In what seemed like a flash, the final indoor match of the term was upon us, a game billed as the 3rd/4th place playoff between UWMCC and the only team to have beaten us in the competition, Warwick CC. An experienced team of Goodyear, Jewson, Sittampalam, Cook, Hobbs and Peters set out from the sports centre keen on exacting revenge on the side that a few weeks earlier had thwarted their ambition of becoming Coventry indoor league champions.
Despite the brief fear that we had forgotten the way to the hall, Jewson skilfully manoeuvred the minibus across the perplexing roundabout system and we arrived at the hall in time for a thorough warm up, batsmen and bowlers preparing themselves for what we all knew would be a tough game (JP naturally hogged the ball to perfect his leg spin in the arctic conditions). As is customary in this format, Clobber decided to bat first, and the opening pair of Goodyear and Jewson squeezed themselves through the door that would have impressed Tim Burton for all its unnecessary complexity, and strode to the shortened wicket.
The opening pair looked assured at the crease, manoeuvring the ball around for some well-run threes and after a couple of overs the UWMCC score was extremely healthy. The dominance didn’t last for long though, with Jewson being run out for a score that we reckon was 13, (the umpire didn’t help us out in any regard, let alone scoring, more on that later) bringing Jake to the crease. Business as usual resumed for the following couple of overs, some smart running and a couple of excellent fours down the ground brought Goodyear to the retiring score of 25, a priceless contribution.
The new partnership of Sittampalam and Cook kept up the steady process, until Jake lobbed a full ball back to the bowler, and Jono was run out, finishing with scores of 13 and 9 respectively. Clobber and JP then held on for a while down the order, until it was cut short by what was probably the most ridiculous run out in cricketing history.
Hobbs played a nice shot down the ground, which ran under the boot of the gentleman at long on, hitting the back wall which constitutes four runs and must therefore constitute a dead ball, right? Wrong (according to the business student come umpire at least). Clobber was halfway down the wicket when the ball hit the back wall, and was left stranded when an opposing fielder picked up the aforementioned ball and threw down the stumps. The umpire raised his business student finger, deciding to the disbelief and horror of Clobber and the UWMCC boys that, much like a game of ice hockey, there is no concept of a ‘boundary’, and that Warwick CC were well within their rights to run him out. He was clearly wrong, but anyway, back to the action.
Goodyear came back to the crease as the last man standing, and managed to add a couple more runs, being largely restricted by some tight bowling, before being bowled. UWMCC had amassed a very competitive total of 76, and knew that if they bowled as well as they could, victory should be theirs.
Hobbs opened the bowling with pinpoint accuracy, conceding just a few runs, only to see this advantage wasted by Cook whose first (and unsurprisingly, only over) was dispatched for 11. Luckily, the rest of the bowling was impeccable, with Clobber’s three overs costing 19 runs, and Jake, Jewson and JP keeping it very tight at their ends.
With the scores evenly poised at the halfway point of the innings, another flashpoint occurred, again involving Warwick CC’s overly combative captain. Off the bowling of Sittampalam, the batsman leant back and creamed a pull straight into the square leg umpire, only for the ball to fall kindly to Cook, who threw the ball back to the bowler, leaving the batsman well short of his ground. The Warwick CC captain, sporting a red and black football top with the name Austin on the back (leading us to assume he was a QPR fan, when in fact, he supported Bournemouth for some reason) took issue with the umpire’s decision of a run out, claiming that when the ball hits the umpire it is dead, in stark contrast to his earlier argument that the ball was never really dead. Thankfully, after the umpire slid out of the net looking like he was going to be sick, he returned with the news that ‘Austin’ was in fact out.
UWMCC closed the match out with the sort of class that wins tournaments, Jewson’s over costing just 3 three runs, whilst Jake and JP each bowled two overs which went for 12 and 8 respectively. A highlight of this closing period was a thunderous straight heave by the batsman which was parried by bowler JP and caught smartly by Jake, leaving captain and club wit Connor to ask if Austin thought this was a dead ball as well. After a lot of finger pointing and a fairly tense last couple of overs, UMWCC restricted their opponents to just 56 runs to ensure a comfortable victory.
The lads headed back to the bus, content with a job thoroughly well done, and were extremely happy to finish the season on a positive note. All eyes turned to next term, where the UWMCC team will no doubt return stronger and better equipped for a title challenge.