As the UWMCC drove back from last week’s game, Jewson’s announcement that he wouldn’t be available for the following match was met by cheers and applause, since it meant that Cov Indoor League veteran Andy Davis would be once again involved in order to ensure our weekly ‘Driver Quota’ of 1 was met. Little did we know that once again trouble would strike our selectors as Kit ‘KP’ Winder decided that a Warwick Snow club meal was to take precedence over cricket and opted out a mere two hours before the scheduled meet time. After much deliberation, skipper Hobbs selected a reluctant Ed Cooper, hero of last year’s season, to replace him.

As the once-again-twice-changed lineup of Cook, Goodyear, Cooper, Davis, Peters and Hobbs made their way down the traffic-ridden roads to the Connexion, senior members of the team pondered over whether to bat or bowl first, with the latter being a significant advantage but the former ensuring everyone would get a game ‘if the oppo are as bad as always’. Despite knowing nothing about #EHUBWDC, the name alone was enough to convince the skipper that they couldn’t match our ‘gun’ team, and after winning the toss we donned our gloves and sent openers Jonno and Goodyear to the crease.

We got off to about the same start as in previous weeks, with the first two batsmen looking perfectly at ease and playing well, until a mixup with the calling resulted in Jonno being run out for what we think was about 15. Once again the scorers couldn’t tell a blue helmet from a green one and gave runs to the wrong people throughout the scorecard, so everything quoted here is given as an estimate rather than an actual score. Cooper came in and after instruction from Hobbs to calm down and build an innings, screamed ‘YES’ every time the ball was hit in front of or behind square, almost presenting his wicket to the opposition in the field. Eventually his luck ran out, with Goodyear remaining at the non-strikers end because quite frankly there wasn’t a run there. Unfortunately for the in-form Goodyear, he eventually stepped out of his crease and was less than halfway down the already-shortened track when the bails were whipped off at the other end.

With no earned wickets for the opposition, Cooper and new man Davis set out well, but eventually cooper smashed one straight back to the bowler who held well, leaving us at about 50-3 and in need of a few more runs from the last three overs. Soon after, Davis waltzed down the wicket and was out to a sharp stumping from the #EHUBWDC keeper, leaving last men Peters and Hobbs to see out 13 balls between them. After a rare block from the skipper to see him safely to the non-striker’s end for the penultimate over, nobody could predict what would happen next. JP’s immaculate cover drive bounced off the nearest fielder, the ball went loose in the air, and like Usain Bolt from the non-striker’s end, Hobbs made his way to the danger zone. However, with pinpoint precision, the man standing at cover unleashed his left foot (seen here) and sent the ball crashing into middle stump. Out for 0(1). JP finished the innings well with a few nice 3’s, and the UWMCC finished on a fair 81-5 from their 10.

With it now being clear that #EHUBWDC were not quite as bad as they appeared, our minds needed to be focused and our fielding sharp for the coming 60 balls. After a fantastic team talk and JP taking 90% of the practice balls, Hobbs stepped up to bowl the first over. PING. 14-0. Davis took the second over and fared not much better. PING. 25-0. The third over brought a slight improvement, with the better of the two openers dragging one on to his own stumps but the man at the other end still managing to score nine runs. A piece of tactical genius was required. With opening bowler Davis struggling to find a good line in his first over, many skippers would have asked him to ‘take a blow’ and brought on someone else when we were in such desperate need to slow down the runs. Alas, allowing Davis to bowl one more was the correct decision, because the over brought a wicket for just a solitary run. Yes, that wicket was a run out, but we were back in the game. Six overs remained and the last four batsmen had 47 runs to score, and it was time for JP to step up and perform. From memory, that over went for about 6 runs, so at the
halfway stage of the innings the game was very much even.

The next two overs saw Davis bowl his last, ending with good figures of 3-0-20-0, and JP’s second, which included a smart catch from Jonno at point and some good bowling from JP, who enticed the batsmen to play and miss at many. With three overs to go, and the opposition three down and needing 26 runs, only Ed Cooper could help them. And he did. In an over that saw three wides costing the team three runs apiece, and a well-timed four, we were left with an awkward situation where we could no longer afford to give away cheap runs, a new concept to this team. JP was selected to bowl the penultimate over, and bowled it superbly, just three runs conceded and another run out from Andy Davis making it fairly even as we headed into the last over. Five needed to tie.

Hobbs’ first ball was patted back to the bowler, and as we noticed the newest man in for the other team was about 55 years old and 17 stone, we moved the field back slightly on the premise that he wouldn’t run a single anyway. Three balls later and bat had still not struck ball again, leaving the batting side needing five to tie and six to win off of just two balls. A well-struck leg drive from their remaining opener was fumbled by Cooper, and this allowed the batsman to scamper a single, although crucially the ball never touched the side netting (at least according to the umpire), so only two runs were awarded. After a quick team talk, in which we realised that unless the ball hit the back wall we would at least tie, the skipper ran in to bowl. Bizarrely, the overweight gentleman at the other end defended the ball, and was then called to run by his partner at the other end. With ball in hand, Hobbs was almost too busy doing the maths to remember to knock the bails off the stumps, but eventually realised
that we’d won either way.

Despite some drama after the game (JP losing his phone, declaring this to everyone in the building, and then finding it) the mood remained jubilant all the way back to campus, even when we struggled to put the petrol cap back on the WS vehicle after filling up. Next week’s fixture will take place at the later start time of 7.20 so we hope that this won’t disrupt our winning ways.

Final Scores:
UWMCC 81-5 (10)
#EHUBWDC 78-5 (10)