Warwick 1st XI (H) 103-7 (34.2) def. Coventry 1st XI (A) 102-10 (45.2) by 3 wickets
“The largest ever audience to witness an inaugurat… sorry BUCS cricket match, period.” – Mihir ‘Sean Spicer’ Chandraker.
The travelling Coventry side arrived to a fierce home crowd with an atmosphere not dissimilar to an Anfield European night. As Cov pulled up to the ground, the “HUUUGE” crowd looked on. Whilst the Kop has witnessed many a historic night, few Merseyside evenings have shared drama such as the events that were to unfold on Roadside this day.
When one considers the essential components of generating a similarly rapturous atmosphere you could see our success. Drunk crowd members- Roche being 4 cans down after as many overs. Aggression towards oppo- Thor hurling woeful abuse from the sidelines. Red Flares- The welsh dragon standing proudly, nostrils flared as he sensed a potential confrontation, courtesy of the Cov player dubbed “The Angry One”.
Returning from the post-truth reality we find ourselves and considering the turnout, the calls for a capacity crowd had fallen on deaf ears. A combination of overcast conditions and exam season had left some underwhelmed, but those loyal supporters were to bear witness a tense game that ebbed and flowed with alarming rate. The day began as any cricket match should, with an exceedingly competitive 5 aside football match. Shorts vs trousers split the sides into what appeared an unbalanced match, effectively being remodelled into the physically fit vs the well-built and injured (WB&I). Nevertheless, the mercurial talents of Ballington (1st XI debutant) combining with the long-ball prowess of Randall and Chandraker secured a giant-slaying for WB&I. Ballington clinched a hat-trick and humbly declined Dan Lewis’ offer of a baggy, sadly this would be his only meaningful contribution to the day.
Having won the toss and decided to bowl, the 1s proceeded to open up with Pru and Fussey. The pair bowled in tandem, generating pressure as dot after dot racked up, 13 dots in a row and the number 2 played all round an in swinger from Pru. The crowd went wild. Well, Bozza clapped and Turner asked the name of number 3 for the book, so pretty wild for a day at Cryfield. It took only 3 deliveries from Pru before he released the inswinger to the Coventry number 3 and struck him on the thigh pad 3 foot outside his crease and on the same line as a Rushil Gholkar guard. Safe to say it was ‘plum’ and the umpire obliged as the batsman was dismissed for 0. As he returned to the shed, Cov’s number 2 decided to recreate his indoor varsity antics as he went about continuing his destruction of Warwick Sport facilities. Having punched a hole in a wall back then one may have expected a tad more self-control. But alas, he volleyed an Ikea crate, shattering it to pieces much like Pru had done their top 3.
Fussey continued to bowl with metronomic consistency as he released maiden after maiden of played and missed. A field including 4 slips and a gully surely provided plenty of scoring opportunities but nevertheless Fussey was to finish with figures of 10-4-11-1. Ridiculous. This pressure created a need for runs and after chopping one through backward point the Coventry pair tried turning it into 2 having seen the weedy Ollie Warwick chasing down the ball. Wrong decision. A throw of unerring accuracy flew like a missile through the sky as the batsman looked on with disbelief half way down. He had thrown down the stumps from ¾ of the boundary within a split second. Dismissing the remaining opener and setting the 1s on their way to restricting Coventry to a small total.
The track was devoid of any sort of carry and as such left the cordon within 5 yards of the stumps to both seamers. The cordon were left fearing the moment the glorified slow bowler Joe Randall entered the fray. I shall skim over most of their batting innings for the sake of brevity, wickets at regular intervals from Chase, Fussey, Randall and Warwick kept all individuals in single figures bar one. The only thorn in our side being the number 4 who by the end of his innings had accumulated 45 runs.
Pru returned to the attack to help finish the innings and to that effect he did, Ball 4 of his first over back he trapped their number 8 LBW, Ball 5 bowled the number 10 and left Pru with one wicket remaining and an opportunity to seal both a baggy and hattrick with the final ball of the over. Sprinting in Pru released a vicious delivery beating the number 11s bat and wrapping him on the pads. Sadly, this time Pru was not to receive the favour of the umpire and was left with a 4 fer when Warwick cleaned up the tail snaring another victim caught behind. Millman held on much to the disbelief of his team mates after both a dropped catch and a missed stumping earlier in the innings.
- Louie and Krish- the most unbearable slip/keeper partnership in the history of cricket. Repeatedly trying to coach the opposition batsmen.
