Egham 189 AO - R Morley 5-33

WHCC 127-7 - I Meyer 47*

by Damo Honey

So the 1st XI season finally started on Saturday. There were no dropouts, no injuries, no working in fish and chip shops and no piss ups in foreign cities, so Quaggy had a full strength squad to pick from – well that lasted until about 9pm on Thursday when he spoke to Giles.

When news filtered round that Magoo had dislocated his shoulder, most people’s reaction would have been something along the lines of “oh no poor bloke…. Not again….. he must be really down….. wonder how long he’s out for…. That’s a real shame…..” etc…

However, when everyone found out that he got injured playing mixed netball the reaction changed to “Gay”, “Softcock”, “Pigeon Heart”, “Pathetic”, “Bring back his brother” etc…..

So Deano was called up, he had proved a very able replacement for Giles when we found ourselves in a similar situation last year and we know he will not let anyone down. However, it left us with only 5 of the team that had played against Met Police in the last seasons finale on view.

By 12pm the fines had been racking up already – Rosco was in a different post code, Po was in a different universe and Quaggy was trying to justify that he was “just checking that none of the team were out in London at half 11 the night before”.

Anyway fielding coach Alders took us through our paces with an inventive selection of warm-ups although no one’s hands were particularly left stinging as he struggled to find the middle of the bat.

The captain gathered everyone round mid-way through warm-ups and the tone was somewhat different to the one the first team are used to hearing, phrases like “then we’ll have a little look….” And “right batsman have a bat, bowlers have a bowl” were replaced by an annoying whining, repetitive tone similar to one that a mosquito might make. Weird!

Then something totally new to us – the toss was completed in under 3 hours and not only that but it was won as well!!! As is the law in Surrey Championship games - win the toss, bowl first. Ross and Sunil opened up but without success, Rosco dropped short once too often and was replaced by Duncan “Motty” Smethurst. Motty could have had a wicket second ball, but Ross shelled the first of many catches dropped during the Egham innings.

Q eventually brought the Rhino and Hasselhof into the attack and both picked up a wicket almost straight away. For once the Catflap was firmly closed as Rhino grabbed his first catch since 2002. After the Egham openers had raced to 75 for 0 off under 20 overs, the middle order was restricted to 30 for 3 off the next 15 overs and things were looking up.

However, for a few overs the wheels fell off, several chances were missed, the ground fielding was abysmal and heads dropped. The only bright moments throughout this came from the bowling of Woodsy (Mini-Me). He kept the ball up to the bat, was not phased by making his debut and with an ounce of luck would have picked up a couple of wickets.

As Egham looked to hit a total of 220 plus, Quag introduced himself and Maggot Morley back into the attack with differing success. Rosco bowled fast and straight and got reward for this, whilst Quaggy’s deliveries disappeared fast and straight and took himself off.

Maggot hit the stumps four times in total, much to everyones pleasure and amusement at continuing cries of “bowl at the stumps”. Rog nipped in with a couple and 175 for 3, had become 189 all out. But in truth it should have been 120 all out, if we could have held our catches.

Tea was consumed, tactics were discussed and then quickly reassessed as within half an hour as Rosco, Duncan and Glenn were back in the hut with the score still under 20. Quag and Alders looked assured (except when trying to work out whether Egham’s spinner wanted to bowl round or over the wicket) and took the score above 50 before Alders fell for a useful 28.

Unfortunately neither Po, Porters or Woodsy were able to give Q the support he needed and at 80 for 7 people would be forgiven (given some of last seasons “roll over and die performances”) for thinking that we were heading for defeat. However, Sunil joined the skipper in a show of strength which we hope will be typical of the 2004 Woking and Horsell 1st team. They batted out 12 overs for a draw and this sort of resolve is going to be what is needed if we are to make the most of our season. Quaggy was left 2 short of 50 in a splendid captain’s innings

Not only did this mean that we didn’t start our campaign on a losing foot, but also that it denied Egham (who we imagine may be in a similar section of the table to us) the 9 extra points that a victory would have given them. A word also for the umpires, we are always far too quick to criticise them when they make mistakes, so here we should congratulate them on the way in which they handled the game, making it far more enjoyable to play in.

The debrief after the game was short and painless, we know what we did wrong and it is up to us to change it on Saturday against Maori Oxshott. The fines session on the other hand was long and painful on the pocket. Plenty of money was handed over for poor fielding and rash shots amongst other things, Magoo was still classed as late for missing the 1st few balls of scoring duty and Alders and Hasslehoof were very fortunate to be let off with only a light fine for committing the cardinal sin of boozing during the game. Vulluge lads!

Post match bleating ensued accompanied by a tasty bbq from Morlers the naked chuf and a raffle by Maggot, during which Blairo managed to successfully win back the bottle of vodka that Mrs Blair had won and subsequently left at the race night. Prize 2 was drawn by Chris Murphy and Peter Murphy and won by Andrew Murphy – and people have the nerve to say that this club is wrong!

By half past nine the sun had gone down and the serious boozing ensued. The drinking mat came out and ensured that people left the club in various shocking conditions. I think that Gribbler picked up 1st prize with Audi and Rhino making up the podium, but everyone had enough attempts to ensure that bar profits will remain high and that Chertsey A&E will remain on standy on Saturday evenings.

Bring on next week and hopefully the first rendition of “13 points in the bag”

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