Warwick 3rd XI 150-10 (A) def. by Nottingham 3rd XI 168-10 by 18 runs (H)
Warning: I am obliged to write a supposedly humorous match report with my poor chat. So if you’re disappointed don’t blame it on me- the leadership group has put me in this unfortunate position.
My story begins at 09:30 on this rather cloudy Wednesday morning at the Piazza, where the only source of illumination was Angus’ trousers. Skipper Riley stared down on us like were a bunch of ragged misfits. To be fair to him we did look the part. Ballington, for reasons unknown, ostentatiously removed a crusty tie from his bag whilst the lack of attire owned by Robson Piper was disconcerting to say the least. The morning had not gotten off to the promising start that the skipper had hoped for. Fortunately, spirits on the bus were lifted as the 3s and 4s shared a ride to Nottingham, Owen McCausland blasted some absolute tunes in the absence of the campus’ father figure- Disco Dave.
Having arrived at the ground, a thorough inspection of the pitch not only lasted longer than our actual warm up but also made us question whether we had ever even left the M1. Needless to say the batsmen were licking their lips as they gazed upon this rock hard deck. Riley, having won the toss opted to bowl first and so begun our fight against relegation.
Opening up were Roche and Piper who put in an immense bowling performance on an absolute road, instantly building up the pressure. We expected much greenery as we entered Nottingham, but the number of leaves proved to be unprecedented in an innings that would have put even Geoffrey Boycott to sleep. One chance did emerge early on when one of the batsmen played a loose glance shot in the air straight to mid-wicket. Riley-the tactician- finally mastered the art of field placement as he placed Dan Willey in the perfect position. However, Willey had other plans and charged straight at the ball like a bull in a china shop, but only to watch it fly past a yard to his right. No matter how much our opening duo plugged away after that, their tight bowling was met with a flurry of forward defensives until the opposition had raced away to 35/0 of 15 overs. So this is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. Very well then- it was time for skipper Riley to introduce the other two horsemen of the apocalypse. Pavilion end featured the side’s newly found all-rounder Ollie Carter whilst the normally unavailable Dan Willey came steaming in from the other end. Both bowlers continued the fine work until Carter was eventually rewarded for his sheer grit and determination when their opener holed out to mid on in a desperate attempt to accelerate the innings. 5 overs proved 5 too many for Willey who was a defenseless victim against a symbiosis of poor fitness and sunburn. I refer to Willey as the victim in this scenario, but one must note that it was the rest of the team that was exposed to his belly button as he ran into bowl with a supermodel size shirt on. However, let’s not get sidetracked as next came the main event- Suchin ‘Speed’ Sampath. I say speed but Riley found no issue in standing up to the stumps for this “pace bowler.” I am not going to lie to you, the next few overs proved fairly mundane as the runs kept further drying up. The seamers had built up the pressure, now it was Ballington’s chance to capitalize and he did so in splendid style. A loopy full toss saw the batsmen top edge the ball straight into the wind, leaving Nish Narayanan running circles around himself before finally cushioning the ball in his very safe hands. We had triggered a collapse and wickets started falling regularly. Piper, discontent with his earlier spell, decided to attack the batsmen’s leg side in the penultimate over, forcing Riley to double as a leg slip as well as a keeper. It was now down to Roche to bowl the final over and finally get a wicket as one would expect from a player who had just come down from the 1s. Second ball of the over their no.11 spooned a catch straight to Suchin at cover. An absolute dolly, almost as if someone had just gently tossed the ball to him. Pale in comparison to the high catches hit by Sash in training. He stood there arrogantly, waiting for the ball to fall into his hands. It was easy, almost too easy. Suddenly the ball started to dip as Suchin realized he horrendously misjudged the catch. He had to go leaping forward to secure the ball, finishing off the innings in farcical style and becoming the first player in the history of the game to receive a fine for actually taking a catch. At 168 ao on that pitch, we had Nottingham where we wanted them.
However, it would not be a true 3s game without the accompanying drama and this would emerge at teatime when the quality of Nottingham’s teas created internal divisions within the Warwick side. One would think Riley was out of his mind to not consider ‘make your own sandwiches’ and knock off Walkers crisps a classy gesture.
The second innings kicked off with a fairly standard start as Tim Ozanne and Nish batted with caution. Both made healthy starts until Ozanne snicked off to second slip and Nish got out (can’t really remember how). Nonetheless a platform had been set for Ballington and Riley and they propelled the innings taking the score to 125/2 of 30 overs. Riley (31) was the first to fall having been already shelled more times than the beaches of Normandy. However, fifth time would most certainly be the charm and Nottingham had finally proved that they had more than two players capable of catching. Ballington (46), watching enviously as Riley spooned one straight to mid on, decided to follow in the footsteps of the skipper in an innings that will only be remembered for a clear jug avoidance. What followed was a typical UWMCC collapse as Carter, Mylne (who finally woke up from hibernation to find out he was next in) and Bolar all fell with quick succession with the last two recording definite TFCs. It was now down to the tail to wag like never before. With victory still in sights Suchin and Roche were determined to see off the game, especially considering the latter was in stellar form with the bat. Roche clipped the ball to through mid wicket. YES!!! was the call as the batsmen sprinted one. Roche to Suchin: YOUR CALL. Suchin to Roche: NOOOOOO. Or at least this is what Suchin should have perhaps done instead of feebly turning his back to his partner refusing to engage in any civilized communication. Roche decided to take the initiative and pushed for the second. I’m not too sure what Suchin- who must have been playing a different game of cricket- was attempting to do here and he eventually left his partner stranded in the middle of the pitch. Many critics may question whether or not a second run was on the cards, but in reality if Roche could run what was effectively a 2 and half, a second was probably on the cards. Suchin, knowing that it would be a long bus journey home if he didn’t carry the side over the line, watched in despair as he saw Dan Willey walk to the crease.
Willey, drawing inspiration from the Rohit Sharma master class, played three silky smooth flick shots off middle. This resulted in three plumb lbw dismissals, of which only the last one was given by the umpire. Next at the crease was the team No.11- Robson Piper. I wish I could say that the next 19 runs were knocked off with ease, but in reality Piper lasted three balls before missing a straight one and with his bails went the game. Nottingham won by 18 runs. We dominated for 80% off the game, but like my good self with a pint of purple, we couldn’t see it off.