By Chris Packham
Cricket report 5th August 2001 – Channel 4
Gardeners Lost in Fog Over Channel
There are no two ways about it, this was a poor performance and the Gardeners were well beaten in our first ever game against Channel 4. This defeat was due to a combination of poor batting and even poorer responses to emails and telephone calls asking for players – we had only 8 men, plus a ninth kindly loaned to us by Channel 4. However, on the positive side, readers may remember that, in an earlier game this season, Jim Monahan proved Einstein’s relativity theory. Even more sensationally, in this game we saw a challenge to the Second Law of Thermodynamics – but more of that later.
But first, a few thoughts on how SGCC is dragging itself into a more professional approach to modern-day cricket. Having studied the English cricket team (and, indeed, the Australians) it has become obvious that we are far behind in one of the essential attributes of an modern team, namely the use of nicknames. Where are the “Athers” and “Bumble” of SGCC you might ask? As an attempt to redress the balance, and to show a genuinely professional approach to our cricket, this report refers to key players by their new nicknames. For the traditionalists among you, the full names are given in the “statistics” section later.
Channel 4 won the toss and chose to field, so Sammy and Big Monners opened the innings. It is a well known fact that, at the highest level of cricket (and Hampstead Heath is as high as SGCC ever gets), batsmen are studied for weaknesses which are then exploited mercilessly by the opposition. It is clear that news of Sammy’s inability to play a medium pace full toss has spread like wildfire. Yet again, he was out (for 1, this time) this time delicately using his forearm to steer a full toss outside the leg stump down and inwards so that it hit his middle stump. This brought Packers to the crease for the 8th ball of the innings and he batted right through to the 34th over. Like everyone else in the team, Packers struggled to get his timing going but he held the innings together with 21 not out – possibly a new record for slow scoring but invaluable nonetheless.
After the bad start, the Gardeners batted sensibly and took the score to 39 before Big Mon was brilliantly caught behind for 16 by the wicket keeper standing close. Junior Monners came and, as ever, looked good but was bowled for 4 before he could get going. This brought in Sesh for a typical innings where he scored 23 (including 5 fours) of the 29 put on for the fourth wicket before needlessly running himself out. Sesh was the only batsman who managed to time the ball well and stroked 5 fours in his innings.
Taity looked stylish, although he too struggled to get going and, having been missed from a relatively easy catch behind, he went for 14 to a stunning diving catch at point. At this point SGCC were 97 for 5 but a further two wickets fell for only one more run. Carts was subject to a first ball appeal for a catch behind, whereupon the following exchange took place:- Umpire “Did you hit that?” – Carts “It hit my glove” – Umpire “Well, then, I’m afraid you are out” – Carts “Oh dear”. The next time anyone tells you that the spirit of Englishness has died, remember this exchange and, furthermore and somewhat astonishingly, neither of the participants was a former Public School boy – ah, it brings tears to the eyes to see the old standards continue.
In came Woodie to face the hat-trick and, although he survived it, he went soon after, hit on the back foot, bang in front of the stumps. No umpire, however hard he tried (and I tried Adam, believe me) could have refused the resultant appeal. Finally, Emad, our borrowed player, came in and stayed long enough to help to add 13 for the 8th wicket before being caught for 1.
SGCC were, therefore, all out for 111, including 31 extras, of which 11 were no balls. There was some dispute about the exact number of these as, very appropriately in the presence of media men, we witnessed the first ever stereo no ball. As the bowler let go of the ball, his foot overstepped the line and the umpire shouted “no ball”. The ball then headed towards the batsman at head height and, perhaps more like an echo than a stereo effect, the square leg umpire also shouted “no ball”. Now, the key question is – “is this one or two runs and how many more balls should be added to the over?”. If, as some theoreticians argue, there should be two extra balls it is clear that repetitions of this event could lead to an over that is increasingly long. If so, we would have created something from nothing and breached the second law of thermodynamics. These are exciting times for SGCC. Next week, and I’m not entirely sure about this, we may see Huysenberg’s Uncertainty Principle challenged in a Gardeners’ game.
Despite the difficulty that SGCC batsmen had in timing the ball, Channel 4 seemed to have no problems at all. They set off at a fast pace and the SGCC bowlers found it almost impossible to restrain the run rate. A breakthrough did come when Packers hit one of the openers on the pad and, despite the only noise that followed being a half choked appeal from Junior Monners, the umpire raised his digit and out went the batsman. This was a poor decision but at least it allows me to point out the pitfalls of digital Channel 4.
Although the other opener was bowled by Old Monners (who bowled very well in his extended spell), the run-fest continued with a number of hefty hits over the bowlers’ heads providing Raman Mitra with a quick 59 before he retired to allow someone else some fun. Another wicket did fall as an almighty heave went almost vertically leaving Sammy more than enough time to move, with a high degree of trepidation, underneath it and to take a straightforward catch. Shortly after this, Woodie proved that statistics don’t always reflect the performance as he bowled 2 overs and had two chances missed. The first was a fairly straightforward catch to mid-off and the second was a mistimed shot that went half way between Woodie and Sammy. In a beautifully choreographed piece of action they moved towards the ball and then, in perfect synchronicity, they stopped, to let it plop to the ground in an embarrassing silence. Oh, dear.
With the end in sight, Sesh asked for a bowl and the captain allowed him. Now Sesh’s idea of movement off the pitch is normally to get the ball to go from one end to the other but he quickly showed that there is more to his bowling than that. First Taity carried out a smart stumping (I was reminded of a caption in a Sunderland Echo of years ago – “the batsman over-reached himself and the wicket keeper quickly whipped his balls off”) and then Old Monners dropped a very hard chance indeed at mid-off.
And so SGCC lost again. It is clear that we are missing our opening bowlers as I clearly heard one of the team say “when will that old Foxer be back from holiday?”
- Samuelson bowled 1
- J Monahan caught 16
- Packham not out 21
- T Monahan bowled 4
- Sessions run out 23
- Tait caught 14
- Carter caught 0
- Wood LBW 0
- Emad caught 1
- Extras 31
- Total for 8 wickets (all out) 111
- Packham 5-0-34-1
- J Monahan 7-1-30-2
- T Monahan 4-0-26-0
- Wood 2-0-8-0
- Sessions 0.4 – 0 – 5 – 1