The Monahans 5 July

By Richard Higginbottom

July already and it’s time for a celebration match against Jim’s close, not-so-close, and you-must-be-kidding-me-they-can’t-be relations.  But there’s lots of Monahans playing and spectating and the scene on arrival at the ground is joyous with a huge family gathering, Parliament Hill’s new-fangled scoreboard in place and Jim properly making a day of it by having lunch before the game.  Jim got 12 players … so the Gardeners got 12 players.  Then Adam came along as well in his whites (I thought he was dropping in on his way to work) so he made us 13 for a while.  A number of folks were happy to take a turn off the pitch so having lost the toss the Gardeners were put in to the field, Stuart taking first over.

Toby and Seorais … on another day they could have been opening the bowling for the Gardeners but today they’re opening the batting for The Monahans and – despite a tight opening spell from Stuart Bruce and Chris Packham – are batting very well.  Toby then cuts loose and lofts a six off Chris and the scoreboard starts to rattle along as we’re chasing leather, Seorais belting the ball to the fence at Square Leg and Mid On whilst Toby favours Long Off.  Jason and Jeremy take over and the scoring rate abates a little though it’s still hard to contain the batsmen until Jason bowls a wobbly leg side delivery to Toby on 43 who somehow nicks it into Chris Spicer’s gloves.  Henry continued where Toby left off, adventurous drives upping the rate again as Seorais reached his half century and then gave another catch to Chris off Graham’s bowling who had come on in place of Jason at the Athletics Track end.  Louis’ batting was every bit as exciting as Henry’s giving Graham and Jeremy a hard task to keep contained.  The captain turned to Stuart to try to break through and he obliged, Jeremy taking an excellent running catch at Long Off to remove Louis.  Tom Nicholson has come in and he’s also playing good shots so this time we brought back Jason to finish his spell and he managed to take a return catch from Henry – out for 34.  Around 200 on the board now and we’re looking at 250 plus when debutant Conor Scanlan took the ball and proceeded to bowl a superb spell from the track end including the key wicket of Tom N (well caught by Stuart for 37) whilst Stuart and Chris bowled out their remaining overs from the Tennis Courts end after Jason had got Tom Monahan out lbw for 8.  Jim was playing some good strokes until he popped one back at Stuart who had a lot of ground to make and took a fine tumbling return catch to remove our Founder for 7.  Jerome and Kenny had some fun against very good bowling at the end and we managed to rein in The Monahans for 236 after 40 overs.

Tea – what a spread!  Richard brought along sandwiches and cakes, Kenny supplied excellent samosas and Jim brought boiled eggs and many other goodies.  We should do this match every year!

So as Toby would be opening the bowling the skipper had to go in number 1 as he doesn’t like to be considered a coward.  Dave H braced himself for the assault and opened alongside.  Jim of course is never predictable so the opening bowlers were Seorais and Michael (up for the weekend from Lyme Regis).  Dave must have been watching me bat as he flapped a loose-ish ball from Seorais into Louis’ hands at midwicket at we were one down.  Jason belted a boundary off Seorais then somehow looped up a catch to Toby who made no mistake.  Toby then came on – Richard’s relieved as it doesn’t look like he’s got out to avoid facing the big man – and bowled immaculately, nipping the ball in, cutting some away, all on an excellent length.  When Stuart and I weren’t groping and missing – or just playing solid defensive shots – we each edged through the slips.  Stuart had played some good shots and had got himself in when he got under a leg side ball from Henry that the returning (and very well regarded) James Tait ran around to take.  Jeff’s in and belting everything loose – wow some of those hits were impressive – but then misjudged the angle of descent on a Tom Monahan lob, the ball landing on the base of the stumps.  Will looked pretty calm until he missed another one from Tom.  And now it’s a tall order as Richard tries to up his run rate (apart from three fours it’s been pedestrian), resulting in him (a) finding out why Jim often gets lots of wickets but then (b) miscuing a cover drive into Tom Nicholson’s hands – again off Tom M.  Shortly after Chris S drove into Louis’ hands at Cover off Jim and then Paul was caught by Henry off Louis.  We’re now on just over 100 and Jeremy then drove the ball back at Kenny so just one wicket left.  However, some very good shots from Chris Packham and a number of powerful strikes from Graham Bruce (getting just past Stuart’s score which I’m confident hasn’t been missed by either brother) got us beyond 150, the innings ending as Graham got under one from Tom N and Toby took a straightforward catch.

