Metro Devils V Berkshire Stag “Friendly Match” 23 July
A friendly match was played on Saturday 23rd of 2022, up at Highgate Woods, North London, against a London Metro Devils side with a few extra guest players turning out for the teams. The weather was nice and sunny, but not the unbearable oven-like heat of last weekend,
Sam was captaining the Dirty Greens, whilst the imperious Big Chris was in charge of the True Scarlets. An inspection of the square revealed it to be very bumpy and dusty, but fortunately, the crease lines were clearly visible as they had just been painted out, and the outfield was even more bumpy with some strange contours on it.
Big Chris won the toss and put the Greens in to bat. As it was a friendly, the batting and bowling orders were much-changed, some strange combinations were tried, and some even stranger shots were attempted. Also, batsmen were rotated, if not out, with retirement at 25 anyway, to give everyone a chance in the middle.
Scarlets even managed the rare feat of giving all eleven players on the field a bowl, even their keeper Anil with Jack going behind the sticks for this. Greens began slowly and cautiously, up against some tight bowling from Moshfique, who had been given the ball – even though it was a friendly, it was definitely his most accurate and precise bowling of the season.
Stu’ The Wall’ had opened the batting for the Greens and had even managed to score a couple of runs, which was something of a rare event in itself. Then Camille came on to bowl and astonished everyone by claiming a wicket – she swears it was her first one ever for the club.
In fact, it was her tenth wicket, and she has seven for the Stags. After drinks at half-time, the run-rate began to pick up dramatically when the Green’s big hitters – Rob, Sam, Thomas and Tom, not to mention the uncanny Fish – all made their way to the square in due turn and began to smash it all around the park, all of them quickly reaching 25 no and retiring.
However, Big Chris had cleverly kept his best bowlers back – Jack, Lee and his own modest self, and these were able to stifle the run-rate and start claiming some much-needed Green wickets.
Several Green retirees returned to the sticks, only to discover that true quality was bowling at them and Stu – trapped LBW, Sam – caught by Arun, and Rob – middle stump knocked over, all fell by the wayside very quickly. The only exception to this seemed to be Young Thomas, who proved he was truly in excellent form and continued where he had left off, knocking it all around the park – there was nowhere you could bowl to him without him middling it.
After a lovely tea, it was True Scarlets turn to bat. Moshfique scored 14, and Lee, who made 18, put on a very brisk and enterprising partnership before both rather annoyingly got themselves out.
Next in was Hashy, normally a tail-ender blocker for Metro but promoted up the order by Big Chris, who steadfastly blocked everything and retired undefeated on zero not out. Next in was Anil, who hit nice tight enterprising innings before retiring, and then Arun, who managed to run himself out before he could receive a ball.
Camille was Scarlet’s No.6, and she hunkered down and played possibly her best innings ever, retiring on 12, not out, including one glorious boundary watched by disbelieving fielders as it zipped over the boundary – her first this season. Poor Atif, who had been patiently fielding at close cover point or short square leg all innings with his legs apart waiting for a tickle, was cruelly denied an easy catch when the ball dollied up, only for Fish to race around and get in his way.
Next in was the much-travelled Min, who had been doing all the running for all the non-running batsmen, but soon she fell and was replaced by John Garbett, who played a sterling innings of safety and some thumping shots and was able to retire with his bat held high.
Andy came out and surprised everyone by not getting out before he eventually retired, followed by Jack, who immediately started thumping it hard around the park, retiring on 25, not out in no time.
Finally, Big Chris rounds off the innings, only for him to be run out by his runner Min, for the third consecutive time in a match – this is getting rather annoying, off the penultimate ball when she stopped dead mid-wicket at the sight of Rob Turner grovelling on the ground before her just having dropped a very difficult caught & bowled off a thumping Big Chris drive.
It was up to Hashy to come back and face the last ball, which he did with sterling fortitude, to finish the game on 2not out – the first runs he had ever scored in an innings for as long as he could remember.
So, all in all, it was a very fun day out with a very memorable friendly atmosphere played between two teams out to play cricket and enjoy themselves, the result being that Scarlets held on for a very gallant and valiant draw in the end. Nearly everybody could come away from the game with some great memories and personal achievements.
Match report by Chris Wallace
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