Monday, 15 June 2009

HHCC vs The Misfits

Ooooh dear, well that was a little bit of a shocker. The Little Missenden "Misfits" were the oppo, and despite winning the match, it was an average day for Hyde Heath and a particularly terrible one for yours truly. Three pre-match pints may have calmed the jitters caused by a Saturday night of two hours sleep but they did little to improve my already meagre cricketing ability.

Last year the Misfits had trounced us by ten wickets but this season saw them arrive at Fortress Heath with a severely depleted side. With a tail starting at three, all we really needed to do was prevent a large opening partnership. When Jez removed their right-handed opener LBW early on, victory was pretty much assured. Their left-handed opener (and skipper) Hugh made a hard-working half-century, but wickets fell regularly at the other end. Off a shortened run, Bradley bowled accurately with pace and movement both ways, whilst Nick produced a probing opening spell and was unlucky not to take any wickets.

Fortress Heath

When a kid of about 10 walked out to bat in their middle order Charlie put me on to bowl and I duly dispatched him LBW. But thereafter I failed to threaten against two other children of 11 and 13. As the game drifted, we dropped catches and began to look like a rabble in the heat. Charlie put down three, Ben one (albeit a tough one), Capper at least one, and I flinched out of the way of an absolute dolly. Sorry, cricket! Eventually Jez returned to bowl some wides and take some wickets. He finished with 5 wickets and the Misfits were all out for 130.

When we overheard their captain saying to his troops "Listen lads, we only have one bowler" we assumed we’d chase the target down with ease. But like most village teams, the Heath have a habit of making a meal of small totals and we really tried hard to lose this one. After two early wickets, Shrimpton and Will Reynolds looked assured at the crease, both striking the ball cleanly. But when the former was controversially given out LBW by Jonny Capper for an excellent 43, our middle order wobbled.

Samuels was clean bowled for a duck and Nick got a good one that nipped back, so I strode out at number 7 feeling surprisingly confident. On came their 11 year-old leg-spinner (who I had singularly failed to dismiss), Will got a single and I took guard against him. The first ball I faced was tossed up and drifted gently a foot or so outside the leg stump. I propped forward, the ball spat past the outside edge and took the off bail. Oops. I felt like Mike Gatting, but less fat and less good at cricket.

A few more wickets fell as we neared the target, but combining sensible defence with some brutal shots through the covers, Will saw us home with an unbeaten half-century. So it was with relief and no little surprise that we sat watching England bounce India out of the World 20/20. It was almost enough to make me forget my humiliating day. That is, were it not for the continued reminders from my supportive team-mates...

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