Warwick 2nd XI (A) 314-5 (50) def. Birmingham 3rd XI (H) 255-9 (50) by 59 runs
It had been left to the 2s to get the UWMCC train back on its tracks and provide some relief from the gloom of bottling chases and losses that had hit the club in recent times. We were up against a strong Birmingham 3rd XI with a few of their 1s and 2s in the side but we were hopeful for the win.
The day started early with a supposed 9.15am bus from Bluebell car park. However, the coach didn’t turn up until 9.30, but maybe this was a clever trick by Nik that had factored in Dan’s consistent lateness, as Dan was still in leam with Louie and Rhino around 8.45. The bus driver had chosen to play Absolute 80s at max volume on the way there, meaning the boys were pumped and deafened for the game.
On arrival at Moseley CC, a Birmingham Premier League ground, the guys got excited when they saw three groundsmen working on the main square outside the pavilion. The comparison in facilities to Cryfield would be like comparing Gareth Bale’s overhead kick to Karius’s performance in the final; or a job with JP Morgan to a job in a call centre. When news filtered through that we would be playing on their second pitch, heads dropped. Although the changing rooms were damp infested, were potentially built with Asbestos, and one of the toilets looked like it had been the only one used during circling in CR2, they existed, had running water and a shower, which we all welcomed with open arms.
A small football warm up started with Louie somehow bagging a hattrick and Bird and Taha linking up to score a silky one touch goal. If this report reaches any of the England backroom team I would recommend booking the Moseley 2nd pitch for team practice before the Lord’s test against India: similar if not more prominent slope, nice green top with a short boundary that at least one of our tail-enders should be able to reach to build some batting confidence.
We all thought the toss would be key with none of us really wanting to open-up on a strip of grass. However, we were put in to bat and Taha and Nik were set to open. Before play started the batsmen had a few throw downs and we got together as a team in a huddle. Louie gave another inspiring speech and Nik added a few comments, Louie then asked any other senior players for any comments and Krishan immediately tries to sneak in with some generic, don’t get out chat. However, he wasn’t allowed to speak as Rhino quite rightly sat him down and stopped him. A theme that continued not only by us, but also from Birmingham throughout the day.
10 overs flew by and UWMCCs biggest opening partnership of the year had been set, we were 55-0 off 10, Taha having one of his sixes pushed over the boundary by some terrible fielding and Nik surviving due to perhaps the simplest catch ever being put down. No lie, Neil Gujar would have caught this ball (or Rav Parmar for the Fresh out there). On top of that Krishan insisted on making the loudest high pitches noises when they dropped the two chances; if he hadn’t bowled so well we all agreed we would have rather played with 10 men.
The classy opening stand was broken and we were 66-1, Taha falling LBW (35 off 32) to their slow lefty who was hard to get away after playing some nice attacking shots to start us off. Next to go was Krish getting a 15-ball 1, bowled by a good ball that nipped back up the slope to hit top of off. The fears of yet another BUCS collapse were coming to the forefront of our minds but Nik and Louie got us to 102, before Nik snicked off to 1st slip for 34. In at 5 was Dan hoping to build on the good foundation and cash in on a drying pitch and outfield. Birmingham’s 5th bowler, a left arm off spinner, came onto bowl at this stage, obviously thinking Dan batted like KP and that was his weakness. Not only did he bowl left arm pies, but he looked and moved exactly like Randall from Recess.
Sadly for us he was quickly removed from the attack as Louie hit him for 2 sixes over the changing rooms, taking 37 off his 4 overs. The next 21 overs saw a 143-run partnership between Dan and Millman, and although Louie Chinese Cut his first 50 runs it was a good batting display against some tidy Birmingham bowlers. Perhaps the only scare was when Dan went through a period for about 5 overs of some awful calling nearly leading to running himself and Louie out. The team quickly worked out that it is the second word that Dan says that needs to be listened to, not the 1st or 3rd. Perhaps a hint at the ‘Black-Black-White’ code for those Fresh who are still yet to work it out.
