C.E.C.C.| Shepherds Cot | Crouch End | North London | N8 8JJ
With Captain Bazley away the Wildcards were under the vice skipper's guard (Bobby Y) for the favourite fixture of the summer calender against local rivals Octopus. The Wildcards have won this fixture for the past two seasons - both games were won by single digit run scores.
Great news started the day -Octopus turned up with a self-branded ball and both teams started merrily ambling up to the Field of Dreams for a 12.30 start. The stumps were out, flags were out, the club was open and a few boys were warming up in the nets - courtesy of "man of the day" Mr Simon Tanner.
The vice-skipper duly lost the toss (something captain Bazley never loses) and the Wildcards were put into field. No problemo - Courtney was super keen to eat his sugary lunch and get the keeping pads on.
12.30 start beckoned. No sign of Khalid's bro, Farooq (Khalid's brothers mate) and Anton. The first of these merry men turned up and we got going with 10 players. Anton still AWOL. 12.45 start. Question before we started to Farooq "what are you best at?". Answer "batting and bowling". A warning seed of things to come was planted.
Felix "the bomber" opened by throwing grenades. Ian "the passion" hayes was cruising in from up the hill. The Bomber got the Octopus opener out, playing on, for a very early wicket. The vice skipper fear a one-sided affair. How wrong he was.....
Overs passed, the Bomber kept bowling well and ended with tidy figures. "The passion" had a little less success. The Octopus number three had the game of his life and got to a very quick 50 and equally getting under the skin of young Ian.
How to counter this sucker punch? Bring on Andrew Frank Smith for some regularity. As Mr Smith warmed up his back up his line got better & better and he was getting some gremlins out of the flat batting deck. A very impressive spell of bowling and surprisingly only 1 wicket as reward. Farooq came on at the other end. He came off after 1 over. Apparently playing with a taped up tennis ball is a lot different to playing with a proper cricket ball. It was a pity Farooq couldn't get his length (we thought he was trying to score 3 pointers over Courtney's head) as after the innings he was bowling really well in the nets.
Anton turned up at 2pm. Octopus had started to accelerate scoring. The worst thing was the amount of extras and mis-fields occurring. Probably our worst fielding display of the season. Bring on Rob Heelas - who again showed again he is a very handy bowler.
As Octopus had wickets in hand they started to hit out. On comes Mr Tanner. The great thing for a captain is you can easily set a decent field to Simon's bowling. He bowled his best spell of bowling for the Wildcards this season taking 3 for 45. Two dropped catches, one of his hat-trick ball were the only thing preventing Mr T's 5-ers.
Some horrendous "at the death" bowling and fielding ensured Octopus got to a massive score 302 runs (sorry for my two awful overs boys!). An ugly fielding performance. 46 extras conceded and at least 40 non-neccessary conceded runs.
Tea - 6/10. Yvette's cous-cous was nice but not the normal lovely chicken. Simon Tanner has to remind Wildcard players of the etiquette of showing up on time. Everybody is hushed into silence by the strength and logic of Simon's arguments. The Wildcards responded and players hurrahed and ate sandwiches.
With full bellies the Wildcards started to bat. Anton and Khalid's bro started the innings. Anton, sadly, fell early. Khalid's brother, calling for crazy runs and winding up the opposition & his batting partner (Bobby Y), made a great attacking start. He showed that great Family Butt attacking cricket mentality the Wildcards so badly lacks. The score quickly progressed to over 100, and a 110 run partnership was only ended when Khalid's brother had a fine 60 runs and a tight hamstring. Andrew came in at number 4, and together with Bobby, put on a 50 run partnership. Bobby finished with some big sixes over long on but hauled out for 66. The run rate fell too sharply and we were out of the game.
That said, Rob Heelas & Ian Hayes showed some fight to take the Wildcards to an excellent 218 off 40 overs for 7. A special note on Courtney and Nicky. Both came into bat lusting for blood and showing fantastic "spunk". Bother leathered their respective first balls only to be caught. But the attitude of the boys was truly outstanding. Ready to fight with the bat and give everything for the team. Courtney umpired for over 25 overs and Nicky scored for the same amount of time. Such great attitudes to have in the Wildcards. This attitude gets players up the batting order!
In summary, hindsight showed we lost the game due to our fielding lapses, a lack of an 11th man for 75 mins, & the sheer amount of extras we gave away. However, on the positive side, the game was a gentle reminder of all things good about Crouch End; The people who give up their time to make us a good team to play against. Octopus post game comment "this is the first fixture we want to book every year". Well done to the fixture secretaries and the Wildcard regulars for making us a team people want to play against.
Man of match = 3-wicket, should have had a hat-trick, Simon Tanner.
PS - first time ever we have had an un-finished team beer jug.
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