The G6 have been preparing for this match since a very cold night back in November at a pub in Crouch End. The venue had an unforgettable odour. The smell still in my head, and without doubt still in that pub, conjures up thoughts of redemption, potential, strategy over talent, victory, cohesion and a host of other positive adjectives and verbs you associate with a brilliant team.
It was unconscionable that such preparation along with some brilliant stalling tactics we still bowled the first over with only 8 men on the grass.
It wasn’t long before the reinforcements arrived from their array of other junior sports matches and we didn’t have to suffer the embarrassment of a 50+ year old off spinner opening the bowling from the other end!
Too often Cricket matches are determined and discussed as wins or losses based on fickle things like scores and or numerical results I prefer to assess winners and losers based on vibe! And I can tell you all 11 of us left the ground with a Vibe level far superior to our opponents. A victory indeed!
Let me tell you why with a simple player review!
Sean - Captain of Official Business and Vibe. It must be said Sean’s overseeing of Vibe was relentless from Wed through to Sunday but his handling of all things official leave allot to be desired. This not limited to the toss!
Batting - with a glint of determination in his eye and a bucket load of swagger Sean opened the batting and was looking incredible. He was waiting on everything, and playing the ball perfectly under his eyes. He was half way through seeing off the openers and had got himself to 8, with a 50 well within reach. It was at that point he played a defensive shot to cover and shouted a clear “no run” then proceeded forward down the pitch to pat down a spot that was bothering him. The chap at short cover picked up the ball looked at Sean, looked at me (square leg ump) looked at the stumps and I think due to seeing no reaction felt that taking the bails off would seem silly, or not in the spirit of the game, as Sean still hasn’t reacted with any urgency to get back within his crease? He has infact walked even further down the pitch chatting with the bowler. The fielder couldn’t take the bails off, based on the behaviour “he must not be out, if I do?”
I told/warned Sean of this issue at the end of the over. Burt 5 balls later after being struck on the pad, an appeal, Sean wanders towards umpire confident of his security, short cover picks up ball, but this time with the appeal still ringing takes bails off. I gently raise my finger whilst also shaking my head! I eventually changed the mode of dismissal in the scorebook from “Runout” to “self inflicted”.
After settling down Sean saw the day as a victory because he had removed the “rushing at the ball” from his batting, that has plagued him for weeks, and also he didn’t loose his life, which was a close call when a ball was smashed at him on the boundary and as Sean looked up it was directly in the sun. Screams of “catch” quickly changed to “no duck” and the ball fortunately smashed into his shoulder. It was indeed a close call!
Frenchy - As noted in the build up Paras is not blessed with many of the requirements you find in an elite fielder (like most of us) but he indeed is elite, as he throws himself around and literally stops everything coming his way. Must have saved 15-20 runs.
I am also very interested in who cleans those pants on a Sunday? There needs to be a YouTube video taking the watcher through the process. The stainage is deep and covers a large surface area. I’m of the opinion he buys a new pair for each match!
As I put one solitary squirt of stain remover on my pants today (it was a black spot that I think might be remanence of some cigarette ash) I reflected again on Paras’s creams that looked more like the pants of a guy that fell off a motorcycle going at 80kms in a slightly muddy field. Truely inspirational!
Batting - WOW! Frenchy understood and embraced his role. See off openers✅ get 15+✅70 total before drinks ✅
21 brilliant runs and set up the more flamboyant batsmen to bully there 1st and 2nd change bowlers. All jokes aside, really proud of you Paras, so impressive!!!
Nutan- The Little Master albeit late to the game was truely unlucky when called on to Bowl. He deceived batsmen with flight, with turn and even a couple of tweaks in the field that I thought (and I think the batsman thought) were signalling the arrival of his “special ball”. He had a dropped catch on the boundary and a stumping that was out but not given, truely a great spell.
The Tan was elevated to 3 in the order and played magnificently for 6, punctuated by a magnificent 4, and was luckless when he got an unplayable one that literally would have got anyone out!
