Woodpeckers at Teddington
Sunday 20 August, 2017
Report by Motty, POB in italics
Harvey Graham Miller, Woodpecker of the Year 2035, was born this Thursday 17 August 2017 at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital to proud parents, Caitlin and Windy Miller.
Certainly no half-pinter, Harvey was born at roughly the height of a firkin of beer (English standard dimensions) and the weight of two dozen cricket balls. We are assured that Harvey (and Mom) are fit and healthy, having already visited the pub for a pint of his namesake (Harvey's Sussex Best, 4% ABV) with Daddy.
It was with this joyous news that the Woodpeckers traveled to Bushy Park to take on Teddington CC, birthplace of Motty and Botty as cricketers, and current Middlesex Premier League champions.
Given the close familial connection we were able to mount a considerable campaign of espionage regarding selections, and initial reports did not bode well. Only a Tetley's Bitter (4.4% ABV) available with Doom Death and London Pride available by the bottle. To make matters worse TCC had fielded two ex-1st XI captains with several Middlesex League Championships and three National Club Championships between them.
Although clearly a serious club with serious intentions, TCC are not without fault. A once full Sunday fixture card has been reduced to a handful of games and hiring out the lower ground to pub teams. Is league and cup success the only mark of a successful club, or is a failing Sunday social friendly side a bell-weather for losing something crucial to the joy of the thing? This point was aired as we repaired to the bar but as yet remains unsolved.
Differences in philosophy aside Teddington always get a great set of lads together for our fixture and it's without doubt one of our favourites. The two clubs grow closer every year with talk of a special event next year to help raise funds for their ambitious new Pavilion Appeal project. This year was no different and much mirth was enjoyed, more on that later.
POB, Motty and Cousin de la Simon were joined at Clapham Junction by the familiar sight of Cousin Daviiide pouring excuses for his lateness at us via Whatsapp like Trump tweeting about trans-sexuals in the Navy - all a bit poorly thought out and clearly part of a more deep seated problem. David's tardiness aside the Peckers moved slowly south west towards Teddington.
We were joined at the ground by always punctual Cuddy and young debutant Ki Currie, who's name threw up so many potential nicknames that it nearly melted POB's synapses and we had to give him some medicine to calm him down. Ki, a recent sign up of POB's from a local pub in Clapham, sported a reassuringly Australian accent and we decidely instantly he should open the bowling. He joined Tiddles and Greggles as we played three Aussies for the first time in donkeys.
Also joining us was Taters who'd attended a Brixton beer festival the night before and befriended a buxom broad to whom he later found himself giving advice on which university she might attend on account of receiving her A-levels results only that Friday.
Inside the tea was already being prepared and several Woodpeckers were offered a cup of tea. One or two of accepted but soon regretted it. We are after all in thrall to our baser urges. The London Pride was taken and the fog of last night's exertions began to lift.
Then Patrick won the toss and for the first time that weekend, inserted.
Teddington's old pavilion is a peculiar old thing - two Missen huts dumped by outgoing US forces joined in the middle by a bar has been home to the club ever since the war.
They will soon have to go to make way for the new digs to be built next door but given it's location and wonderfully lived in appearance it's a glorious sight on a sunny Sunday morning, flags fluttering in the wind.
Ki and Motty opened up proceedings on a lovely looking deck which had a little grass but a true bounce. With some humidity there was certainly something in it for everyone, and a gamely battle began between our boys and a new first for the Woodpeckers - a father / daughter opening combination, Steve Munday (one of the ex-1st XI captains) and his daughter Amelie (current Middlesex CCC Girls' U15).
The ball was hooping around and both openers struggled with control, bowling 9 wides between them and failing to break the strong paternal partnership developing. Motty (5-0-15-0) did manage to bowl one or two half decent balls, one of which finally drew an edge but the chance found Greggles napping at 2nd slip and well that was that and at least I'm still not in a bad mood about it. Ki (6-1-27-0) looked bloody promising to be honest maaate with a lovely classical high action, a delight to see that and we hope to see it again.
We were replaced by Tiddles and Cuddy with almost immediate benefit. Tiddles bowled tidily for no return (6-0-30-0) but kept an end tight as Cuddles started destruction from t'other. The happy Munday's (bdm-tsch) had just reached their 50 partnership before Cuddy, ever the gentleman, clean bowled the 14 year old girl with one of his quickest deliveries of the season. Old lag Phil 'Headless' Eastland soon followed suit and then Greggles remembered how to use his hands and caught Steve for 25.
