King’s House Sports Ground; Saturday 23 July 2016
With the Whalers convening early and the gazebos given their annual dusting off it could only mean one thing, the annual Captains v Presidents fixture. With some last minute scrambling we managed to get 21 players for the premier fixture of the season and Channa was the nominated choice to lead the Captains XI. With Kev and Munish as the nominated keepers and Kev needing to be in the team that fielded first it was a surprise when Channa won the toss and decided to bat.
Hoping to lead from the front Channa strode out to open the innings but was on his way 5 balls later as he fended at a ball from Matt that bounced more than expected and gloved it through to Kev. Channa’s namesake CK1 (on a loan deal from Salix for the day) followed shortly after when he tried a risky second run after a James Gould misfield and was well short of his ground. Matt Boucher became the third early wicket for the Presidents XI when he gave a straight forward catch to Al at mid-off off the bowling of Paul Clappison. This left the Captains XI on 14-3 and some re-building was needed. This came thanks to a 73 run partnership between Luke and Geoff, with Geoff particularly dismissive of any loose balls on his way to a quickfire 50 (thus retiring).
Dario was introduced to the bowling attack and shocked everyone by bowling seam up (something not seen for at least 10 years……..). He quickly accounted for Luke, bowling him for 23 and when Kamal had JT caught in the gully going for a trademark heave the Presidents XI started to get back in the game. It was a fantastic catch from Tony (also a loanee from Salix) as he backpedalled and just managed to hold on. Munish and Nick failed to trouble the scorers (in Nick’s case this was due to the 4 pints he had consumed since the start of the game) and the Presidents thought they may be able skittle the Captains for 150ish but they had failed to account for Nick’s mate (ringer) Pat who due to turning up late was batting at number 11. He clearly was used to batting much higher up the order and was soon despatching anything over-pitched to the boundary. Ably supported by Dan they scored very quickly and when Pat was well stumped by Kev off the bowling of Paul Clappison for an excellent 45 they were at 203. This just left the returning Geoff to try and try and get a few more late runs however he could only add a further 6 and was caught by Paul off Dario for 59. Dan was left not out on 31 and the Captains XI had scored 210, a good score but on an excellent pitch with a fast outfield probably par.
A very decent BBQ plus quite a bit more beer meant lunch/tea was enjoyed by all and Number 11 James Gould was given a surprise 9 place promotion in the order to open the President’s XI innings alongside Kev. Again leading from the front Channa chose to open the bowling alongside Nick for the Captains XI. An uneventful first over from Nick was then followed by an array of head high beamers and wides from Channa who in the end was lucky to only concede 12 from the over. Dan then took over however Kev and Gouldy were accumulating steadily. Actually Kev was, Gouldy was mainly watching from the other end. Until a bowling change bought CK1 into the attack this was. After a few sighters Gouldy decided he liked the look of the bowling and launched CK1 5 boundaries in the next 2 overs including a big six over Long On. Geoff was bought on to try and stem the flow of runs, promising to bowl off an even shorter run up (if that is even possible) due to a side strain and only committing to one over. Channa ignored these instructions and in his second over Geoff had Gouldy caught by Sam for 35. Gilo was next in and although hitting some nice shots kept finding the fielders in the deep and in the end was bowled by Geoff for 17 trying to hit out.
Kev had now retired for a well made 52 and the Presidents XI needed the ship to be steadied. Unfortunately the wickets kept falling as Dario was run out for 8, Toby bowled for 5 by JT and Al was caught by CK1 off Munish for 5. Paul Clappison was batting well but when Tony was out for 9 the Presidents XI were on 177 with only Matt and Kamal left to bat and 34 needed off 5 overs. Matt was very keen to get the runs flowing again and after chuntering at Paul for turning down a tight single into the covers was caught on his heels for the next ball which was hit to the same place. Paul called the run (to avoid more chuntering) and Matt was just short of his ground to be run out without facing. Cue more chuntering as he departed the field. It now looked to be a very tall order for the Captains XI, even more so as Paul pulled his hamstring pushing for second run to maintain the strike. Al padded up to act as a runner but it some became obvious the injury would prevent Paul batting at all. As Kev had retired earlier but unable to bat again sue to him being on the M25 and that the President’s XI only had 10 players, the Captains XI made the very sporting decision to allow Matt to take Kev’s place to allow the game to continue. Matt then promptly took a couple of 4’s from Nick and Geoff’s next overs which coupled with some frantic running and good shots from Kamal left them needing 3 from the last over for victory. Nick bowled it very well but thanks to a wide and a couple of leg byes the Presidents XI scraped home with 1 ball left.
A really enjoyable game for all played in excellent spirit as always (despite some drunk heckling from the sidelines). After a brief discussion in the pub and a hasty trip to the offlicense Dario was awarded best bowler of the match with figures of 3-20 (he should bowl seam up more often!) and Geoff was awarded best batsmen for an excellent 59 (despite a side strain). Matt was awarded Muppet of the Day for his chuntering, disastrous run out and more chuntering.