Woodford Green CC won the toss and elected to bat
Some green underfoot, some cloud overhead
A day like today is not a day for soundbites, it’s a day to write a match report, but I feel the hand of history upon our shoulder having played at one of the oldest grounds in the country. Woodford Green CC can boast that cricket has been played on “The Green” for nearly 300 hundred years. The Village CC can boast that this is roughly the same length of time it takes Grey Ham to get to 50.
Villagers found themselves in the north east of the Smoke after a successful scramble to source a new opposition as the scheduled foes had crumbled away midweek. Club captain Cressey was away on a drinking assignment Oop Norff so Miami Vice James was at the helm. But some things always remain the same with our dear club, namely when it comes to losing the toss and the opposing skipper inexplicably electing to bat first on a springy green top on a humid day under plenty of cloud cover.
Messrs Tupper and Yadav enjoyed the taste of the new cherry with heavy pressure applied from both ends. Woodford Green are clearly a proper cricket club with a proper little clubhouse and three proper Saturday league teams – games on the day of rest is apparently an opportunity to let off some steam, or in the case of one chap, sleep it all off on the sofa in the bar under the telly showing the first Windies vs India ODI. Three of the Woodford top order were clearly in it for a good time not a long time and could not resist Archit’s left-arm-over swingers, with two clean bowled and one well pouched by Deano running in from cover point. One departing batsman was heard dismissing his own dismissal with “it’s only Sunday”.
As the wickets fell at one end, up the other Woodford skipper Sean was expertly assembling his innings, starting circumspect and watchful before moving up through the gears on the other side of drinks. Stand-in Village captain JdM showed his teammates what we had all been missing with his rollicking pep talks after each dismissal, explaining at one point that we needed “5% more intensity.” When challenged that this might be both an arbitrary and frankly unrealistic expectation, he further explained that “dealing in anything less than round 5% increments is meaningless.” #science
Anupam “t*ts” Sharma was brought into the attack and managed to remove poor Amit whom, perhaps distracted and dismayed by the increasingly tangential Pammy chat gurgling out of the cordon and elsewhere, missed a full bunger that banged the top of off. The Village assault continued with tweaking and twirling from our Spin Twins. TRC got the most reward in this edition with Suliman neatly stumped for Jimmy’s first Village CTBTBTWWTBOOTG* and the same bowler had Biffy McBiff-face Rai caught biffing to C-pitch in the covers who had been repositioned there only second beforehand by an inspired Mr 5%.
Giles was scrambled back into the attack and capped off yet another fine display of pace bowling with Navreeth caught by JdM on the move at midwicket, then the key wicket of Sean who was trying to push up their total at the death but perished to an exceedingly well taken towering catch by Eddie down at mid on. After their 35 overs Woodford Green were 168-8. We would learn at the end of the match that several of the opposition fancied that this was enough at the time.
Being a proper club (see above) there was obviously a proper tea, the highlight of which was a proper biriyani. The pleasant aromas of this subtly spiced rice treat must have wafted all the way down to the club’s specialist biriyani critic in south London as Bosh would soon appear at the ground as the first of three notable second innings FAFs.
NP-T and C-pitch briefly opened the batting. Thomo had scored a pair of crisply struck fours before he was bowled, then C-pitch failed to fend off one of a barrage of lifters off a length. Both fell to Zain who sent down his seven overs straight through at the top for just 4 runs.
Deano and EK carefully navigated the rest of Zain’s miserly spell before a spinner came on at the other end. Perhaps Deano had hot flush flashbacks of his recent successes in Montenegro and Highgate. Perhaps he wanted to emulate the other well-known Beard That Must Be Feared. Either way he got stumped trying to do his own Biffy McBiff-face number. At the other end JdM had scored a classy 16 when he emulated, er… himself, shovelling the spinner to mid off where he was well caught by a child. (Sorry James).
This brought Jimmy to the crease in what even at the time felt likely to be a crucial partnership with EK. At this point we were four down for only about 40 runs off 15 overs and 169 was starting to look like a bridge too far.
On the sidelines Bosh was joined in the FAFzone by club captain and local resident Cressey making his appearance having first had a nap. Making an even less expected appearance was club veteran and local flag provocateur David Ireland who is apparently a regular supporter of the clubhouse bar.
Out in the middle runs were beginning to flow, mostly off the bat of Jimmy. It started with some firmly struck fours then developed as he got his eye in such that he began targeting different trees on the shortish boundary on his leg side from one end. Anything short was pulled with ease for an eventual haul of five maximums including taking a single over for more than 20 in the process. He was ably supported originally by EK and then First Officer Giles. EK was out for 19, FOG would end on 15* but star of the show was Jimmy who won us the game with his brutal 90* off only 47 balls.
Surely Jimmy has to now be considered one of the most free scoring, talented, well-liked and - dare we say it - handsome and charming Welsh players currently in the Village, closely behind Rich Mathias.
After the match players from both sides plus FAFs remained in and around the bar where DI graciously got in a round of beers for the victors. The famously highbrow and rarefied Village chat was out in abundance, taking in all the important topics of these difficult times, including when/where different Villagers popped their cherry alongside why mosquitoes prefer eating Irish people over Greeks.
*Catch The Ball Then Break The Wickets With The Batter Out Of Their Ground