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!