Paulin Ground, Winchmore Hill – Sunday 11 June 2017
At the end of a traumatic week where the country ended up with a weak and unstable government, the ten-man Tigers recovered from yet another poor start to post 222-7, thanks to a superb 99 not out from Chris Wright and a brutal 53 from Rowan Allerton, but just failed to beat a worthy Beamers’ side, their number 11 hitting the winning runs from the first ball of the final over. Our guest manager for the day, veteran Arsenal supremo Arsene Wenger, runs the rule over this tight encounter.
It was a great honour for me to manage this historic club for one day and I enjoyed every moment of it. To achieve great things you first have to believe it and we started the game very slowly, lacking focus and with our energy levels very low. You cannot do that against a opponents of this quality. Cricketistically we were not good enough, so I sent on Rowan Allerton at 42-4 and he made the impossible possible by hitting 53 in a stand of 61 with Chris Wright in just a few overs. Wrighty is a magnificent cricketer and he played a superb innings, failing by one run to reach another century. There were appeals for him caught behind, but I didn’t see it so I can’t comment on that. Mitchell Greenham also batted very well for 29 helping Chris to put on 75 for the seventh wicket and in the end we made a good score when it did not look likely.
Look, a cricket team is like a beautiful woman. When you do not tell her she forgets she is beautiful. Everyone thinks they have the prettiest wife at home and if you do not have belief then you have no chance at all. Our keeper lacked a little bit focus in the first half and our throw-ins were very poor, but we kept at it, gave absolutely everything and showed great mental strength. Our fielders took some excellent catches, particularly Andy Ward, but we also dropped some near the end. They had many competent batsmen, Dixon making 57 and Gole 52 not out and the others were all very good. The pitch was very worn, having been used in the morning by the Academy team but you cannot say this is an excuse. Our bowlers gave everything but in the end it was not quite enough.
Why do we always end up with ten players!
Could we have won the game with eleven men? – Yes, very possibly. Did we win the game? -no, and you cannot say you are happy when you don’t win. We had them 125-5 at one point but could not push on and win the game. In my job you expect to suffer. I take the bullets and absorb them, like a bear – a polar bear. If you want to win a horse race, your horse needs to be 100%. I think in England you do not eat enough vegetables. Overall it was ultimately disappointing to lose a game like this but sometimes you have to swallow the unswallowable. I will let you know shortly if I can manage the team again. Thank you very much.