INJURY WOES MAR SOX OPENER
25/04/2013 – Regents Park
TfL Pirates 126/6 Overs BEAT Green Sox 123/5 by 3 runs
The Sox’ season got off to a shaky start on Thursday, as a narrow defeat against the TFL Pirates was compounded by a cataclysmic injury to their flamboyant club talisman, Big Ben Formela.
Despite an unremarkable bowling performance, the Sox had left themselves with a manageable 126 to chase on a flat wicket and were making good progress – opening batsmen L.R. de Glossop and N.A.E. Piercey having earned retirements for ‘25’ and ‘26’ respectively – before Formela stepped out for his ill-fated innings.
Racing away to a tidy ‘10’, there was no sign that injury worries were troubling the youngster, but as he played his next shot through mid-wicket there was the sound of a mighty Oak being torn in half as the club-founder literally collapsed under the weight of his own potential.
Several players fainted before Formela could be carried from the field and hidden from sight. S.M. Agnew – Clubman of the Year, 2012 – said, ‘it was the grossest thing I’ve ever seen’.
Bereft at the loss of such a key member of the team and realising that all the Jaffa Cakes® has been eaten, the lengthy Green Sox tail fell limp, lashing only briefly for the innings of Agnew and Howe, before settling back into the baked dust of Regents Park.
Club doctor, Dr. J. Bason, was upbeat about Formela’s prospects for a swift return to action: ‘we’ve found all the missing bits, and the other team lent me some string. I like to think he won’t be out for more than six weeks’
Speaking from his hospital bed last night, Formela said, ‘for me it’s put a lot of things in perspective. My legs nearly fell off and when that sort of thing happens it’s difficult not to question yourself. I’ll still be keeping the website up to date’
After the game, Green Sox Captain, Stephen Howe, was philosophical, ‘we all feel for the lad, it’s a really blow this early in the season’
Last night the blogosphere reflected the depth of public concern felt for this well-liked player, with #prayer4formela trending on Twitter
16 May 2013
Green Sox vs Homerton CC – 18 Overs
The Green Sox came into this match having suffered a few disappointments in the preceding month, namely the horrific injury to star cricketer Ben Formela* in the TFL Pirates match of exactly 3 weeks earlier and the wash out of the Tuesday 14th fixture against the Dinosaurs.
Nevertheless, the train journey to West Philadelphia was buoyed by an unexplainable wave of optimism that this might actually be a season of improvement, apparently through a combination of increasing cricketing experience – both individually and as a team – and sharply focussed recruitment.
Rocking up to Bel Air early the Green Sox proceeded to have an impromptu cake and fizzy drinks binge, knowing that as Homerton straggled up to the park this inordinate amount of amateurish confidence would severely undermine their morale. Once sufficiently sated and with the sun beaming across a beautiful setting, the committee decided now was the time for the long-awaited Green Sox cap presentation. Homerston struggled with the apparent amateurs suddenly morphing into a team of hardened professionals, to the extent that almost all actually wore whites.
With this new found sense of professional purpose, the Green Sox had one of their most successful pre-match catching drills in the clubs history, the ball being plucked from the sky from inexplicable angles by multiple players. It was the proof we’d all been waiting for; the catching ability did actually exist, it just now needed to be applied in the subsequent competitive environment as the entire team helpfully shouts “catch it” (in case you’d forgotten what to do) as the ball screamed down towards you whirring like a Stuka dive bomber.
Skipper Howe won the toss and decided to put Homerton into bat first, believing that the team operates best in a chasing scenario whereby the tail is left with just a few runs and plenty of Overs left in which to flash their way over the finish line with the pressure off.
This plan required a bowling attack based on tight, consistent lines and run minimisation and for the most part this is exactly what was delivered, helped from time to time by an unpredictable wicket.
The initial interchange of Overs between Clarkson and Howe produced fantastic and crucial early wickets for few runs conceded; giving the rest of the bowling attack a great platform on which to perform. They carried this on with a further couple of fantastic Overs interspersed amongst the other bowlers to really anchor down the attack. Murphy too advantage of this platform and stepped up on his debut with an Over that was looser than he would’ve liked, but before long he found his line and a bit of pace, producing a highlight of taking the wicket cleanly with a well aimed fast bowl that pitched inwards off the wicket between bat and leg.
