SUNDAY 22 APRIL 2018
In a totally dysfunctional contest, the Tigers went down by 151 runs in a fixture usually highly competitive, despite a five-wicket opening burst from Chris Dane. Both innings were bottom-heavy with runs, with the home side being reduced to 20-5 after 5 overs and the Tigers 21-6 from 10. The difference was that Compton had a raft of young Hertfordshire League players that allowed them to recover and post a huge total. The match was to prove a blobfest, with no less than seven of the 22 batsmen on show failing to activate the busy pencil of the Tigers’ new professional scorer David Bender.
It was fortunate to get a game on at all, as many club grounds were still unfit for play after the recent poor weather. Though the day was sunny and warm, the pitch was unsurprisingly under prepared and the thick outfield did not give full value to good strokes. Despite recent problems the Tigers were at least able to put out a full side, with guests Vijay Basker from the Gentlemen of West London and Jon Ranger (Winchmore Hill) replacing Chris Wright and Steve Rennie, away attempting to re-conquer Scafell Pike.
Opting to bat first first, the Compton Innings could not have got off to a worse start, Daney reinacting Warne’s ‘ball of the century’ to Gatting – pitching leg and hitting off stump with the first delivery of the new season to dismiss Wallis. By the end of the over he had two more – Arif lofting to mid-on where Joe Webster pouched a safe catch, followed next ball by knocking over Sembian. Three wickets and no runs. In September 2015 county champions in-waiting Yorkshire had Middlesex 0-3 after the first over of the match, yet went on to lose the game by 246 runs, so nothing can be taken for granted.
In his third over Daney bagged two more to leave the home side 20-5, but just like the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo, posting most of his infantry behind a ridge to protect them from the opening French cannonade, the best of the Compton batting strength lay in their lower middle-order. In the absence of both Wright and Mitch Greenham, the Tigers simply did not have the bowling back-up to Daney’s Michelle. Opener Delbridge, having watched the carnage unfolding from the non-striker’s end, went on to make a classy 91, adding 118 in 19 overs with C Frame and a further 75 in just 8 overs with Sayers as the Tiger bowlers dished up an array of long hops and full tosses, many of which sailed over the short boundary into Chalk Lane, endangering both passing motorists and pedestrians, with only Stewart Taylor (1-20 in 7 overs) showing any semblance of control.
There were wickets for Simon Warren and Ian Daffern, a catch for Richard Burgess and a highly efficient performance behind the stumps (including two catches) from Chris Boden, – curiously not one bye was recorded in the whole game – plus some solid fielding, but the final total of 245 looked well out of reach in the conditions.
So it was to prove, as L Frame and Sembian blew away the Tigers’ top order, only Joe Webster showing any decent resistance as the innings was mortally wounded, though it took a while to fully expire. The home side took their foot off the gas somewhat at six down, but Chris Boden never came to terms with Walking’s lack of pace and eventually fell leg before for 14 to a slow full toss. Only Matt Webster, batting 25 overs for 30 not out, showed the resolution required, the Tigers managing only 7 boundaries in the whole innings. No one else reached double figures.
‘It was a disappointing result after such a great start,’ commented Head of Cricket Relations Steve Bignell. ‘We dominated the game for 10 overs then went to seed for the remaining 65. Nevertheless, it proved a good exercise in blowing off the cobwebs and it was great to see the likes of Mike Delanian and Ian Daffern back on the field. Stewart Taylor even gave up his Wembley ticket to lead the side and that’s the kind of commitment needed. It’s been a difficult few weeks for the club but I believe we are turning the corner.’
Those puzzling over the whereabouts of dashing Tigers opener Mike Dalanian in the 18 months prior to Sunday’s sighting need puzzle no more. The answer lies in the pages of the latest issue of exclusive menswear publication ‘THE RAKE‘ – strapline ‘The modern voice of classic elegance’. Looking good Mike.