Amwell Valley Cricket Club
Match Report | AVCC Vs Germantown Cricket Club
November 8th, 2020
Round 8, seconds away! *DING*
After a glorious late autumn week temperature wise, Germantown once again plugged in Wertsville Road into their GPS’s and ventured into deepest, darkest New Jersey. We have developed quite a fondness for playing GCC and it shows in our turnout for the game. This game also saw the return of Les Schriber, our truly international crew bolstered by the triumphant cries of a Canadian who has just come back from cancer. Everyone was happy to
see his smiling face and the second “smile” from his surgery. An amazing selection of Scones and pastries was brought by Glenn and Nigel’s wife had made some delicious sausage rolls. Someone also sullied the table with Dunkin Donuts coffee and was roundly mocked for not bringing Starbucks. GCC was heard to remark “They sledge each other harder than any opposition!”
With Kishlay still sidelined recuperating from his awful injury, Nigel once again stepped in and took on the captain’s armband, the wicket keepers pads and the umpire coat just for good measure. If we had an apron and a headsquare, I am sure he would’ve donned them too and given the shed the good sweeping that it richly deserves (and needs!!!). Based on the sight of GCC’s batting behemoths limbering up under their own tent, Nigel won the toss and chose to bat first on a pitch that generously would’ve been called “good to soft” in the racing post. He came back and told us to pad up as “Ill be buggered if I am going to be chasing leather all around the outfield for 30 overs, to be bowled out for 10”.
In what can be described as either a moment of clarity, an attack of the benz or a hitherto undiscovered Covid symptom, Nigel gave opportunities to the usual lower order bats to bat up high. Quintus was sent in to open with Tony and they spent 15 of our thirty overs defending and trying to psych out the bowlers into thinking that we could play. Tony was rapped on the pads repeatedly and it was only a matter of time before Manish “Itchy Finger” Chawla felt his finger needing some exercise and raised it skywards. To be fair to Tony, the other two deliveries preceding this one were more plumb that the one that sent his royal Thandiness back to his beach chair. The bowler even backed up Tony, saying that the dismissal was “never in a million years out”. Pan took his place at the crease and held his end up well. Quintus was next to fall, caught behind. He had worked hard for his 10 and was just getting his eye in before he fell to the stab-proof-vest-wearing wicket keeper. I came in at this point and after avoiding the $40 fee inducing duck, I was beaten by an in swinger that cleaned me up. This brought the bespectacled Glenn to the crease and he struck a sweet 20 off of 35 and looked like a complete misfit for AVCC – he has some classy looking shots and a nice high elbow, a complete opposite to the majority of our members!
Pankaj was out, edging to the keeper and this brought Les to the crease. His first connection with the ball after several months out resulted in two runs and smile to all who knew his story. Alan replaced him at the crease after he was caught at slip. Alan and Glenn (which sounds like a dodgy boy band from the sixties) worked well together, both of them striking and moving with lightning speed and creaking of bones. Alan amassed our top score of the
day with 26 and fell victim to Sneth Patel (bowled), who also similarly sent Glenn packing. This brought Kishore and Manish to the crease and me out to replace Nigel at square leg umpire. I must’ve been really mean to Kishore in his dreams and he proceeded to square cut a ball at my head, which thanks to my (fat) cat like reflexes, I avoided by dropping like I had been sniped out of the third deck of the grandstands. Manish proceeded to use
every part of the bat (except the middle) and every part of his body (especially his shoulder) to score with. We felt his ferocious power for sure… Three overs later, Manish remembered all the LBW’s I had given against Nigel and decided to hit one straight back at me. I had to be held back from charging down the wicket and decking him one. The only thing stopping me was the scorecard and the fact that him and Kishore were in sync and striking the ball
well. Kishore was out with two overs to go, expertly adjudicated to have been out of his ground when the bails were whipped off smartly by Vipul Gupta. That’ll teach him for making me dirty my trousers! Anantha came in and saw out the remaining balls to guide us to 131. The consensus that this was 200 too few and this would be over in a flash. How wrong we were…
Our own version of the Rawalpindi Express, Kishore “The Hillsborough Half past four to Hoboken” Gupte opened the bowling down the hill, with Uday working uphill at the other end. Kishore’s pace was containing the mighty opening bats and they were alternately respecting, then teeing off on Uday. A breakthrough was needed, and Kishore provided it in the seventh over, inducing Vipul to chip to Manish. Raj Karthi and Sid Rao then proceeded to monopolize the crease. With the score board at 43-1 off of 8, heads (and catches (Quintus and Glenn)) were going down in the field. Quintus, to be fair, dropped a dolly. His excuse was the big yellow ball of light that was in his face. Excuses are like bum holes… It turned out to be costly as if he had wrapped his normally sure mitts around it, Sid Rao would have been gone early and the result might have been different. Kishore (still incensed by his
stumping) provided the lift we desperately needed. After being insolently smacked for 6, he made Raj pay by having him caught by Tony. From the stars to the gutter in one easy ball! The affable Pete Lamb came to the crease and was promptly sent back for a golden duck. All ten fielders were placed around the bat at the tantalizing prospect of a Hattrick and to everyone’s mirth, Kishore sent the ball wide. Tony took over for Uday and promptly proved once again that excrement gets wickets, getting Feroze trapped LBW after six bounces. 56-4? Dare we dream? Eric Sultan had his stumps rearranged into jaunty angles by Kishore and now it was 57-5. After failing to press this advantage home for six overs, we turned to Sushil. Why did we wait so long to bring him on? Well, he had just turned up so we couldn’t bring him on sooner… He promptly took the wicket of Sneh Patel, bowling him out. Manish’s name was then carved into the wicket taking column in the next over after bowling Rajiv Malik out for 0.
80-7 off of 17. Three wickets needed – Dare we dream some more?! Unfortunately, we hadn’t reckoned on Kiran Talekar supporting Sid Rao so expertly. Sid ran the score up and Kiran blocked and took singles to give Sid the strike. Sushil, Manish and Ananatha toiled away and couldn’t dislodge the two who had run up an impressive 40 partnership. With Sid on 45 and looking to retire on 51, Anantha bowled down a ball that was so slow it made Arizona’s vote counting look like it was done by IBM’s Watson. A dance down the pitch, a mighty swipe, a huge miss and Nigel had to hold back before grabbing the ball, tying his shoes, coming up with an alternative to the electoral college, making a quick call to his wife to discuss dinner plans before finally whipping the bails off.
