After a morale-boosting thumping of Chessington...

Date: 15/06/2019
Opposition: Oxted & Limpsfield
Venue: Master Park, Oxted
Man of the match: Tom Clements
Prat of the match: Abdur Rehman

After a morale-boosting thumping of Chessington in week 5 lead by the young pack of 2nd XI players, it was time for the all-conquering Wick 2nd XI to once again hit the road, this time making the trek South-East to Oxted, where mid-table Oxted & Limpsfield awaited us. As has become a common theme this year, all eyes were on the weather in the a.m, with the skies looking an ominous shade of grey. However, thankfully the game got underway on schedule without any rain delay. Captain Linter as always rallied the troops with his usual Friday evening message extoling the virtues of a 10:45am arrival. However, not for the first time this season, there was only one soldier prepared to heed this advice and rock up on time. You can have one guess which mug that was… 11:25 rolled around and the Wick convoy rolled into Oxted. They say preparation prevents piss poor performance. As you will come to learn throughout this exquisite composition, it was no shock that the day’s star performer was diligent with his arrival and warm-up, whereas the day’s DoD was 2 hours late dressed as a mascot.

Four forced changes to the side this week, but by no means was this squad any weaker, with the return of Dilsoj, Stephens, Lawrence, and a well-earned 2nd XI debut for Harry Fitzgerald. Captain Linter again called correctly and had no hesitation in opting to bowl first, with Fitzgerald to commence proceedings from the British Legion end. The opposition batsman were aggressive from the get-go, resulting in a quick start, and they were quick to 40 without loss at a run a ball. Energy was beginning to be sapped, heads were beginning to fall, and just when the Wick needed a pick me up, Clemo snaffled an extremely sharp chance at point off the bowling of Fitzgerald, diving to his left, fully stretched, plucking a one-duker to dismiss their #1 bat. Absolute scenes. Energy was back, and were looking to continue that momentum. Shortly after, Fitzgerald had #2, sneaking one through their other opener, and then #3 was soon to follow, once again an incredible pluck at point by Clemo, this time full-stretch, diving backwards, plucking another one-duker. All of a sudden, the run rate was back under 4, and the opposition were 59 for 3, Clemo absolutely on fire. You see, here is the thing ladies and gentlemen, Clemo arrived on time, the only one to do so. What that meant was he was able to do a full warm-up, including getting the net out and doing some solo catching practice, which he finished up just as everyone was arriving. He has always been a fan of the 10:45am arrival, said it for years. Preparation prevents piss poor performance. But I digress.

2 more wickets came our way, and the opposition were 72 for 5. We had dialled the run rate down, and managed to snaffle 5 wickets for 28 runs to put us well on top, and it is probably fair to say that our bowling wasn’t up to its normal standard. But pleasingly, we were in a strong position. Unfortunately, the opposition dug in at 5 down, with experience and youth combining to begin the rebuild for O&L. The young lad batted sensibly, punishing any bad ball to be the aggressor of the two, and soon enough they had hit 150. Unfortunately, this was classic Wick, in a strong position but just unable to really put the opposition to the sword. We were just a tiny bit off all over the field, and the opposition took advantage well and truly. Despite finally dismissing the young lad for a well-earned 51, O&L finished on 217 for 7 off 54 overs, a score that really should not have been. It did not help that one of our soliders in Abdur Rehman decided to show up at 12:45, just a lazy 2 hours after the scheduled arrival time and well into our bowling innings. If I have said it before I will say it again, preparation prevents piss poor performance.

Despite heads bowed as we departed the reasonably nice ground that is Master Oval, we were quick to focus on the job with the bat. After all, the equation was only 4.5 an over, easily doable with our strong batting line-up. Lunch put a temporary halt to this thought process as our mood turned to food. Lunch could only be described as a poor man’s Ken spread (and yes I am aware of how that sounds) but I am sticking with it. Quartered sandwiches and pizzas, one would be entitled to think that this was straight from the Ken playbook. However, these did not hold a candle to a Ken spread. 6 out of 10, bumped up to a 6.5 out of 10 for having a TV showing a gun Aussie (and Victorian no less) batsman putting on a batting masterclass. Was this a sign perhaps? We would soon find out.

Fresh off a barnstorming 96, and fresh from being removed from the attack for dangerous bowling, Keerat and Dilsoj marched to the crease to commence our chase. A solid start ensued, with the young guns seeing off the new ball nicely. The score had got to 37 before KK was adjudged LBW, so it was Robbie Oliver to join Jones to crack on with the chase. After just 5 balls at the crease, there was a very unfortunate mishap, resulting in Oliver being run out for a solitary run. Now, no one is pointing the blame at anyone.

Except for your scribe.

At Dom Jones.

Who was solely to blame.

Dilsoj leathered one straight to point and called yes to leave Oliver well short of his ground. We needed some stability, and it was down to the promoted Rehman at #4 to begin the rebuild with Jones. Unfortunately Jones perished to a sharp catch behind the stumps, and not long after, it was Rehman, sporting his pyjama top who would perish shortly after. A delightful half-tracker was presented to Rehman, with the short legside boundary looking particularly enticing. However, Rehman top edged it and sent it straight to square leg. The Wick 2nd XI in trouble at 63 for 4. Your scribe, with a good view of proceedings from the non-strikers end at this stage, was left to muse. Would this have happened if Rehman had prepared properly? Probably pointless to procrastinate this point. However, one thing still rang true. No prizes for guessing. Preparation prevents piss poor performance!

The ever reliable Stephens joined Clemo at the crease and the two set about making inroads into this total. There were enough bad balls each over for the pair to develop a strong partnership, and give the 2nd XI the impetus throughout the middle stages of the innings. A couple of hairy moments, including a very close run-out opportunity for O&L which saw the ball ricochet off the bowlers hand and onto the stumps, but all in all this was a very strong rebuild. The partnership reached 75 before Stephens was given out LBW, in what was probably a 50/50 shout. Things went from bad to worse from here, particularly for Clemo, who got hit flush in the twig and giggleberries by their quickie. The ball had to cannon into the lower leg region, well below the knee, to cause this damage to Clemo, who played through significant pain with true Aussie grit, however he was finally undone for a plucky 46. Despite some brief resistance from Fitzgerald, the tail was falling quickly, and soon we were 9 down. There was one last piece of drama however care of the gods, with the heavens opening and hoofing it down. Being the tough Northerner that he is, umpire Riley had zero hesitations in continuing play, being wetter than an otters pocket. Rather remarkably, we were extremely close to the winning-draw run rate at this stage, but Captain Linter’s cries of dangerous weather fell upon deaf ears and Riley stood firm. Rubbing salt into the wound was Riley then giving Captain Linter out LBW, and that was that. We were rolled for 148, leaving Captain Linter rather angry as he waddled off trudging through the knee-deep puddles in the outfield.

Truth be told, O&L deserved this victory, and despite never being convincingly out of it, we were just marginally off our best in all aspects of the game, with their 6th wicket partnership proving the decisive blow. Fitzgerald picked up 4 on debut, and Stephens and Clemo batted OK, but really we let ourselves down by not preparing well enough. We move back to HQ, and in an extremely tight league, a win is essential. Rest assured, preparation for the coming week will prevent piss poor performance.

Wick 156*