Experienced duo the Big-show and the Prince lead a young 1st XI side to a sweet victory

Date: 03/08/2019
Opposition: Chertsey CC
Venue: @ Chertsey CC
Man of the match: Sashi Asokan
Prat of the match: Caleb Bate

After the weather put paid to any cricket the prior week, the result being one of the great social events the Wick has seen, there was a yearning for some cricket from the almighty HWRCC 1st XI outfit, and the desire to take the maximum points back to HQ, celebrate with a couple of quiet froffy chops, and smash the Chairman and his team of bandits in the annual Wick quiz night. We were hungrier than MPG hoeing into a burger for this one, and we needed little motivation. Chertsey, away, 3rd vs 4th, some fire still burning from the previous encounter, we knew this would be anything but “trivial” (lols). Fair to say we were as toey as a roman sandal. The ever astute captain Copeland assembled I dare say one of the youngest Wick 1st XI outfits ever seen, with only 2 of the 11 being the wrong side of 30 (you’ll soon come to realise that you cannot buy experience) counterbalanced by 4 teenagers to see an average age of 23 grace the Sir Edward Stern Sports Ground on this fine Saturday.

Question 1. What do you do when you win the toss on a green deck against a side who has not had the best form with the at this season? If you said bowl, give yourself a point. If you said bat, you do not know the Wick too well. As far as warm-ups go, our one was ordinary to say the least, but we quickly erased memories of that, donned the whites, and we were underway. It would be an all-teenage attack getting us underway, and it wasn’t long before chances were created. The Brown Sauce over hot Coles combination was working wonders, and despite the odd cover drive going through the legs of the veteran fielder at cover, the run rate was under control and we were turning the screws with some vintage Wick 1st XI chat. Soon enough, The more threatening of the two openers opted to play at a wide one, got a thick edge through to MPG who took a regulation chance for any decent keeper, of which this youthful side was blessed with several. The best part of this was certainly not the catch, but the fact that it was Ollie Coles’ first wicket for the almighty 1st XI, but I have little doubt that it will not be the last. He would go onto trap their #3 plumb LBW shortly after to leave the home side 2 for not many, and the Wick firmly in control early doors, and have the stands asking themselves, Sam who?

Question 2. Who is the 2nd best yet most under-utilised spin bowler at the club? If you said Clemmo, give yourself a point. If you said Blobs, give yourself half a point, and it was the latter who Captain Copeland “turned” to (more lols) in search of wicket #3. The run rate was hardly getting away from us, with their Jason Roy antithesis opener opting for survival over stroke-play, so it seemed another tactical masterclass from the skipper. Despite a couple of rank full bungers the aforementioned opener failed to punish, Blobs was into his work nicely, and quickly went bang-bang with consecutive balls to remove #4 and #5, the latter for a golden globe, to leave the locals reeling at 50 for 4. It wasn’t long before the skipper decided to partner youthful ginger exuberance with the left-arm guile, subtly, and experience of Grand Pappy Prince, Sashi Asokan. The oldest in the team by some margin, this moniker did not faze the Prince, and straight away he was on the money, causing their Aussie overseas batsman a world of pain.

Question 3. Name 1 Australian (from New South Wales) who can seriously bat. If you said Steve Smith, give yourself 286 points 😉. If you said the Chertsey #7, award yourself zero points. Sashi made short work of their import, completely undoing him with a sharp in-swinger to send his stumps to Sydney and make it 57 for 5. Thoughts of those in the field (well, one of them at least) were starting to think about an early finish, but given said person has several years Wick experience, he knew that having the oppo 5 for f**k all meant they would most likely go on and make 400. However, someone obviously failed to inform The Prince of this, and despite some agricultural yet mildly effective batting from their keeper-batsman #8, The Prince rattled through their tale, taking wickets 6 through 9 and closing the home sides innings with a sharp run-out to have the opposition all out for 145, and deliver the fresh Prince career best figures of 5 for 40 off 14 overs. It was a masterclass in bowling from one half of the over 30 brigade. Supporting him superbly was another debut in Raffi Ikram, who was very unlucky not to take a wicket, finishing with exceptional debut figures of 8 overs for 29 runs. We had set this one up nicely and we would have 50 overs to chase this one down to complete the double over Chertsey for season 2019.

Question 4. Does Chertsey have a tea line-up capable of matching it with that of a Ken special at HQ? If you even contemplated answering that with a yes, deduct 5 points. If you answered no, give yourself one point. If you answered not in a million years, give yourself 5 points. Despite not being anywhere the quality and class of a Ken special at HQ, the Chertsey teas were by no means bad. In fact, quite the contrary. This harsh marking is simply a by-product of HQ, such is the standard Ken has set for the league. The Chertsey kitchen churned out a very decent array of sandwiches and complementing beige beauties, and the very well received fondant fancies. Overall, a very decent arrangement, one of the better away teas we have been treated to. 7 out of 10.

