It was an overcast, typical Midlands morning when the fresh-dominated 1st XI rocked up to Bluebell Carpark 2 for an 8:50am meet on June 5th. When Sacha, Krishan and Bird arrived perfectly on time, they were taken aback by the shock that Mihir was the only other member of the side to have arrived. As the four lumbered into the bus, others slowly arrived in 1s and 2s, much like Mihir’s run rate in the varsity win the day before. Despite the jubilation the day before, the mood now was more of a tired, sombre one. One exciting exception however was when Mr Mailman arrived in sunnies and chino shorts, exposing his blinding bleach-white legs for all to see. He entered with that wide and slightly annoying grin of his, explaining his chinos had ripped and there was no way he could acquire any trousers by any means. As a result, the day had just begun, yet the fines system surely would have claimed many victims if Mihir hadn’t outlawed it at the start of the season.
We headed down to Moseley CC on a fairly uneventful journey. Some attempted to revise for upcoming tests, but to little use as the heart-stalling and bus-stalling coach driver blasted out One Direction on the radio. Once we arrived, many were in awe of the number of sightscreens, they had so many that even the nets had their own. Proper club Moseley CC. Straight into the changing rooms, Sohil whips out his big fuck off speaker and the match preparations had truly begun. Many headed to the nets for throw downs and bowling where notably Sacha nailed Krish on the foot, almost breaking it. Not a nice way to repay being made some pasta for breakfast.
Kick off in the football warm up finally took place and simultaneously, Warwick finally had 11 men as Jarris arrived late having walked 5 minutes up the road, levelling up the numbers for fresh v non-fresh football (Randall is still fresh). Inevitably fresh take the lead with an excellent example of 5-aside play: get it out wide, cross in a floaty ball for an eager teammate (Fagan) to head home. The fresh were truly outrunning the opposition with the Friday fitness clearly not working for likes of Louie. Despite all this pressure and heavy mettle football being played by the fresh, the old men knew how to defend and were resilient, limiting movements expertly. Eventually, this low-pressure approach worked as the fresh got more desperate to score than Randall wanting to go to circle and were hit on the break with an easy tap-in as no keeper was at home. The game dragged on and one-step pens were called. Mihir summoned all his futsal experience to eventually lose to the mighty fresh 1-0 in the shootout.
On to the proper warm-up and toss which was lost, and we prepared to field. Many catches were taken, and many balls were bowled, but significantly, several UWMCC clubmen were asked by the groundsman to help take the covers off the pitch. Being respectful and polite people, we obliged and helped, however, this was the first example of the lacklustre and sloppy approach Birmingham took to the game as a whole.
UWMCC opened up with Jonnie Fagan and Jimmy Harris, an interesting tactic that ultimately paid off as Jarris took an early wicket bowled through the gate. At the other end, despite struggling on to find his line with a left-hand and right-hand partnership, Jonnie’s pace and movement proved too much as he claimed a wicket for himself with an excellent delivery hitting top of off.
Sohil came on at the far end and the same pattern continued as he picked up 2 wickets of his own, one of which appeared to be a very dubious LBW. From the other end Randall attempted to bowl but obviously was struggling from back issues, so Krishan was thrown the ball and proceeded to bowl slower than he wacks purple, allowing time for the batsman to place the ball where they wanted. These loopy deliveries did produce a couple of chances however. One of said chances, Krishan put down off his own bowling, showing similar reaction speed to the one he let go at slip, the other was put down by Sohil in the deep having horribly misjudged the flight of the ball. The extras continued to flow from both ends, but so did wickets as we quickly had Birmingham 48-4.
The next period of the game was distinctly average from Warwick 1s in terms of both fielding and bowling. Balls were misfielded, catches were put down and bowlers struggled to find their areas, continuing to bowl wides and boundary balls. Luckily, what must be assumed to be a weakened Birmingham 1st XI side tended to get themselves out and we did not have to bowl or field extraordinarily well to make steady breakthroughs.
Eventually it was obvious we needed a change so Mihir brought Jarris back on who bowled by far the best spell of the day, picking up 4 wickets in his second spell and a superb 5 wicket haul from his 10 overs. Fagan replaced him and picked up our ninth wicket, beating the batsman for pace. We pushed hard for the final wicket, however, their number 6 who had looked like a walking wicket for his whole innings, somehow ended up on 50. Eventually, golden-arm George Ballington was brought on to offer some slow half volleys to try and bring the number 11 out of his defensive shell. Inevitably, he bowled a juicy half volley on middle and leg which was hit straight to Dan Lewis, who was clearly thinking about tea, judging by how shocked he looked as the ball came to him.
All in all, we were disappointed with the bowling effort as we knew we had given away 30/40 runs too many, however, we knew that in the context of the game, this was a very gettable total, and congratulations to Jimmy Harris who picked up the first baggy of the season with his 5 wickets.
Teas were quickly forgotten as they were distinctly average, chips with no ketchup was the kind of level. Sacha and Krishan were set to open, a very aggressive decision. First ball Sacha nearly got out, luckily inside edging onto his pad as he played out a maiden from their left arm over opener. Krishan played a nice cover drive to get off the mark, however, he quickly edged to gully and was sent packing in the second over. Louie came, with the two looking to rebuild, a more defensive approach was agreed on. However, despite Sacha attempting to follow this plan by nailing a forward defensive into his pad, he was unbelievably given out for 0. Not only did he hit the ball, which was heard from the boundary, the ball also hit his pad above the knee and the ball most likely pitched outside leg (remember this is left-arm over the wicket). Mid-off proceeded to run in and tell Sacha he was in fact definitely not out, rubbing salt into the wounds, as Sacha was put on scoring when he returned to the side-lines, ruining his day further and indicating he had had proper TFC.
Dan came in at 4 once again looking to rebuild. The two senior players were going nicely, at a good rate and looked in little trouble. However, when Louie lazily got bowled through the gate, several clubmen were having flashbacks of the Coventry match the day before. Mihir, who was injured was determined not to bat so sent himself way down the order as Joe walked in. This partnership blossomed as Joe looked determined to not get beaten and Dan was punishing bad bowling that came his way with well executed pull shots and cover drives. Dan strolled to 50, with frequent shouts of ‘save em’ from skips as the ball regularly hit the fence, putting Warwick in the driving seat and putting us in touching distance of a win that would also give us a plus 2 NRR. Despite Krishan’s woeful adding, the scoreboard was looking good for us. Dan, despite taking apart the bowling, was told by a fielder he only had one shot, which made no sense as firstly, they had basically only bowled balls to pull, and secondly, Dan got bowled attempting to play a pull shot 2 balls later.
As Dan came back, Sohil went out and came back again before Dan could take his pads of as he was cleaned up first ball. Bird was sent in to finish the game and showed good grit and determination to see us over the line in 29 overs, with Randall ending up on 40 not out.
Overall, we were happy with the result despite the first half of our performance not being up to standard, the batting was excellent, regardless of a slight wobble at the start. As tradition we sat in a circle and had a debrief with the CC, who tried his hardest to pick up a TFC as he didn’t even keep, stating he had ‘no thoughts’ on the game. Jarris picked up the MOTM award and a baggy, deservedly so, and we headed to Varsity for a post-match pint to end a successful day.