Sunday August 19, 2018: 12.00pm. 40 Overs
Toss: Nevill Holt, Field
Nepotists: 9-141, 33.3 Overs (Baloch 40, Styles 26, Sparrow 24*)
Nevill Holt: 4-142 , 35.3 Overs (Mason 3-49, Baloch 1-9)
Catches: Mason 2, Werren 1
If ever there was a difficult match to report, it was Sunday’s final against Nevill Holt CC. Some reports are easy and long, some short and not so easy, even after a win. This is written with a massive dollop of disappointment, for for the first time since 2010 the Nepotists lost the Isis Trophy. Quite easily!
If I recall, 2017 went down to the last over, Nine Bar CC needing 7 to win in the rain, with Nepo’s slip sliding all over the place. Still we held firm to win by 3 and grasp a fine victory. Fast forward to 2018 in blazing sunshine and a bag full of spikes to help us stay firm footed, we let slide what should have been a routine win.
Losing the toss (in the middle for a change!) and being asked to bat felt like a gift, though Nevill Holt are somewhat stronger than Post Modernists of yesterday’s game. The morning was grey, the wind strong, the pitch soft and moist, and everything felt in the bowlers’ favour. As promised Ali Balcoh (PAK) (below) was relegated to number 9 allowing Rich Price (NZ) to open for the first time this season with much distaste, for the second time in two weeks he’d lost his preferred Number 5 slot, conceding this to Steve Werren (AUS).
Without needing to ask, Carl Hoar (ENG) partnered Rich with far more success than yesterday’s stand, though not by much. 6 overs in and Rich was out, bowled for 12 off 17 with 21 on the board. Not mirroring his glory 40 of yesterday, Magic Mike Sheldon (AUS) came and went for 2 off 11 balls (even if he did think it was a no-ball), the Nepo’s 2-27 after 9. In very un-Carl like fashion he too was castled, 4 overs later, for just 8 off 32 sticky deliveries. If Carl uses 32 cherries to get 8 runs you know the pitch is not working for the batsmen. In the 13th over, the Nepo’s were in deep stickiness at 3-40.
Cue, famous Nepotist collapse.
After spending more time setting the field for his preferred late cut, much to the bowler’s mis-fancy, Steve did nothing more than sponge his first ball straight to where he jokingly asked the fielder to stand. Nepotists 4-40.
Jack Phelan (NZ) (in the cap) whom came in at 4 had his furniture dismantled for 8 off 21 balls. Nepos 5-40.
Time Hardy (ENG) didn’t trouble Carl with his running today, nor did he trouble the scorer, LBW for 0 off 3 balls. Nepos 6-40.
Perhaps it would be the Ryan and Ali show. Well, their 35 runs were better than any of the previous 41 collective with Ryan looking as good today as he did yesterday (and here at Little Missenden) right up to the point in which he got out at 8-76, with 26 off 28, the pitch playing just little better in the 23rd over. Thankfully.
With only 10 Nepos, I walked to the middle as the last resort to join Ali with one instruction. Don’t get out. Sadly, Ali did get out, but not with immediate effect. With 17 overs to face we just got behind the ball, hitting only what we had to. The loose balls came and off to the boundary they went. Slopping fielding and noodle-arm throwing allowed us to steal plenty of bonus runs and by the time Ali was caught by seemingly the only man on the off-side for a splendid 40 off 60 balls, our 65 runs (myself 24 off 30), 11 overs partnership gave the Nepos what we thought was enough to defend.
Over-indulgence at the lunch buffet (like Jim below) could be blamed for us being a little too lethargic with the ball but seriously, the conditions changed so much our failing to trouble the batsmen had nothing to do with lunch, as Jim's figures would attest. The sun came out. The wind dropped. The pitch hardened, and the outfield played as if it had been mowed during the break.
Opening into the failing wind I dragged myself after 5-0-20-0, the ball did not want to take the edge of the bat or the top of off stump no matter how often the ball lined them up. Ryan at the other end did his best to contain by bowling straight through with another solid spell of 8-1-25-0. Rich replaced me for 5-0-21-0, with Jim taking over from Ryan, performing was what largely a one-man band to the end, bowling 8-1-49-3. The breakthrough eventually coming in the 22nd over, Nevill Holt 1-85.
At 2-92, then 3-120 we had a sniff with Jim getting the wickets against Magic Mike’s excellent and luckless spell of 8-5-15-0. It felt as if we were going to restrict the runs, and even though Ali claimed the 4th wicket thanks to a good catch at mid-off by Jim for swag of points in the field today, it was all too little too early. In the 36th over the winning runs were carted toward the River Isis by their ex-Captain Joff Ward whom held his bat for a splendid red-ink 70.
With no time to waste, and with bowlers still massaging shin splints and broken ego’s and batsmen still padded for a non-existent second inning, Woody called the presentation to order. Within 5 mins of losing for the first time in a long time, Nevill Holt had the Isis Trophy as if the sooner they had it, the longer they would hold it, and we were on our way to packing the kit for what could be the last time this season, pending next week’s shit weather forecast. Three Nepo’s with 0 made packing the kit somewhat easier and if that was a silver lining for Steve, Jim, and Time, the blessing for the Nepos is that we don’t have to pay for the engraving for the first time in a decade!
Yours in Disappointed Nepotism,
NACA: Backing up with a double NACA, Steve Werren for shaving and moisturising his head before hitting the Oxford dance floors last night and, whilst I was standing at 2nd slip, Steve casually turned to Rich at 1st slip to ask if all men in his family were uncircumcised. Thankfully, this was my only venture into the slips this season.