In the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams wrote “Stress and nervous tension are now serious social problems in all parts of the Galaxy, and it is in order that this situation should not be in any way exacerbated that the following facts will now be revealed in advance.”
In deference to that, Bickley Park CC 3rd XI won by 1 run!
The 3rd XI travelled to Natwest Blues (a side yet to register a win this year) in high hopes of returning to winning ways. What followed was one of the lowest scoring yet hectic games of cricket you could imagine.
The last ball of the match saw the home side requiring one run to tie and two to win. On strike, the Natwest Blues number 10 – yet to face a ball and Vishesh Mantri with the ball at the end of his run-up. What ensued was chaos, verging on anarchy – and full credit and thanks at this point to the Natwest Blues players, standing as umpires, for keeping calm heads and doing things right…. we all appreciated that!
The short story is that Vish clean bowled the number ten (clipping the top of off peg) to win the match. The longer (sanitised 😉 ) version is that Marcus Day took the catch and as we all heard a bit snick, and a big appeal ensued. The batsmen started to run, and Marcus had a shy at the stumps, but missed. Meanwhile, mid-wicket, Vish is pointing at the stumps and celebrating, telling the batsman “You can’t run, You can’t run!!!”, batsmen still running, fielders appealing for a catch, emotions and voices rising… and umpires under massive pressure, remaining calm and neutral. A quick conversation to confirm that Marcus’s throw did indeed miss the stumps meant that they were broken by the delivery, and the finger was raised. Credit to the batsmen too for accepting their fate and shaking hands, while everyone else shook their heads and took a breath.
Now back to the start, and some sanity. Sunny lost the toss and Bickley were asked to bat.
The opening 9 over spells from both Nabil Butt and Lewes Barham were as good as any we’ve seen this year, with relentless line and length, combined with some brilliant fielding, putting paid to Simon (6) , Vish (6), Abu (5) and Sunny (4). Only Samit (34) managed to navigate his way to the 1st and 2nd change bowlers, as we rebuilt with contributions from Manav (12), Marcus (17), Yawar (15*) and Jack (14). Last man Steve Waterson snuck a single off his first ball, the last of the pan-ultimate over, before being cleaned up first ball of the next. We joked how valuable that run might be, and boy were we right!
Defending 127 was not going to be easy on a small ground, and the home team got off to a great start, with the left-handed duo of Dolby and Gale punishing any width. Simon took an over or so to find his rhythm down the slope, while Sunny struggled up the sharp incline. Jack replaced the skipper with the instruction to keep it wicket to wicket. The runs dried up, but it was clear that Jack would be more effective from the top end, and while Simon continued, Yawar took up the onerous task up the hill. He was involved in the first two wickets to fall, catching Gale (28) and claiming the wicket of the number three, courtesy of a great catch on the boundary by Manav, which left the home side two down, but with 50 already on the board. Jack replaced Simon at the top end. He and Yawar applied pressure as the runs dried up completely, although only the wicket of skipper Harriss fell. The batsmen clearly decided to simply see Jack out, as they managed a ridiculous total of three runs from his nine overs.
The batsmen targeted Yawar’s final over (he still only went for 18 off his 9!) , and the required run rate suddenly dropped again.
With Sunny back, this time down the hill, and Vish replacing Yawar the nerves of both teams were jangling. It is fair to say that a lot of fielding changes occurred from about now on in.
What happened next was almost as surreal as last week’s exploits at Old Roam (they lost 6 wickets in 9 balls). In the 38th over, Jack chased down the ball on the square leg boundary, the longest on the ground, and his return to within 4-5 feet allowed Vishesh to break the stumps with the batsman just short of their third, and by the time Sunny had bowled the 39th over, the home team needing 6 runs to win. I’m honestly not sure of the exact order, but there were a couple of wides, and perhaps a 2, but most important was the hat-trick of runouts! Abu, fielding at forward short square leg / going on short leg threw the stumps down at the bowlers end to start the home team scampering for pads, bats etc. Again, the umpires referred to each other, asked the fielders for clarification and sent the batsman on his way. Next saw the batsmen try to take a run to the keeper, and Vish again did the honours, after smart work from Marcus. The most suicidal run of the lot followed as the batsmen attempted to run, having pushed back down the wicket towards to oncoming bowler.
At this point, Chaos had descended into pandemonium. A dot ball was followed by a single and that left two required for victory. A quiet over all in all!
When the dust had settled, it was great to be able to have a beer and a chat with the Natwest Blues guys. They surely deserved the 14 points they got, and while the game got heated at times, there were lots of smiles and banter afterwards – exactly how it should be. We look forward to welcoming them to the Warren in a few weeks’ time.
|26 June 2021||12:30 pm||KRCL Division 3 - Met/West - 2021||2021|
|Ex Blues club|