After a winter away and an unfortunate wash-out last week, the Village season finally got underway at a sunny Wray Crescent against returning foes Pacific CC. After our last game against Pacific in 2011 ended with a major falling out and the battle of the match-reports, it was good to get back to a friendly game of cricket against a solid bunch of London cricketers.
New Skipper Cressey’s reign got off to a strong start by winning the toss and choosing to bat on a hard and bouncy artificial track with long grass on the outfield. Pacific’s opening bowlers were tight and the Village edged along with Frank taking an inevtiable early lead on the scoreboard before JdM was castled for 12 to a well-directed quick ball from Alistair. Slev joined Graham at the crease and quickly overtook him in the scoring stakes. The two built the innings until Graham perished to a top-edged boundary catch. Deano followed shortly after Graham to bring TdM to the crease.
By drinks the score had progressed to 110-3 as Slev and TdM started to make the scoreboard rattle with Toby building his innings as Slev went through the gears smashing 4 sixes to be labelled “The Axe Murderer” by opposition captain Ahmed. Unfortunately for Jack Nicholson, he wielded his weapon one too many times after drinks and was caught on the boundary by an excellent catch from Alistair for 59. REDRUM.
Newly wedded Bosh decided to ‘do his thing’ by smashing a spinner straight up in the air to bring Captain Cressey to the crease to rebuild the inning with TdM with 116-5 on the board and 17 overs left in the innings. Some sensible running combined with a few punishing boundaries from both batsmen saw the score progress to 187 and Toby pass 50 before the next wicket fell 10 overs later.
Former captain Price-Thompson joined de Mellow (jnr) to see the innings home. Of course, with Toby on 81 at the start of the last over, and the Village on the sidelines baying for 100 blood, TdM played out two dot balls and then took a single to secure red ink and a well made 82*. The fans got some red meat however, in the form of a colossal six from Price-Thompson which sailed over the protective netting surrounding the ground and through the glass of a window of a nearby Islington Townhouse. Rumours that the ball landed right in the middle of the fois gras as the champagne socialist property millionaires tucked into their Sunday goose are completely unfounded FAKE NEWS.
The Village finished on 253-7 and settled in for a functional, yet tasty, tea of sandwiches, rolls and mini egg bites.
Pacific took to the crease with the daunting chase in front of them New ball pairing Price-Thompson (this is too long to write out all season so I am reverting to Thomo) and Farid “the Sheikh” bowled extremely tightly to make things even more difficult for the hosts. After a ‘fingers underneath it’ but grassed chance at first slip by Cressey off the second ball of the innings, Thomo wasted no time in snaring his first victim LBW off the fourth ball of the innings. Thomo would have had a second to a stunningly athletic leap and catch by TdM but he had overstepped for a no-ball. Don’t use the fielders, just keep your foot behind the line and hit the stumps – Village bowling rule number 1.
From the other end the Sheikh bowled accurately to a 7-2 field (which later become an 8-1 field). The Sheikh’s special brand of strong shouldered, back of a length, fast bowling proved tough to get away and even tougher to keep out as the odd one nipped back to hit the spring back stumps three times in his spell. Another dropped catch reinforces the rule learned by Thomo (no names yet – read on for the offender here)
Pacific were on the ropes at 40-4 when the openers were hauled off and Our Lord and Saviour Eddy Francis was introduced from the Emirates End. In the week where we saw #wengerout, the Village’s resident Arsenal fan ripped out the Pacific middle order in a manner Arsenal FanTV could have only dreamt possible. Eddy’s exceptional control of line and length enabled the bouncy track to do the bulk of the work as all three of his wickets fell to catches from forcing shots, 1 to JdM behind the sticks, 1 to TdM in the covers and 1 to a sharp catch at second slip by Cressey. Eddy finished with superb (if illegal) figures of 9 overs 3 maidens 1 for 21.
With the end in sight, the last batsman popped another Eddy delivery gently up to Graham at mid-wicket. Graham had earlier made clear that he had to rush off to put the kids to bed and spend the evening with the parents who were stopping off on their way back to Scotland from a 1990’s inspired booze cruise to France. What a perfect opportunity to end the game therefore as the easiest catch we’ll see all season lolipopped towards him. Rather than catch it and go home for quality family time, Graham instead decided to cloth it as he had done earlier off the Sheikh (congrats for carrying on reading) in what was a remarkable impersonation of a T-Rex trying to eat a large red apple.
No matter however as, at the other end, Chris “the hernia” Pitcher also displayed good control of line and length for this early in the season to claim three of his own victims. The over after Graham’s meltdown, Pitcher claimed the final wicket to a catch taken by some Scottish guy who had taken the skin off Graham’s corpse after he’d perished from mortal embarrassment and plucked a screamer right off the deck at cover. It is of course vital to note that, with his second wicket, Pitcher went to 100 wickets for the club, a fact overlooked on the field (apologies) but rewarded in the pub with tequila.
Pacific CC finished on a short but respectable 114 to lose to the Village by 139 runs. A very strong all-round performance to start the season with runs and wickets shared around. Thanks to Pacific for the game and a good pub recommendation. Good to rebuild some bridges too.
Special mention to the new scoring app, which has produced wagon wheels and manhattans galore and will hopefully remain a fixture throughout the season. Need to work out how to make this all available post-game.
Next week - Fields
Opposition report can be found here. Thankfully no war of words required this time.