Warwick 4th XI (A) 103-10 def. by Nottingham Trent 2nd XI 353-4 (50)
On the 23rd of May the 4th team finally managed to get their BUCS season underway against a very strong Trent 2s side. After months of overseeing his squad in nets and training Rhys was eager to finally see which of his players would perform on the real stage, he was sure to have many selection headaches. Alas however it appeared Rhys had precisely one player from which to choose for the game as a serious availability crisis hit the club in the exam heavy week 5. With it being impossible to field one player alone Rhys was forced to rely on those friendlies players who had put his team under a tough test in preseason, this meant the team to play a side fancied as the best in the division and of a similar standard to our 1/2s read: Kilpatrick, Mallows, Gorgantu, Sander, Ede, Harris, McCausland, Ridge, Manoj, Brook, Merriman. The side featured 9 BUCS debutants and a similar amount of part-time medium pace bowlers. Nevertheless, the team selected did have a point to prove and were eager to impress the side-lined 4s captain who came along for the adventure.
9AM came and the boys boarded onto a coach with the 3s who were also heading to Nottingham. Upon getting on the coach the driver very kindly spat half his breakfast onto Owen as he explained that he thought we were going to lose today…….Cheers mate. As the wheels rolled on towards Nottingham Owen and Ridge provided tunes so spicy they get served to freshers at club meal. Vibes were strong, clouds were fading and the mood was positive. However, upon arrival at Trent’s rather grey Clifton Campus it all began to go a bit awry. 25 minutes of three point turns, false directions and an incident that saw the bus driver press a button to lift a barrier only to fail to drive under it in time were endured before the boys were actually at the ground.
A pretty ground welcomed us and we began to take in our green surroundings, a few of us had a casual net under the watchful eyes of the opposition who were perhaps realising just how easy of an afternoon they were about to have. Ridge came out to bat forgetting his actual bat, Sander bowled in his shirt and tie, Tej bowled with both his left and right arm whilst Owen and Calum served mallows a buffet of drag downs for him to top edge. Despite this the boys continued to attack the day with the right mentality engaging diligently with the proper warm up where they were informed they would be bowling first.
Bowling first was seen as the key to success for the 4s this week with their bowling undoubtedly being the stronger suit. Southern Jono (SJ) and Adi started us off and we had them at 1-1 in the first over, Sander taking a solid catch from an Adi full toss at cover. ‘Could the dream be on’, the boys wondered, and it looked like it might have been when SJ was causing all sorts of problems in his first few overs. Shouts from Owen at slip suggesting we would have them at 20-3 were perhaps optimistic but not ludicrous at this point. Through the powerplay SJ bowled diligent lines whilst Adi provided very able support at the other end. Adi came off after a few overs and was replaced by Sander perhaps the quickest of our bowlers at 26mph who also provided very good support for SJ apart from the occasional short ball that would draw a very nice shot from the batsmen perhaps hinting at what was to come. SJ however did managed to get rid of a dangerous looking left hander at 3 before his spell was up allowing a very able number 4 to take to the crease.
At drinks the boys were yet to make another breakthrough despite having numerous opportunities go down. The best chance falling due to complete miscommunication, the dangerous opening bat had spooned one right in the air, as the balling was swirling over Jack Ridge, Ede decided to claim it by whispering ‘Ede’s’ however it was clear Jack didn’t hear this. What he did hear however was Owen bellow ‘Ede’s ball, Jede, Jede, Jede’ by which point Jede had thought Ridge was going to take it. The ball landed nicely between the two of them…..farcical. However, the mood was still positive, Jono had his first BUCS wicket after a beautiful 10 over spell, the first change bowlers were holding their own and there was still a lot of noise in the field largely due to Owen repeatedly saying the same few phrases each of which were equally as poor as the next. A quick team talk from Rhys and Mez and the boys were back out their pumped up.
