Octopus deliver sucker punch to endangered Tigers

Alexandra Park, Sunday 31 July

Octopus (164-8) beat Judd Street Tigers (160-8) by 2 wickets

In the long awaited battle between the predators of the deep and the predators of the deep jungle, the eight-legged bottom feeders squeaked home by 2 wickets. Not for the first time the Tigers were not helped by falling 1 club short of a full bag, and the missing Tiger was probably the deciding factor in a match that ebbed and flowed throughout. Played in excellent spirits, blows were laid, points were taken but no overall control was gained until the final over.

Nestling in Hornsey Vale, on the site of the old Alexandra Palace racecourse and in the shadow of the people’s palace, Alexandra Park CC was a new venue for most on the Tigers side. Much of the outfield was ground under repair, whilst the wicket was challenging but fair. A good toss to win for sophomore skipper Taylor, who opted to bat without hesitation.

Andy Ward stepped up as Mike Dalanian’s opening partner, hoping to impress his new Totteridge chums playing on the adjacent pitch, but sadly it was not to be. The Tigers innings, as so often recently, was kick-started by Dalanian’s rum punch of an knock, dispatching anything in his zone with gleeful abandon. Octopus’s bowling remained solid, with Francies in particular keeping it tight. Taylor came and went, before Wright and Boden consolidated with a measured 60 partnership, before both fell to tickles behind off Pearce with the score on 128.

Alas, that was as good as it got. Dane’s season long experiment with playing exclusively with the back of his bat continued. Renster huffed & puffed but never quite blew the house in, whilst Gross was bamboozled by a Kevin ripper. It took the final pair of “Two it” Herlihy and the BDOC to move the score on to respectability, ironically achieved by batting sensibly and seeing out the overs.

As the Tigers worked their way through a huge tea (the tiger equivalent of 2 tethered goats and Japanese tourist) they reflected on another innings that petered out after a promising start.

5 overs into the Octopus innings and both Octopus openers were back on Sausage baby-sitting duties, the match hung in the balance. Dane & Taylor, swinging away like a pair of Chingford newly-weds, looked to seize the initiative, but Selvaraj and Murthy stood firm. By drinks they had moved the score on to 96, with Bignell and Wright hit out of the attack. But Dalanian, the ever willing Cuban émigré, was up for the fight, tempting Selvaraj to fish in dangerous waters outside off, much to keeper Boden’s delight. Taylor, sniffing blood, brought himself back into the attack, and polished off 3 further Octopus wickets before you could say “it’s a bit like squid really”.

Wright’s earlier contribution to the attack had been a succession of half-track pies, but full of remorse he returned off a short run and picked up 3 more scalps in a precision spell. With only 2 wickets and 10 runs needed, both teams fancied their chances, but alas, it was the deep sea predators who held their nerve. As has been the trend in recent weeks, Tigers fielding was strong throughout, with only a couple of difficult chances spilled. Bowling was largely up to the task, but the batting once again was as flaky as Renster’s scabby knee.

An enjoyable afternoon, an exciting game against a quality side, and a few pleasant beers in the north London gloaming. Farewell July!

Seeing as Biggers isn’t able to do it himself, I feel a mild mannered rant is appropriate. The Tigers again paid the penalty in the numbers game. It’s high summer, summer hols and all that, so no disgrace in not being able to raise the full quota. But while 12 were registered unavailable,  a further 4 were unable to log in to Teamer to let the organisers know. It takes about 2 minutes, help your captain out.

NB. Dear Old Ally Pally, as the racecourse was affectionately know, elicited mixed emotions in the racing world. Diminutive castrato Willy Carson hated the track so much he wanted it bombed, which seems an inefficient approach to destroying an open space. But John McCririck was so upset at the demise of the course he requested his ashes be spread around the furlong marker.  Of course there’s a possibility he was just talking shit.

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