WHCC 257-6 - A Khan 89, T Woods 45

Worcester Park 179 AO - P Fortescue 6-49

by Paul Fortescue

Every time the 3rd XI has rolled over this year, we've come back strongly in the next fixture. Having lost to Old Wimbledonians in quite shocking fashion last week, we had to beat Worcester Park to keep our miniscule hopes of promotion alive. Worcester Park were 4th coming into the fixture and a win for them would see them take 3rd place from us.

Saturday morning was a complete farce is every sense of the word. From the moment that Hobbsy rang at ten to nine. Munge ended up in the 2's, and the best part was having the Bird Caravan on the phone from mid Croydon  somewhere asking for directions to Whitgifts. Marvellous. Still, by 12.45 we had 11 players, all the necessary kit and the promise of tea to be delivered later. We even had an opposition and a track, replete with mushrooms as seems to be in vogue at the park. Clearly 4 weeks of baking sunshine is perfect Mushroom weather.

Earlier in the season, winning the toss would have led with little thought to the insertion of the opposition, but with it all but over, and considering the performances of the side, the skipper took the choice to bowl second. It's always so much more satisfying to win the game by taking 10 wickets, and in doing so you invariably play all the cricket.

We had a strong batting line up but didn't get off to the best start. 2nd ball saw one keep low to Worgy, who was paying back and pushing forward - a fairly easy LBW for Couch to give. Rob Staples joined Trevor at the crease and between them they moved the score to 87, before Trevor was caught in the deep for 45. Rob followed the over after for 37. Matt joined Awais in the middle and in 14 overs they took the score from 88 to 150+, Matt out, contributing 20. Awais featured in another 50 partnership with guest Ed McGregor, for once being outscored as they consumed 7 overs, with Ed making 30 and Awais completing his half century for the 3's.

The dismissal brought Woods Jnr to the crease. 32 runs scored in 3 or so overs tells it's own story as Awais moved from 61 to 89 in no time at all. He was eventually out C&B having falled just short of 100 3 times in five innings for the club and is surely the next candidate to join the 2nd XI survival campaign.

Andy Walker provided a marvellous cameo, scoring 7 runs including a fantastic 6, then falling over, spraining his thumb and providing Woods with a great opportunity to run himself out, which Woods accepted by the odd yard. The innings closed on 257 with Couch furiously disappointed at not getting a crack at a bowling attack, conservatively described as mediocre at best.

Their innings was somewhat enigmatic. W&H opened up with the spin twins, Dunbar and Woods. Woods adopted the pitch it up and let him smack it to a fielder approach, only let down by the absence of fielders, whilst Dunbar served up a mixed bag, his first five overs going for 1, 4, a maiden, then 8 and a no ball with a wicket off a full toss, hen 12, but the  breakthrough had been achieved.

After 15 overs the score was 60-1, the new ball came into Couch's possession and he was promptly deposited into White Rose Lane as Worcs Pk set about collecting air miles. The second wicket didn't fall until the 25th over, the left handed number three batsman proving that a mistimed chirp can make anyone look like a monkey's arse:

The opener had scored an all airborne 50 by this point, and was applauded by the skipper with " Well done mate, 50 runs and 200 air miles"

Number 3......smacks skipper back for 4. Very nice drive.......

Skipper...." Very good. 1 along the floor....."

Skipper's mate ".... If you get your foot across, you might do that more ofter....."

Batsman to skipper........" You should try batting next year!"

Next ball. Ta ta. Caught by Walker behind the stumps in quite the most physically intimidating manner possible.

The game changed at this point.  The score was 106-2 and Worcester looked like they were going to win it. Then, the opener, on 50+ just became subdued. Number 4,5 &6 contributed a total of 0 runs between them and when Couch finally had him trapped in front, 10 overs later, the score had changed from 106-1 to 130-6. 7 & 8 provided some resistance, totalling 43 between them but when both fell to Fortescue in the penultimate over, Dunbar was left with a simple equation. 1 wicket, 6 balls.

The oppo captain felt that this was an appropriate time to interject. Apparently Dunbar's figures were in green in the Worcester park scorebook......???!!!?? But then, last time we played this side, he came from tea in his wellies.

1st ball. Very very good LBW shout. Everybody within 5 yards of the bat. Loud it was.

2nd ball. Even better shout. Even louder. Awais gives the umpire the charge. The umpire gives Awais ( and the rest of us) nothing.

3rd ball. Big swish, gentle contact of ball to off stump and Dunbar giving the charge down the wicket. W&H win by 79 runs with 3 ball remaining. Marvellous.

So really,  that's that. 3rd place secured. Wimbledon and Dulwich set the challenging totals of 95 and 96 to chase so nothing to play for except next year, and places in the 3's 4's game on September 6th. Thanks to Ed for making an appearance, and playing probably the best shot (sweet sweep) ever seen at the park. Can you play for our 2's next week?

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