The Warwick Sports Centre reception was again the scene of anticipation as the UWMCC team of Sam Platt, Ollie Carter, James Murphy, George Ballington, Kishan-Kieran Patel and Captain Cooper gathered to board the bus for yet another trip to the infamous Connexion Arena. Some suspect late arrivals meant a tricky way through traffic, although this provided time to listen to Cooper’s surprisingly in depth knowledge of all things Taylor Swift, 2008-current (her first album is on white ‘innocent’ love and second is on red ‘lustful’ love apparently). After Cooper’s obligatory stall in the roadworks (“I thought I’d held it too”) we arrived, eager to play. Not for the first time this term though, a mix up around who and when the game was on meant an hour warm up for the boys which meant some classic indoor football could take place, UWMCC as professional as ever. [Your editor is pleased to reveal that in fact UWMCC would be pumped by Warwick CC in a hastily-arranged friendly. #WarwickGate]
Cooper won the toss and elected to bat with himself and Platt opening. Things got off to a bad start as Cooper was caught off the third ball after an unfortunate bounce off the wall fell straight into the hands of the fielder. The second over delivered more bad news as Platty was well bowled for a duck off an excellent ball. Number three and Ballington played well and showed signs of good indoor form for his 10 before pushing too hard at a short ball to be caught. Carter and Patel kept the scoreboard ticking at a nice pace, punishing the shorter and legside bowling for threes before Carter was very harshly deemed to have been run out which left UWMCC teetering on 43/4 off just 5.4 overs. Knowing the strength of our bowling attack, Patel and Murphy knew it was vital to ensure all the overs were used up and both batsmen batting sensibly, including strong running between the wickets, with both men still there for the last over. Patel departed caught and bowled in the last over, but 15 runs were still plundered off it thanks to some streaky edges from Murphy, leaving Murphy on 19*, Patel with 28 and UWMCC posting a very defendable 85 off the ten overs.
With potentially all five outfield players as bowling options, it seemed certain that Warwick were destined to victory. Ballington showed good control with the ball to leak only three runs from his over and took the opening wicket, caught by Platt, while Murphy took time to find his line but also bowled economically. Platt, as always, proved too much for the opposition with beautiful swing bowling but couldn’t quite find the outside edge. UWMCC maintained their high standards in the field, despite the opposition’s questionable batting techniques and lack of gloves, with two excellent run outs. Initially, Cooper used his wealth of indoor experience to pick up cleanly off the wall and take the bails off before a superb instinctive turn and throw in the corner from Murphy ended in a direct hit despite no call at all from team mates. Two more wickets fell as Carter and Platt both had batsmen clean bowled before their number six dispatched George for a maximum out of nowhere to leave the capacity crowd shell shocked. Could a miraculous turn around happen? No. He was to be caught soon after, with an unnecessary left handed grab from Murphy for the cameras, leaving the opposition 34 all out, giving UWMCC a comfortable 51 run win.
After Cooper had a chat with the lovely Wendys in charge of the fixtures, learning of a Warwick streaker’s exuberance at the Varsity game, we boarded the bus back, everyone happy with a solid win. A stall-less journey rounded off what was a good day for the boys, who are strongly posed to be competing yet again against arch rivals Warwick CC in the final.