Match Report: Gnomads v Mottram – Tuesday 12 June 2012
A Tale of 3 Jez's
It was a tale of 3 Jez’s in a game that that finally ebbed away from the Gnomes in the darkening Mottram night sky. In true Gnomadic style, Captain RA managed to select three Jez-named individuals for the Baggy Pink and Greens, with only one Jez ultimately making it onto the field of play. As we assembled in the changing room, Jez no.1 (Eddie) was present and raring to go in his whites, Jez no.2 was back in Hayfield wafting the smoke away from the engine of his sportscar, and Jez no.3 was, well…either Jez no.1 or Jez no.2 but certainly not Jez no.3. Following a ‘senior moment-based’ admin oversight from our Captain (RA), the Gnomes readied themselves for battle a man short – it was so characteristically Gnomadic that the script-writers would have found it too cliché! The cry went out to our travelling support of one, Two-bricks, to act as a ‘stationary obstacle somewhere around midwicket’, but he politely(ish) declined the invitation, choosing to instead act as the team’s hydration assistant…servicing mainly himself…with lager.
In short, the Gnomads nurdled their way to an at times tortuous 97/5, which Mottram eventually reached after 18.1 overs, having been stifled by a spirited Gnomes bowling attack and some equally lively action in the field. The long story, of course is far more interesting, so read on…
Having made a slow start to the innings, the scoring pace lay embedded in treacle for the majority of the 20 overs, save for a dazzling middle-order partnership between Mr Ashby and Mr Brooks (Gnames required for both) who clocked 27 n/o and 26 n/o respectively, more than 50% of the final total. Had it not been for this pair of gnew, if not so youthful (Ashby) Gnomads, we would all have been in the clubhouse before 8 o’clock. The Brooks/Ashby partnership mixed smart footwork and classic shot-making that would make M’Lud grin with excitement, with some good agricultural thwacking from the older of the two, including two big sixes.
The two old stagers, Bongo and McGloves got proceedings underway in an opening partnership that made Mike Atherton look like a crowd pleasing show-pony. After three overs, the scorers had fallen asleep as the Gnomads languished on 6 runs, and after 4 overs, things looked even worse – the fall of Bongo for 3 left us on 7/1. Eddie Stobart
arrived at the crease, then departed shortly after for two – at least this Jez turned up.
The next two to visit the track were the Cooper Troopers, who rather than forming a wall managed only to erect a swinging garden gate. One Brick worked himself in at the crease
and hit two classy boundaries before seeing his wickets tumble off behind him. Half Brick, on the other hand, did the bare minimum required to avoid the dreaded Ducky Egg.
It took until number 6 for the fightback to commence, and when the resistance finally materialised it came in the most unlikely of forms. For the first handful of overs of his innings, Neil Ashby had chugged to a 10 compiled wholly of singles, for he did not care for even the slightest suggestion of a second run – the oxygen mask last readied when Tarkers was hit in the hamstring by a sniper at the same ground, was dusted off and prepared as Ashby went into cardiac arrest after his seventh. But then, out of nowhere, Ashby tonked one towards Stalybridge and the seeds of a fight back were sewn. Ashby finished his innings in classy style with another six that took him to 27 n/o. Alex Brooks entered the fray following Half Brick’s brief stint between the stumps and, having got a few swing and misses out of his system, began to tick like a vintage engine. His innings comprised four boundaries, a pair and a few singles, which eventually led to him raising his bat and retiring to the clubhouse for 26 n/o. One of the more humorous moments of his innings came as he forced a spluttering Neil Ashby to run a second 22yds, which Ashby reluctantly did under fierce barracking from the Pink and Green ranks looking on from the pavilion.
Once the golden pair left the crease, normal service was resumed. Lamby swung hard with no joy before finally finding his groove with a few singles and a four. It was unfortunately all over before it had really begun. The Lambster left the battlefield for 7, having trotted down the wicket with the intention of sending the cherry into outerspace, but executing the lift-off with all the skill and expertise of a North Korean scientist – stumps went a’tumbling. Mutton formed the second half of the short-lived all-ovine partnership and despite some big swinging, his inability to move his feet restricted him to 2 before he was run-out on the final ball of the innings…as I said, lack of footwork!
