Team Picture taken at tea against Hendon St. Mary's

 

 

Back Row: Danny Kemp; Eddie Sketchley; Stewart Newport; Stewart Satterly;

Simon Quartermaine

 

Front Row: Ian White; Wayne Smith; Jim White; Robert Latchford; Andy Brooks; Ian Hill

 

OR

 

Back Row: Danny King of the World; Whippet/Clumsy; Stewie; Shakey; Q

 

 

 

 

 

Shakey, Young Ian, Whippet & Handy Andy  - with players like these, who needs opposition?

 

 

 

 

Ian waiting his turn to bat against Hendon St Mary's (number 3 and still another 20 overs before I get in!). What did that bloke mean "looks like Mike Gatting"?

 

 

 

Tex before going out to face Hendon and Edgware...

 

..and returning having secured this year's duck trophy with a fine late-season run (of no runs!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nets 25 April 1999

 

Right, so me:- I'm forty and I've been playing for the club (Octopus - I

know it's an unusual name, but we found out recently that when the club was

formed it was attached to a local sports hall. Being the eighth sport

associated with the hall, the founders called it Octopus. This surprised us:

we thought it was because we regularly turn out with 8 players!) for the

past ten years. My experience of cricket before that - nil (not even school

games)!

 

A friend of mine who happened to be Octopus captain that year invited me

down to the nets (just to make up the numbers); at the end of the nets they

were less than bowled (arf!) over with my prowess, but asked me if I would

play if they were short at any point. Being stupid I said yes; within two

weeks my friend fell off a ladder, wrecked his shoulder and the rest (as

they say) is history.

 

In my first season I won the duck trophy; I've never won it since but that

would be the limit of my batting achievements. In my fifth season I got a

bowl; the over went so well that they trusted me with another in my seventh

season and a spell of two overs in my eighth! Fielding duties are generally

long leg and mid-off, although two years ago I did pick up the fielder of

the year trophy (and promptly dropped it!) this was more due to the number

of mistakes everyone else made that year rather than my own prowess.

 

I am that most invaluable of members to a cricket team like ours; someone

who turns up regularly (oh yes, and does the scorebook). As a category, I

think I fall into the no-rounders  - you'd be waiting a long time for

reports from me if I entered myself as batsman or bowler.

 

As for this week, despite many of the local teams attempting to start the

season, we were in our last week of pre-season nets (We play on a local

council parks pitch; we know full well that they won't start preparing it

properly until late-April, so there's no point in trying to use it until

May. We have been proved right this year - I went to look at the pitch

yesterday and it was most definitely NOT playable). We've been advertising

for new players and the eight of them that turned up outnumbered the

existing membership - this meant that I was a touch too busy to get the full

bowling stint one usually gets in the nets (running two nets with our usual

eight players who turn up can be a tiring business).

 

In all I guess I only delivered about 25 balls - one of unutterable dross

(way down leg - would have brained the batsman in the next wicket but for

the net in the way) and 24 good (as defined in the CC web-site definitions)

 - I guess that's percentages of 4% crappy 96% good 0% brilliant.

 

My problem is that in the nets the nets themselves seem to act as a guide to

getting the ball to approximately the right place; on the square those balls

would have all been threatening third slip (the position - we've never

actually employed a third slip in all my time at the club. This is due to

lack of decent catchers, not lack of desire on the bowler's part!) or

backward square leg. At some point this season I intend to experiment with a

set of blinkers made of cricket nets to try and simulate that indoor

feeling. If I manage to work anything out, I'll keep you posted!

 

 

 

 

May 2 1999 Octopus v S. Loughton

 

Welcome to the start of the season!

 

Naturally, this being a bank holiday weekend, we expected the weather to be foul.

Naturally, this being the first game of the season, we expected to play with 10 (or less) men.

Naturally, this being the first game of the season, I expected the wicket to be awful.

Naturally, this being the first game of the season, I didn't expect to bat or bowl.

How wrong we can be!

