1st XI match report for Stort - 27th July 2002
As it was quite an occasion, thought I would drop a line to report on a
fairly famous victory on the Saturday just gone, for which I was quite
fortunate to be Captain of in the skip's absence as he was on a dirty
weekend in Bournemouth with his wife on their second anniversary (2 years
eh? Who said it wouldn't last!).
I don't think I want to do a report in my usual Daily Express proper
reporting style, I think I just want to tell you about the 11 Men of the
Match that went out onto the pitch that day.
MoM No. 1. Well of course, it is the great Beavis himself. Mr. Fletcher
was giving it large to me during the week, stating how much form he was in,
spanking runs all around the park for the 4ths and for his Sunday side, so
when I told him he was opening, he advised how he was going to celebrate
his ton. (Naturally it involved him revealing all those nasty parts of his
body to everyone!) When I told him on the day that I had lost the toss and
that we were batting first and he was opening with the Old Man, the
confidence wasn't quite so clear for all to see. But open he did and spank
the ball to all parts he also did. I don't remember him driving that well,
but the shots off his legs were worthy of any first team opening bat. He
out scored the Old Man and the crowd were devastated when he was finally
out for 34. 68-1 off 15. Tidy start! Added to that, he later took a
terrific catch at deep midwicket off a typical Shuftee full toss, which was
celebrated in a Flintoff-style drop kick. A great game by anyone's
standards, but for him a MoM performance. He is surely now an established
part of our set up.
MoM No. 2. The Old Man. Supported Beavis in his usual stylish way and
eventually a little disappointed to get out driving for 35. Played some
lovely shots, particularly driving square on the offside and then later
took a catch and bowled 5 tidy overs.
MoM No. 3. Mid Life Crisis, Mr. Robinson. Only scored 15 and rather
missed out on that super track and lightning fast outfield. Looked a bit
rusty after his 4th team exploits. I don't think he is used to slow
bowlers actually bowling 6 balls in a row AT the stumps. Bowled a solitary
over later on and wasn't best pleased to be taken off, with a cap throwing
incident displaying his reaction. It's a tough life being a skipper, but
we had just taken a wicket at the other end and it was time for Ari to come
MoM No. 4. It's the skip himself, yes yours truly. I must confess, I did
have a pretty good game and frankly, it was probably my best game for the
1s for 3 or 4 years. Coming in at 80 odd for 2, my recent form left me
seeing the ball like a football and I flew to 50, before Kev was even out.
It was a bit of struggle after that, as they did rather shore up my
boundary scoring shots, but in a way, I was pleased to be out for 75, as I
didn't want thoughts of a ton spoiling a good declaration. Adding two
catches, which included one caught in my legs, as it flew straight through
my hands and things going my way with most of my captaincy decisions, I
will be sorry to hand back the reins next week. Tell you what Sean, I'll
get a hundred next week, while YOU can worry about the declaration.
MoM No. 5. Birksy. Yup, his second game in three weeks. Coming in at 150
odd for 3, yet as nervous as you like after his duck in his previous
appearance. Took him a while to get going, but in the end it was a typical
Birksy display with some super drives and pulls, as he got to exactly 50
not out, when the declaration came. He hit the only six of the game and
later took a catch. It was so great to see him so keen and after the game,
he was plainly gutted that he could n't play next week. He'll be back the
week after though.
MoM No. 6. Ole Bottom Bunk Patel. Ari scored a nice 15 not out with
Birksy at the end. He is a very intelligent batsman and can adapt to
whatever situation is on, whether it be at tough times like last week and
having got one in the face, or when batting for a tense win, or like this
week, when he developed a healthy partnership to bring our declaration as I
had hoped at the end of the 51st over at 233-4. His bowling was first rate
and unlucky to only take two wickets, but they were important ones,
including a caught and bowled.
MoM No. 7. Phil Pond. Didn't bat but was first class behind the stumps
and his two stumpings were crucial.
MoM No. 8. James Harper. Didn't bat and dropped a catch off Ari at short
mid off (right into my plan), but did field excellently down on the short
fast boundary, which saved so many runs, that we were able to apply
MoM No. 9. Tony Leake. Not the best days for Tony, taking 0-48 off ten
and got a bit of tap from their best player, but he didn't have much luck
and wasn't particularly complimentary about either umpires as decisions
didn't quite go the way it did the previous week. What goes around, comes
around. Fielded well and should have had a run out.
MoM No. 10. Andy Fernandez. Didn't bat and did the job we asked him to
do. For a young man, he is a mature cricketer and fielder and in that they
only had ten men, he was the difference between the two sides.
And finally, my personal favourite for the real MoM - No. 11. Shuftee.
What a performance with the ball! He never complained when I told him he
was batting at 9 and I think he will be the first to agree, that his form
with the bat hasn't been anywhere near the standard of last season. But on
the day, he won the game with the ball, taking 7-73 off 15 first class
overs. He struck in his first over with my "catch" at mid on, when they
were going along quite nicely at 60-0 off 20. He then picked up the next 4
wickets, to get the first 5 out of 5, including the vital wicket of their
best player, with a first class stumping from Phil. They were always that
little bit behind the clock, but always in with a shout and Shuftee just
kept getting wicket after wicket, just when we needed it the most. When
Ari finally cleaned out their penultimate player, it left too much for the
last two to get the win. With 30 needed from the last two, Shuftee bowled
his last over at the guy who was scoring runs. With just the 49th from Ari
to come, I changed the field to stop him getting one and he came running
down the wicket to the last ball, even calling "one", but forgetting to hit
it and Phil brought off a terrific stumping to win us the game. It was a
super delivery from Shuftee to cap a brilliant bowling display. My
recommendation to the skip - if you can afford a few runs, stick with him!
A great day - till the next time! Although, in that this is my last season
with Eastwood, that may well be my last 1st XI captain's stint. I've done
quite a few in the past and if that is the last, it is a nice way for me to