MATCH REPORTS 2009
Whitchurch (Report by Dale "Daisy" Atkinson) 3 May 2009
Epsom (Report by Mark "Transport" Minehan) 10 May 2009
Whitchurch (Report by Dale "Daisy" Atkinson) 3 May 2009
Lance Jones falls
tantalisingly short of milestone on debut
It’s a punctual service the 12:03 from
Paddington to Cardiff Central. At a minute past twelve the doors lock, the tempo
of the rhythm pulsating through the fixed plastic chairs increases and Lance
Jones breathlessly starts the trudge down the aisle from First Class cabin A,
through the doors separating the carriages, around the buffet car and past the
toilet with the automatic sliding door to where the rest of us sit in cabin E.
“Fucking hell,” he says to the surprise of the
elderly lady waiting to get past him in the aisle “the bastard wouldn’t let me
It seems staff at Great Western are reluctant to
let people travel without a ticket. It seems staff at Great Western are
reluctant to let people travel without a ticket even if they clearly articulate
the urgency of their travel requirements. In fact, it seems staff at Great
Western are reluctant to let people travel without a ticket even if they’ve just
sprinted over to the ticket machine to purchase one and have the receipt to
prove it. Staff do however become less reluctant to allow people to travel it
seems, in those situations where potential passengers sprint back to the machine
from which the receipt was extracted in order to retrieve and then present the
necessary tickets for the desired journey. Of course that may have had something
to do with the fact Lance Jones had paid £34.80 for a £15 fare. Still, at least
he made the train.
It’s a punctual service the 12:52 from Reading
to Pangbourne. It pulls into the station at eleven minutes to one and stands at
the platform for roughly the same amount of time it takes to order a 12” subway
sandwich. About thirty seconds after scheduled departure the doors slide closed
with a hydraulic hiss and lock with a thunk of absolute finality. At first the
train doesn’t move. It just stands there. Then the hum of the diesel engine
grows louder. As does the tap, tap, tap of Lance Jones’ index finger on the
door-open button. Slowly the train begins to inch along the platform. So does
Lance. The train gathers pace. So does Lance. The train pulls out of the
station. So do we. Lance does not. He is left on the platform with a blank look
on his face. A 12” sub hangs limp from his right hand.
Twenty minutes later he calls. He is in a cab.
He is arguing with two men who have tried to commandeer his ride.
“Get the fuck out of my cab” he says.
“No I’m not Australian I’m a fucking Kiwi, now
get the fuck out of my cab” he says.
“What the fuck’s wrong with you, don’t you lock
the doors?” he says.
“Two half-dressed pissed blokes just tried to
get into my fucking cab” he says.
“I’m on my way to the ground” he says.
He has a lot to say.
Twenty pounds later he’s at the ground. We
inspect the pitch. A South African man is painting the popping crease. “I almost
got into a fight in the cab” says Lance, “two drunk blokes dressed in leotards
tried to get in.”
“We should shoot them,” the South African man
says, his clipped, high veldt accent lending the statement an unnecessary added
sense of menace. “Just shoot them all.”
It is not clear if he’s referring to drunks, cab
jumpers, men dressed in leotards or all three. Lance and I exchange a look. The
South African man adjusts the marking guide and with gentle, delicate strokes
begins to white in the return crease. “I was stabbed in the arm with a bayonet,”
he says. “It fucking hurts.”
We fall silent.
A gentle breeze kicks up.
“Me too,” says the South African’s team mate
lifting his shirt to reveal a long pink scar on the left hand side of his flabby
“It fucking hurts” he agrees.
Lance and I nod in assent.
“I was walking through the bush in Angola and
this boy just jumped out and stabbed me in the arm” says the South African,
quick to reclaim the initiative. “I fell over backwards, accidentally pulled the
trigger of my rifle and blew his fucking head off.”
The sound of bristles gently lapping on turf is
“Not a day goes by when I don’t wonder why the
silly bastard didn’t just shoot me,” he says, “then I wouldn’t have to live in
this miserable place.”
We don’t respond.
“Fucking hell” says Lance as we walk back to the
pavilion. “There can’t be too many teams out there with two blokes who have been
bayoneted in them.”
It seems probable.
I win the toss and elect to bat.
By the drinks
break we are 108 without loss. Wardy has passed 50. Clearly a class above the
Whitchurch attack he looks set for a century on debut. Bessy has resumed this
season as he finished the last; solid, dependable, inevitable.
After drinks the tempo lifts. Wardy cracks a
brace of sixes. “We might not get a bat,” muses a padded up Tim Philips as a
cloud eases across the sun. “Don’t bet on it,” I say, heading into the pavilion
to retrieve my jumper. “We’re known for our collapses.”
Bessy nudges one behind square on the on-side.
Wardy calls him through for a run. Bessy sends him back. I wish Tim luck as he
heads out to the middle. Wardy checks the book. He has finished with 80.