 

To tell the story of the game properly you'd have to go back to the previous weekend;

we had a host of new people at the nets, and the skipper went around checking for availability

for 2nd May. He was going to call everyone at the start of the week, and we all (well not me,

as I knew I was going to be playing) waited for the calls. Sadly, his phone packed up, so

despite the (for us) incredibly large pool of players he had to select from, we were still unsure of

whether we had eleven come Sunday morning!

 

As the time for the game to start approached, the sun came out in full force (70degrees F. might

not sound too much to those of you coming out of an Aussie summer, but for us in early May this is unheard of) and so did we - a whole team of eleven sauntered out on to the pitch - six new players and five "senior pros".

 

Fortunately the game provided an early return to reality. The first chance of the new season fell

to me - I was at mid-on and the batsman chipped the ball cunningly to mid-off. As no-one else

seemed keen to attack it, I sprinted towards it (note to any Octopus colleagues who may read

this - I'm writing it the way I remember it, OK!) and despite a valiant sliding effort I could only geta couple of fingers to it. . .

 

And just to rub it in, while fielding in an unusual fly slip position a ball went to my right so quickly that I could barely get enough of my hand on it to prevent it going for four runs (see previous note)

 

There is just so much more of that innings I'd like to tell you about, but given that I intend to post these reports on our web page and some of my team mates might read them, I basically daren't! I'll draw a veil over most of it, but say that we did get them all out (mostly bowled) for 129.

 

 Just a word about the predictions up there - the weather was sunny (for England), we had a full team, and while I didn't bowl, I did get a bat (more of which later), but I got one right - the wicket was awful! Due to the council considerately draining the local canal into a newly constructed silt pond at the foot of our pitch has had its drainage ruined. One end had dried low and slow; the other had done so as well, apart from one small patch that dried slow and true. As a consequence, our new club motto ("Oh F***, Sorry"  - adopted after we realised that this was the most frequently uttered phrase in the nets) came into play at least twice as the ball rolled under the bat and onto the stumps. Incidentally, we are aware that the silt pond will come into play at some point in the season when the big hitters decide that straight back over the bowler is a good way to hit the ball for six - I'm not going in there to fetch the damned thing though!

 

Batting - it actually happened! Due to the captain having no idea of what our batting order should be (remember, six new players), I got put in the order at number four. After I cured the nosebleed from being so high up the order, I padded up and watched our openers claw their way to 30 off the first 14? 15? overs. After the fall of the first wicket, the skipper was considering changing the order to get the score moving along a touch more rapidly, when the second wicket fell and I was on with instructions to try and move the score along a touch more quickly.

 

Now, there are many things you can say of my batting, but few of them are complimentary, and none of them involve scoring runs quickly. My first run of the season came after I was dropped for the first time; we had actually made our ground and were considering a second before the ball finally came to rest on the ground, via some portion of the fielder's hands. My second and third runs were of a similar nature, before I finally hit one (also in the air) that went nowhere near the fielders – perfect placement? At this point the fielders wanted to know whether I would pick their lottery numbers for them.

 

For me the moment of the game was a near-perfect (no-one would believe perfect!) off drive, past bowler & mid-off that only the slow outfield prevented for going for four! Sadly, at this point, wickets had tumbled at the other end, so I decided to stop being the "flashing blade" and play my usual, dour, no excitement (and usually out quickly) game. Three balls later, the bowler offered me one that I just couldn't resist, and finally the wicket keeper held onto a catch (off his chest and lying on the ground, perhaps, but very definitely held). Should I have learned the lesson and gone on playing in the cavalier (i.e. totally stupid but somehow productive) way? Doesn't really matter at this point, but I might have

to think before I go out into the middle again - as always, however many games I play, I can't predict when that will be.  I'd like to report that the batsmen went out and smashed the runs we needed; failing that I'd like to report a doughty tail-ender's fight to hold on for the draw. We lost! By, ooooh too many runs to worry about! Never mind (sob!) always next week.

 

So, the scores on the doors are:-

6 (count 'em) runs

two dropped catches (possibly an unkind way of putting it)

there catches dropped off me

a couple of reasonable stops in the field (good in the context of first game of the season)

several pints of beer and a curry.

