A late detour to Parliament Hill from Golders Green for this game – a bit of poor admin by City of London Corporation directing us to the wrong venue. Some rapid calling around got us to the correct place for a 2.40pm start. Best part of this was skipper Dave Stead: “Hello Will [Towers] – it’s Dave – late change of plan – we’re playing at Parliament Hill instead of Golders Green – what’s that? – oh you’re not playing … in that case please ignore this call”.
Dave won the toss and (for a combination of reasons, the main one being that whenever we’ve won the toss we’ve gone into bat this year and usually lost) – we fielded. Toby and Mick were immediately into their stride, taking 2 wickets apiece in a hostile opening period that reduced LICS to 25-4, including Toby taking the prize wicket of Jeff lbw for 8 and Mick executing a sharp caught-and-bowled to remove the dangerous Steve H for 5. Steadley replaced Toby and Mick with Jim M and himself, and Jo played a beautiful off drive straight back past Dave to commence a fightback. Jim however was finding his length and line and bowled Jo for 5. Arthur Williamson and Jimmy Muldoon knuckled down and started to rebuild the innings until perhaps the best episode of play this season took place. The splendid band on the nearby Bandstand (perhaps the best reason for us choosing this as our first choice home ground) struck up Prokofiev’s ‘Dance of the Knights’ [http://www.goear.com/listen.php?v=4d37758] as Jim turned to commence his run up. “I don’t like the sound of this” groaned Arthur, shortly before the ball pitched, turned, stayed low and just-too-predictably hit the stumps. Hysterical laughter ensued before the classical music debate – opened by Richard Hammerton saying the piece was ‘The Ride of the Valkyries’. “It ain’t that” countered Chris Packham “because that’s what I ask them to play when I come on to bowl”. Other wonderful tunes included “The King of the Swingers” as Dave Stead was struggling to control the extravagant movement and the “Bare Necessities” as Lord Fakenham hitched up his shirt to scratch himself. The Grand March from Aida was lovingly replayed by the Gardeners impromptu male voice choir in the Vine public house later on. Dave took Jimmy’s wicket as the innings got to 70 for 7. Then some serious batting by LICS as Paul (37) and Steve Lyne (33 not out) played quality cricket, in turns defensive then expansive, to push the score on beyond 150. Toby returned to bowl Paul out, then was carved away by Adam a couple of times before Toby (a little narked) yorked him. Gaw supported Lyne well as the 35 overs came to an end.
LICS 171 for 9 wickets off 35 overs
Tom Hayward b M Campbell 1
Jeff Round lbw Frow 8
Steve H c&b M Campbell 5
Dave b Frow 0
Jo b J Monahan 5
Arthur Williamson b J Monahan 18
Jimmy Muldoon b Stead 11
Paul b Frow 37
Steve Lyne not out 33
Adam Wood b Frow 6
Gaw not out 5
Toby Frow 7 overs 0 maidens 24 runs 4 wickets
Mick Campbell 7 – 0 – 34 – 2
Jim Monahan 7 – 0 – 30 – 2
David Stead 6 – 0 – 31 – 1
Chris Packham 4 – 0 – 10 – 0
Lord Fakenham 2 – 0 – 11 – 0
Tom Monahan 2 – 0 – 17 – 0
Nasty trick played on the baker at tea by the skipper who encouraged people to eschew the Cherry Madeira in favour of the other home-made delights on offer. Ha! Plan backfired as the hungry Northern hoardes devoured everything (though the C.M. was untouched for a long while). Don’t mess with the baker!
Into bat – Dave S and Tom M got into a groove immediately despite some accurate bowling by Tom H and Arthur for LICS, putting on 82 for the first wicket by never failing to capitalise on a loose delivery and some fast running. Tom was first out, bowled by Steve Lyne for 25 and chaired off by his siblings for his great effort. Fakenham then supported Dave by using only the edges of his bat (“I decided the middle deserved a rest”), making 10 before Arthur had him caught – a well deserved wicket. Chris fell to a smart catch by Dave P at the wicket off Paul and then Mick was shortly after caught off Jimmy. We were collapsing – and the momentum increased still further as Richard Higginbottom and Toby both got ducks. The pressure on Steadley was becoming unbearable but the Whitley Bay Champion was staying calm as all about him were losing their heads. Some exemplary pulls and drives settled things down a little – then Richard Hammerton lofted an effortless six deep over the fence at midwicket to put the target in sight. A straight six in return by Dave, then a pulled four from Richard made the deficit 3 runs. A packed slip cordon was brought in as Steve Lyne bowled to Steadley – who played a rare poor shot, top edging the winning boundary over the heads of the massed ranks. Dave’s unbeaten 90 included a six and thirteen fours. Two great games in three days against the Yorkshiremen. “Mebbe they’re not so bad” mused Lancastrian Nick.
SGCC 172 for 6 won by 4 wickets
David Stead not out 90
Tom Monahan b Lyne 25
Lord Fakenham c b Williamson 10
Chris Packham c Dave b Paul 2
Mick Campbell c b Muldoon 1
Richard Higginbottom lbw Paul 0
Toby Frow b Paul 0
Richard Hammerton not out 11
Tom Hayward 7 overs 1 maiden 30 runs 0 wickets
Arthur Williamson 7 – 1 – 31 – 1
Gaw 2 – 0 – 15 – 0
Paul 7 – 0 – 37 – 3
Steve Lyne 5.1 – 0 – 28 – 1
Jimmy Muldoon 3 – 0 – 21 – 1
In The Vine later on we resolved to make this an annual fixture with our splendid guests (they purchased a round of drinks for us – we’re easily bought). Richard took the opportunity to kiss an opposition player. At least this time it was a lady. The last crumbs of cake were consumed. Lord Fakenham unfairly criticised Suffolk and was struck by the lid of a cake tin (note: it’s only Ipswich that is a problem, much of the rest of the county is delightful).