Henceforth Exiles and former Exiles who were not on the field this day will hold their manhood cheap when the tales are told of this famous encounter. On the hottest recorded day in London's long history two teams of equal adversaries fought each other to a standstill. It was thought nothing could top last year's thriller but this did it. A see-sawing switchback game of advantage and comeback, everyone played a part, nobody lost their humour. There was great skill and some unlikely bowling coups, some splendid catches and some not so good catching, hitting and missing in equal measure. It would be impossible to relate every incident. Almost every ball created something worthy of mention. Steve Little bowled some of the widest balls ever witnessed but he somehow got an lbw decision too, Stuart Lindsay was carted for 22 in one over by Graeme "Juice" van Rooyen before bowling his tormentor. Kevin H and Martin rebuilt the ruins of the Exile Y's innings after the makeshift openers failed to adjust to the altitude with a stand worth eighty-odd, the bones upon which Graeme piled on the meat with some howitzer sixes and fours. Exiles X were frazzled in the heat and Kevin Hobley looked like a century was his for the taking, he batted Steve Du Preez out of the attack with some rasping pull-shots but he tensed up when told how close he was to the landmark and gave Rob his only wicket. The tail fell away in traditional Exiles style, failing to use up the overs. Terron is becoming a Run-Out specialist. Roric sportingly kept his own batting until last and cold only manage a nought not-out. Exiles Y feeling comfortable (if a little hot) at tea on 227 all out.
|P Shorrock||Ct Phatt||G Hatton||0|
|E Fuller||Ct sub||S Lindsay||9|
|K Hobley||Bowled||R Anderson||86|
|G van Rooyen||Bowled||S Lindsay||53|
|SD O'Connor||Bowled||S Lindsay||4|
|Total||38 Overs||all out||227|
Exiles X bowling figures:
|S Du Preez||3||0||29||0|
Returning veteran Dominic Wood, one of the founder members from '87 slotted back into the old routine smoothly enough, in fact he looked more fluent than he used to. Sean though fell early on, bowled by Graeme for four, no doubt his mental stamina was taxed by dividing the squad into teams so evenly yet again. Captain Rob Anderson chose to back his own batting at three but a combination of good bowling and ribald sledging kept him tied up a bit. Eventually he got off the mark to ironic cheers and made twelve before Kyle revelatory slow left arm bamboozled him and he was bowled behind his legs. Dom Wood hooked at a short one from Graeme and played it straight to Guy at square leg, on as a sub, who returned the favour by Terron who took a catch off his bowling in the first innings. Kevin Hobley showed what a keen eye he has for a batsman's weakness and bowled three very economical overs and picked up Vinny Brooks' wicket with a neat caught and bowled. By now Exiles X were getting a bit behind the rate and 227 seemed a long way off. Doug Macintyre falling for a duck to Martin Saunders signalled the time for very ocassional bowler Steve Little to try his luck at the fair. Coconut shy owners can rest easy when Steve picks up the ball, the neighbouring stallholders better take cover though as Steve sprayed it around through an arc of 45º. Somehow in the mayhem of a twelve ball over he managed to extract an affirmative response to an lbw appeal, Guy being the unlucky coconut in question. Steve's ragged three overs somewhat let the cat out of the bag and "Phatt Matt" and Steve Du Preez were not about to put it back in again. Stephen O'Connor's bad leg was tested out with a couple of expensive overs and Roric had a shy but looked a better wicketkeeper with every delivery. Now it was Exiles X's turn to make merry with the bat, driving to match that of Graeme's earlier in the day made big strides towards the total. With the asking rate coming down by the ball Roric sensibly called back his more experienced bowlers. Few are as experienced as Paul Shorrock and Eddie Fuller showed he had the temprament for "the death" too. Phatt Matt powered his way past fifty in very short time, ably supported by Steve D but holed out to a very crucial catch at wide long on, right on the boundary by Kevin Hobley. Surely the definitive turning point in a game with many. A rush of blood induced a rash pull shot in Steve Du Preez when he was on the brink of a fine fifty and he was bowled by Paul. It was then down to Kevin E and Stuart Lindsay to garner the few runs needed. Kevin's uncomplicated style was serving him well and unusually for Exiles the running between the wickets was more or less sound, one direct run out appeal by Rob, on as sub, would have made an unworthy end to this contest. With a few nudges to leg from attempted yorkers the scores were drawn level amid scenes of mounting tension, there wasn't a dry anything in the house. With a last roll of the dice Paul pitched in his slower ball, again Stuart swang to leg but too early and the ball thudded low into his back pad, well back and in front. The appeal was worthy of ten Dominic Corks, Dominic Wood reluctantly had to agree and with dramatic pause raised his finger to signal the wicket that meant a tied match, the identical result to last year. Amazing, for the second year in a row no Exile went home a loser! Much back-slapping and much cold beer was consumed quickly as the light faded and The Exiles, X and Y intermingled now, raked over the coals of "The Hottest Game Ever".
Exiles X Innings:
|D Wood||Ct sub||G van Rooyen||27|
|S O'Connor||Bowled||G van Rooyen||4|
|R Anderson||Bowled||K Holling||12|
|V Brooks||Ct & Bowled||K Hobley||7|
|Doug||Ct S Little||M Saunders||0|
|G Hatton||lbw||S Little||2|
|Phatt Matt||Ct K Hobley||E Fuller||60|
|S du Preez||Bowled||P Shorrock||46|
|S Lindsay||lbw||P Shorrock||7|
|Total||38.5 Overs||all out||227|
Exiles Y bowling figures:
|G van Rooyen||4||0||9||2|
As a footnote (no pun intended) our thoughts go out to Tony Brook who was forced to pull out due to an infected ankle injury sustained in the nets a month earlier. A mosquito bite on holiday in Venice is thought to have "added insect to injury" (ba-da-boom!) in causing the flare-up. He was in hospital today as I write to have it operated on. We also wonder what happened to Nick Harrison who failed to show and can be therefore said to be the straw that balanced this match so perfectly. No doubt he's holding his manhood cheaply wherever he is.
Next week away to Streatham and Marlborough.