If I had to do the same again, I would my friend, Fernando...
Before I delve into the post mortem of the latest adventures of the people’s team dear readers, I would like to take the time to describe to you the intense pleasure of the finest cricket tea that your humble scribe has ever had the pleasure of eating. I recently played at the Royal Household at Windsor Castle and I have to say that I thought that was the best tea that I had ever had until I wandered down the grassy knowl and into the warm bosom of John Erroll’s Mum’s cricket tea.
The tea was much hyped and John Erroll’s Mum’s teas initially did not differ greatly in terms of presentation from the standard (and also very excellent) Cheeko family provided teas but once the tin foil was pulled back on the cake section, the prospect of fielding was suddenly forgotten in a smorgasbord of sweet treats that made for some muffin top cricket trousers during the secondinnings.
The sandwiches were a good selection or various meat and vegetarian options on white and brown bread. I chose grated cheddar cheese and egg mayo, both on brown, which had the texture that only sandwiches that are made with care and love can be. I also dipped into some mini sausages (which were lightly spicy), succulent and juicy cherry tomatos. For desert, I noticed some home jam tarts and I have to confess that they were so good that I had six of them before attempting to keep wicket for the remainder of the afternoon. The tarts themselves had a crumbly cup that was just sufficient in texture to form a base for the sweet strawberry jam but sufficiently supple to melt in the mouth.
There were further cake options including some chocolate muffins and some excellent banana cake that I know Rupert the Pirate (you are not a pirate) was tucking into, which might explain the extra over he took to warm up. In many areas of life, hype and expectation rarely lives up to the actual event but I think that Johnny Erroll’s Mum is made of tougher stuff than that and the tea fully lived up to grand billing that it was afforded. This is to your credit Johnny Erroll’s Mum and I thank you for bringing 30 minutes of joy into our lives that offset the shocking negativity of the Letchworth run chase.
Set 270 to win on the small pitch in 55-overs should have been an easy task for the men of Letchworth given that what looked like a lethal green one was infact a slow flat deck offering little assistance to the bowlers except a bit of occasional bounce. Letchworth’s mind it seems, was made up for them by an opening bowling partnership of Duncan Taylor and Spencer Randon. With keeper Burrows up to the stumps and high quality bowling, the opposition found themselves at 20-overs with just 20 runs on the board. Bar flew through their overs and in no time, Letchworth were under the pump and batting for a draw from very early on. The key was to nurdle out their only two real batsmen, Hughes and Fernando, who scored 100 out of the teams, 165 eventual total.
The strange part about the whole day was that Letchworth had inserted Bar on a hot day on a green pitch, hoping to skittle us for a low score and then chase, as is their modus operandi, especially with Hughes who is way too good for division 9. Their return on their day’s efforts was a megre 4-points, 1 from bowling and 3 from getting to 166. There are clearly teams in our league who value not letting the opposition get 30-points over gaining batting points from themselves. Strange tactics from an ad-hoc Letchworth side but it may have suited the playing strength that they came with. No more needs to be mentioned of their run chase effort that was embarrassing in its execution.
A joy to behold however was Bar’s domination of the batting. The usual opening collapse left Andy Hughes at the crease looking down the barrel of a low score at 47-3. However, Andy Hughes led his now customary fightback and went on to take the easy singles and big hits on offer on his way to a sparkling 95. There was only one 6 in his innings, which goes to show how far Hughsey’s temperament has come in terms of batting time as well as just smashing it. He really is a class act at this level and his loafing singles are arrogant in their casualness. He holed out to long on after hitting a single down the ground a little too firmly and was truly gutted to miss out on his ton.
He was supported manfully by the highlights package that is the Doc Sharma who scored 36, mostly in boundaries, and there was a super cameo down the order by the baby faced assassin, Luke Watling who scored 55 in 8-overs. Spencer Randon scored a cheeky 29 and was the only man to hit a 6 onto the astroturf pitch.
Bar bowled well during Letchworth’s batting effort, with some extraordinarily good figures coming from the oppositions blockathon. The pick of the bowlers were the 2 spinners, Randon and Watling who were a pleasure to watch from behind the stumps and got 2 and 3-wickets respectively. If Bar can learn to hang on to a few more sharp catches, then we can start to convert these high point draws into 30 point victories.
The People’s team sit above mid table in a league where teams are all taking points from each other with a trip to the pretty North Enfield next week. This week I leave you with Abba’s ‘Fernando’ as a tribute to Letchworth’s Chopper Fernando and Cheeko’s string pulling captaincy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQsjAbZDx-4