Played at Turpie & Co Sports ground (formerly known as Dresselrig) on Sat 19 July 2014
May I preface this report by saying that this was undoubtedly the foulest conditions in which I have ever played a game of cricket in my life. In fact it is fair to say that if it wasn’t for our own Geoff Boycott impersonator’s determination to gain another 20 points on a day when even ducks were sheltering, we probably would not have started. “I’ve played on Ilkley Moor in worse than this” and “this is like a bright summer’s day in Yorkshire” were just two of the comments made from our man in the gloom.
So to the action. Skipper Liddle (D), sporting a much more trimmed ginger beard than usual, took to the field with Livingston captain Jack Hilton. “When I win the toss we will be bowling – it’s in the plan” announced a confident Doogle. Seconds later he proudly pronounced “pads on guys, we’re batting. I’ve never called the toss correctly yet”. A few unkind comments later and Martin Juson and Andy Harrison were delegated to open.
And then we watched the rain come down. Greeno was keen to play (see preface above) and we persuaded Jack that it was the right thing to do, so the covers came off and the 8 men and three small boys of Livingston took to the field. The pitch looked like it would do a fair bit and so it proved early on as Harry and the Juice were circumspect averaging just under three an over, or 2.875 as Scott Charleson kept annoyingly correcting me.
Just as we thought they had got in, Harry got out for 11 as Jack Hilton managed to get own to move about and Harry snicked to the keeper. “It was completely unplayable” he declared. I thought about pointing out that if it had been unplayable he wouldn’t have hit it and would still be in but kept that salient point to myself. 31 for 1 in the 10th.
In went Greeno and the scoring rate was upped. Feeling the need to keep the tempo going, the Juice tried a suicidal second run and was run out by about 10 yards. He was so far out that they had replaced the stumps and I was on my way in to bat before Marty made it past the crease. Out for 16.
In a run of batting form that makes Alistair Cook look prolific, I was determined to survive and let Greeno take as much of the strike as possible, he being in a “smash it” mood. I was happy to play the odd single until a moment of sheer class arrived. In 30 years of playing cricket at an average of 15 innings a season and at least 10 attempts per inning, I finally managed to play a cut shot so late that Ian Bell would have said “by jingo that’s a late cut”. It was such a lovely shot that I had to run up the wicket saying “that’s a lovely lovely shot” to the amusement of Umpire Adams and the bewilderment of the bowler. I was still thinking about how glorious a moment it was when I realised the bowler had already bowled the next ball. Fortunately my inadvertent “leave” allowed the ball to go through to the keeper. 50 for Greeno and the 50 partnership up next over.
Livingston then played their trump card, the 8 year old, 3 ft tall bowler. I kept telling myself “I must not get out to the 8 year old”. “I must not get out to the 8 year old”. Wide, 2, wide, straight ball defended, wide. “I must not get out to the 8 year old”. Widish, swing, snick, walking. Blast.
Gone for 15. Still a partnership of 57 with Greeno and feeling not too bad to get back to the pavilion to find that the scorers (Hafiz and Brown) had credited my runs to Dave Clement!! I wouldn’t mind so much except that Clem is a) Much much older than me and b) was not even on the team list for today!!
In went Ross Liddle and the scoring rate leapt as he went to 20 odd after about 6 balls. The rain still teemed down and the fog had now descended as the pair went aerial in a bid to confuse the fielders. Ross reached his 50 in double quick time followed by Greeno’s 100. We think he raised his bat but as you could not see the wicket from the boundary, I cannot be certain. And then Greeno decided to up the rate. 6’s and fours with the odd single took us passed the 250 and with 3 overs to go, he was finally out for a magnificent 130. His highest ever score and the best for a division 5 cricketer this year. Scott “Mr Average” Charleson and Ross hit out the remaining 3 overs to take us to a healthy 285 for 4 off our 45 overs.
After a quick discussion about how you could only say we had enough runs after the opposition had batted between myself and the skipper, and a truly sumptuous tea (I will admit to having six chocolate truffle snowballs), we went out to field.
First target was to reach 20 overs without allowing daft scoring to ensure a game. Ross and Nick Brown opened the bowling with the advice from the elderly triumvirate behind the stumps to “just put the ball in the right place and let the wicket do the work” for once not falling on deaf ears. Ross got the ball to move and leap like a salmon on the fly, and Nick’s spell of four overs was the most concentrated and consistent line I have ever seen him bowl. I don’t have the figures in front of me but I don’t think he could have gone for more than 4 runs in that spell. If you can do it once, Nick, you can do it for the rest of the season.
Ross took the first wicket, Jarvis Snr edging to Davie Adams behind the stumps. Immediately Duggie took him off, replacing him with himself. He said it was to get through the overs quicker as the umpires were chatting about the incessant rain, and I for one will choose to believe this is the case and it was not sibling rivalry. Numan Hafiz replaced Nick on the same reasoning but it was Duggie who took the next wicket persuading Collings to snick one to the crouching tiger that is myself at first slip. In 30 years of playing cricket, averaging 15 innings a season, I think that is the first catch I have ever taken at 1st slip, and the look of amazement on my face showed this to everyone.
Into the tail now and we were bowling and fielding well. Another wicket for Duggie (bowled)and Jack Hilton caught by Nick Brown at square leg and then we had reached the magical 20 overs, Livingston on about 35 for 4, and the result would now stand. Andy Harrison and Scott Charleson came on and they may have taken some wickets, I can’t recall as I was still thinking about my catch. Livingston had reached their small children by now with Jarvis Jnr on strike, playing straight and confident and berating his dad at drinks (now umpiring) for playing such a loose shot.
It was getting wet and cold now but we declined the opportunity to go off as the batsmen, to their credit, wished to stay on. Duggie and Davie Adams ran out the 10 year old. “He’s got to learn to judge a run” was Adams explanation for this heartless act. Another run out by Andy Harrison followed by a catch By Rich Charleson off Numan’s bowling brought the 8 year old to the crease. I told the skipper I was bowling as I wanted my revenge. Numan, however, had other thoughts and bowled the child first ball. Everyone turned on Numan, most saying it was a shame, however I was genuinely raging that I had not had a chance to get revenge. I still am. I’m serious.
The last pair in and 63 on the board and Duggie finally responded to my signals. To be fair I am not actually sure he actually asked me to bowl but I found myself with ball in hand at the end of the over and decided I was bowling. Four balls later it was all over as the quicker ball did for the last batsman who cut straight into Numan’s hands at point. Numan tried to say that this made up for bowling the 8 year old but I am having none of it.
Livingston 63 all out. So another victory, our 9th in a row leaves us top of the league. We bowled well with Numan claiming 2 for 3 runs off 8 overs, Nick finishing 6-3-9-0. Duggie took 3 wickets but was the most expensive 9-2-14-3.Ross took one for 6, Scott and Harry none for not many and myself 0.4-1-0-1. At least I know it was me but the Livingston scorer had credited to Greeno. Not my day after all apparantely.
Roll on next week when we take on Marchmont. Winner takes all.
Match report for the benefit of the u-18’s
None this week. I am not happy with children, especially 3 ft tall 8 year olds.