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The bogey team glides – but where were our wides?

Every sports club in the world has its bogey team – the one that will always cause an upset. The England football team could not beat Sweden. The Indian cricket team could not beat New Zealand. For VCC’s Zami’s, the bogey team has long been Hilversum, and the curse continues – though Saturday’s game did come with a surprise that will stand us in good stead.

The fixtured home match did not exactly go according to plan in July, when a mix-up over pitches meant we did not have a ground to play on, and Hilversum’s players were forced to make the 70 km trip back home rather annoyed. There was an angry email, the threat of travel expenses being claimed, and a forfeit defeat for VCC placed on the KNCB results site.

The true meaning of a ‘dug-out’
So it was with some trepidation that we made the away trip on Saturday. Would it be seen as a grudge match? Would they put itching powder on the changing room floor? In the end, we need not have worried about the welcome and hospitality that Hilversum offered, even if a giant puddle awaited at the pitch-side ‘dug-outs’ following heavy rain in the morning.

Captain Sander lost the toss as usual, though that did not overly trouble us, as winning it usually invokes some other form of divine retribution. So, Hilversum elected to field first and put us into bat. Harold opened with Ivo, and got off to a cracking start, banging a boundary on only the third ball. He turned out to be the hero of the afternoon, reaching a marvelous half-century on the hour, including two sixes and five fours.

King Harold’s long innings resulted in a partnership with no less than five of the other ten batsmen, the best of which was a lovely nine-over stint with Kaushal, who ended on 13 before he was caught. Sander got 12 not out, Chris managed five including a boundary, and Wouter two. But it was just not our day for the rest of us, with five batsmen bowled or caught for naught.

The rule of thumb
John, put in at fourth, had hoped to replicate a heroic 19 achieved several weeks earlier – almost costing him a new shirt – but it was not to be. He took a fast ball on the thumb, with much complaining afterwards when the ball was registered as a wide, rather than a proper run, before being caught. He later added a bruised finger to make a nice matching twin-set of injured digits while trying to take a catch at square leg.

Hilversum’s bowlers were on good form, finally removing Harold (much to their relief) with a clean bowl on the 59 th attempt. After that, we lasted another 10 overs with a run rate of three per over before our last man fell. With 119 runs on the board, at a total average run rate of four per over, this didn’t look hopeful.

What, no mingling? With Hilversum?
Lunch was served at which John took an impromptu team picture, provoking much comment about how miserable we were all looking, and why weren’t we mingling with the opposition? Possibly this was because we still feared being on the wrong end of their wrath, but we needn’t have worried, because we were soon on the wrong end of their batsmen instead.

Cheer up chaps!
Floris and Wouter opened the bowling with a masterclass on how to keep their run rate even lower than ours, conceding just three runs plus an accidental no-ball in the first three overs. At this rate, Hilversum would have ended the game with less than 50. But soon the floodgates opened, and the opposition’s boundaries started to come as freely flowing as the Dutch rain before Wouter brought some brief respite with a clean-bowled wicket.

And then their opening batsman turned the floodgates into a torrent, with two sixes in a row that put the run rate firmly in their favour. He was later dismissed with another spectacular catch from Sander close to the boundary, but it soon became a bit of a grind getting the rest of them out.

No more were dismissed until Martin’s miracle over, when his first victim was caught and the replacement immediately fell to a ball that Kaushal, keeping wicket, caught behind for a golden duck. This put Martin on a hat-trick, but it was not to be, as the incomer offered a simple block to avoid it.

Did someone say six?
With Hilversum chasing just six runs to win, and with 12 overs left to play, it was only a matter of time. Those six were achieved in spectacular fashion two balls later with a sweeping drive across the boundary that put the ball in the next field. Hilversum emerged victorious on 120/4, gliding to a six- wicket victory.

What was perhaps the biggest talking point was that we only bowled eight wides in the entire game – far less than the usual Zami rule of at least one wide per over. Floris, Wouter and Martin completely let the side down by not bowling a wide at all in their collective 13 overs. Hilversum’s 20 wides had been our second-highest scorer.

So, we lost the glides, and also the wet slides… but we won the wides! And at least we were able to drown our sorrows with an early third innings. Sadly, any chance of a rematch was thwarted when Hilversum told us they couldn’t make a follow-up game as they were already booked. But at least they didn’t claim travel expenses this time for going home early!

John Coppock


Zami - Round 15 - Hilversum 1 v VCC