 

 

 

 

May 9 1999 Ealing Wanderers v Octopus

 

Hi everybody,

 

I'll try to be a little shorter than I was last week!

 

That should be easy, as my own involvement in this week's game was somewhat

restricted. As anyone who's ever visited our web-site will know, we don't

usually play away games more than a couple of miles from home.

Unfortunately, the Cricket Conference managed to send us halfway to the back

of beyond this week!

 

At least we had a full team (as one of our spectators turned out to replace

the man who went down with "gastric flu"(alcohol abuse?!) at the last

moment), which was really our last moment of good news that day. In keeping

with our need for players, two more new faces joined us on the trip, making

eight debutants used in two games so far! Without them, we wouldn't have

kicked off the season at all.

 

Our hosts chose to play a 40 over game; this meant that our lack of proven

batting could be exposed, so we had to restrict them. Sadly, 214-6 was not

quite the restriction we had in mind. From a personal point of view, pulling

a thigh muscle (it was a surprise to find that I had one!) in the third over

of the game meant that I was restricted to falling over onto the ball a few

times; high speed chases and agile dives were definitely out (no change

there, then!).

 

I settled down to a pleasant afternoon filling in the book (I am, you may

have guessed, the team's scorer, records officer and unofficial press-man),

only to be interrupted by the clatter of falling wickets. We were all out

for 89, to which my contribution was a two-ball duck:-

Ball one - rears off a length (I don't know what this phrase means, but I

read it in the paper once and have always wanted to use it!) and nearly

decapitates the keeper - fairly good trick as it hit my chest on the way

through (bruised, but I'll survive, thanks for asking);

Ball two, hits the toe end of the bat (defensive shot - obviously not very

good) and bounces onto the stumps.

Just as well I'd told my batting partner not to go for any quick singles!

 

Could have been worse I suppose - we might not have played at all! I'm

unlikely to start this week, but I'll turn up and score anyway, can't trust

the others to keep the scoresheets properly balanced (i.e. equally incorrect

for batsman and bowler)

 

I'll keep you posted

 

 

 

 

June 20 1999 Octopus v S. Darjis

 

Well, I returned to action this week after last week's "rest". Sadly, Darjis had no

interest in the World Cup Final and fielded their full-strength line-up, whereas we

still have to work out if we have a full-strength line-up, let alone what it is!

 

For (at least) the second time this year our batting failed to get started properly.

Skip managed a very good 45 against accurate bowling on a damp pitch with a wet,

large, long-grassed outfield. We actually thought for a while that we were going to get

through the whole of an innings without a single boundary, but Skip took a leaf out of

the Andy Brooks batting handbook - hit a four then get out! The curse of the new bat

(buy a new bat and it will always end up scoring no runs) hit both Wayne and Danny,

who borrowed Wayne's new bat; both of them moving powerfully up the duck's trophy

table (still led by young Ian who also added to his duck totals). Me? 0 not out - the

world's most annoying score!

 

We never really looked like making the total. Ian, Syd and Andy K took a wicket each,

and considering that they retired some batsmen, I think we really lost by only ("only")

four wickets, instead of the seven it says in the book! I'm afraid (given that Stewart

regularly reads these pages, and he's somewhat bigger than me) that I am forced to

mention Stewart's attempt at a catch. Young Ian would have been on for his second

wicket, when Stewie (yes, he IS very similar to the character in "Spin City") called very

loudly for a skier, positioned himself for it and looked very confused as the ball passed

some six inches away from his waiting hands. I suppose that TECHNICALLY it wasn't

a drop...

 

OK, not really a great afternoon for anyone; I'd just like to say that morale in the team

appears to be pretty high - fairly shortly we're going to get onto a winning run and then

watch out a very samll area of North London!

 

 

 

 

 

27 June 1999 Octopus v Newlands CC

 

This is one of those games that nearly didn't get played. We'd been

expecting the rain all night and Sunday morning, but there didn't seem to

have been enough to stop the game. As we arrived at the ground the patter of

tiny drops turned into the patter of very large and continuously falling

drops.

