Opposition: Trinity Mid-Whitgiftian CC
Venue: @ TMWCC
MoM: Abdur Rehman
DoD: Phil Linter (honourable mentions to Tom Clements, Keerat Khaira)
As the curtains were drawn early Saturday morning, all eyes were on the sky. Dark clouds hovered over the leafy suburb of Clapham South, leaving this writer feeling rather pessimistic about the prospects of getting a full day’s play in. A match-winners breakfast of a skinny flat white and vegemite on Gail’s bakery sourdough turned the mood around, as it always does, and we were on the road, making the trek away to Trinity Mid-Whitgiftian, which for those not from around here, is South Croydon (ish).
A sizzling hot team on paper was assembled, luckily it came with a pair of Tong’s (lolz, thank you), and we were all set to right the wrongs of week 1. Your scribe was the only one to arrive at the venue at the 10:45am time designated by Captain Linter, with fellow match winner I Collier showing up shortly after, and the rest of the team arriving some 20-30 minutes after this. The arrival of Captain Linter also saw the arrival of half the teams kit, with the selfless-as-always skipper packing his wife’s boot full of bags from various lockers back at HQ. Clemmo, being the good lad that he is offered a helping hand (his kit was also included in this lot), and when questioning if his kit was on the back seat or in the boot, Captain Linter greeted Clemmo with “oh shit, I forgot it”. Lolz, good gag for a Saturday morning thought Clemmo, a little bit of bag trickery, not half bad from the notoriously unfunny skipper. “Give us your keys, I will work it out” Clemmo bellowed. Captain Linter chimed in again “No, I actually forgot it”. It was at this point that Captain Linter knew, he f**ked up. Adding to the misery was the fact that DJ had forgotten his trousers, and Khaira and S Patel had to complete their kit with an impromptu ‘shopping’ visit to Croydon whilst en-route with JPW. Fair to say, the signs were ominous for the all-conquering Wick 2nd XI. With the assistance of Simon Jones (still the undisputed best Jones), 1st XI skipper Copeland, and Ton Ton the Uber driver, remaining goods were en-route and things were looking slightly better.
A decent track was presented to us by the TMW groundsman, and the home skipper had no hesitation in electing to bat upon winning the toss. The aforementioned bag debacle meant that Clemmo and DJ had to take the field looking even more village than usual, Clemmo borrowing Captain Linter’s bright blue trainers (unsurprisingly hideous), and DJ wearing trousers that were both ripped and 4 sizes too big for him (they were youth size 6 I think). But, spirits were still very high and the new rock was thrown to Tong of the I variety. Ambling in off 12 yards, Tong of the I variety made an immediate impact, with the first ball of the day sneaking through the opener and thundering into the base of middle stump. A perfect start for the boys in white (us). Captain Linter partnered Ian from the Northern end with some serious heat (more lolz, obviously not) and the screws were well and truly turned, and after a few overs, the TMW batsmen were struggling to get any momentum. Keeper Khaira, channelling his inner Collier from week 1, managed to shell the un-shellable off the bowling of Captain Linter, but even with this slip-up, the pressure mounted and this ultimately lead to the next breakthrough. Keen to put the foot down, the non-striker tried to sneak a single, got three-quarters of the way down the track, only to be sent back, and some smart work from Khaira, atoning for prior misdemeanours (at least on the pitch), resulted in the run-out at the non-strikers end, 34 for 2 and the Wick were well on top.
Tong of the G variety was next to join the party, ably assisted by Jacob Gillis, and the two went about tightening the screws even further. Unlucky not to get at least one pole, Tong of the G variety bowled beautifully and the pressure he built up ultimately lead to wicket number 3, Gillis getting through the gate with a beauty. By the time S Patel came on at the Southern end to replace Tong of the G variety, the Wick were well and truly on top, and from here a consistent flow of wickets got the scorecard to 94 for 7, including a Collier peach dismissing their opener for a hard-earned 34. Some lower-order hitting from young Hughes batting at 8 got the home side up to a respectable 157, but ultimately a very good performance by us, even if Collier did shell another catch. Yes, you read that correctly. Another one. “It was in!” was the cry from Collier, trying to explain his dropped catch (at least I think he was explaining that).
