Astro so, you know, bouncy; Definitely a pitch to wear a helmet on.
20/20 vision is always worse after 20/20 beers Location
Either West London, or North London, or possibly North-West London. There was a debate on this but the precise location of Paddington Recreation Ground, Randolph Ave, London, W9 1PD shall remain a mystery to the Village. Time
Friday evening excuse to drink beers and to prepare for 55 years of hurt to be conquered by the England Football team on Sunday. Weather
Slightly humid, cloudy Friday evening. I spent the Sunday in similar conditions and managed to get sunburnt. So terrible weather for gingers. Match Report
The annual fixture between Nick Troja and associates vs the Village is always a good laugh. Everyone enjoys a 20/20 beer game and the Friday before the Euro 2020 (Held in 2021) final seemed to be an ideal time for this. The preamble for the game involved good natured attempts by Bilal and Troj to encourage certain levels of performance from each other. Troj went with trying to get Bilal to arrive at 17:30, whilst Bilal went with being jealous of opposition batsmen when Nick has been bowling. Bold chat before the game started from both and it would be intriguing if either would be correct.
Having received incorrect information from Troja earlier, Bilal had arrived early and was warming up his batting against the closest thing to Troja's bowling he could find, which happened to be one of his children. The rest of the Village began to arrive in force, having diverted themselves to various off-licenses to collect the necessary refreshments for a 20/20 beer game. It became slightly apparent at this stage that COBCC were preparing themselves for a crucial game, whilst the Village were attempted to drink various canned beverages. A slight mismatch in expectations was beginning to unfold. Various strategies were discussed by the Village but the most ideal situation was to field first and then bat in order to maximise the beer drinking. This thankfully came to be, as Captain Morgan instructed the Village to prepare to field.
Every 20/20 beer game follows a traditional format of 4 overs per bowler, 2 runs for a wide with no extra delivery granted and for batsmen to retire on 25, with the option to return once everyone has had a go. This usually requires the better batsmen to try and score quickly in order to maximise the score. COBCC, went with the unconventional option of trying to dot out as many deliveries at the start as possible. Captain Morgan, opted to go with the Ginger Seamer Tupper and the Vikingesque Cressy to start the bowling. The Paddington Rec only allows bowling from one end, so Gilo started brightly to King and Pointy from the same end as Cressy. Who was bowling darting off breaks and also began to pose a threat. The first two overs going for 14.
Chaos would quickly ensue in the 3rd over. King pushed a ball past Tupper and called for a quick single. The bowler chased the ball. Pointy elected not to avoid the bowler and the collision sent him flying onto his backside, from this position he enquired as to what the bowler was doing. The bowler pointed out he was trying to field the ball to no avail. It would've been a simple misunderstanding but Pointy failed to understand that obstructing the fielder is actually against the laws of cricket and common sense in such a situation would see him not take the single. Having taken the single and not made any effort to apologise to the frustrated bowler the over continued. Thankfully with slightly less drama than the first ball. This was undoubtedly aided by the batsmans inability to get bat on ball.
Under pressure, Pointy would now be facing Cressy. Pointy then treated the Village to an excellent display of playing and missing, as Rich applied his considerable nous to his bowling. COBCC were now 21/0 off 4. Replacing Tupper would be Archit. His previous seasons bowling involved right arm around the wicket, but this year he has moved to bowling over the wicket. This would continue to provide benefits as his first over only went for 4 runs. King began to open his arms and his mind to the need to score, and more importantly, his teams requirement to score, as he was batting with the incomparable Pointy, 7 off 25. Archit's second over would be hit for 10 runs as King dragged COBCC out of a hole of their own making. Cressy rounded out his spell with only a wide in his last over to finish with 4-0-20-0. An excellent performance on an Astro wicket.