And that leaves Royal Albert, who like all good captains, stayed onboard in the clubhouse until all of his crew had either succumbed to the Mottram bowling attack, or returned to the pavilion triumphant having notched their quarter century. With a few singles and a boundary, RA equalled the third highest total of those above him in the order, and the not-out asterisk will do wonders for his batting average. He finished on 8, which pushed the Gnomads to a total of 97/5 from 20. The full batting scorecard was as follows:
1. McGloves - 7
2. Bongo - 3
3. Eddie Stobart (Jez 1) – 2
4. One Brick – 8
5. Half Brick – 1
6. N. Ashby – 27*
7. A. Brooks – 26*
8. Lamby – 7
9. Mutton – 2
10. Royal Albert (c) – 8*
11. Jez 3 (see Eddie Stobart)
Defending a total of 97 would be a tall order, especially on a ground with a boundary as short as the Hattersley end. However, the Gnomes were buoyed by the knowledge that their last victory came on this very ground last August – on that evening, 104 was the winning total so 97 felt a little bit competitive.
Having held up the batting order, Royal Albert opened the bowling innings with One Brick in an accomplished attack that ceded only 15 runs for one wicket off 4 overs. RA frustrated the batters whilst the champagne moment came from One Brick as he sent the timber cartwheeling with a typically blurry delivery.
Lambie and Eddie then terrorised the Mottram batsmen, restricting them further, only conceding 12 runs from the four overs. Lambie opened with a wicket maiden and added a second wicket for 5 runs in his second over, in a classic display of right-arm-medium-trundle-over, that for some reason had the Mottram batsmen dancing like Fred Astaire on cocaine. Not to be outdone, Eddie took a tidy wicket too and suddenly, after 8 overs, Mottram were 27/4, which is pretty much where the Gnomads found themselves at the same point. Just like Susan Boyle, the Gnomes began to dream a dream (I thought a Martin Luther King reference would be too heavy…).
Ashby continued his fine form, going for 7 runs off his twelve runs in Bothamesque all-rounder fashion. Unfortunately, that is where the good news stories end. Bongo went for 18 runs, and Half Brick and Brooksy went for 19 a piece. Mutton only managed one over for 8, as Mottram eventually knocked off the total in 18.1 runs. In fairness to the Gnomes in the field, by the time the tail end of the bowling attack rolled in, darkness had begun to fall over the MCG (if only), making fielding on the boundary risky business. This was no better exemplified by Bongo’s ill-judged patella-led diving stop – who would have thunk that a knee-cap could double as a percussion instrument?
Those chewing on sour grapes could point to some suspect fielding from the Mottram-provided 11th man, but who would blame them really? And in fairness, the same chap that dropped his own player also dropped a couple of Gnomes (thank God) so it’s a case of swings and roundabouts. I think it’s the equivalent of us donating Two Bricks to keep wicket for the other side, or Mutton as a runner, to a team that arrived with 10-men. We lost because we didn’t score enough; next time a slight batting order reshuffle should see us home.
And so for the bowling stats:
1. Royal Albert – 2 Overs/0 Maidens/7 Runs/0 Wickets
2. One Brick – 2 Overs/0 Maidens/7 Runs/1 Wickets
3. Lamby – 2 Overs/1 Maiden/5 Runs/2 Wickets
4. Eddie Stobart – 2 Overs/0 Maidens/7 Runs/1 Wicket
5. N. Ashby – 2 Overs/0 Maidens/7 Runs/0 Wickets
6. Bongo – 2 Overs/0 Maidens/18 Runs/0 wickets
7. Half Brick Bongo – 2 Overs/0 Maidens/19 Runs/0 wickets
8. A. Brooks – 3 Overs/0 Maidens/19 Runs/0 wickets
9. Mutton – 1 Over/0 Maidens/8 Runs/ Wickets
Thanks as always to the ladies at Mottram who again produced one of the finest teas on the circuit, and also to RA who, despite his selection glitch, worked pretty long and hard to get a team out. The chaps at Mottram were great sports too.