What fabulous gifts Mother Cricket has served us up this summer. From game to glorious game of the World Cup, to an unexpectedly sun-soaked ashes finale at The Oval. Saturday was spent there with Hareen ’The Mexican’ Potu, who amongst his countless other failings, proved that he is literally incapable of getting a drinks order correct. Even better (well, almost) was the prospect of Putney CC the next day, old friends and traditional late-season opposition. A chance for me to put my feet up and have a few more beers, indeed. Yet, Mother Cricket had other intentions. Aiden Naude had to pull out (paralysed with joy about his Superbru score). Would I like to Bat in Ant’s stead? Well, of course I would happily sling the willow one last time to end the summer, and field a few overs in the mix? Rarely do these things work out so fortuitously. Naturally, by the time I had arrived at Putney, I was playing a full game. Not for The Scotties mind, but for Putney. So what started as a few beers by the boundary became a few beers and a bat, then became a full game, for the opposition. One simply has to accept that sometimes, cricket has other plans for you. It’s best not to spend too long trying to resist.
The fact that I played for the other team perhaps foreshortens this week’s report, as well as the writing time that will be going into an end-of-season review (otherwise known as “The Chronicles Of Justin : The Bat, The Wicket and The (lack of) Wardrobe” for his many adoring fans. I’m sure he’s gunning to write these reports first, and will be manfully learning such new tasks as, well, writing, in order to ensure his inclusion next season. This is not a democracy. Oh yes, where was I? Putney CC. I can’t access the scorecard for some reason so won’t bore you with the stats, but Putney scored roughly 210. I chipped in with ahem, a personal best of the season with 16 runs, only for Kyle to bamboozle me with a rank half tracker. I top edged to Sean Ryder, dressed fresh from Magaluf in the 1990s, and ironically calling himself Jake ‘Smart’. Ant Thickett, fresh from CCF training with all sorts of twigs sticking out of various places, chipped in, and Kyle struck a bit of fear into the opposition, many of them grumbling to themselves as they walked off that he was ‘a bit handy’.
Then it was Scotties turn. Westy and new addition Ed Kilpatrick took the shine off the new ball, and Westy continued his run of form with some beautiful shots. Boycott, fresh from his marble-floored halls, would have purred. First drop saw the arrival of Danny Watson to the crease. All I can say, Gentlemen of Putney, is I said so. It was actually rather fun to be in the field and get a close look as he unfurled shot after shot and made the bowlers toil. Westy departed and in came…Kyle Pack. Bestowed the position of 4 for his birthday, he was promptly dismissed for a duck after an almighty heave. What a squandering of such a kind present from the team. Putney’s nightmares continued though, when it turned out there is not one, but two Watson brothers. Like sort of bogeymen for misbehaving bowlers, they set about dismantling everything thrown at them, until Watson D(anny) fell to leave Watson, D(avid) to finish the job. Alas, it was not to be despite his manful effort, and Captain Scott XI fell short of the runs needed for victory.
Never mind though. In the end, we have a special club, and as one player was heard commenting “sometimes it doesn’t really matter if we lose, it’s just loads of fun”. This was one of these days (I know, I know, I played on the winning side – but agree with the sentiment). We played in glorious sunshine, against a great bunch and ate a delicious tea. We drank a few cold ones and for bizarre reasons, downed shots of “Thunder Bitch”. I am reliably informed Kyle was a complete mess after Sean Ryder/Jake ‘Smart’ took him out to the local Weatherspoons (classy) for his birthday. It seems like mere weeks ago that we stood in the late spring on Englefield Green, with a whole season’s delights stretching before us. As stood on Putney’s turf looking back in the other direction, we could all agree that cricket had been the winner, and a fine season it had been. New additions to the club, some great wins, some delicious teas, and firm friends. We merry band of brothers, we lucky few, and all that. Whereas Shakespeare’s lot were about to endure a winter of discontent, we had enjoyed a summer of quite the opposite. Good luck in South America to those going on tour, we are green with jealousy and expect regular dispatches!!