A look back into the history books helps put the disaster that was 19/05/12 in perspective. After the blockbuster that was Men in Black came Men in Black II; after the timeless ‘Whats The Story?’ came ‘Be Here Now’; after Imogen Thomas came Natasha Giggs, and after the England Ashes win of 2005 came the 5 – 0 demolition in 2006. The point you ask? – The sequel is never as good.
Thongsbridge 1st XI in batting order: B Raven-Hill, D O Webster, M Berry, B Howitt, R Wagstaff, T Kemp, u s A Kemp, T Raven-Hill, J Thompson, I Shah, Z Iqbal
A year has passed since Thongsbridge clawed victory from the jaws of defeat against the old enemy in the Oddfellow’s Cup semi final – the day that some of the current set up wrote their names into Holme Valley folklore. They arrived at Holmfirth on 19/05/12 looking for a repeat performance, and bullish about their chances. Sat pretty at the top of the Championship the season has started well and Captain Ben was able to pick from the majority of his squad (only Guy ‘reverse’ Parkin was missing – still in America holidaying).
The game was reduced to 28 over’s a side following a night of rain, and the start was delayed by 2 hours. Gummy and partners seemed hesitant; constantly in the umpires ear trying to get the game called off – presumably the ghosts of last season still haunted them. Their cries fell on deaf ears though, with both Umps determined to get the show on the road.
Ben won the toss and elected to bowl. It was a tough day for the Bridge in the field. Shah and Zaf started well enough, although how one can bowl consistent no-balls off three yards I’m yet to understand. However, after 10 overs the score was a meagre 24; Chunky at one end blocking and getting squared up, and their Kiwi pro at the other. The runs then began to flow and a tricky period for the Bridge began – hopefully this can be limited to once a month. The Kiwi was looking aerial, but hitting valuable runs more consistently and Ben thought it time to introduce TRH. Tom has been short of over’s so far this year, and after his bemusement at bowling only 3 against a Delph side who amassed 297, he was determined to make an impact.
Tom is currently top of the Thongsbridge 6’s league with both bat and ball and today would prove to only add to these impressive stats. The Kiwi smashed a full one over cover for 6, and a couple of streaky swings saw more boundaries. The score raced quickly to 50, and after Tom disappeared over the cover boundary again he was wondering what he could do. Luckily an expended break in play to retrieve the ball concentrated the hair styled tweaker – bowling the Holmfirth pro the next ball.
Gummy came in and made a shockingly bad, but very useful 20 odd including a six of Tom (obviously). He hit them off the back of his bat; he hit them off his box; he hit majestic cover drives through mid wicket and lofted straight drives through fine leg. You don’t always have to bat pretty though, and Gummerson senior added vital runs to a useful partnership. Shah picked up 3 wickets and Tom another one (after a magnificent Alex Kemp
snaffle in the deep) and Holmfirth made a competitive 113 for 5 of their 28 overs. Some dodgy fielding (tree allowing one when at gully is an example) and a horrendous dropped catch from butter fingers TR-H summed up a day in the field for the T-Birds – very average.
Tea Sandwiches: 7.5/10, Spread: 8/10, Cakes: 10/10, Slush: 1/10.
So Thongsbridge needed 114 to win in 28 over’s against their closest rivals – could they hold their nerve?
After a poor start to the season from the top order we hoped that a low total, and the prize of bragging rights would prove inspiration to the Bridge – where did it all go wrong?
Ben set out the order in the changing room before padding up. Just as he was about to lead Oliver out for the second innings it was highlighted to him that you must wear 2 pads, however good at nudging though mid wicket off middle stump you may be. Ben, slightly embarrassed, proceeded to strap the missing one on – an early contender for WOTW one suspects. Ben heightened his chances of wearing the whoopee cushion after getting caught bang in front to Jav Iqbal Junior early doors. The talismanic skipper has struggled for runs early season and showed no signs of improvement here – gone for a lowly 1. History says Ben will improve though, and despite certain people’s concerns over the reliance on his runs to win games, his record speaks for itself; therefore I don’t see Thongsbridge’s need for Ben to score a large portion as a problem. Stats don’t lie – Ben is an 800 run a season man and I’m sure his first knock is around the corner.
