Detail: 30-05-2021 - Roehampton
Result: Won by 10 runs
The Blues CC v Roehampton CC Sunday 30 May 2021
Blues 142 all out, Roehampton 132 all out, Blues win by 10 runs
In classic Blues style, we could not let a fixture go by without the fun of some delightful last-minute selection challenges. A Saturday morning call from the number one fixture secretary Harry Jenkins, informed me The Mullet had pulled a leg muscle, stretching a little too far on his downward dog during his naked yoga session the evening before. As the Blues are currently blessed with a plethora of young fresh talent, it wasn't long before we had a replacement courtesy of Archie Tawney. Cometh the hour, cometh the Jimmy, and the Blues were back up to 11, with a talented fast bowler to boot.
Waking up early Sunday morning after a night off the ale, I was delighted to see a 1.23am WhatsApp message from Archie, of a pouting determined looking Jimmy, with the statement "7 overs, 1 maiden, 36 runs, 3 wickets, 35 wins, wink emoji". Absolutely loving this youthful confidence, I knew it was going to be a fabulous day.
The Blues assembled on a glorious sunny bank holiday Sunday, in anticipation for one of the standout fixtures of the year so far. With its perfect West London location for all the Blues Sloaney Ponies, its close proximity to Harry Tawney's Battersea party house, and a beautiful ground frequented by just as beautiful spectators, Roehampton promised to be a peach of a day.
As the mighty blues had not played since 9 May, due to the shockingly bad weather, I agreed to play a 40 over game, much to delight of the bleary eyed Harry Tawney and Keats, who informed me they had been "eating pints" at the Oval the day before.
Losing the toss and being surprisingly put into bat on a scorcher of a day, Harry Tawney and Hamish were ready to rock and roll. Roehampton's skipper informed he didn't have a clue who was in his team, and luckily for him he had a young quick bowler, who penned down the opening batters. After a quick fire 3, Harry Tawney departed. The skipper came and went with a dismal 2, not before putting pressure on the young Archie to make an umpiring decision (I thought I hit the ground Fitz?)
Now, the next four balls are a Blues record I believe, and will go down in Blues folk law, but for all the wrong reasons, as the aforementioned bowler proceeded to skittle Fitz, Archie, Ben and Olly for 4 golden ducks, with the death rattles being heard north of the river. Queue chaos on the boundary, with lots of shouts of "you'll have to give us a minute here lads" as the boys scrambled to get their pads on.
With the top order looking like a landline number, except for Hamish's fine grinding 33, we really thought we might be in the boozer by 4pm. To add to this barrel of laughs, Pikey and Keats thought it would be cracking idea to stroll to the local Waitrose to pick up some food, only to receive a panicking phone call from Archie, muttering the words "you better get your arses back here lads, the opening bowler has just taken a double hat-trick". I'd never thought I'd hear those words on a cricket pitch.
As Pikey hit the Uber button and the Steel Blue AMG Mercedes screeched around the quaint roads of Roehampton to ensure the lads could get back to strap them on, Jenkins was rocketed up the order from 11 to 8 to try and stem the collapse. With Jimmy falling soon after, Pikey and Jenkins proceeded to show us how it should be done, with some fine nurdling from Jenkins and some majestic strokes to the boundary from Pikey.
After being 16 for 5 of 9 overs, Pikey and Jenkins managed to get us up to a respectable 142 all out, scoring 47 and 31* respectively, with Keats chipping in with a cheeky 5.
With our tales up after some fine rear-guard action, Keats kicked us off with a fine opening spell of 5 overs, 2 maidens, 1 wicket for 5 runs. You could hear the hum of "dot ball is a hot ball" all around the ground.
Unfortunately for Pikey, he is was up against the other opening batter, that was there for a good time and not a long time, who managed to carve 12 very good balls for a whopping 36 runs. Showing amazing resilience and a never say die attitude, this did not phase the mighty Pikey, who fought back amazingly well with his next 4 overs going for a mere 3 runs.
As Roehampton rocketed up to 41 in 4 overs, I thought I could hear the preverbal fat lady clearing her throat. However, with 3 quick wickets in 5 overs from Pikey (2) and Keats (1) the blues managed to pull it back to 48 for 3 off 10 overs.
Jimmy entered the fold with some impressive brisk tight bowling, penning the middle order down for not very many.
Olly Broomfield stepped up to the mark with some delightfully tidy tight line and length bowling in the middle overs, with solid figures of 5 overs for 13 runs.
Despite some tight bowling from Jimmy and Olly, Roehampton steadily climbed to 92 for 3 off 24 overs, with their target of 142 fast approaching. It was time to throw some variety into the mix.
Enter Fyfe and Jenkins to try and find the breakthrough. After a nice tidy opening over from Jenkins, it was time for Hamish to enter arena.
Now, keeping to Fyfe is always an exciting experience, as you never really sure whats going to come down. It could be an absolute Jaffa that has the batsmen in all sorts of trouble, or it could a wide full toss hitting the 25th stump. It's what they call in the trade as "liquorice all sorts" bowling. Thankfully, it was the former as Hamish broke the 44-run partnership in his first over to take us to 93 - 4. Not to be out done, Jenkins added another wicket to the wicket column in his 2nd over, with Hamish following up with another wicket, to bring Roehampton to 107 for 6 off 27 overs.
With the game on a knife edge, it was time to bring back Keats who had bowled beautifully in his opening spell, to try and tip the balance in the Blues favour. He did not disappoint, taking 2 wickets in the first over of his 2nd spell, to give the Blues a remarkable chance of winning the game, with Roehampton now on 110-8.
As the Blues started to smell victory and complete what could be a remarkable turnaround, around 60 spectators gathered around the ground in the afternoon sunshine, fizz in hand to watch final chapter of the game. To the delight of all the Blues, Mullett was part of this crowd, coming down to cheer the boys onto victory. Whilst the Mullett kept Harry Tawney's lady friends, Grace and Arabella, company with his A class banter and flask of Yorkshire tea, the Blues knuckled down to try and win the game.
With no option but to go for the jugular, the scene was set to bring back the mighty Pikey to try and get the remaining wickets. Just like the Royal Mail, Pikey delivered and sent the number 9 backing, leaving Roehampton on 114-9 off 29 overs.
As Blues entered the 11th hour of the match with victory in sight, it was time to bring back the pouting, determined looking Jimmy I had seen on WhatsApp at 1.23am, to snaffle the final wicket. As Roehampton climbed to 128-9, the nerves began to show. As Jimmy continued his fine tight brisk line and length bowling, the number 11 batsmen tickled one down leg within reach of my gloves. Unfortunately, the ball popped in, and then out, and the chance went begging, much to the skipper's bitter disappointment.
Cometh the hour, cometh the Jimmy, as Jimmy stepped up in the 32 over to take the final wicket, managing to find the edge of the bat which I managed to catch this time, giving the Blues an amazing 10 run victory. Now, there was some confusion about this wicket, with some thinking the final batsmen did not nick it. However, with the umpire raising his finger, and with the scorebook never lying, it was well deserved wicket for the young Jimmy.
As the 12 pound jugs flowed in the club house, with Pikey getting out his party trick and downing a pint from the previous seasons fielding trophy, a fun and enjoyable night was had by all, and it was delightful to have some female company in the form of Grace and Arabella, with Mullett ensuring the G&Ts were kept flowing for the young ladies. As it was a Bank holiday, we could not let the opportunity pass us by without a late-night visit to HT's Battersea Party House, where many a beer was sunk, and a game of beer pong was enjoyed by all.
Allez Les Bleus x
[updated 30 06 2021]