Long Marston 173-9 (Asad Rehman 4-22) Great Missenden Pelicans 144-4 (Asad Rehman 60*, Alex Livie 38)
WON by 6 wickets
Man of the Match: Asad
Roy Rogers had Trigger, Zorro had Tornado; Nick VDP had his Vespa. Riding over the horizon at speeds in excess of 30mph (but not above 45, as the engine cuts out – apparently), our Kiwi spluttered his way to Long Marston to swell our ranks to 11.
A new fixture for the Pelis to take in, after Old Minchendenians were struck down with a fear of leaving the confines of the M25. Their loss was our gain, as we turned up at a ground that plays host to Minor Counties Cricket. And you know you’re at a legit ground when the scoreboard – electric, obviously – had a slot reserved for Duckworth-Lewis Par Score.
There was no chance of DL coming into play on a fine summer’s day and with Skip absent due to a more pressing occasion (Polo, with his proper mates), it was left to Old Skip to take on the captain’s armband. After a run of winning tosses, you’ll not be surprised to learn that the toss was lost and out the Pelis trotted to field.
You often hear talk of “ooh, it’s an absolute road.” This deck resembled a piece of well-laid tarmac and the two Marston openers set about their task with relish; Pelicans were considering calling for a calculator to work out what we would be chasing after they’d batted for 40-odd overs.
But they’d miscalculated. Their scouting report had told them of an ageing Northerner chugging his way down a hill and bowling at speeds on a par with Nic’s Vespa. They’d been mugged off, as the Northern hero was at the Polo (with his proper mates) and we’d enlisted a man known as Haime. We know him as James Walters and he ripped out the Marston skipper with an absolute beauty and repeated the dose to the No. 3 one ball later. The field closed in hunting a hat-trick and a coat of varnish was all that stood between Haime and a Pelis hat-trick.
As the Marston skipper prowled the boundary in anger cursing his scouts for not doing their research, his opening partner set about repairing some of the damage. At a venue that was the equivalent of any county ground in terms of size, jaws were dropped in the crowd as Asad hurled one in from about 70 yards away, into the wind, that got to Tony a shade faster than Nic’s Vespa. There were no thoughts of any twos to that arm.
Adam didn’t consider throwing the ball, he simply thrust a leg in the way of anything that came his way – something he’s probably still regretting now after taking a flashing cut shot full on the side of the knee.
After an excellent spell that yielded no reward, Josh was replaced by Hasan who prised out a couple of Marston batsmen to keep the Pelis in the ascendency.
With Rags toiling away at the bottom end, the Pelis kept things extremely tight despite Marston sending in a child with greater batting skills than most Pelicans on show. The youngster played the Pelican medium pace with ease, so the ball was chucked to Asad who duly sent the youngster, and three of his mates, packing. What an absolute bully.
A superb bowling display was capped off by some excellence in the field – the highlight being Tony stumbling on an unorthodox technique of wicket-keeping catches on the run. Not once, but twice did he pull off that trick and it all helped the Pelis restrict Long Marston to 173 for 9.
Tea was taken and there was not a packet of Monster Claws or wafer-thin ham in sight (I think Minchendenians are off the menu, for ever) and it fuelled the Pelis for a run chase.
Asad didn’t need food to fuel him, he merely covered himself in half a can of deodorant before striding out to the crease. Must be a youth thing.
JG, in contrast, had not taken on enough fuel as he missed a straight one and was replaced at the crease by Bails.
Thoughts of quick ones and twos disappeared out of the window about two hours previous when the Magic Bullet came from the Texas School Book Depository, via the Grassy Knoll, and pinged him in the hamstring. The sight of Dave attempting to flick his first ball to leg and nearly fall over in the process did not bode well. He was put out of his misery one ball later as he lost his middle pole.
Prior to kick off Rags had told everyone who wanted to listen that he had a new bat. It was only right that we gave him a chance to unsheathe the weapon. Unfortunately, it meant he joined Asad at the crease and you would have to go a long way to find two more reluctant runners. On a ground roughly the size of Texas, it was a toxic cocktail of turning threes into twos and twos into ones.
But Rags wasn’t interested in ones and twos (and definitely not threes) and some lusty hitting took the Pelis towards the hundred mark before he departed.
Skip (Skip for the day, not current Skip as he was at the Polo with his proper mates) joined Asad at the crease and the young Rehman was forced into running. The score rattled along and the Pelis were on the brink of victory when Skip scooped one in the air and was promptly caught out by a 12-year-old.
It was an act of self sacrifice, honest, in order to allow Hasan to secure the red inker that pushed his average north of 110 as the Pelis chalked up another win.
For the record, VDP was faultless (we’ll gloss over one of the worst dives in cricket history) and the Vespa only broke down twice – that we know of.
Reports are intended to convey an entertaining picture of the day’s play. No disrespect is meant, but if on occasion we misjudge matters, please take it in the friendly and humorous spirit in which it is intended.