Fowler ably kept the run rate down, also nicking a wicket, with Evans and Grocott making good supporting contributions. A fair few wides interspersed throughout helped Homerton to creep over the 100 mark, but it was all within typical Green Sox margins.
Special mention has to go to the sheer effort and enthusiasm shown by Philpott as he stormed across the field, striving with every force of his being to annihilate Skipper Howe before he could catch the ball slowly looping towards him, in order to ensure the Sox didn’t reach the targeted 50% catch rate. Apparently Philpott feels like Howe is taking this cricketing thing too seriously, it’s all just a bit of a laugh and winning isn’t gentlemanly.
With a very achievable 106 to chase, Piercey and Doherty strode out to bat with the word “grit” being chucked around at every opportunity and partaking in a significant amount of affirmative head nodding.
What followed was definitively gritty, with a risk-averse focus on staying in for decent spells and turning those 3s into 2s with a safety first style of running. This opening combination lasted an interminable age, eventually ending on a respectable 45 as the news filtered through that we were a few runs short of the overall required run rate. Doherty flashed hard and missed, finally being caught out after the field decided to stop playing hot potato with spoon-fed catches. Knowing that a quick burst of runs was needed Howe came into the crease and in short order retired on 25 after a fine innings of controlled cricket with sprinklings of flair, lots of boundaries and risky running. Piercey provided great support, also edging out his 25 and leaving the Green Sox in fine fettle with well over 80 runs on the board (72 with the bat) and 6 overs left. The deckchairs were out as the Green Sox relaxed knowing victory was just a matter of time.
What followed was a cataclysmic collapse of the middle order and a tail that might as well have come from Madame Tussauds.
Thankfully, Grocott was able to give a much needed small boost of momentum with a quickfire 7 that left the last 5 batsmen needing just 9 runs off 3 Overs. The following spell of 8 runs off the next 17 balls (including multiple wides) left Murphy stepping up to the crease needing 1 run off the final ball to clinch a much needed Green Sox victory.
What followed, as those on the sidelines all grabbed each other in anticipation of an unsporting celebratory pitch invasion, was one of the most anti-climatic winning moments in cricketing history as the match threw up one of the most farcical wides you could ever hope to see. Moments of drama followed as the umpire was reluctant to let cricket lose in such a fashion, until Murphy threatened to clock himself in the head as he swung hit bat around willy-nilly in protest.
Still, a win’s a win, even if defeat was nearly snatched from the jaws of victory.
|Green Sox 107/6 Overs BEAT Homerton CC 106 All Out by 4 wickets|
Keep on socking.
12th June 2013 Green Sox vs Marauders
A cricket match happened on the evening of the 12th June. No-one saw it though because it was raining really hard and no-one could see through the really heavy rain. Nevertheless, Green Sox batted first. This was possibly out of their own captain’s choice, but it could also have been that they were put into bat by the opposition captain.
De Glossop and Piercy opened the batting, Captain Howe judging that because they were the two best batsmen they would fare best against the Marauders’ opening bowlers, who were also likely to be their best. Howe’s tactics paid off handsomely as De Glossop fished and flashed for 16 before getting out to one that landed in a puddle on a good length, and Piercy continued his fine run of form with an unbeaten 25 (3×4, 1×6).
At this point Jones and Clarkson arrived, be-suited. They changed in a bush to shelter from the really heavy rain. Jones now has to dry clean his suit. Captain Howe decided that the Green Sox had got enough runs, only allowing Grocott, Cashmore and Agnew to score 5 between them before deciding that they would stop after 8 overs. This was because it was raining so hard.
Green Sox went out to bowl, defending a score of 64 from their truncated innings. De Glossop and Clarkson opened the bowling, Captain Howe replicating his first innings tactic by judging that the Marauders would send out their best batsmen first and that this should be met with the Sox’ best bowlers. Again the gamble paid off, De Glossop taking 2 or possibly 3 wickets and Clarkson keeping it tidy against a flamboyant batsman (25 n.o).
Jones and Grocott also bowled a few overs with varying success, but the important thing was that when it came down to the final over with Marauders needing only 4 or 5 to win, Howe made the brave decision to bring back the Sox’ best bowler De Glossop. The Captain’s bravery was rewarded with a stonking Green Sox win. Well done Green Sox.
