CLASH OF THE TITANS: Man City vs Chelsea. Hampton Wick vs Chertsey. The story of two underdogs overcoming their biggest obstacles!

Date: 29/05/2021
Opposition: Chertsey CC
Venue: HQ
Man of the match: G Tong - Not much to celebrate this week and with the chance of a batsmen getting this award being laughable. Tongy, with his 4 wickets was the only candidate.
Prat of the match: MPG - Was never going to be long before I gave myself MOTM or DOTD and if we are all being honest, DOTD was easily odds on. Pre-season batting form now a distant memory and the mass invite of friends and family to come and watch me get a duck meant there was only one winner here.

It would surprise no one that a Google of ‘Worst batting collapses in cricket’ yields endless highlights of Stuart Broad ripping through Australia at Trent Bridge. I can only assume this is due to the fact that ‘Hampton Wick 1’s vs *insert any opposition here* was too common that the ‘Mike Suggitt’s’ at Google just gave up putting it on the home page. This weekend was no different…
Having listened to the feedback on last week’s report and being told of a few easy laughs, I was offered a 15-week contract as the 1’s Chief Writer, a position that is incredibly enjoyable when you’ve thumped the bottom of the league or scored a match winning 70. It is, however, mind numbing when you were the icing on a middle order collapse, had a two-ball duck, brought your whole family and missus to the game and the only positive being that the catch you dropped was off a no ball.

The scene was set, the two unbeaten teams facing off in an early season contest that could very well depict the outcome of the league come September. A reshuffle of the bowling department due to a very wide array of excuses meant that Old Guard of G tong and N Browning had come in for Caldwell and Cole with debutants H Wright and Neeraj coming in for the galloping Sam Jones and the gobshite, Wylie. Thankfully, our widely touted top 6 was unchanged meaning we would undoubtedly have some stability with the bat, lol.

Hindsight is a beautiful thing and, in this case, we can look back at the morning and probably deduce that today wasn’t going to be our day. In the space of 25 minutes, Harry copped one of Talby’s underarm throwdowns to the toe and was now moving like a freshly awoken Oscar Pistorius, Dom had broken his size harrow bat, Sunny had put the ring discs on the Sunday markers and Satro had informed us he would be 30 minutes late due to some rear end Niagara Falls action. Alas, the sun was shining, the toss was won and confidence was rife in the home camp.

What happened in the first 30 minutes can only be described as ‘WTF’, as Chertsey were very quickly 10-4 with Henry and Nick offering up some line, length and swing that would have had most batsmen back in the hut for an early tea, albeit the shot selection and batsmanship being shown by Chertsey would not be making any YouTube compilations. Complacency was difficult to avoid and yet everyone stayed sharp in order to execute their specific roles in the team. That being said, when it’s not your day, it’s not your day, as ‘Heather Mills’ and his limp found out. Moving himself into the cordon due to his new found disability, Harry would be excused for thinking he was safe with only 3 edges going towards first slip through the first 3 games. Three tough chances later and zero wickets added, it started to feel like it could be one of ‘those’ days, especially as a 50-run 7th wicket partnership crept up out of nowhere. Normality was quickly restored, however, when the more bachelor of the two Tongs came on and promptly mopped up the tail taking the score from 107-6 to 114 all out. A job very well done with 9/10 wickets coming from the promoted bowling unit.

An uneventful tea break, highlighted only by the ever-inquisitive Marcy, asking “Max, what does BLM stand for again?”, “Black Lives Matter” I replied, thinking there is no way this wasn’t going to end up being funny. “OH, no, I mean, the thing where it hits your pad thingy and then you’re out” she exclaimed having mistaken the most influential racial justice movement in 50 years with a method of dismissal that her on again off again boyfriend, Keerat, is very familiar with.

With the sun still beating and tails wagging, the chase of 115 looked very much insight as Dom Jones and *checks notes* Graeme Tong took to the crease. A solid opening partnership of 24 saw us ~20% there without breaking a sweat. After edging one behind, Graeme’s throwback day of bowling his full allotment and opening the batting was now over as Robbie continued as Graeme and DJ had started taking us up to 50, the hard part now done. However, no sooner had the Titanic been plane sailing, the iceberg was in sight. In what I can only assume is a rarity in Surrey Div 4 cricket, the 3rd umpire was utilised, after Robbie was deemed to have edged one that the standing umpire missed. A baffling decision at the time and yet still not the most absurd thing to happen in the innings.
There is not a huge amount to report from the middle order this week as in true Wick fashion, we made life incredibly difficult for ourselves by collapsing from 49-1 to 53-5 as Mikey and MPG followed Robbie back to the changing room before Rob could so much as take his pads off. However, as common as any Wick collapse is, it is normally followed by a tail that refuse to be labelled as just bowlers, meaning there was still hope from the balcony that we would see off the remaining runs. Lol. Neeraj and Satro showed some bite with a flourish of boundaries before Satro joined the rest of the middle order in being bowled. The once self-proclaimed ‘B.M.O.I.S’ seemed a distant memory. Despite getting closer with every run, the target seemed to only get further away as wickets fell at a semi consistent rate. Despite facing nearly 12 overs for the final few wickets the once undefeated Hampton Wick were bested by 10 runs as Chertsey pulled off a Bushy Park miracle.

