W&H 194 - 7 Dec - M Hodgkiss 35, M Allan 48

 Thameside Wicketeers 119 AO  - J Hargan 3 -23, P Smith 3-21


Today’s game was bizarre from the outset. Where was the panic? All the players were…well, present, even Salaam. There was a pitch. At 1.30 there was even evidence that the oppo believed the fixtures was at our place too. Surely this couldn’t last.

The captain won the toss. Chose to bat. The high pitched shriek of ipod based teeny bopper pop music reassured all that tea preparation was underway. The sun came out. Smithy debated fetching his shades, so the sun went in.

Salaam and Dave Bennett opened up. Interestingly, there’s only one Salaam and one David in the side but I still felt the need to provide clarification about which Dave opened, whilst everyone reading this knows full well who Salaam is. The other Dave has long since lost the right to be called Dave, and is universally referred to as Ferrari, in deference to his …….well, not Ferrari.

Jerry just about managed to make sure you had to read this drivel by passing on the match report duties as the opening bowler marked out his run.  Dave and Salaam made a predictable start, Salaam chipping one through the air through fine leg, and another.  The teeny bop sounded like Oasis on speed.

W&H scored 180 or so for …five or so? Most people got a few – Hodgkiss with some classy strokes in the mid thirties predictable cameo, and Matt one particularly majestic straight six, which he considerately made sure bounced the right way off the oak tree between the sight screen and the nets. Lloyd chipped in late on with a pavilion thudding slap for four off his legs, and Billy took good advantage of  some looser stuff in notching  a few. Everyone contributed; the good news being that 10 and 11 didn’t even need to change.

Tea featured a Ferrari campaign to remove WHCC from the table near the toilet to the table near the window. There  was a variety of offspring present, ensuring that their parents didn’t over indulge, and Erika made a significant impact on the egg sandwiches and lemon cake. She didn’t trouble herself so far as the pizza was concerned.  Bennett and Hargan Jnr (previously known as Sideshow) continued with the Cake Boy Worgan strategy for maximum calorific intake and Hodgekiss announced that he’d never encountered a jaffa cake before attending WHCC. WHCC has been responsible for many firsts in young men’s lives, but surely none of this significance. Hodgekiss was informed that he wouldn’t be bowling: the issues may or may not have been related.

John Hargan opened up, bowling rapidly from the Johnson end. Salaam let it though and Fortescue fetched it from the hedge.  Fortescue started from the other end and there was copious collecting from hedges. Hargan made inroads, inviting the bat to slap a long hop to Hodgekiss, who took this as an opportunity to suggest that he might like to bowl, so Hargan changed tack, getting a full toss juggled by Dave Bennet. Since I will absolutely get the sequence wrong, Hodgekiss took 4 catches, 3 of which were very good, even drawing silence from the prowling Johnson.  One batsman can consider himself very unlucky to be c Hargan Snr, b Smith in another episode of excellent cricket. Jerry was his usual unplayable self, featuring searing pace. Hodgekiss continued to warm up, keen, eager and ultimately frustrated.  Thameside were dismissed for about 120, with Roy the last to go, oddly enough bowled Smith caught Hodgekiss.  A good cricketing performance which can surely only be improved upon with the return of stalwart Hall and emerging youngster Hamster next week, provided he’s picked ahead of Johnson.

In the meantime a series of krypton factor events had been arranged. The chairman failed conspicuously in the ‘removing the tap’ from the gas event, having excelled in the previous ‘cleaning the barbecue’ round. The academics in the side, Bennett, Hagen Jnr  and Hodgekiss set about the challenge of opening the shed – the starter for 10, and then their bonus round of putting the ropes round the square. Their efforts were limited by Bennets insistence that he juggled his catch deliberately, and Hodgekiss’s insistence that (a) he should’ve bowled and (b) the ropes round the square were to keep the foxes out. These efforts provided humorous viewing for those in the bar until Billy took pity on his son and played the ‘essay in tomorrow’ joker and  dispatched him off with mum. Hodgekiss was undoubtedly explaining which end he might have preferred as he fell over trying to put a post into a hole.

In summary – bit chilly, won with plenty to spare. Game played in excellent spirits and teenagers making idiots of themselves. Good Sunday stuff – seriously though, can anyone see a team with Johnson, Salaam, Tanzeel and Hamster fielding for 50 overs without a fight?

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