What follows will undoubtedly do no justice to what was an incredible day for the club as they were crowned national champions, exactly ten years after last doing so. Nonetheless, here goes…
A minibus crew met at the sports centre at 12:20, excited for the away day to Sheffield. The players remained the same; Goodyear, Clayden, Teds, Bexson, Winder and Chase. Charlie Turner again took up scoring duties, with potential clubman of the year Andy Davis driving the minibus – we cannot thank both of these enough for their help. Other clubmen present were el Presidente Kraus, the Yeti Monster, Chandi, Hall, and Jeremy Roach. A carful of Clobber, Cooper, Stilo, Avery and Boeen would later arrive, despite some geographical confusion. Back to Roach however, it transpired he had no eyebrows – having given odds of 15 for a poorly executed slit, he felt the next best option would be to send them both completely. Again, words do no justice to quite how extraordinary he looked. The day didn’t get off to an ideal start as the Louie Millman was nowhere to be seen – Smack undoubtedly the cause. We would leave without him at 12:38 having been unable to contact him at all. Mug. Winder’s rogue decision to make wraps on the bus with his awful smelling chilli con carne (Chandi- ‘has someone s**t themselves?’) was quickly cancelled and we were away.
Kit and Bex got some pre-match preparation with naps on the bus, the journey going swimmingly minus the squabbling of Yeti and Chandi at the front over the satnav. Roach and Teds embarked upon the bizarre habit of reading out ball by ball commentary of England vs Windies, something Roach would irritatingly continue to do, even when our matches had started. After Davis expertly parked the minibus in a side street opposite the facility, we arrived to the very wide indoor arena. Clayds arrived pretty shortly afterwards, having driven from the other side of Sheffield after securing his first title of the day with Warwick Squash. A quick warm-up assisted by Chandi and Hall (Winder particularly pleased with this support team arrangement) followed by a de-brief on the local rules and it was time for the toss. Unforuntately, Goodyear lost the toss, meaning that we would be fielding first, offering Portsmouth a good chance to get ahead in the two innings format.
Winder began with an excellent first over, some lovely shape with the different ball, only going for 5. Clayds showed no signs of rustiness as the second over went for only 6. However, as we found the previous time playing Portsmouth, both opening batsmen were very strong, playing some Liam David and Vivek Naker-esque indoor cricket. Indeed, both would retire, leaving the rest of the team in a very strong position on 64-0 off 7. Credit must go to the bowling attack for keeping the run rate down throughout, as Portsmouth would only lose one wicket in the innings; a consolation run out at the end of the innings. With a strong last over (going for 22), Portsmouth had posted an imposing 113-1 and their somewhat laddish fans were making considerable noise.
However, in such a big hall and with a slow surface, UWMCC still fancied their chances of reaching Portsmouth’s first-innings total. That they did was down mostly to an absolute exhibition from indoor batting guru Edmonds; retiring in just the fourth over with the score at 49-1 off 4 (Bexson had earlier been run out, the details escape me). A Clayden-esque one-handed grab from a Portsmouth fielder meant that Winder was dismissed, brining Goodyear to the crease with the score at 57-2 off 5. Some iconic paddling and reverse-paddling from Clayds, alongside some deft touches from Goodyear (who again adapted his game beautifully to the different arena) kept UWMCC in fifth gear. Clayden showed some good wheels to survive a run out chance after Goodyear took a risky single having hit Ed Cooper’s square-leg shed; the ball dangerously cannoning back towards the pitch but Clayden would live to tell the tale. With the score at 93-2 off 8.1, Goodyear retired to a standing ovation (it must be noted that most were standing anyway), Chase following on in his footsteps with an immediate 3. After one scoop too many from Clayden, Teds returned back to the crease and in perhaps the least surprising event ever, began with a 3. With three wickets in hand and so little time left, Goodyear encouraged Teds and Chase to go every ball. And go they did, the last over going for 16, including a controlled straight drive from Teds for a maximum – he finished on an almighty 39*. 116-3 off 10, UWMCC had a lead of 3.
