The Saturday Team beat Wrington by 9 wickets. Read the full scorecard here.
As the good Eastonites met outside The Promised Plough they expressed surprise that they had not received the customary email confirming selection. In fact each of the team had just turned up out of force of habit assuming they had been picked. But where was Green Gibbo? After a bemused wait the Celestial Nisan Micra came into view and Green Gibbo appeared among the Eastonites.
“Why did you not pick a team” asked the Eastonites of Green Gibbo.
“Well I did. But I sent the email from my phone, so you won’t have got it” replied Green Gibbo.
“Why did you not send a text from your phone”, continued the Eastonites, “then we would have got it”.
“Why don’t you shut up and get in tune with the cosmos man” snapped Green Gibbo. The Big G then went on to relate the story of the booze odyssey that he had been on the previous night. Enjoying the charms of a boat trip on the river he had lost track of time, returning to the lock on the way home they found it closed for the night. They cruised the river for a while, lost and without direction. Eventually Green Gibbo ran aground and had to fight off a Cyclops. He then sailed on some more before landing again where he was held captive by a nymph called Calypso who fell in love with him. Anyway to cut a very very long story short he finally got home and found a text from Garnier saying he had been grounded by the Flight Controller because his Venturi Tube was blocked and there was no way to assess his wind speed. Hopefully a little deft work with a pipe cleaner will see Garnier declared fit to fly for next weekend and that the velocity of his wind will be duly logged.
Back at The Plough Green Gibbo began a belated emergency team selection. After a few hurried phone calls he had the full XI and the Eastonites headed for Wrington through the Balloon festival traffic. Green Gibbo had everyone stuff their ears with cheese just in case they passed any Sirens on the way. Most of the team opted for Cheddar but Green Gibbo, being affected, insisted on using Boursin, in the French style. “My ears will chaff terribly if I but a hard cheese in there” he said.
Once at Wrington their skipper told us that they had 17 players unavailable for selection due to a wedding in the village and they only had 10 in the team. There were then emotional scenes at the toss as the Foe’s skipper explained to Green Gibbo that they had been guilty of not playing cricket in the correct spirit in the past and that they were just trying to play for the joy of it this season. “We have seen the light and will be true believers in the ways of Green Gibbo” he blubbered.
“Yeh, very touching I’m sure” said Green Gibbo unsympathetically while spooning soft garlic infused cheese out of his ears. “Now toss the effing coin and I’ll have heads”. Heads it was and the Foe, without mercy, were put into bat.
So it was that an enfeebled foe faced RT2 at full speed from one end and Kahlu turning the ball through 90 degrees from the other. Poor Foe.
It was not long before Kahlu bowled one of the openers with a wonder ball that turned a mile and then delicately clipped the bails off.
RT2 then removed the other opener with the help of Grove’s right hand that plucked the ball from the air as it shot over his head. “I was just putting my hand up to ask to go to the toilet” explained Grove. “Oh, bloody hell, here we bloody go again” said Green Gibbo “have you only got one joke about catching the ball at full stretch above your head”. Grove limply bowed his head in shame, for it is true, he does only have one joke about catching the ball at full stretch above his head.
The Foe’s skipper then hacked a ball back into his own stumps off RT2’s bowling however, the bails stayed firmly rooted to the stumps. Green Gibbo, unimpressed by the big fella’s efforts, called Budge on for the next over at the same end and low and behold the Foe’s skipper hacked the ball back onto his own stumps again, this time removing the bails. Great captaincy from Great Green Gibbo.
Budge also managed a stunning run out by throwing the ball with a Seles grunt at the wicket keepers end while everyone shouted “bowler’s end”. But so accurate and vicious was the throw that the flailing batsman was out by an inch. Budge’s feet (and hands and all manner of limbs) thus brought the next batsman to the crease. He looked like Captain Cool batting in sunglasses; he took guard against Kalhu and was bowled by the second wonder ball of the innings. Pitching in the huge foot marks left by RT2 it turned from a foot outside leg to clip the bails from off stump. Captain Cool stood at the crease in disbelief for a few minutes, his bottom jaw quivering, before his fragile mind could comprehend what had just happened.
Another wicket for Budge with a catch by RT2 convinced Great Green Gibbo that there were easy wickets and he brought himself on to bowl. He quickly got two wickets: one with a rank full toss (which he called an in-swinging yorker) and one with a rank long hop that failed to bounce (which he called Fabien).