South London, England. 19 June 2013.
A team of talented English cricketers gathered, drawn to London from all corners of the land, joined in service of this fair country.
A team that had calmly shrugged off criticism of their cautious batting tactics, and struggled with injuries.
A team that saw ahead of it a glorious summer of cricketing achievement.
A team that went on to beat the South Africans by 7 wickets.
Meanwhile, a little later in the day. A little further into the depths of south London…
A team of keen English cricketers gathered, drawn to London from all corners of the land, but joined in service of this fair country (for a period of up to four years, after which they may find they face an unexpected contract variation).
A team that had also calmly shrugged off criticism of their cautious batting tactics, and struggled with injuries.
A team that saw ahead of it an expensive summer of cricketing fines.
A team that went on to lose to an opposition that managed more retirements than a Saga holiday to Eastbourne…
This is the story of that team.
The Green Sox arrived, in accordance with their transport background, with the well-honed punctuality of the national rail network. Nonetheless, the Tilburg Regents managed to be slightly later.
The first battle of the day was won then, as the Regents trickled into the ground only to find the Sox (resplendent in whites that, following a soaking in the previous game, could almost be described as “having been washed”) practising Skipper Howe’s infamous fielding drills.
Surveying the square, it was apparent that, even though the wicket had not been rolled, someone had taken the time to repaint the boundary to be even smaller than usual. This seemed to be an issue for the Regents, but their collection of empty bottles, shoes and other sundries made sure it expanded quicker than sweatpants at an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet.
The Regents won the toss, and opted to bat. Hearing this news, Agnew and Grocott inexplicably ran for the boundary. A boundary that, due to its restricted size, left them about as deep as a Busted song.
Ben 1 opened the bowling, to find he faced a wicket that had more spring than a debate on Egyptian democracy. Unfortunately, and not for the first time in his life, he found that he struggled to get his balls in One Direction. He kept is head though, and gritted through his overs, worrying the batsmen on more than one occasion.
De Glossop next, who used his admirable pace from the clubhouse end to keep Piercey dancing behind the wicket, making his concession of a single bye all game all the more impressive.
Uncuttable Clarkson, now more used to slower pace of life in Bristol, strode up fashionably late, delaying his first over of bowling in order to ensure that his tie was neatly folded. However he was later forgiven for this, partially due to his much-needed role in suppressing the Regents run rate, but also because he allowed Ben 4 to rest his knee and take up a non-playing role, as coach from the boundary.
Doc Bason served to un-nerve the middle order with some fine turn that, thanks to the wicket, was often rendered unreadable.
Ben 3 took his turn, so eager to take part that his first ball was bowled before the field was set or the keeper’s gloves on. But he turned this round with some fairly restrictive overs.
Not so Ben 2, whose lacklustre pace saw a career worst 21 runs conceded off a single over.
Grocott stepped up for an over, firing down a few shots that demonstrated consistency along a line described by a passer-by as “a bit to the right”, before realising that, much like a cricket game, a wicket has two sides; approaching from the other made his last delivery untouchable.
Ashton and White took the traditional Sox approach to catching, in that they didn’t manage it, though Ashton managed to demonstrate the sort of footwork more usually expected from the absent latin prancer. Wilkinson and Bason demonstrated that cricket is a game for gentlemen, conceding a cheap boundary while rather politely not getting in each other’s way.
Nonetheless, the Sox soldiered on, as Regent after Regent retired. De Glossop, in a final over attempt to save face, managed the only wicket of the innings, with a smart delivery.
Into bat, and a plausible 157 required, though light was beginning to fade. Openers De Glossop and Piercey stepped up. The former paying homage to a classic Agnew innings by returning to the clubhouse to put on Agnew’s glasses, while Piercey had a peculiarly feline innings, seeming to have nine lives at the crease. Ashton apprehensively stood in as third man, and was given an excellent opportunity to warm up during a walk to the crease that ended as abruptly as it started, with his recall to the bench as batting umpire De Glossop overturned Clarkson during Piercey’s 4th or so attempt to get out.
After Piercey succeeded, at the seventh attempt, to get out, ending his previously unbeaten record, it was finally Ashton’s turn to bat. This presented an opportunity for Ashton to gamble his children’s future on his “parachute approach”, shunning the protection of a box in order to focus his mind. He held out valiantly until he was run out, in one of the most generous uses of the word “run” ever recorded in a match report.