 

Since the opposition had come from Pinner (note to non-locals - quite a way

for a Sunday afternoon friendly) we determined to hang on as long as we

could to get the game started; we eventually got under way at about three

o'clock, came off once and played through reasonably heavy showers just so

that we could get a 30-over game completed. Naturally, the last 15 overs

were played in bright sunshine!

 

Anyway, we had the joy of fielding in the rain. Despite the attempts of

their opening bat to run everyone out/p*** off the bowlers by taking quick

singles (and returning later as a runner to try the same tricks!) we managed

to restrict them to 115 for 7 off their 30 overs.

"Handy" Andy Brooks revelled in the conditions to bowl an unprecedented

10-over spell taking three wickets for 30-odd runs. Whippet/Clumsy managed

to dive for the ball (and miss it!) in the second over, condeming him to

wearing wet, muddy whites for the next 58 overs!

 

 Me, I barely touched the ball. After one protracted spell of inactivity, I

managed the patented "Rabbit in the Headlights" panic as the ball was driven

(straight along the ground) to me and I couldn't remember what it was that I

was supposed todo at that point - the bowler was not best pleased!

 

Skip decided to promote "Tex" Avery to open with him, and this (unusually

for us) got  us off to a quick start - both in terms of run scoring and in

terms of their speed between the wickets. Neil "Neil" Cutmore assisted Skip

and at 60 for 2 off 15 overs we looked to be in good shape.

 

It wouldn't be an Octopus game without a collapse. We heard the clatter of

tiny wickets, and when Whippet/Clumsy went to join Handy Andy at 78 for 7 I

felt I was bound to get a bat, coming in as I was at number 10. The lads

managed to keep close to the required run rate, and needed 9 off the last

over - shades of Australia v South Africa or what? Andy, facing, hit the

first ball for four; the second went the same way. On the third, Andy hit it

and hesitated; Whippet was off like a flash, and I could see myself going

out for the last three balls! Luckily, the fielders hadn't been expecting

him to run, so my possible heroics weren't necessary.

 

A win by three wickets; our second of the season and Skip's first. The sun

came out, and the beer tasted good that night!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Octopus v Botany Bay 11 July 1999

 

Starting slightly late and with only 10 men (we were annoyed until we learned that Aussie Mark had broken his arm in two places - get well soon mate) we had the unfamiliar task of batting first on our home pitch. For once, the pitch gremlins didn't play up, and we posted our first 200+ total of the season, Skip pushing on his recent good form with 82 and "Tex" confirming that he can score the runs we expect with a quick-fire 33.

 

Handy Andy and I put on a respectable 35 (unbeaten) for the sixth wicket, my contribution being 9 not out (my highest score for the club - pause to point out that this is my highest score for the club in TEN years!!!) and Handy hitting 22 off the last over!

 

After losing three wickets in the first four overs, (Q returning with his trademark S*** Ball Took Wicket) Botany Bay were never in with a realistic shout, so the game petered out into an ill-tempered draw (usual things; umpiring decisions, dropped catches, annoyingly time-wasting batsmen, and sending an eight (might have been 10) year old into bat ahead of grown-up batsmen in the hope we'd be kind to him (we were, probably our mistake!))

 

I think after that one, I was the only player to have any genuine reason to celebrate afterwards; so I did!

 

 

 

 

Hadley Wood Green Sports v Octopus 18th July 1999

 

The most baking dayof the year so far, and we play at a sun-trap without an ounce of shade in sight. Toiling was an apt description of our bowling that day. We were a bit short of players, minus Stewie, Skip, Q, Mark and Whippet so we put out  our first team in living memory to feature TWO father/son combinations - Syd and his son David; Young Ian and his dad Jim.

 

Inevitably, we met the easiest pitch we'd seen for ages with a weakened bowling attack.Happily Wayne's mate Darren turned out to be good for a few overs, so my much-hyped return to the bowling crease wasn't necessary!

 

217-1 they got - at 195 for 0, and with their record opening stand of 197 in their sights, Danny came on to bowl and was rewarded with a wicket first ball! Gee, we were cut up for them. . .

 

We tried, honest we did. Wayne and Darren hit a spirited 67 opening partnership, but the second phase attack didn't quite make it.

