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The Matrix (and other drops)

Posted by Tom Maloney on 15/08/2017 13:54

On what seemed like the first sunny day in weeks the Tavs made the long trip north to Rowley Lane. As per previous games at the venue, not a car or person were in sight. Begging the question that we were either incredibly early or at the wrong ground. 
As the Tavs slowly piled in we made our way to the square where we were greeted with what looked like a fairly dusty but playable track. Some keen eyes then realised that that wasn’t our pitch, and that the one we were playing on was still covered, much to the puzzlement of the lads. This was the first sun in weeks, why was it covered? With no groundsman within cooee, the boys decided to wheel the covers to the boundary. Thus bringing our first Moment of Madness for the day. Alan Browning, in his infinite wisdom, thought that wheeling the covers off directly towards the boundary was a good idea. Thus leaving tire tread across the pitch. 
The coin was flipped and Jem called correctly. We were to bowl first on what seemed like a very sporting wicket. Ollie and Alo to start proceedings. 
Ollie’s blitzkrieg approach had the batsmen guessing, mostly correctly, as a few short balls were dispatched early. Alan, steady as ever bowled good channels but couldn’t find an edge. 
With the openers steadily ticking the score over, it was time for Tmal and Bobby to have a crack. Bobby, still fresh off his Man of Tour status, found a huge edge off their better opener which was safely caught by Scott. 'Not out', said the umpire, much to the bemusement of the Tavs. “You’ve got to walk” and “That’s not cricket” was muttered towards the bat who refused to admit that he’d smashed it. It was up to the non-striker to inform the umpire that he’d practically middled it to the keeper. He was on his way and the Tavs had the break through. The very next over, Tmal had the other opener caught behind for another catch for Scott. Black Rose were 2 down for 47 and the Tavs were right on top.
Ollie, back on for his second spell took care of their number 4 as Doc took a catch low-down at square leg. Then number 5 fell soon after, which was the Champagne moment of the day. A ball too full to cut from Jem was edged sharply to Tmal at gully who took the catch to his right. Number 6 fell soon after with Jem taking his second wicket. The wickets were falling, however their number 3 dispatched anything straight or short to the boundary to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
Out strode their captain at number 7. Judging by the size of the man, and the club he was wielding, he looked as though he could make some quick runs. And he did just that. Tmal’s 5th over went for a healthy 19, and before we knew it, Black Rose were flying past 200. With some handy death bowling, Bobalo claimed the last two wickets. Bobby finally claiming their centurion who was caught by Swampy with a brilliant outfield catch.
Black Rose - 9/232 off 40 overs
Special mentions:
- Ollie  - ‘Matrix catch’ - had to be seen to be believed. A very firmly struck on drive, never getting higher than eye-level was hit half a metre to Ollie’s right. Instead of taking half a step in that direction and catching it, Ollie went one handed, while falling backwards. Think 'Neo dodging bullets in the Matrix'.
- Scott - What should have been a regulation catch behind the stumps, somehow turned into a ‘long barrier’ that avoided both his gloves and the long barrier. This was awarded the Pink Cap.
- Twiggy - dropping the centurion. Not much more to be said there. 
- Joe - taking advice from Jem to ‘be on his toes’ very literally and subsequently, stopping everything hit his way. Toe Quinn
After our meat and crustaceanless tea, Joe and Swampy strode out to the middle. A very gettable target was the consensus and that 230 was ‘about par’. Joe dispatched the very first ball of the game for a tree-high 6. There were a few chuckles and “Game Over” I could have sworn was muttered. Not long after, Swampy departed after playing on and we lost our first wicket with the score on 26. Not to worry, we bat down to 11. 
Alan, who was fresh off a few innings' that would make Bradman blush, was in next. He made a 6 ball duck. On his way past the non-striker and the umpire he exclaimed, “I was due”. 
In next was Pete Starkings. Although, this shouldn’t have been the case. Twiggy was due in at 4. But where was he? He was taking a shit. 
Pete hung around for a few overs but subsequently fell for 5 runs. Incredibly trying to recreate Matthew Hayden’s sweeping technique in India. Pete missed, they hit. 
A much lighter Twiggy came bounding out to crease, however, his second ball careered into the woodwork and he was left to ponder what could have been if he came in at 4. 
As the pitch started resembling Hyderabad on day 5, 232 seemed like a mountain to climb. Some bright spark mentioned that this was why the covers were still on at 1pm. There were many nodding heads in agreeance. 
At 43/4 the skipper joined Joe. A steady knock of 15 that could have been at least 25 if not for the missed runs, came to and end when he was caught out. A middle order batting collapse not witnessed since the early days of July 2017 against Philanderers CC was unfolding. 4 wickets were lost for 17 runs, things were looking dire. 
Doc came to the crease, punched gloves with Joe and then was on his way back to the pavilion. As did Bobby. Both out without troubling the scorers. 
Despite the carnage, Peter was still extremely buoyant on the sidelines, claiming that this was still doable and that we still have a lot left in the shed. There weren’t any replies, only a few half smiles and nods. 
Tmal, at 9, was in next. Maybe a left hander would fare better against their potent spin attack. With the game pretty much over, it was a matter of getting a semi-respectable score on the board. Which meant giving the strike to Joe. His 50 runs came soon after his new batting partner came to the crease. As the strike was given to Joe, he knew exactly what to do with it. Balls were flying to the boundary and over it, runs had finally started to flow again. As consecutive balls landed in the tennis courts, their captain realised that there were only 60 more needed off 7 overs. Not likely, but there was still a collective puckering of b-holes as Joe looked formidable. 
Joe’s second 50 came at an astonishing rate as he passed another 100, and subsequently 1,000 runs for the season. Although it was all over not long after as a mistimed blow down to long on was safely caught. 98 was the partnership and a new 9th wicket Tavs record stood. 
Tmal was out not long after, hauling out to long on with his score on a PB of 34. Scott and Ollie were the last pair at the crease. That was until Scott’s swashbuckling innings came to and end with the score on 185. Ollie was stranded on a solid 0* from 0 deliveries. 
The Tavs had lost by 47 runs and were thoroughly outplayed by 10 Black Rose men. Unable to cope with this, the Tavs agreed that the real points were to be awarded after a game of 1T1B, however, this was not relayed to Black Rose so the game unfortunately didn’t go ahead. 
Happy to get out of Rowley Lane, the Tavs made their way to the Prince. An extremely large fines session saw many of the XI max out and the jugs flow. 3 Jugs for Joe, 2 for Tmal and 1 for Ollie in his 100th game. 
MOTM was unanimously awarded to Joe and the pick of the bowlers was Bobby for taking 3 for 45 in a very runsy Black Rose innings. The Babycham moment, of course, had to go to Ollie for the ‘Matrix catch’.