by Toby Haslam
Following the inaugural Vinos v Vinos match on the Saturday there were a few aching bodies and aching heads arriving at the ground for the season’s first friendly match proper… nothing a shot of homebrew Slivovice couldn’t sort out, and the mood was soon vibrant and full of optimism for the match ahead.
Vinos drew first blood with captain Voijta winning the toss (well done skip) and elected to bat with what (on paper) looked like a strong batting line-up.
Certainly the opening partnership went some way to prove that with Mik and Rahul demonstrating some disciplined batting, seeing off the new ball and picking their way through the wayward deliveries with some fine strokes. Unfortunately just one run shy of a 50 opening partnership Rahul was trapped right on the toe of his size 10s to go lbw for 18 runs. Still, the foundation was laid and duly added to when Tarique joined Mik at the crease. Playing a perfect Boycott-esque foil to Mik’s attacking play, Tarique eventually fell for 11 but between them they had put on over 50 for the second wicket.
Unfortunately the fall of the third wicket signaled a middle order collapse of which England would be proud. No.’s 4-8 came and went with only adding 26 runs to the Vinos total. The only highlight during this batting debacle was of course seeing Mik notch up a well-deserved century eventually caught at mid-wicket for 104. Warm applause rang around the hallowed mouse-ridden turf of Vinor, as P.C.C. and Vinos players alike acknowledged a great knock indeed.
The remaining batsmen also struggled, until a gutsy last wicket stand of 24 between Louis and young Jody Druce dragged the Vinos score over 200 to post a modest total of 212.
So the Vinos took to the field knowing that a tight bowling performance was needed. A defensive field was set with the hope that the P.C.C. batsmen would become frustrated with picking off the odd singles and go for some flamboyant strokes straight into our hands… that was the plan anyway.
To be fair, we started well with Rahul showing good pace, bowling two maidens in his first 3 overs. At the other end Brigham (who narrowly avoided my nomination for Tw*t of the Match, purely for his Monica Seles style visor; the like of which I’ve not seen since watching Wham’s Club Tropicana video in 1983) was also causing problems for the P.C.C. opening pair.
It was in fact our Andrew Ridgley wannabe who made the breakthrough in a terrific fourth over taking two wickets for just two runs. The first a great catch at mid-off from Vojta with the ball travelling at a rate of knots, and the second clean bowled. At this point P.C.C. looked rocked and the game looked winnable for Vinos.
Unfortunately, from that point things just didn’t go our way. P.C.C. hit a number of balls high that just dropped short, there were a couple of drops too and the exertions of the previous day’s cricket were beginning to show on some weary Vino fielders. Arshad, Rahul and Benji all bowled good spells unrewarded and the frustrations were well summarized by Benji’s exasperated cry of “How the f*ck did that f*cking ball not hit the f*cking stumps?!”… It was one of those days in the field…
Highlights though for Jody who managed to get two wickets towards the end of the game; the first outlined in the ‘Play of the Match’ and the second a really great piece of bowling which left the batman bamboozled and slogging a top edge straight up in the air to be snaffled up by Mik.
P.C.C. won the game comfortably in the end, but plenty of positives to be taken, and lessons learned, from this early season friendly. From a personal point of view in my first competitive match for Vinos, I managed to get a golden duck, knackered my knee so couldn’t bowl, subsequently spent my time in the field hobbling over mouse-holes… but still thoroughly enjoyed myself. Don’t you just love cricket?!
Man of the Match (MOM) – Probably the easiest decision in the history of sport… Mik, for his fantastic 104. A combination of patience and attacking stroke play; assurance and confidence… bodes well for his season ahead.
Play of the Match (POM) – The bizarre manner in which the PCC batsman Bilal was given out. After pulling a short ball for four, the ball was returned to the middle, and it was only then our eagle-eyed keeper Mik noticed one of the bails had been dislodged and was laying in the crease. Right enough, he enquired of the umpire “How was that”? What followed was quite amusing as a confused Bilal insisted it wasn’t him who’d knocked the stumps… Mik was standing three feet away so couldn’t have interfered… by this time the rest of the Vinos had all come to the middle to put in their two-pennies worth and after about 5 minutes of arguments for the prosecution and from the defense, the judge and jury finally condemned Bilal out ‘hit wicket’ for 64!