121-8, two wickets remaining… 4.4 overs left…. Uday was justly rewarded for all his hard work when he took the wicket of Kiran, caught and bowled. It was a hard fought 8 off of nearly 50 balls and if only, if only we had gotten him out sooner, the outcome would’ve been… sooner! With 5 needed off of the last 4 overs, the ball was sliced low to Q at point, who just couldn’t hold on to it and win the game. If anyone could have caught it, it was our star South
African……. but he didn’t. It was all over, bar a Mankad and a lot of shouting. In the end, an anticlimactic wide provided the final run needed to see GCC to a victory that was a lot closer than it should’ve been. If we had taken the eight catches that were offered, some much harder than others, we might have had a different result but alas…
Various spirits were lifted skywards and the grill was fired up to provide us with Uday's world famous Chicken Tandoori and veggies. GCC took down the tent and we all sat around and enjoyed another fantastic sunset on what could have been the last game on the hallowed turf wicket. If this is the case and we do not have the ground next year, this was a fitting send off against our BFFS from GCC. TTFN.
Match Report | Germantown 161-4 (20 overs) beat AVCC 75 All Out (17.2) by 86 runs
October 25th, 2020
Yup, not pretty, right..? Sheesh, I think we felt like we had lost before we even turned up. It was cold, damp and rain was on its way, so it was mercifully agreed to play a 20 over game (field restrictions / Power-Plays all that “good” stuff). Germantown’s wicket is now a lot better and they only play from one end now and their boys know how to hit through the line. The game was all over by the end of their power-play, by which time both their openers had retired and the score was nearing 70. It was brutal. They did give a few of their guys a go, but they all scored runs, even Lauralei making our bowling look ordinary and by the end of their innings, we trudged off relieved it wasn’t a longer game and that they had supplied delightful lunches.
In reply things got worse, Manish was out in the first over, caught at slip and then the wickets were just a procession. Alan and Tariq were the only ones to hit a couple of boundaries and the two of them and Kimbo were the only ones to sneak into double figures, the rest were just glad to get into their warm cars and go home. Frankly, the Germantown captain was a little unsporting, bowling all his best bowlers all the way through right to the end of our innings and, his ‘ringers’ opening the batting as well as the bowling seemed unnecessary, but I doubt it would have made a lot of difference if he had tossed a few up. It was something of a slaughterhouse.
Drinks with the core members was pleasant, but I did leave with something of an unpleasant taste in my mouth. I was never a fan of Mulled Wine!
Match Report | Hoboken 173-8 (35) beat AVCC 151-8 (35) by 22 runs
October 18th, 2020
With our beloved club captain officially off his feet for the foreseeable future, vice-captain Armitage took over the reins for the rest of the season. In his first full charge, having captained a tough defeat for the English against the old foe in the NY Ashes the day before, he again won the toss but again chose the wrong thing to do on a wet wicket. In the Ashes game he chose to bat thinking the wicket would get worse as the day went on. It didn’t, it got better. And on this day, he chose to field first thinking he would get the juice early on. It didn’t, it came on nicely until later in the day. Some days you can’t win. This day… we didn’t.
Hoboken lost an early wicket to Uday’s swing, but after that, they all made merry without anyone specifically going on to make a big score. The rate was steady, the runs plentiful around numerous wickets as well. Uday was the star with 3-27, although Tony took the honours with 3-21, albeit it was over two spells. Not two spells during the innings, but two spells in his one spell. To explain, he bowled a pile of poo with his slow stuff and then decided to bowl (what he calls) medium pace (more Tommy Trundle). It was a lot better (2-9 in his second three). Other than that, Tariq (0-39 off 7) and Mark (0-31 off 6) bowled nicely enough without much luck and Anantha bowled really well I thought for no joy (0-26 off 5). It was Manish who wrapped up the innings nicely with 2-10 off his 3. Added to that the catching was good too. Armitage got one behind the stumps and Mark, Anantha and Pankaj all took well-judged skiers. All that said, 173 was an imposing total.
And so it proved. After Quintus got a slightly puzzling LBW to a ball from round the wicket, Manish, Pankaj and Glenn all rather struggled to find any timing or fluency on a sticky wicket. Pan did manage to clear the ropes with a fine pull shot before he perished for 11 and Glenn toiled for 8 off 26 balls. Manish also succumbed to an LBW decision for 26 which included just one boundary, rare for him having such a fine season. Mark bustled for a quick 8, Kimbo managed 4 and with all seeming lost and heading for something of a humiliation, Tariq stepped up and made things interesting . Kept company by Armitage (6) and Anantha (6), he hit the ball hard to all parts and with a remote chance of a win in the air, he finally holed out (to a truly remarkable catch for the record) for an outstanding 45 off 52 balls which included three 4s.
So defeat by 22 runs, but the Hoboken lads were certainly fine company, drinking, smoking (all sorts) and making merry while Uday cooked up his famous chicken. It really wasn’t a bad day.
Til next time.
Match Report | Amwell Valley CC 161-5 (35) lost to Columbia University 162-8 (31.2) by 2 wickets
October 11th, 2020
From last week’s nail-biter, this game wasn’t quite so close, but it had drama, laughter, tears and no little pain. One thing that can be said about Amwell Valley Cricket Club, it’s never a dull moment. Kishlay once again won the toss and we batted first on a vastly improved wicket from last week. A dry week certainly helped and, whilst the odd delivery popped on one of the crab-grass weeds, batsmen throughout the day were in a stronger position than they have been for much of the season. Indeed, Manish and Quintus really enjoyed proceedings and at the drinks break, they were still unbeaten with the score at 81-0 off 17. Q certainly had some fortune. He was dropped at cover by Inder, one of the easiest catches you will see and then after surviving a strong LBW decision, he was then caught at midwicket off Inder’s bowling, only for Inder to look back and realise he had nudged the stumps in his delivery and called for a no ball.
Q certainly made them pay though as after drinks he unleashed many fine shots and finally tickled one down legside for a superb 41. Manish though carried on his form getting another retirement and this probably is best. Off to a flier, he hit his first two balls for four and in the 7th over from Kabeer, a very fine left arm quick bowler, he latched on to a slightly short ball to smash it into the farm for a mighty six, comfortably the shot of the day. With the change bowlers, he did become more patient and eventually retired after 62 balls which included five 4s along with that six. Great player, but he really needs to get a proper pair of cricket shoes. If you rocked up in England in black trainers, you would not hear the last of it!
Alas, after that we were not really able to capitalize. Columbia brought on better bowlers at the death and it was hard to find boundaries. Pan managed 8, Kishlay 9 and Uday 4, while Glenn hit an attractive 19 and Armitage ended 5 not out as we clambered up to 161, most feeling it was 20 short after the start Manish and Q had given us.
And so it proved and, although we stayed in the game by taking wickets, we were never really able to stem the flow of runs. Mark bowled his 7 straight through again as did Uday, both picking up important wickets, Mark ended 1-29 and Uday who bowled so well down the hill, 2-37. At 70-3 off 14, the game could go either way. Alas, the turning point was the change bowling of Kishlay and Tony, both usually so reliable and both in fine form after the last few weeks, but this day was not to be their day. Especially not Kishlay’s!
