A weekend of two days

ACCC v. Wealdstone Corinthians CC               July 17th and 18th 2004

Saturday 17th – Eastcote – time game – result – drawn

Casuals 122 all out (38 overs, Brown 37, Meswami 10-0-27-5, Brown  6-2–8-2, Morley 9-3-26-2)

Corinthians 89 for 7 (44 overs, Stratford 29, Smith 12-1-30-3, Priestley 10-4-10-2)

The time game is foreign to the Casuals. Indeed, most things are foreign to Captain Jagger, released from the safe house for the first time this season. The sterling efforts of the Chairman and touring captain had amassed a pot pourri of players old and not so old, or may be that was an hallucination brought on by the odour of John Parry’s kit, opened for the first time in 5 years. Contrary to popular expectation, all arrived early at our luxurious accommodation in Harrow, in plenty of time to set of in convoy to the ground a few miles away at Eastcote. Our pilot, Vasco de Cleave, had other ideas, having long nurtured the desire to visit Wembley stadium, several miles in the opposite direction. Such was his enjoyment of the trip, through the doldrums of Brent, he then lead us back to Harrow before taking advantage of the trade winds to arrive at the ground several millennia later, thus depriving most of our seasoned athletes of the traditional pre match high calorie lunch. This may have been a ploy on the skipper’s part to ensure that senses remained unfuddled.

A brief inspection of the pitch revealed an outfield not quite as smooth as Thongsbridge – fortunately a healthy growth of grass hid most of the holes and hollows and added enormously to the pleasure of fielding badly. Batting first, Nosser proved the only batsman with the requisite carefree attitude and heavy willow, contributing 37 before Morley, so often the bane of the Casuals, nipped him out with at which he had three swings. Rotheray (12), the watchful Priestley (17) and an exuberant Parry (12 no) were the only others into double figures, with young Rohan Meswami mopping up for the Corinthians with 5 wickets. Steve Brown bowled a miserly spell, 2 wickets for 8 runs of his 6 overs, his movement off the pitch keeping most batsmen honest. Indeed, that same movement might have persuaded umpires to flap their arms rather more frequently.  Fortunately for Ken, any deep deliberations required on the timing of a declaration were rendered unnecessary by our capitulation for 122, and a splendid tea was enjoyed by all.

The Corinthians innings started slowly. So slowly that the irregularities of the outfield were rarely tested. Cleaves first ball took a wicket, but for the next 20 overs Matthews and Matthews put on a frugal 16 and Stratford 29, with Crossland wicketless again but only conceding 16 runs from 11. Such was the relief when the openers came off that even Greg managed a wicket. Priestley’s first appearance this year showed he had lost none of the old cunning, with 2 wickets for 10 runs in 10 overs. The last 20 overs were called at 6.30, and Casuals were unable to snatch the last three wickets to force a win despite impressive fielding skills and Sam umpiring one end.

Sunday 18th – Harrow Town CC – 35 overs – Result – Corinthians won by 59 runs.

Corinthians 200 for 5, Sidpara 68, Stratford 43, Naylor 33

Casuals 141 for 9, Brown 33, Davis 25, Matthews 7-0-31-4

The post match autopsy was swift to reach conclusions and pin blame. The younger element of the touring party had all been sent away by loving parents with a packed tea for Saturday night (marmite sandwiches and a flask of Horlicks) and after a quick coke in the sylvan surroundings of “The Case is Altered” (although the price of said pints was considerably altered to its northern counterpart) were all prepared for an early bed. At this point the captain, senior pro and assistant insisted that they should all go out and get some proper British curry down their necks. Too timid to deny the skipper his wicked way, the majority of the team were sucked into that black hole which is Harrow and some didn’t get safely tucked up until midnight. The reader, of quick wit and sharp intelligence will realise the catastrophic effect this had on the tender sensibilities of the younger element and the performance in the field the following sunny afternoon. For this the captain must be held fully culpable – even the fact that the senior pro was kept awake long into the night by noisy mating in the adjacent room and woke up stiff in the morning was little consolation. 

Fielding first, the Casuals demonstrated every error known to cricket – dropped catches (4 or 5), late dives, failure to dive, Burgesses, wides, beamers, grubbers, and half volleys. Sidpara could hardly believe his luck and smote with his usual power and timing, only being dropped three times on his merry way. Stratford demonstrated a belligerence that he had kept well under control the previous day, and Naylor embellished his standard fare of legside nudges with an array of shots in front of the wicket. 

A total of 200 on a reasonable wicket would not have been beyond the Casuals with their normal Sunday hangover – however, the proliferation of snake bites, Jack Daniels and Coke and exotic cocktails however continued to take its toll. Half the team were cleaved. Brown again top scored with a quick 33, but the other end came and went – at least until Parry and Davis came together for an unbroken last wicket stand of 44 runs. Umpire Steer did his best to keep the Casuals on the straight and narrow, but the inevitable defeat came just after 7pm. In a well rehearsed capitulation speech our Captain was forced to concede the Jagger-Netherwood trophy, with a firm commitment to recovering it next year.

The Corinthians are to be thanked for their hospitality and for a splendid weekend, but wait till we get you back in God’s country.