Tw*t of the Match (TOM) – After the top three Vinos batsmen set us up in a great position the Tw*t(s) of the match really must be the Vinos middle-order for failing to contribute sufficiently enough to put us in a match winning position... What a bunch of Tw*ts!
by Andy Pearce
Sir Don Bradman once said “May cricket continue to flourish and spread its wings. The world can only be richer for it.”
With these words ringing in my ears, I headed to my first game for Vinohrady Cricket Club in the Czech Republic, a T20 contest against PCC 2nd XI. On an overcast and slightly blustery day, Captain Vojta won the toss, elected to bat and issued clear instructions to openers Arshad and Mik: be patient and steadily build a score. Both were happy to oblige and began the innings by following these instructions to a tee. Facing a medium pace attack from both ends, straight balls were defended in textbook fashion and loose ball were assaulted.
Arshad began finding the square leg boundary with regularity as PCC’s second bowler struggled for length in his first over. One huge six appeared to be top-edgy but when this notion was put to Arshad, he offered assurances that it had definitely come off the meat of the bat, definitely. Eventually a small group of Vino “fielders” was positioned amongst the wheat crop to assist with ball retrieval.
With Mr E Xtras contributing a healthy addition to the opening partnership, Mik finally came a cropper with the score on 85. Ball against pad, lots of shouting, finger of death. Tariq was in at 3 and began to build his innings patiently, the PCC attack by now having changed to a crafty spinner at one end. Arshad reached his half century with some more aggressive swordsmanship but at last misjudged one and was bowled out. Vojta took up the reins and attacked the bowling with a variety of positive shots to all areas of the field. At the halfway point in the innings the score was 103 and there began some whispers of the possibility of a record score.
However the second half of the innings saw something of an epic collapse; Hugo and Tariq were both bowled and Vojta and Chris both snaffled at mid on. Following which, the tail end of the order adopted a six-or-sticks approach – Leigh, Steve and Andy were all caught after swinging for the rafters, Louis was bowled first ball while Will was unbeaten on 1. 148 all out.
Louis opened the bowling for Vinohrady and immediately found pace, line and consistency while Arshad bowled effectively at the other end too. Their batsmen were attacked full length deliveries effectively and made use of the fast outfield to pick up some boundaries. Steve and Leigh picked up the bowling and also bowled with accuracy and variety, Steve picking up a couple of well earned wickets on the way. Yours truly had a bowl but couldn’t hit off stump with a handful of rice, eventually leaving Will to bowl the final over hoping to prevent the 16 runs that PCC required. With the fielders on the boundaries and the crowd going wild, Will nonchalantly bowled their big hitting batsman with the first ball of the over and frustrated them for the rest of the over with some good line and length. The final ball actually produced a stumping by Chris but it was academic at that point anyway.
A satisfying 11 run win for Vinohrady. One pleasing stat is that we only conceded 18 extras compared to 39 for PCC – a testament to the accuracy of the bowlers and the concentration of the field.
Man of the Match (MoM) – has to be Arshad for a game winning half century and an economical second spell with the ball
Play of the Match (PoM) – Tariq’s armpit/chest catch and Vojta’s 4-saving slide deserve a mention but it has to be Will’s epic catch at long off – a run, watch and dive effort from a high swirling ball that seemed to stay in the air for an eternity
Twat of the Match (ToM) – nothing particularly twattish to report although Leigh’s dropped catch at deep midwicket earned him a nomination. The award therefore goes to the mid and lower batting order; our final 7 batsmen scored a combined total of 8 runs.
by James Drake
This was a big day for your correspondent, marking as it did his first outing for the Vinos.
Perhaps news of the debut had spread, because our hosts – unable to muster a full team from their own craven ranks – had summoned the PCC’s youngest, brightest and best to fill out their upper batting and bowling order.
The Bohemians went in first. Acheson quickly castled Jagtap, but when that Giant Panda of an opener, Manjeet, began to lay about himself, Vice-Captain-in-joint-charge-of-strategy Pearce paradoxically ordered up an over of innocuous dobbers.
It was a Brearley-esque piece of psychology. As the BCC hitman girded his loins for an orgy of post-watershed violence, mothers on the boundary rushed to cover their children’s eyes. They needn’t have fretted: After a brace of wides, and a couple of mishits, Manjeet finally located the sweet spot ... only to be snaffled brilliantly by Arshad, loitering with intent at deep long on.
