Friendly Match vs Village CC, Sun 8th September 2019, Away

London Fields (153 all out) lost to Village CC (260 for 4) by about 107 runs

by Stuart Bell

After a medium to large amount of drama upon discovering the car I was going to use for the day had disappeared from outside the house, and that Hackney Carnival had seriously limited our public transport options, I eventually arrived with Troy at the Parliament Hill Cricket ground pretty much bang on schedule.

It’s quite a nice place to play, isolated from the rest of Hampstead Heath by a cute little picket fence, with a cafe and ACTUAL TOILETS nearby. The slope is far more pronounced than Lord’s, so I made sure to strategically place myself on the uphill side of the wicket to minimise leather chasing. This proved a wise decision.

By all accounts the oppo were a strong side who could/should be playing league cricket but chose not to because they enjoyed winning, and then talking about that winning even more. With that in mind, our skipper Troy was of the mind to encourage them to bat first so we could make the most of the day. And so it came to pass.

As some of our team were running a bit late there was talk of a 35 over match, but this was pooh-poohed by the oppo who graciously/maliciously lent us a sub fielder while insisting on a full 40 overs. And thus, battle was joined in some rather lovely September sunshine. Sadly our hero (that’s me by the way), had forgotten his sunhat and it was a long day in the field for the Fields.

With Muffi (8o-2m-0w-31r) opening the bowling from his chosen lido end, and Alex Day (8-0-1-43) at the other, we set about our work with good intentions and high spirits. It wasn’t much fun to begin with with their openers going about their work in a very business like fashion. We weren’t exactly leaking runs, with our bowlers keeping it pretty tight, but we weren’t taking wickets either. Muffi finished his first spell with a maiden. Pressure was building.

Troy then turned to the bionic man, Chris Skinner (5-0-1-48), in his first game back after becoming what is essentially an android. Skinner, the replicant, was clear about the field he wanted and encouraged close catchers on the off side.

With a right and left handed partnership at the crease, this was all fine until our hero (that’s me again) found himself in that closer-than-I’d-really-like-to-be position to the right hander in the bionic man’s third over. PING!!! The batsman drove ferociously at one and I found it coming towards me at what was an unfeasibly fast pace. I briefly had time to consider what kind of dental treatment would be covered by the club insurance before I found the ball stuck in my hands about six inches behind my face. We had made the breakthrough and I had not died. Game on at 79-1.

By this time the not out star batter (who also turned out to be their star bowler, I think) was on 47 and he soon reached his 50 with Troy (8-0-1-46) bringing himself on from the other end and keeping the runs down as much as could be expected. Skinner, the android who dreams of electric sheep, carried on until his fifth over went for 16, decided he’d had enough, and Taimoor (4-0-0-17) came into the attack. He was giving us more control and we felt pressure again building on their batsmen, but still were waiting for that next wicket.

Troy, our valiant captain chose me (our hero, 7-0-2-58, but I’m taking 5 off that because Troy decided to throw it over PA’s head to the boundary after he put himself too deep for the catch for no apparent reason) to replace him and he was soon rewarded for such a wise decision. After finding my range with a wide and a couple of loose deliveries to lull the batsman into a false sense of security, I managed to bowl one straight enough that it rapped the non-star batter on the front pad halfway up middle stump. Despite being the only one to appeal (cheers guys), it was the kind of one even the most loyal club member could not refuse. I continued for a couple more overs and was duly smacked all over the park by two guys who should really be playing at a higher level.

They had two gun batsmen at the crease and it was hard going. Alex Day eventually got his rewards for a lot of hard yakka and their star player was clean bowled for 107 with the score at 173-3. Bowlers came and went without much further success and the runs continuing to come at an annoying rate. Troy then had the inspired idea to bring back our hero (guess who?) in the death overs.

A master tactician, I again tried to lull the batsmen into a loose shot by bowling some absolute filth and then accidentally turning on the class. After somehow beating both sides of the bat, their guy swished at the one that goes straight on (my specialty) and the ball shot almost directly up in the air. While the ball was apparently hovering at a height of 47,000 feet, our keeper PA, and close point Skinner (the android/replicant), had time to debate all the ins and outs of who was best placed to take it. In the end a consensus was reached, and Skinner took the catch with PA standing there showing us his gloves and observing from close quarters.

