Saturday June 30, 2018: 2.00pm. Time Game
Toss: Nepotists, Field
Royal Household: 3-257, 34 overs (Hoar 1-16, Mason 1-49, Price 1-68)
Nepotists: 10-124, 27.5 overs. (Mason 31, Price 21, Styles 19)
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I stood quietly at the square leg, an umpiring position defunct for this match because the Royal Household Umpire officiates at both ends, never looking square for confirmation of anything. As such, it was merely an opportunity to top-up the melanoma after spending 257 runs in the field!
As Carl Hoar (ENG) and Jim Mason (AUS) prepared the run chase, the RHCC square leg fielder asked, “How did you get here?” Well, because I know every word of the Young Ones*, I snapped back, “I came in my car!” With a roll of the eyes he replied, “No, how did you get to be playing here!”
We may not always be 'TGTTWHES' on the scorecard, but it shouldn’t be questioned with so much disdain and surprise. That question got my mind ticking over longer than it needs to quote the Young Ones, before waxing lyrically “After a lapse of 10 years, we’ve been playing every year, for the last 5 years” as a Singapore A380 descended over the Queen's Pavilion toward Heathrow (LHR) Airport, just 7km from touchdown.
(*Episode: Interesting: When his sociology tutor, Jim Morrison, arrives at his party, Rik asks, “Hello, how are you? How did you get here?” The answer you know! Rik then said, “Hmph, Amazing!” A reaction that too seemed to be in square leg’s head after I said we’d been playing here for 5 years!)
As the Singapore behemoth disappeared over the boundary oaks opposite it got me thinking further. Of all the years playing Royal Household, this was the first-time air traffic was arriving at LHR! I’d been used to playing between the departure corridors watching appliance of science thundering to fairer shores. For the week I was excited for the plane spotting fiesta this fixture allows, without considering it going in the opposite direction!
To prevent carnage on the cricket field, aircraft circle at different-levels, separated by 1000ft, within 4 stacks known as ‘Bovingdon’, ‘Lambourne’, ‘Ockham’ and ‘Biggin’. The bottom of each stack is around 7000ft. Although there are no set routes for planes moving from the stacks, factors such as how busy the stack is, weather conditions, or position of other aircraft will impact how aircraft are sequenced by ATC to leave and make their way to the final approach.
The arrivals procedure ‘Continuous Descent Approaches’ (CDA) involves aircraft maintaining a steady angle of approach until they reach ‘final approach’. LHR’s CDA is 3° from 6000ft, with the intent on reducing arrival noise by keeping aircraft higher for longer. An aircraft is ‘on final’ when lined up with the runway, approx. 15miles to landing. Frogmore is 4miles from the runway. The point at which aircraft join the final approach over Frogmore varies flight-by-flight depending on how aircraft need to be sequenced by ATC.
Aircraft landing at LHR follow the Instrument Landing System (ILS); a precision approach aid employing two radio beams that provide pilots with vertical and horizontal guidance during final approach, and the 3° approach angle. Each runway has its own centreline beam to ensure aircraft approach in a straight line. Once aircraft reach ‘final approach’ they need to be at a minimum height, low enough for players to clearly read the under-belly branding. The angle of landing is set at 3° and as a result aircraft will be at a set height for distances from the runway.
The minimum height at which aircraft can join the ILS into LHR from 6am - 11pm is 2500ft and no lower than 3000ft from 11pm - 6am. Aircraft can join the final approach at any point higher however this will vary on how aircraft are sequenced by ATC and when Nepo’s are playing Royal Household.
As it transpired, today’s arrivals were the best thing that happened as we were Royally thumped, even after winning the toss and electing to do what RHCC would have asked us to do had they won. Alas, the decision to use the new ball failed, as we conceded 172 runs for the 1st wicket, in 23 overs. If you can believe it, the breakthrough made by Carl!
Ryan Styles (AUS), from the Equine End, opened and closed his day 5-0-36-0. Bilal Niaz (PAK) opened from the ‘Mrs Paws Sharma Sightscreen End’ (Maria decided the grass in front of, and shade of, the sightscreen would be a wonderful place to set up her picnic blanket and watch the game!) delivering a brisk, luckless spell of 3-0-22-0. Nathan Coleman (NZ) finally made it to the game to bowl his first spell for 5 years, replacing Bilal, and it showed with 4-0-24-0, including 7-wides! Ouch!
Rich ‘I’d bowl every over if I could’ Price (NZ) took over from Ryan with a double spell of 9-0-68-1. Needing to slow the pace, Jim replaced the self-dragging Nathan and Carl replaced Rich with his mix of right arm uncertainty and claimed the Nepo’s 1st wicket. Jim got the 2nd wicket 13 runs later and Rich chimed in 21 runs later and suddenly we were in with a sniff of restricting RHCC to a paltry 350. Sadly, this was where the demolition stopped. Carl finished 3-0-16-1, Jim ended 7-0-49-1 replaced by Danyal ‘I live next door to Frogmore but only play for the Nepotists’ Ahmad (PAK). There were no mirrored heroics of his 2017 spell by Danyal whom went to tea with 3-0-23-0 after a timely and unexpected sporting declaration at 3-257.
Without a score on the tea board this week, the Nepo’s set about chasing the 258 and there is honestly not a lot to say about our poor showing. Carl 5, Jim 31, Danyal 12, Pawan 8, Rich ‘I’d not be out had I given the strike to Time’ Price 21, Time ‘I’d not be run out had Rich given the strike to me’ Hardy (ENG) 0, Ryan 19, Nathan 6, Bilal 4, myself 0, and Stevie ‘I love red ink’ Werren (AUS) 14 off 14; Nepo’s all-out 124 just falling short by a whopping 133.
As the sun set over Windsor, with adrenalin of victory still coursing the veins of our hosts, before ‘final approach’ was drowned in darkness, next year’s fixture was confirmed as Nepo’s drowned their dismay at the bar. I don’t know what time the last Nepo left to scale walls or scamper through hedges to escape Royal Security this year, but by all reports we are still good for 2019!
Hopefully this will continue into 2020, and for several years until Heathrow’s 3rd runway is built, which will bring arriving aircraft directly over Windsor Castle and 800m closer to Frogmore and thus 100m lower, creating awesome photos especially if a backdrop to an eventual and rare Nepotist Royal win!
Yours in Nepotism,
SCHWIM MOMENT: Being told to go easy, Bilal swung and missed his first ball, smacked his second ball one bounce for 4. 3rd ball caught! Very Brett-like.
NACA: Rich Price for violating Nepotist airspace in the change room moments after the door being closed for a breathless rendition of the team song.
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