Tuesday, 29 May 2012

HHCC vs Chesham

After last week's grim procession, a very different match to follow. But victory still eludes the Heath. The news that I was to captain the team was greeted, perhaps unsurprisingly, with glorious sunshine, and after Capper lost the toss (he was delegated Chief Leadership Vision Strategist whilst I retained the role of On-Field Executive Decision-Maker and Management Facilitator) we were invited to bat first.

Capper drives

With the sun beating down, the outfield fast, and the pitch playing flat and true (Mikey explained something technical about mid-week watering and sunshine) Haddock and Capper got us off to an absolute flier. The Chesham attack was not a bad one at all, but the one iffy ball an over was punished mercilessly as the pair motored along at just shy of 7 an over. Capper timed some glorious strokes that raced between mid-on and mid-wicket, whilst Dom was severe on the short ball and played several hugely impressive lofted drives either side of mid-on. The introduction of legspin from both ends slowed things down a notch, before, the very ball after the drinks break, Dom was caught and bowled for 73 (triple juggled) by the leggie from the Plough End.

Textbook stuff from Shrimpie

Shrimpie, Nicko and Harry continued the controlled carnage, while Capper was dismissed two runs short of what would have been a fine hundred – the other leggie clinging onto a stinging return catch low down. It was still an excellent innings and the bedrock of an impressive total of 259.

Capper superbly caught by the bowler (great photo too!)

After tea (and some first class chicken tikka sandwiches from Nicko) it was time to see what the Heath could do with the ball. Before we even made it to the field though, problems struck. Suffering from dizziness, Atif was driven home by his mate Shaz, who promised to return with another of his mates. That neither of them reappeared left us very light on bowling, but hopefully Atif is ok!

Fronting up to adversity like all great captains (or something like that) I decided to bowl the second over, from the Plough End, and was instantly rewarded with a double wicket maiden. Jez struck in his second over and I again in the fourth to leave Chesham in tatters at 7 for 4. From there Chesham had no option but to shut up shop. With the pitch flat and increasingly slow, no turn, seam or swing to speak of, and faced with a Chesham middle order prepared to graft hard, the match petered out into a dull draw. Everybody barring Capper turned their arm over, and I set some increasingly ludicrous fields (three short mid-wickets anyone?) but it was all to no avail, as Chesham finished 7 down, and the Heath's season remains winless.

Me bowling (note the Stop HS2 sign in the background)

Special thanks for their stints as substitute fielders must go to Ritchie Austin and the supremely energetic Stanley Burgham, who put many of his seniors to shame despite having already played a match for his own club that morning. Much more sensibly, I was in the pub at the time, watching a glorious Ian Bell cover drive...

Monday, 28 May 2012

HHCC vs Great Missenden Pelicans

Skies of cold pewter and a rancid batting collapse marked the start of my 2012 cricket season. After two cancellations due to conditions underfoot, Hyde Heath had kicked things off with an away draw against the Lee the week before, but then came this horrible loss at home, at the once proud and noble Heath. Fortress no more, perhaps?

I have to confess that my slowness in getting round to writing about the match means that it has rather faded into the dank grey that birthed it. Which, to be honest, is probably a good thing. 

We won the toss and bowled first, as is customary. Ali bowled splendidly on a slow pitch to take six wickets and limit the Pelicans to an eminently chase-able 170ish. Operating as second spinner again (harrumph) I took two wickets to mark a reasonable start to the season – although I did drop short too often, and with the wicket the furthest over by the road, was donked for several sixes.

The batting progressed rather serenely until the departure of Capper for a tidy half-century. From 100-odd for 3, we collapsed in a horrible heap. Our entire middle and lower order contrived to get themselves out in stupid ways (I ran myself out second ball) and despite Richard Austin's pyrotechnic 30-odd, we went down by twenty runs. Not good.