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Montgomery CC vs Leigh on Sea CC - Sunday 8th June 2008 - Chalkwell Park

Montgomery CC: M. Aggus, J. Gillies, R. Clayton, B. Giles, G. Turner, D. Catchpole, D. Champ, T. Smith, K. Baker (cpt), M. Couzens, C. Smith

T

he third game of the season saw Montgomery Cricket Club with the healthy seasonal split of played 2, won 1, lost 1.

It also saw the debut’s of the two latest Leigh CC players to join the Monty ranks – Dave “Catchers” Catchpole and Benjamin “Gilester” Giles.

It was fitting therefore that the debut of the two Leigh-ites would be made against their own club – Leigh CC at their home ground of Chalkwell Park.

With the team in good spirits after defeating the insolent youths of Harlow CC and despite the loss of MCC new recruits Ollie Pidgeon and Alex Heath to Portugal and an unknown malady (STD), respectively, the team were determined to put one over on their feeder club.

A key factor in the battle for supremacy would be the performance of the two Leigh turncoats. Would they follow the illustrious debut of Sean Elliot – glorious century or the sterling efforts of Damo Liston – 23 runs and 3 wickets? Or would they follow the ignoble debuts of Stubbington – two ball duck and Brown – outfoxed by a 12 year old for 4.

With the sun shining, big noses and bald spots reddening and Gareth Turner sporting his lucky pants (literally – they say lucky pants on them), the skipper went out to contest the toss.

The MCC was to bat.

With the order slightly altered this week to accommodate the return of Johnno “Boom and Bust” Gillies, MCC regular Rob “Vicarage Road” Clayton and the promotion up the order of Daniel “When I were a lad” Champ, the MCC began the fight to show that being around since 1907 counts for little and if you want to be a proper club you were founded in 2006 (although Dan did look like arguing that first point).

100 year history, 100 year schmistory as far as are concerned - up the Montgomery!

MCC openers Mark “I am” Aggus and Gillies took five off the first over with an attractive leg glance and drive through mid-wicket and some quick mathematics told us that if we kept this up we’d be on for 200.

Unfortunately that was only the first over.

With Gillies opting for bust rather than boom today and departing for four after chipping one up through the on-side off Cartwright, the score-rate slowed with Aggus and Clayton at the crease.

Cartwright and Seal both bowled tidily, a good line and length reining in the attacking instincts of both batsmen and forcing them to play carefully.

However as the score-rate slowed to roughly two an over and the overs mounted up both Aggus and Clayton started to go for their shots – Aggus cover driving with authority and Clayton hitting the bowler back over his head, although the slow outfield made boundaries difficult.

With Aggus trying to force the run rate higher he was eventually caught and bowled by Power for 21.

That brought Ben “sensitive moist toilet tissues” Giles to the crease. With Giles terrified about the possibility of making a low score against his erstwhile team mates who had already been ribbing him about the taking of his wicket, he played watchfully.

Thoughts abounded – could Gilesy become only the second man to make a Montgomery century, could this in fact be the finest hour of a Monty batsman and set the scene for a glorious victory, with runs flowing from his singing blade?

Would this see Gilesy re-instated at the top of the order for the Saturday 1sts, his team-mates astounded by a beautifully crafted innings full of courage, technique, innovation and power?

Well no, actually.

An eight ball duck. Hit the showers.

Next to fall was Clayton, coming down the wicket once to many times to hit over the top and stumped by Sexton for 12.

By this time two new batsmen were occupying the crease – Gareth “Peck” Turner and the other Leighite Catchers Catchpole.

Both took an early liking to the bowlers with Catchpole launching young Walker for a four and then a six in two balls.

Turner didn’t quite have the muscle for an aerial assault but drove handsomely down the ground, a shot that would have drawn approval from any watching cricketer.

The score ticked along before Turner was bowled by Leigh prodigy Joe Sexton and Catchpole holed out off Leigh skipper Cartwright in what turned out to be the high score of the MCC innings – 34.

Daniel “You youngsters don’t know you’re born” Championi had a short stint at the crease before losing his wicket for 3.

Some late fireworks from number 8 Tom “Vettori” Smith including one glorious pull stroke that nearly decimated the watching Couzens family, saw him quickly to 11.

There was just time for the skipper to almost get to 300 career runs for the second week running, but fail and the MCC finished on 130-9 off 40 overs.

Post the usual stuffing of faces in the pavilion as youngsters were elbowed aside to ensure that Turner got his full array of cakes, the MCC took to the field knowing that 130 was going to be a tough total to defend.

Heart could be taken though, that unlike previous seasons the MCC has batted out the 40 overs twice in three games and got through 37 in the other, the batting line-up showing more resilience that in years gone by.

To open the bowling would be Matthew “I videoed myself puking” Couzens and Daniel “Who cares about 2008, it was all about 2007” Champ.

As in the previous game against Harlow both bowlers kept it tight, ably supported by some strong fielding, but wickets were looking hard to come by.

It took the introduction of the skipper to make the breakthrough; Ridgeway caught on the crease and bowled lbw for 7.

Leigh continued to accumulate runs but in a slow fashion and the match was finely poised with an accurate stint of seam up from Gillies and some fiery pace from Catchpole ensuring that Leigh would have to up the run rate to get home.

However with wickets in hand and Leigh opener Morgan combining well with number three, Monk, the two accelerated after the drinks break.

The skipper turned to leading wicket taker Christopher “Kenneth Williams” Smith and Gareth “Turnip” Turner to stem the flow.

The Turnip combined some good line and length with what can diplomatically be described as “a few beamers” (one over the batsman’s heads, followed by one over the keeper’s head), but it was the root vegetable himself who took the wicket the MCC were crying out for – Morgan playing one off his pads to be well caught at mid-on by Aggus for 44.

Next up was Boughtwood who had hit 43 in his last innings against the Monty but who had looked nervous against the flight and guile of Smith. Sure enough his attempt to get off the mark second ball went straight up and was easily pouched by Baker.

Some inspired captaincy to get Smith on, ably supported by some chat from Giles and Catchpole to further get in Boughtwood’s head and of course – a first rate “pie” from the Chinook meant the plan came together like one of Hannibal’s best. I ain’t getting on no plane, fool.

With Vettori also getting in on the act, Smith continued his recent good form by having next man Green caught by Aggus for four to take him to six wickets in three games.

Had some previous lbw shouts been given from a number of decent appeals and the number of extras been reduced then the MCC could have made a fighting finish of the game.

As it was this late flurry of wickets was not enough with Monk finishing unbeaten on 36 and young Sexton hitting the winning runs over the top to close on 9 not out.

The MCC maiden victory against Leigh will have to wait until September in the reverse fixture at the fortress.

For now Leigh CC can continue to claim, albeit shakily, that they are the bigger club.

Matthew Couzens

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