 

In the end it was left to me 'n' Shakey to stodge out the last 10 overs for 15 (11 of which came off the last over) - six not out this week, you'd almost think I was in some kind of form!

 

 

 

Ian Saturday 24th July - Butler&Tanner v EPG Exiles (Frome)

 

As I have for the last seven seasons, I went on a (single game) tour with a

bunch of like-minded drunkards from my last job. This year's target for

abuse (as for the previous two years) was the sunny Somerset town of Frome,

some 150 miles away (by the tortuous directions supplied by

Obergruppenfuhrer Oliver).

 

Arriving at our weekend base by 12:30 I was pleasantly surprised to find

that I was not the first to arrive, and in fact we got a full team checked

into the pub/hotel and down to the pitch before the allotted start time!

Unheard of - we must be getting old.

 

Sadly for us, we agreed a 40 over format, each player to bowl two overs

minimum, then a maximum of five in total; what we for got to do was to agree

a retirement score for the batsmen! Their ringer (local county player) did

decide to retire at 100 (and came back at the fall of the ninth wicket to

score another 30-odd) but that did all the damage - 238 for 9, a big ask for

a bunch of occasional cricketers.  And before you ask, yes I did bowl my two

overs, and an extra one! 3 - 0 - 23 - 1, and the wicket was bowled, middle

stump thank you very much.

 

So, having opened the innings for the team last year (and scored a

creditable 16) I was perhaps just a little miffed to find myself at number

10 on the list this year. A quick 12 (including boundaries off successive

balls!) at a point where the game was effectively lost was good for my own

self-esteem, though useless in the overall context of the game.

 

So on to the main point of the trip; drinking, eating, baiting the

opposition captain (and a couple of players) who joined us at the pub and

generally taking the p*** out of one another. Staggered off to bed at 2:30,

looking forward to getting up pleasantly at 9:30 (ish), a large breakfast,

slow drive home, and vegging out in front of the Grand Prix all afternoon,

my snores drowning out the sound of the cars!

 

 

 

 

Sunday 25th July - Octopus v Star CC

 

Things started to go wrong fairly early - 7:30 am to be precise. Wide awake

with the birdies, no chance of getting back to sleep. I  got up showered,

messed around and was still down for (a very good) breakfast before 8:30. My

comrades in beer staggered in at various points in the next hour and a bit,

but finally I decided I might as well head back to London before the roads

got too crowded.

 

I got home at 12:30, several hours earlier than I had expected, just in time

to take the phone call which said "Ian, do you need me 'cos I'm very

hung-over". Since I was home and feeling fairly reasonable I thought I might

as well put in an unexpected appearance for the club. When I got there,

another player (Darren, the new lad who hit 28 last week) was unavailable,

so a quick phone call got Anthony from Tex's house - the team included both

of Syd's lads and a flatmate; not too auspicious!

 

Early in the game I found out just how tired I really was; a looping catch

to me at mid-on, and though I was always going backwards to it, I still

should have taken it! Happily, it didn't seem to matter as wickets tumbled

regularly, and we (we? Well, Wayne, Young Ian and Stewie got all the

wickets) got them all out for 96. Oh, and Shakey's first ever wicketkeeper's catch,

he didn't even have to get horizontal!

It wasn't one of my better days in the field, but it wasn't a bad one either!

 

So far, so reasonable. However, their opening bowler was the fastest thing

we've seen at the Town Park this year. Despite a doughty innings from Shakey

at number 3, and an "unorthodox" 4 from new boy Anthony (and six from Syd)

we were 44-6 when I went in. Three balls later, we were 44-7 as I played

late to a slower ball (neat trick if you can do it!).

 

Stewie and Alec (Syd's older boy) managed to get the score to within reach,

but Stewie fell to (yet another) shooter for a very patient 41. Though Syd's

lads managed to bat a while longer, we subsided to 80 all out and a loss of

16 runs.

 

From 12 runs and a wicket (it may not be much, but it was MY 12 runs and a

wicket) to a dropped catch and a duck - After Saturday I felt I could do

little wrong on the cricket pitch; Sunday I was ready to retire! But I'll be

back. . . .(neat slogan!)

