Arriving at the lovely setting of Addiscombe CC to play the first return fixture of the season, you could be forgiven to mocking my comment of ‘I’ve just got a good feeling about today’.

 

Addiscombe were riding high in the table, we were 8th and looking over our shoulders after 2 rather disappointing draws where our batting continued to misfire. Add to that the fact it was 20 minutes before start time and we barely had half a team there.

Coming off the back of a recent problem solving course, it became clear that although there was a clear and unhelpful blame culture from those in the car, that the simple and effective counter measure was ‘Never give a kiwi the sat nav to control’.

Despite the troubles we had 11 people just about ready to take the field at 1pm after Ryan had yet again won the toss and elected unsurprisingly to field. However, Henri’s first over reflected someone who was part in Bulgaria part Croydon!

Shazad made the initial strike having Hurrion caught behind with the score on 9 and that immediately became a double strike as the dangerous Richard Johnson was trapped in front first ball. It was a good start but we were unable to capitalize instantly. The skipper Poulton is a renown battler and was gutsing it out there despite being unable to find the middle of the bat. Rhodes also after a tricky start, began to look assured as he crashed his way to a run a ball 31.

Batesy boy then came to the fore as Rhodes skied his slower ball to the away from slip but still safe hands of Morlers. Benham quickly followed for a duck and when Poulton slashed wildly at Morlers 4th ball, Addiscombe were struggling at 75 for 5. However, they bat down the order, with the Alistair Cook like Moore coming in at 7, he and Woking’s nemesis Crowie put on 50 for the 6 wicket to put Addiscombe back on track.

Now the skipper struck having Moore smartly taken by Giles before ex Surrey player Rupesh Amin inexplicably hit his 5th ball straight to Woodsy. 129 for 7 Woking were in pole position.

However, Crowie batted really well, for once not relying on good fortune from the umpires. There was an incredible moment as he reached 50, there were quite a few supporters watching and such was their position around the ground that the applause rang around the bowl producing the most hearty applause I have ever heard at this level. Great to see, albeit against us.

Crowie’s partnership with ‘Mendis’ put Addiscombe back in control and was extremely unlucky to miss out on a century as he holed out to a very good catch by Sideshow at long off. Addiscombe’s skipper soon declared on 216 for 9, leaving us 50 overs to chase the runs.

On paper it was an exciting declaration, although with our batting this year, having only topped 200 once in the previous 9 games, I think Addiscombe felt fairly confident.

There then followed an excellent tea with a hearty selection of chicken options! Just up my strasse and having been able to smell the chicken cooking from the 35th over, I spent the last hour of the innings running from fine leg to fine leg to make sure that I had built up an appetite!

By the time Morlers and I emerged from regailing stories of cricketing past whilst eating our own bodyweight in chicken (pleasure to play with you again James), we were surprised to find that we had not lost any wickets. This was a very strange feeling! Addiscombe had started with the new ball and the left arm spin of Amin. Ryan and Woodsy saw this off without alarm and at 39 for 0 off 12 overs the new ball was taken and Ryan was bowled by Rhodes with the first ball, with the unusual claim that he had done the openers job of “seeing off the old ball”.

For once ‘one did not bring two’ as Batesy boy joined the Woodsman who was looking in his best nick of the season. Unfortunately this proved to be his downfall as he cracked one into the gully and was out for 30.

By now the skip and I were strolling around the ground as Sideshow started a bit nervously and Batesy was yet to find his touch after a couple of ducks. However, gradually they became more assured. As Batesy boy crashed two fours and Sideshow played the most exquisite cover drive of the day, Ryan and I decided we had found our lucky position and that we were to stay there until we lost a wicket.

90 runs later a frozen Pogson and a desparate for the loo Badger could finally move as John fell for 28. Toby joined BB and became the 5th member of the top 5 to pass 20 before sacrificing himself with a needless run out. With 46 required from 7 overs it was very much game on, especially with Qais heading out to bat.

After a couple of thick edges from Qais it was down to a run a ball 21 off 21. With 6 wickets left a fairly straightforward task…….. oh but not for W&H. An over later and with only 2 runs added to the score, 3 more wickets had fallen as Qais played an unnecessary reverse scoop, Morlers missed his first ball and Batesy holed out for a very good 75.

With all four results possible the pressure rose, but so did Giles and Henri as they scampered 2s and Henri crashed one four. Once again it was down to one a ball and then Henri looked to the skies and swung whilst the ball dismantled his stumps.

4 required to win and only one man their for the job, the man whose ‘cooing’ had been winding up the opposition skipper all innings, Shazad ‘the Treatment’ Hussein. The bowler ran up released the ball and Shazad swung, connected and the ball went away to backward square leg with a fielder converging on the ball, it somehow gathered speed due to Shazad’s unique topspin and went over the rope despite the fielders despairing dive and we had won by 2 wickets with 3 balls left.

The celebrations were jubilant, it was the win that we had been searching for, a performance that showed off our talent with both bat and ball against one of the leagues best teams. The win propelled us upwards in the table and gave the half term report a more creditable reading.

All that was left to do was have a couple of social drinks with umpires and oppo and wait for the inevitable end of game question from Giles…..

“Does anyone have any 70 fancy dress gear in their car that I can borrow?”

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