Archive for May, 2011

Come Gather ‘Round Friends, And I’ll Tell You A Tale

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Crank it up Billy!
Maf Moors

When thinking of the lead-up to a Beamers’ game, the words which normally spring to mind are planning, order and calm. Preparations for Findon differed from this approach in only three respects…

Early declarations of availability left your skipper feeling quietly confident, with a strong team emerging like a Purple Emperor from its chrysalis and, crucially, with the boxes labelled “Eleven Players” and “Sufficient Transport” both nicely ticked. Such complacency deserved no less than the drop-out driven shambolic scrambling which subsequently ensued. Sunday morning dawned with the excellent news that Kumy was up for a game, which meant we finally had an eleven, but was without car, which meant we had a challenge. It is from the flames of such emergencies that true legends are forged – a couple of phone calls and a little arm-twisting later and both Billy and Maf had volunteered to take the train to Worthing and then CYCLE TO THE ‘KIN GROUND!! Heroes both.

Early signs were encouraging. Billy got to the ground ahead of schedule and phoned to report that, “It’s beautiful; it’s raining but it’ll blow over”. Rob Nic then greeted me at the ground with the tremendous news that, “They’ve got Spring Sprinter in the bar, skip”. It’s all, as they say, good.

Now That's Just Lovely

After losing the toss and being invited to field, the early sprinterly springs in our steps lasted as long as it took us to realise that one of their openers was going to prove to be a bit of a handful. With only a wicket for Marlon – head pounding from a day at the Middlesex Sevens – to encourage us, the first 90 minutes of their innings were distinctly trying, with catches going down, muscles being strained and the ball disappearing to all parts of the ground, particularly down the slope. With the scoreboard showing 115-1 and with an hour to go in their innings, we were, it’s fair to say, face down in the mire and neither Billy nor Riggers were getting any joy.

My recipe in such circumstances is to rustle up a melange of seamy, bouncy stuff from one end and serve with shavings of Dob from the other. Rob Nic provided the former, taking 3 decent wickets, including the left-handed opener who was easily their top scorer and who skied an attempted and rather disrespectful heave – Ben calling confidently and making no mistake. I naturally provided the latter, with Ben taking a nice stumping and a youngster succumbing to “guile” in a familiar fashion, the arc of his flailing bat reaching its zenith some days before the ball nestled gently against his middle stump.

As the wickets started to fall, so the spring in our steps returned, with even the more injured among our number “hunting it down” manfully. On the subject of injuries, a special mention here for Dom, who is already showing a nice line in groin strains – played two, strained two is straying into Churney territory even at this stage of the season. A double change brought Tonguester and Kumy to the party, each taking a wicket before the Findon skipper, having earlier been caught by Kumy off a huge steepler, called them in a few minutes early on 185-8.

Let us now, as we did then, consider tea: sandwiches, home-made cakes, pizza, sausages, salad, choc ices and tea in mugs. There may even have been some fresh fruit, although I confess that my focus was elsewhere. All this in a splendidly appointed club-house with, as already reported, a Spring Sprinter hand pump gracing the bar. Oh yes.

Settling on a batting order was a challenge to the skipper with the team both oozing with talent and lacking anyone I could, in all honesty, ask to come in after me. Decisions made – Riggers and Maf to open once more, with Tonguester and Nick (returning after some trivial injury or other) to follow and surely no-one else required? Our openers got us off to a decent start, both batting at the correct ends to ensure the slope supported their particular strengths; Riggers gracing the occasion with a series of typically elegant strokes through the offside and Maf threatening the score box at square leg.

