MASSACRE, UMPIRING MAYHEM AND BACK PASSAGES

WARWICK UNI STAFF 276 for 9
TGCC 106 all out

Such is the foregone conclusion that the captains walked out and agreed not to toss.  Young simply elected to field.  End of.

And so at 13:17 Holt began his run up in bright sunshine and actual heat.  With Waters at the other end, replaced after five excellent overs by Howard Benjamin, the first 20 were accurate, competitive and put Grafton firmly in the box seat with the Uni Staff 80ish for 2 at drinks.  Holt bowled exceptionally well for nil return (at the apex of his spell, bowling with six slips and gullies)  – a fact that was clearly not lost on him as we were treated to the full range of snarls, double-tea pots, grunts and ‘ferfuksakes’.  8-26-0.  Then pretty much everyone else bowled the remaining 20 overs and they went for 10 a piece.  Himanshu (129), Anand (33) and Rahul (49) doing the principal damage.  Most chastening (or amusing, depending on your viewpoint) was Harvey’s inauspicious first two balls which went for a remarkable 15 (wide-run-two and two sixes).  A late flurry of wickets (Kirk bagged three somehow) did not in any way mask the carnage of the previous hour and a half.  276 for 9 (without Williams behind the stumps it would have been 300+) and as it turned out they could have declared in the 22nd over and still won.

Tea was an Adam Waters affair.  Someone used the ‘beige’ word but that was somewhat harsh.  A good spread and Harvey only got crumbs because he turned up 20 minutes into tea after nursing his crushed ego round the back of the pavilion.

And then all hell broke loose.  Remember James Wall?  Principally notorious for his umpiring.  Well, where Williams excels behind the wicket at one end he hasn’t really mastered it yet at the other.  Armed with just four stones and two bits of mud from his boot, Williams attempted to record the overs and rapidly sent Onens packing, bat before wickets for 2.  Onens was belatedly recalled by the opposition – alas he had already thrown his pads and gloves to four separate corners of the changing room and was down to his under-pants.  And so it began.  Harvey looked perfectly fine for his 13 but in the blink of an eye it was 28 for 8 in the 13th and car engines starting.  But Holt and Bilbrough had other ideas and put together an obstinate 60-something partnership.  Both batted superbly and made those in more lofty batting positions look like right arses.  Indeed those very people were forced to umpire and duly contrived to hasten an end to the game by presiding over a spate of five ball overs and one (Kirk) of four balls.  Only in the 35th over (33rd in actual balls bowled) was Holt finally out for a stupendous 40 and Bilbrough (livid) bowled for 28 in the penultimate over.  106 all out.  A 170 deficit – a calamitous scoreline and yet something edifying about eking out something, anything, at the end.  A day for the youth squad, ultimately.  Bilbrough sat in the changing room with his head in his hands after a great knock.  Kirk, with three wickets to his name, sat trying to count to five, if not six, on his fingers.  Williams, a tremendous effort behind the stumps on a very unpredictable pitch, was bent over trying to extract Onens’ bat from his back passage.  What an afternoon.

SCORECARD –

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