Ironically, in conditions similar to that of the day I injured my back, the inaugural S.I.A T20 cricket competition took place at Burnham Cricket Club. Firstly, a massive thank you to Burnham CC for providing free use of their facilities.
On what was the coldest day of a wonderfully warm summer so far, three teams fought hard to be crowned champions. Those teams were BBC Mishits, a group of very experienced (probably 1000 years combined) cricketers. Old Scrubbadonians CC, a cultured collection of some of the finest talent the right side of wormwood scrubs prison. Finally, Priory Park CC, a blend of youthful exuberance and cricketing potential.
The first game saw PPCC take on OSCC. Due to heavy rain and wind, the start was delayed by close to two hours. PPCC won the toss and decided to bowl. As both teams took to the pitch, the heavens opened! Those on the pitch, having just taken the covers off quickly put them back on, leaving a gap in the covers on a length and forgetting to run the hoses to the outfield!
Therefore our decision about the timing of lunch was made for us. Everyone settled down to have a spot of homemade tea. This consisted of cook up, pasta salad, salad, pakoras, samosas, spring rolls and cakes! It seemed to go down a treat, as there was very little left. Thanks to my mum and MIL for taking the time to make everything!
Following food and some other 'refreshments', a large selection of players across most of the teams went to check on the condition of the pitch. PPCC were more then happy to get going. Following their lead, OSCC padded up and made their way to the middle to face the pink ball. Due to the rain, the games were reduced to 10 overs per innings.
Vijay and Skippinder the Punjabi kangaroo got the innings started. After a solid opening over from Dharmesh, where only 2 runs off the bat came, 7 came from Rits first over. Junior was next to bowl and immediately bowled skip, with what skip described as an unplayable delivery. Nishant was next in and together with vijay the picked up the runs. With some good ground fielding from Priory, keeping the runs down. Vijay got to 20 and had to retire. The White Brian Lara was next to the crease (woody). However, more like the actual White Lara (jimmy Anderson), he was next to go for only 6, with Gaurav taking the wicket following a fine catch in the deep on the leg side by Junior. Next in was OSCC's loan signing from PPCC, Abdullah. The field came in and Abdullah promptly dispatched the last 3 balls of Dharmesh's over and the innings for three 4s, to leave PPCC with 84 to win. Nishant ended on a watchful 16*. A couple of dropped catches from vijay was the only blot on PPCCs fielding record.
Sandeep and G gave PPCC a blistering start, before G was caught off Roops bowling for a blistering 17. Next in was Harish, some lusty blows kept the rate up. Sandeep then reached 20* and left the crease to be joined by the wall! aka Vijay. Vijay and H saw the game home with 4 balls to spare. A special mention to young Sam Shepherd who bowled very well for OSCC. An excellent start to the competition.
The next game saw the BBC Mishits take on OSCC. BBC batted first. Danny and my Dad opened the batting. In what turned out to be an interesting tactic, my dad decided to retire on 4*. There were whisperings he was either playing for his averages, ran out of steam, forgot the 20 and retire hurt rule, etc. if I had to speculate, I'd say it was a combination. Ram was next in. After a 'quick' 12' he was bowled by the cunning leg breaks of shakeel. The White Lara was next in, playing against his parent club, making 10 before being bowled by Ronnie! Morris was next in, aka Small Man (thanks roop). With one swipe too many, he was gone to a stunning catch from Jon whitehead off David. Henry was next in scoring a quick 2 in 8 balls. All was the last man in, but was out to roop without troubling the scorer. Following a 10 run penalty for a slow over rate, OSCC needed 64 to win. Special mention to Anish for his fielding.
Following blistering start from Ronnie and Vijay, the latter was bowled by Steve for 14. Next in was Anish, with a roar from a raucous crowned of 10 (PPCC players). He was gone for 2 following a beauty from Danny. Ronnie then reached 20. It was left tot shakeel and skip to see it home, skip hitting a 4 again with 4 balls to go.
PPCC took on BBC, knowing that a win would see them crowned champions. PPCC batted first. In a role reversal, Rits and Forhad opened the batting. Rits was dropped off the first ball by Dan off his own bowling, an absolute dolly. That was to prove costly as Rits made 23 retired. Forhad was run out in comical circumstances for a solid 10, minus his patented reverse sweep. Dharmesh was next in and made a steady 20, also retiring. Sabs then came to the crease and was out for 5, LBW. Junior and Punit saw the innings to a close, finishing on 83, somewhat of a par score in this competition.
Woody Lara and Matthew made a brilliant start, both getting out for 19 and 18 respectively. Anish taking a wonderful catch in the deep to give vijay his second wicket, yes second. For the second time, vijay was on a hat trick. He couldn't get his third, but was close having beaten Lals outside edge. all was then run out, following Morris's refusal to run. It was left to Morris and Reuben to finish the game. With eight needed off the final over, Junior bowled quite brilliantly and only conceded 3 runs. Danny ended on 12 and Morris 16, the latter unable to finish the job. Perhaps he knew a bowl out would be needed if all three teams finished on equal points. Rumour has it that money changed hands with Mo for that performance, in an IPL / Modi moment.
PPCC ran out worthy winners, with great performances with the ball, bat and in the field. It was fitting end to such a great day. I look forward to Priory defending their trophy next year, with me in the Squad?
A massive thank you to everyone who played, those that came to support and those that helped, Bob, Jean, MIL, Burnham. A special mention to our match referee Ausbert, despite being under pressure to give wides! Also, those that have donated having not played. A few have asked about donating. If you can pass me the money, I will pass it on. Barclays have agreed to match us pound for pound, so it's looking likely we will raise over £1600! To go to the S.I.A at stoke mandeville. Once I have paid it in, I will send confirmation to everyone.
Thank you again. My recovery has been made all the more easier knowing I have such supportive friends and family.