The new era in the City of London is known as PNR – post Northern Rock. The resultant financial crash and widespread depression is plain for all to see. There is a similar cloud over W&H. Captain Matt is so depressed at the loss of his wee pal, that he did a “footballer” on his teammates this week (he feigned injury). Whilst sitting on the touchline holding his knee, we all knew that inside he was pining.
It had been very wet overnight – the U13 game was cancelled due to puddles on the pitch, much to the disgust of the youngest Hargan who, having been supposed to play 4 matches over the weekend, now looked like he’d play none. The late call off of the invisible Paul (aka Tony) with a “sore shoulder” (we believe he also plays football) led to a vacancy. Two Hargans fought over one place until Billy decided he was also injured and gave up his place in the team so Sideshow and Angus could both play.
The absence of Matt allowed Smithy to take up the Captaincy. Old Wimbledonians won the toss and decided to bat and play started almost on time – a rarity this season. The pitch had dried out pretty well and the bowlers had some, but not a lot, of help. OW had an opener who took friendliness and bonhomie to a new level, but he began by hitting a lot of balls very hard! The game took on a familiar twist – Albert took the new ball and bagged the first wicket. It was an excellent catch by Hodgkiss Mark II (known to his friend and colleagues as Charlie McKeith). Happy was then joined by Ferguson and together they looked like they were going to bat W&H out of the game well before 4pm. Ferguson eventually fell for 49 (he did deserve a 50) to Smithy and guess what, there was a suspicion of some turn! Smithy and Charlie really bowled well to put the brakes on and both of them beat the bat frequently. Jerry came in to the attack and the opener, who had by this time got a bit bogged down to some top quality stuff from Charlie, saw his chance. Like so many before him, his eyes lit up, he mistimed it and the prowling Ferrari did the rest in the covers. Charlie’s left arm spin was causing all sorts of problems – some of them for Peter – and he ended up with top figures of 4 for 29 off 14 overs. It would have been 5, but for youngest Hargan dropping a new batsman first ball! There was method in his madness as when he came on to bowl, Angus beat the aforementioned batsman with a well flighted leg spinner to give Peter yet another stumping victim. The Ferrrari took a second catch and the jury returned a verdict of not proven on a potential charge of jug avoidance when he went a bit lamely after a 3rd one.
Tea was, as usual on a Sunday at Brewery Road, a real feast and, well fuelled and ready for the challenge, W&H went out to bat.
OW had a fairly tight attack and Sam went fishing early on and was on his Way (bet that one’s new on the family!). Albert walked to the crease in the second over. Albert and Neil (making a welcome appearance on a Sunday) steadied the ship until Albert played on having scored 17. Charlie looked good for a short while getting 15 and Neil fell eventually for 22, before the wheels started to come off. The Ferrari had used up most of its fuel last week, and the Hargans never got off the starting grid.
When the Captain (elevated to number 10 these days) strolled out to bat there were 10 overs left. The spectators, umpires and fellow players were ready to get into the bar early, but it was not to be. Smithy and Hamza decided to tough it out and they withstood some good bowling to see W&H home for a draw. Hamza ended up joint top scorer on 22 no and Smithy’s 1no will be talked about (mostly by him) for a long time. OW probably set a new Sunday record for stupid appeals – the best ones being from the square leg who appealed for lbw even if the bowler and keeper did not. At least we all had a good laugh about it.
The moment of the match was a piece of handiwork by the Captain when fielding close in – he managed to touch the ball with every part of his anatomy, before putting it down. Next year, watch him on Britain’s Got Talent.
Thanks again to Erica for scoring and to our young ladies for a fantastic tea. We’re on the road next Sunday – away to near neighbours, Valley End. Smithy, as he told everyone several times will not be playing as he’s “away in Philadelphia” - we assume the city, not the film. Our real Skipper is, as it turns out really injured, and won't be playing either - guess who's going to get a bowl!