Team Fornax Friendly XI won the toss and elected to bat
Weather was really quite pleasant and not what was forecast. Pitch was fine but the outfield was lush.
Village went through a series of oppositions during the week leading up to this match, finally settling on the previously unknown Team Fornax Friendly XI. On the morning of the game they apparently only had 9 players but this increased to a full complement in time for the toss. There is no point checking whether Morgs won the toss any more so let's just assume that he lost it as usual and hence Village fielded first.
We opened up with Archit from one end and Tobes at the other. Some discussion between the teams over wides suggested this could be a spicy one. TdM got the first wicket, Ali gloving through to t*ts making their first appearance of the season at gully. There was some confusion as the batter started to walk, only to stop as the umpire explained that he was not out lbw which was somewhat redundant given what else had occurred. More spice was added as many villagers encouraged the batter to continue with his trip back to the hutch. TdM further penetrated the oppo top order by removing Faraz with a nippy one that keeper Morgs just about clung on to rounds his ears.
Things quickly settled down on the spice front and a proper game of friendly cricket was had. How we have grown!
In case you were wondering, "Fornax" is apparently an acronym which stands for "Here For A Good Time Not A Long Time" as various bats seemed to be firmly stuck in T20 mode despite this being a 40 over match. Syed was the next to come and go, blazing a wide one from Archit up to Abrar who took a decent catch at point.
Three down but they weren't going to stop swinging. Things were not looking too clever when a single Pitcher over went for about 90, mainly from Awais who the said same Pitcher had dropped off the bowling of Troja when he was on FA. Troja's mood was not improved when Awais despatched a pretty decent ball for a massive six that looked like it might end up in Lucky's swimming pool.
The breakthrough we needed came in a fashion that was simultaneously classic Village and... well... not. Pitcher sent a rank one down the leg side which got up and was helped on its way by Awais who probably sensed that there was little danger as the ball appeared to be going nowhere near Deano at short fine leg, only for Sean to run around and pull out a frankly outrageous full-length dive which somehow did the job. Cue huge celebrations amongst delighted Villagers. Deano himself was less delighted as his glasses had lost a lens as he hit the turf but frankly it was worth it. Deano fans should stay tuned, there's more to come.
Troja continued to toil away at the other end and his perseverance was rewarded when Morgs successfully stumped Kaleem having missed a similar chance off Red Shorts earlier in his spell. Trogger was bowling well and could have easily had more on another day with several near misses but he bagged a key wicket with a classic spinner's dismissal, bowling Mubeen round his legs with a jaffa.
The tail did not really wag; Troj pinned Shakir LBW before next taking a good catch at mid-on with a well timed jump off the bowling of Anupam. The lesser spotted King of Plane broke out some off spin and took a tidy return catch to dismiss Irshad and finally Anumpam got a second when Noor spooned one up off a leading edge to Pitcher who took an easy catch coming round from gully. TFFXI all out for a well below par 138.
In reply Village opened up with Bosh and Pontin, hoping for some quick fire runs at one end and perhaps a replacement for the cancelled test match at the other. The Team Fornax opening bowlers were far from friendly, in fact the were bloody decent. Potty was battling with hooping swing at one end whilst Misra had to contend with an accomplished spinner at the other in a proper contest. Bosh was given a life when Umpire Pitcher appeared to still have the safety on this week, only to chop on the very next ball.
Morgs came in and played well and ultimately won the game with a contribution of 48, including an alleged six which I missed entirely - I must have been at the bar. DJ Troj broke out some 90s classics on the sidelines as Village were plodding along nicely right up until Morgs called Pontin through for a second run that probably should not have been. Nonetheless Graham felt he made his ground only to see that Giles had pulled the trigger faster than the landlord when he spots a cyclist, hence the scorecard appears to read "GC Pontin run out (Tupper)".
Abrar came in and was looking solid until Fornax went up for their 1,956th vociferous appeal of the innings and Graham, having blown off a wee bit of steam and now come out to umpire, decided that he was going to join the finger party and dispatched Mr Abbas who took it all rather better than the Salty Scot had.
Deano was also looking solid despite having no glasses to wear, and there was certainly nothing Barnard Castle about his performance when he latched on to a slightly shorter one and pumped it for a six which landed just over the boundary rope and right in front of his delighted teammates. Then he was out.
Tobes blasted 20 in no time and "We Are The Champions" was being brazenly blasted out at full volume from the portable speaker as Gilo finished the job with the final five runs and the Village packed up and moved to the clubhouse to settle some minor disagreements. Jugs were had, some of the chat was very loose, but not nearly as loose as members of the Other Team at the bar who I witnessed taking a jug out of the bar and into their awaiting Uber with the permission of the driver: "well you can bring that in mate but if you spill any of it in the back of my car you will be paying for it". Fair.