 

Ian

 

 

 

August 15 1999 Octopus v errr... Octopus??

 

Away again this week; I was back in the team, my sulking/resting stint over

and done with and we get a nice short away trip over to Southgate.

Admittedly, this being us, we arrange to meet to leave for one o'clock; as

 always, five of us are there at the specified time, and the people who know

where we're going (and have the kit bags) don't turn up 'til some time

later!

 

We manage to get there a mere fifteen minutes late, to be greeted by a team

ready in its whites and waiting for the off.  Bob (Skip) goes out to the

middle and loses the toss. It was only after the opposing captain said that

as the away team in a cup competition they always prefer to set  target that

we realised that he'd tossed up with wrong captain! Despite the appearance

of the field, (short boundaries, two strips cut on the two - what I shall

refer to as - squares, one of which had evidently been used the day before)

apparently two games could be played here!

 

Eventually (by the wonders of mobile telephony) we discover that our

opponents (as opposed to the opponents for our erstwhile opponents) are not

going to turn up, and despite the obvious siren call of the public house, we

elect to get a bit of practice by playing a six a side game.

 

Without going into the mechanics of how the game is run, it starts with me

umpiring, scoring and wearing my pads ready to come in at number four (out

of six - par for the course). Bob and Neil are our openers, and are going

along fairly smoothly until Bob is hit on the pad with a straight one, and

(having asked at the start if we were playing to normal dismissal rules) I

give him out lbw! Oooops - I think my chances of playing for the rest of the

season have just taken a turn for the worse. . .

 

After AJ has been and gone, it's my turn to bat. I'm sorry, I know it was

bad of me, but I wasn't really able to get myself in the right serious frame

of mind for this. I managed to get two runs before I swung, missed and got

bowled middle stump. At least I was still laughing, unlike the Skip who was

not amused with me by this point (Sorry Bob).

 

I should also mention Q's honesty in walking after Stewie had taken a catch

behind off him; neither the bowler nor the umpire thought he had hit it, but

off he walked anyway - I wonder what would have happened in a game

(actually, I don't - he would have walked. . .)

 

We subside to 68 all out, leaving Stewies team to chase the runs. Their

opening pair attempt to play properly, trying to get most of the runs in

safe shots rather than swipes (swine!). Fortunately, they managed to part

themselves with a fine comedy run out. As I indicated, the boundaries were

not too large (on the one side, anyway), and a gentle tap sent the ball to

the boundary fielder, who seeing confusion between the runners set off for

the bowlers stumps with the ball still in his hand. Barely three yards away,

he releases the ball and runs out the striker (I think) Danny, King of the

World by inches. Never seen anyone run in from the boundary to complete a

runout before. . .

 

We had to use at least four bowlers, so despite Bob still having the hump

with me, I got to bowl, and in my first over I managed to get a wicket

(batsman caught by Handy Andy at mid-on, thanks Andy)! - This is my first

wicket for the club, and I manage to get one of our own players out. . .must

mean something. I end with two overs, one wicket for eight; only one rank

bad ball, many of the others bouncing too unpredictably off the damp, muddy

and frankly somewhat overgrassed pitch for the batsman to attempt anything

other than a little push.

 

Despite my fabulous containing job, Bob brought back the opening bowlers in

a vain attempt to break through, sadly it was not to be and we fell to a

three wicket loss.

 

Then we got to go to the pub.

 

 

 

22 August 1999 Octopus v Loxford Falcons

 

Well, although you are now all used to my deathless(?) prose adorning these pages,

today we are going to give the match report over to Shakey - mainly 'cos I was off on

holiday for this one (I can pick 'em!). A couple of interjections of mine are in orange

(why not??)

 

Ian,

 

Since Bob forgot to pick up the scorebook or any scoresheets from you, we used

the opposition scorebook on sunday and I scribbled down the important stats so

you can update averages etc. Probably most of our batsmen would rather  you

didn't though !

 

With possibly the strongest side that we have put out all year we (you guessed

it) completely crumbled against a side that only had 2 obvious bowlers.