Henry- WOW! Henry making his seniors debut was our “keeper/batsman”. We’ve never had one of them as John usually keeps and there’s no slash nor a dash after his “keeper” description. From the first ball Henry was in the game and I had somewhat of a mini me moment when he screamed at Bruce, “Yes Bruiser full and strait we’ve got this bloke”. This continued throughout the day where Henry the professional that he is had memorised the nick names of his team mates from my player preview and encouraged them all day. Brilliant.
There were several other mini me moments when Henry started chatting the umpires, started planting seeds in the head of batsman and having strategy tips for me between overs like I do when John’s skipper! It was a surreal feeling.
Then when Henry went out to bat in the Flex 4 position another mini me moment, walked back with a golden duck!
Unlike me Henry actually has talent. He kept for 45 overs with 10 byes which is great. He got a stumping that wasn’t given. Kept his energy up all day. He will pass my total career runs in the seniors in the next 3 years. Watch out for this kid he’s a cracker!!!
Phil - As I approached the crease I passed my man Henry as he was on his way back. Mini me gave me a run down of what the bowler was doing and how the pitch was playing, impressive that he took in that much info during his short stay but allot of you have probably had a similar feeling when passing me on the way out to bat!
My batting commenced with determination and ended with ridiculousness and in between 20 runs occurred. During our bowling innings it appeared my brother or son was playing as well, as there were so many Apthorpe’s on the scoresheet it couldn’t possibly be one man!!
There was one lucky Fantasy Player that took up the 4.5mil Apthorpe player from the 6s (not sure who) and my advise is Sell high my friend, sell high!!
Ace - With the top order setting the table for the Guns to flourish, Aaman strode to the wicket and with control, style and flare commenced his assault on there bowlers. Smashing boundaries off bad balls and rotating off the good balls Aaman was showing what Batting Captain and G6 Batting Talent Scout Bobby saw in him. He was the first gun Bobby picked! A brilliant 50!
Bowling wise I would say Ace was our best, with lesser lights getting the wickets. He bamboozled the batters with turn, flight and varying pace beautifully for 12 overs strait - he was truely brilliant!
And in the field was incredible with a combination of effort to cut off singles and boundary ride support behind our rigid ring field was immense.
Obviously I passed none of the above onto the selectors, telling them he bowled like shit, in the field was useless and somewhat disinterested and his 50 was made up of a collection of top edges and a allot of overthrows that turned marginal singles into 5s. I doubled down on his character telling them he’s a god awful bloke!!!
Hopefully we see you next Saturday Ace!!!
Dunk - This blossoming junior allrounder gave it all. Bowled without luck (2-3 dropped catches) in a great spell with just one over tarnishing his figures! Cut off multiple 4s and multiple singles in the field.
Dunk made one error all day! For some reason unbeknown to the group, when Dunk was next in he became engaged in some kind of “stretch off” with Pilates guru Sean.
Like 2 break dancers they going toe to toe, with Sean leading with some ridiculous poses and then Dunk without effort or fear of consequences would match it. But the flexible veteran was playing with his food. Just when the junior thought he had youthful bend to match it , out came the dreaded Pigeon. Rattled and confused, try as he might Dunk could not pull off the for mentioned move and to make matters worse a wicket just fell. Confused and shamed by the experience Dunk couldn’t remember wether it was 3,6 or 10 balls his skipper told him to take a look at and get his eye in and went for the 4th one which he thought he might hit for 6. Sadly the number he was looking for was 10 and the top edge was gobbled up and Dunk headed back with several lessons learnt!!!
Big Ed - As usual Ed ripped in with his opening spell and terrified their opening batsmen. Not big on the chat but the steely stair says it all from this tear away junior. Ed’s efforts were rewarded in his second spell with a wicket! In the field as usual Ed was top tier covering so much ground left by his more senior team mates!
Ed came out to bat and raced to 5 but I think all his energy may have been absorbed in his junior match where he got a 40 not out coupled with the extra effort he put in during our fielding!
