Tune of the Week: Houghton the Captain (to the tune of Nelly the Elephant)
Houghton the Captain packed his bag and
Travelled away to weybridge
He won the toss and chose to bowl with a smile smile smile
Houghton the captain laughed as we won in two hours
Back we drove to the Wick
To smash some beers.
Week 2 of the 2021 Campaign saw Houghton’s Vets…I mean er……. 4th XI travel away to Weybridge Vandals. As per last week, selection was tricky and some tough decisions were made. Transfers saw Zubes, Josh Lockwood and Harris Cathcart coming into the side to give on paper a stupidly strong Fourth XI. Also as per last week, pre-match debate focused on more biblical weather forecasts and which app this week would actually give an accurate prediction of what weather we would experience. I however, was more fascinated with the geography of Weybridge Vandals. For those who have not been before or those who have wiped Saturday from their mind already, they play on a former Brownfield site which is on an island in the middle of the Thames. Mental. I was half expecting the island to be submerged and the Wick having to play water polo to get a game in if Carol Kirkwood’s BBC Breakfast forecast was correct on Friday. Thankfully, it was not and Carol finds herself as one of this week’s nominations for Dick of the Day.
Arrival at Vandals presented the Wick with a soggy sight, with luscious green outfields and rain pounding down. The prospect of play was not good. However, the Vandals skipper, clearly inspired by our own W.B. Houghton’s efforts with facilities, proceeded to whip out a serious bit of kit from the boot of his Volvo – the Bowdry Mark II. Houghton’s jealously was evident to all and was rumoured to have rung the treasurer to upgrade our mere Bowdry Mark I. Once Houghton’s jealousy subsided, and the plastic tarpaulin was removed from the square, we were presented with a deck even greener than Houghton’s envy at the Bowdry. With dank overheads, bowling first was the only option. Houghton then proceeded to make his most important contribution of the entire day – the toss. Silence descended as the Vandals skipper tossed the piece of copper. Tails was the cry, and all eyes were fixed on the two captains inspecting the ground where the copper lay. An exchange of fist bumps, and Houghton wandered back smiling. We were bowling.
Before I begin to recount the bowling efforts, I should introduce and explain a piece of cricketing parlence that will be prevalent throughout this report, and no doubt throughout the Wick after this goes live:
DOOMSEED (Adjective). A term used to describe a ball so vicious that it returns a wicket irrespective of the batsmen’s ability.
(This was created by my friend who now plays for Glamorgan (clang) and is my favourite bit of cricketing parlence)
1pm: Start of Play
Following the conclusion of an out of court settlement, Le Feuvre was given primary custody of the new rock from the Walton Marina end. As the rain got heavier as the opening batsmen walked circumspectly to the crease, I wondered whether I should raise my concerns about the weather. I then realised that Sam Kemp on several occasions made me play in what resembled a Factor 1 hurricane as a colt, so I should shut up and get on with it. A first over passed by with relative lack of action, until Le Feuvre decided that he was bored of bowling line and length and decided to bowl a doomseed. The doomseed was straight out of the Graham Smith school of bowling – a knee high full toss. Undone by such an ploy, the opening bat spooned a simple chance to Wheezing Death at square leg then voiced his frustrations at having got out to such a ferocious delivery. All eyes then turned to the square leg umpire, concerned as to whether he would give his team mate a life. The square leg umpire, umpiring with his hood over his eyes and in all honestly would have had no idea if it had hit the pitch or landed back on the mainland, promptly declared it a legal delivery and the opener was back in the sheds, promptly a flurry of Velcro. Thomas Dunmore then took custody of the new ball from the Mainland end. Dunmore, evidently realising in his vast mathematical intellect that he had a higher probability of success if he didn’t try and bounce/beam anyone, deployed this strategy with great success. He was beyond miserly and didn’t concede a single run across his entire five over spell, during which he produced several plays and misses from the Vandals top order but they were simply not good enough to get feathers on them to our cordon. The only genuinely bad ball Dunmore bowled could be classified as a doomseed, except rather than a low full toss this was a rank half tracker down the leg side. The Vandals No.1 got all of it and stood admiring his shot. This was rather unfortunate as he slapped it straight at Harris Cathcart who held a superb catch at square leg. Whilst Dunmore plugged away from the Mainland end, Le Feuvre decided to continue with his strategy of low full tosses and half trackers to take wickets. A second fell thanks to a good catch from Depeche Mode Morjaria and a third from a Lockwood catch at mid off. A couple more could have been back in the shed had a very plum looking LBW not been declined despite a trademark polite enquiry from Le Feuvre as to whether the good chap was in fact using his leg rather than his bat, and if Houghton had hung on to what would have been an exceptional grab (he did seriously well just to get a glove on it IMO).
Bored of watching Dunmore bowl more miserly than a George Osborne economic policy, W.B summoned Wheezing Death to send down more doomseeds and continue the squeeze. Being from Paisley, Wheezing Death was more than happy to continue the miserly approach being pursued by the Wick and regularly beat the bat. Bored of beating the bat, Cathcart decided to send down a doomseed in the efforts to get another against his name on PlayCricket. The aforementioned doomseed was deployed, this time of the half-tracker variety. The Vandals batsman had no answer to this and flicked an easy catch into the air for W.B Houghton to poach, and then try to decapitate Tom Dunmore when returning the ball to the umpire. Le Feuvre meanwhile, claimed his forth from the Walton Marina end thanks to a banged in ball being snared by 007 at point. Dreams of Le Feuvre’s 5fer were temporarily slashed when Dunmore, brought in as a close catcher, decided to let one go by which was a regulation grab. Unperturbed, Le Feuvre then produced an actual doomseed, an inswinging yorker which smashed into off pole, to claim his maiden Michelle for the Wick and career best figures of 5-6. It could have been six after the Vandals No.8 produced a very good leave to a ball which missed off peg by a whisker but I’m just being greedy now. In efforts to wrap up the tail, W.B. summounded Lockwood and Cathcart junior to continue the barrage of doomseeds that were being sent down. Lockwood snared his first wicket for the Wick, but it was the bowling of Harris which stood out. Harris was simply far too good for the tail and absolutely whipped jaffa after jaffa past the outside edge. His two wickets were genuine doomseeds, the first an inswinger which rocked the off pole back, whilst the second was an absolute pearler of a yorker which not even Sam Kemp would have kept out.
2:30pm. Vandals all out for 18. Wow.
When you are only chasing 19, it is easy to be drawn into trying to knock it off in the first over. Sam Kemp, our illustrious chairman, fell into this trap and was confounded by a doomseed. Caught at Mid On. A fitting way to be dismissed. However, 007 and Abid knocked off the 19 required inside 3 overs and in the pissing rain to return 23 points for the 4s, who find themselves in the novel position of 2 games, 2 wins.
2:45pm: Conclusion of play.
Stronger oppositions will no doubt come but the 4s find themselves with early season confidence after two dominant displays. Next week we play Thames Ditton at Fortress Wick, a side we beat in a close encounter during the Rona Leagues of 2020. As Kevin Keegan famously said, “I would love it” [if the Wick beat them]!!