Mik and The Prince bowl us to a win...ning draw

Date: 20/07/2019
Opposition: Old Pauline CC
Venue: Old Pauline CC
Man of the match: Mik Horvath
Prat of the match: Max Germain

After the excitement of the prior week’s cricketing activity where England reigned supreme (tough words for me to even write), this weekend was a weekend where England rained supreme (a homophonic masterclass if I do not say so myself). Grey skies could not dampen our spirits as we arrived at Old Pauline CC, a short trip south from HQ, as the performance from the prior week had us going into this one riding a tidal wave of confidence. As we rolled in on said wave, some sub-optimal chit-chat about the week’s activities kicked off, but quickly we were out to the middle, and the usual pre warm-up football game ensued, with Sashi sitting this one out after being hacked to the bone by a studs-up challenge from the lovestruck MPG the week prior to make the game a nice round 5 vs 5. Despite lasting only a few minutes, that was more than enough time for Matty D to show-off his all-around sporting prowess, banging in a long-range header top bins that reminded onlookers of Andy Carroll in his prime. Before too long, the heavens opened, and we were running for shelter. A 12pm start looked highly unlikely, so we headed for the comfort of the change room, where we were treated to a Wood/Germain vocal double-act, belting out some classics. The option was to stay in the warm and dry change room and tolerate the aforementioned singing, or stand outside in the rain getting cold. For those wondering, the latter prevailed by a score of 9 to 2.

Waiting for what felt like an eternity, the rain did finally clear and we were scheduled for a 1:15pm start. Having lost the toss, the almighty HWRCC 1st XI were sent in to bat, with Blobs and Matty D assuming their customary positions at #1 and #2 respectively. Both got off to a solid start, until Blobs was undone trying to go over the top. That brought the in-form Kiwi Caleb Bate to the crease, and he did not mess about. Quickly into his work, intent on finishing early so he could wrap his lips around several hundred frothy chops, Caleb raced to 47 (which included two massive launches over the pavilion) whilst Matty D watched on from the other end. Having just hit another boundary, Caleb offered up a chance to their keeper who unfortunately grasped, ending Caleb’s marvellous knock. Without a further run being added, Matty D also perished, leaving us 78 for 3 and with two new batsman at the crease, Mikey Wood and Clemmo. Clemmo put up a resistance only the French would be jealous of, lasting all of 12 balls before being cleaned bowled, but that only meant MPG marched out to the middle. Fresh off a mid-week confidence booster which saw him fall in love with a girl named Annah, chances of him “scoring” (lol’s) for the 2nd time this week were high, and MPG did not disappoint. Combining beautifully with Mikey, the two put on 50-odd in quick time to take the score to 146. Mikey then fell for another score in the 30s, and MPG perished shortly after to leave us about 40 runs short of an ideal target. However, the tail wagged with Sashi the Prince and Mik Horvath leading the charge to push our score to a very imposing 43 over score of 191.

By this stage, the all-conquering Wick 2nd XI (ably supported by Mr Brian Phillips) had arrived to cheer on their idols owing to the abandonment of their game. Adopting an extremely aggressive jagerbomb strategy, it was clear that the home side’s chase of this imposing total was going to be highlighted by a cacophonous drunken balcony, lead handsomely by MWs Boom-Boom Charlton, Charles Edmonds and Ian Collier. We had brought fortress Wick to the surrounds of Old Pauline CC. We were in for a treat. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for match teas. We were presented with a beige bonanza and slap-dash sandwiches served on paper plates. The food was good do not get me wrong, but it is also fair to say this was missing the touch of class one is presented with at HQ. To cap it off, no real seating plan had been arranged for the almighty 1st XI, meaning we were left with an awkward scenario where some stood, some sat, and some just disappeared. Having said all that, your scribe still managed to tuck away a few spring rolls and some crisps to satisfy the stomach resulting in a tea score of 5 out of 10.

