The Cowboys Ride Again
The Saturday Team beat Churchways by 2 wickets. The full scorecard is here.
Ah, Child! Let me tell you of a time when the Cowboys played the away fixture against Churchways, way back before the great flood. The Cowboys were 51 for 5 at drinks and limped to 122. The foe then went out and waved the bat with great flamboyance and gay abandon but in the end they self-destructed and the Cowboys narrowly won the day.
After a run of 6 games which were given to the weather, what is this large shining orb in the sky? What is this strangely pleasant warming sensation on the skin? What incantations had been said to appease Great Green Gibbo? What sacrifices had been made on the alter at The Promised Plough? It wasn’t virgins that is for certain.
Well, it may have been sunny but there was still a badger’s arse where the pitch should have been. Although there had been no rain since Wednesday the Winford pitch was still very soft and beginning to steam in the tropical style. This meant that Great Greeb Gibbo had to win the toss and put the foe into bat which is surprisingly exactly what happened.
Just as the Cowboys had done in the away fixture the foe’s top and middle order self-destructed, faltering to 63 off 7 and then 83 for 9. Garnier was swinging away up the hill and Budge charging down it. Budge struggled a bit with the accumulated cobwebs of the last 6 weeks visibly blowing in the wind. Garnier fared better with 2 wickets and when TT replaced Budge coming down the hill he bowled an incredible 8 overs, 4 maidens, 3 wickets for just 5 runs.
Iggy contributed two stunning slip catches and Angelo, Grove, Toole and Preece held onto more or less regulation catches. The foe’s batsmen did display an odd generosity in that they showed exactly where they were going to provide a catch the ball before they were out. On a pitch where it was proving difficult to get it away the temptation was to hit one and then try and hit the next one harder, lofting it slightly and getting caught.
At drinks Angelo was sent into dry dock for a refit and emerged back onto the field with wicket keeping pads straining at the seams on his trousers and a helmet. The foe’s batsman looked perplexed as Robo Cop moved into position 3 inches from the bat and proceeded to smoke a cigarette from somewhere out of view under his helmet. A few balls later the batsman hammered a short one from Kahlu straight at Angelo’s head but luckily, with a puff of smoke, he took evasive action. The next over Kahlu decided to give up spin and switched to pace, however he didn’t tell anyone and a confused Gibbo hurriedly rearranged the field for the second ball of the over.
This was not the only thing taxing Gibbo’s meagre brain and as the Sun desiccated what little resides in his head he seemed to give up trying to count the overs. Instead he randomly called bowling changes as the scorers waved their arms franticly to indicate that his choices were already bowled out.
The foe put on an epic last wicket stand of 29 which ended in the last over with a run out. They had managed to reach 112 aided by a dropped catch and the fact that LBWs seemed to be proving problematic; or the foe’s umpires were failing to have “aberrations”.
Tea was all a bit foreign with baguettes again and a Spanish omelette which the effete were calling a tortilla. Any sane person would have just called it eggy veg but there is a disturbing level of pretention in the Saturday team. Even one of our spectators (RT2) turned up with a really thick book which nobody saw him open all day. Ooo, like everyone was so impressed. For Gibbo’s sake man, you have come to watch the exciting spectacle that is cricket! Not prance around like a mobile library.
It was with no small amount of terror that Grove and Preece strode manfully to the crease, or at least Preece swaggered in the Shrewsbury style and Grove minced rather. Would they be able to remember how to bat? Would they keep RT2 from his tome? Would the Foe’s decision to have a new ball for both innings make any difference?
Nobody quite knows how Preece managed to get out; he seemed to execute a perfectly decent forward defensive on his first ball and somehow managed to play on. So it was that Great Green Gibbo arrived omnipotently at the crease decreeing “we shall get there in the 39th over” and that Grove should bat like an Amish: that is without style or finesse and certainly without enjoyment. Plain, very plain. Very very plain. Very very very plain. 34 balls later Grove managed to get off the mark and as the crowd went wild Gibbo almost ran him out going for a second. Even with RT2 threatening to open his book and start pretending he can read Gibbo told Grove to keep Amish. In the 16th over Grove snapped and said, “I can’t take any more”. Three balls later Grove was bowled swinging at a straight one that didn’t get up much; he had scored 3 off 54 balls (which according to the League website was a highlight).
Tall Toole then strode to the crease and hit the first ball he faced for 4. “Fancy arsed Tawt”, Grove was heard to mutter under his breath as the foe tittered. The innings trundled on as everyone wilted under the unaccustomed heat and RT2 used his enormous unread tome to provide enough shade for ten people. The pitch started drying out and as it did so the bounce began to disappear and scoring runs became no easier. Even so all was going swimmingly, or at least treading water, until Grove went out to Umpire in the 27th over and gave Toole out LBW in what was described later by the Fines Führer (Garnier) as an “aberration”. Aberration or not this precipitated a collapse of the middle order with Iggy (apparently out to another “aberration” but this time not Grove’s), Angelo and Gretch getting ducks and TT and Kahlu sharing 8 runs.
With 5 overs to go, having given two batsmen out and getting moaned at by the foe for giving wides Grove snapped for the second time in the afternoon and ran away leaving Angelo (who was nursing a suspected broken thumb) to see the match out as umpire. It looked as though the Cowboys had blown it, needing 20 odd off the last 4 and then 6 off the last over; the ball was still proving almost impossible to get away… But what is this? The Foe seems to have miscounted and a new bowler is having to bowl the last over. Gibbo smashed the first ball for a four then hit a single. Garnier, wondering what all the fuss was about and smelling beer hoicked the 3rd ball over the field for 4 runs and it was all over. “Fancy arsed Tawt”, Grove was heard to mutter for a second time in the afternoon.
So it was that Great Green Gibbo’s prophecy was wrong because the Cowboys got the runs in the 40th over and not the 39th. He did hit an unbeaten 36 off 122 balls though and won man of the match, although the extras had top scored in both innings so perhaps they should have won. Iggy’s catching and Garnier’s winning 4 shared the cider moment.
As the sun set and the Cowboys supped beer from the plastic cup at Winford for the last time this season Garnier sneakily nicked RT2’s massive novel, put some ham that was left over from tea between its pages and scoffed it.