The Steans Show rolls into town as 4s go 3/3

Date: 22/05/2021
Opposition: Thames Ditton CC
Venue: Hampton Wick Royal CC
Man of the match: Mark Steans, Charlie Higgins and the Thames Ditton Scorer
Prat of the match: Michael Gove, Michelle Barnier, Steve Borthwick, Jack Le Feuvre and Tom Dunmore

Steans has all the time in the world
Time enough for runs to be scored
In all directions around the Kingsfield Square

Every shot in the manual
He can play
Every side in the league
He does scare

                      To the tune of “We have all the time in the World” – Louis Armstrong


“I would love it if [The Wick] beat them” was how I finished Week 2’s instalment of Le Feuvre’s Lamenting’s. Beat them we did, but I will not deny you the full story you deserve dear reader..

Week 3 of the Surrey Division 5 West Campaign found Houghton’s Vets XI back at The Theatre of Dreams, The King’s Field. Once again, climate change was doing a brilliant job of trying to prevent us playing, but the heroic work of a band of merry men on Friday meant that the worst of the rain did not destroy our prospects of play. The start of play was pushed back in an effort for the run ups to dry on what was a sticky toffee pudding of a track, which gave the seam quartet time to “listen to some heavy metal” and get fired up, as we were instructed to do by Wheezing Death. I took this verbatim and then spent two hours listening to Limp Bizket, the Prodigy and Darren Styles and have never had that much adrenaline in my system whilst being sat having a pre-game coffee in the clubhouse. Upon discussion with Wheezing Death, he in fact ignored his own instructions and went for some Indie-Folk filth “to get himself in the zone”. Interesting.

As we began to gather round the Theatre of Dreams, all waiting for a 130pm inspection, we suddenly were sprung into when W.B. Houghton strode out for his most important job of the day – the copper flip. All eyes were on the two hoodie clad captains as they watched, eyes fixated on the rotations of the copper through the air before it landed softly on the moist turf. A look, exchange of words then fist bumps and W.B gave the signal – whites on, we were bowling.

Charlie Higgins opened the bowling from the Clubhouse end and got straight into his work – Charlie bowled a superb 7 over spell and swung the ball both ways and really put pressure onto Thames Ditton, cleaning up their opener with a prodigious doomseed which rattled the timbers. Charlie went onto claim three more victims thanks to well taken catches by both Mojarias and the skipper, finishing with well deserved figures of 4-15 off his allotted 7 overs. Charlie also removed Thames Ditton’s version of Bryson DuChambeau (interpret that how you see fit) who looked dangerous and after some clever captaincy, was walking back following a sharp A.Morjaria catch. Thomas “Banksy” Dunmore partnered Charlie from the Boughey End – if you are wondering why Thomas is now known as Banksy, please contact his mother and enquire about his availability for decorative work, specifically of living rooms. Banksy did not bowl his finest opening spell but he will be back for more next week. Banksy was replaced by JLF/JLo from the Boughey End, whose opening overs were definitely inspired by his pre-game music as he bowled some decent rocks but lost his rhythm after drinks and took the edge off what were otherwise respectable figures.

After drinks, W.B turned to Wheezing Death and Abid to apply the squeeze further and both did as their captain asked. Abid rattled through a very tight seven over spell, giving Thames Ditton nothing to work with whilst Ross, having been asked to change ends and deliver seeds of doom from the Boughey End, was superb and typically miserly as a man from Paisley can be. Banksy also returned for a much better second spell and should have had a second wicket were it not for a criminally bad drop. I can’t actually remember who dropped it as memory eludes me, it might have been Sam Kemp, it certainly wasn’t your correspondent….. Thames Ditton concluded their 34 overs 107-7, which was reflective of a trademark strong performance with the ball with the 4s but could have been so much better if we had held our chances.

After a paper bag tea and several cups of tea, Abid and Alex were sent in to open our reply. Credit to Thames Ditton, their attack was workmanlike throughout and stuck to their task, However, there was always a bad ball or two for the Wick to dispatch and runs were starting to accrue nicely, with Alex starting to look fluid in his first game since finishing his education. In an effort to halt our advances, the Thames Ditton captain turned to his 14 year old colt and instructed him to bowl a doomseed to Morjaria first ball, specifically off the half tracker variety. Confounded by such a cricketing feat hitherto unseen by A.Morjaria in 2021, he slapped a catch to mid on and found himself walking Silently in His Shoes back to the Sheds to make a note of his score in the “Best Morjaria in the Family Contest”. This departure brought Rishi Sturm to the crease who looked shakey initially but grew in confidence as the innings progressed. Abid meanwhile, was going about his work in confident fashion until out LBW to a good nut and we were 2 down, Thames Ditton you could tell thought they had a sniff, as their keeper declared “They’ve got to take risks now”. What they didn’t realise was what was to come next.

Batting at 4 was the big dog. Mark Steans. Best player in the side, dark horse for the Wick over 50s 1500m challenge, whenever Steans strides to the crease, an air of calm descends upon those in Magenta, Dove Grey and Black. Today was no exception. You know you are shit hot when you bat without a cap or a helmet – Steans is exactly that, shit hot. First ball of the 2021 season for Steano and it was caressed through extra cover for four. What a way to mark your arrival. After this it was very much the Steans show who was into his work and despite Tim’s efforts to try and run him out, promptly dashed any hope of Thames Ditton clawing their way back into the game as he dispatched the ball around the Theatre of Dreams and walked off unbeaten on 47*. He then did buy a jug for 50 avoidance which is a mark of what a bloke Steano is. Not a single risk was taken (ha ha) and we cantered home by 8 wickets for our third win on the spin.

A solid all round performance by all, but catches will need to be taken against tougher opposition. Next week, the Band Wagon travels onward to Staines and Laleham.

Up The Wick!