It is an understatement to say that the 4th XI were positively buzzing for the first game of season, Aston 2s at home. Skipper Jake Sittampalam was understandably eager to begin his tenure with a victory – as such a rather gun team greeted Aston, with additions from the 3s such as Mahir, Jaimin and Jewson. Having won the toss, Warwick elected to bat, on what Gujar would later describe as a ‘batting paradise’, right before top edging a full toss and getting out. However, openers Sittampalam and Hall did indeed make it look like said paradise, with the former cracking a delightful cut through point for a boundary off the first ball of the season. Surely there’s a term for that! Perhaps UWMCC openers are more familiar with the bowlers’ equivalent, which according to Wikipedia is a golden goose – citation is needed though. The opening pair raced to 31-0 by the fifth over; however, two wickets in two balls removed Sittampalam [15 (16)] and Hall [9 (18)], and early panic began to creep into the ranks. 31-2, and the 4s looked to the pair of Jaimin and Gujar to get them out of trouble with some of dat QE chemistry. This was not to be, as Jaimin [8 (11)] received a delivery that nipped back in to beat his defences and Gujar [0 (9)] was caught for a duck, which would see him duck doubling in circle. 39-4, and Mahir and Lippiatt found themselves together in the middle.
Mahir instantly seemed as if he was playing on a different pitch, if not in a different universe, to the rest of the batsmen, sending three of his first four balls to the boundary with panache that asked ‘crisis? What crisis?’ Evidently he misheard the skipper’s instructions of ‘dig in’ for ‘go out and send it’, a mistake apparently easily made. Mahir eventually fell with 40 (26) to his name, and this left Warwick in a peculiar situation – going at a rate of knots and with plenty of overs to bat, yet in a crisis at 94-5. Larkins [3 (8)] did not last long, providing a simple catch from a leading edge off of Aston’s leggie, and neither did Jewson, falling LBW to what seemed to be a trigger a la Jaimin Patel on tour, but what Jewson himself admitted was hitting a quarter of the way up middle. Lippiatt, forced to play the anchor role given the carnage taking place at the other end, was joined by Beauclerk at 119-7. This signalled the start of a fantastic partnership, with both batsmen initially playing cautiously and steadying the ship, before cutting loose towards the end. Lippiatt reached his fifty by licking a pull shot over square leg for six – and soon after both batsmen sought to accelerate. Helped by some errors in the field, the cautious Beauclerk, having reached 30 (49), was replaced by the swashbuckling Booclark, racing to 72* (78) – a seriously good knock. Beauclerk/Booclark was, however, playing second fiddle to Lippiatt, who flayed 24 runs from his final ten balls to reach a fantastic maiden UWMCC century – on debut no less. With a defensive technique forged in the fires of garden cricket, not even allowing for the possibility of a dismissal via one hand, one bounce; and attacking flair that exuded authoritative elegance, a century was no less than Lippiatt deserved. 105* (115) – the boy done good.
Their partnership took the game by the scruff of the neck and lifted Warwick to an imposing 282, and the 4s took to the field buoyed by this heroic effort. An early wicket to Hobbs, a just reward for some tight opening bowling in tandem with Beauclerk, sent the Aston opener back to the pavilion for a duck. Nevertheless, the other opener and number 3 played adeptly to steer Aston back on course after the early setback. Their partnership was concerning for skipper Sittampalam, as Aston seemed untroubled despite some solid bowling by Warwick. After consitenetly hitting a good line and good length, Jaimin got a well deserved wicket – winkling out the other opener. Warwick then started to exert control over the game with Kraus’ excellent spell – he was unlucky to have a catch dropped and a stumping not given by the Aston umpire; the latter incident enraging keeper Jewson, who politely informed the batsmen that there was a slight possibility that he was in fact, out. Hall and Larkins created further pressure with restrictive offspin, and wickets began to tumble. Credit must go to Hall, who despite not being in the best of rhythm picked up 5-31, figures which would later lead to an ICICN someone better than Hall without a baggy, much to the amusement of the circlers.
Credit must also go, however, to the work done by all the bowlers – Hobbs (1-23), Beauclerk (unlucky to go wicketless – 0-29), Jaimin (1-35), Kraus (1-20), and Larkins (2-35). Aston finished 182 all out, the impressive 100-run win a deserved margin of victory for Warwick. Kraus also took a freakishly good catch at midwicket, basically falling over and plucking the ball out of mid-air: obviously the 2p’ing at circle has been inadvertently training us to take one-handed blinders. Elsewhere, highlights include Dom Wood taking flight as he and his trusty bike fell prey to the dastardly ditch between the Cryfield pitches, on his way to catch skipper Sittampalam, who was blundering about somewhere seemingly haven forgotten that a cricket match was taking place. Larkins discovering a conversation in the notes section of his phone with a female at Kasbah, of which he has no recollection (the very same night that caused Jaimin to turn up still sent to the game on Tuesday – apparently it helps your batting). The transcription is as follows:
I said can’t you for one be a decent guy and not just try and kiss me
Overall, a fantastic start to the season – the fours heading into the forthcoming BUCS fixtures with momentum from a resounding victory over Aston and a skipper willing to fight tooth and nail for a win. Bring it on De Montfort.