Carpet-bombed, napalmed and blown to smithereens!!
Ed Miliband – resigned! Nick Clegg – out on his ear! Nigel Farage – drowning his sorrows! It was a bad week for leaders and one wondered if it could ever be worse. Well, have no fear, the MCC Cricket Manager and duly elected representative of the 3rd XI constituency for 2015 was on hand at the Warminster Land Warfare Centre (LWC) to provide even more fodder for us politico journos who love to bottom-feed off the woes of others.
First, some context. Our second league game of the season against Warminster 3rd’s, recent arrivals from Div. 5 of the WCCL; venue was the LWC, with pleasant views to the north, and a well-protected military base on the other sides. Outfield lush and artistically dotted with daisies, wicket flat with just the one shell-hole short of a length at the far end. However, despite what follows, let me be clear that the pitch played absolutely straight and was in no way responsible for the events of last Saturday afternoon.
Second, despite valiant efforts by the Cricket Manager and other senior professionals, the 3rd XI was, in fact, a X and was not over-endowed in certain key areas, including bowling, batting and mobility in the field (yes, yes, ok, a normal day at the office, in other words). What was different, though, was the skipper inspecting the wicket in detail, calling the toss correctly and then electing to bat. You’d have thought an incendiary device had been set off in the changing room when he announced this decision. Reinforcing this act of unspeakable short-sightedness, he made matters worse by informing his open-mouthed teammates that, “the wicket looks alright now because they just rolled it, see, but it’s bound to break up… that was really the only decision possible given the conditions… and [to the opening pair] 60-1 off 20 will do us nicely, chaps”. Where did we find this guy?
So, it was once again Prof and Prof making their way to the middle, with Threaders sporting the remains of an excellent shiner from his exploits last week. Taking strike at the other end, the recently sacked Acting Deputy Assistant Vice-Captain was surprised to see the keeper and slip cordon standing a disturbingly long way behind the stumps and to be confronted by a 2 metre tall opening bowler thundering in and sending down a variety of howitzers (most of which, thankfully, were off-target). It transpired that this grenade-launcher goes by the name of Dredge, a moniker familiar to fans of Somerset CCC, and that he had clearly inherited the cricket gene on chromosome 14 from his famous parent – quite what he was doing in in a WCCL Div. 6 match remains a mystery.
However, it was at the other end that some carefully orchestrated stealth bombing of the MCC batting was to occur in the form of an off-spinner taking advantage of the helpful breeze, the gentle slope of the wicket from off to leg, and the lemming-esque, suicidal behaviour of our team. From a comfortable 6-0 off the first few overs, we imploded to a cringe-worthy 11-8, a 3rd XI batting collapse that seriously threatened the infamous 14 all out of some time ago (before my time, I hasten to add). Of these first 8 wickets, 6 were victims of the offie (L. Beauchamp, for the record – sounds a bit French to me, so he won't be bothering us again now that the Tories are in complete charge…). Just about every dismissal was self-inflicted: Threaders, Greeny and Tim Woodman all bowled through the gate – well, that’s being polite, as their bats would’ve needed help from the Hubble telescope to find their pads. Skipper (at least, at the time of writing) and ADAVC both caught mishitting full tosses; Willsy well caught attempting a big hit too soon. Bish Snr received a sharpish yorker from Mr. Dredge and was torpedoed back to base. Dicko was victim number 8. Last season, you’ll recall, he had - shall we say - girl trouble on a couple of occasions leading to embarrassment both while batting and bowling; this time, it was a young lad from the opposition’s under-11s who had him all sorts of trouble with a little bit of (alleged) out-swing.
Cunningly (or perhaps, forgetfully), the skipper had decided to hold Piercy back to number 9 in the batting order – one caustic comment too many about the batting decision, perhaps? This certainly struck your reporter as odd because, despite his manifold faults, which the constraints of time and space prevent me from articulating, the lad knows which end of the bat to hold and he has mastered to art of a forward defensive that does not look like Swiss cheese. Accompanied by our new player (Ravi), the 10th of our X, Andy P took us past the 14 mark and all the way to the dizzying score of 24 before attempting to hit Dicko’s nemesis out of Wiltshire and missed. MCC all out 24 off 21.2 overs (you can estimate the run rate yourselves); Pierce top scorer with 11 and the striker of the single boundary in our “total”.