No further wickets were taken and they finished on either 243, 255, 258 or 260 for 4 depending on which part of the scorebook you chose to look at. Apparently their scorer got Alex Day and your faithful correspondent confused for some reason. I know who comes out of that one better, and it’s not me.


And then we batted. Well, PA (57) batted, while the rest of the team occasionally went out to the middle to keep him company for a few overs here and there. Alex Turner opened with him and was quickly caught behind for 4. Taimoor and Tristan both got ducks, and Ruby was looking good on 12 before being bowled.

I don’t know if you’ve been lucky enough to watch PA bat this season, but it really is rather nice to watch. It’s like having a comfort blanket when you were a kid. It all seems so easy and peaceful, apart from the extreme violence that the ball was subjected to. Sure, there were a few plays and misses, but there were no edges, just some massive tonks and the occasional deft cut shot or placed drive for 1 or 2. Seriously, this guy is a proper player and runs between the wickets better than his build suggests. After smashing their gun bowler (who was also the centurion, I think) to the cover boundary we hear a cry of “YOU F**KING SLOGGING TW@T!!!” as the bowler kicked the turf in frustration.

Some things are just not cricket, and this was one of them. I think the oppo, to give them credit, were trying to get their guy to apologise, which he initially refused to do until the drinks break came. Hands were shaken, apologies were forthcoming from both sides (PA had whispered something about there being “no need to be such a c**t about it” to him as he ran past), and the game resumed in good spirits.

There was something mesmerising about watching Charlie Sayer (7) batting with PA, even if it wasn’t for that long. From a distance it felt like I had lost all sense of perspective and that Charlie was PA, only a closer, because he was so much taller but the general proportions being roughly similar. I felt a bit queasy for a while, but it didn’t last long as Charlie (Fleshlumpeater/Manhugger/Meatdripper) was out LBW before too long.

Chris Skinner, the man with the million dollar hip replacement, was in and out, caught and bowled for a duck and so Muffi (15) went out to swing the willow. When he was eventually bowled after appearing to get settled, there was a lot of whoopin and a hollerin going from the oppo and I wondered what all the fuss was about. Apparently this was the first time our nemesis (107 bat) had taken a five-fer so fair play to him. Well bowled sir.

Troy went in at number 9 (30, bat higher next time skip) and went about his business dutifully, smacking a few straight sixes along the way. With just Alex Day (13no) and myself to come, we knew our only job would be help PA to his century as the game was pretty much lost. Alas, it was not to be, and PA was bowled as he tried to up the rate and push for the win. Alex D strolled out.

Troy got bowled in the end so it was down to me (1) to save our blushes. That obviously didn’t happen and I got run out from a bullet throw on Alex’s “fair enough” call through for 2 ending our innings on 153 after just 28 overs.

There was still time for England to bat out the draw at Old Trafford, but obviously that didn’t happen either and we retired to a “proper boozer” near Gospel Oak Station. There we were offered various kinds of clearly shop-lifted items of clothing (including “Blades”, whatever they are) while we watched a young man off his t*ts on Monkey Dust come into difficulties under the railway bridge. After watching a cat nearly get run over and about 4 or 5 pints, the Fields disappeared into the night for sleep, perchance to dream of future victories.

Village CC Batting

260 for 4 in 40 overs

London Fields Bowling

1Muffi 82310-
2Alex Day8043143.00
3Chris Skinner5048148.00
4Troy Utz8046146.00
5Taimoor Malik40170-
6Stuart Bell7058229.00

London Fields Batting

 NameScoringHow OutBowlerRuns
1Alex Turner CaughtTupper4
2Paul Alexander BowledWoodhouse57
3Taimoor Malik LBWAnupam0
4Ruby Quince BowledTroja12
5Tristan Jones BowledTroja0
6Charlie Sayer LBWTroja7
7Chris Skinner Caught & BowledTroja0
8Muffi  BowledTroja15
9Troy Utz BowledFrancis30
10Alex Day NotOut13
11Stuart Bell RunOut1
    Total 153 all out

Village CC Bowling

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