Alexandra Park 4th XI (231 for 6) beat The Village (230 for 5) by 4 wickets

The Village won the toss and elected to bat
Decent track, some sun, some clouds.
This game was something of an Eddy miracle. The original oppo dropped out midweek leading to a desperate scramble to source a new adversary and enough Villagers to take them on at the new venue, Alexandra Palace. Villagers of a certain vintage may remember (but almost certainly not by now) a 20 over game here many moons ago which started with only about 6 on the field including Parp! as stand-in skipper and then finished under one of those said moons in almost total darkness. 

Boshy-Bosh and Pricey-Thompson could no longer make it given the move from the advertised Regents Park game up norf to AP. Even the promise of "five different beers on tap" at the clubhouse was not enough to encourage 11 hands to go up. Such were the supply chain issues we were facing that the oppo kindly stepped in and provided us with a spare player to be a Villager for a day. More on them to come. 

With said ringer, we had 10. Morgs won the toss and elected to bat, a bold decision given we didn't have many to do so. Yours truly was sent in to open as the attacking ying to Grey Ham's doughty yang. We nearly saw off the opening bowlers, one who was young and spritely and on debut for the opposition, the other was a child. I got out to the adult missing a straight one. Next up was Morgs to take us through the proverbial gears. But an early twinge rapidly developed into fully blown back-knack and the skipper had to retire hurt. 

At some point Graham was out. 

Abs and Tobes came in and looked to set something like a score for us to defend. Abrar looked solid with a tasty sprinkling of big bops over the top thrown in. He fell to one of the ultimate weapons at this level: the dibbly-dobbler that's been bowling forever and puts it on the same spot every bloody ball. Said bowler was also pretty pumped and did not like going for runs; a solid 8 out of 10 on the Woodhouse-Broad scale. Abs rightly went down the track to meet one, didn't, and was neatly stumped by the club President behind the sticks. 

Next up: Sandesh to try and support TdM who was gunning it as per down the other end. In this regard Sandesh did a solid job, eating dots like Lucky does lamb chops. Sandesh was out bowled for 1 with a similar strike rate but had executed his role in operation Let Big Dog Bark. 

Ringer Praggy was tidy with the bat and equally capable of not getting out. At some point Tobes got his fifty, it may or may not have been before Praggy was out bowled for three. 

So it was Will's turn to be Danny DeVito to TdM's Schwarzenegger. Will was on debut for the Village and claims to be a specialist fielder. This looked like some underselling as Will hung around manfully, scoring 4 in a crucial 58 run partnership with the Governor of California.

Will was bowled by the returning opening bowler, who had been earlier subbed off by the home team to the 2s league game in the pitch next door after an injury, then came back to do for Will in what could be a first in a VCC fixture, out to a bowler playing in two games at once. 
Eddy also taught some more established batters a thing or two with a nice 5 not out; Tobes finished on a fairly nice score too. Village had staggered up to 230, 120 of which were Tobes' with red ink to boot. 

Bowling. Always going to be a challenge with only 10, even more of a challenge with Morgs unable to take the field with his lower lumbar lament. 

Their openers butchered us good. At one point they were going at tens. It wasn't pretty and it looked like we would have plenty of time to sample each of the advertised beer options at least once. 100 for 0 off 12. To lighten the mood, a no ball was called by the square leg umpire for Keeper Graham having his mitts in front of the stumps as the batsman smashed it through cover for four. Almost certainly another first in a Village fixture.

Almost out of nowhere, we picked up a couple of wickets. Praggy (the oppo loanee) turned out to be a more than handy bowler. We almost certainly would have brought him on earlier if we had known! He did for both their openers and Eddy got their destructive number four with a goodun that spun into the top of off. 

Praggy had been begging on-field skip TdM for a slip for some time but with only 9 players this was a challenge. Tobes finally relented, sensing that wickets were our only hope of getting back in the game, and I was very excited to be deployed at first. Two balls later the edge was taken and of course I spilt it. 

I trapped another bat plumb in front and the door was ajar (though no thanks to Graham behind the stumps, who thought the bat had hit it and stayed mum throughout the appeal). 

It looked like it might come down to the AP opening bowlers (handy young debutant and the 12 year old) who were now batting together too. Potty informed the child that he was going to have to win it and enquired whether the pressure might be too much - child told him he straight up that he could handle it. Touché. 

And the child wasn't wrong. Despite overs ticking down and the debutant eventually out stumped for 35, we were always up against it. There was an excellent run out by Sandesh with a perfect throw over the stumps for Graham to finish the job. Ultimately the kid saw them home with a highly composed knock for anyone of any age, Dhoni would have been happy with that dig. AP won with about 10 balls to spare, which was a lot closer than it looked like it would be early on. 

The promised bar delivered with jugs at fourteen (14) pounds a pop putting a certain south London ground even further to shame. There was a karaoke match report of the 2s game by one of AP to the tune of "I just called to say I love you" and Eddy got Covid.

C Pitcher, 7th July 2022
Runs 4s 6s
GC Pontin b Bagley 14 1 0
C Pitcher b Thatcher 20 4 0
OL Morgans †* retired hurt 13 2 0
A Abbas stumped (President) b Bagley 16 1 0
T de Mellow not out 120 17 1
S Sarwar b Danu 1 0 0
A Ringer b Bose 3 0 0
S Ringer not out 4 0 0
(Frank) Extras 8b 6lb 7nb 0p 18w 39
Total for 5 230 (0 ovs)
Bowler O M R W
Bagley 8 2 27 2
Bose 5 1 39 1
Danu 8 0 47 1
Freestone 6 0 51 0
Tailor 6 0 38 0
Thatcher 7 0 13 2
Fall of Wicket
No data recorded
Alexandra Park 4th XI Innings
Runs 4s 6s
Freestone b A Ringer 25 0 0
Mulley b A Ringer 77 0 0
Evans lbw b C Pitcher 5 0 0
Syles b E Francis 25 0 0
Thatcher stumped (GC Pontin) b 35 0 0
Tailor not out 21 0 0
Chandnakuman run out (unknown) 1 0 0
Bose not out 6 0 0
(Frank) Extras 5b 6lb 10nb 0p 15w 36
Total for 6 231 (39 ovs)
Bowler O M R W
C Pitcher 6 0 28 2
E Francis 8 0 61 1
S Sarwar 8 1 47 0
T de Mellow 3 0 15 0
A Yadav 5 0 39 0
A Ringer 8 2 30 2
Fall of Wicket
No data recorded