Old Boys v Fishponds CC
Sunday 13th August 2006 at The YMCA, Golden Hill
By MP Clements
And so the final game of the 2006 season was upon us and the eager Old Boys gathered at the gates to Golden Hill. With the prospect of no cricket till spring, Skip Smith (SJ) had a full squad to choose from bar Lambshead; unavailable due to a saucy weekend break. Old boys Adams and Clements even hotfooting it hundreds of miles back from boozy weekends for a chance to see out the season with a win. Phil Sarjeant was also present, but nursing a hang over of such enormous proportion he had actually turned yellow. There were doubts he would actually finish the game alive.
Alas it would appear that our fellow competitors Fishponds CC were not quite so eager for a game and turned up with just 6 players. Thankfully HOBs had a few spares and the Hough brothers, Andy and Kev, stepped in to make up the numbers. It was also agreed that Fishponds could rotate their batsman and that some Old Boys would field for them.
The weather always looked dubious and we could have almost done with some floodlights as Old Boys skip SJ Smith won the toss and elected to field first. The Old Boys took up their positions and Barrett and Brown opened the bowling. From the first few overs it was clear that this wasn't going to be a high scoring match, not for lack of trying on the Fishponds side but the HOB bowling was exceptionally tight, in fact some of the best we had produced all season.
It was not long until a Fishponds wicket was to fall, with opening batsmen Jenkins being caught at cover by Zographou off the bowling of Barrett. Their number two, however, was to prove a little harder to dislodge, but with no disrespect to Fishponds, the remaining nine were not. So in light of that I'll give you a brief run down of the highlights.
Their number 3 (Lacey) was to be the unfortunate first victim of JS Smith's award winning arm. Making 6 runs he was soon dispersed back to the pavilion by the hands of Barrett. JS Smith went on to take a magnificent 7 wickets (a club record for a single game, I think).
Eason came and went, making just 2 before having the bails removed for him by JS Smith. Next man to note was Kev Hough, smoking fags and drinking Stella while waiting for his turn he looked like a man who meant business. Padded and eager to 'get involved' he took a final swig and strode up to the crease. Hitting just 3 quick singles, he wasn't in the middle long enough for his beer to get warm as he was caught in the slips by the eagle-like eyes of SJ Smith. Despite the ball being 22 feet from him, Jo outstretched one of his massively long arms and plucked the ball (single handedly) from the air in what some might say is the catch of the season, perhaps we should rename him Mr Tickle!
Next up, a couple of quackers for Connick and Lusted, this brought Andy Hough to the crease quicker than he had perhaps anticipated. Andy, who was also enjoying a few cans of wife beater and smokes with his brother whilst waiting for a bat, strode on pitch as confidently as his sibling, and for a short time picked up the pace.
A few singles and a streaky 4 saw his tally hit 8 before Adams caught him off the bowling of JS Smith (again). At this point Fishponds CC ran out of batsmen and, as pre-arranged, it was back to number 3 giving Lacey a second chance to improve on his score of 6. Improve he unfortunately didn't, making 6 again due to being out LBW off the bowling of JS Smith. Up popped Lusted once again and off he popped again going for his second duck of the day being caught by EC Davies off the bowling of, yes you've guessed it JS Smith. And so back to number 4, Eason, with a warm up earlier he now had his eye in and made a good 11 before falling foul to that bearded wonder Niko the Greek who took his second catch to see Fishponds all out for 128. I must add though that their number two, Taylor, finished not out making a grand sum of 60, almost half of Fishponds total of 128.
And so to tea, my personal highlight of the day. Once again 'P Trahar Catering & Co' pulled out all the stops. A selection of sandwiches, scotch eggs, pork pies, luxury crisps and some scrumptious cakes, saw both home and away refuelled and ready to go.
With just 128 to chase down HOBs felt confident and on strict instructions to hit out which he did from the first ball EC Davies opened the batting. His partner in crime was the ever improving Niko, who, full of pork pie and crisps, claimed he was going to smash his personal best. Unfortunately for both Nick and club this was not the case and he was caught for duck of the golden variety, perhaps one less pie and he might have hit the ball further, greedy so and so.
Up next was yours truly, after a season spent mostly in single figures, I was keen to up my game and go out with a bang. A bang indeed I did, although not quite the result I was after. Taylor of Fishponds exploded my stumps behind me with just 2 runs in my pocket. Oh well, at least there is time for practice before next season.
With steady Eddie at the helm of the good ship HOB, master Trahar now joined him, fresh from kitchen duties he strapped on his pads and helped Ed up the score with quick running in an excellent supporting role. Trahar also made a quick fire 3 before being caught by Lacey of Fishponds. Next up was Phil who has a reputation for big hitting and quick runs, just the thing we needed. Unfortunately, he also has a reputation for fast women, hard drinking and late nights and it would appear that the previous night was no exception, in fact he had not actually been to bed yet. So with the skin colour of Homer Simpson and eyes looking in all directions except forward, Phil did his best and made a quick 8 that came from two 4's. His short rein coming to end as Andy Hough took out his middle wicket with a powerful strike. For HOBs it was a shame, but for Phil a blessing in disguise, as he scampered off home. Rumour has it he is still asleep.
Fillingham now joined Ed and quickly suffered the same defeat as Trahar making 3 runs in the process and going out to the same bowler / catcher combination. All of sudden the HOBs early confidence seemed to be slipping away and like the dark sky that loomed above, a cloud was cast over whether or not we would actually be able to pull this one off.
Something was needed and that was hopefully to come in the elongated frame of SJ Smith. It took him a short while to get his eye in but once he did Jo began to smash his way around the park, this new partnership looking like it could see us home.
Alas after slicing a looping ball of the edge of his bat in to the slips Ed was caught (2 short of a half century) by his own team-mate, Niko, who was fielding for the opposition.
Enter Brown, like a 1940's gent resplendent is pristine whites and a rather spiffy cricket hat, he elegantly took up his mark and proceeded to back up his stylish looks with some rather stylish cricket. And, with a couple of quick 4's, he added a few more runs to the board. Smith (SJ) and Brown carried the tally forward until Brown was caught and bowled by Taylor making 12 runs in the process.
Enter Smith number 2, Jon, which saw the twins on pitch at the same time. This on pitch batting relationship is almost as fiery off the pitch, you never quite know what is going to happen when the Smith brothers are out together. But thankfully neither of them wanted to kill each other today and with victory insight not much was needed from this experienced pair. Jon quickly added 2 runs to Jo's 39 to clinch the game. Ending the season on a high, victory was ours, HOBs beating Fishponds (with a few HOBs thrown in) by 3 wickets!!
Pints were enjoyed in the Welly and then an end of season barbecue was held at Pete's house. The Old Boys guzzled Stella Blackthorn, burgers, sausages and other delights, as talk already began to turn to that of next season…………..Bring it on.