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Back to the Future

Posted by Richard Horton on 18/08/2017 10:16

Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.
Let's get this out of the way up front. 
I might as well have punched that ball into the keeper's gloves*. I felt it flick my right thumb^. I'd have been fined for walking so I stood my ground¬. I was laughing my arse off that Starkings, standing as umpire, didn't see it*. It was natural justice that I was out next ball^. I'm a dirty rotten cheat¬.
Now that this has cleared the air, let's turn to the rest of the match.
The match against the Prince's Head in Richmond is one of the Taverners's earliest fixtures. It was after one of the first matches against them that we saw the oppo do a fines session. We liked it so much that we adopted fines and it is now a staple of our Tavs culture. Over the past few seasons the Prince's Head has struggled to get a team out regularly and they no longer do fines after matches because many players have to get away to other commitments. However, they have clearly turned a corner and we wish them the best of sporting luck in the future.
Over the years we've seen some epic wins and some humiliating losses on Richmond Green. We had an oppo player score a double century against us (his first ever century!), we've had streakers, we've had thousands of people watching and we've had batting and bowling masterclasses from our very own. 
This is an important fixture for us. It is one that reminds us of where we have come from and after this match it may also show us the future. The team that took the field would not have been out of place in 2006, 2007, 2008 or even 2009. Regulars from that era like Beckett (004), Dom Danos (025), Mark Sewards (030), Richard Horton (034) and Jerome Pilley (039) were turning out for yet another fixture against PH. 
Partly because the Gospel Oak to Barking Line was closed and partly because fewer Tavs are these days based in Highgate we all met at Highbury & Islington Station for the journey down to Richmond. Unfortunately, it was when we had all gathered that we heard the news that Gopal had withdrawn from the match due to a family emergency. We were going down with only 10 men and with a deteriorating weather forecast.
Luckily, Dom had brought his family to watch the game and his eldest son, Freddie, was kitted out in his whites. As the skies erupted with an almighty downpour and with Tavs huddled inside the PH for shelter, Freddie was handed his Tavs debut by the selection committee. Our second piece of fortune that day was that Richmond Green is local authority maintained and there isn't a groundsman on hand to determine if the pitch is playable. After a delay of 45 minutes or so post rainfall play started with Tavs being put into bat. Following in fine Danos tradition, Freddie went to lunch while we batted. 
As expected after such a torrential downpour on an uncovered wicket, it was a bit spicy. Balls that pitched just short of a length would rise viciously while fuller balls would die low. While Freddie was munching on his truffles and whitebait his father was in the middle with Mark Sewards. Both valiantly tried to get a measure of the wicket but both succumbed with only single figures to their names. Joseph Quinn rode his luck at number three and was dropped early doors. Ably supported by Pete Starkings and then Alan Browning, Quinn reached a well deserved half century. Browning quickly accelerated into the 90s and was not out at the end of the match. A traditional middle order collapse with scores of 0, 0, 5 and 4 were registered by Mark Blunden, Richard Horton, Jerome Pilley and Oliver McGuinness. A defendable total of 189 was posted. 
Thanks to El Pres for standing for 35 overs to umpire before traveling north to the Scarborough Cricket Festival.
A quick turnaround and we took the field. In doing so, Freddie Danos became the 122nd player to represent the Highgate Taverners and became the youngest player to do so. An honour that had been held jointly by Sean Beckett (040)  and James Sewards (041) since 2006. What a trooper! Our bastard of a captain made the debutant run from fine leg to fine leg after every over. Freddie fielded with confidence proving that he had a better arm than many of the more established Tavs by sending the ball back to the keeper from the boundary's edge on numerous occasions. Freddie quickly got into the bants and shouted encouragements and was the main high-fiver during the match. When we broke for drinks after 17 overs, he had to go home much to his and our disappointment but without him we would have been down to 10 men and the game may have ben lost because of the big holes in the field that would have created.
Bowling-wise, this was a fantastic pitch for McGuinness (two wickets) and suited his style of play. Two of our record holding bowlers, (Pilley with two and D. Danos with three) were also in the wickets. Unfortunately Blunden followed his duck with a difficult bowling spell and a pink cap winning dropped catch. Horton, Beckett and even Starkings held our bowling together before Browning tidied up the tail with three wickets. PH were bowled out within 33 overs. A good win in testing conditions for the Tavs and rightly Freddie Danos was awarded Man of the Match for stepping in to make his debut and playing with such fantastic enthusiasm. Here's hoping he plays as many games as his father for HTCC! We had a glimpse of Tavs future that day.
To know and to not know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully-constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them; to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it...
*The ball hit my forearm.
^The ball hit my forearm.
¬The ball hit my forearm.
*The ball hit my forearm.
^The ball hit my forearm.
¬The ball hit my forearm.