PLAYER RATINGS

H Copeland – 1 from 4 balls. 1 BPL promotion. 4/10
Overheard saying ‘I would sacrifice Brentford’s Premier League promotion if it meant winning today’. No, you wouldn’t, but the sentiment is appreciated, a true captain and leader. Tricky day all around but if we are taking the positives, he did win the toss.

Dom Jones – 26 from 49 balls. 6/10
One of two batsmen to actually look competent. Did the job that is required of him and is only a matter of time before he turns these starts into a big score. His never-ending chat in the field is always appreciated.

Robbie Oliver – 8 from 16 balls. 5/10
For the second time in 2 weeks, a brilliant low catch at mid on was the highlight. 8 runs are a harsh return as he looked good until the 3rd umpire ruined what could should have been a good thing.

Michael Wood – 0 from 1 ball. 2/10
If ever Talby needed an advert for his Friday night 2 beer limit, this was it. Making the most of a 2-for-1 Happy Hour, Mikey decided to make it a 4-for-2 Happy Hour, and after ordering a kebab at 1am, he fell asleep fully clothed on the couch. Mikey ended the day with the same amount of Kebab as he did runs…none.

Satro Rambaran - 8 from 17 balls. 0-22 from 10 overs. 6/10
Had a delayed start to the day due to the fact he is yet to acclimatise to the British cuisine. Double teaming two chicken burgers the night before led to an apparent Chernobyl 2.0 in his land lady’s bathroom. Was very economical with the ball and you felt like he was a few overs away from being able to win it with the bat.

Max Germain - 0 from 2 balls. 1/10
A 1 is relatively generous and purely due to another extra-less job behind the stumps, despite dropping a catch off a Henry Wright no ball (Thanks Henry). However, when you invite your Girlfriend, Dog, Dad, Dad’s girlfriend and Dad’s Girlfriends Mother to the cricket having hurried them down at tea due to only chasing 115, you have to make sure that you get off the mark. I did not.

Neeraj Jindal – 23 from 32 balls. 0-14 from 3 overs. 5/10
Neeraj continued his fine batting form for the club as he continued his climb from 3’s to 2’s to 1’s in the space of 3 games. However, once the opposition plugged fine leg and 3rd man, the runs dried up and the top edge to square leg became the only inevitable. A point is lost due to the black socks, baby blue cap and batting in a jumper despite it being the hottest day of the year. Another point lost for smashing the only shot he middled straight into Nick Browning’s head, causing him to lose the few braincells he had left.

Graeme Tong – 6 from 31 balls. 4-21 from 9 overs. 7/10
Two things that people in their 30’s shouldn’t have. Electric scooters and girlfriends in their 20’s. Graeme has both. Two things that people in their 30’s should have. The ability to bat 1-11 and mop up a tail when the young guns are struggling. G Tong has both. Probably the pick of the bowlers and part of a useful opening partnership with DJ.

Nick Browning – 8 from 29 balls. 2-15 from 4 overs. 6/10
Despite being in his early 20’s, Nick arrived with both knees, both shoulders and one ankle strapped up. We are still not sure if this is due to his rumoured 4 hour long extra curriculars or if his body is feeling the toll of being a (medium) fast bowler. Looseners aside, a very tidy opening spell, alongside Henno.

Sunny Patel – 1 from 14 balls. 1-26 from 9.5. 1 UCL win. 5/10
He won’t care what I say here, Chelsea won the Champions League Final. Was outnumbered 30 to 1 in the bar afterwards and was very easily wound up throughout the evening. I doubt he remembers much of the cricket match.

Henry Wright – 2 from 16 balls. 2-11 from 4 overs. 6/10
After a busy week of black-market dealings from his Nokia ZX10, Henno was the other side of a brilliant opening bowling spell, picking up 2 wickets with 2 absolute seeds. Showed a lot of guts at No.11 to get as close to the target as possible.

Back on it at Home to Maori Oxshott this weekend. #UTW