WHCC 152 AO - G Morley 53*

Chertsey 69 AO - R White 4-21

by Damo Honey

Each year we arrange one pre-season friendly and sometimes we are lucky enough to play the game. Well we were lucky this year as we took on our close neighbours and good friends from Chertsey in glorious sunshine.

I would like to report that fresh from last weeks chat, all the team turned up on time, fit and raring to go, and we embarked on a full and professional warm up – led by Magoo.

A more accurate transcript of events would be the following.

The 1st team captain and ex cricket chairman met each other (surprisingly on time) in a drunken haze only hours after they had last met in the South East’s most premier nightclub. The captain proved unable to open any of the doors required and phoned for assistance. Meanwhile South West Trains were proving about as reliable as the fridge’s middle shelf and providing other equally hungover members valid excuses for missing the meet time. Eventually all doors were open, players arrived and warm-ups started 45 minutes late – by which time late call up Couch had shelved those legendary “Pitchcare.com - Technical Merit Award August 2003” gloves and 1st team debutant Awais must have wondered if he had struggled to grasp the captains accent that we all have at times and that he was actually playing for the ‘fufths’.

Warm-ups were a shambles as well, Magoo was too hungover to be inventive, which was probably just as well as the Rhino palmed the first high ball into his chin, Alders nearly took one on his head and Couch just ran away from one that went in the sun.

Eventually the game got underway (with 2 umpires – a miracle for most games let alone a friendly), Quaggy had won his first toss and elected to bat (take note Walshy). Rosco and Alders started cautiously but didn’t look in much trouble. The first run was scored in over number 4, Rosco took a swan dive for no reason in the middle of the pitch and the season was in full swing. Well as full swing as 22 for 2 off 16 overs can be.

Once Glenn and Quag had replaced the openers and got their eye in, the run rate started to increase and before you knew it the hundred was approaching. Glenn brought it up with the second of 3 huge consecutive sixes – sorry suxes. This one was in fact so big that it took an Ashley Cook tile with it on the way down. As players scuttled off to find lost balls and spectators disappeared worryingly to check where they had parked their cars, Quaggy lost his wicket and immediately called his translator Glenn to retire with him so that he was able to converse with the rest of his team.

Po started off with a cracking cover drive and Awais looked sound on his debut. Unfortunately a mix up led to the latter being run out and Po didn’t last much longer. This brought Munge’s reincarnation ‘M’ to the crease and he immediately showed he is as confident with the bat as he is with the ladies from his work (I wonder if the editor will spot this bit and edit it out – obviously not) by pushing a quick single from his first ball received. Roger was in good nick as well and that was left for Gilesy to step up to the plate and crash his first boundary for 720 days by smashing the ball back over the bowlers head………

Well nearly, he nicked it through the vacant 1st slip area. Scenes that followed have not been seen at Brewery Road since Morlers scored his first run in 6 innings. Both sets of players took part in a standing ovation whilst Roger hugged his batting partner similar to the way in which Brian Lara was hugged when he broke Hayden’s world record.

Magoo missed a straight one next ball, Roger played some nice shots and the formalities were completed when Rhino missed a straight half valley for his standard opening game of the season duck.

170 was the target for Chertsey and to be honest they never got started. Roger bowled an immaculate line and length, was Couch rolled back the years at the other end. The fielding was excellent for a team that had had no practice and Giles was in inspired form behind the stumps.

Damo and Rosco came on to continue the pressure and blow out a few cobwebs at the same time. Both bowled commendably accurately and were rewarded with a wicket apiece. Rosco sent the middle stump cartwheeling out of the ground whilst Gilesy produced a fine stumping off the Rhino.

The score was 26 for 7 and more worringly the time was only 5pm. Suddenly panic set in, half the team were still hungover and the thought of having to drink again frightened them. This combined with some stubborn tail end resistance from the Chertsey boys saw the game prolonged beyond 6pm. Awais picked up a couple of wickets and the new bowling machine Aldred picked up his first scalp to ensure that we have a new Toby who tells us he should be bowling each week!

All in all it was a very promising performance, the batting was solid, the bowling accurate and the fielding very impressive. Awais did well on his debut and no one showed that they would be overawed by playing first team cricket. The post match chat was brief but positive and everyone is looking forward to the Addiscombe game, determined not to see a repeat of last year.

All that was left to do was for the usual suspects to travel wearily up to Clapham (via Norway) to say bon voyage to Toby and Alex. We wish them well on their travels and we will miss the Human Dog’s bark in the field this year. Make sure you keep in touch with the website Toby and don’t forget you need to elect someone to take over your key phrases such as “rattle his cage”. After his bowling performance my money is on Alders.

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