A short time later Bessy gets out trying to push
the run-rate. He checks the book. He has 86. The old pro leads the aggregates
Philips takes to the bowling, racing into the
30s. Adams cluncks a six over long on. Next over he’s out bowled trying to smear
one into the stables. Lance Jones walks to the crease. He’s never played a
competitive game of cricket before. He plays and misses at his first delivery
but slices his second down to deep third man for a single. He raises his bat.
Next ball he’s out.
I see out the last five deliveries of the
innings. The ball hardly leaves the square. Philips is left stranded seven short
of a half-ton on debut. I am an apologetic captain
We have set Whitchurch 233 for victory from our
35 overs. It looks enough.
Travis West and Wes Boshoff open the bowling.
The South African snares one early and West follows soon after, snaring the
Whitchurch number 3 caught smartly at point by one L. Jones.
It is at about this point that I generally get
bored with writing match reports and I suspect the same is true for those
reading them. So instead of more floury prose here’s a summary of the Whitchurch
Lance Jones bowls two overs and is
struck for six from the first delivery of each. It is apparently a tactical
manoeuvre. It isn’t a very good one.
Andrew Main bowls seven overs
unchanged and ends the match with 2 for 23.
Wardy takes a wicket.
Bessy bowls the last over and
finishes the match with figures of 2-3. He is leading run scorer, joint leading
wicket taker, has the highest batting average and lowest bowling average. He is
campaigning for a damp summer.
Rhys Adams finishes up with a
No catches are put down.
Tim Philips celebrates a wicket by
executing a face plant on the pitch.
Despite having six debutants in
the side the concept of the NACA is easily grasped. The first Red Velvet of the
season goes to Lance Jones. Well deserved, well earned, well done.
A small group props up the bar at the Greyhound
as dusk settles into night. Rounds are bought and reciprocated. Dinner is
consumed. The cross-country rattler from Pangbourne back to Reading is missed.
Spirits are high. Another round is purchased. A cab is called.
Just after nine the last four Nepotists in
Whitchurch pour themselves into a taxi. Fifteen minutes later the vehicle pulls
into Reading station. Westie peers back from the front passenger seat “I haven’t
got any cash on me,” he says, patting his hip pocket, “I’ll fix you up later.
“Yeah, me to.” I say staring into my empty
wallet. “Can you spot me Wardy?
“Sorry buddy, I’m all out too.” He says stepping
onto the curb.
Three sets of eyes fall on the figure of Lance
Jones. At first he looks startled. After that he just looks resigned.
“You blokes are fucked.” He says.
Later, on the train, he tallies up the damage.
£34.80 for a return ticket to Pangbourne.
£4.30 for a 12” subway sandwich.
£20 for a cab to the ground.
£10 match fee.
£9 for a steak and ale pie.
£15 for a cab to Reading.
£93.10 for a game of cricket.
Another Nepotist falls tantalisingly short of a
ton on debut.
That is all.
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Epsom (Report by Mark "Transport" Minehan) 10 May 2009
“SUNDAY, BLOODY SUNDAY”
The 12.30pm cricket
shuttle to Epsom departed 16 Spencer Road Wembley promptly at 12.45pm. The
M40/M25 junction is 11.1 miles in distance and 21.5 minutes driving time from 16
Spencer Road Wembley. The M25/M4 junction, 16 miles and 27 minutes, the M25/A30
junction, 20.2 miles and 31 minutes, M25/M3 junction, 23.4 miles and 34 minutes,
M25 junction 10, 30.6 miles and 41 minutes, M25 junction 9, 36.4 miles and 47
minutes, Epsom is exactly 41.5 miles from 16 Spencer Road Wembley and 56 minutes
in driving time.
I had no idea why I was noting down these figures in such detail whilst drinking
hot tea heated at exactly 65.5 degrees Celsius in a thermonuclear mug powered
via electronic exchange through the lighter socket of Werren’s van, but I’d
already made a subconscious note to self and decided to book myself in for a
back seat next time we drove to the cricket together.
After picking up a few of the lads at Epsom Station we throttled into Epsom
cricket ground under full bass and treble capability, we were now precariously
high on adrenalin and fully pumped for our impending battle thanks to the dulcet
tones of Survivors “Eye of the Tiger” blasting through the open van windows.
It was right about this point in proceedings that it all started to go horribly
After taking a very close second place in the coin toss, our captain for the
day, Mad Maxy Walker, advised us to ‘white up’ to get proceeding underway in the
It had begun.
The wind was breezing in lightly from the South-East, the clouds were white,
fluffy and few and the new Nepotists 2009 South African connection, Wessel
Boshoff, buoyed by the inauguration of Jacob Zuma the previous day, took the new
ball along with ‘Lethal’ Leigh Angel. Alas after 4 unlucky overs it was clear
Zuma’s luck was only evident in South African elections and that there was no
angel of any description watching over his namesake. It was not through lack of
heart or ability that the openers were ineffective but it was certainly obvious
that the gods were not with us. Angel went for loads after bowling just a mere
38 balls in his five overs whilst Wes toiled away unsuccessfully in his four
overs. Was it the cricketing gods or some other more sinister pagan like god
watching this match? All would be revealed in due course.
