** Defeat for the 2s
*** A draw for the 3s as Kenton reverse their batting order
**** Defeat for the 4s as Lord Straightbreak forgets how to bat
Here’s how most of it happened
Brentham v Southgate
Southgate won by 49 runs
Southgate 247-8 (54 overs)
Faisal Mir 112 , Matt Creese 74
Brentham 198 all out
Johnson 4 for 41
Enough is enough. Okay, so the 1s had won two out of two, 20 big ones in the bag but they’d made hard work of it. Last ball of the game against Hornsey; the loss of six wickets chasing down a paltry 160 against recently promoted HIghgate. Careless, sloppy, negligent even; the facts were there in black and white, forever immortalized in Beryl’s finest longhand, the stats never lie. The situation was critical, last chance saloon, dead man walking – SCC needed a miracle, a knight in shining armour, a bronzed Adonis, a superhero. It was time. We all sensed it. Cometh the hour, cometh the Hoff.
Stepping elegantly onto the tarmac at Biggin Hill, the Hoff glanced back at the shiny white tail fin of his trusty Learjet 40 and sniffed the air. Only 90 minutes earlier he’d been in bed fulfilling the hopes, dreams and romantic aspirations of a young Dutch woman. A woman so achingly beautiful that the Hoff had graciously allowed her to cook him breakfast – Eggs Royale – before instructing her to ferry him to a small private airfield 20 minutes north of Amsterdam. Now here he was, on terra firma, back in Blighty, on hand to answer the distress calls of an ailing 1st XI.
It was not as warm as he’d hoped, but the sun was beginning to peek through the cloud and the irregular gusts of wind were having a not unsatisfactory effect on his tussled locks. The Jag was waiting on the tarmac. He turned the key and the engine purred into action. One last admiring look in the rearview and then he was off, west London beckoned, there was some cricket to be played, some half volleys to be bunted, some teammates to rescue.
On arrival the Hoff was greeted with the usual mix of admiration and adoration from players and spectators alike. Hadgie was particularly animated, desperate to spend some quality time with a legend who now lived in an extraordinary land where the coffee shops sold more, a lot more, than macchiatos and flat, skinny whites. Question after question rained down on our patient hero: how much? How long? Pre-rolled? Can I come for the weekend, the week, forever? The Hoff turned his back, the sun had come out it, it was time to give the people what they wanted. The top was off; the buffed torso was out, a natty little pair of blue shorts, just the right side of tight, completed the pitch-perfect look. A few throw downs, timed to absolute perfection one and all, some expertly dispatched slip cordon practice and the Hoff was done – a bowl of pasta salad was waiting back in the pavilion. Time to find position A: full frontal sunshine, cricket at 90 degrees, one chair to sit on, one for his feet. It was showtime.
It was then and only then that things began to unravel for our reluctant hero. Not only had the skipper lost the toss but he had also failed to ask the Hoff to don his green-fringed Duncan Fearnley’s. Extraordinary. Had the world gone mad? No matter, the sun was out, young Dunnett had just finished applying the last of the Hawaiian Tropic, so why not let the fools have a go on their own first.
Jouners and Alvin opened up against a good new ball attack. The Brentham track always does a bit first up and it was no different on this occasion. Survival and patience was the key, but neither was in great abundance as first Alv, then Tom succumbed to big LBW shouts. Jouners hung around a little longer before feathering one to the keeper. Surely now, at 40 for 3 the time had come. The Hoff reached for his shirt, but no, surely not. Faisal Mir was on his way to the crease, to join Creese, already at the crease.