Normally, Ek is an excellent bowler who has served the Village with distinction, however off-spin on an Astro is usually a recipe for disaster. Ek however would begin to weave his magic. King had retired on 25 as is custom, this brought Troja to the wicket. The English/Australian/Russian (delete according to political situations) would be keen to show the Village what he could do, especially Bilal... Bilal had replaced Archit, playing in what could be his back yard, he had the home knowledge, and a point to prove. Bilal started brightly with only a few wides being of note from the COBCC, whilst Gupte got caught with a 6 from Troja, before Pointy was stumped off him having contributed the most to a great Village start. There was a certain case for Captain Morgan not to stump him but that would be against the spirit of the game and the Village tried our best to maintain this most antiquated of notions. COBCC 52/1 off 10.
The new batter was Ruan, with COBCC in a bad position, he would be required to score quickly to try and rescue the situation. However, Ek bowled him promptly for only 2. With over half the innings gone and the Village ascendant, it was seeming like a crushing victory for the Village was the only result possible, but dear reader that would be slightly presumptuous. Troja was now joined by Marsh. The trouble with Astro wickets are numerous and the key one is they aid batsmen far more than bowlers. Troja and Marsh began to demonstrate this. Bilal and Ek, having started well, began to leak runs as powerful shots began to be sent around the ground.
Sensing danger, Captain Morgan was forced into a change of bowlers. Bilal left the attack with 3-0-26-0. Troja was forced to leave after 10 balls having clubbed 25 key runs for the COBCC, he was shortly joined on the sidelines by Marsh, who had maximised his scoring to retire for 30 off 13. Normally a match report would include mention of the shots played but most people were amused to see Pointy, having been emasculated by his horrific batting and been dumped on his arse in a collision, deciding to walk over to Tupper, literally shaking with anger and fear to accuse him of deliberately flattening him. It would be considered poor form to do this in any game of cricket but in a friendly beer game this was pretty pathetic. It should also be pointed out that Mr Tupper has been known to lose his temper, so trying to start a fight with An Angry Young Man might have been a tactical misplay on his part. Especially as the last contact between the two saw him fly 4 feet backwards onto his arse. Thankfully Gilo, having apologised and still been berated for an accidental collision, kept his cool. COBCC, less so.
Continuing amidst this delightful interlude, Klav had finished his spell. 4-0-41-2. A good effort considering the difficulties of spin on Astro wickets. This brought Chris Pitcher into the attack, with COBCC needing to maintain a high scoring rate to remain competitive, his bowling would be sure to bring some chances. Shirley and Stevo now present and correct at the wicket, they continued TCFKAT (The Cricketer formally known as troja) and Marsh's fine work. This was aided by Gilo running past an easy catch, jumping and thus knocking the ball for 4. Then Ek dropped another chance to leave Pitcher understandably upset at these drops. Although, with two batsmen retired, the Village wouldn't want to see Troja and Marsh have another go, so perhaps it was for the best but telling that to any bowler is probably not ideal.
Heading up the Village death bowling alongside Pitcher would be Woodhouse. Louse time nearly always brings wickets as opposition players commit hari-kari when facing the Village Icon. His first over brought the stumping of Stevo for 15. A vital breakthrough as COBCC began to approach a respectable total. Whilst Pitcher whirled away in his 2nd over, the COBCC off brand party drug, GgB was run out smartly by Graham for 3. Pitcher was unluckily left with the figures of 2-0-18-0. Tupper was returned to the attack for the 19th over and promptly stopped COBCC batters in their tracks, conceding only 1 run and 1 wide to finish with 3-0-13-0. This left Craig the 20th over, a pressure situation, and one he rose to the task at. Convincing Shirley (seriously) to get himself stumped, the Louse followed Tupper in only conceding 3 runs from his final over to finish with an impressive 2-0-19-2. COBCC recovering to finish on 153-5.
