And so, it was finally here, that long anticipated day that we’d all been waiting for all these long winter months. All the build up for this one special day in the calendar, the celebration of Blobs and Suggs’ birthdays. Also, some people played cricket.

As the Wick 3rd XI arrived at Beddington CC they were greeted by the imposing sight of their opposition running through their warm-up drills. Angered by the gulf in professionalism, the President proceeded to whip out his trusty tennis ball and began firing some deliveries against a nearby wall; keen on showing the opposition exactly what we’re made of (The jury is still out on whether this display simply gave Beddington more confidence than they had before). Meanwhile having looked at the, let’s say uniquely cut strip, the more senior players in the team were all agreed it looked pretty reasonable and that we should look to bat and set a target. Zubes won the toss, and out the Wick went to field.

Able seaman Will Taylor opened up in partnership with Sarang but both struggled initially to find their rhythm, the Beddington openers built steadily before a charge down the wicket to Taylor saw a skewed drive clung onto at backward point by Suggs and the Wick had their first breakthrough. On came Charlie Higgins keen to exploit this change in the atmosphere and duly delivered taking a salmon-esque leap after his follow through for a caught and bowled of the second opening batsman. A peach of a delivery took the off stump of the incoming bat and catch behind to Chairman Kemp had the Wick firmly on top and in control. It was then that the opposition fought back and despite some tight lines from Charlie and President Smith (in fine form after his intense warm up) they were able to rebuild the score, ably abetted at times by fielding worthy of a Benny Hill sketch. The crucial breakthrough finally came courtesy of the opposition, as their umpire all too readily raised the finger for a snick behind which we all loudly agreed afterward was “clearly thighpad”. With the battle resumed, the opposition tail now came in swinging the bat hard with the Wick doing it’s best to contain. A wicket for the skipper and a few more from Charlie Higgins return saw Beddington bowled out but not before they’d reached a very healthy 202. It would be a tough chase, but this is the new Monty-inspired Wick, and so we walked tall and strode with purpose back to the pavilion for pizza and little sausages. Oh, and a donut – 7/10.

Refreshed, and wearing every piece of clothing we had, the Wick headed out to chase down the runs. Skipper Zubair and newly promoted team mate Tim Sturm with the latter keen to show exactly why he’d earnt the callup to the 3s so many Wick members have dreamed of. With Zubes successfully seeing off the very first ball Tim saw his opening as the second bounced off away from the keeper’s gloves. “Yes!” came the cry as Tim set off. “Oh f***!” came the cry from everyone else, as they watched the ball bounce off the keeper’s gloves, straight to slip, straight back to keeper, straight into the stumps. Tim kept running, he wasn’t seen for some time. As the majority of the Wick sat there in silence, the wind and rain howling around them that 203 target seemed an eternity away, but Craig had other ideas. While Clarence watched on from the sidelines in quiet admiration, Craig and Zubes began to rebuild and as they rebuilt hope sprang anew within the team. It wasn’t until the Wick were 72-1 that the skipper was finally undone by a full ball and had to depart. Abdur Rehman joined Craig at the crease looking to try and build on the work of his forebears and the same lusty blows that saw the run rate increase ultimately proved his downfall as he skied a catch straight up. This meant it was time for the birthday boy, Suggs came to the crease safe in the knowledge that there was no way he could get out following his mammoth 3-hour bowling machine session the previous week. With the slow Beddington bowlers now on the opposition looked to tighten the screws, managing to slow the run rate and apply pressure. As the runs then started to come once again, Craig mistimed a lofted drive and was well taken by the fielder at mid-on shortly before he smashed into the fielder at mid off. With Imran (v2.0) coming to the crease the order of the day was now hard running which both batsman undertook with determination. However, with the asking run rate now up at 6 an over for the remaining 10 overs Suggs embraced his newly assumed invincibility and looked to take the attack to the opposition bowlers. This proved to be slightly short-lived however as a he sliced one up into the air; and as the cover fielder finally took the catch on the third attempt, Suggs departed with his unwarranted air of invincibility shattered like the thinly veiled façade it was. Hope was not lost however as the Wick still had the Navy’s finest to come and sure enough he despatched the first delivery, like one of his beloved torpedoes, through the covers. Together with Imran they ran well between the wickets and it was only a stray foot on Imran’s part that broke their efforts. Imran departed stumped for 16. With the light beginning to fade due to an earlier rain delay, a weary Sam Kemp summoned his remaining strength (having kept wicket for 50 overs) and attempted to bludgeon the ball to boundary but with a number of misses the run rate grew ever steeper. With the eventual fall of Will for 18 the Wick’s hopes look to be fading. Sam fell soon after, bowled for 11. It was left to Sarang and Charlie to achieve the unimaginable and despite a few blows from Sarang, time ran out and the overs were up. A gallant effort for the first game of the season but ultimately the chase was too high on an early May wicket and an unforgiving outfield.

Time for beer pong!