C.E.C.C.| Shepherds Cot | Crouch End | North London | N8 8JJ
After years of hearing complaints of Andrew always putting us into bat first (get well soon, Sir), the plan so far this season has been to give us something to aim for and, now the timed game is here, the option of a winning draw, or simply the joy of watching the oppo let a victory slip away. So imagine my surprise when I won the toss and took to the field only for a group of grown men (and FB) to start moaning about the heat of the day, muttering Mad Dogs and Englishmen under their breaths and passing out with dehydration on one of the hottest days of the year. You can’t win…or can you?
Choosing to bowl certainly paid off to begin with, as Dhamindra trundled in to deliver yet another tight-fisted spell, taking a startling 6 for 54 off 18 overs. Nix had hinted that he’d like to bat as he’d been taking coaching, so he was told to open the bowling, finishing with 0 for 60 off 15. Maybe Skip should have listened. Fred joined with a decent spell, nabbing 3 for 53 off 8, only spoiled by a first over where the ball spent most of the time in the surrounding hedges. Fielding became slack as the heat rose and Uxbridge insisted on batting out the 50 overs, with the final wicket falling to FB in the last over for 222, leaving us with a target of 4.5 an over for a winning draw. In the meantime, Nojitha had managed to scrape half the skin off his right palm making an (unsuccessful) effort to save a four, meaning one of our strongest batsmen was wielding a limp wrist.
Things looked ominous when the batting started with both openers out before the dregs in the tea-cups had gone cold. However, due to one of the boldest moves of the season, batsman No. 3 was Waqas, choosing to come down from the 2nds to get more time on the wicket. He’d already proved himself on the field with his continual enthusiasm and encouragement to his team-mates – something he certainly didn’t need with the bat in his hands. He played himself in steadily, keeping the run rate going and building a partnership with Nojitha who, despite bearing flappy flesh beneath his glove, still managed to knock up 35 before holing out. Although Rory played a number of classy strokes, he followed soon after, leaving Nix to take to the crease to show off the new batting techniques he’d been boasting about. First ball was short, bringing the classic Nix fly swot straight into action, popping the ball up to square leg like a fish into a sea-lion’s mouth. Luckily for Nix, the sea-lion tried to catch the ball with his flippers, missing a sitter and giving him time to take out his book to go through all those new shots he’d learned.
What followed was the best batting partnership of the season for the 4ths so far. Not only did both keep the ball on the deck, they also expoited the gaps and quick outfield, with boundaries flourishing aplenty. They reached the winning draw total in no time and, with 6 overs to spare, cruised past the total with ease, with Waqas finishing on a brilliant 90 n/o and Nix on 47 n/o. On hearing the news of Nix’s staggering achievement, Naggers texted that he’d been surprised by Trump becoming President, Britain voting Brexit and the result of the last general election, but nothing could compare with the shock of a decent bat from Joe Nickel. True that.
One thing that definitely made a difference was the quality of wicket-keeping. While their keeper let the byes whizz by, Richard kept the extras to a minimum, saving a good 20 runs from their total. Great team effort fellas.
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