Another year has passed, bringing with it the annual Sunday XI match against the Great Missenden Pelicans. The fixture that is renowned for its incredible teas, a picturesque ground and of course not forgetting the Nags Head.
As late as Saturday, it was not clear if we would have the numbers for a game even with Ubaid plucking family members out left right and centre. Relief came eventually when, Neil R jumped at the opportunity to play under the wise leadership of skipper Trigger McGill. Even then, we were still a player short and we would soon see if this would have a telling effect on the outcome of the game. Trigger’s experience was soon evident as he won the toss and elected to put the opposition into the field, to suffer in the exhausting heat.
Opening batsmen Niall and Amieya headed out to the crease and fought a hard battle against the opening bowlers. This was by no mean an easy feat as the two openers kept their overs tight and on occasion looked dangerous, most notably R Frank (5 Overs, 2 Maidens, 13 Runs and 2 wickets). This did not trouble Niall and Amieya however, as they quickly got off the mark with an impressive second over that saw Ricky’s total added to by 14 runs as a result of some well-placed shots by Niall. Unfortunately this soon came to an end as the 5th over saw a wicket maiden from R Frank which ended Amieya’s total at 12.
This brought about the start of Neil’s fantasied innings as he coerced unwilling members of the team to preach false tales. However, this was not to be as, in his own words “Neil was looking great, coming forward and defending the ball well, he was unfortunate to be pre-rolled and bowled, the bowler himself apologised for the unfortunate wicket”. Next up to the crease was Yusuf (26 runs) who was soon joined by Ubaid (45 runs). Together the pair provided a crucial partnership of 57 at a point in the game where, the Pelicans had been dominating with 4 maiden overs in a row. This partnership however, was ended with Yusuf being run out as a result of an impressive direct hit to the stumps from Kendall. Bilal was next to take to the crease and provided another admiral batting performance (18 runs). The 23rd over saw the fall of Ubaid’s wicket after an entertaining innings in which he hit seven 4s and one 6.
Over the next 6 overs, only Trigger (10 not out) coming in at no9 batsmen was able to make an impression showing the lower order batsmen (and Neil) how it should be done. Eventually we were all bowled out in the 29th over for 132 runs. We knew that if we were to have any chance of winning, the bowling attack had to get some early wickets but first, time for tea!! As we took to the field, we huddled close and were given a motivational speech from Trigger and Ubaid. We knew we had to work hard to have any chance of giving the Pelicans a run for their money.
Myself (Down the slope) and Ameiya (Up the slope- opened up and we each produced a wicket off our first overs, this was exactly what Ricky needed and if we could keep this momentum up we would be sure to make a game of it. At the end of our spells over no7, we had the Pelicans at 46 for 4 (Amieya- 3 overs, 1 maiden, 16 runs, 1 wicket). I had learned from Neil’s mistake with the ball that kept low (which was admittedly mine aswell), and managed to find the spot that produced very little bounce, I managed to get three straight ones on this spot that produced the same result. By this point, it had been made clear that their no3 batsmen (R Kavkate) was a key wicket that we needed to find.
Next in the bowling line-up for Ricky were Ibrahim and Callum (4 overs, 1 maiden, 13 runs, 1 wicket), here came the leg spinners from either end. In his final over and in return for his hard efforts, Callum managed to work the ball past J Rehman (26 runs). Both Bilal and Nial (3 overs, 2 maidens, 10 runs) had a crack at ending Kavkate’s innings in the closing overs of the game however, he could not be deterred and went on to score 79 not out winning the game for his side in the 22nd over.
We may have lost but we had given a much more experienced side a good game. Overall this was a very enjoyable match on a great ground against opposition who played to win but who were very sporting. And the tea was pretty good too.
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