Captain’s Match Report written by Comrade Vladimir Boringski.
I was honoured to be asked by the premier to captain this match against our old friends the Maharajah’s CC after having already had the honour of captaining at the previous game against our even closer friends the VCC on the Hampstead Heath Extension 2 weeks earlier on Sun 18 June. On that occasion it was exceedingly hot so we limited ourselves to 30 overs each way. The Walrus, captain of the VCC, was initially lured into deceptive measures to gain early advantage by claiming to win the toss when he had lost it, but luckily deep down in that capitalist scheming mind, the days of playing for the communists jolted his conscience and he yielded the decision to the Vladinator. That match has already been reported in Soldya’s stylish Lewis Carroll-esque poetic lines, but suffice it to say it was a great and honourable performance by the SCC – a great effort by all the comrades struggling valiantly against the heat to come away with not only a moral victory, but an actual one as well.
Returning to the present and on the day of this match against the Maharajah’s CC it was a very close run thing. With only a few days to go we were worryingly low on numbers, only having 7 comrades on the sheet, and I was dreading the awful text from the premier to suggest we cancel the match. I hoped for the best and luckily the premier stood by his guns and called the match on. Rob Muller, previously an empirical capitalist from the VCC offered his services, and then Malik friend of Malkovitch stepped in as well. Even the opposition lent us a player – Ollie Turtle nicknamed Turtleski, which boosted our numbers to 10 – game on!
On journeying to the field of battle with comrade Malkovitch we discussed team tactics, the RAF and even the joys of life in Fifeshire. This particular ground at Stoke Row is dashed difficult to find, being hidden away, so the first challenge facing the comrades was to actually get there. Comrade Vladimir lost the toss and The Maharajah’s CC elected to bat first. The brave comrades of the SCC were still only at 9, feeling keenly the loss of our premier and opening bowler, but decided so start anyway, and The Maharajah’s, captained by the honourable Matt Kimber, lent us a fielder for the duration of our fielding session.
Ex-capitalist Rob Muller, now christened Comrade Robski (not to be confused with the inimitable Rob Dixon), valiantly offered his services to keep wicket and with 1 man down Comrade Chipmunski stepped to the crease to take the opening over. He bowled his maximum of 8 overs, during 2 spells, and in spite of the fact he did not manage to take a wicket, the Chipmunkski magic was evident throughout and there were a few close shaves which could easily have gone his way if fate had taken a different turn. His bowling figures were 8 overs for 48 runs, giving away exactly 1 run per ball in Chipmunski precision. Malik, now christened comrade Malikski, took the 2nd over, and in spite of his lengthily absence from cricket, swung the ball with such fervour that batsman, wicket keeper and first slip alike felt quite dizzy. During his 2 spells totalling 8 overs he claimed 2 victims, both of the opening batsmen – George Lee and D.Watts, who had to be taken to counselling and hospital treatment for vision re-correction. Both fell for 11 runs apiece. George Lee was seen off by a beautiful ball rising to caress the top of the off stump and remove the bail in text book fashion. D.Watts was caught by a frankly spectacular catch by Comrade Harriski, whose fielding performance during the game was nothing less than outstanding. Comrade Malikski’s figures were 8 overs, 2 wickets for 60 runs. Bowler number 3 was Comrade commissar Premier Yuri Pedez. Arriving late for the game affected his performance considerably, and he did some proper damage to the opposition. We must note to request that he arrives late more often in future. During his 8 overs he took 4 wickets for 50 runs, an average of 12.5 runs per wicket, extremely impressive, and surely a candidate for the people’s choice man of the match! He required no assistance from the comrades, clean bowling all of his victims, with lashings of the Yuri brilliance. Sam Kimber, son of captain Matthew Kimber, went for 23 and Charlie wicket keeper for 25. He later dispatched James Watts for a duck and Alan May for 5. Bowler 4 was comrade Turtleski who put up a good performance in his 8 overs, despite being lent to us from the opposition. Although he did not take a wicket, his figures were a respectable 8 overs for 44 runs. Bowler 5 was comrade Malkovitch who distinguished himself very greatly during this game and who is also in line for the people’s choice man of the match. During his 4 overs his figures were 1 for 22, dispatching Dan May for only 1 run to a good catch caught by Turtleski. Bowler 6 was the Great Sewelski, who really put his all into this game. His bowling statistics were 0 wickets for 15 runs during 2 overs, which is perfectly acceptable considering the batsmen at this point were taking no prisoners. His vocal and acrobatic displays, not to mention the extraordinary effects he managed with the ball in jaw dropping gravity defying manoeuvres, made this a colourful 2 overs. As a side note his fielding was also highly commendable, the majority of the balls during the game being hit at him. The comrades wondered whether the opposition had planned this in advance. Bowler 7 was Comrade Harriski who bowled a delightful and elegant 2 overs, claiming the wicket of Nathan May who had scored 11 runs. This was a fantastic caught and bowled operation which was extremely commendable. Comrade Harriski and Comrade Malikski therefore join the exclusive club for getting out batsmen for exactly 11 runs.