Game on and job done, our kindly old gentleman (flat feet, dodgy back, tennis elbow, deaf in one ear) was shuffled off back to the outfield, there to graze contentedly for the rest of the innings on the memory of his quite undeserved five minutes of fame.
Just as the next bowler up, Tozer, thought it was safe to emerge from the outfield, the next man in, Wickremasinge, began to hit his stride. Only when Leigh had returned wicketless to his post at deep long off did he finally engineer Wickremasinge’s exit for 46. A near carbon copy of the game’s first dismissal, this – different stooge (that Caledonian cheeky chappy, Buchanan), same tactics: bowl a few long hops and see what happens. We soon found out – it was the catch of the match by Tozer.
It fell to Reade and Soucek to gouge out the rest of the wickets with a good cop/bad cop routine straight out of the Cold War’s noir-est of novels. Steve – cricket’s answer to George Smiley – blinked benevolently from behind his specs as his victims played across or padded up to straight-ish balls; from the other end, Soucek charged to the crease like a man desperate to come in from the cold. [Who writes this crap? – Ed.] But hey – whatever works. They bagged three apiece.
All out for 178 ... but would it be enough?
True, Pearce, bristling with his customary truculent intent, top-scored with 53 in 50 balls. But this was not quite the kind of cultured thuggery that routinely endangers innocent civilians playing Monday tennis at Olsanska. The timing didn’t seem to be quite there – perhaps it was because Pearce thrives on a pacier pitch and prefers the ball that comes onto the bat. But it’s no use expecting the mountain to come to Mohammed, Chris ... [Eh? Wrap it up now, please. Ed.]
What else is there to say? Acheson, Soucek and Tozer kept their leader company and hopes alive with pleasing cameos. But really, we were simply outgunned in all departments.
It was a good run-out, though, for the start of the real T20 business this weekend. With a number of regulars returning from the abyss, this strong performance – albeit in a losing cause – is likely to give the Vinos selectors a headache or two for the upcoming fixture.
Man of the Match (MoM) - No individual performance really stood out, so the judges have gone for Pearce ... for his top score and pro-active, macro- and micro-consummate man-management. Was it your correspondent’s imagination, or did he – after scrupulously setting his field for the opening over – look up and signal the sun to move a little squarer?
Play of the Match (PoM) - Tozer. That catch. Like Arshad’s, it stopped a certain six. ‘nuff said.
Tw*t of the Match (ToM) - Scorer Tarique for not letting it be known that Pearce had reached his 50 (depriving him of a round of applause).
by Michal Tavlaridis
Once again our team was summoned by captain Vojta for what turned out to be a glorious day of cricket. Our last match of the 40-over league brought us a battle against our first traditional rivals PCC - the only unbeaten team this season, which already secured their place in this year's ﬁnal. Although our own fate was also already decided, in that we couldn't reach the ﬁnals; matches against PCC never lack motivation and excitement from those bearing VCC colours.
From early morning, the weather looked almost perfect for cricket: sunny and rather warm, but with a gentle breeze. After a quick warm up, and short chat about the quality of olive oil, the captains Vojta and Sudhir were ready for the toss. It was our captain who won and decided to bat, much to our delight. This decision proved to be a good one and Vojta did not forget to remind us of that throughout the match. Tarique and Mik opened the batting and were welcomed by fast and accurate bowling from Raj and Rohit. The score wasn’t rising much in ﬁrst 8 overs, as our openers - in an effort Boycott would have surely endorsed - dug their heels in and neutralised the initial PCC attack. The initial onslaught overcome, next up to test our batsmen was Prakash and in his ﬁrst over, succeeded in getting Mik out LBW. The stoical (or crapulent, you never know) Rob came in at number 3 and continued the good work, as the PCC bowling was slowly starting to loosen their grip and in doing so allowed Mr X. Tras to lead the scoring tally.
When Rob tried to punish one of the slower balls, he was recklessly dropped by Sudhir at mid-on - a situation that in a way announced PCC's fielding form on the day (with the honourable exceptions of Honza and Rohit). Soon after that though, Rob tried to pull a full toss from Prakash and was safely caught out by Honza at covers. The next over Tarique - after bravely withstanding initial attack and seeing off the openers - unfortunately fell to a mightily impressive one-hand catch by Rohit at midwicket.
