“The banter was as strong as the booze…”
By Stanley Leeson
With the Menorca tour looming large, arguably the two vibiest teams in the NELCL met for a friendly on the dystopian and cold Hackney Marshes. An artificial strip welcomed the early arrivals and props to Shel, Karl & others for preparing the crease by racking up the white lines on the pitch as they have so many times off it.
With Dave ‘The Sheriff’ Nottingham patrolling his own surprise birthday party and subsequent hangover, a late SOS was answered by the ever reliable Toby Chassaud (BLCC’s second centurion!) Skipper Max Bennett won the toss and elected to bat.
Toby & Stanley strode out under dark skies and absorbed some good early bowling from Freddy & Nick, with notable away swing & seam movement. Toby began to get into his stride and with Stanley supporting & rotating the strike, they soon put on a 50 partnership in the 11th over. Toby had begun to open up clearing the leg side boundary for the games first 6. Stan tried to up the pace too and after smashing a short one into the ground, was undone by a cracking seaming delivery by the impressive Lucius (1-36 off 8) bowled for 6.
Skipper Max Bennett strode to the wicket at the pivotal No 3 and was off the mark straight away with a well timed 4. With the seamers tiring, Toby and Max really increased the tempo with Max striking two sixes in a classy 37 and Toby hit another three sixes.
It has to be said that Sovereign dropped several catches, including Toby early on. This led to much chat and sniping between team mates in the cold and under dark and rainy skies. The spinners were brought on and leg spinner Sham and Kenny were immediately targeted by Max and Toby. However, Max was next to fall for a well made captains knock of 37, caught off the off spin of Kenny.
Solomon strode out to the wicket and gave the crowd full value, his first six scoring shots reading 4,6,6,6,4,6 in a brutal display of all or nothing hitting. Meanwhile Toby was pacing his innings beautifully and added his own big hitting with more sixes and flat boundaries.
However he was undone, unselfishly attacking a poor ball from Kenny but mistimed and was caught on 98. Toby would have made 2 centuries in 3 innings for the BLCC, his average must be something to behold! Chapeau Toby. Brother of Stan, Liam strode to the wicket to join the destructive Solomon who followed up a rare spell of sings with his last 5 scoring shots reading 4,6,4,4 as he cleared 50 and took the fight to Sovereign. Liam proved a good foil, with two boundaries and rotated the strike well.
RS continued to drop catches but eventually held another one as Liam was next to go for 19, he fell caught off Freddy’s bowling. Sam Moses got a chance to swing his arms, hitting 2 singles, allowing Solomon the strike as he ended unbeaten on a brilliant 71. The BLCC closed on 268-4
Meanwhile the RS cheerleaders and old boys, were getting started on the Courvoisier, Herb, Special Brew and had placed a huge order for fried chicken. There was going to be plenty of crowd noise at the usually deserted Hackney marshes.
Captain Max, inspired the lads in the huddle and then handed out an Easter egg each to give the lads a much needed sugar rush. Sheldon opened the bowling from ‘the banter end’ an had opener Luke out for a duck, edging a lifter to keeper Max Bennett, who took a comfortable catch as the lads went wild.
Stan Grant opened up from the quieter end and started with his usual probing and accurate bowling. The scoring was slow and with BLCC on top, Sheldon made the second breakthrough, inducing an edge off No 3 Alfie, which flew to gully where Stanley took a loopy catch and RS were 22-2 in the 5th over.
Lucius and Nick began steadying the ship and kept out the good balls, knocking off a boundary an over to keep the score ticking over. Stan and Sheldon continued to bowl well, but were dogged by extras on an artificial wicket with newly painted lines. Sheldon No balled for extracting plenty of bounce (including knocking one batsman‘s helmet off his head) and Stan for overstepping.
With Lucius and Nick using their experience to build a partnership a pivotal moment in the game occurred as Sheldon once again with sharp bowling induced and edge from Nick, Max pouched it and the lads were off running around cock a hoop, only to turn round to see no movement from Umpire or Batsman.
It later transpired Nick claimed he gloved the ball with his hand off the bat, but the slip cordon heard a clear woody noise and the lads after some initial complaining ate it up, but it proved key for the rest of the game. Lucius had reached his 50 and looked set, before second change bowler Karl Mathisen, generating some serious speed, began working him over, culminating in brutal delivery that clean bowled a batsman set on 52.
Sheldon had finished with 2-46 and Stan Grant 0-57 off their 8 overs. Karl bowled well with 1-37 before hurting his back and having to leave for the field (though like the true lad he is, he came back into the slips later on) Solomon also bowled well, but with Nick increasingly assured and Kenny beginning to tee off with a brutal 20/20 / scratch golfer innings peppered with boundaries, his scoring shots reading 4,4,6,6,1,4,1,6,6,6,6,4,1,6,6,
Meanwhile at the other end Nick was easing his was to 92 not out & with Kenny 91 not out RS polished off the 268 total with 9 overs to spare in a brutal batting display. Chances flew through vacated regions of the field, but this was a superb batting display from RS.
The banter was as strong as the booze & the herb from the spectators, with Sheldon taking more than his fair share as he dived full length and nearly took, what would have been a superb catch. It was just one of those days as Kenny & Nick took the game away.
After the game RS invited us over to their HQ and the lads showed their fair play and vibey credentials by enjoying Kenny’s grandma’s hot sauce and the pizzas ordered by the victors. A losing start to the season for the Lads, but an invaluable friendly, especially for the artificial strips awaiting the BLCC’s first ever touring party shortly in the Balearic’s. So we sign off and say BLC – Si as we prepare for the tour, watch this space Blads & Amigos.
MOTD: Sheldon Greenland – for services to the ‘noisey‘ end.
|Toby Chasseaud||c&b. Kenny||98||-||-||-|
|Stan Leeson||b. Lucius||6||-||-||-|
|Max Bennett||c. Unknown b. Kenny||37||-||-||-|
|Soloman Sule-Legbe||Not Out||71||-||-||-|
|Liam Grant||c. Unknown b. Freddie||19||-||-||-|
|Sam Moses||Not Out||2||-||-||-|