Murphy held fort, as did Grocott, Bason and White, all scoring runs, including White’s shot of the day.
With the Sox needing 60 or so, and a required run rate nudging 10 an over, Agnew, Fowler, and Wilkinson, career Civil Servants all, mixed their metaphors and placed a little too much importance in getting their ducks in a row.
Having seen more partnerships than a civil registrar, White was eventually stumped behind, his innings to be remembered for his running, both because he did some, and because of the wiggle with which he did it.
Uncuttable Clarkson wrapped up the order with a single run, not out, off the last two balls.
And all the while, Agnew was a bit annoyed, about quite a few things, and Skipper Howe provided support, shod throughout in his Elastoplast espadrilles…
Game 11, Greensox versus Dodgers Regents Park
The summer heat wave got a little hotter last night when two titans of the game known as ‘cricket’ locked horns in Regents Park. Founded in 1814, Regent’s Park is one of the Royal Parks of London. It lies within northern central London, partly in the City of Westminster and partly in the London Borough of Camden. It contains Regent’s College and the London Zoo.
The Sox nearly succeeded with both of the most critical parts of the early game: having a full team and having a sock in possession of stumps. Buzzed up on this whiff of success, the Sox were disappointed to see Captain Skipper Howe running around shouting “elbow grease” as he tried in vain to hammer the stumps into the concrete like wicket. Things turned from bad to worse when the Skipper managed to lose the coin toss – making that 27 consecutive defeats. Professors of Probability from the Royal Society have asked to attend the next coin toss to see this evolving phenomenon for themselves.
The game was therefore just about to begin. The Sox gathered in a huddle. In sport, a huddle is an action of a team gathering together, usually in a tight circle, to strategise, motivate, chat, goss or just enjoy a comfortable silence. It is a popular strategy for both keeping opponents insulated from sensitive information and comparing trainers. Commonly the leader of the huddle is the team captain and it is the captain who will try to inspire his fellow team members to achieve success. The term “huddle” can be used as a verb as in “huddling up”.
So as I was saying, the game that we all know as cricket was about to begin. The Greeners stepped out with eight valiant sox. The eight Greeners’ sox were valiant. Valiant sox stepped out with eight. But, faster than Rob, our brand new FDA rep, can appear at your desk, feign conversation and steal a tea bag our numbers increased to 10. With both Robs cycling in what appeared to be a death race, the Sox watched on transfixed. In the ruckus it was hard to see who was leading, elbows clashed, tyres crashed and muscles with driven to breaking point. It was quite something. Anyway, now onto the game that we know as cricket.
That game was then had. It involved many of the following items:
Left handed gloves, 2 cricket teams, sun cream, a frisby, a crushing defeat, Joe Bason, cowardice, running like a fairy, an embarrassing victory, hobnobs, a girlfriend, Thom Evan’s face, an angry strop, 4 golden ducks, 4 sock catches, a competency assessment framework, girlfriend’s friend, 2 sock wickets, a hatrick ball, 3 humiliated sox, a rowing boat, party boy, feminine eyes, panther impersonations and bananas.
Notable mentions to Piercey for excellent keeping, Cashmore for excellent debut bowling, Bason for 3 wickets, Agnew for paying £1.41 in fines and Grocott for running like a fairy for no reason whatsoever.
A special mention should also go to the winner of man of the match. He may not have even met the Committee yet but he kept his nerve in the epi centre of the greatest Greensox collapse in its young and splendid history. Utilising the forward defensive as if he didn’t know or care about any other shots, Roy went on to score 48% of the Greensox’ runs. He also caught the ball and threw it often.
23 June 2013
Green Sox 331/4 BEAT Emma Duc Invitational XI 157 All Out by 174 runs.
Cricket, then. 40 Overs, proper scores, extended spells under the punishing scattered cloud. The serious stuff. The long game. A place where batsmen disregard stock deliveries with the derision they deserve. A place where the beer flows like wine. A place where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. ‘There’s nothing like good quality Test cricket’, as someone once said. And this certainly was nothing like good quality Test cricket.
