SJFCC 110/9 (20 overs)
AECOM 111/3 (12.3 overs)
J Herbert – 28 runs
J Sasi – 26 runs
S Fretter – 20 runs, 1 wicket
There are times when there is so much one can think to say, but somebody has already said it better. In this instance we turn to the timeless words of two philosophical brothers, Barry and Paul “Chuckle” Elliott:
“Oh dear, oh dear…”
“Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear…”
As part St Albans CC’s inaugural festival of cricket, a T20 tournament was arranged to involve 8 local social teams over the course of a week. With the usual rules in place beforehand, and the nifty use of a lurid pink ball, Fishers were drawn to play their quarter final match against an unknown opposition, AECOM, an engineering firm based in St Albans. With matches being held simultaneously at Clarence Park and Verulam School’s pitch on Sandpit Lane, SJFCC were in good spirits and looking forward to taking part in the contest.
In what was agreed to be Fishers’ worst start to a match ever, and was definitely a pile of shite, the first 5 wickets fell for 4 runs and included 4 ducks. Hazon and Hoskins opened the ‘batting’ with Hoskins kick-starting things by calling for a suicidal* run, having hit his shot straight to the short cover fielder. With Hazon not expecting the call, much hesitation ensued before Hazon jogged through to watch the bails removed, sacrificing himself for the supposed better player. Skipper Hargreaves then strode to the middle and straight back again after missing his first delivery, a straight ball that pitched and rolled into the stumps. Next over Hoskins repaid Hazon’s generosity by being caught for a 5-ball duck. This brought Boxer to the crease with Watson already in situ, who knocked a couple of singles before Boxer launched one to the long on boundary and was caught, again for a duck. Tatlock joined Watson at the crease and next over was the victim of one of the cruellest of cricketing cruelties – Watson cracked a ball straight back to the bowler, who was unable to jump out of the way and the ball hit his ankle, cannoning into the stumps. Tatlock unfortunately was doing the right thing and backing up like a pro, so he ended up stuck and out for Fishers’ fourth and final duck.
Now, in a time of such crisis, with a steadying hand needed, I don’t think anyone thought to themselves ‘thank Christ it’s Bungle in next’. But we should have, we were wrong not to have done so and were made to hang our head in shame. Next time, we will have more confidence. And we will no doubt be let down. But, for now, with a rarely-seen straight bat, Bungle resolutely refused to add to his career ducks total (27 so far, according to the website). Watson, meanwhile, struck a couple of smart boundaries then top-edged to third man, leaving Fishers on 13 for 6. With Bungle joined in the middle by Sasi, a man better known for playing properly, runs started to creep along and some cheer was brought to the rest of the team. The pair put on a great show, and about 60 runs. There was applause, there were cheers and there was a lot of wincing, as about half the partnership was run in singles and we shared Bungle’s obvious pain. As he retired on 28 (from 30 balls, despite the uncharacteristic defensive effort), Sasi also retired on 25 (32 balls) and Fretter picked the pace up even more, striking a classy 20 runs from 14 deliveries. Nurse and Thomas entered for their respective cameos in the final overs, leaving just enough time for more cricketing kerfuffle. With two balls remaining, Nurse was bowled for 5, bringing Bungle back to the crease to face the final delivery. However, a wide was bowled and Bungle was smartly stumped. With Sasi, the other retiree from earlier in the innings, having already de-padded, there ensued a messy scramble for him to prepare for re-entry. He gave up in the end, and strode out with no shin protection to hit the next final ball for a spectacular single, finishing 26 not out. A Herculean effort from batsmen 7, 8 and 9 to bring Fishers’ total to 105 for 9.
A target of 106 felt like it was defendable, with Fishers’ bowling line-up looking strong. This feeling was also based on the fact that only half the opposition wore whites. And it began well with Hoskins and Hargreaves combining to reach 10 for 1 after 4 overs, Hargreaves taking the first wicket with a plumb LBW in a maiden over. What followed was a lesson in how deceiving appearances can be, or how South Africans can disguise themselves so easily… The next 4 overs saw 45 runs scored, including 9 boundaries, with the dubious positive of Fretter removing the other opener. Dubious, because this only served to bring AECOM’s main destroyer to the crease, scoring an unbeaten 31 from only 11 balls. Keeper Thomas took a superb leg-side stumping off Hazon’s bowling to provide the last highlight in what would have been another wicket-maiden over were it not for a horrible wide than ran to the boundary, summing up Fishers’ defence of their meagre total.
On to the runner-up match against Verulam Dads on Thursday. We didn’t want to play in the final, anyway.
* given the run-out was actually inflicted on his partner, Hoskins’ call to run might instead be described as murderous, rather than suicidal