A cloudy, humid morning, tension in the air, the Engels (bar one) dropping out midweek for some reason. The squad arrived in good spirits, no-one seemed hungover which is always a good (?) sign with the opposition (VRA 2) arriving well on time as well. Which was nice. A lovely green field greeted us and VCC were ready to take on anyone. Game well and truly on.
Sander was the perfect gent and lost the toss. A quick net session for Mark, with Frits tossing some ‘dangerous’ googlies, set him in the right frame of mind for getting the scorecard ticking over in the opening overs. Yves and Mark strode on in some confidence, let’s get ready to rumble.
We were all somewhat surprised to see a 70’s Bjorn Borg lookalike trundle in with the ball in his hand, blond locks flowing, then suddenly unleash some rather teasing left arm outswing. Mark and Yves channeled their inner Boycotts and weathered the storm, with some fairly lenient LBW calls from the truly impartial umpires, until Mark was finally trapped by the second opening bowler (a ‘fat Harry Potter’ as described by a teammate, perhaps somewhat unfairly…).
In came Marek and he clearly got a good night sleep as he set about his task of actually scoring some runs for us. Bjorn was clearly upset by this and decided that bowling the bodyline was the best approach, the author was lucky enough to view all the bruising, poor Marek and Yves. The scoreboard started to really tick over now, Yves was unlucky to be bowled by an absolute pie (not a compliment) of a ball (almost definitely a no-ball). Erwin went in swinging and helped us along. Floris was next up, his left handedness confused the opponents and some impressive running saw Flo and Arnie really push on. It took a remarkable catch to get rid of Floris, credit where credit is due and Marek got well into the nervous nineties. After a 4, 4 then 6 Marek decided he had had enough of this batting lark and nicked the ball to the keeper on 97. The right call. Sander and Rich finished us off. 215 for 5. Respectable.
Lunch was nobly prepared by Shujah, but if we are honest we only cared about one thing, one sport took our focus; Wimbledon was on the TV, glorious stuff.
The old cricket adage ‘catches win matches’ was perfectly exemplified by VCC in the field; perhaps it was the sun lotion in the eyes, or even nerves. Certainly our minds were elsewhere (Russia perhaps?). VRA’s opening batsmen had a word with the edge of his bat and was remarkably lucky with the amount of boundaries. Rich eventually was bought in to sort out the problem. After subtly stating ‘I am having no luck today’ the next ball he ripped out the stumps and we were off. Finally, a catch was held. If I am honest it was a right cracker (I should know, I took it!), and the after being asked to target the off stump I humbly ignored the advice and bowled on leg stump, with some success! Our friend from a few weeks ago (Top Gun who refused to walk, ask Aled) came and went for a golden duck.
In came our nemesis, Bjorn. A bit sketchy initially he got his eye in and frankly, started to batter us around. Floris came back on, pumped up and ready to roll, well backed up by Marek. Wickets began to tumble, the scorers managed to erase the scoreboard on numerous occasions, the tension began to mount. It. Was. On.
Or so we thought. The final overs, Shujah bowling a tight line but it was not enough. 4 runs needed off the final over, an aggressive field was not enough. 2 balls to go. So close, almost like missing the crucial penalty in a shoot-out. Gutted.
Never mind. It is only a game after all right? Several beers at the end, no grudges held against the aggressive bowling of Bjorn. Some more zamilympics that the author missed (still not entirely sure I know what this is, but I’ll go along with it).
All safe at home after a good, but somewhat frustrating day, safe in the knowledge of one crucial piece of info:
It’s coming home.