I can only assume that UWMCC’s brains trust had a quick conference, for they came out with a completely new tactic, deciding to bowl a much shorter length and push all the fielders up with nowt on the back wall. It appeared to work as chaos ensued in just the first over; an uncharacteristic drop from Clayds and then a missed run-out from Chase the very next ball. Further, with the surprise fuller delivery, Winder dismissed one of the Portsmouth openers, clipping the top of off with a classic away swinger, a la this. However, the other Portsmouth opener, who according to rumours on the grapevine had not been dismissed all tournament continued unfazed – more on him later though. Although Stilo’s encouragement of ‘One for Andrea Humber here Kit’ wasn’t enough to pick up a wicket, Rhino picked up a massive wicket as the Portsmouth number 3 hauled out (if one can haul out in indoor cricket) to Winder on the back wall, dismissed for just 10. Rhino bowled very nicely throughout, Pompey batsmen somehow surviving shots smashing into the ceiling, before one of these off Clayden’s bowling fell into the grateful hands of Chase. This superb seventh over from Clayds (going just for 4) was followed up by another excellent over from Chase, picking up another ceiling wicket and just 7 off the over. 87-4 off 9 and UWMCC looked to be in control.
However, the aforementioned Portsmouth opener who had retired and returned had other ideas … Clayds’ final over beginning 6,6,6,6; I can only assume he had re-watched Goodyear going pongo against Hallam on Periscope as it was very similar – controlled and powerful hitting. Fortunately for Clayds, who would later remark ‘thought it was Yuvraj-Broady for a minute there, f**cking hell’, he would hold his nerve, the next ball just hitting a side wall and the last ball being caught by Teds on the back wall for what was apparently his first dismissal of the campaign. Turns out he played a couple of Essex 2s games in 2014 so fair to assume he could play a little. Even despite this hiccup, UWMCC still had less than their first innings total for victory, needing 110.
Teds carried on his first innings form, getting to 13 quickly before being dismissed off the ceiling in an attempt for back to back 6s. In celebration there was a Poznan from the Pompey supporters; not sure whether this was due to their all-day drinking or their astute perception of Teds’ batting ability. It looked like we might have been treated to a whole innings of football chants as Bexson, who was going nicely on 13, was run-out amidst some confusion with Kit. Nonetheless, we were 41-2 off 4 so the rate was not really a problem – it certainly wasn’t once Winder had retired in just three overs, the score at 71-2 off 6. Goodyear and Clayds looked to replicate their first innings partnership but Clayds was dismissed run out at his own end, unsure as to where his missed scoop had gone to. Rhino again provided crucial batting services with a 3 off the first ball off his innings.
The equation then, was 21 off 12 with three wickets in hand. In the ninth over Chase was run-out backing up, but thanks to four 3s off the over, UWMCC needed only 9 off the last with Goodyear and Winder at the crease. Winder continued his gun innings with a powerful 4 off the first ball, followed up by a 3 and it seemed to be all but over – 2 off 4 needed. Goodyear, sensibly attempting to hit the wall and succeeding, must have been somewhat confused to see Winder charging down towards him looking for a single. Kit, in pretty much the archetypal headsgone was promptly run-out, Goodyear the last-man standing and incredibly, the scores were tied. Surely a repeat of the Super 8s game was just too much. With 3 balls left and 1 wall needed, Goodyear kept his bottle, driving it into the wall and sparking delirium among the travelling faithful and the viewers elsewhere – watch the final ball here. Goodyear finished on 25*, Winder having made 36, earning himself the BUCS Man of the Match trophy under his alter-ego Kit Wiiiiiinder.
After a freezing outdoor medal ceremony, the boys quickly piled into the minibus to make it back for circle. Circle tickets were being acquired left, right and centre – most notably for Davis, who had a 9am exam the next day (it wasn’t even a sober circle, what a bloody legend). The minibus’ return was delayed by Kraus’s incontinence – insisting that we came off the motorway for he was so desperate. After driving off briefly and leaving him in a field, we picked him up and hoped to get right back onto the motorway. Unfortunately not doable, it added quite a bit of time to our trip back and a bunch of sesh-hungry champions were doing 28mph through scenic villages such as Burbage. However, it was not to mar what was a brilliant day for the club, Goodyear arriving at circle to present Rooty will his well-deserved medal (it was actually Winder’s MOM medal but given it was exactly the same as the team medal he didn’t mind giving it up), given the amount of group games he played before exams conspired against him. Championes would ring round the chill out zone for quite some time that evening.
Looking back then, the campaign had begun on the 7th of November and ended on the 16th of March; in this period UWMCC had played 19 games, winning 16, drawing 1 and losing 2 (one of these was just our second game). Credit must go to the longevity of Goodyear, Teds and Rhino who played in every fixture. Special mention must also go Clayds, who according to BUCS became the first person ever to win two BUCS titles in one day – a plaque for the Shack (‘Rob Clayden lived here’) is currently in the making. The memories of the Super 8s and the final day will stay with me for a long time; let us make sure that we take this spirit and momentum into the outdoor season.