St Albans 27 August

Ah it’s good to be in Hertfordshire in late August.  Mindful of a miserable weather forecast the captain did a mini tour of the county to pick up Doosra Duckett from his Summer retreat in Potters Bar.  Unfortunately the Lancastrian has picked the worst Summer since 1912 to spend in the countryside; the same year the only triangular Test Series proved a failure because of the poor weather and the comparative weakness of the South African test team.  Well, that part has changed …

All but one of the Gardeners on time.  That’s pretty good.  After last week’s bruises I didn’t fancy taking the gloves again so I opted to bat first on winning the toss as Paul B was the laggard and I want him to take the gloves today.  The Norfolk duo of the skipper and Lord Fakenham headed out to the middle to be confronted by some high quality seam bowling from Watkins.  Richard reached forward a couple of times and was playing thin air.  “Get further forward still” he resolved and nurdled one out to Cover for a single.  The Baronet was more skilful than Richard and got his bat onto his second delivery – and St Albans skipper Neil Telkman took a neat catch at second slip to send the nobleman back to the pavilion.  Tom and Richard dug in and then started to collect 1s and 2s (and 3s for Tom) – the outfield was vast and there had been a heavy shower in the morning.  Richard nicked one from Watkins for a simple catch but Mark Telkman couldn’t match his Dad’s skills and Richard breathed again.  Tom tried to accelarate but only succeeded in popping a catch up to Milton at Mid Off.  Time for the two Richards … Redman and Higginbottom blocked and battled along in a stand of 35 until Richard went chasing after a wide from N Nisar … and toe-ended the ball for the easiest of catches to Point.  2-Bats was bowled around his legs by Nisar after the skipper had told him “he’s not very good”.  Mick played four handsome shots for 7 and then aimed a grand slam of a straight drive over left arm spinner Mark Telkman … but was castled by a dipping yorker.  Stuart almost unbelievably played exactly the same innings as Mick – same score, same bowler, same demise.  Doosra Duckett became Duckett-the-Dam as he blocked manfully, supporting Richard R as he put together a manful rearguard action until keeper Ypey completed a smart stumping to finish our latest Tasmanian’s innings on 32.  Paul chipped one to Watkins first ball.  Third golden duck of the season.  Has he got a set of them on his chimney breast?  Chris felt and looked confident following last week’s good knock.  Then got bowled by a regulation delivery for 4.  Nick decided Adam didn’t fancy batting much and got out promptly.  Oh dear this is going to be tough.  A local saw our score and said “oh dear you’ve no chance of winning now … tee hee her”.   “Stick around I’ve got a brilliant set of bowlers” I replied.  Just managed to stop myself ending the sentence with “you tosser”.

Salmagundi Gardeners   110 all out   in 38.2 overs
Richard Higginbottom   c Ramsey b N Nisar   24
Lord Fakenham   c N Telkman b Watkins   0
Tom Monahan   c Milton b Belling   15
Richard Redman   st Ypey b N Nisar   32
David Hollingsworth   b N Nisar   2
Mick Campbell   b N Telkman   7
Stuart Bruce   b N Telkman   7
Nick Duckett   c F Nisar b Pizzey   5
Paul Brasted   c Watkins b Nisar   0
Chris Packham   b Milton   4
Adam Wood   not out   0
Extras   13

Tea was excellent, taken at the top of the stand.   Gird your loins boys and get ready to make our hosts scrap for every run.

First ball … chance … Nick can’t quite hold on after Mick induced a nervous square drive.  Undeterred our openers Mick and Chris piled on the pressure, Mick reaping the reward as F Nisar fended off a sharp off cutter to gully where the skipper took the easiest of catches.  Did he claim he wasn’t ready?  The umpire didn’t agree and we’re pumped up.  Pretty quickly Mick got an outside edge to slip and Richard R took the catch comfortably; it’s 15-2.  Chris produced a beauty to find the edge but the captain having wrapped his hands around it at gully declined to keep it off the turf.  “Bobby Hillman, captain” … anyone who saw Bobby’s recent email about what he called his Wrong’Uns captain will get this … fair point by Chris.  Mick was simply too quick for Ramsey who hit a tame catch to Stuart.  20-3.  Come on!  You can’t keep that man Mick out of the action – Chris got a catch – it was just too high for keeper Paul and first slip Richard R – Mick hared in from fine leg and threw down the stumps to achieve the run-out.  Amazing!  22-4.  SAL-MA-GUN-DI!  Mark Telkman and Ypey played very sensibly to preserve their wickets.  Adam came on to replace Chris and they weren’t scoring off him – even the balls they could reach.  His Lordship took over from Mick and got one of his trademark outswingers to find the outside edge, Richard R taking his second catch and removing Ypey.  Adam then induced a mistimed lofted drive from Milton, Mick keeping up his dominant presence in the field.  Telkman and Watkins proved difficult to move and they edged towards our score until Stuart found the outside edge and Paul took a neat catch to remove Mark Telkman … no, the batsman hit the ground at the same time as the ball and reported that he didn’t know whether he’d hit it.  The umpire found against us.  The skipper had a tantrum (am I the only batsman who knows when he’s out?).  Stuart redoubled his efforts as we pulled in the field and bowled Watkins for a well made 22.  Can we get there?  Alas not as Telkman sent the ball to the boundary.  At least an honourable loss rather than an ignominious one.

St Albans    113 -7   off   23.3 overs
F Nisar   c Higginbottom b M Campbell   5
N Nisar   c Redman b M Campbell   9
J Ypey   c Redman b Fakenham   16
C Ramsey   c Bruce b M Campbell   0
P Pizzey   run out (M Campbell)   0
M Telkman   not out   35
K Milton   c M Campbell b Wood   4
D Watkins   b Bruce   22
M Melling   not out   0
Extras   2

SGCC Bowling
Mick Campbell   7 – 2 – 21 – 3
Chris Packham   6 – 1 – 25 – 0
Adam Wood   3 – 0  – 25 – 1
Lord Fakenham   4 – 0 – 20 – 1
Stuart Bruce   3.3 – 0 – 20 – 1

SGCC lost by 3 wickets.

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