After last Sunday’s win over West Reading, Captain Matt rang the changes. More correctly availability, or lack thereof, did it for him. Having seen media reports during the week, our Skipper was concerned. Firstly the heading in his normal Daily Star spoke of a huge increase in the Northern Rock balance sheet. Further investigation revealed that Mr Cochrane has capitalised the expenditure on the jug (see last week’s report) and, even although the contents were consumed rather quickly, this jug is now considered a pretty good asset by the banking community. The second heading was from the Sun, his other daily paper. “Ferrari in Quit Threat” - surely not. Again further investigation required. It seems rule changes have led Ferrari to consider whether or not to continue in the Sport. The rule changes in question are his proposal that all left handed batsmen over 50 be allowed three lives, that fielders over 50 be allowed the “one hand one bounce” rule in taking catches and that all shots hit behind square on the off side count double. I must admit to some sympathy with the suggestions.
Our scorer Erica, accompanied as always by Connie who has not yet chewed through another leash, hoped that there were less byes and no-balls this week. We once again need to thank her for sticking to the task when it got fairly difficult and cold! Hopefully, the new numbers will be there for next week so the scorebox will be fully operational again.
The West theme continued in this week’s opposition – West London and the game took on a familiar theme. The weather was bad and we started a bit late. Once again, our 2009 Player of the Year elect, Albie was selected at number 3 and once again he strolled out to bat before he could blink. Another dismal opening performance. Albie and John started the repair work against a fairly good attack. John played sensibly again and looked good in his 37 off 52 balls. Jamie came and went before Ferrari zoomed to the middle and announced his presence with a 4 behind square on the off side. When he fell, bowled for 7, the Skipper went in. Albie meanwhile went on his merry way. He passed 50 and kept going, working well with the lads to reach a much deserved and excellent ton with a 4 through third man. His 106 not out was almost chanceless and he was well supported by Jack Allen, Hamza, Jerry and Matt. The score ended up at 206 for 7 in 40 overs. Would it be enough on a damp and dismal day?
Once again tea was excellent with our young ladies looking after us well – the malt loaf and egg sandwiches were particularly noteworthy.
West London started extremely well. The opener, who had kept extremely well during our innings, looked a class bat and proceeded to hit some pretty good bowling from Jack, Matt and Hamza. He breezed past 50 and was looking like he could win it almost single handed until he lofted one out to Ferrari in the covers. His young partner had ridden his luck a fair bit, although it has to be said he had hit one or two glorious shots off his legs. Eventually he charged half way down the pitch to Jerry and was stumped with a couple of yards to spare. West London had a couple of good hitters and it looked for a long time that they would canter home. W&H had tried to keep them on track with a few dropped catches. Smithy tried to take one on the boundary, Jack had two hit hard at him in consecutive balls and Ferrari dropped a steepler. Jack Allen then recovered well to take an excellent and difficult catch and John took a good one for which he had to make a lot of ground. The value of straight bowling was, once again, in evidence. Star bowler was a surprise – no it wasn’t, it was Albie. He took 4 for 25 in a spell which helped peg back the West London batsmen. When Smithy came on close to the death, the game was in the balance. It did not look good when his first ball was whacked for 4, but he settled down and put in an excellent spell - taking 2 for 24, one being a caught and bowled which he held thanks to his cleavage. With 2 overs remaining the opposition needed 12 to win and took 8 off Smithy’s over – this included running 3 when to Smithy’s shout of “catch it” Jerry and Jamie both tried to oblige and collided. Fortunately, only pride was hurt. West London needed 4 to win off the final over to be bowled by John. After starting the over with a dot ball, he produced a quick yorker to remove the West London danger man for an excellent 29. The last man in followed next ball and W&H had won, rather surprisingly, by 3 runs.
Albie duly bought his jug and so too did Peter. We know not why, but enjoyed it nonetheless. Conversation was interesting – Smithy was heard to remark to Ferrari – “you can play with my helmet if you like”. Albie, ever the perfectionist moaned that he never got a catch!
On that note we called it a night.