Suddenly Lukas and Vojta appeared on the pitch with plenty of overs to come and they very quickly deﬁned how the rest of the inning would look like. They accumulated a great partnership of 117, consisting mainly of Lukas’s 4s, extras and also some runs from Vojta, who even played some defensive shots (I am kidding, check the scorecard). PCC bowlers couldn't ﬁnd a cure for our deadly batting and their ﬁelders did not help them much either. Vojta was dropped once by Mohit and Lukas was dropped three times(!) by Prakash at gully (tough catches though). Eventually Vojta got caught by another good catch from Rohit, but our batting order was still full of eager batsmen ready to join the show.
Next up was Brigham who scored a couple of singles but soon picked the wrong ball from Rohit. Rahul was next in line and his entrée was equally impressive as Lukas’s. Unfortunately one of the victims of Rahul’s plundering was Lukas when Rahul’s beautiful drive helped on to the stumps on the return by Roy and run Lukas out. After this misfortune, Rahul unleashed hell by hitting boundaries with ferocious strength, joined by Chris who added some textbook running between wickets only to be bowled later by Rahj. That was when I came in having the only task to help Rahul get his rapid half-century. Although it seemed as a pretty easy thing to cope with, I got too excited and inadvertently robbed Rahul of one delivery, that could possibly get him there. Nevertheless, we ended up with a beautiful score of 222 (which is one third of 666 for those of you who believe in conspiracy theories).
PCC started with Sudhir and Hilal aka Rahul. Sudhir soon fell to Rahul’s surgically accurate bowling, but Hilal decided to chase our score right from the beginning. Mohit coming first drop, soon proved to be his efﬁcient sidekick. Our morale was only slightly dwindling when a massive blow was struck to our team; after the day’s physical exertion Rahul was affected by cramps in both of his calves after bowling 2 great overs. He had to take some rest and we had to call on Hugo as a substitute ﬁelder. Meanwhile Hilal and Mohit continued to pile up the score. The situation was becoming quite serious when our captain Vojta carried out yet another outstanding piece of ﬁelding: running out Mohit by a fast accurate throw from a pretty big distance. It was the right thing in the right time to rebuild our morale.
Prakash was the next batsman coming to the crease. We all knew his batting qualities and he was indeed slowly settling down whilst Hilal went on with his slogfest. This said, Prakash must also have been aware that there were still a lot of runs to be scored for PCC, so it came as no great surprise when, as he tried to hit one hard for six, the ball didn’t quite make it over the boundary and was superbly caught by Will somewhere around deep extra cover. A great running catch into Wills solid hands - reinforced by several cans of beer during drinks - and another crucial wicket.
Hilal was still threatening us and although we knew that sooner or later his risky batting would bring his demise, with thoughts of his century earlier in the year and with our main strike bowler off the field, we just couldn’t make that happen. Then all of a sudden – akin to a scene from Lord of the Rings, where Gandalf arrived at ‘first light, on the fifth day’ – we slowly turned our heads towards the boundary, where we saw Rahul ready to re-join the battle - his eyes full of determination. Rahul completed this Hollywood-esque comeback by bowling Hilal with the first ball of his next spell.
We knew then that we couldn’t let the victory slip through our hands. The next component in our ‘perfectly oiled machine’ as we Czechs say, was Brigham. His bowling spell was simply splendid, claiming the wickets of Rohit and Honza and ﬁnishing with a great statistic of 2-25 from 8 overs. Although the Sri Lankan duo Raj and Roy managed to slow down the rate at which wickets were tumbling, for a while, their run rate could hardly threaten our score. A batsman of Roy’s quality, scoring just 1 from 19 deliveries is testament to the quality of our bowling at that point.
Their defiant efforts were eventually ended when Raj was bowled by Will (although on a 2nd attempt since knocking down the bails in Vinoř ﬁeld is a pretty difﬁcult task) and Roy was caught behind. The match was symbolically ended by another impressive catch by Will at silly cover. This was a great, sweet victory for our team and a perfect all round performance. After a match like this, I have to at least sum up the highlights that I unfortunately, couldn’t decorate with an award:
MoM (Man of the Match) - for his all round performance, 48 of 26 balls not out, 2 crucial wickets dismissing dangerous batsmen, and great will and determination throughout the match - Rahul
PoM (Play of the Match) - for his outstanding 84 runs of 77 balls that completely frustrated PCC bowlers - Lukáš
ToM (Tw*t of the Match) - myself for robbing Rahul of his half-century
by Vojta Hasa
Early on Saturday morning it appeared the weather Gods had no intention of allowing us to take our long-awaited vengeancefor the recent heavy defeats out on the Barbarian hordes. With the outfield decidedly soggy the match was postponed until after noon, cue everyone checking their preferred weather forecasting website, all foretelling doom and gloom for the boys in burgundy and gold. Nonetheless we all gathered on the wide green expanse at Vinor just before 12 for an extended session of warming-up whilst the field did the same. Winning the toss we decided to have at them with the ball in an endeavour to get them out quickly, knock off the runs and evacuate before the forecast thunderstorms washed us all away.
