The 3rd pre season fixture took us to Henley Cricket Club and after a wet start to the day we arrived to a greasy outfield and slightly spicy wicket. Travelling to the ground was the newest recruit for the e-men, in the form of an Aussie guy called Elliot Opie... or Oooaps for short.
Arriving at Henley was a seemingly irate Glasper with a sheepish Ahmed Elech. It seemed that this animosity started when Elech tested Glaspers patience by taking his time getting ready… when already… 15 minutes behind the meet time! Glasper goes on to explain, “So I rang him up and said I’d be 5 mins. So after 10 minutes of sitting outside his house… I see him standing on his drive, tucking into his 2nd slice of toast whilst still casually packing his bag… That’s Strike 1! As I wind the window down to bellow some choice northern phrases at him, he tries to make out he didn’t see me… Now at this point I’ve been outside his house for 10 minutes AND… when I hung up I told him I was outside of his house.
He then gets into my car with more food than a continental breakfast buffet… and an open mug of tea into my newly cleaned car. He then asks me if I want him to make me a mug… which is a lovely thought… and if we hadn’t have been late, if I hadn’t have spent 15 mins outside of his house of which 8 mins were in pure rage… and if the laws of physics didn’t exist in my car to allow me to drink a fully exposed mug of tea whilst driving… I would have snapped his hand off! Instead, I needed to pull off down his pot holed street at a speed which allowed us to make up time lost. Now prior to this I gave Ahmed the speech on food and open containers in my car, which I’m not sure he really took notice of, because when I flash forward 5 seconds, I can see half the contents of Ahmeds mug is sprawled all over my car seat… Strike 2! Then after turning to me and saying “Glasper man, calm down, you drive to fast!”… it was a clear and obvious Strike 3!
Anyway… to the game. We warmed up with some pre match football to which Mylo tried to take advantage of by claiming a goal that was collected 5 foot behind the goal line. The phrase “cheats never prosper” springs to mind, when on the restart, Oliver Wilkin sent a delightfully 30 yards pass down to the open and available Glasper. His first touch mirrored that of Michael Owen in the 1998 world cup, but his finish was even better. A volley from about 25 yards, swerving into the top right hand corner was the highlight of the match which unfortunately the spin team won, after the rest of the seam team struggled to match Glasper’s brilliance.
To the toss, and on a wicket that screamed bat first, Jonesy lost the toss and we were inserted on a seamer friendly moist deck. It wasn’t long before Henley made in roads either, with inferior brother Oliver Wilkin snicking to the keeper with his second ball faced. Roberto White then strode to the crease in that classic smug fashion of his to send a simple catch to point to leave us 17-2… leaving most thinking this may have been a bad toss to lose.
Then Ahmed “Mug Of Tea” Elech joined superior brother Wilkin at the crease, but that partnership was short lived as Mylo was caught at slip and then Elech was caught at mid on to leave us 20-4!! Captain Jones and new boy Opie then managed to steady the ship as they both batted superbly in tough conditions to tick us along to 77, before Jones was trapped in front for a well made 27. Then disaster struck again as Opie closely followed for the same score to leave us 79-6. At this point, it was just about occupying the crease and that is exactly what Taz and Parry managed to do. A partnership of 60 then followed with some great shots and some maximum’s… the pick of the two being Parry’s huge straight shot.
After getting us to 139-6, both guys then fell in quick succession to leave us on 143-8. With two wickets left it was about using the overs up and that’s when Glasper came to the crease, who put the situation to the back ofhis mind and started to flay the ball to all parts of the ground and even pulled out the “Glasper Flick” to send the ball out of the ground on the leg side… luckily for him though, that boundary was about 20 yards and it just cleared it! After getting to 182, Glasper was the last man out and the e-men were quite pleased considering the earlier predicament we found ourselves in.
So to the bowling next, and with the league around the corner, free hits were in play which was tremendous news for Glasper who is still struggling. A free hit in the first over which was sent out of the ground must have gave the durham dynamo great confidence.
As the sun was beating down by now, the wicket was a shadow of its earlier self and it proved as the Henley batsmen raced into the 50’s, before young Godsal came on to claim the first wicket, trapping number 2 in front for 25. Then just like the ealing batting, one brought two as the number 3 quickly went back to the pavilion as the lesser of the two wilkin brothers managed to claim a catch off the bowling of Elech.
After the number 4 struggled for a dozen balls, Godsal was looking in fine rhythm as he took the next wicket after bowling 5 away swingers, ten sending one back in to clean bowl him. Unfortunately after this point, the Henley batsmen dug in and it took another 85 runs before Parry chipped in with Opies first catch of the season, but by then the damage had been done as Henley chased down the score to win by 6 wickets. The toss in this one proved decisive, but again, this is what pre seasons are for and good signs again were seen.
This weeks Angel award is given to the great bowling of youngster Arthur Godsal who showed some real class in his display.
I’m away next week as I travel out the country up to the North.. so the next report will come from the season opener against Hampstead!!
Don’t miss me too much!