There seemed to be a sense of giddy abandon around Belair Park despite a performance the previous Wednesday that was so spineless our first XI was subsequently reclassified by a team of botanists as being molluscs. Not only this, but the Greeners’ first and last 40 over encounter ended after a run chase that was so short it was like just after setting out we’d stopped off at a garage for a can of Lilt, realised that not only had we lost our wallet but that we weren’t wearing any trousers, and decided to just go home there and then so as to avoid embarrassing ourselves further.
That was 2012. These days, when the Sox come a-calling, at least you’re never quite sure who’s ringing the doorbell – will it be some responsible types returning your lost wallet and reaffirming your faith in the human race, or will you open the door to find a brown paper bag both ablaze and filled with assorted faecal matter as a gaggle of guttersnipes scatter like dropped marbles?
With rumours of an enigmatic return of the 2012 Tom Newman-Taylor Dedication Award winner, Mr. Dynamite himself, Tom Newman-Taylor, the anticipation was palpable. The announcement from opposing captain and casual Green Sock, Ben White, that the other lot were less than the sum total of their talents, of which they had none, had our boys breaking out in irrepressible spasms of handstands, raised fists, high, and low fives. Orders were swiftly dispatched to get the early Boycott Shits on the board and take advantage of a pitch much improved from four days previous, when it was moister than the chin of a hippo chewing on a bag of oranges.
Nick Van Piercey and Max Walker strode in fearlessly looking to add to their already frightening season averages, only for Max Walker to immediately stride on back having dangled out his bat to a straight one like a dog’s tongue lolling out of a car window. John Arlott once described a Clive Lloyd stroke as being that “of a man knocking a thistle top off with a walking stick”. The Belgian’s attempt reminded me of the same man, but drunker, and instead of a thistle, it was a tipsy swat at a fly with a toothpick; the fly actually turning out to be a speck of dust on his own spectacles.
Following some time out of the game to stock up on similes, B.J.F. Osborne approached the crease to steady the ship, see off the new ball, and whet the watching public’s appetite for leaves and dot balls. As two players who probably shouldn’t be given too long to consider their options being given too long to consider their options, Van Piercey and F. Osborne flashed at some incontrovertibly miserable bowling, but walloped the occasional whelp to the rope to build a sufficient head of steam to have the gallery shrieking like an unwatched hob kettle.
As the immovable object partnership ground away the respect from the crowd dissolved as matters concerning Monster Munch variety packs and quails eggs took primacy. The only thing noisier than the myriad of “Way-hays” emanating from the cheap seats on the bank being the sound of Umpire Stephen Howe’s teeth grinding at the dearth of full whites on show.
In a vain attempt to provide equilibrium between the two teams, Lawrence Max Shaun Woodward Walker de Glossop defected to the Emma Duc XI bowling attack but, despite adding some desperately needed line and length to the arsenal, could not dislodge the poised pair from the crease. Both Van Piercey and F.Osborne unleashed their diverse array of shots, including consecutive streaky boundaries behind square for F.Osborne, and his favoured cross-batted hoik over long off to the short Fairground End boundary for Piercey. Both went on to retire bored on 41* setting a new record for a Green Sox 2nd wicket partnership of beyond 100, seemingly eternal.
Chris Jones and Tom Newman-Taylor approached the crease to demonstrate their ‘trademark blend of flouncy off drives and wispy leg glances’ they learned playing in the Nivea for Men Southern League of Occasional Civil Servants. The pair making refreshingly light work of an allegedly partially sighted see-saw slinger whom Tom Newman-Taylor, in particular, wisely targeted as the bowler to really ‘go after’. Haring after a number of daisy-cutters that were wider than a footballer’s tie-knot and rolling harmlessly to leg slip, TNT thought it best to show our apparent debutant that, at this level, you don’t give anyone an inch. Play it tough, all the way. Grind them into the dirt. And he did, collecting 44 runs.
With Chris Jones navel gazing back on the amphitheatre perimeter having inexplicably holed out in the deep when seemingly set for a score, in skipped Gorgeous George Clarkson, obviously harvesting anxieties that all the cherry yoghurts would be snaffled up thank you very much before the lunch break. Off no more than 6 overs Clarkson effortlessly carved 41 runs, including 22 from one over against a bowler who persevered commendably with the inviting long hop down leg side double bluff.