Taters relieved Tiddles and, not for the first time that weekend, found a thin covering of grass on the wicket to be much to his satisfaction. Removing Barney Heap, a good lad and certainly a future Pecker, TCC found themselves 53-0 to 77-4.
Taters had seen what he liked and thoroughly enjoyed it and, not for the first time this weekend, got his hands busy again twirling and twisting and started experimenting with his length. This worked wonders and were soon all cheering him on as he got one threw a gaping hole in the defense of Rob Gardiner who looked dangerous for his 28.
Faz 'Boom Boom' Ahmed was the last to put up a fight taking poor Ducky for 20 (not helped by some abject fileding) from his only over for an entertaining 29 from 21 balls. He hadn't expected the fastest and most hostile bowling display to still be up Patrick's sleeve and Cousin de la Davide soon had the batsmen jumping and ducking around. He saw off the tail (5-1-19-3) showing that he can be an excellent bowler when he gets it right, if only he could mark his run up and get that rhythm as consistently as his delicious Alepine Beer (5.5% ABV), it's light malt creating an enticing light golden colour. Mmmm.
Teddington were bowled out within their 40 overs for 167. A great bowling display and despite Greggles' HOWLER of a drop a solid fielding display as well, with one or two notable exceptions. Kaiser Jalfrezi took too excellent catches, one Aussie Rules Style and a crucial one low down at slip off a rampant Cousin Le Davide.he match also saw the return of the 'Armbands of Shame' which Motty was the first recipient, missing one spinning late right in front of the throng of spectators and his Dad outside the pavilion. Cousin de la Simon was an unlikely recipient having covered a huge amount of ground and fielded very well for the whole day, only to have four consecutive howlers, all similar to Motty's and almost came to own the armbands by close. They came thick and fast and as we'd run out of arm bands, the giggling Teddington spectators suggested finding him a rubber ring
An enormous and varied selection of sandwiches is always on offer at Teddington. Sausage rolls and crisps were the savoury pairing with strong tea and scones, cream and jam as well a selection of Mrs Kipling's finest had the lads going back for more.
Verdict: 8/10. Exemplary, but a Coronation Chicken sandwich away from a 9.
In reply to their 167 we opened with Cuddy and Cousin D. LP was umpiring at the time and has this to report from the front line:
"Their Indian seamer (Tauseef Khan) opening bowler started with the first three
deliveries of the first over and brought roars for lbw, all denied. He
queried each of them. First I said "the impact took place half a centre
metre outside the off stump." Second "Cuddy shouldered arms and the ball
wouldn't have hit the stumps." Three "pitched marginally outside leg stump."
At the end of the over I said "well bowled!" He replied "Thank you Sir!'
The second ball of the next over pitched leg and would have hit and before I
raised the finger, Cuddy had walked, for the second time in as many years."
Having got more kicks than Diego Costa, Cuddy repaired to the bar to watch the football. Fair play to both Tauseef for the manner of his dealings with LP and his stiff arm, also Cuddy for walking on an LBW which everyone else agreed they wouldn't do in a month of Sundays. I dare say neither act is commonplace in League cricket any more.
Ducky promoted to bat at 3 for the first time since 1983 lent valuable support to Cousin le Davide with a 27 ball 3 (#propercricket) and Archie soon followed with a two ball duck. Luckily David was smiting them to all parts and was racing to a match winning half century before foillowing the age-old Pecker tradition of running himself out whilst at the brink of glory. His entertaining 40 came from just 37 balls.
When Cousin de la Simon fell first ball to a devilish twirler (read: massive pie) from Barney we suddenly found ourselves in the beastly oomska at 65-5 and with the sky beginning to bruise we were going to have to get home quickly or be forced to make camp.
Taters, having waited an aeon for assistance at the non-strikers end, was joined by Greggles and the two of them both set about proving that you didn't need to play league cricket to know which end of the bat to hold.
The two of them made light work of Teddington's attack and although they were short of a decent league spinner it shouldn't have been so comfortable - they really batted fantastically.
Greg (59 from 33) made his half century first and gentlemen being gentlemen helped Taters onto strike to complete his (51 from 36), seeing us home with an enormous six.
Having started at just after 1pm, were all wrapped by 6pm which left ample time to drink the Teddington bar dry, a challenge we felt on with no small amount of conviction. Over two hours later there were still around 20 of the players and wags left in the bar, testament to the thirst for cricket like this at Teddington and the thirst of Woodpeckers for fine ale and spending time with clubs who still have the joy of cricket left in them.
And then we all sang 'Sweet Caroline' to the barmaid led wonderfully by Patrick.