Match Report vs Hedge
End JAMS 3 September 2011@ Hedge End, Hampshire - Tour
(Skipper Muff, report Shakey)
Skipper Muff had a dilemma on his hands come Saturday morning
of tour – all 14 Casuals reported themselves fit for
selection! The words ‘fit’ and ‘Casuals’
are seldom aligned so how true could that be? After an honourable
draw with the locals at golf no backs were put out, Richie
failed to kill or maim with his dubious buggy-driving skills
and the night in Winchester…… but what goes on
tour stays on tour.
It’s true that ‘Emma’ (for that’s
the name we will give the mad blonde lady called Emma with
the staggering physique who danced with anybody and everybody
in O’Neill’s - including the local tramp) had
been a distraction for some, that vocal chords were stretched
by ‘Brown Sugar’, that we were lucky England’s
footie opponents hadn’t scored which may have prompted
some strangled and unacceptable cheers from the Welsh minority
in a busy Winchester bar, and the homage at the local kebab
shop had tested our ability to withstand food poisoning (what
was that fish stuff all about?). But everyone was back in
the hotel by 3.30. So fit we were.
After the now customary draw we found ourselves without our
leading wicket-taker this year (Paul), a hard-hitting opening
batsman (Tesh) and someone who just can’t catch (sorry
Dan ) how would we cope?
Hedge End Jams looked a young team with a couple of experienced
players and they bowled first on a green pitch. Our own Jam
and Cheese looked to give us a steady start against some erratic
bowling which was actually getting some considerable bounce,
seam and swing. Jam was the first to fall for 13 in the 9th
over with the score on 30 – not his most fluent innings
but the onset of gout can do that to anyone!
Kim entered the fray [with Tour virgin vest] and the Casuals
score continued to mount, slowly but surely. At the end of
the 19th over we were 72-1. What happened next will keep changing
in the telling but suffice to say that it could have been
a bad call, someone may not have heard, there could have been
a slip, perhaps it could have been the kebab. But Ed was inexplicably
run out after a determined and precious knock of 34 with just
four boundaries – scoring was that challenging. Richie
followed soon after but Lovers [in very fetching pink Tour
vigin outfit - looking far too comfortable wearing it...]
and Ash hung around awhile as Kim continued to accumulate
Kim’s dismissal for 47 in the 32nd over (138-5) came
as a bit of a shock as the fifty seemed on so the pressure
mounted on the lower middle order. Yes the pitch was doing
a bit but the outfield was like lightning and if someone could
get in a big score was possible – we needed more runs.
Ash and Winkie kept moving us forward but with two overs left
we were on 164-8 with Ash, Goff and Muff all back in the hutch.
After 12 more balls the Casuals innings ended on 184-8, Shakes
contributing a ‘vital’ 0* and running everything
as hard as he could, but with Winkie rightly stealing all
the plaudits for a terrific little knock at the end of the
innings. His 28* featured four boundaries and in hindsight
his stay at the wicket was the most fluent of the day.
The Casuals had set a reasonable target, helped by 34 extras,
and rather enjoyed the delicious cakes on offer at Tea. Could
any of the youngsters get their head down and have a bat?
After 3.3 overs everything seemed fine for the batting team
against the respectable bowling of Lovers and Muff. Hedge
End had moved to 18-0 and young Spiers had just played a lovely
shot for four off Muff through midwicket. Next ball he played
exactly the same exquisite looking shot, but to a very different
ball. In disbelief he turned around to see the bails on the
floor and his off stump pegged back a fraction thanks to Muff’s
fuller, wider and even slower ball. (This shouldn’t
be confused with Muff’s deathly slow ball that hovers
seemingly motionless in mid-air, in open defiance of modern
physics – it’s due for testing at CERN when they’ve
sorted out how new trainers can go at the speed of light).
The Hedge End batting order then took it upon itself to implode
with some decidedly ill-judged and careless cricket. Lovers
claimed a wicket, Muff another, Cheese pulled off an excellent
run out with a quick chase and bullet-like accurate throw
from square leg, and then he got another one who took his
arm on! The youngsters weren’t learning.
The older players arrived and tried to defend although half
their team were now gone for 45. Goff, DT and Shakes toiled
away respectably and it seemed that a long afternoon lay ahead
with the result in little doubt. Then just before drinks Shakes
made a breakthrough, bowling their top scorer for 16 and their
captain first ball to set up the hat-trick ball. It wasn’t
to be but the Casuals were now firmly on top and a drink and
leftover cakes were well received. Lovers came back on and
induced the batsman to miscue a pull towards mid-off. There
was a cry of catch it!
It has to be said that over many years Shakes has consumed
vast quantities of food on the field of play to no ill effect
on the outcome of the game. Be it a twix, sausage roll, penguin,
doughnut, kit kat, sarnie or even a choc ice at Caerleon -
nothing has distracted his attention while in the field. But
where do you put a half-eaten white chocolate fairy cake?
It surely must go on the grass in front of you at mid-off!
So, as the ball sailed into the air, rather than running
full pelt Shakes lloked down to check where his cake was,
moved round it with care, and finished just a little short
of where the ball came safely to earth. Shakes calmly ate
his cake and posed the ultimate philosophical conundrum for
any true Casual “cake or cricket ball – you decide?”
Lovers deservedly picked up his wicket a few balls later
and another after that to finish with 3-19. Winkie bowled
with no luck and the innings ended fittingly with Cheese running
yet another Hedge End Jam out as they subsided for 64. After
a quick shower it was back to Winchester for a well deserved