With four retirees in the hutch, Robert Wilkinson, the brand new FDA rep, who has not even met the committee yet, was eager to prove an anaesthetised arm was no impediment to a batsman of his gift. Recently eulogised in the Greater Normanton Herald as having ‘unequaled balance, sumptuous timing, and the eyes of a shithouse rat’, Bobby Woo set to work dispatching an exaltation of straight drives to the mellifluous sounds of the fairground organ. With A. Ashton holding up the non striker’s end like an O.G. (oldest guy) the Sox done gone clocked up a monstrous innings total of 331 not’ alf gorblimey.
The Sox returned to the field having feasted on a cornucopia of homemade NVP sarnies, eager to bask in the gratification of being out-rabbled for the first time ever by opposition that didn’t even have their own caps. With David Grocott hurtling down the track like a bail-seeking missile; Chris Jones skipping through overs like a gamboling gnu; Ben Fowler putting himself about like a prostitute’s calling card; and Steve Howe targeting toes and ankles like a terrier with an elastic band freshly clasped around his gonads, there was a freshness there, a spirit.
The ball was being returned through the field to the bowler with unusual alacrity; Stewart Agnew was doing his laps like a man frantically shuttling buckets of water to a number of small, concurrent fires; and the chirruping around the batsman reminded of the first dawn of spring.
Emma Duc XI batsmen prodded and pushed and came and went thanks to unyielding bowling from the transformed Green Sox unit. For the second time in a matter of hours, in marched Lawrence de Glossop, technically on a pair for the day, the atmosphere in the ground resembling that of a stuck lift containing only Ben Fowler and HR.
With the aforementioned Fowler relentlessly casting stock balls that glided like a dandelion seed on a light summer breeze, an enthralling battle of wits ensued. Eyeing his chance to clobber a devious floater drifting down the leg side, the Belgian fluffed the first opportunity of his patient innings, inexplicably gloving a regulation chance to Piercey behind the furniture. It was luck so wicked, it might as well have been riding pillion behind a Disney stepmother on a nicked broomstick.
The run chase evaporated soon after with the only formalities eluding the Sox being the ability to catch, the ball appearing as hard to handle as a pre-heated baking tray in an oven-gloveless hand. In spite of this, there was some highly effective work from David Grocott setting a dot ball PB, Ben Fowler knocking over all the oppo’s higher calibre batsmen, Skipper Howe deservedly reaping the reward from his oft-feared Swamp End slower ball, George Clarkson revealing his shape to very good advantage, and Chris Jones diving like a bodyguard trying to intercept the assassin’s bullet with his face.
The figures may suggest that Tom Newman Taylor had a less impressive time with the ball, however from just how many dropped catches he suffered is now lost in legend. Drops that had fielding champion Steve Howe gazing aloofly into the distance, as if considering the influence of neo-impressionist pointillism on the modern game. Not even cool head Andrew Ashton succeeded under the high ball, failing to choreograph his dancing feet and sinking to his knees, his face looking up to heaven and suffocating in tears in what resembled despair but proved to be debilitating pain wrapping around his knee and hip, his unsympathetic brethren in the field grinning like a barrel of gurning chimps.
Amidst all the bonhomie of the 80th and final over of a dry day’s cricket, Skipper Steve Howe added a cherry to the cake by claiming Emma Duc XI’s final wicket, completing an emphatic victory and allowing the players to evacuate briskly for the Crown and Greyhound.
Match report 31/7/2013 – Greeners vs National Archives (Re-match)
After a recent closely fought match against National Archives in the beautiful surroundings of Highgate on a long idyllic summer evening, the mighty Green Sox were faced with a grudge match against a new foe. A heroic performance at Highgate was deemed insufficient last time around and the pessimists amongst us wondered what the Greeners could muster up to squeeze a revenge victory with the mighty Karthik still amongst their ranks.
The contrast of the scenery from last time was clearly evident for everyone to see – a slanting football pitch on a satanic evening in Isleworth. Had this providing the Sox with the paradise they had been searching for all summer?