At one stage we were 15 for 6 (big cheer when we scraped past 19 !) and then 28

for 8. Eddie (Whippet/Clumsy) and Simon Q put on 43 for the 9th wicket (top 9th

wicket stand this season, but well short of last year's record of 61) (which was

the only stand of note - possible worth putting in the averages). At this stage the

opposition had put on the sympathy bowlers (13 year old and fat bloke both of

whom probaly bowl 10 overs between them all year normally) and we managed to

last until there were only 10 overs left.

 

Only incidents of note (no drops this week):-

 

1. Andy B's (Handy Andy) expression when he was out for 0 - he arrived saying 'I feel really

up for a knock today Bob, put me in early' The opposition could not work out why

we all fell about laughing when he completely missed out from Mr Fat Bloke that

removed his middle stupm.

 

2. Paul took a catch  on 2nd attempt and appealled for it twice !

 

3. Eddie in bar afterwards 'I don't seem to be able to score anything apart from

4's (!!!!!)'.

 

Good afternoon out though . Last home game of season.

 

 

 

August 29th 1999 Hendon St Mary's v Octopus

 

Well, after Shakey's turn at the reports last week I'm back - make of this what you will.

 

I got back from my holiday on Thursday, slightly surprised to find no message from Skip on the

Bleep (answer phone - I just don't like that name). I was even more surprised to get a call from

him on the Friday asking me if we had a game! Another fine piece of Octopus organisation!

 

Still, to be fair, we got a full team out (even if we did have to call on young Ian's dad again!) and

set off only a tiny bit (30 minutes!) late for an away ground we all swore we knew fairly well!

Eddie/Whippet/Clumsy had decided to wash his kit at 10 o'clock that morning, so that was lying

on the parcel shelf of the car trying to dry all the way over - sadly for him (and much to our

amusement) it didn't. Less to our amusement was the fact that we only had six of us at the

ground for the expected start time; we (much to my disappointment) agreed an overs game.

Now I don't usually like overs games 'cos I tend to go in late and have to try to score runs quickly;

not my game (actually, I'm not quite sure what my game is. . .), but Bob/Skip eases that worry

by putting me in at (DEEP BREATH, DON'T PANIC) number 3! ! ! !

(Paranoid theory - he still hasn't forgiven me for the lbw in the practice game;

psychological theory - he's making sure the openers don't want to get out;

nice theory - a reward for years of devoted service - Naaaah!)

 

We get under way Skip & Stewie opening up; it's slow going at first 22 off the first 10 overs but

no wicket (don't pads keep your knees warm?). Then speeding up, past 50, past 78 (previous best

this season) past 100 to 110 with 6 overs to go and then the wicket falls. Six overs to go, runs

required quickly - where have I seen this before? Oh yes, not unlike batting at number 9 for us!

 

I get my first run (and with it my highest aggregate for the season for this club) by chipping the ball

over the bowler and watching mid-off & mid-on collide instead of catching it. Next over, Stewie clips

the bowler over square leg for a lovely four and receives a muttered "another false shot". More

mutterings from the bowler after the next one goes past him for four, and the next is clipped for a

single - then I get to face this angry man. Naturally, this is where the decent batsman late cuts the

ball past the keeper and slips; so I did (except my late cut is played with a straight bat and a large

amount of edge - never said I kept to the coaching manual, did I?). Repeating the shot two balls later

did nothing for the bowler's blood pressure, but wonders for my score. 9, joining my highest ever.

 

Stewie suggests I try to hit everything - good idea, so next ball I bottom edge onto my pads and Handy

Andy gives me out lbw!! (I reckon Skip bribed him!); despite this being the season's most ludicrous

decision by far, I start to walk off, only to be called back by the fielders who couldn't believe it!

It didn't really matter, I was caught a few balls later for no addition - damn! that first 10 for the club

still eludes me! We finished 153-2 off 35 overs.

