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I Had a Dream...

Posted by Jeremy Smith on 12/05/2017 10:15

The Tavs came into the game against the Shakeys on the back of two agonising losses and a pdf. If truth be told the actual run goes back further but for now we were focusing on picking up our game and stopping this year’s rot. Oddly I was calm, because I’d had a dream the week before. Not one of those dreams that Stan has but a dream about cricket.

This dream was odd in many ways. One, because I don’t normally remember my dreams, two, because Rev was in it, but three because Rev opened the batting and outscored Joe. I quickly consigned this to a moment of slumbering insanity and moved on to reality on Sunday.

As ever, the game started with the Shakeys being late having chucked another team off the pitch, after they had already started, because they were on the wrong pitch. This dropped us to 35 overs a side but considering the denouement was after 7.30 thank god we were not playing 40. I actually won the second toss of the year and decided we’d chase so we knew what we were up against.

Fresh from checking the pdf we strode out to a good looking deck and some very short boundaries. Ollie first up kept things tight before Gopal unleashed a barrage of allsorts. Securing the first fine of the day for an 8 ball over with his first 2 balls, he moved onto something great. Could there be anything more excitable than a ‘bowled Iyer, caught Thomas’?! We can confirm that there cannot. Like Starkings in the bedroom, people were running everywhere. Kyle eyes. Balls being tossed in delight. Thomas had dived to his left to snaffle their opener for the first wicket down in the 2nd over. Huge.

This bought Toby to the crease and a modicum of calm over the game. Gopal was removed from the attack after another loose over and whilst Ollie kept things calm and controlled at one end, Jerome also didn’t last long from the other. To be fair, everyone from the changing room end went for many, including for the Shakeys, whilst the other end was where control lived. Like the bedroom, Starkings didn’t last long either before Baz flounced in to break the now 82 run partnership between their youthful opener and Toby by bowling Toby for just 17. We were fielding well, keeping the intensity up and were feeling good.

What happened next was a bit painful as hacker after hacker came to the crease with zero technique but excellent eyes. There were some pies bowled by all as they maintained a run a ball from their 4 and 5 supporting their opener who whilst still looking scratchy was punching some nice cover drives and really putting away the filth. Rev bowled well after a shaky first over and picked up their number 4, well caught by Gopes on the boundary before their farmer was bowled by Jerome who was back for his second spell. Sadly this bought Mo to the crease. He who hit me over a house a Woodside Park, hit 24 off Alo in just 3 balls in the 6s and who JB said just the week before hasn’t performed against us for a while. 12 balls of Jerome and Baz later he’d amassed 39 before I caught him at deep square. No wonder Barry chose not to remember this. I think he’d performed this time. Amongst all this, and I still maintain in the most underwhelming manner I’ve seen, their opener had amassed 157 not out and after a cameo by Adrian at the end (who I used to play with in my Shakey days so was glad to see back) they ended up on 294 off their 35 overs. 

Whilst demoralising at the time it didn’t feel out of reach as the boundaries were that small and we did great to chase down in the field and stick to it. We’d earned our chance to try and chase it. Ollie bowled 2 great spells to end with figures of 7 overs for just 24 and Baz got 2 for 48 off his 6. Everyone else went for 7 or more an over. Jerome, who, in his own words, has never bowled worse, ended up with 1 for 55 off his 4.

We had 3 teas. JB had told us there wouldn’t be one from the Shakeys so we all took rations. Stan, justifying the ROTY responsibility kindly bought tea and beers for everyone but surprising us all, the Shakeys put on a very reputable spread.

This is where my dream started to come true. I obviously didn’t open with Rev, but sent out the whippets Joe and Swampy to get us moving. My dream had us winning by 10 wickets with Rev on 148no and Joe on 109no. Eddie extras would need to perform to get us there, but to be fair he did score 40, so it was on.

Joe was feckin’ epic. Power, calm and timing. It was one of his most brutal, and beautiful innings I’ve seen. Racing to his 50 off 31 balls and then to 90 off just 53 balls before getting bowled by their replacement spin bowler in the 15th over after their 3rd injury of the game so far. This particular injury was caused by being hit for 6 off his first ball. Their spinner came on, looked innocuous for 1 ball and then bowled a worldy. Pitching a good way outside off and finding the top of off. Probably needed that or Joe would have stopped an event every Taverner who has graced this team was pleased to see. Not Swinders’ shrivelled Cyril Sneer, but something much more pleasant. We took some solace in being on 144 off just 15 overs when Joe got out as well as knowing we rarely win when Pinhead scores a ton. This was on. Sadly, this is where the brakes were applied. Their spinner was quite good. Vicky, off a run-up longer than JB’s or Stubbsy’s bowled slowly but accurately and was the only bowler from the clubhouse end with any reasonable figures and Starkings, myself, Stan and ST all flattered to deceive. My dismissal, in particular, was awful with a stumping off a pie merchant where I almost tripped up trying to get back. Rev’s bant about looking like a bear with piles as I sloped off was bang on. Secured Babycham moment without even a rival nomination. Even I would have voted for it. We’d gone from 184-2 to 212-5 when Jerome walked out. It was still very do-able, Swampy was in and now beyond his 50 and Jerome has previous in these situations, though pointed out he had scored about 5 runs in 3 years. 

They nudged and nurdled more than previously. Swampy putting away the now rarer filth. Slowly but surely, we crawled forward. With 5 overs to go we needed 50. We were ramping up. They bought back the opener who continued to go at 10 an over. Inconsiderately, they still had their spinner (who ultimately finished with 6 overs, 1 for 30) to come so we need to keep going early. 6 off the 31st, 9 off the 32nd, 12 off the 33rd, 7 off the 34th. We needed 19 off the last, but more importantly people will have noticed Swampy is still out there. What was his PB? went the chat. We assumed 80odd, but it was apparently 70odd and was well in the rear-view mirror for the great man. He started the final over on 96no. A 3 off a no-ball got him to 99. Jerome was on strike. He had previous as a man to steal strike for people approaching their first ton but this time a single was taken. Not what the match needed in this context but the greater moment was on. 4 balls remained. We needed 16, Swampy needed 1. Swampy got his one, and with the ball in long-on’s hand turned to push a 2. Ever a team man, pushing for victory. Jerome rightly sent him back and the ton was secure! What a man and on the ground where he had previously broken his toe in a fit of un-Swampy like rage! It was as Swampy an innings as you’ll see and to a man we were all delighted. Swampy less so. He had a game to win. Jerome was on strike and 3 balls remained. A tough ask and 5 runs later we ended up agonisingly short on 287-5.

My dream was busted. The opener (theirs and ours) had carried his bat and outscored Joe. Could there be a more popular Taverner to get on the board, but we’d lost. And like Starkings’ bedroom, the nasty type of streak continued. It was almost dark and we had to head home so had to apologise to the Shakeys for not going back to the Shakespeare and Pinhead apologised to Toby for offering him out, Essex style, and Toby apologised to Joe and Rev for being a bit gobby around some umpiring. It was all fine. We’re all looking forward to the next instalment in a 4-part series in 2017.

We went to a classic Rev East-end boozer to do fines. Champagne moment was fairly obvious, MoM also fairly obvious and by now the moment had sunk into Swamps and, rightfully, the cap was lifted for a 5 jug night (roll-over) by Mark. Hackney Marshes are now forever known as Hackney Swamps.