Tony struggled to grip the ball and could not get his range. He did get their skipper Nasser out for a well-played 26, but this actually changed things for the worse, because it was a screamer at cover for Kishlay who hurt his hand in the process which affected his bowling. Struggling after 2 overs, Kish brought on Glenn to replace himself and Glenn immediately got a wicket with his first ball, cleaning up poor Inder. Then, a couple of overs later, Madhura skied one off Glenn out to deep midwicket, perfectly dissecting Kishlay and Quintus. Neither calling, both brave, the inevitable clash happened, Kishlay dropped the catch just as he collided with Q and it was easy to quickly realise that the rugby player would win the day and Kishlay’s poor knee lost badly. Kish was done for the day and sadly, likely the rest of the season. Fingers crossed it is not as bad as we first feared and he can come out on a cold November day.
With Armitage taking over the reins, he only really had Glenn and Anantha to try and salvage the game. Just 35 needed with over 10 overs left, we had to get the wickets and boy, did the two of them give it a good go. Glenn picked up two more wickets, both skiers out to Q and Anantha and Anantha, well, he bowled the best I have seen him all season. His first over was very tentative to say the least, but as his confidence grew, he ended up being the pick of the day, taking 1-15 off his five overs. He got more turn than anyone on the day and was able to change up his pace at will. Glenn would also be pleased to finish with 3-32 off 6.2. Unfortunately for us, all this time Arvind Ram had battled through. Coming in 3 down with the score on just 50, he stuck at it really well. He defended the good balls and hit the bad, ran well and guided several teammates through to the end.
The drama was not over though. With them 8 down and still 10 needed, Glenn bowled a wide one to Arvind outside off, really wide. I mean…. REALLY wide! Both Arvind and Armitage, standing up, stretched out as far as their sinews would allow to reach it and Arvind managed to get the toe of his bat to it. A big clip and it hit Armitage’s webbing part of the glove, sadly to see it loop up and drop 2 yards short of Karl at gully. So close! Ten runs with 9 down would have been really fun although, it was noted Kabeer was coming in at 11 and he did look like he fancied to finish it in a couple of blows. As it was Arvind saw them home and brought up a superb 50 as he hit the winning runs. He well deserved the plaudits.
Another fine game against another fine bunch of lads. Plenty of banter on the field, although they were clearly quite COVID conscious, with many of them wearing masks for much of the day and at the end, when the fist-bumps were done, they had a team photo done and they were out of the door. Hard to knock them for that and I sincerely hope that this time next year, they will stay for a drink and sample some of Uday’s delightful cooking. A good day.
Til next week.
Match Report | Amwell Valley CC - 141/8 in 35 overs won against Mad Dogs 139/9 in 35 overs
October 3rd, 2020
When you arrive at a cricket ground to start a game, you never quite know what is going to happen. Will you blow out the opposition? Will they blow you out? Or will the game, as we always dream about, come down to the last wicket in the last over – and end with victory.
For Amwell Valley on Saturday Vs the Mad Dogs, two evenly matched teams took the game to the last ball, with Amwell victorious by 2 runs. What a game.
Perfect October weather greeted the teams as they arrived at the HGC. There were early complications with the roller’s mechanics not working so myself, Mark and a Mad Dog rolled the wicket under our own steam to give the pitch some spring.
The Mad Dogs with twelve players provided Sri Lankan veteran Upul to the ten of Amwell to create an even contest.
Amwell batted first, with the Jersey Boycott – Tony Thandi, opening with Anantha. Unfortunately, Anantha got one that kept low, and Tony failed to respond to an aggressive single called by Manish – run out. This left Amwell at 6/2 after four overs. Glen then joined Manish to rebuild the innings until he received another grubber from Leg Spinner Joe Simon and the Amwell innings was in the balance at 34/3.
Manish and Mark then took over and pushed the innings forward through the drinks break, and accelerated into the back half of the innings. Manish departed in the 18th over for 44 and then Neil and Mark pushed the innings past the 100 mark in the 25th over, to reach 114 with 10 overs left.
With ten overs remaining, and the score at 120, Neil, Mark and Tariq fell in quick succession, leaving Kishlay and Upul to add a valuable 21 runs, even at a slow rate, to get to 141/8 at the end of our 35 overs. (Thanks to Pan for coming… he missed out on a bat or bowl)…
After a delicious curry at the break, the Mad Dogs set off for the target very slowly. The previous weekend, the Mad Dog Park wicket was even paced and good for scoring. Amwell was gradually becoming slower and lower. Not impossible to bat on, but it was becoming more difficult to score. Mark and Uday bowled excellent lengths and lines to keep the Dogs at 23/2. At 41, Uday struck twice in the 14th over, and confidence in the Amwell camp was high.
However, their best batsmen, Sriram and Harsh were at the wicket and batted superbly, using their feet to the spinners. The meat of the reply took the innings to 91 in the 24th over. Then Sriram was retired on 50. It was now 101 for 6 with 9 overs remaining, and within four overs, the target was 11 off three overs with four wickets, (including Sriram) to return. A wicket in over 34,w Glenn bowled John Moore, and seven conceded runs, left a target of 5 for the Mad Dogs tail of six deliveries from Kishlay.
Kishlay proceeded to take two – and should have been three – wickets (Manish missed a stumping off the last ball!) in his over, and bowled the other three deliveries on a very awkward length that restricted the runs to two in the over, leaving the Mad Dogs 139/9 off their thirty-five overs, a thrilling game we were all excited to be part of. Kishlay ended 6-0-13-2, saving the game at the death.
Thanks to Tony for the curry – and to Uday for his special chicken after the game.
And the beer tasted real good after this one…
Match Report | Amwell Valley CC – 164-9 (35) lost to Mad Dogs
September 26th, 2020
It was an overcast day in Greenwich for the visit of Amwell Valley to Christiano Field for the first of two games on consecutive weekends with the Mad Dogs. Christiano Field is a peculiar place: a mat and clay wicket on a field that is half disused softball field, surrounded by the most dense undergrowth you could imagine.
It has seen cricket played on its undulating base since 1927. But in 2020, the combination of a dry clay base and a small outfield with dead grass on it makes it a batsman’s paradise: And more precisely, one Maddogs’ batsman’s paradise… but more of that later.
Amwell won the toss and chose to bat first. Good pace from the Dogs Manish was rewarded by a strangle down the leg side to Kimberley in the third over, leaving the hard work to our Manish who assembled an uncharacteristically watchful 52* (retired) to anchor the Amwell Innings. Small contributions came from the rest of the order (Mark 28, Glenn 15 and Anantha 10 were of note) as an interesting combination of spin and pace kept Amwell to 165 in their 35 overs.
Then came the carnage. I have watched and played against Prasanna Ramaswamy for almost twenty years. And on his day he can be one of the most potent batsman at our level of cricket. So, he proceeded to hammer a fifty off 5 overs, combining elegance and raw power in his clean hitting. When he left The Dogs were 65/0 off 5 overs, and it was left to the workmen-like Mad Dogs batters to chase the target down with 10 overs to spare.