The key stand of the innings had begun and even the Hoff had to stand back and admire. Fais, full of nervous energy, bat whirling like the proverbial dervish, started the only way he knows, aggressively, confident, full of intent. Creesey meanwhile, was the very picture of composure. Becalmed, statesmanlike, safe in the knowledge that with such an audacious array of shots in the locker he could turn up the gas at any moment. A mammoth stand of 186 was the net result. Fais raced to his maiden League hundred, with powerful shots all round the wicket. Particularly impressive were his strokes down the ground, shots of such caliber that even the Hoff raised an immaculately plucked eyebrow or two. It was a brilliant innings made all the more special when the ubiquitous dab brought up the magical three figures. Top knock, mused the Hoff, not as explosively brilliant as one of mine but passable, a starter for 10, humble beginnings and all that that. Creesey was no less impressive and when he finally tired of playing cat and mouse with the oppo, he dispatched the ball with his usual, effortlessly elegant disdain. When Faisal finally went for a superb 112 and Creesey followed soon after the run rate took a temporary nosedive, but the ever-dependable Watto, guided SCC to a respectable and eminently defendable 247 for 9 declared. How interesting, thought the Hoff, an atypical moment of doubt crossing his mind – had they forgotten he was there? Just who did they think they were asking such an outstanding talent to come in with three overs to go for some meaningless late order bunting? Frankly it was beneath him.
The new ball pairing of Woffers and Hadge caused havoc, albeit of varying degrees. Woffers found the edge of the bat with the swinging ball, wicket 1 snaffled gratefully at first slip in classic fashion. Hadge, still clearly unnerved by recent revelations about Amsterdam, failed to find anything, not even young Dunnett’s gloves, as the swinging ball whistled down the legside to the boundary with increasing regularity. The rapid introduction of Faisal failed to stem the tide and with the ball disappearing to all corners of the ground it was most definitely game on. Time for the Hoff? No, afraid not, but it was time for the skipper to step up to the plate. First he turned to Creesey who immediately did the trick, inducing the edge and sending Brentham’s number 3 back to the hutch, well held by young Dunnett behind the stumps. He then backed himself and a waste high full toss was more than enough to send Brentham’s in-form number 4 on his way. Wickets continued to tumble, the pick of them when Creesey plucked a catch out of nowhere to give Johnners victim number 2.
The game could have drifted with Brentham struggling at 100 for 5, but a big hitting Kiwi entered the fray at number 7 and it was not long before the 4-point total swung into focus for the first time. Faisal, was having none of it however, and sticking strictly to the Hoff’s mantra, fast and straight, top of off, top of off, he knocked over the dangerous Kiwi and suddenly 10 points were there for the taking. With wickets 8 and 9 falling soon after, a sense of déjà vu descended on the ground – 9 wickets down, 1 over to go. The Hoff puffed out his chest, rolled his shoulders and walked confidently, nay expectantly towards the skipper. Of course this was the moment, this was his time, this was when the music played and magic filled the air. There were six balls, there was 1 wicket and there was of course, only one Hoff. Johnners ignored him completely and took the ball himself. Two balls later and the game was won; a full delivery, an injudicious sweep, the ball hitting the number 11’s back leg, bang in front. Another 10 points, another climactic finish – just the way the Hoff likes it. Jamie Jouning
Southgate v Winchmore Hill
Winchmore Hill won by 3 wickets
Southgate 154 all out
Winchmore Hill 156-7
Southgate v Kenton
Southgate 225-6 (50 overs)
Chris Sabine 76
Paul Lassman 32
When Jeremy Dangerfield and Matt Thornton went out to bat at Wichmore Hill last week, they both were aware they needed runs if they were to maintain their places in the 3rd X1. With scores of 124 for Jeremy and 164 for Matt, the selectors decided they could keep their places.
Buoyed by this news, Sage led the 3s against Kenton in rather contrasting conditions to the washed-out affair of last year.
Put in to bat, Matt Johnson and Adam Jouning opened on a lovely sunny afternoon. A quick outfield, but spongy wicket made for contrasting batting conditions. Adam was extremely unlucky to drag a full and wide delivery on to his off stump and eventually dislodging one bail. (I am writing this and so that’s how I am telling it).
Meanwhile the Aussie run machine appeared destined for more, as he began to hit boundaries. Matt was even dropped by what turned out to be a truly woeful Kenton fielding side. (Double figures in dropped catches alone)
However a soft dismissal saw off Matt and Jez hit only boundaries before guiding one to gulley. (Hang on, that’s two catches). In slight difficulty and at around 80 for five, Chris Sabine and Paul Lassman then batted extremely well to put together a vital partnership of 70, despite some interesting calling between the wickets from Chris.
