Cloudy, humid, celebratory
Villagers were looking forward to returning to the Highgate area which has previously been an enjoyable hunting ground however in recent years fixtures up this end of the Northern line have dried up somewhat due to crease adhesion issues. Journeymen stepped in to fill this void; the 2018 fixture against this new oppo was lost to rain and for large parts of the week it looked like the 2019 edition was going to go the same soggy way but a helpful wind and a large plastic tarpaulin delivered a playable if somewhat sweaty wicket. This was particularly well received by one Craig Woodhouse Esq. whom our in-house stato tells us had been waiting no fewer than 1,060,497.3 days between his 99th game for the club and this auspicious day which would make him only the ninth recipient of a poorly embroidered fading green commemorative cap.
Crossed wires in the week before the game meant that what we thought was a 1pm start turned out to be a 2pm start. Players from both sides began trickling in with the oppo skipper apparently en route from Coventry no less. Upon arrival said Journeymen captain won the toss, took another look at the pudding below, the grey skies above and the muggy air all around and obviously elected to bat first. Things continued in a slightly unconventional manner when both sides simultaneously began fielding drills with Thomo doing the hitting for VCC (catches taken: approx. 3/40, Villagers injured: 1/11, Journeymen players or spectators nearly killed: 3/13).
Tom-the-tautologously-loose-Aussie (whom Morgs had “recruited” in a “bar” the week before) fought his hangover to open the attack demonstrating such quality and accuracy that the skipper gave him five behind the bat and led to much chat about metronomes, clocks, watches etc. from both teams out in the middle. As is usual and correct for any decent Village opening bowler he went for very few runs and took absolutely no wickets. Skipper Cressey bowled himself from the other end for a similarly decent opening spell, removing both openers before toying with calling on Jesus but kept himself on for “one more” and suffered divine retribution by getting carted to all corners, taking his figures down with him.
Your correspondent [C Pitch] came on but we won’t talk about that (4 overs for 40). At the other end P Bosh bowled tight and got his reward with two wickets, both batters caught trying to go big. Special mention to Cressey who took a challenging catch at midwicket which went high and round and spun and arced and plummeted and did not look catchable at any point but he gathered it very well to his left above his head.
Then it was the “Jesus and 100 game Woodhouse” show. The batsmen struggled to read the tweak, flight and guile at one end; they found Eddie equally difficult at the other. At one point it looked like an arms race to see which bowler could take the wickets before the other in order to bag a 5-fer. Ultimately Eddie won the battle taking four excellent scalps but Louse claimed wicket of the day with a superb caught and bowled effort, back-peddling off an absolute skyer which I think it is fair to say no-one except Craig himself thought he had any hope of hanging on to. Final figures of 2 wickets for only 8 runs off 6 overs were well worthy of the occasion of his hundredth cap. Along the way Journeymen were all out for 128 off 19 overs.
Your correspondent opened the batting but we won’t talk about that either. At the other end Morgans made hay, batting sensibly to reach an eye-catching 50 in little time with a maximum thrown in to boot. He was supported by Thomo who showed no hangover from all those games opening at the World Cup and would end with a very respectable 42 not out having run out of time after Morgs steered a reverse-sweep-pull-sideways-paddle-waft straight to first slip which brought Deano to the crease who Pumped It, coming very close to bagging only his second ever Village six along the way but sadly it dropped just short of the boundary.
After the game we retired to favourite haunt The Woodsman where activities included in-depth discussions on the logistics of hypothetical Villager on Villager romantic liaisons, drinking pints of the few beers that were left available at the bar, plus torturing local wasps.