A bowling change was imminent and the little fella Timmy Phillips, who’d had us
all reaching for our earplugs after constant and un-ending chatter in the
outfield was brought on. With a compact action that looked very much like a half
drugged up Maltese Jack Russell (not that I’ve ever seen one but you get the
point) he pounced through 4 overs and despite myself dropping a catch and
wearing the famous pink wig for a short time, bowled well and was rewarded with
a wicket. From the other end the captain himself stepped up to the plate and
relieved Wes. Sadly Maxy went for 1.385 runs per ball and ended up developing
RSI in his neck from repetitively looking over his shoulder as the ball
continued going over his head to the boundary.
Our Indian import for the season, direct from a stint in the IPL, Nilesh Naidu,
trundled in with a couple of overs that produced both a good wicket and lots of
runs. Yours truly bowled a very tight first ball in his spell. What followed,
however, were many further loose balls that were given all the respect they were
due, and consequently dispatched to all parts of the ground. How I managed a
scalp is still beyond me.
Drastic action was required and so it was instigated. Reece was dismissed from
keeping duties and told to bowl with orders to get wickets. He did. Reece
inspected the pitch in quiet contended satisfaction, Maxy reviewed his drastic
bowling change with quiet contented satisfaction. Angel watched his fellow
Nepotists rewarded with wickets that he clearly believed should’ve been his and
there was nothing quiet or contented by what could be seen in his face, the
impending rage was obvious.
Then it happened. Angel was returned to the crease for a second spell. The gods
were close, I could feel it. During his first over back he pitched up a nice
half volley that was belted with such veracity that none of our fielders had a
hope of stopping it. Lucky for us the non-striker did stop the ball for us
amazingly using only his eye glasses and face. The non-striker, a young South
African fellow playing in his first game for Epsom (and probably his last) had
his face opened up easier than an overripe water melon and began to bleed all
over the pitch. I looked about, I could see a change coming. Leigh Angel’s eyes
began to turn totally bloodshot as the Vampire Blood Gods of the Lost World cast
their evil spell on us all. I was scared. Everyone started talking at once.
There was immediate chaos were just moments earlier only simple innocent
Nepotism lived. The captain of the opposing side rushed to the crease with first
aid and promptly told his charge that his shirt was f***ed, Critchley added that
they were now getting themselves out. Phillips implored us to stop ‘bleeding’
runs. Angel said nothing. The hospital was next door to the ground, the player
removed, and the game resumed. Angel bowled anew transformed from his previous
lamb like demeanour into a man possessed of all the Vampire Gods knowledge and
thirst. He snared three quick wickets. He continued to say nothing. I was still
Carl Hoar who had not fully injected himself into the game as yet, was affected
by the blood gods also, Maxy knew this and tossed him the ball. Three deliveries
later the torture inflicted upon us by the Epsom batsmen was over and Hoar had
retired from bowling with figures of 1 for 4 off 0.3 overs.
Epsom had set us an unlikely target of 299 for victory.
Lunch has always been a very solid affair at most of the Nepotists fixtures and
there was no exception at Epsom. I noticed, however, that a lot of food went
uneaten. I suspected almost all players of ‘turning’ and quickly checked the
mirrors to ensure everyone had a reflection. I made a note to myself to remember
to bring my crucifix and holy water in future. I was not at all sure what was
Our chase began poorly as we found ourselves 4 wickets down for only 39 runs on
the board. I suspected our players were being affected by the sunlight. I
wondered if vampires played cricket and mused as to where. Then the sky began to
darken, the wind picked up and our strength returned. Phillips and Adams grew
immediately in both stature and ability and held the middle order together with
a fine partnership of 94 runs. Phillips was out after ‘eyeing a century in face’
as he put it, bringing on our international UK import for the day - Stamper. As
he faced his first ball for twelve months I had a felling normality was
returning to the match. I was wrong. Stamper was hit on the hand, broke a
finger, bled all through his gloves, all over himself then all over the pitch.
He then removed himself from the ground. Déjà Vous.
Our lower order was obliterated in seconds and as our victors looked upon us,
with blood lust in their eye’s, we made a hasty retreat to the change rooms
having lost by just a mere 132 runs.
Blade himself would’ve made no
difference to the end result.
After being NACA’d our illustrious fixture secretary Jeff Critchley was
muttering something along the lines of a ‘stitch up’. ‘Rigged’ was also heard to
emanate from his pursed lips. As he donned the lime green and magenta for his
first time in 2009 I believe revenge was on his mind. No one was actually sure
what had happened and why he had been NACA’d. Nothing new here.
In true Nepotistic tradition we held up the bar. So well in fact that all the
Epsom players had left and the one remaining player who was also the barman kept
glancing at his watch. We didn’t get the hint. As the clock struck 9pm, Stamper
promptly started bleeding all over the pavilion floor. We did then think it best
By the time Steve Werren had got out of his car at 9.10pm at a set of traffic
lights to ask the adjacent motorists how to change the lights from ‘blood’ red
back to green, I knew the match was truly over.
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