Dramatic end to season opener for Wizened Old Men

The first game of the season ended in the most dramatic way possible for the Wizened Old Men – losing to Qui Vive by one run on the very last ball.

After an eight-month layoff since 2018’s season drew to a close, Voorburg’s distinguished fourth team – now another year older and even more wizened – were reunited for 2019’s opener against the west Amsterdam side. And it proved to be an exciting game, despite two stoppages for hailstones that left the players twice scurrying for shelter.

Captain Guus broke the habit of a lifetime and actually won the toss, so he elected for us to bat first. In an outbreak of modesty, he declined to partner with brother Rutger, who opened with Robbie instead. Guus explained that he wanted everyone to have the chance to bat, a noble plan that unfortunately would later prove that you should never entertain the idea of democracy, or you’ll get a Brexit. Or in our case, a nail-biting finish in a game we were unlucky to lose by 173 runs to 172.

As we took the field for the first time this season, rapturous applause from traveling supporters was a bit thin on the ground, so we were welcomed to the field with some rapturous barking from Robbie’s dog instead. Rutger wasted no time in getting the proceedings underway with some neat shots and the first six of the new season.

Fifty-up before rain stopped play for the first time, Rutger was out for LBW on a handsome 46 runs –our highest player score of the day– while Robbie fell to a catch on 17. Robbie’s irritation at getting caught was taken out on John, who was sent to walk the dog, compete with pooper scooper (mercifully not needed).

Due to the absence of Dinesh and Lennaert, sadly for personal reasons, the old men were joined by two youth team players, Bart (U16s) and Tobias (U14s). Bart managed a run before being caught; then following the Nota family tradition, Tobias was dropped before also being caught after amassing a splendid 36, the second-highest score of our innings.

Richard managed a useful four before being run out, while Victor added another two before being bowled. All-rounder Charu then proved that he can bat as well as bowl by notching up 23 – the third- highest score of the day – until he was also bowled. Vishal then took the stage, adding five in a brief
partnership with Rene.

Enter the Dragon, and it was time for John to again demonstrate why he once considered a career as
a stand-up comedian. Absolutely determined not to be get out on the first ball, he got Rene out for zero instead, with a suicidal run down the wicket having just nicked the ball and believing there was a run in it. Poor Rene was run out trying to get to the other end, causing a major injustice and much embarrassment for the hapless surviving player. Sorry Rene!

Incoming final batsman Guus scored a quick run, but nature was about to take its course, as this put John back on strike as the over changed, and no prizes for guessing what happened next. Bowled clean out, it was the end of the innings on 172 runs with three overs to spare, and Guus not out. As we headed in for the break, Guus delivered a rousing team talk while John looked for a bush to hide under.

After a delicious lunch, in came Qui Vive, initially making slow progress towards the target. Voorburg’s two teenagers proved themselves to be excellent opening bowlers, keeping the run rate low before the first wicket fell on 40 runs. As Charu and Robbie took a wicket each, Vishal made the catch of the day with a superb take on the boundary, and then took a couple of wickets while bowling, laying claim to being the Voorburg dismisser of the day.

With three overs to go, and requiring 22 runs from 18 balls, it looked like our dogged opponents would not make up the run chase. However, three successive fours narrowing the target to 10 put them back in the game, and after some careful bowling, we were down to the last over.

They needed five runs from six balls; the fielders were spread far and wide, guarding the boundary as if their lives depended on it (well, John’s did). Then it was five runs from five balls; then four runs; then three; and as the nerves started to jangle on both sides, it came down to the last ball. Given the unenviable task of trying to prevent them getting three runs from the last ball, Vishal took a short run up but slipped on the wet wicket, giving them a wide, and bringing it down to two runs. Bowling again, the batsman with nothing to lose gave it a wild swing, connected, and whacked it down to the boundary. Robbie stopped it going for four, but two was enough; Qui Vive had won by the closest possible margin.

Welcome back guys!

Scorecard

Here we go again… Richard and Victor scoring
Thanks fort he rapturous barking!
Charu enthusiastically mans the scoreboard