St Albans 29 August

Hurrah!  A nice 15 mile drive across to St Albans.  I got there in 25 minutes.  Chris, who had much further to drive, of course arrived just before me.  I quite literally had a big advantage over Chris though … I’d remembered my cricket trousers!  More later on the trouser problems of the Kentish all-rounder.

The 12.50 arrived on time.  It had all the remaining players on board apart from Lord Fakenham whose coach and four had dropped him at Kings Cross instead of St Pancras, and 2-Bats who was a victim of the Victoria Line outage, so used his bats to row his cricket bag around the Regents Canal to get one train later.  Dave arrived just as I’d got down to 7 in the order so he got that spot.  Fakenham arrived as I’d written “10. Duckett” into the book having won the toss and elected to bat.  Another great decision!  Jeff was dropped off the first ball then bashed his second back at the bowler – 0-1.  Chris edged a great delivery off Watkins to get off the mark, then got a similar ball that sent him back to the pavilion.  2-2.  “Take it easy” the skipper told ingoing number 4 Mitchell Peck; “yeah sure” said the Tasmanian, wiping his first ball through midwicket for 4.  Jim Monahan, given the task of opening, dug in to repair the wreckage.  Mitchell blocked-missed-smashed (I think that was the sequence) for a succession of deliveries until holing out to Ramsey for a swift 16.  Mick replaced Mitchell.  Same origin, same sequence, same score.  Holed out to Nizar off Jilali in this instance.  Run rate very good but 4 down.  Richard played some neat shots and then pulled across a straight one from off-spinner James – lbw for 9.  87-5 and big trouble.  Jim and 2-Bats saw us past the 100 before Jim’s resistance was ended – 24 hard earned runs.  Dave H was joined by James Richardson and some more forcing strokes ensued until James was lbw to Ramsey for 12.  Dave and Ashley took the fight to the bowlers, 4s all around the ground – handsome stuff – until Dave charged down the wicket to Nizar and was stumped for 38.  Nick nudged and scampered well to help get us to 199 at which point Ashley was bowled by the returning Mark Telkman for an excellent 39.  Fakenham struck a 4 off his first ball to take us over 200 then got cleaned out with a jaffa from Watkins to end the innings.

Salmagundi Gardeners   204 all out   off 38.3 overs
Jeff Round   c&b Watkins   0
Jim Monahan   b James   24
Chris Packham   b Watkins   1
Mitchell Peck   c Ramsey b Watkins   16
Mick Campbell   c Nizar b Jilali   16
Richard Higginbottom   lbw James   9
David Hollingsworth   st Loveman b Nizar   38
James Richardson   lbw Ramsey   12
Ashley Peck   b M Telkman   39
Nick Duckett   not out   4
Lord Fakenham   b Watkins   4
Extras   46

St Albans bowling
D Watkins   7.3-0-32-4
M Telkman   7-0-25-1
Nizar   5-0-33-1
Jilali   7-0-29-1
Melling   3-1-5-0
James   5-2-10-2
Ramsey   4-0-36-1

What a tea!  Bacon sandwiches, mixed salad, coleslaw, onion bhajis – and of course tea out of a huge pot in the room at the top of the stand.  Perfect.  I had to order us out of there it was such a treat.

Into the field and Mick hit a good line and length straight away … good batting technique in response.  Then Lord Fakenham delivered a splendid outswinger first ball, Nizar edged low to gully and Richard scooped it up successfully to get us underway.  More lovely swing bowling produced a resounding clonk! as the final ball of the baronet’s opening over knocked back Jilali’s off peg.  8-2.  Mick doesn’t like being put in the shade and sure enough produced a sharp off-cutter to remove Ramsey for a duck.  9-3 and Richard was shouting SAL-MA-GUN-DI! like a nutcase.  Tidy batting by Mark Telkman and Webber followed our golden start, advancing the score to 35 until His Lordship bowled a rank ball wide outside off.  Sure enough Telkman got the edge and Jeff took a fine catch low to his right – our gloveman having a very good afternoon in the field.  “Because I’ve had almost 40 overs to think about it” he reflected.  James took over from the Norfolk nobleman and his left arm over style posed problems.  He got a low flying edge that went to ground wide of sl …. NO WAIT … Ashley put out his right hand and took a catch of stunning quality that would have been exceptional at the highest level of the game.  The look of surprise and delight on Ashley’s face was worth coming to the game for on its own.  48-5 and in the van.  Ashley replaced Mick and bowled 5 tidy overs of left arm orthodox spin; could have had 2 or 3 wickets.  Nick was unlucky to bowl just as Webber and James were getting into their stride.  Partnership had realised 56.  I need Packham to take a wicket.  The dodgy-trousered talisman put a set of 4 excellent overs together to stem the flow, frustrating Webber into lofting a good ball at Cover, where James took a neat catch to put us back in front.  Jim had replaced Nick and induced a top edge from Watkins, Jeff taking his second catch.  Balls then narrowly evaded fielders for a while, Mitchell had a couple of overs as the batsmen were teeing off.  Jim had been pretty miserly in his spell.  The 7th wicket stand had got close to 50.  Bring back Mick and Fakenham.  The scoring rate slowed (phew!).  Still we need a wicket.  Micko!  Our Tasmanian paceman yorked Nizar for a high quality 32 to make us slight favourites.  Mick bowled another good ball to James a few balls later – but this one got smashed over midwicket for 6 as the assault on our score was stepping up.  Into the last over and the baronet was entrusted with making the game safe.  Good length outside off stump – one ball a bit too far – that’s a wide – oh we never do things easily.  Drop the field back – they need sixes – are we safe …. j u s t.  What a great game.

St Albans   197 for 7   off 40 overs
M Telkman   c Round b Fakenham   19
Nizar   c Higginbottom b Fakenham   3
Jilali   b Fakenham   2
Ramsey   b M Campbell   0
Webber   c Richardson b Packham   42
Loveman   c A Peck b Richardson   1
James   not out   64
Watkins   c Round b Monahan   3
Nizar   b M Campbell   32
Melling   not out   2
Extras   29

SGCC Bowling
M Campbell   8-1-30-2
Fakenham   8-1-36-3
A Peck   5-2-19-0
Richardson   5-0-16-1
Duckett   2-0-24-0
Packham   4-0-12-1
J Monahan   6-0-34-1
M Peck   2-0-23-0


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