 

They start off quickly - 50 for 0 off the first 10, but fine bowling from Handy Andy (he needed to get

back in the good books) and Q slowed them down sufficiently that they needed to start taking a few

chances, and the wickets tumbled regularly. Another four wickets for Whippet, perhaps he should

have wet kit every week. We used our fifth wicket keeper of the season (obviously a popular role)

and Danny King of the World was desperate to get a dismissal - he did pull off a fabulous tumbling

throw for a run out, but sadly for him that doesn't count for the keeper stats! Still, no byes is a pretty

good start (isn't it Eric - hope you're reading this one!)

 

We won by forty runs, and spent the rest of the evening celebrating Q's impending birthday - but 'cos

he bought me a drink I won't tell you how old he is. 

 

 

 

September 5th 1999 Hendon & Edgware v Octopus

 

Well, I think that about wraps it up for the season.

 

As usual we manage to create a crisis about a perfectly normal organisational point, meeting up

and getting to the ground! Never mind, we did get there, and started about ten minutes late.

Normally that doesn't matter, but September, when the nights are drawing in and there are late

evening thunderstorms predicted, it can be a problem. Happily, it wasn't.

 

For the second week in a row, we bat first; after the glory of number three last week, I'm restored

to a more normal number10 (Skip: "I want straight batsmen all the way down". I cannot begin to

conceive what he meant by that!) . Elevator cricket; responsive to life's little ups-and downs.

 

A nice little opening stand between Skip (his second six in the eleven years I've been with the club;

actually two runs & four overthrows, but why spoil a good story?) and Gloves (although I'm going

to have to find a new name for Wayne now that Danny has taken over behind the stumps!) may have

been helped by a couple of their players turning up late. Seventeen overs into the game, their Aussie

quickie launches himself at our poor 'ickle batsmen, and before you can say "Traditional Octopus

Batting Collapse"  he's removed four of the top five, all bowled (Poor Tex; fourth successive duck,

three of those to balls he just couldn't have seen! Even their wickie was scared by the pace of that

delivery!)

 

But we haven't given up, and still fight on to 189-8 (with Handy Andy hitting a huge six off the quickie

on to the A1 - v. major road for non-locals) befoe I come out to face. The leg spinner at the other end

nearly takesmy head off, before Handy takes a leg-bye to the quickie, leaving me to face five.

Ball 1: Straight, no trouble

Ball 2: The throat ball (it has been unkindly suggested that for anyone else in the team this would have been

hip high, but I'm not going to respond to that sort of slur). Normally my response to the throat ball is to

throw myself flat and pretend to be looking for a contact lens, no chance to duck this time, I just manage

to get my bat up. I worked out later that all the close fielders were so convinced that I'd been hit by the

ball that none of them went for the easy catch! Phew!

Ball 3: Leg-side, left alone (missed!)

Ball 4: Straight again - easy meat!

Ball 5: Wide of off stump, yes I waved at it, but I missed. Made it through the over, but. . . they're appealing

and Whippet/Clumsy (who was given out to the second worst lbw decision this year by AK-47) gives me

caught behind!

 

Waah! 191 all out, my fourth duck of the season (thanks be for Tex; I'm still avoiding the duck trophy!).

 

We managed to get the early wickets we needed, good catches by Tex & Clumsy and a fine piece of bowling

by young Ian to remove the player who looked to be the danger batsman. Then patience until the four and

five self-destructed in the run chase. Another four wickets to Clumsy, Danny King of the World took three

behind the stumps and AK-47 atoned slightly by assisting in a run-out and we win by 45 runs. Me? I touched

the ball a total of four times (not counting fetching it from over the boundary) and I suppose that's the real

frustration of being a Crappy Cricketer; while their fourth wicket partnership was going on I couldn't really

go up to Skip and ask for a couple of overs 'cos I felt I could get these guys out, and I didn't have any

useful suggestions as to how to get anyone out, so I just watched everyone else do the hard work.

 

Ho hum, I guess there's always next year!

 

Best moment of the season? 8 against Preston - might not sound like much, but the partnership it was in

meant that we set a realistic target and made a game of it (and still lost!)

Worst moment of the season? After a(nother) duck against Star, their wicket keeper came up to me as I

was walking off and told me that I looked just like Mike Gatting! Cheek. . .

 

 

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