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So before, during and after Jerome (Jim’s brother) was very busy with the camera and below are the fruits of his endeavours with captions also by Jerome.

Having applied a lot of Factor 50 to Charles Law’s pate – imagine how I felt when I saw him sporting a hat with Jennifer.  Was such wasted effort to be a characteristic of the afternoon?

Having applied a lot of Factor 50 to Charles Law’s pate – imagine how I felt when I saw him sporting a hat with Jennifer. Was such wasted effort to be a characteristic of the afternoon?

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Toby Frow engaging is some cheek pouch hoarding in the run up to his innings. Jim making a fashion statement or is the hat just the wrong way around?

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Jim and assorted background folk including Ian Davidson. The day had depth and width.

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Pre-match technical discussions ensue between Seorais Graham and Jim. The use of the off-side trap considered. “I think Jerome is going to play a decisive role,” says Jim (right – hairy chest) consulting the batting order. “Putting him in as our 12th batsman is certainly a consideration.”

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Cheerful calm before the storm of the match commences

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It is never too early to learn the rudiments of cricket scoring.

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Some bold fashion statements being made by members of the crowd

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Louis in conference with Will Towers. “I hope they use Jerome judiciously in this game,” says Louis

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Yola and Naira. Naira clearly overjoyed to be at the match. She sports a fetching ribbon in her hair amid the dappled sunlight. (A bit over-written, this caption – don’t you think? Ed.)

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People with ‘a’ at the end of their names do seem to congregate: Yola, Naira and Klara. Naira still a bit ambivalent about the proceedings.

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Jane joins the ensemble. Klara and Naira engage.

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Ian and Tom share a gentle moment over strawberries ….

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…. but peace turns to consternation as Seorais brings news of Ian’s selection as wicket-keeper

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Something happened – notice Jim’s elegant demeanour as he carefully evaluates the situation.

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Seorais addresses the ball – luckily he had a chance to warm up with Jerome before and so his eye was in. He proved one of the Monahans’ most potent players and for a while Salmagundi Gardeners had no answers as he struck out all over the ground.

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It is a little unclear from this shot where the centre of action is located – there were many such fuzzy moments. For Jerome, constantly on the move having been told to ‘run in’ a lot, much of the afternoon fielding was a bit of a blur.

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Toby Frow – the devastating partner to Seorais – the Monahans’ No1 and 2 batsmen. Pity those on the hectic boundaries during their innings.

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Daisy clearly unimpressed by Jim’s tactics.

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The crowd look up in consternation and amazement – something has happened.

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A glint in this spectator’s eye – is there a hint of delinquency alongside the sophistication and elegance. (Lovely earrings by the way – Ed.)

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Tom keeps score

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The band strikes up nearby and dancing girls invade the pitch.

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The girls menaced by a six – see it in mid-air vanishing above dancer 2’s head. It passed between them and marked the end to their antics on the boundary.

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Charles and shark-boy Jimmy – Jimmy has not noticed the ‘beast with five fingers’ securely lodged on his chest.

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A melon moment for Clare and Joan.

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Tom and Seorais discuss tactics. It is painful and technical. Tom eats a sandwich of which there were many.

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For my next trick….

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Bird’s eye view of Klara.

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Jerome has a reunion with Ellom Bob Morf

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“You are wider than last year,” says Ellom

The entire ensemble post match

The entire ensemble post match

1 Response to The Monahans 5 July

  1. Richard Higginbottom says:

    I’m not being big-headed by liking a post – this is to mark how much I enjoyed the day and the great fun we had – as well as marking Jerome’s super photo-journalism.

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