Another win in the sun for The Exiles
In leafy Stoke D'Abernon, deepest Surrey, under a cloudless sky two Cricket teams gathered to compete in the timeless English summer game of Cricket, but the talk was all of football, and mostly in South African accents. Yes, The World Cup is here again, but this time it starts before breakfast so the Natal contingent were squinting through the beginnings of a midday hangover from four cans of lager for breakfast at 7.30am. The English too were downcast after a poor performance against Sweden. Kevin Hobley had made an 80 mile round trip from Hampshire up to London to watch the football in a pub with his mates which gives us hope that living in Hampshire won't be an end to his Exiles playing days. The start had been pushed back to 2.30 pm to accommodate the football scheduling but there was plenty of daylight remaining, at the end of the day, to coin a phrase.
The Exiles got off to a brisk but shaky start, extras being the major contributor in the early overs. Martin struggled to find his accuracy early on. Captain Damien Lee was obviously having back problems, and his line was wayward too, but he struggled through. The Sean O'Connor and Kevin Hobley took some time to adjust too on a pitch that had some bounce but not a lot of pace. Gradually they grew accustomed to conditions and put on 76 for the first wicket at a healthy rate of 5 an over. Steve Dupreez scored a breezy 16 before he made a mess of a ball from "Tank" and was bowled between his legs. Ros Atkins is more of a strong wind than a breeze and he howled to 18 with a six and a four before Rob Bell was brought into the attack, and with his raw pace induced an edge to first slip who managed to hang on. Tony Brook went the same way a couple of overs later. Captain Sean O'Connor was on the verge of another quality half century when he was adjudged lbw to a delivery from Tank bowling right arm round the wicket. From a promising start the middle order collapsed somehwhat. Roric hung around and hit a couple of boundaries but Vincent Brooks, who knows a thing or two about wind, was blown away by Bell's pace. Wayne and Garth (no, not THAT Wayne and Garth, dood!) a brace of young South Africans from that famous house in Battersea made up the numbers but failed to add a run between themselves either. So from110 for 1 The Exiles plumetted to 158 for 9. Rob Anderson and Paul Shorrock tried to play out the remaining overs without taking too many risks, to the obvious annoyance of Vern who bemoaned sotto voce the lack of strokeplay. A polite exchange of views occured with the veteran number 11 pointing out that he was an opening bowler not a batsman. "Bring it on!" was the response from the South African, who may also have had lager for breakfast. "Tea first!" was the disarmingly English reply. Unfazed the Exiles pair added 23 for the last wicket before Rob was bowled by Cha Cho, which is probably a nickname and probably spelt incorrectly. 181 was not as many as had at first seemed likely nor as bad as it could have been. The Scientists had sportingly kept their star ringer Bell out of the attack until strictly necessary and obviously had some faith in their own batting.
|R Atkins||Ct slip||Bell||18|
|T Brook||Ct slip||Bell||2|
|R Anderson||Bowled||Cha Cho||14|
|Total||38.3 Overs||all out||181|
RCSCC bowling figures:
After another £3 tea (who says inflation is at an all time low) and with the afternoon fading into evening the second innings began. An eventful first over saw Captain Damien Lee out lbw to Shorrock's second ball, and you can't get much plumber than that. Then beforeVern had a chance to put his money where his mouth is Shorrock knocked his off stump back with an outswinger first bowl. Golden, as they say! Rob Anderson had been searching in vain for paracetemol (lager for breakfast again!) and had to search for his line too but gradually regained his form. He trapped Brandon lbw for 8 and finished with very economical figures. Shorrock then had Martin lbw, though the decision took some time coming from Lee who had coincidentally been given out by Martin a few moments earlier. It's a funny old game! Shorrock then moved one back into the left-handed Anthony, through the gate and off the woodwork, so to speak. Ros Atkins then bowled in tandem with Vincent Brooks-as different a pair as The Exiles can muster. Ros barrels in, all muscular effort and no-nonsense, a man of action and few words. Vincent however approaches the crease with caution, he has a theory for everything (not of everthing) and can be a bit wayward at times. He needed time in the middle and with star player Bell farming the strike and shepherding the tail his figures of 1 for 19 off 5 represent a move forward. It could easily have been a few more in the wickets column, the ball falling tantalisingly close to Steve Dupreez on a couple of occasions. Ros bowled Theo through the gate but was probably a little dissapointed to allow Bell to score so many off him. Bell was a class act though, a league player who had represented Natal somebody said. Steve Dupreez, also of that parish did for him though. He top scored with 45. Shorrock switched to off breaks for the last man in Cha Cho, who looked a bit shellshocked under his helmet and was no doubt still worrying about the ball he'd hit through the pavilion window when warming up! It took only one ball for Cha Cho to become Shorrock's fifth victim*, spooning the ball to Wayne at short square leg (*all out for a duck which I'm sure is some sort of a record.). The Exiles win by 99 runs, their narrowest margin of victory so far.
"Bring it on in three weeks time!" was the best bravado Vern could manage over a lager afterwards. I'm not one to make myself a hostage of fate so you'll have to watch this space.
|D Lee||lbw||P Shorrock||0|
|Rob Bell||Bowled||S Dupreez||45|
|Cha-Cho||Ct Wayne||P Shorrock||0|
|Total||24.1 Overs||all out||82|
Next up The Occasionals at home.