Malden Wanderers

 Malden Wanderers v Woodpeckers 2nd July 2017 –Penned by Alan Wood –POB in Green

When Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post exposed POTUS Nixon, not only did Watergate become part of 20th Century history and literature, but any subsequent noun with the suffix –gateheralded impending calamity. One of the earliest uses of such a term was golfgate, a term used to describePOTUS Ford who succeeded Nixon at the White House. Apparently Ford, a keen golfer, played Palm Springs where there were a number of courses and the story goes that he never knew which  he was playing until he’d hit his first tee shot. I digress. Welcome to Catchgate.

When the Woodies took the field after a resplendent tea defending 193 in a 35 limited over match it was almost as if they’d come to some unwritten agreement that they would try to win without using the traditional dismissal method of catching

Earlier in the day the captains tried to negotiate the toss each trying to ascertain the strength of the other. It was decided that the teams were well matched – so it proved – and the toss ensued with the Woodies batting. Malden fielded 9 players under 18 and their decent pace attack made early inroads.It was great to have our long-time statistician Alan Wood playing for us, he has scored over 11,000 runs for the Peckers, easily our highest and is the most amiable man you could hope to meet. We also welcomed the Patron of the Singapore Peckers and over for their tour of Menorca, the Dupa. Scoring was difficult and it was left to Botty and Dupa to start to mend the damage with a well-constructed 5th wicket partnership of 68. (There was a very unusual scoring pattern in the Woodies innings. Runs accrued through boundaries across a very fast outfield or extras and it was not until the 16th over, with the score in the fifties, that the first non-boundary run was scored off the bat!)  Botty’s 40, some beautiful on –drives the sure sign of a class batsman, Greg P with a gorgeous 48 and Dupa with a muscular 32 were the main contributors along with 40 extras in ensuring the Woodies had a competitive total. Keeping to Woody’s boundary theory, it is a statistical anomaly that all of the batsman fell to a multiple of 4…Wood 12, Greasy 8, Tid, Cudd and Sp all for 4, our two intrepid openers Girdle and Cannon…0x4 =…. It was excellent to see the new expanded Palmer family there –Greggles and Chlobo with Bubsy, Ploppies and Napalm on debut. Tiddles and Glenda with Emile and Mushy Mushy on debut. Gimli even came along with the Gimletta and a large bag of ales and cider –thanks Gimli

A leisurely tea was taken with POB stating it was the best tea on the circuit a compliment passed on to a happy Liz. Her daughter Jo scored for both sides by the way and made an excellent job of it.

Now came the tricky part. How to defend 193 without taking catches.

. Woody started it, missing an absolute sitter, and, as if to make the old boy feel better, others steadily joined him… You had to feel sorry for the bowlers toiling away on a decent track in hot conditions; none more so than SP who had 4 dropped in in 11 deliveries. A slip catch to Cannon which seemed to bounce of everything before hitting the ground, Sharp edges to Botty and Girdle, a tough caught and bowled to SP, Cuddy at Mid-Wicket…

Gregglesarrived with his usual announcement that he wasn’t goingto bowl, but with Malden 140-3 and up with the rate, he knew we needed him. His 1st ball was miscued just between him and brother Tid and he exclaimed at the ball as it lobbed over him a Homer-sque…’Why you’...^^&^’ The next ball he put down a caught and bowled chance –even Greggles had caught the terrible pandemic. Captain Botty chipped in with a couple of overs but the last ball of his spell was put down at long on by Cannon.

If we had been told before the game that we would be 0-2, 38-4 and drop 10 catches (this is a conservative estimate) we’d have thought our chances of victory were slight but cricket surprises.

Fortunately the ground fielding was always enthusiastic, the bowling good and the captaincy excellent.Botty finally showed that we could hold a catch, diving forward to remove Gerrard off Greggles for 71.  Still with 2 overs to go, New Malden were 182-4 and only needing 11 runs, hot favourites. Greggles dug deep and bowled one of his finest overs ever. It only went for 1 run, and induced a run out.

Six bowlers were used, judicious fields set and aided by 3 run outs a slender victory was achieved with two balls to spare. Special mention for the bowlers today; under pressure against a good batting side they all bowled well and gave little away. SP 7-1-29-1, Cuddy 7-0-39-2, C.Palmer 6-0-17-0, Woody7-1-31-1, Greg 6-0-33-2 and the Skip 2 overs for 16

This was a fine game played in excellent spirit between 2 good teams. The youngsters of MW will have learnt much. Beer was taken on the outfield of an attractive ground on a lovely summer’s evening. Good to see young families present and thanks to Jim B and POB for umpiring.

That’s all for now, can’t stop, just going for catching practice.