Just like a very good red wine in the Skipper’s collection, it was never going to last. Captain Scott conceded to their first defeat in 2015 (what goes on tour stays on tour – so those results are not factored in).
On a day that started wet and cold, I personally received a magnitude of calls from the day’s XI asking if the game was still on, you’d be forgiven for thinking that their hearts were not entirely on the game. Assurances were given that the second I heard anything I would let them know, but as far as I knew the game was still very much on.
In typical Scottie’s style, 10 minutes before the match was due to start there were only four of the match day XI present and accounted for, but that was remedied very quickly with the match getting under way at 2:15pm.
The Skipper called “tails”, failed and Sandhurst decided that we should bat first. This was a decision that Sean liked and should he have won, would have taken the same decision.
Mike Stepney, making his 2015 season début, and Aziz Kahn were tasked with the responsibility of opening the innings and laying a foundation for the rest of the team to build on. Sandhurst unfortunately disagreed and 10 balls later both Stepils and the Skipper where back in the hutch with three and a duck respectively. The first ball of the third over saw Aziz do the same thing as the previous two and give some catching practice to an energised Sandhurst team. 13 balls in and we were reeling at 5 for 3.
Dan Watson was down in the scorebook at number three but due to some delays on the M25 car park both the Skipper and Paul “PAD” Daniels were promoted up the order and Dan suddenly found himself in the middle after hastily changing and padding up. The difference between batting at number three or number five on the final day in May was a paltry five balls.
With Paul and Dan in the middle and the score beginning to increase there was a collective sigh from the side-lines as it seemed that a partnership was going to develop and there would be a period of growth. Alas it was not to be, Mr Watson hit a shot that by all accounts should have sailed past mid-off but the fielder (of an older generation) galloped to his right, stuck a single mitt out and held the catch. 13 for 4 and the top order had had it heart ripped out.
In strode Alastair “Billy” Smail which pleased PAD to no end as he got to yell “Gaffer” continuously as Paul is or was temporarily reporting to Alastair in a professional capacity.
The rebuilding process began and I was reliably informed that at one stage (when Alastair hit a second four in the fourteenth over to bring up the team 50) both he and PAD could be heard whistling “I fought the law” (originally made famous by the Bobby Fuller Four in 1965 and not as many think by the Clash in ’78 – but to be fair it was probably the Clash version they were whistling as this was in the charts when they both had shoulder length hair and were footloose and fancy-free)
Alastair having brought up the 50 crashed a third boundary off the over and deciding a fourth one was for the taking attempted to hit one too many and with his stumps rearranged had to trudge off with the score on 57 for 5 and 23 to his name.
PAD realising he was running out of batting partners tried to field the strike asking his partner to play straight and play a supporting role. Mr Sandhu attempted this, but unfortunately was back in the shed two overs later with the score now 65 for 6.
The seventh wicket partnership put on 35 runs and saw the team reach 100 runs, but Brett playing across the line to a straight one put an end to any rear-guard support and the final three wickets fell for an additional eight runs.
Mr Daniels was the ninth wicket to fall (trying to escalate the team total knowing the end was nigh) for a very respectable 61.
All the batsmen were out and 13.5 overs were unused… This is what cost us in the long run. Had the tail been able to stick around with PAD for another 10 or so overs we’d probably be looking at 140 or 150.
Once again the scorebook balanced as tea was taken and ten players (PAD could be excused) were ruing their performance so far. No one was particularly interested in their batting figure and Laurie, our scorer, cast a lone figure while totalling the book.
With copious amounts of hot tea consumed and sandwiches devoured, the Captain Scott Invitation XI took to the field to try prevent Sandhurst reaching the required 109 within their allotted 40 overs.
Both Ant Thickett and Aziz Kahn bowled manfully upfront, but Sandhurst were never under much pressure and the first wicket only fell in the thirteenth over after the first bowling changes were made by the Skipper.
45 for 1 and Alastair had the first of his wickets to his name. At this point, with Alastair and Brett bowling in tandem, there was a minor wobble and Scottie’s thought they were back in the game as the second and third wickets fell on 46 and the fourth fell on 52, Sandhurst were suddenly 4 down in the 18th over and wobbling. Alastair and Brett had each bagged a brace.
Stepils, keeping wicket, was slightly confused as Scotties are not known to turn the ball, but Mr Smail was doing a masterful job and one of his balls bit, nipped and took the glove of Sandhurst’s number four. Stepils caught the ball cleanly and also whipped off the bails and appealed loudly, as did 10 other players. “Not Out” was the response from the umpire – he’d heard nothing. The very young and inexperienced square-leg umpire (who was doing square-leg to square-leg due to his experience, or lack thereof) was asked to adjudge the stumping but had not even been looking and therefore could not give the batsman out as he had by this time put his foot back behind the crease.
A definite knick and clear stumping both turned down. This was a defining point of the game as the batsmen went on to make an unbeaten 44 and see Sandhurst home with only an additional wicket falling to Alastair with the score on 93.
Sandhurst reached 110 for 5 in 31.4 overs and the game was theirs. They are a great bunch of lads (who even put money behind the bar to pay for our drinks) and both teams are looking forward to next season’s fixture as we’re all very aware that they had the rub of the green on the day and that it could have been a different result had we not supplied catching practice at the beginning of the game.
For those of you that are interested, the scorecard can be found here