Old Boys v Lazarus XI
Thursday 5th May 2005 at The YMCA, Golden Hill
By SJ Smith
This was to be Henleaze Old Boys Inaugural Match, and as such, the pre-match planning all went out of the window, and there were serious doubts as to whether HOBs would be able to raise a team. Start as you mean to go on and all that. Until the 11th hour there were only ten men listed as fit and available. Who would be the saviour? None other than that gallant newly-fiancéed Otter hot-foot from London to the "rescue". That he injured himself early on attempting a goose-like stretch for a catch and was unable to bowl or bat in the match is of minor importance - funny though.
Anyway, down to the details of a game won, remarkably, given that the team had not played collectively for the best part of eleven years, by Henleaze Old Boys. Skip Jon fittingly lost the toss, and we were fielding first. The Ram and the Rat-brow were to open the bowling - who better than the bulldog and the ferret? It was to be a solid if not spectacular start. Joel would bowl the first for a miserly single run, and both opening bowlers then restricted the Lazarus Batsmen to eleven runs from the first five overs. Then the moment would come, destined to be Lambshead, in he steamed (having bowled four wides in succession by way of duping the batsman), and with his elegant little leap he released a rip-snorter which proceeded to glide through the air catching the batsman's outside edge. Silence descended in the outfield and in the stands - Skip Jon, standing at slip, the ball rocketing towards him. The outstretched lobster fingers, the clamshell opened, the catch was taken, then…. Jubilation. The first HOB wicket.........ever.
As things began to settle down again, Tom and Joel bowled their remaining overs, Joel taking a wicket in his last over with a beauty. Skip-Jon then brought himself on, and within moments was arranging the field for his hat-trick ball. Could it be? Could it really happen? HOBs crowded round, a long intake of breath, the fat pounded in - stomach lolloping as he approached the crease, the batsmen comes forward, the ball takes the edge - will it carry? Is the script written?…….. No. The edge falls just short of Fillingham behind the stumps. Smith was to take one more wicket in his next over for a miserly eight runs, and the excellent Stuart Adams would take two fine wickets of his own. In all, it was a fine performance in the field from the debutant Old Boys (that being the entire team of course).
Then came the real stuff, batting separates the men from the boys in cricket. Bowlers have it easy, if they screw up, they always have another ball. Batsmen screw up, and that's it….. it's a long walk. And so it would prove for some of HOBs finest. But more of that later. Ashley, opening the batting in a "pinch-hitting" role strode out to the middle with Ed, to face the music. The music though, wasn't of the chin variety as the ball kept low, skidding through and proving tough to get away. Ed made a good fist of the initial overs and Javelin played a decent second fiddle, contributing three to a highly respectable opening stand of twenty-eight. Then the Fillingham - looking to up the run-rate - was bowled by a straight one, and the long-legged Smith brother, a self-confessed bundle of nerves, and subsequently a walking wicket was in. Eight tentative balls and no runs later he was out again, recording the first ever duck for HOBs. Ed held the innings together superbly, stealing singles and punishing the odd rank legside longhop for boundaries. And after the skipper had fallen for a valiant eight, he was joined by a jittery Joel in the middle. By this stage "Mr Pea-Roller" was bowling for Lazarus. Clearly their secret weapon, this guy had the enviable art of bowling a looping delivery which pitches half way down and then rolled along the floor down to a tea. After a couple of singles, Rat-brow ferris lost patience with the pesky fiend, and danced elegantly down the wicket to smash. Smash he did not and his graceless departure was completed. A right sickener, stumped of a pea-roller…..
Ed was then joined by Billy Warmington, and the match was suddenly looking tighter. Twenty runs required off the last four overs, Ed had made thirty odd by now, and Warmington had taken a couple of tentative swipes at his first few balls. Then came the barrage. As if blessed from above, Billy smashed 24 runs off 11 balls - including a towering six - and saw the HOBs home and dry. Victory was theirs, against all the odds, in their inaugural match.
Ed won man of the match for his solid and steady 37, while Adam, Jon and Stu Adams deserve mentions for their contributions in a good all-round team performance. And special thanks to the Otter for coming over from London, and for causing great general amusement at your particular misfortune.