Sunday May 22nd vs Ley Hill

Ley Hill 141-9 (John Greenwood 4-27, Kunaal Kankate 3-40)   Great Missenden Pelicans 142-6 (Kunaal Kankate 47, John Greenwood 38*)

WON by 4 wickets

Man of the Match: JG

The Pelis’ early-season streak continued, unbeaten in the past 5, but this match will be notable for a new term entering the Pelis’ vernacular, the “guilty man’s shot”.

An eleventh-hour switch brought Ley Hill to the Meadow, as Old Wealdstonians cried off on the Friday.

That Skipper lost the toss was of little importance – Alex would have chosen to field, which was the outcome anyway. Members of the Pelis’ development squad continued to be blooded: David Espig, a boyhood friend of Toobes, became the fourth debutant of 2016.

Toobes and Josh settled into such a groove that barely a run was scored in the first five overs, though it was already quite clear that one of the openers was quite a stylish bat. Fortunate, therefore, that when Toobes served up a full bunger, he miscued it to mid-off, where Carter snapped it up on the move.

However, instead of departing, the batsman stood in mid-pitch and eyeballed the umpire, his team-mate. After a delay of perhaps five seconds, the umpire obediently, and apologetically, raised his left arm to indicate a no ball. Was it a no ball? Who knows, in the absence of TV cameras. But to see a batsman browbeat an umpire into declaring a no ball was to travel back in time to the days when WG Grace is said to have performed the same trick (“They’ve come to watch me bat, not you umpire.”)

The following ball was sent skimming to mid-wicket where it passed through Kunaal’s normally reliable hands, and the last ball of the over ended up on the far side of the railway tracks. Credit to the Pelis: beyond a couple of sardonic laughs, little was made of the incident. In hindsight, with the batsman going on to score half Ley Hill’s runs, it was probably good for the match. But a more lasting legacy may be the introduction of a new term to the Pelis’ lexicon, the “guilty man’s shot”.

This was the skipper’s verdict on the catch to Kunaal, and he wheeled it out again after Ley Hill’s 15-year-old keeper was caught off Alex’s gloves by Josh at leg slip (having started the ball at conventional slip), but stood his ground after being given not out by an unsighted umpire. By which we don’t mean that the umpire was blind – just that it all happened in a bit of a whirl. Remember the term – a guilty man’s shot – it won’t be the last time we hear it this season.

The guilty man proved to be the bedrock of Ley Hill’s innings. Once he was out for 69, including several steepling sixes, things meandered along, the number 10 batsman the only other to reach double figures. In the field, there were a few notable Pelis-style incidents: David Espig’s use of the kneecap showing he has fully embraced Pelis’ fielding techniques, Carter sitting on a drive to mid-off (ditto), Iceman daintily jumping out of the way of a catch at slip (ditto) and Toobes executing a perfect bridge over the ball at mid-wicket (ditto). Greg, for the second week in a row, nearly pulled off a worldie.

On the plus side, Josh took a couple of allowed catches including a beauty at slip; Carter picked up one to compensate for his disallowed one; Skip took a catch and a stumping behind the wicket (don’t mention the extras tally). Perhaps the highlight, though, was Kunaal breaking a bail, removing Ley Hill’s number 4.

141 didn’t look too demanding, so everyone tucked with gusto into tea (or was it lunch?) provided by Nic and Claire VDP.

The Pelis’ response started in style, with Kunaal punishing some ordinary bowling from the bottom end. First Bech and then Iceman stood and admired as the score raced to 64-1. Kunaal was applauded for his 50 and immediately sent a skied top edge to te keeper – only to discover that he’d made only 47!

A classic Pelis middle-order wobble ensued, with 64-1 becoming 66-5. Ley Hill had introduced a quite reasonable leggie from the bottom end, calling for concentration and care from our batsmen. Inevitably it was his poorer balls – a wide outside off and a full toss – that did for Iceman and Greg. David’s debut innings was more or less par for the course for Pelis debutants – ’nuff said.

Time for the old guard to bring it home. First Alex and JG, then JG and Toobes, calmed nerves and then took control. JG had taken four wickets – should have been a ‘fifer’ with the disallowed catch off the keeper. Now he played the ball all round the wicket, ran busily with Toobes a willing partner, and ultimately played the winning shot. Toobes extended his remarkable early-season batting form to 5 innings, 4 not outs, average 31. Curious indeed, particularly as the majority of his runs came through the off side rather than via the traditional shovel.

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.