All was not lost, however: The tea break curry was delicious, it was great to meet a new fellow cricketer for Amwell – Karl from Taunton, and lovely to have a beer with many friends at the Two Door pub afterwards.
It will be interesting to put them on the Amwell Bunsen next week….
Match Report | Wanderers 115-9 (35) beat Amwell Valley CC 81 AO (25.1)
September 20th, 2020
Ya know I say every week “what a great day against a great bunch of lads” and this week was no exception. If you fancy a game of cricket with good companions and equally convivial opponents, Amwell is the place to be this season. Wanderers are a fine bunch of men, made up of a few South Africans as well as West Indians and Indians and our old British friend from Mad Dogs’ days, Neil Harrison and, if I had to suffer a defeat such as the score above suggests, I couldn’t imagine a better reverse than this game in the most spectacular weather.
The wicket is definitely suffering from heavy use in the last couple of months, heavy rain through August, crabgrass that didn’t get initially treated due to the lockdown back in April and indeed, not having the loving care of our beloved ex-President, Mr. George, who has been under the weather for the last few weeks. We have done our best and between Tariq, Tony and some immense rolling from Mark on the day, the wicket really wasn’t as bad as the score suggests.
That they were 37-5 after 14 you would look to the opening spells from Kishore and Mark Marsan (yes I got is name right, you deserve it this time buddy!). Yes it was hard work on a difficult wicket, but whilst Mark did get their skipper with one that seamed and bounced off a length to be caught behind by Sudip from just his fourth ball, all his other wickets were absolutely down to his perseverance, stamina and undoubted skill, bringing back the confidence that he himself has felt lacking the last few weeks. Seaming and swinging the ball both ways, he cleaned up all those first five wickets, saving the best for his last over, getting his fifth by taking Neil Kimberly’s top of off stump with an absolute pearler. Mark finished with the enviable figures of 5-20 off his 7. Kishore bowled equally well but did not get the fortune of wickets, he ended with the miserly figures of 0-14 off 7. After 14, changes came and whilst it became a little easier for batting, the partnership that Grover and Ranjiv put on was more about their skill and patience than any bad bowling. Indeed, Yousuf bowled a delightful spell of 0-6 off 5 and, whilst Anantha was a little wayward (0-29 off 5), we still were keeping things quiet enough by the time Kishlay and Tony came on for the final overs. Ranjiv was the more aggressive of the two and finally perished to Kishlay for an excellent 36 and Kishlay picked up a another couple of wickets, getting Grover in the last over for 33. They ended on 115-9 which was probably 20 more than we had hoped but with the lineup we had, very much within our reach. Kishlay finished with 3-24 off 6 and Tony bowled his usual steady stuff 0-18 off 5.
With the very first ball of the innings, the team settled back in full confidence as Sudip (who again had kept wicket brilliantly, three catches and an incredible stumping) dispatched the ball out into the farm for six. This was going to be a breeze! How wrong we were. Sudip was very well caught at cover and then the doors opened. Quintus kept a variety of batters company while he scored 10, Yousuf then did the same while he scored 12 and then when Yousef was the 9th man out, Tony batted with Anantha for a while to score 11 before he was the last man out. And…. THAT was about… IT..! In between, we all just found ways to get out, mostly innocuous, rarely to be blamed on the wicket. Two nicks behind from ordinary balls, a tough LBW and a silly run out were some highlights. Kishlay miss-hit one to mid-wicket off Ali’s first ball (Ali was guesting for the oppo), Quintus walked past one and only Glenn and Manish can really point to really good deliveries getting them out. It is fair to say it was a very disappointing batting performance.
But again, what a great bunch of lads. They all stayed around for a drink and much good conversation and chuckles were had as the sun was setting. What a great day.
Til next week.
Match Report | Amwell Valley CC – 206-5 (35) lost to BOCC – 207-4 (34.2) by six wickets.
September 13th, 2020
So there is definitely something to be said for home advantage, as the third and deciding tie between these two sides went in favor of the home side for the third straight time. At our ground BOCC struggled to find any rhythm with their batting and were knocked off easily, yet at their own ground, we just could not find a way to contain or take wickets. Losing there comfortably, a few weeks back, this time, having lost the toss, we were put in (largely to our late arrivals) and even though we put up quite an impressive score, we were relatively easily disposed of, albeit after a dramatic fight back in the last few overs.
Anantha opened with Manish in cloudy but fair conditions. Over the other side, minor league cricket was going on and it was clear to see early on that the BOCC wickets were playing as well as they ever had. The three T20 games played over that side on the day all had scores in excess of 220 a side and you only had to watch their games for a few minutes before you would see a six hit for miles. After Anantha was a little unfortunate to pick out midwicket, Kishore joined Manish and they put on a fine partnership which didn’t quite match the other games but was impressive enough. Manish took control early on while Kishore found his feet, but Kishore got things going just before and after drinks to overtake Manish and retire first. On 54 he retired off just 46 balls having hit a six and five 4s. Manish soon joined him back in the retired pavilion, 53 off 49 balls having hit six 4s, their partnership worth 106. Unfortunately after that, we did not really capitalize and from being 130-1 after 19 overs, we were only able to score another 76 in the last 16 overs. BOCC took the pace off and it became a bit of a struggle. Glenn Nellins played nicely before being run out for 15 but Mark, Tariq and Kishlay all rather missed out before Kimbo and Armitage put on an unbeaten 29 in the last 5 overs to get us to 206. Everyone seemed satisfied with the score, but in truth it was a good 30 short.
And so it proved, as Dil and Krish did their usual thing and looked very comfortable putting on 72 in the first 10 overs. Dil rather surprisingly holed out to Tariq at cow corner off Mark, but Praveen came in and the rate continued with gay abandon before they both retired as they too were 130-1 after 19. With their best bats taking a rest, we did slow things up somewhat, with Tariq especially getting us back in the game. In his second over he took two wickets, cleaning up one of their talented youngsters and then getting a caught and bowled. Chris Lawrence came in and held them together and things looked comfortable with them needing just 23 off 6. But then Kishlay brought back debutant Ali Malik who bowled beautifully bowling two overs that went for only one run and taking a wicket. All of a sudden they needed 18 off the last two, but Tariq who had bowled so well, clearly was tiring and bowled a little short in the 34th which included a couple of wides and also suffering a couple of misfields on the square boundary that both crucially went for 4. With just 4 needed off the last over form Ali, he too could not hold his line and they came home with four balls to spare. Nevertheless, a really good game of cricket.
As tough as things were, all the bowlers and fielders should take some credit under those condition. Kishore bowled very nicely up top with a bit of swing (0-22 off 4); Mark took 1-38 off 4, Tony had little luck with his 0-43 off his full 7 and the same for Kishlay who bowled about the best leg spin he has all season with no luck at all (0-37 off 7). The stars were Tariq who took 2-33 off 6 (he was 2-20 after 5) and Ali who ended with figures of 5.2-1-27-1.