The Foe’s number 9, and last batsman, who was 79 and looked like he had been press ganged as he had popped out to get a paper. He strode to the crease manfully, took his guard and they to everyone’s shock took a sharp single. He then set out his stall to bat out the remaining 13 overs but was bowled by a good ball from TT. The Foe were all out (9 wickets) for 55 in 28 overs.
Those of you who know about the scourge of the foreign influence on the English Cricket tea will know that the dubious practice of having French sticks (or baguettes if your brain has been enfeebled by foreign travel or super market advertising campaigns) began at Wrington. Matters were made worse by plum cherry tomatoes which are Italian and therefore have no place in a cricket tea, for Gibbo’s sake what is wrong with proper round English cherry tomatoes? There was also Pâté which is so French that there is not even an English word for it; Green Gibbo stuffed some of this into his ears for the journey home.
And so Grove and Iggy strode manfully out to bat. Or at least Iggy swaggered in the Scouse style and Grove mince rather. Iggy remember was on a Tripple Buttock; which is three golden ducks in a row. As Iggy successfully defended the first ball he faced there was a deafening raw from the “Olympic” crowd who had been inspired and now demanded legacy. Once the threat of a golden duck was out of the way Iggy batted like a man reprieved from a death sentence and the Cowboys got the runs in 11 overs; Iggy getting 38 of them.
It would have been a 10 wicket victory too, if Grove had not been out to a ‘plumb aberration’ (or a ‘cherry plum aberration’). Fed up of everything being flung down leg and no wides being given because of the new found feeling of love for the enfeebled foe, Grove premeditated one that was not going down leg at all, it was dead straight.
As the Eastonites drank complementary beer, curtesy of the Foe’s skipper, Iggy got man of the match for batting and Kahlu got the cider moment for one of his wonder ball or other.
“Bloody hell” mused Iggy, “now there is nobody left to hate”.
Ubberpops led a team toHazelbry Brian
Just to let you know that we did get a team down there for the day/night event. It was a really good day/night. Some of us camped over and a few had to get back for early starts on Sunday.
The first match was Shaftesbury v Horsingham. Shaftesbury batted first and got 198 in 20, can’t remember wickets but not many. Biffing big sixes over the thatched cottage. I reckon we all would have bet our houses on Shaftesbury winning the competition at that point but blow me down if Horsingham didn’t get it.
Second match, and a few pints later, Cowboys v Haze. Haze batted first, lost a load of wickets, maybe eight or nine, and got about 170. Despite a good start the Cowboys just about got 100.
Final match then. Horsingham v Haze under floodlights, a dangerous looking experience. Haze batted first and, to be honest I can’t remember the score, no where near as high scoring as earlier matches though on account of it being so difficult to see. Anyhow, Horsingham are batting now and need not very many from the last over. JImmer valiantly gives himself the duty of bowling it. He bowls really tight, restricts them within the total and Haze win the competition. Who’d have believed it.
There must be about six white cricket balls in the front garden of the thatched cottage and how on earth a small child didn’t get crowned while playing in the swings is a miracle. Cricket balls flying round the place narrowly missing picnicking families, joyful children and drunk people.
We all got drunk, woke up with a hangover and drove back to Bristol to play league cricket.
The Sunday First Team beat Failand and Portbury by 7 wickets. The full scorecard is here.
Another Sunday, another game. Failand and Portbury 3rds away. Our brave leader had been reduced to cheerleader by virtue of a slipped gizmo in his knee which left Deano in full charge of proceedings in the middle. How would a Sunday 1st team respond to this trauma? Was there another twist to be had in this oh so damp and stuccato season. Arrival at a verdant Horse Race Lane ground in muggy conditions left Dean in no doubt as to what to do and upon winning an important toss, the Cowboys stroll nonchalantly into the field with a super strong bowling line up. I felt the omens were positive upon hearing the soulful ‘prruk prruk’ eminating without echo from a pair of ravens atop sturdy pitchside deciduous foliage, unruffled by even the merest gossamer breeze. Without fear of contradiction, it is clear to state that with a combined age of 100, the opening experienced duo of Stratto et moi is likely to be the oldest in Cowboy history. Indeed it breaks the record every time it happens.
