Gnomes Prevail (We Think) with a Little Help from the Man Upstairs and Messrs Duckworth & Lewis
"It was a dark and stormy night and the Captain said, 'Lantern, take up the tail' and Lantern said 'It was a dark and stormy night and the..."
My apologies for the delay but at last I feel proud to be genuinely able to start a match report in the following manner...hem hem...
"It was a dark and stormy night and the Captain said, 'Lantern, take up the tail' and Lantern said 'It was a dark and stormy night and the..." Anyway, it WAS ultimately a dark and stormy night and conspiracy theorists may say that the pink and green plane seen overhead as the Thirds were going well with the Snapper Brothers at Over Number 7, was seeding the clouds which resulted in the subsequent rainstorm that killed the game. However, whichever way you look at it, the Gnomads, under the expert ineptness and buffoonery of their Skipper, Mike DeTarks, brought home a magnificent Draw/Victory/Whatever for the Club against the best Third Team in the Valley Road area of Hayfield. Whether you are Duckworth, Lewis, Marks or Spencer, the fact remains that we did not record the usual Gnomadic result of 'Lost' and that is good enough for me.
DeTarks, after enquiring "Whats the toss and what's heads and tails?" managed to get his own way against Thirds Supremo Waddington for the first time in 18 years and put a rather 'Old School' Gnomes team into bat (welcome back Hollywood, Homes and Shep). As the old expression I made up 3 minutes ago says "Cometh the hour, Cometh the lawyer" and the opening legal pairing of Hollywood and Homes got off to a flying start at a very reasonable £790 an hour (Joe, we owe them £37). Hollywood was his usual swashbuckling self and denied all attempts to dislodge him and retired at 25 and Homes swashed a bit too much and was buckled for 14. Fine knocks from Shep and Segovia followed, both leaving the field of play unbeaten on yet more 25s and then Coops and Stevie G (we need a permanent gnickname) steadied the ship in the belief that it was a 9 day test. Solid innings from the pair of them and Sluice took us home to a creditable 125 with a wonderful cameo from Albert in the final over.
Was this enough, we all asked ourselves as the Thirds Opening pair took the field of play, looking strong in arm and ....what's the rest of that old saying again? DeTarks took command and immediately set his field up - "Where does everyone go again, Two Bricks?" he advised calmly. Albert opened up the bowling and kept his cool as Ash found form quickly and the Thirds notched up a quick 15 in the first over. Hollywood took control of over number 2 and a look of apprehension crossed Sharp, G's face, as our man took a number 9 bus to his begin his run up. Seconds later, a blistering bazooker of a ball whistled off the bat and Sharpie was gone, like a something in a something (I'm getting bored now - you all must be), as Sluice was secure behind the timbers, pill in gloves. One Brick came into the crease and soon after Albert went to town and took his and the wicket of some other bloke (I really am getting bored) before Hollywood took his second wicket. The Waddsters were now at the crease together and their dander was up and Homes came on to assist with Segs at the other end to see if we could limit the damage. DeTarks repeatedly offered Snapper the light and repeatedly, he bravely refused, whilst donning his infra red goggles as the sky overhead darkened. At 49 (ish) for 4, years of Tarkish Churchgoing came in to play and the heavens opened, the light show started and the covers went on. At the same point, we had been 49 (ish) for only 1 wicket and 1 25 N.O. (at least...) so I feel that whatever system you use, we were ahead of the game. Controversy still reigns and will continue to do so for some weeks....
Yes, gentleman, a draw/win/whatever had been achieved against the mightiest opposition in all of the Royal car park and a happy bunch of Gnomads repaired to the Kinder for a well deserved beer.
Almost finally, those stats in full, Gnome Fans:
Doc Hollywood (25 N.O. - 2 Wickets, one where bails ended up in Moss Side)
Homes (aka Rob Barratt - name ideas anyone? - A creditable 14)
Shep ( a sterling 25 N.O.)
Segovia (Very much Unretired and No Longer Hurt - a very kulchured 25 N.O.)
Two Bricks (Answers on a post card please but a staunch middle order stand by our musical mirthmaker)
Stevie G (words cannot describe this glorious spectacle so I won't use any)
Albert (Royal) (Non strike end, one ball at end of final over but 2 fine wickets in one over!)
Lantern/Eccles/Pikey (DNB but top notch umpiring...Howard Webb would be proud)
BJ (DNB but looked magnificent)
Tarkers (DNB and DNB and thank the lord for that......who asked him to be Skip again?...)
Gnomadic moment of the night goes to Two Bricks who welcomed Stevie G warmly by hitting him on the head with the ball during catching practice before the game started. SG sustained further injury attempting to stop another leviathan hit from Big Ash and the poor lamb (no relation) has a really nasty lump on his poorly arm......
All in all a good night but one I feel that must be repeated to give our colleagues in the Thirds the chance to have a full crack at us.
Thanks to Waddy and the team for their hospitality and bring on the rematch, I say.
Yours at square lug (that is right, isn't it?)