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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Maladroits just lose out as they live up to their name...

MCC v Sheen
Sunday 22nd June 2013
MCC lost by 7 wickets (off the last ball of the game!)
Matty Bolland reporting

It was a day for the fans. A crowd in excess of 12 turned up to watch the classic annual fixture of the Maladroits v Sheen. Strangely, both teams were playing at their home ground, and both teams entered the contest as the underdog. With rain on the horizon (as is common in an English summer) the Maladroits won the toss and elected to bat. Carrington and Brewer strode to the crease purposeful, knowing a fast outfield and hard pitch would reward positive batting. The Sheen bowling was a mixed bag; line and length with movement both ways from one end, and moon balls being floated up from the other end. With Dusty running late Sheen had implemented their secret weapon, mini-Dusty. Eventually mini-Dusty managed to find the pitch and caught Carrington in 4 minds - forward, backwards, sideways, forwards again and then miss the ball to be bowled for an aggressive 25. Staff, on debut, looked to get himself settled and not wanting to succomb to the sheen-new-comers-curse. Another healthy partnership ensued; Staff, continuing his good form in the nets, played elegant cricket shots along the ground. 

However, Staff would also fall to mini-Dusty, snicked behind for a quickfire 24. Fray, one of the few Maladroits under 30 and able to perform athletic feats such as hitting the ball continued the momentum. After hitting the only 6 of the innings, several balls later he was a little unlucky to cream the bowler over his head for what would've been another 6. The bowler, head down, shouted out "shit" as he was hit for what the thought was another boundary; this was quickly followed by a loud "fuck" from the batsman after he realised it was down long-on's throat. Fray departed for a handy 24. Meanwhile Brewer was milking the bowlers like a frantic milkmaid late for a barn-dance and not wanting to miss out on the fun. Cut shots were mixed together with powerful pull shots. One lofted drive tried its best to go for six, but dropped just inches short. A chanceless innings, he soon brought up his maiden ton with a pull shot to square. With the innings coming to a close, the run rate was lifted and wickets fell. Brewer departed; Dearman played a classy 32 before being stumped upping the tempo. Greenback wasted no time in running himself out without facing a ball, a fantastic selfless act to help the team. Finishing as the Maladroits started, the final ball of the innings was smashed through mid off by Herlihy, giving him a good-for-the-strike-rate 4 runs from one ball. Dusty had been ineffective, and a total of 259 from 35 overs seemed a good score. 

Following a pretty good teas, it was time to defend what looked like a good tally. Boland opened the bowling and managed to find some line, some length and even some seam movement. Beating the bat and finding the inside edge he had Ingrim shouting MIDDLESEX at the young batsman, reminding him that wearing your Dad's Middlesex jumper doesn't make you any better at cricket (and in hindsight it may be worth the Maladroits making a trip to the Lords gift shop during the week). Herlihy opened at the other end and after finding his line managed to get one to nip back and bowl the opener middle stump. He created several chances, but nothing went to hand. Sheen accumulated well, but were just beyond the run rate. The openers bolwers were soon changed, and Zabadme pickup up a wicket to leave Sheen two down. Lees was almost fatally wounded after falling on his arse taking the catch, and had to retire from the field. 

Dearman newly into the attack, produced a gem first ball, getting the Sheen batsman probing outside off-stump. The edge flew fast and high, but Brewer lurking behind had the reactions of a trodden cat. A spectacular one handed take sent the batsman packing and the Maldroits a few wickets from the tail. The young Middlesex jumper wearing opener was joined by the last recognised batsman and it was still a long way to the total. Fray bowled some accurate offspinners - troubling bother batsmen with the turn and bounce. Ingrim and Carrington both chipped in to try and remove the pair who were now building a healthy partnership. Seeing the ball well, both batsmen started hitting the ball cleanly - finding the boundary for most bad balls. 

A few chances were shelled, and a clear caught behind not given on grounds that the umpire wanted to win the game more than wanting to be a decent human being. The batsman's explanation for not walking was that he was batting well and he wanted to keep going. Fair enough. With an unlikely 18 needed off the final over, it was the Maladroits game to lose. The young opener had gotten his century, so he could focus on winning the game again. A series of misfields and dropped catches meant that it came down to the last ball; 2 to win for Sheen. Boland produced a low full-toss which was skied. 

Zabadne, filling in for the wounded Lees, trembled underneath. Knowing that this one act could win the game, he promptly dropped it, fulfilling the Maladroit debut curse. The ball was thrown to the bowlers end, but the batsman had crossed (twice) to run the two needed for victory. Match-fixing allegations were denied and the Maladriots hurridly scurried to the pub to discuss the heart wrenching defeat. 

MOM: Brewer for 110
DOD: Greenback for running himself out without facing a ball
FOD: Brewer for classy catch, and general tidiness with the gloves. 
Teas: 67%