New beginnings

Date: 08/05/2021
Opposition: Kempton CC
Venue: Fortress Wick
Man of the match: Ross 'Wheezing Death' Cathcart
Prat of the match: Thames Water (attempting to flood the Kingsfield), Met Office (inaccurate forecasts), Sadiq Khan (mayoral performance 2016-2021), Tim Sturm (drop)

When I see you Dipesh
I go out of my head
I just can’t get enough
I just can’t get enough

All the singles that you take
And all the runs you score
I just can’t get enough
I just can’t get enough

The best cricketer in the family
And you love to run your partners out OH DE DE DE DE DE….


                      To the tune of “Just Can’t Get Enough” – Depeche Mode

If you have made it this far, you have discovered that each member of the 4th Xi will have a song by the first weekend of September, a new feature of reports. Much like the 4th XI of 2021, who find themselves under new leadership with Head of Facilities, 4th XI Mascot Owner and Jos Buttler impersonator W.B Houghton at the wheel, ably assisted by Vice Captain Jack Le Feuvre, Club Legal Counsel. Much of the pre-game attention focused on the bumper crop of availability thanks to an influx of new members joining the club and which weather app provided the least apocalyptic forecast prediction for Saturday. Surrey Championships tested everyone’s nerve by threatening to cancel the entire league programme if the predicted apocalypse arrived but thankfully this did not materialise. The apocalypse did not arrive (see DOTD nominations), Thames Water’s attempts to flood the Kingsfield failed and 2021 was ready to go. In the efforts to get as full a game as possible in, a 2pm start was agreed with 32 overs a side after some extensive calculations by the leadership group (this was to check they both understood basic maths and how to use a watch). WB Houghton started his tenure at the helm of the 4s with a correct call and chose to insert Kempton.

A biting wind whipped across the ground as the 4s took the field with most men in a minimum of 2 jumpers. Knitwear choices were interesting, with particular highlights including Abid Ikram’s fantastic retro Wick jumpers, Depeche Mode’s Bangor City CC jumper complete with yellow and gold trim, and JLF’s Claret and Gold University of Manchester Sweater (yes I write these reports, yes I can big up my knitwear). Two non-knitwearing youths opened the bowling. Thomas Dunmore took Ball 1 from the Boughey Mound and was probing and accurate, conceding only a handful of runs and bowling a nagging and threatening line. Dunmore did not try and bowl a beamer nor bounce anyone this week, clearly reserving this strategy for when bowling at 14 year old girls. Charlie Higgins shared the new ball up the hill (end available for sponsorship) and bowled an excellent line and length. Charlie regularly beat the bat and looked threatening throughout. A miserly start, supported by lots of good energy in the field, and the Wick were on top.

W.B. Houghton then turned to Ross Cathcart to replace Charlie up the Hill. Cathcart, somewhat aptly nicknamed ‘Wheezing Death’ in homage to Michael Holding (Ross did confess to me when scoring that he would emulate Joel ‘Big Bird’ Garner when playing cricket behind abandoned bus stops in Glasgow when he was a youth but I have neither the intellectual capacity nor the desire to re-nickname Ross), and took it up a gear. Regularly beating the bat, Wheezing Death tore through Kempton, taking a superb 3-14 off his 7 overs and produced doomseed after doomseed that batsmen of greater ability would have directed into the hands of the slip corden. Le Feuvre replaced Dunmore from the Boughey Mound but could not match Rosco in the wickets. Had he held what was a pretty straight forward caught and bowled chance he would have increased his wicket tally for 2021 by 100%. However, Le Feuvre decided that instead of catching it, he was going to do his best Herschelle Gibbs impression and juggled the ball thrice before diving around it, dropping it and looking like a twat. Upon rising from the floor, Le Feuvre saw his father, who was stood on the third man boundary, pissing himself laughing. Says it all.

Houghton clearly got bored of watching Le Feuvre-Gibbs not take wickets so turned to captain of the high seas, Mandeep Singh. Singh produced a superb spell, regularly beating the bat and bamboozling the Kempton batters with various deliveries ordered from the Mandeep Menu. Abid Ikram took over from Wheezing Death and delivered a very tidy spell and taking a wicket thanks to a sharp stumping from el capitano. He would have increased his wicket total by 100% were it not for Tim Rishi Sturm. Ikram, by this point wearing one knitted retro Wick sweater instead of his preferred two, wheeled in and delivered a doomseed. The Kempton opener, clearly bored with his vigil like effort to try and score less runs than overs his team faced collectively, spooned a catch in the direction of mid off. Sunak/Sturm found himself underneath what was an absolute dolly and positioned himself like he was about to catch a Garryowen on a rugby field. Wide base, arms ready for the ball to land sweetly in his arms, I half expected Tim to jump and meet it, with one leg in the air to ward off any defenders chasing the kick. However, the ball proceeded to go through the gap between his hands, bounce off his sternum and bounce into the mildly moist turf. Sturm was therefore nominated as one of the Dicks of the Day, purely for reprieving your correspondent of the worst drop of the day. Kempton closed their innings on a turgid 77-4 off 32 overs, with a superb effort in the field by the Wick.

Tea report: due to the dystopian times we find ourselves in, teas are STILL not allowed (but I can go to the most remote Island in the world on holiday – go figure). However, Emma and Co continue to provide us with exceptional papier bag teas. An interesting choice was the offer of a ciabatta pizza over a sandwich, but when you are hungover and you saw how much the Blue Anchor in Hammersmith decimated your bank account the night before, it was very well received. I just wished I’d waited for the pepperoni option to arrive.

Back to the action, the Wick innings was opened up by Depeche Mode and Houghton. They were in fact, the only Wick batsmen to feature as they batted very well and took advantage of a distinctly average attack and fielding effort to romp home with all 10 wickets still in tact. I have to say I didn’t really observe the batting with too much investment as I was too engrossed in a heavily intellectual conversation on Kantain ethics before turning to the minutiae of the Wick Over 50s fitness competition (three categories: strength, speed and endurance, the winner gets the Wattbike housed in the Kingsfield shed). However, it was a good performance and a great way to start the 2021 season. Next week, we travel to Weybridge Vandals who play on a former brown field site in the middle of the Thames.