By Chris Packham
Even before the match there were a couple of firsts: Dave Hollingsworth’s first match as captain and Dave Stead’s twin brother, John, playing his first match for SGCC. It’s down in Stead family folklore that both brothers made centuries on the same day at different grounds, so some spooky twin-type event had to be expected. The first captain’s decision Dave H had to make was who would keep wicket. With the three usual keepers unavailable due, in turn, to: maternity leave; pleasuring Her Majesty and the after effects of a 20 hour, 250 mile cycle ride (you can make up your own minds as to which of those is the biggest pain in the saddle area), a stand-in was required, or perhaps the twins could share; now there’s a thought; a thought which half crossed the captain’s mind as he chose Stuart Bruce to start and Dave Stead to take over. The next decision was what to do if he won the toss. The easiest way out of this one is to lose the toss, which Dave did and was put in to bat, which gave him his next headache: the batting order. This is always tricky as you want to give everyone a chance to bowl or bat, especially if they missed out in previous weeks; but then you also want to win the match. This seems to inevitably end up with the new skipper putting himself in last, and today was no exception. What you don’t need is one of your senior players, who should know better, throwing a hissy fit when he’s told for the second week running that “I think I’ll put you down the batting order this week”, but that’s exactly what he got. After much negotiation, revolving mainly around Lord Fakenham arriving late wearing lemon coloured trousers and a fedora, the John Terry moment was put to bed (the lemon coloured trousers and fedora didn’t actually feature in the negotiations, but I thought they deserved a mention).
The weather forecast for the afternoon was grim, but at the start conditions were very pleasant, so sailor and new granddad, Adam Wood, was called upon for an expert opinion. We were giving the percentage chance of rain ranging from 40% moving to 80% and ending on a very passable Private Frazeresque “We’re doomed, doomed”. Adam is also very keen on amateur dramatics and possibly fortune telling.
Paul suffered from tending bar till the early hours of the morning and Stuart running threes and then trying to run him out; very nice four off his legs.
John never managed to get going.
Stuart was a man in a hurry, taking chances but also playing some nice strokes. Suicidal run which Paul only survived because Jesus messed it up. A calmer approach might have produced a longer stay at the wicket, but nevertheless top scorer.
Dave looked good until an “unplayable” ball cut in and took his stumps – Dave’s description.
Lord Fakenham left his net form at home.
Adam was playing his first match, what he was playing was unclear.
Chris looked as steady as J.T. with a team-mates wife, until running with Jim got interesting; completely miss-timed a nothing ball to give a dolly catch.
Jim looked frantic running with Chris, but soon settled down and played very nicely, with Nick holding up the other end.
Mick had a strict winter training regime of booze and fags, and it showed.
Nick was untroubled but ran out of partners.
Dave’s first attempted scoring stroke went straight to Dave Wilson at point.
Jesus College’s top bowler was J. Voss but, as always; Dave Wilson was difficult to score off.
The tea was so good that the skipper insisted on taking a photo of my plate; bizarre. SGCC captaincy does strange things to people; next he’ll be off for an all-nighter down his allotment. Anyway, with the rain now a constant drizzle, only Nelson to defend and our captain going bonkers, things weren’t looking good.
Dave Stead opened the bowling with Mick Campbell at the other end. Opening bat A. Evans looked composed, D. Wilson less so. Mick’s winter training regime was obviously geared towards bowling, because he bowled superbly, getting a couple of edges that flew past Stuart and then he bowled D. Wilson. Dave was no slouch either, quickly bowling S. Stacpoole. J. Barnes hit the ball to Paul and took off, only to find that A. Evans wasn’t the least bit interested. Paul calmly threw the ball to Stuart and now things were getting interesting. Unfortunately this bought J. Voss to the crease, and he proved to be as good with the bat as the ball. Of course, if Nick had held on to the catch off of Mick’s bowling… Dave eventually removed A. Evans and then let out a Dennis Lillee type lbw appeal against B. Cartwright, looking as if he wasn’t going to move until he got the decision; eventually the umpire blinked and he got it. Mick quickly dispatched M. Wood and Dave took an excellent slip catch to remove J. Sipthorp, again off Mick. John Stead replaced Mick and bowled D. Hayden. Now we really were in with a chance, only two wickets remaining and about 40 runs to get; could it be that our cunning linguist of a captain was going to get our first win of the season? No. N. Rutter played very sensibly to see out the innings, and J. Voss was immovable, reaching 50 off the last ball of the match. We’d had a good go in the field in miserable conditions, and if catches had been held who knows; but we really hadn’t scored enough runs.
Player of the match was J. Voss.
Jesus College won by 2 wickets