Every Village batting performance runs the risk of collapse, panic, fear, and tragedy. Morgan, aware that past performances often indicate future behaviours, opted against conventional dictum's by going with a top 4 of TdM, Viking Cressy, GreyHam, and Gilo. One of whom might be suffering vertigo that high up the order. Cressy and TdM started brightly and positively, pushing hard for singles and being more than happy to dispatch deliveries to the fence when required. Cressy, borrowing a bat from Gilo, smeared a huge on-drive deep into the pedestrianised areas around the ground. However, with confidence rising in the resident Viking-a-like, he decided to get cute. With a gap down to 3rd man, he advanced on Colin, attempted a reverse sweep and was duly returned to the sidelines, LBW for 12. The Village now at 28/1.
A key point of the Village this season has been Graham struggling for form and runs. With an Astro wicket to play on and plenty of time, he had a great chance of finally getting into some form, partnered with Toby, who is always capable of taking the game away from any opposition, the pressure was initially off Graham. Toby and Graham continued the good start, although it was mostly Toby scoring. Reaching 27 off 14 with two big hits for 6, the vice captain had done his part to perfection. This brought Gilo to the wicket.
Tupper has had the capacity for moments of utter stupidity with the bat, however he has also been capable of hitting the ball very hard when he is focused on the task in hand. Having been accused and abused by COBCC, he was now keen to demonstrate the folly of winding him up. Graham was scratching around for some form, 4 off 12 balls. Gilo however was not. His 3rd ball was cover driven for 4 and the pace increased. Finishing his 28 off 10 balls with a run of 6, 4, 6, dot, 4. The Village were ahead in the game, with Toby and Giles ready to go again if needed, 81/1.
Every story sadly has an end, in this case. Tim de Wit, a Villager who has been an excellent Person, Player, and Tour arranger with the added benefit of getting the Village tie onto Dutch TV. Tim was playing his final game before starting a promising career on Dutch national radio. Either that or Piri Patel sent him a letter saying get out of the UK, we shall never know. Heading out, there was a rousing cheer for him as he partnered Graham. Graham, having checked his shots as he found his rhythm, began to take after the departed Toby and Giles by beginning to find the grassy banks with some fine shots. The Village start was continuing. However, Tim was bowled by Marshell for 1. Departing the field to a guard of honour, the Village will keenly miss him and his presence. We wish him all the best and hope he will return eventually when Europe melts down without the UK involved in the EU.
During this season Olly has been batting exceptionally well and we were all keen to see how he could handle the COBCC attack, the old school Village combination of GreyHam and Morgs would be sure to push the game over the line for us. In the manner in which these two warhorses of Village history have always done it, they rotated the strike and kept the scoring going. The Village were ahead of the run rate and had big hitters and quick scorers to come. However those of us familiar with the weight of history knew that it would never be that easy. Olly looked good and settled, right up until he missed a straight one from Marshall, bowled for 5. The Village now were looking less good, 100/3. This sadly looked even worse when Bilal, sadly not facing TCFKAT, launched a good looking drive which was well caught on the fence by COBCC off Reeves. Out first ball. Village now 101/4.
A good idea when the Village innings seems to be collapsing would be to rely on an experienced and wise head. This meant that former Captain and potential hippy, Ek Gupte was sent in, thankfully he had upgraded his equipment and was borrowing some rather fetching black pads from Gilo. Having openly been worried about his batting form, Ek would continue the good work of the earlier batters. Sadly for the Village the run rate was beginning to climb and Graham was shortly thereafter returning to the sidelines having got to 28 off 26, a very impressive return for the usually defensively minded batsmen. This meant the Village were facing the key overs with two new faces at the crease. Pitcher and Ek, whilst having to push the rate and not getting out.