The Green Sox batted first and found out quickly that it would need a grinding backs to the wall effort to make a sizeable total. The Archives were bowling well on their home pitch and had a stroke of luck when Nick Piercey was wrongly judged HiHito be out caught after a DRS review that revealed no hot spot but a ‘clear sound’ apparently. Piercey was not amused and was seen chuntering to himself about the demise of his average on the boundary. Bason looked as comfortable in the conditions as Mike Tyson in a ballet costume and razor sharp Wilkinson, looking solid, elbow high, succumbed to another ball that stopped in the pitch. The idea of a revenge win was looking laughable at this stage especially after Lawro, turning up half an hour late, got bowled after playing a disgusting KP-esque early innings swipe. Was all hope from the innings gone?
Then in stepped Dave Grocott, the saviour… A primordial brute of a man who looked like the pads and box were unnecessary accessories to his testosterone fuelled halo that was dispersing the satanic skies. After an inconsistent season with the bat, Grocott defied the evils in the pitch with clean hitting all around the park, an innings Beefy himself would have been proud of and ended on 28 not out. Six fours in a row and the Greeners were in ecstasy on the boundary and the morale of the Archives had been shattered in a few blows of the willow. Adding to this, magnificent cameos from Mike and Tommy helped the Sox from 28-4 off 10 to exactly 100 off the 20, a competitive total surely?
Would the Green Sox be able to capitalise on this solid start? Or would they whimper at the thought of Karthik? George Clarkson was having none of that chat. A persisting nagging line and length left him unplayable and he returned with magnificent figures of 3-6 off 3 overs, skittling Karthik’s stumps in the meantime. The opening combination of Jones and Clarkson was a joy to behold. Too big, too strong, too powerful, some might say.
Ben Fowler was not shying away from sticking the dagger in on a dying team and another Archive player surrendered to a carefully thought out plan by Ben Fo. A viscious bodyline short pitch ball from Fowler was dutifully taken by the captain on the boundary. De Glossop then atoned for his early shortcomings by bowling some spitting deliveries of a shorter run-up. The Sox were turning the screw and were unsurpassable in the field with Chris Jones bossing a heroic run out.
Tommy Casling, Jones and Bason then cleaned up the last five golfers to leave the Green Sox gloating at an epic victory of seismic proportions (40 runs). Even the ghost of Agnew bitterly complaining about his fines at after match drinks could not dilute the greatness of this feeling. The Sox knew this was a monumental moment in their short history.
The spin doctor
A Sunday in early July, 2013. Belair Park. 40-overs. The Green Sox lost by some runs.
Key factors that make a good match report include:
- writing the report soon after the match so that the events are fresh in the memory;
- paying full attention to the match whilst it is taking place;
- making a note of the key stats and events from the match;
- having time to make the report entertaining;
- understanding the basic rules of cricket and the main fielding positions; and
- knowing the names of the players on your team and the name of the opposition.
Taking away any of these factors can be problematic. The absence of all of them can call into question the very nature of a match report. At best, the value of the match report is seriously undermined and the report inevitably reads less like a useful and insightful account of an afternoon’s sport and more like the incoherent, stream of consciousness meanderings of someone desperately trying to cobble together some text to fill a match-report-shaped void.
Some people arrived on time, others arrived a bit later. The opposition needed to borrow some kit. One Green Sok was wearing skimpy shorts, a snug blue t-shirt, a short peaked cap and some solid-looking boots. This proved to be a rich source of enjoyment throughout the afternoon. It was very, very warm. Too warm to stand still with hands on hips, let alone half-heartedly chase down a certainly boundary-bound ball.
One of the opposition batsmen used his sizeable frame to great effect, slapping balls all over the park and amassing a wealth of runs in the process. On numerous occasions the ball made its way into the prickly bushes. Those stolen moments of shade were overshadowed by the sharp pain inflicted by the well-protected leaves.
Tea was delightful. Fresh water was fetched. Securely-packaged cheese and finely-sliced meat flowed freely. The bread was wholesome and the hummus divine. Huddled around a small screen beneath the rustling boughs of a tree we watched the final moments of Murray’s Wimbledon triumph.
Other than confirmation of our defeat on the technicality that they scored more runs than we did, there are three things that I can remember from our batting session.
One: the drop. The ball looped high into the unbroken blue sky and as it began its descent to the waiting fielder a cry rang out from a hopeful Green Sok. “He’s dropped it!” Within a heartbeat, the prophecy had been fulfilled. Would the catch have been held without the shout? Probably. The opposition grumbled, lessons were learned.