We then had a wobble. After the wobble, Ben joined Nick with 3 wickets down and the two of them set about winning the game in their usual no nonsense fashion. For Ben, his first game of the season; for Nick, his first game in 20 months; for those on the side-lines, it was as if they’d never been away. Anyone who has seen these two in partnership will know the word – glorious. Wilfred Rhodes may have once said to George Hirst, “We’ll get ‘em in singles” but Ben surely said to Nick, “We’ll get ‘em by repeatedly smacking the ball into that field”. 97 high speed runs resulted with the target and rate-required tumbling until Ben tried to clear the score box once more (“My shot was somewhat agricultural”) and was bowled. Still plenty of batting to come and Nick, his eye well in, was finding the bowling much to his liking.

He's Back!

But remember, my friends, this is The Beamers we are talking about. Billy, deflated by the marathon drinking session he’d enjoyed with Marlon and Andy at Twickenham the previous day, the cycle from Worthing and an unproductive and painful afternoon in the field, did not survive Maf’s completely unnecessary exhortation from the side-lines and Marlon and Nick’s promising partnership did not survive a final attempted long ball from the latter. And so, as the “somewhat agricultural” smell from the surrounding fields became overwhelming, our innings subsided. Dom, severely hampered by his groin, and Marlon, severely hampered by the random shout of “Bowler’s Name” from someone who shall remain anonymous*, both went in short order, leaving Kumy and Rob Nic (“Ten? You’re batting me at ten?”) to see us home. 10 runs from 3 overs with 2 wickets in hand seemed doable, but the Findon skip had understandably rolled out some quality to save the game and, in spite of a lovely square drive from Kumy down the hill, we finished up 3 runs short with the match drawn.

As twilight descended, we retired to their bar to drink Spring Sprinter and Harveys with our splendid hosts and engage in a noisy and competitive game of pool with their youngsters before heading home – some of us for more ale I’m afraid – a happy band of Beamer brothers.

As We Waited for the Sun to Go Sinking

In other news, Maf has asked to be referred to as “Killer” from now on, which begs two questions – is it appropriate to choose your own nickname and how can someone who wins £15 at Pool be unable to pay his match fee? Still a hero though.

A&E

*It was Billy. Still a hero though.

Dreadful Score. Dreadful Beer. At Least We Played Cricket. (After a Fashion…)

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

It was do or die. After a series of drawn, if sometimes exciting games Chiggers had suggested a timed or overs game to get a result. How could we refuse? Victory was ours for the taking. Oh…

We won the toss and inserted the oppo, so far so good. The skipper had more bowlers than a skipper with lots of bowlers but of course the Chiggers can bat and when the first ball went for four visions of de Freitas and Slater came to mind. But despite four runs an over coming steadily (one boundary was quite close) we chipped away. The first bowling change reaped rewards with Andy getting two wickets in quick succession. Then we ran Rob A out!

Short sharp spells from Siddo, A&E, Gordy and Rob N all proved fruitful but those pesky Chiggers just kept coming. Tea was taken before the allotted 40 overs (yes we actually bowled a team out…) but with 182 on the board Chiggers were looking calm. Unlike the Beamers skipper who when looking at the batting order realised that despite more bowlers (etc. etc.) there weren’t actually a lot of those so-called specialist batsmen around…

Tea was a typically splendid A&E-sponsored affair and despite the alarm (I SAID DESPITE THE ALARM!), all was well with the world as cakes and ale tea were consumed in warm spring sunshine.

I know I’m waffling but if you knew what came next you’d be finding any old b%&*”ks to write about too.

So, to the Beamers innings then. Well although the line up, as they say, ‘looked good on paper’ it none the less looked pretty dreadful after a few minutes. Toungester and Maf opened and we were soon two down. Maf got a shooter (check with legal dept. – Ed) and then his colleague got himself run out / was cut off in his prime by a direct hit (delete as applicable).

Wickets fell with pleasing regularity from then on (if you were a Chig) whereas from my perspective a few Beamers were a little generous. Suffice to say not all of the forty overs were used and we ended up a little short of the target.*

If you thought it couldn’t get any worse we went to the pub and had to drink Speckled Hen on keg…

* or, as it says on the Chiggers website, we were ‘crushed’.

Rob Nic.