The partnership cruised along to 200-3 off 38 overs, Louie getting his 50 off 52 balls and around this time, something seemed to click in Dan’s mind. Some say he probably just ‘got in’, but he went 4, 6, 6 – the last one taking him to 50 off 54 balls – and the team looked set to make 300 for the first time for the club in 4 years. Louie played some lovely shots when their slightly quicker bowlers came back on, and besides the small period of cluelessness from Dan, they ran well. The illustrious baggy was soon in slight for Millman, which could have made him the only current clubmen to legitimately have one. However, after being smashed in the box the ball before he tried to hit one straight down the ground but smashed it straight to deep mid-off for 83 off 87 balls. Yet another bottle from a clubman, but at least this time it wasn’t an entire team bottling a run chase like it normally is. Next in was Rhino keen to get in on the action worried that his bowling figures could take a bit of a hit today with the small boundary. He hit his first ball for 4 and didn’t really stop, smashing 41 off 23 balls. In between his shots, Dan was out for 69 off 67 balls picking out the man at deep mid-wicket having just placed it in the gap to the right of him the ball before.
We ended on 314-5 off 50 overs with the entire batting group doing well, besides Krishan, and Bird still being unable to get a positive strike rate getting 7 off 10 at the end. The runs were in no small part due to the awful chat from the Birmingham side, a distinct lack of chat from any of them at all.
Tea was a delight. Hot food, chips, chicken legs, Muller corners, chocolate eclairs and a good selection of sandwiches was the perfect tea after our batting innings with Krish eating about 12 egg-mayo sandwiches despite his lack of effort in the 1st innings.
The bowlers were quickly sent to warm up as although we had 314 on the board, the pitch had got better to bat on throughout the day and the now lightening outfield meant it could still be a close one. Fussey was to bowl first, with Curtis from the other end. 1st ball to their version of Jono Ford was 100% out, hit him on the foot in front of all three. Umpire was clearly still thinking about that last eclair he left on his plate and didn’t give it, no reason given. Despite this, it was actually a blessing in disguise as he went on to hit 25 off 85 balls, blocking them out of the game, albeit with a bit more flair than Jono. Their other opener was a big hitter and so was their 3. Our first 10 limited them to 36-0, well below the run rate with Fussey and Curtis bowling well. The next decision by Nik was the bring on Krishan as their opener was looking to go big. In all honesty, I genuinely thought his first over could go for 36, but he bowled well ending with great figures of 10-1-29-2. From the other end John Mark had got rid of their aggressive opener with a great ball that nipped back up the slope, and Krishan then soon got rid of their 1 and 3 with some great variations in pace and flight. However, whilst Krish had been fielding in the slips his chat, which at some stages was commendable, had got a little bite which put him right back in his place. Whilst reminding their batsmen how far behind the run rate they were, and how few he had scored, he was reminded in turn, ‘aren’t you the number 3 that got 1?’.
Their number 4, also their club captain, hit 81 making us think it may be close towards the end. Rhino, as the senior spinner, was given the role to bowl with the short boundary and soon saw some huge 6s off his bowling. Other highlights in the middle overs included Taha’s unique and probably ill-advised open leg fielding and Dan being sent to graze from about the 11th over onwards. Rahul bowled well towards the end taking 2 wickets and a late flurry a wickets led to us winning by 59 runs limiting them to 255-9 off their 50 overs. Fussey and Krish were the pick of the bowlers, Fussey nearly grabbing a hattrick, and a great effort in the field by all with some good catches held by Nik and Louie to get rid of key men.
A fine all-round display from the 2s with everyone contributing to the win and the 5 senior members in the top 6 all getting runs. It was good to get the club back to winning ways that can hopefully continue for the rest of term not only for the 2s in their promotion push but for all the teams.