This positive atmosphere did not last for very long however as the two batsmen began to cart ab
solutely everything for 4. Mez shuffled his pack time and time again giving people a chance to take their first BUCS wicket but it wasn’t meant to be. Balls were lost, misfields were made, catches were dropped, Seb punched a ball mid-flight and beamers were bowled. 2 men were taken out the attack (Tej and Adi) whilst many others were warned about their choice of variation delivery being the beamer. Not that the batsmen seemed to care as they removed their helmets and put their foot firmly on the gas as they scored at well over 14 an over for the last ten to reach
353. Mez however did manage to get his first BUCS wicket clean bowling the opener for 186 whilst he also removed the number four running him out using his shins (any of an Aldershot contract??).
The mood in the changing rooms at the innings break was one of overwhelming disappointment, a conciliatory speech from Rhys and the hairdryer treatment from Mez provided a good-cop/bad-cop vibe to the innings breakdown. However the mood was nothing a bit of Cascada and UB40 from the speaker couldn’t solve as the boys tucked into a very decent tea.
At tea, a school friend of Ridge’s came to join the boys as they ate with Ridge proudly boasting that he was due to open the batting today and that his bowling figures of 0-35 off 3 overs were because he was so focused on his batting. Shortly after however Ridge was told in front of his mate that he would be batting at 8……gutting.
Mallows and Rory padded up both keen to have an impact on the game after spending hours earlier chasing balls on the boundary and looked solid in the pursuit of what we felt was a sub-par total of 354 on that wicket with the short boundary in play. A few overs in however Mallows departed for 1(15) absolutely kimming anyone foolish enough to put him in their fantasy team. Tej joined Rory and departed 2 balls later for 0 leaving the boys at 12-2 and securing Tej a very nice TFC for the afternoon. Seb and Rory batted nicely against some nippy bowlers who had played against a top order of Mihir, Ling and Sash only weeks earlier before Rory foolishly slashed at a ball wider than a Matt Thomas chop and just like Rav in rouge bar Rory left just as he was getting in. Ede came in and played some stoic blocks whilst Seb did the same at the other end leaving much of the minimal crowd falling asleep as the barnstorming shots of the previous inning were now replaced by forward defensives.
The crowd were very much woken up however shortly after as Calum came in for the fallen Sander and began to cart the polytechnic bowlers to all parts, showing more intent than a clubman with a chair in his hands. His rather sensational innings including flicking the opening bowler for a delightful 6 over the big boundary. First Jede and then Owen held up an end alongside Calum’s big shots until the man fell agonisingly short of his debut 50 ending on 46 (33). The tail offered little resistance with both Ridge and SJ missing straight ones to see their middle stumps go flying up the hill as the 4s finished on 103 ao, a reasonable total considering the lack of natural batting talent in the line-up.
Handshakes and post-match address completed it was time for shower club. Owen and Ridge jumped in first romantically sharing just the one shower (not the only thing they share, just ask Ridge’s missus) as they couldn’t get the second one to work. What happened behind that shower curtain we’ll never know but Owen asking Ridge to ‘pass him the head’ cannot be forgotten. Mallows and Mez followed after but managed to get the second shower on ensuring they enjoyed a bit less intimacy.
The boys hopped back on the coach where the forlorn threes were waiting after failing to beat their oppo in a bottle so bad it makes Besiktas away look normal. The journey home was a mixed one with both sides appreciating a day away from revision but also dwelling on missed opportunities or a narrow 250 run loss, whatever the case may be.
Overall I anticipate the next 4s side to be remarkably different and hopefully the result will be too. Nevertheless the game proved to be an opportunity for many friendlies players to shine and shine they did…all the way to a 250 run defeat.
BUCS debutants – 9
Miles travelled – 110
Revision hours lost – 10
Runs conceded – 353
Wickets taken – 4
Ducks – 3
Men taken out of the attack – 2
Number of pork pies on Owens plate at tea – 4
Good impressions made – 2
Homo-erotic shower experiences – 1
Losing by 250 runs with your mates – priceless