One of the things I’m loving about playing with Ed is the relationships he’s forming with the more senior members of the team. And I love that they are performance based. As we left the field he told me that I was “cool, and took a catch off his bowling”. He then looked unimpressed at Bruce and said “he dropped one off my bowling”!
I will also be proposing that Ed replace the floundering “Captain of Official Things” Sean, as Ed took the lead on scorebook and I’m pretty sure Johnny E would have been suitably impressed with his work, and I’m told he did a magnificent job of the roundup. We will add “The Toss” to his duties and Sean can maybe maintain Vibe only as his extra duties!
Big Dan - Dan the Man! Literally what can I say!
Brilliantly, Dans missus turned up just before he was to go out to bet. As I chatted with her and Dan it was mentioned I think 3 times that Dan was coming off a duck. This occurred again as Dan was walking out to bat! Myself and eventually Dan were having none of it. I said “you just watch him” as I new Dans “see 10 then hit” was a clear mindset. Now the scorebook will reflect that Dan actually looked at 3 then peeled off multiple boundaries including 2 Sixers on his way to 50 not out, it was clear to all a point was being proven!!! Atta Boi Dan!
It was absolutely magnificent and I will be sending Dans GF match details in future as her presence is required and if we could get a “NYN” etc pre Tuesday evening that will help with Dan being selected or not! .
Dans fielding was as usual brilliant! He’s smart, he’s aware and courageous.
Awarded with the Man of the day!
I suspect that cheeky little grin is still on his face! Atta Boi Dan the Man!
Bruce - Captain of Bowling. A tough couple of days for our meticulous planner Bruce. With spread sheets, pie charts and pivot tables Bruce had planes based on statistical probability who would bowl when etc. Then the dreaded “beam me up Scotty” occurred with Bobby his first change bowler going up to the 5s. Re-do! Then his opening bowler Ed will be a tad late due to him playing another match. Re-do! Then Ed gets there to bowl over 2. We change again! All of this really through our bowling leader off his game early but he bounced back like the champion and leader he is.
He soldiered on and claimed the early wicket!
Throughout our bowling innings Bruce was both tactical and mathematically on point with changes and non changes alike!
Bruce did an amazing job with the bat. With the G6 target of 170 safely completed some overs ago Bruce’s only job was to stay in and get Big Dan on strike to secure the 50 and as you have read Mission Accomplished!!
Ritchie Boi - Not called on to bat nor bowl Richard was determined to impact the game, and impact he did. Firstly by getting Ed out of the car quickly to be the advanced Bareham to arrive just in the nick of time to bowl the 2nd over, whilst Richard then parked the car, was a tactical move that needs noting. Brilliant!
An over after Ed, Richard scampered onto the field and we were now 10. It was from that point Richard got into his work. The rest of us oldies were in complete awe of his sideways movement and his ability to bend. He was cutting off boundaries, stopping singles, it was like he was everywhere.
Then the moment arrived.
With Richard at Midwicket a batsman played a decently powered shot somewhere forward of square leg. Richard “swooped”! There was allot of discussion whether it was like an eagle or a leopard, some even suggested a puma. But it was then agreed both the puma and leopard would be more likely to pounce. But it was definitely better than an eagle so you decide the simile you think fits best! But he got to the ball really quick. Both batsman thought it was an easy run, but then one of them remembered, No that’s the old guy that can actually run and stuff and hesitation ensued! Richard picked up the ball and in one fluid motion without hesitation launched the ball with extreme rapid velocity hitting the stumps and scattering all but one on the turf, with the batsman diving desperately, just mere inches away from the safety and the security of the crease. It was truely unbelievable!!!!!
(Now all of that was true with the exception of the hitting the stumps part, but everyone deserves a moment to shine plus I promised Richard at least 2 paragraphs, and Richard with all his effort on the day deserves it.)
So as you have read the Vibe victory was won by the mighty Highgate G6 squad and actual scores in the book or the Play Cricket website will not deter us!
We are winners and we are grinners!
And we will be back next week!