Another great day with friends ending in rapidly fading light while chilling over a few beers.
Tl next week,
Match Report | Amwell Valley CC 178-9 (35) beat Hoboken 143 AO (32) by 35 runs
Sept 6th, 2020
Another terrific day at Amwell Valley CC produced a fine win against a strong opposition. Kishlay got back to winning ways with the toss and batted first on a used pitch that looked like it was tiring out. Hoboken first four bowlers all bowled with good pace and accuracy and it was hard work for openers Pan Patel and Quintus Joubert. It wasn’t until the 12th over that Pan finally perished to a fine catch at cover for 10 with the score only on 27. Soon after that Q followed Pan back (also for 10) after being run out trying to up the pace, but with that change of batting pairing, came a change of bowling and Hoboken set about giving everybody a bowl which did make things a little easier and Manish and Mark Marsan took full advantage not just of the more friendly bowling but of the numerous drop catches that proceeded. Manish did get bowled for a fine 24 off 27 balls but Mark went on and played simply splendidly retiring (on 49 so says the scorecard – he got a ‘50 applause’ nevertheless) off just 48 balls which included 3 4s and two 6s. After that Kishlay scored 13, Kishore 21 and a fine new addition to the club, Glenn Nellins ended 9 not out as the score improved dramatically after the drinks break to go from 57-3 after 17 to 178-9 off the full 35.
In reply, Mark and especially Uday bowled quite beautifully and picked up three quick wickets, all to good catches. Nellins, Manish and particularly Kishlay held on in fine style which was quite contrary to our opposition. However after that, Jha, Sagar and Ron all played very well and hit the bad balls hard and were more than up with the rate before Yousef Hasan removed Jha and, right after the drinks break, the dangerous Sagar who had played some quite delightful shots. From there it was down to Ron but he felt the pressure building and eventually skied one high in the air for Kishore to take a fine juggling catch off his bowling, while keeper Armitage stood and watched full of confidence that his younger friend would more likely snaffle the steepler than he, with it being off his own bowling.
Once Ron went, it seemed to be in the bag, but Taimur and Kirti kept going against the slow spin and guile from Kishlay and Tony Thandi. With four overs to go and three wickets in hand, 37 were still needed, but Tony put things to bed by taking all the last three wickets in that over, two clean bowled and the last stumped by Armitage to wrap up a fine win. For me Yousef was the pick of the bowling with 2-23 off 5 and Kishore bowled well at an important time with 2-22 off 5, but Kishlay was at times unplayable on a worsening wicket that ripped when he got it in the right place (1-12 off 5) and Tony took the plaudits with 3-17 off 5. Further excellent catches were held by Yousef and Mark and that clearly marked the difference between the two sides as we did not drop a single catch while they had spilled….. many!
A great win against a great bunch of lads who hung around very socially while Uday cooked up some marvelous tandoori chicken in the fading light. Fading..? By the time I had swallowed one beer and my spicy piece of cauliflower alongside my chicken leg, it was positively pitch black. I left the scene confident that Tony could get the tent folded up in the dark and indeed, in his sleep.
Til next week when we wrap up the tri-series with BOCC, currently standing at 1-1, winner takes all.
Match Report | Germantown 141 all out lost to AVCC 142/7
August 30th, 2020
Germantown were to be our opponents once again on a beautiful Sunday morning in the Valley. Despite Amwell being without the services of Alan, (Al, Al or Steve either), Andy, Neil and the other Neil (AKA Nigel), 12 valiant warriors signed up to play against GCC. In a comical recreation of “The Long Story”, Tony rode the roller down from the barn across the driving range and the strip was rolled and compressed in true village fashion, without any water weight in the roller! Immediately, Alan’s quiet but commanding presence was missed. After the square was cut down to a mere millimeter high, we attempted to mark out the crease. It was the blind leading the blind. Fortunately, Quintus was able to facetime Alan and we were able to work out how to put together the frame. Finally, we were able to mark out the creases, albeit a bit wonky, and we were ready to play.
Due to the conditions of a lot of rain earlier in the week, Kishlay was told by multiple players to bat second. He duly came back and told us that we were bowling first, holding off the beatings that were promised if he didn’t do as he was told…!
GCC started brightly against the opening bowling of Kishore and Uday, Kishore throwing down some beautiful seeds with some vocalizations that would’ve made Steffi Graf proud. Fielding was especially sharp in the freshly mown outfield and with Sudip behind the timbers, nothing went past him. The opening bat of Rajesh was taken by Uday clean bowling him and the lefty Nikil was being especially stubborn in support. At the first drinks break, Tony told me “I’ll have ‘im” and sure enough, he threw down some filth that induced him to nick off for 30. Later in the innings, an amazing, spectacular sharp chance was taken at point, the ball looping and spinning out of the sun towards the handsome devil fielding there – Yes, me. It was a contender for catch of the season until Uday happened. A chance was skied in the air and we all witnessed a miracle. Uday exclaimed loudly “I can’t see!” however, lo and behold, a cloud passed over the sun, Uday put down his cane and let go of his guide dog, raised his hands to the heavens in supplication and said, “now I can” and took the catch! Tony, smelling blood in the water, lobbed down some more filth and had a batsman trapped plumb. The GCC umpire was suddenly afflicted like Uday and claimed temporary blindness and didn’t raise a finger. This made Tony see red and duly took the batsmen out next ball. This meant a 4-for and the hunt was on for the Michelle. Alas, it was not to be, so Tony was credited with a 4.5-for instead. Uday claimed two and Tariq the other two.
We were chasing a total of 142 to win, on a wicket that was drying out fast. Our opening pair Mark and Quintus took the field against bowlers that were personally adjusting the sight screens before they ran in (yes, it was that long of a run up…). Mark was returned to the coop shortly, followed in quick succession by Manish and Pan. Each one failed to hit double figures. With the score in the low 30’s for 3, the secret weapon was sent to the crease. I may look like a fat, middle aged imposter in whites, but in reality, I am a dumb, fat middle aged imposter in whites… I managed to run myself out first ball, thanks to confusion on the call (apparently “YEEEESS” means “NOOOOO” in Afrikaans), me hesitating and a direct hit by the fielder. Thankfully, Quintus, Tariq and Kishlay were able to build the score. Adding to the total was a ferocious but short innings from Sudip (16 off of 12, including two 4’s and a 6). A beautiful partnership between Tariq and Kishlay took us over the hump and in an anticlimactic finish, I signaled a wide to take us onto the prescribed total needed. Another win against our friends from GCC which was celebrated with beer, Chardonnay and a fine single malt supplied by a very generous GCC player. I look forward to part three of this trilogy – Next time it’s for keeps!
