Great Missenden Pelicans 225 (Josh Bailey 112, Jamie Litherland 59) Nomads 81-8 (Adam Fairweather 3-18)
Man of the Match: Josh
“We must have taken a wrong turn somewhere.” ‘Where, Purgatory?’ said Dozy. “We’re in Hell.” Author John Connolly once wrote.
It felt a bit like that as the Pelicans watched the Nomads bring down the curtain on the season by digging in for a draw with 17 overs still to play.
Those dying overs of the season were the downside to a game with plenty of positives.
It did not start out on a positive footing, as the Skipper lost the toss and was gleefully asked to have first hit by the Nomads’ ageing captain (74 years old was the word from the oppo’s scorer).
— GM Pelicans CC (@PelisCricket) October 3, 2016
With it being the final game of the season, the Skipper elected to spice things up a bit and asked Bailey and Bailey to lash on their pads and open the innings.
There were murmurings of discontent from Bailey senior about being asked to have first hit on a pitch that did a passable impression of a swamp. Bailey junior, on the other hand, was like a kid in a sweetshop.
The discontent soon dissipated as cover drives, straight drives, pulls and cuts were unfurled by both Baileys.
We also had the joy of a ball striking a helmet for five penalty runs that made was all the more sweet as our resident umpire VDP was nowhere to be seen. Word on the street suggested he was with his proper mates doing a bit of plane spotting.
Josh eased past 50 and was presented with a manly handshake and “well done, boy” from his batting partner.
Just as we were considering thumbing through Cricinfo to check on the world record opening partnership, Bailey senior was prised out by the Nomads.
This left Josh to plough a lone Bailey furrow.
He was joined at the crease by Litherland J, who did what Litherland J seemingly always does by greeting his first ball with the sort of extra-cover drive that has no right being played on the Meadow.
It’s fair to say the Nomads’ bowling was a shade limited – the fact that the opening bowler from the top end got through 19 overs gave weight to this. But runs must be scored, and Josh and Jamie did just that.
Powering through the 70s and 80s, Josh eased off the throttle as the nervous 90s came into view.
But having never been that deep before (Toobes, stop that thought process now), Josh had no baggage to cloud his judgment and a brilliant, maiden ton was his to celebrate with a raised bat and cap.
Josh was to go on and upset Graham Gooch by not turning his century into a daddy ton, as he fell for a superb 112.
Litherland was still happy to propel the ball to all parts of the Meadow, while Adam produced one of the great ducks in Pelican history by repeatedly picking out fielders with lusty blows before coughing one up [Editor’s note: I think it was a duck, and it makes for a better story if it was, but this was written from memory with no book to hand].
A flurry of runs and wickets followed as the Pelis stepped on the gas in the final few overs to post an imposing 225.
The end to the season always brings mixed feelings as it is the time of year when Toobes begins to strike form. He gives off the air of being a Southern Hemisphere player as come September he morphs into a bowler. Come October, he resembles a slower, less black, less impressive version of Michael Holding. Charging in from the top end like Wile E. Coyote, time and again he beat the outside edge.
Normally Josh is the beneficiary of Toobes’ Indian Summer bowling spells. This time, it was Niron to cash in with a brace of wickets.
Adam followed Niron from the bottom end and got in on the wicket game, as did Hasan when replacing Toobes.
It’s fair to say Hasan is a shade quicker than Toobes. And it’s fortunate that the Nomads’ nuggety No. 4 elected to bat in a helmet as he was clocked full on the noggin by a Hasan bouncer.
The batsman somehow avoided treading on his stumps after being felled and he was the glue that kept the Nomads together.
He was also the man to send the Pelis to sleep as he and a host of batting partners went into dead-bat mode.
You could call it purgatory, you could call it hell. You could also say it was bloody boring as the Nomads ground their way to a draw at 80 for 8.
But it was also a mere footnote to a superb winning season.
Thanks to one and all who have turned out to make for a great year’s cricket.
Drink red wine, eat cheese and winter well.
See you all in 2017.
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.