And so to Kingsbury … where last season we played a 20 over game in gathering gloom in mid August. So we moved the fixture up the schedule to get more light … and thanks to the wintry conditions it was even more dull. Oh well, on with the motley. We managed to muster 8 players against Kingsbury’s collection of teenagers and their dads and uncles. Skipper Nick wasn’t prepared to disclose whether he’d won or lost the toss, but in any case we were to bat first.
Jim M opened the innings with the skipper who – following the previous match’s lottery for batting positions tried another novel approach, saying: “the rest of you sort yourselves out”. Richard was standing closest and Bruno had the umpires coat on so Richard did the order by simply putting Adam last as he hadn’t yet arrived, himself 7 so he could enjoy the curried prawns for starters that were being offered by our wonderful hosts, Bruno 6 as he’d been ordered to umpire, and the remaining 3, 4, 5 in order of who was standing closest to him. I’m going to recommend this method to Andrew Strauss.
Jim clobbered a couple of boundaries and was considering retiring when he got bowled out. Nick followed soon after missing one that straightened a bit. Kingsbury dangerman Jaylin had claimed both. Tom replaced his father at the crease and together with Lord Fakenham they upped the scoring rate considerably, Tom scoring 1s and 4s, Fakenham adding a couple of 6s. Both retired unbeaten soon after Nick (having replaced Bruno umpiring) informed scorer Richard that a 25 maximum for retiring had been agreed. Bit late for Fakenham who, having been informed his next scoring shot would be his last, hit a six and left the square on 43. Tom returned to the pavilion on 26. Mark Wright, playing his first cricket for a few years, belied this fact with some good strokes to make 5 before being bowled. Bruno was already into his stride, playing big shots and scaring some of the smaller kids on his way to an unbeaten 29. Richard is a bit refined (OK I know some of you would say defensive) for 20:20 so guided the ball into the huge gaps around the field for 15 before being stumped with 2 balls to go. Adam added 3 in the late flurry and Bruno returned to score a 4 off the last ball. Jaylin had come back well for Kingsbury to claim 4 wickets in total.
Jim Monahan bowled 12
Nick Duckett bowled 3
Tom Monahan retired 26
Lord Fakenham retired 43
Mark Wright bowled 5
Mark Brewin retired 29
Richard Higginbottom stumped 15
Adam Wood bowled 3
The Gardeners staggered out into the field after a swift turnaround. Nick was delighted that it’s fairly easy to place the field with an 8 man team – 3 either side who can work out for themselves where the balls going. Jim opened with a mixed bag demonstrating that he was more focused on entertaining our hosts than playing – in the circumstances his priorities were spot-on. Nick joined in the bonhomie by executing a deft volley with the outside of his right foot on the midwicket boundary to turn the chance of a wicket for Jim into a boundary. Jim was in great humour all night, but there’s no need to test it to breaking point! Bruno opened from the other end and was soon encouraging Fakenham in the field as His Lordship also kicked a ball over the rope (at least it wasn’t a chance this time). Bruno’s not quite as refined or restrained as Jim: “USE YOUR F***ING HANDS!” Bowlers kept changing and wickets fell at regular intervals. The smell of the curry was distracting your correspondent but Tom seemed to bowl OK, Adam took a couple of catches – one off Richard (thanks!!) Mark also adorned his Gardeners debut with a catch to end the match. Further comedic incidents came in Richard’s 3rd over when Bruno was kicking a football rather than fielding a straightforward drive, conceding a four (thanks!!) – and Jim stood at deep midwicket blissfully unaware that the ball had been blasted over his head by Pabu (20). He took a good deal of convincing that he should go to retrieve it; in fact he wasn’t at all convinced and one of our hosts found the ball in some undergrowth. Jay (23) and Bijesh (12) also featured for Kingsbury.
Kingsbury 92 all out lost to SGCC by 60 runs
Jim Monahan 3 overs 0 maidens 12 runs 1 wicket
Mark Brewin 3 – 0 – 11 – 2
Lord Fakenham 3 – 0 – 10 – 2
Tom Monahan 3 – 0 – 13 – 2
Richard Higginbottom 3 – 0 – 16 – 1
Adam Wood 3 – 0 – 15 – 1
Nick Duckett 2 – 0 – 16 – 1
After the cricket, the chicken curry, bombay potatoes, rice, salad, naan bread and beer were all delicious and gratefully devoured. Can we play here every week? Thanks very much to our delightful hosts for a marvellous evening.