Match Report | BOCC 182/9 won against AVCC 143 all out
August 23rd, 2020
So on yet another sultry day, we ferried to Pennsylvania to meet with our friends in Collegeville, the British Officers CC for another fine contest. After us having prevailed at Amwell just a few weeks ago, BOCC gained their revenge in fine style on a very different wicket to the one we have got used to in Hillsborough. Kishlay lost the toss and we were put in the field and that didn’t seem to be a bad thing as Kishore ripped out their skipper with his very first ball (the second over of the innings) with a fine outswinger which took the edge to keeper Sudip. Unfortunately, that brought Praveen to the crease to join Krish and they put on a very fine partnership indeed. At drinks they had rattled along to an impressive 97-1 off 12 and they carried on their merry way until Krish retired on 50, striking the ball nonchalantly to the boundary and tucking the bat under his arm as he retired. Dil then joined Praveen and while the rate slowed a little, it wasn’t until Tony got Praveen with a good swirling catch by Roger, for 47 at 122-2 off 19, that we managed to get things under a little control.
From there Dil batted through the innings while wickets fell around him. It was Tony (1-25 off 7) and Andy Dick (2-24 off 7) that turned things round for us, as spin and guile was the way to go on a true and bouncy pitch. Kishlay himself finally saw the signs and brought himself on at the end to mop up some cheap(ish) wickets with some terrific legspin which included a remarkable hattrick in his second over. Having got two stumpings in a row from a very impressive performance behind the stumps by Sudip who had three catches to add on the day, one of the BOCC youngsters came out and Kishlay fired in a quicker one to clean him up for the hattrick with most of us thinking it might have been…… kinder to toss up another leggie to the young lad. Dil finished 40 not out as the innings was cut slightly short by the rain at 182-9 off 33.4 overs.
Kishlay made it a trio of impressive slow bowling figures as he took 4-9 off his 3 and probably ruing not bringing himself on earlier. A captain’s job is not an easy one as he had other bowlers to use, but they might be thinking they would have been happy to come off earlier as these figures suggest… Marsan 0-42 off 4; Kishore 1-30 off 4; Roger Woods 0-40 off 7; Uday 0-9 off his one over and Anantha also bowled just one over for 6.
In reply, we were soon up against it as Mark was cleaned up by Klaus in the 4th over. Armitage kept Sudip company for a while and at 32-1 after 7 it wasn’t the worst start. Unfortunately, Armitage smashed one straight to mid-on off Klaus, Anantha got himself run out, Sudip got stumped for a bright and breezy 25 and Kishlay quickly followed bowled by Krish and in the blink of an eye we were 45-5 off 11.
Andy Dick and Tariq saw us to drinks and then both played quite nicely to get us to 105-5 off 21, 78 needed off 13 was very doable especially if one or both of them retired. Alas it was not to be, Tariq getting caught brilliantly on the long-off boundary by Rajat for 26 and then Andy quickly followed LBW for 23. From there it was a procession of wickets including a couple of spectacular catches until Kishore was joined by Roger for the last wicket stand. Ten-year old Karan came on to bowl some flighty leg spinners and Kishore duly nicked one to the keeper, a nick heard all the way to Bucks County by everyone except for Kishore himself and Anantha who was umpiring. Anantha duly gave a wide and then Kishore duly dispatched the next ball miles over cow corner for six with ball heard screaming the words “YOU SEE YOUNG MAN, THIS IS PROPER CRICKET..!!!”
Roger finally succumbed to another great catch for 10 and we ended 143 all out well short of our target. Another great day with great friends and we go again with these boys in two weeks to see who can go 2-1 up in the ‘series’.
Match Report | Mad Dogs won against AVCC
August 9th, 2020
The fifth game of the shortened Covid season saw the first visit of the Mad Dogs to the HGCC. The teams were greeted by traditional hot summer weather, made steamier by the preceding week of rain that included 5 inches from the prolific Tropical Storm Isaias. The day before, the annual Chappell-Hadlee game was played at HGCC, and the strip used created mud that resembled the Somme after a particularly nasty day in 1917. Another 24 hours of dry weather did reduce the amount of moisture in the wicket, but toss winning captain, Adithia of MDCC had an awkward decision to make. Bowl first to take advantage of the moisture, or wait till later and bat on a track that was likely to be damaged by the preceding innings. Adithia decided to bat, and the swinging ball from Uday and Roger had almost immediate impact, putting four of the Mad Dogs back in their kennel with just 21 runs on the board after seven overs. Most memorable of these wickets was the diving slip catch by Quintus to dismiss Noel Greene for a duck. This brought Kimberley to the crease to (almost literally) dig in. Dharamsala hit 10 off an over and departed, but then the classy and powerful Rahul came to the crease. Over the next twelve overs, the pair took the total to respectability of 90/6 before Kimberley fell to a Kishlay special leg-break. From here big hitting from Rahul continued until he reached his 50, and was then joined by Ali, Adithia and others to put up a more than competitive 167/10 on the board.
The AVCC innings started brightly enough, but the wicket was becoming more awkward. Tight bowling from Ali, Aditithia and Rahul saw lots of movement bothering all the batsmen and steadily picking up wickets as the AVCC innings progressed. By the 12 over drinks break, four wickets had fallen, but there were only 40 runs on the board. And from that point on, attempts to increase the run rate were normally lopped off by wickets, mostly caught at long off by Mad Dog George Kinsey who ended the day with four catches. Kishore battled valiantly to stay in the game, and hit the bad ball very hard, but there were few of them. With six overs to go, and more than 10 runs per over needed, the third string of Mad Dog bowlers came on and Kishlay crashed a couple of consolation boundaries at the end. Eventually AVCC ended the chase around 20 runs short.
All in all a fascinating and fun afternoon of cricket.
Match Report | BOCC 104-10 (35) lost to AVCC 105-4 (23.4) by six wickets
August 2nd, 2020
A commanding performance by AVCC saw us home by six wickets with overs to spare, a well-deserved victory where we were outstanding in every department.
Kishlay won his fourth toss in a row to stay 100% and for the first time chose to bowl first on a wicket which did look a little like a cabbage patch with the weeds and crab grass beginning to take control of the situation. With the heavy roller return imminent and the groundsman’s promise to spray the weeds, we are confident that Kishlay will return to batting first while he keeps winning the toss. That said, his bowlers did him proud, Mark Masterson (1-12 off 5) and Udaya (1-12 off 6) bowling splendid early spells and at the first drinks break, we had witnessed a rather pleasant sedate passage of play with BOCC at 28-1 off 12.
For the rest of the innings, it was hard work and BOCC were not helped by some excellent bowling and truly impressive fielding. Kishlay got nice turn taking 1-9 off 4, Tony bowled with flight and guile (1-29 off 7), Roger cleaned up with 3-12 off his 5 overs, but the highlight was when Les Schriber came on to bowl in the 20th over. Captain and Vice-Captain conferred and agreed to have two excellent fielders on the square boundary behind and in front. Sure enough, Les, who hasn’t bowled for two years, dropped his first one short and Praveen swiveled and rocked back for a mighty pull shot that went soaring for a six over the heads of the two square fielders. But wait..! Like a graceful gazelle, Alan George, on the run, leapt in the air, stuck out his left hand and cleanly snaffled the most amazing open-handed catch while just keeping himself inside the rope. When asked for comment, Ben Stokes said he would have been proud of that one himself. Les then went on to bowl really well actually and was a little unlucky to come off with 1-5 off his 2 overs.
