You know you've taken a worldy when the batsman shakes your hand...

Date: 15/06/2019
Opposition: Old Whitgiftians CC
Venue: Whitgif Sports Club
Man of the match: Sarang Joshi
Prat of the match: Tim Sturm (see report)

This Saturday marked a must-win game for the 3s this week as they were travelling to the home of current league whipping boys and possibly one of the few likely targets for a win this season: Trinity Old Mid Whitgif Mid Trinity Old Giftians (or something like that).

The sky was blue, the forecast….mixed, and the wicket was very soft so one to be bowling on first - doubly so as more than a few members were still not present (this or may not in part be due to the very forgivable error of the wrong team name being in the team sheets page. Special mention (and subsequent PoM award) must be made for Tim Sturm who apparently managed to get himself involved in an uber crash before then arriving at the wrong ground and having to order that same uber to take him on to the correct one; where Zubes had promptly lost the toss and we were asked to bat with 9 players.

Due to some missing personel out stepped Zubes and Imran (not that one) determined to get us off to a solid start, they did not. As a popping ball surprised Imran and caused him to fend off Zubes set off from the non-strikers to more screams of “run” than when he hears last orders at the bar. Imran eventually scrambled down the wicket but as he failed to put his bat on the ground the bails came off and the Wick lost their first wicket.

New member Tom Jackson arrived at the crease and showcased some classy shots (proving that not everyone that goes to Bath University is bereft of talent) before unluckily being bowled off his pads. Next in was Tim "the only decent Kiwi at the club" Sturm, having arrived and immediately put his pads on he batted well with Zubes until Zubes pulled a hamstring (shock!) adding yet another item to the list of mild activities that are off limits to his delicate tendons.

Despite a combination of fire and ice sprays Zubes unfortunately succumbed to a Yorker not too long after and with Tim following him soon after it was the turn off Matt “jingle bells” Rudolph and Andy “village kit” Wilmot. Matt seemed to settle quite quickly but Andy appeared frustrated at the other end, not managing to dispatch the bowlers over the short boundaries as he had done to much aplomb the week before. Edging one to point brought Suggs to the crease with the Wick looking dangerously short of runs at 130-5 on a very small ground.

With Matt beginning to score freely and Suggs rotating the strike the scoreboard began to move steadily, the former taking advantage of some short bowling and pulling like Robbie Oliver in the Gap Bar over the short boundary. Just as the partnership was looking solid and both batsmen looked set Suggs could only look on with horror as, in a scene reminiscent of Max in O’Neils, Matt chased a wide one; and toed it to cover.

Aquib came and went without troubling the scorers and so in came Sarang. After taking a few balls to get his eye in and after a few attempts to run Suggs out he began to find his rhythm and began to hit boundaries. With Suggs anchoring like a ship in a storm the scoreboard began to tick again; as the overs ticked by the opposition began to lose their heads, and the ball in the hedgerows, as Sarang continued to smash it harder than a Jaegerbomb train at the Wick on a Saturday night; bringing up up his maiden Wick 50 in no time at all.

With a few overs to go Suggs eventually went trying to smear a wide one, only to be caught at point, but by this time the Wick was up to 240-8, a more than healthy score. Graeme Smith came in and played the foil for Sarang as the Wick reached a total of 250. Time for teas!

With the weather ever changing around us the Wick took to the field with Sarang and Graham opening up and the first breakthrough came quickly. As a Graham Smith special rapped their opening bat on the pads we all went up in camaraderie with the veteran seamer only to follow his cue again as the appeal died off quickly after. It was in this lull we spotted the lonely index finger of the opposition umpire raised in defiance of his teammates, and the Wick celebrated their first wicket.

Despite the early breakthrough and the nibbling nagging lines of Smudger the Wick bowling was a little erratic with the bad balls being dispatched over the short boundary ropes. Little did the opposition batsmen realise however, that they were walking further into Zubes’ perfectly laid trap. As bad ball after bad ball was being hit for a maximum and the batsmen were growing increasingly confident, Zubes pulled the trigger. He signalled Sarang to bowl a rank long hop as he then winked to his fielders; as the unsuspecting batsman pounced and smoked the delivery upwards through covers any onlooker would have seen nothing amiss, only this time Matt Rudolph fired out his left hand to pluck it from mid air. Silence; then, absolute scenes. You know it’s a worldy when the oppo you’ve just caught out shakes your hand on their way back to the pavilion.

With this “totally played for and got” wicket the Wick continued the attack with the skipper rushing one through the gate for his first wicket. Then on came Ben Longhurst who was immediately the centre of controversy. Due to the opposition umpire unfortunately not knowing the rules of cricket he was continually no balled for being “too wide of the crease”. The Wick began their protestations and after the 4th consecutive no-ball the opposition captain was called out to the middle to correct this mistake. With the umpire swapped out and sent off to read “An idiot’s guide to umpiring – S.Riley” Ben took two in quick succession, a catch skied to Tim “only decent Kiwi in the club” Sturm at mid off, and another cut low to Suggs at backward point.

As the rain began to close in the skipper assumed the responsibility of bringing home the win; and, despite both hamstrings protesting, and a delicate back, and a weird pain in his shoulder, and a bad knee, and a bruise on his shin, AND a wet ball he bowled the last two batsmen to cement the win for the Wick. That’s 2 from 2 and possibly the start of the Wick’s march towards safety. Watch this space!

Up the Wick!