By Chris Packham
Cricket report 15th September 2001 – Case Commandoes
(The other report, which cannot match the minority report)
Salmagundi Gardeners Weekender.
As the sun rose over Lyme Bay, the Salmagundi Gardeners Cricket Club began their ninth annual pilgrimage to Lyme Regis, in Dorset, for the final match of an exciting season, against the Stuart Case team, “Case’s Commando’s”, played at Uplyme Cricket Club. (The Forkbeard Fantasy game was called off)
Unfortunately a Salmagundian does not rise as promptly as the sun and our hosts were kept waiting until the team eventually began to appear. The arrival of Adam and Jake Wood (match starts at twelve, four hour journey, we’ll leave at eight) meant a full compliment, so proceedings could begin.
With the early morning showers passed, SGCC were put into bat in glorious sunshine. Team captain Erik Samuelson being unable to play due to other commitments (watching something called Wimbledon play a game called football), meant that vice captain Mike Fox would be skipper and so choose the batting order. James Tait was immediately pencilled in, but who to partner him in the absence of Samuelson? “Who wants to open” cried the skipper, to a solemn silence and turned backs. But cometh the hour, cometh the man (except in the case of the Woods) and up stepped that ragged trousered cricketer Mark Gilkes to answer his captain’s call. “Who wants to open” cried the captain once more, with a slight hint of desperation in his voice, but no response meant Gilkes was in; let play commence.
The brothers Steve and Simon Rattenbury opened with some tight bowling that tied the batsmen down and after six overs only thirteen runs were scored. Then calamity. Having survived a caught and bowled from S. Rattenbury in the previous over, Gilkes (2 runs, 17 balls, 21 minutes plus a competition winning 41 shot round in the next day’s crazy golf) was bowled by S. Rattenbury in the next. Rats.
Enter Jim Monahan. The usual, seemingly stage managed confrontation between Monahan and Case (don’t be alarmed they always end up sleeping under the same roof) meant that a bowling change was imminent. With sixteen runs off of Stuarts one and only over, and with the other bowling changes faring not much better, the Gardeners began to up the run rate.
As Tait and Monahan majestically stroked the ball around the ground, a muttering of “They’re my runs” could be heard from a ragged, but still trousered, Gilkes.
There then came what can best be described as a “Salmagundi moment”. With the score on 78, Monahan called for a safe single. However, halfway down the pitch he dropped his bat. Unaware you can complete the run without said implement, Jim stopped, went back for the bat, and whilst bending to pick it up lost his glasses to gravity as well. Amid much groping in the dark the next objects to fall to earth were the bails. Exit Jim Monahan (22 runs, 33 balls, 34 minutes).
Captain Fox joined the untroubled Tait at the crease, but with the introduction of another Rattenbury (BJ) the bowling again tightened up and heavy weather descended at the captains end. The splendid Tait, however, was cruising seamlessly to his fifty. It was suggested that Fox (8 runs, 30 balls) was modelling his style on Chris “Tavers” Packham, but this proved to be the lull before the storm as the captain began to hit out with some powerful strokes. With six boundaries and a partnership of 81 with Tait, Fox (38 runs, 59 balls, 61 minutes) was finally caught – a captains innings.
Fresh from last weeks excellent century against the London Sport for the Blind (he really was seeing it like a football) Phil Sessions strolled to the wicket. Horror! without another run added, the mighty Tait (80 runs, 82 balls, 122 minutes) falls, to a rather pathetic caught and bowled. With thirteen boundaries to his name, a superb knock by James.
Chris Packham enters the arena. With five overs remaining hitting out was the name of the game and Sessions does just that with the first ,and only, six of the match. Two balls later Packham calls for a second run to keep the big hitter on strike, but some nifty fielding from Rattenbury to Rattenbury, via Rattenbury, and Sessions (13 runs, 9 balls, 16 minutes) was run out.
Mike Stewart was the next batsman in. Despite Packham’s best efforts to run him out, Stewart (3 runs, 4 balls, 12 minutes) remained, until attempting a suicidal run off the last ball, leaving Packham (20 runs, 17 balls, 26 minutes) not out and a total of 197 for 6 off of 40 overs.
Case’s Commando’s opened their innings in confident style, so there was much relief when batsman Kenny’s off stump was dispatched in the fifth over by a quicker ball from Packham, bowling down the slope (and not bowling off-spin). 1 for 27.
The hapless Stuart Case, nursing a shoulder strain from his efforts in the field, was next in and next out, dispatched in the sixth over to a Mark Gilkes catch off a ball from the other opening bowler, Jake Wood. 2 for 28.
Batsman Pigden joined the opener Wilkinson and together they set about the bowling. Bowling changes of Jim Monahan and Joe Fox proved no match for these two and even when the skipper brought himself on, tightening up one end, the runs mounted.
The Commando’s wicket keeper Bennett then stormed the pitch, armed with a jug of the local bitter for the tiring athletes. Revitalised the Gardeners broke the third wicket partnership (90 runs) in Packham’s first over of his second spell bowling up the slope. A slow one that swung (what would Benny Goodman make of that ?) removed Wilkinson’s leg stump for 61. A fine innings. 3 for 118.
This brought keeper Bennet into the action, but no respite from the run onslaught, despite some excellent fielding from Jake Wood and courageous ball stopping from Dave Hargreaves. The match was heading for a thrilling finish.
With one over remaining the admirable Pigden stood on 65 and the hard hitting Bennet 48 and the score 195 (3 to win). But who to bowl ? With the scorer saying Packham and Monahan had bowled nine of their allotted eight overs (whoops) and M.Fox and J. Wood eight, a new arm was required. Cometh the hour, cometh the man (no not Gilkes, don’t be silly) and up steps Adam Wood, how wrong can I be ? The first ball of the over was hit hard by Bennet to the covers where Mike Fox made a despairing dive to stop the boundary. To no avail, Bennet made his fifty, the Commando’s had the win. But as the losers were quick to point out, in a game like that there are no losers.
- Bowling statistics
- C. Packham 9-1-34-2
- J. Wood 8-0-37-1
- J. Monahan 9-0-47-0
- J. Fox 5-0-44-0
- M. Fox 8-1-26-0