Sunday 29 April 2018
Over-excitable sports commentator JONATHAN PEARCE reports from post-apocalyptic Winchmore Hill in the midst of a nuclear winter.
Good afternoon everybody, and welcome to Winchmore Hill for this eagerly-awaited clash between the Tigers and Harrowdene CC. My goodness me, it’s freezing!! I haven’t been this cold since reporting on the Womens World Cup qualifier between Finland and Greenland. Remarkable, really, that we have a game at all, given the amount of rain that’s fallen in the last few days, but the groundsman has done a superb job to get this match on and there’s no rain forecast for the next few hours at least.
Let’s have a look at the two teams then. Harrowdene have come here with their usual mixture of youth and experience – a very useful fielding side as I recall – and there’s a few changes in the Tiger line-up. In come Mitchell Greenham and Chris Wright, badly missed in last week’s heavy defeat at Southgate Compton, plus the mercurial Steve Rennie, that grizzled old veteran, and Head of Cricket Relations Steve Bignell – linked with the Arsenal job earlier this week, but I think it’s a bit too soon for him. Ian Porton and Ali Sikandar are also back in, plus Mann-Short, who quite often gets a run out this time of year.
The Tigers are batting first, and goodness gracious me! It can’t be more than about 7 or 8 degrees out there! Porton is looking good. NO, HE’S GONE!!! PRANAV PULLED OUT A CORKER THERE AND DOWN GO HIS STUMPS!!! But Stewart Taylor and Chris Dane are together now and batting sensibly against some excellent bowling. What a sublime batsman Taylor is, all his strokes classical and beautifully executed. I’m going to need a change of underwear. It’s 86-1 and instead of a drinks break they’re bringing out bowls of hot soup! Well, blow me, that’s a first!
They’ve put on 116 in 19 overs, but Harrowdene have brought on Kent, their slow bowler AND SUDDENLY THE WICKETS ARE TUMBLING!! THE BATSMEN ARE ALL HITTING THE BALL IN THE AIR AND IT’S GOING STRAIGHT TO THE BOUNDARY FIELDERS!! Oops, got a bit over-excited there. Must remember to stop shouting and cool it a bit otherwise I’ll be back on Robot Wars and the girlies’ football, and they’ll make me work with Mark Lawrenson again! Not that I need much cooling here! That’s the seventh time that Chris Dane has been involved in a century partnership for the Tigers, a new club record, overtaking his good friend Wrighty. What a remarkably durable cricketer he is, always the man for the big occasion.
The innings has lost a bit of momentum and the Tigers can only make 190 for 7, which looks about 20 runs short to me. The visitors have got off to a steady start against a frugal opening burst from Wright and Greenham. You know what, I’ve never seen such a sight on a cricket ground!! The fielders are all wearing woolly hats, scarves and jogging tops, gloves of course not being allowed except for the wicket-keeper. And what’s going on down on the boundary? The scorer has a bag of coloured pens and the scorecard is looking like a toddler’s drawing book, very pretty but hardly the weather for that kind of thing. Where’s ace scorer Dave Bender when you need him!!
Coming up to the soup break now AND SUDDENLY THE WHOLE MATCH IS TURNED ON IT’S HEAD!! WICKETS IN SUCCESSIVE BALLS FOR SIKANDAR AND ANOTHER FOR DANE AS HE BOWLS THE DANGEROUS PRITESH AFTER A SOLID FIFTY. TWO WICKETS IN AN OVER FOR THE GREAT DANE AS HE TAKES A HARD RETURN CATCH!!! A TREBLE-WICKET MAIDEN LAST WEEK AND A DOUBLE ONE THIS WEEK!!! WHAT AN ASTONISHING CRICKETER THIS MAN IS!! HARROWDENE WERE 74-0 AND NOW, IN A FEW BALLS, THEY’RE 77 FOR 5, INCLUDING THREE IN AS MANY DELIVERIES AND FOUR WICKETS FOR NO RUNS!!!
But there’s still work to be done, the Tigers are on top but they mustn’t get complacent. Hang on, Brown and Pranav are batting well, particularly the little Indian left-hander. It’s not over yet, keep the fat lady on hold. They’ve added 83 in 15 overs and the match is in the balance again. Skipper Taylor has brought himself on, together with the top wicket-taker Matt Webster. Surely the Tigers can’t mess this one up! Webster bowls Pranav – a run a ball needed from 5 overs and 4 wickets left. ELSTONE MISHITS TAYLOR UP IN THE AIR, BEHIND THE WICKET!! THE ‘KEEPER IS AFTER IT. CAN HE REEL IT IN? NOOO!!! IT’S GONE DOWN!!! In fairness, it wasn’t easy. I’ve said this before, but I can’t help thinking the Tiger bowling is a bit samey on occasions, a bit too predictable.
THE BATSMEN HAVE GONE FOR A FRANTIC SINGLE, SURELY A RUN OUT THERE!!! NO, IT HASN’T BEEN GIVEN!!! WHERE’S DRS WHEN YOU NEED IT!!! So, seven needed from the last over. You can cut the tension with a knife. A couple of good hits – 4 needed off three. OOOH, THE UMPIRE’S SIGNALED AN OFF SIDE WIDE!!! THAT’S CONTROVERSIAL, BUT I THINK HE MIGHT HAVE GOT THAT ONE RIGHT. THE BATSMEN ARE RUNNING AGAIN AND, OH MY GOODNESS, WHAT’S HAPPENED THERE!!! – THE FIELDING SIDE HAVE TOTALLY SWITCHED OFF, THEY’VE RUN THREE AND WON THE GAME!!!
WHAT AN AMAZING CONTEST, FULLS OF UPS AND DOWNS!!! THAT’S SURELY WHAT THIS GAME’S ALL ABOUT!!
I’m off for a lie down.
I’m off to have a lie down.