Warwick County Council Staff won by 9 wickets.


At 9.30 pm on Saturday night I inadvertently switched on the Eurovision song contest. Times have changed since I watched with actual interest as a bright eyed young lad. Australia, it seems, has moved lock stock and barrel half way around the world and landed in Europe. And text voting has become the new mode of extracting cash out of the proletariat with literally nothing better to do on a Saturday night than fritter their hard earned money away on a completely pointless exercise. As I sat there half listening…..”nil points….nil point….nihil punt….nil punkt…..punti nil”, for some reason I felt the urge to write the match report.

This is only Grafton’s second league game under the captaincy of Capt’ Killian, and I can already see that he’s aged 25 years in the last two weeks. For those of you who have not tried captaining a cricket team, or any team for that matter, the struggle to get 11 players out each week takes its toll. When Liam sends out his weekly call to arms, right at the very top of his list of preferred responses would be “yes skip, I’m available for both games, let me know if you want me for either/both and I’ll be there for you pal”. As you scroll down his list of preferred responses, you’ll pass “no”, then further down would be the no response. Then even further down, pretty much right at the very bottom, you’ll find “I’ll play, if everyone begs me to play, and even then I probably won’t play, but you won’t actually know this until Saturday morning”.

WIlliams and his bestest friend. It'll soon be more of Kieran's signature and less of a yellow plastic duck.

WIlliams and his bestest friend. It’ll soon be more of Kieran’s signature and less of a yellow plastic duck.

So with great relief, and after much stress, we turn up on Saturday afternoon to glorious sunshine with our 11 combatants, all raring to go following a morning net practice at the GCG. Over the past few years we have experienced some considerable ups and downs against Warwick County Council staff. Usual form is for us to be on the receiving end of a bend over backwards rogering. But this was interrupted in 2015 in quite spectacular fashion. It was 8th August 2015 when the rogerer very much became the rogeree. So despite Warwick not being one of our happiest hunting grounds, we were the form team.

All the pre match discussions centred on the bat or bowl conundrum were we to win the toss. On the one hand birthday boy Tom Benjamin espoused the virtues of the bat first option (game potentially over, beer in hand, by the rugby European final kick off time of 4.45pm). On the other hand, everyone else favoured the more traditional bowl first option, given the pitch was actually soft enough to move, albeit under the not inconsiderable weight of Liam’s heavy foot. All this became mute, as Liam lost his second toss and we were inserted.

TT and the duck: Joined at the, er, hip.

TT and the duck: Joined at the, er, hip.

Grafton welcomed back Ian Quiney from his winter break to replace the Chairman, and ‘Cotswold born and bred’ Tom replaced the rested Rich James in an otherwise unchanged side. Liam and Tom opened the innings in their typically aggressive manner, but the brakes were put on when Liam fell LBW for 13. Badger joined Benjamin but both batsmen found scoring difficult against the accurate swing bowling of Nick Robbins (3 for 16). At 34 for 1 Benjamin’s stay was ended when he was bowled through the gate by a beautiful inswinging delivery for 18. That initiated a middle order collapse as Grafton lost Johnston (crap shot), Kirk (good ball), Onens (really crap shot) and Willams (golden duck) for 6 runs in the space of 11 balls. Harvey and Quiney dug in but found runs difficult to come by in testing conditions against some good quality swing bowling. Warwick bowler George Brown replaced the excellent Robbins and broke the partnership having Harvey caught behind. After a brief cameo from TT, Lewis Bilbrough joined top scorer Quiney (19) and the pair combined for the second highest partnership of the innings, before Quiney’s battling knock was ended by Gardner. The last wicket pair of Lewis and Howard managed to successfully survive until the 45th over, but couldn’t quite make the 100 runs required for a batting point. The highlight of the innings however, was the excellent knock by a fast improving Lewis Bilbrough who showed some good technique in his highest ever league knock of 14 not out. Most importantly though he showed application and determination to not gift his wicket away. If only the same could be said of the majority of his team mates.

The usual tea time Badger baiting was set up by the selfless family man Milky James who made a brief appearance to offer support and encouragement. But to his, and everyone’s obvious delight, he managed to get an unusual (ed – really? Badger = the chomping champion) and hefty rise out of a forlorn but not gingery badger. Tea was a sumptuous affair including cheese sandwiches, quiche (ed – it was an excellent tea but I’m pretty sure there was no quiche. Stick to the facts Harvey.) and monster munch.

If only that ray of light administered batting talent.

If only that ray of light administered batting talent.

With last years’ comeback victory from a similar position still fresh in the minds of the Grafton players we took to the field with positive intent. Ivor bowled with menace, beating the bat on a regular basis, but there was to be no repeat of the 2015 heroics with Warwick cruising to victory by 9 wickets. The only Grafton wicket came courtesy of a great catch from Williams to remove Matthew Edwards for 22, making up for his earlier far easier drop. There were no further wobbles for Warwick as Keith Edwards and Stephen Robbins saw them safely over the line with 25 overs to spare. Other highlights in the field included Onens getting angry with some goats. Onens getting angry with some grass. Onens getting angry with his short arms. Onens getting angry at a gate. And Onens getting really angry with some boundary rope.

Post match beers were supped, fines paid, and much to our amusement, out of chat retirement came our beloved beast, Mr Windog Daddio. One thing we all learned was that, as the great philosopher said, the world will never run out of chicken. Amen.

Roll on next week when we aim for our first win of the season against Elmley Castle.

Posted in Match Reports

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