Roscoe 5fer but 4s Beaten by Walton on Thames

Date: 22/06/2019
Opposition: Walton On Thames
Venue: Coronation Rec
Man of the match: Roscoe
Prat of the match: Elmbridge Borough Council

The big opening bowler stood in the Wick bar, Guinness in hand ….. ‘I am a left-handed Scot who bowls right-handed, I will not bow to your silly traditions’. This was the response of Ross Cathcart to a suggestion that he should buy a jug to celebrate his first 5 wicket haul for the Wick. In truth, he should have bought two jugs, the second for hat-trick avoidance. Fines committee, please take note. Cathcart had bowled beautifully during the match earlier that afternoon; his opening 5 overs yielding 4 wickets and reducing Walton to a score of 17-4. Returning for a second spell, Cathcart took another wicket to post career best figures of 6.2-2-13-5. Bowling a fullish length and aiming at the stumps, Cathcart’s display was perfect for the conditions on the day. Sadly, his efforts were not rewarded with a victory.

Before the details of the match are discussed, a moment now to introduce Ross Cathcart to those who have never had the pleasure of playing cricket with ‘Roscoe’. Ross is a traditional bowler, in that his bowling is his focus. Pre-match preparations involve careful marking of run-up and bowling at a single stump, which means that he is always ready to open the bowling and hits his line and length with remarkable consistency in his first over. The greatest joy is fielding at mid-off at the start of an innings, while Roscoe prepares for the first delivery. This week the comment was ‘Springsteen today skipper, not Stansfield’; musical inspiration being a big part of how he creates his concentration before bowling. A wicket is always greeted with a clenched fist and a guttural ‘yeah’; signs of the competitive spirit within this seam bowler. Fielding and batting are not Ross’s favoured aspects of cricket. Despite taking two good catches this season, he is occasionally erratic in the field. With the bat, Ross is a self-styled number 12. Asking for a guard and standing in line with the stumps are aspects of batting that have recently started to become a focus. Calling for runs is left to his partner, but Ross can be heard to mutter ‘in’ when he completes a single. As a cricket novice three short seasons ago, Ross has become a stall-wart opening bowler in the 4s and a fantastic team-mate.

The match was played at Coronation Rec, which on the evidence of the 4s visit is a ground of limited facilities. The council had not worked on the square for at least 10 days and the changing facilities did not have running water and limited electricity. The writer felt as if he was back in the late 1980s in some of the poorer venues for sport in Norwich. Despite this, the 4s had a good match against Walton, who proved to be decent opposition.

Skipper Dunmore once again won the toss and inserted a youthful Walton side on the very well-grassed surface. Cathcart’s opening burst swung the match firmly in the 4s favour. Over the next hour or so Walton’s two senior players wrestled the initiative back with a stand of 99. An age-old cricket maxim ‘beware the batter on one leg’ was in evidence as the Walton number 6 needed a runner after pulling his calf (obvious reference to Gordon Greenidge at Lords in 1984). The bowlers (Charlie Higgins, Jacob Povah, Graham Smith, Zak Collier, Tim McMullen and Ollie Morjaria) took the lead from Cathcart and kept a full length, which benefitted from occasional movement from the surface.  Morjaria produced some turn in his first bowl since completing his A-levels and was unlucky to end up wicketless. It was the spell of Collier that was to be crucial to the outcome of the match. Collier bowled with excellent control and challenged the stumps ball after ball. He dismissed both batsmen, clean bowled, from no-balls! The stand of 99 should have been curtailed and the Walton total far smaller, but Collier’s long-standing issue with his front foot was extremely costly.

Walton were bowled out for 148, with Smith (8-1-29-3) and McMullan (4-0-15-2) joining Cathcart in the wickets. The fielding display by the 4s had fallen far short of the standards usually set by the team, with ground fielding, catching and the general level of energy poor. A target of 149, while gettable, would require application from a batting unit that was under-strength when compared to previous matches this season.

Sadly, the 4s batters did not achieve the level of application required. The upper order did not see off the opening bowlers and when the Walton skipper introduced his two colt spinners, wickets fell at regular intervals. McMullen (19) and Houghton (17) provided resistance around drinks but when they were dismissed in quick succession the required run rate was too high for the lower order to genuinely chase. Morjaria (9) and Higgins (19*) showed what could be achieved with a stand built upon running between the wickets; Monte would be proud. The 4s closed on 129-9 with Cathcart 3*, a fitting end to the match.

Could the 4s have won? Yes; the no-balls were very costly. Did the 4s deserve to win? Absolutely not; fielding and batting efforts that should not be repeated. Post-match thoughts focused on the fact that Walton, with an admirable team full of youthful promise, are second in the league table, whilst the 4s are currently mid-table some way off the pace in terms of points. The key reflections were on the performance of Roscoe, and his super 5fer!

Next week the 4s are at home to Ashford and have the pleasure of the company of Simon Boughey, to bowl down the Kings Field hill from his eponymous End.