I studied the calling closely and realised it was straight out of the Two Ronnie’s Mastermind sketch. Chris’s specalised subject was “calling for the run before last”.
Paul went for 32 and Chris for a very good 76 and with some trademark one-hand hitting from Sage and a cameo from Roy Marett, we managed to reach 225 for 6 in 50 overs.
We adjourned to the pavilion for tea fairly content with our total and, as you do at a cricket tea, tucked in to lasagna and salad washed down by a nice glass of chianti. (I didn’t think I had been away that long!!)
Slightly unsure who should partner Roy in opening the bowling, Jez stepped up and both bowled well against some interesting batting. Kind of a block, miss, slog routine.
We managed to take some wickets and with the oppo at something like 80 for 5, (I did tell Sage I had a bad memory), we looked to be well and truly on top. However, in a clever subplot, Kenton seemed to have reversed the batting order as the incoming batsmen appeared to be better than the outgoing batsmen.
Adrian, our captain fantastic, was toiling very effectively away from one end, (delighted to see he still plays cricket in stripey pants), while the bowling was alternated at the other end. At this moment we really needed to put the foot on Kenton’s jugular, but some slightly wayward bowling, (not from our captain, I hasten to add), allied to Kenton’s clever batting order plot, meant that Kenton worked their way back in to the game needing only six an over. The tension grew, as Southgate worked hard in the field and Kenton threatened to make us pay. By this time members of the 2nd X1 wandered over and kindly offered their support, as their newly gained winning streak had sadly come to an abrupt end.
Sage continued to bowl some wiley/stripey pants stuff from one end as young Haider offered up some canny spin at the other. Wickets came as Southgate took their catches and applied unbearable pressure to Kenton’s batsmen. At 180 for 9 in the 46th over, the win was tangible. Fielders accumulated around the bat and Kenton’s last pair felt the heat of Sage’s captaincy.
The Kenton tailenders (or were they really their openers?) remained stoic and were still there for the final over. Adrian had taken six wickets for very little at this point and the stage was seemingly set for the captain, as he stepped up to bowl the final over. Two blocked deliveries and the number 11 looked set to stay. However, there was a glimmer of hope when the blocking number 11 succumbed to our 2nd X1’s jibe of “Let’s see you smack one”, as he bizarrely slogged one over mid on with three balls remaining. But alas the final wicket did not tumble and Kenton finished on 190 for 9 off their 50 overs. Adam Jouning
Kenton v Southgate
Kenton won by 5 wickets
Southgate 181-7 (50 overs)
Stokes 32 not out
Kenton 182-5 (40 overs)
Simply looking at the scores it seems as though we were outplayed, however, this was a very good game of cricket. It was somewhat reminiscent of a boxing match that ended with a last-round knockout that nobody quite expected.
11 men of Southgate good and true meandered down to Kenton park avenue. Gunn arrived, slightly late, so unusual for Southgate. One quick bosh, chip to cover, one quick bosh, Southgate lover.
But I am turning into Peter Jouning
With typical irreverence the rest of the SCC batting line up enjoyed themselves, briefly marshalled by Doug the Crab Gordon. At 50-1 (the aforementioned lover enjoying the Kenton suntrap) Alex Habberley made the first bid of the season for the Stevie Wonder umpiring award when he adjudged the Crab LBW from a piece of swing bowling by a left arm over the wicket bowler that defied theoretical quantum physics. Alex, if you want to bat that much, play Sundays.
50-1 swiftly became 70-5 as Haria and Chipperfield both gave the Kenton outcast Ginga Minga catching practice off full bungers, and Will Green was unluckily caught behind by the octogenarian wicketkeeper who at that stage was our top scorer. The fall of the fifth wicket had Habberley reaching for his pads. All Southgate skippers know this is not a good sign and so a very concerned Lord Straightbreak ambled to the wicket to join a very confused Clive Burrows. “What’s going on Skip?” said our number 4. “B******d if I know was the aristocratic reply from his Lordship “but Habberley is getting his mums on so we better hang around until Tuesday!”
