Sunday 19 July –v- Theydon Bois at Loughton Lane
With Wajih preparing for his wedding party, there was some confusion and a distinct lack of team information for the forthcoming fixture with Theydon Bois. Eventually team news filtered through and with some help from Chand we had assembled an eleven - or so we thought. Sunday morning drop outs and a canine emergency reduced us to only eight players, until Anand was drafted in and Chand made a mercy dash from the set of Pet Hospital to take our numbers to ten. We look forward to the broadcasting of an irritating little man jabbering incomprehensibly about his ailing pussy.
Theydon Bois had their own team problems, with late cry-offs reducing them to ten players and with Chand somewhere on the Central Line we began the match with Ten -v- Nine. Despite lacking a new-ball bowler, Spud elected to field first, hoping that Anand and Upkar could work some magic with 'the cherry '. Spud could be forgiven for thinking that Mike had turned up, as the first over disappeared for 16 runs, with the Theydon Bois openers licking their lips at the prospect of savaging our bowling for a full forty overs. Both Anand and Upkar struggled to maintain a decent line and runs came at a pace. A brilliant run out from Jagdesh broke the partnership, when he swooped in from mid-on to throw down the stumps. Spud and Jagdesh bowled in tandem and gradually we exerted some control over the scoring rate. Anand took a juggling catch at deep mid on to remove the dangerous Penman and then followed up with a fine throw from deep to run out the free-scoring Berretta (75), who appeared to be constructively dismissed by Marnock, much to the amusement of his team-mates.
This proved to be a turning point, as Theydon Bois struggled to find any one to lend support to Marnock. Gary and Chand put the ball in the right place and the remaining batsmen, keen to maintain the quick scoring rate, played rashly. Our fielding improved as the innings entered the final ten overs, with Spud taking a good catch in the deep and Don executing a sharp stumping - both wickets going to Gary. Upkar finished his spell much better than he had started, strangling the scoring with an immaculate leg stump line and only a last over of dross from Chand blotted his copy book, with 16 coming from it to mask what had otherwise been an excellent spell. Marnock remained unbeaten on 67, with Theydon Bois closing on 200-8.
Our response could not have started much worse, with Gary apparently caught in several minds on how to deal with an innocuous straight ball. He decided not to do anything at all and departed clean bowled from the first ball of the innings. Nita and Johnny G (14) then batted sublimely, taking the score to 57, before TC foolishly responded to a call for a quick single and was run out by some margin. Chand continued his current rich vein of form, with some trade mark lofted drives and aggressive pull shots and Theydon Bois seemingly had little in their bowling attack to counter our free scoring batsmen. Despite some fine fielding from the young Theydon Bois side the boundary was being breached on a regular basis and when Nita was finally out for a splendid 80, we required only sixty from the final 15 overs.
Dave (12) found some form with the bat (at last), adding another 32 runs with Chand, who passed fifty for the fourth consecutive time (probably some kind of Crusaders record). Anand became the second Crusader of the day to record a Golden Duck, but some lusty blows from Jagdesh (18*) finished the job, with a full ten overs still in reserve.
Whilst Nita and Chand should take the plaudits for an excellent batting performance, our victory was based around a strong team performance, with everyone making a worthwhile and vital contribution.