From then on it was a procession of great fielding. Boundary catches for Mark, Andy Dick and another for Alan almost became routine and then Les himself took a terrific one-handed catch at point. To finish off the fielding performance, debutant, Sudip Jadhav kept wicket quite beautifully (sorry Q, you and me are out of a job!) which included an outstanding stumping off Andy Dick who wrapped up the innings taking 1-4 off his 2, the last over of the innings being a maiden. BOCC were not at their strongest but they sure were up against it playing an Amwell team on fire.
In reply it was all over bar the shouting at the first drinks break. Sudip completed a marvelous man of the match debut with a quick fire 33 off just 20 balls which included 2 6s and 2 4s and when he was out, we were already half way there 61-1 after 9. After drinks it was a little more sedate, but Andy saw us almost over the line caught behind for 31 in the 19th over and then Alan and Manish brought us home in the 23rd over. But wait..!! With the scores level, Mark Mastesson started removing his pads. We all shouted to stop, but too late, Alan pulled a long hop straight to midwicket and Mark had to hurriedly put his pads back on much to the tent’s hilarity.
Not to worry, Mark hit the winning single and pleasant drinks were had with good friends while we all wondered what happened to all that rain that was promised from the day before. Oh I know, we got that today (I am writing this on Tuesday) when Hurricane Isaias rolled into town.
Til next week.
Match Report | AVCC won vs. Germantown
July 26th, 2020
Ahh, another day hotter than a scotch bonnet enema, so we brave few venture once more unto the breach that is Amwell Valley. Thanks to the ground being set up from the day before, we only had to put up the sails, sorry, sightscreens and we were ready to go. Our opponents from Germantown turned
up with their matching facemasks and we once again threatened Kishlay with grievous bodily harm if he didn’t bat first when he won the toss. Thankfully, we didn’t have to beat him mercilessly as he indicated with a flat hand that we were batting.
Andy and Manish took the opening partnership and quickly asserted their dominance over the guest bowlers from Germantown. Andy was seeing the ball as big as a watermelon and dispatched it all over the ground to cries of “Yes” and “bugger me” from the peanut gallery on the boundary. Manish was
particularly aggravated by the ECB Level One Umpire (I took an online course) not calling wides on 4th stump, but he still put on a good 22 before chipping back to the opening bowler Nikhil. Andy at the other end scored a great 50 before mandatorily retiring. His wife even arrived in time to see him hit a lusty 6.
Quintus and Alan then took to the crease and kept the scoreboard ticking along nicely. Alan fell just 4 short of a 50 himself, bowled by a ball that kept low. Quintus went for 32 before falling to our second Caught and Bowled. Mark “Mastodon” was given out harshly LBW right in front of middle stump, caught
in the crease, below the knee roll, but it was harsh nonetheless. Manish had taken over at umpire and “Itchy finger” Chawla gave out Uday and Kishore LBW as well. This brought out Kishlay and Owen to the crease together and it was like watching Torvill and Dean – synchronized, graceful and coordinated – without the sparkly purple costumes. I once again holed out to someone who could actually catch (rare at our level!) at deep, deep, deep long off (even if Nigel thought it was more mid off!). Kish put on 22 before being run out, forcing Tony to put down his beer and put on trousers and a box to go out to bat. He didn’t even have time to put on socks and Kishlay was put under pressure to declare before Tony reached the square. In the end, he put on one, Nigel put on 2 and the “T” sign was made to bring our innings to an end at 211 off of 34 overs.
Our opening dinosaur Mark set his field, moving Kishore 3.723 inches to his right at gully. Mark bowled a peach of a delivery, tempting and finding the edge with his first ball, straight to the sure hands of Kishore who didn’t have to move to take a simple catch. We kept on the pressure, removing their
opening 4 cheaply. Their number 5 bat, Gupta, was stubborn at the crease, running through partners to bat with as he blocked and nurdled us for 1’s and 2’s. His most productive partner Nikil came in at 7 and was pasting the ball around nicely. It would take something special to dismiss him and boy, did we
deliver! A ball was struck towards Alan at long on and it looked like a six all the way until Alan leapt up at least six feet and snagged the ball in mid air, behind him and just inside the rope. It was truly a highlight catch and it propelled us to mopping up the tail enders very cheaply. Our total never looked
challenged and Germantown were bowled out for 108. Mark ended up with 2-14, Uday 3-14,Tony 2-19, Kishore 1-17, Andy 1-13 and Anantha had 1-9. A very tidy set of figures, even if I am only a video watching level one ECB qualified umpire…
AVCC ended up winning comfortably and we sat around in large socially distanced circle and shared a glass or two with our visitors until the sun set and the fireflies took over the field for their own sporting event. A great day once again put to rest. Onto the next….
Match Report | AVCC 189-8 (35 overs) lost to Columbia 190-10 (32.4 overs) by 0 wickets
July 19th, 2020
Yes we lost by zero wickets, in that Columbia won with no wickets remaining, that is the pitfall of playing 12-a-side. Frankly we lost a game that we pretty much dominated right up to the final drinks break (of which we had many) yet lost, ultimately, rather comfortably.
It all started on what was thought would be a sweltering hot day. So much so, that our one remaining African member of the squad (yes African’s should be accustomed to heat….. right…?) dropped out on the eve of the game saying it was too hot for his petite flower-ness. It was hot for sure, but I must say, it has been worse and the breeze kept us all sane on the day. But what a long day! We did start a little late, but it was a tough slog for some of our older members when the game wrapped up shortly before 7pm.
It all started so well for AVCC. Kishlay won the toss again (still 100%) and was quick to bat first and Mark Marsan (later to be known as Marsden / Masterson / Mastersdon / Mastercard, take your pick, they all annoyed the heck out of him which of course made it funnier) got us off to a flier smashing 32 in double quick time and included five 4s and a six. Indeed, when he hit his second four in just the third over of the day, it was commented that we had already hit more boundaries than in the whole innings of the previous game.
Unfortunately he rather missed out, caught at slip off a full bunger, a magnificent one-handed catch, but boundaries continued to flow from the very impressive bat of Kishore Gupte. Clearly Tony and I had it all wrong with Kishore as we thought he was a bowler, but this season, having gone to several nets, he really has got the taste of this batting lark and put on the innings of the day, scoring a terrific 46 off 58 balls which also included five 4s and a six. He was especially strong on the pull and it was a really impressive show that put us firmly in command and allowed others to play around him. Yousuf scored a pleasant 23 and Anantha a hard-working 22 and with Tony getting 8 and Kishlay a quick 10 at the end, we felt pretty confident setting 190 on a slightly tricky wicket which kept a little low.
