Who needs eleven?
Nine-a-side leads to an entertaining game...
A combination of league cricket and an unusually high level of absence meant that Waverley were only able to raise nine for Saturday's game at Lynchmere... although as it happened, the hosts were also struggling for numbers and were only able to field a team of nine themselves. Fresh from the traditional pre-match luncheon at the Prince of Wales, Adrian Day ("Mog"), Marcus Carmichael ("MC"), Dave du Gay ("Brother Doogs"), Simon Brewer ("KV"), Andy Du Gay ("Daddy Doogs"), Peter Brewer ("Mr B"), Matt Du Gay ("Doogs"), Adam Carmichael ("AC") and Herbie Scarth ("Herr Bert of the Gescarthpo") were hoping to make the best of an unusual situation.
With the match nine-a-side a 35 over format was agreed, with Lynchmere winning the pre-match conversation and electing to field first. Mog and MC led the Waverley charge, with MC in particular making no secret of his intentions from the word go. With gaps in the field, every ball was seen as a scoring opportunity and the run rate was soon moving along nicely. With Mog providing a firm hand on the tiller, MC's fearless stroke play saw him pass his personal best for Waverley. The pair put on 52 for the first wicket before MC was castled by Saulet for 26. Picking up a bat in anger for the first time in quite a long while, Brother Doogs was unlucky to get an arrow-straight delivery early on and departed without troubling the scorer. KV wasted no time in getting the scoreboard moving again, his first scoring shot seeing the ball disappear over the fence for a maximum. The boundary was in constant jeopardy as KV continued to score at better than a run-a-ball, until he was well caught at point by Clarke for 27. When Mog also holed out a few overs later for a well-made 28, it looked like a Waverley wobble was on the cards with the score 96-4 (with only four wickets in hand).
Daddy Doogs and Mr B continued to build a competitive total, with Mr B contributing 5 and Daddy Doogs adding a useful 17 to the total. However, skipper Doogs produced a captain's knock of 35 to add vital runs in the final ten overs of the innings. He was assisted in his task by AC, who took advantage of the paucity of fielders to post his highest Waverley score in ten years. But when Doogs ran himself out in the penultimate over, the Waverley supporters (who at one point outnumbered the Waverley players) were treated to a cameo knock from Club President Herr Bert - a couple of lusty blows to the boundary rolled back the years, even if they didn't have sufficient momentum to cross the rope on account of the ball having to travel uphill. Waverley completed their 35 overs with both AC and Herr Bert not out, with a very competitive 169-7 on the board.
After Lynchmere's usual excellent tea, Doogs and AC looked to make early gains with the ball. Hill and Charman looked to take on the bowling in the opening overs but the high-risk strategy resulted in an early wicket for Doogs, with Charman holing out to Brother Doogs. Things took a worrying turn for Waverley when KV took a ball in the face off the bowling of Doogs, the Waverley keeper needing to leave the field for a spot of treatment. MC donned the gloves and Sam Tempest ("Thai Boy Troy"), fresh off the plane, donned a spare set of whites to act as substitute fielder. In the meantime, AC bowled okay for three overs but went to pieces in his fourth, managing to leak 13 runs in a single over before being withdrawn from the attack at his own request. Mr B replaced him and immediately strangled the run rate, restoring Waverley's control. KV came back onto the field but Troy was soon back on - Herr Bert's back bringing an early end to his game.
The turning point came in the 16th over when Mr B picked up his first wicket, a high and swirling catch well held by Mog off the last ball of the over. After a maiden from Mog (on for Doogs), Mr B then trapped both Haines and Varnes LBW with the first two deliveries of his next over. However, and in what was apparently a mass case of amnesia, nobody realised at the time that Mr B had completed his hat-trick (which also meant he was able to avoid buying a jug after the game). When Mog bowled Hill with a jaffa in the next over, the home side had gone from 62-1 to 64-5 in just four overs. Mr B then bowled Hardwell in his final over to finish with impressive figures of 4-15. Daddy Doogs was introduced into the attack and within five deliveries, the game was over. Clarke was run out by AC and Murrell was then pouched by KV at mid-on, with Lynchmere all out for 75 and Waverley finishing an entertaining match with a 94 run victory.
The Man of the Match Hat was awarded by KV and AC to Doogs, for his efforts with both bat and ball. However, Doogs awarded himself the *Anchor Hat for causing KV's injury off his bowling. The Pink T-shirt went to Mr B, who was observed at tea to eat a slice of cake with a teaspoon.
There was no Captain's Challenge, as attempting to find eleven players for the game had proved sufficiently challenging for all concerned...