With Ek belying his professed poor form by finding gaps in the field, and being supported by Chris's enthusiastic and committed running. The Village were still in the game but for once COBCC had made it tighter than it might initially seem. For whilst Toby and Giles weren't out there the COBCC had the Village tailenders to bowl at, it just required them to remove one of Pitcher or Gupte and then not take wickets. Tactically this would be the sensible option. All which mattered for the Village, was could Ek and Chris not get out, whilst also scoring enough to see us home. The game was poised on a knife edge, and Ek was scoring fast. Colin was into the attack again, Ek had been finding the gaps behind square on the offside, the field shuffled, Ek tried gliding another ball and could only tip it into Troja's hands. A vital knock of 18 off 11, but was it in vain? The Village had Craig and Archit before Toby and Giles could bat again. On the sidelines Louse pumped himself up...
For the first time ever, Craig Woodhouse strode purposefully to the crease; minus his helmet. Fuelled by Adrenaline he had forgotten his lid but he was committed to swinging and scoring or he would perish trying. Scoring off his first few balls Louse was rising to the challenge. Not normally a recognised batsmen but most importantly a committed Villager, a short delivery was sent down. Louse recognising the chance to pump a 6, advanced and swung hard. The ball ricocheted away from him and Pitcher pushed for the single. Something was hideously, horribly wrong. Louse collapsed hard. The ball had connected with his cheek, the instant collapse suggested problems. Captain Morgan attempted to provide assistance but realised there was little he could do. Pontin and Tupper raced on with a bottle of water and towel, respectively, to aid the rapidly bleeding Craig off the pitch. During this Craig provided guidance to the opening bowler, kindly suggesting that he take his fucking towel out of his mouth. With Villagers trying their best to provide assistance to the stricken Craig, Archit was sent out to bat and Toby told to find pads. Craig had retired hurt for 4 vital runs, although he would've scored more if he had used his bat not his face as a means of hitting the ball. 149/5.
Unfortunately there was still a game to be played, and with Craig getting an Uber to a suitable Hospital. Pitcher and Archit made it a proper Village game by having a run out. The batter to return to the side was Archit, out for 1. This was certainly an error on COBCC part because it brought Toby back to the crease. Having already demonstrated his ability to score rapidly, his arrival surely would end the game in favour of the Village. However, another short ball was sent down, Toby swung and got a small tickle on the ball, and in a move I doubt the COBCC players would have done, walked. This was gratefully received by COBCC, as the Village continued to play the game in the right way even though one of our players was soon to be heading to the hospital.
Last over. 3 runs to win. Pitcher facing, Tupper non-striker. The batsmen conferred. If the ball cleared the ring field, a single would be taken. COBCC shuffled the field. The first two balls were dots, however Pitcher had hit a drive to mid-on and the fielder miss-fielded. Pitcher, displaying incredible nous, repeated the shot next ball and called the single. Tupper to face. The next ball was dismissively pumped through midwicket by Giles to equal his highest score for the Village and more importantly win the game with a boundary. An incredibly tight game with enough controversy to go around, the Village getting 156 from 19.4. Post Match
Carlton Tavern is a very nice pub situated on the north side of Paddington Rec. The Village tidied up their rubbish and decamped there. However Craig and Bosh (A welcome supporter and Umpire) were in A & E for several hours before calling that a bad idea. Craig, the jammy git, had tickets to watch England v Italy on Sunday for the Euro 2020 final (held in 2021 at Wembley) but with a very badly bruised face, the very unlucky git. The rest of us enjoyed the Schnitzel and Fries, which were happily received. The beers flowed as Villagers enjoyed a welcome Friday night session as we said our goodbyes and thanks to Tim de Wit. A couple of speeches by Olly and Tim were cheered to the rafters as we said our farewells at the final game to a great addition to the Village ranks. We wish you all the best Tim. Tot de volgende keer.
Pulvis et umbra sumus. Vita non est vivere, sed valera vita est. Omne ignotum pro magnifico sed Vivere. For P Misra.
We are but dust and shadow. Life is not about living but to live a good life. Everything unknown seems magnificent but he lived. Deeply sorry for your loss in these difficult times Bosh.