1s .v. Old Boys XI

The ‘Warwick Wanderers’ which was so often speculated about in the Wack Shack last year has yet to really emerge, but there was a welcome return of an Old Boys fixture on the 25th of June at Cryfield. Kraus assembled a very impressive team on paper; Bradshaw, David, Thornley, Williams, Naker, Gonszor, Cooper, Jewson, Clayden and the Rozzer himself. Observant readers may note this only amounts to 10 players; Tedmonds living up to his reputation by alerting Kraus at midnight on the eve of the game that his flight from America was delayed, thus ruling himself out of the fixture.
Despite previous chat from Bradshaw of a quiet night in on the Saturday and an early morning net to get his eye in, UWMCC’s most outrageous drunkard was very much out of his cage by about 10pm. Inspired by Sittampalam’s recollection of his 8 overs for 8 runs earlier in the day (apparently he has mastered the wide-of-the-crease delivery), Chatshaw made certain to inform everyone at the Den pre-drinks that he was in great form, having scored a ‘chanceless’ 78 for Hampstead 2s earlier the day. His incessant boasting may have been the cause of his removal from Smack later on, but equally it might have been his deviant behaviour or his insistence of buying drinks for “cheap” people at the bar, despite having no money himself. Either way, the former 2s captain rather amusingly lost one of his shoes in the process of leaving the premises, hobbling down the parade and headbutting Kraus in the latter’s attempts to carry him home.
Rather remarkably then, Bradshaw seemed in fine fettle the next morning in comparison to the other alumni who had returned for the night out. (Special mention to non-players Howe, Sittampalam and Stodhart who returned for night out/chopping/cricket watching purposes). Indeed, the state of those staying in Casa del Jewson was probably best indicated by the arrival of the majority of the old boy team in Clayden’s Honda Jazz (the driver in full whites due to his lack of clothes) at about 11:55 for a 12:00 start. Their tardiness was overshadowed by the inexplicable late arrival of keeper Millman (Goodyear unable to keep due to no contact lenses) and Gujar. Enforcing an MCC style toss, the alumni team were hoping for a raring start against a weary looking UWMCC team of Lippiatt, Millman, Rooty, Gujar, Goodyear, Ferdi, Hall, Bex, Jaimin, Jake Probert, and Jezza.
It was not to be, however. Much to the jubilation of everyone (and I do mean everyone) involved, Bradshaw was removed by Jezza for a second-ball duck, well caught by Jaimin at gully. Gujar certainly enjoyed it, running over from square-leg and shouting “you’re shit, you’re shit” in JB’s face as he kindly escorted him off the pitch. Whilst it could only go downhill from there for the current UWMCC, the scale of the slide was perhaps unanticipated, especially when Liam and Thornley got into their full flow. After a clumsy start, Rooty bowled tidily (especially to Thorns), whilst the less said about Jezza’s and Jaimin’s spells at the other end the better. Thornley then took a liking to the spin-attack of Rex and Probert, including some monster hits that we all associate Thorns with. David batted virtually without a chance until he missed a sweep off Ferdi, with Thorns falling to the same bowler not long afterwards having been caught by a very surprised Hall on the boundary.
Despite a scratchy start, Williams was bowled into form by Hall’s first over, half-volleys aplenty and duly dispatched, somewhat typically telling the bowler to “put your sweepers back you knobhead”. Before not too long, Williams was revealing some of his claimed 9 sweep shots available to him – making him the third old boy to reach his half-century. However, like Liam and Thornley before him, Williams failed to push on, caught on the boundary by one of his own self-placed sweepers off the bowling of Hall. In the meantime, despite essentially being a professional cricketer this summer, Vivek was stumped after a fairly clumsy shot off Ferdi who was the pick of UWMCC’s bowlers. Gonszor was dropped by Lippiatt and (unsurprisingly) Gujar which would prove costly, as he carried the old boys innings towards the end, even despite the effective dooring of Jewson and (to an extent) Cooper. In a homage to Kunwar Khan’s beige trousers, Clayden remarkably came out to bat in a frankly awful grey fleece and clearly bringing the game into disrepute. His batting was equally as underwhelming, despite his particularly charming way of skipping down the wicket. Gonszor fell in the 39th over for another 50+ score, and Kraus, probably nervous given his forced promotion to number 10, fell in the final over, giving Hall his fourth catch of the innings and closing the innings at 246 all out – an impressive batting performance from UWMCC’s esteemed alumni. (Trivia: Rikki Clarke has the most catches in a first-class innings as an outfielder with 7, which seems quite remarkable.)
In response, current UWMCC’s innings failed to really get going at the high run-rate required, with Clayds bowling very nicely and no doubt frustrating the Horsley and Send Cricket Club selection panel after having played only once this year. Lippiatt’s struggles were only further compounded by Kraus’s chat, probing with the age old question of how old Mrs. Lippiatt is. Undoubtedly in a fury of rage with the smug grin on the lanky twat’s face, Lippiatt attempted to go over the top of mid-on, instead finding the safe hands of Effingham CC’s resident match-winner, Edward Cooper. Millman took a little bit of a liking to Kraus with some archetypal swatting, but an unexpectedly conservative innings from Rooty meant that UWMCC were still slumbering at 71-2 after 20 overs. I can’t really remember what happened in the next period of play beyond laughing at Kraus’s comical walking-in technique (which is perhaps indicative of the cricket itself), but UWMCC ended up on 117-4 off 29—largely due to the economical bowling of Gonszor, though Williams would probably like to claim some credit too.
With the required rate above 11, even the powerful hitting of Goodyear and Rex stood little chance of chasing down the required score. With the match situation sliding into irrelevance, Cooper was given the ball and struck quickly, removing Rex leg before. He had another victim shortly afterwards, Hall top edging a second-ball reverse sweep into his chest, Jewson taking a tidy catch diving forwards. Jaimin was the beak’s third victim, bowled with a cunning quicker ball. While these three batsmen made the bishop look like Graeme Swann in full flow, Goodyear restored normality by twatting Cooper around Lakeside en route to 85* and UWMCC’s total of 223-7 off their 40 overs.
While UWMCC’s chase failed to live up to expectations, it was a fine 24 hours and an event well worth repeating (and potentially expanding) in the author’s humble opinion – if only to watch Bradshaw snick off for a duck again. To end on a suitably boring note, credit must go to Kraus for almost single-handedly organising the fixture; if such a dopey individual can do that alone we must look to better our current alumni links with events such as this.