As the time was nowhere near 3 p.m., it was decided to go straight back out and to have tea later. Warminster clearly felt that our score was quite gettable, and they no doubt assumed that our bowling attack was likely to be as proficient as our batting. Consequently, they sent out some early batsmen who managed to make the day’s cumulative score even sillier than before. Dicko collected 2 wickets in his first 3 balls, Piercy grabbed a third in the second over (well caught young Mr. Grace!), and Mr McGregor snared his third with a smart stumping by Tim W. At this point, Warminster were 14-4 (aggregate for the day: 38 for 13 wickets) and their leader had obviously seen enough as he sent in Mr. D to finish things off. This tall fellow had bowled right-arm over, but took guard as a left-hand bat… was he having a laugh? Possibly, but it didn't matter – his first ball from Dicko flew like an Exocet over the rope for a big 6, the second was mishit for 2, and the third smashed for 4. Game over, good night or, rather, good afternoon. Warminster victory by 6 wkts, with a humiliated Marshfield collecting an unlikely 2 points for their efforts. A decent tea was then taken before we all crept away.
What more can be said? Well, the skipper for one rambled on at some length about how “these things sometimes happen… it was just one of those days… Rich, you would have had the next over if Dicko had bowled a tighter line… etc.” As you can see, his remarks just got less and less credible, and his bravado back at Broadleys was too painful to watch even after a couple of beers.
And what happens next? Unfortunately for our leader, moments after the game finished, the Chairman made a courtesy call to ask how it was going. The first question was “did you bat or bowl?”, to which the ‘Boss’ responded, “er, yes, we did actually”. The rest of the call had to be taken out of earshot (“poor reception in the dressing room here, sir, let me just go outside”) but can there be any doubt that a loaded pistol will be lying on someone’s desk in the not-too-distant future?
The champagne moment there was not, unless you count the timing of the Chairman’s call and the deer-in-the-headlights reaction it provoked in our Comrade Manager. Man of the match goes to the oppo’s Monsieur LovelyField for his 8 overs, 7 maidens and 6 wickets for 2 runs and, no, that’s not a typo. Roll on next week, I’m sure the Marlborough 3rd XI is licking its lips in anticipation…
|Type :||League: Wiltshire League Division 6 - 2015||Date :||Saturday 9th May 2015|
|Toss :||Marshfield CC - 3rd XI won the toss and elected to bat||Start Time :||13:00|
|Ground :||Land Warfare Centre||Rules Type :||Standard|
Highlights :L Beauchamp 8-6-2-6
|Warminster CC - 3rd XI||Marshfield CC - 3rd XI|
|Score||26 for 4 (6.4 overs)||24 for 10 (21.2 overs) 'b' 't'|
|1||Richard Guy||ct Unsure||b Leigh Beauchamp||4||0||0||0|
|2||Mike Threadgill||b Leigh Beauchamp||1||0||0||0|
|3||Andy Wills||ct Unsure||b Leigh Beauchamp||0||0||0||0|
|4||Matthew Green||b Leigh Beauchamp||0||0||0||0|
|5||Terry Bishop||b Neil Dredge||0||0||0||0|
|6||Gary Hodder*||ct Unsure||b Leigh Beauchamp||2||0||0||0|
|7||Tim Woodman†||b Leigh Beauchamp||0||0||0||0|
|8||Mark Dixon||b Unsure||1||0||0||0|
|9||Andrew Pierce||b Unsure||11||1||0||0|
|10||Ravi Jain||not out||1||0||0||0|
|11||Unsure||ct Unsure||b Neil Dredge||0||0||0||0|
|Byes (1), Wides (2), No Balls (1)||Extras||4|
* = Captain, + = Wicket Keeper
Fall of Wickets6-1 Mike Threadgill (Richard Guy-3*); 6-2 Andy Wills (Richard Guy-3*); 6-3 Matthew Green (Richard Guy-3*); 7-4 Terry Bishop (Richard Guy-4*); 7-5 Richard Guy (Gary Hodder-0*); 7-6 Tim Woodman (Gary Hodder-0*); 11-7 Mark Dixon (Gary Hodder-0*); 11-8 Gary Hodder (Andrew Pierce-0*); 23-9 Andrew Pierce (Ravi Jain-0*); 24-10 Unsure (Ravi Jain-1*);
* = not out batsman
|Fielding Extras/Non-bowler wickets||1||0|
|1||Dale Anderson||b Mark Dixon||0||0||0||0|
|2||Amritpal Singh||ct Tim Woodman||b Mark Dixon||0||0||0||0|
|3||Sam Pike||ct Mike Threadgill||b Andrew Pierce||1||0||0||0|
|5||S Walkerland||st Tim Woodman||b Mark Dixon||12||1||0||0|
|6||Neil Dredge||not out||12||1||1||0|
|7||Leigh Beauchamp||did not bat|
|8||Unsure||did not bat|
|9||Unsure||did not bat|
|10||Unsure||did not bat|
|11||Unsure||did not bat|
* = Captain, + = Wicket Keeper
Fall of Wickets
* = not out batsman
|Fielding Extras/Non-bowler wickets||0||0|