Question 5. If someone tells you that one can earn £30k per month, in a business meeting taking place in a Nandos, dressed head to toe in puma tracksuit, how long will it take you before you wind up in jail? If you answered within a week, give yourself 5 points. If you think this is a sage way to make your millions, deduct 10 points, but you could well have a spot at the top of the order for the almighty 1st XI. After several strong knocks in the all-conquering HWRCC 2nd XI, it was a thoroughly deserved promotion for Keerat Khaira to the big time, and he would have big shoes to fill replacing MWG Davies. Marching out to the crease with him would be Blobs, in what is arguably Surrey’s  most dangerous opening combination (interpret that how you like). With 50 overs to score 146 runs, the only way we were losing this game was by being skittled. Both lads saw off the first few overs, and looked like setting a strong platform for BMOIS to launch from. Just as they were settling in, Blobs got a good one and was caught at slip, giving the home side an early boost. Marching in at number 3 would be Caleb Bate. I say would be, but given the confidence he has in our opening combination, Master Bate had decided to pop off for a PBP (again, I will leave you to interpret that in any way you see fit). Whilst Caleb was doing a number 2, M Wood was sent in at number 3. This promotion up the order proved too much for Wood to handle, as he was dismissed first rock, plumb LBW (despite protesting his innocence). Caleb was ready to go by this stage and was in at #4. In front of his father who he had not seen for several years, this was bound to be a grand occasion for the young Kiwi. As your scribe knows all too well, scoring runs in front of family and friends takes iron clad kahunas. Unfortunately for Caleb, he missed a straight one and was adjudged LBW, also without troubling the scorer. Suddenly, we found ourselves 23 for 3, and in a spot of bother.

Question 6. When half the BMOIS fail to trouble the scorer, can the other half of BMOIS carry the team to an inspired victory? If you answered with an irrefutable yes, give yourself 90 points. If you answered what the f**k is BMOIS, give yourself 0 points. Clemmo joined Keerat at the crease, and quickly the young buck had the old bull running, taking some quick singles that a number of the youthful 1st XI members would have comfortably made, but for Clemmo, the story is a little different, the wily Aussie not as quick as he never was. Despite that, the two set about stabilising the innings and get us closer to this not overly formidable target. Just as Keerat was getting comfortable, a momentary lack of concentration proved costly, with the spinner finding one to skid through on the green top to dislodge the bails of Keerat. 55 for 4, 90 to get, plenty of time to do it, time to focus.

Question 7. What makes the ideal batting combination, the wise calming influence old age or the carefree relaxed nature of youth? If you answered half and half, give yourself a point. And so it was, two wicket-keeper batsmen, two blokes not shy of expressing their love for themselves (and each other for that matter), the perfect combination to see us home in this chase. As MPG strode out to the crease, it was feeding time at the zoo. The opposition did not miss the opportunity to remind the younger of the pair of some of the advice he had dished out during their innings. All sorts of quality barbs were fired towards MPG, some witty, but most really average. The opposition were seemingly oblivious to the fact that they had an Australian at the other end. A few balls in, MPG tried an almighty swing that caught the ire of the young quick bowler, and got plenty of interest from the cordon, and thankfully this one sailed through to the keeper without a feather. This would be the catalyst for the maturing MPG to knuckle down and make sure we left enemy territory with full points. MPG played a superb innings from here, dispatching anything remotely short, and quickly, the pair had put on 50 to get us to within 40 runs of a memorable victory. Drinks came onto the field, and MPG and Clemmo could sniff blood.

Question 8. What should an opposition team avoid saying within earshot of the batsman at drinks? If you answered “3 more boundaries and we are done”, then you’re probably MPG or Clemmo, because chances are you wouldn’t have heard it otherwise. Give yourself 24 points. Taking heed of this advice, MPG was to face the first over after drinks, and proceeded to slap 12 off it, 3 boundaries, to put the game beyond doubt. The next over, just to show the youngsters he has still got it, Clemmo followed suit with 3 boundaries of his own, and all of a sudden, we were rampaging to victory. With 10 to get, it was unfortunate that MPG went for one too many to hole out in the deep, and 4 runs later Clemmo tried an audacious late cut attempt to also be dismissed picking him out in unfamiliar circumstances, but by this stage of the game, she was all over, MPG and Clemmo scoring 90 between them to secure the points for the good guys. Raffi and Sashi then combined to knock off the final few runs and deliver the almighty HWRCC 1st XI a tremendous victory. Just like that, we were heading back to HQ a very satisfied bunch. MoM went to Sashi for his sublime bowling, whilst DoD was secured by Caleb, who failed to trouble the scorer. A very solid last 3 games sees the gap close to 11 points between Chertsey in 3rd and HWRCC in 4th, and we extend the gap to 45 points between us and the 5th placed Old Pauline CC.

Question 9. What do you do when you complete the Chertsey double? Jaegerbombs and Instagram. That is what. Have 5 points.

Question 10. Where do the almighty HWRCC 1st XI find themselves next week? At HQ, hosting Cheam, in another top end of the table clash.

If you scored 1 point on my quiz, congratulations you are on par with the points collected by Chertsey on Saturday. If you scored 24 points, you must be the almighty Wick 1st XI. If you scored over 286 points, you are obviously Australian.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, concludes the quiz.

Onwards we march. Up the Wick!

156*