in moving swiftly on to 30 odd. However the required rate was still climbing, so Robin & Si agreed to push for some quick singles. Robin was first to call for a non-existent run, firmly refused by Si. Not to be outdone Si then hit the ball straight to a fielder, called Robin through and despite almost hitting Olympic 100m pace (ish) he couldn’t quite reach the throw and was run out.

This marked the turning point in the match- Mr Watson Snr, in a rich vein of form in recent matches, stode to the crease and prepared to face the by now confident bowling attack. Little did they know that in his last outing at Napsbury, Andy had hit 62 off 33 balls, and a rate of more than 10 an over was practically snails pace to him. He started slowly – something like 2 or 3 dot balls, before basically taking the oppo apart in a display of hitting that was fantastic to watch – ok he should have been caught on 10 or so when he pulverised a ball to long on, but the hapless fielder found the ball smashing through his hands into his chest, and then ricocheting for 4. After that it was 4s and 6s all the way, and despite Si inexplicably giving catching practice to point for 34, Graham then came in for his 1st match of the season and played just as positively for a stylish 18 off 13 balls to help steer us home. In the end the target was reached with 4.4 overs to spare when their main bowler lost his cool and sent 2 no ball beamers down to Andy which just prevented him from hitting a 6 to get his 50, but his 45 off 24 balls was a brilliant innings.

So an excellent win and great to be playing again – the sun even shone for a few hours!

Skipper Bungle writes: Personally it would be a tough call for Mom between Watson and Si. I would say Si based on incredible bowling figures and a rock like knock