From Heartbreak to Ecstasy: A literal definition of Keerat’s early 20’s? Or the brilliant comeback of the Hampton Wick 1’s?

Date: 07/06/2021
Opposition: Maori Oxshott
Venue: HQ
Man of the match: Satro - The 69 runs scored after an early collapse enabled us to have any sort of chance in the first place. The evening Nelson that followed was a decent 7/10 attempt with minimal spillage.
Prat of the match: Jack Wylie For not winning Man of the Match and for bottling a 5-wicket haul. Jug avoidance is a selfish character trait and should never be rewarded.

Alan Hansen once famously declared on Match of the Day; “You can’t win anything with 3 spinners”. Was the Wick 1’s about to go full Manchester United circa 1998-99 in response to such bold claims, absolutely!

Back-to-back games at HQ are a rare phenomenon these days and with the weather scorching and more ‘wife beaters’ on than a Texas trailer park, the 1’s were looking to bounce back from the heartbreak and capitulation that was the week before. Ahead of us, another strong title contender, Maori Oxshott, who despite the name, the closest thing to a Maori on show was the ghost of Caleb Bate in the Lofting suite. After spending the week training for the 2 months of declaration cricket, choosing a team suitable for the format and preparing a road to bat 55 overs on, we were politely informed at the toss, that we were still playing limited overs cricket for another week. This could have been an early turning point in the day, had the Wick ever batted for 50 overs, let alone 55.

Nonetheless, toss was won (as per usual) and Harry and DJ rode out to battle in search of the predicted and expected 250+. Confidence was high, with Sam Kemp arriving at 12:10 and declaring “Oh good, you haven’t lost any early wickets”, before he could make it to the kissing gate to the Kings Field, we were 19-4… great. A measured start from the openers saw off the new ball in typical test match fashion with solid defence, good leaves and a strike rate of 5.00 for DJ. Two wickets in quick succession saw Robbie at the crease with run machine, Mikey. It was about now that the whole day got a bit fruitier with Robbie deciding to deliver his memo of ‘Hit and Run’ to Mikey in person, leaving them both at the non-strikers end and Robbie walking back to the pavilion. After Mikey was trapped LBW, you would be forgiven for thinking that the Wick were down and out.

Satro, on the back of preparing a track that only he could bat on, was joined by Chris Cole and soon after, MPG. As the lower middle order dragged back some dignity for the day, taking the score up too 114-7 with Wylie joining the list of relatively soft dismissals. As the heat continued to beat down, Nick and Satro ran the bowlers ragged whilst picking out singles and twos to the less strong (older) fielders. Despite falling for 69, Satro had managed to turn the tide of the game back into our favour, on a pitch that was not going to get easier. Some good running at the end and a questionable ‘Not Out’ coming back for a second on the last ball meant the recovery effort finished 177-9 from our 50. Probably about par for the day.

An uneventful tea highlighted by the return of the egg mayo sandwich meant we were back out early with Chris Cole and Nick Browning to open up. We had been strictly informed that due to international commitments, CC was not to bowl more than 4 overs. When pressed, Chris backed it up with “Even if I’m on 9 wickets, I’m not bowling more than 4 overs”. Although Chris didn’t get 9 wickets, he did go for 9+ runs in both of his opening overs. A wicket each for Graeme and Nick had the score flattering Maori at 59-2 with the spin triplets due to arrive. With Sunny and Satro bowling 20 overs for not many, combined with the fact that Maoris middle order had been reading ‘How to bat slow and long’, a Carshalton best seller by Ian Collier, the required rate was creeping up to 5 an over and with Wylie still to come, the win looked more and more in the bag.

A wise man once said, “If MPG gives you cricketing advice, ignore it and do the opposite”. Satro, a newbie, can be forgiven for not knowing about this for the advice from behind the stumps was to float the ball up, get some purchase and bait him into the trap at cow corner. A fine plan in theory with deliveries that matched the instructions perfectly. 22 runs off the over, 3 sixes and an unamused bowler later. New balls please.

