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Accentuate the Positives...

Posted by Pete Thompson on 29/04/2017 08:43

Last season I wrote three full-length match reports. Three thousand word monsters covering the full range of styles: the straight match covering gut wrencher to open the season; the award winning Dr Philstus daring to touch powerful literary forces; and an ode to ST to round things off. Each the subject of three or four drafts.  In fact I authored a fourth such report – the as yet unpublished winning captain’s account of the end of season clash of the titans. Maybe I will publish that one day. maybe I’ll keep it for my own remembrance in years to come.

Those reports were written off the back of emotional inspiration – in each game something touched me and inspired the effort.

This is not one of these reports. I have a proper job again and cannot spend three hours on a Monday morning working and reworking each sentence.

And yet I find myself writing today: the final duty of the losing captain in a game such as this. The final responsibility having led the team to a loss away from seeming certain victory.

I will not dwell on the misery, I will accentuate the positive.

Let us start with this: Jerome Pilley is back. Until the relentless rise of Bazarus The Deviant, he reigned supreme as the Tavs leading bowler and a handy batsman to boot. He played once last year but as a last minute replacement. Now he has netted through the winter and declared himself available for a cross-London slog and the first game of the season. Welcome back Silks.

We batted OK. An unusually low-scoring game at TMCC – possibly as the result of the accidental watering of the pitch the day before, certainly due to early season rust. Joe and Sewards both looked comfortable until they were out for 41 and 29 respectively. I had improved on last year’s first balled faced (bowled) in the most emphatic way imaginable (6, stuck dangerously close the skipper’s infant child in her pram which, had it been a metre straighter, would have been, to say the least, awkward) before getting out a few balls later trying to munt a decent length ball over midwicket.

Many of us left runs on the pitch and we were probably fifty runs short

That we got a defendable total (179) was due to a disciplined knock from the increasingly assured looking bat of PMX Starkings. He played a nice, contained innings and scored 57*. He has continued his form of last year and – dare I say it – the ton may be on if gets his chance to bat enough overs on a decent pitch.

He was supported by JB (10), Swindell (10) and a few other un-noteworthy single figure or non existent contributions.

Still 179 was something and all was not lost.

The bowling effort started very well with Beef Face and Sex Panther bowling very well to open things up. Wickets came steadily, off good and bad balls both. Swinders knocked someone’s off peg over with a peach: Jerome got two with rank full tosses slapped to Gopal at gully.

Still, everyone chipped in and as captain I was feeling blessed. Every change brought a wicket and no batters were getting settled. All bowlers used looked in decent enough form and we seemed to have a phalanx of seam options at our disposal.

Wickets kept coming and we had serenely moved to a position where we had them on the ropes and gasping for air at 116-9. It felt like all we needed was another piece of poor judgement, great bowling or luck. Certainly those factors had got us this far.

It started to feel a bit rum as the 9 and 11 appeared the least likely batsmen to give it away. They batted with excellent discipline and, with no scoreboard pressure, could afford to see off the better bowling. Extreme confidence turned into mild anxiety and, before long, despair, as these two clawed things ever closer.

You know what happened next. We lost. They knocked them off. It was dreadful. As I commented at the time, I have been part of some exotic Taverner losses from seemingly impregnable positions but this was right up there.

After 6 months of pre-orgasmic tension, gentle strokes without the release of ejaculation, the cruel, cruel mistress that is cricket thrashed us red raw whether we liked it or not and didn’t care whether we came or not. But – some cricket is better than no cricket and we are off and away. Lots to work on but lots to be pleased with.

Being a Saturday we got suitably blattered at the POW and the Wrestlers, and it all, as ever, ended in cheers.