“every act is relevant, each effort a defining one.”
|Clapton & Oval||176||10||35.2||Loss|
Eyewitness report by Karl Mathiesen
“I believe,” spoke Joe Ridout, standing by the greentop at Springfield Park shortly after Clapton and Oval’s third wicket, ‘keeper Ray D, had fallen for a four-laden 29. The victim of a Stan Grant exocet.
In the Bloody Lads huddle they nodded their support for Ridout’s default optimism. But none, perhaps, shared his faith. Not yet.
The Lads were drifting toward defeat. C&O were 3/130-odd with just 179 needed and drinks had not yet been taken. In a convalescence ward somewhere, late-withdrawn club captain Caius Pawson switched his WhatsApp to silent, lifted a bloody monogrammed handkerchief to his lips and coughed sadly.
Fast-forward a frenzied hour and a half, and Ridout was standing quietly beside the field with a grin only one man’s face could hold.
Moments before, Jack Eve had reached up like Atlas and plucked the sun from the sky. C&O’s number eleven Jim O’Reilly falling to a caught and bowled from the BLCC’s prodigal child with just three runs needed. So cometh the evening.
The unlikely stage had been set by a BLCC batting performance that begun under dark clouds. C&O’s extraordinary bowling contingent placed ball after ball on the Lad’s off stump. Opening bat and impending Bloody Dad Amit Gudka fell for 3.
Wickets dripped away with incipient regularity.
But the runs came too. Toby Chasseaud and wicketkeeper captain Max Bennett (20) loading on a steady partnership. Both licked fours down the ground but were contained by C&O’s bright fielding. The constriction finally saw Bennett caught for 20 at backward square.
Chasseaud’s inning’s was, in the circumstances, a thing of quiet resolve. At drinks, when asked how he was feeling, he had only one word: “Frustrated”. The shots, and there were shots, were all hitting the fielders hands. Yet somehow Chasseaud managed the innings and resisted temptation – mostly, a couple of lucky breaks saw him twice grounded – piling on a 72 that proved decisive.
As the innings wore on, flashy cameos by Solomon Sule-Legbe (14), Dave Nottingham (18), Sam Moses (8) and Karl Mathiesen (17) saw the Lads post a defendable, but perhaps not par, total of 178.
The Bloody Lads bowling performance was best summed up by cricket sooth Chasseaud as he walked into the Clapton Hart that evening. In a tight game of cricket, he said, every act is relevant, each effort a defining one.
Glorious fielding by Gudka at gully saved dozens of runs; Grant’s unbelievable spell each side of drinks that sparked Ridout’s faith and blew away the Oval’s middle order; Sule-Legbe’s second spell, that brought two wickets for three runs; Mathiesen’s disastrously expensive two over nightmare that broke the opening partnership of 60-plus but also swung the scores heavily in favour of C&O; Eve’s accurate, niggardly overs and wonder grab; debutant Joe Galiti’s ferocious pace and bounce; the unprecedented (?) fact that the Lads took every. single. catch. Each moment, a sliding door.
In a parallel universe somewhere, Iqbal Miah – C&O’s resolute and cheerful number ten, who earlier had bowled furiously to capture 8-1-25 – was being toasted by his brothers for guiding his team through their late order collapse and snatching victory.
In that other place, the Lads were joyously reflecting on a game in which they had come so close after being pummelled early by superb upper order batting from C&O’s two Marcus’. Skipper Marcus C blazing four after four down the ground (along with a hearty helping of edges through and over slips), making 52.
Instead, Miah was stranded on 12 (three x fours). And Eve was sprinting into the sunset before tumble-rolling into a Bloody Lads pile up. Each universe has room for only one hero.
Thanks to the BLCC’s onfield social media officer Gudka, word of the come-back spread like wildfire. On a plane somewhere, specialist fielder Jack Ensor (unavailable) was asked to respect the other passengers. Somewhere in Iceland, Ben Boorman poured himself a matcha tea and smiled quietly.
Club skipper Pawson, so stricken just hours earlier, leapt from his sickbed and hopped the next bus to the Clapton Hart. The only surprise? He didn’t turn up in full kit.
MOTD: Toby Chasseaud
|Toby Chasseaud||Not Out||72||-||-||-|
|Amit Gudka||b. Ishmael||3||-||-||-|
|Max Bennett||c. Unknown b. Iqbal||20||-||-||-|
|Dave Nottingham||c. WK b. Ashraf||18||-||-||-|
|Soloman Sule-Legbe||b. Iqbal||14||-||-||-|
|Joe Galati||c. WK b. Ashraf||5||-||-||-|
|Jack Eve||b. Shabeem||2||-||-||-|
|Sam Moses||c. WK b. Shabeem||8||-||-||-|
|Karl Mathiesen||st. WK b. Shabeem||17||-||-||-|
|Stan Grant||b. Ishmael||0||-||-||-|
|Joe Ridout*||c. Unknown b. Ishmael||0||-||-||-|
Clapton & Oval
|Clapton & Oval||166||166||-||-||-|
|Clapton & Oval||40||0||178||10|