And in the tradition of middle-aged men, miserly bowling on a bowler friendly pitch ensued. Two opening full 8 over spells left the opposition in an already below par if not desperate state, 41 for 2. Both wickets fell to Martin, placed accurately into the hands of Matt Davey at midwicket. Justin proved himself to be the oracle of one such event, but as his commentary was near seamless, something was likely to prove prophetic, though it’s realisation the very next ball was unusually immediate.
An almighty downpour amid this opening gambit left the pitch damp in the middle but still nearly dry at each crease, and when Young Robert and Matt replaced the oldsters, the pace of the bowling was notched up a gear at one end and several gearboxes at the other. Among the gentle cantankerousness displayed by one senior gentlemen of the foe, it is suggested that our not so secret weapon RT2 may well play at a higher level on a Saturday. Iggy assuredly and quickly dissuaded said senior gent from such assumptions by informing him that Rob was on the pitch at Wrington yesterday in full disheveled Cowboy condition. Indeed as if to prove it, Rob left his boots there as evidence.
A forceful and fortunate LBW shout at Matt’s end provided him with a breakthrough, the unlucky and decent no 3 batsman was triggered by a young umpire unaware of any inside edges, as were we. The talk between the slips, in gathering gloom, was that we’re more likely to die from, than catch, an edged delivery. Fortunately, Rob’s little brother Tom was behind the timbers and appeared to be seeing the ball a tad quicker and I was confident that he could save Mark from hospitalisation. In view of even Tom’s inability to dive as far as my position, I took a valiant step backwards.
RT2 dispatched the dangerous Mr. Smith with a timely full pitched fizzer, soon after another wicket in the same fashion. Matt cleaned up another and so Iggy and Old Ned Ormesher were employed in as worthy replacements so we could save a couple of overs of pace for the end. Iggy took a wicket with a sharpish lifting delivery that gloved the unwitting batter. The looping trajectory of the ball seemed to be taking it to ground until Mark stuck out his right hand and pouched it with absolute aplomb. Steve O kept one the other end fairly quiet in the face of the only concerted effort at batting attack.
The pair at the wicket prodded and poked about with an occasional good swing. Full credit goes out to Ivor Chivers of F&P who stopped the rot and remained intact in body a decent 34 not out. Despite his advancing years, he saw his side through to a low score of 113 from 40 overs. This total had been clipped by good bowling and excellent fielding particularly from Andy Chester, quiet and assured, and Justin, never quiet, fuelled by nicotine. A special mention to Tom Taylor for lithe athleticism with the gloves which was a joy to behold.
Tea would have brought a tear to the eye of many a webgimp. There are no bagettes in this enclave where the rustling pages of The Mail On Sunday is deafening. Cake is bountiful as the Cowboys ponder and predict the next couple of hours cricket.
Justin with RT2 got away to a steady start before Rob’s myopia regarding cow corner afforded him a fantastic opportunity to time a stroke beautifully down to a waiting fielder who took an effortless catch. Mark replaced Rob and didn’t last too long before being bowled by an off stump Yorker thanks mainly to a bit of a swipe across the line. The youngster hurling it was doing a decent job with briskish medium paced seamers, one of which ‘dun Justin up like a kippa’, But Justin has made steady improvements in batting confidence this year and was sticking to the task of obdurate opener.
And now a brief interlude for a playground style skipping song.
Along came Matt,
Armed with a bat, Got five runs
And that was that.
The hysterical drone of theatrical dog-fighting planes over Ashton Court gave way to the serenity that is balloons rising in the sky and at 55 for 3, there was a tiny sliver of hope for Failand. That’s how it must have appeared to them, but Tom and Justin took full control of the situation, pushing, defending and driving with an ease and calmness which rendered the onlooking batsmen-to-be redundant. They ran between the creases with no hiccups until…. Justin achieved his half century courtesy of an overthrow, the effort of which had cramped up some manner of musculature in a leg, and he had to retire. There were mandatory grumbles on the pitch from one or two Grumpy Elderly Chaps as Justin momentarily fell short of complete obligation to cricketing etiquette by not asking permission to leave the field. Tsk Tsk! He was replaced by Iggy who ably performed a fairly thankless task finishing 2 not out alongside the Boy Tom with an impressive debut 31 not out to add to his erstwhile prowess as a keeper.
Suffice to say, the Cowboys never looked stretched in a very comfortable victory which has taken them to third in a tight table. Dean has presided in captaincy with calmness and confidence. A stern test of his patience awaits next week against Carsons, but that’s next week. This week, let’s kick back and enjoy a win on a pleasant summer evening aside a quiet English country lane.