- Ollie who turns up to nets with a ball perfectly designed to swing round corners (Cameron Bancroft style), deciding to bowl cross seam all day because it was moving a bit.
- Ling who has developed a reputation of shelling sitters in the slips actually being a gun fielder outside of the cordon.
- Both Krish and Ballo separately telling Jeremy Roche to “F*** off”.
- Millman chatting a batsman for an inability to move his feet and at the end of the over going arse over tit, kicking the helmet he was looking to collect a further couple of metres.
- Blossoming couple Rhys and Grace basically using a lap around the pitch in a similar fashion to how Love Island contestants use the hideaway.
Chasing 102 in a 50 over innings would in typical club cricket would be about as Gary as a Thor duck. Contrary to this, in BUCS there is no magic number below which is impossible to defend. 57 on a road, with 2 bowlers and 6 fielders? Right in the game if you get a few early. To this effect Supreme Leader Chandraker rallied his troops requesting that each batsman lay his life on the line, battling hard for every run and in no uncertain circumstance should one throw away their wicket.
Buoyed by the rousing half time team talk Ling and Krish marched out to the middle to do battle. Moments later Ling was dismissed stone dead in front of all 3 for 0. Leaving the field having contributed literally nothing to the match, Ling received a glare from the incoming Mihir that said “your only option is Seppuku”. Krish began fluently racing off the mark and as he attempted to continue applying pressure he spooned one to mid-on. This saw Millman head to the wicket to return several balls later having managed to play “the worst shot I have ever seen” (Mihir Chandraker, 2018). Louie managed to be so late on a pull shot off the slowest bowler in Cov’s side that he had clothed it to short cover. The shot was about as disgusting as I imagine a drunk conversation involving both Tasty and Jarris could be, yes it truly was that awful.
Dan Lewis also fell quickly as Coventry ramped up the pressure bringing on the quickest bowler in their armoury. This new weapon had been the demise of several clubmen the previous year when #youfours had conquered Cov’s 2nd XI. Those who knew Gemes will recall the tantrums, chair kicking and just general grumpiness post dismissal, well upon being cleaned up by the Coventry man in the 4s fixture he managed to behave like a reasonable human being. Remaining relaxed, he attributed the new-found Zen-like attitude to the understanding that the bowler “was far too good for me, I genuinely couldn’t see the ball”.
Whilst jokes had been made the previous year at the 30-yard run up it appeared that this had been his short run. As he steamed in, producing some well-directed heat, the wickets were sure to follow. The speed was actually not the most challenging part of facing up to the bowler, he was managing to do so bowling of the wrong foot and with both arms rotating at the same time, effectively looking like a child that had never played cricket before. Despite this manging to send the ball down with 0.545 s to react (The new preferred way of describing speed) was impressive. What followed were the dismissals of Randall and Ballington in one over, with the former being cleaned up by an in-swinging Yorker which left the stumps in about as pretty a sight as Roche post-circle. Ballington was quickly recognised as the previous season’s 4s captain, as such the bowler was encouraged to give him one for the stem guard. The seamer obliged delivering a vicious bouncer straight at Ballo’s throat, who managed to get his gloves in the way as the ball ballooned to gully. The collapse had been quick and something would have to give.
The young crab and its mother is a fable accredited to famous Greek storyteller Aesop. The story begins with the mother crab berating the young crab for walking sideways. The young crab responds that the mother crab should demonstrate how to walk forwards, which leads to the mother failing to do so. The moral of the story being that one should not tell others how to act unless you can set a good example.
46-6 had left Mihir (the mother crab) looking disappointed that the top order had failed to head his words of wisdom. But this wise mother crab was capable of the metaphorical forward walk, as Mihir dug in, he soaked up the pressure from both ends by farming the strike. The young crabs tried to follow suit and whilst they were perhaps not as adept at the new attritional fashion of cricket, they were willing to follow Mihir’s lead. Warwick and Chase soaked up balls and for the first time in ‘Boom Boom’ Chase’s long and successful BUCS career he scored with a strike rate that would result in negative fantasy points.
Chase scored the final 3 runs restricting Mihir to 49* but little did the mother crab care, with the 1s now having likely survived relegation but also left with an outside shot at promotion. One questions whether the Stilo’s 2s side (now 1s) could continue their ascent of the Midlands BUCS league. With a Monday Kasbah off the cards due another crunch game against bottom of the table Birmingham side on Tuesday, many took the option of a Love Island opener to provide some necessary rest and relaxation for the evening. The side’s focus switched to Tuesday where they would attempt to continue the dream of back to back promotion.