WHAT THE **** IS GOING ON WITH THE TIGERS!
Paulin Ground, Winchmore Hill – Sunday 14 August
The misery goes on as the Tigers suffered another defeat (their 11th of the season) to the powerful Whalers at a sunny Winchmore Hill last Sunday. The game was in some doubt for much of the preceding week, with only 6 players available for duty, but after much cajoling and last minute herding eleven men eventually took the field, albeit a ragbag of loyal members, new recruits, Winchmore Hill irregulars and guests.
Skipper Stewart Taylor opted to bat first on a hard, bouncy pitch, narrowing the odds by reducing the game to 70 overs, and once again the Delanian factor got them off to a flying start – 12 from the first over and 23-0 after 4. Then things began to go the shape of the pear. Taylor (20) and Wright (25) battled hard to gain dominance over some accurate bowling until both gave it away with loose shots. In reasonable shape at 69-2 from 15 overs (an excellent position to be in according to the T-shirt) the middle order typically crumbled, like a crumbly thing becoming increasingly crumblier. A tea-before-three scenario loomed until Nos 9, 10 and 11 (combined age 197) showed some durability, if not much productivity, in batting out the last 14 overs.
A major malfunction had occurred with both the scorers and the electronic scoreboard towards the end of the Tigers’ innings, but eventually a target of 135 for the visitors was agreed, which their strong batting line-up knocked off in less than 20 overs, the match finishing even before Arsenal had time for their usual Premier League opening day defeat.
However, the glass was at least briefly hovering on the half full level, thanks to a Trojan effort from the Chingford Express Chris Wright (3-31), steaming in from the top end and inducing more edges than a cockney maze, all but two of which eluded the venerable ‘keeper/slips cordon. Attempts to derail the batters with head high beamers (the cricket equivalent of a Diego Costa ‘challenge’) made little impact, but there were some good moments; a family celebration as Phil Johnson bagged an excellent catch at point off brother Craig, and Taylor’s well judged effort over his head late on, but it was never going to be enough, Drabble hitting a brisk 58 backed up by Albery (25*).
The skipper, having arrived looking distinctly haggard, had brightened up considerably by the early evening sunshine on the back of a more encouraging performance, despite three successive defeats in which the club has utilized no fewer than 21 different players. Only 6 members being available from the club’s ‘squad’ of 22 is appalling, particularly as recent opponents appeared to have had little trouble putting out a full strength side.
Hopefully, player commitment is now bumping along the bottom and the situation will ease in the next few weeks, as the handicap of extended holidays, west country weddings, doggy birthdays, parental visits, long term injuries and undisclosed unavailability begins to diminish.