A giant of Green Sox C.C. has left. We look forward to meeting again north of the border.
A giant of Green Sox C.C. has left. We look forward to meeting again north of the border.
HMTCOCC v DfT GreenSox 22nd June 2017
There are losses and there are losses, and this was a loss. In agonising circumstances, HMTCOCC fell short by one run in a thrilling contest at fortressChiswick.
The match started like many others before it – with confusion over the composition of the day’s playing XI and bafflement how after so many collective appearances not one person in the club could precisely locate Pitch B. Having agreed that we should establish ourselves on the nearest free pitch captain Martin promptly lost the toss and was asked to field on what was very much a batsman’s surface.
Wareing (0-19) opened the bowling with more than customary vim and vigour, and lustily indulged himself in his favourite pastime of harsh self-criticism, even if his economy rate did not quite warrant it. Eland shared the new ball (evidence that Martin’s captaincy is as funky as his collection of trousers) and returned figures of 2-23, fully deserving his two wickets.
Martin came on first change, but having seen his first two overs disappear for 19 runs, selflessly removed himself from the attack, in part acknowledging the strong bowling resources at his disposal. This gave opportunity for the inimitable David Owen to bowl a very tidy two over spell, knocking over the leg stump of the opposition number 3, who to that point had been looking as though he could take the game away from the GOGGS team.
Despite Owen’s entertaining and productive spell, perhaps the highlight of the first innings was death-bowler Tom Orford (1-27) proving once again he is as fine a gentleman as he is a cricketer; confessing that a return catch didn’t quite carry, in the process impressing the batsman so much that he could not help but donate his wicket to the very next ball. French shared the responsibility of finishing the innings, bowling with customary aggression (reprised from the sideline in the game’s Second Act) and returned decent figures of 0-26 from his four overs.
This left the game finely balanced at the halfway stage, although HMTCOCC would have been happy to restrict the GreenSox to only 127. Sensing this, Martin charitably asked Rimmer to open the batting with long-term stalwart Fairburn. The pair responded with a fine 50+ partnership, with Fairburn’s knock displaying rather more élan than his partner’s. The pair’s practically simultaneous retirements disrupted the innings and slowed the run rate, but HMTCOCC were still well set at 60-0 from the first nine overs. Thorpe (6) got a start but fell to a thick outside edge going for one of his signature booming drives. Bagg (15 from 20) and Wareing (27 from 25) then took responsibility, batting sensibly if not sensationally to keep the scoreboard ticking over and HMTCOCC on top of the required rate.
It would be fair to say this was not a universally appreciated approach, with Wareing’s incessant self-flagellation outstripped by French’s unique brand of motivation unceasingly rolling in from the sidelines. This policy proved successful, with HMTCOCC reaching the final over requiring only six runs to record their second victory of the season. The first delivery was a wide, on which Simon Dietz sacrificed himself on a suicidal single, thus setting the stage for the club’s finisher to steer the ship home.
As any regular observer would predict, needing less than a run a ball, Mr French would open with a positive forward defensive followed by a series of the powerful strokes to bring home the bacon. Only on this occasion this was not the case. Under the weight of expectation and the thrill of the chase, he had worked himself into such a lather that he could only produce a wild swipe first ball, missing the ball by some margin and losing his off-stump in the process. Undeterred, he offered more words of encouragement to his batting partner en route to the pavilion, although your correspondent must confess that he couldn’t the exact content from his umpiring position at square leg.
The rest was frankly chaos, with subsequent batsmen Owen and Eland both run-out in the pursuit of mad-cap singles, leaving Bagg stranded not out, but one run short. Cue wild celebrations from the GreenSox and no small degree of soul-searching for HMTCOCC.
TfL Pirates @ Parliament Hill
9 May 2017
He’d had one of his moments. An idea born of long days and hard nights in the office basement, and a whip crack of inspiration while looking deep into the eyes of a badger he’d found with a google image search. He’d called a meeting, although there were no meeting rooms available so it was held in the canteen. He explained. Audience on their feet, he took his leave and set out for The Heath.
Arriving in time to see his companions in various states of undress, he took to the cricket field with the enthusiasm of Pamplonian cattle, eager to gore his cream clad opponents. With 10 fellow herdsmen scattered randomly about the pasture, he watched as three took turns to run and throw. Tom was rhythmic, sending one opposition back to the side of the field where he removed some extraneous garments and sat, cowed. Lawrence pawed at the ground before his charge began he noticed, but it proved ineffectual. Chris threw the most but was ponderous. He thought the tiny red missile must have decided it had been punished enough, because it took shelter in the perimeter foliage several times. But as when Tom threw, the team’s hands were large and steady, and cradled the ball twice for Jones.
