Sunday 24 September 2017 South Woodford CC
Back in the day, the cricket season ended at the beginning of September, the players then donning their soccer boots until the end of April, when cricket began once more. Nowadays, the cricket season can endure for up to six months and drag on interminably, with the nights continuing to draw in.
Sunday’s match at South Woodford (a new venue for the Tigers) was their 21st of the summer, with one weekend still to go, and the third in 2017 against our friends from Spartan, with whom we share the top pitch at Winchmore Hill. The Tigers won the initial fixture in 2015 by just two runs, but have been beaten convincingly in every game since, including the previous two in 2017. They are a league side and have excellent bowlers and batters, though friendly and sporting enough.
The raggle-taggle Tiger outfit that pitched up for this contest contained six full members (out of a possible 19), one veteran having played the day before, plus a captain who yomped most of the way under his own steam from the other side of London, two colts from Winchmore Hill, one new guest (Paul Frame), plus two competent players kindly loaned by the opposition. There was an age diversity of 56 years and the team unusually contained several non-smokers. This brings the total number of cricketers to have worn Tiger colours in 2017 to 44. For those without a maths degree, that equates to four whole normal-sized cricket teams, or is roughly equivalent to the numbers of players loaned out by Chelsea in any one season. This Tiger rump is flying the flag for the club at the moment, four of those present having attended the Winchmore Hill CC dinner the previous Friday.
The outcome of this match was therefore inevitable from ball one, as Spartan rattled up 257, with two of their lower middle order retiring out to give every player a bat. On the credit side, Mitchell Greenham took 3-39 and two catches, Matt Webster 3-43 with his assortment of full tosses, with the two juniors showing much prowess in the field.
Against some top class bowling the Tiger innings limped to 50-3 by the 20-over drinks break, despite an attractive 24 from Garret O’Brien. Ash Fowkes batted with some aplomb, making 12 in 20 overs of resistance before being run out in a Yes-No-Sorry scenario with his junior colleague. Matt Webster biffed a few for 17 not out at the death, but little else can be said except that it was a mild and sunny day, in contrast to recent weeks, and a game played out in pleasant surroundings.
Assuming there is no global mass extinction event between now and then, next Sunday’s match at Highgate (the club’s first ever outing in October) will be the last opportunity for Tigers to find an original excuse for being unavailable, though doubtless ‘attending a dog’s birthday party’ is unlikely to be bettered.
File under ‘Forgettable’
Disturbing reports are reaching Tiger Towers concerning two of our players, holidaying in the Lake District, having to be rescued in a bewildered state by mountain emergency services. More on this when we get it.