Winchmore Hill, Sunday 7 August
On a glorious sunny August afternoon, in perfect batting conditions and on a good track, the Tigers rolled over, bared their soft underbelly and were dismissed for 111 inside 32 overs. Against all the odds Highgate managed to better the total inside 13 overs. There have been worse afternoons in our illustrious history, but not many.
First of all, the positives. Nobody died and we didn’t drop any catches. The tea was delicious, consisting of soft white baps, spicy samosas, spring rolls, a selection of tempting cakes and a cool, refreshing selection of chilled fruit. 120 miles north-west of the Hill England sized the initiative in a thrilling battle at Edgbaston to take a 2-1 lead in a see-saw series. Usman, a tenant of Rigsby Wright, proved himself to a be a real talent and hopefully he’s seen enough to want to be a regular player (note to Rigsby, fix that boiler pronto). Alas, that’s it.
Throughout the season the Tiger batting has been flaky. Senior players have not delivered and the tail has seldom wagged. At times we’ve got away with, but generally we haven’t. Sunday continued this trend in spades. Only debutant Usman stood up to be counted, announcing his arrival on the scene with square-cut of power and beauty. Brutal on anything short or wide, he played with maturity and common sense, until needlessly run with the score on 56.
Others got in and got out. The bowling was accurate but nothing we haven’t seen all season. There was no swing in the air or turn off the pitch, and certainly no gremlins. 6 Tigers were out caught in front of the wicket, all trying to force the pace instead of occupy the crease. Highgate generally hung on to their catches, and when they didn’t were immediately presented with an opportunity to make amends.
Defending such paltry total was always dependent on bowing and fielding of the highest quality. From ball one the competent Highgate batters were fed a diet of half-trackers and full tosses, as they set about chasing down the total, as if they had somewhere else they’d rather be. Which they probably did. The 2 juniors, drafted in at the last minute, decided they’d rather pretend to play tennis than bother fielding, leaving vast open spaces in the outfield. So after 12 and a bit overs and with 3 wickets down, that was it. Into the bar and out to watch the last 20 overs of a close encounter on the main pitch.
Apologies if this report seems a bit down, but it’s kind of what happened. We have 6 days to regroup and find our mojo. We went into yesterday with nine players, managed to recruit a couple of youngsters, who then let us down. We know that next week against the Whalers will be even more challenging. Rather than wait until Sunday, we must approach our fellow Winchmore Hill members now to find players. If we wait until the end of the week we’ll likely see a similar outcome.
Finally, it’s time say farewell to Sausage for another season. An enthusiastic lover of the game, and a lover of the Tigers, we’ll miss her witty company and playful barks. Hopefully we’ll see her again next season.