By Chris Packham
Another day, and finally a game, but where was the kit? (Covent Garden) and the Captain? (Crouch End). North and Central London, were eventually united in the South London carpark, and having unsettled the opposition, who didn’t realise that the 2 o’clock start was purely notional, the toss was lost and we were put in.
On a doubtful looking pitch, Birtles R grabbed the ball and opened. At the other end Packham, the only one to turn up for the Camden no-show, on account of a communication oversight by the stand in fixture secretary, turned down the peace offering of opener, and Fox M reluctantly limbered up with a couple of friendly beamers, (at this stage Birtles R pointed out that this was unfair to batsmen). Both bowlers pinned back the openers with first blood to Fox, with a swerving unplayable delivery. Birtles then got a wicket. Followed by two more swerving – at least a foot – deliveries by Fox M which gained just reward. At 25 for 3, after 14 overs things looked fair for Salmalgundi, but could the succeeding bowlers match this economical opening partnership? – Fox 3 wickets, Birtles only 1.
Packham with a wonderful tight spell, (fixture secretary temp still in penance mode) justly merited his one wicket, It should have been more, (that’s enough – Editor). At the other end, Wroe C going down the hill maintained a consistent line but with no luck. Unfortunately after another unplayable ball, Packham retired hurt with over exertion – I think that’s what he said – this left the field wide open for Monahan J. A heart stopping moment.
Then we spotted him. A picture of blue rolling into sight. Yes, it was Amel who had heard that Ulrich hadn’t turned up, all reasonable excuses not accepted. He was prepared to lend his fielding expertise. After due deliberation Amel was stationed at the strategically important position of fine leg, leaving the field open for the Covent Garden Twirler. With a masterly display of flight with only, (I think) one full toss on the leg side. Monahan J struck with 2 wickets, but the opposition were now in the nineties. At the other end Monahan T, on sabbatical from Glasgow, baffled the batsmen with a disguised long hop. Not to be outdone the other (trained) architect struck to finish on level wicket pegging with Fox M.
The total of 112 while higher than anticipated looked an achievable one. Dropped catches, Monahan family times 4, plus 5 Byes and 3 No Balls – who could that be?
After a wonderful tea provided by the Fox team – hence the delay (Aideen has a full itemised bill, Chris), and considerable reluctance for anybody to open with Tate J, Monahan T reluctantly agreed.
The bowler fired down his (second or was it third) delivery. Abdul Aziz appealed – the umpire, (Wood A) gave him out, but he stayed? Confusion, the spectators certainly didn’t know what was happening. Next ball, another appeal for a catch/ LBW/ didn’t like the look of him. Tate J walked. Was he given out? But no, he was called back! Could he survive? Afraid not, bowled the only Salmagundi Cricketer who’s been out 3 times in one game!
Back came Monahan T, a mistimed book. Out went Chris Wroe, back came Chris Wroe. Fox M and Graham S then steadied the innings with sensible and thoughtful batting and the score crept along. A massive sixth by Fox M, (after 2 dubious LBW appeals) but then Graham T departed with the innings top score 45 for 4! Birtles (1 wicket) arrived with a flourish but departed soon after. Monahan J entered, scored two more than Son, and then left. A forward prod, turned on drive I think. The prospect of batting with his son was too much for Fox M to bear and he holed out with an elegant cross back to leg. Would Fox J and Adam W (umpire trainee) launch a winning partnership? Erm…no, Wood departed.
Out came the turbaned one yet to make a run. With a masterful offside flick he was away but sadly he didn’t last. Packham C who had hurt his finger, valiantly stopping an ondrive, strode to the crease. We all prepared to go to the pub. But Packham C and Fox J confounded the deckchair audience. Slowly the score reached the seventies. The irritant factor for Abdul Aziz increased. The opening bowler was recalled , was this the final escape? Sadly not. Fox J played another short delivery into his stumps leaving Packham C with an excellent, nine not out. (This is too much! – Ed)
|3 for 12: Fox M||6: Tate J .|
|3 for 19: Monahan J||0: Monahan T.|
|1 for 12: Birtles R||0: Wroe C.|
|1 for 8: Packham C||15 : Fox M|
|0 for 31: Wroe C||16: Graham S.|
|3: Birtles R|
|2: Monahan J|
|5: Wood A|
|8: Fox J|
|9: Packham not out.|
|Result: Lost by 33 runs.|