Surprisingly, the trusty slipper gift isn’t the most popular Father’s Day present – it’s actually a tie. For those fathers that played for Scotties on Father’s Day, there was no sign of a tie only a comprehensive win!
Iggle Piggle, Makka Pakka, Upsy Daisy, the Tombliboos, the Pontipines and co are all characters of a BBC Children’s programme called “In The Night Garden”, which features a large cast of colourful characters with unusual names who live in a magical forest scattered with large daisies and brightly coloured pompom flowers. The characters mostly speak short, repetitive phrases and each has their own special song and dance. The garden is a sunny, colourful environment and the music is jaunty and music box-like. Children aged one to six, in and around South West London, were thrilled to learn that In The Night Garden Live would be putting on four shows a day for two weeks from Saturday the 20th June until Saturday the 4th July. Great news for the kids, but crushing for some of the Scottie’s players and their opposition, Lancaster Wanderers XI. Not because Michael Stepney and Rupert Wells-Thorpe were unable to purchase premium tickets to any of the Ninky Nonk or Pinky Ponk Shows on Saturday 20th June, but because Richmond Council simply cancelled the fixture due to be played at Old Deer Park on Sunday. They tried their hardest to stop play, but failed where penguins have prospered in the past.
Our wonderful wily President, Lisa Thompson, was wise to their ways and conspired with the Lancaster Wanderers’ Skipper. TW9 it should have been, but NW11 it was. No longer Old Deer Park, but Hampstead Heath Extension instead, as none of the irritating little bastards from In The Night Garden venture that far north.
With XI on Friday, that suddenly changed to nine on Saturday as the move north proved more a hindrance for some and a hindrance for some of their expectant partners. There was a mini-rush, a mail, a tweet and even some asking on Facebook but no one stepped up. Sunday morning arrived and Brett’s daughter, Xanthe was drafted in, as was the father of a friend of Seran’s. We had XI. Well 10.5 as Seran’s friend’s father had to leave at 5:00pm.
It was not Lancaster Wanderer’s first rodeo on Hampstead Heath Extension and they not only pitched up with a gazebo, but tea already made in a cooler box and a dozen litre bottles of water. One could be forgiven for thinking we were playing the Boy Scouts.
The skipper, bored with all the hullabaloo around the double-headed coin, bamboozled the opposition Skipper with talk about the length of the grass on the wicket, comparisons of grass-type found on Hampstead Heath Extension and that found on the greens of Chambers Bay (home to this year’s US Open), current levels of the water table in North London in June, direction of the wind and other such banalities, called heads before the West Country skipper knew what had just happened and immediately put the Captain Scott Invitation XI in to bat.
No thinking outside the box was required today and the batting line-up went back to a more normal looking line-up. Kaps and Aziz were to open, with Stepney in at three, Vidishka (Grant v/d Horst) at four and the Skipper at five. The renaming six were pencilled into the scorebook, but would not be required to strap on protective clothing and brandish some lovingly worked English Willow.
Kaps and Aziz proceeded to see off the new ball and put together a partnership of 63 in the first 15 overs. Kaps on 24 received an innocuous ball which he gently hit back to the bowler who had him caught and bowled. With the fall of the wicket umpires were swapped and Brett and his daughter, Xanthe (possibly Captain Scott’s youngest umpire and definitely Captain Scott’s youngest female umpire) took to the field, for the best seats in the house, as Mike “No-quick-singles-my-hamstring-is-dodgy” Stepney strode (or should that be limped) to the crease. Mike and Aziz proceeded to increase the run-rate and the 87 run partnership came to an end 49 balls later when an exceptional catch was taken at cover. Aziz having reached his half-century was now out for 56.
Mike’s first instructions to fellow South African, Vidishka was “No-quick-singles-my-hamstring-is-dodgy”. With that out the way the boys took the score from a good 150 for 2 to a very respectable 268 for 3 in 11.2 overs.
An opposition bowler, one Will Burns, bowling with a bit of pace got a ball to bounce, a little more than normal, off a length which the batsman missed. The keeper looked to take the ball without any difficulty, misjudged the line of the ball and it hit the top of his gloves and straight up into his right eye cutting the eyelid and producing a torrent of claret. The Lancaster Wanderers’ keeper was off to A&E, Aziz having lost his wicket and still containing an untapped supply of energy offered to substitute and slipped on his keeping apparel. Completely forgetting that he was playing for the opposition he proceeded to almost run-out both Mike and Grant during his time behind the stumps. On one occasion after Vidishka played and missed a ball while walking down pitch, Aziz rolled it back towards the stumps instinctively, suddenly realising that he probably shouldn’t have. This caused him to giggle like a school girl and forced Grant to dive back to make his ground. Needless to say the ball missed the stumps but much mirth was had by all in the middle. Shortly after this amusing incident (the almost run out, not the keeper’s injury) Stepils took one of the bowlers for a maximum to reach his century (from 51 balls), crashing 12 fours and seven sixes in the process. We won’t mention that he was dropped twice on the way to his milestone, but Mike was dropped twice, both chances were difficult, but I think Rupert “Hound” Wells-Thorpe (who we found out will be a dad by December) would have held at least one!