It wasn’t in. Another regulation chance spilt by Collier**. 158 the target, no real standouts with the ball, an excellent display of team bowling.
As is standard for the athletes of the 2nd XI, the majority of the team scampered off to sneak in a cheeky pre-tea bunga, whilst us non-smokers ducked into the sheds to have first crack at teas. A respectable spread, highlighted by some chicken wings and a little charcuterie number (Blobs, cooked cold meats on a plate), accompanied by your standard quartered sandwiches and some fruit. A decent effort but still not the quality of a Ken special at HQ, 6.5 out of 10.
Once teas were done and dusted, it was time to get down to business. Collier and Khaira strode out to the middle to kick-off our chase. 3 an over was all that we needed, and confidence was very high given the batting line-up assembled. Unfortunately, not long after getting out there Khaira was back in the sheds, having got one that jumped off a length and flicked his glove on the way through to the keeper. What was even more unfortunate for Khaira was the fact that the keeper was not him, as the TMW keeper managed to do what keepers are meant to do, catch the thing. 1 down, 7 on the board. Not too worry, DJ to the crease. DJ and Collier put on 30 and saw off the new ball nicely, before Collier mistimed one and skied it to mid-off. In a scenario mirroring that of his fellow opener, it was unfortunate that Collier himself was not under the high ball, as the TMW fieldsman made no mistake, using his hands instead of his chest to see Collier off. Shortly after this set back, DJ was given out stumped much to disgust, and Clemmo came and went completing a day where again he offered absolutely nothing (apart from copious amounts of brilliant chat in the field) and all of a sudden we were 54 for 4. It was time for a hero. The scene was set. Out came A Rehman, joining Tong of the I variety at the crease.
With the help of some erratic bowling, the pair went about making inroads into what was now a tricky target. The calming head of Tong of the I variety and the strong and somewhat flashy Rehman put on a very solid 68 to put the game beyond doubt, and when Tong of the I variety eventually fell, runs required was under 40, and overs were not an issue. JPW, despite barely troubling the scorer, provided a good foil for Rehman, with the two putting on 27 and the game was all but over. Rehman brought up a thoroughly deserved 50, and celebrated in rather bizarre circumstances, collapsing to the deck and having a quick lie down. When quizzed about this later, Rehman explained “I was so tired, I wanted to go out so I could have a cigarette”. Professionalism personified that. Tong of the G variety replaced JPW and saw us home with a swashbuckling straight drive, and that was that. The 2nd XI on the board for season 2019, as promised by your scribe last week.
An extremely good performance with the ball, with all bowlers playing their part made it difficult to pick a standout. It was Tong of the I variety getting the spoils with 3 wickets on the day, but in truth, any one of them could have hand a handful. With the bat, it was all about Abdur Rehman. A super knock to see the boys home to earn him MoM honours, ably supported by John Sundries (34*) and Tong of the I variety (26). At the other end of the spectrum, unlike last week, this week saw a few contenders for DoD. Khaira putting his hand up with two dropped catches with the gloves and hardly troubling the scorers, Clemmo staked his claim with his pitiful showing (but the scribe’s fondness for this out and out champion will probably see him escape punishment), leaving only one man who could possibly collect DoD this week, Captain Linter. Didn’t offer much with the ball, dragged Collier after a wicket maiden (bringing on himself as the replacement), forgot kit, offered dreadful chat all day, and to top it all off, appeared to again get dressed in the dark post-game with another howler of a T-shirt. Congratulations to both Abdur and Captain Linter.
Next week sees the 2nd XI back at HQ, hosting arch-rivals Ewell. A balcony full of chirpy locals supporting us in our quest to go 2 and 1 would be most welcome. Rally the troops.
**It was bloody tough, but that fact didn’t suit the scribe and his penchant for witty match reports.