Sunday May 17 –v- North Weald at The Memorial Ground
Persistent rain eventually prevented the conclusion of our first ever meeting with North Weald, with the match finely balanced and results still possible when it was decided to pull stumps.
The early season warm weather came to a shuddering halt, replaced by clouds and an icy breeze, with the exposed Memorial Ground attracting the elements to the full.
Wajih pulled out of the fixture at the eleventh hour (believed to be having intensive coaching from his dad in an attempt to rediscover some form), to be replaced by Damon, with 'Cheerful Don' and Mr Taylor returning to the side in place of Waheed and Ben.
North Weald called correctly and it was to no one's surprise that we were inserted. It was soon apparent that the pitch was bowler friendly and that patience would be required if we were to post a respectable total. Patience was the word that was required. We opened with two of the finest exponents of the word 'patience' - Nita and Jagdesh. Unfortunately the widely understood translation of patience to mean 'taking ones time and exercising caution' translates in most Asian dictionaries as ' play with wild abandon, dancing rashly down the track with head in the air'.
And so it came to pass that we capitulated to 57-8. Recovery came through a solid, dependable and (English translation) patient partnership between Captain Taylor and the redoubtable Moyse, who between them slowly but surely ground out a meaningful stand; It wasn’t pretty. Taylor had barely the strength to get the ball off the square and Danglers was dependent on the bowlers feeding him either a square-cut or a leg-glance. Fortunately North Weald had not studied the Moyse scoring Wagonwheel and Darren feasted on his favourite shots. Meanwhile Mike patted it back. In a little over 18 overs the pair added fifty priceless runs, before Mike holed out attempting a big one. Spud and Darren scrambled a few more runs, before Spud was last out with the total 124, leaving Danglers unbeaten on 45.
Tea was a fine spread, swollen still further by some tasty 'sweetmeats' from Jagdesh.
Despite a low total, the skip was confident that he had the bowlers to put North Weald on the back-foot. The saviours of our batting set about becoming heroes with the ball, as Moysey and Mike opened up. Darren bowling with the wind was regularly beating the outside edge, whilst Mike bowling into the teeth of the gale struggled to get the ball to reach the bat. It soon became apparent that our score of 124 was going to be difficult to overcome. Danglers made the initial breakthrough, Don taking a solid catch behind the stumps and then Mike removed the other opener, with Don deflecting the ball back onto the stumps via his pads for a slightly unorthodox stumping. The North Weald skipper briefly threatened to turn the game in their favour, driving strongly at anything pitched up, but he perished to an excellent delivery from Darren that squared him up and knocked out middle stump. Alas with Crusaders starting to get on top the ever threatening band of dark cloud finally dumped its proverbial load and after a brief resumption it was agreed that the King's Head was a far more inviting place.