Carshalton Athletic v Exiles, Wallington Sports Ground, May 16 2004
"Phat" Matt's Phat Bat!
This was to be the Exiles first ever fixture against Carshalton Athletic CC, and it also marked Doug McIntyre's debut as Captain. The Wallington Sports & Social Club Ground was the setting for a remarkable match, played in glorious sunshine. The ground was dry & hard, with a fast outfield and one short cover boundary so it looked like runs would be plentiful. The opposition captain won the toss, and chose to bowl which suited the Exiles as four players were still en route via public transport & would have been forced to bat anyway! However the game started late around 2.30 anyway, since the Carshalton Captain generously waited until our latecomers arrived. CACC (an unfortunate acronym, it has to be said) must have thought they would be finishing early, as the Exiles top order struggled against the accurate opening bowlers. Steve O'Connor hit a boundary off the first ball, then poked & prodded without success until he lost his off stump with minimal footwork in the 3rd over. Doug Macintyre was looking very rusty since he had missed all the nets & the 10 minutes of throwdowns before the match was the first batting he'd done since last season. He also managed one boundary and survived a few close calls before falling LBW to the same opening bowler that got Steve O'Connor. Roric Coleman was up the order on merit from his previous week's batting effort, but he too succumbed to the one boundary and out fashion, holing out to deep mid-on with another big hit. Steve Du Preez was looking green around the gills from the previous night's entertainment having spent most of the night driving the big white porcelain bus and he appeared to have no appetite for runs either as he too hit a boundary before being bowled. The Exiles now looked to be on the rack at 43-4 after 11 overs, with Kyle Holling and "Phat" Matt McDermott at the crease trying to recover the innings. It soon emerged that after the opening bowlers, CACC had fairly ordinary support bowlers, and that is when the afternoon took on a fairly surreal atmosphere. From this precarious scoreline, Kyle and Matt put on an astounding 225-run partnership for the 5th wicket (surely an Exiles record?), dominated by "Phat" Matt's king size hitting. He had been honing his new blade all week for just this purpose, and opposition and team-mates alike were treated to a display of clinical timing and pure power-hitting, as he sent balls towering into the surrounding tennis courts, hedges & bowling green (I can only assume that the pensioners on the bowling green had wartime experience & knew how to deal with the incoming bombardment from the cricket field, since there were no fatalities or heart-attacks). In all, Matt hit 13 fours and 12 sixes, losing around 5 balls and demoralising the CACC bowling attack completely. His display was not flawless, difficult chances were dropped on 49 & 97, both shots subsequently going over the boundary to bring up his 50 & 100 respectively. However the Exiles innings belonged to Matt as he eventually retired on 152, with the score on 268 & with around 7 overs left.
It would be criminal not to emphasise the vital support given by Kyle Holling who finished on 79 not out. He came in during the 3rd over, and was still unbeaten at the end , he did most of his scoring along the ground, kept rotating the strike and did not look like losing his wicket throughout the innings. With Mattís retirement, there was enough time for a cameo appearance from Dax with a quickfire 12 runs (the only batsman apart from Kyle & Matt to reach double figures!) before Kyle pushed the score over 300 in the last over to set CACC a near impossible target of 302 to win. CACC provided a superb tea, which was greatly appreciated by under-nourished Exiles, Matt certainly had earned his sarnies and cakes! The Exiles line-up had a fairly unbalanced look, with many of the batsmen required to bowl as well so the Exiles opened the bowling with Doug Macintyre & "Phat" Matt, who was still able to coming steaming in (down the slope, mind you) despite his long batting stint. Doug again looked rusty from lack of net practice, and there were several wides & boundaries in the first over. However in his second over, an under hit lofted cover drive was athletically plucked one-handed from the air by Kyle Holling, prompting calls of "nice one Jonty!" from his South African team-mates. 2 balls later he had further success as he bowled the new batsman, finding plenty of swing in the balmy conditions. Matt took a wicket from the other end, before Doug bowled the opposition captain as he stepped away to leg for another wild swing. CACC showed plenty of spirit as they gave it their best shot, proving themselves worthy opponents , one of their batsmen reached 50 as wickets fell regularly. Doug did his best to share the bowling duties around while Steve Du Preez bowled steadily down the slope and the reward was one wicket each to Guy, Kyle and Eddie , whose two balls bowled consisted of one dropped catch and bowled middle stump! Nice average Eddie! Vinnie also bowled well late on, and our guest player of the day Gary provided some entertainment , his first 3 balls went for consecutive sixes, prompting him to switch from Murali-style "doosras" to more respectable medium-pace. Although the game could have been killed off a lot earlier, nearly everyone was able to participate from the bowling crease, and the late finish failed to dim the Exiles' delight at an emphatic victory. Although the scorebook favours the contributions from Matt & Kyle, all the Exiles players did their part and showed great enthusiasm right to the end.
(Unbiased Match report by Doug Macintyre)
Next week Nuxley at Eltham.
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