After some more “she was such a good kisser” and “she hasn’t messaged” chat from MPG, we were quickly back out in the field. The equation was 10 wickets in 35 overs, surprisingly with no reduced overs for any of our bowling line-up. We would shortly know if the hosts would fancy their chances at knocking over this score, in order to do so they would require a tick over 5.5 per over, no easy task. Initially they were not at all daunted by the challenge, with one of their openers coming in and showing a complete disregard to a batting technique, swinging at anything in his ark and relying heavily upon the “see ball hit ball” mantra. To be fair to him, this proved lucrative for a short period, the run rate over 6 and some nervous moments for Captain Copeland and his chargers. Openers Brown Sauce and G Tong were by no means bowling badly, this bloke just took a real liking to anything he thought he could swat out of the park. However, an astute bowling change from the Southern end saw The Prince introduced with immediate impact, taking the key wicket to remove their attacking opener with the score on 59. Copeland was not done there, opting for another savvy bowling change in the form of Mik Horvath. From ball one, Mik caused the opposition batsman more problems than a Jay Z song, and it didn’t take long before Horvath struck, trapping their sedate yet solid opener LBW for a crafty 27, the score reading 84 for 2. Copeland and his chargers were growing in confidence, the chat was getting louder, the balcony were asking for more, and boy did the Prince/Horvath combination deliver…

The next hour was cricketing bliss.

The almighty Wick 1st XI put on a show for the ages for the raucous crowd. Mik and Sashi ripped through their middle order, single figure scores featured exclusively, and when MPG stumped their #4 to make it 128 for 7 with some assistance from the aforementioned crowd, we were absolutely all over the Old Pauline opposition. By this stage, the home side had established that shutting up shop was the only way forward. Depriving their Northern neighbours of maximum points would be, by this stage, considered a victory for them. However, they failed to communicate that message through their lower order, with their number 8 taking off for an extremely risky single just as they looked like saving it. You always put your best fielders at cover, and Captain Copeland had once again come up trumps from a tactical standpoint, with Tom “Big Show” Clements pouncing like a gazelle, darting the ball in, direct hit run out. Fielding masterclass it was. “Get around him” the balcony hurled. They certainly did.

8 down, just under 4 overs to go. This game was only just beginning.

Blobs and Mik would see out the 4 overs, and with just under 3 overs left, Mik struck, securing him a thoroughly deserved 5th wicket, and leaving the hosts a tricky couple of overs to survive. With every ball the pressure mounted. The field were creeping in and having a cheeky look, much like Mikey Wood on a night out, and the two Old Pauline boys were feeling the pinch. By the time the last over commenced, all fielders were under the batsman’s nose, whispering sweet nothings to try and eek out this final wicket for what would be a thoroughly deserved victory. Unfortunately, a lovely little exchange between batsman and keeper would be the only highlight of the over, as the Old Pauline skipper showed nuts of steel to survive the final over.

A second consecutive winning draw for the almighty Wick 1st XI, not what we came for and probably not what we deserved, but nonetheless we extend the gulf between 4th and 5th to over 20 points to continue the charge up the table. MoM unsurprisingly went to Mik Horvath for an absolute masterclass in leg spin bowling, his final figures 9 overs, 1 maiden, 33 runs, 5 wickets. DoD was a little tougher to pick out this week, given the all around performance of the team. Ultimately, only 2 players didn’t really stamp themselves on this game, but as one of them is your scribe and the other is your skipper, fair to say the likelihood of either of them collecting the award is minimal. Instead, it was unanimous (Harry and I both agreed) that MPG was a thoroughly deserving recipient of DoD. Ordinary pipes as we waited for play to commence, glued to his phone awaiting the Annah text, and to top it off, dished out some naughty words late in proceedings. Well done MPG!

Next, we turn our attention to league-leaders Churt, who we host at HQ this coming Saturday. Up the almighty Wick.