When his turn came, he eschewed running and simply threw. His balls came and went before he or the stick-wielding foe had the time or inclination to be noteworthy. Next came a new face. Creased and weather-beaten, not like a handsome Galician surfer but pale like the detritus from a recently dislodged English cliff fragment. Peet threw fast, and the ocre acorn stayed largely within the perimeter. More opposition made the unsteady amble back to their base camp. To finish, a twin dessert of Scotch and the Revolver. The Revolver was supposed to spin, but aimed it gun-barrel straight. The Scotch hit the mark though, and thanks to low levels of hitting skill and big bobbo wilkinson’s pasty hands downed three fingers and gave a shaken fisted send off to the last of the enfeebled matadors.
He used the break to swipe left on a few more no-hopers, and once play resumed was asked to action a decision. As officiating man, he looked to his left as everyone else looked at the batter, his orange headwear dipped. The cheering and celebrations from the opposition, roles now reversed, momentarily startled him from the recollection of the badger-based excitement earlier in the day. Unaware of how to respond, he looked at the capped crusader and slowly and unsurely unfurled the index finger of his right hand.
At the same time, but also in the linear version, he watched Rav and Niall use their bats and their legs to some effect. Both went back to the side of the field with no corresponding glee from the fieldmen. Peet did the same, having shouted ‘no’ at von Dutch and caused his turn to end without satisfaction. Safely ensconced back by the bags, he knew that with six scores remaining to win, and double the number of throws to hit, his hands shouldn’t have to feel the coarse rubber around the hard handle, not this time. But Revolver swung and missed, and wiklinson did not swing and missed, and he was, in fact, required. Protective equipment around the most valuable and uninsured body parts, he took small steps towards the centre of attention. If I can do the badgers he said, willing positive energy into his mind and out through his limbs, I can do this. And, in the final telling, George Clarkson was the hero of all our stories.
Welcome to the first recycled Green Sox email of 2017.
There are plenty more coming your way this season with fixtures, line-ups, match reports, weather reports, pitch reports, fines, cancellations, uncancellations, recancellations, candle-lit end of season dinners, and photos of various Sox in increasingly unpleasant states of undress, so if you want off this mailing list, tell me now.
If you wish to stay on it, well, good luck to you.
By all accounts, last year was a roaring success – at least if the smattering of victories, the new talent, and one (ignored) request never to return to Belair House again are anything to go by. The Committee had a smashing time at any rate.
2017 looks more promising still – an action packed fixture list, the return of Dave ‘the rocket’ Grocott from his 3 year training camp in southern Africa, and the club’s second ever tour are all in the mix – more on that in due course. So it’s a good time to start dusting off the pads, hitting the gym, packing into the ‘roids and visualising your season’s objectives – be it scoring runs, holding on to gravity defying catches, or sampling the very worst of south London sports grounds’ pink cuvée Grand Cru. The Green Sox offer equal opportunities in all departments.
Pre-season indoor nets start later this week and carry all the way through to the end of April. If this is the first you’ve heard of them direct your ire at Tom Newman-Taylor and he’ll fill you in on the details. Chris Jones is fine-tuning what promises to be a much more balanced fixture list littered with double-headers, Sunday Specials and Royal Rumbles that are, for the first time in our history, not designed around Stephen Howe’s holiday plans. Watch this space.
Details of this season’s subs are available from the Committee. We’re booking pitches right now so please give punctually and liberally. Those of you with contacts looking to invest in community projects and grassroots movements, or to squander superfluous funds into the nearest moneybin, may like to have a close look at the ‘social, well-wisher, and fair-weather membership’. It all adds up to one ripping, turning, seaming, moving-out-the-rough, flight, dip, turn, crackerjack, hot-stuff, Gary Ballance Out!, summer of feel-good cricket.
So in the meanwhile, why not nail your colours to the mast and follow us on Twitter on @GreenSoxCC – no one else is.
Club captain the Belgian Duke has overhauled the Great Defector to become the Sox’s all time leading scorer with over 670 runs. The Directors have agreed that he may now concentrate solely on boosting that average.
After two washouts, the 2016 Sox started the season with two agonising defeats to the Superstars (who nobly stood in last minute for the National Archives at Belair). You can read about details on their superior site here and here.
This was followed up by a morale boosting victory over the TfL Pirates (which saw the return of co-founder Bobby Wu after 2 years out) thanks to a Gloucestershire-style squeeze from metronome George Clarkson and swing exponents Sagar Bora, Chris Jones, Rory Holmes, not to mention new-boy moonball merchant Gursh Jaspal.
Regrettably, we bid adieu to our only menacing paceman, Graham Milton, who returns to the North West after a couple of enjoyably belligerent seasons with the Greens. Thank you Graham!