WWF raise concerns over UWMCC’s poaching of 6 Black Tigers
Legend has it that once the Roman goddess Proserpina was abducted by the god of the underworld, Pluto, casting the world into 3 months of bitter winter. Only when she returned to the world of the living did the trees blossom, crops start to grow, and the cold subside to make way for better things. As the sun shone, the UWMCC were given an untimely reminder of the bright road ahead, that big things could well be in store for this team.
UWMCC were booked in for the prime time slot on the BBC, at 9pm in the Connexions Arena. The main route being closed was not a problem for chauffeur Davis, who sniffed his way to the ground in remarkable fashion. “He’s so tall he can probably see where we’re going”, surmised David. “The world will stop to watch this tie”, Mourinho had expressed before the game, and the UWMCC VI found everyone in the Arena patiently waiting for it, killing some time by watching the United vs Real match. Rugby CC had comprehensively beaten Warwick CC earlier that evening, joining UWMCC on 6 points, making a win all the more primordial.
Beauclerk’s only words before the game were to avoid complacency. Life at the top of the world was admittedly a rosy place to be, but even Caesar had 23 reminders that things can quickly change. UWMCC went about their usual training routine, as cool as cucumbers. Beauclerk was promptly ushered away from his team to toss, and with the weight of history, called heads. A new day, a new result, Beauclerk finally notching up a won toss to his name, with which he elected to bat first.
David and Bradshaw opened up proceedings for the UWMCC VI. Rumours that their growing chemistry was putting a strain on Bradshaw’s marriage back at home with housewife Stroud were quickly dashed, as the two went about trying to top the highest run-scorers list. Four singles from the first over and the score had already raced to 12. The second over was equally as prolific, 18 coming off it; single, single, single, single, single, single, like counting heads downstairs in Smack. Bradshaw, looking to introduce some destructive innovation into the run fest, pulled out the Davis paddle. The ball had other plans however, sailing past the bat and thudding into his head, to wild appeals from the Black Tigers. They do say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, however streaky it may be.
Emergency tactics were employed by the Black Tigers, who looked to stem the flow of runs by introducing their first change bowler in the third over. Immediate reward, as Bradshaw feathered one behind to the keeper. Or did he? The umpire was not convinced, and kept his arms to his side. The next ball was a carbon copy of the last, Bradshaw being drawn into the same shot, again feathering one behind, this time the umpire convinced, and he was on his way for a rapid 12.
Barclay replaced him, and ensured that the early nerves were settled with some lightning singles. ‘Flash’-inspired David was as quick as ever between the wickets, hovering like a witch on a broomstick. The two went about exploiting the Black Tiger fielders, who weren’t as agile as their feline name might suggest. A classy straight drive for 4 by Barclay, past the sprawling hand of the bowler, was the highlight of a sequence of relentless single-taking. In the blink of an eye, David was made to retire on 25*.
Gould replaced him, the celibate bachelor that he is, and carried on the love story with the singles. Chopping and changing through the gears, he continued to add to the UWMCC’s slowly swelling score. A full and wide ball saw him dabbing to gully, well-caught, but seemingly of a bump ball. In a night where controversy was king, Nani’s impressive touch, and Gould’s alike, were somewhat wrongly interpreted, and the latter was given his marching orders by the standing umpire, surrounded by 6 famished Tigers.
Beauclerk replaced his East Anglian counterpart, immediately boarding the singles wagon. Beauclerk and Barclay, two soon-to-be-half-marathon-runners, showed no sign of weary legs as some excellent running kept the scorers scribbling away. Like a well-matured whiskey, Barclay was made to retire on 25*, rewarding the unrelenting faith of the bookies.
In came Islander Davis, and like so many times previously, he took advantage of bowlers letting down their guard seeing the last batsman strolling in. A veritable dark horse, he wreaks havoc when others get complacent. This innings constituted a dry patch for the Davis paddle however, being substituted for more orthodox Test-match shots. Continued good running fed a big last over, 15 coming off it, helped by the pair running a lightning and equally opportunistic two off the last ball.
UWMCC had amassed 138 off their allocated 10 overs, for the loss of only 2 wickets, a considerable feat, matching their highest total for the season. David and namesake Barclay both ended with 25*, Beauclerk and Davis on 21*and 20* respectively. Inoculated against the run out pandemic, UWMCC’s performance marked the culmination of growing chemistry between batsmen, as well as fresh legs.
Fresh from their stellar batting display, UWMCC got straight back into it, Sultan of Swing Davis taking the new cherry as per usual. His first ball saw the batsman rocking back and attempting a back foot drive, nicking one behind to David. If only UWMCC’s elation was matched by the umpire – who stood there, statuesque, surely guilty of taking a cheeky gaze into Medusa’s eyes – Davis would have chalked up a platinum duck to his name. Spurred on by the injustice of dubious umpiring decisions, Davis bowled with extra venom, bounce and inswing, quite out of line with the perceived image of him being a BFG. Surely for the first time ever in this format, Davis had bowled a maiden.
Gould partnered Davis with the new ball, was wayward first ball, but was back on the money next ball, when extra pace gave the batsman’s middle stump a comprehensive bashing, which folded apologetically. A mix up in calling saw Beauclerk wrapping the ball up in gift wrap, and Fedexing it to Gould at the bowler’s end, who collected and whipped off the bails for a well-taken run out. This was an excellent opening spell by the two blond beach boys, as a perfect line rendered the batsman incapable of exploiting the angles, and remorsefully patting back to the bowler.
Gould’s second over brought another wicket, the batsmen attempting to late cut Gould, but choosing the wrong ball to do so, and as a result having the top of his legstump tickled by the lush leather of the Incrediball. 17-3.
Beauclerk replaced Davis, and was again grateful for plenty of lateral movement inside the Connexions Arena. The Tiger batsman, trying to thwart the swing, left his crease, but was outwitted by Beauclerk, whose outswinging yorker swung round his advancing legs and disturbed the legstump yet another time.
Birthday-boy Bradshaw was handed the ball, having impressed with his inswingers early in practice. Considerable inswing saw the batsmen pegged back, and only managing to score 1 from the over. A dab to Beauclerk at gully and arguably some poor calling created a race between batsman and ball to the opposite end, the ball storming through as the winner. Barclay came on with orders to wrap up the tail, but was greeted with an arrogant slap for 4 first ball. A series of dots created a bubble of pressure, which finally burst when the batsman holed out to Davis at mid-on, brilliantly caught running to his right.
The Black Tigers had been slain, bowled out for 33, making it a triumphant 106 run victory for the UWMCC men. When it really mattered, the UWMCC VI had delivered the goods. In a rather low-key ceremony, UWMCC collected their medals to warm applause from the organisers and opposition: fitting recognition for a team that had outclassed every team on its path to the title.
Just as winter makes way for spring, UWMCC’s indoor performance should hold them in good stead for the outdoor season. Although the indoor format does present some discerning characteristics from its outdoor sister, the composure, experience and ruthlessness shown by the players should transfer well into Fortress Cryfield.
A very big thank you from UWMCC to all organisers for such a well-run tournament, Davis for his delicate driving, and the players for bringing home a first piece of silverware for UWMCC in 2013.