On a hot and humid, sunny yet overcast afternoon, the eleven good men and true of the Exiles (although the jury is out on Ed MacGregor) met up on the Elysian fields of old Tiffinians to do battle with the Saracens.
The informal match committee decided on the train that batting was the best option (due to a 12 hour fancy dress ping pong tournament held the day before). However, looking at the initial strip rugby may have been more appropriate. After much deliberation and cajoling from the rest of the team we decided to play on the 1st team pitch as the nice tea lady said we should, "after all you've paid money for this".
So captain Kev met with Graham of the Saracens and proceeded to loose the toss...only to be reprieved by the Saracen's captain deciding to have a bowl.
Anupam and Sujith opened the batting and started off at quite a rate. Despite some good Saracens bowling, swing was in the air, both openers held their own with some great driving, cutting and pulling. Some of the running appeared to be suicidal but they made it count putting the Saracens fielders under pressure. Anupam had hit some glorious cover drives in his 33, but eventually succumbed with the score on 79. Kevin wandered out to join Sujith and nearly suffered from the suicidal running within two balls of having been out in the middle. Luckily he survived. Sujith continued to go at the same rate allowing Kev to get up to speed. Milestones were met and passed, Sujith's 50, drinks, the 100 partnership, Kev's 50 and Sujith being dropped for the 5th time!
Finally both Kev and Sujith began to tire. Sujith was the first to go for 73, a fantastic knock, even the opposition were impressed, although I think their likening Sujith to a cat was not because of his feline grace at the wicket (although it could have been) and more to do with the number of lives he had :o)
Cameron came out to join Kev and hit a quick fire 13 in 7 balls. Ed Macgregor was in next. He had clearly decided that running was not an option from very early in his innings. After several missed attempts at hitting the cover off the ball he finally connected. By this time Kev was struggling to get the ball off the square, although he didn't get much opportunity to try as Ed hogged the strike. Ed's six over extra cover on one leg being a highlight. The telegraph reported that Kev needed 13 for his 100 with two overs left, as Parkin said "he never would have got there" and batting with Ed he had no chance. After scratching around for the first three balls of the penultimate over Kev hit the ball down the ground and was on his way back for an EASY second when Ed sent him back. After a five minute debate, with Kev failing to return to his crease, he was eventually run out for 89. With just one and a bit overs left the Exiles weren't finished with Deano marching out and proceeding to hit his first delivery for a straight six, narrowly missing SOC's sausage lady (you can ask him next time you see him).
Deano made it 7 from two balls leaving Ed to see off the over with a huge six into the creak over midwicket, finishing on 39 not out. A fine total of 284 in the Exiles 40 overs.
Tea was pleasant and the huge chunk of cheese and mini éclairs being a particular highlight. Guy was cornered by SOC's sausage lady and was told off for using the first team pitch...use a sausage next time Guy!
The Saracens came out ready to inflict the same punishment on our opening bowlers that Sujith and Anupam had given theirs. Grant opened, from the pavilion end, and bowled five over straight giving nothing away moving the ball into the right handers. Matt opened from the other, after a very promising first ball he proceeded to bowl three overs of looseners :o) Kyt did a fantastic job behind the stumps, on a wicket with uneven bounce, making Matt look good rather than like Steve Harmison.
Deano came on and replaced Matt, bowling to a 6 - 3 field, control was restored. An excellent spell was nearly rewarded by a chance in the gully but Ed shelled it (obviously to choked up with the guilt of running out his captain!). Deano persisted and was eventually rewarded with the wicket of Adam by a brilliant catch in the covers by Anupam, leaping two handed above his head. At last the breakthrough for the Exiles. Ed "Munsta" Fuller came on replacing Grant. Immediately Munsta's line, loop and length had the Saracen's batsmen in trouble, not knowing whether to play him off the front or back foot. Again a fine job performed by Kyt standing up to the stumps. Munsta claimed 2 for 24 in his 8 overs.
While the Saracens had looked reasonably competent against the Exiles quicks they were struggling against Munsta and were obviously having difficulty when there was less pace on the ball. Cometh the hour cometh the man. Guy stepped up having bowled something like three overs in the season so far and having taken three wickets. The man with the golden arm stepped up and cleaned bowled Pete with his first delivery!!! Amazing stuff, Guy stood on the bowling crease arms raised aloft a la Flintoff :o) If memory serves the batsman span round about three times, he'd tried to hit the ball so hard. Safe to say it hadn't been a good day for the Saracens wicket keeper after several missed chances and being bowled cheaply by Guy. Guy wasn't finished there either and in a controlled spell of 5 overs he gave very little away. He also stepped in and combined in a run out with Kyt...batsmen just can't take on that golden arm at the moment!
Ed MacGregor came on replacing Munsta (the Pavilion end is the end for Ed's). Ed bowled an excellent line and length keeping the pressure on where Munsta had left off. Masterful placement of Cameron at second slip nearly brought instant reward and also saved several runs. Ed had a breakthrough of his own finishing with figures of 4-2-6-1. A top all round performance. Matt had obviously sobered up by now and was ready to return to the fray and he redeemed himself by taking a wicket in his first over back. Grant returned and was rewarded for his earlier consistency in picking up the final two wickets, bowling one batsmen off his bat, thigh pad, pad and boot! The final wicket was a catch for captain Kev at mid off, the Saracens were all out for 116 off 35.3 overs. A fitting end to a day where the Exiles had batted like angels, fielded like demons, and bowled like devils!!"
Next game is at Nuxley, Eltham on Sunday 10th June against Nuxley.