Archive for June, 2010

Brighton Beamers – Kings of the Road

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Initial inspection of St John’s Park, Burgess Hill suggested a decent pitch, and this impression was confirmed by their skipper, who told us that 540 runs had been scored in the 2nd team game the previous day and promised, “It’s a road”, before winning the toss and offering us the chance to go for a test drive.

A combination of the smooth-looking pitch and the news that 2 members of the Rigby clan had been shopping – a new bat for God and a new bat and helmet for Riggers – meant that expectations of a run-fest were high. In an effort to prevent the Burgess Hill opening bowlers being put off by the sight of two shiny new Newberys, Rigby and Son were separated, with Maf partnering Riggers at the top of the order; a controversial decision and one which paid off big-style (or should that be Maf-stylee?) with Maf feasting on some slightly wayward bowling and a strange reluctance to place a long-leg (or Maf-corner, as it’s known). In the mean time, Riggers sailed serenely on, his new bat making the sweetest of sounds and his parents purring appreciatively on the side-lines. So far, so unlike Jevington…

Riggers Walks To Crease With Maf But Without New Helmet and Bat

On Maf’s dismissal for a high octane 42, there then followed something of an aberration. No – I don’t mean a mini-collapse (that’s to be expected), but Ben failing for the first time this season – the victim of some particularly outrageous bad luck, run out for a duck while backing up when the bowler deflected Riggers’ straight drive onto the stumps. He was followed shortly after by Marlon whose eyes lit up once too often at the sight of another half-tracker which had “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick” written all over it and which ended up in the hands of mid-wicket. At this point came two excellent partnerships which together raised the score from 59 to 168, the first between Riggers (elegant) and Billy (brutal and showing excellent judgement of which balls to attack) and the second between Billy (still brutal) and God (initially crisp, becoming increasingly sloggy by mid-afternoon). With Billy out and only a few overs left, the incoming batsmen had little choice but to swing mightily, run crazily (debutant Andy managing an excellent “run out without facing a ball” as his first Beamers contribution) and generally make hay while Frank continued to employ the long handle of his new bat to good effect. Fifties apiece for Billy and Frank and a final total somewhere in the 190s (depending upon who you asked) left Burgess Hill to chase 200 in the usual hour plus 20 overs.

There then followed much discussion over a fine tea about the potential quality of their batting, with rumours of a significant number of 1st teamers in their ranks and an odd lack of volunteers to open the bowling.

Sportingly, Burgess Hill had changed their batting order around so we weren’t confronted by a battery of first team talent. Unsportingly, Marlon then proceeded to demolish their re-jigged top-order, taking 3 for 14 in 5 hostile overs. With Riggers asking questions at the other end and bowling their left handed skipper with a big turner (through the gate and via inside edge, foot and Outer Mongolia), they were soon reduced to 44-4. With Siddo replacing Marlon, making excellent use of some occasional variable bounce and bowling tightly and without luck, a partnership started to develop, so the dice needed to be thrown and duely were, in the shape of Andy who was brought on in place of Riggers.

Still smarting from the run out and eager to impress on debut, he proceeded to bowl a leg-side shocker first ball which was belted for six. “Come on Andy, what’s your response?”, was the cry – answer: a c&b next ball, followed a couple of balls later by another catch, this time by John R at long-off immediately after the word of God was heard moving him back ten, “Because this bloke looks like he’s going to hit it over the top” – divine intervention from the Almighty who was having too good a game to be asked to bowl. Another wicket for Andy left Burgess Hill reeling on 72-7, and if it wasn’t in the bag, then that receptacle was certainly bracing itself for some action.

However, dear reader, may I remind you of the fact that earlier in this piece I mentioned that Burgess Hill had re-jigged their order, and joining their second top scorer at the crease was the batsman who would prove to be their top scorer. Both these gentlemen could bat, and this was a worrying time for your captain, especially when this troublesome pair proved immune to Andy and Siddo, took great pleasure in giving me a pasting and, even took an initial liking to Billy. The next 70 runs came depressingly quickly and – in spite of some smart fielding, in particular from Riggers, Sanjiv and Andy who threw themselves around with some abandon – confidence was growing on the boundary and the target started to look very gettable.

Just when troubled glances at the scoreboard were becoming increasingly frequent, Billy got his revenge, dismissing both the trouble-makers, one to an excellent catch by Andy, whose hogging of the match was becoming a little tiresome, and one to a fabulously smart stumping by Ben off a brute of a delivery. With Riggers wrapping up their innings a fluctuating game ended with The Beamers victorious by 49 runs.

What’s left to tell? A couple of drinks in their clubhouse, watching Burgess Hill youngsters trying to knock tiles of its roof with an Incrediball, then a stop off at The Jack and Jill for an argument with the grumpy barmaid before heading home, secure in the knowledge that with season stats of P4-W2-D2-L0, The Beamers go forward with confidence to continue their undefeated progression against Ansty at Preston Park on Sunday.