By Richard Higginbottom
Being a son of East Anglia I’ve always viewed the phrase “Go West Young Man” with some suspicion, so I was delighted to accept an invitation to head East to Walthamstow to take on those Hackney die-hards the Wrong’Uns. A 12 noon start and somewhat surprisingly the Gardeners are just about all there on time with the exception of debutant Jason Topp who was turning a short cycle ride into a long one (I thought that was my speciality). So Richard invited the Wrong’Uns to bat first in the interest of starting on time and into the field we strode.
Bowling down the hill with a stiff breeze assisting, Lord Fakenham was very quickly on the case, securing a wicket in his first over as Luke offered a catch to the safe hands of Stuart at short Mid Off. Kwam was reminding me that I needed to check the lagging on some pipes at home in his kneeless polystyrene pads; however this did not put the baronet off as he induced a miscue for Conor to take his maiden catch for the Gardeners. Welcome aboard! Now ‘new Jason’ or ‘J-Top’ appeared on his bike and quickly asserted himself in the field – fabulous arm on him. As usual we had gone into our 2-down lull but this was rectified by J-Topp in his third over, Stuart taking another catch that this time was travelling pretty swiftly from Spike’s bat … good effort that by the South Coast Steamer. Parker was playing pretty well and we now came up against some obdurate defence by Mobbsy as the scoreboard was sitting very favourable for Salmagundi. Stuart managed to break the partnership with a reward for nagging accuracy, taking a regulation return catch to remove Parker. Our friend Bobby, who’s appeared for the Gardeners a couple of times, was offered no favours, J-Topp finding a splendid delivery to strike his stumps. OK that’s 5 down and it’s time for Doosra Duckett. First over into the wind and we were concerned the ball might blow back towards Nick before reaching the batsman; the Lancastrian countered this by bowling “effort balls” which were having a mixed reception until Mobbsy essayed an elaborate defensive stroke to one of Nick’s more innocuous deliveries; the result was that the ball appeared to crawl all over Mobbsy like a slow moving demented spider, culminating in trickling off his heel and dislodging a bail. Best wicket of the season I reckon as I’ve never seen a bowled dismissal take so long to complete, and Mobbsy swore, kicked his bat and stomped off … ah I like playground stuff. Ames and Dean now put together a most impressive recovery, both playing very good shots; Dean driving and pulling, Ames gliding and clipping. A number of chances went begging (debutant Madhu had three put down in one over) and now Wrong’Uns had put together a defendable total. Lord Fakenham returned and at last a plan worked as Richard adjusted Madhu 15 yards around at backward square leg and Dean obliged by placing the ball straight into his hands.
Tea-time … ah Richard’s left it in the Changing Room … so a jog there and back and we enjoyed a repast of hastily prepared sandwiches as the weather was unfavourable leading up to the game so we were not sure of a game until mid-morning.
Jeremy and Richard got Salmagundi off to a poor start, both prodding catches to fielders in front of the bat, leaving Stuart and Madhu to make reparations – which they did pretty well for about 20 runs until Stuart chased a wide one and was unlucky to cannon an inside edge onto his stumps and then Madhu who’d hit 3 boundaries and was looking good probably got the ball of the day from Parker and perished for 14. Nick struck twice at umpire, giving out Steve and J-Topp lbw (golden duck on debut – only way is up from that). To be fair, most complaints were from the watching Gardeners and not the batsmen themselves. Conor, Mark and Paul all got out failing to keep the ball down; Captain can’t exactly nag too much as it’s one his own faults. That left Doosra and Fakenham with far too much to do – but the Norfolk nobleman crashed 24 in no time until he too holed out, leaving the doughty Nick unbeaten on 4. A comprehensive loss from a potential winning position. Bah! Captain miserable for days afterwards but at least there’s Ardington coming up …
Wrong ‘Uns won by 62 runs