With six balls to go, Vidishka was on 46. The first ball of the final over was a dot, the second Grant took two and at this point in time, Brett informed Grant that he was on 48 with four balls to come. This was also overheard by the bowler who gee’d by this news bowled a peach of a delivery, but Grant didn’t play straight and was bowled. Had Brett done the correct thing in informing Grant of his score? Team mates are still divided. The Skipper strolled to the middle knowing there were only three balls left in this innings. Facing his first ball, it was despatched, via a lovely straight off drive, back past the bowler. Four. A single was pinched off the penultimate ball and unfortunately it was not a hero’s ending with Mike smashing a six from the final ball. It was a rather disappointing dot, but Stepils had a red ink entry in the book, 110 not out. The team had posted 273 for 3 in 35 overs. 7.8 runs per over and the Lancaster Wanderers had a tough task ahead but first, tea beckoned. 210 runs were scored in the final 20 overs.
It has to be noted that our scorer, in a particularly brazen mood, kept tipping the portable scoreboard over and removing the legs when no one was paying attention and then with tears of laughter running down her cheeks, blamed the wind… mind you the book balanced yet again, so all could be forgiven and I think to some extent the wind was to blame.
After a sumptuous tea (who knew a tea that good could come out of a cooler box) it was time for a repost from Lancaster Wanderers and for the Captain Scott Invitation XI to field.
Ed and John, the Holcombe brothers, made the opening pair. Ed looked to drop anchor and lay the foundation while his brother, should we say, more bowler than batsman, came out to get the run rate off to a healthy start.
Moving along at a brisk pace of 5.2 runs per over, it took six overs before Ant struck. Ant has been bowling miserly for the last few games, unfortunately not reaping the benefits he so deserved and going wicketless to this point. John, one hoick too many had his off stump knocked back by Ant and two balls later the number three having misjudge the line and been struck plumb in front, was also back in the change room, well more accurately under the gazebo, with a great big blob next to his name. Suddenly they were 26 for 2. Number four was in, but it was not to last, he got seven before Ant rearranged the furniture again and he had three all three of the wickets to fall. Our opposition were 44 for 3.
At this point the boys realised that 274 was probably out of their reach and decided to see if the team could reach 150 before they were all out.
The Scotties were not fielding particularly well, which lulled Ed and his partner, Gary, into a false sense of security. Gary cut a ball to point and called for the run, but KP fresh from a cup of cordial during the drinks break, tore in, picked up the ball first time and fired it directly back to Grant now behind the stumps, he whipped the bails off and Ed was found wanting on 55 and on his way back to the shed after having reached his his half-century a little earlier, the same way Mike reached his century, with a maximum and the umpire reaching for the sky.
At 118 for 4 in the 24th over, the Lancaster Wanderers were only playing for pride as the win was now firmly in the grasp of the Scotties team.
Having lost Seran’s friend’s dad at tea-time and Lancaster’s keeper at A&E a couple of cricketing youngsters playing in the nets next to the pitch were roped into the game one playing for us and the other for, you’ve guessed it, the opposition. With young Ollie bowling for us, in strode his mate. Who would have bragging rights? While Master Winston managed to make 13, smashing a ma-hoo-sive six off Brett, the final rights went to Ollie when Winston went for one hit too many and pulled it down the throat of KP, who already had a run-out to his name. 138 for 5.
Sean decided to bring Hound on for a spell, and with a two step run up and an action that would not be remiss on the front lines of WW2, tossing grenades into the trenches of the Germans and muttering “Geronimo” under his breath, proceeded to rip the heart out of the tail and take 3 wickets for 14 runs. 158 for 6, 180 for 7 and 180 for 8.
Aziz, bowling from the other end and bowling the final over of the day got Gary Coulter, who had been in when the third wicket fell in the 10th over, to cut a ball directly to covers where Stepils dived smartly to his left and took a blinding catch. Mike owed Aziz that wicket as he’d been making Aziz do all his fielding as for most of the game anything half a foot either side of Mr Stepney was left for the energetic Aziz. Gary was out for 45 and the third wicket to fall on 180 and nine in total. A wide, four byes and a single and the game was over. Lancaster Wanderers were 186 for 9 and the Captain Scott Invitation XI had a win. There was not a tie (or a pair of slippers) in sight.
The scorecard, for those interested in the finer details, can be found here