May 9th 2013, Napsbury park
Fishers: 95 for 9 off 20, Vocalink: won – scorecard to come
Just like the number 29 bus you wait ages for one and then two (match reports) come along at once…
Fishers frozen out by Vocalink by ‘The Reevonator”
After an easy win last week, the mighty Fishers came back to earth with a bump, on a chilly evening at a windswept Napsbury. A strong Vocalink team cut through the Fishers batting order like a machete through an over-ripe mango, and that without their opening bowler, who only appeared half-way through the innings. Clearly Anil’s cunning tactics of giving him the wrong GPS coordinates had worked – well, for 11 overs at least. By that time we were in recovery mode, hauling ourselves off the canvas at 36-5. Hoskins had been bowled for another egg shaped score, making an early bid for the ducks trophy. Watson hit his customary triple of boundaries before swiping at one too many and being bowled for 13.
As I (Reevo) strode to the wicket I was greeted behind the stumps by a creature that looked more at home on the frozen planet Hoth. Assuming it must be a lost Ranulph Fiennes who might be suffering from snow-blindness, I thought it safer to get Julian to help set my guard. I later discovered that the ump was Hughesie, wrapped up against the elements. Jules followed most of us in playing early and was caught off a leading edge for 8. I soon followed with one slog too many and was caught on the boundary (the best way to go!) for 11. When Bambi fell for a 5 ball duck soon after we were out for the count and it looked like an early beer for all. However, no one had accounted for Fishers Little secret weapon –Bob. With a nurdle here and a cover drive there, Bob compiled an impressive 17 that easily top-scored for the home side. Nursey came and went for 6, not wanting to stay too long in the middle in case Nurse juniors mucked up the scorebook. The Boxer/Little partnership took us to the edge of respectability, but by then, the last 6 overs were being bowled by the late comer and their skipper, tidy bowlers both, and any semblance of a buffet was clearly over. Boxer was bowled for 12, Bob given out lbw and then Bungle had a swipe and was out for 1. Hughes still looked like he was ready to rob a bank when he emerged to bat, but he did better than most, nudging 9 not out with Anil’s unbeaten 3 completing our 95/9.
The less said about their innings the better. Having a poor score to defend, we froze, they scored, we couldn’t see, they couldn’t see, and they overhauled our pitiful total with more than an over to spare. Ramsey, adorning a fetching ducks cap, was ready with the final over, so another 20 runs and we might have made a game of it. In saying that we froze, for some it was movement rather than temperature. Our skipper set the best example, failing to react at all to a shot into the covers until it was pretty much past him. “I didn’t see it” pleaded Arsene Anil – it helps if you’re looking in the right direction. We didn’t help ourselves in the field, too often failing to pitch it on a lively, unpredictable surface and dropping catches as if they were an H in My Fair Lady (‘ughes (x2) and ‘oskins). Bungle and Streaky (sounds like a menu special at Poppins breakfast café) opened with 3 overs each followed by the same from Anil and Hughes. Their opener had retired before we got our first wicket, and then only via a direct hit run-out by Watson. Anil clean bowled two more (cutters apparently) and the oppo were reeling with 3 down. Bob and Nursey with two overs each couldn’t add to the wicket haul though and Vocalink eased past the target after single overs from Jules, Reevo and Watson. By the end the light was so bad we needed a bell in the ball, but that just wouldn’t be Cricket. The bad light continued to affect the squad after stumps, as Kingy, who wasn’t playing, turned up only to get lost on the way to the pub. Rumour has it that he was so disgusted on perusing the scorecard that he couldn’t face being seen with us at The Green Dragon.
Match report 2 by Bob
A dull, extremely overcast, cold and windy evening – with more than a hint of light rain in the air at times – formed the typical early season setting for Fishers’ first appearance of the season at Napsbury Park.
Anxious to make a prompt start, Fishers’ midweek captain, Anil Virji, failed to consider all the options and called incorrectly at the toss – thus dooming Fishers to bat first.
The opening batsmen, Dave Hoskins and Julian Tatlock, were soon back on the sidelines – as were Watson (senior), Reevo and Ramsey. The Fishers’ batsmen, no doubt disconcerted by the inclement weather, some variable bounce in the wicket and some variable quality in the Vocalink bowling, all displayed a penchant for hitting across the line.
With the score at 36 for 5 after eight overs, Bob Little was joined at the crease by Stuart Nurse. Nursey promptly played across the line – and was rewarded by a glorious pull square of the wicket for four. Playing the anchor role (the only one he knows when batting), Bob amassed the side’s top score of 17 in staunch and valuable partnerships with Nurse and, later, David Boxer. Bob departed – leg before wicket to Andrew Watson (and the Vocalink captain who was bowling at the time) in the 18th over, having seen the score rise by some 50 runs.
It was left to John ‘Bungle’ Herbert to play across the line one more time in pursuit of quick runs before David Hughes and Anil Virji scored a brisk dozen or so runs in as many balls at the end of the innings to leave Fishers on 95 for 9, off 20 overs.
Opinion from the cognoscenti was that the Fishers’ score was between 12 and 20 runs too few to defend – and so it was to prove.
In the gathering gloom, against Fishers’ fastest bowlers, Boxer and Bungle, Vocalink’s opening batsmen made a swift and solid start to the chase. A direct hit from Andrew Watson dismissed one of them, run out; while the other made the enforced retirement score of 25. Anil offered Fishers some hope with a tight three over spell which brought two wickets in one over but, as the light failed, it proved easier for the batsmen to play through the line of the ball and hit it for runs – and harder for fielders to see the ball. Three catches were dropped in the closing overs – or, more truthfully, fielders found themselves, unintentionally, in the path of balls hit in the air.
This time there was to be no miracle defence of a low total and Vocalink won by seven wickets – but only in the 19th over. So, the positives for Fishers from this game were:
- They competed well in the field despite having the worst of the conditions – and almost defended a low score
- Dave Hoskins – on debut in that role – showed some promise as a wicketkeeper. His pad play and handling ability were in the best traditions of the late Phil Milton, a long-standing Fishers’ gloveman from what is now almost a bygone era.
A further positive – as far as Stuart Nurse was concerned at any rate – was that Stuart was able to relinquish possession of the ‘ducks cap’ and pass it to Chris Ramsey.
[box type=”info”] My man of the match (apart from me for top scoring with the bat, of course J) is: Anil for his two wickets in the match, which was two wickets more than any other Fishers’ bowler took.
My champagne moment: Anil completely failing to see a ball thrown to him, in the final stages of the Vocalink innings, while he was fielding at extra cover.[/box]