Despite torrential rain in the South of England the day before, Cryfield would hold out to allow for UWMCC’s potentially promotion-deciding fixture to take place. As stand-in skipper Gonszor put it, “Carol Kirkwood got it wrong”. Rather bizarrely, this had been confirmed the night before at 10:30, as Dan Goodyear stumbled across Rhys Probert on a night walk about campus, the two fumbling around at Cryfield in the darkness to see if the pitch was playable. As it was, the covers had been done incorrectly (as per), and the start of the track resembled a chocolate cake – sawdust and the lack of any left-arm over bowlers saving the day and allowing for play to commence on time. Goodyear, like an anxious parent, refused to leave the game to revise, confusing the umpire with playing captain and non-playing captains distinctions; the last thing the Chess maestro needed. Much like Friday, UWMCC’s 1st XI was a split camp over whether to bat or bowl first – Gonszor and Clayden the most vocal advocates of their stance, with Hayes somehow working out that Hall was a silent bowl-first supporter in an incredibly swift interrogation process. However, this pre-cursor to the Brexit referendum discussion was all irrelevant as Gonszor promptly loss the toss, and the Nottingham skipper (the less talented brother of Will Tavare and less talented nephew of test player Chris Tavare) chose to have a bowl in the overcast conditions.
With Vivek nowhere to be seen due to being in an exam (even despite chirpsing the invigilator to let him go in the 15-minute period before the end), it was Aamish and Teds to open up. Aamish looked at his picturesque best, but both had pretty glorious shots which should have gone for 4 hold up in the long, damp outfield. Teds was clean bowled with the score at 24-0 off 7, Gonszor falling with a soft caught and bowled dismissal after a similarly sized partnership. Aamish then snicked off to the keeper standing up, a smart catch, to leave the score 70-3 off 17.2. Vivek was by this point around, and having asked Teds what the bowlers were doing (“he’s swinging it away and nipping it in”), batted sensibly despite thoughts of his upcoming Smack calendar. Viv was accompanied at the crease by UWMCC debutant Matt Young, and these two put on an excellent half-century partnership which lasted fifteen overs, a fine effort on a tricky batting pitch.
At this point, Viv had made it to 24 and was beginning to get going with some impressive hitting down the ground – Hall in jest tweeting for followers to ‘make what you will’ of Viv’s score. Literally the next ball, Viv was bowled and the curse of the 20s had yet again struck. What followed was a pretty spectacular collapse, with Hall, Bexson and Clayden all making ducks. Yorke-Starkey lasted a little longer, but was out caught and bowled just one ball after a massive appeal, and was promptly given a massive send off. Cue Gonszor on the boundary calling over Jimmy Harris to tell him “we’re going to have a bit of fun today”. Throughout the innings, Gonszor was as opinionated and outrageous as ever, including statements such as never meeting an intelligent saffer, that “Galatasary have calmed down since they murked those Leeds lads” and his attempt at being Daniel Hannan – “IT’S COMMON SENSE”. On the pitch, Young showed similar consistency, carrying his bat for 43* in what was almost certainly a match-winning knock, as he took UWMCC to 151 all-out off 47.1 overs, Harris being run-out in a pretty apt way to end a sub-par batting performance.
In response, the Nottingham openers struggled to show any fluency against the openers Clayden and Harris, to the extent that Hayes was convinced that they must have switched the batting order around. The decision of one opener, to bat a good yard outside his crease to Clayden, despite missing everything, remained a puzzling stance. To be fair to these two though, they did get to 25-0 off 11, a very frustrating period for the 1st XI. Long overdue, Clayden cleaned up the aforementioned opener, who was oddly rocking a white helmet as well, the score 26-1. The second wicket was a controversial one, as Gonszor dropped an absolute dolly at mid-off off Clayden’s bowling, before taking an excellent diving catch off his own bowling to dismiss said batsman just four balls later. This led Clayden to state that Gonszor was “the worst bloke in the world” at the team’s huddle – probably not the first or last time the skipper has received sentiments along these lines.
Next to fall was Nottingham’s number four, who thought that he was the next KP, Gonszor and Young combining to bring the egotistical knob back to reality. The Notts skipper was in at five, and dabbed and paddled excellently, appearing to be the calm head that the chase required. However, Hayes got a snick and again Young took the catch, quite the UWMCC debut. As the saying goes, one brings two, as the Nottingham number 3 who had hung around and moved to 25 edged Yorke-Starkey with an attempted expansive drive to a grateful Hall at point. At 88-5 off 34, UWMCC really began to turn the screw. This was especially true in the catching department, as both Viv and Snakey took excellent catches in the deep off the bowling of Hayes, the colonel finishing with a four-fer. Harris returned to the attack to pick up a couple of quick wickets, much to the delight of his fantasy owners. Again, credit must go to Young for an excellent stumping for the second of these. Nottingham’s 9+11 decided to door the shit out of it, to the extent that their own players were telling them to hurry up from the boundary; the last batsmen responding to these encouragements and Harris’s jibes by attempting a hoik and getting bowled. Nottingham were all out for 111, marking another excellent bowling performance from UWMCC.
Whilst celebrations were muted to a GBK, Jimmy Harris messaging Hall’s sister saying the latter had given him permission to chop her, a few pints and free cheese board at Bedford Street, the 1st XI can no longer be passed in terms of points achieved. DMU 1s still have Nottingham 2s and UEA 1s to play, but it will probably all come to net run-rate to see if Goodyear’s team have secured promotion – keep an eye on our social media for more information in this regard.