"You know what they'll say... they'll blame the captain."
Season 2001 got off to a pretty reasonable start, dipped a bit then picked up again as well managed to put together a five wicket victory against our most competitive oppo. The covers were still on and the square was roped off, but apparently that's what we should expect.
I've lost my tossing ability over the winter, so the oppo asked us to field. New boys Will Dobbie and Nick Redman accepted the new ball responsibilities and performed extremely well. The Pakistani opening bat who we always drop on his way to a century wasn't playing, so naturally Tony Mc held both of the catches that came his way - the first of which required significant ground coverage on Tony's part - including the prize wicket of Sean Terry for a duck. Tony's bowling hasn't declined much over the break, but hasn't improved either. He did get a full toss on line though to get a wicket and the reward of an extra over or two. Martin Booth took over from Nick at the other end and kept the pressure on, eventually removing their skipper. At drinks, they were 4-64. Rich Clark showed obvious signs of rustiness. The oppo's West Indian slogger got stuck into the bowling until new boy Jeremy Taylor worked out that we'd probably get him out if he bowled the slowest ball ever seen. It worked. A couple of their young guys then proceded to score some runs and get a little cocky. Raj shut them up, finally doing what he's been telling us he can do, cleaning up the tail while Steve Thompson bowled some of the widest wides ever seen as the thunderstorms closed in. 193 was the target.
The first team provided tea for quite some time suffered from the presence of Chalky - showing years of experience by timing his arrival perfectly - and therefore giving the impression of not enough food. Jem seems to have been quite a few pies.
The run chase began slowly, with Rhodri Lewis taking strike. At the other end, final new boy Sunil Nakrani convinced Chalky that he could play. Things went pear-shaped when Steve T fired Rhodri, quickly followed by me running myself out. Rich showed that his bowling rustiness was not alone, and it wasn't looking good at 3-26. Nick joined Sunil in what turned out to be a matchwinning partnership of 97. Sunil was finally dismissed on 69 by a catch that a number of us thought wasn't. Nick and Will continued the chase, putting at a rapid 51 before Nick was removed on 65. Martin joined Will with 5 overs to go and 25 still needed. Poor choice of bowlers gave us the opportunity to win, with 5 required from the last over. The oppo's skipper brought himself on, in a death-or-glory effort. It turned out to be death as Will hit a no ball for 4, resulting in Raj exclaiming, "It's a no ball, that's 5, we have won!" loudly and repeatedly.
After match talk apparently centered on ironing, much to the disgust of the older members of the team, while a curry effort of 9 isn't bad except that 4 of them were oppo.