As it turns out the Barbarians had other ideas and dug themselves in. Ben and Lukáš opened with some tight bowling and the first few overs came and went with less than 2 per over coming off them. Captain Navoniel seemed determined to keep his head down and just hang around. After a time Yash decided to have a go at Ben and rode his luck to score a few with some nice shots back over Ben's head. He was a bit unlucky not to pick him up before he had his eye in with Robbo spilling a tough chance. Lukas then managed to slip one through Navo and when Steve came on he immediately caught Yash in front for what turned out the be the highest score of the Barbars innings (and the only one in double digits) -18. All of a sudden we had two new batsmen at the crease. Cue a magnificent performance from the pavilion end in the form of Arshad. Bowling stump to stump the batsmen couldn't get him away and getting frustrated they then flailed at the ball, only for it to inevitably take out the stumps. Anas managed to get some wood on one which sailed in the air only for Lukas to take a brilliant running catch. At drinks the score was just over 40 for five wickets and we were looking good.
Picking up where he left off Arshad, aided by some tidy bowling at the other end by Steve, picked up another wicket and finished with the laughably great stats of 8 overs, 4 maidens, 4 runs, 4 wickets ! The opening bowlers came back in for Ben to knock over Pradeep to finish off whatever hope there may have been in the Barbarian camp. After a self-proclaimed brilliant direct hit run-out from the deep thanks to yours truly which was in no way wind-affected the no.'s 10 and 11 were ours for the picking. Only problem was they weren't ready to go. Frustratingly, despite our best efforts they hung around long enough for our front-line bowling to run out of overs and they were left with Rob & I to finish off proceedings. Whilst I let some runs dribble through Rob held his line and didn't let them get away with anything. However, after a good 7 overs of frustration finally Terry tried to heave the wrong ball and I finally got one straight and that was the innings – after 37.5 Overs for 85 runs. So much for knocking them over quickly. With the sun shining brightly off our by now crimson faces the memory of impending thunder was far from our thoughts.
After a quick turnaround Tarique and Piers headed out to knock over the runs. Having picked up some handy bowlers over the winter the Barbars decided to make a game of it however. The first ball to Tarique managed to take an edge but slipped through the fielders and meant one quick run for us. His first ball Piers pushed one to directly to point, but nonetheless took off for a run. Tarique rightly sent him back, but not in time for him to recover his ground and up went the umpire's index finger. Piers was having none of it and stayed out there. As it turns out point was Anas - dressed in black trousers and grey top. Piers thought he was an umpire and we were of the opinion he should be given another go. Cue a comical storming off of the field by some of the Barbars and after some negotiations the game went ahead, albeit with Piers sullenly sitting by his lonesome some distance away from it all. Whilst I still think it was the Barbars fault for taking the field without the right gear and most of us recognised it was Anas fielding (asides from Piers) we probably should have picked up on it and called them out on it. Still unsporting not to let Piers back in.
Some very good bowling from both ends meant Rob and Tarique were having a tough time of it and eventually Javed managed to slip one through Tarique for 8 and we were two down. I came and went quickly for an exceptionally uninspiring innings that featured me being dismissed not once, but three times in my 11 balls - once drop off a no-ball, once bowled but the fielders were all talking (about cricket clothes, no less) and finally undoubtedly bowled by a yorker. Rob was doing a fine job at the other end and managed to last out the opening bowlers. Once the pie chucker's came on it was time to cash in. Hugo however had other ideas, and when the third consecutive wide down leg side to Rob from Yash was spilled by the keeper he set off for a quick run that was always there if both batsmen were on the ball. Too bad then that whilst Rob was trying to decipher where the ball was Hugo neglected to call yes until he was ¾ of the way down the pitch. Rob dutifully took off, but was undone just short by an admittedly smart pick up and direct hit. Hugo also lasted only 11 balls, but when he went we were already 5 down with not much on the board. At this point Chris and Robbo steadied the ship and proceeded to methodically cut down the runs needed column. Coming into drinks it felt like we were in the drivers' seat and nothing could keep us from getting the 20 more we needed.