Two: the gritty fifty. An opening Green Sok bedded in and grafted tirelessly in the heat. Protecting the stumps like a defenceless fawn tethered to a post. Seizing each opportunity to snatch a few more runs. Nothing more could be done and in the ‘full-size goal’ of the long-form game it would have been perfection. A faultless innings.
Three: the 96. The other opening Green Sok raced to an outstanding total of 96 before being dismissed. What a knock. The life lessons for us all are undoubtedly richer from a hard-earned 96 than a century of any kind. The outcome is irrelevant. The aim and the effort is the source of value. And nothing can detract from that.
In summary, we took some wickets, they took some wickets, they scored lots of runs, we scored fewer.
This match was a beacon in time. Green grass. Sunshine. Cooling breeze. Food and drink. Conversation. Physical exertion. Elation. Defeat. Laughter. Life.
GreenSox A vs GreenSox B (With a sprinkling of Nomura Investment Bank)
Pitch next to The Hub, Regents Park
6 August 2013
On a fine sunny evening in Regents Park,
An abnormally large band (seventeen) of GreenSox gathered, keen for a lark;
Amongst their number was a girl, who gamely agreed for both sides to bat, Keen as she was to earn her first GreenSox hat;
GreenSox’ opposition for that evening was a group of Nomura bankers, Who, it turns out, were a load of pernickety and fastidious umpires;
But it seems that Nomura were scared by the thought of paying the pitch fee, And only turned up with a measly showing of three;
So from the abundant GreenSox talent there on show, Two teams needed to be picked, without coming to blow;
In a manner resembling playground footy games of past,
Their backs against the wall, everyone hoped that they wouldn’t be picked last;
With teams established: Howe and Wilkinson both captains proud, The Sox walked out to put on a display for the ever-swelling crowd;
But what ensued was a game that was far from splendid,
With many thinking that the game should probably soon be ended;
GreenSox A (Wilkinson) opened with the bat, Scored 108, and that was that;
LDG, Clarkson, and Hunt managed a few,
But ducks were awarded to Bason, Casling, Salmon and Agnew;
Wilkinson scored well, but felt let down by his batters,
He exclaimed, ‘what are we going to do, our innings is in tatters!?’
He had forgotten however (as seems obligatory) that Piercey was scoring well, And indeed banker Sameer’s hits were beginning to tell;
With the ball, GreenSox B (Howe) had a good spell,
Wickets for TNT, Jones, Grocott, and Milton (who bowled for Cheshire, and if rumours are to be believed, England as well);
So with the score set and unanimously agreed to be surprisingly fit, Greeners B strode out to set about it;
Despite the seventeen GreenSox, our total numbers were low,
So there was some doubling-up of fielders, meaning Philpott’s shins took many a blow;
Pad and TNT scored runs; between them over half a ton,
Jones, Grocott and Ankur scored a few more, Formela adding his usual one;
GreenSox A bowled ferociously to calls of, ‘what great cricket!’, Yet they were rewarded with only two falls of a wicket;
LDG, Casling, Clarkson and Sameer bowled OK,
But it was Big Joe Bason who was the talk of the day;
His spinning, his turning, his well-hidden googly,
‘He’s unplayable!’ they were still crying in the pub as Agnew refuted his fines most frugally;
Yet even Big Base couldn’t stop runs from flowing like the mighty Tyne, As GreenSox B charged irreverently over the winning line;
But there weren’t many cheers as all considered the match, So few runs, or wickets, and only the odd catch;
Despite the sombre mood all looked forward to getting together and raising some cheer,
At the pub round the corner for fines, man of the match, and beer;
Yet what happened next can only be described as a blatant disaster, An inquiry was set up to establish of whom this crime was the master;
Agnew pointed at Howe, who nodded towards Formela, Who suggested that it was definitely some other fella;
The argument will continue, but of the problem this was the nub: We didn’t all end up at the same pub;
But despite this the performance was still discussed and fines still flowed, Agnew still argued about how much he owed;
Bason’s balls were admired, Milton’s credentials ticked, Nomuras’ characters questioned, and Rob’s bag got nicked;
GreenSox A scored 108, Greensox B got more, But it was never really about the score;
The Greeners produced seventeen players when the bankers only brought three, And that means an overall victory for GreenSox, if you ask me.