Opposition: Streatham & Marlborough
MoM: Jacob Gillis
DoD: Ian Collier
Saturday the 11th May. The day had finally come for the all-conquering Wick 2s. After cruising to promotion into Division 3 on the back of a marvellous 2018 campaign which included several match-winning performances (none by Dom Jones), spirits were high heading into the opening game of the season. Despite a few new faces, captain Linter was unusually brief in his pre-match message but still full of confidence, and there was an energy in the air as we rolled up to the hallowed Bushy Park turf at 10:45am. The off-season had clearly done some damage to some, with captain Linter and #3 Dom Jones both carrying a few extra winter pounds, but thankfully this was offset by the shredded rigs of Ian Collier and yours truly, so we were collectively fit and firing on all cylinders.
In a change of pace for this year, the club coach actually had some wise words pre-game. Buoyed by this, we attacked the warm-up with an unusual vigour, looking lively despite the inclement weather. Let’s face it, we looked shit-hot, with the exception of new gloveman Keerat, who couldn’t catch a cold, let alone a T Clements rocket. Despite this ominous start from Kingston’s most wanted criminal, the fielding drills looked slick, captain Linter won the toss, and we sent Streatham into have first crack on a decent looking track given the amount of rain in the lead-up. Taking the new rock from the Southern end was Chris Cole, joining captain Linter in what was a combination that was surely going to deliver a few early poles for the boys in white (us). After a steady start from the Streatham openers, they began to build some momentum, and had quickly raced to 50 for no loss, this despite one of their openers, young Christopher Hobbis, looking like it was the first time he had participated in a game of competitive sport, let alone graced the Wick with his presence. His partner in crime looked a lot more composed, before they noticed that their run rate was about as fast as Ian Collier in a marathon, and decided they needed to up it a bit. A lovely little segue that, because with this, came the first chance of the match. The old boy skied one to mid-off, where Ian Collier found himself parked under a regulation opportunity. This was it. The breakthrough. The danger man gone. Into their middle order. Things were looking up and spirits were…. Collier shelled it. Remarkably, Colly had a brainfart and did his best Herschelle Gibbs impersonation and the chance went begging.
Never fear, opportunities were now starting to come. Before long, the old boy presented us with another one. Arguably, easier than the first. Straight up, to mid-off again. As they say, you cannot buy experience, and Ian Collier has that in spades. He won’t make the same mistake twice. First wicket down, giving the boys the lift they need as we headed for a well-earned drink. One brings two, and two brings… Colly shelled it. Again. True scenes on the top oval, hands were met with bowed heads from all over Bushy Park in a staggering turn of events. After this, club coach Monty had seen enough, storming off not to be seen for the rest of the day, and who could blame him. All of a sudden, Streatham had upped their rate, and were 80 for no loss on the verge of drinks. Enter T Clements. After the captain had shelled the 3rd of the day, the team needed a hero, and Clemmo duly obliged. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the old-timer who was going along nicely, but his deputy who somehow had scratched his way to 30. But going for one too many off Gillis, skied one to mid-on, where Clemmo parked his new rig under the high ball, and with the safest of hands, took the catch to deliver the first of the day. Off to drinks with a bit of momentum, the boys were getting back into this one.
Post drinks, Sunny Patel got in on the act with his first of 3 on the day, removing the old-timer for a lucky 57, a sharp catch taken by Boom Boom at first slip, and we were away again. Sunny continued to apply the pressure from the Northern end, combining well with Gillis to squeeze the Streatham middle order to some extent. However, despite a relatively constant flow of wickets, Streatham were boosted by some late lower-order hitting from a lad wider than he was tall, and they scrounged their way to 237, a respectable score on that pitch, but definitely more than what they should have got to, ably assisted by my previously highlighted fielding efforts.
Much to the delight of the slightly rotund Jones and equally voluptuous captain Linter, Ken turned on another 5 star spread, the boys loaded up, and we were not daunted by the 238 target. If anything, we were focused on the task at hand, and after annihilating a few too many pizzas, captain Linter delivered the final words before the opening pair of Collier and Abid ambled their way to the centre of the sporting amphitheatre that is the Wick. “Boys, heads down, bat until you both reach your age in runs, and we will win by 10 wickets” was echoed by the young bucks in the shed, and after seeing off the first ball of the innings, the boys mused that today it would be a Collier day. A green track, ball doing a bit, soap mitts in the field yes, but we were backing Collier. He will probably put this next one through cover for four, or a delightful cut shot behind… Out. 2nd ball. Just like that. Given the umpire was of same vintage as Collier, you’d have thought he would give him the benefit of the doubt. But no, plum. The digit was up quicker than captain Linters wedding night, and we were one down, for no runs. Still, the boys were confident, with Dom Jones strolling out to join Abid in the centre. Desperate for some attention, if ever the pocket-rocket was going to join the MW club, today presented him with a golden opportunity. Unfortunately, the partnership resembled DJ, short, as both chaps fell in quick succession, leaving the task to the future of the Wick Chris Cole, and the current of the Wick, T Clements. After some wise words in the ear of young Cole, Clements set about hogging the strike with perfectly placed singles off the final balls of each over. It was looking like a day when the co-chairman of the MW club was going to do an Ian Poulter, and deliver again.
Just as the crowd were settling in for another Aussie masterclass, Clements decided to chase a slightly slower one, causing his middled cover drive to be slightly uppish, and duly accepted by the chubbster at cover, taking a sharp catch low to his right. We were in more trouble than Keerat with the rozzers after a few five-finger discounts from Bentalls, and things quickly went from bad to worse with Chris Cole succumbing shortly after, and Keerat Khaira sticking true to recent form and coming back to the shed without troubling the scorer. Youngster Zain Ikram who had shown plenty with the ball unfortunately came and went, leaving captain Linter to try and salvage something from what looked a lost cause. A solid partnership from 2 elder statesmen of the wick frustrated Streatham for a little while longer, including a monster six from the bat of Boom, but it was all to no avail, Wick 2s being rolled for 111 to fall 126 runs short. Encapsulating their name rather well, S&M had well and truly bent us over.
In what was a pretty dirty day out for the Wick 2s, Jacob Gillis showed plenty with his 10 overs on the bounce to seal a well-deserved MoM, whilst Teflon Collier was the standout candidate for DoD.
Memories of the day were quickly banished as Fresher’s night kicked off, with pints consumed vastly exceeding runs scored off the Wick bat. Some beer pong was played, ciggies were both stolen and smoked, and we quickly moved on to the job at hand next week, away to Trinity Mid-Whitgiftian.
Wick 2s will be 1 and 1 by close of play Saturday. Mark my words.