The weather then decided to turn up and out of nowhere a wall of blackness appeared out of the West bearing down on us, seemingly hell-bent on keeping us from victory. After instructions to up the enthusiasm the guys in the middle set to, but unfortunately Robbo holed out after a very measured innings where his contribution of assisting Chris was greater than the scoreboard suggests. With a certain apocalyptic weather event about to descend on us at any moment Arshad headed out – and picked up his first delivery, a half-volley, as clean as you like and deposited it over mid-wicket boundary and into the wheat field. The wind was howling and now wearing his groundsman's hat Hugo was itching at the bit on the sideline, covers in hand ready to leap into action. We still needed a few runs though before the high wall of roiling black clouds unleashed their fury on us. Fortunately Chris had seen enough to have his eye in and took his cue from Arshad, popping one over mid-on, and with a few more strokes we had our victory.
Hugo sprung into action, along with a few other brave souls and the covers were laboriously wrestled into place, despite the best efforts of the gale that had brought the storm-clouds above us. As it turned out, no sooner had the covers come on then the wind that brought the weather took it away and we were bathed in lovely golden sunshine. Time for a beer in the sun to celebrate a return to our winning ways.
PoM (Play of the Match): For the first time this year, the editor is stepping in and overruling the author, partly due to Vojta's misinterpretation of the meaning of this award and partly due to his resultant modesty. Firstly, as Vojta rightly pointed out; special mention must go to Lukas for his running catch of a ball that almost gave the International Space Station a scare. However, having personally watched the ball leave his hand and followed it all the way from a deepish extra cover - the throw flat and and dead-straight - Vojta gets the PoM award this week for his spectacular run out. After our fielding wasn't up to scratch over the last few weeks, it was great to have our skipper back and leading from the front in this regard (if not with his batting).
ToM (Twat of the Match): For comedy value Robbo's gallant attempt to catch Yash at deepish mid-off, only for it to audibly rebound off his hip-bone deserves mention. My rather poor attempt at a slightly closer mid-off was also toolish, but the winner here has to be Hugo thanks to his silent running followed by very loud call once he was already there to rob Rob of reaping the rewards of his opening efforts. Pier's failure to realise that the point fielder was not a Vino also deserves a word or two.
MoM (Man of the Match): Chris's 28* (41), which was the only score in double digits deserves a mention, but for his spell of 8-4-4-4 and his quickfire 7 when it looked like every second counted, Arshad carries the day.
by S. Reade
They say, lightening never strikes twice, and the atmosphere upon arrival in a cold and cloudy Dresden, indicated that it couldn't... but it did.
The heavy clouds and damp feeling in the air should have been an indicator, but lessons were not learned, and oh how we would be reminded.
I was going to write about glorious memories, WWII referenced with witty one liners, but feel that's not appropriate. Nor does it feel right after the day we had. Let's just say, Ze Germans (sic) gave our boys a hell of a beating.
Captain for the day Mik was desperate to win the toss and put us into bat. Not only to try and use the dampness in the pitch and the chilly air to our advantage, but to try and wash away the cold memories, still only a week old, of a run chase that ended in a very stylish collapse. But it was not to be and Dresden took up the strike.
The opening overs saw them pegged back, Rahul delivering some ferocious bouncers and frightening pace with his first 5 overs giving away only 16 runs. Backed up by Arshad, Ben, Leigh and Brigham, drinks came at the halfway mark with a mere 88 runs for 2 on the board.
But the weather then played it's part, a torrential downpour and icy wind then blew across the field, both teams diving for cover under the persistant bombardment.
Upon our return, things took a turn for the worse, Umer and Siva putting The Vinos to the sword, the scoreboard started to tick over far too often and soon, runs were coming far too quickly.
The innings finished with Dresden on 258 for 6, with Brigham, Rahul (who even his last over went for 18) and Jody the only bowlers who came out with lickable wounds and we'd set ourselves a pretty much impossible target.
