C.E.C.C.| Shepherds Cot | Crouch End | North London | N8 8JJ
Beware of triumphalism. The opposition are not the enemy but fellow participants. I’m stating the obvious here but you don’t have a game unless there are two sides. The margins between success and failure are often extremely small; and in this case rather than hooting and hollering and jumping up and down having taken the 8th and final Wembley wicket, we should have been celebrating the honour of a 16 year-old colt who gave his captain out LBW on the last ball of the day.
The 4ths managed a much better batting performance in the final league game at home to Wembley Vs on Saturday. Neither Simon nor Liam, playing his first game of the season, looked particularly safe against a decent new ball attack, but they did the job, picked off a few boundaries and, when they departed – Simon LBW trying another leg side paddle and Liam getting an unexpectedly straight ball from a wayward change bowler – the attack had been blunted making the world safe for Mohammed and Nabil to unleash some of the best batting of the season. Both managed a good blend of defence and attack, even playing the ball along the ground into gaps in the field as well as thumping the bad balls. Mohammed raced to his 50 before picking out the most reliable fielder on the square leg boundary. Nabil then, on 28, disappointed us all by playing what was referred to as a Dilshan Scoop which, if I understand it, is when you follow a very slow delivery round and pat it into the wicket keepers gloves: an overrated ploy in my opinion. This paved the way however for a spectacular partnership between Rony and Antonio. Each of them hit 3 sixes. Rony got 43, Antonio got into the 20s: one of them was out – I can’t remember which, I don’t have the scorebook in front of me - and Ian went in for a couple of balls before the declaration on 235 for 5 off 44 overs.
That should have been enough but the Wembley openers both knew what they were doing. 15 overs passed without a wicket falling. Anisul was a threat, Ian wasn’t at his best; but Rony came on and induced a catch to fly slip; and the next ball, Mohammed’s first, saw the other opener given LBW. It wasn’t exactly a procession after that. Wembley were now only interested in the draw; but a Rony leg-break bowled the most adhesive batsman round his legs, Anisul got a direct hit run out, and Mohammed started to rattle the tail enders. With two overs to go there were only two wickets needed. Off the first ball of the penultimate over Wahed got his second catch off Rony in the gully area. Off the last ball of the last over Mohammed landed a ball on the batsman’s toe. There was a long and loud appeal, then a pause. The young man’s finger slowly and reluctantly rose and there was an outbreak of shrieking, squealing and childish exuberance from the usual quarters, the same players, incidentally, who had shown the least application and concentration in earlier parts of the game. I wonder if they noticed that it was a young member of the opposition who deserved the credit.
Hugely positive images, like the moment of congratulation and commiseration between Brett Lee and Andrew Flintoff in 2005, get trumped by the war-zone language of sports reporting. The language is meant to be metaphoric: playing cricket requires a different set of behavioural rules from being on the terraces of a football match.
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