Many captains try incredible things in the name of innovation, desperation, or even exasperation. As the UWMCC VI travelled once more to the Connexions Arena, a new plan was being hatched by unorthodox skipper Clobber, and it was driven only by lunacy and the pure boredom of smashing teams by far too many runs we’d seen in previous weeks. Today, we were to mix it up a little, shake it about and rip up the rulebook. Be warned, reader, as what you’re about to read is not only factual but could be very disturbing for the unwary UWMCC fan…
Our opponents this week were listed to be Binley North Grens, although it could well have been Greens for all we knew or cared, as they were a team who had lost by 67 runs in their last outing (a whole six runs per over off the pace). Perhaps it was because he was so fed up with not being able to bat, perhaps it was because he was lacking sleep, Clobber chose to bat first and reverse the order, meaning that he himself would be opening up with spinner-only JP. As we waited for their fifth and sixth players to show up, the warm-up we settled on was a spot of tennis, played with cricket bats and Binley’s incrediball (who brings their own to a game where they provide as many as you could possibly want?!) Binley’s opener bowled an over which contained at least four wides and a lovely cut shot for three by JP, but went down as just eight runs, so it was clear from the outset that we’d have to work a bit harder to set a massive score. Their second bowler was actually pretty good, swinging the ball away from our skipper to make him look rather foolish at times, despite his fuller delivery being smashed back past him for four. An over of little interest graced us for the third, so as the gun bowler (probably would have rattled through our 1’s) came back on, it was time to hit out or get out because we had an ever-improving lineup of Davis, Sittampalam, Gujar and Nish yet to bat. Getting increasingly confident, skip decided to walk across his stumps and nurdle one to fine leg, yet missing completely and being bowled round the legs. Horrible news for the UWMCC turned into slightly happier thoughts for those who were quick to realise that we were now more likely to post a big score with veteran Davis at the crease. 23-1 (4). JP followed next, a lackadaisical bit of movement between the stumps and a good direct hit ending his innings abruptly.
New man Sittampalam was bowled, missing a straight one and leaving us 34-3 (4.4), and Gujar sauntered in to join the long-legged Davis. Davis’ stature and ability to stride three metres at a time helped the partnership greatly, seeing the two of them to 25 apiece in very quick time. Threes were the order of the day from this point onward, and even the umpires struggled to keep up with who was in and who was out, as two of the remaining three batsmen had ‘retired’. Nish scored a quick 14 before being run out, and Andy and Neil saw out the remaining overs in style, taking us to a whopping 116-4 in our allotted 10 overs.
As we were a team of six potential bowlers, it was only fair for Clobber to bite the bullet and keep himself (varsity call-up next year?), and again only fair that the bowlers should just take it in turns to have a try at some cheap wickets, in the reverse of the batting order of course. Nishanth opened up with some left-arm seam bowling, which was surprisingly effective. Gujar’s seam-up was also rather handy, as was Jake’s, who not only found a good line and length but discovered a top quality yorker was among his hidden talents, ‘crushing’ the toes of the gun bowler and causing the umpire to unsheath his finger from his pocket and jab it in the air as though dancing to Saturday Night Fever. Having been given out, it seemed for a moment like the batsman had asked for a review, hanging around to point out that he’d taken a large stride and therefore ‘couldn’t be given out LBW’. Having taken enough nonsense last week, none of the UWMCC were in any particular mood to let him stay, and he was sent packing for about 5. Andy Davis found good rhythm as well, causing the batsman to bottom-edge it onto his stumps only to be given not out as the umpire didn’t see it hit and there were no bails. After JP rounded off the first half of our fielding innings with what could well have been a wicket-maiden, Gujar was handed the gloves in order for our skipper to join the fun and bowl enough wides in one over to double their score to 24 off of 6.
Binley had such a mountain to climb at this point that it was time to get even more experimental. Davis was given the gloves and the four remaining overs were to go to bowlers who promised to bowl their least preferable action. Jake’s legspin was actually alright, but Gujar’s leggies, JP’s seam-up and Clobber’s leggies left a lot to be desired. Aside from an overzealous run-out from the skipper, the game degraded rather a lot, perhaps peaking when Clobber had to stop bowling spin in the final over because wides were now an extra ball and we had to finish by 7. The final score was 48-5 come the end of the ten overs, a win by 68 runs, and we couldn’t really have made it harder for ourselves. Only a series of unfortunate events could possibly stop us from advancing to Edgbaston now, so let’s bring on our third encounter with Warwick CC next week.