Even the lunchtime curry conversation was about saving face and not about winning, could we make 200 and say we'd done well... well as things went, no we couldn't.
Rahul began with the bat as he had with the ball, attacking everything and finding the boundary from the off, but his comrades in arms couldn't match his vigour and soon, the wickets began to fall. The less said the better about the batting collapse that followed for a second week in a row, only Rahul, Arshad, Benji and myself (Steve) made double figures and the battered and bruised bodies that were left after the innings were testament to being outplayed by a better team and outfought by a better adversary.
With The Barbarians being torn apart, our game next week takes on a new significance, not only do we have to go out and beat them, but we need to beat them with enough grace and style to renew our confidence and renew the Vinos Spirit! Let's hope we bat first!!!
And so we come to the Man of the match, the Play of the match and The TOTM...
MoM (Man of the Match): goes this time to Rahul. It was a close call between him and Jody who bowled exceedingly well, but as Rahul gave it all with bat and ball, he takes the honours this week.
PoM (Play of the Match): does though go to Jody, for his bowling spell. The times when Vinos have a real spinner in their ranks are very few and far between and in his opening overs, the batsmen who had carved their way through the pace, were dazzled and confused with the sudden change in tact.
ToM (Play of the Match): well, where do I start... It could have been one, it could have been all. So I give it to all that played.
by B.J. Smith
Once upon a time on a cricket field far far away (near Poland to be exact) , stood a proud over confident cricket team with all the guts and glory that would make a dragon quiver in his lair. In the past three battles this spring the mighty Vino warriors have slain the enemy with their vorpal bats and blasted their sticks away with their all mighty bowling and leaving the enemy strewn on the battle field, whilst marching to the local tavern to cheer and wallow in their triumphant victory. But alas this was not to be on this over cast windy Sunday past, as proud and valiant as the Vino warriors felt, it was not to be, the Bohemians swooped in and claimed a bitter victory that would leave an aftertaste no brew will cure for years to come!
Yeah, thought I would try and write the match update in story form as to alleviate the actual brutal loss we suffered on Sunday, but as you can read no matter how it’s written the result is still the same…Shame on us for not rising above the Bohemians on this occasion!!! Now I don’t mean this in the harshest sense, just the fact that I personally thought we were way too over-confident with the score at half time. With a result it clouded our judgment going to the crease, no one in particular but I think we are all responsible for this and definitely something to take note of in the future….
The bowling on the day was absolutely spot on. Rahul had the top end batsmen pinned back with his smart and pacey bowling: ending with a 6 over spell, 1 wicket for 8 runs. The rest of the bowlers followed suit: Steve Reade 3 wickets; Arshad and Lukas both claiming 2 wickets each; followed by Benji and Brigham with one wicket each. The fielding on the day was great, but there is room for improvement based on a good few missed opportunities, but overall the tempo and the team spirit was really good on the field with really great support given to the bowlers.
Batting on the other hand did not go as well as intended, the highest scorer with bat was Mik (26) who looked the strongest of us all on the crease, followed by Lukas (14) and Arshad (13) who was no doubt bowled by an absolute peach of a ball by the young Czech Sasa. The rest chipped in, Chris (11) but not much to write about after tha;, 3`s, 4`s and 2 ducks, one of the ducks belonging to me!
Not a good day and by far not the best performance this season. However with the great talent we have in the side I have no doubt we can put this match behind as a learning experience and look forward to the games coming up, let`s give it horns boys!!!!
MoM (Man of the Match): Steve Reade, 3 wickets, 1 catch (Not an easy one I might add) and 1run not out…Well done mate!
POM (Play of the Match): Goes to Lukas for his outstanding bowling spells to which we can say are probably too some of the best batsmen in CZ, great concentration and discipline!
TOM (Twat of the Match): Well I think a few names could be mentioned but I think Benji will take the prize here this week for his great Swan Lake attempted catches (X2) in the deep, keep up the good work pal.
by Tarique Choudhury
Waking up to a sunny Sunday morning was a Godsend after a hectic week of e-mails and team selection dilemmas. As a Co-Vice Captain was it worth it?... of course it was, as it hopefully marked a turning point in having a choice in picking 11 players from a squad of 17 for our opening game against PCC, who should never be underestimated even if it was their second team. In past years when we've had a strong 10-11 players we've always been competitive and could beat anyone on the day but in those games when we were only able to field 8 or 9 players it was a struggle. Those days are hopefully now behind us. Do we have a clear criteria for selection....no? and it does need to be discussed formally at our next AGM whatever your personal thoughts are on the subject, so bear with us as this is new ground for Royal Vinohrady CC.