During the opposition’s batting innings it must be noted that Scott Harris scored a very impressive 125 runs not out, at which point her retired. We nearly got him for 10, but as he lofted the ball in the air, it landed between 3 of our comrades who all endeavoured to catch it, but all 3 met in the middle and the ball hit the ground – bowling comrade Malikski, comrade Owenov, and opposition lent fielder Fnu Snu, who perhaps was secretly working this outcome. It could be said that comrade Malikski thought it improper to get a man out on 10 runs, he would need to wait until he had achieved 1 more run before making the strike. Perhaps therefore if the batsmen had crossed while the ball was in the air the result may have been different. The tail end batsmen Andy Watts and captain Matt Kimber scored 12 and 13 respectively not out. The Maharajah’s CC scored 268 runs in their 40 over innings for the loss of 8 wickets, leaving the comrades a tough challenge of 6.7 runs per over to win. It was reported that the captain at this point said we didn’t stand a chance in xxx of winning the game, but this is pure speculation and he stands by his position of declaring it to be a tough challenge.
After a healthy match tea, the comrades took up the batting challenge. Comrade Vlad faced the first ball and during the consequent overs managed to edge his way up to 46 runs before lofting a catch up off the tempting bowling of opposition captain Matthew Kimber to Andy Watts at mid off. Other opening batsman Harris was sadly bowled by Jamie Watts, who in spite of his small size was a force to be reckoned with. Even batsman number 3, The Great Sewelski, could not endure him and was dismissed LBW for 1 run. Batsman 4 Malkovitch played the innings of his life, scoring an outstanding 50 runs not out. The last run was scored on the last ball of the match, the honourable opposition member fielding at square leg taking slightly longer to pick up the ball than necessary in a gallant gesture to help crown comrade Malkovitch’s excellent performance and put the icing on the cake. Batsmen 5 and 6, Comrades Malikski and Turtleski sadly fell in quick succession for 0 runs apiece, to the charms of opposition captain Matt Kimber, the tempter, who had also dispelled the Vladinator. They were caught by family members Dan May and Nathan May respectively. Robski batsman 7 put up a brave fight and scored 14 runs, but was caught by Alan May off D.Watts bowling. Batsman 8 Comrade Owenoff was caught and bowled for 1 run off D.Watts, while batsman 9 comrade Chipmunski managed 4 runs before being bowled by Jamie Watts. Last but not least comrade commissar premier Yuri batsman 10 notched up 4 runs not out, scoring neatly 1 run for every wicket he had taken.
We lost the match, comrades, but it was a victory that we made up the numbers in the nick of time, avoiding the awful situation of having to cancel the game. The opposition were good sports, in spite of some over exuberant behaviour by some of the younger members, and a fixture I hope we can maintain for many years to come. As captain, I said that if we could make 150 runs in our innings I would be happy. People say be careful what you say, it may just happen. At the end of our innings we had scored exactly 150 runs, comrade Malkovitch had just reached his 50 in the last ball of the game, and honour was maintained. Splendid!
It must be noted that the opposition captain Matt Kimber said that playing the SCC is the Maharajah’s favourite fixture of the year. If this isn’t a victory, comrades, I don’t know what is. Royalty rubbing shoulders with communists hails the beginning of a new era. I thank you all for a fine performance, an enjoyable afternoon and a credit to the Russian communist revolution!