Thursday, 23 June 2011

President's Weekend 2011

Shrimpy defends, shortly before I ran him out...

President's Weekend: the glittering jewel in the burnished golden crown that is the Hyde Heath fixture list. The three-day feast of sporting prowess and booze kicks off with the annual beer festival, which by all accounts was another triumph this year – alas I was reviewing some dreadful hotel restaurant at the time – before the serious action commences on the Saturday.

The President's game consists of Hyde Heath's mightiest pitched against an assembled unit of hired mercenaries and rag-tag cricketing talent – in short, the best of the opposition from throughout the year hand-picked by HHCC's all-knowing President. This year saw us up against a particularly strong side, but as so often with the Heath, we somehow found a path to victory. Playing 30 overs a side, Henry and Dom put on a rapid-fire opening partnership, dominated by Capper at his aggressive best. At one point he'd raced to 16 before Dom had even faced a ball. In uncharacteristic fashion Dom played the supporting role, before being dismissed for 35. This precipitate something of a drop in run rate as James Shrimpton, our usual number 3, was absent, and his strokeplay was rather missed. With the runs drying up, and the overs running out, our middle order threw caution to the wind (and their wickets away) in a rather desperate attempt for quick runs. Fortunately Capper's classy 85 secured a total of around 150, a defendable but also a gettable total.

Fortunately some accurate bowling from Jez and some tight fielding prevented the oppo's top order form ever really getting going. And although once Jez had been bowled out the run-rate started to rise (my solitary over went for more than Jez's entire spell) wickets also tumbled, with Larry's mate Will mopping up the lower order. Ali and Airdy were left to achieve the impossible and despite a few lusty blows it never quite materialised and Hyde Heath won fairly comfortably in the end.

Afterwards, rather bizarrely, we all swiftly departed for home in order to change into black tie and return to the pavilion marquee for a right old shindig in celebration of Hyde Heath's 40th or 45th anniversary. Nobody seemed quite sure which. What was clear is that everybody was feeling more than a little ropey for Sunday's now traditional HHCC vs Plough 20/20 grudge match.

I face up bravely to some vicious opening bowling.

For some reason, I was elected pinch-hitter and opened the batting with Shrimpy. We actually got off to a flier until I ran him out (for scoring too quickly I think). Shrimpy had his revenge though as Nick (no doubt operating under instructions) ran me out shortly afterwards. Oh well. Thanks to some lusty hitting throughout we managed a pretty impressive total (of I've totally forgotten what).

The Plough's chase never really seemed to get going. And yet thanks to a rapid half-century from Capper they actually only needed 10 to win off the final two balls. Fortunately for the glory of the club it was not to be and HHCC remain unbeaten this season. The highlight of the weekend for me? An astonishing reaction catch by Nick at very silly mid-on off my bowling. Not only was it one of the best catches I've ever seen – the ball was hit seriously hard and he was fielding pretty darned close – but it was also the third wicket in a hat-trick for yours truly on the way to a long awaited five wicket haul. Just thought I'd throw that little snippet in there - shame it's in a match that doesn't count for the averages. Balls.

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