The weather forecast was promising for the day with sun and cloud but it didn't quite prepare me for the windchill factor at the ground. Congratulations should first go to Hugo as the pitch and wicket looked great as well as to everyone for turning up on time in readiness for a relaxed warm-up of frisbee and ball catching.
I had planned on winning the toss and opting to bowl first but having lost the toss we were asked to bat, which I think actually worked in our favour in the end as we had batting all the way through to number 11 pairing aggressive batters with 'stroke players' as well as left-handers with right-handers in the top order. In addition I don't think PCC enjoyed fielding in the cold and windy light of day.
Arshad and Mik opened and it was clear Arshad meant business as he was crossing and clearing the boundary rope with ease and the score reached a credible 46 before Mik was dismissed. Rob went in and came back again soon after which was the signal for last week's MOM, Hugo to join Arshad. The fireworks started after Hugo had got his eye in and after scoring a swift 16 he mistimed one up in the air to a fielder with the score on 94. That was my cue and having not played on the new wicket and a change of bowlers I wasn't really sure what to expect. The first ball I timed went too close to the fielder at mid-on and he got a hand to it, which fortunately for me he dropped and unfortunately for him dislocated his finger... a stroke of luck... Thereafter, I got into the role of rotating the strike with the big hitting Arshad who couldn't stop scoring and at 123 we had the break at 20 overs. After the break we continued in the same fashion and with the score at 165, Arshad finally missed one and was bowled on a club record score of 105!
After that dismissal the pattern was set with Brigham coming in and hitting a quick fire 30 mainly thanks to one unfortunate bowler who kept bowling 'pies' which were dispatched for 4s and 6s into the farmer's field, which frustrated PCC no end especially as they had to search and retrieve it from the long crop. You could sense their will to fight draining from them after that particular over.
At the score of 207 Chris came in and continued where Brigham left off with the added intention to run and run and run which added a different sort of excitement as the fielders were really put under pressure in the field and with misfields their hope was continuing to fade whilst our score kept rising. In between the mad dash 1s and 2s he was also dispatching 4s and 6s until he got to 35 when he finally missed one with our score by then a handsome 256. Lukas and Leigh followed with only 10 or so balls left and we ended up with a final total of 262 for 8.
After the break, Arshad and Leigh started work on their top order and at 37 for 3 dismissing their number 2 and 3 for scores of 0, it wasn't looking good for them. We decided to bowl them through as it was so cold and after Arshad's efforts with the bat, it seemed the best thing to do. He finished with 3 for 30 which again was outstanding. Lukas and Brigham continued in the same vein and PCC had reached 66 for the loss of 5 wickets at the 20 over break. The fielding was solid enough but our catching was a little woeful and definitely an area for improvement. Our bowling was pretty good with pace, line and length especially Brigham and Lukas's first 3 overs and apart from the odd full toss which got dispatched it was all PCC had to try and get close to our score with their running between the wickets leaving a lot to be desired and the eventual and expected run out.
A couple of strange instances occurred where Mik caught and stumped the wicket but the bails refused to come off and another where the bowler hit the stumps with a clear sound but again the bails were intact which left us all a little bemused. Later on the catch of the day was definitely Mik behind the stumps off a fast ball and edge off the batsman. Jody came on and his first 2 overs of spin were excellent only going for 4 runs. With everyone including Rob taking a wicket it was a real team bowling effort which PCC couldn't live with and they were finally all skittled out in the 37th over for a flattering 174 runs.
A handsome 88 run win in our first 40 over game league game was well deserved.
MoM (Man of the Match): I don't think that anyone can argue that for his record 105 runs with the bat and 3 for 30 with the ball, Arshad is without a doubt our MoM this week!
POM (Play of the Match): A noteable mention for Brigham for smashing a 4 then three 6s on the trot. However, this has to go to Mik for his fantastic catch behind the stumps, spinning and twirling as he pouched the ball as if he were auditioning for 'Swann' Lake.
TOM (Twat of the Match): Must go to all that played (except Mik) for our numerous 'attempts' to catch the ball, without much success(!)