With the Warwick 1s being relegated and the Birmingham 1s just a win away from promotion, Friday’s game seemed to be more of a formality than a competition. Indeed, with a team of 2s, 3s, and 4s players it appeared we weren’t even treating it as a winnable BUCS game. Once Barclay had rolled out of bed (a good 40 minutes late for his lift) and abandoned his less than pleased chop, we were on our way with hangovers aplenty.
Despite the weakness of our team, consisting of only two 1s regulars in Suraj and Clayden, it was a glorious day, and with exams finished we all agreed that this was the sort of day cricket was invented for. Seeing Kynaston rock up in the wrong attire had provided much comic relief for our team, as well as the considerations over what fruits we shall go to Edgbaston as. The Birmingham pitch was a good’un, seemingly hard and bouncy, with a nice stand for Denne to relax in and enjoy the top notch journalist standards The Sun provides, despite his annoyance at the lack of nudity on page 3. Things got off to a shaky start with a still drunk Barclay nearly being killed by high catching practise due to his refusal to bail, but the commitment of the bloke to keep going for them was admirable.
Stand in skippers Bradshaw/David won the toss and opted to bat, providing a moment of elation for the tired Warwick expendables 11, eager to sit down and stop warming up. The Bradshaw/David team talk was a simple one, take pride in your wicket, do your job and make the rare appearance for the 1s count. Liam and Bradshaw opened up, and were faced by a rather fast opener, who looked dangerous early doors. Our shortest opening partnership ever did not last long, both being removed by fast straight deliveries, the ball nearly going for 6 after cannoning into Bradshaw’s off stump. BD fell soon after, but a number of batsmen in Suraj, Barclay and Gujar did their best to stick around and see off the gun bowlers, who were undeniably slightly better than our batting lineup. A headsgone expansive drive from Jaimin brought Clayden and Sittampalam to the crease, who batted very well, Jake in particular pleasing the on-looking crowd with some determined batting and tough spirit. Our 4s captain eventually fell with a good 28, but he was still determined he should’ve done better. Dat #youfours mentality. Clayden received a brutal bouncer, which was popped to slip, and the number 11, Kraus, continued his run of being physically incapable of holding a bat. RIP the infamous 2014 BUCS average. In total we had clawed our way to 107 and as a group on 2s/3s/4s players we weren’t too disheartened, it’s not as if we got bowled out for 45 like a bunch of whoppers.
Tea – gun, you can’t beat a curry and quiche.
With a few stirring words from the skippers and team in the changing room it was back out to bowl, our hopes were high but expectations were low. However, I have never seen a team quite so pumped at the start of the innings, and this was exacerbated by some serious wheels from Clayden first up. Birmingham were eager to boost up their run rate, playing some aggressive shots, so wickets were always possible. The brains trust of tacticians decided to bring Kraus on to open, bowling against a severe slope, and it brought results instantly with the batsmen unsure which way the ball was turning. With some good bowling and fielding Clayden and Kraus took 3 wickets in the first few overs, and it looked like we might spoil the party for the substantial crowds of Birmingham supporters. BD proved to be impenetrable in the field, throwing himself all over the place, rumours of him becoming the new Durex spokesman as nothing gets through. The much discussed phenomenon of ‘students being perennial bottlers’ reared its ugly head again, as a 3 wickets for Kraus and another for Clayden saw us reduce Birmingham to 25/5. Clayden’s second wicket being one of the nastiest fast deliveries I have ever seen – jagging towards the batsman’s throat at serious speed, flicking the glove and thundering into Liam’s sore hands. Birmingham’s no. 5 provided some stability and normality to the game with a technically perfect defense, and some heads on batting. Kraus picked up another wicket, a good catch at deep mid-wicket from Suraj, but the left handed no. 5 wasn’t going anywhere. He single handedly dragged Birmingham towards the 108 mark by blocking out Kraus and Clayden’s spells and putting away the rare bad ball. A fine knock indeed. BD and Suraj couldn’t make a breakthrough, and Birmingham had survived the scare we gave them by 4 wickets, clinching promotion.
I honestly couldn’t have been much prouder of our 1s yesterday, who could have very easily lost by a huge margin yesterday. The mentality and preparation we displayed was impeccable and as a result we nearly beat one of the best 1s teams in the league, despite a weakened team. I suspect that on a different day, and with one more 1s batsman we could’ve won that game through will power alone.