Oliver looked good at one end, and a glamorous smash though mid wicket for four settled the nerves. Tree joined him at the other end and it is fair to say he struggled. Holmfirth bowled well and the Joe Lumb schooled youngster found it hard going. Aware of the need for runs, Oliver holed out to mid off after a delightful lofted cover drive for 4 two balls earlier. With the big man gone the nerves kicked in. 20 for 2 after 14 – enter Ben Howitt
. Bull is a bottler – this would be his last game until the close of the season as he is going camping in America with kids or something. Who knows; but today was a good one for him. A desperate situation was somewhat tamed by Thongsbridge’s number 4 as he hit beautiful shots all around the wicket to up the run rate. Somewhere amongst the mêlée Tree lost his off peg, but it proved a timely wicket as free scoring batsmen were now the order of the day.
With the need for runs Ben made timely changes to the batting order, promoting Shah to 5 ahead of Wags. Shah has struggled with fitness this season and despite his always superb bowling, has looked lost with the bat. It still didn’t seem to click for him at Holmfirth as he hit lofted shots a distance more associated with a Ben Raven-Hill
six attempt than a Shah maximum. The most worrying thing was Shah’s inability to run twos. Perhaps younger legs were required up the order when chasing just over one a ball? Who knows.
Eventually the Bald Eagle hit one down cow corner’s throat and fell for around 6. Next in was TK who has looked in sublime touch for parts of the early season. Tom had a few sighters before a trademark sweep hit the ropes. Down the other end Bully was in fine fiddle, spanking 3 maximums off the T-Bridge old timer Jav, and rotating strike brilliantly. The run rate was creeping up though, and Tom unfortunately fell victim to the cause, also skying one to cow.
came in at 7 and Thongsbridge were still 40 short. Al has been training daily in the USA in his new role as university soccer player/One Tree Hill slush dater and quickly set about enforcing quick singles, rotating strike and giving the bowling to Ben H. It was great to see Alex score his first runs of the season, but his concentration wavered at the vital moment and he too was caught. In America he would have gotten a break for commercials and therein time to refocus so one can forgive him. But this is England. By the time Al fell foul to Holmfirth’s attack the required run rate was up around 8 and the responsibility fell to Tom Raven-Hill
. A terrible mix up left Bull stranded and Thongsbridge right up poo creak without an oar. Tom made sure to keep pace with Bull in the 6 hitting league, dispatching Jav over the river, but fell the next ball after another catch on the boundary.
Waggs and James Thompson
were left to try and make 8 from the last 7 balls, and despite a valiant attempt ended up 2 short. So Thonsgsbridge ended 111 for 9 and worthy losers.
So there goes the tale of Thongsbridge’s first defeat of the season. Results did go their way however, and so top of the league is still occupied by the Miry Lane Bottlers. A well deserved victory for Holmfirth after a decent performance; but one feels Thongsbridge rather threw it away. We will finish on things to learn and things to forget.
Things to learn
Runs saved in the field would have won us the game; catch your catches (TR-H); defence is not always the best form of attack; rotate the strike; Adapt to situations better – eg 28 over game batting orders (BR-H); score more runs and stop disappointing the fans (Reeves’/Kemps/Lauren/Al and Irene); when performing badly at any sport, the key to doing better is to work on your game – you work on your game at training nights on a Tuesday evening at 18:00 onwards – see you all there (and the second team); if you don’t like losing, don’t play Darts against TR-H.
Things to forget
1. Forget 19/05/12 – still top, Broad Oak next week, Sajid arrives to add to the batting order – I’m backing us to bat first and make 287-6 with ‘someone’ 67* (clue – a non Asian bowler).
2. Ben Howitt
Bruce Jakeman for his chuntering from the balcony
for the maiden 50 of the season
Max ‘transfer request’ Gummerson for a no show
Abbie and Lauren – Travelling slush fans