With two set batsmen, Maori were now clear favourites for the remaining 45 runs at less than a run a ball. On the back of his customary volley of abuse from backward point, up stepped J Wylie, the ‘Not 3rd choice but just happens to bowl 3rd’ spinner. With the 6-hitter shelling out to the long boundary, the game was changing tides again and with 2 more wickets in his following over, the roars from the now packed balcony could be heard across Bushy. Pairing with Wylie, was Chris Cole who was now coming in for his 7th over out of 4, bowling his usual full, fast rockets that could deprive any Div 4 tail from scoring runs. A few scratchy singles and twos left the score at 171 -9. 7 to win, 6 balls to play and Wylie to bowl. Every dot ball and single cheered on the balcony, heart rates high and hands hard, a big slog surely coming?? Nope, a nice gentle leave outside off stump followed by Wylie pointing at the scoreboard in case the strike batsmen had forgotten what his goal was. 3 to win off the last ball. How is your bottle, Wylie? The perfect delivery straight through to the keeper, cue pandemonium all through the park. 1s win by 2 runs!


Player Ratings

H Copeland – 9 from 37 balls. 5/10

Saw off the new ball well but got bowled attempting a rather flamboyant flick off of middle stump. Took 3 very good catches, all at crucial parts of the game. Buckets.

D Jones – 1 from 20 balls. 3/10

Quiet day in the office for Dom, albeit from a cricketing perspective and not from a chat perspective with the Maori skipper stating; “That short guy at slip has some of the worst chat imaginable” after the game.

R Oliver – 3 from 13 balls. 3/10

Robbie continues his streak of looking really good at the crease until he does something a bit dense after 2 overs. Can only assume he was running up the other end to see if Mikey had stopped sulking yet.

M Wood – 0 from 5 balls. 2/10

If Mikey didn’t think he was out LBW, then he was certainly out ‘Hit Wicket’ 5 seconds later. I’m no SAGE scientist, but in the same way that a ‘circuit breaker’ can reverse the tide of COVID-19 cases. Hopefully, Mikey’s absence next week will provide a much-needed break in his epidemic of ducks.

S Rambaran – 69 from 94 balls. 1-46 from 10 overs. 8.1/10

Now that Satro is a full-fledged groundsman, he gets to choose if he is going to set up a pitch so that he can score runs, or so that he can take wickets. He potentially could have had both, had he not made the awful decision of listening to MPG. 69 runs, completely changed the game back into our favour and easily could have been more had the circumstances been different.

C Cole – 1-37 from 4 overs*. 6/10

Very good in all 3 facets of the game. An expensive start to the bowling via some very average batting that on another day could have been 3 early wickets. I have very little expertise on the bodies of 17-year-olds, but I would like to think they can handle the trials of bowling more than 4 overs on back-to-back days. (10-2-37-3 with the ball and 23 from 42 with the bat for Scotland on Sunday. Knew he had it in the locker). (*7 Overs)

M Germain – 17 from 31 balls. 6/10

Continuing my freefall through the batting order, it was a necessary but underwhelming display at 7. Could have and should have been twice as many but a soft C&B ended a useful lower middle partnership. The masses will say I missed a stumping, but I don’t seem to have that in my notes, so it can’t have happened.

J Wylie – 3 from 26 balls. 4-29 from 10 overs. 8/10

Never fails to amuse with his chat. Accused their opener of being a bio hazard during a pandemic after he spat in the vague direction of Mikey. Missed a straight one to a 76-year-old bowler, bowling no quicker than 29mph. Match winning performance with the ball and held his nerve immensely to not bowl his token short, wide long hop in the final over. Surely a lock in for MOTM.

G Tong – 6 from 13 balls. 1-22 from 8 overs. 6/10

Reliable as ever with the ball and curtailed the flow of runs well with Sunny. Somehow manages to be louder than everyone else in the huddles between wickets.

N Browning – 25* from 30 balls. 1-17 from 5 overs. 7/10

Very useful runs at the end and despite being 3 feet short on his way back for two on the last ball, the umpire gave it not out, giving us what ended up being a vital extra run. He will forever be a space cadet though, yelling before the game ‘Guys Guys! They have a really old bloke in their team who bowls spin’, said bloke was promptly stood 4 feet away from him and went on to dismantle our middle order.

S Patel – 1* from 4 balls. 1-19 from 10 overs. 7/10

Probably the most under-appreciated performance of the day. Brilliant with the ball, going at less than 2 an over. And whilst they may not have come off his bat, he must have run about 16 runs with Nick Browning. That being said, he was like an excited school boy about to pee himself in the last few overs, as the big occasion was clearly getting to his giddy little head.