70-5 became 160-5 with the sort of risk-free batting that would have had Boycott purring and Twenty20 fans poking knitting needles in their eyes. It was so dull I would rather have umpired in 100 degree heat watching Gordon and Stavri play for a draw at four wickets down.
Clive played very methodically, under strict nagging from the skipper that we had to get at least 200 to stand any chance, and the captain kept his end up with the type of intensive reverse strike farming not seen since Michael Holding was bowling at 300mph in the 1976 Oval Test. The captain limped (literally) to a dreadful 32 not out that permanently ended any lingering friendships or respect he may ever have enjoyed at Kenton Cricket Club.
Arvind “Bashit” Shah showed us how to do it, taking 12 off the last over, further illustrating the current captain’s total inadequacy with the bat. “At least Habs didn’t get in” was the only consoling thought as SCC enjoyed a high quality but slightly meagre tea. Good thing Rolty wasn’t there or there would have been several Mac attacks on the return journey.
We were 20-40 short and I knew it. We needed to get some early breaks and they just didn’t happen. Alex and Rohail bowled fast and straight. The ball went up in the air but not to hand. Frankly, Alex was too quick for one of the openers, who developed the interesting technique of nearly standing on the square leg umpire’s toes to avoid getting hurt. The breakthrough finally came at 60 when Alex got a little bit of away movement off the wicket to bowl the aforementioned reversing batsman middle and leg.
Straightbreak and Shah then did their impersonation of Albert De Salvo (look it up Kunjal) and slowed the game down so much that at one point it looked as though Stokes was bowling to himself. 44 runs came in 15 overs as the bowlers swung the match decidedly in favour of the draw, with the help of some ultra-conservative batting. They needed 25 needed off 5 overs and they had been scoring at less than 3s
Three overs later it was finished as two youngsters, clearly brought up on IPL and with no regard for their own wicket, played a shot a ball and saw Kenton home.
Not quite sure how we lost that one. If I can’t figure that one out and my batting gets worse then I might be turning into Sage. Is this a mid-life crisis or am I already too old.
Next week, Richmond 5s. I will be at Twickenham trying to remember how to bat. Memo to Bob Cole: Perfection is not a not out
Lord Straightbreak of Cantbat
Only two reports filed before the deadline this week, which is frankly shoddy work (I can forgive J Jouning a slight lapse here given the quality of his work – but Jamie, please, more about the tea next time). Please someone, anyone, file something for the 2s games and I’ll try to fit that in as well as getting Britain’s leading entertainment magazine to press on time.
That’s Radio Times, everyone, available at all good shops, just £1.20. or go to radiotimes.com
If nothing is filed I’ll just make up some old bollocks and then you’ll be sad.
Faisal Mir is orchestrating a trip to the Dipali curry house on Saturday night. If you’re interested in hoovering up some delicious post-match nosh, this could be your moment. For more details and to book a space contact Faisal directly at email@example.com
Dipali is based on Aldermans Hill in Palmers Green and is a proud purveyor of fine Indian cuisine and an official sponsor of Southgate CC. Naans the size of your head and free home delivery within a five-mile radius – dipali.co.uk or call 020 8886 2221
On the subject of food, I receive a lot of feedback each week from tearful readers eager to express their gratitude for the Bugle’s existence. But there are complaints, too. I can’t ignore that fact, so here it is in black and white. Many, many readers frankly don’t care who played who, who scored how many runs or took how many wickets. They only care about the standard of the teas provided, who ate what and how much Rolty consumed. So come on scribes, put a bit more effort into describing the teas – your public demands it.
I was delighted when gifted veteran batsman and one-time SCC stalwart Ian Henley volunteered to write a thought-provoking piece covering all facets of the game of cricket for this week’s Bugle – a piece of great interest, I’m sure, to many readers and a chance for a fast-fading talent to look back on his heyday, whenever that was. Fortunately he hasn’t filed his copy, but if you’re out there Ian, please get in touch.
Please send the results for next weekend’s games and match reports to Rob Johnson – firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m off for some altitude training in Lanzarote to work on my forward defensive prod.