All the more reason to be confident when “Mastersden” picked up three quick wickets in the first few overs, two pop ups to Yousuf at cover and a third played on. Columbia didn’t give in and kept playing their shots, but a couple of wickets from a very nice spell by Yousuf who took 2-32 off 5 and what seemed a decisive spell from the bowler of the day, Roger Woods who got their main man caught and bowled to end 2-20 off 5 kept us in control and then two ugly wickets for Anantha in his one over left them at 129-9 with ten overs left.
Then came that last drinks break and it started well as Kishlay wrapped up the tenth wicket with another caught and bowled and surely that was it..?! But wait, it was agreed at the start that we would both bat 12 and Amit who had earlier retired hurt came back out and saw them home quite comfortably with their more than capable No.11 Aakash who finished 36 not out. All a little disappointing having done so well for so much of the game.
But it was a great day and as hot as we all were by the end, drinks were drank, songs were sang and masks were worn and we go again next week.
Match Report | AVCC 102 All out (plus two) vs Galacticos -3,497 for two – (17 overs)
July 5th, 2020
In this post-apocalyptic world that we are living in now, any chance for a sense of normalcy is grasped at, no matter how ridiculous it seems. Despite the heat and humidity being slightly north of Satans jockstrap, 13 intrepid AVCC members signed up to play against the Galacticos. Rules were set, things
were forbidden, and we all got an early night in anticipation of us each scoring centuries and taking gazelle like catches in the field.
As this was the first game of the season, the call went out to rally up at 10 and turn the barren wasteland of the Amwell Valley into a shining oasis of cricket. The two most committed and eager members looked at each other at 10:30 and questioned if it was worth leaving a cold wife and a warm
bed for the vast expanse of clover that passes for our outfield. Slowly but surely the other crazies, sorry, committee members and president Emeritus (Alan, Alan, Al, Steve) turned up and we began the process of staking out the marquee. Thankfully the local mouse population had chewed us several vent holes in the tent so we were able to check to see if the blast furnace was directly overhead, or merely teasing us with an indirect roasting. We also sustained our first of three nasty injuries of the day at this point. The most handsome, tallest, fittest, thinnest Englishman and all round good egg (and Author of this report) forgot that the door to the shed was a lot lower than he remembered. The result was a two inch gash across the crown of his head and a pair of busted Oakley sunglasses.
While I was incubating a concussion, we sustained the second and perhaps the nastiest injury of the day. Nigel, Alan and Tony had taken the mower out the shave another 1/3 of an inch off of the top of the road that passes for our middle strip. This was in anticipation of Kishore banging down on a good line
and length, causing the batsmen to go weak at the knees and capitulating like we had dreamed of the night before. Unfortunately, like most of us on AVCC, the mower is old and knackered and decided to throw a strop and refuse to play with us. Nigel gave it a hard stare, Tony muttered “bugger this for a game of soldiers” and Alan looked pensive and was silently calculating the cost of a repair versus our slim reserves. As this didn’t fix the situation, what was needed was for someone to get stuck in.
Literally. Our favourite Southend Fan (there aren’t many to chose from) put his hands into the jaws of the beast and literally was bitten by the blades (just to clarify, not United). Nigel's first finger turned a nice shade of puce and went numb. This was only the second injury of the day and this was even before Tony had had his first beer, so you know it was REALLY early in the day. The rest of the team turned up with various excuses (snow, wrong kind of leaves on the lines, I never got the email saying turn up early and help set up) and we all ganged up on Kishlay and threatened him with physical violence if he didn’t win the toss and, if he did win the toss and chose to field, worse physical violence involving force feeding of that rag that passed for a Liverpool scarf into certain orifices that is designed to be one way only…
Scared out of his wits, he duly won the toss and chose to bat. Our visitors graciously agreed to letting us bat 13 and play 35 overs. Sadly their main man, Nikhil was not able to suit up and we were at least spared from his ferocious batting and sage captaincy on the field. Neil and Alan duly padded up and strode out to the middle and was faced with the most intimidating field setting ever. 9 slips and a wicket keeper. They also knew how to bowl to that cordon and soon Neil edged a sharp chance to the 17 th slip and he held onto it. The ball was keeping low on the on side and low on the leg side which seemed to confuse us. Perhaps it was the remnants of Nigels nail on the pitch that was aiding the bowler – yeah that seems like a good excuse for our dismal performance – The Black FINGERNAIL (one for all you Sid James fans)! The only highlight was an 18 run explosion from Mr. M. Marsden and 15’s for both Andy Dick and Manish. Every half chance catch was snaffled up and every gap was closed at a moments notice. The fielding from the Galacticos was as if they were greyhounds, who had been fed expresso enemas and given an intravenous injection of red bull to speed them on their way. The bowling was good, with a mix of pace and genuine spin with excellent flight and guile. The quicker ball from their spinner would’ve gotten anyone out, except for your dear author, who defended it with a cry of “Ha!” like I knew it was coming…. In reality I was shitting myself and hoping
that he didn’t do that again. Thankfully, I only had to face another ball as a sure fire six was robbed from me on the next delivery by a wonderful, sure handed catch in deep, deep, deep mid wicket. If only there was a replay to check if he wasn’t over the line, I would still be batting now.
In the end, we were wonderful hosts who set a modest target of 103 needed. The Galacticos thanked us and were wonderful guests, getting us off the field in only 17 overs. The third and final injury was sustained by Kishore mid innings, he took a great catch in the covers only for the ball to split his finger
wide open. After we doused the ball with sanitizer, Mark then used that as an excuse to fling a ball at the batsmens head with a cry of “whoops, sorry, it slipped!”…! The only blight on the innings was a batsman who, having almost played keepy-uppy with the ball, hit it into his pads for Manish to take a
relatively simple catch behind the timbers. Everyone appealed, ran in and started to congratulate Manish for finally doing something (yeah, yeah, 15 runs blah, blah blah, second top scorer yaaawn) in the game. The umpire stood, unmoved, contemplating his top 10 chinese food orders, the batsman
equally as statuesque in his crease. This prompted an appeal that John MacEnroe would’ve been proud of from our Keeper du jour. “You CANNOT be SERIOUS?!?!” was screamed and Nigel gave the batsman a hard stare that Paddington would’ve been proud of. He wilted under this combined pressure and skulked off… They did need at that point less than one run an over to overhaul us…!
At the early close of play, we all sat around socially distanced and had a couple of rehydrating beers, a couple of fingers of Uday’s excellent spiced rum (does that man have a bad bottle in his closet? I think not…!) and a good chat with the visitors from Manhattan. A hot day, but a good day was the general consensus and we all agreed that we must do better next weekend against those Mad Dogs from Connecticut…here.