WCC 159 all out off 37 overs
Roehampton 114 all out off 39 overs
WCC won by 45 runs
After three Sundays without a game a good many Weekenders seemed to have lost interest in cricket and unexpectedly developed a taste for quiet domesticity. It's possible that they are now lost forever to the pleasure domes of IKEA, Do-It-All Focus and Chessington World of Adventure but hopefully it's just a passing fad. While the born-again family men were cursing their recalcitrant barbecues and refilling their bird-feeders, eight diehard Weekenders - plus three ringers conjured up by Vijay and Marvel - assembled on Putney Common like druids observing an archaic ritual.
The pitch was as sporty as ever on this ground and it only needed a decent bowler to turn up sober and the game might have been over before Julian Lyons had opened his second bottle of Fathers Day Asda claret. Fortunately no decent bowlers appeared and so the two sides managed to slash and slice 273 runs between them.
Marvel’s mate James played carefully to hold the Weekenders’ innings together while at the other end, Coops, Hoggers, Nass, Not-Hajela and Marvel blazed and guttered like a bag of self-lighting briquettes on Mark d’Inverno’s garden griddle. Husaini copped a rearing delivery in the mouth which was unpleasant but at least it left him with a swashbuckling scar to wear in to work on Monday - sexier by far than the lame DIY niggles of his missing comrades.
Four years ago John Harvey hit his first ever delivery for the Weekenders for 6 on this ground so it was no surprise that, returning from two years in Oz, he got off the mark with a cut 4 through backward point as meaty as one of Rich Maloney’s Ranch-style Lamb-Burgers (with spicy Cowpoke Relish). Newcomer Joel Rennie and ‘Biff-Bang’ Madden from Wanstead imposed themselves on the innings with all the calm authority of Vickery sinking rawplugs for a shelving unit or High Tower watering a hanging flower basket without a ladder.
There was some hostile bowling from the Roehampton seamers led by Lulu’s son whose appealing was disappointingly, and perhaps rebelliously, subdued. The hosts' attack looked like restricting the Enders to under a hundred. But then the leggie came on.
The expensive three-over spell is a much underrated influence on the outcome of a match – it can turn a game, often with the grinning perpetrator unaware of what he's done. Our friends the Rain Men publish a league table of the season’s worst short spells. Usually the captain feels unable to remove the pie-chucker until he’s finished his third over but occasionally a mischevous sprite enters the skipper's head whispering ‘It can’t get any worse, give him one more.’ Roehampton’s leggie rewarded his captain’s faith by taking a wicket with the last ball of his fourth over – but by then he’d gone for 44 and the Enders were past 150.
When Roehampton batted they soon fell behind the rate and the Weekenders bowlers proved harder to get away than the moss on Steve Dunne’s patio. Roehampton got their noses in front at one point thanks to an excellent 42 from Broom but their supremacy was as short-lived as a weed on John Sackville's rhubarb patch. Sportingly, the hosts kept chasing to the penultimate over rather than putting up the shutters. But the Weekenders fielding was as dependable as Hajela’s Black and Decker Workmate, Marvel’s captaincy was as astute as Flat Pete’s B&Q reward card and victory as neatly accomplished as the stripes on Dave Hargroves’ immaculate lawn.
M Harvey 5, Cooper 8, Hogben 19, Hodgkin 20, Husaini 9, Jeyaratnam 4, J Harvey 31, Rennie 17, Madden 29*, Vettikat 2, Douglas 1.
Douglas 11-2-23-1; Madden 6-3-7-2; Rennie 8-2-29-3; Vettikat 6-1-24-1; Cooper 5-0-19-2; Husaini 3-0-16-0
Catches: Jeyaratnam 2; J Harvey 1*.
Run out 1 (Madden/J. Havey)
Debuts: James Hodgkin, Joel Rennie, Scott Madden